Page 56 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 4

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o r d e c a i
o l t e s
PON the invitation of the National Conference of Christians
and Jews, I prepared this discussion of the forty Jewish
books for adults recommended by a committee of three, of which
I was a member, in connection with the observance of Religious
Book Week in 1944. The leaders of the National Conference are
to be commended for instituting this period during which atten-
tion is focused upon the treasure houses of religious thought of
the three major faiths in our country. This modest interfaith
project sets an example entirely worthy of emulation in other
phases of American life. While the differences in ideologies and
practices of the three groups are meticulously guarded and highly
respected, an unparalleled opportunity is afforded by means of
this all-inclusive approach, to cut across these divergencies and
to high-light the fundamental values common to all great religious
I t is extremely difficult to select a limited group of what may
be regarded as representative volumes for the average adult reader
from the wide range of Jewish literature, which is one of the oldest
and richest in the world. I t should be understood that this list,
which I helped to prepare, does not necessarily represent my per-
sonal choice in its entirety, or that of my two colleagues, Dr.
Abram L. Sachar and Dr. Jacob R. Marcus. I t is, however, a
composite of the views of all three members of the committee,
and is intended primarily to serve as an incentive to the intelligent
layman to read and acquire a collection of readable and serviceable
books. I t is also recommended as a most satisfactory nucleus for
Jewish book shelves in home and institutional libraries.
The choices of the committee were limited by certain criteria
by which we were guided in determining upon the books to be
included, as follows:
l f An indispensable condition was that the books be of “current
interest,” “literary excellence” and “permanent worth.”