Page 61 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 4

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umor and pathos of this outstanding literary master commonly
nown as the “Mark Twain of Yiddish literature.” Incidentally,
his book was selected as the winner of the 1943 Anisfield Award
s “ the best book on racial relations.”
I t is to be hoped that more and more individuals and organiza-
ions will recognize the broader objectives of Religious Book Week
nd will utilize the latter as a springboard for “all year round”
piritual experiences. This practice is in accord with Jewish tradi-
ion, which has always attached unusual importance to study
nd has regarded learning as a continuous process embracing all
ections of the population and extending throughout life. From
ime immemorial, education in Israel, according to this democratic
oncept, has not been the exclusive gift of the few and elite, but
he common possession of all.
Never before has there been a greater urgency for emphasis on
ewish books and for rededication to Jewish religious and cultural
alues. The catastrophic developments of the past decade have
esulted in the disintegration of Jewish communities in Eastern
nd Central Europe. Large segments of our people have become
mpoverished and have been rendered impotent from the point
f view of spiritual creativity, thereby also depriving world Jewry
f these reservoirs of Jewish influence. This situation imposes
pon American Jews a correspondingly greater responsibility for
he maintenance and advancement of these Jewish values. We
annot lean as heavily as we have in the past upon our brethren
broad. We must depend in greater measure upon our own re-
ources. We must proceed apace to cultivate and strengthen our
nternal life, so as to be in a position later on to reciprocate fully
y aiding European Jewries to replenish their depleted resources
nd to regain their spiritual equilibrium. I t is incumbent upon us
o foster interest in Jewish books, to diffuse a knowledge of Israel’s
egacy to mankind, by acquiring and reading Jewish books, and
ssigning the traditional place of honor to them in our homes and