Page 279 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 40

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ranged a booth at the International Book Fair in Jerusalem, and
has co-sponsored a booth with the Association of Jewish Book
Publishers at the Moscow Book Fairs in 1979 and 1981.
Last, but hardly least, the
Jewish Book Annua l
itself. It is still
continuing strong after forty years, still committed to publishing
in three languages, although there has been a regrettable decline
in the number of Hebrew and Yiddish offerings. Dr. A. Alan
Steinbach, the editor of the Jewish Book Annual since 1956,
stepped down in 1977. His successor is Dr. Jacob Kabakoff.
Two questions occurred to this writer while preparing this piece.
The first is: how does one “appreciate” something like the Jewish
Book Council and its Jewish Book Annual? It cannot merely be
done by the chronicling of events or the updating of older pieces.
There should be a personal element which can be shared with
many, for I truly believe there is something special that booklov-
ers and lovers of literature share, something which transcends the
individual and can be appreciated to the delight of the many.
When I first came to the library of the New York School of
Hebrew Union College — Jewish Institute of Religion, we were
still on West 68th Street. The library had already outgrown its
original quarters many times over and we had to make use of
every available inch. In the librarian’s office, for example, we kept
Festschriften and certain heavily used periodicals, such as Jewish
Quarterly Review, Journal of Biblical Literature, Kiryat Sefer,
Tarbiz, etc. Directly adjacent to his desk, the librarian, Rabbi I.
Edward Kiev, kept three shelves of reference books which he
regularly consulted, especially when answering reference ques­
tions on the telephone.
It was not a particularly exciting or even notable collection of
books. It included a
a JPS translation of the Bible, a set of
the Soncino Talmud, a Rabbi’s Manual, a Union Prayer Book,
and a Birnbaum Siddur. In addition, it also included the library’s
set of the Jewish Book Annual. Its presence there seemed a bit
unusual to me, for although its bibliographies are useful to libra­
rians, one does not generally see it as that kind of reference book.
Not unexpectedly, Rabbi Kiev allayed my doubts with a quote
from Jewish literature. Referring to the Ethics of the Fathers he
urged me “to turn it over time and again for everything is in it.”