Page 174 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 41

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JUDAH NADICH
A Lament for Harold U. Ribalow
IN
l a s t
YEAR’S
Jewish Book Annual
the re appeared a memorial
tribute to the distinguished American Jewish novelist, Meyer
Levin. T he writer o f
A Lament fo r Meyer Levin
was H aro ld U.
Ribalow.
It was the last o f his many contributions to the
Jewish Book
Annual
which included articles on American Jewish fiction,
bibliographies o f novels o f the same genre, and tribu tes to the
writers o f fiction. He was a member o f the JWB Jewish Book
Council until his death on October 22, 1982, and served often as a
judg e in its selection o f the best American Jewish novel o f the
year.
He was a gifted, talented, and prolific writer, the au tho r o f fif­
teen books and one o f the foremost commentators on Jewish cre­
ative writing. His books were devoted generally to literary criti­
cism and evaluation and to anthologies o f the best o f American
Jewish short stories, autobiographies, and Jewish life and culture.
His anthologies o f short stories constitute a diversified cross-
section o f Jewish life and experience as viewed in fictional terms
by some o f the most noted writers in America. Each story was cho­
sen because it was an ou tstand ing example o f the literary art, not
simply because it dealt with a Jewish theme o r was written by an
American Jewish au thor. These anthologies —
This Land, These
People; These Your Children; A Treasury ofAmerican Jewish Short Sto­
ries; The Chosen
; and
My Name Aloud
— are not narrow chauvinistic
catalogues bu t literary collections o f the highest quality.
An anthology o f a d iffe ren t n a tu re was his
Autobiographies of
American Jews,
a valuable source book for the tu rbu len t four
decades, 1880-1920, in the life o f American Jews. Those years
laid the foundation o f the American Jewish community and
de term ined its character. This book tells o f the reaction o f men
and women, who lived du r ing those fateful years, to the changes
o f the times. Some o f them helped influence the changes. Ribalow
168