Page 177 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 41

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NAD ICH / HAROLD U. RIBALOW
171
can Zionist
and the
Independent Jewish Press Service
and was on the
board o f the
Reconstructionist Magazine.
His book reviews
appeared in the
New York Times Book Review,
the
Saturday Review,
the
New Yorker, Commentary,
the
Nation,
the
Jewish Exponent
o f
Philadelphia, the
Jewish Chronicle
o f London and the
Jerusalem
Post.
He greatly adm ired and loved his father, Menachem Ribalow,
for many years the editor o f the American Hebrew weekly,
Hadoar,
and au tho r o f a ha lf dozen Hebrew books and one Yid­
dish book in the field o f literary criticism. Like his father, his
standards in literature were high and he was impatient with
shoddy or sloppy writing. Writing had to be good and genuine,
and he was partial to writers with affirmative Jewish values. He
had no use for Jewish writers who tu rned the ir backs on their
roots, on Jews and Judaism , o r who ridiculed the sanctities in Jew­
ish life. He had grown up in a home where he was su rrounded by
books, where the writer’s desk was regularly used, where mother
and fa ther read , where Bialik, Tchernichovsky and Schneour
were guests. He was accustomed to the best in literature and he
dem anded the best. He could be brusquely, even painfully
honest, bu t only because he cared so much about the tru th . “He
did not su ffer fools gladly,” his son Meir, a playwright, noted at
his funeral, bu t he deeply respected quality in writing and in per­
sons.
“He was a man without an envious bone in his body,” his son
continued, “who took enormous pleasure in the accomplishments
o f others . . . he spent so much o f his life promoting the writing o f
o ther men and women, for no o the r gain than the satisfaction of
seeing them receive what he considered the ir ju s t due .” It is
appropriate tha t in his memory the Harold U. Ribalow Fiction
Award has been established und e r the auspices o f the Hadassah
Magazine to be presented annually to an ou tstand ing English-
language work o f Jewish fiction by an au tho r deserving o f recog­
nition.
HIS COMMITMENT
Born in Russia du ring the difficult days after the Revolution on
July 1, 1919, and brough t to the United States as a very young
child, Harold Ribalow loved America, its literature, its politics, its
democracy, its sports, its opportunities. His first grade teacher