Page 211 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 44

Basic HTML Version

T H E O D O R E W IE N E R
Jewish Literary Anniversaries, 1987
O
u r s
i s
a
minority literature that must continually struggle
against the tide for recognition. It is not enough that creative
writers bring forth works o f enduring merit. In order to see the
light o f day they need publishers who will place them before a
critical and often indifferent community o f potential readers. In
the difficult circumstances o f East EuropeanJewry in the decades
before the Holocaust Boris A. Kletzkin ventured forth with many
works in Yiddish, covering the whole range o f that literature,
including translations from the best o f world literature. In addi­
tion to reprinting the classics, such as Mendele, Sholem Alei-
chem, and Peretz, he did not neglect contemporary writers like
Opatoshu and issued also many literary journals.
Under the entirely different circumstances in this country,
Alexander Kahn was a guiding spirit o f the
Jewish Daily Forward,
which opened up the American world to the immigrant who was
looking for a familiar landmark and found it in this Yiddish
newspaper. David Werbelowski helped fill a different need as an
ever growing American Jewry required Hebrew prayerbooks
and textbooks for the young that were supplied for decades by
the Hebrew Publishing Company. Another important figure in
Jewish educational publishing was Emanuel Gamoran, who as
educational director o f the Union o f American Hebrew Congre­
gations initiated the issuing o f a whole range o f textbooks for the
American Jewish religious school.
Our age is one o f synthesis as we try to bring together informa­
tion in various fields through encyclopedias and retrospective
surveys. Jacob De Haas and Louis Rittenberg rendered service
through their encyclopedias, whereas Meyer Waxman gave us
the first major history o f Jewish literature in English.
Significant Yiddish writers remembered are Halper Leivick
and Joseph Opatoshu, Modern Hebrew literature is represented
by Devorah Baron, Matityahu Shoham, and Zalman Shneour.
1 9 9