Page 60 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 45

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
tion society anywhere had done as much. It was easy, then as
later, to criticize the Society and point to its shortcomings. But
those who looked up to the Society from afar were understand­
ably impressed. They saw in its achievements a portend of Ameri­
can Jewry’s future course.
A message sent on this occasion from Jews’ College in London,
captured the prevailing mood:
We on the other side, in the older country, watch with deepest
interest the marvellous strides you have made and are making in
this great and glorious land of freedom and independence, where
careers and opportunities are open to talent and industry.
Your great philanthropic institutions are the admiration of all
visitors to the United States. They bear witness to the munificence
of their founders, the generosity of their supporters, and the effi­
ciency of their administrators. But the Publication Society whose
semi-jubilee we are today celebrating proves that, in this land of
material progress, you recognize that man does not live by bread
alone. You care for things of the spirit, you are alive to the intellec­
tual and spiritual side of life. You provide windows for the soul of
Israel.
The wondrous success of your Society proves that Jewry in the
United States is sound at the core and alive. It is responsive to the
intellectual stimulus. It answers to the spiritual call. . . .
May you advance by leaps and bounds, and when we celebrate
the Jubilee, which may we all live to see, when America will be the
centre of Jewry, may this Publication Society be a world-wide
organization fostering the Jewish spirit, strengthening the Jewish
consciousness giving adequate expression, and thus helping to do
justice, to the Jewish life, the Jewish character, the Jewish soul.16
As the Society now enters its second century, it faces new chal­
lenges. The days when it stood practically alone in the field of
Anglo-Jewish publishing are long gone. Popular presses and uni­
versity presses are also now publishing Jewish books, often with­
out the same commitment to quality that the Society always
insisted upon. Nor can the Society depend upon its members the
way it once could. Literary tastes, reading habits, indeed, the
whole nature of the book business in America have radically
changed in recent years; the Society must inevitably change as
well. But if there are new challenges to be overcome, there are
also old ones that after one hundred years remain as urgent as
16
AJYB
15 (1913-14), pp. 155-156.