Page 229 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 46

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THEODORE WIENER
Jewish Literary Anniversaries, 1989
T
h e
c o m i n g
y e a r
,
1989, bids us look back over half a century
to the eve o f the greatest tragedy in the history o f our people.
In anticipation and in foreboding, Sigmund Freud, Guido
Kisch, Alfred Jospe, and Herman Dicker were fortunate to find
new homes and hospitable surroundings, stimulating them to
fruitful activity in recording the past and challenging us to cre­
ate for ourselves a legacy that future generations will cherish.
The crudest blow o f the Holocaust was struck against the speak­
ers o f Yiddish in Eastern Europe at a time when the use o f
that language was in decline in this country. The American born
generation was coming into its own and chose English as its
means o f expression. Among the Yiddish writers we remember
Aaron Glanz-Leyeles, Abba Gordin, David Hofstein, Alexander
Harkavy and Reuben Brainin, who made important contribu­
tions to Hebrew letters. Shimshon Meltzer has rendered yeoman
service in making the treasures o f Yiddish literature available
to the Hebrew reading public in Israel.
At the threshold o f Jewish modernity Moses Sofer stood for
the maintenance o f tradition, whereas Solomon Formstecher
and Ludwig Philippson looked for new paths in a changing
world.
The host o f interpreters o f our past are represented by
Eliezer L. Sukenik and Moses Buttenwieser for the biblical pe­
riod; by A d o lf Buechler for the Hellenistic era; by Simha Assaf
for the Gaonic age; by Israel Davidson for the medieval period
that produced our liturgical poetry; by Isaac Husik who gave
us an understanding o f the philosophy o f that time; by Israel
Bettan, who provided us with an insight into the preaching o f
the pre-modern era; and by Yizhak Raphael, who recorded the
history o f Hasidism and religious Zionism.
A representative o f the distant past is Moses Galante o f sev­
enteenth century Palestine, when the Jewish community was
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