Page 126 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 5 (1946-1947)

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SUMMARY
By
P
h i l i p
G
oodman
HEBREW SECTION
D
URING the year under review, America has produced a sub-
stantial number of Hebrew books as is evident in this section,
but the greater contribution in the field of Hebrew literature was
made, of course, in Palestine. A noteworthy publication trend,
particularly in this country, was the issuance of photostat repro-
ductions of religious classics, originally printed in the European
countries now culturally devastated.
The first article of the Hebrew Section is appropriately titled,
The
“People of the Book
and the Book
, by Rabbi Simhah Assaf.
The author writes of the love of the Jewish people for books, as
evidenced in the honor, respect and care with which they are re-
garded. I t is both a scholarly and a stimulating article which
summons abundant quotations from the
Talmud
and other rabbinic
literature. One quotation he cites has become deeply imbedded in
the heart of the Jewish people and has become a guiding precept
for them even to this day: “Man is obligated to be extremely
careful of the honor due to books.”
Hebrew Literature in Palestine in 5705
, by Dr. Gedaliah Elkoshi,
is a fairly comprehensive survey of the books published in Pales-
tine during that year. He reports a total output of 800 publica-
tions, an increase of 25% over the previous year. One of the most
heartening indications of Hebrew literary creativity, according to
the author, is that this fruitfulness has not been limited to one
literary sphere but has increased noticeably in all fields — belles
lettres, science, children’s anthologies, rabbinics, drama, poetry,
studies in literature, bibliography, exegetics and Jewish history.
The major responsibility for this increased productivity rests with
communal publishers such as
Am Oved
, (Working Nation, a labor
publishing house),
Mossad Ha-Rav Kook
(The Rabbi Kook Insti-
tute),
Mossad Bialik
(Bialik Institute), and
Sifriat Hapoalim
(Workers’ Library). Favorable economic conditions were another
factor in aiding the wide dissemination of Hebrew books. Elkoshi
concludes with the statement that the number of books published
during the year far exceeded the hopes of even the most optimistic.
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