Page 96 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 5 (1946-1947)

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THE JEWISH CHILD IN BOOKLAND*
A Selected Bibliography of Juveniles for
the Jewish Child’s Own Bookshelf
By
F a n n y G o l d s t e i n
f
I *HE 20th Century may well be termed “The Children’s Cen-
tury,” for everywhere people are striving to create for their
children a more ideal environment and a more secure future. All
these plans for broadening the horizons of childhood must neces-
sarily include literature. Books are essential to proper character
building and the happiness and enrichment of a child’s life. If
reading habits are acquired at an early age, the child will continue
to gain delight and inspiration from his books in later life. No
one can deny the indelible influence of adults on the character and
personality development of a child, but we cannot escape the need
for inculcating in these youngsters through books, a pride and a
sense of belonging with their people and its heritage.
Jews stand today at the crossroads of history and each must
identify himself as an active participant in the preservation of
Jewish life and its values. The Jewish way of life and the dignity
with which it is associated must not be allowed to deteriorate.
I t is said that Jewish parents have always been more apprecia-
tive of learning than are other peoples. Book learning among Jews
has always scored high and has been encouraged by Jewish parents
who are superbly self-sacrificing in providing educational and cul-
tural opportunities for their children.
The Jewish child has from the earliest days been encouraged to
learn. In cheder, a sugar-coated presentation of the alphabet
served to painlessly introduce him to Hebrew studies. We may
criticize the old Cheder methods with its dreamy, bewhiskered,
absent-minded Rebbe of the switch and free hand. Yet we
must acknowledge that with it all, the Rebbe did produce a cer-
tain type of high-memory training, and a serious approach to
study. Even though as a teacher and realist he may have failed
to cope with the actual materialistic world, yet he served as a
dependable transmitter of the permanent values and spiritual
heights of Judaism.
*Reprinted, in revised and up-to-date form, from
The Torch.
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