Page 87 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 50

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FABER /JEWISH PUBLISHING IN AMERICA IN THE PAST 50 YEARS
79
treatment of the Holocaust. While sharing in the loss of faith
in God who could tolerate an Auschwitz, Nissenson still posits
the holiness of the Jewish people. The paradox of ambiguity
entailed in this seeming contradiction is analyzed in the article.
An identical theme is dealt with in this volume by Efraim Sicher
in “The Burden of Rememberance: Second Generation Liter­
ature,”26 although here questions of faith and despair are not
as sharply delineated.
Sanford Pinsker reports in “New Voices and the Contempo­
rary Jewish American Novel”2 about motifs of return to Jewish
sources in the novels of present-day writers. Although the ex­
amples cited are not totally satisfactory as far as commitment
to Judaism is concerned, they nonetheless reflect a growing Jew­
ish awareness. The power of memory functions to keep alive
the idea that although contemporary Jews may not necessarily
be aware of being present at Sinai to receive the Torah like
their ancestors, they are conscious of having been at Auschwitz
to witness the murder of their people. “In the post-Holocaust
universe, the task of bearing witness takes on new dimensions
and broader responsibilities.”28 This volume also includes a crit­
ical article on “Jewish Poetry’s Quantum Leap — the Illusion
of Holiness,”29 by Carol Adler. A previous useful discussion
of “Jewish American Poetry”30 is offered by Milton Hindus who
presents a clear and straightforward account of his subject.
ROLE OF JPS
Jewish publication enterprises continue to play a vital role
in popularizing Jewish book materials. The leading position in
this group belongs to the Jewish Publication Society, founded
in Philadelphia in 1888 for purpose of making Jewish books
available in English to a discriminating readership. According
to the centennial history of the JPS authored by Jonathan Sarna
in 1988, 700 volumes were produced by the Society since the
date of its founding. During the past 50 years there appeared
26.
Ibid.,
pp. 26-41.
27. Vol. 49, pp. 6-20.
28. Quoted from S. Kremer,
Witness Through the Imagination,
Detroit, Wayne
State University Press, 1989, p. 15.
29. Vol. 49, pp. 21-33.
30. Vol. 36, pp. 6-17.