Page 211 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 51

Basic HTML Version

THEODORE WIENER
Jewish Literary Anniversaries, 1994
T
h i s
y e a r
w e
look back over
8 0 0
years to the birth of
Nahmanides and to his younger contemporary, Meir Abulafia,
who exemplify the world of medieval Judaism in Spain with its
triumphs and tragedies. Important pioneers of modern Judaism
were Leopold Zunz, the founder ofJewish studies on a critical ba­
sis, Aaron Chorin, the traditional rabbi, who challenged Ortho­
dox practice, and Wilhelm Freund, the classical lexicographer,
who as a layman took a profound interest in Jewish life.
Jewish learning in Europe was furthered by David Rosin, Al­
bert Harkavy, and Jacob Guttmann. Eliezer Mordecai Altschuler,
Mordecai Brandstaedter, and Hayyim Press helped develop
modern secular Hebrew literature in its early phase. Israel Joshua
Singer was a popular Yiddish author, Shlomo Bickel, an impor­
tant Yiddish critic. Emanuel Ringelblum and Hannah Senesh
were martyrs of the Holocaust, the former leaving behind signif­
icant testimony about this period, the latter writing sensitive He­
brew poetry during the short period of her life in Eretz Israel. An
outstanding contemporary Hebrew writer is Yehuda Amichai.
Jewish scholarship has been enriched by the munificent gifts of
Lucius N. Littauer and by the initiative of Joseph Chazanowicz in
assembling a library for the Jewish people in Jerusalem, long be­
fore the establishment of the Hebrew University there. Meyer
Waxman rendered a great service with his multi-volume history
of Jewish literature. Contemporary scholars and thinkers, both
here and abroad, are Eugene Borowitz, Jacob M. Landau, Na­
than Rotenstreich, Geza Vermes, Alexander Guttmann, Judah
Goldin, and Menahem Haran. Moshe Sharett and Gershon
Agron represent the Zionist activism which helped bring Israel
into being.
In recounting the accomplishments of these writers over the
centuries in various subjects and languages, as they have inspired
their contemporaries and their influence reverberates down to
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