Page 103 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 6 (1947-1948)

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We cannot report too much success with the organization of new local chapters
of the Book Council during the past year. For the first time in several years, the
Chicago chapter of the Council ceased functioning although there were many
Jewish Book Month programs in that city. A special committee has been appointed
to consider the problem of the organization of local chapters to make such recom-
mendations as it deems necessary. Nevertheless, the existing chapters sponsored
well-rounded programs of activities and a number of them have been active during
the entire year. Among them are chapters in New York City, Washington, D. C.,
Philadelphia, Pa., Miami, Fla., and Boston, Mass. Effective community-wide
programs were also sponsored in many communities, including Cleveland, Ohio,
Los Angeles, California, San Francisco, California and Montreal and Toronto,
Canada. Through the World Federation of YMHA’s, and Jewish Community
Centers, material was sent to countries in South America, South Africa and Eng-
land. We have also established close contact with a number of organizations in
For the purpose of continuously stimulating interest in Jewish books throughout
the year, monthly feature releases were issued to the English Jewish press. The
following articles were released: “Szyk, Illustrator of Jewish Books” and “Well
Springs of Freedom in Jewish Literature,” by Mortimer J. Cohen; “The Year’s
Bookshelf,” by Joshua Bloch; “Books for Confirmants,” by Julius H. Greenstone;
“Ravished Libraries and Slaughtered Authors,” by Fanny Goldstein; “Literary
Shalah Manot” by Azriel Eisenberg and “Enduring Books of the Enduring People”
by Louis I. Newman. News releases were issued from time to time on the various
phases of the activities of the Council with the cooperation of Bernard Postal,
director of the JWB Department of Public Information. An intensive publicity
campaign was inaugurated about six weeks in advance of Jewish Book Month and
carried on until its conclusion. Editorials appeared in the New York Journal
American, and the N. Y. World Telegram published a feature article written by
its Religious Editor. Both the Hebrew Weekly, Hadoar, and the Congress Weekly
dedicated entire issues to Jewish Book Month. Through the efforts of Moshe
Starkman an extremely gratifying number of news stories and feature articles
appeared in the Yiddish press. Mats of the Jewish Book Month poster were
used extensively in both the English-Jewish and Yiddish press.
Jewish literary anniversaries which were marked during Jewish Book Month
were the golden jubilee of the discovery in 1896 by the late Dr. Solomon Schechter
in the Genizah of the Synagogue in Cairo, Egypt, of a collection of 100,000
manuscripts; the 30th anniversary of the death of Sholem Aleichem, the Yiddish
Mark Twain; the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the Histadruth Ivrith
of America, organization for the promotion of Hebrew language and literature; the
70th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Reisen, Yiddish poet and author; and,
the tercentenary of the birth of Gluckel of Hameln, celebrated author and diarist
of the 17th century.
The Executive Board met eight times during the year and the meetings were
well attended: Special subcommittees that functioned actively met and reported
to the Board.