Page 48 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 8 (1949-1950)

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AMONG THE RECENT HEBREW BOOKS
IN AMERICA
By
J
a c o b
K
a b a k o f f
I
N Hebrew circles in America, the impact of the establishment
of Israel has led to the public consideration of the role of the
Hebrew language and of Hebrew letters in linking the American
Jewish community with the new state. The problem served also
as the theme of a special conference convoked by the Hebrew
forces in this country. I t is to be hoped therefore that the new
relationship will have a stimulating effect on American Hebrew
letters and will lead to various joint activities. During the first
year of the state of Israel, however, no appreciable change was
seen in American Hebrew literary productivity. The largest
number of titles appeared as usual in the fields of rabbinic literature
and reprints with but a limited representation of modern Hebrew
works. The present survey deals with a selection of outstanding
books published during the past year through April 1949.
The new double volume X -X I of
Sefer ha-Shanah VYehudei
Amerika
(American Hebrew Year Book — New York, Histadruth
Ivrith, 1949) fittingly devotes its opening section to the state of
Israel. Aaron Zeitlin sings a hymn to the state, while the editor,
Menachem Ribalow, discourses on its significance. A summary of
the factors that contributed to the establishment of the state and
a survey of the problems which it faces is offered by Benjamin
Shwadron.
The three stories in the section of
belles-lettres
contributed by
Jacob Churgin, Samuel L. Blank and Ari Ibn-Zahav respectively,
deal with the theme of insanity as it affects their main characters
and the people about them. Of the poetic offerings, there is time-
liness in A. A. Lisitsky’s “Hitler Before the Judgement Seat”
and American color in J. J. Shwartz’s poem of Negro life, “George
Washington.” There are also two translations, a portion of
Aristophanes’ “Lysistrata,” rendered by Eisig Silberschlag and a
poem by Carl Sandburg done by Gabriel Preil. The section
devoted to scholarship includes studies on the Bible, Jewish
history and literature, law and folklore. The reader will find
useful Dr. Meyer Waxman’s study of the Gaon of Vilna and Dr.
Jacob Agus’ summary of the teachings of Shneur Zalman of Ladi.