Page 7 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 8 (1949-1950)

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INTRODUCTION
By
S
o l o m o n
G
r a y z e l
I
F the
Jewish Book Annual
proves anything, it is that Jewish
literary productivity is not at a standstill. Apart from Dr.
Joshua Bloch’s article on “The Jewish Bookshelf” in English, this
year’s
Annual
continues to point to the more important works
produced in America in both Hebrew and Yiddish. We present in
this issue also a bibliography of American Jewish biography — a
comparatively new but increasingly important type of Jewish
book in the English language. There is a general impression that
few autobiographies and biographies of Jews are in existence. This
impression is not altogether justified. Such books, moreover, are
especially important for an appreciation of Jewish life in the
American environment. All literature is in a very real sense a
study in human personality; this is true also of Jewish literature.
The time has come for an evaluation of Jewish personality on the
American scene and a contrast between it and the human material
resulting from life and experience elsewhere and in the past. This
is an additional reason for my personal satisfaction that the
current volume contains an appreciation of Dr. Louis Ginzberg,
America’s foremost Jewish scholar, in honor of his seventy-fifth
birthday anniversary. Other anniversaries commemorated in this
volume are those of Edmond Fleg, H. Leivick, A. Leyeless and
— of former generations — Moses Hess, Zvi Hirsh Kalischer,
and Nachman Krochmal.
Broadening our horizon, we have included in this issue a
selected list of recent books published in Israel. We offer only
those titles which may prove of interest to the American Jewish
public, while the Hebrew section contains a more inclusive listing.
We must leave to the future an evaluation of the mutual influences
of Israeli and American literatures. Rabbi Galpert’s article in this
issue, on modern Hebrew books translated into English, may serve
to indicate the beginnings of such cultural reciprocity.
The Yiddish and Hebrew sections of the
Annual
continue to
present the literary developments in those languages. Reversing
the movement described in Rabbi Galpert’s article, mentioned
above, we have here a discussion of books in English translated
into Hebrew, and another on Yiddish literature and periodicals
appearing in Israel.
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