Page 82 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 8 (1949-1950)

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J EW I S H BOOK A N N U A L
76
Maurice Samuel and contains poems by Bialik, Tchernichovsky,
and Schneour, the great triad of modern Hebrew poets.
The Zionist Organization Youth Department of Jerusalem
issued a monograph in 1948,
Palestine Miscellany
/ , which includes
prose and verse translations of some of the writings of such authors
as Saul Tchernichovsky, Eliezer Smoli, and Yehuda Yaari. I t is
to be hoped that the series begun with this pamphlet will be
continued.
As was indicated earlier, the spirit of regeneration involved in
the efforts for the establishment of a Jewish homeland, as well as
in the creation of the state of Israel itself, has given rise to a
literature of uncommon dignity and power. The last-ditch stand
which the newborn state has been making in its desperate struggle
for survival, has been reflected, for example, in an undying testa-
ment to the “finest hour” of Israeli Jews. A little volume,
The
Living Rampart
, edited by Yehuda Haezrachi (London, Zionist
Youth Council, 1948), contains splendid translations of Hebrew
poetry written about, and directly as the result of, this struggle
and its toll of human life. There are included, aside from reports
of Israel’s front-line fighters, such poems as Nathan Alterman’s
inspiring “The Silver Salver,” based upon a statement by Dr.
Chaim Weizmann that “No State is handed to a people on a
silver salver;” and Reuben Grossman’s “Therefore, We Thank
Thee, God,” a noble elegy on the death of his son, Noam Grossman,
who was killed in a battle near Haifa.
In conclusion, it must be reiterated that notwithstanding the
number of titles listed in this survey, the record is woefully
disappointing. Now, especially, has the time arrived for the
promulgation of a continuous, unimpeded cultural relationship
between Jews of the Diaspora and the Jews of Israel, since Israel
is indubitably the heart of Hebrew literary activity. A process
of cross-fertilization must be vigorously pursued, with Israel
looking to American Jewry for economic and moral aid, and
American Jewry looking to Israel, the cradle and elixir of the
Jewish spirit, for religious, spiritual, and cultural inspiration. Now
is the time to launch a concrete program for the translation,
publication, and dissemination of Hebrew literature, and for the
development in American Jewish life of a spiritual atmosphere
permeated with the pulsating creativeness of Israel.