Page 18 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 9 (1950-1951)

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J EW I S H BOOK ANNUAL
10
there appeared among us two books that
could
, that
might
fore-
shadow a development so ardently, so deeply to be desired as
both symbol and means of Jewish redemption in America. Those
two books are:
The Earth is the Lord's
by Abraham Joshua Heschel
and the book of poems
,Jerusalem Has Many Faces
by Judah
Stampfer. Dr. HeschePs book is a great and poignant prose elegy
on our martyrs — a commemoration, a monument, a prose
piyyut.
But it is more also. It is a humble yet unshaken reassertion of the
nobility of our estate, despite our sufferings and our anguish.
“We are God’s stake in human history.” Such is Dr. Heschel’s
piercingly true, immortally significant conclusion. And the poems
of Judah Stampfer, almost a lad, yet rabbi and teacher and warrior
in Israel, as well as accomplished scholar in English literature,
sound the same consecrated note: they strike fire from the flint
of our tradition and send abroad the kindling sparks:
Over a web of light,
And freezing steel,
Sometimes I had to climb
And sometimes kneel,
Till I could rest my thoughts,
Like ascetic mutes,
Upon the starry needles
Of God’s attributes.