Page 38 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 9 (1950-1951)

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RECENT HEBREW BOOKS IN AMERICA
By
J
a c o b
K
a b a k o f f
I
T is hardly possible to indicate specific trends and areas of in-
terest in a field that is as limited as is Hebrew book production
in the United States. During the past year there was greater
stress upon scholarly works and rabbinic compilations. The period
of the Second Commonwealth particularly received treatment
from scholars. I t is significant that this area in which the chief
contributions have been made by non-Jewish scholars is being
increasingly cultivated here by Jews and made the subject of
important Hebrew works.
The past year saw a dearth of works of
belles-lettres
, a field in
which American Hebrew authors have made notable contributions
previously. The few works of poetry and prose listed here were
virtually all published in Israel, pointing up the fact that we lack
adequate media for Hebrew publishing and that the reading public
for works of this kind in this country is either still lamentably
small or that it has not been properly reached.
In many quarters it was hoped that various literary projects
for the strengthening of cultural relations between Israel and this
country would be launched. To date, most of the efforts in this
direction have been made in Israel. I t is to be hoped that joint
literary undertakings will soon be started. In this connection it
should be noted that
Hadoar
, the American Hebrew weekly, has
begun to issue a monthly edition for distribution in Israel.
There is still no adequate machinery in this country for the
distribution of Hebrew books from Israel and for the dissemina-
tion of adequate information regarding literary creativity. It is
high time that this problem were treated by our Zionist and cul-
tural organizations. Another desideratum is the publication of
carefully graded anthologies of Hebrew literature and children’s
books in order to meet the needs of the greatly augmented number
of students of Hebrew. Efforts in this direction have not been
sustained. The community should make it possible for competent
individuals to devote themselves to this vital cultural task.
American Hebrew letters sustained grave losses in the passing
of two scholars, Professor Chaim Tchernowitz and Dr. Samuel I.
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