Page 78 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 9 (1950-1951)

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IN 5710 (1949-50)
h i l i p
o o d m a n
The year under review has been one of further progress in the achievement of
the goals of the Jewish Book Council of America. While the Council itself did not
inaugurate any new significant projects, its work was steadily intensified and a
growing interest in its program became evident from the warm reception accorded
to its services throughout the entire country. Both from national and local Jewish
and non-Jewish organizations, there was a constant stream of calls for various
types of assistance.
No longer is the Council limited in its functions to Jewish Book Month bu t it
is actively engaged throughout the entire year in efforts to develop a Jewish cul-
tural atmosphere in homes through Jewish bookshelves, to enrich the educational
programs of clubs and other groups, and to enlarge the book collections in public,
synagogue, school, and Jewish Center libraries. T h a t these goals are being achieved
in at least some measure is evident from the frequent letters of appreciation tha t
are received in the office as well as from the favorable response of the English-
Jewish, Yiddish and Hebrew press.
The American Jewish community has clearly indicated its warm enthusiasm
and deep esteem for Jewish Book Month by its complete acceptance of this event
throughout the length and breadth of our country. From year to year there has
been a sharp and sizable rise in the number of group and individual participants
in the manifold expressions of Jewish Book Month. I t is also apparent tha t the
events tha t mark this occasion are better planned, more inclusive, and more sig-
nificant. Jewish Book Month is generally recognized as a new addit ion to the red
letter days in the Jewish calendar. I t comes each year as a welcome friend bring-
ing an invigorating and refreshing touch to Jewish community life. As a creation
of American Jewry, Jewish Book Month is evidence of the development of an in-
digenous American Jewish culture.
Community-wide Jewish Book Month programs in 1949 were conducted in
approximately twenty large cities and in several hundred smaller communities
from coast to coast involving 2,000 Jewish organizations as well as colleges and
public libraries. Included among the wide variety of activities in which rabbis,
teachers, librarians, authors, and scholars participated were exhibits of rare and
ancient manuscripts as well as of recent English, Hebrew, and Yiddish books pub-
lished in America, Israel, and other countries. Children’s and teen agers’ book
review contests were held in Jewish Community Centers, Jewish schools, and youth
organizations. In Veterans Administration Hospitals and at mil itary posts there
were appropriate celebrations stimulated by the National Jewish Welfare Board.
Ceremonies honoring Jewish writers and scholars were conducted in many com-
munities. There were radio and television programs featuring noted contemporary
Jewish writers and scholars.
Jewish Book Sabbath was observed in synagogues throughout the United States
on December 3rd by rabbis and their congregations by special ceremonies and
book programs. In a letter addressed to the rabbis of 1500 synagogues affiliated
with the Synagogue Council of America, Dr. Bernard Bamberger, president, called