Hebrew printing in America was initiated as early as 1735 and encompassed a variety of genres, including literature for children. Unsurprisingly, major cities with big Jewish populations, such as New York City, Philadelphia or Cleveland, were fundamental in the intellectual and financial efforts involved in this activity, serving as urban magnets for authors, educators and publishers. Memphis, Tennessee was not one of these cultural centers. In fact, not even one single Hebrew book is known to have been published there at least until 1926, the last year reviewed in the most comprehensive research on this topic. In 1945, however, a Hebrew book series for children was published in Memphis by the Shainberg Library Foundation. This presentation features the series, as this unconventional project in the history of the Hebrew book may shed light on the mainstream Hebrew movement in America, its leaders and politics. Aspects of book production, Jewish publishing history, Hebrew literature and education in America, as well as children’s literature, are discussed.
Rachel Leket-Mor has worked as a Hebrew editor with Israel publishers. She is Bibliographer of Religion, Philosophy, and Jewish Studies at Arizona State University. She gave this presentation at the Association of Jewish Libraries annual convention on June 24, 2008 in Cleveland, Ohio.
32 min 10 sec