Wednesday, July 29th, 2015...3:35 pm

Editorial: Looking ahead to the second century

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We made it.

The newspaper of Minnesota’s Jewish community is marking 100 years of continuous publication — under the American Jewish World flag — with this special edition. (Click HERE to see the cover photo collage.)

First, the Jewish World and its parent company, Minnesota Jewish Media, LLC, is deeply appreciative of the subscribers and the advertisers who have sustained us and kept us in business and brought us to this day. We send a big thanks to all of the advertisers in this special issue of the paper. Please patronize our advertisers, and let them know that you saw their ad in the Jewish World.

We are also thankful to those who generously contributed to the American Jewish World 2nd Century Fund (see the ad on this page). If your means allow, please consider a donation to strengthen and expand the newspaper that you enjoy reading every other week.

Dr. Deinard

Dr. Deinard

As the fifth publisher in the newspaper’s long history, I am mindful of the vision and hard work of those who came before. The true visionary of this enterprise was Rabbi Samuel Deinard, a native of Lithuania, who saw the newspaper as a way of uniting Jews from Germany with the “foreigners,” the Eastern European Jews, who arrived in Minnesota after the turn of the previous century. Deinard came here in 1901, and served in the pulpit of Shaarei Tov, a reform synagogue formed in 1878 (now known as Temple Israel in Minneapolis).

Deinard, in 1904, “undertook the publication of an Anglo-Jewish news magazine for Minneapolis and St. Paul,” according to Rabbi Albert I. Gordon, in Jews in Transition. “Accordingly he established a weekly, the Jewish Progress. This first venture did not prove successful. In 1905 he introduced another weekly newspaper called the Judaean, which apparently was also a failure, for in 1907 a third weekly, the Scribe, first saw the light of day.”

In an effort to appeal to a certain segment of the small Jewish community in Minneapolis, The Scribe featured a four-page supplement in Yiddish. “In spite of its special feature this paper too ceased publication after several years.”

Another paper, The Jewish Weekly, was published in 1912, and this one lasted for about six months. And on July 30, 1915, a grand premier edition of the American Jewish World came out. And the rest is history, as they say. A lot of history to cover: World War I, the Great Depression, the onset of fascism in Europe, World War II and the Holocaust, the emergence of the modern State of Israel, all of Israel’s wars, the terrorist attacks of 9/11, and the imponderable state of affairs that greets us daily.

I would be remiss not to mention the three other AJW publishers: Leo Frisch, who took over publication of the paper after Deinard’s untimely death in 1921, and presided over the AJW in a period that spanned six decades; Norman Gold, who published the paper in the 1970s, and served as president of the American Jewish Press Association, the umbrella group for editors and publishers of the Anglo-Jewish press in North America, from 1977-1978; and Rabbi Marc Liebhaber, who was my boss for 11 years, and sold the assets of the paper to Minnesota Jewish Media, LLC, the local ownership group, in 2006.

(Thanks to AJW editorial intern Phil Robin for compiling information on the first three AJW publishers.)

As I have mentioned previously, I’m only the fifth publisher of the paper over 100 years. By the way, I was hired as the AJW’s staff writer in July 1995, so this is my 20th year here. I worked my way up to assistant editor, managing editor and, now, editor and publisher, and president and CEO of the LLC running the show. Baruch Hashem, I’ll keep at it for several more years.

This issue looks back on a century of history, which the newspaper covered on the fly. The “B” section of the paper opens with a 1921 essay by Albert Einstein, which discusses the crisis facing the Jews in Germany and looks at the growth of the emerging Jewish community in Palestine. There also is a fascinating article about anti-Semitism in Minnesota and the formation of Jewish law firms, by Allen Saeks, a prominent Minneapolis lawyer and one of my partners in Minnesota Jewish Media, LLC. And Rabbi Hayim Herring honored the paper and its readers by accepting my invitation to speculate about the contours of Minnesota’s Jewish community in the year 2115. We’ll see how that turns out.

This special edition has kept us very busy and out of mischief for several week. Thanks to everyone who contributed ideas and articles for this issue. We have more material that we intend to publish in the weeks and months ahead. There are a surfeit of fascinating Jewish stories. We just need to sustain the business and keep the presses rolling. Please feel free to spread the news of the American Jewish World, the little Jewish newspaper that could.

— Mordecai Specktor / editor [at] ajewnews [dot] com

(American Jewish World, 7.31.15)

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