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Longboat Key Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2010 7 years ago

Yiddish newspaper remains a leader for Jewish people

by: Dora Walters Senior Editor

The Jewish Forward has been published for 112 years — and will likely be around for at least 100 more.

Publisher Sam Norich spoke to Temple Beth Israel Men’s Club members and guests Jan. 18, at the temple, and pledged the paper will continue for another century. He made the promise, despite the fact that the newspaper hasn’t made a profit since 1944.

The Yiddish newspaper was founded by Abraham Graham in 1897, and circulation grew rapidly with the growth of the Yiddish-speaking population of America.

Norich said Graham’s focus was on the Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe.

“The paper taught them how, as a group, to navigate in America,” Norich said. “It taught them how to get a job, taught them about baseball and taught them that culture was as important as politics.”

By the 1920s, the paper was a political force in New York City and in the state. It was a leading metropolitan daily with a circulation of 275,000 nationwide.

Circulation dropped sharply in 1939, when a change in immigration policy restricted the immigration of Jews.

The drop in circulation continued and by 1962 was less than 60,000 for both the daily and Sunday editions. In 1983, The Forward became a weekly publication.

But one thing has not changed over the years — the paper’s adherence to quality.

“We have maintained our high standard of journalism,” Norich said. “The Forward was established as an independent — never a mouthpiece — and continues to be.”

Norich has been publisher of The Forward since 1997.

Contact Dora Walters at [email protected].

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