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More than 1,000 Jewish newspapers and periodicals in about 25 languages appear in all parts of the world today. Of these, about 40% are published in Israel. The U.S. ranks second in the number of Jewish newspapers published, about 25% of the total number.

Amsterdam was the birthplace of the first Jewish periodical in 1678. Named Gazeta de Amsterdam, it was printed in Ladino, a Spanish-Jewish dialect. Sporadic attempts were made to publish magazines for more than a century thereafter, but all were short-lived. In 1841, the first issue of a weekly The Jewish Chronicle made its appearance in London. It is today one of the oldest and most important Jewish periodicals. In the U.S., the earliest surviving weekly, The American Israelite, was founded in 1854 by Isaac Mayer Wise. The first Yiddish daily in the world, Yiddishe Tageblatt, began publication in 1885 in New York. It merged with the Jewish Morning Journal in 1928. The first Hebrew magazine, Ha-Tzofeh Be-Eretz Ha-Hadasha (The Observer in the New Land), edited by Zvi Hirsch Bernstein, was published in 1871.

In the latter 19th century, the Hebrew press in Russia made great strides. In 1856, the appearance of the first regular Hebrew weekly, Ha-Maggid, coincided with the growth of the Enlightenment movement. Thirty years later, the first Hebrew daily, Ha-Yom (The Day), began publication in St. Petersburg, Russia’s capital at that time. The two other Hebrew weeklies, Ha-Melitz (The Advocate) and Ha-Tzefirah (Daybreak), turned into dailies. With the advancement of the Zionist and socialist movements and the development of Jewish public opinion in Eastern Europe and in particular in Russia and Poland, the Yiddish press reached widespread circulation and wielded great influence. Before World War II, there were Yiddish dailies in several large Jewish centers in Poland and Lithuania and three dailies in the Soviet Union. With the destruction of East European Jewry, only a few Yiddish periodicals continued publication in Poland, while in Russia only one is published in Birobidjan.

In the last two decades, the number of Jewish dailies has declined, while the number of weeklies, monthlies, and other periodicals is on the increase. In Israel, in addition to the Hebrew daily press, there are daily publications in Arabic, English, Russian, French, Hungarian, Yiddish, and German. This diversity of the Jewish press in Israel reflects the diversity of the country’s languages and culture. Israel is the only country in the world where a vibrant and diverse daily Jewish press exists. Israel’s oldest existing Hebrew daily, Ha-Aretz, founded in 1919, is a respected liberal newspaper. It advocates a policy of moderation in political and social affairs. Davar is the organ of the Histadrut. Al Hamishmar is the party organ of Mapam; Hatzofe and Hamodi’ah express the views of religious parties. The afternoon newspapers Maariv and Yedioth Ahronoth reflect all shades of opinion and are the most widely read in Israel. Israel’s only English daily, The Jerusalem Post, is a prestigious paper widely read among Jews around the world. Almost all daily newspapers in Israel publish literary supplements and popular magazines on weekends.

Only a limited number of Yiddish dailies is published outside of Israel. The two American Hebrew weeklies, Yisrael Shelanu and Hadoar, are published in New York. The best-known Yiddish weeklies in the U.S. are the Algemeiner Journal and the Forward. The latter now appears in English. There are two Hebrew illustrated monthlies for young people, Olam Chadash and Lamishpachah. Other monthly magazines are Bitzaron (Hebrew) and Zukunft (Yiddish).

Of the Anglo-Jewish press in the U.S., among the most widely circulated are the weeklies, The Jewish Week and The Jewish Press in New York, The Jewish Exponent in Philadelphia, The Jewish News in Michigan, The Jewish Advocate in Boston, B’nai B’rith Messenger and Sentinel in Chicago; the monthlies Commentary, Hadassah Magazine, B’nai Brith’s National Jewish Monthly, Midstream, Moment and Tikkun; the quarterlies Judaism, Tradition, and Jewish Spectator. The children’s magazine, Olomeinu, is published by Torah Umesorah.

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