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April 29, 1977 - Image 18

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1977-04-29

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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18 Friday, April 29, 1977

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The Forward's 80th Birthday Simcha Marks

By DAVID SCHWARTZ

(Copyright 1977, JTA, Inc.)

When Washington was
President, Thomas Jeffer-
son was Secretary of State
and lived on the Lower
East Side. If he were to
come to life he might say,
"What, has become of all
the papers on the Lower
East Side? There were the
Forward, the Freiheit, the
Tog, the Togeblatt, but now
when I get up in the morn-
ing, what have I to read
with my breakfast? The
only paper I can read is the
Forward or the goishe
papers."
The Lower East Side isn't
what it used to,be, and nei-
ther is the Yiddish press.
One time, out of East
Broadway, where the Yidd7
ish papers all had their ex-
istence, came voices
speaking to all America.
But now only the Forward
remains and that has
moved from the Lower
East _Side. The Forward is
now celebrating its 80th
birthday.
The first of the American
Yiddish papers was the To-
geblatt. It presumably first
was established as a politi-
cal sheet_ to support Horace
Greeley, editor of the New
York Tribune in his race
for Presidency against
Grant.

Abe Cahan, the founder of
the Forward, had his pecul-
iarities. When a-man asked
him for a job on the staff,
Cahan asked him, "What
can you do?"

"I can write poetry,"
said the man.
"Poetry doesn't sell
papers," said Cahan. "Can
you make pogroms? Pogr-
oms sell papers."
This may sound a bit ruth-

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less, but perhaps this
streak of ruthlessness is an
important fact in the
success of the paper. The
too tender-minded are apt
to fail. Cahan of course was
not an insensitive man. He
made the Forward an
organ for the under-
privileged.
Of all the ethnic press,
perhaps the Jewish press
was the most vigorous. In
part this was due to the
massive concentrated immi-
gration of Russian Jews at
one period, and the "hetero-
genity in the homogeneity."
There were Russian Jews,
and Galician Jews and Ger-
man Jews. Especially
strong was the rivalry be-
tween the Litvaks and Ga-
litzzianers. The Yiddish
press served as a unifying
fotce._ At the same time,
the editors were not always
free of their own personal
prejudices.
For instance, Cahan was
a staunch Litvak, but there
was a Galitzianer who
wrote very amusingly and
Cahan wanted him on his
staff. So what did he do?
He got the man to change
his name to Kovno. Kovno
is the capital city of Lith-
uania. So that is how the
Galitzianer humor writer be-
came the famous B. Kov-
ner. Cahan turned him into
a Litvak.

Cahan had strong politi-
cal convictions, for which
the Forward fought, but he
was too good a news-
paperman. tO neglect other
areas. In the brief kasten
(letter box) the Forward
was a progenitor of the
many similiar columns giv-
ing advice to people on per-
sonal problems. But the
Togeblatt, the, oldest of the
Yiddish dailies, and the
most conservative political-
ly and religiously, also had
its brief kasten.

Forward's 80th

- NEW YORK (JTA)—The
Jewish Daily Forward.cele-
brated its 80th anniversary
Sunday with a gala
"simcha" attended by some
800 trade unionists, leaders
of Jewish organizations,
members of the news-
paper's staff and its read-
ers.
"The Forward is more
than a newspaper," Simon
Weber, editor of the paper
which is the oldest and larg-
est Yiddish daily in the
world, told the audience at
the New York Hilton.
He and other speakers de-
scribed the Forward's. begin-
rings on April 22, 1897 as a
Socialist newspaper in oppo-
sition to Daniel De Leon,
then head of the Socialist
Labor Party, through its
leadership in the trade
union movement and its
role in educating Jewish im-
migrants to its support of Is-
rael and the Histadrut in
the post World War II peri-
od.
The newspaper, which

published a special 120-page
anniversary edition Sunday,
did not appear Monday.
Harold Ostroff, general
manager of the Forward As-
sociation which .publishes
the newspaper, said this
was so all of the employes
could , attend the anniver-
sary luncheon.

Israel Breslow, president
of the Forward Association,
said that the Forward
raised $500,000 during the
last two years to make up
its deficit. He said 70 per-
cent of this came from its
readers and 30 percent
from trade unions and other
sources.
Among the letters of -con-
gratulations was a note
from President Jimmy Car-
ter.

AJCongress Club
to Meet Thursday

Members of the Century
Club of the American Jew-
ish Congress will meet 8
p.m. Thursday at the home
of Mr. and Mrs. Albert
Silber, 774 Lakeside, Bir-
mingham.
An evening of music is
planned, with Genia and
Matthew Mischakoff, flaut-
ist and guitarist.
For information about the
Century Club, call the
American Jewish Congress,
357-2766.

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I can remember seeing
the old editor of the brief
kasten—who happened to
be a relative' stopping in
the middle of a street and
begin to mumble to him-
self. Only he wasn't talking:
He hadn't been able to go
to the synagogue that after-
noon and was "davening
minha": (reciting the after-
noon prayers).

Ethics, Morality,
Life Style Topics

The Center for New Think-
ing has begun two lecture
series on ethics and morali-
ty 10 a.m. Mondays and
Thursdays at the Baldwin
Public Library in Birming-
ham. Lecturer is Rabbi
Sherwin Wine. There is a
charge - for the 10-week
courses.
The center will also have
a life style seminar May 14
at the Michigan State Uni-
versity Management Educa-
tion Center in Troy. Author
James Ramey will be the
featured sneaker. There is
a cha_
For information, call the
Center for New Thinking,
646-2034.

A Jew, Benjamin Althei-
mer, proposed the in-
stitution of Flag Day to
President Wilson in 1918.

4

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