Beginning with the March 8 edition, the American Jewish World will be published monthly. On April 5, we will publish a Passover special edition, which will include a supplement with prose, poetry and photography by the Jewish Minnesota teen winners of the Keren Or contest.
The move to monthly publication is being made to achieve financial stability for the Jewish World. Publishing a small tabloid newspaper every other week is not sustainable. Likely, many of our readers are aware of the difficult economic situation facing newspapers over recent years. As we reported last month, The Forward, an esteemed national Jewish periodical, announced that it would cease print publication, after 121 years.
We know that most Jewish World readers want us to remain in print, and we hope that a more substantial monthly publication will win acceptance. We also are exploring a change to the format of this long-running tabloid newspaper — stay tuned for an announcement about that.
In the way of background, the American Jewish World was founded in 1915, as a weekly newspaper for the Jewish community in Minnesota. Rabbi Samuel Deinard, a visionary from Lithuania, saw the need for a communal newspaper to unite that various strands of the immigrant Jewish community. He also was the spiritual leader of Shaarai Tov, the synagogue now known at Temple Israel, in Minneapolis.
Starting in 1904, Deinard began publishing newspapers — the Jewish Progress, the Judean, the Scribe (with a four-page supplement in Yiddish) — that ran briefly and failed. In 1912, the Jewish Weekly, the precursor to the Jewish World, published for six months and folded. In 1915, Deinard partnered with Leonard (Leo) Frisch, and they published the American Jewish World, which became the longest-running community newspaper in Minnesota.
Fast forward to 2006, when Minnesota Jewish Media, LLC bought the assets of AJW Publishing, from Rabbi Marc Liebhaber. The local ownership group was committed to continuing the proud legacy of independent Jewish journalism exemplified by the American Jewish World. In 2008, the Great Recession hit and tanked the global economy. Adjusting to the new economic reality, the Jewish World shifted from weekly to biweekly publication, in 2009. Over the past 10 years, we have tried to sustain this small newspaper business; hopefully, publishing on a monthly basis will allow the Jewish World to thrive.
As a proverbial pillar of the Minnesota Jewish community, the AJW owes its longevity to the support of its readers and subscribers. Last year, we launched an initiative called the Future Project, which offers a free one-year subscription to Minnesota Jews ages 18-35. This effort was generously funded by Harvey Feldman, a successful Minneapolis businessman and philanthropist. In addition to the free subscriptions, we are looking for input and stories from Millennials. Please feel free to contact me about your ideas to broaden the scope of the Jewish World.
For anyone who would like to do more to support the Jewish World, we accept monetary donations (not tax-deductible), which allow us to expand our journalistic efforts and subvent the cost of subscriptions for some folks in our community who are financially strapped.
Finally, the American Jewish World has been a repository of Minnesota Jewish history. With the help of the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest and the Upper Midwest Jewish Archives, we are beginning the digitization of American Jewish World archive volumes dating back to 1915. It’s fascinating to look through old issues of the paper; however, some of these volumes are literally crumbling to dust and transferring them to a digital platform is urgently needed. We will provide more details soon about how members of our community can assist this effort.
Those of us who work hard to produce an edifying and entertaining publication deeply appreciate the support of our newspaper subscribers. We’re confident about the Jewish World’s future. We’re all in this together.
editor [at] ajwnews [dot] com
(American Jewish World 2.22.19)