El Progresso, La Boz del Pueblo, La Époka de Nu York

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El Progresso, La Boz del Pueblo, La Époka de Nu York
Frequency: Twice a week; Weekly; Biweekly
Language: Judaeo-Spanish
Period:
1915 - 1920
Country: United States
Publication Place: New York
Editors: Maurice Nessim; Alfred Mizrahi
The first third of the 20th century saw an upsurge of Socialist journalism in both Ladino and French in the cities of the Ottoman Empire and its successors. The center of this journalistic activity was in Thessaloniki where the newspapers "La Solidaridad Ovradera" (The Workers' Solidarity – 1911-1912) and "Avanti" (Forward – 1912-1934) were published. Between the years 1910-1925, that constituted a peak in the immigration of Sephardic Jews to the US, several attempts to publish Socialist Ladino newspapers took place. These attempts were made mainly by people who had been involved in Socialist journalism back in the mother country – especially in Thessaloniki.

 
 
One of the more prominent magazines that was published in New York between 1915-1920 was El Progreso (The Progress – 1915) that later changed its name to La Boz del Pueblo (The Peoples' Voice – 1915-1919) and then to La Époka de Nu York (The New York Epoch). This magazine published a total of 226 issues – most of which survived.
 
 
The founder of this publication was Maurice Nessim (d.1964) who had studied in the AIU (Alliance Israélite Universelle) School in Thessaloniki. One of Nessim's teachers in Thessaloniki was the famous historian Joseph Nehama (1880-1971). In 1910 Nessim was appointed the secretary of "The Socialist Federation" in Thessaloniki which was founded following the 1908 Young Turk Revolution. After immigrating to New York, Nessim and his colleague MoÏse Soulam founded "The Socialist Association for Sephardic Immigrants" that offered lectures and lessons about Socialism and its spirit.
 
On October 3rd 1915 Nessim started publishing the weekly El Progresso. The magazine appeared twice a week:  on Friday and Sunday. The magazine's goal was to "do as much as possible for the Sephardic Jews in America and to do it well". The first issue was received with enthusiasm by its readers – mainly young immigrants who were associated with Socialism. It became a platform for manifesting fresh Socialist ideas. More than once, the magazine's ideology endangered its very existence. It inhibited potential investors, it instigated Postal Service sabotage of the distribution of one of the magazine's issues (1918) and it even led to the eventual exile of the magazine's editor.
 
At the request of the US Postmaster General, in December 1915 the magazine's name was changed to "La Boz del Pueblo" so as to avoid friction with the old Italian-American newspaper "Il Progresso Italo-Americano" (1880-1988). Under its new name too, the magazine continued to foster socialist ideas, some of which were quite radical, and to express an anti-clerical standpoint.  MoÏse Gadol, the editor of "La Amérika" fought against Nessim's magazine for economic and ideological reasons and dubbed it "The Devil's Voice". Nevertheless, like Gadol, this weekly too called for the assemblage of the Sephardim under a single roof. Following the US entrance to World War I (1917) Nessim attracted the attention of the American censorship authorities that suspected his editorials of Communist propaganda. Consequently in 1919 was Nessim exiled form the United States and his newspaper ceased to appear.
 
After the deportation, Alfred Mizrahi the former editor of the short- lived Ladino Daily La Ágila ("the Eagle" – New York 1912), decided to continue Nessim's publication. The first issue was published on December 2nd and apperead as a Biweekly under the name of "La Époka de Nu York". By blurring the magazine's direct association with its predecessor, this new name was probably meant to keep American censorship authorities at bay. Hoping in vain to draw Ashkenazi and gentile readers as well, Mizrahi added a section in English. The magazine also contained a humoristic section – as was typical in Ladino journalism – that was written by Albert D. Levi. However, the new magazine did not last long and in February of 1920 it published its last issue.
 
Tamir Karkason
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This publication is brought to you thanks to:
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New York University

 

Issues Available on Site:
215 Issues
914 Pages
Between years: 1915-1919

 

The material is brought to you from the collections of the following institutions:
New York Public Library