The 19th Century Hebrew Press Section

The 19th Century Hebrew Press Section

The first Hebrew periodicals emerged as a result of the European Enlightenment’s influence toward the end of the 18th century on Jewish intellectuals and the modern idea of emancipation. A prominent circle of these intellectuals operated in Prussia, where HaMe’assef, the first Hebrew periodical, was established in Königsberg in 1784. Their ideology attempted to create a bridge between Jewish communities and their surrounding society by disseminating the culture and new values of the Enlightenment. Similar circles operated in other parts of Central and Western Europe; a few were also active in the East. They advocated ending the conservative religious monopoly on education; expanding the study of secular and scientific subjects; abandoning characteristic Jewish occupations, such as peddling, in favor of industrial or agricultural work; and more. Among other things, these intellectuals rejected the use of Yiddish (the Jewish language used specifically by Ashkenazi communities) and supported adopting the local national language. However, they considered Hebrew legitimate both as a holy tongue and as the language of Jewish high culture over the course of history, and they adopted it for use in their publications and initial efforts to prepare Jews for the demands of modern society. Beginning in the late 18th century, as a result, the first periodicals of what is now known as the Haskalah, or the Jewish Enlightenment, were published in Hebrew.
 
The early maskilic Hebrew periodicals focused on literary and educational content, catered to a very limited audience, and were short-lived. Jewish journalism in general did not flourish until almost the 1940s; it was only then that Jewish periodicals and newspapers began to multiply in Central and Western Europe. However, these papers already reflected the process of acclimating to local culture and were written in local national languages: German, English, French, Hungarian, etc. The growth of Hebrew journalism gathered momentum only when the Haskalah movement expanded in Eastern Europe, home to the majority of the world’s Jewish population. The processes of acclimation to the local Slavic cultures were different than in other European regions, and Hebrew did not quickly fall out of use. A relatively large number of Hebrew readers existed, and it began to develop as a modern language. As a result, during the 1850s Hebrew newspapers and periodicals began to be published that emphasized news reports and enjoyed a long lifespan (Ha-Magid, Ha-Melitz, and more). These new media were used not only by the Hebrew maskilic stream of Judaism, but also by the competing stream, the Haredi Orthodox movement (Ha-Levanon). When the seeds of Jewish nationalism began to appear, several maskilic newspapers sided with the new movement, and new papers were founded supporting its ideology. The development of the small Jewish community in Palestine as an ideological center was also expressed in the development of the Hebrew press there (Ha-Levanon, Habazeleth, and Eliezer Ben-Yehuda’s newspapers).
 
Because it used the “holy tongue” common to Jewish communities throughout the world, Hebrew journalism was an extremely effective instrument in encouraging modern communication between those scattered communities -- exchanging information, encouraging projects for mutual aid, and publicizing the platforms of new movements that were developing in different regions. The existence of Hebrew journalism also encouraged public development not only in European communities, but outside Europe as well. Local correspondents from around the world sent news stories to Hebrew newspapers and participated in the debates that took place in their pages.
 
This section includes a few newspapers whose publication continued into the 20th century, while the majority of their issues appeared in the 19th century. An exception to this rule is Ha-Zman which was published in its entirety in the beginning of the 20th century.

 Newspapers in this section

 Site Statistics

No. of Titles:   117
No. of Issues: 159,399
No. of Pages:  1,511,973
Date Range:    1783-2014

 Site News

  • 15.03.2017, Wednesday
    The addition of the paper La Epoca to the website

    La Epoca was the most important Jewish Newspaper published in Thessaloniki,

  • 17.02.2016, Wednesday
    Additions to the Sentinel

    The Sentinel, a weekly paper for the Chicago Jewish community, now includes issues from 1950-1951. Issues from 1952-1977 will be added in the coming months.

  • 31.01.2016, Sunday
    20 Polish titles added

    In collaboration with the Polish National Library, 20 new titles have been added in the past 2 months. The titles may be found in the Jewish Press in Poland section, which will continue to expand this year.

  • 15.12.2015, Tuesday
    The addition of the paper פֿאָרװערטס to the website

    פֿאָרװערטס, one of the most important papers of the Jewish American community, has been added to the website, including over 100,000 pages.

  • 26.11.2015, Thursday
    The addition of the Sephardic paper "Aherout" to the website

    The "Aherout" paper was published in Jerusalem during the years 1910-1917, the only paper published in Hebrew during the WWI

  • 01.02.2015, Sunday
    The Addition of the journal Kol HaAm

    In August of 1937, the Palestinian Communist Party started publishing a monthly newspaper in Hebrew called "Kol HaAm"

  • 01.02.2015, Sunday
    The Addition of the journal Lebens Fragen

    Lebens-Fragen made its debut appearance in 1951 in Tel Aviv.

  • 01.02.2015, Sunday
    The Addition of the papers The Jewish Morning Journal

    U.S. Yiddish Daily, based in New-York City.

  • 12.05.2014, Monday
    The Addition of the journal B'nai B'rith Messenger to the website

    The paper chronicled Jewish life in Los Angeles for almost one hundred years. This is the 47th newspaper to be added to the website. At this time, the electronic edition contains 11,400 pages.

  • 27.02.2014, Thursday
    The Addition of the journal Literarishe bleter to the website

    A weekly devoted to literature and culture, published in Warsaw between 1924-1939. This is 46th newspaper to be added to the website. At this time, the electronic edition contains 1,719 pages