About JPRESS > Content-related Aspects

Content-related Aspects

 

 

What Makes a Newspaper a 'Jewish Newspaper'?

 
The 'Historical Jewish Press' website has taken upon itself the task of uploading to the network Jewish newspapers published around the world from the eighteenth century onwards. The enormously comprehensive scope of this project begs the question: what is a Jewish newspaper? Is it a newspaper intended for a Jewish readership? Is it a newspaper that deals with "Jewish" topics and concerns (with the further difficulty of defining precisely what those topics and concerns are)? To what extent should local and regional newspapers be included in this category? To what extent should newspapers which were not originally intended for consumption by the general public be included?
 
The answer to this question—and to additional questions which might arise in the context of defining a newspaper as Jewish—is that the main criterion for thus classifying a newspaper is the fact that its writing and publication is the work of Jewish writers and editors. Naturally, when both the writers and editors are Jews, community issues will find their way into the pages of the newspapers, although it is important to note that the content of these newspapers included a broad variety of subjects influenced by the age group and target audience for whom the newspaper was originally intended. Daily newspapers, local newspapers, regional newspapers, party newspapers, children's newspapers, youth newspapers, institutional newspapers—all of these and more are included under the wide umbrella of our definition of "Jewish newspaper," and the deciding factor for their inclusion is that they were written and edited by Jews. This wide umbrella allows us to offer both the general public and the research community a broad variety of contents befitting the preference and subjects of interest of every individual, without imposing limits on the scope of the search.
 

 

The Types of Content you can find on this Website

 
It is possible to classify the content accessible through this website in several different ways. Below is listed one such possible division:

  • Knowledge and articles from around the world: While the newspapers on this website all bear a Jewish stamp, the majority of them saw themselves engaged in universal subjects and felt an obligation to provide their readers with general knowledge. The website therefore constitutes an important database of general, historical journalism. In this area, the daily newspapers are a particularly outstanding resource.

  • Knowledge and articles from the Jewish world: As previously stated, when both the writers and editors are Jews, it is natural that quite extensive space will be devoted to Jewish topics and issues. This website provides an exceptionally rich source for study in this area, particularly as the majority of the newspapers did not focus merely on the communities in which they were published but rather examined the entire Diaspora. This website offers a vast collection of articles on the central events in the history of the Jews throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as well as on the processes which characterized their history, from emancipation and western immigration, to the Holocaust, immigration to Israel, the establishment of the State of Israel, the Jewish-Arab conflict, etc. Additionally, in different sections numerous details can be found on the communities from the area in which the newspaper or journal was published.

  • Literature, essays, and research studies: This website also includes compositions that are not journalistic in nature. Some of the newspapers and journals also include works of literature for adults and children. Several of the newspapers even went beyond the realms of standard journalism toward philosophy and essay-writing, and there were even some which published scientific articles in their publications.

  • Linguistic information: Every newspaper and journal, particularly if its publication extended over a long period of time, may serve as an important linguistic and philological database. In this context, the Hebrew-language newspapers are of particular interest as they reflect the development of modern Hebrew throughout the last two hundred years.

  • Genealogy and name searches: By assembling newspapers that were published by Jewish communities throughout the world, the Historical Jewish Press website constitutes an extremely important genealogical resource for people searching for relatives and reconstructing family trees. While the daily newspapers included in the website are outstanding for their reference to important and famous people, it is actually the local, less centralized newspapers that are likely to provide information on more average citizens.

  • Advertisements: The majority of newspapers which appear on this website were commercial publications; they would have been read by the general public and would therefore include advertisements which helped to finance the newspaper. The Historical Jewish Press website allows users to search the included publications' advertisements, thus revealing stylistic and technological changes in this area throughout the years.
 

 

Content in a Linguistic and Historical Context

 
The fact that the newspapers collected on this website are publications from the past should guide the user's operation and search. The user should pay attention to two primary areas of potential difficulty:
 
  •  - Changes in place-names
  •  - Use of differing terminology in different languages

Since language is not static, but rather tends to change over time, it is reasonable to expect that names of places, institutions, and organizations would also change over time. The names of countries and cities are particularly prone to change, as a result of both changing borders and a desire to differentiate from the past.
Thus, for example, a large part of the territory of current-day Germany was previously named Prussia after the dominant kingdom in the region. It is therefore advisable that a user searching for articles related to this area will use both entries (i.e., "Germany" and "Prussia") in order to get the greatest possible return of relevant results. An additional example is the city of Istanbul, located in modern-day Turkey. Until 1930, the city's name was Constantinople, so any search of newspaper issues until that date using the word "Istanbul" will return no results whatsoever, whereas searching for "Constantinople" will indeed return results.
 
In addition to changes resulting from the passage of time, there are also differences based on language that need to be taken into account when searching through the newspapers on this website. The names of places, institutions, and organizations change significantly as they pass from one language to another. For instance, the user who searches in English-language newspapers for information on underground resistance in Israel must be aware of the differences in names between English and Hebrew. The National Military Organization (Irgun Tzeva'i Leumi) was known to most English speakers simply as the "Irgun," whereas the Organization of Fighters for the Freedom of Israel (Irgun Lochamei Cheirut Yisrael) was called "The Stern Gang" in English, after its leader Abraham Stern.
 
  Our general recommendation, which is doubly valid in the event that your search returned few or no results, is to perform a brief inquiry regarding alternative names for the concepts you wished to search for in the newspapers. A quick search in one of the major search engines or online encyclopedias will very likely reveal linguistic and historical changes in the sought-after terms.
 

 Statistics

No. of Titles:   316
No. of Issues: 242,774
No. of Pages:  2,303,366
Date Range:    1783-2014

 News

  • 12.05.2013, Sunday
    The Addition of the journal ha-ʿAm to the website

    Ha-ʿAm (Heb. ‘The Nation’) was a literary and current affairs weekly that appeared in Moscow between the years 1916 and 1918. This is 37th newspaper to be added to the website. The current electronic edition contains 1178 pages.

  • 12.05.2013, Sunday
    The Addition of the journal ha-ʿAm to the website

    Ha-ʿAm (Heb. ‘The Nation’) was a literary and current affairs weekly that appeared in Moscow between the years 1916 and 1918. This is 37th newspaper to be added to the website. The current electronic edition contains 1178 pages.

  • 17.01.2013, Thursday
    14,556 pages of 4 existing newspapers have been added to the website

    The additional material is as follows: The Occident, an additional 3,889 pages Herut, an additional 7,948 pages from the years 157-1964 Haynt, an additional 2,729 pages from the years 1909-1910

  • 14.01.2013, Monday
    The Addition of the journal ha-Tzofeh to the website

    This was a daily newspaper of the national religious parties, ha-MiZRaCḤI and ha-Poʿel ha-MiZRaCḤI. It was published initially in Jerusalem and afterwards in Tel-Aviv for seventy-one years from 1937 until 2008. This is 35th newspaper to be added to the website. At this time, the electronic edition contains 21,210 pages