American Jewish World turns 100

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American Jewish World (AJW) is in its 100th year of publication, and will celebrate 100 years since its founding in June. The newspaper serves as a bridge between the Jewish communities in not only the Twin Cities, but also Minnesota and even around the world.

Rabbi Samuel N. Deinard: We are deeply convinced that a good local Jewish paper can do a great good to a Jewish community.

AJW began publication in 1912 under the name Jewish Weekly. The publication was the first successful attempt at creating a publication for the founder, Rabbi Samuel N. Deinard, who tried multiple times to create a community newspaper. Deinard later teamed up with Leonard H. (Leo) Frisch who served as AJW’s managing editor before becoming the publisher for nearly 60 years. When the paper originally started, it was published weekly. AJW began bi-weekly publication in 2009.

In its first 100 years, the newspaper has seen many changes. One main change is its present focus on Jewish communities in Minnesota, whereas before it had more of a worldwide scope. Current editor and publisher, Mordecai Specktor, said that it is fun to go back and look at the archives of the newspaper in its earlier days in the ‘20s and ’30s because there are stories published by everyone from the first Jewish Supreme Court Justice, Louis Brandeis to physicist Albert Einstein.

With the switch in focus to the Jewish communities in Minnesota, the newspaper is able to bridge the gap between communities in Minnesota geographically, but also between religious movements of Judaism like humanistic Jews to ultra-Orthodox Jews. The newspaper still stretches beyond the Minnesota Jewish communities by providing national news from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) located in New York.

Although Specktor admits that times are tough for the traditional print media world, the American Jewish World is going strong, and being circulated to nearly 4,000 subscribers mainly throughout the Twin Cities.

Below: 1937 Hanukah edition of American Jewish World