The Yiddish Supplements of The Australian Jewish News and The Australian Jewish Herald.

(a)The Australian Jewish News

If one were to compare the history of the Yiddish journals that formed part of the background of The Australian Jewish News and The Australian Jewish Herald with a genealogy, it would read like a saga of incest, divorce, separation, and remarriage. You will see that this claim is justified if you read the details of these journals, with their amalgamations, separations and new liaisons.

A new Australian Jewish newspaper, The Australian Jewish News, a weekly, was first published in Melbourne in May 1935 and still current, superseding The Jewish Weekly News. It was one of the first Australian papers to carry a yiddish supplement. Editors have included: Joachim Chaim Rubinstein and Hans Licht. It was recently edited by Sam Lipski, who became the national editor for a time. The paper remains an English language weekly with topical Australian Jewish and overseas Jewish news. Over the years, Yiddish supplements included: Di Oistralisher Yiddishe Naes, and Der Literarisher Journal. From the 1980s until 1996 there was a further Yiddish supplement, Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch. In 1987 the paper merged with the Sydney based The Australian Jewish Times. In April 1990 the paper added Melbourne edition to its sub-title. The Sydney paper also took the name The Australian Jewish News, adding Sydney edition to its sub-title, in April 1990.

Di Oistralisher Yiddishe Nayesss was published in Melbourne from May 1935 and supersedes Di Yiddishe Voch. It was a weekly, and as a Yiddish supplement to the Australian Jewish News included social news, congregational announcements, communal news and comment, and world Jewish news.

Der Literarisher Journal: supplement to the Australian Jewish News, Melbourne, ran for four numbers in1938 and was published monthly. It was printed by York Press and edited by Leslie Rubinstein, owner of the Australian Jewish News. It is not clear whether Der Literarisher Journal replaced Di Oistralisher Yiddishe Naes for a short time, or whether it was issued as a concurrent Yiddish supplement to the Australian Jewish News A set was owned by Yeshiah Taub, which is lodged at the Australian Jewish Museum, in Melbourne.

The Oistralier Leben, published in Sydney ran from January 1931 to 1933. This Yiddish journal was begun by the Russian printer Altshul in January 1931 was edited by Pinchas Goldhar, but ceased after two years. It was subsequently bought by Leslie Rubinstein, and edited by his father Joachim Chaim Rubinstein. On 27 October 1933 Leslie Rubinstein incorporated The Australian Jewish Herald and Australier Leben, and established The Jewish Weekly News which had a Yiddish section called Di Yiddishe Voch. The partnership was dissolved in 1935, and The Australian Jewish Herald resumed as a separate publication, while The Jewish Weekly News became The Australian Jewish News with a Yiddish supplement, Di Australisher Yiddishe Naes.

From the 1980s until 1996 there was a furtherYiddish supplement to the Melbourne based Australian Jewish News called Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch. In 1987 that paper merged with The Australian Jewish Times. In April 1990 The Australian Jewish News added ‘Melbourne edition’ to its sub-title. The Sydney paper also took the name The Australian Jewish News (from being the Australian Jewish Times) adding ‘Sydney edition’ to its sub-title, in April 1990.

The Jewish Herald

The Jewish Herald, (v 1 no 1 - v 40 (1879-1919), established in 1879, had a subtitle which read: devoted to the interests of Judaism in the Australian colonies. Its editors were the talented Melbourner, Rev Elias Blaubaum (1879-1904) and Moses Moses (1904 -1919). It was initially a monthly, then was issued fortnightly, with a Yiddish supplement, Di Post, being added. A Sydney edition was published after 1883.

In 1920 the paper changed its name to The Australian Jewish Herald. The Australian Jewish Herald (Melbourne) was issued from 1920 till 1933 fortnightly. In 1935 it became a weekly. The new series editorial committee consisted of Rabbi Israel Brodie, Jacob Danglow, Sir Archie Michaelis, M.L.A., M. Zeltner and the brothers Abrahams. Newman Hirsch Rosenthal was the editor.

Between 1933 and 1935 The Australian Jewish Herald amalgamated with Di Oistralier Leben to become The Jewish News. In 1935 The Australian Jewish Herald resumed as a separate publication with Newman Hirsch Rosenthal as editor. Another distinguished editor was Nahum Barnet. A Yiddish supplement was issued in 1936, and edited by Gedaliah Shaiak, which ran for 7 issues. In 1949 a new Yiddish supplement, The Australian Jewish Post, was added, and continued to be issued until the paper's closure in 1968. The new series, a pro-Zionist publication, became the official organ of the Victorian Jewish community. The paper continued to be published until 1968 when a controversy over a column written by Mark Braham about the Arab/Israeli conflict and the refusal of the editor to suppress the column resulted in the paper being closed down by the Victorian Jewish board of Deputies. As Alan Crown writes:

The circumstances of the closure are noteworthy. Between 1944-1948 the Australian Jewish community had faced a traumatic schism. The majority of the community was staunchly Zionist and whole-heartedly supportive of the effort to establish a Jewish state in Palestine. Sir Isaac Isaacs and his supporter Rabbi Danglow took public stances in face of the community and a public debate flared with Julius Stone serving as the public spokesman of the Zionist majority.6 When the State of Israel was established in 1948 the public controversy came to an end and the community closed ranks though Isaacs published a few more pieces in the Australian Jewish Forum, a journal dedicated to the Freeland League which looked to establish a Jewish settlement in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.

In 1968 the Australian Jewish Herald began to publish a series of anti-Israel articles from the doctrinaire, orthodox Sydney Jewish publicist, Mark Braham. The views expressed by Braham were no longer tolerated by a community which had been riven by the Isaacs/Stone controversy and had seen Israel fight three wars for survival within a space of twenty years. The Victorian Jewish Board of Deputies protested to the editor of the Herald requesting an undertaking that the Herald would no longer offer the freedom of its columns to Braham’s views. The Board of Deputies made it clear that should the Herald not comply with this request the community would withdraw its advertising, Though the paper had a circulation of 12,500 it may not have been very profitable and it certainly could not survive the loss of advertising income. The editor, David Lederman, shut the paper down, though he claimed that his action resulted from his unwillingness to submit to censorship rather than for economic reasons. However, the paper was deeply in debt, and financial reasons certainly played a very real part in its closure.

REFERENCES

The publication details of each of these journals are detailed in:

  • Marianne Dacy, Periodical Publications from the Australian Jewish Community, Monograph no 2 (Sydney, Archive of Australian Judaica, University of Sydney 1986) and the online versions on this webpage (2nd edition 2002, 3rd edition 2005). The preface of the original version was written in collaboration with Alan Crown and is a summary of the history of the Australian Jewish periodical press.

    See also

  • Suzanne Rutland, Seventy Five Years: The History of a Jewish Newspaper (Sydney, Australian Jewish Historical Society, 1970) for a history of the Australian Jewish News. Another reference (but with some factual errors) is:
  • Solomon Stedman, "The Jewish Press in Australia", Australian Jewish Historical Society: Journal and Proceedings , 6:1( Dec 1964) 46-47. Also see
  • Suzanne Rutland, Edge of the Diaspora: Two Centuries of Jewish Settlement in Australia, 2nd revised edn (Sydney, Brandl & Schlesinger, 1997)322-323. and
  • "The Jewish Press, Community and Jewish Publishing in Australia" in A. D. Crown, ed., Noblesse Oblige: Essays in Honour of David Kessler, OBE (London, Vallentine Mitchell, August 1998), pp. 37-59.

    Sam Lipski, Australian Jewish Times, 22 Oct. 1987, p.2, suggests that though the the Australian Jewish Herald was a better paper than its rival, The Jewish News, it sold far fewer copies and that the ostensible reason for closure, the boycott against Mark Braham, was not the real reason.

    A clue to its demise is supplied by

  • Graham Cavanagh, "A Birthday that Will Never Be Celebrated", The Australian, 3/8/68. He shows that advertising was cut by 60% in a three month period resulting in a loss of about $10,000. Lederman claimed that the Board of Deputies organised an advertising boycott. However, whatever the truth may have been, finance was certainly a major contributing factor for the paper's closure.

    Marianne Dacy

    University of Sydney

    20th September 2005