Page 69 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 19

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L
i p t z in
— T
h e
Y
idd ish
P
r e s s
63
several dailies had already experienced varying tides of fortune
in the New World.
The Growth of Yiddish Journalism
When the new century dawned, there were at least a dozen
Yiddish journals published simultaneously, most of them illegally,
whereas a decade earlier, in 1890, not a single journal had
survived. The revolutionary year 1905 saw the number grow to
more than two dozen. It is true that most of the periodical
publications were ephemeral or illegal and reached only a tiny
sector of the Yiddish-speaking population. But, on the other
hand, there were also among them influential dailies such as
Der Veg,
edited by Zvi Hirsh Prilutzky in Warsaw;
Dos Leben,
edited by I. S. Rapaport in St. Petersburg as a replacement for
Der Freind,
which had been temporarily banned; and
Der Veker,
which attained a circulation of 30,000 as the organ of the then
legally functioning Bund, before it was suppressed and replaced
by the new daily
Folkszeitung.
Before another decade had passed and the outbreak of the
First World War slowed down new ventures, the Yiddish dailies,
weeklies, monthlies, and annuals appearing simultaneously in
the Czarist realm exceeded fifty and were reaching a vast audience.
In Warsaw alone, the dailies
Haint
and
Moment
were each claim­
ing a circulation of 100,000 and were shaping Jewish public
opinion on political and social issues in addition to imparting
information and enriching cultural life.
Meanwhile, beyond Russia’s borders Abraham Reisen, as editor
of
Dos Yiddishe Vort
founded in Cracow in 1904, was proclaim­
ing Yiddish as
the
national language of the Jewish masses. A
world conference of Yiddish publicists, literary men, and scholars,
meeting in Czernovitz in 1908, did not go quite so far in its
zeal for the once despised jargon, but did claim for it the role
of
a
national language. Zionist ideologists who insisted on Hebrew
as the sole national language of the Jews, found it difficult,
in view of the rapid strides Yiddish was making in all Jewish
centers, not to concede to it a lasting place at least as the folk
language.
Even in Palestine Yiddish journals were appearing ever since
1877, when
Die Rose
was founded as a semi-monthly by Israel
Dov Frumkin and Michel Hacohen. It was, however, beyond the
Atlantic that Yiddish periodicals were making their greatest
strides. The Yiddish press, scorned by the German-speaking and
English-speaking Jews of the New World, first broke upon the
American scene in the 1870’s and soon became the main vehicle
both for the Americanization of the immigrants from Eastern
Europe as well as for the retention of their Jewish cultural ties.