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Hebrew: Hebrew Newspapers

The term "Hebrew press" has undergone a basic metamorphosis since its early days. Originally, the term covered periodicals of varying frequency (yearbooks, monthlies, and irregular publications), the majority of which were literary and scientific in character, while only a small percentage were devoted to current affairs. News sections were almost nonexistent, and indeed would have been impractical in periodicals appearing infrequently. The first Hebrew newspaper worthy of the name, according to the concept of the time, began to appear in the mid-19th century, giving news of the Jewish and general world and containing literary, scientific, and social columns. Articles on public and current affairs, which were rare in the Hebrew periodicals of the previous 100 years, became increasingly popular in some journals. Thus a differentiation was created between the newspaper and other types of periodicals. The periodicals, too, began to modify their form and gradually devoted more attention to current affairs.

All types of periodicals, therefore, must be included within the term "Hebrew press" in its first century (1750–1856). Following this period, a gradual differentiation set in between scholarly and literary periodicals and purely news media. This development was particularly noticeable in Ereẓ Israel where Hebrew became a living language, and periodicals began to appear, covering every field – literature, art, science, technology – while the daily newspaper grew to resemble its counterpart in European journalism.

- Spread of the Hebrew Press
- In Europe Through the Early 1880's
- In Europe Through World War I
- In Europe Between the Wars
- Durations of the Hebrew Periodicals
- Leading Periodicals & Newspapers in Europe
- Hebrew Press in North America

Spread of the Hebrew Press

The Hebrew press began in Western Europe, mainly in Germany, in the second half of the 18th century. It gradually spread to Austria, and Galicia, and, a century after its initiation, appeared in czarist Russia, where there were more Hebrew readers. As the press began to flourish there, it declined in Western Europe. About the same time, a Hebrew press of an essentially Eastern European nature began to appear in Ereẓ Israel. The waves of Jewish emigration to the United States in the second half of the 19th century brought about the establishment of a Hebrew press in that country too (from the 1870s). Smaller centers of the Hebrew press were also established in England, South Africa, and, in later periods, in Latin America. Two factors determined the expansion or decline of the Hebrew press in the Diaspora: the degree of attachment to Hebrew of the Jews of a particular country, and the extent to which they acquired its native tongue. By the late 1930s the Hebrew press had almost disappeared in Eastern Europe. In Soviet Russia its decline had been deliberately encouraged, while in Poland it was brought about by competition from Polish and Yiddish. By contrast, the Hebrew press flourished in Ereẓ Israel: from modest beginnings in Jerusalem in 1863, it gradually and confidently expanded, becoming the focal point of the Hebrew press after World War I, with its center in Tel Aviv-Jaffa. Since World War II, the Hebrew press in Eastern Europe has ceased to exist; outside Israel, several periodicals are still published with varying frequency, mainly in the United States. A real Hebrew press, encompassing daily papers and periodicals covering a range of subjects, now exists only in Israel.

While, in its early years, the Hebrew press constituted only a small percentage of the total Jewish press in all languages, by the outbreak of World War II it held fourth place in the Jewish press (after English, German, and Yiddish). Today, as a result of the expansion of the Hebrew press in Israel, it holds second place (after English), and, quantitatively, accounts for more than one-quarter of the total Jewish press in all languages.

In Europe Through the Early 1880's

One of the earliest consequences of the Haskalah movement in Germany was the creation of Hebrew periodicals, such as those published in Germany and devoted to literature, philosophy, and social problems. This initial stage, which lasted almost a century (approximately 1750–1856), was inaugurated by the periodical *Kohelet Mussar , edited by Moses *Mendelssohn . The differing intervals at which the variety of periodicals at this time were published was a decisive factor in determining the contents of those periodicals: much space was given over to belles lettres, translations, world literature, and various aspects of Judaic studies while very little was devoted to news matters. In this early period Hebrew began to adapt itself to modern expression, gradually discarding its cloak of sanctity and adopting neologisms and new literary forms. During the second stage (1856–86), current affairs were gradually introduced, at first by simply citing belatedly news items from other papers. Gradually, however, the traditions of the modern press developed, ranging from reports by regular correspondents to lead articles and political commentary, simultaneously continuing the traditions of the earlier Hebrew periodicals, by devoting considerable space to all subjects. The periodical press also continued to develop as before, improving its standards and its form. The interrelation between these two areas of the press is reflected in the fact that the same writers contributed to both. The Russian censorship constituted a great hindrance to the development of journalism on public affairs, and editors consequently became adept at disguising statements in phraseology whose hidden meaning was clear to their own readers. Hebrew papers appearing outside Russia were also compelled to restrain their political commentaries, since most of their readers lived in Russia, where the papers might be banned. This accounts for the remarkable panegyrics on the czarist regime, which should not be taken at face value.

Up to the early 1880s, the main trend was the dissemination of the Haskalah and its program for attaining equal rights. This ideology resulted in several by-products: the appeal for the creation of a productive Jewish economy by means of agricultural settlement in Russia or by engaging in crafts, and for the improvement of Jewish education by replacing the old-fashioned methods of the ḥeder with the teaching of secular subjects and vocational skills. After the anti-Jewish pogroms in southern Russia in the early 1880s, however, Haskalah ideology changed, and almost all the newspapers and periodicals now supported the *Ḥibbat Zion movement. Only *Ha-Maggid had anticipated this new ideology by 20 years. Attitudes to the movement ranged from hostility (Ivri Anokhi) or hesitant support ( *Ha-Ẓefirah ) to complete identification (Ha-Maggid and later *Ha-Meliẓ ).

Throughout this period, the press gradually progressed technically, nurturing several generations of writers of all types. Indeed, there is hardly a Hebrew writer who did not take his first literary steps in one of the newspapers. Some outstanding writers, such as J.L. *Gordon , also served as editors, acting as patrons to many others.

Two events, however, disturbed the peace of the press. The first, in the late 1860s and early 1870s, was the controversy regarding religious reform, sparked by its two chief advocates, Moses Leib *Lilienblum and J.L. Gordon, mainly in Ha-Meliẓ, and taken up by the extreme and moderate Orthodox elements in *Ha-Levanon . The second event, less significant at the time as regards public reaction and support, but important historically, was the appearance of the socialist organs, Ha-Emet and *Asefat Ḥakhamim , edited by A.S. *Liebermann , Morris *Vinchevsky , and others. These journals attracted a considerable number of writers and contributors and served as a platform for those discontented with the czarist regime on the one hand, and with the traditional Jewish way of life on the other.

In Europe Through World War I

The third stage in the Hebrew press was inaugurated by the establishment of the first Hebrew daily *Ha-Yom edited by J.L. *Kantor (St. Petersburg) – a revolutionary event, the novelty of which is now hard to appreciate. For the first time the Hebrew press and the Hebrew language were faced with the challenge of dealing, journalistically and linguistically, with day-to-day events. Ha-Yom introduced many innovations and experiments. Despite the gradual disappearance of florid and involved phraseology (meliẓah) in all types of literature, it was still used in Hebrew journalistic writing. The new paper gradually eradicated its last traces. To meet the competition, Ha-Ẓefirah and Ha-Meliẓ also became dailies in the same year (1886). All at once, a tradition of modern Hebrew journalism developed. Although almost all the Hebrew papers now shared the ideology of Ḥibbat Zion, they varied both in their local color – Ha-Ẓefirah being Polish and Ha-Meliẓ Russian – and in their particular stands within the Ḥibbat Zion movement.

The Hebrew press of Eastern Europe had now reached a peak which it was to sustain until World War I. A modern press in the true sense of the word, it attracted the best Hebrew writers of almost three generations, and Hebrew literature, in turn, flourished, as it spread to the many and varied literary publications of the day. Both *Aḥad Ha-Am and *Bialik , key figures of Hebrew literature, were nurtured by this press. Though the first Russian Revolution (1905) temporarily halted this development, it resumed shortly afterward, ending only with World War I. There was a brief but glorious and unparalleled era in the history of the Hebrew press and periodicals in Russia after the fall of the czarist regime in 1917. However, the Soviet regime soon declared the Hebrew language counterrevolutionary and suppressed all Hebrew publication.

In Europe Between the Wars

The former heights were never regained in Poland between the wars. In the 1930s, after a long struggle for survival, the only daily Hebrew paper ceased publication. It was replaced by the weekly Ba-Derekh, and there were years when only the pioneer youth movements maintained Hebrew newspapers in Poland. Some Hebrew journals survived within the framework of the underground movements in Nazi-occupied Poland, but ceased to exist after World War II. Through the efforts of determined individuals, the Hebrew press in other countries, such as England, survived, and appeared regularly for years (cf. Suwalski's Ha-Yehudi). But most of the papers and journals published outside Central Europe were short-lived, since their sole support came from emigrants from the East. As these readers acquired the language of their new country, circulation dropped, and the periodicals ceased publication. Apart from Ereẓ Israel, only in North America is there an uninterrupted tradition of Hebrew periodicals.

The one characteristic common to most Hebrew papers and periodicals over the years and throughout the world (with the exception of the extreme Orthodox and left-wing) is their strong attachment to Ḥibbat Zion, Zionism, and the State of Israel. There is an organic fusing of language and Israel content, overlapping their Jewish content. In this they are unique.

The Durations of the Hebrew Periodicals

Only a very small percentage of Hebrew newspapers and periodicals enjoyed longevity. The record until 1970 was held by the weekly *Ha-Po'el ha-Ẓa'ir (63 years), the dailies *Haaretz (57) and *Davar (45) – all in Israel – and the weekly Hadoar (49) in the United States. In earlier periods the record was held by Ha-Maggid (47 years), Ha-Ẓefirah (almost 50, with short intervals), and Ha-Meliẓ (43). The latter two began as weeklies and later became dailies. The periodical *Ha-Shilo'aḥ appeared in 46 volumes. Longevity is not always, however, an indication of the importance of the paper. Some short-lived papers, like the daily *Ha-Ẓofeh at the turn of the 20th century, were of vital importance. There were also papers which appeared for decades under different names so as to evade censorship or because of licensing problems as was the case with *Ben-Yehuda 's papers in Jerusalem.

Leading Periodicals & Newspapers in Europe

The First Period: Yearbooks and Periodicals

Kohelet Musar, published by Mendelssohn (about 1750), was the first attempt at translating traditional ethical concepts into a modern idiom.


Although the initial experiment was short-lived, it was revived in 1783 by a group of Mendelssohn's disciples who published Ha-Me'assef, the first modern Hebrew periodical. Appearing sporadically in several German towns between 1783 and 1811, it had considerable influence on the general evolvement of Hebrew Haskalah literature and, in particular, on that of the Hebrew press, both in style (as "purely" biblical as possible) and content (e.g., original and translated belles lettres, and studies of various aspects of Judaism). Ha-Me'assef dealt extensively with current affairs, but its main goal – the attainment of the Haskalah – was achieved at a more rapid rate than the editors and participants had ever anticipated. German Jewry, accultured to its society, no longer needed a Hebrew journal. As a result, from the first third of the 19th century, the focal point of the Hebrew Haskalah began to shift to Austria, relying mainly upon readers in Galicia, Moravia, and Italy.


The new periodical press in Austro-Hungary, which both culturally (i.e., Jewish culture) and geographically lay on the border between West and East, was inaugurated by the yearbooks *Bikkurei ha-Ittim , *Kerem Ḥemed , Kokhevei Yiẓḥak, Oẓar Neḥmad, Bikkurim – which appeared for over 40 years (1821–65), mainly in Vienna, but also in Prague and Berlin. Varied in content, they attracted the best of the Haskalah writers. At the same time, periodicals and literary collections began to appear at regular intervals in various parts of Galicia, serving as a nursery for modern Hebrew literature by creating the science of Judaic studies and by adapting the Hebrew language to modern belles lettres. The pioneers of Hebrew periodicals in Germany and Austria were closely attached to the German language, as is evidenced by German sections (printed in Hebrew characters) in the first volumes of Bikkurei ha-Ittim, and by the many translations from that language. In contrast to the above-mentioned periodicals, which allotted little or no space to current events, Zion, edited by I.M. *Jost and M. *Creizenach , prevailed on East European writers to participate in discussions on contemporary affairs.

An examination of the language and style of these periodicals reveals how the Hebrew language developed in liveliness and suppleness from one issue to the next. Recent studies (particularly those by Dov *Sadan ) of the florid meliẓah style of the early maskilim have demonstrated that this style did not, as was formerly believed, contain biblical elements exclusively, but rather drew from the linguistic and cultural traditions of centuries of Hebrew language and literature. As a result of the intimate acquaintance which the writers of this period had with the Bible and its study over the generations, their biblical commentaries are full of valuable insights. Since, in general, the periodical press was imbued with the spirit of the moderate Haskalah, elements from all movements could contribute to it, and it managed to remain as neutral as possible, apart from sharp polemics against extreme Reform Judaism as practiced by *Geiger . This tradition of neutrality was maintained in the Hebrew press outside Ereẓ Israel as a rule, although there were periodicals that expressed more extreme views, e.g., the extreme Orthodox Shomer Ẓiyyon ha-Ne'eman, and the radical *He-Ḥalutz .

The Second Period: Early Newspapers

These periodicals constituted a 100-year-long preparation for a regular journal with the form and content of a newspaper. Such a newspaper, Ha-Maggid, which appeared in 1856 in Lyck, eastern Prussia, on the Russian border, thus inaugurating the second period of the Hebrew press, was meant for Russian Jewry. The only periodical which Russian Jewry had hitherto produced, Pirkei Ẓafon, enjoyed only two issues (1841 and 1844) before it ceased publication. With Ha-Maggid A.L. Silbermann, the editor, created not only a new organ for Russian Jewry but also the first Hebrew newspaper that devoted considerable space to reportage and editorial comment on the news. As such, the new paper required different tools from those employed in earlier periodicals. It also introduced other innovations, e.g., a section containing translations of news items from the general press which are to be found in almost every issue; other periodicals followed suit. The Hebrew language gradually evolved into a living language, even though it retained a considerable amount of meliẓah. Ha-Maggid was also the pioneer in two other aspects: in the early 1860s it began to advocate Ḥibbat Zion and the settlement of Ereẓ Israel, while all the other newspapers remained attached to the Haskalah ideology till the early 1880s; for many years it was the only paper of general Jewish character that reflected events in all the Jewish communities, including the United States and Australia. Immediately after its establishment, four other newspapers sprang up (1860–62), which dealt primarily with events in their own geographical area: Ha-Meliẓ (Odessa-St. Petersburg) for Russian Jewry; *Ha-Karmel (Vilna) for Lithuanian Jewry; Ha-Mevasser (LVOV) for the Jews of Galicia; and Ha-Ẓefirah (Warsaw and, for a short period, Berlin) for Polish Jews. (Originally devoted to science, Ha-Ẓefirah's later concern, under the editorship of *Sokolow , was primarily news.) All these newspapers covered current events, but likewise continued their traditions by devoting special columns to belles lettres, science, and criticism, so that even today it is difficult to envisage a Hebrew paper without such columns. These papers still constitute a rich source for Jewish scholarship; only the lack of indexes prevents their being utilized properly. The papers also stimulated additional literary forms, for which there had not been room in periodicals, and developed reportage from provincial towns and, later, from overseas. Although this reportage may contain trivia, it also constitutes an extremely rich source of information on Jewish communities throughout the world.


A superficial comparison of a newspaper of 1856 with one of 1886 is sufficient proof of the radical development of the Hebrew press in this second stage. A new language had been created which differed greatly from that of Ha-Me'assef or even Ha-Maggid in their first years. There was also a change in the ideological content. Reality, and particularly the pogroms in southern Russia in the early 1880s, made Jews aware of the failure of the Haskalah's proposed solutions to the Jewish problem. There was, therefore, a gradual transition from the old ideals of the Haskalah and the Emancipation to the new ones of settlement of Ereẓ Israel, Zionism and, finally, political Zionism.

The distinction between the periodical press and newspapers was still obscure, since current affairs began to play a more important role in the former. Such was the case with *Smolenskin 's monthly *Ha-Shaḥar , in which an attempt was made, particularly by the editor himself, to clarify Jewish problems, both past and future, and which first arrived at the ideology of "the people of the spirit." It then took up nationalism and Zionism, strongly criticizing the Haskalah and its methods. The same is true of its rival, Ha-Boker Or, edited by A.B. *Gottlober , which defended Mendelssohn's school of thought. The articles on Judaica in these publications became more popular and readable as a result of the growing flexibility of the language, while their scientific basis was not impaired.

Hebrew Dailies

In the meantime, the editors were obliged to enlarge the format of their papers and to produce them at greater frequency than the original weeklies. In 1886, exactly 30 years after the publication of the first issue of Ha-Maggid, J.L. Kantor published Ha-Yom, the first Hebrew daily. To meet the competition, Ha-Meliẓ and Ha-Ẓefirah also began to be published as dailies. The letters of J.L. Gordon (then editor of Ha-Meliẓ), who frowned upon this new development, show the difficulties that faced Hebrew editors. Conditions, however, forced them to accept the new burden. In the daily press it was essential to eliminate florid Hebrew, since the need for rapid translations of news dispatches left no time for complicated phraseology.

From 1886, the feuilleton which had existed before the development of the daily press became an integral part of the dailies, particularly of Ha-Yom, to which D. Frischmann and J.L. *Katzenelson (known as Buki ben Yogli) contributed. Ha-Meliẓ and Ha-Ẓefirah continued, of necessity, to appear as dailies even after Ha-Yom ceased publication (1888). The oldest of the papers, Ha-Maggid, remained a weekly, until discontinued in 1903.

In the mid-1880s, Sokolow – a man whose grasp of the spirit of the times was almost unique in his generation of Hebrew journalism – radically changed the periodical press. In 1884 he began to publish Ha-Asif, weighty annuals encompassing almost all the literary forms. Enjoying unprecedented circulation, their success spurred others to issue similar annuals (e.g., Keneset Yisrael by S.P. *Rabinowitz , 1886). It was a new development for Hebrew periodicals to reach thousands of readers, all of them subscribers. The publication of Ha-Asif is therefore frequently regarded as the first literary event which created a mass Hebrew readership. Innumerable periodicals, almost all of them short-lived, appeared in the last third of the 19th century in various places in Eastern Europe, and, occasionally in the West (mainly on Judaica or as appendixes to the German Jewish press). An important contribution to the rapid adaptation of Hebrew to everyday life was made by the numerous translations in the press, periodicals, and separate books, some of which were to become classics (particularly in the field of poetry). In the early 1880s even the Orthodox Ha-Levanon ceased its ideological polemics with the other papers and, because of its editor, J. *Brill , joined in preaching the settlement of Ereẓ Israel and Ḥibbat Zion. Simultaneously, an Orthodox anti-Zionist press arose, e.g., Ha-Peles, Ha-Modi'a, Ha-Kol, which copied the modern style of the pro-Zionist press. In the 1870s the first two Hebrew socialist journals appeared, Ha-Emet, and Asefat Ḥakhamim, edited by A.S. Liebermann, M. Vinchevsky, and others. These journals, which were short-lived because of the attitude of the East and West European authorities, created a new Hebrew by introducing terms taken from socialism and communism, and by translations.

At the beginning of the present century, the two veteran papers, Ha-Maggid and Ha-Meliẓ, closed down. As if to symbolize the rise of a new and younger generation in literature and in the press, two new dailies were established in Poland and Russia: Ha-Ẓofeh, in Warsaw, and Ha-Zeman, first in St. Petersburg, later in Vilna. A new generation of writers and journalists was nurtured by these papers. Ha-Ẓofeh was the first paper to hold a literary competition (1903). In that competition Y.D. *Berkowitz was discovered. At the same time, Ha-Ẓefirah reappeared after a lengthy interval. In 1904 the weekly *Ha-Miẓpeh , edited by S.M. Lazar, began to appear in krakow, in place of Ha-Maggid, and encouraged many new writers (including S.Y. *Agnon , A. *Hameiri , U.Ẓ. *Greenberg , and Z. *Diesendruck ). In none of these papers was there a clear distinction between the literary and journalistic realms. The best of the Hebrew writers of the period contributed to them (e.g., *Fichmann , *Bershadsky , *Shneour , Berkowitz).

The End of the Hebrew Press in Eastern Europe and Russia

The most outstanding of these literary periodicals was the monthly, Ha-Shilo'aḥ, edited by Aḥad Ha-Am and, later, by J. Klausner; others included Ha-Dor, edited by Frischmann, Ha-Zeman, the annuals Lu'aḥ Aḥi'asaf and Sokolow's Sefer ha-Shanah. *Ha-Olam , the official Hebrew organ of the Zionist Organization, for decades provided opportunities for Hebrew writers. It would be hard to envisage the development of the young Hebrew literature that flourished at this time – starting with Bialik – without the periodicals of the early 20th century. Although this vital period came to an abrupt end with the outbreak of World War I, its influence could be felt almost until the 1960s. The Hebrew press in Eastern Europe never recovered its former glory after World War I but gradually flickered out. In Russia, after the downfall of czarism, Hebrew literary activity flourished briefly with the appearance of the literary journals *Ha-Tekufah , Massu'ot, He-Avar, Ha-Mishpat ha-Ivri, Ereẓ, and others, and the establishment of literary projects of formerly unknown scope (e.g., Stybel publishing house). The weekly Ha-Am, which later became a daily, also began to appear in this period. Soviet Russia's silencing of the Hebrew language, however, put an end to all this, a circumstance which has persisted, apart from certain isolated periodicals published in Russia, or published abroad by Russian Hebrew writers. The departure from Russia of the great majority of Hebrew writers, beginning with Bialik, marks the end of Hebrew literature and journalism in that country, and the gradual shift of its focal point to Palestine, via Berlin.

The papers and literary journals set up in Western Europe from the turn of the century till the 1930s and 1940s were a natural continuation of the Eastern European tradition. With one notable exception – Ha-Yehudi, edited in London from 1897 to 1913 by I. Suwalski – they were all short-lived. Another London-based journal, whose effect was in inverse ratio to its duration, was J.Ḥ. *Brenner 's *Ha-Me'orer (1906–07).

While the extreme Orthodox circles, having adopted methods of the secular press, attacked Zionism, the press of the Orthodox *Mizrachi Zionist Organization , which opposed the secular movement, fought anti-Zionist Orthodox elements. It established the monthly Ha-Mizraḥ (1903) as well as the weeklies Ha-Ivri (first in Berlin and later in New York) and Ha-Mizraḥi in Poland after World War I.

Toward the end of the 19th century the Hebrew press in Eastern Europe began to produce more specialized journals. An educational press which lasted for decades was developed in Russia and Poland; magazines for children and youth began to appear, some of them of extremely high standard, such as Olam Katan, edited by S.L. *Gordon . I.H. Tawiow even put out a daily for children (He-Ḥaver; see *Children's Literature ). Poland became the major Hebrew center in Eastern Europe between the wars after that language had been silenced in Soviet Russia. Its one Hebrew daily, however, Ha-Ẓefirah, could not survive in the face of the growing competition from Yiddish, on the one hand, and Polish, on the other. Ha-Ẓefirah closed down, was revived under another name (Ha-Yom), revived again under its old name, and finally discontinued in the early 1930s. For several years, it was replaced by the weekly, Ba-Derekh, the last Hebrew paper in Poland, which later also closed down.

A unique phenomenon, particularly in Poland between the wars, was the press of the *He-Ḥalutz and the pioneering youth movements, especially that of Ha-Shomer *ha-Ẓa'ir . At a time when Hebrew was abandoned in Poland even by the official Zionist Organization (the press of which was mainly in Yiddish and Polish), and Hebrew readers could no longer support the burden of maintaining a Hebrew paper, the youth movements safeguarded Hebrew expression (and speech) with unbounded loyalty and material sacrifice. For these young people, the Hebrew language and pioneer training were stepping stones to Zionist self-realization. Thus He-Halutz issued the paper He-Atid, and Ha-Shomer ha-Ẓair, its organ, bearing that movement's name; other youth movements followed suit. This press was noted for its ties with Ereẓ Israel and its constant contact with the labor press there.

Hebrew Press in North America

Unlike the Anglo-Jewish, German-Jewish, and Yiddish presses in the United States, all of which have served large bodies of readers who often were literate in their native tongue alone, the Hebrew press was restricted from the outset to a relatively small coterie of subscribers. Nevertheless, a Hebrew periodical press has existed practically uninterrupted in the United States since the last decades of the 19th century.

The first Hebrew periodical in the United States, Zvi Hirsch *Bernstein 's newsletter Ha-Ẓofeh ba-Areẓ ha-Ḥadashah ("The Observer in a New Land") appeared in 1871, a year after the first two Yiddish journals in America, one of which was Bernstein's New York Juedische Post. In their early years, in fact, the two presses frequently had intertwined fates: the same publishers, editors, and writers played active roles in both. Ha-Ẓofeh ba-Areẓ ha-Ḥadashah appeared irregularly until 1876. Hebrew was also one of four languages to appear in Bernstein's Hebrew News, an unusual polyglot venture published for several months in 1871.

A number of Hebrew periodicals appeared briefly in New York in the 1880s and 1890s, many of them largely one-man productions. Among them were the Ḥovevei Zion organ Ha-Le'ummi ("The Nationalist," 1888–89), the maskil Ezekiel Enowitz's Ha-Emet ("The Truth," 1894–95) and Eẓ ha-Da'at ("The Tree of Knowledge," 1896), Michael *Rodkinson 's Ha-Sanegor ("The Defender," 1890) and Tekhunat Ru'aḥ ha-Yisre'eli ("The Spirit of the Israelite," 1899), and Abraham *Rosenberg 's Ner ha-Ma'aravi ("The Western Light," 1895–97). Somewhat longer lived were Zeev Wolf *Schur 's Ha-Pisgah ("The Summit"), published irregularly in New York, Baltimore, and Chicago from 1891 to 1899, and Ha-Ivri ("The Hebrew," 1892–98, 1901–02), which was founded by the Yiddish publisher Kasriel *Sarasohn and edited by Gershon Rosenzweig.

The first attempt to publish a Hebrew daily in the U.S. took place in New York in 1909 with the appearance of Ha-Yom ("The Day") under the editorship of Moses Hacohen *Goldman , but the paper failed within a brief time, as did an effort to revive it in 1913. The latter year also witnessed the launching of the literary monthly Ha-Toren ("The Mast," weekly from 1916 to 1921), which in quality of contents and regularity of appearance far surpassed any of its predecessors. Edited originally by a staff composed of such eminent Hebraists as Max *Lipson , Daniel *Persky , Abraham *Goldberg , Y.D. Berkowitz, and Benjamin *Silkiner , Ha-Toren was managed from 1919 until its demise in 1925 by the author Reuben *Brainin . Contemporary with it was the literary and political Mizrachi weekly Ha-Ivri ("The Hebrew," New York, 1916–21), edited by Meir *Berlin , who had previously managed the same journal in Germany.

The most successful and permanent of all Hebrew periodicals in the United States, however, was the weekly Hadoar ("The Post"). Started as a daily in 1921 by a staff directed by Lipson and including Persky, Hirsch Leib *Gordon , Abraham Orlans, and Menachem *Ribalow , Hadoar was briefly discontinued in the summer of 1922 and then resumed publication as a weekly under the auspices of the *Histadruth Ivrith of America . In 1925 Menachem Ribalow became sole editor, a position he held for nearly 30 years. During this period, except for a brief hiatus in 1925, Hadoar appeared every week in spite of continual financial straits, publishing Hebrew authors of note from all over the world and especially numbering among its steady contributors such U.S. Hebrew writers as Hillel *Bavli , Moshe *Feinstein , Reuven *Grossman , Simon *Halkin , Ephraim *Lisitzky , Daniel Persky, Gabriel *Preil , Abraham *Regelson , Zvi *Scharfstein , Eisig *Silberschlag , Yochanan *Twersky , Meyer *Waxman , and Reuven *Wallenrod . From 1934, Hadoar issued a biweekly youth supplement titled Ha-Musaf la-Kore ha-Ẓa'ir. Ribalow was succeeded as editor in 1953 by Moses *Maisels , who was in turn followed in 1959 by Moshe Yinon. Hadoar's circulation in 1970 was about 5,000. It attempted to reconstitute as a quality journal but was unsuccessful. It ceased publication in the early 21st century.

In addition to Hadoar, the literary monthly Bitzaron was published in New York from 1939 until 1992. Though the establishment of the State of Israel led to a broadening of interest in Hebrew among the U.S. Jewish public, the local Hebrew press has not grown as a result; the reasons are many. Air transportation has allowed the quick distribution of Israeli publications in the United States. Additionally, American Hebraists preferred to write for the much larger Israeli audience and also to read the best of Hebrew literature in Israeli publications. The introduction of the Internet made some Hebrew language publications in the United States superfluous. Some Hebrew newspapers are published in the United States, primarily in New York and Los Angeles, for the Israeli community living the United States. Printed locally, they most often contain reprints of articles that have appeared in Israeli newspapers and advertisements aimed at the local American-Israeli community.

For Hebrew newspapers in Ereẓ Israel and the State of Israel, see *Israel , State of: Cultural Life (Press).

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.