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Jewish Chronicle

JEWISH CHRONICLE, English newspaper and the oldest Jewish periodical in existence. It first appeared on Nov. 12. 1841 under the editorship of D. *Meldola and M. *Angel and was issued subsequently as a weekly, until publication was suspended in May 1842. Publication was resumed in October 1844 as a fortnightly, with Joseph Mitchell as its editor, but in 1847 it became a weekly newspaper again and has remained so ever since. Mitchell was editor of the Jewish Chronicle until 1854, when he was succeeded by M.H. Bresslau. In the following year A. *Benisch became proprietor and editor and edited the newspaper until his death in 1878, save for the years 1869 to 1875 when Michael *Henry was editor. Benisch bequeathed the Chronicle to the *Anglo-Jewish Association who sold it to Asher I. *Myers, its new editor, Sydney M. *Samuel, and Israel David. Later it passed into the control of a limited company, where it has since remained. The Jewish Chronicle rapidly established itself as the leading journal of Anglo-Jewry. Its efficient news service and near monopoly of personal advertising of family events made its position unchallengeable, and it swallowed its principal competitors, the Hebrew Observer and the Jewish World. The Chronicle also prided itself on being a quality newspaper. Under the editorship of Asher Myers, lavish literary and historic articles appeared and for many years Israel *Abrahams edited a literary page. A supplement in modern Hebrew first came out in 1906 and a monthly literary supplement was brought out during the interwar years. Shortly before the outbreak of World War II, the Jewish Chronicle underwent considerable changes in format. After the war the newspaper steadily grew in size and by 1960 boasted a circulation of over 60,000 – more than three times the pre-war figure. At the same time the scope of the newspaper was considerably broadened. Events in Israel occupied increasingly more space, and the Jewish Chronicle also expanded its service of provincial, sports, and financial news and provided separate columns for women, children, teenagers, and students, thereby making it of interest to a wide cross section of Anglo-Jewry. It also ran an international Jewish news and feature service. From its inception, the Jewish Chronicle reflected Anglo-Jewry's desire for political and social equality in Britain and set out to arouse public opinion to the plight of Jews in Russia and later Romania. From 1891 to 1892 a monthly supplement called "Darkest Russia" was published, which gave detailed reports of the persecution of Russian Jews. The Chronicle was one of the first journals to inform the world of Nazi atrocities during World War II and later reported on outbreaks of antisemitism in the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and South America. Its viewpoint on domestic issues generally reflected that of the Anglo-Jewish establishment and upheld the authority of the chief rabbi and the Beth-Din. For many years the Chronicle was hostile to the Reform and Liberal movements, particularly during the editorship of Leopold *Greenberg, but the trend away from Orthodoxy in Anglo-Jewry led to a change in the newspaper's policy, and more space was given to developments in Progressive Judaism. At the same time the Chronicle became increasingly critical of the Orthodox position on halakhic issues, which it regarded as too rigid. When Rabbi Louis *Jacobs was passed over for the position as principal of Jews' College and later prevented from acting as minister of the New West Synagogue, the Jewish Chronicle – under the editorship of William Frankel – championed his cause against the authority of the chief rabbi, Beth-Din, and United Synagogue. The Jewish Chronicle consistently devoted considerable space to Israel and Zionism, and one of its first editors, Abraham Benisch, published news from Jerusalem, Tiberias, Safed, and Hebron. However, under the ownership of Asher Myers and Israel Davis, the paper was hostile to Zionism in line with the official line of the religious and lay leaders of the community. Nevertheless, on Jan. 17, 1896, the Chronicle published Herzl's first article "A Solution to the Jewish Problem," which appeared a month before Der Judenstaat, and with its editorial, "A Dream of a Jewish State" opened the readers' columns to a discussion of Herzl's plan. At the end of 1906 Israel David offered the Jewish Chronicle to Leopold J. Greenberg who, together with David *Wolffsohn, Joseph *Cowen, Jacobus H. *Kahn, and Leopold *Kessler, bought the shares. Greenberg became its editor in January 1907. He made the paper strongly Zionist. In 1917 the British government postponed publication of the Balfour Declaration for a week in order to allow the Chronicle to print the news at the same time as the rest of the press. The Chronicle supported the formation of the Jewish Legion under Vladimir *Jabotinsky and, after the Palestine Mandate was allotted to Great Britain, the Jewish Chronicle remained firmly Zionist until Greenberg's death in 1931. In that year, Leopold Kessler became chairman of the board of directors, and the paper resumed a lukewarm Zionist line. In 1946 Ivan Greenberg was removed from editorship because of his support for Revisionism and John *Shaftesley was appointed in his place. In 1958 William Frankel became editor. David F. *Kessler, the son of Leopold Kessler, became the chairman and managing director of the Jewish Chronicle Ltd. Kessler remained editor until 1977, when he was succeeded by Geoffrey Paul (b. 1929), from 1977–90, and then by Edward J. Temko (b. 1952), from 1991. After the creation of the State of Israel it consistently maintained a sympathetic, though not always uncritical, attitude to the Jewish state, and is internationally known for its wide and intelligent range of opinion.


C. Roth, The Jewish Chronicle 18411941 (1949). ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: D. Cesarani, The Jewish Chronicle and Anglo-Jewry, 18411991 (1994).

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.