History



Abraham Cahan The Forward is a legendary name in American journalism and a revered institution in American Jewish life. Launched as a Yiddish-language daily newspaper on April 22, 1897, the Forward entered the din of New York's immigrant press as a defender of trade unionism and moderate, democratic socialism. The Jewish Daily Forward quickly rose above the crowd, however; under the leadership of its founding editor, the crustily independent Abraham Cahan, the Forward came to be known as the voice of the Jewish immigrant and the conscience of the ghetto. It fought for social justice, helped generations of immigrants to enter American life, broke some of the most significant news stories of the century, and was among the nation's most eloquent defenders of democracy and Jewish rights.

By the early 1930s the Forward had become one of America's premier metropolitan dailies, with a nationwide circulation topping 275,000 and influence that reached around the world and into the Oval Office. Thousands more listened regularly to the Forward's Yiddish-language radio station, WEVD, "the station that speaks your language." The newspaper's editorial staff included, at one time or another, nearly every major luminary in the then-thriving world of Yiddish literature, from the beloved "poet of the sweatshops," Morris Rosenfeld, to the future Nobel laureates Isaac Bashevis Singer and Elie Wiesel. At the helm, guiding the paper for a full half-century until his death in 1950, was Cahan. Both as an editor and in his own writings - including his timeless advice column, the Bintel Brief - he set the populist, down-to-earth tone that was the Forward's hallmark. In thousands of Jewish households across the country, the Forward was for decades more than just a daily newspaper - it was a trusted guide and a member of the family.

With the end of World War II the Forward entered a period of decline. The vast, Yiddish-speaking world of Eastern European Jewry was no more. Without replenishment, the Forward's own readership was dwindling and graying. In 1983 the paper cut back to a weekly publishing schedule and launched an English-language supplement.

In more recent years the Yiddish paper has experienced a modest revival, benefiting from the renewed interest in Yiddish on college campuses and from the leadership of editor, the Russian-born essayist and novelist Boris Sandler, who took over in 1998.

In 1990 the Forward Association, the newspaper's non-profit holding company, made the bold decision to remake the English-language Forward as an independent, high-profile weekly newspaper committed to covering the Jewish world with the same crusading journalistic spirit as Cahan's Jewish Daily Forward. Led for its first decade by Seth Lipsky, a longtime editorial board member of the Wall Street Journal, the new Forward quickly established itself as a fearless and indispensable source of news and opinion on Jewish affairs. Its cultural pages have featured reviews and original belles letters by such writers as Cynthia Ozick, Phillip Lopate, Anne Roiphe and Ilan Stavans, while the sassy FastForward section has become a leading window into the lifestyles of younger Jews.

The veteran journalist and author J.J. Goldberg took the reins in July 2000. He continued and expanded the paper's commitment to incisive, hard-hitting reportage while at the same time returning to the populist, progressive spirit that was the Forward's hallmark in its early years. Under Goldberg's leadership the paper reached its largest-ever English-language circulation, while firmly cementing its reputation as American Jewry's essential newspaper of record.

After Goldberg decided to return to writing, the newspaper took another bold turn by appointing its first woman editor, Jane Eisner, in 2008. A respected reporter, foreign correspondent, editorial page editor and syndicated columnist for 25 years at the Philadelphia Inquirer, Eisner also taught for five years at the University of Pennsylvania and authored “Taking Back the Vote: Getting American Youth Involved in Our Democracy” (2004). Helped by a strong editing team, she is growing the Forward in print and on line, with new and innovative features and an even sharper focus on telling the contemporary Jewish story.

Today's Forward is once again becoming what its parent publication was nearly a century ago: a trusted guide - to the varieties of Jewish experience - and a welcome member of the family.

The Forward family of newspapers continues to carry on the founding vision of Abraham Cahan, serving together as the voice of the American Jew and the conscience of the community.





Find us on Facebook!
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.