Baltimore Paper Goes on Auction Block

Jewish Times Faces Bankruptcy After Nearly Century in Print

Old Time Newspaper: Editors mark up an edition of the Baltimore Jewish Times in this photo plucked from the morgue of the Baltimore Sun.
courtesy of baltimore sun
Old Time Newspaper: Editors mark up an edition of the Baltimore Jewish Times in this photo plucked from the morgue of the Baltimore Sun.

By Joel N. Shurkin

Published March 29, 2012, issue of April 06, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 2)

But Buerger thought it could be better than that, and so he poured his substantial profits back into the paper. “He wanted a real newspaper,” Rosenblatt said.

Under Rosenblatt’s leadership, the Jewish Times “was a Jewish paper that often forgot it was a Jewish paper, and [therefore it] did not cater to the narrow and parochial interests of the Jewish community,” said author Arthur Magida, who was senior editor of the paper (between 1982 and 1995).

A 1984 story by Rosenblatt that questioned the tax status of the Simon Wiesenthal Center was one of two finalists for a Pulitzer Prize.

During that time, the newspaper was fat with advertisements, often running as many as 200 pages; it maintained a circulation of 20,000, making it the largest weekly newspaper in Maryland. During the 1980s it was widely considered the best Jewish newspaper in America.

The owners bought Jewish community papers in Atlanta and Detroit, with Rosenblatt acting as editor from Baltimore. They later added newspapers in Palm Beach, Fla., with an edition in Boca Raton and in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Rosenblatt left for New York in 1993. Buerger died three years later, and the publication was taken over by his son, Andrew. The new publisher sold off the newspapers outside Baltimore but continued to nurture the local property. He created a glossy local magazine, Baltimore Style, and then the more regional Chesapeake Life, the latter folding as Alter’s legal battle erupted.

The average issue is now about 70 pages, and its circulation is down to 8,500.

The Baltimore Jewish community is among the oldest in America, with several synagogues dating back to before the Civil War.

Today, the area’s Jewish population numbers about 93,000, according to The Associated, Jewish Community Federation; about one-third of the city’s Jewish population identifies as Orthodox, compared with 13% nationally. A substantial portion of those are ultra-Orthodox who are drawn to the prominent Haredi institution Yeshivas Ner Yisroel.

The area’s burgeoning Orthodox population has driven down the circulation because the Orthodox community often rejects the newspaper, which accepts ads for nonkosher restaurants and publishes material that some deem offensive, such as stories about women rabbis.

In 2007, Jacobs, who replaced Rosenblatt, published an exposé on sexual misconduct and pederasty in the Orthodox rabbinate, which did nothing to close the gap. And an attempt by the Jewish Times to produce an edition expressly for the Orthodox community failed.

Rubin said the relationship “needs work.”

For the paper’s 40 employees, the roller-coaster ride has been a horror. Health insurance payments will keep the employees covered through April.

Contact Joel N. Shurkin at feedback@forward.com


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • British Jews are having their 'Open Hillel' moment. Do you think Israel advocacy on campus runs the risk of excluding some Jewish students?
  • "What I didn’t realize before my trip was that I would leave Uganda with a powerful mandate on my shoulders — almost as if I had personally left Egypt."
  • Is it better to have a young, fresh rabbi, or a rabbi who stays with the same congregation for a long time? What do you think?
  • Why does the leader of Israel's social protest movement now work in a beauty parlor instead of the Knesset?
  • What's it like to be Chagall's granddaughter?
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • 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.