Forward's Yiddish Website Will Tap New Markets

'Explosion' of Hasidim Offers Fresh Audience to Paper Online

Bright Future: Forward CEO Sam Norich works on the soon-to-be-launched Yiddish website.
nate lavey
Bright Future: Forward CEO Sam Norich works on the soon-to-be-launched Yiddish website.

By Reuters

Published January 30, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

The rapid revival of strict Orthodox Jewish communities that has shifted New York City’s religious demographics and transformed Israel’s political landscape has created a new market niche for a 115-year-old Yiddish newspaper.

Next Monday, Forverts (Forward) will launch a daily news website for Yiddish speakers who are bringing the language of Eastern Europe’s Ashkenazi Jews back from its near-death experience when millions of speakers died in the Holocaust.

The New York-based weekly, launched in 1897 as a crusading socialist daily for Jewish immigrants to the United States, has been in slow decline since 1945. It cut back to weekly from daily publishing in 1983 and launched an English-language weekly in 1990.

“The website is going for an international audience,” said associate editor Itzik Gottesman, noting the ranks of native speakers, mostly from Hasidic and yeshiva (religious school) backgrounds, was now booming in the United States, Israel and other countries.

“Research in New York City said there are 80,000 Hasidim who speak Yiddish at home. That population is exploding,” he said.

In Israel, Yiddish is the language of many Haredim (“those who tremble before God”), whose tradition of large families has propelled them from a tiny minority decades ago to a politically influential 10 percent bloc of the population.

About one-quarter of all Israeli first grade pupils are now from Haredi or “ultra-Orthodox” families. In the New York area, more than one-third of all Jewish children are Hasidic.

“We will have a growing Hasidic audience,” publisher Samuel Norich said by telephone from the paper’s office in lower Manhattan.

That prospect is not without irony. In its pre-war heyday, more pious Jews saw Forverts as anti-religion and “not kosher.” Although it covers religion, its editorial line is mostly secular and liberal.


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!
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?








You may also be interested in our English-language newsletters:













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

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.