The Forward Association, a 107-year-old nonprofit group, will sell its Russian-language newspaper to Mitzvah Media Group, the media arm of Russian American Jews for Israel, a nonprofit advocacy group. Samuel Norich, chief executive of the Forward Association, announced the sale Wednesday.
The weekly Russian Forward currently provides news, opinion and analysis to tens of thousands of readers, primarily in the New York area. As one of the few Russian-language journals offering a Jewish perspective without a religious agenda, it is a valued voice in a community often struggling to understand its history and traditions. Unlike many of the other Russian newspapers that are editorially allied with Russia and other former Soviet countries, the Russian Forward focuses readers’ attention on America and Israel. Competing news outlets have copied many of the Russian Forward’s innovations, including groundbreaking coverage of the Bukharan community.
“We created the Russian Forward to assist and inform Russian immigrants in the United States, much as the Yiddish Forward helped our parents and grandparents,” Norich said. “Now we believe RAJI will be able to further that important mission.”
RAJI was founded in 2002 to give Russian American Jews — nearly 90% of whom have friends and family in Israel — a means to organize, unite and express support for Israel. Founder and President Daniel Igor Branovan, a New York surgeon, is also active in the UJA-Federation and was recently elected a member of the board of governors of the American Jewish Committee, where he co-chairs a national committee on Russian Jewish Affairs.
With the sale, the Forward Association will focus on its core products, the English Forward and the Yiddish Forward. The English-language Forward, founded in 1990, is the nation’s only national, independent Jewish weekly, and offers rigorous reporting and balanced, thoughtful commentary on today’s cultural and political scene. It offers readers in-depth coverage of Jewish culture and the arts, along with profiles, politics, opinion pieces and exclusive analysis of news in Israel, the United States and the world. The Yiddish Forward, or Forverts, is a unique publication featuring news and original writing in Yiddish; once one of America’s most influential dailies, it has showcased authors such as Isaac Bashevis Singer and Elie Wiesel.
Both the English and the Yiddish Forward newspapers plan to expand their coverage of the American Russian Jewish community. This will allow the Forward Association to continue to serve the Russian Jewish community, while offering the broader American Jewish community important insight about the concerns of Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet lands. The Association hopes to foster ties within American Jewry in keeping with its mission of advocacy for Jewish peoplehood, Yiddish culture, and social and economic justice.