The Forward (Yiddish: פֿאָרווערטס, romanized: Forverts), formerly known as The Jewish Daily Forward, is an news media organization for a Jewish American audience. Founded in 1897 as a Yiddish-language daily socialist newspaper, The New York Times reported that Seth Lipsky "started an English-language offshoot of the Yiddish-language newspaper" as a weekly newspaper in 1990.

Quotes about The Forward edit

  • I could not bring myself to touch the Tageblat, and I did not find in the Forverts what I expected to be published in a socialist newspaper, either. Soon thereafter, news reached these shores of the savage pogrom in Kishinev. Jewish newspapers were full of horrible accounts. It became pretty obvious that the Forverts and the Tageblat were competing with one another in scratching the deep wounds of the people in order to win more readership. Forverts won the race; it was actually at this point that it began its phenomenal rise, which no other Jewish newspaper could ever match. But in my eyes this made it even more obnoxious than Sarasohn’s overtly nationalist rag.
  • The Yiddish newspaper The Forward was a lifeline for Jewish immigrants in New York during the first half of the 1900s. Its beloved advice column, "a Bintel Brief," was introduced in 1906 by the paper's editor, Abraham Cahan. The letters Cahan received from his readers were full of the kind of raw desperation and hopefulness we all feel, under everything. They are timeless.
    • Liana Finck Author's Note to A Bintel Brief: Love and Longing in Old New York (2014)
  • It was, as he (Abraham Cahan) conceived it, not just a place to report the news, but a kind of "living novel." It told the story of its time and place from the front cover to the back page, through every news report, opinion column, cartoon, poem, recipe, essay, political polemic, and theater review. The Forward, in the end, would be his greatest work of literature. Like other newspapers of its time, the Forward published literature in a more conventional sense as well. In its early days this consisted mostly of translations-Tolstoy was a favorite-but the Forward soon became associated with the most talented Yiddish writers of the day, from Sholem Asch and Avrom Reyzen in its early decades to Isaac Bashevis Singer and Chaim Grade in later ones. Under the leadership of Cahan and his successors, the newspaper became home to serialized novels and novellas, humor sketches and one-act plays, "high literature" and sensational potboilers. Often the paper would be running two or three novels at once, in addition to short fiction, belles-lettres, and poetry. For more than a century the Forward produced an immense trove of literature
    • Ezra Glinter, Preface to Have I Got a Story for You: More Than a Century of Fiction from the Forward (2016)
  • the sheer journalism that the newspaper produced over the decades: a 1934 front-page story by Israel Joshua Singer describing a rally of some 20,000 American Nazi supporters at Madison Square Garden; a 1967 profile of David Ben-Gurion by Elie Wiesel; pieces by Isaac Bashevis Singer on everything from the Lubavitcher Rebbe to experiments in hypnotism and extrasensory perception.
    • Ezra Glinter, Preface to Have I Got a Story for You: More Than a Century of Fiction from the Forward (2016)
  • For the better part of a hundred years, the Forward was the newspaper of record for American Jews-and not merely for American Jews, but for Ashkenazi Jewish culture as a whole. While many other Yiddish-language publications thrived in the Americas, in pre-Holocaust Europe, and elsewhere in the world, none came close to the Forward's reach. At its peak, the Forward's daily circulation exceeded 250,000 copies, a number that all but a handful of English-language publications today would envy. With size came stature and influence. This marquee publication had the power to attract the most talented writers of the time both domestically and overseas, and even in some cases to sponsor them for American immigration. The Forward's journalistic mission went deeper than just reporting current events. The paper's most influential editor, Abraham Cahan, used it to change the Yiddish language itself, teaching immigrant readers English while they were still reading in Yiddish. The appearance of such Anglicized expressions as makhn a lebn (to make a living), which did not exist in European Yiddish, were not merely descriptions of how readers spoke, but prescriptions for how they should speak. A Forward reader was expected to become an American as quickly as possible, with help from the Forward. With its foreign correspondents, coverage of matters ignored by the English-language press, advice columns for new Americans, even the adjustments to the Yiddish language-all this would suffice to make the Forward the "paper of record" of the Ashkenazi world.
    • Dara Horn Introduction to Have I Got a Story for You: More Than a Century of Fiction from the Forward edited by Ezra Glinter (2016)
  • this is what really made the Forward the newspaper of record for Ashkenazi Jews the world over: its record of private emotional experiences that would never make headlines. This record exists in the paper's published literary the Forward's fiction we find something greater and truer: a psychological record of the invention of American Jews.
    • Dara Horn Introduction to Have I Got a Story for You: More Than a Century of Fiction from the Forward edited by Ezra Glinter (2016)
  • The Forward had been conceived as a newspaper for the future. But by dint of its language, the successful assimilation of its earliest readers, and the mass murder of the majority of the world's Yiddish speakers, within fifty years it had become a newspaper of the past.
    • Dara Horn Introduction to Have I Got a Story for You: More Than a Century of Fiction from the Forward edited by Ezra Glinter (2016)
  • The Forverts, socialist and anti-Zionist, even-handedly reflected its antinationalist politics in opposition to African American nationalism, while the Zionist Tageblatt and Morgen with equal consistency favored nationalist politics, for Jews and blacks alike.
  • The multitude of Jewish options that existed before World War II are ones which most nonobservant U.S. Ashkenazi Jews are hardly familiar with, much less recognize...Before World War II many Yiddish-speaking European Jews were already rejecting observance and secularism. Eager to assimilate, they deliberately abandoned their Jewish language and culture. The well-known letters (Bintl Brif) of Der forverts (The Jewish Daily Forward), the thirties English stories of Anzia Yezierska, and the more modern forties and fifties Yiddish stories of Kadia Molodowsky describe this assimilation minutely.
    • Irena Klepfisz "Khaloymes/Dreams in Progress: Culture, Politics, and Jewish Identity" in Dreams of an Insomniac: Jewish Feminist Essays, Speeches and Diatribes (1990)
  • The Forward, a Yiddish daily newspaper in America which celebrated its seventieth anniversary in 1967, played an important role in helping the Eastern European Jewish immigrants transplant and adjust themselves to American life...[it] was primarily a workingman's newspaper, attracted many of the immigrants who had become shopworkers. The paper began to teach them about trade unionism. It explained in their mother tongue how important it was for them to be organized, to unite to fight for higher wages, shorter working hours and decent treatment by the bosses. And the newcomers, who were lonely here, clung to the Forward in turn as to a newfound friend. It became their teacher and guide. The newspaper concerned itself with their lot, spoke to their hearts and quickly gained their respect and confidence. It is no exaggeration to say that the pages of the Forward over the seven decades contain a true epical history of the Jewish mass immigration and the immigrants' adaptation to life in this country. The saga of their struggles, achievements and contributions to the country were written into the day-by-day news. All sorts of articles, literary novels, sketches and special features were printed in this newspaper. One of these features in the Forward was and still is the "Bintel Brief."
    • Isaac Metzker Introduction to A Bintel Brief: Sixty Years of Letters from the Lower East Side to the Jewish Daily Forward (1971)
  • Mr. Cahan, who became well known as a talented author with his novel, The Rise of David Levinsky, and other works, was a strong advocate of realism. He not only printed realistic stories by well-known writers but made an effort to bring the reality of Jewish life in America into his newspaper. Through light articles he inspired and encouraged the readers to write to the Forward about any unusual events in their own lives, and about their own problems. Mr. Cahan firmly believed that "truth is stranger than fiction," and as far back as 1903 planned a special feature for the newspaper in which the readers could express themselves, a section of the paper which would mirror real life...He maintained that the Forward should not devote itself exclusively to trade unionism, to political and social problems. From the outset, he broadened the interests of the paper and enlivened it with varied reading material, including light articles dealing with daily life. The daily newspaper thus drew readers from all strata and classes.
    • Isaac Metzker, Introduction to A Bintel Brief: Sixty Years of Letters from the Lower East Side to the Jewish Daily Forward (1971)
  • Abraham Cahan wrote in his memoirs (1929) the following about the "Bintel Brief": "People often need the opportunity to be able to pour out their heavy-laden hearts. Among our immigrant masses this need was very marked. Hundreds of thousands of people, tom from their homes and their dear ones, were lonely souls who thirsted for expression, who wanted to hear an opinion, who wanted advice in solving their weighty problems. The 'Bintel Brief' created just this opportunity for them. Many of the letters we receive are poorly written and we must correct or rewrite them. Some of the letters are not written directly by the people who seek the advice, but by others who do it for them. It has even become a special occupation for certain people to write letters for those who cannot write. There also appeared small signs with the inscription 'Here letters are written to the "Bintel Brief."' [The price for writing such a letter ranged from twenty-five to fifty cents. I.M.] Often the professional 'Bintel Brief' writer let himself go with his own eloquence, but this, naturally, was deleted. And from time to time men and women came to the editorial office to ask that someone write a letter for them about their problems. Through the 'Bintel Brief' mothers have found the children they had lost many years ago...The name of the feature, 'Bintel Brief,' became so popular that it is often used as a part of American Yiddish. When we speak of an interesting event in family life, you can hear a comment like 'A remarkable story-just for the "Bintel Brief."" Other times you can hear, 'It's like a "Bintel Brief" story!' Many of the themes from the letters have been used by writers of dramas and sketches for their works, because a world of literary import can be found in them. The first few years I used to answer all the letters myself. I did it with the greatest pleasure, because in the letters one sees a rare panorama of human souls and because I also had a literary interest in the work."
    • Isaac Metzker, Introduction to A Bintel Brief: Sixty Years of Letters from the Lower East Side to the Jewish Daily Forward (1971)
  • Abraham Cahan, the editor of the Forward from its founding in 1897 until shortly before his death in 1951, was eager to help these immigrants. He was aware of their many problems and knew that they had no one to talk to. In 1906 he started an advice column called "A Bintel Brief" (A Bundle of Letters), which was an immediate success. The paper was soon inundated with letters to the editor, which Cahan answered in simple, straightforward language. From the beginning, the letter writers respected him and trusted his advice. The more intellectual readers of the newspaper ridiculed Cahan, saying that instead of raising the stature of the immigrants, he was stooping to their level in the "Bintel Brief." His answer was that in order to help a child who has fallen, one has first to bend down to lift him up. The poverty of these immigrants was very great, and this was reflected in their letters to the column. This is one of the thousands of letters that Cahan received: "My husband left me and our three children in desperate need. My youngest child is six months old. I want to sell my three beautiful children, not for money, but for a secure home for them where they will have enough food to eat, also warm clothing for the winter and loving care."
    • Isaac Metzker Introduction to A Bintel brief, volume II : letters to the Jewish Daily Forward, 1950-1980 (1981)
  • Newspapers published many articles about the terrible conditions on Ellis Island. Among these newspapers was the Jewish Daily Forward, the major Yiddish-language daily in America. In 1909 the Forward received a letter signed by one hundred Jewish men and boys who were being held on Ellis Island, describing their bitter lot and the dreadful conditions in which they were held. The protests and articles generated by this letter forced Washington to take notice of the problem.
    • Isaac Metzker Introduction to A Bintel brief, volume II : letters to the Jewish Daily Forward, 1950-1980 (1981)
  • Cahan's Forverts remained an outspoken socialist newspaper allied with Eugene Debs's recently established Socialist Party. But the daily permitted diversity of opinion and struck a popular, even sensationalistic tone. In this sense, the contest between Krants's social democratic rectitude and Cahan's social democratic yellow journalism-evident in the earliest days of Di arbeter tsaytung-concluded in Cahan's favor. To be sure, Cahan faced constant criticism from staff writers and members of the Forverts Association, yet challengers never succeeded in dislodging him. Under Cahan's editorship the Forverts became the most popular Yiddish daily, and among the most popular foreign-language newspapers, in the United States.
    • Tony Michels A Fire in Their Hearts: Yiddish Socialists in New York (2005)
  • After thirty-five years of support for the Socialist Party, the Forverts endorsed Franklin Roosevelt for president and the garment unions established the American Labor Party to allow Left-Wingers to vote for Roosevelt while preserving their independence.
    • Tony Michels A Fire in Their Hearts: Yiddish Socialists in New York (2005)
  • Abe Cahan had left Russia as a boy to escape tsarist persecution. But instead of hailing the success of his Russian brothers, he had turned against them and not only would not listen to my reports of their achievements, but himself became one of the most vicious of anti-Soviet slanderers, vying with Hearst in publishing articles by renegades and reactionaries in his paper The Forward.
  • Recent studies delving into the Yiddish radical milieu describe a range of nuanced attitudes towards religion. Annie Polland demonstrated the intellectual and social ties between ‘radical’ and ‘religious’ readers of the Yiddish socialist daily Forverts at the very beginning of the 20th century. Editors of the paper sought ways to reach a wider audience and it becomes clear that as early as in 1900 one cannot assume a clear distinction between a religious and a secular milieu: “The Forverts’ debates point to the vigour with which Jewish immigrants and their organizations wrestled with religion. They are especially significant in showing how religion and reactions to it did not disappear with the waning of religious authority, but rather became all the more pressing.”
  • It’s actively seeking to sacrifice the left in the service of clicks. To me, The Forward was once the pinnacle of the politically active Jewish left in America. It was an American institution; it no longer has that institutional or cultural imprimatur.

External links edit

Wikipedia has an article about: