Orthodox Jewish revival opens niche for Yiddish news

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.

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.


I find it interesting that, in Israel, among the Haredim (often refereed to in the news as “ultra-Orthodox”) Yiddish is often spoken.

And that 25% of Israeli children in first grade are Haredim, Currently, they comprise 10% of the population, which givens a sense of their demographic influence.

Here is some more information about the new website:

“Our site is not intended to be for everybody. Some will be offended by the photographs of women,” Norich said. Some ultra-Orthodox publications never print pictures of women.

Forverts’ Yiddish website will include blogs by Hasidic writers, retaining the slightly different grammar and spelling they use. But the authors will hide behind pseudonyms to avoid criticism from their own communities.

One problem is that many potential visitors to the website can’t easily read Yiddish. Younger fans may have studied it at universities as a foreign language, while older Jews spoke it with parents or grandparents but never learned to read it.

The website will help those who speak Yiddish, but can’t read it by providing audio reports and videos with English subtitles.

A sort of related note, a friend of mine just posted an article on Facebook about the eventual return of Patriarchy, listing a lot of reasons but ultimately getting to the fact that, in their study of history, it’s a natural cycle and more so that conservative families are going to be making up more and more of future populations because they have more children than more liberal or secular families.

The author pointed out that in, say, a population of ten women, if five are conservative and five are liberal, it is more likely that the conservative women will have more than one child a piece, whereas the liberal families will have one-zero. As a result the next generation will contain more like seven conservative women and three liberal. Of course some will reject their parent’s teachings, but still, if I have four kids and my liberal friend has one, the numbers get skewed very quickly.

In a smaller population, like “Ultra-Orthodox” Jews, this trend may be more obvious more quickly.

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