|Owner||Gershon Jacobson Jewish Continuity Foundation|
The Algemeiner Journal is a New York-based weekly newspaper, covering American and international Jewish and Israel-related news. It is printed in English, with a small Yiddish section. Fox News called it “the fastest growing Jewish newspaper in the United States.”
Its website, Algemeiner.com, is the first and only global Jewish news outlet also targeting a secular and non-Jewish audience. The all-English site is updated throughout the day, and has been referred to as “the Jewish Huffington Post,” due to its similar democratized content model, with a combination of feature writers and bloggers.
The inaugural issue was published by Der Algemeiner Journal Corporation on February 23, 1972. The ten-page paper was priced at 25 cents. Twenty thousand issues were printed. Der Algemeiner Journal aimed to fill the gap created by the 1971 closing of the daily Yiddish paper Der Tog Morgen Zhurnal, for whom Jacobson had written and served as its city editor. The largest circulation Yiddish weekly in the United States, Der Algemeiner Journal emphasized Jewish community news, with a politically independent viewpoint, and did not hesitate to report on tensions between rival Hasidic sects, most notably Lubavitch and Satmar. Although Jacobson himself was an observant Jew, he was not formally affiliated with any sect. According to the New York Times, he "defied easy categorization."
In 1994, in response to the increasing marginalization of the Yiddish language, Der Algemeiner Journal began printing a four-page English supplement in the middle of the paper, bringing in a wider and more diverse Jewish audience. In May 2005, after Gershon Jacobson's passing, his elder son, Simon Jacobson, became the Publisher of the Algemeiner. He then founded the Gershon Jacobson Jewish Continuity Foundation (GJCF), a Jewish media organization whose mission is to fight ignorance, apathy and divisiveness. In 2009, The Algemeiner Journal was reconceived as an English publication with a small Yiddish section, dropping the Yiddish “Der” in its title for “The”. That year, Dovid Efune became the Editor-In-Chief of the Algemeiner and Managing Director of the GJCF.
In 2011, the GJCF launched the website Algemeiner.com. The all-English site has been referred to as “the Jewish Huffington Post,” due to its similar democratized content model, with a combination of feature writers and bloggers.
Content and Circulation
The Algemeiner Journal is published weekly every Friday, except for the weeks of Passover and Sukkot. The paper’s circulation is between 18,000 and 23,000. It is sold at newsstands internationally and is available for subscription. It can also be viewed as an ePaper on Algemeiner.com. The website is updated throughout the day.
Contributors and bloggers include Elie Wiesel, Dore Gold, David Brog, Jonathan Sacks, Shmuley Boteach, Daniel Pipes, Abraham Foxman, Alan Dershowitz, Shlomo Shamir, Don Seeman, Morton Klein, Oleksandr Feldman, Danny Danon, Ronn Torossian, Robert S. Wistrich, Irwin Cotler, Danny Ben-Moshe, Malcolm Thomson, John Bolton, Ron Agam, Arik Elman, Josh Hasten, Gabriel Martindale, Moshe Averick, Jeremy Rosen, Laurent Samama, Sam Westrop, Gabriel Latner, Irit Felsen, Bernard Starr, Simcha Weinstein, Vanessa Van Petten, Tony Rebuck and Oliver Karp. Algemeiner articles and blogs have been referenced in various news media outlets, including The Guardian, New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Huffington Post, Jerusalem Post, Arab News, American Spectator, Haaretz, New Yorker, Yahoo! Sports and Fox News. Dovid Efune’s weekly Algemeiner column also appears in the Huffington Post, and often in the Jerusalem Post. The Philadelphia Inquirer has called the Algemeiner “a major Jewish newspaper.”
Publisher Simon Jacobson has said the paper attempts to maintain an “authentic Jewish perspective on the news” by presenting the universal Jewish perspective on current events to people of all backgrounds, including secular readers.
Notable Stories and Controversies
In 1989, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, while a Republican mayoral candidate, created a stir when his campaign took out a full-page ad in Der Algemeiner Journal showing Giuliani chatting with President George Bush, and his Democratic competitor in the mayoral race, David Dinkins, shaking hands with Jesse Jackson. This was seen as an attempt to gain the Jewish vote by grouping Dinkins with the controversial Rev. Jackson, who had referred to New York City as “Hymietown” (later apologizing).
Kushner's Honorary Degree From CUNY
In 2011, City University of New York rescinded an offer of an honorary degree to Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner, after he was accused of being overly critical of Israel by CUNY trustee and pro-Israel activist Jeffrey Wiesenfeld. Kushner strongly denied the allegations, declaring himself “proud to be Jewish” and calling Wiesenfeld’s portrayal of him a “grotesque caricature.” Wiesenfeld responded with an op-ed on Algemeiner.com, defending his stance and calling Kushner an extremist. Past CUNY honorees Barbara Ehrenreich and Michael Cunningham asked to return their honorary degrees in protest of CUNY's treatment of Kushner. Ronn Torossian defended Wiesenfeld in the Algemeiner, writing that Wiesenfeld “should be commended for speaking truth to power,” while former New York mayor Ed Koch and the CUNY faculty union called for Wiesenfeld’s resignation.
The CUNY board ultimately reversed its decision, awarding Kushner the honorary degree.
Gaddafi Attempts to Hire a PR Firm
When Muammar Gaddafi's Libyan regime was falling, he attempted to hire a public relations firm to influence public opinion in his favor. The Algemeiner were the first to publish the full text of an email sent by Libyan official Ali Darwish to worldwide PR firms. Many PR firms who received the email assumed it was a hoax, but it was confirmed as legitimate by an official at the Libyan Mission in New York.
Twelfth-century Jewish scholar Maimonides, who is often cited as the father of modern Jewish intellectualism, was mentioned alongside Muslim scholars in UNESCO's December 2010 report on science in the Arab world. Several Jewish blogs and websites called out UNESCO for making it appear as if Maimonides is a Muslim scholar. In an email to the Algemeiner's Shmuel Bruck, UNESCO admitted the error, writing, "UNESCO acknowledges that there was indeed an important and regrettable error in the chapter devoted to Arab States in the UNESCO Science Report published in 2006, which refers to Maimonides as a Muslim scholar."
Annual Events and Lists
Since 2006, in conjunction with the Gershon Jacobson Foundation, the Algemeiner hosts an annual lecture series featuring a politician, Jewish leader or scholar. In 2011, Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman spoke on politics and religion. He referred to the Algemeiner as an “independent truth-telling advocate for the Jewish people and Israel.”
Beginning in 2010, the Algemeiner has put out its list of the top non-Jews having a positive influence in shaping the Jewish future. Media mogul Rupert Murdoch and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper earned the top slots in 2010 and 2011, respectively.
As a prelude to the 2012 Republican primaries, the Algemeiner ranked the party's eight candidates in order of how good they would be for Israel. Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich were viewed as the three best candidates for Israel, while Ron Paul was viewed as the least beneficial for Israel's needs.
- Fox News, July 2010.
- “The Jewish Answer to Huffington Post,” Shturem.org, February 21, 2011.
- Margalit Fox, “Gershon Jacobson, 70, Founder and Editor of Yiddish Journal, Is Dead,” New York Times, June 2, 2005.
- “New Yiddish Weekly Launched,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, February 24, 1972.
- “A New Yiddish Weekly Makes Its Appearance,” New York Times, February 24, 1972.
- “Yiddish Journalist Gershon Jacobson, 71,” The Forward, June 3, 2005.
- Elli Wohlgelernter, “Head of Yiddish paper comes ‘from a different school,’” Jweekly, May 18, 2001.
- GJCF mission statement
- “Algemeiner Journal,” Mondo Times.
- “Featured Writers,” Algemeiner.com.
- P.K. Abdul Ghafour, “OIC raps Canadian PM’s anti-Islam tirade,” Arab News, September 13, 2011.
- Dovid Efune, "A Wikileaks Lesson," American Spectator, December 7, 2010.
- Naomi Zeveloff, "Orthodox rabbis protest gay marriage, calling it 'desecration of Torah values,'" Haaretz, November 12, 2011.
- David Remnick, "The Jewish conversation: New Yorker's discuss Yitzhak Rabin's assassination and the lethal power of words," New Yorker, November 20, 1995.
- Greg Wyshynski, “Puck Previews: Blues vs. Red Wings; Sidney Crosby concerns,” Yahoo! Sports, December 27, 2011.
- Faye Flam, “Yellow Cat Offers Rebuttal to Creationist Rabbi,” Philadelphia Inquirer, January 5, 2012.
- Sam Roberts, “Mayoral Rivals in New York Juggling the Jackson Factor,” New York Times, September 29, 1989.
- Paul Harris, “Tony Kushner row deepens as supporters renounce honorary degrees,” The Guardian, May 6, 2011.
- Peter Catapano, “A Matter of Degrees,” New York Times, May 6, 2011.
- Jeffrey S. Wiesenfeld, “Tony Kushner, an Extremist, Can’t Represent CUNY,” Algemeiner Journal, May 5, 2011.
- Jordana Horn, “CUNY trustee asked to resign over anti-Palestinian comments,” Jerusalem Post, May 13, 2011.
- Winnie Hu, “After Reversal, Honor Is Likely for Kushner,” New York Times, May 6, 2011.
- "Exclusive: Full Text of Gaddafi Email to PR Firms," Algemeiner Journal, July 31, 2011.
- "Suspected Hoax Email About Enhancing Gaddafi's Image Turns Out To Be Legitimate," PRWeek, August 4, 2011.
- Shmuel Bruck, "EXCLUSIVE: UNESCO Acknowledges Labeling Maimonides as Muslim," Algemeiner Journal, August 17, 2011.
- “Religion and Politics: Senator Joseph Lieberman,” TorahCafe.com.
- Dovid Efune, "Top 10 Non-Jews Positively Influencing the Jewish Future," Algemeiner Journal, August 29, 2011.
- Dovid Efune, "6 Most Influential Non-Jews Positively Influencing Jewish Future," Algemeiner Journal, May 26, 2010.
- Dovid Efune, "Republican Presidential Candidates on Israel: Separate and Unequal," Algemeiner Journal, November 25, 2011.