Chicago Jewish Post & Opinion
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The database of the Chicago Jewish Post & Opinion was funded by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois (JSGI), which used part of a bequest received from the estate of Peggy Morrow, former long-time editor of Morasha, the JGSI newsletter. The database was derived from nine microfilm reels and includes over 13,000 images from 831 issues published between August 1962 and December 1981.
The National Jewish Post & Opinion was edited and published by Gabriel Murrel Cohen (1908-2007) for 75 years. At various points in time, separate editions were also published for Chicago, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, and New York.
Mr. Cohen graduated from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill in May of 1930. He then returned to where he was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. After working for a newspaper for a few months, he founded the Chronicler-Spokesman which combined the bulletin of Adath Jeshurun with the newsletter of the Young Men's Hebrew Association. The first issue came out on December 26, 1930. In November, 1933, it was renamed Spokesman. He also used the name The Kentucky Jewish Chronicle at various times. In March 1933, Leonard Rothschild began publishing The Jewish Post in Indianapolis. Mr. Cohen purchased this paper in the fall of 1935. In 1937 when the Ohio River flooded 60% of the City of Louisville, including Mr. Cohen's office where they were printing the newspapers, he moved up to Indianapolis and that became his headquarters. He kept an office in Louisville until 2003 when The Kentucky Jewish Post & Opinion closed. 1944, he co-founded the American Jewish Press Association. In 1946, he changed the name of his newspaper to The National Jewish Post.
In 1957, the National Jewish Post merged with The Opinion, a weekly magazine founded by Rabbi Stephen S. Wise in 1931, to become the National Jewish Post & Opinion. Ted Cohen, son of publisher Gabriel Cohen, was the editor of The Chicago Jewish Post & Opinion from 1974-1978. Besides having a byline of "Teddy Cohen", at times he also used "T. Cohen". Born and raised in Indianapolis, he made Aliyah to Israel in 1962, lived two years on Kibbutz Hamaapil, and got a bachelor's degree in Arabic Literature from Hebrew University. While at the university he met a Sabra, Miriam Weiss. They married in 1964, had two daughters and Ted served in the Israeli Army from 1970-1973. The family of four moved to the United States in 1973 where Ted worked in the newspaper's New York office for one year. Their son was born there before they moved to Chicago. While in Chicago Ted got a masters degree in Arabic Literature from the University of Chicago. Eventually they all returned to live in Israel, where he and his wife have nine grandchildren. For the newspaper, Ted mostly wrote about news and events in Chicago and the suburbs.
Over the years, several people with Chicago connections were regular contributors to the pages of the newspaper:
- Moshe Kohn, who worked for the Jerusalem Post for more than 30 years, got his start as a freelance writer with the National Jewish Post & Opinion in 1951 while he was studying at the University of Chicago after having earned a bachelor’s degree in social psychology from Roosevelt University. Before moving to New York in 1954 and then to Jerusalem in 1957, he served for a time as the managing editor of the National Jewish Post & Opinion.
- Claire Aronson wrote a regular column called Chicago Editorial from 1966 to 1974 on a great variety of Jewish organizational, literary and historical topics. She often commented on events and personalities of the local Chicago Jewish community.
- Rhoda Hauptman wrote an opinion column that was published in the Chicago edition called Visiting with Rhoda Hauptman from 1966 to 1981. Her topics of interest ranged from her own personal experiences in life to universal matters that everyone has to deal with. She often wrote of her membership in various Jewish organizations—local and national—as well as how to handle personal quandaries, such as what gifts to buy for young grandsons.
- Yossi Klein Halevi, who would go on to earn a master’s degree in journalism at Northwestern University and later became a prominent Israeli writer, wrote a Young Jewish Activist column for the newspaper under the name Yossi Klein from 1972 to 1976. The Soviet Jewry movement was one of his favorite causes to discuss in his columns, along with such groups as the Jewish Defense League.
- Rabbi Elliot B. Gertel, who was the leader of Congregation Rodfei Zedek in Chicago from 1988 to 2013, was the media critic for the National Jewish Post & Opinion for more than 30 years, his first column appearing in 1979. He often commented on movies and TV shows of Jewish interest.
- Mrs. A. Helen Feinn, writing under the Yiddish name Henya Chaiet, contributed a Yiddish column with English translations from 2012 to 2014 for the National Jewish Post & Opinion. It included reminiscences of her youth from the 1930s in Chicago, such as: “Vehn mir hauben gehven klayeh kinder in shtaut Chicahgeh flegen dee zummers zein zayre hays. Mir hauben nisht geh kent chappen dem autem in hoyz. (When we were small children living in the city of Chicago, summers were very hot. You could not catch your breath indoors.)”
Two editions remain today, The Indiana Jewish Post & Opinion and The National Jewish Post & Opinion.
Thank you to the Jewish Post & Opinion for permission to digitize and provide free public access. Additional issues, particularly from Indiana, are available at https://go.usa.gov/xn7ay. Website: https://jewishpostopinioncom. The National Library of Israel plans to post issues in the future. Other valuable Jewish genealogy information for Illinois can be found at www.jgsi.org.