Boston’s Jewish Advocate: A Visual History of a Publishing Landmark

Introduction

Before shutting down in September of 2020, the Jewish Advocate was the oldest continually-circulated English language Jewish newspaper in the United States. The publication offered news pertinent to the local Jewish community of Boston as well as those nationally and internationally. Though originally founded as a local news periodical, it became a leading voice in the push for American Zionism around the 1910s and continued to support the movement up until its closure.

The Advocate was founded in 1902 as a monthly periodical for Mount Sinai Hospital, one of the first Jewish hospitals in Boston. It was then acquired by Jacob de Haas, an early Zionist leader who had moved to America at the request of Theodore Herzl. The paper went through numerous name changes under his leadership and eventually became the Jewish Advocate. After leaving to take the position of National Executive Director of the Zionist Organization of America under Louis D. Brandeis, de Haas sold the newspaper to Alexander Brin in 1917. Brin ran and greatly expanded the Advocate for 63 years until his death in 1980. Joseph G. Weisberg and Bernard J. Hyatt ran the paper from 1980-1984 and 1984-1990 respectively until Rabbi Y. A. Korff took over. Korff published the advocate until 2020 and oversaw its transition into the digital realm.

This map traces the history of the Jewish Advocate from 1902 to 2020, telling the story of the paper through discussion of five key buildings relevant to its development. Albert Ehrenfried’s book A Chronicle of Boston Jewry: From the Colonial Settlement to 1900 proved particularly helpful for this storymap. The Jewish Advocate’s own archives and website were essential to crafting the narrative of this map as well. Resources and references consulted are listed on the final slide and below.

The following story-map was created and built by Nate Gillin. The map is viewed best on desktop device.

Works Cited and Suggestions for Further Reading

Books and Journal Articles:

Brandeis, Louis Dembitz. Letters of Louis D. Brandeis. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1971.

Ehrenfried, Albert. A Chronicle of Boston Jewry : From the Colonial Settlement to 1900. Printed privately, 1963.

Geller, Stuart M. “Why Did Louis D. Brandeis Choose Zionism?” American Jewish Historical Quarterly 62, no. 4 (1973): 383-400.

Moore, Deborah Dash. “Book Reviews — First a Dream: The History of Boston’s Jewish Hospitals, 1896 to 1928 by Arthur J. Linenthal.” The Journal of American History 78, no. 4 (1992): 1470.

Neusner, Jacob. “Ehrenfried, Albert, “A Chronicle of Boston Jewry: From the Colonial Settlement to 1900″ (Book Review).” American Jewish Historical Quarterly 54, no. 3 (1965): 366.

Neusner, Jacob. “The Impact of Immigration and Philanthropy upon the Boston Jewish Community (1880-1914).” Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society 46, no. 2 (1956): 71-85.

Ross, Michael A. BostonWalks’ the Jewish Friendship Trail, Guidebook to Jewish Historic Sites of Boston, 1841-1926. Belmont, MA: BostonWalks, 2003.

The Reference Register: A Compendium for General Business Reference, Comprising the Financial, Commercial, Industrial and Legal Interests of New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Boston, and Newark N.J. New York: White, Orr & Company, 1918.

Wolfson, Adam. “The Boston Jewish Community and the Rise of Nazism, 1933-1939.” Jewish Social Studies 48, no. 3/4 (1986): 305-14.

Media:

“Alexander Brin, Publisher, Dead; Headed Boston Jewish Advocate.” The New York Times (New York, N.Y), 1980.

“Birthday of an Idea.” The Jewish Advocate (Boston, Mass.) (Boston), 1997.

Eisenberg, Ronald. “Prayer, Part 1.” The Jewish Advocate, August 05, 2020.

Gordon, Andrew M. “Jewish Orgs Misguided About Black Lives Matter.” The Jewish Advocate, September 09, 2016. 

Hogan, Cara. “Giving the Gift that Gives.” The Jewish Advocate, December 19, 2008.

Kagedan, Binyamin. “A Pop Playlist for Passover.” The Jewish Advocate, April 11, 2014.

Restuccia, Paul. “Six Levels of Luxury.” The Boston Herald, June 23, 2012.

Ross, Michael A. “Beacon Hill Residences Evoke Life of Famous Boston Lawyer, U.S. Justice.” The Jewish Advocate (Boston, Mass.) (Boston), 1998.

Digital Resources:

A Selection of Historic Front Pages of The Jewish Advocate

The West End Museum 

Y.M.H.A. and Hecht House Collection, American Ancestors

Jewish Virtual Library 

1994 Brin Forum at Brandeis, History of the Jewish Press 

The Jewish Advocate Obituary Database at Jewish Gen

The Jewish Advocate ‘Seeking Kin’ Database at Jewish Gen

The Jewish Advocate Wedding Announcements Database at Jewish Gen

Interview with Grand Rabbi Korff, New Austrian Information

Referenced Groups and Organizations:

Beth Israel Hospital 

The Jewish Advocate

The Zionist Organization of America