Rav Avigdor Miller on the Jewish Press – a “Rag” With a Jewish Heart

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Q:
A few weeks ago the Rav referred to the Jewish Press as a “rag” and as “the mouthpiece of Orthodox Jewry from the other end.” I’ve seen many good things in the Jewish Press including advertisements for Rabbi Miller’s lectures. I’d appreciate it if you could elaborate on this subject.

A:
I want you to be mi’dayek in my words. I never said that it would be a good thing if The Jewish Press would close down. I never said that. Now, I have been saying that for years and years about The Morning Journal, a’lav ha’shnubbel, and The Forward, which I hope to soon be able to say upon it as well, “a’lav ha’shnubbel”. Those two newspapers – we can heartily wish them a speedy demise.
But The Jewish Press is different. When the Jewish Press first came out I took money out of my own pocket – I didn’t have any extra money in my pocket – and I made a deal with the editor, who at that time was Rav Simcha Weissman. I made a deal with him and he gave me a reduced price and I ordered twenty-three subscriptions. I paid half the bill out of my own pocket and the other half I got from the Synagogue and we had twenty-three people in the shul who were subscribed to The Jewish Press. In the beginning it was all idealism. And even though today it has changed a great deal and it has already earned this title – it has arrived at the point where it can be called a rag – I still say that I don’t wish it to close down. And that’s because there is nothing else right now. Let’s say some anti- Semitic senator or some ASPCA woman, like we had recently with that Mrs. Schmidt, cooks up a plot to attack shechita in Congress or in the State Legislature. Who’s going to speak up for shechita?! What?! Do you think the American Jewish Congress Weekly is going to speak up to help you? Ah nechtiga tug! Who will speak up for us?! The Jewish Press has a heart – they’ll speak up, they’ll shout. They’ll organize public opinion. And many other things. There’s no question about it.

And that’s why I never wished upon them that they should close down. But it’s like seeing a city bus going down the street. Now, you need the bus. You use the bus to get places. It’s helpful. But the bus has on its side pictures that are objectionable. So we do wish that someone would come along and tear off the pictures from the side of the bus. That’s what we wish for.

So therefore I’m doing the tearing – in my own little way. And maybe someone will hear about it and there’ll be some results. But I never said it should close down. Now, some might not agree with me but I say that we have to wait and see. If someone will ever establish another newspaper that is as effective as The Jewish Press and that has a circulation that is better than The Jewish Press, then we can wish The Jewish Press that they also join the dustbin of history. But for the time being, like the world says, “oib mir darfen a ganav, nemt em arup fun teliyah” – if you need a ganav, then take him off the gallows.

TAPE # 5