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Boston’s 118-year-old Jewish Advocate suspends publication

Weekly founded by Herzl says declining advertising revenue, worsened by pandemic, hasn’t been offset by contributions and organizational support; says it plans a digital edition

President Harry Truman poses with a committee from the American Association of English-Jewish newspapers in Washington, on Feb. 21, 1949 including fourth from right, Dr. Alexander Brin of the Boston Jewish Advocate (AP Photo/Henry Griffin)
President Harry Truman poses with a committee from the American Association of English-Jewish newspapers in Washington, on Feb. 21, 1949 including fourth from right, Dr. Alexander Brin of the Boston Jewish Advocate (AP Photo/Henry Griffin)

JTA — The Jewish Advocate, a 118-year-old newspaper in Boston founded by Theodor Herzl, is the latest victim of the coronavirus crisis.

The weekly announced Wednesday that it will suspend publication.

“The decline of advertising revenue and now in the current pandemic its virtual disappearance, has not been sufficiently offset by contributions and organizational support, and The Jewish Advocate has been left with no alternative but to suspend publication,” the Advocate said on the front page of its Sept. 25 issue.

“Please know that we have done everything in our power to continue for as long as possible, and it is with tears in our eyes that we concluded that our decision to suspend publication is a sad but necessary response to this crisis.”

Theodor Herzl

The paper said that plans are being developed to launch a digital edition focusing on advocacy for Jews, the Jewish community and Israel, thus allowing the Advocate “to continue the mission envisioned by Theodor Herzl,” the journalist and political activist behind modern Zionism, in founding the paper.

Financial stress has taken a toll on a number of major Jewish newspapers, including several for whom the drop-off in advertising during the pandemic spelled disaster. The Canadian Jewish News, for example, ceased publication in April, and The New York Jewish Week announced in July that it was going online only at the close of that month.

Two longstanding British Jewish newspapers also announced that they would shutter because of the pandemic, though they later changed those plans and remained open with different management.

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