The Last of the (Hebrew) Mohicans
Over a year ago I received a postcard informing me that the periodical Hadoar was ceasing publication. “We have been unsuccessful in our attempts to raise enough money . . . to maintain the current scope of our operations,” the senders wrote. Although they also held out the hope of providing “new, exciting, and innovative publications in the future,” this was clearly a death knell. After more than 80 years, the longest-running Hebrew periodical in the United States—in fact, one of the oldest existing Hebrew periodicals in the world—had come to the end of its road.
From the start, the journal had struggled. Less than a year after being launched as a daily in 1921, Hadoar became a weekly, published under the auspices of the Histadrut Ivrit of America, an organization for the promotion of Hebrew culture. For decades it continued in this form before devolving in recent years into a biweekly and then, in a last attempt at securing a fresh lease on life, a quarterly, published in partnership with the Hebrew College of Boston. Although the final issues contained interesting articles, literary criticism, and original poems and stories, the journal clearly could no longer command a readership or financial support. Hence the small white postcard, a gravemarker of Hebrew literary culture in America.
About the Author
Michael Weingrad teaches Hebrew and Jewish literature at Portland State University in Oregon. His essay, “The Last of the (Hebrew) Mohicans,” appeared in the March 2006 COMMENTARY.