Certain Jewish elements suffering from an inferiority complex are inclined to believe that the general press is superior to the Jewish press and that the average American editor is more intelligent than the average editor of a Jewish publication.
This is not so. To be a Jewish editor is much more difficult than to be an editor of an English paper. To write on Jewish subjects in connection with world politics one must know more than the politics of this or that country.
While the work of a non-Jewish journalist is usually limited to one particular field, the work of the Jewish journalist is many-sided. The editor of a Jewish newspaper in America must be thoroughly versed not only in Jewish affairs but also in general life. He must know not only Jewish history but the histories of all nations and all times. He must know the geography of all European countries and of the countries in the Near East. He must know languages. He must be able to watch political events in many countries abroad. He must have a good background in international affairs.
A MANY-SIDED PERSONALITY
Peter Wiernick, the editor-in-chief of the Jewish Morning Journal whose seventieth birthday will be celebrated in New York tomorrow, is such an editor. There are few subjects of which Mr. Wiernick has not a fundamental knowledge. There is hardly an event of significance upon which Mr. Wiernick could not comment with profound authority.
To the small circle of people who happen to know Mr. Wiernick intimately, he is a living encyclopedia. Shy, modest, and studious, he enjoys the deep respect of his collaborators and of all those who happen to come in contact with him.
An historian, Mr. Wiernick is a member of the American Academy of Political Science. He is a member of the American Geographical Society; he is a member of the American Oriental Society; he takes an interest in everything dealing with history, geography, politics and science, not to speak of Jewish life.
AN ENEMY OF PUBLICITY
Few people know about Mr. Wiernick’s studious activities. This is explained by another of his virtuesâ€”a desire to avoid publicity. In all his years as an editor Mr. Wiernick took pains that his name should be mentioned as rarely as possible. He made it his policy to shun the limelight. Publicity to him is an expression of vulgarity.
Busy with his daily editorial work and his researches, Mr. Wiernick finds time also for activity in Jewish institutions. He is the founder and the leader of the Jewish Literary Club, “Havrutha”; he is a member of the executive of the Joint Distribution Committee; he is a trustee of cultural foundations; he is a member of the board of directors of Yeshivah College.
Mr. Wiernick is a Jewish scholar who fully deserves the title “Talmud Hacham.” Had he been the editor of an English newspaper his birthday tomorrow would have been an event of nation-wide importance. As the editor-in-chief of a Jewish paper, his seventieth anniversary will be celebrated tomorrow by all leaders in Jewish life and by all those who know what Mr. Wiernick means to Jewish journalism.