Editors at Nccj Parley Differ on Influence of American Jewish Press

Sharp differences of opinion were evidenced here today over the influence of the Jewish press in America at a conference of religious editors convened by the National Conference of Christians and Jews.

In a discussion evaluating the religious press, Rabbi Ira Eisenstein, editor of The Reconstructionist magazine, expressed the view that the Jewish press exerted little influence and that, rather, it “reflects and perhaps more accurately reports, the prevailing views of denominational groups and Jewish organizations.” Dr. Eisenstein also said that “rarely can it be said that the press influences the denominations and the organizations.”

Philip Slomovitz, editor of the Detroit Jewish News, took issue with Dr. Eisenstein and maintained that considerable influence over Jewish communal activities is being exerted by the Jewish press. He said that the two surviving daily Yiddish newspapers still exert a great influence in many communities, and emphasized that the emerging English-Jewish press has become a most vital factor in Jewish life in America.

Joseph Weissberg, editor of the Boston Jewish Advocate, referred to the Sabbatarian issue in Massachusetts as an indication of influence exerted by the religious press in America.

Rabbi Joseph Klein, editor of the Journal of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, told the meeting that, despite the highly varied nature of the Jewish press in the United States on religion in public education and numerous other specific issues, there was such a thing as a Jewish community point of view. “Nebulous though it seems to be he said, “the Jewish press definitely reflects this point of view.”

The three-day conference, which is co-sponsored by the American Jewish Press Association, will conclude tomorrow. Six of the 32 participants represent Jewish periodicals.

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