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Magid, Ha-

Hebrew weekly, published between 1856 and 1903. Ha-Magid (The Preacher) was the first Hebrew weekly newspaper, and in many respects its establishment marked the beginning of the modern Hebrew press. For censorship reasons it was published outside the borders of tsarist Russia (first in Lyck, Prussia, and after 1890 successively in Berlin, Kraków, and Vienna), but its contents were aimed first and foremost at the Russian Jewish reading public. Because of its broad content, however, it was distributed to many Jewish communities in Europe and beyond.

Ha-Magid was a pioneer in reporting the news in Hebrew from around the world, and especially from the Jewish world, either culled from translations of the general press or from original reporting drawn from its own vast network of bureaus. It initiated and nurtured the modern genre of opinion essays in Hebrew.

The founder of Ha-Magid, Eli‘ezer Lipman Silberman, determined the paper’s character and orientation, stances that over the years remained basically steady. Ha-Magid represented the viewpoints of moderate religious Jewry that was opposed to religious reforms and that balked at the Haskalah movement’s more radical elements. At the same time, as early as the 1860s the paper fervently supported the resettling of the Land of Israel, citing a combination of religious and national justifications, and it was one of the earliest harbingers of the Zionist movement, which it continued to support over the years.

In 1880 David Gordon, Silberman’s right-hand man, was appointed editor, and after his death in 1886, his son Dov Gordon inherited that position. From 1891, Ha-Magid was edited by Ya‘akov Shemu’el Fuchs, who published it in Berlin, strengthened its literary section, and completely altered its format with the assistance of new contributors, including some of the generation’s most prominent writers (Mikhah Yosef Berdyczewski, Re’uven Brainin, Yosef Klausner, and others). During its twilight years, the de facto editor was Shim‘on Menaḥem Lazar. However, from the time Ha-Magid moved to Kraków in 1892, it began, more and more, to resemble a domestic Galician newspaper, and its position at the vanguard of the Hebrew press was relinquished to the Hebrew dailies Ha-Melits and Ha-Tsefirah.

Suggested Reading

Menuḥah Gilbo‘a, “Ha-Magid,” in Leksikon ha-‘itonut ha-‘ivrit ba-me’ot ha-shemoneh ‘esreh veha-tesha‘ ‘esreh, pp. 117–135 (Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, 1992); Hayim Toren, “Ha-Magid: Ha-Shavu‘on ha-‘ivri ha-ri’shon ve-‘orkho R. David Gordon,” in Anakh, ed. Joseph Aricha, pp. 232–245 (Tel Aviv, 1954).



Translated from Hebrew by David Fachler