Thursday, November 27, 2014 Kislev 5, 5775

Our History

The Jewish Exponent is an award-winning newspaper that has played a vital role in connecting our community since it first rolled off the presses on April 15, 1887.  The second-oldest continuously published Jewish newspaper in the United States, it has evolved from its roots as a voice for prominent businessmen to a multimedia platform for delivering Jewish news and information and stimulating community dialogue. 

It began as an independent newspaper, with the 43 prominent Philadelphians who founded it forming a stock ownership company to ensure it would be representative of the entire community. Real estate owner Benjamin Teller was the president of the group. They pledged the paper would be "devoted to the interests of the Jewish people." The first editors were Henry S. Morais, Charles Hoffman and Melvin G. Winstock.

From its outset, the Jewish Exponent covered the Jewish community in Philadelphia area, the nation and the world. There was even a regular column called "The House of Israel." Editorially, it was a significant voice in favor of Zionism during the earliest years of the worldwide movement founded by Theodor Herzl.

Long before the Jewish Exponent was purchased by a pre-cursor of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, the newspaper reported on the community's philanthropic endeavors, including a 1919 notice that the Federation campaign had raised a record $1.1 million.

The Jewish Exponent experienced tough financial times during the war years, and on May 5, 1944, the Allied Jewish Appeal purchased the publication, as anticipation for the creation of the State of Israel grew.

The paper repeatedly has been recognized for excellene in journalism, garnering numerous awards over the years from state, local and Jewish press associations.  In 2010 and 2011, it was named the "Best Non-Daily Newspaper" in the state of Pennsylvania, as well as in the City of Philadelphia. 

For most of its existence, the Jewish Exponent was published on Fridays. But in the mid-1990s, the paper changed its publication day to Thursday, to better ensure its arrival in area households in time for Shabbat. In 1999, the Jewish Exponent launched a presence on the Internet, bringing its comprehensive coverage of the Jewish community to an even wider audience.

In fall 2012, the Jewish Exponent, responding to the challenges facing the media industry as well as the Jewish community, overhauled its operations, transforming the Jewish Exponent into a vibrant blend of digital and print offerings.

The Jewish Exponent is the flagship publication of the Jewish Publication Group, which also produces Inside Magazine, the Guide to Jewish Philadelphia and special sections, including Simchas, the Good Life and Perfect Fit.  

Under the leadership of the newspaper's publisher, the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, and the editorship of Lisa Hostein, who took the helm of the Jewish Exponent in January 2009, the Jewish Exponent remains committed to its mission: to engage, educate, entertain and connect Jews across the religious, political, demographic and geographic spectra of our community.  

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