Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Remembering Gershon Jacobson

On his First Yohrtzeit.

If you ask me it's (more than) a little overdone, but that's Jakey for you, always making a splash.

(Yossi and Rabbi Besser ZGZ)

Rabbi Lau in English is always a treat

Photos by COL.


Anonymous said...

An interesting viewpoint of the Rebbe obm.

זה לא סוד שסוג הכתבות וגם התמונות שהופיעו בעיתון לא היו במקביל למקובל בעיתונות החרדית בדווקא, האם היתה הוראה מהרבי לגבי נושא זה?

"שאלה מאד טובה. אני מוכרח לספר בנושא זה סיפור שארע עם אבי: פעם הגיעו משלחת של רבנים לאבי וביקשו ממנו שיקים וועדה רוחנית של רבנים שיורו לו מה להדפיס ומה לא, אחד מהם התבטא שהוא מגיע בשליחות הרבי. כאשר אבי בירר את העניין אצל הרבי, הרבי שאל אותו: ואם הרבנים יפסקו שצריך לסגור את העיתון, מה תעשה? אבי השיב: אם זה רצונו של הרבי, כמובן שאסגור. והרבי המשיך: אני לא מבין. הרי תפקידו של רב זה לפסוק שצריך לסגור את העיתון, כי כל מהות העיתון זה ביטול תורה, ואיך רב יכול להכשיר עיתון? איך רב יכול לפסוק שעיתון פלוני הוא כשר? הרי רב צריך לפסוק שאסור לבטל תורה, ובכלל, כיצד יש לרב זמן לעבור על עיתון ולהכשיר אותו, הרי הוא צריך ללמוד בעצמו תורה... אלא מה? העיתון מיועד לאנשים שלא מציתים לרבנים, ולדאבוננו לא לומדים בכל רגע, אלא קוראים עיתון, ועל כן אנו רוצים שגם הם יקראו דברי תורה, שגם הם ייחשפו ליהדות, שיתקרבו למצוות, וזו המטרה של העיתון.

בתשובה זו טמונה השקפה יסודית בכל הנושא והמהות של עיתונות. כמובן שהרבי סימל את כל מה ששולחן ערוך אומר ליהודי, והרבי למעשה נתן לאבי להבין שיש דברים שהוא צריך לקחת על עצמו כאחריות.

החידוש של העיתון היה שהוא מיועד לכולם. היום לכל זרם ופלג יש עיתון, אך מהות האלגעמיינער היה לבנות גשרים וזה היה חידוש גדול. אבי ספג התקפות בלי סוף בגלל עמדתו זו".

(from an interview with Yossi and Simon)

Anonymous said...

Rav Gershon was a great investigative reporter. I recall his ground breaking trips ti Egypt and Russia and the stir they raised. My father enjoyed reading G. Gruziner as did my late mother.
He also wrote well in terms of human interest stories.
But I must say that he failed as an Editor and publisher.
Of course the Yiddish reading public was gone by the time the Algemeiner started in 1971 (?).
But together with the late Reb Nissan Gordon they put out a fine paper that appealed to secular Jews, Lubavitcher and other charedim, especially those of the still vibrant Peylishe -Gerer style. Nissan was a diplomat who understood the mentality of the various groupings in the Charedi world and catered to their common weakness publicity and kavod.
When he passed on, Gershon had no clue how to deal with other Charedim. I remember vividly his nasty cartoon against rav Shach. In one moment he cut his bridges to the American Aguda, the Yeshiva world (advertisers -remember) and many if not most of the Shearith hapLeitah charedim.
From then on he fought a losing battle to cater to the Religious community.The apper then became a strange amalgem of Yiddishist news and Lubavitch opinions.
With more insight into the Charedi comunity he should have tried to attract the Bobover, Skverer, Kluizenebrger, and Belzer communities to his paper, but no visible attempt was made.
Personally I beleive that Reb Gershon had more in common with epople like Wiesel, Heschel,Israeli politicos etc than he did with Rabbis Sherer,Friedenson and other Charedi leaders.Gershon was a man of pop culture who enjoyed the finer things in life . He enjoyed the company of artists, singers, politicians, machers etc. I am sure he had little interest in shmussen with the heymishe askan about the shtibel politics.
Gershon made valient efforts to keep the paper floating, but without Charedi readers and writers where could readers come from the Park East Synagogue , the Upper west Side , or the west Village. etc.Excuse me for saying this not even from Crown Heights !
So in my opinion he should have kept on doing what he did best investigating speaking to people breaking the big stories , writing and reporting and leave management to others including people "kegon" like his old boss Arthur Jacobs who knew little about yiddish. An executive should have run the paper.Reb Gershon will go down as the last great Yiddish journalist in the US.

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

WOW! what a mouthful!

With newspaper men convincing them אז דו פארשטייסט בעסער doesn't come easy, I think Yossi and Simon, although they may have a broader world view, will probably suffer the same ailment.

As far as drawing in other Charedim: I think he probably wrote his own "deathwish" by filling the paper with pictures of old Manhattan Jews sipping champagne at dinners. I know I was turned off, imagine how others were.

Anonymous said...

That was the best description of GJ and the paper I have ever seen!

Anonymous said...

In his warped mind Yossi probably thought that the picture of his father with his hair slicked back smoking a cigar was the one to highlight on his Yohrtzeit. Sad.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful shot of Gershon Ber with a cigar! Love it.

Anonymous said...

What's to love Berl, he looks like a mobster!

MEKUSHOR said...

He may look a mobster to YOU - that's your problem. I can't help it if your only associasion for a cigar is that limited.
Here he looks real - not some posed picture of a wanna be gadol. Actually, he looks a lot like the quintessential newspaper man to me...

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

and my association to a man wearing a firesuit and helmet is limited to a racecar driver.

see my point?