“THE JEWISH TIMES takes this opportunity of wishing all its friends and supporters a bright and Prosperous New Year.”
With that front-cover message, on Wednesday, Sept. 24, 1919, a day before Rosh Hashanah 5680, the JT was published for the first time.
For just 10 cents per issue, or $3 for the entire year, the JT promised stories about religion, home, foreign news, society, music and drama.
On the first page of the first issue, editor C.A. Rubenstein remarked, “A Jewish paper must seek to promote the highest ideals and best traditions of our people. This the JEWISH TIMES will endeavor to do.”
At the time, the end of the World War I was less than a year in the past. The atrocities of Kristallnacht and the Holocaust were still two decades away, but an editorial in this first issue shows that hatred for the Jewish people was prevalent: “On the threshold of a new year the Jewish outlook in Eastern Europe has nothing but sorrow for the Jewish heart. In Russia, in Romania, in Poland, in all the countries that have been carved out of the former Austo-Hungarian empire and more specifically, in Germany, the sacrifices in blood and treasure that have been made by Jews for the countries of their birth or adoption have not served to diminish in the slightest the age-long hatred for the Jew.”
As in this editorial, much of the first issue’s content is heavy, intellectual and philosophical. Among the stories is an empathetic essay by former President William H. Taft reprinted from National Geographic Magazine that shows support for Jews in their struggles for civil equality, a historical look at “Our Holy Days and Holidays” by Rev. Dr. Mendel Silber, editor of The Jewish Ledger in New Orleans, and a grim consideration of the year ahead by Mrs. Enoch Rauh.
Beneath the headline “Greetings from Prominent Baltimorians [sic]” were good wishes for the prosperity of the newspaper from the likes of Henry Castleberg, president of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation; David Kemper, president of Har Sinai Congregation; Dr. Harry Friedenwald; A. Ray Katz, president of The Federated Jewish Charities of Baltimore; Emerson C. Harrington, governor of Maryland; and William F. Broening, mayor of Baltimore.
A lighter note is sounded in the personals, where communities learn local tidbits such as “Dr. and Mrs. Louis P. Hamburger and family have returned home after spending the summer at Mt. Washington.”