January 22, 2021 An overview of Hasidic entertainment #3: news, leaflets and mags
- Part 1: Books for grownups
- Part 2: Children’s books
- Part 3: News, leaflets and mags
- Part 4: Hasidic internet
- Part 5: Audio/Visual
- Part 6: Games
News, Leaflets and Magazines
Hasidic publishing is a busy industry. I think it has to do with: the internet being forbidden (ehh, sort of) and that everyone has to be offline for 26 hours once a week — on shabbes.
LEAFLETS: busy business
If you go to this website you’ll be able to sort by language. There are some 30 weekly leaflets. Many contain little bits of religious thought, little bits of news, announcements and some classifieds. The ads pay for them. Many leaflets are free.
THE BUSINESS OF THE NEWS
Hasidic newspapers are partisan operations and have no resemblance to western journalism. Newspapers cover US politics, Israeli news with an anti-Zionist approach, news of the Hasidic world, and religious sections with parsha, hashkufeh, chinuch and Jewish hagiography. I once put together a whole post on how the newspaper works and whenever I finish it I’ll link it here.
- There’s a lot of emphasis on the Hasidic Rabbis’ comings and goings and a lot of inter-politic partisan coverage which is more male-oriented.
- With few exceptions, individuals aren’t covered. Tragic news (fire, accident) would not be covered as a personal event with a first-person narrative and quotes. Only the general details of the event are recounted. Molestation and other such news is not mentioned.
- There’s almost no original journalism of non-Hasidic news, and journalism is not generally an esteemed field. Most journalists don’t even write under their own name or will write under multiple pen names.
- Stylistically, there is a lot more text than any other newspaper. That has to do with the iffy-territory of showing pictures with women or indecently appearing people.
There are three main newspapers:
There are a few basic themes in magazines: covering the rabbinic-dramas, special women’s issues, and secular stuff similar to the sciency kids’ books but more focused on history. The secular group is more adult than the books however, because it involves people, not just trees and animals.
Here are some magazines:
Magazines for all
Magazines for women
Magazines for children
The magazines support themselves with sale prices and advertisements.
Sometimes the more secular-focused magazines cover something that lands them in hot water. Here are two instances of magazines that caused a backlash and got the busy-bodies to send letters and cause a bit of trouble.
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE
Der Veker is a Yiddish magazine that carefully pushes the envelope and is subversive without being provocative, or that’s their aim anyway. I never know if they get into trouble. But in 2020 they ran an interview with me, and I see that in 2018 they ran an interview with the creators of One of Us, the documentary on ex-Hasidim.
Here’s their interview with me: