Today, I am taking my first step back to 75 years ago. The first issue of the Detroit Jewish News was published on March 27, 1942.

In future columns, I’ll concentrate on stories from 75 years ago, but I’m beginning my quest by noting the wide range of topics covered in the first issue. To begin with, there were dozens of congratulatory letters and comments to JN Editor Philip Slomovitz, ranging from local Jewish business leaders to Michigan Sen. Arthur Vandenberg and Congressman John Dingell (the first John Dingell in Congress); from Detroit Mayor Edward Jeffries to Jewish community leader Fred Butzel; and from Dr. Israel Goldstein, chair of the Jewish National Fund to Rabbi Leo Franklin of Temple Beth El. In short, the JN mattered to a lot of people.

One of the primary concerns of the day was World War II. It was 1942, and America had just entered the war. The JN had a feature: “Our Sons in the War,” an honor roll of Jewish men serving in American armed forces. There was also a related story about Henry “Hank” Greenberg in the Army Air Corps. And it was reported that Congressman Dingell told an audience in Detroit that it was time for a Jewish army in Palestine (although there were already thousands of Jews fighting with the Allies).

Of course, there were some very familiar names. Ira Kaufman Chapel and Gardner White Furniture placed advertisements in this issue, and Danny Raskin authored his first column, but not the last. Raskin’s writings have appeared in every issue of the JN since.

This is going to be a fun year. I hope you will enjoy the stories and the JN’s 75th.

Mike Smith
Detroit Jewish News Foundation



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