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The Jewish News Rosh Hashanah shofar issue from 1944.

Looking Back At Rosh Hashanah

From the JN Foundation Davidson Digital Archives of Jewish Detroit History

With Rosh Hashanah just days away, I thought I would do a bit of research into the Davidson Digital Archives to see how the holiday was covered over the years by the JN and the Jewish Chronicle. The answer is that there was a lot of reporting. There were 5,920 pages with a wide range of stories that cited “Rosh Hashanah.”

The Jewish News Rosh Hashanah shofar issue from 1944.The earliest entry that was more than just a mention of the term was a poem by Morris Rosenfeld, “Pity, O Israel,” in the Sept. 14, 1917, issue of the Chronicle. An immigrant from Poland, Rosenfeld was also a tradesman before gaining a reputation as a noted poet and literary figure. His poem was dedicated to Jews suffering in World War I and was published in connection to Rosh Hashanah.

Another interesting early entry was a front-page story, “The Call of the Shofar,” on Sept. 19, 1919, by Rabbi Judah L. Levin, rabbi of the United Jewish Orthodox Congregations of Detroit.

There have been plenty of Rosh Hashanah greetings over the years from families and businesses. The Sept. 26, 1924, issue of the Chronicle had a nice advertisement from “Henry the Hatter, Detroit’s Exclusive Hatter,” extending “cordial greetings for the season.” Or “Don’t Be Late,” the Ambassador Curtain, Rug and Shade Cleaning Company urged in the Aug. 8, 1945, JN — that is, don’t be late to send all your front-room cloth materials to them before Rosh Hashanah. And, of course, I very much liked thinking about results of the soup recipes for the holiday that were featured in the article “Jewish Penicillin,” in the Oct. 12, 2006, issue of the JN.

There was also the front page of the JN for Sept. 22, 1944, with a photo of Jewish soldiers in the British Army in Palestine in the midst of World War II, celebrating Rosh Hashanah. By the time the shofar blew the following year in 1945, the war and the Holocaust were over. It had been a better year. L’ shanah tovah!

Want to learn more? Go to the DJN Foundation archives, available for free at www.djnfoundation.org.

Mike Smith

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