Ha-Maggid

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HA-MAGGID

HA-MAGGID (Heb. הַמַּגִּיד, "The Declarer"), the first Hebrew newspaper. Ha-Maggid began publication in 1856 in Lyck, eastern Prussia, under the editorship of Eliezer Lipmann Silbermann. Silbermann, whose writing talents were limited, was nevertheless a genuine pioneer in Hebrew journalism. Although periodicals had existed for a hundred years prior to the founding of Ha-Maggid, the problems of running a newspaper were different from those of running a literary, scientific, and social journal. The paper lacked journalists, publishers, and a news agency. Because the rhetorical biblical Hebrew of the time was not adapted to reporting news and making comments on current affairs, a new journalistic idiom had to be developed.

Ha-Maggid appeared as a weekly (except during its first few months) until it ceased publication in 1903. Until 1890 it was published in Lyck, then in Berlin, and from 1892 in Cracow. The paper grew in importance under David *Gordon, editor from 1858 to 1886, who made the paper of interest to all Jews by reporting both Jewish and general news. Ha-Maggid became a fount of information on Jewish life throughout the world during the second half of the 19th century. In a series of articles in 1863 and 1869, a time when the Hebrew press was either opposed or indifferent to nationalist ideas, Gordon took a strong stand in favor of Jewish settlement in Palestine. After the 1881 pogroms in Russia, Ha-Maggid fervently advocated Jewish nationalism and settlement in Ereẓ Israel. In this respect it served as a precedent for many of the Hebrew papers that followed.

Throughout the years the paper devoted a special section to Judaic studies, in which the greatest scholars of the day participated. Like most other papers of that period, Ha-Maggid espoused moderate Haskalah, i.e., accommodating the religious and traditional heritage to the needs of the time, insofar as the accommodation was not in violation of Jewish law. Ha-Maggid's contributors included representatives of all trends of thought. The paper also developed popular sections for science and technology (e.g., a medical section) thereby making Hebrew richer and more adaptable. After Gordon's death (1886) the paper began to decline, a process accelerated by the establishment that year of the Hebrew daily, *Ha-Yom. In its later years Ha-Maggid was moved to Galicia and became the organ of the local Ḥovevei Zion movement. The paper's last editor, S.M. Laser, founded the weekly *Ha-Miẓpeh (1904) after Ha-Maggid ceased publication in 1903.

bibliography:

S.L. Zitron, in: Ha-Olam, 6, no. 1–2 (1912), 4, 6, 8, 10–12; D. Gordon, Mivḥar Ma'amarim, ed. by G. Kressel (1942); Posner, in: Yad la-Kore, 4–5 (1958–59), 89–94; J. Barzilai, in: Bitzaron, 37 (1957/58), 78–88, 178–90; H. Toren, in: Anakh, 1 (1954), 232–41.

[Getzel Kressel]