Schocken

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SCHOCKEN

SCHOCKEN , family active in book publishing, Jewish culture, and newspaper publishing in Israel. The family dynasty was headed by Salman *Schocken (1877–1959), Zionist, art and book collector, and publisher. Born at Margonin, province of Posen (now in Poland), in 1901 Schocken, together with his brother Simon, founded the I. Schocken Soehne at Zwickau, which developed into a prosperous chain of 19 department stores. Passionately interested in Judaism, he used his fortune to collect rare books and manuscripts, and Jewish works of art. In 1929 he founded the Research Institute for Medieval Hebrew Poetry in Berlin, which edited hitherto unknown medieval Hebrew manuscripts that Schocken had acquired.

The Schocken Press

In 1931 Schocken Verlag was established, becoming an important avenue for the publication of Jewish literature in Germany, with the express aim of educating an assimilating community about its Jewish heritage. One of its first authors was S.Y. *Agnon, who was patronized by Salman Schocken from the first stages of his literary career. In 1934 Schocken himself moved from Berlin to Jerusalem, transferring both the Institute for Medieval Jewish Poetry and his library and art collections there. In addition to the works of S.Y. Agnon and Franz *Kafka, to which Schocken possessed the world rights, the press published more than 200 books in Germany, including the works of Martin *Buber, Franz *Rosenzweig, Baruch *Kurtzweill, Leo *Baeck, Hermann *Cohen, and Gershom *Scholem. Schocken was active in Zionist affairs first in Germany and later in Palestine, in the Jewish National Fund, and on The Hebrew University's Executive Council. In 1940 he moved to the United States, and years later moved to Switzerland, where he died. After his death, the Institute for Hebrew Poetry and his library and collections in Jerusalem became the *Schocken Institute for Jewish Research of the *Jewish Theological Seminary of America.

Following its closure by the Nazis in 1938, the Schocken Press was re-established in Tel Aviv. After Salman Schocken's departure for the United States with most of his children, the Schocken Press in Tel Aviv was managed by his son gershon "gustav" (1912–1990) until 1970. Gershon, who had studied economics at Heidelberg University and the London School of Economics, continued the press's orientation toward high-quality Jewish and Hebrew literature, including the works of Nathan *Alterman, Saul *Tchernichowsky, and Uri Zevi *Greenberg. In 1962 Dan *Miron, a professor of literature (who was married to Yael, the daughter of Gershon's brother Gideon Schocken, himself an idf army general), was appointed editor of the Schocken Press, and brought Yehuda *Amichai's works to the publishing house. But Gershon's involvement in the Schocken Press took second place to his main work as editor in chief of the *Haaretz newspaper, and his seat in the Knesset in 1955–59 for the Progressive Party. In 1972 Gershon's daughter, raheli edelman (1942– ), a graduate in literature and economics, took over the press. The middle-sized publishing house became eclectic and financially sounder. Edelman branched out to include translations of foreign literature, selective non-fiction (including Shabbetai Teveth's biography of David Ben-Gurion), educational texts, and children's books. Contemporary Israeli literature was shunted aside. She was chairperson of the Book Publishers' Association of Israel in 1983–94.

In 1945, five years after his arrival in New York, Salman Schocken opened the Schocken Press in New York. It became a focus for German Jewish émigrés like Hannah *Arendt and Nahum *Glazer, who became the press's editor in chief. After Salman Schocken's death, his son theodore and son-in-law Herzl Rome took over the press with varying degrees of financial success. Among its Jewish authors were Nahum *Sarna, Cecil *Roth, Simon *Wiesenthal, Harold *Kushner, Lucy *Dawidowicz, and Aharon *Appelfeld. The press, which became structurally independent of the Tel Aviv-based Schocken Press, expanded from its focus on Jewish books into such fields as educational publishing, women's studies, history, literary criticism, and the Montessori books as well as cook books, particularly as mainstream U.S. publishers began to discover the Jewish book market. In 1987 the press was bought by Random House, but it remained as a separate imprint, structurally tied to Pantheon Books.

Haaretz

Gershon Schocken was most remembered as the publisher and editor for 51 years of the Haaretz newspaper which grew to become an independent quality daily. The financially ailing newspaper had been purchased by his father in 1935. Gershon continued the intellectual tradition which had characterized the paper under Moshe Gluecksohn's editorship. He succeeded in stabilizing the paper financially, ending Gluecksohn's practice of accepting financial support from Zionist institutions.

Notwithstanding the need for socio-economic justice in the young state, Haaretz under Schocken's editorship favored free enterprise, criticizing the excesses of collective socialism which characterized the first 30 years of statehood. After the 1967 war, concerned at the demographic threat which the annexation of the West Bank and Gaza posed to the Jewish character of the state, Haaretz advocated giving up most of the territories. In supporting the creation of the Jewish state, Gershon Schocken had sought to imbue it with the humanistic values that had influenced him in his youth in Germany. In the 1950s Haaretz questioned unlimited Jewish aliyah from North Africa, favoring a more selective policy. While cherishing Jewish culture, he opposed theocratic excesses, favoring a separation of state and religion, and Jewish pluralism.

Influenced by the European tradition of quality journalism, Gershon Schocken assiduously adhered to the separation of fact and comment, with the newspaper comprising two independent sections, news and opinion. However, this distinction was blurred somewhat later in the 1980s and 1990s, as Haaretz, like other newspapers, sought to carve out a place for itself in an age when television and radio had become the chief providers of breaking news, leaving the newspaper to concentrate on analysis and background. While the newspaper's editorial board reflected a spectrum of liberal and left-wing secular views, Schocken would use his veto as editor-in-chief to determine the line when there were differences of opinion. Socially reclusive, he also distanced himself from political leaders, with the noted exception of Chaim *Weizmann. In the 1940 and 1950s his relations with Ben-Gurion were tense. Haaretz, regarded by many as a maverick publication, championed the rule of law and human rights and the exposure of official corruption. Yet the paper was a member of the Editor's Committee – in effect a mechanism enabling Israeli officialdom to win the cooperation of the media on sensitive defense and diplomatic matters – and at times Schocken even served as its chairman. In 1991 Ariel *Sharon unsuccessfully sued the paper and its reporter Uzi Benziman after it accused him of deceiving Prime Minister Menachem *Begin during the 1982 Lebanon war when he was defense minister.

The arts and literature had a respected place in the newspaper, with a weekly Friday literature supplement from 1963, as well as another, more popular mid-week version introduced in 1995. Schocken himself wrote some poetic works under the pseudonym of Robert Pozen. He had attempted unsuccessfully between 1938 and 1942 and in 1948–49 to found evening newspapers – Ha-Sha'ah and Yom-Yom. Haaretz branched out to the local newspaper market with the creation of local newspapers in Jerusalem (Kol ha-Ir) and Tel Aviv (Ha-Ir) in 1979 and 1980, respectively, successfully tapping local advertising potential. Untypical of local journalism, which was inclined towards sensationalism, editorial content in the Schocken chain of 14 local newspapers was quality upmarket.

From the late 1980s, the newspaper's heavy style was spruced up with the arrival, as deputy editor (and after Gershon Schocken's death, editor), of Hanoch *Marmori, a graphic artist who introduced modern design and oversaw the expansion of the newspaper's size.

Gershon's son, amos schocken (1944– ), a graduate in economics from The Hebrew University and business management from Harvard University, had been appointed by his father as the Haaretz chain's managing director. He began a daily newspaper, Ḥadashot, in 1983, in an attempt to compete with the two major dailies, Yedioth Aharonoth and Maariv. Featuring many photos and headlines, the newspaper was decidedly anti-establishment. In 1984 the paper was closed briefly by the military censor, after it broke censorship regulations and printed a photo of an apprehended terrorist in the so-called No. 300 bus affair, who was later killed. Hadashot failed to carve out an audience for itself and, facing heavy losses, folded in 1992. With Gershon's death, Amos became Haaretz publisher. At the turn of the century, Haaretz's editorial board was split over the Palestinian intifada, with Amos Schocken taking a decidedly left-wing position that justified the refusal of Israeli soldiers to serve in the territories for reasons of conscience. By contrast, Marmori as editor took a centrist position. With the demise of the party political press, Haaretz had become the country's only quality daily newspaper, with an important role in influencing the national agenda.

In 1997 Schocken established an English-language edition of Haaretz, including a translation of the Hebrew edition, and the local printing of the International Herald Tribune. He also began English-language and Hebrew-language internet newspaper websites drawing on Haaretz's newsgathering resources. Both developments strengthened Haaretz's standing, abroad and at home, beyond its narrow, elitist Hebrew audience. But he failed in his bid in the 1990s to branch out into the electronic media.

bibliography:

H. Amior, "Haaretz Production: The Ideological Dispute Between the Owner and the Editor," in: Ayin Shevi'it, 47 (Nov. 2003) (Heb.); I. Elazar, "It's All About Money: Haaretz Changes Face," in: Ayin Shevi'it, 55 (March 2005) (Heb.); Katherine McNamara, "A Conversation About Schocken Books with Altie Karper," in: Archipelago, 5; H. Negid, "The Schocken Tribe," in: Maariv (March 29, 1991) (Heb.); A. Rubenstein, "A Man of the Twentieth Century," in: Haaretz (Jan. 18, 1991) (Heb.).

[Yoel Cohen (2nd ed.)]