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Spearheading efforts to save a newspaper
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Spearheading efforts to save a newspaper

The front page of the Jewish Horizon’s last issue, on June 26, 1997, the day the newspaper said “goodbye” to the community. Photo courtesy Jewish Historical Society of NJ
The front page of the Jewish Horizon’s last issue, on June 26, 1997, the day the newspaper said “goodbye” to the community. Photo courtesy Jewish Historical Society of NJ

BEFORE MAX ROSENBACH stepped in with a rescue plan, the newspaper covering the Jewish community in Union and Somerset counties was, said his son, a “money pit.” 

First called The Jewish News, then the Jewish Community News, the paper — whose catchment area was the region served by the historic Jewish Federation of Central NJ — was a losing enterprise; it “hemorrhaged money,” said Rabbi Simon Rosenbach, Max’s son.

Then, in the early 1980s Max, as its board president, “corralled” other major players in the Central federation, including Joseph Wilf, Irving Shirr, Herbert Brody, Richard Samuel, and, later, Sandra Berman. In all, 10 contributors gave $10,000 apiece as seed money. They formed a corporation to assume publication of the paper, renaming it The Jewish Horizon; the first issue was published Aug. 13, 1981. 

“It was decided that the Horizon needed to be independent, even as it maintained its ties to the federation,” said Fran Gold, who was its editor during the 16 years of its existence.

She told NJJN the paper had a circulation of about 30,000. As an independent operation, “it made a big difference to me,” said Gold. “When it was a federation paper it had to have certain stories the federation wanted.” The Horizon did not.

But, like its forerunner, she said, “it was never financially successful.” 

Its end came when the federation announced it would cease its annual contract for services with the Horizon. On June 26, 1997, it published a story with a banner headline that read “GOODBYE.” 

“After 16 years and 797 editions, the Jewish Horizon bids farewell to all our friends in Central NJ,” it said. 

The paper was then acquired by MetroWest Jewish News, whose name was then changed to New Jersey Jewish News, to reflect its broadened scope.

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