Newspapers for the Haredi Global Village

The most important thing that has been happening in the ultra-Orthodox media in recent years is apparently taking place in the United States. After the English edition of the Haredi newspaper Hamodia registered a surprising breakthrough in recent years, and has become a daily, the English edition of the Haredi magazine Mishpacha (Family) has registered a similar breakthrough. The publisher of Mishpacha, Eli Paley, says that he is already selling 19,000 copies of the English edition, most of them in the United States. Within a short time, he estimates, the paper will print more copies in English than in Hebrew. Every week he flies three tons of newspapers to North America. But soon, says Paley, the moment may come when it will pay for him to print the newspaper in Canada. The children's supplement of the paper has been highly successful, says Paley, and it helps Mishpacha sell hundreds of copies to Haredi schools.

Hamodia now issues three separate editions in English - in the United States, in Europe and in Israel. The paper in the U.S. is also geared to religious people who are borderline Haredi, and therefore its policy is more moderate than that of the Hebrew edition. For example, whereas the Hebrew paper does not print pages with pictures of rabbis, the English edition does. In Hamodia in Israel, they make sure not to place ads with Internet addresses, because of the prohibition by the leading Torah scholars on use of the Internet. Hamodia in the United States has accepted the fact that there is no business without the Internet, and does not demand that the www. be erased.

A recently reported study published by the head of the Floersheimer Institute for Policy Studies, Prof. Amiram Gonen, focused on Haredim in London going out to work. In the study Gonen discusses, among other things, the Haredim custom of traveling often to concentrations of Haredim the world over, for family visits, and in order to spend time with the rabbis. He says this creates "a global Haredi village." Now this village already shares the same media, just as global secular society watches the same television channels. (S.I.)