In 1897, The Forward was founded and published as a Yiddish-language daily newspaper. In the 1970s my zeyde, Yosl Mlotek, served as the editor of the Yiddish paper and it was there that he and my Bubby, Chana Mlotek, published their weekly column, Pearls of Yiddish Poetry. Countless readers would send in snippets of songs or poems with remembrances. From these columns, they published anthologies of Yiddish music and a Klezmer revival was born, using these books as go-to texts. In the 1990s, The Forward started publishing an English-language weekly edition and in 2017, both the Yiddish and English editions were published monthly.
Today it was announced that The Forward would cease all print publications and continue digitally where it has more than 2 million online readers monthly. Besides being an avid reader of Jewish journalism, I realized why I cared about this news as much as I did after sharing this legacy of my grandparents with coworkers: I miss my Bubby and Zeyde still. My zeyde never got to read my writings published in the Forward or Forvertz, online or in print, though he encouraged me to submit a story of mine to a Chanukah Writing Contest which I won as a kid. I can still hear my Bubby’s raspy joyous voice whenever she picked up the phone and can only imagine the oceans of nakhes she would have over her ureyniklekh, her great grandchildren.
As the prophet Jeremiah lamented, chadesh yameynu kekedem, renew our days as days of old. But kedem shares the same shoresh, root word of kadima, which is forward. The past, present and future are tied in this way of hopeful longing. Koved zeyer ondenk.