Tuesday, October 27, 2020 -
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A brief history of the IJN

In February 1915, the Central Jewish Council of Denver began publication of its official newspaper, the Denver Jewish News. The weekly newspaper was, at its time, the only Jewish newspaper in the state of Colorado, following the Jewish Outlook, which ceased publication in 1913. The Denver Rocky Mountain News of February 27, 1915, pronounced that the Denver Jewish News would become a “permanent feature of Denver’s newspaper field.”

Dr. Charles Spivak was the first editor of the Jewish News. A political refugee from Russia, he attended medical school in Philadelphia and helped found the Jewish Consumptives’ Relief Society. Spivak was instrumental in the formation of the Central Jewish Council of Denver in 1912 for which he conceptualized, together with Rabbi CEH Kauvar and Milton Anfenger, and edited the Denver Jewish News in an “inimitable style, full of exuberant vitality.”

The Denver Jewish News covered both sides of Denver’s Jewish population: the predominantly Eastern European Orthodox Jewish immigrants that had settled and flourished in West Denver and the Reform Jewish community situated in Denver’s more affluent Capitol Hill and Eastern neighborhoods. The Denver Jewish News covered regional news, society happenings, local entertainment, and during World War I, published “Letters from Our Boys,” correspondence from the front written by young men from the Denver Jewish community.

The publication also commented on world and national affairs. The paper called upon Denver’s Jewish community to undertake relief efforts for Jews persecuted in the pogroms in Poland and reported incidents of increasing anti-Semitism in Europe after WW I. The newspaper subsequently reported on nearly every significant Jewish event, including the Holocaust and Israel.

In 1925, the Denver Jewish News was renamed by its editor and Denver University economics professor Abraham D. H. Kaplan the Intermountain Jewish News, reflecting its larger readership throughout the Rocky Mountain area. It continues to publish under that name today. The newspaper struggled financially and management passed through numerous hands. Notable editors and publishers included: Hattie Schayer Friedenthal, who served as editor from 1918 until her death in 1922; State Senator and printer A.B. Hirschfeld who took over as publisher in 1929; and Carl Mandell, editor, who reported the existence of Nazi gas chambers in June, 1942, six months before the State Department.

In 1943, in the face of ongoing financial strains, the Central Jewish Council approached Max Goldberg, a Denver journalist and ad man, to take over the paper. Goldberg, together with Robert Gamzey, took ownership of the newspaper. When Gamzey began spending more time in Israel in the early 1960s, Doris Sky joined as managing editor, a position she held until her death in 1990.

Upon Max Goldberg’s passing in 1972, his wife Miriam H. Goldberg, an inductee of the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame, became editor and publisher until her passing in 2017. The Intermountain Jewish News continues to be published by the Goldberg family.

This essay was written by the Intermountain Jewish News with input from History Colorado for the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America collection, which the IJN’s earliest years are a part of.