Friday, November 26, 2010

Ami, Mishpacha, Binah, Zman, Olomeinu and the JO

Another new Jewish magazine has launched. Ami will join Mishpacha, Binah and Zman and many others which have sprouted up in recent memory.

I recall the days of yesteryear when the Yeshiva community didn’t have Jewish weeklies. There was Olomeinu for children and the Jewish Observer O"H for adults, both of which were published monthly.

While the proliferation of Jewish content periodicals is remarkable, there is a sad aspect to this glut of reading material.

Each edition of Olomeinu and JO was fought over and devoured until it was dog-eared , committed to memory and then saved. Today’s reading material is read and then discarded. One can pick up the same issue several weeks later and scarcely remember reading the articles.

The reason why the Talmudic greats of the previous era were able to memorize the Rashba, Ketzos and Nesivos etc. was primarily because there was a shortage of Seforim, hence each Sefer was precious. You committed the Sefer to memory because you never knew if you would have access to it the next time you needed it.

With the advent of Bar-Ilan, Otzar HaSeforim and databases, more and more source material will be available, but less and less of it will stick in our minds. The psychological idea that the text is always available whenever we need it, coupled by the fact that we don’t need to remember where anything is – the search engines will find it for us – is my lament.

Yet the bright side is that hopefully one day the JO and Olomeinu will be added to these digital libraries. Then I will be in bookworm Heaven.


  1. Nostalgic. It is always refreshing to come here and enjoy the memories of a bygone era.

    I have JO's and Olomeinu's, but today's trash gets dumped with the Shabbos flowers.

  2. Olomeinu was my favorite; was filled with all fun
    while SoMeHoW Frum is second to none!

  3. It is a real pleasure to read this blog. I hope you are successful in bringing the Jewish Observer back to life. -Heshy-

  4. When everything else is said and done, Mendel the Mouse (and olameinu) were 2nd to none.

  5. its a chicken egg controversy, is easy availability of texts the cause of poor memory...or are online databases the hashgokah elyonas gift to a weak dor to compensate for poor memory?

  6. This is not chicken/egg. Necessity breeds invention. When a person encounters a disability, the other senses compensate. Here the compensation is the cause of the degeneration.


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