Our History

The Jewish Exponent is an award-winning newspaper that has played a vital role in connecting our community since it first rolled off the presses on April 15, 1887.  The second-oldest continuously published Jewish newspaper in the United States, it has evolved from its roots as a voice for prominent businessmen to a multimedia platform for delivering Jewish news and information and stimulating community dialogue. 

It began as an independent newspaper, with the 43 prominent Philadelphians who founded it forming a stock ownership company to ensure it would be representative of the entire community. Real estate owner Benjamin Teller was the president of the group. They pledged the paper would be "devoted to the interests of the Jewish people." The first editors were Henry S. Morais, Charles Hoffman and Melvin G. Winstock.

From its outset, the Jewish Exponent covered the Jewish community in Philadelphia area, the nation and the world. There was even a regular column called "The House of Israel." Editorially, it was a significant voice in favor of Zionism during the earliest years of the worldwide movement founded by Theodor Herzl.

Long before the Jewish Exponent was purchased by a pre-cursor of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, the newspaper reported on the community's philanthropic endeavors, including a 1919 notice that the Federation campaign had raised a record $1.1 million.

The Jewish Exponent experienced tough financial times during the war years, and on May 5, 1944, the Allied Jewish Appeal purchased the publication, as anticipation for the creation of the State of Israel grew.

The paper repeatedly has been recognized for excellence in journalism, garnering numerous awards over the years from state, local and Jewish press associations.  As recently as 2015, the Exponent won first place Keystone Press Awards in numerous categories including Ongoing News Coverage and won first place in the American Jewish Press Association's award for Outstanding Digital Outreach.

For most of its existence, the Jewish Exponent was published on Fridays. But in the mid-1990s, the paper changed its publication day to Thursday, to better ensure its arrival in area households in time for Shabbat.

In 1999, the Jewish Exponent launched a presence on the Internet, bringing its comprehensive coverage of the Jewish community to an even wider audience. Since that time, the Jewish Exponent has grown its presence in the digital world. It now operates the award-winning website jewishexponent.com which is updated with fresh content daily, as well as delivering robust and vibrant social media content on a daily basis, too.

The Jewish Exponent is the flagship publication of the Jewish Publication Group, which also produces The Guide to Jewish Philadelphia and numerous special interest supplements as well as in-paper special sections.

Under the leadership of the newspaper's publisher, the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, and a content partnership with Mid-Atlantic Media, the Jewish Exponent remains committed to its mission: to engage, educate, entertain and connect Jews across the religious, political, demographic and geographic spectra of our community.