This Week in History


Jane Eisner appointed first female editor of the "Forward"

May 18, 2008

Jane Eisner, a veteran journalist with a long history of "firsts," was appointed to be the first female editor of the Forward on May 18, 2008. Published in New York for a national readership, the Forward is the country's oldest and largest Jewish newspaper. Founded as a Yiddish language daily in 1897, it added an English edition in 1983.

Over the course of her long career, Eisner has broken many barriers. In 1976, she became the first female editor of the Wesleyan University paper. During her 25-year-long tenure with the Philadelphia Inquirer, Eisner was the first female City Hall bureau chief, the first mother to be a foreign correspondent (she worked in London), and the first female editorial page editor. Before being named editor of the Forward, Eisner served as vice-president for national programs and initiatives at the National Constitution Center, based in Philadelphia.

Eisner's interests have long focused on constitutional issues and values, engaging youth in the democratic process, and the evolution of marriage, child-rearing, and education in the United States. In 2004, she published Taking Back the Vote: Getting American Youth Involved in Our Democracy.

The Forward has historically been regarded as a progressive, left-leaning newspaper with a strong focus on social issues, a legacy for which Eisner expressed enthusiasm. "I feel very strongly about the underlying values of social justice and equality that are really a part of the history here from the very beginning, and I admire that tremendously," she said. "I think that there was a real activist role that the Forward played in the community in its heyday and I think that could be again."

See also: Jane Eisner on Jewesses with Attitude: Nine more women for the Forward 50; The Western Wall: Ground zero for the struggle for equality and pluralism

Sources: "Eisner Breaks Glass Stelya at Jewish Forward,"; About Jane Eisner,

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