(Jewish News) On Jan. 15, 1948, The Phoenix Jewish News became the official publication of the Jewish Community Council (the precursor to the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix) and the newspaper for the roughly 2,000 members of the Jewish community in the area.
“What the founders may not have anticipated is that the moment each issue is published, it becomes part of a historical record. Our pages are filled with stories not only about our community and its members, but also about our relationships with the many communities with which we interact, the cities, state and nation in which we live, Jews in Israel and throughout the world,” wrote Florence “Flo” Newmark Eckstein, publisher of the Jewish News of Greater Phoenix from 1981 to 2013, in an article in the May 16, 2008 issue celebrating the paper’s 60th anniversary.
Many of the topics that fill the pages of the Jewish News today are the same as those that Eckstein described 15 years ago — and the same as when the paper launched 75 years ago.
In 1948, the four-page paper was published every month except June, July and August by the Publications Committee of the Phoenix Jewish Community Council. M.B. “Bud” Goldman, Jr. was committee chairman and his wife, Bertha, was co-chair.
Goldman and Joseph Stocker, a journalist who had worked on staff at the Oklahoma City Times and Associated Press of Denver before coming to Phoenix, became co-publishers and took over production of the paper as an independent enterprise on Dec. 31,1948. Bertha and Stocker’s wife, Ida M. Stocker, became associate editors.
“The Federation started it for a matter of months and then realized it wasn’t something they could effectively take on with whatever tiny staff they had and that’s when Bud said, ‘I can do it,’” said Eckstein.
With the new management came a new title design. Gone was the heavy block lettering; in its place was a new font and a graphic of a desert scene with mountains, cactus and the sun.
The paper would now be published bi-weekly and, for the first time, its columns would be open to advertisers — both Jewish and non-Jewish. Foodville at Seventh Ave. and McDowell Road advertised “good” roast beef for 39 cents a pound, Carnation milk for 23 cents for “2 tall cans” and “strictly fresh” grade A eggs for 55 cents a dozen.
Goldman created the paper from his garage at 528 W. Granada Road in Phoenix. “My father was very good friends with Bud Goldman and my dad and I used to visit very often,” said Eckstein. “I have vivid memories of them talking about the paper and what his garage looked like, that’s where he did all the work — except for the printing.”
Eckstein’s father, Cecil Newmark, managed the Phoenix branch of the American News Co., a magazine distributing agency. Her mother, Pearl Newmark, worked part-time as a legal secretary while raising the couple’s three children: Flo, Diane and Steve.
In 1955, Cecil was transferred to Denver to manage the company’s Colorado branch. Eighteen months later, the company was sold and Cecil needed to find a job.
“We came back to Phoenix because that had been our home for many years. Our friend, Bud Goldman, ran Jewish News at that time out of his garage. He encouraged Cecil to buy the paper. So, we thought we’d try it,” said the late Pearl Newmark in a piece in the May 16, 2008 issue.
On Oct. 28, 1960, Cecil Newmark was added to the masthead as the managing editor and in 1961, he purchased the paper from his friend Goldman and moved into an office on Roosevelt St. in downtown Phoenix. Pearl became associate editor.
“When my parents ran it — it was really mom and pop — they were the only full-time people,” said Eckstein. “Mother was the editor and bookkeeper, and my father was the publisher and ad salesperson. They had one secretarial person that did support stuff and a few part-time writers including Leni (Reiss).”
Eckstein was working for Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JFCS) in Phoenix, starting as a secretary in 1965. She went to part-time after sons Michael and Tim were born and earned her master’s in social work at Arizona State University. When she returned full-time to JFCS she worked in geriatrics and immigration, helping refugees, many from the former Soviet Union, to settle into the Greater Phoenix area. “It was very rewarding,” she said.
This article originally appeared in the Jewish News. To read more, please click here.
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