The first issue of The Canadian Jewish News, Friday, January 1, 1960.
By LEILA SPEISMAN
TORONTO - Meyer Nurenberger, a longtime and outspoken newspaperman, passionate Herut-Likud supporter, and the founder of The Canadian Jewish News, died recently of Alzheimer's disease. He was 90.
Born in Krakow, he moved to France and later Belgium, where he was educated, eventually becoming a parliamentary reporter. In February 1939, seeing the writing on the wall for European Jews, according to his daughter, Atara Beck, he moved to the United States.
"He pleaded with his family to come with him, but they refused," she said. "He never saw them again."
A little known fact about him, she said, is that in New York, he received the highest order of smichah, rabbinic ordination, from Rabbi Yehuda Gershuni. He never used the title "rabbi," however.
He worked for the Jewish Morning Journal, a New York Yiddish daily. In 1947, he became its editor.
During World War II, Nurenberger served as a war correspondent for the U.S. army. He covered both the Nuremberg trials, and later the trial of Adolf Eichmann.
At Eichmann's trial, Beck said, "he ostentatiously wore a large black yarmulke and sat in court reading a Yiddish newspaper.
In 1957, at the request of Menachem Begin, later prime minister of Israel and a longtime friend, and with the assistance of several other Likud supporters including Sam Shainhouse, he moved to Toronto, to edit Der Yiddishe Journal, a Yiddish weekly. When the offices burned down, he decided, to-gether with his late wife, Dor-othy Cohn Nur-enberger, to begin a weekly, English lang-uage newspaper, The Can-adian Jewish News.
Beck recalls that before publication began, the family received death threats from local anti-Semites, so vicious that they were given police protection.
He published The CJN until 1971, when, after the death of his wife, he sold it to the present owners. Unable to resist the lure of the newspaper world, in 1974, he founded the Jewish Times, which he used to promulgate his unabashed view of the Jewish world and to take frequent potshots at his former publication.
During those years, he also wrote the main editorial column for the Algemeiner Journal, a New York Yiddish weekly.
At the same time, he researched and wrote The Scared and the Doomed - The Jewish Establishment vs the Six Million, espousing his belief that European Jewry could have been saved, not only if the general community had not remained indifferent and uncaring, but if Jews in the United States had been able to put aside their differences and egos and work together. It was published in 1985.
Besides maintaining a close friendship with Begin, Nurenberger was a strong influence on former prime minister John Diefenbaker, who, Beck said, he encouraged to speak out in Parliament in favour of the Jewish State.
Although, as friend Lou Silver said at his funeral, Nurenberger was completely dedicated to Israel and the Jewish people, he cared for everyone.
Nurenberger was well-known as a raconteur and an inspired conversationalist. Shainhouse and others recalled looking forward with anticipation to spirited discussions over coffee and in shul. The family home was filled with lively discussions about Israel, politics, literature and music, Beck said.
"All ages got along with him," she said, describing her friends delighting in his company, and his telling eagerly awaited stories to his granddaughter's class.
He was an intellectual, interested in a great many different things. He spoke eight languages, and, Beck said, could read a few more.
His greatest happiness lay in his family, she said. "It was a simchah for all of us to be together."
Most of all, Beck said, "he loved life, and lived it to the fullest."
Nurenberger was predeceased by his wife Dorothy, and daughter Cynthia Berke. He is survived by daughters Ilana Ovadya and Atara Beck, 11 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.