The Algemeiner 50th Anniversary Gala


In today’s world of biased print and social media, especially as it relates to important Jewish causes and interests such as Israel, it is increasingly important to have a strong and independent voice. The Algemeiner, an international publication based in New York City that covers the Middle East, Israel, and Jewish interests, attempts to achieve that goal. The objective of The Algemeiner is to give an individualistic, apolitical and powerful voice to the Jewish people and related causes through the media. 

Journalist Gershon Jacobson founded The Algemeiner in 1972 and is a non-profit organization funded by private donors. Originally, The Algemeiner was published in Yiddish and was known as Der Algemeiner Journal with peak circulation nearing 100,000 copies. The paper is published in print, and in the last decade, The Algemeiner also publishes online. Dovid Efune, The Algemeiner’s Editor-in-Chief and Executive Director, created the publication’s official website. Today, The Algemeiner’s advisory board includes notable individuals such as Martin Peretz, Abraham Foxman, and Malcolm Hoenlein, and at one time was previously led by Elie Weisel until his death in 2016. Each is an important leader in his respective Jewish community with unique insight into Jewish interests. In Yiddish/German, the word “Algemeiner” means “universal” or “all inclusive.” The name was chosen because of Gershon’s stated desire to reach as many people as possible with the paper’s coverage, and at one point, including a short English language supplement to reach a broader and more diverse Jewish audience.

On November 29, 2023, The Algemeiner held its 50th anniversary J100 gala. At the gala, Artist Pat Boone, NBA athlete Enes Kanter Freedom, former Chancellor of Austria Sebastian Kurz, and Ben and Annie Fisher were each honored with the Warrior for Truth award.  

Pat Boone, a famous American singer and actor, during his acceptance speech for the award, expressed his support of the land of Israel and standing up against rising antisemitism in the United States and internationally. He opened his remarks by speaking about the song he penned about the land of Israel, “The Exodus Song (This Land is Mine).” This song highlights the important perspective of each individual Jew and how important the land of Israel is to each and every one.  

Enes Kanter Freedom, a former Boston Celtics and New York Knicks player, who was born in Switzerland and grew up in Turkey, told a touching personal story of how he became involved in fighting antisemitism. One night, when he was eight years old, he went downstairs to go play with his friends where he saw them burning Israeli and American flags and destroying crosses. He instinctively stated “guys, what are you doing,” and his friends responded, “that’s what we saw on TV.” They even gave him a flag to burn. This was terrifying for Kanter Freedom. He fled back upstairs to his mother in fear. He told her what happened with his friends and solicited her advice on what to do. His mother responded: “I am not going to tell you what to do but do not hate anyone before you meet them.” Fast forward nine years and Enes Kanter Freedom went to America and made American Jewish friends, sitting with them during their Shabbat dinners and proving stereotypes wrong. He now organizes a basketball camp in Israel and uses basketball to bring people of all walks of life together in fighting antisemitsm. “I feel like we have a lot of differences. Different colors, different backgrounds, different religions and all different cultures and stuff,” said Kanter Freedom. “I think what we need to do is to leave our differences on the table and try to find what we have in common.”

Sebastian Kurz, a former Austrian politician who served as chancellor of Austria for two terms, spoke about the brave Holocaust survivors during his acceptance speech for the Warrior for Truth award. He explained how he is incredibly inspired by the fact that this generation is the last with Holocaust survivors. Sebastian Kurz fights all forms of antisemitism in Austira and has immense support for Israel. He stands with others praising The Algemeiner’s body of work and its impact on the Jewish people and the people of Israel.  

 In their joint acceptance speech for the Warrior for Truth award, Ben and Annie Fisher highlighted the drastic recent rise in antisemitism due to social media. Ben Fisher remarked that during quarantine, he downloaded Tik Tok and loved the app, but also recognized the rampant antisemitism in the comments section and in the video content. They highlighted the dangers of antisemitism in the media and provided a call of action for anyone in the audience. Ben and Annie Fisher understand the importance of spreading awareness in the publication.

The Algemeiner gala left a stark reminder that we must remain vigilant in fighting antisemitism on all fronts—in our schools, our communities, on college campuses and in the media. We each have a strong voice individually and are fortunate that The Algemeiner is five decades strong bringing those voices together still fighting to provide support to the Jewish people, Israel and our collective causes.