Moe Katz, My Grandfather

I have the great honor of being named for my grandfather, my father's father, Moe Katz of Brooklyn, NY. He passed away before I was born and I never had the opportunity to meet him, but I always knew that I was named for him, and what that entailed.

My dear late father, Rabbi Paul Katz of blessed memory, carried the tradition of Judaism and Zionism that was his father's legacy. When I was only five years old my dad gave me a copy of the book he wrote, in it he wrote words I shall never forget, "You are named for my own father who gave the entire Katz family a love for the Jewish people and the State of Israel, may you be true to his memory."

I have lived my entire life with that as my goal.

I am told that Moe was not an easy man, he was a man of principle. His lot in life was not easy, he worked very hard for the little that he had. He was devoted body and soul to the Jewish people and the dream of the State of Israel, those were his passions. He imbued my father with those same passions, and my father passed on those goals to his four sons. We all have stayed true to his path.

The following article is one of the few surviving mementoes I have of my grandfather whom I never met, but whose name I carry.

Katz Sparks Drive to Boost Herald Tribune

The last issue of 'The New Palestine' carried an advertisement and a report announcing the inauguration of a buyers' arrival column in the New York Herald Tribune. Behind this announcement there is an interesting chain of events involving Moe Katz, an outstanding and devoted member of the Flatbush Zionist District.

Moe Katz, like many thousands of Zionists, was terrifically incensed at the harm that was being done to the Zionist cause by anti-Zionist articles that had appeared at regular intervals in The New York Times.

At the beginning, he voiced his indignation by word of mouth and in letters of protest to the editor of the 'Times'. Like many of his fellow-Zionists, he was hopeful that the New York Times would eventually acknowledge the effort of its ways and cease the publication of its biased anti-Zionist dispatches, particularly those from Palestine and England which he considered British-inspired. The saturation point however was reached when at a moment when the Yishuv was fighting with its back against the wall, The Times began featuring prominently on its front page dispatches linking Zionists to Communists. These dispatches were exploited by the enemies of the Jewish people causing irreparable damage to the efforts of the Zionist leadership in securing justice for the Jewish people.

One Man Campaign

Moe Katz began to act. Spurred on by his friend, Phil Lassar, president of the Flatbush Zionist District, Moe Katz began what was tantamount to a one-man citywide campaign to boost the circulation of The New York Herald Tribune, which in contrast to The Times, treated the Palestine situation in an objective but just manner.

A prominent businessman himself, Moe Katz personally canvassed hundreds of merchants and business houses, urging them to buy The New York Herald Tribune. His efforts met with a warm response.

Hosts of his friends and neighbors began to patronize the Tribune. However, in conferring with numerous manufacturers and business establishments, Moe Katz encountered the argument: "We should like very much to subscribe to The New York Herald Tribune but we are forced to buy another paper," since The Tribune did not carry what to them is a vitally important feature, a "Buyer's Arrival" column.

Moe Katz then went to work and prevailed upon the editors of The New York Herald Tribune to institute such a feature service. Readers of The New York Herald Tribune have undoubtedly noted this feature service which lists the arrivals of buyers for the previous 24 hours, as well as a buyers' question and answer service, which is being rendered without charge to manufacturers and sales representatives.

Thus a new feature inaugurated by one of the foremost and outstanding newspapers of the world has been spurred as a result of a one-man campaign by Moe Katz.

Reprinted from "The New Palestine", April 14, 1948