Born in 1917, Mr. Clevenson grew up with nine siblings in an Orthodox Jewish home in Laconia, N.H. He began writing sports reports for the Laconia Citizen daily newspaper when he was 15. He later covered motorcycle races, major league baseball and a variety of other topics, worked in factories, managed auto stores, and had other jobs. He served as a gunnery instructor in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, working at newspapers in Long Island and as a freelance writer after the war.
He married Pearl Groopman in New York City, in 1952. Born in Wilkes Barre, Pa., in 1918, Mrs. Clevenson had been a secretary for the air-conditioning giant Carrier Corp. in Syracuse and New York City. A prolific writer in her youth and a lifelong avid reader, she was the foundation of the Clevenson home and helped with Jewish World bookkeeping.
Mr. Clevenson worked at daily newspapers in Springfield, Mass., and Boston before buying the weekly Farmington News in Farmington, N.H. In order to live in a larger Jewish community, in 1963 he brought his wife and two children, James and Laurie, to Schenectady, where he worked as an editor at the Schenectady Union-Star afternoon daily.
Inspired by Jewish community leaders with the idea that a newspaper would strengthen the community, Mr. Clevenson published the first issue of The Jewish World before Rosh Hashanah in 1965. He believed it would help unify the Jewish communities of Albany, Schenectady, Troy, and the surrounding area of upstate New York.
Mr. Clevenson edited the paper, with Laurie’s help since 1980, until his death at age 90 in 2008. Mrs. Clevenson lived at home in Schenectady until February, 2011, when she died at 93. She was active in her synagogue, joined a bat mitzvah class when she was 60, and supported many philanthropic enterprises.
Laurie had worked with the State of New York and in the restaurant business in Arizona before joining The Jewish World. She worked closely with her father, following the major events in the news cycles, becoming familiar with community leaders, monitoring Middle East politics, visiting Israel, editing and laying out the entire paper.
After graduating from SUNY-Binghamton in 1977 with a degree in philosophy, James edited Kite, the Clevensons’ weekly arts newspaper. From 1980 to 1994, as general manager of the family’s printing business,World Printing, then ran World Media, a printing brokerage which specialized in academic newspapers and retail marketing projects.
Since 2008 James and Laurie have carried forward their father’s legacy, redefining the paper’s role in the community and developing an innovative business model. They are packing the paper with more local news, and have added a dynamic web site and weekly e-newsletter to expand the readership.The Clevensons are building on The Jewish World’s role as a pillar of the Jewish community in Albany, Schenectady, Rensselaer, and Saratoga counties, cultivating new readers in the Berkshires, Hudson Valley, and the Catskills.
The Jewish World’s audience is well-educated, economically viable and discerning, with a thirst for knowledge in all areas affecting their lives, and the lives of their families. They welcome the Jewish World into their homes not only to learn about specific religious events, but to also be apprised of happenings within the worlds of art, politics and culture. They enjoy learning about lectures, foods, charity, social responsibility, films, travel, health issues, education, finance, history and leisure. They are active, engaged and involved.
A recent community survey* found that, of those responding,
71% receive The Jewish World
Over 88% think The Jewish World does a good or excellent job of informing them about the community
When asked which type of news or information do you like to read in The Jewish World, the top two responses were “All of it!” and “Local news.”
* 2010 Capital Region Jewish Community Study by The Jewish Federation of Northeastern NY