Every year at this time it is our honor to report to you on the state of The Jewish Week.
It is customary to look back on the past year’s achievements and challenges, and to look forward, with hope, to the New Year. But as Gary Rosenblatt wrote in these pages two weeks ago, “it doesn’t feel like we’re ready this year.” For many of us, this reflects the fractious condition of the Jewish community and the tense conversations about so many issues affecting us, from presidential politics to the Israel-U.S. relationship to the Iran nuclear deal.
Amidst all of the increasingly divisive debate, The Jewish Week remains strongly committed to journalistic excellence and to being a constructive voice in our community, a source of news, opinion and diverse views that can inform and inspire our readers to think through — and, we hope, act on — today’s pressing issues. Indeed, as the differences among us sharpen, we see our role as a bridge across the divides becoming ever more important. And while Jewish unity may be more a dream than a reality, we are committed to fostering respect and understanding within our community.
In seeking to both inform and strengthen that community, we have created and sustain a number of community-building and educational projects and events that go beyond the scope of most news organizations:
n The Conversation is an off-the-record, Jewish Week-sponsored annual retreat for opinion makers and leaders from across the country.
n Write On For Israel is an intensive, two-year program to educate high school students about the Mideast conflict and prepare them for the campus experience.
n The Jewish Week Investigative Journalism Fund enables us to produce and promote enterprise reporting based on in-depth research — a rarity in today’s world of quick-hit news gathering.
n The Jewish Week Forums offer community programs and other events designed to connect New Yorkers with the authors, thought leaders and newsmakers who are advancing Jewish life.
We take pride in The Jewish Week staff. Our editorial team, led by editor and publisher Gary Rosenblatt and managing editor Robert Goldblum, includes a staff of editors and writers who continue to educate, engage and entertain.
Associate publisher Rich Waloff manages our websites, including our flagship, thejewishweek.com, NYBlueprint.com, a leading source of online information and events for single Jewish professionals in their 20s and 30s, and freshinkforteens.com, a webzine of journalism and personal essays written for and by teens. We are also proud of the growth of our other web offerings, including a lively Food and Wine section and blogs like The New Normal, which focuses on issues and ideas relating to people with disabilities, and of JWCalendar, a new and comprehensive source for listing events throughout the community.
Our sales and business team, led by Rich Waloff and sales manager Ruth Rothseid, works tirelessly to provide our advertising partners with exemplary service and to build our circulation, reaching out to every part of the community. And our production, art and office staff help ensure the quality of our product.
Much thanks is due our board of directors, a group of thoughtful community leaders dedicated to strengthening Jewish life through the various projects listed above that make up The Jewish Week Media Group. Their support, time and creative thinking are deeply appreciated and are vital to our success.
Operating a media business in New York is not easy, and The Jewish Week is not immune from the difficulties facing media organizations here and across the country. Maintaining editorial excellence through original reporting adds financial challenges, as does our roster of community-building programs. Nevertheless, we are motivated by a deep desire to strengthen and give back to this community and help us all connect more productively in the year ahead.
Of course, this all costs money.
That is where you can help. Your tax-deductible contributions to FJC, which holds donor-advised funds for The Jewish Week, enable us to grow; please visit thejewishweek.com/support.
Our major event of the year will be held on Dec. 15 at the Hotel Pierre as we honor Rabbi Haskel Lookstein with our Community Builder Award and Leon Wieseltier with our Thought Leader Award. Ruth Calderon, a former Knesset member and creative educator, will reflect on efforts to bridge the secular-religious divide in Israel.
Please plan to join us to honor our honorees, celebrate the accomplishments of The Jewish Week and help assure its survival and continued growth.
As we begin the Jewish calendar year of 5776, we renew our commitment to strive for journalistic excellence, service and community building, as well as our commitment to you, our readers. We thank you for your interest and your support along the way. On behalf the of the entire Jewish Week Media Group team, including our board of directors, we wish you a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year.
Stuart Himmelfarb, President
Peter Wang, Board Chair