Every year at this time it is our privilege to report to you on the state of The Jewish Week.
At Rosh HaShanah it is appropriate to take stock of where we have been and to look forward, with renewed commitment to journalistic excellence, to the coming year.
The year just ending has been difficult on many levels. We continue to monitor events in Israel and throughout the Middle East with apprehension and concern, mourning those lost in Israel and Gaza, and noting that peace between Israel and the Palestinians seems a distant dream. With the region increasingly in chaos under assault from Islamic militants, Israel’s status as a thriving democracy seems all the more precious. But witnessing the increasing and blatant display of anti-Semitism this summer, especially in Europe, we are reminded of the ongoing need to counter racism and bias. In the next two months, as the deadline for talks over Iran’s nuclear program draws near, we will be watching to see if a resolution can be reached that satisfies Israel’s sense of security. And if not, which nation, if any, will ensure that protection from a nuclear Tehran?
Here in New York, the past year saw many reasons for promise as innovators brought new ideas and opportunities for connections to our community. Yet the level of disagreement and conflict amongst our people, particularly over Israel’s policies, is a serious and growing concern – one we seek to address. We see the role of The Jewish Week as not only reporting on Jewish life but serving as a vital bridge, connecting and strengthening the diverse elements of our community through a number of educational programs we have launched and maintain over the years.
One in particular, The Conversation, an annual two-day retreat for current and emerging Jewish thought-leaders and activists from around the country, seeks to address the communal divide directly. Having just marked its 10th anniversary it now has close to 600 alumni. The program recognizes the need for a safe space for serious Jews to meet, discuss and disagree with each other in a respectful manner on the major topics of the day. Its model is The Jewish Week itself, whose goal is to provide a place for the Jewish community to be informed, to share ideas and hear each other’s views on the path, however elusive, to increased respect and unity.
A visit to our homepage will reveal that we sponsor Jewish Week Forums year-round to bring New Yorkers into contact with authors, thinkers and leaders who are having an impact on Jewish life. We also educate young people about the complexities of modern Israel (Write on For Israel) and showcase teen journalism (Fresh Ink, a webzine by and for teens.) Our Jewish Week Investigative Journalism Fund enables us to tackle in-depth, enterprise stories and supports writers whose work sheds light on issues too often limited to the shadows.
We appreciate this opportunity to publicly applaud our staff members and share their pride in additions to our web offerings, including a lively Food and Wine section and new blogs like The New Normal, which gives voice to issues and ideas relating to those with disabilities; the blog already has generated a grateful and energetic international following.
Our sales and business team works tirelessly to serve our advertisers and build circulation, reaching out to every part of the community.
Running a media business in the New York media market is not easy. Maintaining our commitment to editorial excellence through original local, national and international reporting adds financial cost, as does our series of community-building programs. Nevertheless, we keep pushing ahead, motivated by a deep desire to contribute to this vibrant community and to help us all connect. But all of this costs money.
That is where you can help. Your support can enable The Jewish Week to grow through tax-deductible contributions to FJC, which holds donor-advised funds for The Jewish Week (www.thejewishweek.com/support).
Our major event of the coming year will be held on November 5 as we honor one of our founders, the remarkable businessman and philanthropist Eugene Grant at a special dinner. It will be followed by a public Forum featuring author and educator Daniel Gordis in conversation with Ethan Bronner, deputy national editor of The New York Times, on how Israel is covered in the media.
Click here for information on this special evening and click here to learn more about our extensive schedule of forums and other events.
Finally, please click here to learn more about our programs and the ways we strengthen and celebrate Jewish life and ideas — and ways you can support our work.
Most importantly, we thank you for your interest and support, and encourage you to give us feedback. 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