In praise of free press and participation
In the Oct. 18 issue, New Jersey Jewish News broke from its practice of not endorsing political candidates (“Hillary Clinton for president”). The move sparked outrage among some readers, delight among others, and surprise among many who contacted the Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey in response.
As we told those who reached out, the editorial content of the independently published NJJN neither reflects the views of, nor is controlled by, the federation. The federation is a proud partner supporting NJJN, as it does dozens of diverse partners serving people of various backgrounds, interests, lifestyles, and viewpoints throughout the Jewish community. In the larger context, the federation supports our country’s system of free speech and free press.
NJJN’s masthead states it is an “independent voice seeking to inform and engage readers,” among other goals. The feedback to the presidential endorsement seems evidence that readers are engaged. This is good news. We don’t all have to agree. Maybe it’s good for our Jewish community to find itself riled up about an issue, with more of us responding by actively exchanging ideas through civic (and civil) discourse — writing letters to the editor, calling the federation, having passionate conversations. This is engagement. This is paying attention. This is participation.
The federation takes no position on political matters. Our only position is: Keep participating. Get involved in causes that matter to you. Express your views. And most of all, VOTE. Vote on Nov. 8 and know your vote counts.
President, The Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey