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Looking back, looking forward

This issue marks a new era for New Jersey Jewish News.

Almost seven decades after its founding, this newspaper is being published by The Jewish Week Media Group of New York, with a mandate to retain its strong local flavor, supplemented by regional, national, and international reporting from The Jewish Week.

The move came about when the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ, publisher of NJJN, was facing difficult financial projections for the paper’s future last year. Its leadership approached The Jewish Week Media Group, publisher of The Jewish Week, a leading voice in the field of Jewish journalism. A long series of discussions and negotiations led to an agreement that seeks to satisfy the community’s need for and interest in a high-quality publication.

Fortunately, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. This newspaper, under the leadership of longtime editor-in-chief Andrew Silow-Carroll, now of the JTA, and executive editor Abby Meth Kanter, has built its proud reputation by focusing on community journalism, robust local coverage, thought-provoking analysis, and award-winning writing. Added to the mix will be the kind of in-depth reporting and expanded coverage that has been the hallmark of The Jewish Week.

We are grateful that Meth Kanter has agreed to stay on board in her chosen role as editorial adviser, bringing with her more than two decades of priceless editorial and community experience. But there will be changes, too, naturally. As seen from the issue you hold in your hands, the front page each week will include a mix of local, national, and international stories — most often three — that reflect the breadth and depth of Jewish life today. In addition to familiar bylines from our staff writers and regular contributors, new voices will be added to the mix. In today’s issue, for example, Martin Raffel, former senior vice president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and a recent transplant to Long Branch (from East Brunswick), offers his unique perspective of community — global and local. Merri Ukraincik of Edison introduces a new column, “Close To Home,” that reflects the challenges and joys of family life in the Jewish world. Editor Gabe Kahn, seasoned in Jewish communal life beyond his years, will report on local and world events, providing commentary and analysis with fresh insights.

No doubt this new version of NJJN will take some getting used to for longtime readers. The Talmud notes that “Kol hat’halot kashot,” “All beginnings are difficult.” But we hope you enjoy the product, and we invite you to share your comments, suggestions, and opinions so that this newspaper can truly reflect the wide variety of Jewish life it seeks to cover. A quality community deserves a quality newspaper.

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