Amid the crush of negative publicity about Israel, the Jewish community too often doesn’t hear the good news about life in the Jewish state.
Jerry Gordon, a Monroe resident, hopes to change that. On April 5 he’ll launch Jerry’s Upbeat Israel News, an electronic newsletter.
Gordon said he has compiled a list of 6,000 e-mail addresses from Middlesex, Monmouth, Essex, Union, Mercer, Somerset, and Ocean counties. The bimonthly publication will be free.
“People are so weary of the political news from Israel,” said Gordon, who publishes the annual All Things Jewish business directory. “I want to bring news of medical breakthroughs, scientific achievements, and accomplishments in the sporting world — things we can be proud of and which no one covers in the regular press.”
Gordon said he is not looking to compete with the established Jewish press — which, he said, has a different and vital role to play.
He’s a “big supporter” of Jewish federations, he said, and plans to have website links to them and to “Jewish family services, JCCs, and other local Jewish agencies and services.” Another goal: “I’m looking to get our young people more Jewishly involved,” Gordon said.
He also sees his newsletter as a way to reach out in the event of a medical or other community emergency, such as when a bone marrow or kidney transplant donor is needed.
Gordon said he first got the idea for this endeavor in June following a visit by former President Jimmy Carter, who has been accused of anti-Israel bias, to the West Bank and Gaza.
After visiting one settlement in the territories, said Gordon, Carter “said he was so surprised that this was a regular thriving community. However, when he got back, no one had seen that in any paper or knew anything about that.”
He also pointed to a 2009 demographic survey by the Jewish Federation of Greater Middlesex County that showed “an amazing percentage” of Jews, especially those 20 to 30 years old, who no longer identified with Israel.
“There seemed to be a real void about how to reach these young people,” he said. “Of course, e-mail is what this generation lives by.”
For more information or to be added to the list, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.