THIS EDITION OF New Jersey Jewish News marks a milestone: It is the last to be published under the leadership of our newspaper’s current editorial, production, design, and business staffs and board of trustees.
Beginning next week, the legacy that began when the first edition of The Jewish News was published on Jan. 3, 1947, will be carried forward by our new publisher, the Jewish Week Media Group.
This milestone is just one of many that have marked the first 70 years of our award-winning publication, which grew from a single-edition weekly newspaper serving the 16,000 members of the Jewish Community Council of Essex County to one of the nation’s leading Jewish newspapers. In its prime, this was the largest-circulation weekly newspaper in New Jersey, with five print editions and a robust website covering the catchment areas of five Jewish federations and reaching the mailboxes of more than 50,000 homes in seven counties across the state and beyond.
During this time we reported on the entire history of Israel, from the creation of a new nation to the current struggles with terrorism. We covered events closer to home and chronicled their impact on our community, from the 1967 riots in Newark to rallies for Soviet Jewry and the resettlement of Russian immigrants in our neighborhoods. We showcased Jewish arts and culture and celebrated the successes of our federations and community members, institutions, and agencies; and maintained our editorial independence and integrity.
After seven decades of providing award-winning international, national, and local coverage, in print and on-line, our paper has been facing challenges familiar to all media outlets, making it financially impossible for our publisher, Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ, to continue to provide the quality publication our community has come to expect and enjoy. The federation has embraced a new, more economical business model, and by entering into an agreement with the publisher of the New York-based The Jewish Week, NJJN will continue to serve its readership.
Subscribers to the Greater MetroWest edition will still receive NJJN each week, and the focus on local content will remain a priority. Many of the familiar bylines won’t change, as some members of our editorial and sales staff will remain on the job. What will change is the layout. Also, regrettably, many members of the production, art, administrative, and editorial staffs will not continue in their jobs as their responsibilities are assumed by the new publisher.
The job cuts are particularly painful, as NJJN’s success can be attributed to our dedicated and talented staff members, many of whom have been with the paper for nearly 20 years. Their professionalism and proficiency have been demonstrated time and time again, but never more so than during the last six months following the announcement that the change in publishers was in the works. Executive editor Abby Meth Kanter, COO Rick Kestenbaum, and publications operations director Trish Rogers took over the reins when editor-in-chief/COO Andrew Silow-Carroll moved on last March. They rallied their staffs, who shouldered the additional responsibilities of producing some 10 issues a month for the federations with limited resources, but without sacrificing quality, always maintaining the highest level of excellence, evidenced in every issue of the paper.
At this time of transition, our board of trustees wishes to express our extreme gratitude to our outstanding staff for their contributions to our much-loved and much-honored community institution. We acknowledge the service of our past leaders and board members and gratefully thank our faithful readers — without them we could not have thrived for so long — and our loyal employees, advertisers, and community leaders and professionals for 70 years of support.
On a personal note, I would like to thank our board trustees who served with me, volunteering their time and offering valuable advice and counsel during this challenging period.
And we wish our successors good luck in carrying our legacy forward.
Robert E. Daley, president
On behalf of the New Jersey Jewish News board of trustees