The email from one of my editors came in early this past Monday. It read simply and briefly:
Will we include some acknowledgement of the 200th issue?
A publisher’s letter would be really nice.
I responded quickly saying that I agreed with her and started to think about what our paper reaching 200 issues over the past four-and-a-half years really means. Is it that big a milestone? Is there anything special about the number 200? Is there anything particularly meaningful about our reaching this milestone during this time of year—right in between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur?
I recalled the countless hours that have passed since the first issue of The Jewish Link of Bergen County was launched in March of 2013. Within a year, our twice-monthly newspaper became a weekly, and since then we have expanded our reach into Essex, Union, Passaic and Middlesex Counties, necessitating our name change to The Jewish Link of New Jersey. Two hundred issues, then, seems a great and inspiring milestone to have reached, and I am moved that this issue coincides with our Yom Kippur issue.
I was taught in my yeshiva days that any personal milestone such as a birthday or anniversary is a time to take stock and conduct a cheshbon hanefesh (personal review), to see where we stand today, how we are holding with our goals, and perhaps to plan and issue new challenges for the future as well.
So that is what I will do on the occasion of our 200th edition.
With thanks to God, it is now a point of pride that our paper has a devoted and dedicated staff whom I am proud to be associated with and enjoy working with every day; that we have dedicated, loyal advertisers who are true partners and friends; and, perhaps most importantly, that we have such supportive readers.
My co-publisher and friend Mendy (Mark) Schwartz loves telling me virtually every time we speak or see each other that not a single week goes by when The Jewish Link doesn’t come up in conversation with community members, friends and associates. For me, literally not a day goes by when I am not stopped wherever I go with comments and, sometimes, praise about our paper and its contents.
While we may joke that we don’t get praise often enough, and we certainly love hearing it and getting letters of thanks rather than complaints, during these Aseret Yemei Teshuva (days of awe) we want to take the special opportunity to recognize and appreciate all our thousands upon thousands of readers, writers and advertisers. You inspire us daily with your vibrant participation in what, we are thrilled to note, has become a must-read newspaper and community forum for the observant community here in our corner of New Jersey.
On the business side, I get an incredible high and sense of accomplishment when I hear that our advertisers—both for-profit and nonprofit—are enjoying and benefiting directly from their exposure in our paper, and get quality responses from our readers when they advertise their events, their sales and their services.
It also gives me tremendous pride to know that there is an ever-growing number of new businesses and nonprofits that our paper has literally and directly helped to get off the ground and on the road to success with their advertising and exposure in our paper alone. How can you beat that?
I recently received a testimonial from one such advertiser and writer of ours—Sari Friedbauer of Sari’s Wigs in Teaneck—who only started her business in the last few years. Sari recently emailed me the following:
It is such a pleasure working with you and your staff. You are all accommodating, creative, responsive and devoted to the success and well being of all your advertisers. Since teaming up with The Jewish Link my exposure and growth of my company has been absolutely remarkable. I can’t thank you enough for all you have done and continue to do for me.
I am also particularly inspired by our community leaders: the heads of school, rabbinic leadership and lay leaders who participate vigorously in community debates on the issues of the day in the pages of our newspaper.
Recently, we were very happy to publish an article called “The Bergen County Moment,” by The Moriah School’s Rabbi Daniel Alter (September 7, 2017). In it, he described our community in the throes of unexpected growth and success, and he offered an interesting and evocative challenge to the community in his final lines: “How do we ensure a continued spirit of cooperation throughout the community and not fall into the trap of disunity and fragmentation? How do we ensure that communal resources are utilized effectively without superfluity or waste?”
Responding to the article just a couple of weeks later was a 40-year resident of Teaneck who has been a first-hand witness to much of this community’s immense growth: Rabbi Israel “Tuly” Polak, who offered another interesting suggestion in the last lines of his piece. He shared “a concern that is focused inwardly. While every county in our community has a local rabbinic vaad to handle the religious communal issues that arise, a parallel committee of lay leaders does not exist … a committee that can address strategic planning for our various, and ultimately limited, resources will be critical.”
I am not so sure a parallel committee of communal lay leadership is fully workable or even desirable for us, but I know that I truly want to see thoughtful arguments, ideas and calls to action put forth and debated in these very pages. Please keep sending these to us and don’t ever stop!
Above all else, for all our world, Israel or national news, The Jewish Link is a community newspaper. From our articles to our columnists, we focus on what is important to the Bergen, Essex, Middlesex, Passaic and Union County Jewish communities. We write about what you, our readers, see on your streets and in your towns every day. We try our weekly best to write about the issues that matter to you. It is our mission as a newspaper and media forum to help further Rabbi Alter and Rabbi Polak’s goals by serving as a vital piece of the fabric that keeps our community together.
Our wish for the new year is that we should all merit to participate not only in our community’s continuing growth by the numbers, but also in our community’s growth in the religious, communal and political spheres as well.
Looking forward to the next 200 issues! G’mar Chatima Tova!
By Moshe Kinderlehrer