Friday, March 23, 2018

The Jewish Link team celebrates the paper’s fourth anniversary last year.

This week’s edition (Issue #222) represents our fifth-anniversary edition of The Jewish Link and, as luck has it, the edition date is the same day in March as was our founding edition. Looking back at that first edition, which almost didn’t happen due to the fact that we finished it 12 hours behind schedule and had to scramble to find a printer somewhere in the NY/NJ region that would print our paper (hey...in our defense, it was our first time ever publishing a newspaper!), it’s hard to believe how far we have come.

In late 2012 and early 2013, as we went around meeting community
leaders, rabbis and local business owners and nonprofits, touting our soon-to-be-launched paper, we received a wide range of feedback and responses. Many thought we were outright crazy and should have our heads examined, some nodded at us and assumed we would likely fail, and others wondered at the need for a new newspaper. Of course, we were happy to surprise them all...although we are not sure they were completely wrong as it has become abundantly clear over the past five years that one does have to be a bit crazy—in a good way, we like to believe—to publish a community paper.

However, there were many who believed in The Jewish Link and were rooting for us and have been supporters, advertisers or contributors since the very first editions. We would like to publicly say a heartfelt thank you to a few of our founding advertisers, friends and partners who have been there with us since that first edition, including Glatt Express, The Rothenberg Law Firm, Ma’adan, V+N Realty, Chopstix, Paul Rolnick, YU, the Orthodox Union, Touro, OHEL and others.

We always like to say that the vast majority of our advertisers are happy ones and it gives us tremendous nachat to know that our paper has helped so many of them grow. We love hearing that their ads in The Jewish Link (or email blasts or Facebook posts) bring in new people, new sales, new clients, greater recognition and branding, and much more. Hearing that exposure in our paper works will never get old for us, so please keep up the dialogue and feedback. We also are quite proud of the fact that we have helped to launch or grow a number of thriving local businesses and nonprofits, who ran their initial marketing and outreach efforts almost exclusively in our paper.

We wrote in our founding edition publishers’ letter the following statement and goals: “This paper is founded with the goal of capturing what makes our dynamic and growing community unique and to contribute positively towards its continued growth in the years to come...Another goal is also to connect our unique, dynamic and rapidly growing Jewish communities...We are also committed to highlighting the best of what is taking place within the community without sugarcoating or distorting reality.”

All in all, we feel we have lived up to these founding goals. Not necessarily always perfectly or without strain, but our goals haven’t changed much and we are meeting them. Perhaps more meaningfully, we heard recently from a prominent local figure who reads our paper religiously cover-to-cover on Friday nights, who told us that in his opinion, the main success of The Jewish Link is that our articles, columns, news items, etc. are talked about at almost every Shabbat table and wherever our community gathers. In his words, we (The Jewish Link) have succeeded because we are “relevant” and, to him, just being “relevant” to so many in our community was a success all by itself and no easy task. We agree with him and say kein yirbu to being relevant!

Thank God, our community here in New Jersey is growing nicely and we like to believe that our paper is privileged to have a share in our community’s growth into one of the leading Orthodox Jewish communities in North America. We feel much pride upon hearing and saying that we have become the go-to main paper and news source—in print and online—for so many. We also believe that our paper has had a tremendous role in giving our community a unified forum and “voice,” on so many matters of substance and importance. We are deeply grateful for all of these opportunities and will be looking to increase them further in the months and years ahead.

Last but not least, we extend a heartfelt thank you to our wonderful readers and, acharon acharon chaviv, to our wonderful and amazing staff of editors, writers, production and design staff, salespeople, and all who contribute so much every week to make The Jewish Link of New Jersey what it is today. Without our staff, we would not be where we are today...and we look forward to working and growing together for many years to come.

By Moshe Kinderlehrer & Mark (Mendy) Schwartz

Co-Publishers & Co-Founders of The Jewish Link of NJ