If like me, your sense of time is all over the place at the moment (is it April or May?), you’ll be forgiven for thinking the Jewish News is yesterday’s news. After all, just seven days ago, I wrote 600 misty-eyed words about our final issue after 24 years.
Well, let’s just say a week is a very long time in Jewish media.
Long story short, seven days ago we were set to shut shop and launch a merged newspaper in partnership with the Jewish Chronicle. Six days ago a bigger anonymous rival bid (which is poised to purchase the Jewish Chronicle this week) forced a sudden change of plan on the part of our owner Leo Noe, who generously took Jewish News out of liquidation to save jobs and stop it falling into unknown hands.
So the good news, at the end of a dramatic week of twists and turns that would make Shakespeare blush, is that your Jewish News is back.
The warmth and kind words from across the community following news of our closure was overwhelming. As American poet Ted Berrigan sort of wrote: “It’s only when a newspaper dies that it gets flowers.” Well, I’m going to keep those flowers in a vase on my desk forever.
This week’s Jewish News might be issue 1,155, but to me it feels like number one – signalling the launch of an ambitious new chapter in the newspaper’s history. So today I want to restate our commitment to our readers, pledge to campaign on issues and champion causes that affect their daily lives and recommit to celebrating British Jewish life louder, prouder and rowdier than ever before.
Consider some of the big issues facing us and the need for a confident and secure Jewish News is clear:
The shifting demographics from secular to strictly-Orthodox; communal intolerance between the left and the right; mental health and domestic abuse awareness; online extremism and campus antisemitism; the legacy of our Holocaust survivors and future of the Westminster Holocaust memorial; worrying falls in shul membership; eradicating the hate slur ‘Yid’ from sport; strengthening Jewish-Muslim ties; the plight of chained Orthodox women; safeguarding faith schools, shechita and brit milah; youth disengagement with Israel and the Diaspora’s relationship with the Jewish state. And, perhaps most pressingly, helping the Labour Party emerge from the shadows of Corbynite antisemitism.
There is much to write and put right. We will do it together, story by story, week by week, issue by issue, in OUR Jewish News.
Of course the most sincere thanks are due to our white knight Leo for saving Jewish News, but I’m sure he won’t mind me sharing the most important lesson I’ve learned in my 11 years in the editor’s chair: the one true and deserving owner of this very special newspaper is the Jewish community itself.