In our first 12 issues—this is our lucky 13th—New York Jewish Life has proudly covered a range of fascinating stories that reflect the diversity of our region’s Jewish communities.
We have shared exclusive political polling results on the Trump administration, opinions on Hillary Clinton and our readers’ sentiments towards Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio. The results were surprising, and reflected the stark differences in political thinking between, among many other neighborhoods in our distribution area, the Upper West Side, the Five Towns, Rego Park, Brighton Beach, Riverdale, Crown Heights, Park Slope and Midwood.
Our third issue included news on fundraising efforts for Kishorit, a home for adults with special needs in Israel that focuses on lifetime care. In our fourth issue we were on the scene at the Washington, D.C., AIPAC conference, bringing you reports on how our national community was (and still is) adjusting to a new American political environment. Our sixth-issue feature story highlighted how our coverage of Nassau County Assemblyman Charles Lavine’s efforts to correct a misguided, hateful classroom assignment in central New York forced an about-face, and an apology, from the State Education Department commissioner.
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer wrote a heartfelt column for our Holocaust-remembrance issue. We spoke with Richard Gere about his compelling role in Norman. Rabbi Elie Abadie, M.D., taught us about the profound impact World War II, and Germany’s genocidal efforts, had on Sephardic communities in the Balkans, North Africa and the Middle East.
Our talented and indefatigable NYC bureau chief, Maxine Dovere, has covered synagogue celebrations in Flushing, spoken with the U.N. secretary general and covered Jewish National Fund events. She has secured quotes from ambassadors on short notice, pulled comments from stubborn government officials and charmed movie directors. New York Jewish Life is lucky to have her time and interest.
Jews from the former Soviet Union, spread throughout New York City, are different from Soviet Jewish immigrants of years ago, different from our Lower East Side and Brooklyn forebears, and—interestingly—very different among themselves. We have written on this, and have a big story about that community coming soon.
We have covered news from Israel, college campuses and foreign capitals. Our columnists have written on criminal-justice reform, gender pay equity and the dangers of liberalism taken too far. We’ve celebrated the kosher-foodie social media scene. We’ve been impressed by the technology curriculum of young children in the Five Towns.
Diverse communities, differing histories, different priorities—all with something important in common: Israel. With this, our 13th issue, we join all New Yorkers in celebrating Israel. Whatever differences we have, and there are many, we have a common heritage in a dynamic, secure and thriving Jewish homeland.
In an interview with this paper, Jonathan Brent, executive director and CEO of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, told us that Jews leave few physical footprints, such as a Taj Mahal or a Tower of London. Without physical structures—concrete references to history—the oral tradition becomes all the more important. Knowledge of the history of the Jews has been transmitted through language—in written form and, according to Brent, in the form of stories and oral history.
“Even today, Jewish history is transmitted orally,” he said. “Jews in the Diaspora, with minor exceptions, are often cut off from their abundant history. The thousand years of tradition of the Jewish people is in danger of being lost or sitting in archives in books that are read by perhaps 300 scholars.”
Which is why it is important to have our Celebrate Israel Parade, and why, as a friend pointed out, there is a space for New York Jewish Life in our communities, and in your home.