Archive for September, 2011
I think Tom Friedman essentially gets it right today:
Given these stakes, here is what a farsighted Israeli government would say to itself: “We have so much more to lose than the Palestinians if all this collapses. So let’s go the extra mile. Abbas says he will not come to peace talks without a freeze on settlement-building. We think that is bogus. We gave him a 10-month partial freeze and he did nothing with it. But you know what? There is so much at stake here, let’s test him again. Let’s offer him a six-month total freeze on settlement-building. What is six months in the history of 5,000-year-old people? We already have 300,000 settlers in place. It is a win-win strategy that in no way imperils our security. If the Palestinians still balk, they will be the ones isolated, not us. And, if they come, who knows? Maybe we cut a deal.”
Apropos of exactly nothing, I came across this site explaining how to slice a bagel ”into two equal halves which are linked like two links of a chain.” Sort of a mobius bagel, if you can picture it (which I couldn’t). Here is an intermediate picture:
Alarming headline from the Bergen Record:
Orthodox tradition carries risk
Actually, the article points out the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning froms stoves left on during the two days of Rosh Hashana (you can’t light a flame during the holy days, but you can cook an object over a previously lit flame).
Did you ever wonder what you would think about the Jews if you weren’t Jewish (assuming, you’re Jewish, of course)? You know you have. Would you be tolerant? Antagonistic? Envious? Would the stuff you find endearing in your relatives drive you nuts in strangers?
Please send your answers to “If I Weren’t Jewish” at P.O. Box….
Kidding. But I do wonder what non-Jewish readers think when they open the New York Times and find four different articles about the Jewish vote and at least as many about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:
Don’t Lutherans vote?
So let’s just say that you are the non-Jewish owner of a Jewish newspaper. Some tips, one for each day of the week and a bonus:
1/ Try to limit advertisements for the Passover Clambake special at Shop ‘n Spend.
2/ If you must mention Halloween in the newspaper, be sure to say that it is a pagan holiday with Christian roots. Or vice versa. Either way, be sure to disapprove.
3/ Ditto with Valentine’s Day. Ask a Jewish underling what “goyishe naches” means.
4/ Don’t expect to get much work out of anybody until “after he holidays.” Considering that the longest period between Jewish holidays is 17 days, don’t expect to get much work out of anybody.
5/ “Secret Santa” is probably not a great idea for a holiday season morale booster. Instead try “Oversharing Oscar,” in which employees drink a little too much at the annual Latke and Vodka party and say what they really think about each other. That’s the Jewish way.
6/ You may be tempted to chalk up declining advertising sales to structural upheavals in the newspaper industry, a dearth of consumer confidence, and the struggles of small businesses to secure credit. Unh-uh. It’s anti-Semitism.
7/ Expect to receive vicious phone calls from people who consider your newspaper little more than self-hating fish-wrapping whose editors are bent on handing out ammunition to the world’s Jew-haters. Don’t hang up: They may be calling to renew their subscriptions.
8/ Do not fire the 79-year-old guy who writes the “Out Late with Nate” gossip column or Minah, who has been contributuing the “Someone’s in the Kitchen with Minah” column since Prohibition. What are you, some kind of anti-Semite?
Bad news for Jewish journalism, but an interesting issue nonetheless: A few advertisers in the now bankrupt Baltimore Jewish Times say they would stop giving the paper their business if, under a joint ownership proposal, majority control went to non-Jewish management.
William Yerman, the CEO of the Strata Group, a real estate company, and broker of record for Yerman, Witman, Gaines & Conklin Realty, said he has held leadership roles in local Jewish charities and reads the Jewish Times every week.
“There’s no rival, clearly, in our market, and I believe it’s very important,” Yerman said.
The broker said that Andrew Buerger and his family were important members of the Jewish community in Baltimore. Because of his relationship with Buerger, he has been advertising with the Jewish Times regularly and remains happy with its advertising services, he said.
Yerman said that aside from advertising in the Jewish Times, his company has focused efforts almost exclusively on social media, including blogs.
“If the Buerger family was not in control, it may convince me to finally stop,” he said. “it would feel like a different publication.”
He was not aware of any Jewish publications in other cities that were not owned by Jewish people. “They would have a better understanding of the needs of Jews than someone who isn’t Jewish,” Yerman said.
Neil Meltzer, president and CEO of Sinai Hospital and senior vice president of Lifebridge Health, called the publication “the glue, the fabric” that connects Jewish residents in the area.
“The Jewish Times, under the Buerger leadership, has been embraced wholeheartedly,” Meltzer said. “It strikes to represent a broad array of Jewish viewpoints.”
Meltzer described the Buergers as “one of the cornerstones” of Baltimore’s Jewish community.
“It’s tough to separate the Buergers from the Jewish Times. They’re kind of one and the same,” he said.
The leader of the paper must be “somebody who is integrated well and understands the gestalt of the Jewish community, if you will,” Meltzer said.
But he feared that there might be a “backlash” if the Buergers were to separate from the Jewish Times. He said such a reaction might prompt Lifebridge to stop advertising in it.
“I will react based on metrics,” he said. “If the newspaper weren’t read, it wouldn’t make sense for us to be advertising.”
I suspect there is more to this than meets the eye, and the advertisers are at some level just being loyal to the (Jewish) Buerger family, which has owned and operated the paper for decades (and perhaps that loyalty convinced them to keep advertising even when, on a purely business level, it made sense to advertise elsewhere).
The BJT was a great paper, and it achieved its greatness by hiring excellent staff. That’s the challenge of a new owner. Its feel for the ”gestalt of the Jewish community” will come from the editor or publisher responsible for day-to-day operations, not the corporate office.
(h/t Larry Yudelson)
From the Washington Institute:
The Palestinian bid for statehood at the UN could bring yet another tsunami to a region already swept by a maelstrom. It is too late to stop this showdown, but all parties must do what they can to limit the damage.
Occasional NJJN contributor Jeffrey Yoskowitz has a new blog about pork — specificially, “about pork and identity, and how our choices surrounding the pig often reveal our cultural backgrounds and worldviews.”
Yoskowitz, a graduate of Solomon Schechter Day School of Essex and Union in West Orange, has written about the pork industry in Israel and the connections between diet and spirtuality.
“Pork Memoirs” collects stories about the other white meat, but its creator remains kosher . “As popular as the pig may be in Brooklyn nowadays, I don’t foresee myself crossing that line just yet,” Yoskowitz tells Tablet. “But I do order a tempeh bacon sandwich every week from a local sandwich shop that definitely satisfies some kind of urge.”