For 80 years, The Jewish Standard has covered the northern New Jersey Jewish community, celebrating its achievements and taking note of areas that still need attention.
We are proud that this coverage has been even-handed. Indeed, complaints from local synagogues, schools, and organizations have centered not on our stories but on those instances where – limited by staff or by time – we were not able to write about all their events.
Our focus has been broad and wide-ranging, embracing all streams of Judaism. We have covered events at synagogues with mechitzas as well as programs led by Jewish new-agers. We have explored the entire gamut of Jewish life, from music to art, from politics to holidays, and we have become a valued part of the community’s Jewish life.
To those who now say we have slighted the gay community, we point to editorials decrying intolerance as well as stories about efforts to secure equality. It is unlikely that a homophobic paper – as some now label us – would have even considered running the announcement of the Smolen-Rosen engagement. Not many Jewish papers can say the same.
To those who say we slight the Orthodox movement, we point to countless articles about Orthodox institutions, opinion pieces by Orthodox rabbis, and continuous efforts to include the Orthodox point of view in reported stories.
Now, because of one misstep, we have ourselves come under repeated fire.
We have acknowledged that we listened too closely to one group rather than taking the pulse of the entire community; and we have agreed that we acted too quickly in dealing with the “firestorm” we were told we created in the Orthodox community.
Some are questioning our commitment to Judaism, others our commitment to the Jewish people. Ironically, this kind of divisiveness is precisely what we have tried to avoid for 80 years in an effort to unify the community through our pages.
To ensure fairness, we have committed to engage in discussions and to chronicle the ongoing controversy in the paper. Indeed, this edition of the paper reflects that commitment.
We ask for time to address this matter properly – to do the “due diligence” we should have done from the start – and we thank you in advance for helping us conduct rational and thoughtful discussions about an issue obviously important to so many people from so many parts of our one community.