Friday, July 20, 2007

The Ultimate Jewish Newspaper

Calling all opinions. I need all the help I can get here.

If you had the opportunity to create the ultimate Jewish newspaper, taking the best from every Jewish publication out there and adding some spice of your own, what issues would you want covered?

What are the important issues of our day? What are important issues that are discussed on the blogs but don't see as much attention as they perhaps should?

Pick anything from broad topics like economics to education to more specialized or specific issues. I need all your ideas. Every idea is useful. And please state the obvious, because sometimes it isn't obvious to me.

And especially consider what issues you would want presented and articles you would want geared toward an audience of motivated young adults.

Now, please discuss!


sprouter said...

I think it would be amazing to do biographies of different kinds of people who do chesed (men, women, different hashkafot) and ask them both logistical questions (how are you balancing book learning with chesed, etc) and spiritual questions (how do you open your heart to each person who walks through the door).

I think they do chesed biographies in some of the frummer newspapers, but this would be better because it would be more variety of the type of person (not only women who wear shaitels talking about balancing chesed with family life) and it could go really deep.

Opinion said...

It's amazing how much we think alike. I have had the same idea for which I have wanted to do for several years now but every time I find the courage, I am discouraged because I know the culture and problems, I know how people react, and I know that even if I had all the right ideas, they are not commonplace and are seldom openly accepted. I think that current Jewish newspapers reflect the greater Jewish community's cookie cutter mentality but rarely does it reflect what is really happening and what people really have in their minds and on their hearts. To analyze it briefly:

There is either a pro-Israel/pro-Zionist bias or anti-Israel bias cleaverly disguised as concern for Israel.

There is either a relgious bias or a secular bias.

There is a tendency when it is pro-Israel, pro-religious to be nonetheless Leftist/Liberal/Socialist/Democrat.

There is a tendency to jump on the band wagon of mainstream or sometimes extremist thought without ever examining the facts or looking ahead into the future.

The question that needs to be raised is what makes a Jewish newspaper different from a regular American community newspaper?

New ideas:
The news themes always seem to center around
1. Israel
2. Synagogues
3. Community organizations
4. Famous Jews
5. Succesful Jews
6. Trends in the Jewish community.

What is missing is:
1. The truth about what is going on in Jewish communties. E.g. Drugs, Sex, Crime, etc.

2. Stories about common, regular, individuals who do ordinary things that are positive to those around them and who actually live Jewish values.

3. Jews who have new ideas.

4. Stories about Jews in communities outside the big cities (E.g. Chaim who raises a family and runs a mail order business in a small upstate NY town.)

5. Unusual stories to demonstrate that Jews do deverse things other than the stock market, Doctors, Lawyers. (E.g. The wine farmer or the cattle rancher Jew, or the Jews who serve in the U.S. armed forces - We never here about them.)

6. Jews who have unusual, interesting, and novel ideas.

7. Stories about Jews who live safe, happy, and enjoyable lives in countries other than Israel.

8. Stories religious and non-rel. Jews who have positive relations with their goyish neighbors. Stories about non-Jews who have enjoyed positive experiences with Jews.

9. Etc.

Mazel Tov!

Daniel said...

I don't know about issues exactly, but I have felt for a long time that there is a need for a newspaper concerned with building bridges across the community: between religious and non-religious; Orthodox and Progressive; Charedi and Modern Orthodox etc. Most Jewish publications seem intent on widening divisions, not healing them.

There are also issues like mental illness, drug addiction, alcoholism, AIDS and so on that exist within the community, but are ignored. They need to be addressed in a calm and sensitive fashion.

This would all require scrupulous observance of the laws concerning lashon hara and sinat chinam, not just the strict letter of the law, but the spirit of the law as well.

I also feel strongly that there is an urgent need for a cultural renewal in Judaism, especially in Orthodox Judaism. This is something I hope to write about at length on my own blog soon, but I feel that currently Orthodox Judaism stifles many people who have genuine abilities in art and literature. They therefore have to choose between religion/Orthodoxy and art. This is not healthy for them or for Orthodoxy, which seems to me to have become cultural stagnant, trapped trying to return to an idealised pre-Holocaust world. Lacking cultural depth, Orthodoxy is unappealing to many Jews who would otherwise benefit from it, and would bring their own gifts to it. A Jewish newspaper geared at "an audience of motivated young adults" would be ideally placed to start this cultural renaissance.

anonymous mom said...

I was just thinking this week about the concept of a blog or newspaper called Nachas. The purpose would be to list positive, community oriented, Chesed-type activities and groups from all Jewish denominations and subgroups. In addition to the reporting of events, a list of organizations with full disclosure of denomination and details from Chasidic to Reform and anything that defies categorization, with profiles of Baalei Chesed of all age groups and denominations.
Also, please, would love to see a publication heavy on technology, food, art, film, poetry, music geared to and about young Orthodox adults.

Diet Dr. Pepper said...

Book reviews

Book excerpts (like the excerpt from Rabbi Lau's autobiography in the recent issue of Jewish Action)

Biographies (like the Commentator's series on R' Soloveitchik), but on lesser known personalities as well

Jewish Atheist said...

Maybe you could have a regular column by a blogger. What The Blogs Are Saying or something.

Miri said...

Educational trends!! Which is really sort of compiling everything everyone above has already said into one topic, essentially, but it is the basis of the Jewish community, and as such, it's influence should not be ignored.

haKiruv said...

I'd like to see something on social digital networking and/or virtual identities.