It’s hard to believe that after starting just a few short years ago back in 2013 (no, The Jewish Link has certainly not been around for generations, we promise), we have reached the milestone of our 400th edition. Of the two of us, it was Mendy, a natural numbers and finance guy among other things, who first realized back in the early summer that we were rapidly approaching our 400th edition and that this milestone edition would coincide with the festival of Sukkot. We took a quick look at the significance of the number 400 in Judaism to see if any connections with the Yomim Tovim of Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah stood out...and the bottom line is that there is not much of a connection.
We then realized that because we always take off for Chol Hamoed, our 400th edition would actually be printed right after Yom Tov, so we didn’t even need to look that hard for a connection to the Yomim Tovim after all.
So, is there anything special about the number 400 in the Torah? The first thing that came to our minds was the 400 years that Hashem told Avraham that the Jewish people would be slaves in Mitzrayim. This was not necessarily the connection that we wanted to make but it was the first one that came to mind, so we went with it. Of course, most of our readers are aware that the Jewish people were not really enslaved in Mitzrayim for 400 years but rather the real number was 210, and that the count of the full 400 years started with the birth of Yitzchak.
So 400 years encompasses a good portion of Bereishit and Shemot and some of the most important parts of our history and the critical formative years of the Jewish people. That’s not a bad connection and is a 400 with which we are happy to be associated, although perhaps with a bit less emphasis on the avdut/slavery portion of the 400 years. (We don’t need too many reminders about how difficult the first year or two of the paper were and how Moshe felt a bit like an eved [slave] to The Jewish Link...it was hard work, for sure.)
Seriously speaking and all kidding aside, it is with much pride in and heartfelt hakarat hatov to our editors, writers and staff; to our advertisers and partners; and to our growing readership and the dynamic communities we serve that we mark this special milestone of our 400th edition. We are doubly proud to be publishers of a publication serving a community that is vibrant and expanding in so many ways. We love showing our publication to people from outside our community, as they often cannot believe how much is going on, and how active our schools, shuls, nonprofits and businesses are. We sometimes can’t believe it either.
We are so grateful for the role that The Jewish Link has come to play in the fabric of community life over the past 400 editions and we love it when people tell us that our paper is the first or only publication they read. Or when they tell us how reading an article in our paper changed their life in a small or big way. Or when we hear that a reader loves a specific column or dvar Torah or columnist or two. Or when we publish a piece or ad on a new business or nonprofit or tzedakah in our community and the impact of the article or ad is felt immediately and positively. We have lost count of the number of businesses and nonprofits we have helped launch with their first article in our paper. We love helping our community and its diverse institutions grow and having our paper serve as the platform for promoting and publicizing all of the tremendous good they are doing.
These kinds of comments and sentiments never get old, and in fact they actively provide a real sense of chizuk for both of us and our editors. Even when we receive criticism, we appreciate it because people only criticize things they care about and it’s clear that our readers and critics do care. We hope that never ceases.
And although we are now at Issue 400, we feel that in a certain sense we are just getting started. Together with our editors we have some ideas and dreams about how to grow and different directions and areas to move into. We always like to say that a big motivator and question we ask ourselves is: “How can The Jewish Link be more than just a weekly/Shabbat/community paper?” We have already taken some steps and plan on taking more in the months and years ahead.
We hope and pray that the next 400 editions of The Jewish Link will be as growth-filled and as exciting as the first 400! And similarly, we pray and hope that you, our readers, will be there growing alongside us and will remain as committed and as engaged as you have been for our first 400!
Mazal tov to The Jewish Link!
By Moshe Kinderlehrer & Mark (Mendy) Schwartz/Co-Publishers, Jewish Link