We are truly happy and proud that this week’s Shabbat Shuva edition is also our paper’s 500th edition. Of the two of us, the one who has been most eagerly awaiting this 500th edition is Mendy. Every few months over the past 18 to 24 months, after we hit 400 editions, Mendy would text out of the blue in our private chat to remind us that our 500th edition was rapidly approaching.
What’s the big deal about 500 editions?
Our readers surely remember that we held our big 10th anniversary in early March and may have felt that the 10th anniversary was already a pretty big deal, which we agree it is. Our dedicated team of editors also felt that we did a lot for our 10th anniversary with a special anniversary section replete with content and articles related to The Jewish Link, anniversary feature pieces, as well as a mega prize giveaway, and they were skeptical about the need to do much for our 500th. The fact that the 500th edition also is being published during the Aseret Yemei Teshuva and in between two of our biggest and most demanding issues of the year—the big Rosh Hashanah and Sukkot editions—also tempered their desire to go all-out for our 500th.
We also looked at what some other major publications have done when celebrating 500 editions and we saw that many chose to publish special commemorative covers and fill their pages with quotes and testimonials from community leaders, rabbis, politicians, shul presidents, important advertisers etc., but we have chosen not to do that this time … maybe for our 20th or 25th, iy”H.
So, what is so special about the 500th edition? One of us is thinking about the nearly 500 deadline nights that he has sacrificed to the paper over the past decade. But we are both thinking about the timing of our 500th right in between two of the main Yamim Tovim of the year that spur headlines about inner reflection—Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. And as with any milestone such as a birthday, anniversary or 500th edition, we would like to use this time and space to reflect a bit over the past 500 editions.
We laughed heartily when we perused the extremely dated covers of our first few dozen editions and thought about how little we knew then about the business of publishing a Jewish community paper—and how much we have learned since, and continue to learn. We reflected upon how challenging it was at the beginning to convince advertisers that people were actually reading our paper and we remain so grateful to our many original and early advertisers, the vast majority of whom are still with us today. We ruminated ruefully on the mistakes we have made ranging from simple ad mistakes, sheimos issues, major article or headline errors and we always hope we can and will do better when confronted with similar issues in the future. We also think about the business side of things and how many editions it took to get our paper close to breaking even.
We also reflected upon how our paper has chronicled and featured the growth of our core community in Northern New Jersey, along with its many thriving schools, shuls, stores and nonprofits. Our readership and coverage areas have grown so much over the years and we like to believe that we, along with our readers, have matured and grown a bit as well.
We also both feel tremendously blessed to be able to have actively partnered with so many great organizations and fundraising campaigns, enabling them to succeed in their efforts and spread the word about themselves within our paper.
We feel incredibly fortunate to be a primary platform for sharing and promoting so many stories of people with strength in overcoming incredible challenges. It gives us both tremendous satisfaction to walk around our home community and know that we have been blessed to help so many via The Jewish Link. So much has happened in these 500 editions and so much more is yet to come, we believe.
We hope and pray heading into Yom Kippur that we have the continued strength and ability to work together closely on this special and uniquely community-oriented business known as The Jewish Link for at least another 500 editions or more.
Last but not least, Gmar Chatima Tova to our hardworking staff of editors, writers and contributors; to all our special and loyal advertisers; and to you, our dedicated readers. We hope that your Yom Kippur is meaningful this year and that everyone’s requests are fulfilled for the good.