I was recently reminded of Rabbi Haskel Lookstein’s dissertation, which focused on American Jewry during WWII. His dissertation combed through many shul board meeting agendas and circulations from the time and found that, all too often, the Jewish community was focusing on “changing the curtains in the main sanctuary” or “upcoming gala event” and, understanding that news did not travel the same way it does now, he questions, based on the information in its publications, how aware of, or focused on the plight of their brothers in Europe the Western community was. Was life pretty normal during that time? If so, to what extent?
I’ve worried about our community returning “to normal” as we moved further away from Oct. 7. And I opened the Link this past Friday night with a little bit of trepidation — nervous to get hit with a million Super Bowl package ads, Pesach programs and other indications of our “normal” lives when those in Israel are still so far from normal.
I have to say that if, in 100 years, historians pick up this newspaper and see what it is we were focused on here in Bergen County in 2024, I would be enormously proud for them to flip through the pages of the Link and see our community in the light you have shone on it. Yes, there are indications of Super Bowl and Pesach hotel life — but the newspaper, 100 to 1, is full of Israel information, Torah, ways to help, charities to give to, lectures to attend, organizations to be a part of, inspiration, education and such an overall representation of the values our community really stands for. For every Super Bowl food ad (which believe me, I am happy to utilize as well), there were 100 notifications of community events to join and support, or thoughtful voices of engagement and connection to Israel from both sides of the world. The very best of our community is shown in its pages.
Thank you for creating and shaping this presence in our community. It is not every Jewish publication that is so hyper focused on ensuring our Shabbat reading is so centered on the best our community has to give to Israel, Am Yisrael and Torat Yisrael at this time and always.