I realize that you, dear readers, are probably snickering by this point. I mean, after all, you deal with this kind of thing every winter, year in and year out. And by all standards, what I had to clear from my car wasn’t much. But the experience got me thinking.
I can’t believe that I’m back up North. I’ve gotten used to the tropics, but I’ve also realized how much I miss the weather up here. It’s also great to be back in Jewish journalism, at the helm of a terrific paper. And while this is my first move to Baltimore, I can’t think of a better place to come home to.
Like our community, the Baltimore Jewish Times has a promising future. But there will be many challenges along the way. To a certain extent, the same questions that Jewish leaders grapple with on a daily basis — issues such as how best to engage our youth while protecting our links to the past, or how to handle the ever-changing landscape of technological advances — are the questions that editors must answer in order to stay relevant in a rapidly changing world. In my 16 years of being a journalist and throughout an adulthood immersed in the Jewish community, I’ve learned that no issue is too big to be solved, no question too dangerous to be discussed.
This is the place to find those discussions, to join the debate and to hopefully be enlightened.
I’ve got a terrific team to work with — talented, professional reporters, designers and editors in whom you’ve already placed your trust and whose work you enjoy reading week after week. Like them, I bring a range of different experiences to the table. At different points in my career, I’ve called Philadelphia, Dallas, Jerusalem, Bet Shemesh and Fort Lauderdale home. I’ve studied in some great yeshivas and received my rabbinical ordination along the way.
I’ve noticed that in addition to a strong and supportive family, a person needs a strong and supportive community to fulfill all that he or she was meant to achieve. As dinner tables are frequently the place where the family convenes, newspapers can be the avenue through which community members learn about each other and tackle things together. And although this industry is currently engaged in probably its most challenging time, there will always be a crucial place for Jewish journalism.
That means that your paper bears a tremendous responsibility. It can be, should be and already is, in many ways, glue that holds the various parts of the community together. It needs to inform as well as inspire, engage as well as entertain.
Over the next few weeks, I’m looking forward to speaking to as many of you as possible about what you’d like to see in your community publication. The JT has a long and storied history as one of the best Jewish newspapers, but we can always do better at keeping you informed, at representing your views and concerns and at serving as an engine for strengthening an already strong community.
Thank you for reading. Thank you for welcoming me into your community.
Joshua Runyan is JT editor-in-chief