The Jewish Times welcomed a new editor this week. Joshua Runyan, a rabbi and former flight instructor, will add “JT editor-in-chief” to his already-extensive resume.
Runyan’s journalism career began at 16, when he landed a job as an assistant news producer at USA Radio News. Since then, he has worked as an intern at The Jerusalem Post; religion editor, political writer, news editor and religion columnist at Philadelphia’s Jewish Exponent and editor-in-chief and advisor at Chabad.org News, the online news outlet that has made a name for itself covering topics of interest to Jews all over the world.
“Ours is a unique role,” Runyan said of niche religious publications like the JT. “Our publication has the task of uniting sometimes disparate elements of the community. We need to be a sounding board from across the religious spectrum.”
Although he has made a career out of working in Jewish news, Judaism wasn’t always a part of Runyan’s life. Having grown up in a secular family, he said he turned to religion as a form of rebellion. In 2008, he was ordained as a rabbi and served as a communal rabbi for a time in Beit Shemesh, Washington, D.C.’s sister city.
The experience, he said was “surprisingly not all that different from being a journalist. You have to be able to ask a lot of questions.”
Runyan says he is excited to be a part of the JT and Baltimore’s Jewish community. “I expect to churn out an award-winning publication every week and be a force for strengthening the Jewish community,” he said.
Craig Burke, JT’s publisher and chief operating officer, said he is looking forward to working with Runyan to continue to build the publication. “We’re very excited to bring Joshua onto our team as editor-in-chief. His energy and passion for Jewish media and community stand out.”
Runyan, 32, is the father of seven — two girls and five boys — all of whom are under the age of 11. He looks forward to learning more about the Baltimore Jewish community in the coming months.