Raise a glass to the next chapter in the JC’s story

Our new editor on his vision for the paper

December 16, 2021 16:02

I always offer a hearty ‘l’chaim’ when raising a glass. Never mind ‘cheers’, or ‘bottoms up’ or ‘chin-chin’. In that brief moment, ‘to life’ is the greatest expression of togetherness and hope.

Judaism has a rich tradition of numerical mysticism, or ‘gematria’. If life and its affirmation is at the heart of our culture, the most important number is its numerical equivalent, 18.

This year marks the 180th anniversary of the founding of the Jewish Chronicle, the oldest Jewish newspaper in the world. It is a living thing, the sum of its brilliant journalists, designers and commercial staff, together with readers and a bit of magic. The fact that it has not just survived, but thrived for 18 decades – longer than the Telegraph, Daily Mail, Sun and Mirror - is astonishing.
To be appointed Editor at any time would be an honour. But to take the reins during this historic year is a great privilege. These next 12 months will be our celebration of the life of the world’s most influential Jewish newspaper, as a reflection of the vibrant life of Anglo Jewry.

I have a difficult act to follow. I remember in 2018, in my former job, I was about to break the news that Jeremy Corbyn had remarked on tape that British “Zionists” had no sense of “English irony”. Before pushing the button, I called Stephen Pollard for a quote. His response stayed with me. “This shows the reality of what Jeremy Corbyn thinks of Jews, that we are somehow a breed apart from ‘normal’ people,” he told me. His message was not lost on the British electorate. Less than a year later, the public told Mr Corbyn just what it thought of him at the ballot box.

For many British Jews, the period from 2015 to 2019 was the most unsettling in living memory. Stephen was an indispensable leader throughout, raising the voice of the JC against antisemitism in Labour.

But that wasn’t his only achievement. During the 13 years in which he was at the helm, the JC cemented its position not only as the community’s most important publication but a vital part of the national debate.

As we embark on the next chapter of our distinguished history, I am delighted that Stephen will remain with us as Editor-at-Large. There has, perhaps, never been a more exciting time for us. We have created a new-look newspaper with an improved showcase for our first-rate columnists, a new, elegant design and a greater focus on features and food. But this is only the beginning.

This month we have launched our brand-new website, the culmination of many months of hard work. Slick, clean and beautiful, it includes a special shop window for the best opinion writers in the business, as well as an enhanced culture section and the flexibility to present the biggest stories with the most impact. It is a launch pad for the JC’s future.

Which is a bright one. This year, with our 18 decades behind us, we will be celebrating with a series of special content in print, digital and live, both in person and remotely. If you haven’t subscribed already, I’d encourage you to do so. You will both be supporting us and building a deep relationship with Anglo Jewry’s best newspaper in this historic year.

As Editor, it is my priority to ensure that we always represent the full spectrum of British Jewish life – politically, culturally and religiously – speaking out loudly and fearlessly on the issues that matter to us all. My paper will always be an inclusive and welcoming place to all British Jews. Antisemitism remains a threat, but I truly believe that together, our community has never been stronger.

I hope you will join us on the next part of our journey, as we continue to entertain, delight, challenge injustice and fight the fights that matter.

One day soon, I plan to celebrate with you in person. But for now, it must take place remotely. So grab a glass, pour yourself some wine, and join me as we celebrate our birthday. L’chaim!

December 16, 2021 16:02

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