Jackie Mason used to joke about what it would have been like had newspapers been invented before computers. Instead of getting the news online, people would marvel and be excited at how convenient it would be to read a paper. “Just imagine,” he said, “people would exclaim, ‘This is great. You can even take it with you and read it while you’re in the bathroom!’”
Regardless of where you read Washington Jewish Week, or in what form, online or in print, as it celebrates its 85th anniversary, we should realize how fortunate we are to have such an outstanding newspaper serving our community. A newspaper, especially this one, helps to form a sense of community, a community which extends beyond state and city lines and encompasses what we call the “Greater Washington Jewish community.”
The Talmud proclaimed that all of Israel is responsible for one another. WJW helps us to fulfill that mandate by informing us of what is happening to Jews around the globe as well as in our own backyard. The only way we can act and care about the fate of our fellow Jews is if we know what is happening to them. By learning what is transpiring in the local, national and international Jewish community we become connected to each other and have a sense of the unfolding and ongoing drama of contemporary Jewish civilization.
As a result, it does more than just cover the Jewish world. WJW helps to make us feel that we are part of the ever-shrinking world. While we live in an era of multiple sources of information, WJW collects and gathers it all in one place, covering the lives of individual members of the community as well as the changes that are taking place in organized Jewish life. One comes away from every issue with an appreciation of the breadth and depth, the diversity as well as the wide reach of issues affecting Jews. By reading its articles and opinion pieces we understand the trends and their implications for our people because it chronicles the events that matter to us.
As a result, not only does informed dialogue take place in the pages of the paper, but it engenders and allows for important conversations about the issues which have an impact on us, and which Jews do and should care about.
I encourage everyone to subscribe to and read WJW regularly, as it helps to connect us to each other, and in the process, makes us better Jews.
The writer is rabbi of Congregation B’nai Tzedek.