We are a community of divergent views.
If you are reading this, chances are you are Jewish. But maybe not. You could be a non-Jewish partner, spouse or advertiser, or perhaps you picked up the paper in a coffee shop to see what we are all about.
But let’s focus on the Jewish part of our readership community. Diversity is in our DNA. I’ll bet that if I chose a dozen readers from a list of our subscribers and sat each of you down at a table, you would share only a few of the same opinions.
On religion, on politics, on food and even on the weather.
And on Israel? Well, I’d venture to guess that would cause the most heated discussions of all.
Because right now, any discussion of Israel would have to include Zionism, antisemitism, the status of Palestinians and the war.
You may be American or Israeli, and you may have served in the U.S. military or the IDF, or not at all. But I guarantee you have strong opinions about everything Israel. And they’re not going to be the same as the person sitting next to you at the table.
What does that mean for Jewish Rhode Island? This paper is a Jewish community newspaper. We are tasked with covering the Jewish community in Rhode Island. All of it. That means all of those beautiful divergent views.
Do we agree with all of them? Not important. Do we represent one view over another? Nope. Not our job. If you look at our coverage over time, I hope you will realize that we’ve provided a wide swath of representation.
We are small and monthly, so you have to look at the long term. With our limited space, each issue typically doesn’t have enough perspectives to represent the whole community, but we take a long-term view.
In this era of stratification, we have been labeled left-leaning, liberal, not pro-Israel enough. I will let you continue to argue these points. Are we right wing or left wing? Do we lean left or right? Are we liberal or conservative?
As editor of this newspaper for close to 10 years, I can tell you that in every issue, we aim for balance, taking into consideration what else we have in the paper and what we have run in previous issues.
And please remember that each reader defines an issue and his or her stance a little differently. Your definition of pro-Israel might not match your neighbor’s, just as your definition of anti-Zionist might not match the person next to you.
What we should all agree on is that here in the United States, open and civil discourse is important. And your Jewish community newspaper aims to reflect the Jewish community at large.
See something you don’t like? Write a letter to the editor. Want to give us your opinion? Write an opinion piece. How are these different? For starters, a letter is shorter (300 words maximum) than an opinion piece (500-700 words). Letters typically address a single issue or a story in the paper. Opinion pieces offer thoughts on a particular issue of the day, and can be educational.
Keep in mind that we reserve the right to edit all submissions. We also reserve the right to not publish your article. We’re not interested in personal attacks, unsubstantiated points, inappropriate subjects or inflammatory language. We prefer commentary that offers insights while also showing respect for others’ viewpoints.
As the war continues, your monthly Jewish community newspaper will strive to bring you news and opinion pieces about Israel that you might not see elsewhere, in addition to as much news about our Rhode Island Jewish community as our limited staff can produce.
Please let us know if we are missing something that you’d like to see.
Fran Ostendorf, Editor