The end of one year and start of another always create a melancholy time, at least in part because I’ve reached that age when I likely have more Rosh Hashanahs behind me than ahead of me. But I’m eager to get 5777 started.
Not because I have any particular regrets about 5776. While our progress at the Atlanta Jewish Times hasn’t been as dramatic in the Jewish year just ending as it was in 5775, I think we’re slowly but surely building a newspaper most of Jewish Atlanta can appreciate, benefit from and take ownership in. There are stories we’ve missed, and those we’ve misplayed, and any honest newspaperman will always have plenty of atonement to make with his fellow man as Yom Kippur approaches.
I’ll always wish we had more subscribers, more advertisers, more space and, above all, more time. But I’ll confess to some pride in the big things we’ve done right — three Rockower Awards won by Dave Schechter for stories he wrote for the AJT and the positive response to the continuing series of heroin addiction stories written by Leah Harrison, for example.
And I won’t soon forget standing in line to check in at the recent dementia lecture given by neurologist Gavin Brown at the William Breman Jewish Home. A woman ahead of me was asked how she heard about the lecture. She spotted me and said, “From him,” because it was in our calendar.
It’s more fun, however, to look ahead than to look behind.
I’m looking forward to this presidential election being over. After Donald Trump stumbled through the first debate, I think I know how it will turn out, and I’m a stronger believer than ever that it won’t make much difference either way.
Even if it does, the next election is only four years away, as Navy Lt. Cmdr. Laurie Lans reminded the crowd during her delightful keynote address at the 10th anniversary celebration for the Intown Jewish Academy on Thursday, Sept. 22 (more on that next week).
Regardless of the outcome, the end of the election should ratchet down the rhetoric and the bullying both ways. It was bad enough that we canceled plans to run a series of Trump-vs.-Clinton issue-focused columns leading up to election.
It has been clear for some time no one on either side is listening, and most of the efforts to win over those who are either undecided or leaning toward a third-party option have boiled down to an infuriated and infuriating “How can you help elect (blank)?”
These really aren’t historically bad candidates, nor is this a historically contentious election. But it might be the election we’re all happiest to forget so we can focus on things that matter.
Personally, I’m looking forward to life as an empty-nester (at least during the school year), and I’m determined that 5777 is the year my wife and I visit Israel together for the first time.
I’m looking forward to how my younger son changes over the course of his first year away from home as a college freshman. If nothing else, he has a future as a Facebook philosopher.
And I’m looking forward to how my older son makes his way in the movie business now that he’s taken the leap and moved to Los Angeles. I just need a few more Rosh Hashanahs to get into shape so I don’t look like the Penguin hobbling down the red carpet when he gets that first Oscar nomination.
For now, all of us at the AJT wish all of Jewish Atlanta a sweet, healthy, happy new year. L’shana tova.