As the fifth year of my tenure as owner of the Atlanta Jewish Times comes to a close, I can look back on many accomplishments. However, I prefer to look forward to what the AJT will do for our community in the coming years. The guiding principle behind your community newspaper is our mission statement, which is, in a nutshell, keeping Jewish Atlanta connected. This directs our future endeavors.
One of our newest initiatives is set to return in just a few weeks. On Sunday, Jan. 26, we will celebrate the second annual Atlanta Jewish Life Festival at the Georgia Aquarium. I am excited that over 80 Jewish community partners will have a table at this year’s festival. Our community partners will be informing thousands of attendees about what they do within our community and how each one of us can get involved. Community partners include synagogues, teen groups, camps, schools, social service organizations, and more. There will, of course, be kosher noshes, two stages of entertainment, face painters and magicians, and an entire aquarium of excitement. But most importantly, nothing speaks to our mission of keeping Jewish Atlanta connected more than having over 6,000 members of our tribe under one roof for a day of fun and camaraderie.
Another way we will continue to fulfill our mission is the Atlanta Jewish Connector. Currently, there are over 3,000 events listed and linked on our calendar. People come to the Connector to figure out which high holiday service they would like to attend, where they can find Passover seders open to the public, what Jewish social events are on tap for the weekend, and which of our over 120 religious and social service organizations is having an event or fundraiser in any given week. If something with Jewish content is happening in greater Atlanta, there is only one place to look! Over 35,000 people log on to the Connector each month to see what is going on in our community. That is what I call keeping Jewish Atlanta connected.
One interesting facet to a newspaper is that engagement with the Jewish community begins at your mailbox. You don’t need to go anywhere, and you don’t have to spend a lot of money (but please consider spending $65 a year for a subscription). The paper, the Connector and the Festival all let you know what is going on in the community, what well-known figures are coming to town to speak, who is graduating or celebrating their 100th birthday, what our politicians think about subjects germane to Jewish interests, and what Jewish news is happening in Atlanta, the U.S. and in Israel, but this is just the tip of the iceberg in our coverage. Whether in the paper, online or even in person, I hope you find the value in our services.
This coming year, the AJT will look for more ways to engage the community and keep us connected. One of our plans is to have regular Jewish Breakfast Club gatherings again. We will look to hire more interns from our high schools and colleges. We will seek to participate in more community events like the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, Atlanta Kosher BBQ and MJCCA book festival. And we plan to offer more online content, breaking news and email engagement. The only other thing our team needs to fulfill its mission of keeping Jewish Atlanta connected is your participation.
I will leave you with one tip for the holidays. Take a break from politics and enjoy the family. The left and the right will have plenty of time to argue and debate next year. Time with our family — now that is limited. Right before Thanksgiving I was watching TV, (either CNN or Fox), and two experts were literally yelling at each other and calling the other a liar. The last question posed by the moderator was “Should families talk politics at the dinner table this holiday?” Both pundits immediately said no, absolutely not. Take this opportunity to enjoy, not antagonize. The pundits looked at one another and noted that this was the first time they had ever agreed with each other on air. So, it is unanimous: enjoy the holidays.
I look forward to seeing you in 2020.