Twelve Quick Years

Try as I will to guard against it, thepersonal always seems to intrude on my professional life.

I first came to Los Angeles from Cambridge, Mass.,in May 1985. My intention was to court someone I had met here twosummers earlier and then return, woman in hand, so to speak, to theEast Coast one year later.

But fate is willful and, as Oedipus learned, notalways under our control.

By summer, I had been approached by a committee ofAngelenos at the Jewish Federation who wanted to start an independentJewish newspaper — my name had popped up twice during their searchfor an editor. By autumn, we were underway, looking for office space,for a staff, for a name.

Our first issue appeared on Feb. 28, 1986, so thatmakes us roughly 12 years old with this week’s edition. Along theway, we have had our fair share of plaudits and darts; we haveperformed well and stumbled badly. But — and this is somewhatself-congratulatory — we have continued to improve steadily as aJewish community newspaper.

During these 12 years, we have benefited greatlyfrom the presence of three forward-thinking publishers. Initially,Richard Volpert was the guiding and protective hand that helpedlaunch The Jewish Journal. Two years later, Ed Brennglass (and agroup of benefactors) stepped in to help get this wobbly nonprofitenterprise on its business feet. And, now, following Ed Brennglass’srecent death, Stanley Hirsh has come forward to help guide the paperinto the 21st century.

In the 12 years that I have been The Journal’seditor, I have learned a great deal about Los Angeles, about ourJewish community and about myself. You might say that while you havebeen reading The Journal and finding out about our community, I havebeen gaining an education.

I started this newspaper 12 years ago withsomething I had learned: namely, that a newspaper is known by thequality and authority of its stories and its writing; if you will, byits editors and writers. But I have come to understand that anotherpresence is essential: the readers. Without you “out there” each weekreceiving, reading and responding to our efforts, pulling this weeklynewspaper together becomes just another exercise innarcissism.

So if you will allow me, a raising of my glass toyou for joining us in this enterprise. The birthday celebrations areyours as much as ours. And please keep up the letters and calls and,yes, the complaints.

Oh, yes…I never made it back to Cambridge, but Idid get the girl.