There was a time, and it was not so long ago, when the Jewish Journal was more a synagogue newsletter than a real time, real life Jewish newspaper.
There used to be a score of rules governing what stories can be published and what cannot, whose stories are better and whose are worse, who agrees with us, the amorphous us, who doesn’t agree and therefore shouldn’t be allowed to publish in the newspaper.
Such an arcane policy practiced over decades led to many of our readers believing they owned the newspaper and what appears in it – and that any deviation from what they wanted was a mistake, a distortion, an insult to unity, an effort to divide same way thinking to the status quo.
These people most often use the word despicable to describe whatever they most disagree with that is published in the Jewish Journal.
Such is the case with the writer Joan Swirsky’s piece on Hillary Clinton, which appeared in the previous edition of the Jewish Journal.
The days are gone when the Joan Swirskys of this world are not welcome to express themselves in the Jewish Journal. (This was a paid article.)
So too is the relevance of the few who complain so loudly as to disrupt the clear thinking of those not inclined to make a fuss. We respect the feelings of those who don’t agree with Ms. Swirsky and we respect as well the feelings of those who do.
Bottom line… the Swirsky piece has caused perhaps the largest natural outpouring of emotion and letter writing and op-eds sent to us in the history of this newspaper.
The op-ed page has been expanded to two pages, so great is the demand for some of our readers who have written op-eds to be heard. To a person, their pieces will be published without editing other than to correct spelling and grammatical errors.
Additional space has been made for the enormous number of letters to the editor we have received.
Letters to the editor are the chief sign (besides advertisements) that the newspaper is alive and well and that the readership is following and reading the newspaper.
There are, as you will note, many letters, pro and con, agreeing and not agreeing, outraged and without outrage – and yes, there are many who yearn for a return to yesterday who write that Swirksy’s piece was despicable.
We thank all our readers for their attention. We urge all our readers – Democrats and Republicans, independents and libertarians, communists and right wingers, and liberals from the far left – to raise the level of Jewish discourse on the great and minor issues of the day.
We do not feel anyone’s freethinking is despicable.
We view freethinking as what is right and just in a democracy like ours.
We are not afraid of Donald Trump any more than we are afraid of Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.
We’re not afraid of democracy or the free exchange of ideas necessary to keep it vibrant and functioning and we’re not afraid of a Jewish Journal that has been opened up truly to political education and discourse.
Thank you again to all those readers who responded.