Editors Notebook: Hoping for a More Jewish Year

Editors Notebook: Hoping for a More Jewish Year

Michael Jacobs

Atlanta Jewish Times Editor Michael Jacobs is on his second stint leading the AJT's editorial operations. He previously served as managing editor from 2005 to 2008.

One of the unfortunate sides of being editor of a Jewish newspaper is that it makes it hard simply to be Jewish.

Sure, the job opens doors to a lot of events I otherwise wouldn’t consider attending or couldn’t afford, and it’s rare when one of those occasions proves to be a waste of time.

On the other hand, I lack some of the vim and vigor that kept me going when I first took this job more than 11 years ago, and, to my own disappointment, the result has been abysmal attendance at Shabbat services in 5776.

Failing to stop at synagogue rather than going straight home on Friday evenings or to get up and go Saturday mornings is aggravating because I know that spending an hour or three of peaceful prayer and pleasant community recharges me physically and spiritually. Yet I find myself giving in to the urge to be lazy, thus leaving me more drained each week.

If I do nothing else better in 5777, I am determined to make Shabbat more meaningful, as it is meant to be.

But that’s a personal issue. There’s also a professional loss involved in editing the AJT.

Our production schedule (we usually go to press at 5 p.m. Tuesday) leaves me too busy for most Monday night events and too exhausted for any Tuesday night programs.

The AJT has to rely on our excellent contributors to cover things on those nights, as well as most things happening during the day Monday and Tuesday. During weeks when we have big newspapers, the production cycle even can wipe out Sunday availability.

The squeeze has been even worse heading into Rosh Hashanah. As I write this, we’re hours away from the new year and rushing to put this issue to bed before shutting down for the holiday.

Because this Yom Kippur issue is the third consecutive newspaper that’s much bigger than our typical 32 pages, this whole final week of Elul and September has been a blur in which I had to skip one enticing event after another.

The only positive side is that I end the year with the joy and uplifting spirituality of the 10th anniversary of Chabad Intown’s Intown Jewish Academy fresh in my mind because it is the last Jewish event I attended in 5776. Thanks to the examples of Rabbis Ari Sollish and Eliyahu Schusterman and guest speakers Lt. Cmdr. Laurie Lans and Mindy Margolis, as well as my tablemates at the dinner at the Callenwolde Fine Arts Center, I’m eager for more Yiddishkeit in the new year.

So if I have disappointed you by not attending an event myself or having anyone else there to report on it, please, in this season of atonement, accept my apologies. As when we clear the slate with G-d on Yom Kippur, I’m afraid I’m almost certain to repeat such sins in 5777, but the AJT will always do our best to offer the most comprehensive coverage we can, given our human limitations.

By the way, if you’d like to help relieve those limitations, please consider subscribing to the AJT. If enough people are willing to pay $65 for home delivery, Associate Editor David R. Cohen and I might be able to bring in another reporter. Just maybe.

Have an easy fast on the way to being inscribed in the Book of Life for another year.

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