Wednesday, July 1st, 2015...2:39 pm

Editorial: American Jewish World 2nd Century Fund

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Perhaps you noticed the full-page ad in the June 5 edition of this newspaper announcing our July 31 special edition: “100 Years of Minnesota Jewish History — from the American Jewish World.” Another ad can be found on Page 2 of this week’s issue.

We will be celebrating a century of the American Jewish World’s continuous publication, with the July 31 edition, and in the months to come. The newspaper has reported on the march of history — World War I, the Russian Revolution, the Great Depression, World War and the Holocaust, the birth of the modern State of Israel, 9/11, etc. The July 31 issue will draw on the newspaper archives going back to the first issue, July 30, 1915. Also, we have been offered resources from the Nathan and Theresa Berman Upper Midwest Jewish Archives, which are housed at the Elmer L. Anderson Library at the University of Minnesota; and from the Minnesota Historical Society’s online MNopedia, which has a number of entries on Jewish history and institutions.

Of course, we have put out the call to AJW readers and to all of the synagogues, Jewish agencies and organizations to join in the celebration. The deadline for editorial submission and ad space reservations for the July 31 special edition is 12 p.m. Wednesday, July 22.

And beyond this special number of the paper, we are announcing the American Jewish World 2nd Century Fund — AJW2CF, for short.

The newspaper survives on two main sources of revenue: display advertising and subscriptions. Minnesota Jewish Media, LLC, the local ownership group that took over the American Jewish World, in 2006, and I am the operating partner of the parent company, as the editor and publisher of the newspaper. It’s a challenge to manage a small business, especially a niche newspaper, in the aftermath of the 2008 Great Recession.

This is where you come in.

The American Jewish World could do more in its coverage, and as a catalyst for Jewish arts and culture locally, with more resources. Dollars, specifically.

We launched the AJW Hard Times Fund a few years ago to subvent the cost of subscriptions for those who enjoy the newspaper but find it hard to pay even the modest annual subscription cost. The AJW2CF is an attempt to expand on the previous effort; we would like to raise $18,000 in donations to invigorate this vital source of community, national and international news.

The Jewish World has been here for a century, serving as a bridge for Jews in Minneapolis and St. Paul and those living in Duluth, Rochester and Greater Minnesota. The newspaper also bridges the various streams of Judaism and provides a forum for diverse viewpoints.

The newspaper continues the legacy of its visionary founder, Dr. Samuel Deinard, a native of Lithuania who came to Minneapolis to serve as the rabbi of Temple Shaarei Tov (which later became Temple Israel). He initiated a number of publications, which all failed, until “the new enterprise,” the American Jewish World, appeared and prospered. The paper’s motto back then was “A Weekly Journal of Modern Jewish Life and Labors.”

Deinard died suddenly, in 1921, at the age of 48. Leonard H. (Leo) Frisch, took over as publisher, and continued in that role over six decades.

“From time to time as the decades passed, we have been told that the American Jewish World has played a vital role in the development of the rich, meaningful and creative Jewish life of our community — in Jewish education, religion, the vigor of our ethical standards; the quality of our life as individuals and as a communal entity — functioning as communicator and teacher — fostering self-respect and personal dignity as Jews,” wrote Frisch, in his valedictory message.

We, the editors and staff of the AJW, continue to try to live up to these lofty goals. We work hard to produce a product that’s edifying and entertaining.

So, we hope that you, our loyal readers, will contribute to the American Jewish World 2nd Century Fund, as your means allow. We would like to establish a solid base among our readers, then take the fundraising online, to one of the popular funding platforms. With your help, we can expand our coverage, offer decent payment for freelance writers and, perhaps, travel to Israel and far-flung corners of the Jewish world to bring back first-hand reports.

Please make your check payable to: American Jewish World, and write AJW2CF on the memo line; the address is: American Jewish World, 4820 Minnetonka Blvd., Suite 104, Minneapolis, MN 55416. (Contributions are not tax-deductible.)

If you’d like to deliver your check in person, feel free to do so. Our offices are across the street from the old Park movie theater in St. Louis Park. All donors will be acknowledged in the newspaper, unless they wish to be anonymous.

Thanks so much for your consideration. We truly appreciate the support of our subscribers.

— Mordecai Specktor / editor [at] ajwnews [dot] com

(American Jewish World, 7.3.15)

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