In this penitential season each and every Jew is called to make amends. Our tradition and the Scriptures instruct us to undertakeÂ heshbon ha’nefesh, soul searching, and to make the necessary course corrections to get back on track.Â Teshuva, which is often translated as “repentance,” literally means “turning,” in the sense of turning back to God, or to the highest ethical precepts.
As the editor and publisher of the American Jewish World, I want to take this opportunity to do some journalistic teshuva. Our staff works hard to produce an entertaining and edifying newspaper for the Jewish community. However, we occasionally make mistakes, overlook an event notice, or misconstrue some aspect of a story. We can change things on our Web site, but mistakes on the printed page can only be remedied with a correction in a subsequent edition.
In 5771, we intend to work more diligently to serve the interests of the community that seems to get pleasure and vital information from the Jewish World. If there are stories that you think should be covered in the newspaper, please feel free to contact me.
Also, we have received overwhelmingly positive feedback on ourÂ Community Guide publication; and we will publish a new edition of theÂ Guide, a complete directory of Jewish resources in Minnesota, on Nov. 5. With the help of our partners in this project, Sholom Community Alliance and the Sholom Foundation, theÂ Guide reaches more than 16,000 households in the Twin Cities. There is still time to place an advertisement in theÂ Community Guide, which Jewish families keep and refer to throughout the year (see ad on Page 20B).
Beyond our individual efforts to improve our lives, there is an entire world out there that is beset with problems. Again, in 5771, we will try to do a better job of highlighting positive stories about efforts to mend the frayed social fabric of society, as we keep readers informed of crises here and abroad.
In one hopeful sign, the end of Elul sees the Israelis and Palestinians returning to the negotiating table. As this issue of the AJW goes to press, direct peace talks are set to resume under the auspices of the United States. We have received numerous e-mails from Jewish organizations heralding this development.
For example, AIPAC issued a statement recently welcoming “the renewal of direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA).” The pro-Israel lobbying group also expressed its “appreciation to the Obama administration for its efforts in making this goal a reality. Sitting together, face”to”face, leader”to”leader in direct negotiations is the only path to achieving the ultimate goal of peace, reconciliation and the end of all claims. AIPAC shares the administration’s hope that the September meeting in Washington will serve as a step toward fulfilling Israel’s historic unrelenting quest for peace with the Palestinians and all its Arab neighbors.”
This issue of the AJW also includes an opinion article by Rabbi Charles Kroloff, a member of the J Street rabbinic cabinet. J Street, which has become a more prominent feature of the American Jewish community over the past couple of years, asserts the importance of U.S. agency in steering the Israelis and Palestinians toward a negotiated peace deal. In his op-ed on Page 5, Kroloff calls on American Jews “to tell the Obama administration and Congress that we know a two-state agreement is in the best interests of Israel, the Palestinians and American security needs. We must assure our elected officials that they’ll have a reliable base of support when they take bold steps to further negotiations — that, in fact, there is no more pro-Israel position than working to achieve a two-state peace settlement.”
Since the handshake between Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat on the White House lawn in 1993, prospects for peace between the warring parties have waxed and waned. We have seen some dismal times; but we have to hope that the new round of direct talks is productive, and that 5571 ushers in peace and prosperity for Israelis and Palestinians, who mainly want better lives for themselves and their children.
Turning from Middle East politics to the environment, over the past year we have chronicled the devastating earthquake in Haiti, the BP oil well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, and, in this issue, the catastrophic floods in Pakistan. All of these events illustrate the fragility of human life on the planet, which we can discuss further during Sukkot. We are entrusted to protect the Earth, which sustains all of us. Global warming and environmental degradation is the overarching issue for our long-term survival. In 5771, the AJW will devote more coverage to environmental concerns.
The editors and staff of the American Jewish World wish all of our readersÂ L’Shana Tova Tikatevu, may you be written into the Book of Life for a year of health, joy and blessings.
— Mordecai Specktor / firstname.lastname@example.org