New publisher/CEO reflects on ‘Jewish Light’ vision, mission

I’d like to offer a very warm greeting to our many loyal readers.

If you had occasion to see last week’s Jewish Light, you might have noticed the article about my appointment to the publisher/CEO position. You might also have asked yourself, “What’s a lawyer/businessman/nonprofit board and staff guy, with a side of journalism thrown in, doing in a position like this?” (I certainly would have asked myself that question, had it not been about me!)

It’s certainly a reasonable question. The answer to it illustrates one of the many important and fascinating aspects of the Jewish Light.

The mission statement in our nonprofit corporate bylaws states that we “will communicate news and opinion in the Jewish community of Greater St. Louis with the fullest possible coverage of local, national, and world events affecting issues of concern to Jews.” The vision statement in the same document states that members of the St. Louis Jewish community “will look to the St. Louis Jewish Light to understand the implications and multiple perspectives of local, national, and world events on Jewish life and values.”

At first blush, you may see little here that veers too far from what you’d expect. To me, however, there is a quiet beauty in the words that peeks through like rays of sunlight through holes in the clouds.

As Jews who live in St. Louis, we have our stories of community, worship, congregation, lifecycle events, and other religious and cultural happenings. And as Jews who live in the Diaspora, we have our critical tie to Israel and its long-term survival and prosperity. These items we have covered and will continue to cover with regularity, with diverse viewpoints from inside and outside the Jewish community, and with the keen eye of analysis that a newsweekly can provide.

But we also are St. Louisans who are Jewish. In this context — the more subtle meaning suggested by our mission and vision — everything that can be examined from a Jewish perspective is fair game.

Energy and the environment. Poverty. Health care. Corporate ethics. Science and technology. Arts. Literature. History. National and international affairs. You name it. The areas of interest are a hundredfold at least — the full breadth of human experience, in fact — and the myriad elements of thought, conduct, heart and soul we experience can and should be covered in a thoughtful way as they relate to Jews and as Jews relate to them, with a particular focus on our lives as St. Louisans.

So really, my eclectic nature is a large part of what drew me to this position. And that aspect of who I am stems part and parcel from my Jewish heritage and life experience; my parents, my sisters, my Jewish education and most recently, my own exceptional children, have all taught me to be inquisitive, to think expansively, to understand diverse and thoughtful points of view.

It is with this broad background that I join the Jewish Light’s staff. I hope that you will be constant with your readership, open with your suggestions, and appreciative of the efforts of our dynamic board and professional staff. I look forward to serving you, and thank you for this singular opportunity.