Teen section premieres in this week’s ‘Light’

BY DAVID BAUGHER, EDITOR

Younger members of the St. Louis Jewish community may notice a little something extra in this week’s Light — a section just for them.

“Ohr Chadash,” or “New Light,” premieres in this issue on pages 12-13. The pages, which are scheduled to run monthly, will highlight issues, events and stories of interest to teenagers in the community. “Ohr Chadash” isn’t just read by teens, it is created and staffed by them as well.

“We have a couple of different purposes. We mostly are trying to get the voices of St. Louis Jewish teens heard by the entire community because we are a very opinionated generation,” said co-editor Carol Iskiwitch, 17. “We are very excited that this will bring a lot of new readers to the Light.”

Iskiwitch, now in her third year at the Clayton High School paper, the Globe, where she serves as copy editor, heads “Ohr Chadash” with Jeremy Lang, 16, a junior at Parkway North High School.

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“I think that the average reader is really going to take from it a new perspective, a perspective from their peers,” said Lang, who also serves as programming vice-president of the NFTY-Missouri Valley Region. Lang also said he sensed great excitment among the teen staff.

“They think its such a cool thing that ‘I have the ability to write or work with a real newspaper,'” he said.

Iskiwitch said that the new section will cast a wide net in search of topics to interest readers.

“We try to have a wide variety of different materials that we try to cover,” she said. “We like talking about what’s going on with sports in St. Louis, technology, the environment, basically all subjects that could possibly appeal to a group of teens.”

She also noted that youth may not be the section’s only readership.

“It’s going to be flashy and hopefully appealing to the teen audience,” Iskiwitch said. “I think that adults will appreciate getting a new insight into what’s going on in the lives of St. Louis Jewish teens.”

Mimi Pultman, a Jewish Light Board member who has co-chaired the project with Jenny Wolkowitz, agreed.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for the adult readership to get some insight into what the Jewish teens in our community are thinking about,” Pultman said.

“We felt that that best way to get the teens to read the paper was to get the teens to write the paper,” Wolkowitz said. “From the interest shown, I can tell you that this is not something that will go away because the kids are very enthusiastic.”

Pultman said the idea for the section had been in the works since fall of last year. Market research began early this year and the staff choices were finalized in May. She said about 20 teens ages 13-17 are involved.

“The basic purpose was to give teens in the community a voice to be able to share their views and perspectives on things that are important to them,” said Pultman. “That is such a huge range of topics from peer pressure to politics to fashion to music to opinions about everyday life.”

“Ohr Chadash” is made possible in part by Michael and Carol Staenberg and the Staenberg Family Foundation, which gave $10,000 in seed money to the project. Michael Staenberg is also a Light Board member.

Reggie VanDerson, a local DJ will host an opening event party at his club, PEC, 1328 Strassner at from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 13. Organizers are hoping the event, which is free and open to all Jewish teens, will attract 200 people.

Milton Movitz, president of the Jewish Light Board, said that the section would “add a new and exciting dimension to our paper.”

“It’s been long in coming,” Movitz said. “We hope this may help teenagers to begin to read the Light and gain a better understanding of our community.”