The “Views” section of the JN welcomes opinions from across the Jewish spectrum.
Growing up, I was used to spirited debate in my family. That conventional wisdom of avoiding politics at the dinner table wasn’t really a thing; at our dinner table, someone would often say, “What do you think about this?” and just kind of see what happened. Sometimes we fought. But we always came back together in the end, because, well, that’s what families should do.
At its best, our Views section can be the same. It’s a big dinner table for all of us, and I’m naïve enough to believe we can have a decent meal with our neighbors without throwing food.
Those meals take many forms. We like to feature light, humorous pieces and thoughtful personal narratives from our community. We will also soon be bringing on some regular local columnists.
Sometimes we may run unsigned editorials that represent the institutional voice of the publication. And, when appropriate, we also publish reader submissions that wade into the issues that most animate American Jews, including Israel, when there is something of new merit to be discussed. Sometimes, as loyal readers know, that means running voices from AIPAC or the Michigan Jewish Action Council; sometimes, as in this week, it means a voice from IfNotNow.
I don’t want my role in this process to feel sinister or opaque. So I’m being transparent with you now, while my tenure is young and I still have some wiggle room. To tell the truth, it makes me happy to receive reader submissions from across the Jewish ideological spectrum. To me, that means we can be seen as a welcoming place for different Jews who might not otherwise have a respectful (key word) dialogue with each other. That certainly sounds like the “community resource” part of JN we’re all fighting to preserve in the first place.
Of course, a too-permissive opinion section in such polarizing times can become the domain of mudslingers and bad actors. So there have to be some guardrails. JN’s historic editorial standards provide us with guidance, but there will always be new judgment calls to make. I’ve been talking about it with Arthur Horwitz around the office, and we are still figuring this out. Can a Jewish publication be both a free and open exchange of ideas and a true unifier for the Jewish community?
For now, I want to believe it can. Metro Detroit’s Jews are going to disagree about many things and, as your editor, I’d be a fool to pretend otherwise, especially during an election year. We may fight, but in the end we all have to eat anyway. So we may as well sit down to dinner.