Whoa! Big changes at The CJN

Ever since I was downsized six months ago, I’ve thought of myself as being in transition. The Canadian Jewish News, where I was a reporter for 22 years, has been in transition too – streamlining, moving to a new office, and searching for a new editor.

But at the same time as it’s been moving forward, it’s also been in a holding pattern, publishing a more-or-less familiar paper under the guidance of interim editor Joe Serge.

It looks like that’s about to change big-time.

The paper announced in a front-page article this week that former CJN columnist Yoni Goldstein, 33, will take over as editor January 6. As well, new CJN president Elizabeth Wolfe spoke of plans to change the look and format of the paper to something a bit “edgier.” The online component will continue to be upgraded too.

Goldstein’s initial editorial, which also ran this week, marked a new direction in both language and perspective for the paper. Whoa!

Not “Whoa!” in a negative way, but “Whoa!” as in “Wow, this is going to get people’s attention.”

The forthright column, titled “Netanyahu’s Lame Excuse,” dealt with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s absence from Nelson Mandela’s funeral. I hope that Goldstein’s fresh voice will spark lots of dialogue, helping to create a vital new CJN – both for readers who agree with his views, and those who don’t.

In the article about his appointment, Goldstein credited his predecessor Mordechai Ben-Dat for allowing him to develop his “voice,” and to develop as a journalist as well. He also said he intends to give voice to all sides.

When it looked like the paper was about to close – before a community outcry led to its rescue – it became apparent that one of its roles was to bring together different voices of the Jewish community.

Speaking personally, I missed Toronto’s Jewish diversity and resources during the year I spent in an American college town in the 1980s. But living in a place with only one synagogue – and a Jewish population of about 1,000, including students – taught me the benefits of being part of a more connected community.

Best of luck to Yoni and the CJN team. I look forward to reading upcoming issues and online posts.