Many of us received a fund-raising letter solicitation from JTA last week. It contained, among other pleas , the following:
"Without a strong JTA, the storytelling will be left to bloggers, twitterers, and non-professionals. Is this the best way for our future Jewish stories to be told and recorded?"
Elisa Spungen Bildner, President, JTA, Friday April 3rd in a fundraising appeal email(emphasis by JTA)
Well, Elisa, as a contributor over the years to JTA and as a Blogger, let me briefly respond in the context of UJThee...and Me. JTA, as a recipient of some support from the federations as well as directly from federation leaders, is often viewed as a "captive" of those very federations. When JTA publishes an article the facts in which are critical of, let us say, UJC, I have hear some federation leaders say, almost in these words: "We 'own" JTA and we should put a stop to these kinds of articles." While I don't perceive that JTA's leadership has been constrained or censured by this kind of attitude, the attitude is there. Under such a circumstance, can one state with absolute candor that the full Jewish stories of today are being told in JTA?
I also observe that the JTA itself has seen the value of blogging emerge on its own pages -- The Fundermentalist and The Telegraph , for example, are providing periodic interesting insights on JTA's own Blog link.
This Blog, unlike most, arose out of the suppression of all...all...dissent by UJC's current lay and professional leadership. JTA has not found this reality to be worthy of much ink. Unlike others, this Blog's focus will change, even if this Blog does not "go away," when this leadership is gone.
We need a strong and independent press covering Jewish issues and Jewish stories in North America. I wish the JTA greater independence. Somehow I sense that JTA and the multitude of those "blogging" on Jewish organizational issues, will coexist and our communities will be better served out of that coexistence.