A special honoree at Agudath Israel of America’s upcoming 87th anniversary dinner is not a person. It’s a periodical.
Not any periodical, of course, but the flagship journal of Jewish thought and discussion of issues of import to the Orthodox Jewish world: The Jewish Observer. The magazine will receive the Hagaon Rav Aharon Kotler Award for Distinguished Service to Torah at Agudath Israel’s dinner, to be held Sunday evening at the New York Hilton.
Since its inception in 5724/1963, “The JO,” as the organ is affectionately known to its many readers, has played a vital role in the growth and development of the Torah community in the United States. The first magazine of its kind, the publication has throughout the years served as a forum for intelligent and responsible discussion of the topics of the day from the perspective of unadulterated Torah-true hashkafa.
The magazine is currently on hiatus, having entered what Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, Agudath Israel’s executive vice president, described as a “transitional phase,” that he expects at its end to yield “somewhat different and more financially viable” periodical.
And so, the Agudath Israel leader explained, “we felt that our annual dinner would be the proper setting for celebrating the tremendous accomplishment of The Jewish Observer and its editors.” First under the editorial stewardship of Rabbi Nachman Bulman, zt”l, then, yb”l, Rabbi Yaakov Jacobs, and for the past nearly 40 years, Rabbi Nisson Wolpin, the JO has also benefited from the active involvement of a distinguished editorial board under the founding chairmanship of Dr. Ernst Bodenheimer, z”l, and the current chairmanship of Rabbi Joseph Elias.
Despite the unique role the JO plays in the Jewish world, the current economic climate makes it necessary for changes in the magazine’s format and publishing frequency to be considered.
“It is our hope and plan, though,” Rabbi Zwiebel said, “to meet the challenges head-on. And see a revamped Jewish Observer emerge from its temporary pause in publication.”
“Although it is too early to say what that new JO will be like,” he asserted, “what we can say with certainty is we are committed to strengthening its ongoing role in addressing the challenges of the future.
“For now, though, it is only appropriate that the crown jewel of Orthodox Jewish publications be saluted for the decades it has served as a rallying clarion for Torah ideals.
“And that is precisely what we will be doing Sunday night.”
(YWN Desk – NYC)