Massive Layoffs at Philadelphia’s Jewish Exponent

unnamed%20(1)_2[1]I am horrified to read that the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia has dismissed the entire editorial staff of the Jewish Exponent, including its editor Lisa Hostein, in order to “save money” by turning editorial management over to a non-Philadelphia corporate media-management outfit.

Ms. Hostein has for the last six years transformed the paper from a blind-eyed screed for a small segment of the Philadelphia Jewish community to a much juicier (and Jewcier) expression of and stimulant to Jewish creativity. Her institution of the weekly column Rabbis Uncensored, written by a wide variety of Philadelphia-area rabbis, has been one example of a ruach chadashah — a new breath, a new wind, a new spirit of grass-roots Jewish energy.

The Federation claims that its agreement with the Media corporation requires it to surrender appointment and control of its editorial staff (and therefore policy). A new managing editor is to be hired. How does that save money? Could not the Federation have insisted that the new deal include continuing the award-winning tenure of Ms. Hostein?

This decision is especially sad, given the recent advent of a new Federation CEO who herself has seemed to be open to a much deeper vision of the Federation and the Jewish community that it tries to serve. I hope that deeper vision can survive this blow.