J. The Jewish News of Northern California traces its history back to 1895. Today our website reaches more than a million people each year; our weekly print edition serves nearly 20,000 homes throughout Northern California. Our publication was the first weekly Jewish newspaper to launch a website in 1995 and today continues to provide all of our content for free, along with blogs, videos, photo galleries and more.
The mission of J. and the Corporation is:
- To connect, enlighten and strengthen the multifaceted Jewish community of Northern California.
- To be a forum for news, information, ideas and opinions affecting Jews locally, nationally and internationally.
- To enrich the cultural, religious and social life of the community through articles, interviews, reviews and features.
One of the oldest Jewish publications in America, we began publishing on Nov. 22, 1895, as the Emanu-El. The Emanu-El cost 10 cents an issue, and a year’s subscription was $2. In 1906, the year of the Great San Francisco Earthquake and Fire, the Rosh Hashanah issue featured the ruins of Temple Emanu-El, rising from the rubble.
On May 13, 1932, the Emanu-El and another Jewish newspaper, which competed with it for a short time — the Jewish Journal — merged, creating a consolidated newspaper that included both names. Editor Sol Silverman, in a front-page editorial titled “A Message,” stated the paper’s mission: “To advance the dignity, solidarity and significance of the Jewish people.”
On Jan. 4, 1946, following another merger, the paper was renamed the Jewish Community Bulletin, but “consolidated with the Emanu-El” was printed underneath the new name, in smaller type, in honor of its heritage.
Coming shortly after the end of World War II, an unsigned editorial, titled, “A Pledge,” laid out the Jewish Community Bulletin’s functions:
- To defend unfalteringly the ideals of American democracy and to fight for the preservation of the American way of life.
- To present accurately and without bias the changing scenes in Jewish life — locally, nationally and internationally.
- To interpret the news informatively, revealing its implications and its trends.
- To report fairly and impartially the activities of all Jewish organizations and to this end to open its columns freely to them.
- To strengthen Jewish morale and to serve as a medium for the exchange of views and ideas.
With a format resembling a broadsheet newspaper, and dispatches from Washington and Tel Aviv, the Jewish Community Bulletin covered the tumultuous events leading to and following the founding of the State of Israel.
On March 30, 1979, the top story in the renamed San Francisco Jewish Bulletin (“Covering greater San Francisco, Marin County and the Peninsula”) was “We’ve Got A Treaty!” — trumpeting the historic peace agreement between Israel and Egypt.
Five years later, on Jan. 27, 1984, the paper was called the Northern California Jewish Bulletin when it announced the appointment of Marc S. Klein as editor and publisher. Another important milestone was the July 28, 1995, announcement of the first online edition, making the (slightly renamed) Jewish Bulletin of Northern California the first Jewish weekly newspaper to be available in its entirety on the web.
In September 2003, the publication was renamed J. The Jewish News Weekly of Northern California, and began appearing in magazine format.
In September 2011, Marc Klein stepped down. Nora Contini became publisher, after 25 years as associate publisher, and Sue Fishkoff was hired as editor. And in July of 2013, Nora retired and Steve Gellman became J.’s publisher.
J. The Jewish News of Northern California covers the full range of what it means to be Jewish today — from politics to the arts, religion and food, as well as spirituality, lifecycle events and news of our local, national and global communities. Our talented staff writers cover the local community in depth, augmented by a stable of skilled, seasoned freelancers. If you’d like to know more about our staff, click here.
We strive to fill J. with the diverse voices that characterize our vibrant Jewish community, to present a range of views through our Opinions and Letters pages, and to engage the reader in the kind of lively debate that enriches and defines Jewish life.
We invite you to explore our website in depth, but our print edition is a must to get a real feel for our publication. It’s available at Jewish community centers, synagogues and by subscription — which is how nearly 20,000 households get J. every week.
If you are not already a subscriber, we’ll be happy to give you four weeks free.
Or just go ahead and start your print subscription!