Compromise Inflames Controversy p. 14

By: Mark Fitzgerald Jewish Press publisher says he no longer will accept ads
from a charity because it 'subsidizes' the Jewish Week sp.

A PROPOSED COMPROMISE in the dispute about charity funding of the Jewish Week newspaper in New York has only further inflamed one independent Jewish paper.
In a harshly worded Feb. 11 editorial of the Jewish Press, publisher Rabbi Sholom Klass announced that his Orthodox weekly no longer will accept advertising from a charity, the United Jewish Appeal-Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York, because it subsidizes the Jewish Week.
Klass accused the directors of the charity and the Jewish Week, some of whom serve on boards of both the UJA-Federation and the newspaper, of "collusion" in subsidizing "a privately owned" newspaper.
Klass couched his editorial in unusually harsh terms for a dispute among religiously oriented newspapers.
"In effect, these [UJA-Federation] ads would make the Jewish Press a partner in providing circulation to a competing newspaper, which thrives on charity funds and advocates eating traif by publishing ads featuring non-kosher meats every week," the editorial said. Observant Orthodox Jews follow dietary laws that prohibit eating traif, which is nonkosher food.
Klass' editorial was the latest reaction to a plan the UJA-Federation management has proposed to defuse tensions between the charity and independent Jewish papers.
Led by the owners of the Long Island Jewish World, several publishers have complained that the UJA-Federation unfairly subsidizes the Jewish Week by paying $825,000 for copies it gives free of further charge to households that contribute $36 or more (E&P, Feb. 5, p. 12).
Under a plan outlined in a memo to UJA-Federation board members, contributors on Long Island would be given a choice between the Jewish World and Jewish Week.
The plan does not provide for a similar choice among New York City-based Jewish papers.
Because of a major snowstorm, the Feb. 8 board meeting scheduled to decide on the plan was postponed to March 3.
In a response to the Jewish Press editorial, Stephen Solender, UJA-Federation executive vice president, said the charity's newspaper policy had been "gravely misrepresented."
"Our newspaper policy in general and our relationship with Jewish Week in particular is not ? and never has been ? based on a desire to please any one publisher or group of special interests. Rather it reflects a desire to support a paper that communicates to all our contributors throughout the eight-county area on issues of Jewish concern, especially the story of UJA-Federation, its campaign and agencies," Solender wrote in a letter printed in the Feb. 18 edition of the Jewish Press.
"The goal has never been to undermine any paper's ability to compete in the marketplace," Solender added.
Further, he said, the amount UJA-Federation pays for subscriptions is not $825,000 but "closer to $500,000."
The $825,000 figure appears as a line item in the charity's budget, but UJA-Federation management has said that the Jewish Week provides excess mon-ies and other valuable services during the year.
Solender called "baseless" the suggestion that there is a conflict of interest because some people serve on the boards of both the charity and the Jewish Week.
"They [board members] are unpaid volunteers and not owners, as the paper is a not-for-profit corporation," Solender wrote.
Klass responded in an editorial published in the same edition, calling Solender's letter "an insult to the intelligence of American Jewry."
"They [UJA-Federation leadership] ignore the plain fact that their policies have alienated the [English-language] Jewish press and, unconscionably, have resulted in unnecessary expenditures to buttress a news publication that could not survive on its own but which adheres to an editorial policy favored by the UJA leadership, both professional and lay," he wrote.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here

Scroll the Latest Job Opportunities From The Media Job Board