When the evening news hits home


The last few weeks have been anxious for many of us here in the Rhode Island Jewish community and beyond. We nervously watch the news from Israel as we have family and friends impacted by the situation there. Like many of you, I’m touched by what’s happening and frustrated by trying to sort through the coverage and make sense of it all. My sister and her family arrived in Jerusalem July 1 as she began her journey at Hebrew Union College to becoming a cantor. She’ll be there for a year. Now more than ever I seek out and appreciate every source of news and analysis from the Middle East.

And it’s nice to gather with others who are like-minded. Last week’s rally at the Dwares JCC showed how wide-ranging the interest is in our community. More than 400 people listened to a variety of speakers on the situation in Israel. And we came away with a new appreciation for what Israelis are living through … and going about their daily lives. Life goes on. I am in contact with my sister several times each week. We text; we send pictures. She tells me how she feels, and she shares her experiences with the occasional siren. 

People ask me how I feel about the situation, and my opinion doesn’t really matter. As a journalist, I prefer to process all sides of the issue as much as I can and keep my own views to myself. But I do that with one ear to the news and a personal interest. Just like you. And I want to hear all sides and all opinions and try to keep an open mind.

At The Voice, we can’t cover the very latest news from Israel. We only publish every other week. So what happens today may well be old news by the time it reaches your mailbox. We leave the breaking news to the daily papers, online news sources, and television and radio. What we try to do is offer the latest range of opinions and analysis and features. We work to find stories about people and events, in Israel and related to our community that you want to read, despite the fact that they were printed several days before you get the paper. And we try for a balance.

How do we get these articles? We use a variety of sources. We subscribe to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) and the Jewish News Service (JNS). These are international services that provide news and features and photos to publications everywhere. People in our community are invaluable sources of information. You, your friends, families and neighbors all help us keep on top of what’s happening here and in Israel. As I write this, my inbox is getting a constant flow of press releases, photos and emails. When we go to write a story, we often start with one source, and everyone knows someone who knows someone else we should talk to.

The end result of all this should be articles that inform. You may not always agree with the way the information is presented. But we are trying to give you a look at many different sides of all the issues. And we’re always happy to hear from you whether you agree or disagree with us.

It is frustrating when you hear a report that you think is less than objective. But after 30 years of working in the media, I’m here to tell you that most news reporters try to be objective. As a reader, it pays to stay informed. Form your own opinions; read and listen to as much as you can. Everyone has a favorite source for news, and everyone will tell you some sources are biased. These are complicated issues. Decide for yourself. And let us know what you are thinking.