Elly Lewis did not tolerate bad prose.
As a recent English major and newbie newsy, I felt pretty confidant in my writing and editing skills when I took over as editor of the Jewish Voice & Herald in 2002. That confidence was shaken when I received a copy of the paper we had just put out, each mistake marked with red pencil, from Elly Lewis.
And I was forever grateful.
As editorial board chair, Elly’s job was to make sure the paper met the high standards of our thousands of readers. And met her standards, which were no less high than the New York Times, an aspirational goal she brought up frequently.
I gained an incredible amount of knowledge during my time as editor of the paper, much of it through fully engaged volunteers like Elly. Despite having a very full calendar, Elly made time for every meeting, policy discussion or brainstorming session. Our meetings were the best type of challenge, where we honed our debating skills and reached new levels of understanding and innovation.
Elly helped make sure the paper did much more than cover the easy stories with cute kids and speakers on book tours. She helped me merge the best of the Rhode Island Jewish Herald with the Jewish Voice & Herald, plan storyboards a year out, launch new sections and fill the board with excellent members from around Rhode Island. She helped make it a paper I was proud of.
Our community, and this institution, owes her a great deal. We’ll miss you.
Jonathan Rubin was the editor of the Jewish Voice from 2002 to 2007.