No longer an observer, a participant once again


Nancy Kirsch

Reclaiming my life … After five years of happily observing, recording, interviewing and photographing  people, places and things for The Jewish Voice, I am going to start participating!

Readers may have heard by now that I have resigned as executive editor – effective Sept. 13.

After much consideration and deliberation, I realized that I needed to spend fewer hours observing, recording, interviewing and photographing others and spend more time living my own life.

At one event I covered a year or so ago, a colleague chided me for not smiling enough and for not clapping when others clapped; it was, after all, a celebratory moment. I thought to myself, “But, wait, I’m not here to participate; I’m here to report the event – as impartially as I possibly can.”

So many people; so many events; so many interviews … I thank the people who allowed me to intrude – to poke around into their hearts, their homes, their psyches – as part of the interview process.

Domestic abuse, breast cancer, same-sex marriage, suicide, adoption, veterans’ traumas and poverty – I was fortunate to be able to interview people directly affected by these and other issues in my four years as editor and one as associate editor and then share those individuals’ stories with you, our readers.

Hearing Elie Wiesel speak at Bryant University, covering Newark,N.J., Mayor Cory Booker (perhaps New Jersey’s next U.S. Senator), interviewing and then dining with author and NBC newscaster Martin Fletcher and visiting Israel on the January 2013 mission were highlights, as were the awards the paper earned during my tenure from Rhode Island Community & Justice and the Rhode Island Press Association.

As in any life experience, there have been bumps along the way – most notably the November 2010 death of Frank Zasloff, our lovable, charming and persuasive advertising sales representative. My clumsy maneuver that caused Leah Camara, our graphic designer, to fall and break her ankle was a bump, as was the concussion I received while covering Temple Torat Yisrael’s move from its building in Cranston. The production days that turned into 20-hour marathon sessions, while not pleasant, offered abundant opportunities for improvement – in personal and professional decision-making!

Many colleagues at the Alliance, our editorial board and other volunteers have shared with me their wisdom and support over the years; I am grateful to each and every one of them.

However, my labors would have been in vain without you, our readers. I have been sustained and nurtured by your phone calls, emails, texts and conversations – whether in my office, at the grocery store or elsewhere  – about the paper. Both critical and laudatory comments matter; otherwise, what we’ve labored to deliver to you every two weeks is for naught. You cared enough to respond and that’s music to any writer’s ears.

I will have one final opportunity to share my thoughts and reflections through this ‘bully pulpit’ in the Sept. 13 issue.