Jewish journalism connects us, in the past and present
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Jewish journalism connects us, in the past and present

"The distance between where I live in the North Hills and Squirrel Hill is not very far, but I would be lost without the Chronicle updating me week after week."

Cátia Kossovsky
Post World War II, my grandfather, who had been a partisan and had survived through the horrific struggles of the war, began trying to piece whatever was left of his life together. He remarried, had my father and uncle and started a search for his older siblings who had left Europe prior to the war.

Being the youngest of 11, my grandfather had siblings who were old enough to be his parents when he was born. He knew they had gone to America in search of a better life. But that is all he knew, and America being comprised of two continents and 35 countries and additional territories, was a very large place to find a long-distance relative.

So did he find his brother? He certainly did. It wasn’t easy, but because of Jewish newspapers, similar to the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle, he was able to locate his brother and relocate for a better future for himself and his family. He found his brother by placing classified ads in all Jewish and Yiddish newspapers in each country from the northernmost cities in Canada all the way down to the southernmost tip of Chile. His brother read it in a Jewish newspaper published in São Paulo, Brazil, where my grandfather migrated with his family, and where I was born.

Without local Jewish publishers to connect Jews, be they newspapers in the 1950s or news organizations with web and social media presence today, we tend to lose a bit of our identity. While we are not living post-war and searching for long-lost family, the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle is still here connecting us all to one another locally, and allowing former Pittsburghers to discover what is happening in our lovely city, which they are so very fond of, in print and online.

The distance between where I live in the North Hills and Squirrel Hill is not very far, but I would be lost without the Chronicle updating me week after week. I believe that many of you feel the same. The Chronicle provides me, and possibly you, with a greater understanding of what is happening in our Jewish community.

While the Chronicle has survived through these very tough COVID times, it has faced financial struggles. When I joined the board of trustees in 2016, the paper was breaking even thanks to sales of ads in the printed paper. But those financials have drastically changed. Many prior advertisers cannot afford to buy ads for the print edition or have closed. The economics of ad sales for online are not as profitable and would require the Chronicle to increase its footprint to the level of large nationally recognized publishers like The New York Times or The Washington Post. That is not an attainable goal, even though the Chronicle is an award-winning publication year after year for its impeccable coverage of our local current events.

This institution cannot survive on its own as it has done in prior years, and it is imperative that the readership community become involved in order for the Chronicle to continue providing us with our community connection.

Because of its extremely important place in our lives, please help me and other readers to keep this institution. The Chronicle provides us with up-to-date information, connects us to one another and shows all that Jewish life is alive and well in Pittsburgh.

Thank you and Shabbat Shalom. PJC

Cátia Kossovsky is a member of the board of trustees of the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle and is a founder and managing member of Smart Counsel LLC.

Please also read these letters from the board chair, Evan Indianer, Chronicle’s editor, Toby Tabachnick, and its CEO and publisher, Jim Busis.

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