November 30, 2011
Hello new (and old) readers, my name is Shmuel Rosner.
The first Rosner’s Domain went live in October of 2005. More than six years ago. I was then Chief US Correspondent for the Israeli daily Haaretz, and had very little experience with blogging (if you want to know more about me, click away to my bio page).
Miraculously, Rosner’s Domain seemed to work. The number of readers grew pretty quickly, and responses were mostly positive. Not that everything I wrote was to the taste of every reader, but there was some sense of appreciation for the fact that Haaretz was suddenly doing something no similar online media organization was doing at the time: speaking to an American community that is broadly defined – but still distinct: Mostly Jewish (with a lot of non-Jewish friends), mostly pro-Israel (or anti-Israel, but still interested in all things Israeli); a community of people all wanting to read and debate the issues important to the Israeli-American-Jewish “triangle”.
As Rosner’s Domain expanded, we added some features, like Rosner’s Guest, in which many dozens of interviews were published, the What To Read list of recommended links, and, most controversially, The Israel Factor – probably the first to identify the later all-too-common-theme of President Obama’s “Jewish problem”. However, the main feature was always the daily blogging of news and analyses, as well as some opinion pieces: Articles dealing with topics ranging from the peace process to the Jewish vote to Christmas vs. Hanukah to the Iranian threat.
In late 2008 Rosner’s Domain moved from Haaretz to its second home at The Jerusalem Post where I was still blogging on an almost daily basis, and still doing interviews. The Factor panel was still ranking American politicians. The Post was a great home, with many great readers, some happy to read me for the first time, some annoyed by the invasion of a former Haaretz editor and columnist. They all tolerated me for more than three years, and last week I thanked them for that and said goodbye.
Two months ago it was agreed that I will join Tribe Media and the Jewish Journal family. The new Rosner’s Domain, the Guests and the Factor, and many other features, some old, some new, are all moving with me, and will all be part of the Jewish Journal. This is not a trivial one. For the first time, my main journalistic venue will be an American one and not an Israeli newspaper (I’m still writing in Hebrew for Maariv daily); For the first time I’m writing for a media outlet located on the West Coast; and one must admit – I’m moving to a smaller publication (for now!); and I’m moving from a daily newspaper to this hybrid creature that is a weekly magazine and a webzine all at one and the same time; I’ll be losing some readers who aren’t going to follow me here (hopefully, not many), but I’m sure I’ll gain new ones as well.
So why am I doing this?
Frankly, I was tempted to do it: Tempted by the enthusiasm of the Tribe Media team, tempted by their ambition, attracted by the idea of starting afresh, by the potential of this growing website. I was convinced that the Jewish Journal has the team and the vision to make it a noteworthy player in the Jewish media world even more than it already is today. And I was struck by the receptiveness of JJ editors to new and even bold ideas of doing Jewish journalism.
So – here I am. And you’re invited to come visit as often as you’d like. You can follow me on Twitter to keep track of all the updates, but I hope you make a habit of visiting the Jewish Journal and Rosner’s Domain, where you’ll find new reading material to ponder and debate every day of the week.
I hope this place will make you laugh, or angry, or force you into thinking, or arguing, I hope it will change the way you see things, I hope it will enlighten you. And I’m sure you’ll have a lot to say, and share, and at times you’ll have a lot to disagree with – and I urge you to openly disagree with me as often as you’d like. I’m with whatever you think about Rosner’s Domain as long as you’re not bored with it, as long as it doesn’t leave you indifferent.
And why should you be indifferent or apathetic? American and Israeli politics are both complicated and exciting, the Middle East and all related policies are complicated and exciting, Judaism is exciting (and complicated at times). And all these topics are the bread and butter of Rosner’s Domain.
That’s why I’m excited. Excited to be here, excited to be doing this work, excited at having old and new readers to communicate with. I hope you join me.