Canada’s only independent Jewish newspaper returned to print on Aug. 1. Subscription prices are jumping up 50 per cent, from $39.95 to $60 a year, with the new price kicking in as old subscriptions expire.

By Paul Weinberg and Tamara Baluja

Canada’s only independent Jewish newspaper returned to print on Aug. 1.

Canadian Jewish News president Donald Carr said devoted readers forced the board to reconsider its decision to go to a digital-only version in the face of declining advertising revenue. The 42-year-old weekly newspaper published its last edition on June 20 – two months after warning readers of the change. A third of the staff was laid off, including long-time editor Mordechai Ben-Dat.

“There were hundreds of people who voiced their concerns, organizations, as well, by email and phone,” Carr said. “It was very difficult for me to go to [services at the synagogue] at one time because of crowds of people [asking], ‘What is happening to the Canadian Jewish News?’

Subscription prices are jumping up 50 per cent, from $39.95 to $60 a year, with the new price kicking in as old subscriptions expire.

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“In order to continue to publish, we must ensure continued revenues from both subscriptions and advertising,” said Elizabeth Wolfe, vice-president of the Canadian Jewish News in a statement. “Pensioners have told me they would pay more to ensure they continue to receive the paper. Colleagues have volunteered to purchase subscriptions for their parents and their children. Agencies have said they would purchase copies for their waiting rooms. My own children’s friends have indicated they would take out their own subscriptions.”


The publication also undertook other cost-saving measures to secure its financial future. In her statement, Wolfe said the CJN will be moving to a new location, from its North York office to 1750 Steeles Ave. in Concord. The board has also brought in Robert Attala as the new general manager to review and find efficiencies in all aspects of production. The National Post reported Attala is a marketing and advertising professional who previously worked for Montreal’s the Gazette and the Post.

Ben-Dat, who led the paper for 18 years, was delighted to learn the CJN will once again circulate on paper, even though he will no longer be in the newsroom. “My hopes and aspirations for the paper are that it succeed and indeed grow from strength to strength,” he said.

Carr said the board is looking for a new editor and new columnists and wants to develop a new website.

Bernie Farber, the former head of the lobby group Canadian Jewish Congress, said the Canadian Jewish News plays a pivotal role in the Jewish community. Farber said he hopes the new version of the paper includes more diverse views and daily stories that attract younger readers.

The print edition of CJN has been “very stilted for a very long period,” said Farber. “There are a lot of young Jewish academics, students and others who consider themselves Zionists but see themselves as socially progressive and different from their parents and they have to have a perch from which they are able to speak. And I think the CJN can offer them that freedom or perch and they should, and I look forward to them doing so.”

Dan Horowitz, spokesperson for the United Jewish Appeal Federation of Greater Toronto, said many people rely on CJN for event listings. “I enjoy the CJN. My mom reads it. I know other family members read it, even those who aren’t deeply involved in the community necessarily.”

Tamara Baluja is an award-winning journalist with CBC Vancouver and the 2018 Michener-Deacon fellow for journalism education. She was the associate editor for J-Source from 2013-2014.