You are about to embark on a venture that has been in the planning stages for two years.

J. the Jewish news weekly of Northern California is that venture. It’s a new and different kind of Jewish publication for Northern California Jews.

But J. has a memory of the past. One hundred and eight years to be exact — longer than most businesses have existed in Northern California. It was 108 years ago when San Francisco got its first Jewish newspaper, named the Emanu-El. In 1946 it became the Jewish Community Bulletin, in 1969 the San Francisco Jewish Bulletin, then the Northern California Jewish Bulletin and eventually the Jewish Bulletin of Northern California.

J. is the Jewish Bulletin, only better.

J. has a magazine format including a glossy cover, which should attract new readers.

We held focus groups and are trying to produce the kind of magazine that participants indicated would interest them.

Longtime readers will still find everything they liked about the Jewish Bulletin in the pages of J.

The emphasis in J. will be well-written feature stories. We’ll also have news, much of it analysis of events that occurred during the week.

You’ll notice the difference as you turn the pages of the inaugural issue that you now hold in your hands. In fact, to help you navigate the magazine, we have a full-page index.

You’ll find letters to the editor in the beginning pages of J. because we think you, our readers, are very important, and your views need to be seen.

The letters will be followed by a personal column that will be rotated among a few writers. They will write about their lives and their Jewish experiences. The columns will sometimes be humorous, other times reflective and sometimes controversial, but always fascinating reading.

Then you’ll find some of the best features our writers, freelancers and wire services have produced. We’ll be adding personality profiles of interesting Jews, and we’ll have features on spirituality, interfaith relations and Jewish life in Northern California.

News will follow with a special emphasis on stories you can’t find anywhere else. As you move forward, you’ll find our editorial and opinion section, which we now call Views. Then comes an expanded Arts section with stories similar to those that appeared in the Jewish Bulletin.

You’ll notice a new lifestyle section with expanded engagement and wedding announcements that detail how the couple met, as well as anecdotes about their relationship.

A redesigned weekly Jewish calendar comes next to help you choose the events you would like to attend.

At the very end of J. you’ll find Jewish humor that we found in our e-mail or on Jewish Web sites. Feel free to send us any Jewish humor you see. Send it to [email protected]

We hope you enjoy J. It was a labor of love for J. art director Cathleen Maclearie and her staff, working very closely with associate publisher Nora Contini and managing editor Woody Weingarten.

Whether you love it or hate it, or have mixed emotions, please tell us know what you think about J.

So “how did we come up with the name J.,” you might ask. We met with a redesign committee and a naming specialist for months and looked at hundreds of potential candidates. We rejected titles that other Jewish papers were using. When J. was suggested, we liked it because we saw it as meaning Jewish. The period next to the J. added more emphasis, as if we were saying, “We’re Jewish, PERIOD.”

And if you don’t subscribe already, we’ll be happy to give you six weeks free to get acquainted with J. the Jewish news weekly.