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Taxed by declining subscriptions and dwindling advertising dollars, American Jewish journalism faces a severe test in the years ahead. At this point it is unclear whether the Jewish press will pass that test.

Our cover story this week raises several key questions: Can Jewish newspapers adapt to the age of the Internet and lure younger readers while still retaining older ones? Will Jewish papers manage to dodge the economic and cultural forces battering daily newspapers across the country?

Or are we in as deep a hole as the dailies?

Permit us to speak up for this newspaper and its significance to Bay Area Jewish life.

We live in one of the largest and most diverse Jewish communities in the country. Divided by geography, politics, sexual orientation and religious denomination, some might argue this Jewish community is more atomized than united.

We would argue otherwise.

For one thing, this newspaper provides a vital hub of Jewish communal life in the region.

Imagine for a moment the Bay Area without a Jewish newspaper. Imagine the resulting disconnection and collapse of Jewish cohesion. Imagine how unaware we each would be of the activities, changes and progress of our neighbors across the region. Imagine how distant we would become from one another, with East, West, North and South Bay Jewish communities becoming enclaves unto themselves.

This newspaper serves as the broader Jewish community’s village square; the advertisements, articles, editorials and columns the collective town criers.

Imagine if we fall silent.

Unfortunately, this newspaper is not immune from the myriad shocks and threats affecting newspapers across the country. That’s why we urge the community to reflect on the essential role this paper plays, and to support that role by subscribing and taking out ads. To cover the fast-rising expenses of printing, postage, rent, payroll and overhead, we must have the community rally to our side.

And truly, our side is your side.

To quote from j.’s mission statement, our goal is to connect, enlighten and strengthen the multifaceted Jewish community; to serve as a forum for communicating news, information, ideas and opinions affecting Jews; and to enrich the cultural, religious and social life of the community.

It is our privilege to serve you. We only ask that you reciprocate. Keep us up to date about your corner of the Jewish community. And while you’re at it, support this newspaper with your subscriptions and advertising. Tell your friends about us.

We are all in this together.