Our readers have spoken &mdash again

When j. launched its now-annual Readers’ Choice poll in 2005, we hoped to provide little more than a fun summer feature. Little did we know then that survey would evolve into an example of civic pride for the Bay Area Jewish community.

With this third edition of Readers’ Choice, the feature has come into its own. All-online voting, more refined categories and our patented bright ‘n’ breezy descriptions of winners all make for a good read and some mighty good suggestions on what Bay Area Jewish life has to offer.

Sure, many of the Readers’ Choice categories are almost 100 percent froth. Favorite bagel, favorite deli, favorite pet store, favorite health club: Those are purely subjective designations.

After all, one man’s indispensable corned beef sandwich may not please all. On the other hand, leave it to our magnificent Jewish community to organize, attend and remember important charitable events and programs that truly define us as Klal Israel. Readers voting for their favorite social action or Israel-related synagogue program, local Jewish agency or Jewish place to volunteer speak volumes about the priorities of Bay Area Jews.

We were also thrilled by readers’ votes in categories such as ketubah or chuppah-makers, kosher caterers or favorite Judaica/Jewish bookstores. Vendors like those depend utterly on Jewish customers.

By voicing their preferences, j. readers have exercised a power to steer traffic to those business, helping them survive and thrive in tough economic times.

Subsequent advertisements from those same vendors help ensure the economic vitality of j. as well. So basically, everybody wins.

If running a feature like Readers’ Choice seems too frilly an endeavor in times of geopolitical uncertainty and unease in the Jewish world, consider this: The people who read j. live and work in the Bay Area, patronize certain businesses, serve the Jewish community, attend Jewish events and daily try to live up to Jewish values.

That’s called a Jewish community. And that’s exactly what Readers’ Choice celebrates. The feature is a snapshot of how we live, love and work together as a community.

So start perusing the supplement’s pages. See if your favorite JCC, kosher restaurant or klezmer band made the grade. If not, then maybe you will discover something new and wonderful just down the street.

Or maybe you’ll be sure to vote next year.