canadian jewish news

The Canadian Jewish News is shutting down after 60 years in business

An award-winning weekly newspaper, the largest of its kind in Canada, has fallen victim to the COVID-19 pandemic after six decades of serving the country's Jewish community.

The Canadian Jewish News (CJN) announced its immediate closure on Thursday with a heartfelt message on its website from President Elizabeth Wolfe.

"Everywhere we have seen the devastating impact of COVID-19. It has attacked every aspect of life as we know it, and we are all struggling to cope with the upheaval," wrote Wolfe.

"We had hoped that The CJN could play some small role to inform, console and distract our readers as we all isolate at home, worried about our families, our friends, our medical caregivers, all those risking their lives to provide essential services, our businesses and livelihood, our community, our country, our world."

Unfortunately, this would not be so.

The not-for-profit media organization, founded in 1960, almost closed in 2013 due to challenges faced by print journalism outlets everywhere.

Wolfe spearheaded a restructuring of the paper at the time to keep it afloat with support from CJN's board of directors, readers and advertisers.

The paper has since put out another 100 physical editions and maintained its flourishing online news site, but the coronavirus pandemic just delivered a final, fatal blow.

"Already struggling, we are not able to sustain the enterprise in an environment of almost complete economic shut down," explained Wolfe in her letter. "It is with deep sadness that we announce the closure of our beloved CJN, both in print and online."

Wolfe remains hopeful that the news outlet will be revived by members of the community in some form, some way.

"I have no doubt that there will be another outcry from the community, particularly from those readers who rely on the print edition as their source of information, and perhaps, their connection to the Canadian Jewish community," writes Wolfe.

"It is my hope that members of our community will recognize the need for a national platform and that a new CJN will emerge."

Judging by the outpouring of support and condolences for the publication online right now, the community certainly recognizes CJN's value.

"In a season of bad news here's more," wrote Canadian Senator Linda Frum on Twitter. "Canadian Jewish News is closing down.

"It's a terrible loss for the Jewish community and for journalism. The community owes a huge debt to publisher Elizabeth Wolf who championed this great publication for many years."

Others longtime readers are sharing memories and gratitude for CJN and all it did to bring Canada's Jewish community together.

"Thank you [CJN], I meet my husband 24 years ago through your newspaper," wrote one in response to the closure notice. "It was an add for Jewish singles to meet at a bowling alley. We have three beautiful children together."

"As a kid growing up, the Canadian Jewish News was always lying around my grandparents house and I'd read it cover to cover because I was a weird kid," wrote another. "Sad for the Canadian Jewish community it's gone now."

Wolfe wrote at the end of her message that, while she and her team did "everything in our power to continue The CJN for as long as possible," the financial challenges had grown too great.

"It is with tears in my eyes that I conclude: It had a good run," she wrote. "Everything has its season. It is time."

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