Forward Thinking

The Times Enters the Shtetlsphere

By Gal Beckerman

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It is not uncommon for us here in the small world of Jewish journalism (or, as Marc Tracy over at Tablet so aptly dubbed it, the “shtetlsphere”) to marvel when The New York Times runs a story that would seem even too narrowly Jewish (or Israeli) for us. It happens, strangely, all the time. We don’t even feel beat, just confused.

But it is rare when, embedded in such a story, there is an acknowledgment of the inordinate interest that the paper of record takes in Jewish life. This morning I was reading an article in the sports section about the soccer team of Kiryat Shmona, one of Israel’s northernmost cities just on the border with Lebanon, home to 25,000 people. That’s right, the soccer team of Kiryat Shmona. At least the Times had the good sense to anticipate my incredulity with this:

When The New York Times recently contacted Adi Faraj, the club’s 26-year-old press officer, about doing an article about the team, he was initially convinced the phone call was a hoax.

“Why would The New York Times want to write about us?” he said.


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