The Wondering Jewess

Updated: Apr 28

This Purim marked a year of uncertainty, confusion and upheaval. Like the holiday story, we are reminded how things can change in minutes- underdogs become heroes, and tragedy turns to triumph.

The pandemic has taken a toll on all of us. We have been challenged physically, emotionally and spiritually. Family life has been turned upside down, and we have been isolated from loved ones. The loss of income has impacted our already shaky economic state, and the constant health concerns have stressed us all beyond measure.

Covid 19 came without warning and has shaken us all to the core. The entire world has been traumatized, and we wonder when some normalcy will be restored.

How has Tzfat coped? Remarkably well. Despite those hesitant to heed the painful restrictions, our community rallied and supported each other. There were WhatsApp groups, food deliveries and zoom meet-ups for learning, inspiration and socializing. Long-planned for weddings were reimagined for 20 in back yards and people worshipped together on rooftops. Many had Seder alone, and new babies were greeted by grandparents on the internet.

Like Queen Esther who stepped forward to save the Jews, the people of Tzfat stepped forward to save each other. The countless daily acts of chesed sustained and inspired us. We took responsibility for each other as a community. New friendships and alliances were formed, and we all dug deep to maintain a semblance of sanity in uncertain and confusing times.

The biggest challenge facing us is achdut. It is our hope that The Tzfat Herald becomes a cog in the wheel that brings us closer together, by uniting us around the issues and circumstances we share.

Our newspaper will continue to be a forum for news and information that impacts our quality of life. We will expect transparency from our city government and challenge them to include us in decision making. Faces will be put on our leadership and neighbors. History will come alive, and we will be a forum to discuss, analyze and problem solve.

When we started in 2019, we were a small insert in a free Hebrew paper that was hard to find. It was a confusing format and distribution was problematic. In spite of that, it was clear that the Anglo community was thirsty for news.

Publishing online provides us with greater access to readers. While we began as a publication for the growing Anglo population, it was clear that other Tzfatim were also looking for an independent source of reliable, timely news and stories that reflect the diversity of our unique city.

Producing a newspaper requires a lot of hearts, minds and determination. Turning out a multi-lingual publication is complicated, and it will take time. But we promise to be true to our mission of providing reliable, well-written journalism that reflects the diversity of this special city.

A community newspaper services and is serviced by the people. We want to hear from you. There is opportunity for comments directly on stories that will generate productive discussion. We need interesting stories and good writers and photographers. There are always spots for thoughtful opinion pieces. We need advertisers and sponsors to sustain us.

My parents came to Tzfat in 1979 because they saw it as a place that would thrive with commitment and determination. That generation built on a foundation of history and faith and laid the groundwork for a new Tzfat that speaks to a changing world. But if we are to not just survive, but to thrive, we must look for new and creative ways to operate. By working together across the social, economic and religious divide, we can achieve collective success.

Susan Cohen is founder and managing editor of The Tzfat Herald. Contact her at

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