Sign­ing off from the JC af­ter half-a-cen­tury

Out­go­ing Jewish Chron­i­cle man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Alan Ruben­stein steps down this month af­ter al­most 50 years with the com­pany but will re­tain an in­volve­ment as the JC’S hon­orary pres­i­dent. Here, in his own words, he looks back on his decades of ser­vice

The Jewish Chronicle - - Community - ‘The busi­ness is in good hands’

I HAVE been mar­ried to the JC for longer than to my wife, Beryl. But af­ter al­most 50 years, it is time to pass the ba­ton over.

When I joined in 1962 as a ju­nior ad­ver­tis­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tive, it seemed even then an amaz­ing place to work. My boss was the ebul­lient Tony Man­del­son, fa­ther of Peter. We had the most in­cred­i­ble re­la­tion­ship. He taught me to use my per­son­al­ity to sell space and never to ac­cept no for an an­swer. Be­tween us, we turned the JC into a very prof­itable news­pa­per.

As I moved through the ranks to be­come sales man­ager, ad­ver­tis­ing di­rec­tor, com­mer­cial di­rec­tor and fi­nally man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, I worked with some won­der­ful peo­ple.

Dur­ing my time on the board I was priv­i­leged to work with ex-chair­man Peter Op­pen­heimer, the only man I know who could con­duct a meet­ing while eat­ing a bagel, mark­ing eco­nom­ics exam pa­pers and hav­ing a phone con­ver­sa­tion in Rus­sian with a col­league in Uzbek­istan.

The ad­vice and en­cour­age­ment of Lionel Gor­don, Jef­frey Green­wood (who does a bril­liant job as chair­man of the JC pen­sion trustees), Peter Levy, Richard Bol­chover, Danny Kessler and Ju­lia Chain has meant so much to me.

All my ed­i­tors have been great fun, bear­ing in mind the nat­u­ral cre­ative ten­sions be­tween editorial and sales. Wil­liam Frankel was ur­bane, silky smooth and im­mac­u­lately dressed. He never once raised his voice. He just gave you a look which said ev­ery­thing.

Ge­of­frey Paul was the con­sum­mate pro­fes­sional, a warm lovely gen­tle­man who reg­u­larly threw me out of his of­fice, but al­ways with a smile on his face.

Ned Temko was the crazy Amer­i­can with whom I ate cake and chocolate and al­ways had a glass or two of wine. He made me laugh, cry and scream, all in a mat­ter of min­utes.

And Stephen Pol­lard, our cur­rent edi­tor, whom I greatly ad­mire, has turned the pa­per into one of the best week­lies around. We do not al­ways see eye to eye but prob­a­bly are not meant to.

To suc­ceed in the ad­ver­tis­ing busi­ness, you need re­li­able, de­pend­able col­leagues and over these 50 years I have had many. But the re­la­tion­ship I had with Ge­of­frey Gil­bert and Brian Kyte has been some­thing I will al­ways trea­sure.

Above all, though, with­out Beryl’s help, en­cour­age­ment and in­cred­i­ble pa­tience I sim­ply could not have man­aged.

Back in Novem­ber 1967, when the JC launched our very first colour mag­a­zine, the party at the Savoy Ho­tel co­in­cided with the birth of our son. Beryl al­ways man­ages to re­mind me that I still went to the launch!

When Sid­ney Moss (man­ag­ing di­rec­tor in the 1970s) sent me off to Is­rael to “try and sell a bit of space”, I never an­tic­i­pated how suc­cess­fully it would work out.

It is a ter­rific buzz even now to see ads from all the lead­ing ho­tel groups, to­gether with real es­tate busi­nesses, uni­ver­si­ties, and so many other parts of Is­raeli life.

My job has al­lowed me to meet so many peo­ple both here and in Is­rael. Talk­ing for over an hour about the JC to Yitzhak Rabin re­mains a high­light. Hav­ing lunch with the late King Hus­sein of Jor­dan an­other, along with din­ner with Teddy Kollek in Jerusalem, lis­ten­ing to his en­thu­si­asm about his beloved city.

I have made friends with so many of the lead­ers of our com­mu­nity and never cease to be amazed at the time and ef­fort peo­ple put back into the com­mu­nity. I will men­tion just three — Jef­frey Pin­nick, Peter Shel­don and Ben­jamin Perl. In his quiet unas­sum­ing way, Jef­frey has for over 40 years given his time and ex­pe­ri­ence to the Board of Deputies, Yad Vashem and Boys Town. Peter, al­ways on the go, re­vi­talised the United Synagogue and al­ways has a pro­ject he wants to speak to me about.

As for Ben­jamin, I have five grand­chil­dren at Jewish schools. Where would our kids be to­day if it wasn’t for Mr Jewish Ed­u­ca­tion?

My speak­ing en­gage­ments, which I hope to con­tinue, have given me (and, I hope, my au­di­ences) ter­rific plea­sure.

I made a prom­ise to David Kessler, whose fam­ily to­day are among our share­hold­ers, that I would not de­part un­til the busi­ness was in good hands. With An­thony Julius as chair­man, Daniel Finkel­stein, Paul Mann and Michael Marx on the board, Tracy Abra­hams as CEO and Stephen Pol­lard as edi­tor, it is in­deed. I wish Tracy the very best of luck. And I am de­lighted that I will still have a role to play in the JC’s suc­cess.

I feel in­cred­i­bly proud and priv­i­leged to have been part of a jewel in our com­mu­nity’s crown.

The JC is the best Jewish news­pa­per in the English speak­ing world.

Alan Ruben­stein: “I have worked with some won­der­ful peo­ple”

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