Corridors of power: Both sides of the story

Corridors of power Both

The Ba'al Shem Tov once wanted to give his students an inspiring example of how one should welcome Yom Kippur, so he sent them to an old Jew in a remote shtetl. The students immediately began their journey and arrived a few hours before the Day of Atonement began. The elderly man was standing in his courtyard, holding a small, shabby notebook and a pen while talking to God. "Well, it's Yom Kippur again," the man began, "and it's time for me to speak out about my sins. They are all here, written down: I missed the Shaharit service three times this year, fell asleep more than once during the speeches in the synagogue, and so on and so on. Now let's take a look at what You have done this year: My wife broke her leg, my cow stopped giving milk, and my henhouse was set on fire. So if we look carefully, I think You owe me some explanations for Your acts. But we Jews have a tradition to forgive mercifully on Yom Kippur, so I will follow our tradition this year too and forgive You as well." So this year, too, "Corridors," which regularly receives feedback from readers, will follow this beautiful tradition and forgive all those who made this year more difficult than necessary, but not before counting its own sins, of course, such as the following instances. Sorry to all those who tried their best to convince this journalist that you had some hot material for a cover story but nevertheless didn't make it. Sorry, again, for the numerous cases in which, for want of a better solution, my response was "I am not authorized to decide; please ask the editor" - a polite but unfair answer - especially when I knew the answer would be negative. Sorry, really sorry, for the cases - albeit not many - in which I summarized a story in just a few words that meant so much to the people who related it to me. So sorry, truly, for the cases in which I bluntly told bureaucrats that I wouldn't publish a story in return for a fair solution to the problem, such as the case of the little boy who was going to be sent to a school far from his home instead of the better school in his neighborhood, out of a cold administrative calculation. It worked, and the kid's smile was such a reward! All reporters do this from time to time. It's our way of not losing the human touch. And now, like that old Jew in his shtetl, let's see what others have done to this column and its writer. First of all, city council members - "Corridors" doesn't have to name names: Your constituency cares about what you've done for them and less about what other councilors don't do. And city councilors who - except for three of them - don't bother to read "Corridors" but are quick to call on Sunday mornings (sometimes even on motzei Shabbat) to complain that there was no picture of them! Sorry guys, it's a column, not a beauty contest. A special and personal apology to that nice woman who keeps asking me why "Corridors" reports only criticism and scandals rather than telling our readers about all the beautiful and positive things people do here. "Corridors," it goes without saying, appreciates all the good things done here every day, but our mandate is to highlight the problems and inadequacies - and the fact is that "Corridors" thrives on scandal. And a final apology to my family and friends who have had to endure my moodiness as deadline approaches.