The Canadian Jewish News announced on Thursday that it will fold due to financial troubles exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

“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,” said CJN president Elizabeth Wolfe in a piece on the outlet’s website, announcing the move. “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.”

“It is with great regret that we have realized that we will be unable to do so. Unfortunately, we too have become a victim of COVID-19,” she continued. “Already struggling, we are not able to sustain the enterprise in an environment of almost complete economic shutdown. It is with deep sadness that we announce the closure of our beloved CJN, both in print and online.”

After 60 years, CJN’s April 9 edition will be its last. Both its print and online editions will cease operations. The staff was informed on a videoconference on Thursday of the closure.

CJN’s inaugural edition was printed on Jan. 1, 1960, serving the Toronto market before expanding into a Montreal bureau in 1976. As of September 2019, the weekly outlet had a total circulation of 31,752.

The paper almost shuttered in 2013, but was instead restructured and relaunched after receiving support from its readers.

Canadian Jewish News logo. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

“We have not been immune to the decline of the industry, although our decline has been slower than most. Our bottom line showed small profits early on, to start to rebuild our lost reserves, became barely break-even shortly thereafter, and then recently succumbed to increasing losses,” wrote Wolfe. “The economic devastation striking our community has also affected The CJN. The CJN suffered from a pre-existing condition and has been felled by COVID-19.”

Wolfe expressed her appreciation to CJN’s staff.

Canadian Jewish organizations expressed sadness over the outlet’s closure.

Shimon Koffler Fogel, CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, told JNS that his organization, “like all of the Canadian Jewish community, is deeply saddened by the developments with The Canadian Jewish News.”

“Over the 6 decades of its existence, the CJN has grown to become a valued source of information about news of special interest and importance to Canadian Jewry—both domestic and international. The CJN connected communities across the country and equally important, gave the many outside of the Jewish community—like those in the political sector—a window into activities within the Jewish community and the kinds of things that were being talked about.”

“For CIJA in particular, the CJN was a valued partner in connecting with our constituency and ensuring dynamic two-way information sharing,” he continued. “It was also a great platform for engaging the community in the advocacy effort and we will be hard pressed to compensate for the loss of that asset.”

“We are so deeply saddened to see that the venerable Canadian Jewish News @TheCJN has announced its closure due to the economic instability brought on by #COVID19,” tweeted B’nai Brith Canada.

“The closing of the Canadian Jewish News (@CJN) is a loss to researchers, historians, and genealogists. Its life of 60 yrs, & 45 yrs of its predecessor, the Canadian Jewish Review, has been a tremendous resource for us all. Very sad news indeed,” tweeted the Jewish Genealogical Society of Toronto.

Support Jewish Journalism
with 2020 Vision

One of the most intriguing stories of the sudden Coronavirus crisis is the role of the internet. With individuals forced into home quarantine, most are turning further online for information, education and social interaction.

JNS's influence and readership are growing exponentially, and our positioning sets us apart. Most Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas. JNS is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

During this crisis, JNS continues working overtime. We are being relied upon to tell the story of this crisis as it affects Israel and the global Jewish community, and explain the extraordinary political developments taking place in parallel.

Our ability to thrive in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters. Monthly donations in particular go a long way in helping us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make during these challenging times. We thank you for your ongoing support and wish you blessings for good health and peace of mind.