Happy anniversary to the Heritage!
August 27, 2021
Forty-five years ago on Aug. 27, 1976 the lead story in the first issue of the Heritage Central Florida Jewish News was about the land optioned for Kinneret II that the Central Florida Jewish Community Council had secured. The Council accepted a loan for $2,225,000 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Also covered on the front page was that Janet and Ezra Almog, two of the Entebbe hostages, would speak at Congregation Ohev Shalom about their experience being held hostage in the Uganda airport.
The paper was 12 pages long, in black and white.
Gene Starn was the founder of the Heritage and had this to say from The Editor’s Desk: “Heritage is a newspaper you’ll be seeing every other week on Fridays. It is published independently of any outside agency and depends solely on subscribers and advertisers for support.
“It came into being because we felt Central Florida Jewry desperately needed to know what was going on in the Jewish world, both here at home and worldwide. When we [Gene and his wife, Elaine] first came to Orlando, we saw that it was difficult to learn about Jewish activities, what organizations existed and what they did, what the Center did, if there were any cultural events that had a Jewish ‘tam.’ And unless you subscribed to the Jewish paper from back home you could never get more than a cursory item or two about things of a Jewish nature from the local press or television.”
Starn had several goals for the paper, which included: To be a community bulletin board; chronicle births, deaths, marriages, bar/bat mitvahs. And other simchas.
He hoped the Heritage would be an educator and a promoter, and to guard the Jewish people’s interests by keeping its readers informed of injustices throughout the world and the need for a united front to help Jewish people all over the world.
“Our editorial pages will be open to all comments and views, and we especially want our readers to make suggestions and participate in any dialogue on any issues. We feel that communication, printed or otherwise, brings about understanding,” Starn stated.
Starn sold the independent paper to Jeff Gaesar 6 years later in 1982 and Starn became editor emeritus.
After 45 years, Heritage is still an independent newspaper and continues to maintains these goals. Although the Internet has greatly supplemented awareness of events happening within the community, Heritage still continues to be a source of information for our readers.