Monday, January 3, 2011

Being Brave Still Works!

According to NRG the most popular "Alon Shabbat" (small weekly pamphlet handed out in shul on Shabbat) is "Olam Kattan" - and this is by a very long way. It beats other older Alonim such as "Shabbat Be'Shabbato". However it is also more read in the religious community then "Makor Rishon" and "Beshevah" both full pledged newspapers aimed at the religious market. 

So why is an Alon officially aimed at younger readers the most popular Shabbat reading for Dati-Leumi readers? Simply put - it is pluralistic, brave and somewhat entertaining. I can't think of another religious paper that would have dared to publish some of the stuff Olam Katan has. When they wrote about religious gays for example, they let everyone write their opinions. They even published a letter by a religious gay, telling the Rabbanim that they didn't know what they were talking about. They published both Pro and Anti opinions about the "Rabbanim Letter". And this is all in a pamphlet that is mostly read in shul!

The entertainment normally comes from a small section called "SMS Questions" where Harav Aviner and Harave Eliyahu (the one from the Rabbanim letter) answer SMS size Halachic questions that are sent in. It has become a common game for people to ask each other in Shul the questions, and see if you can get it right. The other form of entertainment is their letter section, where every week the Haredi-Zioninst (Hardal) camp and the more liberal camp battle it out. 

Their high circulation numbers prove a much contended point. The Dati-Leumi public wants to debate all issues openly. We want a paper which is willing to tackle all issues seriously. It would be nice, if it wasn't a pamphlet, and wasn't aimed at teens!

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