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Community sure loves its new website




From the screen of
online editor Ant Katz

Within five days of going live the site had already received well over 10,000 page-views from 3,400 visits. The average user spent four minutes 35 seconds on the site and visited over three pages.
9g-Ant long

The response was so huge, that the developers, firewater interactive, had to increase their bandwidth to cope with the overwhelming amount of traffic. In all fairness, firewater is a large operation with a lot of clever staffers and many big clients on their books, but they have never developed a news website before. (And, one hastens to add, may never had done one had they realised the complexity it required – and most certainly not as a community sponsorship!).

online editor Ant Katz

 They couldn’t believe how much users liked the new website! The community indeed owes Alon berman and his hard-working team at firewater a huge debt of gratitude.

South African visitors, of course, topped the tables with 2,174 of the visits. Israel was second, the US third, followed by Australia, Canada and the UK making up the rest of the Top-Six.

The most-read story was “Limmud and the Orthodox Fiasco” (with an average read time of 3:34 – 3 mins 34 secs), followed by “Sharon gets her just deserts” (1:31); “Brian promises orderly exit from Bidvest (2:33); and “Rabbi Goldman’s take on media speculation” (5:56); and “Lenk presents credentials and veggies to Zuma (3:47).

Interestingly, Rabbi Goldman’s piece, which had users dwelling for the longest, was only posted on Friday afternoon and is fast climbing up the ladder.

What was especially pleasing to the development team is the fact that in such a short time is already showing a returning visitor rate of 28.4 percent of all visits. This, above all, tells us that users like what they are seeing.

Nu, so what’s new this week:

  • At the suggestion of a user in Toronto, we have added a new feature on the main tabs on top of the page called “LATEST” (SEE PICTURE AT RIGHT) – which allows regular users (and we already have many daily visitors) to immediately see what new content has been posted. Similarly, the Opinion log on the right hand side of the page shows the latest user-posted blogs.
  • For the first time we will be sending out a newsletter. If you don’t receive a copy in your mailbox, you will find a space to put your e-mail address on the home page. That’s all the information we ask and our privacy policy prevents us from sharing it with anyone else.
  • 9F-new sajrIf you like what you see, please forward it on to your family and friends – especially expats who are always hungry for local news and views.We are in the throes of getting the architecture of the bloggers and columnists working properly – please be patient, we are almost there.
  • Our policy is apolitical – except where the destruction of Israel or of Jewish souls is concerned. Our intention is to provide a space for anyone who has an opinion and isn’t boring, to be able to voice it. The only provisos we have are not allowing bloggers to say anything illegal or indecent. If you would like to get a blog-space on the website, drop a line to and let’s have a chat. 

In the coming weeks, watch out for:

  • A “Shout Box” – which will allow users to have their say and engage each other on absolutely any subject – and without the statements having to wait for moderation (which will take place in hindsight). Comments could range from a security alert to a missing bobba to anger at a robot being out. They can even be about finding homes for pets (or children J) to offering to host someone for Shabbos. It will be your forum, users. But don’t abuse it or we will blacklist you. 
  • The addition of a third tab on our “most-popular box” on the lower right – which currently lists the most-read and most-commented – it will soon get a “latest comments” tab. 
  • Adding to our “most-popular box” feature by offering three separate boxes: “Last three days”; “Last 30 days”; and “Last three months.” 
  • Getting our Social Media hooked up and sorted to make it even easier for you to stay in touch with us and other users. 

To the literally hundreds of well-wishers goes the thanks of the entire team that has worked to bring to life – and we promise not to ,lose sight of our goal – to keep working hard to make sure that we create the most interactive, user-friendly and informative Jewish community website in the world. 


 SA Jewish Report director Herby Rosenberg was awestruck at our numbers after three days and wrote: “Kol Hakavod to you guys!  It is absolutely awesome that we have now had 2,786 hits over 33 countries.”9G-FRONT-PAGE-LONG

The executive director of the Cape SAJB, David Jacobson, addressed the following to the editor and board of the SA Jewish Report: “Cometh the time, cometh the plan. And the time for the SAJR to go online is now.

PIC RIGHT: Whichever way users want the SAJR in future, it will be available for them

“On behalf of the Cape SA Jewish Board of Deputies, and indeed of the entire Jewish community of Cape Town, I want to wish the SAJR Mazel Tov as they launch their new website. As the premier national Jewish newspaper, the SAJR has the ability to act as not only a conduit of Jewish news, but as a space in which Jewish ideas can be fermented and in which South African Jews can engage with the issues we face and with each other.

 “The Cape Board just completed its ‘Safe Spaces’ 2013 Conference which underlined the need for ‘safe spaces’ for dialogue and debate. We are pursuing that aim with vigour and our belief and hope is that the SAJR Website can be another space in which the Jewish community can speak its mind, freely, but respectfully.

 “I have no doubt that with the vision of its board and editors and the professionalism that is endemic to the institution that is the SA Jewish Report, the new website will propel our community into the cyber space race in a manner that behoves a fine journalistic entity. We wish you luck going forward, and hope that we can be partners on this cyber journey. Yosher Koach to all.”

“All the best from the Durban community” wrote Roseanne Rosen who kindly sent out the launch e-mail for us in KZN. Bernhard Lazarus copied the website URL to a long list of friends and contacts and wrote: “Congratulations… May you have great success and help keep the contact alive between our ‘dispersed’ community members, some of whom are listed above.”

Ruth Rehbock wrote: “I have had a look at your website and it looks fantastic!”

“Just saw the new online SAJR website and wish you all the best” – דארל אגנל. “Mazeltov on the new website” – Chuck Volpe. “Good luck” – Rabbi Yossy Goldman. “Here’s wishing you all a yeshar koach on the new look online edition! Very professional! Wish you all hatzloche for the future” -The Galilean-Jerry Orelowitz, Karmiel.

Howard Feldman, non-executive chairman of the SA Jewish Report board of directors, circulated the following: “It was with great excitement this morning that I went online to the new site and downloaded the paper that deals with the launch in detail. I think it looks absolutely wonderful and I would like to commend all involved in making this happen. It ushers us into a new age. Well done to all.”

While we have been overwhelmed by the community’s response, we have also only been able to pick a few of the letters we received to share with users. Please, to the many, many not mentioned above, do not for one moment think that each and every message was not duly noted and humbly received.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Willie Paterson

    Nov 15, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    ‘As a Christian Zionist, I commend you for the excellent quality of the electronic edition of Jewish Report. While circulation figures for the print media is falling, the electronic media is growing. Congratulations on a very professional looking website and I am looking forward to be a regular reader.’

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