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article image'A Wider Bridge' for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Jews Special

By Lesley Lanir     Nov 1, 2012 in Entertainment
Los Angeles - “A Wider Bridge” the culture and opinion news hub for lesbians, gays, bi-sexuals and transgender Jews has acquired the Jewish news-wire site Abbanibi.com and secures its founder celebrity journalist Yanir Dekel as editor.
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A Wider Bridge
A Wider Bridge, a non-profit started in 2010 that works to bring the LGBT communities of Israel and North America closer together, launched its new website in July 2012. Last week Arthur Slepian, founder and Executive Director announced that it was expanding its online presence through the acquisition of the Jewish-American cultural website "Abbanibi.com".
Having interviewed Yanir Dekel for Digital Journal after the launch of his website Abbanibi.com, I contacted Yanir about this new direction and what it means for him and Abbanibi.
How did this take place?
In the past several months I wanted to add another dimension to Abbanibi. Up to that point I was concentrating on highlighting the great work of well-known personalities, but then I thought "what about the ‘regular’ people, who are not famous, but still doing big things for the community?" I wanted to highlight their work as well… so I set up this new category on the website called “community” and reached out to all the wonderful Jewish organizations and people to get interesting stories.
One of the organizations that I was immediately connected with was “A Wider Bridge,” and after talking to the CEO, Arthur Slepian, about his wish to expand their online activities and turn their website into a Jewish LGBT magazine, it sounded like what they wanted was to take a few steps in the direction of Abbanibi. That’s how the idea of acquiring Abbanibi came about.
Joan Rivers and Yanir Dekel
Joan Rivers and Yanir Dekel
Yanir Dekel
What does it mean for Abbanibi and its readers if Abba is under the umbrella as a news-feed, won't the focus be mainly be on LGBT?
It means, basically, that the Abbanibi format stays, and transforms itself to the “News” category of “A Wider Bridge”- we are currently working on the structure of these together. Unfortunately, from now on we won’t upload stories that are not LGBT related, so in that sense, you can say that it’s turned to a Jewish LGBT entertainment and leisure news-wire, as a part of “A Wider Bridge”.
Can readers reach Abbanibi only through “A Wider Bridge”?
If you log on to abbanibi.com, you can still find all of the past content (also non-LGBT), but you will be forwarded to “A Wider Bridge” website for all the new updated activity.
If the main aim of Abbanibi.com was bridging US Jewish Israeli culture and “A Wider Bridge” is focusing on LGBT, do you think you'll lose readers?
I have no doubt that some of the regular readers of Abbanibi will see that the LGBT news is not for them, but I look on the positive side. I believe that the more focused you are, the better you can serve your audience and the community, and I can promise you that “A Wider Bridge” is already the best place for LGBT Jews to be updated with what’s going on in their community!
What does this mean for you?
For me, it basically means that I’ll be providing my social media and content management skills to "A Wider Bridge," parallel to my projects as a Hollywood correspondent for Ynet in Israel. A while ago I started studying graphic and web design at UCLA, to turn myself into a complete “one stop shop,” and be able to manage websites not only from the editorial side, but also build them from scratch and manage them from the graphic, branding and technology angle.
What do you envision your goals are as editor of “A Wider Bridge”?
As an Israeli, I see that the LGBT community in Israel has always looked beyond the borders of the State, looking to study and build strong and personal connections with other gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in Europe and in the United States. On the other hand, Jewish American LGBT people have an extraordinary potential to connect to Israel in a unique and personal way - an identification with another important part of who they are. In that sense, I believe that "A Wider Bridge’s" quest to forge a strong connection between these communities can become a vibrant supporting pillar in the social development of the state of Israel, and at the same time work to strengthen the Jewish identity of LGBT ‘Members of the Tribe.’
What do you want to achieve initially?
My work, especially in the early days, will be to introduce some of the great talent that comes from the LGBT community in Israel and the J-LGBT community in America. I really want to unite these two communities under the roof of the website, and have them “introduce” themselves to each other by writing about the LGBT communities and personalities in both countries, and even have them post thoughts and experiences in their own words, giving opportunities to connect to them from both sides of the ocean.
Yanir, keep us updated and of course, wishing you success in this new direction and all the best.
Sure, thanks. For me it’s exciting, challenging and rewarding; I’m looking forward to it.
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Yanir Dekel
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