Jonathan Friendly worked at The New York Times from 1969-87. He moved to the Detroit Jewish News in 1996 and Renaissance Jewish Media (serving for a year at the Atlanta Jewish Times).

He writes me: "In the early 30's Ferdinand F. Wachenheimer, wanting a job in journalism and fearing that his Jewish name would be a hindrance in finding work, took his mother's maiden name and became Fred W. Friendly. At the same time and for exactly the same reason, my father, Alfred Rosenbaum, took his mother's maiden name and became Alfred Friendly. The Wachenheimers, Rosenbaums and Friendlys were not in that generation observant Jews. I went to an Episcopal prep school from 4th grade through 12th."

Jonathan tells me he's "far more worried about American journalism than about Jewish journalism because we get so much wrong. Remember who was supposed to win Iowa? Howard Dean. John Kerry was supposed to finish fourth.

"We got weapons of mass destruction wrong.

"I worry more about the loss of curiosity in American journalism generally."

"What do you think about the phrase, is it good for the Jews?"

Jonathan laughs. "I think a better question is, is it good to be Jewish? Is it good to maintain that particular identity in America? I am an American first and a Jew second."

"Is it a reflex of yours to look at the world through the prism of is it good for the Jews?"

"Probably more now."