Editor’s Page

Fall 2009

Dear Readers:

Welcome to the revised Persimmon Tree! 

After much discussion among the editors, we have decided to stop requiring people to register and log on to the magazine. This was a major decision, in large part due to the feedback we received from many of you during the readers’ survey completed this summer.

Originally we thought that registering and logging on would create a feeling of community and connection. It was a way of learning who you are, and it enabled us to get your email addresses so we could keep you informed. This approach had its benefits—but it also created many difficulties (forgotten passwords, confusion, computer errors.)

The revised way of entering the magazine will be easier for readers, but it will pose a challenge to us. In the past we had an email list that grew automatically; we used it to let you know about upcoming issues and writing opportunities. Now we have to depend on new readers to opt-in to this list. If you registered in the past—and 7,000 of you have—you’ll continue to hear from us regularly. But if you’re a new reader, make sure to sign up. Our list is never shared, and we promise we won’t flood you with emails.

About a thousand readers responded to the survey, a big help to us. We learned some very interesting things about you:

—Most of you are women (no surprise there), and you come from every U.S. state and 60 countries.

—The majority of you are 60-70, but we also have lots of readers under 60 and lots over 70.

—Most readers have an amateur or professional involvement with literature, theater, music, or art.

—You’re highly educated (most common degree is M.A.), and you’re amazingly computer literate.

—Many of you said you could make a small or large contribution to help us continue publishing Persimmon Tree. That was great news since we really depend on your support. (It’s easy to donate—click the “Donate” button.)

Many, many thanks to all of you who participated in the survey. We’re still digesting your responses, and I imagine we will for months. If you didn’t get a chance to fill it out (or if you did, but you have something more to say), email me ateditor@persimmontree.org. I’d really like to hear from you.

Some of the other changes in the magazine are the result of your feedback. For example, at the end of each piece you’ll now be able to click to go to the next piece, like flipping the pages of a book. Or you can go back to “Home,” where you can click on any other piece you want to read. This should make navigating the magazine easier.

Also we’re introducing the wonderful ARTS MART in this issue. I think you’ll really appreciate it. Check it out—and consider advertising there yourself.

Judging from your response to the summer issue, it’s clear that you love the new “Comments” feature that we introduced. Some pieces in the magazine ended up with dozens of readers’ comments—the authors really appreciate them, and they are fascinating for the rest of us to read.

As I write this, the leaves on the persimmon tree next door are still green, but they will change color before the season is over. The fruit will ripen slowly as the temperature drops, and from my window I’ll see brilliant orange persimmons hanging heavily from the branches. This is a time of fullness, a time of coming to fruition.

Wishing you well,

Nan Gefen


Nan Fink Gefen was the founding publisher of Tikkun magazine in 1985 and the founding editor of Persimmon Tree magazine in 2007. She is the author of Stranger in the Midst (Basic Books, 1997) and Discovering Jewish Meditation (Jewish Lights, 2nd edition 2011), and her fiction and nonfiction pieces have appeared in literary journals and magazines. She currently is working on a novel, Woman on a Wire.