In Jewish Culture, Judaism and Society, Letters from the Editor, Winter 2012 Issue on July 18, 2012 at 2:09 am
After a hectic and controversial year, the Leviathan Staff thought it would be beneficial to revisit the subject of what it means to be Jewish in today’s world. This is in no way a simple question, as the diversity of the Jewish people speaks to the fluidity of our identity. Are we the culmination of our history, inheriting monotheism through our holy lineage? Or are we just fingerprints, products of our ever-changing environment, blips on the cosmic stage? Are we grounded in our past, or is it our obligation to live in the present and look towards the future?
We did not decide on our cover image this quarter without much deliberation. We hope the message is clear: while we may feel overwhelmed as little individuals within our greater communities, as Jews, as Americans, even as Santa Cruz students, we must remember we are greater than the sum of our parts. Some groups overlap, some clash, but if we allow ourselves to learn from a different perspective, what we find is so much more meaningful and surprising than if we choose to remain in uniform ignorance. Our steadfast refusal to admit fault and listen to those who disagree will only result in the division of our collective identity; we must remain conscious of our assumptions. Even when we disagree, there is still room for all of us within the Jewish community. If we maintain these basic humanist standards, we can become empowered by our differences, and the solidarity of our community will not waver. Through active listening and mutual acceptance, not only can we cultivate something beautiful, we can begin to truly know one another.
Our hope is to inspire you not only to accept Jewishness in all its forms, but to actively push your own boundaries. Grapple with ideas that make you uncomfortable. Play the devil’s advocate. Don’t allow yourself to fall victim to your own assumptions, and don’t just hear, but listen. If you disagree with the ideas in this journal, good! And if they make you question, or even make you think, we will have done our job. Enjoy!
Editor in Cheif
In Letters from the Editor, Winter 2012 Issue on May 19, 2012 at 4:35 am
The mind-body problem was the obsession of most philosophers before this century’s crop discovered that it is, like all metaphysical questions, either meaningless or trivial. But I’ll never be convinced of that. It’s the essential problem of metaphysics, about both the world out there and the world in here … What is the world? What am I? This is the mind-body problem.
–Rebecca Goldstein, “The Mind-Body Problem”
Expressing the mind-body problem is the work of a writer. Words and stories help us take in, sift through, and then reveal. But what happens when events we perceive doesn’t match what others perceive? The mind-body problem isn’t limited to individual experience, but can grip an entire collective, like the Jewish community.
The Leviathan staff has become incredibly conscious of its own mind-body problem. When two parties share an experience, they will come up with two different viewpoints, blurring the line between perception and interpretation. The problem arises when two bodies fail to sync with two minds, especially concerning issues as delicate as the ones explored in this journal. Opinions can be presented as fact, and facts presented as evidence towards a greater agenda. The power we have as journalists is not to be taken lightly.
While our staff is comprised of several minds, we only have one body in which to collect our thoughts. We’ve said that our goal is to give equal expression to all voices, but talking about it isn’t enough. When someone feels they have been wronged, it’s our responsibility to serve as a bipartisan forum invested in equal representation as well as the truth. In the following pages, you will find the results of our struggle to truly craft a space for all perspectives.
To keep the mind and body aligned is no easy task. Yet when the mind and body finally meet and tension subsides, powerful things can happen. So if the words in this journal provoke you, enrage you, confuse you, or inspire you– anachnu be’yachad, we are together. Put mind with body and join our conversation.
Leviathan Editorial Board
Published on page 7 of the Winter 2012 issue of Leviathan.
In Letters from the Editor, Winter 2012 Issue on April 15, 2012 at 11:54 pm
Leviathan Jewish Journal is an open medium through which Jewish students and their allies may freely express their opinions. We are commited to responsibly representing the views of each individual author. Every quarter we aim to publish a full and balanced spectrum of media exploring Jewish identity and social issues. The opinions of Leviathan’s staff, the organized Jewish community, or the university of California.
Published on page 6 of the Winter 2012 issue of Leviathan.
In Letters from the Editor, Spring 2011 Issue on May 20, 2011 at 11:50 pm
Driving down Highway 1 this time of year, my breath always comes to halt in witness of the slow and steady retreat of winter’s chilly green, allowing the yellow mustard seed to relieve the California coastline of yet another cycle of crops. My pulse races knowing that soon the entire hillside will be covered in a warm blanket, the color of the sun. Endlessly grateful for the process of pollination that enables such majesty, I wonder how I, too, might effect my own world in such a way.
Sowing the seeds of the lessons learned over the past few months gives me the confidence to assist in the publication of a journal filled to the brim with the work of my hardworking and remarkably intelligent peers. It is a pleasure and an honor to work aside a team of creative and energetic young writers. I am endlessly proud to be part of what I know will be a generation to reckon with.
Like a garden growing from seed, the ripening of life requires diligent regulation. Working with what we’ve got, we raise ourselves from germination, tilling the soil and watering with pride the fruits of our knowledge and compassion, patiently waiting for harvest. A labor-intensive practice, no doubt. But well worth the wait.
Published on page 4 of the Spring 2011 issue of Leviathan.
In Letters from the Editor, Winter 2011 Issue on May 16, 2011 at 5:41 am
As my thoughts turn inward, both my heart and mind swell with pride and admiration for the group of individuals I have come to know over the past quarter. We are a dedicated and passionate group, willing to engage in challenging and sometimes uncomfortable dialogue. Internal tension creates pressure, but like a crooked spine in need of muscular support, our unique and sepearate ideologies lent integrity to the Jewish voice of UCSC.
In an effort to stimulate meaningful writing, Leviathan chose to free ourselves from the constraints of a specific theme. Echoing the words of last quarter, “art is news” informs the artful format of the journal and reflects our collective style. I am continually astounded by the staff’s expertise; there is no end to our ability to create.
With their potential to endure the test of time, words have an everlasting nature. Yet they maintain a transient quality, intangible in reality: words do not exist outside of themselves. This dual infusion of contradictory attributes is extremely powerful, even dangerous. A truly seasoned writer is an artist–can sculpt an idea, using words as clay and audience as kiln. This is the process that changes the world. Although I consider myself a die-hard skeptic (but never a cynic), I place all of my faith in the capacity of words to paint our colorful world with indelible ink.
Published on page 4 of the Winter 2011 issue of Leviathan.