Written and Illustrated by Rose Teplitz
When I first opened the door, I believed I did not fit Leviathan at all. A quiet first-year, I sat around the table while I listened to juniors and seniors debate about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. With only a brief experience playing with a dreidel as a child, I neither had the knowledge to speak on Jewish-related issues nor the courage of an older student to admit that I felt lost. So I sat and let the names of foreign places I had never heard of, political conflicts I never knew existed, and vocabulary I could not pronounce wash over me.
I had joined Leviathan to take a position as an artist since I had a passion for drawing. I decided, while walking home one night after a two hour meeting where I only spoke twice (once to say my name and then to ask where the bathroom was) that I would submit my artwork and then search for another organization. What could I contribute to the space?
A couple weeks later, after I had submitted my piece, Amanda, the Editor-in-Chief at the time, approached me before the meeting had begun and said she needed to speak with my privately. I followed her outside, bracing myself to hear her say that it would be best if I moved on to another publication. Instead, she smiled and said, “So what do you think about becoming our Art Director?”
More than a year later, there are still foreign places I’ve never heard of, political conflicts I never knew existed, and vocabulary I cannot pronounce. There are times when I do not say much. There are times when I am still confused.
However, no matter how immense and overwhelming the amount of information I receive is, the Jewish culture and its history is fascinating to me. I have learned to absorb as much as I can and accepted that there will be times when things are not clear. I have eaten my first Shabbat dinner, become part of the publication’s editorial board, and learned about Jewish cultural practices. I have made wonderful friends, expressed creativity in my artwork, and continue to feel as if I can contribute to the conversation in my own way.
Perhaps I do not have a Jewish background or an expert understanding about how a publication operates, but I continue to expand my knowledge each quarter. I have grown to love Leviathan, and I no longer regret opening the door on the first day.