Letter from the Editor – Spring 2019

When I became Leviathan’s Editor in Chief, I thought it was the last thing I was prepared for. I have too much on my plate, I thought. And besides, I don’t know enough about politics or social issues or anything like that!

While I did have a lot of responsibilities, and while I still don’t consider myself the most politically savvy, what I did find out while at Leviathan is that nothing is impossible with support and a community. That’s exactly what the staff members of Leviathan strive to provide each other, and the community – including our readership of peers, faculty, family, and more. And though we sometimes struggled this year, it was with the support of not only each other, but our advisors and friends, that we managed to put together a beautiful issue that we are all proud of. Because of that, I want to thank my amazing staff members, and our readers, from the bottom of my heart.

I feel that I’m walking in the footsteps of other great Jews as Leviathan publishes the Spring 2019 issue, our 46th year – the people who have led Leviathan for that much time, as well as the people who have led magazines for countless other Jewish communities throughout the world. I can’t wait to see what we do next!

L’chaim,

Amanda Leiserowitz

Letter from the Editors – Spring 2018

Having been editors together for the entirety of this school year, we have had many discussions about why we are attracted to and compelled to write for Leviathan. We are both interested in history as well as the importance of engaging our voices with the world when we have content that we are passionate about. As a historical archive, we both agree that Leviathan is unique — few other campuses across the United States have such a legacy with founders and members who have gone on to important journalistic, academic, or otherwise Jewish work. Additionally, this journal has been an incredible way for us to engage with our greater Jewish community. We’ve been able to openly, authentically and accurately express our voices, especially as we have experienced an increase in inaccuracy and divisiveness in the world these past few years. We have a tremendous obligation to report and write responsibly, and we hope that we did so. We hope we’ve expanded conversations and helped to reach the Jewish community around us.

Earlier this year, we decided that because of Leviathan’s tremendous legacy and importance as a historical archive, it would be neat to have a special issue commemorating the 45 years we have gone strong. Now, we could have waited for our 50th anniversary, but we wouldn’t be here for that. We just really wanted to participate and speak to the past editors — so that’s what we did. Our staff loved the idea and we got to work, looking back at all of the issues and contacting graduated Leviathan alumni. We’re excited to finally share all of this will you — the words, stories, and lessons that Leviathan has taught us all throughout the years. To the future leadership and staff – we wish you love and good luck, and we can’t wait to see how you carry on the Leviathan legacy.

 

L’Chaim,

Avery and Zach

Letter From the Editor

Amanda Botfeld

Editor-in-Chief 

 

When I first joined Leviathan, I did not realize its importance. A Jewish newspaper? That didn’t raise an eyebrow.

But, as is true throughout history, sometimes it is only after the fact that we realize what we were a part of, the movement we helped stir.

This year started with a rupture to the Western world. In January, the office of the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo was attacked. Twelve were killed. But it was not solely an attack on a magazine—it was an attack on Western values. The controversial, often crass, and never tame magazine stood for the right to offend. The real target was freedom of press.

More specifically, the gunmen were affiliated with Yemen’s Al-Qaeda branch. They attacked the magazine for its crude depictions of the Muslim prophet Muhammad. In this light, it is not relevant whether Charlie Hebdo’s characterizations were culturally sensitive or racially appalling—the bloodshed was not over a matter of taste. The violence was the direct manifestation of two opposing views: those who believe in freedom of religion and those who do not. While more progressive circles may—oftentimes rightfully so— condemn Charlie Hebdo for grotesquely promoting intolerance, twelve cartoonists lost their lives because one party could not tolerate another. Not everyone believes in the right to offend.

Leviathan, as both a print and religious publication, felt the need to weigh in. How would we react? Although there were many back-and-forth discussions and even dispute over invoking the Charlie Hebdo event on our cover, at the end of the day, the fact that we print represents our stance.

We are a Jewish publication. We are a free publication.

For these reasons alone, in the eyes of the shooters, we are just as culpable. Like the legacy of the forever persecuted Jewish people, our retaliation is our existence.

That is our response.

Letter From the Editor

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!

 

Aaron Giannini

Editor in Cheif

 

Letter from the Editorial Board

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.
L’chaim slugs,
Leviathan Editorial Board

Published on page 7 of the Winter 2012 issue of Leviathan.

Statement of Intent

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.

Letter from the Editor – Spring 2011

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.

 

L’chaim slugs,

Shani Chabansky

Published on page 4 of the Spring 2011 issue of Leviathan.

Letter from the Editor – Winter 2011

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.

L’chaim slugs,

Shani Chabansky

Published on page 4 of the Winter 2011 issue of Leviathan.