Did you know that Chaim Herzog was once the Editor of the Young Zionist?
A month into my tenure as Editor of this blog, it’s about time that I addressed its purpose. The query which I’ve posed in the title is one that won’t get answered with deliberate objectivity. Yes, the Young Zionist (YZ) is the ideological journal of FZY, and most of us have heard enough times of the publication’s illustrious lineage; my name is but a measly skid mark on the Zionist legend and previous YZ Editor known as Chaim Herzog. Apparently not even I can separate my name from his. While he undoubtedly had an enormous impact on the history of the Jewish people, as a disorderly student I hazard a guess that I wouldn’t have been all that fond of the regimented military man. Thus, with all due respect to Herzog, Eban and whoever else claims to be the GOAT of YZ Editors, I request just one year of editorship before we start talking about them like they’re still alive again.
This is the crux of my argument about the YZ. For how many years has it been an entity treated in the past tense? True to say the YZ was once a valuable location for Jewish expression; false to say that it is no longer. At its heart, nothing has changed about our organisation. Whether it’s printed or online, we’ve always provided the platform for speech that circulates ideas within, and outside of our movement. What has already happened can never change, so if the YZ is stuck in the past then we may as well leave it there. Why participate in an endeavour that you can’t leave your mark on? No, I’m not talking about having your name printed in an article. The impact is to see that people you care about, care about what you have to say! So, here’s what we’re going to do. Remember that the YZ has a beautiful history, a history which served a present that we haven’t taken advantage of. We document the story of Britain’s young Zionists not to bury ourselves under its weight, but to build a foundation for further growth.
We document the story of Britain’s young Zionists not to bury ourselves under its weight, but to build a foundation for further growth.
This conclusion led me to consider further the role which you might play for the magazine, particularly as a potential contributor. In writing an article, one speaks about a matter of concern to them. Perhaps it’s a field where you have expert knowledge to share, or you have an opinion that’s important for everyone to think about. In this sense, being a writer for a magazine is an excellent way to teach. Yet, I’ve also grown an enormous amount thanks to the process of sharing what I know in an article. It often makes me realise how much, or how little, I actually grasp my environment. Whenever I come to terms with a piece that I’ve written, and I place the final full stop, I can look at that page and see a physical manifestation of what I’ve learnt and what I can teach others. To write for an independent publication such as the YZ, is an endeavour in the exploration of our identity as individuals, and as a community; the contributors to this stand at the abstract intersection between teachers and students. Often, we act as one or the other, and I hope for the YZ to be a place where all feel they have something to offer, and all feel they have something to gain. I hope that this poem by FZY Poet Laureate Jessie Galman, helps you to connect with the value of learning and teaching simultaneously.
I am a Student, am I a Teacher?
Our society is built on a cycle of
Learning and teaching
And learning to teach
In order to teach to learn
And learning so we can start earning
And teaching us to constantly be reaching
From the soft and unbruised age of two
We’re given a tantalising sneak preview
Of life through a lens with a school coloured hue
So we study one thing we wish to pursue
A lifetime of skills and knowledge to accrue
And in 3 years we consider that diploma due
At the fresh-faced dewey age of 22
And out into the real world you stumble and trip
Tasselled cap in hand, questions stuck on your lips
And that’s all, society sniffs
Neatly thumbing through your debt
We’ve taken you to the brink
And education is your safety net
And then there are those select few
The ones outside the lines they drew
The ones who strive to multitask
To educate and to learn, it’s quite the ask
How can we look to the balancing act
Of absorbing and outpouring vision and fact
A student of English and philosophy
Preaching a century old ideology
The concept is strange, unparalleled
But it’s not something upon which we often dwell
Well frankly who better to steer discourse
Than those who still question it with full-force
This, I think, sets us apart
From lectures and exams, what we have is an art
We recognise that whilst we aim to enrich
Sometimes our students in turn can bewitch
When not restricted by a curriculum
They push past the bare minimum
And offer an insight we might not have considered
Which frankly can leave you quite bewildered
So whilst it’s hard to exercise your influence
With a decided lack of omniscience
A unique power lies in recognising
The balance of listening and compromising
Your own school of thought with another perspective
And it’s important you don’t get too selective
Experience and knowledge are a good place to start
But a fresh outlook is an integral part
Because respecting views you don’t believe in
Is how we can break through those glass ceilings.
So, it’s with this final reminder that I ask you to stop thinking of the YZ as a time capsule, because as the movement develops, so should its ideological journal. If we start representing ourselves in this publication, I believe that it will have a deeply meaningful impact to the future of FZY and the Jewish youth. Maybe even one day the YZ can be known as an inseparable part of FZY's identity, rather than the thing that Herzog used to be in charge of.
It is with great pleasure that I can announce the opening of the YZ writer’s pool! This is a Facebook group where I will be posting regularly about opportunities to write for the YZ. You DO NOT have to be involved with FZY to participate.