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What is the Young Zionist?

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

Higher


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.


Jessie Galman



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.


If you’d like to get involved with the Young Zionist, please join the writer’s pool here.

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