BY: Shaul Seidler-Feller.
The start of a new school year represents many beginnings. Particularly here at Yeshiva, with Rosh ha-Shanah right around the corner, the sense of renewal is palpable as we embark on yet another journey of learning, intellectual exploration, and personal growth. New roommates, new friends, new classes, and new teachers are just some of the exciting elements that another school year brings.
For Kol Hamevaser, too, the start of the year ushers in a series of changes. In addition to forming a greatly expanded group of Staff Writers, the paper has, under the guidance of its new Editorial Board, plans to widen its influence, both on campus and in the community at large. These and other improvements will, I hope, build on the paper’s past successes, making the new volume of Kol Hamevaser the best one yet.
It is with mixed feelings, then, that I step down this issue as the Wilf Campus’ Editor-in-Chief. Watching the paper grow and develop without being able to play a central role in it is somewhat disappointing. At the same time, I realize that, having spent two years as an editor and even longer on the paper’s general staff, I have had the privilege of preparing, editing, and publishing serious, well-written articles on topics of significance and meaning in the Modern Orthodox and broader Jewish communities, and for that I am profoundly grateful.
Kol Hamevaser, perhaps more than anything else, serves as an open forum for discussions of some of the most important questions confronting Orthodoxy today. Provoking considered thought and spurring conversations on these issues are two of the paper’s primary goals. Here, students can encounter different perspectives and begin a dialogue that helps them either refine and clarify their own positions or consider modifying them. In this way, the back and forth, the give and take, of the beit midrash or classroom is brought into the literary realm and concretized in writing. As a tradition that values debate and emphasizes the significance of mahaloket le-shem Shamayim (dispute for the sake of Heaven),[i] Judaism has never shied away from variance of thought and even, to a large extent, variance of practice. This openness allows it to embrace multiple perspectives at once as legitimate and helps foster a culture of dialogue that finds expression in literary channels such as Kol Hamevaser.
Looking forward, it is my hope that even more members of the YU and broader Jewish community will take advantage the opportunity to participate in this publication than have done so until now. The more that different perspectives can be represented and argued for (left, right, and center), the greater and more enlightening the dialogue and the richer the results for everyone. I personally encourage anyone with an interest in the issues of the day to use Kol Hamevaser as a means of exploring and discussing them together with other members of the community who share their concerns, if not their opinions. This will help to expand the number of voices heard and make the debate even more sophisticated and fulfilling.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank my fellow editors and the rest of the Staff of Kol Hamevaser for allowing and helping me to participate in this project for the past two years. It has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride, with its ups and downs, but, barukh Hashem, I feel I have gained much from it and hope never to forget the experience and perspective it has given me. I wish the new Editorial Board and Staff much success in the coming year as they attempt le-hagdil Torah u-le-ha’adirah (to expand and glorify the Torah), and hope we all merit soon to hear the call of the mevasser who is mashmia shalom, mevasser tov, mashmia yeshu’ah (announce peace, heralds good, and proclaims salvation).[ii]
Shaul Seidler-Feller is a senior at YC majoring in Jewish Studies and is an outgoing Editor-in-Chief for Kol Hamevaser.
[i] Avot 5:17.
[ii] Yesha’yahu 52:7.