Saturday, April 28, 2007

Silencing New Voices? ~ what is wrong with asking questions and using challenging inquiry?

In my limited understanding of Jewish tradition this quote relates to what is below it:
Questioning-asking has not only long been seen as a central component of Jewish educational practice but has also been thought to be part of a broader culture of Judaism.
from: Beyond Questioning: Inquiry Strategies and Cognitive and Affective Elements of Jewish Education
by Irving E. Sigel; Jeffrey S. Kress; Maurice J. Elias in The Journal of Jewish Education, Volume 73, Issue 1 January 2007

Therefore I do not understand this:
What happens when a student magazine committed to fostering dialogue and to featuring a diverse range of opinions opens its pages to critical views on Israel? The sobering consequences were brought home recently to the staff of New Voices, a magazine put out by the Jewish Student Press Service that features a lively blend of essays, reporting and commentary on issues of particular concern to Jewish undergraduates.

Two years ago, New Voices applied for and received a grant from the Solelim Fund, a philanthropic venture affiliated with UJA-Federation of New York. The grant was renewable for up to $100,000 over a three-year period, during which New Voices, which like many student publications has operated for years on a shoestring budget, would hire a publisher, expand its circulation and eventually become self-sustaining. An initial $30,000 was disbursed, and in May 2006, representatives from Solelim and UJA-Federation visited the magazine to advise its staff on attracting more advertising revenue. By all accounts, the meeting went well; New Voices staffers emerged confident that their funding was likely to be renewed. Yet a few weeks later came a phone call from Dori Kirshner, director of the Jewish Leadership Forum at UJA-Federation, who had attended the meeting. She informed the publication it might not fit into Solelim's plans after all.

What happened?
Read Silencing New Voices
by Eyal Press in The Nation (web only) ~ April 20, 2007.


New Voices is America's only national magazine written by and for Jewish college students creating a Jewish media that speaks to young Jews, and empowering Jewish students to take ownership of their heritage. It is published through the independent, non-profit, student-run Jewish Student Press Service. New Voices promotes progressive, pluralistic Jewish values with writers and readers who reflect the diversity of America's Jewish student population. The magazine features regular coverage of student activism, civil liberties, labor issues, gender issues, and the relationship between Judaism and social justice. It engages Jewish college students with their Jewish heritage and issues of importance to the Jewish community, provides Jewish students with a forum for self-expression and a means to address a diverse, national audience of their peers, cultivates the next generation of Jewish journalists and leaders, and connects Jewish students with Jewish organizations.

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For more on why my
understanding of Jewish tradition is limited (and yet something I am proud of) you could read Encircled by My Heritage which I wrote in college.

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