What Is Midstream's Point of View

Midstream, January-February 2007 | Go to article overview

What Is Midstream's Point of View


The title of this editorial is a question that is thrown at me quite often by friends and foes alike. I had taken it for granted that the "Statement of Purpose" found on the inside front cover of every issue had provided the answer for all readers of Midstream. But apparently, our readers are so passionately involved with the articles, memoirs, short stories, and poems in the body of each issue that they rarely, if ever, glance at all that "irrelevant stuff" that precedes the meat of our journal. Absent the aid of our "Statement of Purpose," wouldn't a survey of our articles reveal the answer to the inquiring reader? But this procedure takes time; one must read any journal, ours most assuredly, over a significant period of time to get the ongoing slant of the magazine, to unearth its most cherished beliefs, and to reveal the abiding secret of its prejudices, especially its political prejudices. Perhaps my questioners are all impatient readers who want to know the answer post haste. Consequently, I've decided to make use of this space to provide some light on the subject in the hope--a vain hope perhaps---that readers jump at every chance to read an editorial. So here's a little list:

1. There are controversies galore in our journal, but Midstream itself, that is through its editor and publisher, does not officially represent a specific point of view except for this: It is a Zionist journal. We do not print anti-Zionist broadsides. But within the wide spectrum of political Zionism, there are many points of view. We try to feature writers of all these responsible Zionist positions. Write a call for the dissolution of the Jewish state, and you will not find acceptance here. Take what is called a left-wing or a right-wing position on how to solve problems within the Jewish state, and if written well, without venom and diatribe, your piece will get respectful consideration. This does not mean automatic publication. For example, we resist publishing naive and unrealistic panaceas for all of Israel's problems, from whichever side of the political spectrum they may emanate and however well-intentioned the writers may be or however much devoted they are to Israel's survival. We are not a fantasy magazine. But the fundamental principle is worth repeating: The survival of Israel as a Jewish state must be at the heart of every submission on the subject to be considered for publication. Is this taking sides? In a manner of speaking--yes. In speaking of varied Zionist points of view--no.

2. Midstream is not only a Zionist journal. It is also a bi-monthly Jewish review published in the United States and even disseminated abroad. This means that we deal with all aspects of Jewish life in America the history of Jewish settlement here, the problems of adaptation to American life while avoiding the kind of total assimilation that leads, chas v'chalilah, to the disappearance of Jewish life, the cultural concerns and achievements of Jews in literature, music, art, etc. All our articles center on the Jewish experience and attendant issues, and all our fiction on stories of Jewish life. Even all our poems must, at least, contain a Jewish allusion, be it merely some metaphorical reference to a character in the Hebrew Bible, the Tanakh. Religion too has its important place in Midstream, All branches of Judaism have had their say in recent years, though we try to avoid publishing essays on in-house controversies that we feel better belong in the official organs or journals of the movements involved. We, the editorial staff, prefer not to take sides or even deal with such issues. We have published symposia on Jewish-Christian relations with contributions of a wide variety of representatives. The persistence of historic antisemitism and the slow but hopeful change in current Christian thinking in some circles is crucial part of Midstream's concerns. As is the fact that we hasten to publish with frequency varied interpretations of Biblical texts, which we call by the general classic title of Midrash. …

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