From the Editor

By Epstein, Nadine | Moment, January-February 2015 | Go to article overview

From the Editor


Epstein, Nadine, Moment


Take a look at the top of the cover or turn to the masthead on page three. There you'll see Volume 40, Issue 1, in small type. This line, a publishing tradition, reveals that Moment Magazine is 40 years old. Even though I knew our 40th year would soon be upon us, just reading it gives me a thrill!

The number 40 has special significance in Judaism. The Jews wandered in the wilderness of the Sinai desert for 40 years before they were deemed worthy to enter Israel. Forty years is also a tremendous milestone in the journalism world, especially given that the last decade has been decidedly unkind to magazines. Magazines of all kinds have vanished. Others--such as The New Republic--are undergoing dramatic changes. High-quality journalism and literary criticism are endangered species, as are thoughtful analysis and truly balanced perspectives.

There is a second milestone that goes hand in hand with Moment's, 40th. The magazine's cofounders, Elie Wiesel and the late Leonard Fein, named it for Der Moment, an independent Yiddish daily that was based in Warsaw and read widely throughout Eastern Europe. It was published between 1910 and 1939, and 2015 is the 105th anniversary of its founding. Der Moment was one of the great lights of Jewish literary and political journalism--and one of the leading publications of Poland's independent free press between the two world wars. Last summer I experienced yet another thrill when I found the spot where Der Moment's office was located in the heart of the Jewish district that would become the Warsaw Ghetto.

These are milestones worth celebrating, and we plan to do them justice!

* We will continue our commitment to great journalism. We have an array of exciting and important stories and symposia planned. The May/June issue will be our special 40th anniversary edition.

* We will be holding 40th/105th anniversary celebrations in New York, Washington, DC and Poland. Stay tuned for details.

* In honor of the late Leonard Fein, we will soon be publishing an e-book of his selected Moment writings plus photographs that will be available to download at momentmag.com.

* I will be leading a small expedition of Moment's friends to Warsaw and Krakow this summer to explore Der Moment's past and the Jewish role in Poland's free press. We will also visit the new Museum of the History of Polish Jews and the Krakow Jewish Festival. Renowned Polish writer and Moment contributor Konstanty Gebert will be our journalist-in-residence.

In the meantime, let me tell you a little about this first issue of our 40th year. Here in Washington, DC, where Moment is headquartered, there's been quite an uproar over Rabbi Barry Freundel's arrest on charges of voyeurism at Kesher Israel's mikveh in Georgetown, and subseqent revelations of his inappropriate behavior with conversion candidates. That sad episode has led to much pain, anger and soul searching, and spurred us to ask the rabbis of our Ask the Rabbis section: How do you decide when a candidate is ready for conversion? …

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