November 06

Welcome to the New Zeek

The Editors

To our readers, subscribers, and community of contributors:

We are very pleased to welcome you this month to the new Together with our new logo and new design, we will be debuting, over the coming months, a number of new features that build on our existing magazine and continue our mission to bring you the best in authentic, independent, intelligent new Jewish culture.

Surface first: Our new logo, designed by Wes Kull and Joshua Furst based on a concept by Shir Yaakov Feinstein-Feit, replaces the beloved "Big Z" we've used since our first issue almost five years ago. We liked the Z, but wanted our logo to communicate our unorthodox and independent approach, together with our sincere belief that Jewish culture and identity has something interesting to add to the lives and minds of postmodern adults of all faiths and backgrounds. This, we think, is what differentiates us from the many "Judaism is Cool" sites (and magazines) out there. True, they have more money than we do -- but they have that money because they are advertising a product: Judaism. We don't. We do this work because we love it, and because our Jewishness has informed our lives, and the art of our contributors, in interesting ways that we want to share with you. That's a lot to communicate in a single logo with a couple of backwards E's -- but together with the new web design (thanks to our genius webmaster, Joe Wielgosz), it's probably one of the first things you'll see that is different.

Beneath the surface, though, there are even more exciting changes afoot. First, as subscribers to our reading list know, our staff has grown to include some of the most interesting figures in Jewish culture and spirituality today. Stephen Hazan Arnoff, our new managing editor, is a Mandel Jerusalem Fellow and the creator of the innovative Makor arts program in New York City. Rachel Barenblat, the "Velveteen Rabbi," is our new Spirituality/Religion editor. Peter Bebergal, a contributor to Salon, BeliefNet, and the Hermenaut, is our new Music editor. Dr. Adam Rovner, who holds graduate degrees in Comparative Literature from both The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Indiana University, will be editing a series of translations of new Israeli fiction, to begin in January. David Stromberg, whose work has been featured in these pages for four years, will be working to improve our coverage of books and the literary arts. And our crackerjack web team of Ezra Sarajinsky and Joe Wielgosz have brought our web presence to a new level -- with more streaming video and audio to come in the near future.

In addition to our web version, our print edition has also undergone a thorough redesign. On October 26, we dedicated our new issue -- created in partnership with Hazon, and devoted to issues of food and nourishment -- at a fantastic, packed-house event at the JCC of Manhattan. If you haven't seen the new edition, consider subscribing today. 75% of the material in the print edition never appears online, and this issue features such leading figures as Samuel Menashe, Michael Ableman, and Darra Goldstein, alongside the kind of innovative, provocative writing and art that makes Zeek unique. Where else are you going to read about the connections between marijuana and Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlav?

All of this growth comes as we approach our fifth anniversary and as the Jewish cultural and literary field is entering a new period of richness and vitality. When we started, there were no magazines covering culture from an informed, integrated Jewish perspective -- and no integrated, informed magazine covering Jewish culture from our generation's perspective. Now there are half a dozen. We know, however, that the kind of innovative, boundary-crossing, and thoughtful work we are doing can't be found anywhere else -- and that is why we do it.

We appreciate the support of our tens of thousands of monthly readers (soon to be hundreds of thousands, if the growth rate continues), as well as our community of subscribers, advertisers, and contributors. We hope you enjoy the new Zeek, and the many news to come.