Zeek: A Jewish Journal of Thought & Culture

Mission Statement

Zeek: A Journal of Jewish Thought and Culture is a publication of Zeek Media Inc., a nonprofit organization. In its print journal, online magazine, public events, and multimedia content, Zeek Media builds community, identity, and culture for the next generation of American Jews. By creating and promoting new Jewish culture with the sophistication and breadth of the best of contemporary culture, Zeek builds a bridge between religious and secular, connects Israeli creativity with the diaspora, and helps to create a vital, inclusive Judaism for the 21st century.

Founded in 2002, Zeek is an award-winning journal that has retained both its independence and its expansive definition of Jewish cultural and spiritual life. (At right is one of our many Rockower Awards, given by the American Jewish Press Association.) Our contributors range from well-known rabbis and professors to emerging artists, musicians, and poets. We value intelligence, independence, courage, and thoughtfulness, and believe that an articulate Jewish sensibility is one that speaks from its place of particularity in a much wider conversation.

Editorial Staff | Advisory Board | Mission | Credo
Archive, Printing, and Sharing | Submission Guidelines | Print Edition/Subscribe
Our Supporters | Technical Help | Internships | Contact us

Editorial Staff
Jo Ellen Green Kaiser Editor in Chief
Jay Michaelson Founding Editor
Dan Friedman Associate Editor
Ezra Sarajinsky Managing Editor
Bara Sapir Art Director

Joel Schalit Media Editor
Rick Chess Poetry Editor
Joshua Cohen Fiction Editor
Adam Rovner Translations Editor
Maya Escobar Online Art Editor

David Stromberg Assistant Editor

Contributing Editors
Paul Zakrzweski, Leah Koenig, Rachel Barenblat, Mordecai Drache

Bob Goldfarb

Director of Programming and Events
Sarah Chandler

Publications Designer
Josh Ring

Advisory Board
Yosef Abramowitz
Stephen Hazan Arnoff
Sacha Baron Cohen
Neil Gordon
Rabbi Jill Hammer
Steve Jacobson
Amichai Lau Lavie
Nigel Savage
Jennifer Bleyer
Rabbi Michael Paley

Jenna Levy, Sandra Fox, Ariella Goldberg, Josh Harrison, Matt Runkle

The Staff

Jo Ellen Green Kaiser
Editor in Chief

Jo Ellen Green Kaiser is the chief editor of Zeek and executive director of Zeek Media Inc. She is also co-editor of Righteous Indignation: A Jewish Call for Justice (Jewish Lights, 2008). Jo Ellen formerly was Managing Editor, Associate Publisher, Senior Editor, and assistant bottle-washer at Tikkun. She has a Ph.D. in American Literature and Critical Theory from U.C. Berkeley, and a BA is from Yale. Jo Ellen has a daughter, cat, and husband, and lives in San Francisco.

Jay Michaelson
Founding Editor

Jay Michaelson Jay Michaelson is the founding editor of Zeek and works with the magazine on development and strategic planning initiatives. He is the executive director of Nehirim: GLBT Jewish Culture and Spirituality, the founder of a $35 million, venture-funded software company, a lawyer, a teacher of Kabbalah and mystical Judaism, a finalist for the Koret Young Writer on Jewish Themes Award, a columnist for the Forward a, the editor of Az Yashir Moshe: A Book of Songs and Blessings (2003), and the author of the books God in Your Body (Jewish Lights, 2006) and Another Word for Sky: Poems (Lethe Press, 2007).

Bob Goldfarb

Bob Goldfarb joined Zeek as its first publisher in 2007 after decades in nonprofit management and consulting. He has held senior management positions at several public and commercial radio stations around the U.S., and as a consultant has led projects for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Arts. He was also the producer of the nationally syndicated radio series American Jewish Music from the Milken Archive with Leonard Nimoy. A graduate of Harvard College with an MBA from Harvard Business School, Bob describes himself as religiously traditional and culturally adventurous, with special interest in new writing, new music, contemporary theater, and new media. He lives in Manhattan.

Dan Friedman
Associate Editor

One of our founding editors, Dan is a writer and educator. With a PhD in Comparative Literature from Yale and an MA in English Literature from Cambridge he has taught poetry, literature, and film at Cambridge and Yale. More recently he has headed the English Departments at Schechter Regional and Yeshiva University High Schools. As well as publishing various scholarly articles on film, poetry, and photography he is a qualified soccer coach and certified life guard. Dan writes very serious fiction but is better known for his radio and television comedy writing – most notably for the award - winning British television comedy, da Ali G Show.

Bara Sapir
Art Editor

Bara Sapir's academic, artistic and spiritual work is fueled by the dynamic interface between creative expression and spirituality. She is a published author and professional artist whose work has been shown in several countries. She is a musician in the Ladino Ensemble, Adelantre, and educator at universities, institutions and community centers. She earned her BFA and MA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and an MA from The Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. Sapir is Executive Director of Test Prep New York, an educational consultancy that combines skills training with human potential tools for increased creativity, goal achievement and personal transformation.

Rick Chess
Poetry Editor

Richard Chess is Professor of Literature and Language at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. He directs UNCA's Center for Jewish Studies as well as UNCA's Creative Writing Program. He has been a member of the low-residency MFA faculties at Warren Wilson College and Queens College, and served for a number of years as writer-in-residence at the Brandeis Bardin Institute in Simi Valley, California. He is now assistant director of The Jewish Arts Institute at Elat Chayyim, located at the Isabella Freedman Retreat Center, where he will be teaching creative writing in a two year training institute that begins in August of 2007. Rick is the author of three books of poetry, Third Temple (2007), Chair in the Desert (2000), and Tekiah (1994). His poems have appeared in many journals as well as several anthologies, including Best American Spiritual Writing 2005 and Telling and Remembering: A Century of American-Jewish Poetry. He lives in Asheville with his wife, Laurie, and son, Gabe. His daughters, Alice and Margaret, are currently pursuing their careers elsewhere.

Sarah Chandler
Director of Programming

Sarah Chandler is the Education Director of West End Synagogue in Manhattan. She recently earned an M.A. in Bible and an M.A. in Informal Jewish Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary, and received a B.A. in Philosophy and Judaic studies from Brandeis University in 2001. A board member of Matzat, Sarah is a contributing editor for Matzat's projects Jewschool, RadicalTorah.org, and the upcoming interactive Jewish education and social networking site Jewityourself. Sarah also serves as contributor to TelShemesh.org.and MyJewishLearning.com.

Ezra Sarajinsky
Managing Editor

Ezra Sarajinsky is a lawyer, musician, editor and technician. When away from Zeek he can be found with his His musical guise, Ez and Loretto - a project which has seen him playing his live techno between New York and his hometown - Sydney, Australia.

Adam Rovner
Translations Editor

Adam Rovner is an Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and Director of the Hebrew Language Program at Hofstra University. He holds an M.A. in Comparative and General Literature from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Indiana University. Adam has published articles and essays on Jewish literature and humor in several scholarly publications, and has provided the introductions to recent Barnes & Noble editions of the work of Jerome K. Jerome and Saki. He has lectured on Jewish literature and humor to a variety of audiences, and hosted Nextbook programs with Israeli writers in Seattle. Despite having published an article about the aerial pioneer Melvin Vaniman in American History magazine, Adam remains inexplicably fascinated by dirigibles.

Joel Schalit
Media Editor

Joel Schalit is a journalist and musician based in San Francisco. The author of Jerusalem Calling (Akashic Books, 2002) and the editor of The Anti-Capitalism Reader (Akashic, 2002), his most recent work includes the Elders of Zion's Twilight War EP (Sounds From the Roof/iTunes, 2007) and Collective Action (Pluto Books, 2004). The former managing editor of Tikkun Magazine and associate editor of Punk Planet, Schalit served two terms as the co-director for the world's longest running online publication, Bad Subjects: Political Education for Everyday Life. Schalit is currently at work on a new book about Israeli politics for Akashic. Read his blog at Mash Down Babylon

David Stromberg
Assistant Editor

Born in Ashdod, Israel, to Ex-Soviet parents, and at the age of nine moved to downtown Los Angeles. He holds a BS in Mathematics from UCLA, and an MFA in Critical Writing from the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). From 2000-2005, he founded and ran Jovian Books, a small press based in Los Angeles, and is now working independently on projects with Semiotext(e) Press and Melville House Publishing. His publications include three collections of cartoons, Saddies, Confusies, and Desperaddies; and drawings and stories in small literary journals. He lives in New York City.

Rachel Barenblat
Contributing Editor

Rachel Barenblat is a student in the Aleph rabbinic program. She holds an MFA in writing and literature from the Bennington Writing Seminars, and is author most recently of chaplainbook (laupe house press, 2006), a collection of poems arising out of hospital chaplaincy work. Previous job titles have included co-founder and executive director of Inkberry, a literary arts center in the Berkshires, and editor of The Women's Times, a regional monthly. Her work has appeared in Lilith, Bitch, and The Women's Seder Sourcebook, among others; she blogs about Judaism regularly at Velveteen Rabbi

Gordon Haber
Book Reviews Editor

Gordon Haber is a writer and graphic artist. His fiction and journalism has appeared in a variety of newspapers and journals, including The New York Sun, The Forward, Heeb, and Zeek. In 2002 he received a Fulbright fellowship to Poland. One of his essays about his time there, "The Only Jew for Miles," was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Currently, he is at work on a novel about the End Times.

Maya Escobar
Online Art Editor

Maya Escobar is an artist and educator from Chicago. She has a BFA in art education from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is currently completing a MFA at Washington University in St. Louis. She has taught, performed and exhibited work in Spain, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, Germany and the United States.

Josh Ring

Josh Ring is a writer and designer from New York City and a recent graduate from Wesleyan University, where he studied intellectual history and the aestheticization of the ruin. Josh was first published as a 17 year old with a penchant for awkwardness and sincerity by Zeek in 2002. He is excited to rejoin the Zeek team.

The Zeek Credo

1. We are independent, interested in the highest quality expressions of Jewish culture, spirituality, and peoplehood. We are affiliated with no particular ideology, movement, or identity. We will not cater to orthodoxies of any kind -- religious, secular, communal, or aesthetic. We will not transgress for the thrill, but we will not conform for the sake of safety.

2. We are a Jewish journal, but not a journal of the Jews. We will not be a cheerleader for Judaism, the Jewish people or Israel -- nor will we abandon our love of them. We will neither feign exuberance, nor hide behind cynicism, irony, or detachment. We celebrate Jewish culture and religion not as means to some other end, and not to promote the Jewish people, but because we believe expressions of Jewish culture and spirit to be interesting and inspiring in their own right.

3. We are particular, but not parochial. Thus, we are as interested in what Jewish values, religion, and culture mean to the wider world, as the reverse. We do not believe Judaism or the Jewish people have all, or the best, answers to life's questions, but we do believe they have important ones. We aspire to be participants in a global, multicultural world, but we speak from our particularity, and articulate truth largely in its terms.

4. We aspire to be intelligent, and believe in the value of intelligent, authentic culture. We believe that serious art, good writing, and cutting-edge culture matter, even if it is not mass popular culture. We are not interested in dumbing down, or in catering to the lowest common denominator; we are interested in raising the level of the highest.

5. We do not seek to reinforce anyone's self-image, convince anyone to be or do anything, or present anything other than what we consider to be the best, most interesting, funniest, smartest, and most beautiful thought and culture we can publish. Quality and truth are our only agendas.

6. We are interested in art, not kitsch. We will not pretend that the privileged, parochial, Ashkenazic milieu in which we grew up is meaningful Jewish culture, and we will never confuse cliche with meaning. We will never say "oy vey."

7. We will not sacrifice intellectual rigor for the sake of spiritual contentment; nor will we use our intellect to mask fears, doubts, and self-imposed limitations on our potential. We find the smugness of the cynic and the soft-mindedness of the believer equally repellent to truth. 'Secular' and 'religious' are idols of identity, which we wish to efface. We seek to promote work which integrates mind, body, heart, and spirit, leaving nothing behind. We pursue excellence in all these areas, and believe that abandoning any one of them, no matter how fashionable or 'cool,' is an act of dehumanization.

8. We prefer questions to answers, aspirations to achievements, and horizons to boundaries. We seek the new, not the familiar; the transformative, not the translative; the innovative, not the traditional.

9. We are committed to building a new form of Jewish community and identity, one which is serious, playful, pluralistic, committed, inclusive, and cosmopolitan. We are interested in wherever the new Jewish cultures lead.

10. We are progressive aesthetically, politically, religiously, and culturally. While we do not espouse any political or cultural agenda, we do not cling to traditional norms, particularly when they cause suffering. We are suspicious of any truths that claim to be universal, any values that justify cruelty, and any ideologies which reduce the complex to the simple.

Archive, Printing, and Sharing

Most of Zeek is available online, free of charge — over 700 pages of past articles, poems, photos, and reviews. You are welcome to link to and print all of Zeek's articles, but we ask that you link to us every time you do so. All material on www.zeek.net is Copyright © 2002-2008 by Metatronics Inc., and the respective authors. We ask — indeed, demand — that you give due credit to Zeek & the author upon excerpting, photocopying, or plagiarizing. Thanks.

Submission Guidelines

Zeek welcomes and often publishes unsolicited submissions of original poetry, art, fiction, and essays. Please look over our mission statement, as well as current and past content, before sending us your work. Submissions are accepted via EMAIL ONLY to zeek@zeek.net. We prefer text be pasted straight into the text of the email, rather than sent as attachments. Only unpublished work is considered; art or text that has appeared in books, magazines, or websites should not be submitted. Copyrights are retained by the author, but Zeek must be credited on any subsequent republications of work that first appears here.

Zeek in Print

Zeek is published in print twice annually, once in the fall and once in the spring. 75% of the material in the print magazine has not appeared, in any form, on the web version. Click here to purchase the Fall 2007 issue of Zeek Magazine with your major or minor credit card, or to subscribe -- subscriptions are available for $25 for two year or $35 for three years.

Our Supporters

Zeek is a small, non-profit organization, published independently, and largely by people who donate their time. We are grateful to our foundation supporters, the Dorot Foundation, Natan, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, and the Louis J. Kuriansky Foundation, as well as the New York State Council on the Arts, for their generous support of Zeek. We also invite you to make a donation to Zeek, which will enable us to continue and grow this important venue for independent, new Jewish culture.

Technical Help

Because of variations among Internet browsers and platforms, you may not be seeing Zeek the way we'd like you to see it. Zeek is optimized for Internet Explorer version 5 or higher. There are known to be problems with versions of Netscape earlier than 4.72, some versions of Mozilla and Internet Explorer, and with certain older AOL browsers. For the optimum Zeek experience, please consider upgrading your browser to the newest version of Internet Explorer or one of its open source competitors. Zeek is best viewed with the Futura fonts (Futura Md BT and Bk BT) installed and with javascript enabled on your browser.

Internship Opportunities

Zeek: A Jewish Journal of Thought and Culture (www.zeek.net) is currently seeking interns to work with the Art Editor, and the general editors, to work part-time on the magazine's art department, development, editorial, sales, marketing, and distribution efforts. This is an excellent opportunity for college students or post-college individuals seeking experience, connections, and practice in the world of journalism, Jewish professional life, or the New York arts scene.

For more information go to our Internships page.

Contact Information

Zeek: A Jewish Journal of Thought and Culture
P. O. Box 1342
New York, NY 10116

T:(212) 666-1404
F:(646) 843-4737