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Chalav U'Dvash: A publication as sweet as milk and honey

By bensacks

Section: Arts

April 27, 2007

Jason Lustig 08 isnt an average Brandeis student. Not surprisingly then, neither is the Zionist publication that he co-founded in 2005 with Daniel Temkin 08. Chalav UDvash is, according to Lustig, who is currently a General Editor, the only publication of its kind. Youre not going to find another Jewish publication, in English, run by undergraduate college students, studying the issues that we do in such depth… maybe not anywhere in the world.

When the club was first launched, its purpose was, in Lustigs terms, to give an opportunity for young Jews like ourselves to express whats happening to Jews today. Unlike Jewish publications such as Midstream Magazine, Chalav UDvash contains lengthy, in depth articles about Israel, Judaism, and Zionism, covering a wide variety of topics such as the modernization of Israel and Judaisms take on politics. Articles are thesis based, providing supporting evidence for the authors claims, and undergo a lengthy process of editing and revision before going to print. To ensure that the process runs smoothly, each contributor is assigned his/her own editor when he or she first submits a rough draft, meeting one on one to discuss possible changes, additions and rewording in order to guarantee a clear, concise, and detailed final product.

News of Chalav UDvash has spread faster than Israels technology industry. Thanks to active solicitations to write by Lustig, other club members, and faculty advisor Ilan Troen of the NEJS department, more people are writing now for the publication than before. Jeffrey Pickette 10 was one prospect that Lustig had little trouble recruiting. [The Club] sounded interesting…I really enjoy writing and journalism….Chalav UDvash was an opportunity for more expanded writing, more in depth than a newspaper…[it allows] you to be more creative and thorough. Pickette valued the extensive review that goes into each article before publication. I really like the process of working with the editors, I thought it was a very rewarding experience…its like working with a TA…you go through the article piece by piece. Pickette added that working on the paper helped his writing and hopes to write articles for as many issue as possible in the future.

Lustig intended for the process to be so rigorous, as he feels that not only does the publication serve as a valuable tool toward becoming a skilled writer, but that it serves an important purpose of earnest dialogue within the American Jewish community. His goal is to make the magazine a wider organization [that creates] and attracts an individual community, allowing serious discussion about serious Israeli and Jewish issues within an educated, academic setting.

Reuven Solomon 08, who has held positions ranging from writer to Editor in Chief, feels that part of the clubs attraction and success is its combination of cameraderie and professionalism among members. Its all about relationships. Work relationships are very important. Without a good social relationship, you are not going to work well with [people]. Yet you have to be professional…just as youll be friends with the guys at the office. Solomon also added that such relationships need to be continued in the future in order to ensure Chalav UDvashs sustainability. Youre always looking one or two grades below yourself for skilled writers, people with dedication to the cause…not just people who agree with everything you say…youre not trying to replace yourself. I know how important having membership is-not just having members, but having people who identify themselves as members.

Chalav U Dvash has significantly expanded since it introduced its first volume in Fall 2005. Beginning with a few core members, the club now has a strong base of editors and writers and intends to produce three issues, rather than two, next school year. Because popularity has risen so quickly, the club nearly doubled production of its most recent issue in order to meet demand. Indeed, Solomon sees a bright future for the club. Response on campus has been very positive. We are the testing grounds for similar publications on other campuses. Were looking for local connections to Zionism…even if we did face negativity and anti-Zionism, we would not [stop.] I would still be very much supportive of this.

Lustig cautioned that success of the journal cannot be judged until ten to fifteen years from now. If weve made a lasting impact, then Id say that weve been successful. For now though, the club, in addition to publishing a new issue of Chalav UDvash every semester, has sponsored several Israeli and Jewish events on campus, and has, as Lustig stated, helped change student perspective on Judaism. When people think about Israel on campus, they think about the Orthodox, right-wing Jews. We give an [alternative] point of view.

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