A few weeks ago, I heard from a concerned reader. He thought that Moment was becoming too women-oriented for his taste, that we were publishing too many stories about women. I don’t agree. Here at Moment, we are proud to cover women’s struggles and triumphs in an effort to make up for the gender imbalance that has always existed in magazine journalism. That doesn’t make us women-oriented. It does, however, help us portray the Jewish world more accurately. That the majority of our editors are women, and that they have the power to frame the issues of our day, makes our journalism stronger.
Of course, there is no single women’s take on any issue. Even among our small cadre of editors, we have differences of religion, politics and background—but we manage to come to a consensus on most issues. In our broader world of contributors, there is even more variety. Our work reflects the thoughtful team that puts it together.
On a recent trip to Israel, I learned about gender segregation in publicly funded colleges and universities in Israel, a growing trend that has received little coverage there and almost none here. As a woman—and as someone who once attended an Israeli university—I was concerned about the potential impact of these relatively small programs. While there’s no question that Israelis have a right to attend single-sex private institutions of higher education, I couldn’t help but wonder if it was fair for public institutions to offer separate secular degree programs for the ultra-Orthodox. On one hand, this discriminates against female professors and administrators, and feeds a culture of extremism that leads to widespread discrimination against women in Israel. On the other, it may help some ultra-Orthodox students earn a university degree so that they can get higher-paying jobs, which benefits Israel’s economy. Moment’s Israel editor Eetta Prince-Gibson guides us through this debate.
On a subject closer to home, we are launching our Jewish Political Voices Project, opening a window onto the political and cultural conflicts that are tearing the nation—and the American Jewish community—apart. We are following 30 politically engaged American Jewish voters through the 2020 presidential election, and in this issue, we introduce you to ten of them. These interviews serve as a reminder that Jews—whether they identify as Democrats, Republicans or independents—are distinct individuals with their own stories and opinions on Israel, Iran, growing anti-Semitism, immigration, health care, climate change, the economy, guns and impeachment. We’ve already been surprised by the fresh insights our interviewers have gleaned, and over the next year, we look forward to sharing our findings with you in print and online. And I invite you to tell us your thoughts at momentmag.com/jpvp, but ask that you be respectful of others’ points of view.
Also, lest you forget that ours is not a placid time, we publish Washington Post editor Marc Fisher’s insightful profile of President Donald Trump’s speechwriter and adviser Stephen Miller, plus columns on the turmoil in the Middle East and the potential effect of the impeachment process on Israel. For the part of your brain longing to think about anything but present-day problems, there’s fiction by the Hungarian writer Gábor T. Szántó, a review of Tom Segev’s recent biography of David Ben-Gurion by Moment special literary contributor Robert Siegel, and an essay from our new critic-at-large Carlin Romano on Primo Levi. For a little levity, I recommend Roz Chast’s musings on Jewish humor and a selection of delightful Jewish-themed cartoons in “Visual Moment,” excerpted from Have I Got a Cartoon For You, edited by Bob Mankoff, former New Yorker cartoon editor and founder of Moment’s very own cartoon contest. (Chast wrote the foreword to the book.) Then there’s the story of the term “bark mitzvah” (yes, it’s been trademarked) in “Jewish Word.” To attain an even deeper state of relaxation, read about Jews and mushrooms in “Talk of the Table.”
After you finish this issue, head to our website, newly redesigned, at momentmag.com and check out our online series “Beshert,” “Chai Brow” and our growing collection of “Five Books to Be an Educated Jew.” You can also sign up for updates from our Anti-Semitism Monitor and our newsletters, Moment Minute and DC Dispatch.
It’s hard to believe that it’s 5780 and nearly 2020, a big birthday year for Moment. More on that coming soon!