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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 … Read More

By / March 19, 2006

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.

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