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  • Letter from the Editor
  • Martin S. Cohen

Dear Readers,

Thirteen years ago, before some of the b’nei mitzvah who have come forward to the Torah on my bimah this past spring were born, I wrote a letter to the readers of this journal introducing myself as its new editor. In the intervening years, the aforementioned children have come of age . . . but I too have grown dramatically in the course of these years of service to Conservative Judaism. And so, first of all, I wish to thank all of you for reading along throughout all these years, and particularly for the great opportunity your interest in our work has afforded me personally to learn the skills of an editor, to foster new talent by offering unseasoned authors a forum in which to take their first steps forward as essayists, and to continue the sacred effort, now in its sixty-fourth year, publicly to discuss what Judaism and Jewishness mean, or could mean or should mean, to contemporary Jews.

I wish also to thank the men and women of the editorial board, some of whom have been serving for as long as myself. Their names are listed on the inside front cover of the journal, but merely perusing that list will not bring readers to understand the full scope of their work for the magazine. Yes, on the one hand, they read submissions and collectively decide whether or not a given piece will be scheduled for publication. But, important though that work may be, far more meaningful to me personally has been the level of support they have collectively and individually offered to me during my years at the helm of the journal. When Amy Gottlieb, the Rabbinical Assembly’s last Director of Publications, left her position and the decision was made not to replace her, the job of publishing Conservative Judaism changed dramatically as dozens of tasks that had been hers to [End Page 3] manage suddenly fell to me. Had I not had such willing and able friends and colleagues on the editorial board, I doubt I could adequately have shouldered the burden. Indeed, it was precisely because of their endless good will that I was able, I am proud to say, to bring out the journal in these last years without the professional staff support to which we had all become used. In this regard, I would particularly like to mention the name of Jonathan P. Slater, our book review editor and my friend of almost forty years, who has served for almost as long as I and who is now also retiring from his position, and who has provided unstinting encouragement and the most sage counsel for as long as we both have been in our respective positions.

Less well-known to our readers are several people whose names I wish also to mention so as to be able publicly to thank them for their service. Our copyeditor, Michelle Kwitkin-Close, has provided me with the kind of professional support, thoughtful advice, and intelligent criticism of which most people in my position can only dream of having available to them. On the Rabbinical Assembly staff, Jan C. Kaufman has stood with me throughout all these years and provided me with a second set of eyes that has caught, over the years, errors of truly astounding proportions that would otherwise have found their way into print. And I also wish to acknowledge the work of James K. Harris, the “H” in G&H Soho, the company that prints, binds, and ships Conservative Judaism, who has been my faithful partner in bringing out the journal for all these many years and whose professional expertise has been invaluable to me in more ways than I could ever enumerate clearly. I am proud to think of them all as my friends.

In their own category, I must also mention the professional leadership of our two sponsoring institutions during the years of my service. During those years, the Rabbinical Assembly has had at its professional helm two executive vice presidents, Joel Meyers and Julie Schonfeld. The chancellors of the Jewish Theological Seminary during those same years have been Ismar Schorsch and Arnold...


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