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We the Beacon: The Beacon Manifesto

In light of the recent expose by the Forward based on two articles previously published in the Beacon, we would like to reiterate our mission statement:

 

With communication so facilitated by modern technology, information and opinion spread at a speed that can bewilder the mind. Every second, on scores of different sites, another article is posted. But with all these opinions floating about in the ether, it is all too easy to find oneself in an echo chamber. Like is attracted to like, and people visit sites that write from a perspective with which they already agree. Friends of a similar intellectual bent all share the same links. Each venue has its own niche of opinions, and that’s what it caters to. If you don’t like it, you can always find something more agreeable to read. To find information that really challenges your opinions, arguments that might expand your horizons and make you see things in a new light, you have to do a lot of searching on your own.

The Beacon aims to be a publication in which any opinion can be broadcast to the world. We have no ideological agenda other than to promote critical thought and intelligent discussion. We don’t want to promote any particular viewpoint on any issue. More than enough publications are dedicated to toeing a party line. The Beacon exists to challenge prevailing narratives and provide a platform to those who feel that there is nobody to hear them out. At the same time, the Beacon does not exist only to push the envelope. Ideas and opinions affirming the status quo are just as welcome as those challenging it. The Beacon believes in letting ideas stand for themselves, and trusting the readership to draw its own conclusions.

The Beacon is a publication written by and for Modern Orthodox Jewry, and it is issues regarding that community which will be its focus. On the face of it, the Beacon’s production within a religious worldview might seem at odds with its commitment toward letting all sides of an issue be heard. After all, Modern Orthodoxy comes with a preapproved set of values and a preordained set of permissible beliefs. However, it is this very commitment to traditional values that makes the Beacon’s openness to dissenting views so necessary. The challenge of Modern Orthodoxy is to affirm traditional religious Jewish values while at the same time living as part of the larger world, and this is a challenge that the Beacon embraces. To ban a topic from being discussed because it may call religious values into question is to weaken religious values by not having enough faith in their ability to stand up to honest inquiry.

Part of living in the world is seeking answers to questions raised by that world, and the Beacon hopes not to sweep the issues facing Modern Orthodoxy under the rug, but to confront them head on.

Although the Beacon was originally founded as a project of proud Yeshiva University students, it has since broadened its base, and now serves as a voice for young Modern Orthodox adults nationwide. Students from any university in America are welcome to submit articles, and the Beacon’s editorial team will do its best to help its writers fully communicate their thoughts. We strive to work with writers, not to force them into a mold, but to help make their work as precise, as expressive, and as dignified as possible. The Beacon is entering an exciting new chapter, and we hope to make the best of our opportunities and shine the light of well-reasoned, passionate thought onto Jewish discourse.