Resurgent Masmid Still Resurgent
It took seven years since its last consecutive publications, but the Yeshiva University Masmid has returned once again. The Masmid came out annually between 1929 and the late 1980s, but it began to falter in the 1990s, appearing only inconsistently. In 2003 it was merged with the Stern yearbook, Kochaviah, and lasted in that incarnation for another year, until it ceased publication completely in 2004. Now however, thanks to the efforts of former YC student Shaul Seidler-Feller (‘11), the Masmid was successfully printed last year, and is on track to be published this year, as well.
Seidler-Feller decided to bring back the Masmid for a simple reason, as he says, “to create a physical keepsake and record from my time at YU.” Seidler-Feller explained that he had known about the Masmid from his own father’s copy which he had discovered one day in the attic, and that because he has “a general tendency toward nostalgia,” he decided to take on the challenge of reviving the Masmid and heading up the project.
Seidler-Feller says that he was met with positive, yet hesitant, reaction from the administration of Yeshiva. Previous attempts at publishing a yearbook had failed, he was told, because the editors had mismanaged the project, bungled the finances, and ultimately took money without delivering a product. They were willing to support him, Seidler-Feller added, as long as he would ensure that such mishandling would not occur again.
It did not, and the Masmid was successfully published at the end of last year with over 100 copies purchased. (Even if you did not buy a copy, copies can be found in the library.)
The continuation of the Masmid this year is the fulfillment of Seidler-Feller’s aim to revive the longstanding tradition of the Masmid. Seidler-Feller believes that having a yearbook “allows a group of friends, classmates…to rally around a common academic, social and religious experience in a way that’s fun and entertaining,” and the fact that it’s continuing even while he is no longer directly in control shows that he’s not alone in his thinking.
Still, not everyone is as enthusiastic as Seidler-Feller. One senior graduating this year, who preferred to remain anonymous, when asked about how he felt about the Masmid responded, “honestly, I couldn’t care less.” However, that viewpoint does not seem to dominate, as many others reacted positively, if not inspired enough to have taken up the project themselves.
Seidler-Feller makes it clear that while he feels that it has been set on the right path, it “really depends on the efforts of students and their initiative.” He notes that “without people seriously committed to making this sort of thing happen it will simply fade away, along with so many other wonderful publications and projects undertaken by YU students over the years.”
Students who do not get their pictures taken will be excluded from the Masmid.