By: Shlomit Ebbin  | 

YU Observer Announces Male Editor in Chief for First Time in Paper’s History

The YU Observer will have its first male editor in chief next year, it announced via social media on Sunday, March 27. The editor in chief and managing editor will be Benjamin Gottesman (YC ‘23) and Aaron “Yitzy” Shaykevich (YC ‘24), respectively.  

The Observer was founded in 1958 — four years after the establishment of Stern College for Women (SCW) — as SCW’s sole student newspaper. Since 1935, The Commentator was Yeshiva College’s (YC) sole newspaper, but over time, both papers began to serve the larger YU community. Both papers are independent student newspapers of YU.

On Nov. 22, 1998, The Observer was renamed The Yeshiva University Observer and began to include writers from YU’s Wilf Campus, according to the Yeshiva Academic Institutional Repository. Until now, there was never a male editor in chief or managing editor. 

The application for editor in chief and managing editor of The YU Observer was open to all Observer staff members. The Observer did not release how many students applied for these positions. “All of our staff were given an equal playing field to apply for this position,” said YU Observer Editor-in-Chief Shoshanah Marcus (SCW ‘22). “We reviewed all the applicants and chose, not based on the fact that the position has always been held by women, but rather regarding their ability as a potential editor-in-chief and managing editor.”

Gottesman is currently one of three editors for the arts and culture section of The Observer, which is a position he has maintained since his first semester on campus in Fall 2020. 

“We’re really excited to hit the ground running next semester,” Gottesman told The Commentator. “We’re going to do our best to make our paper a vehicle for Ratzon HaShem and engage the entire YU community.”

Shaykevich has been an Observer editor for the opinions section since September 2021 and has been writing for the Observer since July 2021. When asked if Shaykevich, having two years left at YU, will matriculate to being editor in chief the following year, Marcus said that it would be Gottesman’s decision. “Yitzy has shown tremendous talent and leadership skills this past year, and it is my hope that he is being set up to be the most successful in whatever capacity is right for him and the paper,” she said. 

“I applied for this position with the hopes of being selected based on my qualifications, commitment, and ideas,” shared Shaykevich. “I am incredibly thankful that Shoshanah and Dani looked beyond my being male to see my passion for the YU Observer.” 

The current editor in chief and managing editor of The Observer are Marcus and Danielle Lane (SCW ‘22), respectively. “Dani and I hope that we are setting a precedent that the leadership of the YU Observer will continuously appreciate the past but be able to have the vision to forge a new path into the future,” said Marcus. 

In May 2018, The Commentator announced that Shoshy Ciment (SCW ‘19) would be its managing editor for Volume 84, the first woman to hold that position since the paper’s founding, and two years later in May 2020, Elisheva Kohn (SCW ‘21) became the second student to lead in that role. The Commentator has not yet had a female editor in chief. 

“We at the YU Observer strive to provide the highest quality content to our readers, which requires having the most capable leader,” shared Marcus in a statement to The Commentator. “As a woman, I would not want my gender to be a hindrance to my extracurricular, academic, or professional success; so too it would be morally irresponsible to apply a double standard to qualified male candidates.” 

Gottesman expressed his desire to continue to give a voice to both Beren and Wilf students. “The job of the Editor in Chief is to make sure that the best possible content is being disseminated and ensuring that both women and men on campus have a forum in which they are represented and highlighted fairly,” said Gottesman. “I am committed to this objective just as much as my predecessors and am confident in our team’s ability to execute this imperative.”

“We picked candidates who honor and respect the long standing history of the YU Observer and seek to elevate female voices,” added Marcus. “My hope is that Benjy and Yitzy continue to spark much-need conversations and change as well as continue to highlight the many different voices in the YU community.”

Photo Caption: The YU Observer’s latest issue on Wilf Campus

Photo Credit: The Commentator