By: Ariel Kahan  | 

In Retrospect: Part II

And now comes the final article that I will ever write for The Commentator. What makes or breaks any experience in life is the people touched and the lessons learned. In fifteen years, if you ask me about specific articles I published or edited, it is unlikely I will remember specifics. If you ask me about the friends and connections made along the way, however, stories and memories will flow from my mouth. Hundreds of hours of writing, editing and managing The Commentator will all be reduced to stories about the special people involved. And that is the way it should be. 

There are points in anyone's life where they think life is a “me game,” and points in life when they are reminded that life is a team game. Well, being editor in chief was certainly one of my team game reminders. The job necessitates a serious support network, and Baruch Hashem, I hit the jackpot. 

The Commentators’ previous editors in chief served as constant role models and sources of inspiration for me. Specifically, Sruli Fruchter, Yosef Lemel and Benjy Koslowe, no matter what the question was, always made themselves available. I cannot emphasize how empowering your guys’ words of encouragement have been for me, and I thank you all for that. 

Similarly, Rav Yosef Blau was always a source of constant advice and support. It was always a pleasure to hear the perspective of someone so nuanced with such a grasp on institutional history and politics. Being able to develop a relationship with Rav Blau is one of the highlights of the editor in chief experience, and I cherished it dearly.

I don’t think there is a day that goes by where I wasn’t grateful for the role that the editorial board played in making this year’s Commentator a success.

To social media (Danya, Allie), thank you for always being so responsive and always happily doing the strangest tasks. I don’t think you understand how easy it was to work with people so reliable and pleasant. The Commentator would have been dysfunctional without your efforts.

The same is true for layout (Julia, Azriel, Emily). Week in and week out you performed your difficult tasks without complaint and produced a great product. You were always super communicative and competent. Without you guys as well, the puzzle would be incomplete. 

To the business section (Shmuel, Moshe, Tani), it was always a pleasure working to solicit articles with all of you and sometimes realizing that we just have to write them ourselves. When recruitment got tough, all of you came through with articles for every issue. I also enjoyed the good hock with all of you and found our conversations funny and endearing.

To the opinions section (Shuie, Nava, Josh, Moshe), I cannot think of a section that had to deal with crazier situations than you guys did. Regardless of the situation or how many articles piled up, you all worked extremely hard to make the opinions sections phenomenal. All of you are thoughtful, funny and a pleasure to work with.

To the features section (Dov, Rivka, Zakkai), I am constantly mesmerized by how much you love what you do. Your curiosity about Commentator and YU history as well as your commitment to excellence helped make this year's features section fun and very educational. 

Finally, to the news team (Chaim, Yekusiel, Sruli, Rina), every year there is one section that is run so well it functions on its own. That is how I felt about news this year. The way you guys worked every day to produce great content and keep YU students and the broader Jewish community informed about current events is unbelievable. Some of the articles look like they were published by professional journalists, not college students eating pizza on the 5th floor of the library between lunch and shiur. 

To Elishama: You simply have a way of getting things done (at scary hours of the night). No matter how busy you were, you found time to write, edit and copy edit articles. You have a great work ethic and you are the most deserving person to be managing editor. 

To Yekusiel and Rivka: I can’t think of two better people for this job. You guys have shown unbelievable commitment to the paper and have run your sections so well. I am also amazed by both of your middos and values. It is this combination that will allow you to do a great job next year. When things inevitably get stressful next year, always remember to take a deep breath and remind yourself what is really important in life.

On that point: What is really important in life? Undoubtedly, it is the way you are with your family and friends, and how you maintain a steady life as an eved Hashem

Thankfully, I like to think that I have the greatest family and friends in the world. I would like to thank my friends who always are there for me no matter what and have made (shoutout to Jonathan Wenger who always read The Commentator articles I sent him, even when he wasn’t interested). 

If it is true of my friends it is for sure true of my family: I want to thank my most wonderful siblings Elie, Aliza, Liana and my all-time favorite family member Teddy (my dog) for always being close and fun to hang around. I would like to thank my parents for always being there and giving me unconditional love and support. You are all the best.

And to Tamar, I won’t elaborate because you would not like all the attention and cringe but take the nicest things I could say about anyone, multiply them by a thousand and it is still only a fraction of what I could say about you.

Having this job was an unbelievable and unparalleled experience. I dream about happily boring my kids and grandkids with Commentator stories one day. But my real dream is to live a nice, simple life, surrounded by the friends and family I love, doing the things in life that are really important. 

Having this job was a blessing, and it taught me a lot. But there is a time and place for everything in life, and now it is time to wish The Commentator farewell and celebrate a tremendous year. And who better to celebrate with than the people that mean the most to me.