Be it waning cultural ties, bittersweet nostalgia or disappearing historical relics, progress comes at a price. Propelling toward ever-greater innovation in the heart of Silicon Valley, it’s easy for us to lose touch with our roots. In this issue, we explore the implications of this disengagement and local efforts to reconnect. For staff writers Gila Winefeld and Ben Cohen, it’s personal. They began our cover story, “The Orthodox Paradox,” as observers of one religious community’s journey of outreach — but soon found they were coming along for the ride. The local Orthodox movement, in fact, aims to rekindle the spiritual fires of increasingly secular Jewish youth. But while many Palo Altan teens stray from their roots, others struggle to find soil to plant them in a city which favors flashy tablets over traditional texts.

Meanwhile, along University Avenue, old friends bid their last goodbyes. As staff writers Jenny Tseng and Rachel Lit journey through the floors of “Hotel President,” they share the stories of long-time residents Dennis Backlund and Iqbal Serang as well as the community they’ve grown to love and soon must part ways with — as a result of a recent corporate acquisition.

“TRANSITION!” This is the comedic signature of junior Anya Trubelja, whose half-Serbian, half-Croatian heritage is just as colorful as her language. In “Anya Trubelja, the Depressed Serbian Spy,” staff writers Asia Gardias and Rohin Ghosh profile an Open Mic Night regular whose stand-up both dazzles and reflects.

But as we reconcile with our past, Paly students also impart conventions to those who will walk on in our place. In “From Students to Teachers,” staff writers Emma Donelly-Higgins and Abigail Cummings trace the experiences Early Childhood Development students, who learn and grow alongside their young mentees and as they contemplate careers in developmental education.

Likewise, Netflix’s latest addition to the Black Mirror franchise defies cinematic tradition while remaining true to the series’ original thought-provoking ethos. Staff writers Rachel Lit and Jasmine Venet offer their thoughts in “Bandersnatch,” a review of the entertaining and nail-biting choose your own adventure-esque episode.

As filmmakers produce cutting-edge content, residents grapple with development and displacement and students push the envelope in culture, comedy and more, we cannot — and should not — lose touch with our roots. They are the foundation of all else — the intangible cords that link one generation to another, us to our predecessors and this one to the next. After all, as author F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote, even as we trudge on toward the future, “we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

—Ashley, Angela, Bridget & Asia