According to a senior staff member of the magazine, its primary funder, theater mogul Jon Steingart, and its president, Tahl Raz, informed the staff on Friday, Feb. 13, that Steingart and its other major backers, Michael Weiner and Michael Steinhardt, were pulling their money from the magazine because they did not see it as a profitable model in a sour economy.
Steingart and Raz told the staff that they would have until the following Friday to vacate the magazine’s offices in the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn.
Steingart started Jewcy as a Jewish themed party night at his Ars Nova theater space in Hell’s Kitchen in Manhattan. That eventually spawned a clothing brand that sported off-beat Jewish products, such as women’s underwear and t-shirts bearing such slogans as “Shalom Motherf—er.”
Raz, then a Senior Editor at Fortune Small Business approached Steingart about spinning the Jewcy brand into an online magazine.
The webzine was launched in November 2006 as a for-profit product that featured cultural essays and Jewish content not found in the mainstream Jewish press, including a heavy reliance on blogging.
Steingart, Raz and Steinhardt, however, deemed that the model was no longer sustainable, according to Jewcy’s editor, Lilit Marcus.
I consider this truly sad news. I have long enjoyed and still believe in the Jewcy model, which I liken to Slate for Jews. Sure, it hasn’t been the same since Daniel Koffler left for Oxford last summer. But for two years they have published interesting articles about politics, culture, religion, academia, even food, and they’ve got one of the best names in Jewish journalism.
My amazement at the news was muted, though, by this statement attributed to Marcus: “The site’s traffic has seen a tremendous surge during the past several months and is now at 160,000 visits per month, an all time high.”
Wow. No wonder the machers thought Jewcy was no longer sustainable. That’s only about double the traffic The God Blog received in January. And I’d consider this a modest blog.
Marcus told The Fundermentalist that they’ll keep on truckin’. And I hope they do. They’ve definitely got a good brand. Just a matter of figuring out a way to make it economical. I hear that’s a problem for a range of media outlets these days.