Anarchy is neat!

Y’all know, right? They first got attention with their Jewcy t-shirts – available in a rainbow theme or with “shalom motherfucker” written on the back? Then they branched out into parties and shows – most notably their production of Modern Orthodox starring Molly Ringwald. There was also that time when Jewsweek was rebranded as Jewcy, until Jewsweek editor Reuven Koret wrote an editorial the Jewcy people took umbrage with and there was a much publicized and contentious split.

Since then Jewcy’s presence online has been languishing, although they did have that awesome Chanukah party last year. At that party, there were representatives from the major credit bureaus to help you fix your credit score, surprisingly enough. The ostensible plan was to relaunch Jewcy as a hip Jewish portal. This was accompanied by murmurings of job offers and interviews for jobs at what was sure to be the coolest, hippest, Jewciest online venture ever!

The months rolled on and on. Finally, 2 days ago, one of my evil spies told me about Jewcy’s beta site – which you can see at So far they haven’t password protected the site and I’ve had the opportunity to see in detail what’s in store.

To be sure, it’s rough. There’s still lots of work to do… President and Editor Tahl Raz (and ladies, he’s single!) writes that:

Jewcy is basically an online ideas-and-culture magazine. But it’s a magazine born of and for a time when technology has made personal expression far easier and far more democratic. The site attempts to integrate original top-down editorial (hatched, crafted, and made pretty by terrific writers and editors and artists in the traditional production process) with content that users generate with the new tools of participatory media, such as blogs, comment sections, wikis, and forums.

We want users, not just readers. Our articles are only the first – not the last – word on the site; and the best of them will stimulate debates in our forums, provoke arguments in the comments’ section, create healthy tension between users in our community (that they’ll hash out on their own Jewcy blogs), and catalyze collaborative projects in our wiki pages.

So what we have are original articles, blog posts, an events calendar, social networking and wiki fuelled online collaboration.

Uh oh… now where have I seen this before? Mobius may have rejected their job offer as editor-in-chief, but clearly Jewcy was paying attention! Will this unleash a shitstorm? I guess we’ll have to see. In the meantime, check out this image used to illustrate an article on radicalism and compare it to Dan’s new Orthodox Anarchist logo

In the meantime, in terms of content, Jewcy looks like it’s going to provide much of the same old same old. They claim that:

Jewcy excels at creating a stronger sense of affiliation among open-minded spiritual entrepreneurs who are bored with traditional Jewish media but turned off by the empty edginess of other players in the ‘New Jew’ movement. We’ve proven we can inspire and motivate the hard-to-reach 18-34 demographic like no one else in the Jewish community.

I don’t know about that. There are others who have inspired and motivated “the hard-to-reach 18-34 demographic” into doing a little more than just wearing edgy Jewish t-shirts and going to the occasional cool party. Hopefully when they go public, they’ll be a little more self-effacing. In the meantime feel free to feed your Jewish identity with articles like an interview with a Jewish porn star (and her mother), or an article titled Why Israelis are Pricks or yet another article about Porn or dating blogs or… well you get the point. Apparently the recipe for motivating “the hard-to-reach 18-34 demographic like no one else in the Jewish community” is to mix one part Jewish content with 6 parts sex and three parts the promise of sex. Wow. That’s so groundbreaking! Other than feeding off the flesh of other people’s efforts, Jewcy also needs to work on its interface so that the easily bored 18-34 demographic will not be confused and overwhelmed by all the choices and then run back to their MySpace and FaceBook pages.

Good luck Jewcy!

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About the author


Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.


  • Ah yes … yet another hip, cool zine by and for Ashkenazi Northeastern Americans.

  • all we need is oodles of cash to pay for experienced writing staff and editors and photogs. and integrating a social networking thing is easy. i made one in an afernoon. Feel free to join, though like Jewcy, its still in beta. Collaboration is just a fancy word for a wiki. Also easy to implement. We an do all that stuff but then… we wouldn’t be jewlicious anymore would we?

  • eh, i saw the beta a while ago. i’m not impressed. in fact, i’m so unimpressed that i don’t even consider it a threat.

    they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. if people are biting you, it means you’re a step ahead of them. jewcy may have a budget that i don’t, but they don’t have any original ideas (and they also clearly have no design sense or technical know-how), which means they’re destined for failure. which is sad because… what a waste of money i could’ve put to better use.

    in any event, that image w/the flowers is actually by banksy, the notorious british street artist. it’s a very popular image, so ubiquitous that i probably even saw it on the jewcy site and didn’t pay notice. but how each of us chose to employ that image, on the other hand, is illustrative of my point about originality.

    now let the accusations of hubris, egocentrism, and self-aggrandizement begin.

  • btw–i will honestly say that if jewcy had offered me the job after koret had left, i would’ve jumped at it. jewcy means well, and i don’t really have any ill will towards them.

  • Thanks for trying to deflect your own pompousness, “mobius.” I’m sure you could do a much better job. I suppose that’s why jewschool and orthodox anarchist (a pathetic contradiction if there ever was one) are so interesting. What a jackass you must be.

  • ck wrote:all we need is oodles of cash to pay for experienced writing staff and editors and photogs.

    Don’t try to make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry. We have experienced writing staff. We have great editors. We have talented photographers. But we do it without the money, which makes us people who are doing it because “it’s all about the music, man”–and there is a perception that this kind of volunteerism is a mitzvah. Or in my case, financial suicide. But it’s a fine line.

    In any case, just to be clear, while I don’t blog for the money, that’s mostly because I’m not getting any. If CK trips over oodles of cash and says, “oh dear, whatever shall we do, we’re volunteers…” I will come to the rescue by providing my PayPal address. And my landlord will utter a cry of thanks, and more importantly, cancel eviction proceedings.

    In summary? Professional writer and editor for hire. Will blog/write/edit/proofread for cash.

  • Therein’s the rub, eh esther? We have a tremendous talent pool at Jewlicious. Really, you all humble me and you know what an arrogant prick I am. So here we are, ministering to the demographic that all the Federations and Jewish Orgs are sooo worried about – serving out more pages and attracting more eyeballs than any of their well meaning but ineffective content vehicles… and we’re doing it with no money. In the meantime, they’re burning the greenbacks left right and center on conferences, trips, studies and they cannot effect any real change.

    We deal with their kids, face to face and on the Internet. And we don’t have to give anything away or whatever – everyone who comes to Jewlicious does so willingly and of their own volition. Frankly, I’d be embarassed if I worked for a Federation. Jewlicious and other blogs written by relative unknowns are doing a better job getting to the 18-34 demographic and getting them involved in Jewy stuff – with no budget.

    I’m in Israel so I’m useless but really, y’all ought to be beating a path to Esther’s door. Talk to her. Hire her to help save the Jews. It’ll be the smartest thing you have ever done. What are you fucking waiting for?

  • Do me a favor. Let’s change the upper range of that demo and call it 18-35. Or better yet, 18-43.


  • This is the thing: we don’t need their money. We have enough money of our own–it’s time we the whole “mommy and daddy need to pay for our projects” thing behind us–as you all so eloquently told me when I, well, bitched before the release of PresenTense–and start thinking about how we can get our own community to fund our own ventures. Pay for services, y’know?

    So blogs are free. For now. But there are ads, and there are syndication options, and there can be partnerships between, well, magazines that much of Jewliciousers contribute to (ehm, ehm), and spin-offs…cause if I’m willing to drop $20 to have some live veggies on a plate in honor of Polly’s Bday you damn well know that I’m willing to pay for good content.

    Which is or should be the point: these aesthetic ventures can be cool, but until they prove themselves on the market…well, there’s a reason they need funding. It’s cause there are too few people that are buying what they’re selling.

  • Ariel: Dude – I wasn’t bitching that we don’t have money. I was bitching about the people who do have the money seem to be pissing it away. I mean look, if they wanna give us cash, we can use it to fund things like Jewlicious at the Beach or other similar projects. But we’ve been around for 27 months. In that time we have served over 12 million page views. We’ve been in all the major papers, we’ve done a lot and all without any outside funding. And whatever money we have spent wouldn’t pay for a single Federation sponsored Young Leadership retreat.

    It’s time for the community to tap into that dynamic. Hire Esther as a consultant. She’ll tell ya how to do it. I know you know what I’m talking about Beery.

  • Yeah, you’re right CK. If the community truly cares about getting to youth, why not pay for the services of those people with a proven track record. I’m totally down for that, and I think Esther’s services are well worth any paycheck.

    Jewish Orgs pissing their money down the drain should pay heed–and start hiring proven experts.

    Donations, out. Grants, no need. Pay for services? You bet you–that is exactly the strategy Jewish orgs should pursue–see who have proven track records and pay them for specific services, as you would in any other industry.

    Cause damn, if their funders want to reach the same audience you’re reaching (12million! That’s huge!), why waste time with donations to initiatives who have little to no measurable results?

  • Muffti thinks his sentiments are best captured by an old song by spinal tap:

    Stop wasting my time
    You know what I want
    You know what I need
    Or maybe you don’t
    Do I have to come right
    Flat out and tell you everything?
    Gimme some money
    Gimme sone money
    I’m nobody’s fool
    I’m nobody’s clown
    I’m treating you cool
    I’m putting you down
    But baby I don’t intend to leave empty handed
    Gimme some money
    Gimme some money
    Don’t get me wrong
    Try getting me right
    Your face is ok but your purse is too tight
    I’m looking for pound notes
    Loose change
    Bad checks, anything
    Gimme some money
    Gimme some money

  • We have a habit of throwing money at issues and hoping it will help. A lot of well meaning souls put their cash into projects and then see them go up in smoke. I feel that we are in the dot-com-bubble of the jewish website. People are sinking lots of money, big orgs and small orgs, hoping to tap into the generations. Soon the bubble will pop, and all the projects that are kept alive by money will dissapear, and those that are lshem shamayim will continue.

    I guess I put us with that group that is lshem shamayaim. And for that Esther the rewards are eternal.

  • And can you say that again about imitation being the most sincere form of flattery? Did you see this section grandmuffti about anti-semitism on the web. And low and behold, the first one is Prussian Blue.!

  • That’s not the only stuff they have up that, eh, sounds similar. Such as Jewcy’s feature on Why Are Atheists So Angry?–which bears striking resemblance to the JPosts’s continuation of a discussion on Angry atheists.

    But there is some good stuff up there too–hopefully Jewcy will grow more robust and prove to be cost-effective. With nearly two years in development, I’m sure they have lots of tricks up their sleeve.

  • Atheists aren’t angry. Disgusted sometimes, annoyed on occasion and baffled a lot of the rest of it. But not so angry.

  • Good call Rabbi. A few of the others are HSOW recipients. It’s nice to know they admire our work and are happy to do it in a lazy, mildly snarkier manner…