Kind of like Oyprah or Martha Jewart Living*

NOW it's Yellow...

A new Jewish magazine is available at your local magazine rack. Called Jewish Living it sells on newstands for $4.95 or you can shell out $19.95 for an annual subscription. This is a serious effort by Torontonians Daniel Zimerman and his wife Carol Moskot who have over $4 million in investments behind them. Also supporting this venture are a number of Federations who are giving away the magazine to 40,000 young families. The Federations are paying between 50% to 70% of the subscription price and in exchange they get eight-page inserts in Jewish Living to promote their efforts. Wow. These people have some serious shlepp. Imagine what would happen to ventures like Heeb or PresenTense if they received such support, but I digress.

First Issue!In this month’s issue, you’ll find an article, cutely illustrated above, that’s kind of like an Idiot’s Guide to Circumcision. I’m not making fun of it, it’s a handy primer representing what to expect when organizing a circumcision and how to make informed choices. This is all a very good thing, and along with the article on Mezuzahs, represents a lovely effort to promote Jewish literacy to a generation of young couples who have for the most part been woefully ill-prepared for these sorts of things by their parents and communities. Now, I photoshopped the photo above so that the child actually looks like he’s urinating yellow urine and not a stream of white diamonds. Young couples reading Jewish living, please note: Your baby is not abnormal if his urine is not crystal clear. Also, your baby does not need to look Aryan. He may have dark curly brown or black hair and that’s ok! Of course there’s no mention of the Morrocan pre-bris Tahdid sword ceremony – but I guess the guide is not meant to be exhaustive. For that you have Jewlicious.

As befits any lifestyle magazine, Jewish Life also contains recipes – which is good because that’s the one place Sephardic Jews, with their exotic spices and wily ways, get somewhat acknowledged.

Well, good luck and all. I’ll be checking out the Web site periodically and will gladly pony over $4.95 next time I am stateside. Frankly they’ve actually done a pretty good job given that my usual cynical self didn’t have much to latch on to here. In fact, I practically lifted this entire post from Gawker*. And the NYC Daily News. See how desperate I am? I even have these fantasies of calling Zimerman and having the following conversation:

ck: So Zimerman? You’re in the magazine racket now? And how are you doing?
Zimerman: Eh, it’s a living… A Jewish Living!!!
ck: Kill me now.

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About the author

ck

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.

19 Comments

  • Oy. That oy is for your photoshopping, CK. That photo is gross.

    But also, that oy is for the attitude they had at the GA. I went to their table at the exhibition floor and was pretty supportive, said I’d been hearing lots about the mag, had been thinking about pitching some stories and was really excited to read it. I picked up a copy and they said, “oh you can’t take them; you have to fill out a subscription form and subscribe for a full year and then you can take your first issue today.”

    Um, no. It’s called a press copy, dudes. I almost applied for a job there as an editor. You can’t spare one copy for a potential writer? Do not make the blogger angry. You wouldn’t like her when she’s angry.

    As CK likes to say at the end of his rants, “just sayin.”

  • The bris article lacks one of the most essential questions: “Will I get a discount on more than one boy?” Afterall, mohels charge a few hundreds a piece. Oh, and it also forgot to mention you better not have the marcipan cake-decoration made theme-related.

  • I am going to put this as sweetly as possible…it reads exactly like a Federation magazine should read.

  • Aw c’mon DK… have you ever read their non-specifically-Jewish counterparts? It’s the same thing, just Jewier. No Federation has ever put together anything this nicely designed or well written. I mean, look, you and I are not exactly the target market for this publication. For us there’s Heeb, Guilt and Pleasure, Zeek and PlayMaydele Magazine.

    And Esther! Since when do I rant??

  • ck – feel free to call anytime: 347.387.6474. I promise no Henny Youngman jokes.

    Ester – We gave out over 1000 copies of the magazine at the GA in the first day and a half without asking people to subscribe. When we realized we were running the risk of running out – and not having any samples to show – we started rationing them to new subscribers. Happy to send you a copy though. You can reach me at dzimerman@jewishlivingmag.com

    The only question I have though – and no disrespect – is that I never saw anyone assume they could just take a tallis bag or hard cover book or even a little trinket from any of the vendors across from us. But a $5 magazine – that people think they can just pick up and walk away with. I’m just sayin’.

    DK – Thanks for putting it sweetly! If the worst that people say about us is that we’re the new Jewish Martha or Orprah or Cookie or Jewish Ebony any other mass market classic women’s lifestyle magazine – you won’t hear me complaining. That’s exactly where we want – and need – to be. Check out the review we got on jewschool.com – they seem to get who we’re talking to. You and I may have been early subscribers to Heeb, Guilt and Pleasure and Zeek but our mag is most likely going to appeal to a much broader demo.

    The fact that Barnes & Noble has just re-ordered another shipment because they’ve sold out in so many stores… and the fact that we’ve sold twice as manny subscriptions at this point than we expected to, tells me we’re doing something right.

    ck – Thanks for mentioning us. I’m hugely appreciative, grateful and humbled by all the buzz we’ve gotten.

    Dan Zimerman
    Jewish Living magazine

  • Nice to hear from Dan.

    I have a question for you. What type of numbers are you expecting in terms of subscribers and news-stand sales? In other words, at what point are you viable? What kind of time frame do you have to get there?

  • themiddle

    Not about to open our model up for analysis online. However, creating a mainstream classic lifestyle magazine enables us to attract a national advertising base that counter-balances a relatively low circ number. 100,000 circ (which is what we launched with) may sound hight, but not to most marketers who are looking at 350,000 minimums. Our approachable mainstream content gives advertisers a real comfort level with what we’re doing – and that plays an significant role in our model.

    dz

  • Note: if your baby is that old when you have him circumsized you have already spent too many days planning the hor’dovres and decorations.

    Next they will need do to an article on how to choose between upper west side bachelors when they come knocking at your door with different engagement rings…

    Then we need an article on how to choose a Nanny even though you are stay at home full-time Mom because shaina punum, you don’t have time to scrub your toilets when you should be out at the Federation Tot Shabbot program bonding with the other stay at home Moms.

    They need me on their Editorial Staff. OY!

  • Sarah…good one about the Marzipan cake…I see you took up my suggestion about the Hitachi Wand!
    BTW, the Mohel gets $800 – $1200 now because he also has to have a Medical Specialty in Neonatal Urology and an affiliation with Einstein Medical Center for that crowd’s Little Princes… not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    How much money did they get from JDate advertising? Seems like some evil forces have joined up.

  • Chutzpah… your advice is good but when suggesting a product, do make sure to give out the full and proper name – it’s the Hitachi MAGIC Wand – considered the Rolls Royce of personal massage appliances.

    Now, back to our regularly scheduled program.

    Dan – here’s a good piece of advice. Hire Esther, she’s awesome. You have a really good attitude, that’s for sure, so, you know, best of luck dude! I can’t help but root for a fellow canuck, even though you are from Toronto. Let me know if you ever plan on distributing in Israel.

    Go Habs!

  • Dan ,
    I wish any product that seeks to bring Joy to Jewish living much success, and wish JL great blessings.

    Just to uphold what Esther said though, since most circulars give away copies at Jewpro conferences, the only way to distinguish a free copy from a show copy are to place a large sticker on it that reads “for display only”

    Are you distributed in SoCal?

    Last but not least – what is your policy on advertisements for groups considered a threat to Jewish Living such as the Kabbalah Center (cult) and “Messianic Jews” (Christians) and what about products that are treif?

  • This from someone who misses every product plug opportunity I give him.

    For example: “Tom Jones is burning up Atlantic City this weekend and I didn’t make it down to the Hilton the throw my ________ from ___________ on stage.”

  • Isn’t a mainstream lifestyle magazine about things Jewish an oxymoron? Why pretend that traditions such as those described in the aforementioned bris article are anything but ‘different’? Imagine opening up Martha Stewart Living and reading practical advice about whether the mohel will or will not suck your infant’s newly circumcised penis.

    All the gauzy photography in the world isn’t going to make Judaism Unitarianism, and frankly Jewish practice looks a whole lot weirder in the generic-family-oriented-mag context than it would if presented in a more straightforward manner. In this context, the whole thing veers off into parody.

  • Phoebe, you’d think we were the only religion around and the only one with customs that might seem weird when compared to some sort of generic areligious societies. We’re not the only religion and many of our customs are not that much weirder than those of, say, Christians. You might well see an Easter meal spread in Martha Stewart magazine.

  • Just got a copy of your magazine and I love it. It is a breath of fresh air for us modern American Jews looking for a magazine that deals with topics of a Jewish nature. I enjoyed it, keep up the good work. Mazel Tov!

  • Jewish Living Magazine has folded. It’s not resting, it’s not pining for the fjords – it is no longer. It is an ex-magazine.

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