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.
In November of 2006, Jewcy turned into a big-deal online Jewish magazine covering religion, art, music, food, and whatever else they could find someone to blog about as though it was the hippest thing ever.
Jewcy first came to my attention while I was in Israel as I was just discovering the jblogosphere. I started reading and commenting heavily on Faithhacker, a Jewcy blog that was being written in those days by Laurel Snyder. I really liked Snyder’s writing. Snyder, it seemed, liked mine too. Just a high school senior at the time, I was given a chance to guest blog during Chanukah that year about what Jewcy titled “The Secret Origins of Chanukah.” I felt that some of my best points were edited out, but I was flattered nonetheless.
Sometime in the next year, Snyder left Jewcy and Tamar Fox took over Faithhacker. At some point, Faithhacker was folded into the site and ceased by be a distinct blog, which I didn’t like. I stopped reading Jewcy regularly at that point, but maintained links here in my blogroll and on the DAVID ELSEWHERE page.
Due to some real crap experiences with Jewcy while working for Limmud, I removed all links to Jewcy from this blog last month.
But things are looking up. I don’t mean that in a meanspirited way. I mean that I think this could be a chance for Jewcy to really re-think itself and re-emerge as a better organization. A volunteer-run organization, perhaps.
Marcus says that many Jewcy staffers will continue working from home and continue providing content for the site. Ad sales will continue. Salaries, alas, will not.