Dear friends,

Welcome to Tablet Magazine, “a new read on Jewish life.”

That’s our nifty, if somewhat inaccurate, tagline. Tablet isn’t entirely new—it’s a beefed-up, rebranded, refocused update of Nextbook.org, which from 2003 until earlier this year published a range of great writing on Jewish arts and culture. We’ve expanded our mandate to cover, break, and analyze news and politics, and will work to tie our cultural coverage much more closely to current public discourse. Even more important, Tablet is not simply a read. On our site, you will find lengthy pieces of in-depth journalism and cultural criticism, fiery blog posts, audio podcasts and video clips, beautiful slideshows, and bits of animation. Offering up-to-the-minute reactions to the day’s news, sophisticated cultural coverage, and in-depth explorations of broad trends in Jewish life, Tablet magazine is the first fully-integrated multimedia Jewish journalistic enterprise in history.

And yet, despite all this innovation, Tablet is closely tethered to the past. We seek inspiration and owe gratitude to sources as diverse as the pioneering magazines and “big idea books” of the 1960s and 70s, the robust Yiddish (and Ladino!) dailies of the Lower East Side at the turn of the last century, and, of course, the tablets themselves—the first medium of Western civilization, whose message remains deeply relevant to our lives today.

These are difficult times for journalism, uncertain times for the economy, and challenging times for Jews throughout the world.

Launching a new journalistic site devoted to Jewish life now is, in many ways, an act of audacity. It requires faith in the journalistic profession and a strong sense of mission, but most of all it requires the right people. I cannot fact-check this assertion, but I’ll make it anyway: no other editor in the history of American journalism has amassed a team like mine. From staffers and columnists to contributing editors and even outside consultants, every single person who works on Tablet has been essential to its creation.

Tablet would not be what it is without the writers and editors we are privileged to have on our inaugural masthead. The editorial staff is led by Deputy Editor Gabriel Sanders, who has worked at the Forward and Vanity Fair, and Executive Editor Jesse Oxfeld, most recently an editor at New York Magazine and previously the editor of Gawker. Senior Writer Allison Hoffman joined Tablet after stints at the Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times, and the New Yorker. Senior Editor Sara Ivry has bestowed her vast talents on Nextbook for six years now, while newly minted senior editor Michael Weiss, formerly of Jewcy, came on-board earlier this year. Hadara Graubart, our associate editor, joined the staff in 2007 while earning a master’s degree from the Cultural Reporting and Criticism program at NYU; Marissa Brostoff, a veteran of the Forward, is staff writer; Julie Subrin and Marit Haahr produce our podcasts, and Liel Leibovitz is our video and interactive guru. Len Small, our art director, and Abigail Miller, our assistant art director, ensure that the site moves smoothly and looks beautiful.

Tablet and its readers are blessed with a roster of phenomenal regular columnists, including Victor Navasky and Seth Lipsky on politics, Adam Kirsch and Joshua Cohen on books, Mimi Sheraton on food, Marjorie Ingall on parenting, and more. Our expanded family also includes a slate of contributing editors whose wise counsel will keep us responsible as well as ambitious.

We are privileged to be part of Nextbook Inc., an organization headed with a rare combination of firm leadership and warm encouragement by Morton Landowne, our executive director. He is joined by Marylee Raymond Diamond, our director of finance and administration; Wayne Hoffman, managing director of special projects, and Ella Leitner, managing director of marketing; Debbie Schuval, associate director of public programs; Diana Fishbeyn, our office manager, and Zhanetta Chernyak, bookkeeper.

And then there is Jonathan Rosen, who runs Nextbook Press, our sister organization, which publishes the Jewish Encounters series with Schocken. Very few people in life get to work with their journalistic heroes, and I am lucky enough to be one of them. In 1990, Jonathan created the Arts & Culture section of the Forward newspaper, which I read religiously for the entire decade he was at its helm. Years later, I was privileged to take the reins as one of his successors—a job I held for five years before joining Nextbook. I am still trying to reach the intellectual bar he has set for the world of Jewish letters and ideas.

Tablet Magazine is fortunate enough to have all of these blessings. But we still need one crucial component without which no journalistic enterprise can thrive: curious, committed and caring readers, who engage with our content and speak their minds in return.

That’s where you come in.


Alana Newhouse