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Jolly Good Fellows

This fall’s Tablet Fellowship welcomes a new class of journalists

Tablet Magazine
October 04, 2021

Tablet is pleased to welcome its third class of Tablet Fellows, who will work with us from October through December (the fellowship ends Christmas Eve, which we have heard is some sort of holiday at other publications). They are an eclectic group, just like our last cohort. They are fun to read about—see below—and, soon enough, will be fun to read:

Joseph Baer is a laboratory technician in a neurobiology lab at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. He grew up in San Diego and attended the joint program between Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary, earning bachelor’s degrees in neuroscience and Jewish history. While an undergraduate, Joseph wrote for The Columbia Federalist, Columbia’s humor publication. When he is not working, Joseph runs Take Columbia, a blog dedicated to menswear and its history at Columbia and around the Ivy League. He is an Eagle Scout and enjoys outdoorsmanship as well as homebrewing cider and mead.

Grant Besner is a first-year master’s student in religious studies at New York University, where he hopes to learn a thing or two about postsecularism in the digital age. Grant views himself as—in order of significance—an educator, storyteller, and alpaca herder. He has taught students in faraway lands such as China, Vietnam, and the eighth grade, and has produced is(that)raeli?a narrative podcast series about Israeli identity, while volunteering and wrangling Hebrew-speaking llamas on an alpaca farm under the Negev sun. He has a degree in computer science from Duke University, wears exclusively Hawaiian shirts, and recently emerged in hatapuach hagadol (the Big Apple) after a monthlong hike on the Appalachian Trail. Grant hails from South Florida but does not identify as a “Florida man.”

Ari Blaff is a freelance journalist in Toronto. His writings have appeared in Tablet, National Review, and Quillette, as well as in academic journals. Ari holds an M.A. from the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. He also serves as the editor-at-large for Speakeasy, a website he co-founded with the aim of building intellectual bridges and deepening mutual understanding.

Jamie Betesh Carter is a researcher, writer, and mother. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, where she lives with her husband and their two children. She is a strategy and research consultant whose work has informed program and product development, marketing, and communications plans for clients such as MTV, Crayola, OneTable, and Birthright Israel. Jamie holds a degree in journalism from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. As a writer, her work explores how food, family, grief, and parenting all intersect. Her most recent work has been featured in Kitchn, Tablet, Well+Good, and Bklyner. In the free time she no longer has, she enjoys paddle boarding and yoga, but usually she just spends such free time staring at photos of her insanely cute children.

Sarah Farb is a recent graduate of McGill University, where she majored in political science. While at school, Sarah wrote for her campus publications, ultimately becoming the executive editor of the Bull & Bear, the university’s news magazine, and serving as a senior editor at the McGill International Review, the school’s foreign policy paper. Off campus, her work has also appeared in The Globe and Mail and The Forward, with pieces focusing on everything from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to Toronto’s Chinese food scene. When not writing or editing, Sarah is active in Canadian politics, and she has worked as a staffer both for the Ontario Liberal Party and for a candidate in Canada’s 2021 federal election. Sarah’s earliest memories of political debate all occurred around her family’s Shabbat dinner table, and her passions for world issues and Jewish identity have remained intertwined ever since.

Peter Fox is a writer whose work has appeared in The Washington PostNewsweekThe AdvocateThe Jerusalem PostThe Forward, and Tablet. His writing covers a blend of themes including LGBTQ and Jewish identity as well as neurodiversity. His writing strives to give perspective to aspects of society that are misunderstood and strangely compelling, like chocolate hummus and Jewish sex workers. In addition to his writing, he has become a Jewish advocacy nomad, serving on leadership boards for the American Jewish Committee, the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey, and the Israel Policy Forum’s 2020 Conveners.

Exotic moniker notwithstanding, Angus Smith is a Jewish guy in the last gasp of middle age. He worked in the Canadian intelligence community for more than 30 years, specifically in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canada’s equivalent to the FBI. His career took him to Latin America, the Middle East, and Russia and Eastern Europe, and deep into the worlds of organized crime, police malfeasance and corruption, terrorism, and national security. He has written for The Jewish Review of Books, Rural Delivery, and The Police Chief, and works from time to time as an intelligence consultant. Angus lives on the South Shore of Nova Scotia, where he keeps chickens and bees and pursues a pair of rambunctious border collies around the barnyard. His hobby, if you can call it that, is reading gloomy Russian novels.

Mendel Uminer studies philosophy and film at Columbia University. Before that, he spent his teens and early 20s studying Talmud and Hasidism at yeshivas in Brooklyn, New Haven, Manchester, and Israel. He speaks Hebrew and Yiddish and enjoys cycling, jazz, history, political theory, and fiction.

Quinn Waller is an audio storyteller and a recent graduate of Vassar College, where she studied English and Jewish studies. She recently completed the Middlebury Language Immersion Program in Hebrew. Her work has appeared in the Vassar Critical Journal and the Foundationalist. She has worked in a bakery, in a publishing house, on a food truck, at summer camps, at a literary agency, at a bagel shop, at a radio show, and now as a journalist! When she’s not working (which is rare), she produces short podcasts and likes cooking, yoga, and bad reality TV.

Sarah Zahavi is a fourth-year student of graphic communications management at Ryerson University in Toronto. As an observant Jew who falls somewhere at the intersection of Lubavitcher, Yeshivish, and modern Orthodox, she loves starting conversations about controversial topics and engaging in debates with people who think differently. An avid reader, Sarah enjoys learning about Judaism, history, and culture. In her spare time, she plays piano, goes for long walks, and tinkers with new recipes in the quest for culinary perfection.

Clockwise from top left: Joseph Baer, Grant Besner, Ari Blaff, Jamie Betesh Carter, Sarah Farb, Sarah Zahavi, Quinn Waller, Mendel Uminer, Angus Smith, Peter Fox
Clockwise from top left: Joseph Baer, Grant Besner, Ari Blaff, Jamie Betesh Carter, Sarah Farb, Sarah Zahavi, Quinn Waller, Mendel Uminer, Angus Smith, Peter Fox

From the editors at Tablet Magazine