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Today, We Are a Fountain Pen

Tablet turns 13

Alana Newhouse
June 09, 2022

For American bar mitzvah boys of the mid-20th century, the fountain pen was the gift to be had—a gesture that, for many, perfectly symbolized the gravitas of the moment. The ink that issues from a fountain pen is permanent, lasting, august—not unlike the strokes of the Torah scribe’s quill. Its 13-year-old recipient, it declared, is through with pencils, mature enough to work with something that demanded focus. (According to the old joke, the prospect could make a bar mitzvah boy so nervous that when he stood up to give his speech, instead of declaring “Today, I am a man,” the poor flustered kid would bleat, “Today, I am a fountain pen.”)

We launched Tablet on June 9, 2009, which means that today marks our entry into our bar mitzvah year. Although the internet can feel like writing in some eternal pencil—forever fleeting, forever being erased and rewritten—we’d like to think that we’ve achieved something lasting, something permanent, and that our place, both in the world of ideas and in the lives of our readers, has grown secure.

And so, our request: We aren’t amassing a college fund, but the idea is more or less the same. We’re relying on you, our friends and family, our readers, to invest in us and in our future.

And, of course, It wouldn’t be a bar mitzvah without some party favors. To that end, we’ve put together a line of hats that we think captures the Tablet gestalt—a minyan of intersecting, sometimes competing, voices, a collection that makes us us. If you wish us a mazel tov with a gift of $72 or more, we’ll send you the hat of your choice.

Support Tablet today.

With thanks for being with us for this milestone—and with the hope that you’ll continue to be with us for many more to come.

Alana Newhouse is the editor-in-chief of Tablet Magazine.