The future of the online cultural magazine Jewcy took a serious blow this week when its primary funders pulled their financial support from the magazine, the Fundermentalist has learned.
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.
The webzine was launched in November 2006 as a for-profit product that featured cultural essays and Jewish content not found in the mainstream Jewish press, including a heavy reliance on blogging.
Steingart, Raz and Steinhardt, however, deemed that the model was no longer sustainable, according to Jewcy’s editor, Lilit Marcus.
The magazine, however will not shut its doors as of yet, as its funders have told the staff that they can have the rights to the name Jewcy as well as the magazine’s URL, jewcy.com.
Marcus and other staff will attempt to run the magazine from their homes and will not stop publishing even in the short term, she said.
“We believe in the brand and don’t doubt it for a second,” she told JTA. The site’s traffic has seen a tremendous surge during the past several months and is now at 160,000 visits per month, an all time high, she said.
The staff is now looking for new funders and will continue to sell ads, but will not take a salary for now, nor will it be able to pay its 60-70 contributors.
“The site will not go dark at all; we will continue to publish content, art and features. Nothing will stop,” she said.