As publisher of Jewish Currents, I wanted to write to thank you for your generous support of our work this year. I also wanted to give you a sense of where that support goes, and to let you know about the exciting plans we have for the year to come.
You have likely seen some of our most widely read pieces from this last year—David Klion’s profile of Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, hannah baer’s essay on the roots of psychotherapy in Jewish mysticism, or Corey Sherman’s reporting on the GOP’s collaboration with Kahanist activists who dream of rebuilding a third temple in Jerusalem. Our aim, however, is not only to produce journalism and analysis of the highest quality. We invest in people. So we are especially proud of Jewish Currents contributing editor Joshua Leifer’s editorial in The New York Times on the Israeli elections and contributing writer Rebecca Pierce’s appearance on NBC News discussing antisemitism. We are building a publication and community that cannot be ignored—as evidenced by this week’s profile in The New York Times of our wildly talented editor-in-chief Arielle Angel.
While our circulation is not (yet!) at the scale of those outlets, we know that our readers are engaged to a rare degree. Approximately 40% of recipients read our newsletters, an almost unprecedented number in the industry. And this coming spring, we’re excited to deepen that community through the launch of a membership program, which will invite our readers to learn, discuss, and gather together in reading groups, parties, lectures, artist talks, and other events, online and in cities around the country.
None of that work would be possible without your support. As some of you know, this is my first job in journalism. I came to this position after two decades as an organizer and teacher, and the last few months have been a crash course in how to sustain and grow an independent publication. Spoiler alert: It’s not easy! Most magazines rely on a single major investor or hunt clicks to satisfy advertisers, or restrict their content to only paying subscribers. Many do all three. But Jewish Currents is committed to in-depth reporting, analysis, and criticism that is publicly available for all, and we don’t accept paid advertising. Printing and mailing our magazine costs roughly what we bring in through subscription revenue. That means that staff salaries as well as contributor payments are supported entirely by you. It is not simply rhetoric to say that this project belongs to all of us.
That is why we are so proud that the number of you that have chosen to support our work has steadily increased. In 2022, over 600 of you made contributions, an increase of 50% over 2021. And in addition to receiving ongoing support from The Puffin Foundation, The Nathan Cummings Foundation, and Open Society Foundations, in 2023 we will launch a two-year partnership with The Luce Foundation.
Our growth is testament to the fact that so many are hungry for an alternative Jewish conversation and community. With all of you, we will continue to grow that community, and to cultivate that conversation.
Thanks again for making what we do possible.
Publisher, Jewish Currents