Heeb Halts Print Edition

Snarky Jewish magazine goes online-only

So much for controlling the media,” indeed.

Heeb, the small, snarky magazine about Jewish culture that launched eight years ago, is ceasing publication of its print publication. But the creators are not “throwing in the shmatte” entirely — its website will continue on, as well as a schmattering of events.

Here’s publisher Joshua Neuman’s note to readers:

I have some good news and some bad news.

The good news is that Heebmagazine.com will continue to provide trenchant analysis of world events, cultural critique of all that is Jewish and Goyish and countless photos of scantily-clad Israeli models under the leadership of newly named editor-in-chief, Erin Hershberg, culture editor, Jonathan Poritsky, creative director (former music editor), Arye Dworken, humor editor, David Deutsch and comics editor, Jeff Newelt.

The bad news is that we are suspending the print edition of Heeb Magazine.

As an original member of the editorial board, I can vouch for the fact that none of us back in 2001 would have imagined that Heeb would someday have a paid, full-time staff, an office overlooking the Manhattan skyline (okay, slightly obscured by a Con Edison power plant), advertisers, investors and celebrity editors. None would’ve imagined Jon Stewart name-dropping us on The Daily Show, suggesting that the best solution to international terrorism is to offer every international terrorist who turns himself in a free lifetime subscription to Heeb Magazine, or The Chicago Tribune naming us “one of the best magazines in America.”

Of course, we’re hardly just “throwing in the shmatte.” During the eight years we’ve printed the magazine, we’ve managed to endure the death of irony, the death of independent publishing and the death of print advertising (not to mention a barrage of ongoing attacks from Holocaust deniers, white power groups and perhaps most frighteningly, Abe Foxman). We responded to each challenge by evolving: In 2004, we started producing events for our readers all over the country–including our Christmas Eve bash, Heebonism, which we’ll again be producing with the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs and New York City this year. In 2007, we started our own boutique ad agency and began serving businesses and organizations looking to reach the elusive Jews in their 20s and 30s with little to no connection to institutional Jewish life, which will continue to be helmed by ad svengali/schmendrick David Kelsey. And we’ve recently re-launched Heebmagazine.com to enhance our readers’ online experience. (For example, we recently digitized the nearly-impossible-to-find issues 1-5 [“The first five books of Heeb”], which we will be giving to our current subscribers as a show of our gratitude for their ongoing support.)

This is also an apt opportunity to acknowledge the support of the individuals who have been so instrumental in the success of the print edition: specifically, Nancy Schwartzman, Michael Schiller, Jessica Honikman, Brian Abrams, Jessie Bodzin, Zack Sultan, Steve Gutierrez, Jon Feinstein, Seth Olenick, Mike Garten, Shana Liebman, Sarah Maxwell, Yasha Wallin, Rebecca Wiener and Oliver Noble; Jaime Wolf and the Fridman Law Group, because the expectations are pretty lofty when you’re Jewish lawyers representing the largest Jewish magazine in the world; Brett Ratner for asking me to direct the first-ever Jewish swimsuit calendar shoot; Seth Rogen for coming up with a better cover concept than we ever could for our Jonah Hill shoot; Roseanne Barr for her delicious cookies; Robert and Aline Kominsky-Crumb for their “anniversary gift”; and Sarah Silverman for posing nude behind a sheet with a hole in it. But most of all, we’d like to thank the magazine’s founder, Jennifer Bleyer, who had the vision and temerity to imagine an alternative universe in which bubbes were fashionistas, Manischevitz an aphrodisiac, and “heebonics,” an official language.

One final note: Heeb Magazine has never been about making Jewish “cool.” What we are big believers in, however, is making Jewish fun. We believe that in a world in which Jewish periodicals outdo themselves in attempting to highlight just how endangered Jews are, there should be one Jewish media outlet that actually makes its readers smile. So whether online, or in print, we like to think that we can all still have a little fun—and don’t worry, Ahmadinejad will still be waiting when we’re done.


Joshua Neuman