Jake Laub is the editor-in-chief of a one of a kind Jewish magazine.
“I’m very, very excited; it has been a long road to get here,” the senior at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University said. “It’s generated so much excitement and we really think we are on to something here; this could become something big.”
The first national issue of Schmooze, a college student-run Jewish magazine, was published at 25 different college campuses across the country Nov. 15. Copies of Schmooze for Pittsburgh students interested in reading it are available at the Carnegie Mellon University campus.
Far from being a deadly serious journal, Schmooze combines the best of other magazines such as Heeb and online products like Jewilicious. It bends hip humor with a touch of irreverance to make a new kind of publication.
How else would you describe a magazine with story titles like, “Rent-a-Yenta: The secrets of old-school matchmaking” and “We asked you: What was your worst Hanukkah
But Schmooze stories tackle serious issues in Judaism, too: “Out of the Closet: The Conservative movement takes action on gay rabbis,” and “Judaism without God: The Humanistic movement is doing just fine.”
For Laub, the idea to start spreading the word about Schmooze, started over the summer.
“We started out by calling every Hillel in the country and asked them, ‘We Schmooze — do you want to Schmooze too?” said Laub.
Apparently, many of them did.
Schmooze started appearing at Northwestern three years ago; it just went national this month. The magazine comes out three times throughout the year — fall, winter and spring.
Laub said that the upcoming spring issue will be the last Schmooze publication he will be overseeing.
According to Laub, every campus partnering with Schmooze had the local Hillel order a number of copies they wanted to have. Because the magazine is entirely student run, it has an incredibly low cost overhead. Laub said each copy is sold to Hillel for a dollar.
“It is a really great opportunity for the schools because starting a magazine is really difficult,” he said. “We are offering a magazine that is going to connect young Jewish journalists and readers all across the country.”
“Our feeling is that lots of publications for Jewish students have the mentality, ‘here — read this’ but our take is much more ‘here — be a part of the magazine; be a part of the
Laub said the importance of a Jewish magazine like this is that it affects the students’ daily habits in many different ways.
“We want to get students talking about the Jewish issues that affect them and we want it to be on our own terms and our own perspectives,” he said. “We have people trying to figure out what it means to be Jewish for us and we need to do it ourselves.”
(Alon Melamed can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)