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Why We're Launching JOOL on Substack
Jewish media is run by bureaucratic organizations which offer limited opportunities to impressive, talented creators. It doesn't have to be this way.
The Jewish world is ripe with impressive, talented creators who have the ability make Judaism everything it ought to be: intriguing, exciting, impactful, valuable, wondrous, and so forth.
Yet, where does someone with a bold, ambitious idea for Jewish content go? Probably to one of the handful of Jewish publications, or to another one of the countless Jewish nonprofit organizations, which all boast meaningful missions, but which ultimately lack the bandwidth and creative wherewithal to continuously publish game-changing content.
The result is an overwhelming lack of Jewish content experiences for diverse audiences, a dearth of systematically incubating fresh ideas, and a shallowing pool of opportunities for creators who are passionate about Judaism and have fresh, exciting ideas for producing content about it.
In reality, we are often left with the same old people telling the same old stories, a shooting star here and there, and very few wave-makers. Instead of leveraging the world wide web, barely any Jewish content truly galvanizes the global Jewish community — not to mention our non-Jewish family, friends, and communities. While many media organizations are thriving, Jewish media outlets are in the knee-jerk mode of surviving.
We know this because, at the end of 2021, we conducted a three-month research initiative called Global Jewish Future, in which we interviewed dozens of Jewish-world insiders across the globe and combed through the immense amount of related studies and research available on the internet. The more we learned about the organized Jewish world, the more disappointed we became. So little of its potential has been realized.
One longtime Jewish nonprofit executive who used to work for one of these publications told us it was “not very interested” in data-driven decision-making, saying it was more prone to creating content they want than content their audiences desire. Another longtime Jewish nonprofit employee, who introduced us to the publisher (her friend) at one such publication, said it was “normal” for the publisher to not reply to emails.
It doesn’t have to be this way. And now, with our publication of JOOL on Substack, and it no longer will be this way.
JOOL’s approach to Jewish media is incredibly straightforward:
Offer unlimited Jewish leaders, thinkers, and doers from across the world to share their knowledge, wisdom, insights, and expertise.
Combine their original content into an easy-to-access platform, available worldwide and at scale.
Ask you, the audience, to pay a modest monthly or yearly subscription for unlimited access to this growing platform.
And our business model rewards the most important part of this platform: the content creators, who earn 70-percent of the pie, according to the amount of views on their content each month. For the sake of transparency, the other 30-percent is divided among technology (10-percent), marketing and advertising (10-percent), editing (5-percent), payment processing (3-percent), and legal and accounting (2-percent).
What about our editorial policy? It’s so simple, we packed it into one word: authenticity.
We ask our contributors to create from the heart; to bring value to the audience; to not be overly promotional; to take pride in every word; to be genuinely passionate about the topic; to respect the audience’s time and attention; to refrain from being hurtful, disrespectful, or distasteful; to not accept outside payment or gifts for what they produce; to ensure facts and claims have credible sources; and to not politicize or prosecute.
Content creators are invited to submit new and original pieces as much as they want, whenever they want, about the Jewish topics they love, within:
Religion and spirituality
Culture and lifestyle
People and society
Philanthropy and service
The outcome will be Jewish media that is truly designed for today and the future — content experiences that excite a wider array of both Jewish and non-Jewish audiences, inspire energetic engagement and action, connect seamlessly to other dimensions of Judaism, and evolve continuously to remain remarkably relevant and intriguing in our dynamic world.
P.S. If you would like to contribute to JOOL, please click here.
JOOL is an audience-supported publication that ponders the future of Jewish. To receive new premium content, play weekly Jewish trivia games with cash prizes, and support our growth, please consider becoming a paying subscriber.