Tablet
EditorAlana Newhouse
PublisherNextbook
First issueJune 2009; 14 years ago (2009-06)
LanguageEnglish
Websitewww.tabletmag.com
ISSN1551-2940

Tablet is a conservative online magazine focused on Jewish news and culture.[1][2] The magazine was founded in 2009 and is supported by the Nextbook foundation. Its editor-in-chief is Alana Newhouse.

History

Tablet was founded in June 2009 by Alana Newhouse, former culture editor at The Forward, with the support of the Nextbook foundation as a redeveloped and news-focused version of the Jewish literary journal Nextbook. In the 3 years after its founding, New York Magazine described Tablet as a "must-read for young politically and culturally engaged Jews.[3][4][5] Its reporting has largely focused on Jewish news and culture.[4][6]

In February 2015, Tablet tested a monetization method in which viewers could read articles for free but were required to pay to comment on them. Commenting cost $2 per day, $18 per month, or $180 per year.[7][8]

Notable stories

In July 2012, Tablet contributor Michael C. Moynihan broke the story on journalist Jonah Lehrer’s fabrication of Bob Dylan quotes in his book Imagine.[9][10][11] Tablet’s publication of the article ultimately led to Lehrer’s resignation from The New Yorker and publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s recall of Imagine and his second book How We Decide.[12][13] Moynihan’s investigation into Lehrer and the circumstances surrounding the publication of the article later became subject of Jon Ronson’s So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed.[14][15]

In August 2018, while Julia Salazar was campaigning for election to the New York State Senate, Tablet published an article questioning Salazar's claims that she was Jewish and an immigrant. Jewish Currents published an interview in which Salazar responded to the Tablet piece.[16]

After the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting in 2018, Tablet editor-in-chief Alana Newhouse and all six members of the magazine's editorial staff traveled to Pittsburgh to report on the shooting and its aftermath. Newhouse told The New York Times that "large-picture stories [and] the big-picture trends on right-wing radicalization" could be "left for think pieces for later", stating that Tablet staff were "focused on pieces where we could root them in the stories of actual human beings affected by this one way or the other." The magazine's coverage included reporting on the funerals of people killed in the shooting, and a special edition of their podcast Unorthodox.[4]

In December 2018, Tablet published an article about the Women's March in Washington, DC after the election of Donald Trump as president. It argued that Women's March leaders had excluded Jewish women from leadership positions and used antisemitic language since the organization began in 2016. It especially critiqued connections to Louis Farrakhan. The article came after months of growing pressure on the group, including local chapters issuing critiques and the National Organization for Women ending financial support (though still encouraging members to attend Women's March events).[17][18][19] The organizers spoke against Farrakhan's most extreme statements, issued an apology, and made organizational changes to better include Jews in leadership. However, the leadership did not generally condemn Farrakhan, an act that led to enduring backlash.[20][21]

In April 2021, Tablet published an article by the researchers behind a study which found that, in contrast to the general consensus that education reduces antisemitism, more highly educated people may be more antisemitic. The survey was based on the concept of a double standard, and asked questions of respondents while showing them one of two examples, where only one was related to Judaism; for example, one question asked whether public gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic "posed a threat to public health and should have been prevented," and provided either Black Lives Matter protests or Orthodox Jewish funerals as examples. The researchers asserted in Tablet that respondents to the questions should have answered similarly regardless of the examples given, and that respondents' tendencies to apply principles more harshly to Jews than non-Jews was an indication of antisemitism.[22]

Notable interviews

Podcasts

In 2015, Tablet launched Unorthodox, a podcast about Jewish life and culture, hosted by Stephanie Butnick, Liel Leibovitz and Joshua Malina. The podcast features a weekly roundup of the "News of the Jews," an interview with a "Jew of the Week," and an interview with a "Gentile of the Week."[34][35] The podcast has been downloaded over six million times and produces a live show that has performed across the United States.[36][37]

Tablet Studios has published a range of podcasts including Radioactive, about antisemitic radio priest Charles Coughlin,[38] Gatecrashers, about the history of Jews in the Ivy League,[39] and Take One, a daily podcast in which the host and a guest discuss a page of Talmud.[40]

From 2014 until 2022, Tablet partnered with the podcast Israel Story on its first six seasons.[41][42]

In December 2023, the USC Shoah Foundation announced its partnership with Tablet Studios, to launch a collection of audio and video testimonies from the 2023 Hamas-led attack on Israel.[43][44]

Staff

Tablet's editor-in-chief is Alana Newhouse.[4] Her husband David Samuels is literary editor.[45] Liel Leibovitz is editor-at-large, and Lee Smith is a contributor.[46]

Sasha Senderovich and Shaul Magid have both become critical of Tablet after initially contributing work to it. Senderovich left the magazine after a series of 2017 articles in which Liel Leibovitz defended Trump adviser Sebastian Gorka, while Magid left in 2021 after feeling that his internal criticism of conservative content was ineffective.[46]

Tablet's stable of contributors and contributing editors includes journalists Matti Friedman,[47] Wesley Yang,[48] and Michael C. Moynihan,[12] fiction writers Howard Jacobson,[49] Dara Horn,[50] David Bezmozgis,[51] Ayelet Tsabari,[52] Etgar Keret,[53] and Ben Marcus,[54] academics Anthony Grafton,[55] Elisa New,[56] Bernard-Henri Lévy,[57] Edward Luttwak,[58] Walter Russell Mead,[59] Norman Doidge,[60] Jacob Soll,[61] Michael Lind,[62] Natalie Zemon Davis,[63] and Maxim D. Shrayer,[64][65] novelists Marc Weitzmann,[66] and Kinky Friedman,[67] the critics Marco Roth,[68] and J. Hoberman,[69] and cartoonist Jules Feiffer.[70]

In 2017, Tablet hired award-winning journalist Gretchen Rachel Hammond, who was fired from her reporting duties at the Windy City Times, a Chicago LGBT newspaper, after Hammond broke the story that three Jewish women were asked the leave the Chicago Dyke March for carrying rainbow flags emblazoned with Jewish stars.[71]

Controversies

In 2011, Tablet announced that Jeffrey Goldberg would move his blog from the website of The Atlantic to Tablet. Goldberg corroborated the announcement in June 2011. However, he never took this action and continued to publish in The Atlantic. In May 2016, after Tablet literary editor David Samuels published a profile of Obama advisor Ben Rhodes in The New York Times Magazine that described Goldberg as a "handpicked Beltway insider" who helped to "retail" the arguments of the Obama administration in support of the Iran deal, Goldberg attributed the negative characterization to a "longtime personal grudge" held by Samuels as a result of Goldberg's decision not to move to Tablet.[45]

In 2012, Tablet published a review of Breaking Bad by author Anna Breslaw in which Breslaw criticized Holocaust survivors, including those in her family, as "villains masquerading as victims who, solely by virtue of surviving (very likely by any means necessary), felt that they had earned the right to be heroes [...] conniving, indestructible, taking and taking." Jeffrey Goldberg observed in The Atlantic that Tablet had "brought together Commentary's John Podhoretz and The Nation's Katha Pollitt [...] by publishing a vicious attack on Holocaust survivors", and called for the magazine to publish an apology to Holocaust survivors.[72] The magazine did apologize for publishing Breslaw’s piece. In In These Times, staff writer Lindsay Beyerstein described the article as "the worst thing that Tablet has ever published" and "a disgrace on every level".[73]

In October 2017, Tablet published an article by contributor Mark Oppenheimer titled "The Specifically Jewish Perviness of Harvey Weinstein".[74] The article argued that the sexual assaults by Harvey Weinstein were distinctly Jewish, and was shared favorably by David Duke and neo-nazi Richard Spencer. Oppenheimer issued an apology for the piece, which was described in Jewish left-leaning quarterly magazine Jewish Currents as both supporting "an antisemitic stereotype" and avoiding discussion of "the rampant misogyny that exists in both the Jewish and non-Jewish worlds".[75]

On September 29, 2022, the Association for Jewish Studies (AJS) "paused" a relationship with Tablet which had enabled the magazine to place advertisements through AJS. The pause came in response to complaints by AJS members about the content published by Tablet; Jewish Currents reported that the critiques centered around articles published in Tablet within the past 5 years. Progressive magazine Jewish Currents also noted in an email newsletter that several Tablet contributors are Trump supporters and asserted that "much of the magazine's content is focused on decrying liberal 'wokeness'", arguing that while Tablet initially "gained a reputation for publishing high-quality arts and culture content", a conservative editorial line became more pronounced during the presidency of Donald Trump.[46]

Awards

Tablet has received two National Magazine Awards.[76][77] The magazine won a Rockower Award in 2013 and another in 2022.[78][79]

Lists

In 2010, Tablet published the first of its "Greatest" lists: the "100 Greatest Jewish Songs."[80][81] In 2011, Tablet published the "100 Greatest Jewish Films," which awarded its top spot to E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.[82][83] In 2013, Tablet published its list of "101 Great Jewish Books," including authors such as Betty Friedan, Sholem Aleichem, Karl Marx and Art Spiegelman.[84][85]

In 2018, Tablet published the "100 Most Jewish Foods," which spawned a book[86][87] as well as a puzzle[88] of the same title. Also in 2018, the magazine began a line of books published with Artisan. These include The Newish Jewish Encyclopedia[89] and a Passover Haggadah with artwork by Shai Azoulay.[90]

References

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