You Go, Yaldah!

I don’t think you’d have to look very far to find a rabbi who would condemn the content and the messages of such so-called teen magazines like Seventeen, CosmoGirl!, ElleGirl and YM (formerly “Young Miss,” currently stands for “Your Magazine”). Heck, I might condemn some of those messages. But clearly, there is a market (albeit small) for a magazine that focuses on articles about Jewish girls, and provides an outlet for their creative efforts. Now there’s a YM for the FFBs (hat tip to the JTA):

By day, 14-year-old Emily Larson lives the life of an ordinary teenage American girl. But as soon as her homework’s done, Emily, a pleasant, soft-spoken and intensely focused teenager from Holliston, Mass., who is in the eighth grade at the Maimonides School in nearby Brookline, takes on her Hebrew name and morphs into Leah Larson, the publisher of Yaldah, a magazine for Jewish girls.

When her artwork was turned down for an American Girl cover contest in November 2003, Leah started playing around on her computer, turning disappointment into creative invention. That afternoon, she came up with the name and logo for Yaldah, and an outline for a magazine that featured stories and articles by and about Jewish girls.

Ten months later, on a shoestring budget and a prayer, Yaldah made the transition from Leah’s computer screen to full-color glossy pages. She raised the money for the first issue herself by selling advertising. The first 150 copies sold out within two months, and Leah printed another 80 copies. The second issue — Winter 2005 — was published with a run of 200. She’s now planning the spring edition, which she hopes to get out in time for Passover.

Before I discovered blogging, I thought about founding a magazine. I had two ideas, but wasn’t too sure which was the better market: a magazine/journal about dating, or a Jewish humor publication. I started researching it on the internet, and came to the conclusion that it was impossible to launch a magazine without thousands of dollars in advance capital. So I relinquished the effort. Luckily, I came across the blog-genre, and that partnership has yielded nothing but benefits.

But boy, does this girl make me feel like an underachiever.

Esther Kustanowitz

For more posts by Esther, see, and


  1. T_M

    3/25/2005 at 12:54 pm

    It’s weird, but sometimes it’s better not to know the challenges facing you, because you’re more likely to try something. That may be counterintuitive to thoroughly researching a business idea before going into it…but sometimes one just needs some luck, perseverance, right timing…and a good idea.

  2. shtreimel

    3/25/2005 at 2:58 pm

    Vice Magazine started with:

    1) Welfare
    2) Some coke and E

    And they’ve done more to f’up (in a good way) the magazine/newspaper industry than anything else in a long time. I mean, how many free mags/newspapers are now available, in different formats, content, etc since Vice hit the scene. There’s so much free shit, I’m almost embarassed to purchase a magazine anymore (actually, I haven’t in a very long time).

  3. Juggling Frogs

    9/24/2008 at 10:33 pm

    Check it out! Leah and YALDAH magazine are in the FIVE finalists for Wells Fargo’s $100,000 prize for “Someday Stories”.

    She had an order for Barnes and Noble, but didn’t have the money to print enough copies… And then… She won the $10,000 for being one of the five finalists. (She’s the only non-adult in the final 5, so her mom had to enter the video under her name, “Evelyn in MA”.)

    We need to evangelize about her and get everyone to vote for Leah at

    I’ve written more and linked to stories about her (including this one) here:

  4. Wyatt Wassenberg

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