Happy Birthday TC Jewfolk!

WOW! Has it really been a year since TC Jewfolk erupted onto the Twin Cities media scene? As Lee Brice would say “ain’t that’s crazy!” Happy Birthday to us!
In the last year, 35,000 unique visitors have come to TC Jewfolk, and they’ve joined us from every state in the U.S.A. and 136 different countries. Over half of our readers are from Minnesota.
On our first birthday, we thought it would be fun to Turn Back Time a bit (now I have THAT song in my head) and look a little at who we are now and where we’ve been. Hold on to you yamulkes!

Our First Week

After reading “WordPress for Dummies” and “Blogging for Dummies,”  TC Jewfolk was ready to launch. The first 32 articles were all by Leora (wow!) and got an average of 10 viewers a piece (her mom, dad, boyfriend, etc…).

The Dream Team

Thanks to UJFC Young Leadership, Leora met Emily Cornell and the two became not only best friends, but the TC Jewfolk editing dream team.  With an eclectic mix of passion, smarts, tech-savviness and a commitment to shaking up the Twin Cities Jewish community, the two have been essential to TC Jewfolk’s first year.

Thank Goodness for Noshin’

Sara Rice’s foodie blog “Noshin‘” was a breath of fresh air when it launched on September 2, 2009. Sara has posted dozens of articles since then, on everything from Shabbat recipes, to vegetable gardening tips, foodie news, and reviews of Jewish-owned Twin Cities restaurants. Have you tried one of her recipes yet? I think that’s where Usher got the inspiration for his song “OMG.”

Strib and MinnPost Give Us Our 15 Minutes of Fame

For the 2009 High Holidays, TC Jewfolk posted a dozen articles on everything from “Ask Shuli: Are e-mail apologies kosher?,” “Noshin’ Recipe: Every New Year Needs Apple Pie,” to “10 ways to stay awake during Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur services.” Star Tribune Religion Editor Jeff Strickler heard about us, and gave the blog it’s first 15 Minutes of Fame with his article the weekend before the Holidays, “Getting the News Out to Jews.” A few months later, in January 2010, MinnPost named TCJewfolk one of “10 Minnesota Blogs that Deserve Your Attention in 2010.”

A New Look

Thanks to Strickler’s article, we were able to get the word out that in order to grow, TC Jewfolk needed a bit of a redesign. Thanks to web guru April Hodge Silver and logo genius Mike Grinberg, we were up and running with the fresh, light, content-filled Jewy design you see on the blog today. (Check out April’s website to see our before-and-after blog look). We also became official – thanks to the lawyers at the Maslon Law Firm for incorporating us as Jewfolk Media LLC.

Building Online Community

TC Jewfolk has a Facebook Page and a Twitter account that we use to connect with you, our readers, on a more personal level. Friend and follow us! Occasionally we give out special ticket deals through those sites as well. Don’t miss an article on TC Jewfolk – get our daily emails, or subscribe to our RSS feed, and then join the hundreds of readers who have commented (by name or anonymously)  on one of our articles.

Reaching Internationally with Minnesota Mamaleh

When Minnesota Mamaleh Galit Breen came on in November 2009 as our once-a-week Mommy Blogger, no one would have guessed that her musings on Jewish motherhood in Minnesota would become an international sensation. Thanks to her great writing, bubbly personality and online networking, Galit’s column has become a go-to resource and conversation-starter for moms from Saint Louis Park to Tel Aviv.

AIPAC 2010

Jenna Mitelman and Leora Maccabee flew to AIPAC in March 2010 to join the JTA, New York Times, Washington Post, Politico and others in the press boxes at the nation’s largest Pro-Israel convention. For five days they blogged nonstop, and interviewing legislators, students and other attendees about their feelings about Israel. Read the articles and watch the videos here.

Free Tickets!

One of TC Jewfolk’s goals has always been to introduce local Jews to the Twin Cities’ Jewish arts scene, and to support the efforts of our local theaters and concert halls to bring Jewish plays and Israeli musicians to the Twin Cities. How do we accomplish that goal? By raffling off free tickets, offering discounts, and reviewing local performances.
Thanks to The Guthrie Theater, The Ordway, Cedar Cultural Center, Theatre in the Round, the Dakota Jazz Club, Hennepin Theatre District, Minnesota Jewish Theater, Heart of the Beast Theater, the Fitzgerald Theater, the Minnesota Fringe Festival, Schubert Club, Minnesota Science Museum, Walker Art Center, Minnesota Jewish Humor Festival, Station 4, Sabes JCC, St. Paul JCC, and the Twin Cities Jewish Book Fair for partnering with us this first year.

Dozens of Minnesota Voices

Over the last year, we’ve brought on a slew of regular writers so that our present roster includes Emily Cornell, Leora Maccabee, Sara Rice, Galit BreenChristopher Bargeron, Jenna Zark, Jenna Mitelman, Jason Kapel, Hal Senal, Ilana Ostrin, Amy Gavel, and Jennifer Slate Grischkan, Brian Nelson, and guest columnists too many to mention. This summer we also snagged our first intern, Emily Cutts. And new writers keep coming on board!

Vibrant New Content

In the last year our columns “Ask Shuli,” “Let’s Kibbitz,” Jew-Date Diaries,” and “Pop Rocks” have come and gone, but we’ve brought added the bi-weekly Jewish A-List called “Alef List” by Emily Cornell, added regular Middle East News coverage by correspondent Jenna Mitelman, and most recently, the multi-author “diaTribe” cultural/literary review column.

So where are we going?

One year out and we’re just getting started. There’s no telling where TC Jewfolk will go and what we’ll do next. You’ll just have to stay tuned!

(Photo: Mermaids of the Lake)