When you think Jews and Las Vegas, what comes to mind? If you answered Bugsy Siegel, we're on the same page. Or maybe you guessed Mo Greene, the Siegel stand-in, in "The Godfather." He's the one who slaps Freddy Corleone around -- and gets shot in the eye as payback. Greene is also referenced in "Godfather II," when Hyman Roth, aka business tycoon Meyer Lansky, fondly recalls that his vision transformed a once-dusty stopover for GIs into, according to David magazine, "the world's most dynamic city." I'd challenge that assertion, as a New Yorker, but I agree: Jews do wondrous things in the desert.

The premiere issues opens with "a word from Max," though Max is never identified. It could be Max Perkins, Max Beerbohm or Maxwell Smart. So I consulted the masthead. He turns out, along with the Mrs., to be the publisher. But the thrust of his missive -- that David is "for people whose understanding of history informs their contemporary identities"-- is a stretch.

I'm all for eclecticism, but don't see evidence of historic sensibilities in David's premiere issue -- though that could change. Nor how such a charge tallies with publisher Max Friedland's maxim of covering "the people and groups that live life to the fullest." Both are laudable aims; neither, however, fully addresses the mag's editorial and target audience: Las Vegas' Jewish community. As such, it covers Jewish life and interest in the city. And while it showcases Jewish diversity, it could appeal to a broader readership.

So let's see where the pastrami meets the rye: page 43.

The photo is a healthy serving (and by that I mean as big as your head) of pastrami on marble rye, served up nice at The Bagel Café -- an East Coast deli for West Coasters. The 14-year-old restaurant boasts such favorites as raspberry rugelach, matzo ball soup, knishes and potato pancakes. The lox platter, like a Grecian urn, is a thing of beauty -- only tastier and more accessible.

Now, Judaism is an ancient civilization -- and our contributions to the world are exemplary: medicine to entertainment, law to psychoanalysis. From Jesus to Freud to Spielberg, we're rocked almost everyone's world at one time or another. But food is a great leveler -- and if you want to understand a culture, get to know its cuisine. And the Bagel Café, should you visit Sin City, is a great place to start.

We're all aware that Las Vegas is expanding its reach. "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas," is a familiar refrain. At the same time, the city is a growing retirement and family center. Currently, it is the 28th-most populous city in the U.S. with an estimated 2009 population, per the Census Bureau, of 567,641. Which means there is ample subject matter.

Because this is a lifestyle monthly, launched with 20,000 copies being distributed throughout the Las Vegas Valley at over 100 locations, David covers health, dining, arts and shopping. Given the city's nightlife, there is a profile of nightclub entrepreneur Jason Strauss, who, with partner Noah Tepperburg, already runs an A-list club in the Hamptons. Together, they oversee the $20 million complex known as the Tao Nightclub and Asian Bistro.

But LV is not all glitz and glam; the article titled "Help" underscored the pub's larger aim of inclusion. Project Ezra, spearheaded by the Jewish Family Services Agency, is committed to giving Jews and non-Jews aid with job placement and training. The goal isn't just economic sustenance, but enhancing self-esteem.

Given its Jewish bent, David also includes candle-lighting times for Shabbat and synagogue options, covering every denomination from Reform to Hasidic-run Chabads. If Madonna is in town, she can check out the Kabbalah Center.

Personally, I got a big kick out of the ads; two in particular focus on funeral directors. I love the Kraft/Sussman tagline: "Who better to care than 2 Jewish mothers?" It's billed as the "No. 1 choice of independent Jewish funeral directors across America," adding: "Allow us to show you why." If Sarah Palin wins in 2012, they'll get their chance.


Published by: Jewish Ink

Frequency: Monthly

Web site:

2 comments about "David".
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  1. Ellen Lebowitz from Ellen Lebowitz Press, August 4, 2010 at 1 p.m.

    Sounds like a new and great mag. Looking forward to reading it.

    Thank you for the introduction.

    Ellen Lebowitz

  2. Gordon Haight from Groupe ATI, August 4, 2010 at 8:24 p.m.

    Another birthed magazine with a short lifespan ahead. 20,000 is a small puddle, not a big pond... and by aiming it at a small target audience, the bullseye is a pinpoint.

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