Four years ago, I embarked on a journey that my friends thought was impossible. I dreamed of creating a full color, glossy magazine to provide high-quality, fun reading and inspiration to young Jewish girls. Quite a daunting task for someone who’s not in the publishing industry. Did I mention that I was 13 years old?
The idea first came up in the sixth grade lunchroom. Casually, I mentioned to my friend, “Wouldn’t it be cool to publish a magazine for Jewish girls?”
She thought about it for a moment. “Yeah, but we could never do it.”
That should have been the end of my idea. I could feel my friend’s message hanging in the air: Kids play sports, do homework, arrange surprise parties, baby sit. A kid could never do something big like publish a magazine.
I pushed the idea to the back of my mind where it incubated for a year. One afternoon, while fooling around with the publishing software on my computer, I began designing a cover of my dream magazine. Excited by how real the cover turned out, I started brainstorming what I would put in a magazine for Jewish girls. Before I knew it, I had created the table of contents for the first issue of “Yaldah” (Hebrew for girl). I would show everyone it could be done, even if I had to do it myself.
One year later, the premiere issue was complete. (I even skipped summer camp so I could finish it.) I wrote 90 percent of the content. I had to teach myself everything: how to create a website, accept payments, find a printer, design the layout, write press releases, sell advertising, and fundraise. Finally, one cold evening in October 2005, a package arrived at my front door — 150 copies of the first issue of Yaldah Magazine — for Jewish girls, by Jewish girls! I proudly flipped through a copy and my life was forever changed.
Fast-forward four years. Now I’m a senior in high school and a busy publisher. Yaldah has a staff of nine employees, and over 60 girls have served on our yearly Editorial Board. We just printed 1500 copies of the latest issue. We have hundreds of subscribers worldwide, and Yaldah is sold in bookstores across the country. We run summer and winter retreats for Jewish girls, art and writing contests, and mitzvah projects. And next year Yaldah will release three high quality books for girls.
People always ask me, “How did you do it?” I sometimes ask myself the same question. How can someone so young accomplish something so big? And I think part of the answer is because I was so young. Children have a natural imagination. They’re always thinking up big ideas and dreams. It’s the adults who try to pound reality into them. If an adult has an idea, they’ll usually think through all the little details of what might not work; they’re afraid of failure. Kids aren’t afraid to take risks and try new things. After all, that’s what childhood is all about.
Sometimes adults share with me an idea or a dream they have. I’m often taken aback at the tiny details they worry about. I want to say, “Just take action! Go for your dream and everything else will fall in place.” When I had first dreamed of publishing a magazine, the idea of failure or problems didn’t even cross my mind. All I saw and felt was the excitement of my goal. When your goal is your focus, you see challenges as bumps in the road and part of the journey to reach your destination.
I’ve observed that adults feel the need to clue children in on how the world really works, to point out how things really aren’t so simple, and that often things don’t go your way. While these statements are true, I think kids can and will learn them on their own, through life experience. Adults sometimes need to let kids just enjoy the thrill and innocence of childhood dreaming.
Adults can learn from children, too. Be positive, play, try new things, take risks, imagine, dream. I bet we’d all accomplish a lot more if we remembered our childhood ambition.
Recently, I’ve been blessed with an incredible opportunity for YALDAH to expand. My mother heard about the “Someday Stories” essay contest sponsored by Wells Fargo Bank, asking people to write about what they would do with $100,000. My mother wrote about how with that money Yaldah could expand and offer so much more to Jewish girls.
I was thrilled to find out that I was one of five finalists from over 10,000 entries. Wells Fargo came to my house for a day to video, and came in their signature stagecoach! They posted a short video about each finalist on their website, and for over seven weeks people can vote for which finalist should win the $100,000.
Winning $100,000 would take off the burden of constantly having to fundraise to cover our expensive printing costs. We’d be able to expand to publish more books for girls, publish longer issues more often, pay professional staff, keep subscription costs affordable, offer scholarships to our Jewish girls’ retreats, and so much more.
The support and unity of the Jewish community could help me win. You can vote today (there are only a few days left, voting ends November 10th) at www.wellsfargo.com/somedaystories (it’s under my mother’s name, Evelyn from Sharon,MA).
My journey has made me believe in the power of children. Thanks for your support.
(Reprinted with permision of Aish.com)
YOU GO GIRL!!!
Tons of hatzlacha to you!
SHE IS ONLY DOWN BY 500 OR SO EVERY ONE HAS TO VOTE
site seems to be hammered – patience!
you have to register, sometimes you have to login, sometimes it allows you to vote without registering, you have to click on Evelyn on the left (third name), and then when video loads, a vote button will show up on the top left of the video which you click, and then you have to click on a cause – sometimes the causes show up without the button to click on, if you x, and click on vote again, it sometimes works – a little patience will help this girl with her dream!
Her name is Leah Larson. Just voted several days ago, and she needs our support. She is very likely to win because she keeps on holding top position.
it doesn’t work
The site is a little flakey. First you have to create an account, then login and vote, it is a little complicated
Instructions I got in an email for those who are having trouble:
1) Click on the link. This girl is named Leah, though it is under her Mother’s name, Evelyn. (possibly because Leah is 17?)
2) You have to create your own made up Username that is not yet used by someone else. (Don’t be surprised to see that the typical Jewish names
are taken, Yaakov, Sora…etc.. just make up a name)
3) You also have to create your own password.
4) Your e-mail address HAS to be a real one, though we did not see any problem with that, as they do not ask you to buy anything, or join
anything, or try free offers etc.
5) You are allowed one vote per e-mail address.
6) After you have signed in, you then click the name Evelyn from Mass. to view her story, and vote for her.
7) They also want you to vote for a “cause”, and they explain them as well, if one is interested.. ..
8) MOST IMPORTANT LET’S GET THOSE VOTES IN FOR HER!!!!!
if you live outside of the US use zipcode 02067
Thank you Yeshiva World!! This is what I like to see! Yes!!! Ahavas Yisroel!! Let’s hope that she now receives thousands of votes and wins. It is a beautiful magazines and a wonderful idea. She is really in a tight race with one other finalist and they take turns winning. Let’s see if Klal Yisroel can push her over the top. I think we have only three more days. If anyone needs further instructions they can check out the Coffee room where there is a post about it as well.
I’ll try again to vote again tonight. But most of all, everyone should appreciate what an extraordinary young lady this is to have mastered publishing an authentic magazine all on her own.
Yasher Koach to you, Leah! You are truly a source of nachas for K’al Yisroel.
I tried to register about five times, all with no success. When you hit register it seems to be processing you registration but never actually goes through. Does anyone know what to do about this problem.?
M.W. you just have to be very patient – the site is hammered now – as the two top finalists are both out there trying to get themselves voted for. After you register, you still have to click login and input your user name and password. then you can vote
This sounds like a wonderful project.
However, I can’t understand why something as influential as a magazine should not require something like a hechsher from rabbonim who have scanned the articles, and vouch that they not against Torah principles.
A Jewish magazine for Frum (girl) teens could be a life-saver, in that it gives a Kosher alternative to the very traif & immoral teen magazines from the street. However, it could ch’v accomplish the opposite, if it is not monitored by adult Torah figures.
In the above letter I fail to see any hint of such cousel by daas torah. I will therefore wait with my support e-mail until such is done.
From the FAQ section of the contest website:
When is the contest over?
The voting period ends November 10, 2008
At last check she is only down by 63 votes.
Maybe we can petition the editor to keep this on the front page until the is over – with a worldwide readership, we can assist her in a big way.
I agree mdlevine !! dear yw editor please keep this on the front page till the 10th so we can help her win !!!
Hazlacha Rabbah-will get my girls to vote tonight
Thank you everyone for your support!
Please note that if you had trouble voting, the voting site was having technical problems for the past few hours. It looks like it’s back to normal now. Please spread the word!
hope u win
She is now up by 187. Apparently, the guy from Utah is having a big party Friday night to get the word out and get votes. In the past his votes have gone up significantly over Shabbos so keep those votes coming!
very i,pressive!! will get all my fam and friends to vote for her!!
Wow – as of now ahead over 500 votes! (We were behind 100 this morning). Please encourage people to vote on Monday, the last day, as close to the end as possible. It’s easiest if we pull through with tons of votes at the last minute.
have you ever picked up a copy of YALDAH Magazine? I have-I work for YALDAH. I just want to let you know that I’ve never seen one article in there that wouldn’t earn a hechsher. One article that we wrote once we thought might cause some uproar so we had a Rabbi read through it and
If you still want to talk about it, feel free to email me @ [email protected]. I’m only giving out that email address because it’s already published in the magazine. I’m not that crazy.
No. I have never picked up a copy of Yalda. I’m not a teenager, and so far the research among my grandkids who are says none of them have yet either.
Like I mentioned in my previous comment – I have no reason not to assume that this is a very good & kosher magazine. If it is, then it’s a heaven-sent! However, just like when it comes to food, we would not suffice ourselves with a deli or resturant owner’s assurances that “everything is as Kosher as could be”, but would expect a real HECHSHER from a rabbinical authority who takes responsibilty. In the same way I feel it is imperative to find a reliable Rav or Torah figure who backs the kashrus of this publication.
For all intents and purposes, a few well-meaning teenagers could write “stuff” they think is “cool” and “neat” which could be terribly pervasive and damaging to the wrong person reading it. The smartest and most religious teenage girls should not trust themselves to release ANYTHING to publication before getting a RESPONSIBLE CERTIFICATION – an opinion is not enough – from a Rabbinical authority who takes responsibilty for everything written in it.
You definitely did the right thing by having a Rabbi read through something you felt may be viewed as controversial. But you should take it a few steps further. You should consult a Rabbi – and, please, a GOOD Rabbi, who the average ben torah trusts – to become the official Rav Hamachshir of the magazine. And, of course, some of the $100,000 you’ll be getting should go to pay him, so he’s RESPONSIBLE, not just doing a favor.
There is nothing out there that is doing as much spiritual damage today as the Media. You seem to be a very bright person, albeit still quite young. So you don’t need to be shown examples of the terrible potential destruction that could come from wrong words in publication read by the wrong mind at the wrong time. V’day L’mayvin.
I want to clarify something that I think you’re missing-YALDAH really was not made with the intent of being a TEEN magazine.
YALDAH is geared for ages 8-15, but the material is mostly geared for the younger half of that age group.
YALDAH’s website is http://www.yaldahmagazine.com, by the way-for more information.
LISTEN HERE MR. DAASTORAHWTCHDG WHY ARE U THE ONLY ONE BEING NEGATIVE WHY WHY SHE IS DOING AN AMAZING FOR TEENS IF U GO ON HER WEBSITE U CAN SEE THT SHE HAS OTHER TEENS WORKING FOR HER KEEPING THM AWAY FROM OTHER THINGS WHT IS SHE DOING BAD WHT WHT U BASHING IT WHN U NEVER EVEN READ IT BE POSITVE SHE NEEDS OUR SUPPORT COME ON EVERY ONE US THE FRUM JEWS WILL MAKE HER WIN WILL MAKE KIDDSH HASHEM BY VOTING FOR HER. EXAMPLE ON HER WEBSITE A NON JEW WRITES THT SHE VOTED FOR HER AND AS A BIRTHDAY GIFT A JEWISH FRIEND GAVE HER A SUBSCRIPTION AND HER DAUGHTER LOVES IT
Please help Yaldah Magazine Win $100,000! With just a moment of your time, you can help a Jewish cause! Just go to http://www.wellsfargo.com/somedaystories and vote for Evelyn from MA which is Leah Larson of Yaldah Magazine.
There is very little time left till they announce the winners and here is your chance it only takes 30 seconds and you can help a Jewish cause win $100,000, think about it if everyone votes for Leah Larson of Yaldah Magazine which on wellsfargo.com/somedaystories is Evelyn from MA, and it takes less than 1 minute, and if everyone sends this article to their e-mail list, Yaldah Magazine has a very big chance of winning, and Winning the grand prize would give YALDAH the push forward that it needs in order to take the magazine to the next level.
To vote for Evelyn from MA which is Leah Larson of Yaldah Magazine go to http://www.wellsfargo.com/somedaystories
GRAND IDEA, Leah and good luck.
Especially out-of-town where there are not many Judaic bookstores and the abundance of Torah newspapers to read a magazine is what the kids crave.
“However, I can’t understand why something as influential as a magazine should not require something like a hechsher from rabbonim who have scanned the articles, and vouch that they not against Torah principles” – Leah does have a sounding board before publishing an article,
subcribe and read a few of them.
26. thank you…
She did and is doing a great job!!
MR. DAASTORAHWTCHDG your negative input is not neccesary. This is an impressive magazine created by a young girl… instead of attacking show some support, or just dont say anything!!
This is a wonderful kiddush hashem and a great inspiration to young frum girls!!
Go yaldah!! we are all rooting for you!!
ywn editor: could you please put this in the front page so that everyone could see it and vote??
we need leah to win!!
I got this as a e-mail and Yes I think that YWN should put this on the front page for a day, I heard that the other guy who is in a tight race with Yaldah is having a Hugh fundraising this Shabbos to try to beat us, so we need to help our fellow Yid,
Only A Few Days Left To Help Yaldah Magazine Win $100,000
There is a 17 year old frum girl from Sharon, Mass. who is one of 5 runner ups for a Wells Fargo contest. She created and is the editor of Yalda, a magazine for frum girls. Whoever wins the contest will get $100,000 to spend on their project. The finalist with the most votes wins!! THE CONTEST IS OVER NOV. 10th, which is just in a few short days!
She is in a very tight race with one other finalist. We should all try to help her win this money:
1) With just a moment of your time, you can help a Jewish cause! Click on the link, http://www.wellsfargo.com/ somedaystories and vote for Evelyn from MA which is Leah Larson.
2) You have to create your own made up Username that is not yet used by someone else. (Don’t be surprised to see that the typical Jewish names are taken, Mendy, Sara…etc..just make up a name)
3) You also have to create your own password.
4) Your e-mail address HAS to be a real one, though we did not see any problem with that, as they do not ask you to buy anything, or join anything, or try free offers etc.
5) You are allowed one vote per e-mail address. (but it would be nice if you vote a bunch of times)
6) After you have signed in, you then click the name Evelyn from MA. to view her story, and vote for her.
7) They also want you to vote for a “cause”, and they explain them as well, if one is interested…. Vote
8) MOST IMPORTANT LET’S GET THOSE VOTES IN FOR HER!!!!!
Here is the link!: http://blog.wellsfargo.com/ somedaystories and vote for Evelyn from MA which is Leah Larson.
Let’s hope she wins!! Thanks everyone for helping!!! And most important please pass this on to as many people as you can.
Leah Larson, 17 year old creator and editor of the popular YALDAH magazine for girls worldwide, was chosen as a semifinalist in the ‘Someday Stories’ contest by Wells Fargo Bank.
Chosen, along with four others, from 10,000 applicants, Leah received $10,000 for her magazine. Yaldah – Hebrew for “girl” – is a magazine that encourages young girls to follow their dreams, empowers them to take leadership roles in their communities and celebrates their Jewish faith.
But the story doesn’t end there. On September 17th, Wells Fargo posted video entries from each of the five finalists on their website, to be voted on by the public. The contestant receiving the most votes will win $100,000 for their venture.
With just a moment of your time, you can help a Jewish cause! Just go to http://www.wellsfargo.com/ somedaystories and vote for Evelyn from MA which is Leah Larson.
Winning the grand prize would give YALDAH the push forward that it needs in order to take the magazine to the next level, To vote for Evelyn from MA which is Leah Larson go to http://www.wellsfargo.com/ somedaystories
There is very little time left till they announce the winners and here is your chance it only takes 30 seconds and you can help a Jewish cause win $100,000, think about it if everyone votes for Leah Larson of Yaldah Magazine which on wellsfargo.com/somedaystories is Evelyn from MA, and it takes less than 1 minute, and if everyone sends this article to their e-mail list, Yaldah Magazine has a very big chance of winning.
we need to help Yaldah YOU can help Yaldah Magazine, YOU cam make the difference by even 1 vote, so send this to everybody you know & please vote.
So Please send this Article to everyone on your contact list.
Please Yeshiva World, put this up on Motzei Shabbos on the front page, and keep it there through Sun. The contest is over on Mon. and over Shabbos she always falls behind Danny! Right now she is ahead but the other guy always gets tons of votes on Shabbos.
Also, Mr. “Daas Torah” Watch Dog…you made a chillul Hashem and probably hurt these young girls to the core. This magazine is just sweet, and provides many many yiddishe girls with a kosher alternative to trashy magazines. Do you know that there are many yidden all across the world who are not lucky enough to live in a major Torahdik center? This magazine, connecting many girls from everywhere gives them a sense of belonging and community. I bet there are girls who actually become closer to yiddishkeit as a result of this magazine. A case in point can be found on Yalda’s website and was mentioned by #26. It seems that a non Jew bought a subscription for her daughter’s JEWISH friend. Bet that girl was not frum. And in the meantime, this non jewish mother was in awe of Yalda, and that is called a KIDDUSH HASHEM!!!!
I actually do not believe that you, “Watch Dog” are a grandfather. I think you are a young kid. I as a grandmother know that we older folks have a litle more chochma than you display. We have been around longer…and have a broader vision. Your comment gives you away. An older person knows that not everything is good for everybody, but there may be value to it nonetheless. You lash out and invalidate something you know nothing about. That is not the voice of a wise Zeidy.
Keep it up Leah, and don’t let this negative voice bother you. I am sure that you are doing what is right in the eyes of Hashem. May you continue to have much Hatzlacha… from a Bubby who will soon order a subscription for her grandaughter. IY”H.
I’m sorry, but I will have to agree with DaasTorahWtchdg. Would it be so hard to have a Rav check over the magazine? I don’t think a project like this can be supported by the Torah community without a haskoma from rabonnim.
Leah Is loosing now by over 500 Votes, that other guy Danny campaigned over shabbos, can theyeshivaworld.com please put up another article asking people to vote, thank you theyeshivaworld.com you never know maybe because of YWN Yaldah will win.
Right now Leah is winning by only 22 votes. Let’s make sure she stays in the winning.
now shes losing by 50
YW edtior she is only up by 5 now with 1 day left lets help her by putting the story backon the front page for the day כל ישראל ערבים זה לזה
what time is it finishing?
11:59 PM on Monday night CA time (2:59 AM Tuesday Morning NY time).
thank you ywn for putting it back on the front page—i dont even know the girl-and the first i heard of it was last week when it was put up here but i think its a great thing!!! ive been following it very closly since thursday and ive told e/o about it and ive been telling them to go and vote for u—-hatzlacha
I just wanted to say Daas Torah watchdog is not a bad guy. I personally would like to see Yaldah win. But, don’t kill the messenger for the message. There is nothing wrong for what he is asking for.
There was once an issue where there was a frum family featured. The father of the family, a Rabbi was pictured with his arm around his wife in an embrace. I personally found this inappropriate. I actually was shocked this was published, it was a bad choice of photos to use.
Now if this was checked over by a Rabbi, I’m sure that would have been caught. Yaldah magazine did apoligize in an email to me, and said would use better judgement next time.
Overall it’s a very nice magazine and I hope she wins the 100k!!
Keep up the great work! Hatzlacha with the contest.
Like the weekly jewish rags dont make the same mistake from time to time? I would never teach a kid grammar from any of them! I see the “quotes” they use and I KNOW that was not the real quote.
Live & learn. You commented on something you saw and they realized it was an error. So now they know this is not the way.
I you want to keep making a federal case out of this, the magazine is not for you. Perhaps you’ll be happier with some of the others one sees when passing a newsstand?
Please Vote for Evelyn from MA which is Leah Larson of Yaldah Magazine: http://memelabs.com/somedaystories/videoid/3
Thank you YWN for putting it up on the front page again, it was very thoughtful of you.
Mommym, WOW that kind of picture would really shock me as well. I guess everyone is allowed to make a mistake. I do not think Daas Torah watchdog is a “bad guy”, but I do think that there are different needs of the greater Jewish community at large, and maybe that is why that picture slipped through….not everyone is as sensitive as we are. I am im impressed that they apoplogized and said that they would be more careful. I would assume that until all of this publicity, no one even bothered asking them to have everyhting reviewed by a Rabbi…you know what? It needs to be reviewed by a Rebbetzin… What Rabbi would look at a girl’s magazine? Not mine!!!!!
All in all, she is really in the lead now, B”H, and I am sure that a great deal of votes were generated by YWN!!
Thank you everyone for your support and comments. As YALDAH grows B”H we realize the need for Rabbinical endorsement, and have been looking to put together an advisory board of Rebbitzens. If anyone would like to volunteer please let me know.
Thank you again – we couldn’t have done it without the support of the Jewish community.
Let’s see a frum girl win!!!!
right now she is winning by 4,ooo but still need our votes bec he can always come back it over tonight at 3:ooam in NYC in californa it over at 12:00am
WOW. Thanks to emails, ywn, aish, etc. the jewish community is truly letting their viove be heard. Leah is now ahead by 4399, up almost 400 from 40 minutes ago!!! Keep up the good work!!! Remember, all you need for a vote is an email address, so I’m sure that danny and all his friends and family are registering and voting as fast as they can!! YALDAH NEEDS YOUR VOTE!!!
Let’s precise that the Magazine is a Chabad Publication. Thanks again to the Chabad for their Great Work!
did she win or not?
website says “verifying votes”. winner to be announced Nov 17.
To #s 26,29 & 32: You seem to have been “bitten” by my few suggestions that, I must reiterate, are VERY NECESSARY steps that MUST be taken before any issue of “Yalda” is sent off to print. I see that the commentator # 41 was offended by a certain photo prested of a “Rabbi” and his wife. I lso was turned off just by the cover photos shown in this clipping.
You also seem to have missed my line that stated the following: “I have no reason not to assume that is a very good and Kosher magazine. And if it is, then it’s a heaven-sent!”. So I’m not being negative at all, certainly not causing a chilull hashem. Only you are being negative, and care very little about halacha and Hashem.
Good intentions alone are never enough! Like I stated before, just like concerning kashrus of food we would not suffice ourselves with the well-maeaning-ness of the preparer. We would never eat before we see the Kosher certification of a farleslicher (reliable) Rabbi. And that would mean that not only he has seen the food preparation process and was adequately satisfied. But THAT HE TAKES THE RESPONSIBILITY that the facility and the food served there is 100% kosher.
It is EVEN MUCH MORE IMPORTANT to have such a CERTIFICATION concerning a teen magazine. And, with all due respect to all chashuva rebbetzins, I have not yet seen any food hechsher by a rebbetzin (maybe at the reform). So I don’t know why the need to shy away from getting a full-fledged “certification” from a RESPONSIBLE Rav. Oh yes – I have no doubt there will be times when he’ll make the editors scrap something they won’t understand why. But that would be the acid test that he is for real. And – ONLY THEN – do I feel that the frum community should throw their whole weight in support this publication in every way.
# 32 stated: “Do yu know there are many yiden all across the world who are not fortunate enough to live in a mojor torah-dike center?” Maybe this magazine belongs to be sold in certain areas, and not our area!
Only a highly qualified posek can judge that.
Yasher koach #s 33 & 41. We need voices from the right to speak up and be heard.
To the editors of Yalda: I wish you the greatest level of success in your project, provided you don’t “cut corners” and get a Rav who is widely accepted even in the most yeshivishe cirles to become part of your staff. I would like to suggest R. Shmuel Mir Katz shlit’a from Lakewood, or someone similar. “f you do what’s right with all your might your future will indeed be very bright.”
P.S. #32 – My grandchildren are having a great laugh at your comment. Itake it as a compliment that I have youthful exuberance. As for you, I believe you are a Bubby but not a very smart one. Wisdom does NOT always come with age, as is evident in your case.
A GUT SHABBOS EVERYBODY! Go get some good cholent, and don’t take too much to heart. (Except for daas torah, of course!)
#50: Excuse me, I hate to take away credit from Chabad, but this is one place where I think the credit is misplaced. YALDAH is not a Chabad publication. True, the editor of YALDAH is Lubavitch and may enlist Chabad’s help sometimes in publishing and other stuff like that… but YALDAH IS NOT A CHABAD PUBLICATION! All of the credit for YALDAH goes to Leah (and Hashem, of course) and her parents, NOT to Chabad.
P.S. YALDAH WON THE $100,000, in case you were wondering…
You see what a little achdus can do? Now imagine if we would use that kind of attitude as a rule rather than as the exception..