Friday, July 13, 2007

Happy Birthday!

This blog is 1 year old! Happy Birthday!

If you look at our archive, we began at Parashat Mattot-Massei last year.

Of course, today is also the year anniversary of the outbreak of the 2nd Lebanon War which actually stimulate me to begin writing on a regular basis. We all still await the return of Ehud Goldwasser, Eldad Regev, and Gilad Shalit. Kudos to Yael Dan on Galei Tzahal who plays the Rami Kleinstein song composed for the missing soldiers every single day so that people don't lose the momentum. Kudos to Google Israel today for attaching the following to their rather simple title page.

"ושבו בנים לגבולם"

As you might have noticed, I have been writing less recently. Life has been busy. I have many posts in the pipeline. About Har Habayit, about prisoner exchanges and Gilad Shalit, about sexual harassment... the hot topic in Israel nowadays, and much more. and hopefully I'll be writing them soon.

In the meantime I just want to note some musings about this blog after a year.

I sometimes ask myself why I am doing this. Part of it is a need simply to express some thoughts, to voice myself and articulate things that I feel passionate about. On another plane, this all began during the Lebanon War during which I felt a responsibility to communicate to my students and wider family in order to inform about the mood and facts of what was going on here. Even now, after the craziness is behind us, I still feel a responsibility to my readership to raise moods and perspectives that people may not have and which might possibly enrich the spiritual lives of my readers.

I guess I have 3 headings to this blog. Parsha, Israel and Judaism/Modern Orthodoxy. I am passionate about all of the above. I find it difficult to strike a balance between them all. When am I just acting as a current events commentator for Israel? or a politician? But I am a Rabbi, a teacher, a passionate Jew. I should write Torah! But is that why people come to a blog. For that they can read the VBM or my shiurim at Erez Hatzvi or Lindenbaum's websites! Should I write more Torah? I love Israel and Religious Zionism. I am an incorrigible Jew of the Modern Orthodox variety. It is my method of Avodat Hashem and the hashkafa that I follow influenced by many of my Rabbis: Rav Lichtenstein, Rav Amital, Rav Leibtag, Rav Sacks, Rav Jakobowitz, Rav Yoel Bin Nun, Rav Medan. These are the things I am passionate about.

What don't I write?
I know that I have tried not to talk lashon hara, not to be sensationalist, not to talk too much about my personal or family life i.e. not to be exhibitionist, not to be negative. Maybe that is not how most blogs work, but that is my self-imposed restriction set. I try not to write too long. Who reads long blog pieces anyway!

What has surprised me?
How much time and mind-space this takes up. It is quite the full-time job!

What would I like more of?
Comments! I would love readers to dive into the conversations more. If you are my student, don't see it as impertinent to add a comment. It is like the classroom. Voice your ideas!

I frequently have doubts about whether the world needs yet another blog of this sort. There are many blogs that talk about Israel and Judaism. I get great pleasure then when I meet people: friends, students and total strangers who relate to me how much they enjoy the blog. If it manages to seed positive ideas, and get people thinking about important things and raising awareness etc. then, this IS undoubtedly a worthwhile enterprise.

FYI, we have anything between 700-950 visits / month. Not bad. There are over 300 regular readers of this blog.

FEEL FREE to write in the comments, what you LIKE about the blog, and also do note how I might be able to improve ...ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT AND CHANGE.

Shabbat Shalom, and thank you for being part of this major experiment.


Anonymous said...

Rav Alex.
We love your blog!
Whether it is Israel or Torah, we always wanna read what u hav 2 say.

lycralout said...

Keep on writing. I'm not a student of yours, and am easily old enough be the father of one. In these of religious extremism -- even in Judaism -- it's reaffirming to read someone who's unashamedly modern orthodox.