On Thursday night, I had the opportunity to go to dinner with R' Gil of Hirhurim and Jameel of the Muqata. We went to the very noisy but delicious Clubhouse Cafe, where it didn't take much to get Gil to try the excellent duck empanadas, before I ordered the (excellent) prime rib du jous sandwich and they got steaks. At one point, I mentioned that I had to speak at the Shabbaton the next night, and Gil suggested I take from his post the previous night; in retrospect, that might have been better than what I tried.
We were later joined by Treppenwitz and MOChassid, who came over from La Marais (which opened Clubhouse Cafe) across the street and ordered dessert by us. At some point, listening to the stories and thoughts of the others as we all sat there talking, I recall thinking how interesting it was to sit with a group of people who were so much more accomplished than I. While there may not have been a lot to learn per se, it was certainly fascinating to think about just how much each of them do and the impacts they have - both in real life and with their writings. We were joined at the very end by Chana, SJ, and M.R., and SJ made a comment to me at the end that I think summed up the evening the best: "It's nice to see that they are all such menschen!"
The bloggers I ate with are ones who are genuinely nice people, as are most bloggers - certainly with blogging as in real life there are some bad apples, and perhaps they are louder online, but predominantly it is a community like any other. We've had countless bloggers at our home in the past, and we don't think of them as "bloggers", really - they're good, close friends. Therefore, it was especially nice to see how these "bigger" bloggers are also so truly dedicated to what they do and what they say and are true menschen in how they go about it.
As of this moment, Gil (Hirhurim), Jameel (Muqata), and David Bogner (Treppenwitz) and a number of other J-bloggers are in the JFK airport heading to Israel on the Nefesh B'Nefesh flight that is carrying a couple hundred new olim to the Holy Land. Those links are to posts they've written in the last number of hours about their upcoming trip and the people they will be accompanying and writing about as they go. Robert Avrech has come in from LA and is headed on the flight, too, with a great lead-in post. ck of Jewlicious has started writing about the girl he is accompanying. There will be far more posts coming from many J-bloggers all over who are blogging the trip and the stories of the people who they are accompanying on behalf of NbN. The NbN blog will probably be linking to some of them as well. While still at the starting stages, the posts are interesting and some already are discussing the people that are on the flight; we know at least one family on the flight, my former co-worker/brother(-in-law) of FFW and FrumDoc.
The flight is a lead-in to the 1st International J-Bloggers Convention in Israel (you can register to watch online or attend in person here), which I see now will include former Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu. Thanks to the always reliable Esther Kustanowitz for that one - she, too, is on the flight and already has a couple of short posts up (and missed out on dinner Thursday night!). I'm sure it will be amazing, as will the trip (if tiring), and hatzlacha to them all, especially all the people making aliyah!