Monday, December 19, 2005

Haveil Havalim #49: 1st Anniversary Edition!

Happy Anniversary Haveil Havalim!!

Welcome to the Haveil Havalim 1st Anniversary Edition! As many of you already know, this week's Haveil Havalim is going to look at posts not only from this past week, but from a year ago as well, as we look back on what the J-blogosphere was blogging about then and what they're blogging about now.

To all those for whom have never heard of Haveil Havalim before, or never understood what it was:
Haveil Havalim is the carnival of Jewish blogs -- a weekly collection of Jewish & Israeli blog highlights, tidbits and points of interest collected from blogs all around the world. It’s hosted by different bloggers each week and coordinated by Soccer Dad. The term “Haveil Havalim”, which means "Vanity of Vanities", is from Kohelet, Ecclesiastes, which was written by King Solomon. Solomon built the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and later on got all bogged down in materialism and other “excesses” and realized that it was nothing but “hevel”, or in English, “vanities.”
SoccerDad has posted the history of Haveil Havalim:
SoccerDad has already posted the original story of how Haveil Havalim got started. I think it's fascinating when one thinks of how much it's grown in just one year: A Whispering Soul's MCAryeh hosted last week and included 112 posts (admittedly, that might be crazy). In addition, he's added a post listing HH's 3-17 and 18-32 plus the Tisha B'av Blogburst, so everyone should feel free to go and check some of those old editions out, and 33-48 are now up as well. Since SoccerDad is being too humble, here are the links for the Haveil Havalim numbers one (complete with intro and rules!) and two.
And now, on to this week's Haveil Havalim...

Compare and Contrast:
It is fascinating to see the similarities and differences on some of the blogs that have been around since the inception of Haveil Havalim.

Almost exactly one year ago, DovBear, "the only blog you'll ever need", had a link dump which included a link to the very first Haveil Havalim, posted by SoccerDad. But that little link dump says so much more. Gil was still "Simcha", but revealed his identity a few days later; and PsychoToddler discovered his fellow congregants were reading his blog, which resulted in him sending them a personalized message, one which we can all relate to.

Gil/Simcha - the leading Halacha (Jewish law) blog - was discussing the Shechita (ritual slaughter) controversy, mixed dancing, and the ordination of women as rabbis. He's always discussing interesting topics, and never shies from controversy. This week is no different, as he discusses the Eruv [or not] in Brooklyn, Religious Zionism part XVII, and Metzitzah B'Peh.

Meanwhile, DovBear himself was in his element: Bashing Bush with a joke, ripping into Jews who love Christmas, and taking to task some of the stupidities in the Orthodox Jewish world - all in outrageously funny fashion. Clearly, not all good things come to an end, as he's still as entertaining as ever, and some things never change.

The always thought-provoking Jack was looking for the answers about ourselves, and noted the importance of having Moments in Time. He and Treppenwitz agreed that all the faith in God in the world does not excuse those who don't proactively try to ensure their children's safety, while Batya mused that it's hard enough to protect one's own self - and she'd rather be jailed than buried. Kesher Talk talked of her disgust with stupidity. Meanwhile, PsychoToddler tried to keep his childrens' minds open and asked God to comfort MOChassid and Motomama who had lost fathers. A year later, MOChassid recalls his father; Motomama would rather spend time with her children than blog too often; and Jack is still blogging at a ridiculous rate - and explains why his blog won't peter out.

Elder of Zion says he has been trying to find his niche within the J-blogosphere, though his defending of Israel against bias has been consistently great - year to year.
Pearlies of Wisdom realized that she, like HH, is celebrating a year of blogging! Bonus - she not only quotes her very first post, but some other great ones. But she's not the only one hitting a milestone: AirTime and JustPassingThrough hit a year the very next day. Ifyouwillit's year of blogging has moved him from the UK to the Holy Land - anyone want cake?
Blogger Meetings:
In a week seemingly full of bloggers meeting each other, Dr. Bean at Kerchoff and PsychoToddler & his wife Mrs. Balabusta have summed up their weekend together, and Citizen of the Month, DadTalk, and his wife Inland Empress blogged about the fun as well. Dr. Bean has a key to the festivities here; PsychoToddler has pictures here (and in some of the other posts as well); and the best of the series is likely this one which should not be read at any job that does not allow you to blog, for your laughter will give you away. Meanwhile, Jameel ended up at Chardal's in Los Angeles for Shabbos at the last second, and then hosted Amshinover (and ate with Litvishe Yid) at the Muqata the next week - and now has a key of bloggers he's met. Amshi blogged about it too - in typical Amshi fashion. Chayei Sarah met the Purple Parrot on her trip to Eilat, too. And this Shabbos, we ate at my sister's with quasi-relatives of Serach's - one of whom just began a blog called Kefirot. Based on his excellent first few posts, including "So Am I A Kofer?", he will likely fit right into the eclectic, diverse, and thoughtful J-blogosphere.
JIB Awards:
The nominations ended Sunday night, Israel time, for the Jewish/Israel Blogging Awards 2005 - better known as the JIB Awards. It is safe to say that much of the J-Blogosphere is excited, and host Israelly Cool was able to get the Jerusalem Post to join in as well. Many bloggers, such as Orthomom, Krum, and myself, have given our own input as to what could be improved, as nothing is perfect; Aussie Dave (Israelly Cool) kindly took out the time to respond in my comments section. I even gave my own list of nominees for the JIBs (though stupidly forgot to actually nominate them at the end as I'd planned on!), and Mirty talked about a few of her favorites. Some are following the JIBs, such as My Urban Kvetch, others such as Batya are not. As Meryl Yourish notes,
As I did last year, I’m going to encourage you all to read the nominated bloggers, and especially the nominated posts. I found a whole bunch of new-to-me bloggers that way, and that’s part of what these awards are all about.
As that's what Haveil Havalim is really all about as well, this comment rings very true. Please read other links in this, and any, Haveil Havalim. You'd be amazed at how many blogs you would enjoy.
Gush Katif: One of the most conflicting events in recent Jewish history, it still causes conflicts - both externally and internally. Batya visits the deportees, and is both inspired and upset. Jameel debates whether or not to take his black and orange flag down from the Muqata. Ze'ev's neighbor questions whether to give or not to those collecting for the IDF.

General: IfYouWillIt feels that Israel needs to take greater steps toward equality in every area. Orthomom is disgusted by the crazy insinuations of Peretz's right-hand man. JoeSettler notes just how much of an effect Sharon's stroke may have, and Jameel made him a new logo. An Unsealed Room thinks about how others are reacting to Sharon's stroke. Classmate Wearing Yarmulke notes that Israel disagrees with Bush on WMD's. Treppenwitz questions whether racism has taken a firm hold among the Palestinians in a great piece. And Aussie Dave makes a funny photo-cartoon. Judeopundit notes that the Kotel is now only "allegedly" the wailing wall, while Elms in the Yard discusses the renovations at the Wall. Cosmic X is thrilled by the rain. MCAryeh recalls a crazy trip to Ein Kobi - "bring a gun!"
Batya and longtime commenter on the big blogs Steve Brizel are both being honored by the NCSY's Ben Zakkai society - congratulations! And, since I had no clue where to put categorize this, Jameel became the first J-blogger (to my knowledge) to blog from over the Atlantic. Ze'ev notes the hypocrisy of those who want to strip Prof. Aumann of his Nobel Prize in economics.
On the Main Line notes another problem with ArtScroll. Mirty wants advice on how to get stronger in her Judaism. ADDeRabbi talks about the Baal Tshuva experience over at Maven Yavin, something being discussed more fully at BeyondTshuva. Speaking of BT, their posts are on the mark, especially many of the posts on conformity. Krum gives a great Post-Mortem on the Slifkin Affair. Godol Hador, he of 250 thousand hits and counting (20% since he "retired"), wasn't even around a year ago - but has become a legitimate contender for the JIB Awards through posts such as Reiki and Zoboomafoo, his Song for J-Bloggers, and his own thoughts and views (maybe). Chardal finds a new investment venture meant to ensure that all Halachos are followed, and notes a sad discussion of Halacha (see the update on bottom).
Shifra is back, and her brother is improving - thank God. Romach wonders what constitutes "Shomer Negiah" to a lot of people. Stacey needs a better camera. Shoshana notes that however small the world is, she wishes it were smaller; and as always, is her own worst critic. Her friend, meanwhile, is a great reminder to be happy with what we've got. Princess D'Tiara surprises herself with her mouth, and shows the picture people come up with for others who are described to them. The always hilarious Fudge notes that Fairway's has Waffle Crisp! Chayei Sarah tells great stories - calling the police in one, and not in the other. And, she passed her Israeli driver's test (which is tough). Seraphic Secret continues the story of their life of love, and Purple Parrot tosses a lighter to a friend. Five Years Later wonders what might have been. LabRab has a great post on perspective - from the heights of Manhattan, and Daled Amos asks that you not step on the nachas that he gets from his daughter.
Steven Spielberg's new movie is getting great reviews - but is bothering lots of Jews. Tel-Chai Nation notes the problem with Spielberg's comments, while Jameel bashes DovBear's partial defense of the movie. Israelly Cool ups that, and is upset at the portrayal (and DovBear). Kesher Talk is sick of people refusing to demonize terrorists, while BlogHd wonders what would happen if someone did the same with families of the 9/11 terrorists.
SoccerDad is sick of the whitewashing titles major news organizations have for anti-Semitism, and is disgusted that Harvard can take money from a prince who blamed 9/11 on the Jews - and then agree to cater classes to suit his wishes. Life-of-Rubin agrees with Jack, and tells Iranian President Ahmadinejad to go to hell. J-BlogMeister can't figure out how Iran was "misunderstood". Seraphic Secret discusses a whole bunch of subjects, mostly about Iran. Kesher talk kindly hands out "cluepons" to the clueless.
RenReb is annoyed that she had no clue about Shifra's brother, and with the story Orthomom talked about - but shows the other side as well. Shira was inspired to look at it from another angle. Robbie is happy that Ford stopped its bias against gays, but wonders about its hate for Jews. He also wants to go to a holiday party, and wonders why JDate is so expensive. Romach thinks the stabbing at Ponovezh illustrates the terrible issues that need to be solved there - or it should be shut down, while Godol Hador notes how out of hand Kannoim are. Orthomom takes a Reform leader to task for misrepresentation, then praises others for acting the right way. Kesher Talk discusses the whole story. Nephtuli wonders what makes someone "black" - and what we, as Jews, should learn from this story. Chaim asks Yahoo! - "What is Jewish music?", while Krum dicussess Metzitza B'Peh. JBlogMeister, the MuzicMan, gives a roundup of Jewish music, while BlogHd points to a new Jewish rapper (warning: for some reason, the video took over my screen, and didn't give it back - but I am hooked up to a seperate monitor; the regular screen was fine). I discussed the Lander College internet ban. Blog D'Ellison says a Jewish-run Christmas would be far different, and View from a Height is sick of the cash-heavy Bar Mitzvahs. Elms in the Yard asks if bad behavior is ever kosher.
R2JBlogs points to a mil-blog, Jews in Green, talking about the life of Jews in the army. This week, JIG interestingly discussed the High Holidays in Baghdad. On the Fringe can't take all the acronyms anymore, and notes we should try to translate our Jewish terms more often for those who don't understand - though Paul points her to a list of them. S. at Maven Yavin explains why we blog.
Romach says Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger has guts, and shares an incredible story. Mississippi Fred discusses why Rabbinical Judaism may be necessary. LamedZayin thinks and writes about the Judgement of the Dead in a new series. JewishBlogMeister shares a story about Nazi victims getting a proper burial. JoeSettler has old maps of Israel. Iraq makes history: I write a nice post on it, and CWY upstages me with one simple picture.
Krum shows a picture of President Bush celebrating Chanukah. Robbie looks for oil - if he remembers. Elie gives away Play-Doh (okay, this is Pesach, not Chanukah). Finally, R' Chaim HaQoton gives some parts of the history surrounding Chanukah.
::::WHEW:::: !! I hope everyone enjoys this anniversary edition of Haveil Havalim! I apologize to all those who submitted posts that got left out - I lost a few submissions when my hard drive crashed late last week. I also apologize to all the blogs I left out - there are so many great Jewish blogs, as I personally discover with each edition of HH, which is the point, really. It would take years to go through every blog's great posts, so this is a "small" selection of the best of the J-blogosphere.

A final, personal request: Please have in mind [Dr.] Avraham Shmuel ben Chana Risa [Luchins] in your thoughts and prayers. He is my wife Serach's grandfather who sadly suffered a stroke last Wednesday. Thank you very much.

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Haveil Havalim is available at TTLB's UberCarnival, at the Conservative Cat, and on

EDIT: And now, at Instapundit as well! Thanks, Glenn.

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  1. So, Ezzie, you're studying accounting, are you? Well, you really took into account lots of great blogs, lots of great postings. Yasher Koach to you.

    Thanks for the mention, and for your diligence in putting your HH anniversary post together!

  2. Yasher koach on the eclectic list. I'm honored that you included me.

  3. What a wonderful list! You did a great job... I must admit, I used to stay away from J-blogosphere, because I'm not really religious, have never been in Israel, and figured I wouldn't be able to relate, but thanks to HH, I'm discovering I was wrong!

  4. Great job tracing blogs through the year! How many links does this one include?

  5. Ezzie - it's going ot take me at least a month to really go through this entire post... Stopping for Giant games, of course...

  6. Jack, Pearl, Esther - thanks! And you are all welcome.

    Irina - wonderful to hear! I am glad you're enjoying.

    Shoshana - Thanks - I just checked really quickly, the answer is... 181! :) Woah...

    Ze'ev - LOL. Well, maybe it will slow you down, so I can catch up on your stuff. :)

  7. Wow, this is like a full time job for you!

  8. Nicely done.

    This almost makes up for leaving me out of your JIB Awards picks!

  9. PT - Well, ummm... I guess it kind of is. Which reminds me: I need a job!!

    Aussie - Thanks. I'm just preparing to host the JIBs in the future. ;)

    Robbie - LOL!! Will anything?!

  10. Wow! That was something! You did a great job!

    You must have missed it, but I blogged from NY this summer.

    and lots more

  11. Mirty - actually, that's a good question: I'll be out of school, but still have 2-3 classes left. I'll be able to work full-time: Perhaps I'll post my resume - what do you think?

    Batya - That was before I discovered the J-sphere! But I actually ended up only taking posts from a year ago and now, and not the ones in between. Otherwise, this would have been too long. ;) Thanks for the link!

  12. Great roundup and thanks for the mentions.

  13. Two mentions! Oh my! I just saw this now. Chanuka Sameach and thanks.

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