Jewish blog v. Jewish blogger

Then v. Now

In 2014, I began my journey into the blogosphere through the Times of Israel, writing about issues related to Israel and Judaism. Then, after my father died in 2018, I blogged at TOI throughout my year of Jewish mourning; and, following that, I launched The Skeptic’s Kaddish here at WordPress.

At first, and for quite some time, I invested no small amount of energy in connecting with other Jewish and/or Israeli bloggers with very limited success. A handful of my friends in the blogosphere are Jews and blog on Jewish themes, but the great majority of my WordPress connections are not Jewish. As for Israeli bloggers, I’ve found even less success.

For some time, I was disappointed about this, but gradually my thinking shifted and I embraced the truth: The Skeptic’s Kaddish is, first and foremost, a poetry blog. Certainly, it was birthed out of a very Jewish blogging journey; but, as much as I am very much the Jewish blogger, mine is not a “Jewish blog”. Naturally, I regularly relate to the themes of Jewish identity, Judaism, and Israel in my writing, but none of these are my focus at The Skeptic’s Kaddish.


Relief

If I’m being honest with myself, I feel no small sense of relief at taking The Skeptic’s Kaddish in a different direction, even though I’d never expected to do so.

Issues of identity, nationality, religion, faith, etc., are very heavy and sometimes fraught; and, frankly, I don’t always want to get into them. Such issues have the potential to stoke antagonistic feelings and interactions with others (including those who share facets of my identities and those who do not).

Poetry, on the other hand, is, for the most part, quite the opposite – it’s unifying. It often brings out those aspects of our lived experiences as human beings, which transcend borders and labels. Also, at its best, it’s somehow more… fundamental, more raw, because it’s something that comes entirely from within myself, rather than from contexts that have been defined for me.

With every poem, I am free to select which prisms to direct my light through.


And so, after nearly two years of blogging on WordPress, I have completely stopped looking for blogs related to Judaism and Israel.

The WordPress reader allows bloggers to search for and browse through other blogs by tags and keywords; and, until today, my list of search terms, which I developed over months, included upwards of 40 tags. I had tags related to religion, politics, and theology, among other things; and today I removed every single one of those.

Some of the tags I’ve left for myself relate to creative writing, some – to family, some – to introspective reflections, and some – to universal human emotions like anxiety and grief. These are the sorts of blog posts that truly interest me – the ones that I can relate to on a fundamentally human level.

Perhaps I may again do a search for Jewishly-themed blogs, but, honestly, I find that I no longer particularly want to. My focus on writing poetry and connecting with other poets has made me less inclined to get bogged down in reflecting upon my personal identity markers.

I suppose… Well… I suppose poetry has given me greater appreciation for those aspects of myself that are simply – human.

52 thoughts on “Jewish blog v. Jewish blogger”

  1. Such good insights! I think weโ€™re all constantly โ€˜growingโ€™ in one way or another and thereโ€™s no shame in moving oneโ€™s interests in other directions.

  2. David…๐Ÿค—โค๏ธ It has been such a pleasure and honour to know you through your writing. You are fun, witty and clever but your honesty is your most endearing trait. โค๏ธ

  3. I started blogging in January 2021 to reduce the stress of corona. I started a blog in Marathi because I really liked my fatherโ€™s method of teaching Marathi. I waited until August.
    I had only four followers. Then I followed โ€˜Tales Told Different'( Jude Itakali). My language was Marathi, I did it in English and I got so many followers in these six months. I completed a year on the blog in January. Good luck in your writing journey, David โค๏ธ

  4. And that’s the best thing, David. Being able to evolve one’s thinking and truly embrace the awareness of the moment is what living a well-balanced life is all about. I hope you keep discovering newer facets as you progress in your writing journey. Good luck! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Like you, when I started out on WordPress, I was more narrowly focused on blogs I wished to connect to, that being creative writing and poetry. But as time passed, I found myself following a wider variety of blogs, and my WordPress life is all the richer for it.

  6. David, I read this post and love your description of growth. My Blog has evolved over time and across platforms. Initially I posted about my teen sons. Now I am not involved in their day-to-day lives and focus more on my own life. I have never really sought out other bloggers based on social or religious affiliations so that was a strategy that I’ve not considered… I learn something new every day!

  7. Well… good! Everyone should be comfortable (or at least comfortable-adjacent) to their own personal blog, regardless of the meanders they take. I would like to restart my own, but haven’t found my voice. You’ve found yours, for now, and by that I mean, it may change again with time. Embrace the poetry. And I smile because I was very surprised when apparently you were tag surfing you found a blog of mine, under a totally different name, with a totally different focus, and you commented. ๐Ÿ™‚ I am going to keep that a mystery, but just going to say “glad you haven’t dumped ALL of the tags” ๐Ÿ™‚ Do what your heart tells you to here, this is one place you don’t have the proscriptions of others. Shalom.

  8. Wonderful post. It’s very interesting to know about your blogs and how you focused on poetry.

  9. It sounds like an amazing journey. I loved reading about what you see in poetry. I am an arty person (if one must be put in boxes) but I am also extremely pragmatic and sometimes I find it hard to justify the time I give to art (whether it be poetry or drawing or photography). I squeeze it in furtively. So I loved reading about what you have found in poetry because I find that too. The commonality of being human is a wonderful thing to find in this diversified, bordered, difficult to navigate world.

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