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. Seems you’ve made some healthy adjustments. Good for you. I’m still wrestling with issues that I know demand adjustment in my approach to blogging, less to who/what other blogs I read. Somewhat pig-headed, I’m not making progress, hoping to have my cake and eat it too. Your post here has a lesson for me. However, I’m not listening, I’m not listening, I ‘m not listening…

    1. Me too,I am no true Poet mine extends from Prose Poetry to doggeral and I no longer have the mental gymnastics to count words or syllables. I think David left a like somewhere on a blog of mine and I began following.
      My own blogs range from photography,art,history to Comparative Theology and Interfaith.

  2. David, as you know I identify as a cultural Jew. I learn from your posts, l love your poetry, and I respect your opinions. I feel privileged to be able to read your blog. I am happy you are comfortable where your blog took you. I am grateful I found your blog.

  3. Thank you, David. I wrote columns for 20 years, and now an occasional TOI blog, and was never sure if any of them were read by anyone. Glad you are now getting reactions from a community. Keep it up

  4. My blog is also a poetry blog, although I do read some others. I consider myself a Secular Humanist but am interested in cultures, philosophies, and religions of other people. With the exception of Neonazis, mass murders, abusers, and similar criminals, I try to respect others and their views.

    David, I find you to be a very empathetic person and a brilliant writer. If you love writing your blog, know that I am very happy to read it! โค

  5. Like most of your readers I ain’t jewish. It’s been a pleasure to read your cogitations. Intially frankly it was kaddish that drew me in, having no idea wtf that was. In fact it’s been an accelerant for your writing journey

  6. I, too, started my blog for a completely different purpose than it turned out to espouse. It started out to be for those mourning the death of a loved one but ended up being about celebrating life.

  7. Love the settling and acceptance in your voice I feel David. I too love how blogging evolves in ways I never expected.
    ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™
    “It often brings out those aspects of our lived experiences as human beings, which transcend borders and labels.”

  8. A bit of a similar experience here, too, with my search for other deaf bloggers. I finally gave up on that and switched focus to poetry (and now photography, as well). I’m glad you’ve found your groove, David. Your insightful poetry and prose connect with a lot of people, and exploring the human experience through poetry is a noble endeavor. Keep doing what makes you happy. You’ll always have my support. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. I’ve been through a similar experience, David. I thought that the word ‘kosher’ in the title would attract Jewish readers with whom I would share my ideas about all kinds of international food prepared in a kosher way. It didn’t happen. Most of my followers are not Jewish. I don’t worry about it; I am having fun cooking and writing, and If I connect with other bloggers, I could care less whether they are Jewish or not, as long as it is mutually intellectually rewarding.
    Much love,
    D

      1. Almost – with the difference that I never looked for people to connect with. At first, I was only putting my father’s favorite recipes out as a tribute to him, and then it didn’t really matter, and it still doesn’t.

  10. What a lovely meaningful journey you’ve been on David. Poetry and writing is what makes living a reality to many of us. Be you. I found myself that way too… I’m a pagan Buddhist and live my life to the fullest. Namaste my friend. โค

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