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Thursday, September 17, 2009

NBN 5769 In Review - Shana Tova!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Jewish Blogging

"Jewish bloggers get advice on combating Iranian threat at Jerusalem convention"
Sep. 13, 2009 by Elan Miller , THE JERUSALEM POST

Aimed at tackling challenges faced by Jewish bloggers both here and in the Diaspora, over 300 bloggers attended the Second International Jewish Bloggers Convention in Jerusalem at Beit Avi Chai on Sunday evening.

Although the convention attempted to help bloggers discover how to best make use of the Internet for promoting their cause, Tova Serkin of JGooders warned that "social media are not the 'magic bullet," and explained that while the Internet is indeed "the future," it remains merely a tool that needs to be harnessed.

The conference, titled "Uniting the Jewish Community through Social Media," included eight workshops followed by two panel discussions aimed at advancing Jewish, Zionist and charitable causes.

Jerusalem Post editor-in-chief David Horovitz, kicking off the convention, confirmed the assembled bloggers' belief that blogs are becoming increasingly influential, telling the crowd that "one of our writers, Haviv, used blog posts by two prominent bloggers in an article of his. His article was one of many that condemned the recent failed Masa campaign and while I don't know which coverage ended up breaking the camel's back, the blogs definitely contributed."
Introducing one particularly hotly anticipated workshop, "Defending Israel through social media tools," Yishai Fleisher of the Kumah blog quoted Texas Rep. John Colberson as saying, "If the printing press made us all readers and Xerox made us all publishers, then the Internet made us all journalists."

Fleisher lauded the Internet's power and potential. "We now have the ability to reach people around the world in an instant," he said, adding that "it's important that bloggers remain opinionated - objectivity is not the holy grail; subjectivity is what it's all about."

The workshop Fleisher hosted featured Ashley Perry, an adviser to Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, along with prominent bloggers Carl of the Israel Matzav blog and the anonymous "Jameel" of the Muqata blog, two of the most referenced and respected pages among the online Jewish community.

Introducing the writer of the Muqata blog, Fleisher told the audience how even the name of a blog can be used as a tool to influence opinion, explaining that if someone tries to run a "search for the Palestinian resistance movement, you instead find a Jewish blog that actively promotes Israel."

Perry, one of the founding members of Honest Reporting, the Jerusalem-based media watchdog which campaigns on behalf of Israel, noted that the bloggers in attendance had vastly different political perspectives, implored the Jewish and Zionist blogosphere to reunite, and took the opportunity to "issue a call of unity," explaining that "Israel has only overcome major issues when we've been together."

"Jameel" agreed, explaining that "finding a common denominator for defending Israel is very important."

Perry highlighted the worrying trend that "it's increasingly hard to explain Israel's rights - not Israel's actions, but rights."

Recognizing the influence of blogging, Perry added, "The greatest threat to Israel and Zionism is Iran. As bloggers, as opinion shapers, we have to try to get people's attention to this issue. Iran is threatening through its extremism, through its propaganda.

"But at the moment, we're preaching to the choir... we need to reach out to Europe in particular - maybe 10 percent of the population are extremists either way and are 'sold,' but the middle 80% is up for grabs, and we're losing that battle. American Jews and Zionists tend to think that Europe is a 'lost continent,' but I'd say that that's not true," he added.

Yael Katsman of Nefesh b'Nefesh, which hosted the event, told The Jerusalem Post that "the convention, following the success of the first bloggers convention last year, should help bring the Jewish community together. We have helped bloggers meet one another and hopefully we can advance our cause together."

For some though, the convention was an opportunity to meet other blog authors. "It's fantastic to get to meet all these bloggers. Over the last four or five years that I've been blogging, I've become part of a community with these other bloggers... it's great to meet them in the flesh," one writer, Akiva Marks, told the Post.

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Friday, September 11, 2009

New Aliyah Photos and Narratives

See the amazing faces and facets of the Ingathering by clicking HERE

Hear 6 and 3/4 old Shoshanna Lapping talk about her Aliyah
Hear the reconstitution of the Fishman family in the Holy Land


This was written by my friends and super inspiring Aliyah-consciousness-raising-machines Rabbi Elan and Rivka Adler:

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Departures and Arrivals

NOTE: This departure narrative was written by my amazing husband, Elan. Some months ago, we decided to split the job of launching our daughter, Ariella, into her new life in Israel. Elan agreed to take on the task of bidding her farewell and I got to receive her here in the Holy Land. For those who don't know our family, Elan, who was born in Israel, is Ariella's step-father (but only in the most technical sense). Shani is her sister. The rest is, I think, self-explanatory.


Hi everyone,

Just an update from our home in Baltimore.

Yesterday I drove Rivkah to Newark airport so she could arrive a day before Ariella's aliyah flight. After a 5 hour delay, Rivkah finally took off and arrived safely today in Israel. Rivkah and her brother Herschel will be joined by several friends at the arrival ceremony at Ben Gurion in just a couple of hours.

Shani and I and her Uncle Brian joined Ariella on the drive to JFK today, as Ariella joined over 200 others on their aliyah flight this afternoon, the last Nefesh b'Nefesh flight of the summer of 2009. We were joined at the airport by Ariella's cousins Sara Nechama, Nochum and their 5-month old baby, Baruch Binyamin.

There is a farewell ceremony, with several speakers, followed by cake and soda, and then came the time no one was looking forward to, saying goodbye to Ariella.

Man, was that tough. Was that ever hard...

It was exactly a year ago when, the night before Ariella was leaving for her year of study in Israel, I told her what will be playing in my head when we bid was the Muppets movie, I think they were in NY, and at the end, when time for departure comes, the characters sing, "It's time for saying goodbye." And then, a year ago, minutes before the last hugs prior to her passing through security, it was, indeed, time for saying goodbye.

But this was very different. Her closet is empty of clothes, her room is mostly bare and devoid of her special touches, and with duffles and backpacks stuffed with what makes her Ariella, she was ready to check in at the El Al counter, seconds away from receiving a boarding pass to the rest
of her life 6000 miles away.

Hugging her and crying, I blessed her and wished her every success and happiness, hesitating to let her go, squeezing her one more time before she belonged to everyone else waiting their turn. I told her that even though we don't share the same genetic material, in less than twelve hours, only she and I will share something special that she shares with no one else in the family- citizenship in Israel.

A few more waves, and blown kisses, and mouthed "I love you"s, and it was....time....for saying........goodbye.

We met when she was 6. I left Israel when I was 6. Now, she is going to my home, to make a home for herself.

L'hitraot, Ariella, may Hashem bless every step you take in your new home.

And may our steps not be far behind.

Love to you, dear friends,


Check out the "Signs of the Times" Aliyah album by clicking HERE



I wasn't sure what to expect from my heart this morning as I waited for the arrival of the plane that brought my daughter Home.

When we first entered the welcoming ceremony, images from the departure ceremony at JFK the day before were rotating on the huge screens in the airport. I got to see pictures of my family, including one shot of the three people I love the most in the whole universe, standing together, larger than life.

As the plane touched down, we were able to watch it live on these same screens. When I saw my daughter, my first-born child, step out of the plane, landing in Israel for the first time as an Israeli citizen, I screamed with joy. Then, with the support of some loving friends who are all Israeli citizens themselves, sharing this miraculous morning with me, I rushed outside to greet her in person.

I didn't have to wait long. Ariella was practically the very first person to get off Tram #1 and walk through the crowds of greeters. Considering how long I waited to greet her at birth (31.5 hours of labor), this was fine compensation indeed.

Trying to catch her eye, I started jumping up and down with excitement and anticipation (not a common emotional response in my middle-aged life). I had kissed her goodbye in Baltimore just two days before, but I could not wait to hug her now.

Today, 25% of my enduring, unrelenting, unshakable aliyah dream came true. And I am a very proud, grateful and jubilant Mom.

Thank You God for bringing my daughter Home.

Ain od milvado. There is truly none besides Him.

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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Watch The Third Jihad for Free on 9/11

Monday, September 07, 2009

The Jerusalem Gap

Well, it had to happen. For better or for worse Jerusalem now boasts her very own GAP store. (And Baby GAP too!) Now the pros and cons of this development can be easily debated and I’m sure they will be (comment away). But there is one thing people should be careful not to say: “Jerusalem now has everything.”

Indeed there is a “gap” between those that believe bringing this large American cooperation is the pinnacle of Zionism and those that pray for a renewed Zionist spirit, which through the same sort of effort used to produce this accomplishment can bring the third Beit Hamikdash to Jerusalem as well.

In the meantime, happy shopping! It’ll be good for the economy.

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