I would like to begin this edition of the Haveil Havalim Blog Carnival with some reflections,...some meta-blogging reflections.
But, first, I had better introduce and/or remind those of you reading this what the Haveil Havalim Blog Carnival is:
Haveil Havalim is a 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 Qoheleth, (Ecclesiastes) which was written by King Solomon. King 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.'
Before I first hosted Haveil Havalim, only about four months ago with edition #101, a fellow blogger sent me the link to a blog entry, and asked me if I had seen it, yet.
I hadn't. It was somehow connected to a "Jewish" blog which I abhorred, and found to be juvenile, ridiculous, offensive, and horribly misguided. I previous had on-line "dealings" with the owner of that blog, and found this individual to be...juvenile, ridiculous, offensive, and horribly misguided. This got me thinking. What if this individual submitted a blog post to Haveil Havalim while it was my turn to host? It was suggested to me by the same experienced and helpful, fellow blogger who sent me that link, somewhat connected with that juvenile, ridiculous, offensive, and horribly misguided blogger, that while hosting, I would have to consider including submissions of ALL blog posts, even those with which I disagreed.
I am NOT a pluralist. Although I have some surprisingly open views regarding some issues, I have even more very narrow views on others, such as Torah and Israel. I have been called a "right-wing extremist," a "religious fanatic," and even a "Jewish terrorist" (See this cute post from Satiricohen). I'm not sure where they got that last one from, unless they witnessed me not so politely, giving various drivers of UN vehicles directions to Ben-Gurion International Airport, where they would be able to catch the next flight OUT of Israel. But, that couldn't possibly be an act of terrorism, as the laughter of the UN workers clearly indicated that they had not been terrorized. Besides, where I come from originally, that's just called civil disobedience. Go figure. But I digress....
I asked myself, as someone with such narrow views, "How could I possibly host a pluralistic blog carnival?"
It was too late. I had already made the commitment. "I need to follow though on my commitments" was the repetitive response resounding in my head. So, I took it upon myself as a challenge. Recently, I had been exercising my open-mindedness muscles. This would be a test of their tolerance and stamina.
Now, to me, open-mindedness means listening, or in this case reading, as well as trying to understand,...but not necessarily agreeing with everything I read or was trying to understand.
But, still I asked myself, "Wouldn't I be compromising my principles by condoning and supporting pluralism?" Even though I was only really organizing a series of opinions on issues, could I possibly allow myself to help publicize those blogs, with which I adamantly disagreed?
I'll be completely honest. I didn't know the answer to this question; I still don't know the answer to this question.
A few months pass, and guess what happens, a blog entry I had submitted, Pork Is Still Not Kosher, was rejected because it was "offensive." OK. So, it wouldn't be the first time that one of my blog entries was considered offensive. No big whoop.
But, wait a minute. Wasn't this supposed to be a pluralistic blog carnival? Not only that, but it was considered "offensive" by none other than someone who self-identifies as "religious" (Read: Orthodox) and "right-wing."
I asked Soccer Dad what the pluralistic story was. He basically said, "Nope. There really aren't any guidelines." He said it a lot more eloquently, though.
Why I didn't ask him this question about hosting guidelines four months ago, I have absolutely no idea. Just slipped my mind, I suppose.
But, now at least you know. The cat's out of the bag. Quite possibly, many of you are already best friends with the cat or hate the cat, and have already been making informed decisions about whether to volunteer to be a host,...or not.
No guidelines, not yet, at least....
Until then, I guess blog hosts can get away with holding readers hostage with long and involved introductions. Well, hey, you could've skipped it, right?
Meanwhile, I believe that Soccer Dad is wondering why I had to turn the nice, little cat, that was in the bag for some of us, into a potentially ferocious monster.
OK. Now, let's get to it....
In light of the fortieth anniversay of the recapture, and subsequent giving up, of Har HaBayith (Temple Mount), Rabbi David Bar-Hayim gives us an overview of our connection with the Miqdash (Temple) as a nation.
Sultan Knish takes a look at who is a Jew, or rather...who is called "Yehudi."
Reb Chaim HaQoton examines the misswah of mezuzah, and its implications for women.
Liorah, Walking On Fire, provides her take on the Parshath haSotah, while Faith at "That's So Queer" delves into the prohibition against getting tattooed.
Rafi of Life In Israel reflects on some Halachic terminology which disturbs him.
Batya's reflections In G-d's Honor move us into the Israel section of Haveil Havalim, as it truly exemplifies the connection between Torah and the Land. Her story of traveling and trying to get into Qever Rahel reminds us that life in Israel can be adventurous, yet challenging. Was the chaos intentional?
Another spiritual connection is made with the Land by Rabbi Neil Fleischman through his reflections and poetry in Jerusalem And Other Heart Thoughts
David Bernstein of The Volokh Conspiracy gives us two posts about life in Israel, one about the Iraqi Jewish experience and one about the true identity of some non-Jews, which will probably surprise you.
To add to the recent buzz and controversy surrounding Jewish-Christian dialog here in Israel, I find that Yisrael at My Right Word decided to give it a go, and if Israel IS a "Jewish state," Yisrael wants to know why people get excited when we demand rights for Jews.
Boker Tov, Boulder! gives her team recommendations for Israeli leadership, and I tell you why I believe that the National Religious Party has really done it this time. Batya at Me-Ander seems to agree with me,...at least in part.
Israel In The News:
First up in the news, Joe Settler wants to know who's reading your mail?
Avi at Tel-Chai Nation reports on the on-going battles of the IDF vs. Hamas YSh"W. Freedom Fighter at Joshuapundit analyzes the situation and Israel's choices, and gives his recommendations. Seawitch also gives an overview of recent events in and around Azza, but also covers Lebanon, in Palestinian & Lebanese Casualties.
Marty Peretz at The Spine wonders who those "Palestinian refugees" are anyway.
By the way, who are Palestinians anyway?
Schvach Yid chimes in with his take on the Middle East.
Meryl Yourish reminds us Why Checkpoints cannot be dismantled.
Posted at Barbara's Tchatzkahs Alana Suskin shows a much different take on Israeli policy in Yehudah and Shomron. Barbara also brings us Ralph Peters A Taste For Terror.
Then there's more on the Qassam Rocket Attacks from Back Spin.
And to wrap up news from the south, I wanted to make sure you are aware of No'am Bedein's work getting the news directly out of Sderoth, and into your homes. No'am is a student at the Sderoth College, and experiences the latest headline news first hand. His latest post is video special, "Behind The Headlines." (Thanks to Sultan Knish for pointing me to this link.)
Batya muses on one result of the rocket attacks.
Regardless of ones political and religious views, attending to the news in Israel can be intense. Only yesterday, there was a shoot out in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Armon HaNatziv, as Avi reports.
On the lighter side of things, Smooth Stone posts for us "Israel's Good Deeds Around the World" from the Israel Highway.
Ra'anana Ramblings fruitlessly tries to tame her father-in-law's shopping habits in "These Bags Overfloweth."
Jameel @ The Muqata recounts the true story of a Hebrew word mix-up between father and son, which may cause you to do a double-take.
And, check in with West Bank Mama how your kids' sports teams may act a little differently in Israel than in other countries.
Baka Diary gives us The Good, The Bad and The Ugly sides of life in Israel.
Finally, Doodlehead gives the ultimate slice of life in Israel of a yeshivah bokhur with some stuff, no clocks.
With Torah and Israel, the combination of the two brings us to two recent holidays:
1. Shavu'oth, not only the Z'man Matan Torah (commemoration of the giving of Torah), but also Hag HaBikkurim, the bringing of the First Fruits in the Land of Israel to the Beth HaMiqdash and Hag HaQatzir, the festival of reaping, expressed in the bringing of the two breads made from the first reaping of wheat to Beth HaMiqdash as well.
2. Yom Yerushalayim, the day commemorating the recapture and reunification of Jerusalem, this year marking its fortieth year.
Batya asks Do You? Or Don't You? (learn all Shavuot night). And Alan of Laz-A-Fare looks into this custom of learning all night and the full meaning of its connection with Shavu'oth.
Heaven Will Split, a nice Shavu'oth memory comes from Seraphic Secret
The next two could have been placed under humor, but since it's the season....
Hesh of Frum Satire gives us,...well,...a "unique" perspective on Shavu'oth.
Dzeni of "Not Quite Perfect" also lightens things up a bit with her Shavu'ot 5767 edition of the Sinai Star Journal.
Daniel Pinner discovers a hidden miracle of the Six Day War, forty years ago.
And, David Wilder reminds us that it was also the fortieth anniversary of the Liberation Of Hevron.
Bloggers can be great story-tellers, so why not have a special story section?
But, before you read Rafi's "Good Sportsmanship," you had better get the kleenex.
Robert of Seraphic Secret also reminds us that Jewish aggadoth can be poignant and personal in "Ties That Bind."
News from Outside of the Homeland:
Jameel @ The Muqata reports on the NYPD harassment of a YU student, and "brings it home" with a comparison to a similar situation in Israel.
Jan at Secular Blasphemy reports on the Norwegian government's tricky business...with Hamas YSh"W.
Smooth Stone and Yid With Lid and have had about enough with Amnesty International or Am-Nasty International, as Yid calls it. Yid With Lid also reports on Holocaust records being opened and their implications for the future.
Bookworm reports on a Nobel Laureate who doesn't take a British boycott of Israeli products lying down.
Former US President Jimmy Carter was in the news this week. See what Yid says regarding President Carter's comments about a certain colleague, and what Cheat Seeking Missiles says about a ruckus being caused by his book.
Here's a media bias item from My Right Word, this one on the Brazenly Balanced BBC.
Soccer Dad looks at the Washington Post's Post's Leap Of Logic, regarding the current predicament of the Israeli leadership.
And Yid With Lid looks into the mind of New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman.
Photo-trickery in Azza? Elder Of Zion thinks so in Three Photographers Two Wire Services
Omri at Mere Rhetoric wants to know the answer to the question: The Zionists Are So Evil They Even Stop Ambulances At Checkpoints. Why Would They Do Such A Thing? Don't worry. This is not one of those posts which challenged my open-mindedness.
Hey, guess whose birthday was just last week. I'll give you a hint: He's musical. For the answer, though, you'll have to ask Scott of the Powerline Blog.
Did you know that the first Israeli was recently selected to play in the WNBA?
I was not aware of that. Read more about Shai Doron courtesy of Mark at Sportsyids.
Satiricohen of the pan style="font-weight: bold;">Israeli Satire Laboratory publishes a ground-breaking interview with a little known participant in a failed genocide attempt.
Snoopy The Goon at Simply Jews tries to put to rest some myths surrounding a Zionist plot.
(blogging about blogging)
Dag gives us a moving, personal experience of a great side benefit to the JBlogshphere.
Rabbi Without A Cause receives a threat of being "outted", and must defend himself,...in a very clever way. He also wasn't sure if this post should be categorized as Torah, humor, or neither. I say it's meta-blogging!
And, so now that this week's Meta-Blogging Edition (Have you figured out why I called it that, yet?) of the Haveilim Havalim has been concluded, you are probably wondering how challenging it was to my open-mindedness muscles. Well, to be honest, yes, it was challenging in places. But, I believe I was fair. In other words....
Please submit your complaints to the management.
By the way, who won this year's JIB Awards anyway?! Inquiring minds want to know....
Please send your posts for next week's edition of the Haveil Havalim Blog Carnival via the Blog Carnival Submission Form. I found this to be very helpful in organizing your posts this week. Plus, it doesn't look like we have a host for next week, so there wouldn't be any other place to send your links to. If you're interested in hosting please contact Soccer Dad at dhgerstman at hotmail dot com.
...And speaking of blog carnivals, check out this month's Kosher Cooking Carnival hosted by Batya at Me-Ander, and the current edition of the bi-monthly JPix Blog Carnival hosted by Rafi at Life In Israel.