The Problem With Jewish Blogging

So, I haven’t blogged for a bit. Some might call it Tishrei. Some might call it a new job.

But I know the real reason.

The more I enter this Jewish blogging world, and the more that I speak my mind on issues, the more that I see a disturbing trend.

It seems that the more popular a Jewish blog gets, the more it tends to speak negatively. It creates more controversy, gets people excited and talking, and creates a culture of debate and divisiveness.

You can see this on almost every popular Jewish blog around today. The only ones that don’t seem to do this are the ones that are going out of their way to show Judaism in a positive light (think: Jew In The City).

There is an obvious reason for this: the easy way to stay popular on the net is to create controversy. I’ve talked about this before.

But as a blogger who is slowly becoming more popular, I’m beginning to experience the temptation myself.

It’s a temptation that for most is too hard to ignore. It’s so much easier to get people debating Matisyahu’s struggles or the hatred against the ultra-orthodox than to get people to truly introspect, to truly look inward and change. And to change yourself along with them.

The result is an Jewish online cultural landscape that in no way reflects the true teachings of Judaism. It’s a world that is for the most part only focused on causing people to look outward for the solutions to their problems rather than inward. It’s a world that loves talking about Jewish culture, but rarely says the one word that should matter to a Jew more than any other: Hashem. It’s a world that folks on what other Jews and non-Jews do rather than what Judaism is.

Because, let’s be honest, you’d all prefer someone you trust online to tell you everything you want to hear. To tell you that the reason you’re off the derech is because of the Jewish Popularity Contest. Or perhaps you’re religious and you’d like further reinforcement in your beliefs that anyone that doesn’t hold the way you do is confused, lost, or stupid.

And so the bloggers give the people what they want. I’m thoroughly convinced that it’s a minority of Jewish bloggers who started off with an agenda to focus on people’s disagreements rather than on unity. But it seems like a law of nature: you can’t be a popular blogger unless you are hurting others, creating controversy, casting one group as wrong, and yourself as completely right.

Of course it’s important to stand up against the things we believe are wrong. But the question every Jewish blogger needs to ask themselves this Tishrei is whether they’re fighting for what they believe in or whether they are encouraging a culture of blame and division.  I know that at times I have.

So yes, I guess you could blame Tishrei for my not blogging. Tishrei is the time we need to remind ourselves that no one is responsible for our failures except for ourselves. That blame, almost always, is a waste of time. And that true growth only occurs when we forgive the people we’re divided against.

I hope this year, Pop Chassid will succeed in that. We’ll see.


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16 responses to “The Problem With Jewish Blogging”

  1. Mimi Hecht Avatar
    Mimi Hecht

    I think it’s a bit much to say “Jewish Bloggers.” There are a plethora of Jewish women blogging, with successful blogs centered around parenting, birth, cooking, and the list goes on. Without any fiend controversy or what not…just saying!

    1. Pop Chassid Avatar

      Good point. Maybe I should have said “Jewish Blogs”. As in blogs that write specifically about Jewish concepts and culture.
      But your point is still right on, and it probably says a lot about the way women interact vs. men.
      And I would like to say one more thing, though. Many of those blog also give in to that temptation quite a bit. I’ve seen a number of Jewish parenting sites trying to get people heated about this or that. Such as cry it out, attachment parenting, and all that other fun controversial stuff.

      1. Mimi Hecht Avatar
        Mimi Hecht

        True.

        And ya, this DID make me think about diff between men and women. Women write to connect and relate. Men write for attention. C’mon 🙂

        Either way, you’re a great, meaningful blogger. Sometimes we have to do things to get attention so that our GOOD gets attention, nothing wrong with that. And there’s a way to do it and stay authentic (ie, riling people up with a genuine authentic opinion, etc). Whatev, glad your back.

  2. Shevamyshtub Avatar
    Shevamyshtub

    I think I’ve shared this with you before, but even my blog that I purposely keep controversy free gets it share of hate mail. I have to often suck it up and click delete.

  3. Ruchi koval Avatar
    Ruchi koval

    This is partly why I have not aspired to be “big” – ie, published by bigger outlets. Insightful and oh, so sad…

    1. Pop Chassid Avatar

      Ruchi, I think this is actually a smart move for most bloggers. There’s never been a better time to just be yourself and still get an audience.

  4. Shona Avatar

    Very good post. I remember when I first started getting serious about Judaism, I tried to dedicate an entire blog to it (this was back in 2004). I tried to flip it a couple of different ways, but what I (and others) were noticing is that I was using the blog to vent my frustrations with myself and my integration into the Jewish community. So instead of being a resource of inspiration, I was just painting a negative picture of Judaism; which was the exact opposite of what I wanted to accomplish.

    While I certainly feel that the internet is a good medium to bring problems and frustrations to light…a public blog is not the place. E-mail lists and forums are much more conducive to this. Our relationship with Hashem is a 24/7 experience – one that many times we do not have the right words to describe anyway. Therefore after several years I began to see it all as a fruitless exercise. However I do thoroughly enjoy other Jewish blogs…I just don’t want that responsibility on my shoulders.

    I still discuss Jewish issues and Judaism from time to time….but in a very general, disconnected way (almost as an FYI)…and try to shy away from personal experiences.

    1. Pop Chassid Avatar

      Great great great comment. Totally agree. It’s extremely hard to manage all those different elements, especially in a public place. It’s the new untznius.

  5. Akiva Gamliel Belk Avatar

    So you want to stir things up a bit? OK! You want readers to get people to truly introspect, to truly look inward and change. And to change yourself along with them…. OK If you were to look at my picture on http://www.bnti.us/books.html you would immediately jump to the conclusion that the man in the picture is Orthodox. I am Orthodox, i.e. UN Orthodox, not anti Orthodox, just Unorthodox.

    My wife support the reform in accepting the children of a Jewish father as Jewish. We cannot understand why this is such an issue to the Orthodox when DNA can prove who one’s father is.

    We believe in keeping kosher in and out of our home. Yet, we have a difficult time understanding why we must classify poultry as meat just because it may look like beef. Do Morningstar veggie dogs look like hot dogs? Do Morningstar grillers look like beef patties? What about the little round sausages do they look like and taste like pork sausages? Why is it that poultry is forbidden as being parve because it may look like beef yet these soy and veggie based products which are dairy are designed to look like and taste like meat products? Can you understand why I am Unorthodox? This does not add up to me. It seems to me that truth is forgotten in all this falseness.

    I have a similar disagreement with Christians. The Gospel Writer, Matthew says in Matthew 12:40 that Jesus said, ‘For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.’

    How do Christians get three full days and three full nights from Friday afternoon until Sunday Morning? They can’t. They strongly believe 36 hours is 72 hours. They believe a day and a half is actually three days and three night but is not. Again the truth is forgotten in all this falseness. Yet, Christians will tell you they have the truth. Do they really. I discuss this in my book PASSOVER – Jesus Last Six Days On Earth.

    The Falseness is horrible. Orthodox teach homosexuality is an offense that requires the death penalty. This is based on Leviticus 20.13,

    ‘If a man lies with another man, like he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.’

    Anyone who knows Hebrew know the word for ‘Wife’ and ‘Woman’ is the same, i.e. Ee- Shaw. This Verse is a matter of interpretation. Change woman to wife. Ha Torah means wife.

    ‘If a man lies with another man, like [a husband] lies with his wife, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.’

    What is the point? The teaching in this Verse has more to do with the ‘PERFECT HUSBAND WIFE RELATIONSHIP IN BED” more than it does with homosexuality. Being an author, I receive a lot of e-mail. A man wrote to me complaining about my teachings against homosexuality. He said to me, What’s the matter with you? Don’t you understand? The things I do with a man, many men do with their wife?

    This brings into light the falseness of just being against homosexuality. Ha Torah is making a comparison. The comparison is between two men who have sex which is an abomination. However this is in comparison to the perfect husband wife relationship. The emphasis is on homosexuality being an abomination because of the holiness placed upon the marriage act. What is the point. This writer was correct to a degree. Any husband that has the same type of sexuality relationship with his wife as two men have with each other commits the same abomination. Yet, where is the emphasis placed? The emphasis is placed on teaching that homosexuality is an abomination when in fact the emphasis should be placed on teaching husbands and wife’s that their sexual relationship must not wonder from the pure wholesome purpose it was intended. So we have Christians, and Jews teaching against homosexuality using this Verse when they should be teaching the value of the highest purest relationship in marriage.

    Dr. Josh McDowell, a Christian apologist and famous author writes in his book Evidence that demands a verdict that the Christian Writings have thousands and thousands of errors. Knowing this is true it is difficult for me to understand the concept of the Old Testament and the New Testament. These are man made terms. David Wrote in Psalms 19.7- 11

    ‘The Torah of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The Statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the Commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: theJudgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.’

    To me this is falseness. Why would the Creator do away with the Perfect Torah for an imperfect book?

    Dr. Akiva Gamliel

    Jewishpath.org

    B’nai Noach Torah Institute, LLC

    http://www.bnti.us/ books.html

  6. Loren Fay Avatar
    Loren Fay

    This makes me said. Thinking that I might be the only one left trying to blog from a Jewish perspective. And I have being female, early twenties, pro-Israel, and had a lat start on my Jewish learning (only happened when I stumbled upon Chabad on campus my last year of college two years ago)… but I know I want to blog about being a young professional-ish Jewish woman. Wonder what kind of attention I can get.

  7. Priscilla Avatar

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Hair loss treatment for hair loss caused by menopause.

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  8. amaryl en venta en Buenos Aires sin prescripción Avatar

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