Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Voting is now open for the 2005 Jewish-Israeli Blog (JIB) Awards. Each person is entitled to vote once every 3 days. I'm honored to have been nominated in three categories: Best Personal Blog, Best Life-in-Israel Blog, and Best Series (for my photos of Jerusalem's Recycling Bins). Thanks to the people who nominated me! And thanks to all those who have already voted for me! Remember, as I said last year: A vote for Chayyei Sarah is a vote for world peace!

The main point of the awards is to bring attention to the vast array of high-quality Jewish blogs out there. So, I'm going to provide links to my own favorites. Obviously I would love to see my favorites win the award in their respective categories, but please do NOT vote for a blog just on my say-so. The idea is to check them out and decide for yourself whether you think they are worthy! (I hope you will agree that they are).

In all categories, I'm going to recommend only those blogs with which I am personally familiar and feel that they fit the particular category. In other words, those for which I can "vouch." If you don't like my choices, then a) assume that I am unfamiliar with the other blogs in the category or b) create a blog and give your own recommendations!

OK, here goes nothin':

Best Life in Israel Blogs

Best Series
  • Chayyei Sarah! That's me! I posted all those pictures of Jerusalem's Recycling Bins! But now blogger took them down! That sucks! But they were good pictures! I put a lot of effort into walking around and taking them, and posting them. Vote for meeeeeeeee.
  • On the Face - Lisa wrote an absolutely riveting account of the events and misadventures that led to her decision to move to Israel. An absolute must-read. Part one is here. I guess you'll have to go to her archives to see the rest.
  • Orthomom- She has a regular series called "Jewish Heroine of the Day" in which she writes about little-known Jewish women from throughout history and their contributions to society. Very educational and inspiring. Here is one of my favorites, and the full list is on the side of the page.
  • There are other blogs I recognize on the nomination list, but I am not familiar with the series for which they were nominated, so I can't vouch for them in this category.
Best Personal Blogs
  • Chayyei Sarah! That's me!
  • A Whispering Soul- Some of you might recognize the author of this blog as a regular commenter of mine, "MCAryeh." His blog is deep, sensitive, gorgeously written, and often funny. Highly recommended.
  • Five Years Later- Although it would mean losing the category, I almost hope that Five Years Later wins this award, since this is the last year of her blog. You see, the author, who recently "outted" herself as Sara Avitzour of Jerusalem (a former co-worker of mine, btw), structured the blog around the "updates" she emailed to her friends and shule colleagues five years ago, when her daughter was dying. Over the last year and a half, Sara would take the "update" she'd written on a corresponding date five years before, post it on the blog, and then write reflections about her life now. The new post would contain themes that jumped off on the five-year-old update. Well, her daughter's fifth yahrzeit recently passed, and so the blog is closing. Her posts are searing. Definitely have tissues nearby when reading.
  • Nice Jewish Girl- Otherwise known as "the Shomer Negiah blog," this nominee writes about her feelings and experiences as a 35-year-old Orthodox woman who, until recently, had never been kissed or otherwise touched in any romantic way. Unfortunately she does not post often, but when she does it is always heart-felt and thought-provoking. Her sincerity and commitment to Jewish law are inspiring and heartbreaking all at once.
  • On The Face- Lisa is just so smart and funny. Always one of my favorites.
  • Orthomom- Smart and sassy in the Five Towns. Love her!
  • Renegade Rebbetzin- Just like the name says. She's a Rebbetzin. She's Renegade. And she's not gonna take it anymore! She's the RenReb.

Best Overall Blogs
  • On the Face
  • Jewlicious
  • Bloghead
  • A Whispering Soul-For the quality of the writing, this one is my category favorite.
  • Hirhurim - I don't think I've ever mentioned Hirhurim before. This is an excellent (albeit highly technical) blog which explores various contemporary questions in Jewish law and custom. Although I prefer personal blogs, I think it would be neat for a blog that is all about Jewish theology to win the "Best Overall" category. The blog assumes a high level of Jewish knowledge, but I think anyone would find it instructive on some level.
Best Posts
  • Treppenwitz- Daddy Syndrome (about staying home with his toddler one day. Not a particularly Jewish post, but hysterical. Do not drink anything while reading this post.)
  • A Whispering Soul -The Date-Getter (about his feelings about his black hat)
  • Nice Jewish Girl- Physical Necessities (searing post which raises important questions about the extent to which human touch is a physical need or just a nice thing to have)
  • I'm not familiar with the other specific posts nominated for this category, even in blogs that I read regularly, so I can't comment on the others in any way.
Best Jewish Culture Blogs

Best New Blogs
Best Jewish Religion Blogs
  • Hirhurim- In my opinion, this is the Jewish Religion Blog.
  • Renegade Rebbetzin
  • Nice Jewish Girl- focuses on only one area of the Jewish religion, but covers its personal-religious interplay very comprehensively.
  • Dov Bear - I don't always agree with what he says or the way he says it, but I often find out new things from Dovie. I don't know where he gets the time!
  • Bloghead- Very informative.
Best Humor Blogs
Best Politics and Current Affairs Blogs (I'm listing the ones from which I learn the most, or the most interesting, news, not ones with which I necessarily always agree)

Best of the Rest
  • House of Joy - Written by Beth Shapiro, a friend of mine and a very cool lady. I don't know why her blog wasn't nominated for Best Personal. I should have done it myself. She writes a lot of very deep posts about the inner workings from her marriage. If I ever get married, I want to be Beth when I grow up.
  • Jack's Shack- I don't check it often, but am always glad when I do!
Here is where you can vote in the other categories. Sorry, I don't know enough about the nominees to make recommendations, other than Jewlicious, which was nominated for Best Israel Advocacy, Best Designed, and Best Group Blog.
Best Israel Advocacy Blog
Best Student Life Blog
Best Podcast
Best Mega Blog
Best Designed Blog

Good luck to all nominees, and thanks to the good folks of Israellycool and the Jerusalem Post for setting up these awards.

***A vote for Chayyei Sarah is a vote for world peace.***

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