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Haveil Havalim – best of the Jewish blog world PLUS a rant


Only interested in the rant portion of today’s post?  Click here!

Otherwise, welcome to the weekly Haveil Havalim blog carnival! 

I really hope you’ll find something new and interesting in this roundup.

While my last time hosting HH was a somewhat happy post-Yom HaAtzmaut edition, this one’s a little more sober, given the week’s events. 

Still, I’ve tried to find balance, and include posts that I think share diverse and interesting views.

Oh – let’s back up for just a second.

What is HH, anyway?

imageThis is a weekly roundup of what’s new and great in the Jewish / Israel blogging world.  If you haven’t checked out these great blogs yet, you really should. 

  • Last week’s was hosted by Batya over at Shiloh Musings.
  • Next week’s carnival will also be held at Shiloh Musings.  I wish more people would step up to host, and maybe after you read my rant, you will.
  • For more details and a complete schedule, please join the HH facebook group.

As usual, I have split the links up into arbitrary categories, with most of the posts I received falling into the first section.

Note to participants:  Please click through, visit and comment on at least TWO links for every one of yours included here.  Leave a comment to let folks know you’ve stopped by.  It’s only polite!

Understanding the Tragedy

Only God can save us, writes Rivkah at Bat Aliyah in Where is God in All This?

What about this humble suggestion, from Breathing Space, in May their memory be a blessing?

Ya’aqov at Esser Agoroth has strong words – and a roundup of misled explanations – in #BringBackOurBoys Why Were They Really Killed?

A poignant post from Mrs. S. at Our Shiputzim connecting this week’s events with a seemingly unrelated (but deeply connected) tragedy from Israel’s modern history in Oy, Meh Hayah Lanu!

What does it mean to “accept” this type of atrocity, asks Yael in “Hashem Yikom”: Justice, yes. Revenge, No!  She also shares insights on how to deal with our unanswered prayers, as a nation, in  The Eternal Question of Unanswered Prayers.

Rickismom reflects on the unity among normally warring groups that was created during the crisis over the missing boys in May We Be United, in the future, for Good Things.

Was the government wrong – and perhaps cruelly manipulative – to give the impression that the teens were still alive?  That’s what Batya muses about at Shiloh Musings in Postmortem: Was The Israeli Government Wrong to Give The Impression The Kidnapped Teens Were Alive?  It also awes me, the lengths she went to to get to the funeral, which she writes in The Funeral of the Three Murdered Israeli Jewish Teenagers, I Was There.

The Real Jerusalem Streets was there, too, and took pictures, saying this kind of pushing “this would certainly would never do in England” – along with some lighter moments in Dark Clouds, Smoke Clouds and Much More in Jerusalem.  On the way to the funeral, she also saw a bus stop that reminded her of an earlier tragedy in Arab Women Be Careful.

Avivah Werner writes not only about the teens’ deaths but about their lives, the joyous memories they left behind in Our pain, the unspeakable emotional agony of a nation….

Everybody had a different reaction to the news this week.  As an editor, I edit.  And there’s plenty going wrong in the world media to use my red ink on this week here in AliyahLand in  (Mis)interpreting the news – an editor’s perspective on tragedy.

The Ongoing Matzav (Situation)

Batya at me-ander manages to share a moment of unity over classic Israeli songs in perhaps the most unlikely spot in Singalong in the Shiloh Swimming-Pool.

Ya’aqov at Esser Agoroth wonders how far the Israeli government will go in Israeli Police to Start Breaking into Homes? Tell Me Something I Don't Know.  He also muses about the ultimate victors in a court battle pitting gays and lesbians vs missionaries in Israel in Lesbians and Gays in Israel do what Orthodox Jews in Israel Should be Doing.

Home sweet home for kids in Southern Israel…?  Yeah, not so much.  Varda at IsraellyCool shares her Southern Israeli friend’s fear even as the President urges Israel not to retaliate in Sistahs, Sirens, And Shrapnel.


How does the king of creepy Jewish kids’ fiction keep himself from being stashed in a pigeonhole?  An important question, because I’m the one asking, over at my WriteKidsBooks blog.

Batya at me-ander shares a bittersweet review – overshadowed by the week’s tragic events - of a book of “beautifully written” Jewish stories in "Saturday Night, Full Moon;" Book Review.

… and Just Regular Jewish Life

Laurie over at Safed Israel shares a small story about faith and trust in an ordinary market in Tzfat Morning.  (a new-to-me blog this week)

Learning Hebrew continues to stymie me, even as some things I never understood become amazingly clear in When nouns meet nouns (and other Great Lies of Hebrew School), right here in AliyahLand.

"Don't Put Cat Food in Your Ears!" and other parenting triumphs you don’t learn about in parenting classes, from Jill at Do Try This at Home.

What could be more a part of normal Jewish life than Torah study?  Let’s welcome first-timer, Itzchak, who has started a new blog this week, HA'OROT-The Lights of Rav Kook, and shared two new posts:  RAV KOOK TZ’L AND HA’RAV HANAZIR TZ’L: THE 5 FOUNDATIONS OF REALITY and RAV KOOK TZ”L:My Journey With Ba’al Ha’Orot/The Master of the Lights.

Ever wonder how we’re like the phones we carry around, day-in and day-out?  This mom over at Breathing Space has it all figured out in Phones: they are just like us!

And let’s end with some super-good news, from longtime oleh Jacob Richman’s Good News from Israel blog, where he shares his 30th “aliyah-versary” at the Salute to Olim festival in Videos of the Fountainheads performing at the Salute to Olim Festival.

May we all merit to hear good news soon, and see the goodness in Yerushalayim, Israel and her people, wherever they may be in the world.

Tzivia / צִיבְיָה

Oh, yeah.  I guess now we have arrived at the promised “rant” portion of this post.

This rant is for people who participate in the HH blog carnival (or any other, really).  It was originally up at the top of my post, and I moved it to the end out of consideration for the important posts reflecting on the week’s events in Israel.

But I still think it bears saying.

So if you’re a blogger, and even occasionally participate in HH, read on and share your thoughts in the Comments below.

Dear Jewish Blog World,

I’ve heard complaints about the lackluster performance of this blog carnival lately.  But honestly, if you’re not excited about your blog posts, why should others be?

Talk about lackluster.  Sure, some of you sent me links. 

With headlines like “hh.”  Blah. 

With a link or two inside.  Hurrah.  No, I’m kidding.  Blah again.

When you submit a link to a blog carnival, try to muster some enthusiasm. 

I know you’re in a hurry, but so am I.

If you think it’s a waste of your time to submit, then don’t submit (period).  (But scroll down to see what you might be missing out on.)

The lazy host’s submission guidelines

Call me a lazy host, but if you haven’t bothered describing what’s in your post, don’t make me click through to find out what it’s about.

Think up a catchy one-line description:  “Hey, did you ever wonder why Israelis love chummus so much?”  Or, “How does the king of creepy Jewish kids’ fiction keep himself from being stashed in a pigeonhole?”

If it’s worth writing the post in the first place, it’s worth describing it for whoever’s hosting the carnival.  I don’t want to host a boring list of links on my blog – I hate the idea of making my regular readers sit through that – so give me what I need to get the idea of your post across properly.

Also, if I ask you to email me your post, email it to me. 

Facebook isn’t email.  On facebook, I may or may not see your message.  And it won’t be in my email inbox, where I keep these things together.  I’m not an organized person, so if you want your link to get lost… fine by me.

Did you notice I said “your post”? 

That doesn’t mean “a list of the fifteen screeds you’ve posted since the last blog carnival.” 

I mean ONE post. 

Maybe two, if they’re extraordinarily good.  (Even Shakespeare doesn’t get that kind of love for every single thing he wrote, and you’re not Shakespeare; I know because I’m not either.)

Even though I describe myself as a lazy host, I do sometimes include posts in my round-up that weren’t even submitted the regular way.  I go out and hunt them down myself.  That takes time, and in return, I’d be grateful for a link back.

You might even consider hosting in future.

Why participate in a carnival at all?

1) Link Juice

Blog carnivals don’t just help by getting you visits to your site.  Google’s algorithms are based on happy “link juice” from other sites, blogs and otherwise. 

If you are a new blog, just starting out, you need that link love from other, more established blogs.  If you’re an older blog, it can still help keep you up near the top of the rankings. 

Link love/juice doesn’t just apply to your blog itself.  You need to share and promote your most current posts if you want them to come up when folks are searching for your keywords.

2) Eyeballs

Don’t care about searching?  Maybe you care about eyeballs.

If a carnival is well-written, with good descriptions, it’s a great way of “pooling” readers who share common interests.  It’s all about viewers and eyeballs, and as a host, I can send you the eyeballs of my regular readers, who trust me to be honest with them and share good things.

If you don’t care about eyeballs and readers, maybe just type your thoughts into a Word document on your hard drive?

3) Comments

In other carnivals, linkups and blog hops in which I’ve participated, there has been a rule (yup, an actual written rule) that you have to go visit others and LEAVE A COMMENT.

Why should we rub your back if you’re not going to rub ours in return?

That’s just silly.

So be a considerate “back-rubbee” and leave comments for other participants.

Comments make the difference between an active, lively blog and a blah blog that says “I write and write and nobody cares.”  (A blog by my Bubby, in other words.)

4) Love of our subject

Blogs and bloggers don’t get a lot of respect these days, but to be honest, we never did.  For a while, blogs were all about navel-gazing, and now they’re all about selling stuff.  But there are a few good, honest ones out there, and I hope yours and mine are among them.

So the third thing blog carnivals are about are supporting and connecting honest, like-minded bloggers.

That’s definitely something I can get behind.

(Did I leave out any reasons?  Let me know why you participate in the comments!)

Are carnivals “over”?

I hope not!

With the blog carnival site having apparently died its last, it may be tempting to think the days of carnivals are behind us now.

But for all the reasons I’ve said above, and with all the lazy-host caveats above that, I’m happy to keep on trying.   Hope you are, too.

End of crabby.

Now scroll back up and enjoy those links! 

(Again, please click through, visit and comment on at least TWO links for every one of yours that’s included in this week’s roundup.)

Tzivia / צִיבְיָה

[Children and Fountain in Park "Ramat Hanadiv" Zicheron Yaakov, photo by chany crystal via Flickr]


  1. Thanks for hosting and giving so many great suggestions. I've taken your rant very seriously as you can see in me-ander: Adventures in Havel Havelim Land...

    1. Oh, THAT post... okay, will have to take a look during my commute tomorrow. :-)

  2. Wonderful job, and thank you so much for including my post. Shavua tov!

    1. Thanks very much. I'll try to stop by in return more often. Have a better week.


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