Monday, January 24, 2005

Jewish blogging—a learning experience

Thanks to all those who’ve tried to help me improve my non-existent tech skills. With your help, I’ve managed to get a “hit counter” (from and to get myself included—finally!—in the Jewish Bloggers Webring ( I haven’t yet gotten around to setting up a blogroll or figuring out how to create hyperlinks in a fancier manner than just by pasting the whole URL into my post, but I may yet take the instructions I’ve been given and get there, eventually. For the moment, I’m too busy reading everyone else’s blogs to do anything more technically elaborate with my own.

Thanks, also, to all those who’ve encouraged me to dust off the old pocket Ben-Yehuda and look things up. First, there was my embarrassing misunderstanding—it took me several weeks of trying to figure out where on earth ‘s Adam Ragil got such an unusual name to realize that it wasn’t a name at all. Ragil—hmm—“usual, normal, habitual.” Oh. Adam Ragil: Normal Person, “Regular Guy,” “Everyman.”

Next on the list was “haskafa.” Fortunately, one of my sometime co-workers is a Modern Orthodox woman open-minded enough not to give me the fish-eyed stare every time I ask a dumb question. “Approach, viewpoint.” Thanks.

And now for a confession: It’s not only because we disagree 90% of the time that I never post a comment on “Simcha”/Rabbi Gil Student’s It’s also because an am ha-aretz/Jewish illiterate like me who barely reads Hebrew well enough to davven/pray has nothing to contribute—once Rabbi Student and his commenters start quoting Mishna and Gemara, I might as well pack my bags and go home. Nevertheless, his website is a good information source, even if I ain’t buyin’. (Sorry, Charlie, but the skin on my knuckles is already painfully cracked from the winter weather, as it is every winter, and no amount of halachic reasoning is going to persuade me to go outdoors without gloves every Shabbat just to avoid accidentally carrying the gloves in public.)

At the moment, however, I offer Rabbi Student my thanks for taking it upon himself to have his own publishing company assume the role of publishing the recently-banned science-and-Torah books by Rabbi Nosson Slifkin. This brings me to my word of the week, “kofer” (spelled with a kaf, not a koof). Say what???!!!! The Gedolei Yisroel, rabbinic scholars and leaders of the charedi/fervently Orthodox, are calling fellow charedi Rabbi Slifkin an atheist???!!!!!!!!!


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