Friday, March 11, 2011

Management Update: What Is this Blog, Anyway?

I thank all you regular readers for your patience with my sporadic writing this week. I hope to have the blog back to "normal" starting Monday morning at 7am Pacific.

Now, for you new folk. There's a lot of you. Like a lot a lot. On Tuesday, March 1st, I hit 20k pageviews after writing here since last October. Since last Friday, I've reached almost another 20k pageviews. I'm sure there are at least a few repeats, but I suspect that's at least 12k individual readers. I don't think many individuals came back to re-read the same post, but 15k visited before I posted again. (I like statistics. Unnaturally so.) Of course, I don't think all of those people will come back, but I'm sure some did. (Hello!)

You should know what I do here. I write about conversion and the Jewish community. I try to keep things objective, rational, and professional. However, I'm opinionated, and the conversion situation has become very complicated in the last 3-5 years. I've somehow done a decent job learning about orthodox society, and that can be the hardest information to find when you're a new convert or baal teshuva ("BT" is used frequently). My background: In total, I've spent about 4.5 years in small orthodox communities, though only fully observant for one year of that time. There's a lot of nuance in orthodox society and a lot of fun psychology going on. I like to talk about that. Also, the euphemisms in orthodox society can often confuse new people or leave them unprepared (first mikvah visit, anyone?).

However, there is also lots of run-of-the-mill beginner's education too. For example, a series of posts about how to choose a Hebrew name is one of the biggest Google draws to my site. Some of these posts may bore you, particularly if you're a born-Jew. There is little rhyme or reason in what I write about. It's whatever strikes me that week, requests in the comments, google search terms that lead people to the site, and ideas on a "to write someday" list. While this blog was started to write about my personal experiences, it quickly shifted away from that. The last few weeks have shown me that some of you actually kinda care what's going on with me, so I'm going to try to write a little more about my personal experiences, though I'm not sure how that'll work yet. I'm open to suggestions.

I'm happy if you born-Jews and non-Jews decide to stay, but at the end of the day, you're not my demographic (though BTs kinda are). However, please feel free to participate. Everyone's experiences are welcome.

If you decide to stay and you want regular updates from the blog, the easiest way is to "Like" my blog page on Facebook. To do that, use the "Find us on Facebook" box on the right side of the page. If you do that, every day's post will show up on your wall like any other status. You can also set up a "feed" (I use Google Reader). Google that if you want more info because I'm not sure how to easily explain it. And if you're really low tech, bookmark the main page.

If you choose to comment, know that I personally approve every comment. It's my website, I get to be a Type A control freak ;) But more importantly, there's enough bickering in the conversion world. I don't want to see it here. The conversation doesn't have to be friendly, but it must be respectful. I've been lucky so far. Only one comment crossed that line, though I approved it anyway for my own educational reasons.

Please note that while I write from an orthodox perspective and am personally orthodox, I'm not going to force that on anyone else. Converts and conversion candidates from all streams read my blog and are my friends. If I can tie my writing into the issues they face, I'm happy to do so. (Besides, most issues are across-the-board from reform to orthodox.) It's not my place to judge anyone. I'm a layperson, and heck, I'm not even halachically Jewish. There are plenty of people in this world who will judge you, and plenty of those people are more qualified to judge you than I am. My best guess is that you're not the appropriate person to judge the people here either. Please avoid doing so. (And for the record, approximately 60-66% of today's orthodox converts have had a liberal conversion. Keep that in mind before you give liberal converts a reason to hate orthodoxy.)

My two major non-school sanity activities are dog obedience training (I have two dogs, including a sociopathic puppy) and this blog. At the end of the day, this blog is for my own sanity. If you find it useful, funny, or enjoyable, I'm thrilled, but that's icing on the cake. If you enjoy me but don't care for the subjects on my blog, feel free to find me on Twitter and Facebook. The events of the last week have ruined any hope of anonymity for me, so why not? I fully admit that I'm weird and sometimes have a dark sense of humor, but I'm friendly.

And if you want to know my philosophy on life and blogging, this sums it up well:
"If you are going to tell people the truth, you had better make them laugh or they will kill you." - Oscar Wilde

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