Thursday, December 20, 2012


This is a presentation I made to a group of WIZO women at a luncheon:
I will start by trying to answer certain obvious questions:
1.      What is a blog?
2.      How I came to be writing a blog?
3.      Who is the blog intended for?
4.      What are the mechanics of writing a blog, how long does it take, how do you send it?
5.      What is the main focus of the blog and what are the secondary topics?
A blog is a web-log, a diary or chronicle of events that is distributed through the internet.  I started sending e-mails to our friends in the US and UK soon after we made aliyah in 1996.  They were occasional letters telling about our experiences in Israel, like most immigrants have written. 
They only became more serious and frequent when the Second Intifada broke out in 2000 and there were suicide bombings all over Israel, including in Netanya.  I was often asked “how are you?” with the implication that we were in danger.  So I found myself replying and explaining the situation and sending the same reply to all my friends.  Gradually the list expanded and soon I was writing a blog, but I didn’t know it yet.
Only in September, 2004, did I realize that I could set up a permanent blog web-site for free.  I called it Isblog ( ).  Into this I have poured my experiences, thoughts, analyses and feelings about the current situation in Israel, the Middle East and the world almost on a daily basis.  My sub-title is:  Comments from Israel, covering everything that you can imagine and more!   
People have asked me how I manage to write so much, until now over a million words in ca. 2,000 articles, but I tell them I don’t know, it just comes naturally.  Certainly I write this blog in order to express my opinions, to persuade people to my view and to educate and inform.  But, I also believe that I am afflicted with a mild case of hypergraphia, a condition which causes people to have the urge and the need to write.  People who have had this condition are Lewis Carroll, Fyodor Dostoevsky and Vincent van Gogh.  Vincent wrote at least a letter a day to his brother Theo and sometimes up to five, as well as painting compulsively.   I also paint, so at least I have something in common with van Gogh.
In writing this blog I have also attempted to give it a lighter touch, including humorous articles that spring from my fertile mind.  In this age of short attention spans due to TV, cell phones and iPads, I restrict the length of each blog to one page or so.  I usually have an introductory paragraph, a commentary paragraph and a summary paragraph.  One thing that is unexpected, sometimes I have fear that I cannot think of something to write, a kind of writer’s blog block.  But, then usually something happens in our area, a war, an attack and before I know it I’m writing again.
My e-mail list is ca. 200 recipients mainly in the US and some in the UK and elsewhere.  At one point I was up to a thousand, but the free e-mail services restrict the outgoing mail to ca. 100 recipients per e-mail.  So it takes a long time to send many hundreds, so now I have gone back to three emails at a time and then I transfer them to the blog site about once a week.  
I have had some strange responses, for example a fellow named Georg responded from a village in central France and I had several comments from him.  I received a reply from a Rabbi in Pinner, London, who asked if he could put my blogs in his shool magazine and post them on their notice board.  Other people tell me that they forward them to all their friends, etc.  So I am not sure how many people I reach. 
I was thinking of trying to publish my blog as a form of chronicle of events for the period 2000-2012, but I’m still too busy sending it to stop and organize them.  They were posted on the web and eventually they’ll disappear into cyber-space. 
I have stated that I’ll stop writing my blog when there is peace in the Middle East, that will keep me going for  a long time.


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