WeFinal Round Voting Has Begun!
The final round of voting for the JIB Awards has commenced. Click on the cute but imperilled dog to see all the blogs in 17 categories. Visit a few new blogs and maybe even cast a vote – try to make an informed decision or at the very least expand your horizons.

So you might ask, “what’s with the imperilled dog?” Well, it’s basically a dig at all the Web sites involved in the JIBs who are whoring for votes. I think it’s cool to put a nominee banner up on your site. It’s definitely less cool to provide your visitors with links only to those categories that you’ve been nominated in so that they may quickly make a few clicks and vote for you without at all considering any other aspect of the contest or any of the other blogs involved – “And after you’ve voted in all XXX categories, then do it all over again in three days!…Hey you want us to win don’t you?” That kind of defeats the purpose of the whole exercise, no?

One blog notes the importance of Media attention in promoting their agenda – “That is why the “Blog Awards” contest is so important … Please help by voting!” These are not isolated examples either. The “whoring” as the ever astute Harry put it, is rampant. Some have even said that WE ourselves, by doing the Play by Plays, are similarly whoring for votes. To that I say NO! We’re not whoring. Instead we’re holding a dog hostage. And if you don’t vote for us we WILL kill the mutt (with apologies to National Lampoon). You have till Feb. 2 – and then the dog gets it.

Anyhow losers, here’s what we think of the best designed blog finalists:

This is the first JIB Play by Play where we ourselves are nominated. So I guess I’ll start off by talking about our design principles and then work our way to the others.

Jewlicious is designed to be an effective interactive content delivery system. Standard blog stuff right? We try to make sure that the writing part is as legible as possible and punctuated by relevant photos and custom made graphics. Searchability as well as the inclusion of “most commented posts” and “most recent comments” serve to encourage long range and ongoing discussions that take place over months. This encourages repeat visits, visitor interaction and much dialog. The site’s eye candy, ie the consistent logo, the memorable domain name, the Jewlicious Babe, the colorful and ironic background, all serve to brand the site and make it look attractive in order to make up for the fact that we are all basically nobodies, possessed of no particular expertise or knowledge (a totally grassroots anarchist collective). So how are we doing? We seem to be doing fine. You’re here aren’t you?

I’d like to think that Jewlcious is a great combination of form, structure and function, and when reviewing blog design, that’s what I look for. So here they are (minus Jewlicious of course).

Beyond Teshuva: Great 3 column Word Press template. Includes “most recent posts,” “recent comments” and “most commented posts.” For a blog that’s only been around 3 months they sure do get a lot of comments, but I can’t help thinking they could benefit from some kind of look beyond that of a standard Word Press Template. Great use of Word Press though.

Cross-Currents: What can I say? The domain name is pretty good, very memorable, but I am not a huge fan of tan and blue. I think that the design is meant to be understated and sophisticated in keeping with the audience they may wish to appeal to. You know, intellectuals with no patience for the sort of narishkeit you find on Jewlicious. However I consider myself an intelectual and I just don’t dig the tan and blue thing, ok?

Elder of Ziyon: The Elder has clearly done as much as can be done with a blogspot blog. The side links are good an chock full o’ links. The color scheme seems to be meant to reflect the color of the Kotel in the header while still maintaining that whole “this blog contains many serious and important ideas” look. Love the name too but how far can one really push a blogspot template?

Jewlicious: Man these guys totally suck. Talk about over the top! Gaudy and slow to load – Jewlicious is meant to appeal to the sorts of neanderthals who like “purdy pitchers” of scantily clad women and clowns. Forget these losers. Do not vote for them!

Jewschool: Not as gaudy as Jewlicious but still kind of pretty, Jewschool has changed its look several times in the past year. The most recent reincarnation also uses a Word Press platform with a template that uses the familiar 2 column layout but is still uniquely their own. The template makes use of several custom made elements and the entire site is very legible and easy to read. Stories are often illustrated with choice photos and illustrations – what’s not to like?

Kesher Talk: There’s nothing overtly wrong wth Kesher Talk. The 3 column layout is good, the posts are legible and easy to read, the stories are often accompanied by relevant photos etc. etc. there just seems to be a lack of design polish here. Kesher Talk’s been around a long time and on the sides you’ll find tons of interesting links (except for one glaring omission) and affilliations, as well as every blog tchochke you can think of AND tons of advertising and affiliate programs. Like I said, there’s nothing wrong with the design – it just strikes me as a little ramshackle. Also the (very large) header has no connection at all to the rest of the site.

Ocean Guy: Somewhere on A1A: This is a clean and uniquely designed blog. The layout is good and the colors are nice too. However it looks like the person that actually designed the blog isn’t around so much as very few graphics are used to illustrate the posts and the design relies a lot on the top design elements. I’m not sure Ocean Guy knows the difference between a gif and a jpeg and the design hasn’t changed since last year much – but still. The site is pretty without being oh so over the top.

Orthodox Anarchist: Nice header and great attention to detail. Also it is mostly black. This is another blog where design elements are well thought out and put together. Spoooky!

Solomonia: Seems very similar to Kesher Talk, but that’s just probably because they are using similar Movable Type templates. In any case the style is very similar – 3 columns with lots of tchochkes. Solomonia also has a header with a rotating image which is cute. He also illustrates posts with lots of pictures but like Kesher talk, I fail to discern a unique design sensibility.

The Jewish Connection: This is another blogger template with a custom header. Sorry, the header’s nice but design-wise I am just not impressed.

The View from Here: Look – the sites real pretty but Harry doesn’t like vote whores. What more can I say except Ariela recognized Harry on the street in Jerusalem after only having seen the drawing of his face on his blog. Oh and Harry knows things …

The Wandering Jew: This blog uses typead. The header is cute, but I especially like the quality and choice of images used to illustrate the posts. Design wise I remain unfloored but it is clean and affordable

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About the author


Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.


  • I’ve been readily whoring myself out for votes, and linking only to categories in which I’m nominated. That’s because these are less of a celebration of the Jews that Blog and much more so of me. Well, at least that’s how I’m observing it. Call it what you want, but frankly, I’m a fan of the whore.

  • I just went over to the awards to take a look. There are a fraction of the number of voters who voted in the first round.

  • It’s only day one, and the idea of two rounds might turn out to be a mistake.

  • For some reason, I’ve lost the urge to vote at all. Good luck nonetheless.

    (Sorry for the previous double-post.)

  • The dog picture made me cry like a 12 year old Abramoff girl. Poor Fido! Have you no mercy, ck?

  • The dog picture was stolen from a National Lampoon cover. I assume without their permission. Tell me otherwise, web-critic.

  • The dog picture was stolen from a National Lampoon cover. I assume without their permission. Tell me otherwise, web-critic.

  • *vent*

    This regular Jewlicious reader, an animal-loving vegan Jewess if it matters, is extremely disappointed in your putting up that photo of the gun pointed at the dog.

    Decidely NOT funny and NOT kosher in any way, shape or form. I care not that it appeared elsewhere first. Very pathetic.

    *vent over*

  • K, thanks for your concern. However, 4 of us at Jewlicious are vegetarians and we are all animal lovers. The point of the graphic, which we borrowed from a 1976 National Lampoon cover, was to poke fun at some of the other blogs in the running for a JIB, who are shamelessly, as Harry put it, whoring for votes. We were being sarcastic in a Jonathan Swift A Modest Proposal sort of way. Also I assure you, no animals are ever harmed in the production of Jewlicious.

  • ck, are you funnin’ me? Ewer all veggies? That’s FAB. Not to worry, btw, themiddle, of COURSE i voted for this site!

    And ck, re:
    “No animals were harmed…”

    Thanks for the responses!!

    K 🙂

  • Indeed, ck, laya, alli and myself are all veggies. We also happen to be the Jewlicious Israel team. Coincidence…or CONSPIRACY?

    And to think, we’re all this charming and funny despite being anemic. What a shining beacon we are.

  • Muffti has to admit, for the sake of honesty, that he is not a vegetarian. So if htere is a conspiracy, Muffti is being left out.

  • The irony of my not being a vegetarian, but still unable to share most meat meals with the muffti, is a burden I bear most heavily. And as for the middle, what do penguins eat, anyway?