Yesterday I participated in the Nefesh B’Nefesh International Jewish Bloggers Conference. I’ll write about that some more later – for those of you just dying to see how it went you can visit the following blogs which did a great job summarizing the event: The always entertaining Dov Bear who live blogged the whole thing (don’t miss out on the comments), Miriam Schwab at IsraelPlug, Lena at EsaJudita, Yehuda with 1, 2, 3 (!!) posts, more live blogging goodness with Mere Rhetoric and Mystical Paths, Hubscub, rabbisedley, backspin. I am certain there will be more and that this event will generate discussion for days to come. I’ll write about it as well at some point too.

What i wanted to post about was the overall experience – particularly meeting some of these people who I have interacted with but never met before. That seems to be the question i get asked the most – what was so and so like, etc. etc.

Well, I can say that this was a truly humbling experience. Jameel and Treppenwitz, rather than being scary settler types, turned out to be a couple of goofy cut ups – fun and funny, a total pleasure to hang out with. A great love of Israel and Judaism verily oozed from their pores. I plan on spending Shabbat with them some time, or at least collecting that beer and waffles that Jameel owes me. Gil Student of Hirhurim was another blogger who was on our flight – he was soft spoken and understated, another great lover of Judaism at its very best. He won’t link to Jewlicious and that is totally cool – I will always link to Hirhurim and urge everyone I know to visit.

Another blogger on our flight was Robert J. Avrech, the writer of Seraphic Secret. Seeing him on the plane reminded me of that time in 2004, when reading his first blog posts, I was torn up by his writing, only barely being able to comprehend the scope and nature of his loss, touched by his willingness to share that process with the rest of us. We share very little in common but it is a testament to his writing skill and love he felt for his son that he was able to get me to empathize so strongly – to date he is probably the only blogger that has ever gotten me, you know, misty.

Last night after the conference, Esther, Israluv, Benji and I, went to a bar near the shuk for a drink. We passed Sima where we saw Avrech, Treppenwitz and their wives enjoying a good nosh. Sure enough this morning, Averech wrote another post that I enjoyed a lot. it described a chance encounter at Sima with one of the local Moroccan women and her children at the washing station. The woman and her family were ahead in line and none the less allowed Averech through:

I wash and Mom carefully tears off a paper towel and reverently hands it to me.

I say the b’racha, the blessing.

And Mom answers “Amen, amen, v’amen.”

Mom makes eye contact with me and gives me the sweetest most lovely smile I have ever seen since, well, since Shirley Temple dazzled American audiences in the depths of the depression.

I exchange a long look with mom. I can’t thank her because between the time you wash and say the b’racha, and the time when you eat the bread, one is not allowed to speak.

To show my gratitude, I give a formal little bow of the head.

I feel like Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice.

And in that moment I no longer see the blue eye shadow, the false-eyelashes, the saber-like nails lacquered red as a Chinese vase, no longer see the unfortunate hair and heels.

I feel ashamed of my previous harsh judgment for now all I see a fine Jewish woman who loves Torah and Judaism, a worthy descendant of the four biblical matriarchs, Sarah, Rivkah, Rachel and Leah.

A few minutes later, I eat the best meal of my life.

Sigh. I am so humbled right now.

And here’s the video:

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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.


  • dude, you must have spent the entire morning reading blogs… anyway, i also took a quick look around, and most ppl were quoting your quick witted reply to “Netanyahu?” It was indeed the best moment of the night, IMHO

  • I agree wholeheartedly that the “Jewlicious?” “Netanyahu?” bit was the highlight of the evening. כל הכבוד!

  • I knew somebody from Jewlicious should have done the comedy routine. Or the tap-dancing. Or the puppet show.

  • Like everyone else here, your comeback to Bibi was truly funny. I wished I had caught it on video, perfect timing. I really enjoyed your talk during the panel about how and why Jewlicious began. It was a really good conference, and I have gained a lot of ideas on how to progress with my blog.

  • RivkA–he IS in Israel! We snagged him a few years ago.

    Ehav–So far, it appears that a lot of people have picked up the concept of including a link to a specific post in their comments on other posts (at least–based on the comments on my post).

  • Could somebody please relate the “Netanyahu” story to those of us who weren’t there?

  • Dave:

    Greatly enjoyed meeting and chatting with you. I’m sorry we didn’t get more time together to know one another. I believe we probably have more in common, than not.

    Thanks so much for the kind words. You are extremely generous.

  • Bibi was there as a “blogger.” And…
    The two agendas of the conference were blogging Israel for aliyah–nbn and using blogs to fix our international image. That’s why the foreign ministry sent someone with that presentation, which should have been better “edited.”

    Even those of us who aren’t enthusiastically waiting for him to be Prime Minister again or would never vote for him generally admit that he’s a superb spokesperson for Israel. I’m sure that everyone, unless they had their fingers in their ears, learned something useful.

  • Just goes to show you the difference between one who thinks on their feet (like CK) vs. Trepenwitz who would have only thought of the “Netanyahu” line about 3 minutes AFTER the opportunity 😉

    Though the Treppenwitz post about it would have been just as entertaining…

    CK and All — it was truly a pleasure and and honor to meet you all and spend time with you.

    Without a doubt — one of the mega highlights of the past 3 years I have been blogging.



  • For those of you who weren’t there, Bibi Netanyahu got up to speak, looked at the names of the blogs written in front of the panelists and said “Jewlicious?” to which ck replied “Netanyahu?” The entire room erupted in laughter. Then Netanyahu defended his name by reminding us it was a biblical name.

    I really enjoyed the networking opportunities and some of the talks. Bloggers are FUNNY. In the last few days I have seen many good suggestions for the next convention but also a lot of nasty criticism which I think is superfluous. I hope it does not discourage the organizers from planning a second one.

  • What Benji said. Your timing was the best, I think. But the best advice I got all night also came from you. “I encourage you to get out of the house. Get away from your computer. Get a bicycle.” Though I attributed it to Dave, rather than to CK. I may be a bit confused… not for the first time.

  • CK: It was a great pleasure spending so much time with you. You know I think you’re a good guy and I like what you’re doing, even though we are doing very different things aimed at different audiences.

    Gila, way to speak your mind!

  • I made Aliyah with Nefesh B’Nefesh 5 years ago and found the conference very interesting (I watched on-line) with the other 1000 people that couldn’t make it.

    I think blogging is a great way for people to connect, share their experience and help others. I personally began privately writing about myAliyah experience over 2 years ago for personal reasons and only recently began publishing. I was thrilled to hear that others were receptive to my writing style.

    Keep up the Jewish Blogging!


    Jessica – The Aliyah Survivor

  • One day, while I was vacationing in Hong Kong, I misplaced the key to my hotel room. I called the hotel manager and told him that I needed a new key as soon as possible. Three minutes later, a prostitute showed up at my door saying “Manager tell me you want nooky quick-quick. You give me hundred dollar, I give you number one nooky! I tried to explain to the young woman, “No, I want a NEW KEY, not your nooky!” She got angry and yelled at me, You want nooky but not MY nooky! What wrong with MY nooky? My nooky clean, just wash this morning!” “You don’t understand me”, I told her, “I need a NEW KEY!”. “And I need hundred dollar!”, she replied at the top of her voice. “Well“, I thought to myself, “since I can’t leave without a new key, I might as well avail myself of the opportunity.” That is when I got my Chinese nickname. When I took my drawers down, the young woman exclaimed, “You hung so lo!, you hung so lo!” “No, I told her, my name is Moshe Rabeynu, I’m not Hung So Lo. I’m not even half-Chinese.” “For China“ she replied “you hung so lo!” So that is how I became known as Moshe “Hung So Lo” Rabeynu in China.

  • Greetings, ladies and gentlemen, from your friendly former exotic dancer, Moshe Rabeynu. I am interested in establishing a “Chippendales” type establishment in Israel. What type of assistance and tax benefits does the Israeli government provide to new businesses of olim chadashim? Are there many such entertainment facilities in Israel? I would like some idea as to how stiff the competition would be. Do Israeli women, as a rule, like to look at males dancing in skimpy G-strings? Are they generous tippers? Would they put a shekel to the shmeckel? If I hire other olim chadashim as dancers, would they have to pay any taxes on their tips? Can I employ dancers who have not had a bris ? I might want to hire one or two to add variety to the show’s lineup. Is a liquor license hard to obtain in Israel. Do I have to bribe any officials to receive one? To whom is it customary to pay proteksia money to start a business and keep it going and approximately how much to they ask for? . It’s not easy having to retire from all the glamour and the excitement. I yearn to shave my legs and pubic area, don my good old G-string once again and to get back into the limelight as the leader of a first rate male exotic dance review. I have put on a little weight over the course of my retirement years but I have started an exercise regimen to tighten my pecs, glutes and abs which the ladies like so much. I am going to undergo penile enlargement surgery while I’m still living in the U.S. to compensate for the “shrinkage” of old age (as George Constanza would describe it). I would have had it done in Israel after aliyah, however, the Jewish Agency Representative told me I would have to pay an import duty on the implant device in Israel because it was over nine inches. The Israeli Government limit’s the size of a penile implant to 4 ¾ inches to qualify for the oleh chadash tax and import duty exemption. I explained that this was a work related expense and an integral part of the Male Exotic Dance business but he told me that Israel as a socialist society and they didn’t see why anyone should require an implant in order to have such exceptionally large genitalia. I asked him, “what about each according to his ability, each according to his needs”. I explained that if I were going to be a success in my chosen line of endeavor, I would “need” to pack the gear. The whole matter is still up in the air and I have come to the conclusion that he is angling for a bribe or payoff either for himself or a cohort. He told me on the QT that it might be possible to fudge the official import manifest paperwork to look like the importation of two 4 ¾ inch implants instead of one 9 ½ inch implant. I could certify that I was orthodox and one implant was “milchadikeh” and one was “flayshekikeh”. This whole rigmarole will have to be steered through the immigration bureaucratic process by unseen hands so I assume someone, somewhere, will require a payoff. Additionally, I have been advised that there might be a problem with the Rabbinate. They feel that it is unseemly for a woman to place her tip in the male dancer’s G-string. They said that they will require that all the dancers carry “pishkahs”
    (containers with slots on top) like I had to carry around, when I was in Hebrew school, for the Keren Kayemet. I asserted that if the ladies want to put their sheckels by the shmeckles and get a little peek and a little poke in the process, this is their right as “am chofshi”! The male dancers will be instructed to carry the “pishkahs” but the ladies can place their tips wherever they please, be it in the dancer’s pouch or his “pishkah” slot. I’ll have to sign off for now. I’m getting some new G-strings made up and I have an appointment for a fitting.

    About Me
    “THE GREAT OFFENDER” “When I’m hard, I’m soft. But, when I’m soft, I’m hard!
    Tuesday, April 21, 2009
    Yes, I’m the great offender!
    Offending is what I do well.
    I won’t play your games
    I’ll kick ass and take names
    and give all you bullshitters hell.

    Oh yes, I’m the great offender!
    Searching the web far and wide.
    When I find things not true,
    I shout out “F-you!”
    And the liars all run away and hide.

    I sit by my screen
    I’m so vicious and mean
    Telling it just as it is!
    All the bullshitters moan
    And plead “let me alone”
    And I say “here’s my ass to kiss!”

    Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
    Yesss, I’m the great offender!
    Just doing what needs to be done.
    You bullshitters out there
    Had all best be aware
    That breaking your balls is great fun…
    That breaking your balls is great funnn!
    Posted by “THE GREAT OFFENDER” at 8:03 PM
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