Nah. There’s no panic really. Here in Jerusalem, the gang from Jewlicious and our uh… minions and accolytes watched the election results come in at an event called Barack, Arack and Borekas hosted at the offices of Presentense. The combination of carbs and nana infused liquor made for a festive environment and so all went well.

The JBlogosphere is alive and well and diverse and whacky and fun and everything. While I NOW have a much better idea of how to do one of these things, please try to enjoy my review of the sites submitted. I’ll do better next time, I promise…

Founded by Soccer Dad, Haveil Havalim is a carnival of Jewish blogs — a weekly collection of Jewish & Israeli blog highlights, tidbits and points of interest collected from blogs all around the world. It’s hosted by different bloggers each week and coordinated by Jack. The term ‘Haveil Havalim,’ which means “Vanity of Vanities,” is from Qoheleth, (Ecclesiastes) which was written by King Solomon. King Solomon built the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and later on got all bogged down in materialism and other ‘excesses’ and realized that it was nothing but ‘hevel,’ or in English, ‘vanity.’

The JBlogosphere:
Haveil Havalim now has some competition… from Jewish mothers! Join Hadassahsabo as she inaugurates the very first Yiddishe Mama Blog Carnival – Hashem help us! What? This doesn’t interest you? Fine. OK. I’ll blog in the dark… No but seriously. You gotta love Jewish Mothers. Love? Yes! Hadassahsabo comes back with a survey of sorts on love, polling friends, fellow bloggers and Rabbis. Oh? And is there more competition from those more visually inclined? Leora talks about laying out and resizing images for the JPIX carnival. You know what they say – a picture is worth 1000 words!

Frum Punk let’s us in on what one must do in order to become a successful JBlogger, demonstrating both how vast and how limited the JBlogosphere is. Man… I’ve never even been to Lakewood. I’m not even sure where it is. Clearly I have so much more to learn. So very, very much. Apparently, the capacity for superhuman levels of activity doesn’t hurt either. Reading Baila’s typical itinerary makes me feel inadequate. And then she blogs!! What did I say about Jewish Mothers?

Waaah! The Elections!
With 24 hours to go before the US Presidential elections, Lady-Light goes over some of her concerns about “Barack Hussein Obama.” Anything could have happened of course, but the one thing you could have counted on was that no matter what they said, neither of the Presidential candidates was actually going to move the US Embasy to Jerusalem. Oh well, one always has post-election soup to calm one’s frayed nerves.

Robert J. Avrech at Seraphic Secret spent the immediate aftermath of the elections watching classic Hollywood films. We are provided with a glimpse into his home life, the witty repartee with his wife, which concludes with his magnanimous declaration: “Karen and I congratulate President-elect Obama and pray that he will use the awesome powers of his office with wisdom and justice.” And no reeducation camps, right? Reminds me of that prayer they used to say in the shtetls back in the day “…and may you keep the Czar far, far away from us.” Really, is it any wonder that Avrech, along with Gil Student, is one of my favorite bloggers that don’t link to me? No… I’m serious. It’s a short post and says so much!

Dr. Savta also offers up a post-election prayer for the chief. She prays that “the next administration will be one that helps the US recover economically, maintains the values that made it a great country, and keeps the US and all of its citizens safe.” In that vein, she prays that the next administration will be more effective in dealing with threats to peace emanating from radical elements in the Middle East who threaten not just Israel but Europe and the United States itself. Amen.

Risa at Isramom feels that we ought to find inspiration in Barack Obama’s victory. She modifies an Obama slogan and declares “Now, We Must!! … We need to learn from the US. We need to find our own great Jewish hope. We need our own change around here. It’s our turn now.” Yes we can…

In light of Obama’s election, Jack asks (and answers) a whole bunch of questions about Presidential benefits. For instance, Does the President carry house keys? How much vacation and sick time does he get? Why do we not know these things? Why doesn’t anyone even ask? What do we know? Well… the White House has 36 (!!) bathrooms for starters. Wow.

The US Presidential elections created some divisiveness within the Jewish community, and with the upcoming elections in Israel, one can expect even more divisiveness but rickismom demonstrates, in recalling her daughter’s recent wedding (Mazel Tov!), that Jewish unity, in the face of religious and other differences, is the way to go. The wedding was a success and everyone was happy despite everything. Definitely the way to go – after all, “All Israel have a share in the World to Come…”

My homie Dan (Go Habs!) over at Tzipiyah derived inspiration and hope from Barack Obama’s election despite being, you know… a little right wing. Dan asserts that there is a lot to learn from Obama’s focus on unity and that the Republican Party and the Jewish people, can learn a lot from this election. Other than that though, Dan disagrees with pretty much all of Obama’s policies. Super Raizy for her part, while disgusted by much of the anti-Obama rhetoric disseminated by certain elements in the Orthodox Community, hopes that Obama’s overwhelming victory signals the beginning of the end of identity politics in the US.

Lech Lecha and Obama
Rachel Barenblat at Velveteen Rabbi meshes Barack Obama’s victory with this week’s Torah portion, Lech Lecha. She notes that Lech Lecha has been interpreted to mean that we should not just go forth from our native land, but from ourselves – that we should strive to for something greater than ourselves. She concludes “Because lech-lecha doesn’t have to refer to a physical journey. It can mean the journey we’re all taking, singly and together, toward a place of plenty; a place of prosperity; a place of hope. The historic change we witnessed (we co-created) yesterday is the first step on a journey toward an America which says Yes we can to justice and equality. Yes we can to opportunity and prosperity. Yes we can heal this nation. Yes we can repair this world. Yes we can.” Also, don’t miss her Lech Lecha poem! Batya has a different take on Lech Lecha and the elections that she did not vote in. Voting she felt would have been an admission that she hadn’t actually left her “father’s house.” Instead she postulates that the message of Lech Lecha “is to focus, concentrate on our goal, a strong Jewish State in the HolyLand, and not allow anybody to push us off-track.” Cosmic-X reminds Obama that in Lech Lecha, Hashem tells Abram (no that’s not a typo) “And I will bless them that bless thee, and him that curseth thee will I curse.” Cosmic-X warns “Don’t mess with the Jews!” The Babysitter over at The Jewish Side focuses on the Jewish people’s choseneness and G*d’s promise to Abraham that his descendants will be numerous like the stars in the sky. Our innate specialness, which allows us to survive and thrive generation after generation also apparently means that more is expected of us. After all, noblesse oblige! No I’m kidding… but if we are going to wear and proclaim the mantle of choseness, we have to work hard to live up to what that implies.

Despite her earlier pessimism prior to the election, Lady-Light over at Tikkun Olam expresses cautious hope at Obama’s selection of Rahm Emanuel as his Chief of Staff. Rahm’s father was a member of the Irgun and is considered solidly pro-Israel. Or maybe Obama’s just obfuscating? Only time will tell! The Israel Situation also points out that Emanuel went to Hebrew day School, belongs to a Modern Orthodox synagogue and was a civilian volunteer with the IDF during the first Gulf War. LB in Occidental Israeli hopes that Rahm’s selection does not embolden the White House to unduly influence Israeli policy.

That’s not an issue with Daled Amos who believes that Emanuel was chosen because of his ferocious character rather than his Middle East Policy. How does this correspond to news that the Middle East Peace Process is going to be one of Obama’s early policy pushes? Is Emanuel’s appointment really just a fluke? Daled Amos remains concerned but laughs at silly Greeks who proclaim that the election of Obama signals the end of “Jewish Domination in the United States.” Clearly we’ll be dominating for a while yet. Uh… maybe.

Batya in Shiloh Musings is unhappy with her voting choices in the upcoming Israeli elections and thinks that polls are of limited utility.

Esser Agaroth demonstrates that criticism of Israel is not the unique purview of the extreme left. Umbrage is taken with the duplicity used by the IDF towards their own soldiers to guarantee their complicity in the destruction of the Federman and Tor Family homes. There is also speculation that Condoleeza Rice’s visit to the region the day after the Presidential election was timed so as to finalize a deal now, prior to Obama’s Presidency and prior to the election of a new Israeli government so as to tie the hands of all the new administrations. Interesting speculation but what stood out most was the term Pesha Council as the preferred nomenclature for the Yesha Council which it is felt has abandoned the settler movement and is simply trying to curry favor with the powers that be. Pesha is Hebrew for sin. Clever!

Benny Begin and Uzi Landau want to get back into politics. The two Likud hopefuls were photographed talking to each other. Batya wondered what they were talking about. My bet is that the conversation did not go something like this: “Really Uzi? You prefer Jachnun to Malawach?? That’s just crazy!”

A poster by one of the mayoralty candidates in Tel Aviv uses the provocative Hebrew word מתעלל to describe local feelings about the sum of parking fines issued by the current mayor’s administration. The word means “severe abuse.” Yisrael Medad feels that when the left uses such harsh language, no one takes notice, but when someone on the right uses it, it is roundly condemned as provocation to civil war or assassination or something. Uh… parking fines? At least Yisrael makes light of gross mismanagement and theft of EU funds sent to the PA with a photo showing a shirt that says “I paid 500 billion Euros and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.” I’d laugh, really I would…

Back in Jerusalem, Cosmic-X weighs in on the support given to Mayoral candidate Nir Barkat by the National Religious camp. He attributes this to the affinity the NR feel towards secular Jews (They are more likely to read Ha’aretz than to open up a Gemara) and the hatred they have towards Haredim. Alternatively he reasons NR supporters of Barkat are laboring under a David Ben Gurion inspired inferiority complex or they are just naive and vulnerable. Cosmic-X is voting for Porush because he feels he is G*d fearing and has more experience. Uhm… good luck with that. Cosmic-X also notes that Rabbi Chaim Druckman’s much publicized endorsement of Barkat… wasn’t actually an endorsement. So he’s going to vote for Porush. Did I mention that already? I don’t know. I’m all for fearing Hashem. But living in the shuk I’ve seen Yeshiva boys, Porush supporters, tearing down and even burning Barkat signs and one time even assaulting an old man who tried to photograph their vandalism. Somehow, that sort of activity and fearing G*d don’t seem to mesh so well, but what do I know?

Over at Jerusalemite, we are informed that the Bard is alive and well and performing in Jerusalem. And what is the best accompaniment to Shakespeare in Jerusalem? Why Jerusalem’s top 5 falafel joints of course! OK… even without the theater, these falafel joints are pretty good. But whether we’re talking falafel, lunch at the Village Green in Jerusalem or a trip to the pharmacy, getting your expired credit card replaced within minutes at an Israeli bank is always, always miraculous. I know, I know… odd juxtaposition – Shakespeare, felafel and banking… what can I say? Jerusalem is an odd place sometimes.

You think good service at an Israeli Bank is a shocking thing? How about an article on the importance of Yiddish that doesn’t insult non-Yiddish speakers and isn’t, you know, insufferable? LB at Occidental Israeli accomplished this amazing feat in his blog post titled Yiddish AND Hebrew. Maybe LB and the clerk that took care of the card should get together and tackle the problem

Yisrael Medad reminds us that Jonathan Pollard is still rotting in prison. His father, Dr. Morris Pollard, in Israel for a medical conference, attended a Knesset meeting that discussed his son’s case. “Pollard thanked the Knesset members “for everything you’ve done for him,” and MK Arie Eldad (National Union-NRP) replied, “Pollard worked for us, we owe him every single day. No one deserves to be thanked for what we have done, furthermore, we have failed in the final result.” ” In the meantime, the Israel Situation reports that Shimon Peres and Tzipi Livni are headed to New York for a Saudi organized interfaith kumbayah hoe down. I feel warm and tingly all over. Do you? I bet Pollard doesn’t.

The fragile truce between Israel and Hamas seems to have been shattered. Qassam’s are raining don on Ashkelon and Hamas is preparing for renewed fighting, Hezballah-style. Soccer Dad gives us the lowdown.

Jewlicious (used generically, I swear!)
Material Maidel’s provocatively titled post asks “are charedi girls raped?” But don’t worry – she merely goes on to ask about the mechanics involved in wedding night activities between two people who have had, for the most part, limited interaction with the opposite sex. I can imagine how seeing certain things for the first time ever can be uh… traumatic, but those Charedi babies keep popping, so clearly something’s working…

But newly married women have other concerns as well, and while they may seem trivial, you can count on the extraction of some greater meaning from the erstwhile JBlogosphere. For instance, Shtetl Fabulous, in discussing a recently married friend’s difficulty in finding just the right wig, makes a plea for greater modesty regardless of one’s sex. And yes, modesty is about more than not exposing female collar bones. In a similar vein, Esser Agaroth promotes the notion of “authentic Jewish” head coverings as an alternative to kippas for progressive egalitarian women. What does he mean by authentic? Apparently turbans and veils. Not just for married women, but for all women. Check out his post for a lovely selection of head coverings in a veritable rainbow of colors. Snazzy!

Judaism is indeed full of challenges. Like shabbat for instance. The shabbat experience is something many take for granted if they’ve been doing it for a long time. But Chavi’s issues and questions relating to her new found practice of observing the sabbath demonstrate the complexity and depth of our day of rest. Anyone have a good deal on a havdalah set?? We look forward to seeing Chavi in the Holy Land as she visits Israel with Taglit Birthright Israel in December.

Is there in fact anything wrong with being proud to be a Jew? Shorty discusses the difference between pride and arrogance – thoughts inspired by a lecture given by Rabbi Y.Y. Rubinstein of Scotland and a chat with Dr. Truda Rosenberg, a holocaust survivor and psychologist.

A Simple Jew presents Question & Answer With Rabbi Dovid Sears – Uman, an inside look into what motivates Breslover Chassidim to return to Uman year after year. I live next to a Breslover Yeshiva but me and the bochurs don’t hang so much. Consequently, I appreciated this well written and revealing post. Shlepping to Ukraine now almost makes sense!

In Judaism, the period that one is allowed to mourn is strictly regimented as muse reminds us in me-ander. While showing respect to the dead is commendable, Jewish holidays and getting back to regular life take precedence over our sadness.

Executed Today reminds us that Hannah Senesh was shot by the Nazis on Nov. 7th, 1944 in Budapest, Hungary. Senesh who escaped war torn Europe 5 years earlier for Palestine, returned as a special operative for the British when she was captured, imprisoned and executed by the Nazis. Zichronah Librachah.

Travel, Miscellany, and Tel-Aviv
Machu Picchu in Peru is breathtakingly beautiful. Many of my friends have been and while I have seen lots of photos of the place, none have ever moved me more than the pictures of Mottel and his friends donning teffilin at what was once a center of horrific avodah zarah. It looked like Mottel and his friends did a lot of serious hiking and roughed it quite a bit on this trip. I can’t even begin to imagine what they ate but if you like to vacation in ridiculous luxury, Dani over at Yeah That’s Kosher mentions a kosher cruise to Egypt and Israel that starts at $4,500 (!!). You won’t be sharing your breakfast with a Llama, but other than that, good times, good times. Sorry, but I prefer Mottel’s kind of travel.

Rebbetzin’s Husband came to Israel on a UJC Federation mission. Do you want to now what really goes on on those trips? Do you want an insider’s scoop on the intrigue and drama that is part and parcel of any Federation UJC event? Then read on here and here my friends! It’s not Machu Picchu, but it’s still kinda scary…

With everyone worried about the world’s economy, Toby at A Time of the Signs notes that the Old Yishuv Court Museum in the Old City of Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter is giving money away! Err.. possibly. Well that’s what the “Cash” sign implies, right? Uhm… wishful thinking much?

In conclusion, according to Benji at What War Zone, Tel Aviv is weird. Really weird. So there. Expect a municipal hit team to come after you. That’ll learn ya to be the last to submit!

Please send your posts for the next edition of the Haveil Havalim Blog Carnival via the Blog Carnival Submission Form. If you’re interested in hosting or receiving more information about the carnival, please contact Jack at talktojacknow (at) sbcglobal (dot) net.

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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.