I don’t have a side in any of the debates in this article. I just have one opinion: Some people decided to create an event (Nefesh B’Nefesh Jewish Blogger Convention) for Jewish bloggers to come together. A sponsor was found who would pay airfare for many bloggers.
How can you trash this? So what if there is an agenda? Some people created something good. They deserve applause.
Shmarya Rosenberg, whose Failed Messiah blog is critical of Orthodox Judaism, also slammed the convention. "At first glance, the conference seems stacked in favor of Orthodox bloggers with right-wing political leanings," he told AngloFile. "I think what Nefesh B’Nefesh is doing is deceitful. A true Jewish bloggers’ conference would be both open to all Jewish bloggers and far more balanced."
…David Bogner, one of the panelists and author of Treppenwitz, a blog about the "specialness" of everyday life in Israel, might agree that the conference lineup is ideologically skewed, but is not bothered by that. "Who wants to go listen to some carefully hand-picked panel discussion where there are exactly equal numbers of right-wing, left-wing, girls, boys, religious, secular Sephardi, Ashkenazi – there’s no end to that kind of madness," he said. "I have the sense the organizers of the conference were going for pro-Israel, pro-aliyah bloggers who also get lots of traffic. Unfortunately, that demographic seems to skew somewhat right-wing religious – just as the actual aliyah statistics do." However Bogner, who moved from Connecticut, in the U.S., to Efrat, in the West Bank, in 2003, added that there are a number of "excellent secular and lefty bloggers" among the participants. "I’m sure they will more than make up for any disparity in numbers with their active participation."
The author of the Modern Orthodox religion blog Emes VeEmunah, Rabbi Harry Maryles, of Chicago,…: "One issue that may not be on the agenda that I would like to see discussed is how to increase our advertising revenue," he wrote in an e-mail to AngloFile. "I spend hours a day on my blog and have virtually no income from it. The money I make from the two Web ads I have barely pays for my monthly DSL [high-speed Internet connection] fees."