I had the most wonderful birthday day-before-yesterday!
My favorite non-Yom Tov annual event is the J-Bloggers' Convention; and the Dearly Beloved was kind enough to let me spend my birthday hanging out with a whole bunch of virtual people, instead of with my family. (I said that just for you, Baila. Say along with me: "Bloggers ARE real people! Bloggers ARE real people...)
Hosted by Nefesh B'Nefesh and powered by WebAds, the Second Annual J-Bloggers' Convention took place in a lovely venue -- Beit Avi Chai, near the Grand Synagogue. There were wonderful photographs on the walls, which stirred controversy. ("Ah, more photographic evidence that there are no women in the Ultra-Orthdox world." -- name withheld for snarkiness.) My favorite photograph was of a Chareidi guy sitting on the ground in the snow, because I love when people get in touch with their inner little kid.
There was one sad occurrence, that we would not have heard about until after the party, if four-fifths of the attendees had not been news junkies: astronaut Ilan Ramon, a"h, has now been joined by his dear son, IAF pilot Assaf Ramon, a"h. May Rona Ramon and her other children be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Yerushalayim...
I attended workshops on "Defending Israel through Social Media Tools" and "Being a Better Blogger." Treppenwitz and Jameel of the Muqata are my favorites, as they gave me the most useful advice; but I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Ashley Perry, and to Carl of Israel Matzav as well. Yishai Fleisher moderated with great professionalism. (Did Malkah choose that suit and tie, Yish? Very nice. Very "corporate," as Yeshiva Bochur would say.)
There were a couple of panel discussions on various topics. Three things struck me during these events: 1) The presenters put a lot of work into trying to provide an incredibly varied group of bloggers with interesting content, and they will get better and better each year; 2) Half of the people in the auditorium are Twittering, I-Phoning, and Blogging. We never would have gotten away with this in college lectures!; and 3) If my mama hadn't raised me to sit politely and listen, I would be out in the halls, grabbing extra time with my peeps.
Because the best part of the event was the opportunity to "chill" with lots and lots of my favorite writers. In the olden olden days, when print was still alive, writers used to meet in the salons of elegant dowagers. Not necessarily writers themselves, these wealthy ladies became famous for hosting gatherings; and their salons became almost as talked about as the people who met there.
We may not be George Sand or Dorothy Parker, and NBN isn't creaking with age and dripping with emeralds -- but the opportunity to hang out with thinkers and writers of
I got the special treat of seeing my friend Rivkah practicing to be an Israeli (very soon, please G-d). And there were people who blog in Israel, but I missed seeing -- either because they did not make the event, or there simply wasn't time to look for them around all of the programming.
I look forward to RivkA's budding plan to have a picnic with no programming, just so that I can chatter (not tweet) for hours with the likes of RivkA, Baila, Safra-Knit, Risa, A Soldier's Mother, One Tired Ema, Rahel, West Bank Mama, Penina, Muse, and the spousal units of QuietusLeo, Jameel and Treppenwitz, if their schedules allow. We could try to get Moshe Shmuel fixed up with someone who would feed him. Really. I'm serious here. Bring on the beer and barbecue!
Haveil Havalim, The Ruti's Birthday Edition, is up at The Reform Shuckle. Have an extra slice, on the house!