After both last year's and this year's J-Bloggers' Conventions, the biggest complaint was that there wasn't enough social time around all the programming. So this year, we decided (via comments on each other's blogs, natch) to create our own social gathering. And, since we were in charge, we decided to invite family, lurkers, and readers.
Coffee and Chemo organized the event (and continued organizing, even during the event). We met at the Japanese Bell in Gan Sacher, where rumor had it there was a sukkah. It took the Dearly Beloved and a couple of other intrepid souls a bit of a hike to find it; but there was, indeed, a very tiny sukkah (conveniently placed near a large, open-air beer stand).
Our Shiputzim. (Which reminds me that I want to speak at some point about how people who meet each other through their extensive written thoughts are not strangers by the time they meet in person...)
I met again bloggers I'd met at the conventions -- but this time, I had time to hear their thoughts. I had a very interesting conversation with Gila of My Shrapnel. She gave me much food for thought, and the reminder that it is vitally important to listen to opinions that differ from one's own.
Yisrael of My Right Word deigned to join our merry band, even without our beloved Batya ("She LEFT me," he lamented), who was off doing something -- probably important -- which we might get to read about in me-ander or Shilo Musings or at Arutz Sheva. (Can you say "prolific"?)
Even Jameel permitted himself a short break from The Muqata to mingle with the holy Yidden. And I found one blog I'd never encountered before -- but which could easily become a favorite -- thanks to David of Balashon - Hebrew Language Detective.
There were sweet family moments.
Toby and her daughter take a moment away from A Time of the Signs,
while RivkA and her dear husband say "gvina!" for the camera, as does Robin from Safra-Knit with her cute bunchkins.
There were very nice moments between fathers and daughters and between sisters... and between soul-sisters.
An added bonus: the Dearly Beloved found some more cheerful students for the strumstick.
Everyone's kids found the usual ways to amuse themselves: kite flying, Frisbee, gummi, wrestling on the lawn... whatever they would have done at home, but with new friends.
There were many deep and interesting conversations on many topics: Israeli politics, American politics, religion, kids, sports,music, beer... even a little Toirah.
The Dearly Beloved quotes George Harrison ("I've got blistas on my fingas!") in a conversation with Gidon of How to Succeed as an Atzma'i. I think there was music and beer in this conversation.
Klara of treesandforests and Devra of Every Day and its Challenges share an animated conversation, probably about the heavenly taste of Devra's mushroom and onion quiche. And then Klara has a moment with Gila...
Jerusalem Notes: Fiberwork by Debbie.
All in all, it was a rockin' good time. We look forward to the next one, at which we hope to see some of the bloggers who wanted to come but couldn't make it, such as Aliyah06 of Baka Diary, the namesake of I'll Call Baila, and West Bank Mama.
Where else can you get entertainment like this -- for FREE? Moadim l'simcha!