I confess, I rarely visit blog websites. I follow over 200 blogs on various subjects, and the only way I can keep up is by using an RSS reaser (Google Reader is my favorite).  Practically, what that means is that I don’t really pay that much attention to the various blogrolls, links, and ads on anyone’s site, or even on my own. But after reviewing my blogroll this morning, I realized that it was time to spruce things up a bit. Time to get rid of some old, defunct blogs, and time to give credit to new friends whose ideas have influenced my own, and whose hard work in keeping us all updated I have benefited from.

Here then is the blogroll draft class of 2009, in no particular order:

  • Boundless Drama of Creation – Written by Seth Cohen, an active member of the Atlanta Jewish community. Seth writes mostly from a Federation perspective, and has held various positions with the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta.
  • Conversations in Klal – ProfK, a Yeshivish Orthodox wife and mother from Staten Island, but soon to be moving “out of town,” writes about absurdities and extremism in her community.
  • Cross-Currents – This venerable blog features Avi Shafran, mouthpiece of Agudath Israel and other right-wing Orthodox voices including Yitzchok Adlerstein, Toby Katz, and Yaakov Menken. A good place for understanding Yeshivish and American Hareidi Jewish opinion, but a terrible palce for conversation, as the comments are heavily censored.
  • Orthonomics – SephardiLady, a sharp-tongued Suze Orman for parents of large Orthodox families, shows no mercy when slaying the scared cows of Orthodox entitlement such as summer camps and Pesach vacation, and displays deftness with a calculator as well as tremendous compassion and generosity when doling out financial wisdom and providing resouces for managing the fiscal health of an Orthodox household.
  • The Fundermentalist – JTA writer Jacob Berkman keeps tabs on all the happenings in the world of Jewish philanthropy in this popular new(ish) feature. A must-read in the Madoff era.
  • Three Jews, Four Opinions – Originally a group blog featuring two law professors and a lawyer representing the Reform, Conservative, and post-denominational communities, the blog is now largely written by Bruce, the Conservative lawyer. The blgo mostly discusses Jewish legal theory, the Documentary Hypothesis, and Jewish sociology.
  • Wolfish Musings – BrooklynWolf’s eclectic blog touches on various aspects of moderate Orthodox Jewish life, and includes an ongoing feature on photography.
  • Moishe House Blog – Moishe House is an international network of young Jewish adults who live together in ‘Moishe Houses’ around the world and create educational and social programs for their communities. This blog, written by members, chronicles their successes and failures, as well as their wisdom and insights into Jewish community.
  • On the Fringe – Al Tzitzit – Shira Salamone writes about her experiences moving from a left-wing egalitarian Conservative to a right-wing traditional Conservative synagogue. Having recently lost her mother A”H, she has explored issues relating to women’s prayer, kaddish, and so on, while continuing to comment on broader political and religious issues.
  • Shalom Hartman Institute Blog – Mostly a video blog, the SHI blog features astoundingly good lectures by leading intellectuals at their Jerusalem-based thinktank, including David and Donniel Hartman, Moshe Halbertal and Israel Knohl. Also on tap are presentations by their excpetional women scholars like Melilah Hellner-Eshed and Rachel Shabbat Bet-Halachmi, and featured talks from their various summer study institutes for rabbis and lay leaders. SHI is a pluralistic research and leadership institute that grapples with Judaism, Zionism, the Diaspora, and Modernity.
  • Torat Ezra – DYS is a traditionally observant blogger who write about politics and Kosher, and who has taken up mobile blogging of late. DYS also contributes to DovBear.
  • eJewish Philanthropy – Since 2007, this Jerusalem-based blog has been providing news, resources, and insight into the world of Jewish Philanthropy, with an eye towards highlighting best practices, web strategies, and innovation from the younger set of Jewish activists.
  • GenYGive – Written by Miriam Kagan, this philanthropy blog focuses on Generation Y/Millennials, and on progressive approaches to doing good.
  • Reb Blog – The personal blog of Rabbi Daniel Brenner, Executive Director of Birthright Israel NEXT, and also my boss!
  • Kosher Blog – The name says it all. This blog, run by Jonathan Abbett in Brookline, Steven Weinberger in Brooklyn, and Marc Melzer in Manhattan, keeps me up to date on new kosher eateries as well as new kosher outrages.
  • (Edited to add one more) Garnel Ironheart – A provocative blogger who writes a self-described “new approach to Modern Orthodoxy,” Ironheart has come under criticism for advocating a more Hareidi approach under the guise of Modern Orthodoxy. I remain puzzled as to whether he is or is no Rabbi Dr. Michael Scweitzer, author of The Unending War trilogy from which the name Garnel Ironheart is taken, but I enjoy his posts and his comments on this blog.

That’ll do it! Here ends the guided tour of my new blogroll. Now go out and make some new friends.