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Jewish Journal

Jewish Blog-Con: Countdown to a Zionist Take-Off

by Orit Arfa

September 6, 2009 | 7:06 pm

For the last installment in this blog series, click here.

My plane leaves in a few hours to JFK where I’ll join the Nefesh B’Nefeh charter aliyah flight to Israel. I’m looking forward to vicariously enjoying the organization’s ceremonial, joyous, fan-fare filled take-off and arrival for its new olim—the kind of reception I never got when I made aliyah independently about ten years ago, only to return to Los Angeles last September.

I just re-activated my Israeli cell phone. It’s now on a pay-as-you-go plan. Turning it on makes me feel like I’m re-activating my old life there, a life I edited with every phone number added or deleted. Scrolling down my phone book is like scrolling down the memories: the good friends, the boyfriends, the missed opportunities, and the dreams realized.

I plan to reconnect with old friends and colleagues, and also to make new ones, especially at the Second International Jewish Bloggers Convention on September 13. They have a wonderful program of workshops that should inform and inspire any blogger, tweeter, or social media maven concerned with Jewish issues. Topics include:

• Monetizing your blog
• The business of blogging
• Networking for money
• Twittering for bloggers
• Defending Israel through social media tools
• Defending Israel online
• How to be a better blogger

I’ve also been invited to speak as part of the panel on Social Media and the Future of the Jewish Community, and you can watch it via webcam at www.jbloggers.org.

So soon I’ll shut off my American phone and re-embark on a mini-Zionist adventure that you can follow here on this blog. I’m sure it’ll be fun-filled but also filled with introspection concerning the basic question: how much do I miss my Israeli cell-phone and the Israeli life it symbolizes, and what would it take for me to trade my LA one for it—again? Or do I remain like most of Diaspora Jewry—visiting Israel on a pay-as-you-go plan, splurging on the pleasures of the land without the kind of long-term contract that Nefesh B’Nefesh offers?

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