Thursday, June 2, 2011

Farewell to Blogging

I'm shutting down this blog. In a moment I'll explain a bit about why, and what might come next, but first a word about what's still here.

Blogs are a very ephemeral type of writing. No-one reads old blog-posts, or entire blogs from cover to cover. They can be a useful way of saying immediate things, but they're not very good for saying anything of lasting value. Indeed, most of what I've written here these past four years hasn't been durable. Some bits, however, perhaps have, or so I'd like to hope. These parts I've now collected in a short series of pages, listed at the upper left corner of this screen. There are three such series:

At Don't Divide Jerusalem I've collected links to the 15 essays I wrote explaining and demonstrating why I think the idea of dividing Jerusalem is a travesty which, should it ever be implemented, will be the root of the next war.

At Seeking Peace, Living at War I collected the dozen or so essays about war and peace which I hope will have some value for readers who might stumble upon them even well after they were written.

At Jewish Culture, Israeli Culture I told about the Daf Yomi series I ran here, and about the Shirim Ivri'im one.

Regular readers will have noticed that I've been uneasy with blogging for quite a while. The reason I'm desisting precisely now is that I seem to have been offered the job of Israel's State Archivist. The appointment is not yet official, and the way these things work, it shouldn't be regarded as final until it does become official, but even were it to fall through I wouldn't continue with blogging in the present form. Assuming the appointment does come through, however, I obviously can't be both a civil servant and a political bloggger.

What next? Well, mostly I expect to be engaged in that new job, which includes some very large challenges. Alongside it, however, I intend to continue with the researching for and writing of a book about Jerusalem, the living city that it is, rather than the historical city it as been these past 4-5,000 years - though of course, the present city is also the historical one - very much so. One of the nicest things about blogging is that I've had the opportunity to listen to intelligent people as they responded to the thoughts I've been spewing. I've been wondering if it might be feasible to have a website where I put materials, thoughts, ideas, pictures and general stuff that I'll be collecting (and discarding?) along the way towards writing that book. Professors use their students as sounding boards for the emerging drafts of their research; perhaps a website could do the same? So I've put up a provisional site, over here. It's not supposed to be a daily blog, and Im not certain what it will evolve to be, but if you're interested, feel free to come by from time to time.

Another idea I've had is connected to the archivist position. The State Archivist does various things, including being the head of the national archives, and also the professional head of the entire field. This means he can acquire a good idea about what Israel's various archives have, and what stories they tell. Perhaps, if I find the time, I'll set up a blog that reports on interesting documents from our many archives. Perhaps.

I remain on Twitter, @yaacovlozowick, and whenever I feel I've got an announcement to make, it will happen there. Should I someday return to something resembling blogging, in this format or any other, for example, I'll tweet the momentous news.

Finally, I wish to thank the many readers who followed this blog, those who identified themselves and joined the discussions, and the many who never did. I appreciate the time you gave me.

Yaacov

80 comments:

Marc R. said...

Yaacov-

I'm an avid and devoted reader of this blog, though I think I only commented once before.

I don't begrudge your decision to bid farewell to blogging, but it still makes me very sad. Your writing has been skillful, your opinions have been thought provoking, and your courtesy has been unique in the blogging community.

It has been so valuable to have a measured and thoughtful outlet from an actual Israeli. Where would you suggest I turn now for a similar perspective?

In any event, thank you so much for the time and effort you have expended on all our behalfs.

Best,

Marc

pj said...

I will miss this blog. You have a very readable and engaging writing style. I only hope that you will leave the site open and not delete all the postings. I do tend to peruse the older posts from time to time.

Best of luck with the new possibilities.

Peter Johnston (PJ)

C said...

Longtime reader, but never left a comment due to lousy internet connection out here in the mountains of Africa. Your blog has been a valuable source of information and opinion. I've cherished the time spent here. I'll be sure to follow you on Twitter and over at your new blog (improved wireless internet makes this possible.) Good luck with the new job as well as with your book.
Charlotte,
Ceres Valley
South Africa

Anonymous said...

"Blogs are a very ephemeral type of writing. No-one reads old blog-posts, or entire blogs from cover to cover. They can be a useful way of saying immediate things, but they're not very good for saying anything of lasting value."

I treat mine as more of a diary and reference source than anything. Postings are merely occasional. Communication with others is through other means.

- Solomon2

Menachem Mendel said...

Congratulations on the new job. I look forward to you bringing the state archives into the digital age and the 21st century. Are the archives going to be separate from the new national library that's being built?

Juniper in the Desert said...

Dear Yaakov, thank you for your posts, they have always been interesting and informative. I totally understand you. Have you thought of putting your posts in a downloadable format, like an online book? Then we can visit your archives and browse around.

I understand that you need to do something more concrete.

Best of luck in your new job.

Juniperinthedesert.blogspot.com

Markus said...

What a huge loss! - I never thought I’d ever be saying this about a blog, since you're of course right about blogging in that it is a very fading thing to do. But to my mind, yours has always been one of the most interesting and reliable sources of reading out there, and I’ve always appreciated you sharing your views. And as a grad student of Middle Eastern politics, I’ll even go so far as to say that I have learned a great deal from you. Thank you very much, and all the best of luck.

Jeff K in Los Angeles said...

I have been an avid reader for years, but have not posted before. I will truly miss your thoughtful comments. If I thought I could talk you out of this decision, I would. But since I can't, I wish you great success with your next challenges. I too would appreciate recommendations to other blogs that provide similar kinds of commentary and insights.

Fabián said...

My daughter came running to my desktop when she heard me say "noooo!". It was because I read that you will not be bloggin anymore.

A real loss. But behatzlacha in your new tafkid. I am very happy that you have been given that position.

Best,
Fabian from Israel

annie said...

Nooo! Don't go! Seriously, I have appreciated your blog hugely ever since I first discovered it (and I can't remember how that happy event came about). You brought a different insight to my political views and made me stop and think.

I'm really sad that you are stopping but understand the political and time constraints you will have. I wish you much hatzlacha in your new job and may you continue to educate all of us.

Anonymous said...

I have been visiting this blog regularly since discovering it months ago. It's rare to find such knowledge and such an articulate style for conveying it.

Best of luck with the new gig. I do hope you'll blog about your discoveries in the new job. There are a lot of us who will be eager readers.

Lisa

Anonymous said...

Yaacov,

Your blog is the first thing I read each day so, of course, I am terribly disappointed to be losing my daily dose of intelligent opinion. Seriously, your political commentary has consistently been the most thoughtful and intelligent source I have found on the web for understanding the issues you deal with. It has been truly educational in a way that almost no other blogging, or even journalism, is. I realize that you will continue this work with your book on Jerusalem and I look forward eagerly to reading it. Perhaps, as you have repeatedly advised, I will even return to reading books regularly again.

Thanks a thousand times for the many insights and important but little-known facts and best of luck in your new job.

David E. Sigeti

Mel said...

Good luck for the future - btw, I'm someone actually does browse back through past posts quite a bit to find stuff that interests me - but perhaps I'm alone in that.

bataween said...

Yaacov,
You have become a daily must-read and I shall miss your thoughtful and well-argued posts. Best of luck in your new job - Blogging's loss is Israel's gain.
Bataween

Sérgio said...

Congrats for the new job! I guess your blog was a landmark and we´ll miss it.

All the best.

Yair said...

Yaacov,

Your blog is one of the most insightful I have had the privilege to come across, something which is all the more impressive given that it deals with a topic that seems to invite shoddy, superficial thinking. The complexity and clarity of your thoughts will be sorely missed.

But I can't argue with the archivist position! Good to see the State of Israel knows how to find the best people for the job. I do very much hope that you start up a blog featuring your forays into those archives - I can't wait to see what you find.

Todah rabbah, and much hatzlaha in the next chapter of your life's work.

Yair

rungholt said...

This is sad news, although I´m very glad to hear about your new position.

I will miss your blog.

And I don't think it's true that old blog posts are dead and forgotten. I did read backwards when I discovered your blog. And I'm sure I'm not the only one.

Timothy said...

Yaacov,

Best wishes to you and your family.

I've thoroughly enjoyed reading your observations and insights. I've learned very interesting bits of history of your country from you.

I'll miss your posts.

Timothy

Bryan said...

Yaacov,

I among others will miss your blog dearly. You clearly articulated a mindset that many Israelis share, and you were unfailingly patient towards your commentariate, even when we got a little hostile. The blogosphere will be worse off in your absence.

Kol hakavod on many years of fruitful blogging and b'hatzlachah in your new position.

Grant said...

Yaacov
As someone living in Israel for eight years, you've become a wise and trusted companion helping to make sense of what often seems non-sensical, while ways communicating an indefatigable spirit of hope. I share the feelings of many of your readers, hope you get a thrill from your next endeavor and I'll look forward to your next book. Thank you u-behatzlacha, Grant

Anonymous said...

Good luck on your new job. I'll miss your blog, which was always informative and thought-provoking. And now we'll never find out why you were banned in China.
David Gleicher

carmella said...

יעקוב ,תודה רבה על המאמץ שהשקעת בבלוג מרתק זה. מאחלת לך הרבה הצלחה בתפקיד החדש. מקווה שתכתוב מדי פעם בזמנך החופשי.

Elder of Ziyon said...

Hatzlacha raba, Yaacov. I will miss your blogging immensely.

By the way, so will Fake Ibrahim. A month ago, he complimented you on my blog, trying to insult me by saying that unlike me, you are a serious blogger and that you are a better writer. I admit, for once, he is right.

Risa said...

Looking forward to reading your new stuff. I will miss this blog.

Thom from Berkeley said...

Yaacov,

In the wake of a baseball gambling scandal in 1919 involving an American star, Shoeless Joe Jackson, legend has it that a little boy apprached the ex-player and exclaimed, "Say it ain't so!"

While your departure from our screens is not marred by scandal, but, instead, accompanied by a well-deserved recognition of your accomplishments, your faithful readers have exclaimed as one -- "Say it ai'nt so!"

I can only echo what many have said. You were the first blog I read each day and I will miss your knowledge, wisdom and invaluable insights. You provided your non-Israeli readers with a unique understanding of challenges Israelis and the Zionist project face each day. I was continually advising my friends -- read that blog!

Like my fellow admirers, my personal (selfish) disappointment is leavened with my excitement about your new position which will, I know, greatly benefit your country and its people now and beyond our lfetimes I hope that at some point in the future, your new endeavor will provide you with the opportunity to write another book on Israel's history.

All the very best,

Thom

Carrie said...

Dear Yaacov,

I have to admit this post made me very sad. Your blog is without a doubt the best english language blog on Israel out there. There will be a huge void from this day on.

Best of luck in your new job and with your new book.

Best,
Carrie

Silke said...

Yaacov

I can't say how grateful I am for all I learned from you. Thank you!!!

I sincerely hope your job comes through and maybe one day you will be able to put on a similar podcast to the one from the Brits' National Archives. Even though "thanks" to the language barrier I probably won't be able to profit from it I wish with all my heart that you'll out-excellence them. ;-)

Also of course I hope that in that job you will hit the lecture circus and iTunes will serve you to me and your vanishing into Twitter means I will have to learn to use that damn thing. So many changes for change-averse me and hopefully one really really good one for you.

Thanks again and please please keep this site accessible ...

and thanks for the new site - it looks promising ...

Anonymous said...

I read the Israeli blogosphere religiouisly, but somehow only found this site last week.
It quickly moved to the top of the list, and I wondered how I had missed out for so long. Oh well. Some things are too good to last.

And really, congratulations on the state archivist position. That's quite an honor, and you're a great choice for the position.

RK said...

Congratulations on the new position! Looks like there's going to be a Yaacov-sized hole in my feed reader. (I'm sure I'll find something less worthwhile to fill it with, like Youtube videos of cats in silly clothes.)

Thanks for writing a consistently interesting and illuminating blog these past few years, and lots of success in your future activities. I'm sure the Internet hasn't heard the last of you...

James Cronin said...

Thank you for many musings on matters. They have enlightened and intrigued me over the past months I have been reading your blog. Had I not stumbled upon your blog I believe I would have been worse off in matter relating to the middle east.

Keep up the good work and maybe one day when I finally come to Israel I can say thanks in person.

JC

Anonymous said...

But what to read instead?

David Gruber said...

Yaacov,

I can only echo what the previous posters have written here -- your blog has been the first site I turn to on the internet every day, your writing is thoughtful and articulate, and its end will be a loss to all your readers. I feel the same sense of grief that I often feel when arriving at the conclusion of a great book.

Like others, I also want to say that I have often read backwards through your entries, when something in my day or in a conversation has made me either think of something you had already written on the topic, or else to discover what you might have said. I have, on many occasions, re-read your posts days or weeks or months after first reading them. Sometimes I even read backward in your blog simply for the pleasure of discovering what I missed before I began reading it regularly in 2009.

I also want to thank you for your kindness in responding to my email when I have sent you a note or a link on this or that topic; you have unfailingly answered my questions and taught me much.

All the best to you, with thanks,
David Gruber

MichaelD said...

I will miss this blog for two reasons. First, I was able to learn about Israel and Israelis, which helps me connect to my daughter, who made Aliyah, and to her growing family. Second, the comments were well thought-out, well-written, and almost always free of the ad hominem attacks and spiteful remarks that are usually found on blogs.

So now I will have to be on the lookout for references to Yaacov elsewhere on the web. Perhaps we also need to organize annual reunions in Israel of the Friends of Yaacov League.

marek said...

Thanks and behatzlacha. I will be missing your ruminations very badly.
marek

Anonymous said...

Yaacov,

Congratulations on your new position.

I will miss your blog, but I am sure that you will find your new position stimulating, challenging and rewarding.

All the best!

-Zvi

Bella said...

I will miss your daily posts and your older posts provide an excellent archive -- you give blogging a good name!

Ash G said...

Congratulations and thank you. Like many on here I am a long time reader of your blog [but a mostly silent one]. You've provided a unique and genuine insights in to the situation and jewish culture and I read your site daily. I will miss it. In one respect, I actually think you are possibly mistaken: most blog have a short shelf life and are highly perishable but some of yours have been beyond this - more like essays in the traditional sense. This bodes well for your book if it ever comes out. I've just finished Totten's book, and he an example of a blogger who has graduated to 'big school' [of course, you're a published author already]. I'm sure you will be an asset to the state archives.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your excellent blog. You provided some helpful insights on morality, Jewish culture, and the Middle-East. I learned a lot.

Andre

Saul Lieberman said...

B'hatzlachah!
(My subscription hadn't lapsed yet.)
See you on the other side of the wormhole.

Anonymous said...

Yaacov -

Thank you for sharing of yourself with us all these years. I have been deeply moved, inspired and forced to think by your posts. I have grown here. I will miss your daily posts, but I know I will be re-reading your older ones and your articles.

I ditto the comments of many others here today. I will also miss the members of commentariat here, who are among the most thoughtful to be found on the internet. I, like Silke, will be forced into the twitter universe.

I wish you a lot of success in all your endeavors, and health, happiness and safety to your family. Perhaps you can leave us with a song.

To everyone else, go buy "Right to Exist" You won't be sorry.

With deep gratitude,
Nycerbarb

Lachlan said...

Congratulations on the new job Yaacov! I read this blog daily and will miss it. I learnt so much about Israel and Zionism from you, thank you!.

Anonymous said...

So sorry to see your blog go - I will miss reading your fine words. Wishing you much happiness and success in the future. Take good care and thank you!
Bren

Anonymous said...

Do you have a contact email address? I had an idea for the archives that you might be the right person to chat to about it,

Cheers

Danny

Anonymous said...

Psss... Danny, check the left side of the blog, under Contact.

Anonymous said...

Genuinely sad to see you go. Congratulations on the new job.

Pavel

Michael Wildman said...

Yaacov,

Thank you for your many informative and insightful posts over the years. There will be for me, a sense of loss where it concerns accessing dependable, thoughtful, and legitimate insight into Israel and the Middle East. I will miss your commentary very much. All the best in the new position if it comes to fruition. It will be Israel's gain.

David Brumer said...

Dear Yaacov,
Your blog has been a source of tremendous inspiration. As I've said before, your measured, thoughtful perspectives, steeped in real experience and intimate knowledge of realities on the ground, have made 'Ruminations' the best commentary on Israel's predicaments and extraordinary achievements I've come across. I've learned a tremendous amount from you, not least of which is to be open-minded and to appreciate the complexities and paradoxes inherent in modern Israel's reality.
Your voice will be missed, however, you have left a legacy and impact that will not soon fade.
I'll look forward to following your work as State Archivist and hope to get to meet you the next time I'm in Israel.
Yours in Seattle,
David

Margie said...

Dear Yaacov
As one of the many who never did, I would first like to thank you for the time you put into your blogging and for the fact that you allowed me to share your perceptions. I have learned a lot from you and would have liked to go on learning. Your blog is unique in quality and content.

Y. Ben-David said...

I'm sorry you are leaving us. I particularly think your work on Jerusalem is irreplacable.

B'hatzlacha

Laura SF said...

I'm happy for you, but sorry for myself and your other readers... You are one of only 3 blogs that I check "religiously" (oy!). Sigh.

Wishing you the best in all your endeavors, גיי געזונט!

Paul M said...

Well, damn! On the one hand I really hope you get the archivist position: No one deserves it more and you will be a great asset to the National Archive. There is no doubt it will be Good for the Jews!

On the other hand, as for so many others here you have been an indispensable resource for me. Coming back (or not) to your posts a year or a decade from now is beside the point; it's the insights you give me in the present that I value. You will be very much missed. I hope all these responses to your announcement serve as a small payment of thanks for you and help you know how much you are appreciated.

YMedad said...

Hope to cooperate with you in your new position when comes through via my work at Begin Center. I have some ideas.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Mr. Lozowick for your many informative posts and your website, which I have passed on to many people in the last 2 years. I will await your first post on your new site with interest.

-Valerie

Anonymous said...

Thank you!

Shalom in NJ said...

Be'hatzlacha, Ya'acov,

I can't tell you how grateful that I am to you for the many valuable insights and knowledge that my wife (and kids) and I have gleaned for you. Most weekday mornings my wife and I enjoy our 'morning java' together before the day really starts by reading your blog, along with two or three others (Rubin Reports is different, but also good for perspective on the Middle East).
What really stands out besides your intellectual rigor and honesty is that you truly are a 'mench', and you provided a valuable service in reaching out to Jews and our friends around the world.

Good luck in your new job and everything else in your life..
Shalom & Ilene in NJ

Just a Thought said...

Yaacov, most modern institutions recognise the need to communicate electronically, via web sites and social networking.

THere is not a serious organisation in the USA, Europe, or Japan without such sites.

Thus, even as you shut down a personal political blog, you should be planning for a professional blog to represent the State Archivist's role.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the insight you have offered over the couple of years or so I have been reading your blog.

I actually believe that much of what you have written is of lasting value and that you sell yourself and the dialogue you have inspired short.

Good luck in all your future endeavours.

Thank you once again.

Iain.

fabiana said...

Dear Yaakov,
I won't be original. I just want to thank you for your blog. I learned very much about Israel and Israeli perspective of Middle East situation here. I liked your way of describing the situation and your opinions were intelligent and justified and make me think a lot.
I hope we will be able to read you soon.
Good luck and arrivederchi!
Fabiana (in argentina)

Barry Meislin said...

Thanks very much, Yaacov, for the views, the information and the opportunities---and lots of success in the future!

Avi from Jerusalem said...

Yaacov, thank you very much for much insightful writing over the last few years.

There is lots of ill judged, extreme material out there, but very little which is enlightened, well thought out and most importantly, close to my observations of real life here, with conclusions with which I generally agree.

I suppose that if you are getting a real job, I should too.

Best of luck and Shabbat shalom, Avi

the sad red earth said...

Yaacov, so many fine and true sentiments expressed already. Chief among them, perhaps, has been what an education you provided - and for me - every day. You brought your skills as historian incisively to bear on present reality in such a manner as to produce this outpouring. I'll add one thing more: you were independent and daring. Whatever you inclinations in any direction, you applied hard-nosed analysis to the issues and followed it wherever it seemed to lead. Sometimes that disappointed and provoked some readers, as even very recently. But all this together is what made the read so worthwhile to so many.

Very sorry to see you go, but well done.

PetraMB said...

Congratulations on the archivist position --- but it's simply dreadful news that you stop blogging.

Jack said...

Yaacov,

It has been a pleasure. I wish you much success.

CbY said...

Yaakov,

Congrats on your new position. I learned a LOT from your blogging. You'll be missed!

Chaim

Abba said...

Yaakov

Please give up the day job! I don't agree with your views on a two state solution and withdrawal from our homeland to create who knows what, but respect the way you put your point of view. We will all be the losers for your decision but hatzlacha rabba on the appointment!

Pascal said...

The problem here Yaakov is that you have provided no alternative blog to replace yours...

...because that's not really possible to do as you have a unique voice...

Damn.

I wish you well for the future.

Anonymous said...

I will really miss your blog, easily my top read every day. But I hope your new position works out and wish you every success in the future!
Miriam, London

Anonymous said...

Congratulations and best wishes, but I'll miss your blog. When I get on the computer in the morning, I first read my email and then go to your blog.
I doven at your schul, but have not yet met you.

Judith said...

I'm sorry to see you go. I agreed with your argument for disengagement with the bank. Good luck in your new job, best of luck for the future.

Tonio said...

good luck with your new job and many thanks for your writings!

sparrow said...

Mr Lozowick, I have enjoyed reading your blog immensely and want to congratulate you on your new position. I am sure you will bring many gifts to it which will benefit the State of Israel and its people enormously.
I will definitely be logging in to your new site from time to time. Very best regards from NZ.

Anonymous said...

I am far from a frequent reader of this blog, but when I did I always appreciated your eloquence and knowledge. I hope you do well in your new job.

Anonymous said...

Yaacov
Thank you for all the thoughtful balanced words. You will be missed for your significant contribution to the debate on peace and war.
Good luck with your new ventures
Clive

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry you're giving up this blog, Yaacov, because there's nothing quite like it.

But thanks for all the effort you have put into it over the years, and good luck with the new job.

Jonathan

JG Campbell

rashkov said...

Thank you for everything, Yaacov. Best of luck to you.

Michael LeFavour said...

I had little to say, but I came here often. Thanks for sharing with the world what you did.

Morey Altman said...

Well, I've avoided commenting until now because I thought there might be an official announcement, but I'm assuming at this point the new job is a done deal. So, first of all, mazal tov. This country does a lot of stupid things so it's a welcome relief when it gets something right.

As for the blog, it has never been as ephemeral or disposable as you might think. Many of us bookmark important blog-posts and return to them often. There are several of yours I've retained solely for the beauty of the writing. Whatever happens with the job, don't stop writing. Consider this an advance order for the next book.

b'hatzlacha and best wishes,
Morey

Recruiting Animal said...

Like Marc above, a frequent reader, infrequent commenter.

With a tip for your future:

As an archivist you have a potentially popular audience in the amateur genealogists around the world.

If you make it easy for them to access relevant data you will have a cult following around the world.

marcalandimartino said...

Yaacov, You were one of the bloggers who made me want to do it, too. It's been a nice, provocative and thoughtful journey with you through the blogosphere. Enjoy your new career!

Mike said...

I guess I'm the only weirdo that looks through old blog archives. You have to remember to that people want to read about recent news and recent events.