For someone taking a look at this blog for the first time, what do they see? Some blog with Arabic writing at the top, a list of 15 contributors, and no clue what it's all about.
So...I decided to write a posting about the history of this blog, where it comes from and why it exists -- a starting point for newcomers.
The Muqata Presents: Start Here.
This past summer, with the advent of the Disengagement I found myself torn apart as I watched the destruction of the communities of my friends in the Gaza strip and in the Northern Shomron areas. My settlement home isn't far from the destroyed Northern Shomron communities of Chomesh, Sa-nur, Ganim and Kadim -- I even spent a few days living in a tent in Chomesh before the destruction reached there as well.
A friend at work introduced me to the JBlogosphere, and I was enticed by the possibility of broadcasting my message to the world. Noticing that almost all blogs were anonymous, I guess I needed set up an anonymous blog as well. Without putting too much thought into it I came up with the idea for "Jameel @ The Muqata". Yes, I could have picked a better name, my wife wasn't thrilled with it...but it stuck.
Not knowing anyone in the JBlogosphere, I floundered a bit here and there as I jumped from blog to blog trying to break into the chevra...the clique of JBloggers. It was rather depressing at the time, thinking I had missed the boat of getting into the JBlogosphere...and I wrote my first really decent posting about "The Roaring 60's of the JBlogosphere" (or basically, how I missed the boat). Curiously, that was a major inflection point for my blog as I started meeting other bloggers via email and the comments section on other blogs.
It was then I realized the mission statement of my blog. While I had been unable to prevent the Disengagement during the summer -- not through demonstrations and not through living in Chomesh, I decided to actively promote love of Israel, the land of Israel, and aspiration of living in Israel to the JBlogosphere. It doesn't matter if you are secular or religious, left-wing or right-wing (politically) -- the key for me was to promote aliya: ascension to Israel. While life in Israel may not always be a picnic, I try to describe my rather ordinary life in these unordinary times.
And then...just when my blog started making sense, my oldest son's Bar Mitzva approached and I had to take a forced hiatus from blogging. Panicking that I would lose my meager (but loyal) readership during the 2 weeks prior to the Bar Mitzva, I begged 14 blog friends to post on my blog. Little did I know how successful that request would turn out. Not only did these friends excitedly (!) agree to guest blog, but they wrote some of their finest blog posts of all time...and for that I will always be grateful.
A roundup of all their posts can be found here. Highly Recommended.
Since I'm such a sucker for nostalgia, all those bloggers are still listed on my "contributors" list, which is why this blog may look like a group, collaborative blog. And they are always welcome to post whenever they wish.
And then, just when things started to appear to calm down, The First JBlogosphere Purim Parody Contest appeared -- with some outstanding parodies of the JBlogosphere's best blogs.
There. I think that was a decent introduction. My sidebar has a bunch of classic posts from the past few months...you may enjoy reading some of them as well.
That's all for now - have to think of something real to post for tomorrow...Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaAtzmaut.
Jameel & Co.
Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael