Sunday, April 30, 2006

The Muqata Starts Here!

This blog has traveled quite a bit in the past 8 months...yet, someone pointed out to me that it's mission statement of advocating aliya and Israel isn't as nearly clear as I had hoped it would be.

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.

The entire list is on my Purim Blogroll (the right-hand side sidebar of my blog) and the list of which blogger parodied who, is over here.

I still have a few ideas of what to do next to continue to promote aliya and keep the JBlogosphere a fun place for all...and if you have any ideas, comments or constructive criticism, please feel free to drop me a line.

There. I think that was a decent introduction. My sidebar has a bunch of classic posts from the past few 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.
The Muqata

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael


Sarah Likes Green said...

keep up the good work! :)

treppenwitz said...

Not only didn't you miss the proverbial boat, but you have turned out to be a guiding light... a strong rudder... a 'whatever you call those guys that beat the drums on galley/slave ships' to a whole new generation of Jbloggers!

OK, let's all sit back and listen to the sound of my high school English teacher spinning merrily in her grave over that incredible mixed metaphor, shall we?

Actually that was more of a simile, right? Wait... an analogy, that's what it was!

Yeah baby... spin Mrs. Taylor, spin!

Y'know... it's a complete mystery to me why I wasn't asked to guest blog here. :-)

Scraps said...

Thanks for the backstory of The Muqata. :-)

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Sarah and Scraps: Thank you!

Trep: Guiding Light? That was such an awful soap...(but thanks! :)

To tell you the truth, I wasn't as blog friendly with you at the time -- but I definitely paid you homage this past Purim with a blog parody.

And...maybe if I knew at the time you had Glock 19c like I do...

Irina Tsukerman said...

There's nothing like telling people that's something dying to get them running to look at the corpse. Same with the Jblogosphere. I think you have to repeat that every six months or so just to wake people up! ; )

socialworker/frustrated mom said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
PsychoToddler said...

Keep on Bloggin and Feel the Emunah!

(sorry, bad pun from my Shlock Rock days)

Seriously, strong work.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Irina; Thanks! Reminds me of the Monty Python line, "Bring out your dead!"

PsychoToddler: Hey, I remember that song...(even have the tape of it somewhere) Thanks - when we going to see you in Israel? A lot easier to invite you for a meal over here than to shlep to the Midwest US.

FrumGirl said...

Thanks for "Intro to Muqata History 101"... it was an interesting read... and I'm glad to say I started reading it relatively early on... your blog does reflect your aim, in case you needed to hear it....

bec said...

is there any commentary on this history? any secondary sources? letters? photographs? speeches? perhaps a documentary to look at?

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

BEC; I started filming "This is Spinal Tap -- a History of the Muqata", but it went so over budget I had to can the whole project. Maybe if we recoup our losses with the Muqata cap and t-shirt campaign we'll be able to get back on our feet.

FrumGirl: It's always a pleasure to hear it! Thanks... The question is, is my blog making a difference? Time will tell...

Erica said...

Muqata t-shirts -- brilliant! I'll buy 'em.
Actually, you really picqued the innards of my memory here because I think I recall you commenting on my other now defunct blog in Muqata's "early days."
I was actually a little confused, and I think I read something about you being something like a paramedic (am I imagining that you saw a horrific accident on your way to work one morning and were able to help out?) ... but yeah, the Arabic totally threw me.
How bout it people? Round of applause for this fine Jblog!

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Erica: Wow...that was the early days of the Muqata. Yes, you recall correctly; that was a horrific accident.

No need to shower applause on the blog, though :)

To shamlessly borrow an idea from Chana, here's a link.

Anonymous said...

Though I barely comment, I read almost every day-hows that for loyal readership?!

the sabra said...

you tryin to promote aliyah? to where? saudi arabia? get rid of the arabic, JAMEEL!

read ur 'missed the boat' post and found that ironic.

hatzlacha rabba with all ur worthy endeavors and if nothing else, you keep my love for eretz yisroel burning strong. thanx.

Ezzie said...

Hey, I've loved you since almost the beginning. And now I know why, too: My favorite line from MP was quoted here!!


'B-but I'm not dead yet!'


"Here you go."

tafka PP said...

I love the Arabic! Someone very cool must have written it for you!

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Anonymous: Every day? Cool :) We'll have to start the Muqata loyalty program, with frequent reader points....though I don't know what they will be redeemable for.

The Sabra: Why get rid of the Arabic? There are many important sifrei kodesh written in arabic, including the Moreh Nevuchim. Why was missing the boat ironic -- unless of course, it was the "Exodus" that I missed.

Ezzie: Live organ donations are on Fridays. See you there.

TAFKAPP: Only the coolest!

I had tried the google language translator, but it didn't quite do the trick -- it translated "Jameel at the Muqata" into Arabic which meant, "Jam and eels with Mocca Tea"

JJ said...

I forget to stop by for a day and you go and redecorate! I thought at first that I'd wandered into the wrong blog! Very nice, though-I like the blue.

Thanks for the history of The Muqata. Funny how you thought you'd missed the boat, seeing as how you've become a bona fide bigwig of the J-Blogosphere!

And kudos for your tireless promotion of aliya and fantastic contributions to the J-Blogosphere. Keep up the good work!

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

RR: I was playing with the blog template -- no one was supposed to have seen it! (and I switched it back 30 seconds only you know what it looks like...)

It supposed to be Blue/White for Yom Haatzmaut ;-)

PsychoToddler said...

Me in Israel? Simple. Just need to find someone to sit with my 6 kids for a week or two.

I'm Haaretz, Ph.D. said...

Great stuff you have here! I'm a fan.

socialworker/frustrated mom said...

Nice start, good luck.

Batya said...

like ancient history

Anonymous said...

Why use Arabic when you could use German? One "Master Race" is as good as another...

Jill said...

What a great story! Jack's Shack visited my blog (not sure how he got there but it is listed on a few J-oriented aggregators) and left a comment, I clicked on his name and got to this blog and then decided to click on the link to "start here."

What I most love is how you managed blogging during your oldest's bar mitzvah! My oldest's bar mitzvah is in May of this year and I'm SURE I'm going to need some kind of mechanism to get through it. I love what you did. Thanks for the great idea and I'm going to add this blog to my bloglines. Have a wonderful Purim.

Anonymous said...

Great blog! But what inspired you to name it Muqata out of everything? its not too 'inviting'.

Also, if you where courageous enough to have a Jameel and a Litvishe into the Muqata why not have a Chasiddishe ;) just kidding.


Anonymous said...

I have been looking for sites like this for a long time. Thank you! »

Erachet said...

Wow, cool story of how this blog got started! I'm new to the JBlogosphere myself, so it was really inspiring, actually. Makes me feel like there's hope! =D

amyrpk said...

Only found your blog a few months *after* I made aliyah with my family ... but it's good to read from others who've done it and survived and/or prospered. This first year's tough ... but b'H almost in the past ...

Anyway, I was put off at first by the title/Arabic, but read it anyway since I'm into reading all views of things. Was a pleasant surprise to get to the heart of the matter here ...

Kol ha'kavod ...

come running said...

ok, ok, I've heard about you, but never really took the time to check you out. I'm glad I did now, and look forward to reading more... it looks like I have a lot of catching up to do.

Anonymous said...

I love the name Tariq but I don't think it would go with my oh-so-Jewish surname. And used to like Amir until... well, we won't go into that. Am too old for more kids anyway. (Lucky as I think they would have had problems, like Rebbitzin Delilah in Naomi Ragen's latest book.)
Do love the irony of the Jameel thing combined with the cute kibbutzy type pics that used to illustrate our Hebrew textbooks back in the dark ages when I went to school.

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Anonymous said...

Hey Jameel-
Was great meeting you today, even if we certainly met somewhere along the way, perhaps years ago. I read your background and I liked how you started and just wanted to say so. Okay, and I also wanted to put a link in to my blog (though I now realize my blog isnt that at all, its just a compendium of articles! but anyway...)
See you tomorrow!

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Anonymous @ 9:22 PM, Jan 2, 2009:

ROTFL! Thanks, your comment really brought a smile to my face. "Stealing" the "Muqata" name from Palestinians? Sheesh -- please add that to our long list of war crimes.

"...and the tide will turn against you eventually." In case you havent noticed, world opinion was never pro-Jewish, and we've been dealing with Holocausts, Pogroms, Inquisitions, Crusades, and Intafadas for 2 thousand years. We survived those, and we'll survive you as well.

Thanks for dropping by!

Anonymous said...

Jameel. Way to tell that IDIOT.
They are probably in the scumtown of Gaza now pointing missles at Israel. Just another Brainwashed Idiot scumabg.
I love your site. Keep upth egood work.
God bless Israel.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Anonymous: Your absolutely correct that the current operation does not fit "wartime" criteria of the Geneva Convention.

For example, Gaza and Hamas spend all their time and energy on hitting civilian targets, maximizing deaht and destruction to civilian men, women and children.

Hamas and Gaza kidnap IDF soldiers from sovereign Israeli soil, outside the boundaries of Gaza.

Hamas and Gaza are all about terror and not recognizing Israel.

On the other hand, Israel bends over backwards to not bomb indiscriminently, they don't target civilians, they do their best to minimize non-terror targets.

So if all this embarrasses you as a Jew and former Israeli, perhaps you should change religion. I'm sure fundamentalist Islam would be happy to have you join their ranks.

Judaism teaches (from the Bible) -- he who comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first.

Don't like it? Who cares - your views are irrelevant. We know we're doing the right thing.

Anonymous said...

Jameel! Ma Hashem bless you!

Keep up the good work. Your blog has given me lots of inspirations through those trying times of recently. And that you are on the right track can be also seen from rabid comments such as Anonymous.

David in Germany, once from Gdud 202

Shirley said...

So far the best blog about Israel, i have been surfing the net for a website like this, you are doing the right thing... thank you for giving us a peep of what is going on in Israel, like you I pray towards the Holy Temple, peace to Israel and its people. What does muqata means?

May All the heroes of the Irgun be blessed. said...

I'm interested to know how and why did you choose the name jameel at the muqata, and what does it mean?

Anonymous said...

Finally taking time to read this post, I saw you up in the audience at the JBloggers convention. After, with a bit of encouragement from bloggers I met, I began
The Real Jerusalem Streets.
Seems only the bad news from Jerusalem is media worthy, for example, "Race for the Cure" was an amazing day and great op for blog, most of the media missed it, no one got stabbed or protested.The sign for RivkA was the only drama.
This week still waiting on Bikur Cholim verdict, look around the corner and it does not look good, wonder which developer wants it?

Search the Muqata


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