Weekly Interview: Treppenwitz


Welcome to the new feature on my blog: the Sunday interview.

As I once explained, David Bogner who blogs at Trepprenwitz was one of the people who inspired me to start blogging. So thank you David; I feel particularly honored and delighted to count you among the wonderful people who have agreed to be part of this project.

Can you introduce yourself in a few words?

I am a 48 year old husband and father of three living in Israel. I am religiously observant, politically moderate (leaning right on security issues and left on social welfare).

What is your religious background (if any)?

I grew up in a Reform Jewish family with a strong Jewish identity but little actual knowledge of Judaism or Jewish history. In high school I began reading up on Judaism and by the time I was 18 I had made the decision to become observant.

When and why did you decide to make aliyah?

Shortly after I became observant I began daydreaming about living in Israel. I went to study in Israel at 22 at the Hebrew University. After two years I transferred to Yeshiva University in New York because of the opportunity to increase my Jewish Knowledge. It took 18 years to find my way back to Israel.

Where in Israel do you live and is there a special reason you live there?

My family and I live in Efrat, a large town in Gush Etzion (just south of Jerusalem and next to Bethlehem). We chose Efrat for a number of reasons:
1. We loved the mountain climate and beautiful scenery.
2. We knew about 40 families in town, so we figured it would offer a soft landing from an absorption standpoint.
3. Efrat has a small town feel but has all the facilities and infrastructure of a city (e.g. supermarkets, medical clinics, restaurants, etc.)
4. There are several award winning schools in town and the overall emphasis on education is what we wanted for our kids.
5. The community was still small enough that we could give our children the kind of autonomy that my wife and I remember from our childhood.

When and why did you start blogging?

I started keeping a blog in 2003 shortly after we made aliyah. At first it was only so I could get out of writing emails to all our friends and family in the U.S. With a blog, I could update it once and then it was everyone else’s responsibility to go look at the pictures and read what we’d been up to. After a few months I checked the stats and found that several hundred strangers were following along with our aliyah adventure. It was a little odd, but I have enjoyed sharing and exchanging opinions and experiences with a wide range of people that I would otherwise not have had the opportunity to meet.

To what extent do you feel your blogging activity reflects on the global perception of Israel?

I think that blogs tend to attract like-minded people. There is a large element of ‘preaching to the choir’ and very few minds are changed. However, I have noticed on occasion that people having political discussions (arguments) on other sites sometimes link to one of my posts because it contains a ready-made source of information that they don’t have to waste time formulating a new reply. That, by the way, is the hardest part about defending Israel online. The lies, and misinformation are so rampant that it is exhausting trying to continually present facts and figures to people who won’t believe you in the first place.

What post(s) are you most proud of?

Hard to say, but here are a few of my favorites in no particular order):

Come as you are
The rental cello… an Israeli story
Long in the tooth
A difficult lesson
Daddy syndrom
Alone on a bridge (with everyone else)
Fred Basci
Not my story
My cab ride to Beirut

Would you care to share a blog or two you enjoy.

I hate to admit it, but I rarely read other blogs anymore. I have had to chose between writing and reading, and the writing is far more therapeutic. ☺