I first “met” Ruti as, like QuietusLeo, she has been a fellow walker in Treppenwitz’s competitons. Like all interviewees before her, she keeps a blog, Ki Yachol Nuchal, where I particularly like her personal tone and photographs. Thank you Ruti for your kind participation in this series.
Can you introduce yourself in a few words?
When my now-23-year-old son was in elementary school, he had to write about what his parents did for a living. “My father drives and drives, and my mother raises crops of boys.” I always liked that job description.
What is your religious background (if any)?
My father was Jewish. My mother was raised Catholic. When I finally decided not to be a split personality any longer, Hashem made it possible for me to convert. Then He gave me remarkable teachers.
When and why did you decide to make aliyah?
My dear husband brought me to Israel for the first time in 1991. It was the first place I had ever felt at home in my life. I told him, “Go and get the kids. I’ll wait here for you.” It didn’t quite work out that way: it took us 16 years to get here. One day, as we sat on our comfortable porch in Baltimore, yet another ambulance drove up, sirens blaring, to the assisted living home across the street. He said: “I can’t just sit here and wait for my ambulance to come. I’ve still got a little more adventure in me.” We were on our way after that.
Where in Israel do you live and is there a special reason you live there?
We are blessed to live in Neve Daniel, in Gush Etzion. Our community is at the highest elevation above sea level of any community in Israel. There is a Chasidic concept that if you truly feel at home in a place in Israel, it is because Avraham Avinu met your neshama there when he walked the Land. This is how we feel on our mountain.
It doesn’t hurt that the community is warm and accepting, full of interesting and creative Jews.
When and why did you start blogging?
I wanted to be a writer since I was a small child. Then, to my horror, I discovered that I had nothing to say. When I finally met the “I love Israel” community, my writing seemed to have some small purpose. Like you, I am a talmida of Treppenwitz. When my family and I made aliyah in 2007, following in the blogging tradition seemed an enjoyable way to keep the friends we left behind updated, and to act as a diary of our adventures.
Have you been surprised by the way your blogging activity has evolved over the years?
I have seen that there is real grassroots “hasbara” power here, to share other viewpoints than are available in the mainstream media with our friends who are far away from the action. From a simple level – that living in Israel is much more wonderful than the news might suggest – to a deeper level, such as sharing with friends that there is more than one side to the flotilla debate or the Emanuel school debacle – we bloggers can (and perhaps should) add fresh opinions to the discussion.
To what extent do you feel your blogging activity reflects on the global perception of Israel?
I am not a political expert. I have a tiny (but loyal) readership. So I don’t know that I change that many opinions about Israel. But each Jew is a universe, right? So if I say something that positively enhances one friend’s view of this benighted but beloved country… and she tells her friend… and she tells her husband, who shares it at the office… little by little, we improve the perception of Israel, at least by offering readers the chance to weigh the value of an “on the ground” viewpoint.
What post(s) are you most proud of?
– The Nes of the Nachash, in which my son did NOT die, baruch Hashem!
– My Devorah Day, which found me covered by bees in the Golan
– “I could never live in Israel. Israelis are so…” – These are my people, and I am so proud of them!
– Post-Gaza: A New-Immigrant Mom’s Perspective, about what it takes for one mother’s heart to survive her son’s war-time experience
Would you care to share a blog or two you enjoy?
There are many I enjoy, for different reasons – and some of their writers have become my friends. (This could be the longest part of the post!)
Coffee and Chemo inspires me, as does A Soldier’s Mother. What War Zone??? makes me laugh. Remember Jerusalem and Bat Aliyah share my love of Israel, and my memories of Baltimore. If I had daughters, they would be al tishali oti and My Daughter, My Princess. Balashon and How to be Israeli educate me. Where would I be politically without The Muqata and Caroline Glick? And I am very proud of the writing of two of my sons, Through Josh-Colored Glasses, and Through My Eyes. West Bank Mama, Treppenwitz, of course, and The Sandman, Baka Diary, I’ll Call Baila, Sussmans b’Aretz… Ilana-Davita is really lovely. Have you read that one? There are several others that I love, and mostly because I have come to know and love the bloggers themselves, so what they have to say matters to me. I can’t wait to see many of them at the Third Annual J-Bloggers’ Convention!