More Than Three Opinions: A Map of The Jewish Australian Blogosphere

“Two Jews, three opinions,” is a cliché. It’s also a gross understatement.

The ease with which a blog can be set up combined with my people’s natural tendency to debate anything, means that there is now a cornucopia of Jewish Australian opinion available online.

Left and right, centre and periphery, religious and secular, Zionist and anti-Zionist – the following blogs are a window into our community. Obviously the views on the sites I’m about to recommend are not necessarily a reflection of my own. But looking at them in aggregate is as useful a gage as any to get a feel for our diverse and often fractious community.

This list is not exhaustive. If I’ve missed a site you think is worth mentioning, feel free to let me know in the comments section.

. J-Wire is not a traditional blog, and according to the above description, it does not follow our tradition of fevered debate at all. Instead, it’s a straight news site, and invaluable to anyone wanting to keep up with Australian Jewish communal news. That it is genuinely non-partisan makes it  indispensable for people wanting straight news on the community.

. Jewish parents, gird your loins. Some of your kids may be drinking, drugging, and fornicating. And they might use some pretty salty language to describe it in a blog. Some of the photos they choose may not be entirely work friendly. YourJC is a Sydney blog, that’s unflinching in its responses to Jewish and non-Jewish issues from the under-30 perspective. It’s run by a gentleman calling himself, Juan Carlos (King of Spain), but the posts are written by a variety of people. I don’t agree with some of the content on this site, but its energy, honesty, and vitality make it an exciting read.

. The current president of the Australian Union of Jewish Students, Liam Getreu is naturally moderate and a consensus builder. When Liam wrote about the Israel/Palestine conflict in The Australian newspaper last year, it was easily the most effective piece of writing from a Jewish representative in the Australian media.

. Galus Australis publishes a wide variety of Jewish viewpoints on both political and cultural topics. While a number of its regular commenters tend towards the religious right, there is also a significant secular, left wing presence.

. AJN Watch is extremely confronting for anybody whose worldview skews at all liberal or non-ultra orthodox. I certainly don’t endorse many of the blog’s sentiments. That said, it’s often one of the more interesting reads in the Australian Jewish blogosphere. It seems to be written by someone from the Chabad sect of ultra-orthodoxy, and was begun as a forum for griping about The Australian Jewish News and its lack of religiosity. It has now evolved into a site that examines a number of Judaism-related issues.

. As well as writing for Galus Australia, Larry Stillman also writes for the Australian Jewish Democratic Society blog. AJDS is a leftist Zionist organisation that is often the counterpoint to the more conservative Zionist Council of Victoria (ZCV), which has its own regularly updated advocacy page, written by Emily Chrapot.

. Of course, no map of the Australian Jewish landscape would be complete without the anti-Zionist blogs. There’s Antony Loewenstein, of course (type his name into The Sensible Jew search field to read about why I find his methods highly questionable). He is notable for having attained some recognition in the wider media. Less well known, is Michael Brull of the Independent Australian Jewish Voices. He too has a blog.

. For an alternative to the Sydney/Melbourne hothouse, there’s blog, Jewgle Perth, comprising a team of five writers. Once again, I don’t agree with all opinions on that blog, but I’m pretty taken with the Hebrew transliteration of his name at the top left hand of the site. He’s also been around longer than almost all the other blogs.

*******

Notes Before Shabbat

Firstly, I want to thank you all for your comments on the last two posts. As always, some very challenging arguments and questions have been asked. It’s wonderful that a variety of opinions is being expressed here.

That said, responding to individual comments is extremely time consuming, so neither Yaron nor I will answer in the comments section, except for moderation purposes. Rather, we will write posts that deal with a number of questions together. The follow up to the Mossad post should be online on Sunday.

***

I ask people who email or Facebook message me with comments about a blog post to direct their comments to the forum here.

In the same way that it is not feasible to answer individual comments in depth, I cannot respond individually to the many emails demanding answers to questions.

My posts are expressed publicly, and I ask you all to do the same with your responses (although you can post under a pseudonym if you so choose).

***

From now on, hate mail that is sufficiently interesting or amusing will be made public.

Series NavigationDrama and Diversity in The Jewish Australian Blogosphere, and Shabbat Shalom»
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22 Responses to “More Than Three Opinions: A Map of The Jewish Australian Blogosphere”

  1. [...] and we’ve received what we can only assume is an endorsement (but probably isn’t) from The Sensible Jew. Funny really, given that ’sensible’ and ‘The JC’ go together like John [...]

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  2. jenny batesman says:

    What about Heeb….there is an Australian version for this magazine now?

    This is supposed to be “really out there”…

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  3. NB says:

    I like this roundup of Australian blogs and websites.

    A couple of thoughts:
    Galus Australis seems to be one of the few sites that have an intelligent readership who can comment without being rude or vindictive. The same cannot be said of AJN Watch – which, if I am not mistaken, is written by someone in the Adass community. This blog is completely intolerant of anyone who does not adhere to their extreme right-wing viewpoint.

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    • Alex Fein says:

      Glad you liked the roundup, NB.

      I was pretty sure AJN Watch is done by a Chabadnik, but of course, I could be wrong. The writer is not very forthcoming about him/herself.. Why do you believe they’re from Adass? If I’m wrong, I’ll correct the post immediately.

  4. Juan Carlos says:

    there is no Heeb Australia website because it’s all syndicated content from the US. They’re also taking as long to put out their second issue as Axl did to release Guns N’ Roses’ ‘Chinese Democracy.’ I wouldn’t hold my breath.

    Thanks for the props, Fein!

    JC

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  5. jenny batesman says:

    Hi Alex,
    I like the American version, i suggest you contact the editor via e-mail and he might send you free copy!!

    It may take some time to get an audience here in Australia, love to see what you think of it upon reading it….?

    Happy blogging!!

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    • jenny batesman says:

      Sex, Drugs and Geftile Fish is a book available by Shana Liebman, it’s called the Heeb Collection $22.99 at Sunflower Bookshop.

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  6. Gedalia says:

    Thanks for including JewglePerth on your list. JewglePerth is not an individual blog, but a team of currently five bloggers. The Perth Jewish community is the third biggest in Australia and probably the best kept secret of Australian Jewry. The activities and acheivements of the Perth community do not receive much publicity in the Jewish media, but deserve a far greater profile. That’s why we set the blog up, albeit that we are far broader than a locally focussed forum. We are delighted you don’t agree with all our views, but we are also pretty taken by the discovery that there is a sensible Jews in Melbourne. Keep up the good work.

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    • Alex Fein says:

      Thanks for the kind words, Gedalia, and also for the clarification. I’ll edit the post to refelct that you’re blog is written by a team.

  7. You missed Jewish Issues Watchdog at http://jiw.blogspot.com

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    • Alex Fein says:

      Hi Steve.

      Sorry for the late reply/inclusion. Your comment accidentally got caught in the spam filter.

      Thanks very much for the alert to this site. It doesn’t seem to be an Australian Jewish site, though. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

      At some point – hopefully soon – I’ll write about some of the amazing blogs outside Australia.

  8. jenny batesman says:

    heeb is a great idea and should be available freely…. Great q and a with rabbi Ninio on the show, that’s the way to go with women like that in the community!

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  9. Eli says:

    Don’t know how i missed yourjc, I will make sure to include them in my blog roll

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  10. blog-chaser says:

    No idea who runs AJN Watch but in one of their early posts it said that there were several people behind the blog.
    Their editorials usually give an ‘interesting’ POV – which I don’t get elsewhere. And lately they have been posting odd, off-beat and not ‘run-of-the-mill’ stuff which I enjoy – especially the photographs. (The Purim ones were great.)

    In fact I think their pictures are more interesting than what we get in the AJN)

    As to their politics? Live and let live, I say. But many of their claims against the AJN have merit, IMHO.

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    • Alex Fein says:

      Hi blog-chaser.

      Thanks for letting me know about the multiple authors. I agree their POV is interesting and unavailable elsewhere and that their recent photos have been great. I also agree with “live and let live” – though they can get pretty nasty and I thought I should warn my readers about that possibility before they went there.

  11. blogovich says:

    As someone who tries to keep up with many Aussie Jewish blogs, I find AJN Watch a quick, interesting and easy read.

    Whether or not I agree with their points – and there are many that I do,(eg their recent attack of the AJN for allowing deceitful advertising by non-kosher caterers as “kosher-friendly”) you’ve got to agree that their non-politically-correct cut-and thrust language is a breath of fresh hair – espcecially compared to some of the long-winded screeds that one finds on our blogs. And I too appreciate the well “illustrated” posts with relevant and cute pix.

    True, they represent the hard-right of Australian Orthodoxy ( I guess that JNWatch’s views would be quite acceptable to many (most?) in Chabad, all in Adass, Beth hatalmud (and its satellites – Heichal, Shaarei Torah, Merkas Hatorah), Ger shul and even the more religious elements of Mizrachi community.

    It is only here in Australia they such a RW position would be labeled ‘nasty’. Check out the dozens of charedi websites and publications worldwide and you’ll come to realise that AJN Watch’s posts are in fact quite mild.

    Another thing about their sharp criticism of the AJN, the gay pride stuff and other matters is that they usually explain their view quite reasonably and with logic. (I once heard someone describe AJN Watch as the orthodox Andrew Bolt!)

    Their critics haven’t always been that convincing – at least in my eyes. Also they seem to allow their critics plenty of space in their comments section.

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  12. blogovich says:

    I see that AJNwatch has picked up and published some of this post on their site.
    Great! Now our blogs are all writing about each other..

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  13. SendC says:

    Okay, so I’m a couple of months behind all the other comments posted, but you’ve left out an Aussie blog from your listing – http://www.oztorah.com

    Like JWire, it is not a traditional blog format, but the set-up is similar. Unlike Jwire, it doesn’t offer news of events, nor does it accept online discussion postings. It is an educational blog with insights into the Torah portion of the week and a really interesting Ask the Rabbi section (some good stuff on Jewish history and J-C relations as well). It is written by Rav Raymond Apple who was the chief rabbi of Sydney’s Great Synagogue for over 30 years.

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  14. Alex Fein says:

    Actually, Jenny – after a quick perusal, I can’t find Heeb Oz as an online presence beyond their Facebook page. Have you read it? What did you think of it?

  15. There’s some info on it here: http://www.network.org.au/HEEB-AUSTRALIA/default.aspx

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