The rambling thoughts of a Modern Orthodox Chassid (whatever that means). Contact me at emansouth @

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

The Strange (and I Do Mean Strange) World of Chicago JBlogging

There is a strange phenomenon out there in the Blogosphere that I will refer to as the Chicago Chevrah. As far as I can tell, it consists of four primary bloggers and two ex-pats currently living in Israel, all of whom are more or less part of the same extended Chevra.

Let me state that I know almost nothing about Chicago and absolutely nothing about its MO community. I have been on a couple dozen business trips over the past twenty years but each trip consists of a cab ride to the Fairmount Hotel, a morning run along the lake, a cab ride to a law office, and a cab ride back to the airport. So, consistent with JBloggers everywhere, I feel particularly qualified to comment on this phenomenon.

Velvel is the senior blogger of the group. He is a musician who is one of the more prominent and thoughful J Music commentators around. Although he and I have widely divergent tastes in music (he "Loves To Rock"; I'm partial to Carlebach and Modzitz) we share a disdain for Shiny Shoe music and the machinations associated therewith. At one level we have very different hashkafic perspectives (he thinks I'm a "zealot", down from 'bitter') but at another we are soulmates of a sort. He likes bourbon. I drink scotch.

Cara is a sweet, charming, short, formerly curly-haired, bourbon-drinking young lady who likes to hang out with "the guys" and is still looking for her first base hit. The main (only?) topic of her blog is her world. In my humble, politically incorrect opinion, what she really needs is fewer male 'friends' and one male chassan.

Schmavis runs the Kfar Jewish Arts Center. He is more Conservative than MO but seems to run with the rest of the MO crowd. He, too is a frequent commentator on Jewish Music and has a much broader perspective on J music than I, owing, in part, to his less MO background and the fact that he lives in the boonies (from a Jewish point of view). He is apparently on blogging vacation although he continues to comment on other blogs.

Prodly, also known as SklaroWorld, is an enigma with whom I have sparred on numerous occasions. On one hand, he is a strident, vegetarian tree-hugger. On the other, a foul-mouthed, right wing zealot. He likes Phish but not fish. The subtitle of his blog says: "Few will be able to understand the lunacy inside my head". I am not among the few.

The two Israeli parts of the puzzle are Adi Eliyahu and Yaakov Cohen (Head). I haven't really followed these blogs so I don't have anything to say except that Cohen seems to be a good friend of Velvel (I think Velvel set up the blog).

The Chicago Chevra are the main commentators on each others' blogs and seem to get together frequently. They know how to party but need work on getting up early. I greatly admire their friendship and devotion to one another. For reasons that I cannot articulate, I feel drawn to their blogs and am amused by their unique and strange MO existence.


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