My web marketing guru was over yesterday. Sitting at the kitchen table with a smashing presentation about how to get the word out online, he said, “You’ve got to get involved in the blogging community, and actually mean it, if you want them to care about your blog.”

This was not news to me, despite the fact that I haven’t really become a fan of too many blogs. Not by lack of interest, God Forbid. But because, at 37, I’m old and unaware of the many avenues toward finding relevant and enticing blogs.

I’ve surfed technorati, looked at the Huffington Post, and begun to dip a toe into the deep waters of the blogsophere, but each time I feel that constricting in my stomach and pull back, afraid of diving in too deep lest I sink. There are so many blogs out there! How could I ever find the ones that I should be reading regularly, where I’d have something to add as comment?

To be fair, I do subscribe to Seth Godin’s blog and I get emails from ScienceDaily. I love, love, love Hungry Girl. But beyond that, I’ve had a hard time figuring out how to find great blogs. (Hint: I learned yesterday that AdAge.com¬†lists the Power 150. I’m totally checking it out!)

My guru’s assertion hit me square in the face, though, because it’s a huge metaphor. And as someone who has sought community forever, it struck me that the truth is so apparent, for any community.

Like the Jewish community.

I spent my first 25 years as a reluctant, apathetic member of the Reform community of Temple Israel in West Bloomfield, Michigan. I liked B’nai B’rith Youth Organization more as a way to meet cute guys than a place to deepen my connection to Judaism.

Once I left home, I was more intent on finding love than finding God. And when that didn’t happen, I figured if I tried to find God, maybe He’d lead me to a man.

So I became Orthodox.

It wasn’t really just for manhunt purposes. I did fall in love with Shabbat, the weekly day of rest, and with the happy families I saw, surrounded by ritual and meaning.

And to be fair, the Orthodox community has been very welcoming to me (except for when I was single 10 years ago and no one invited me for Shabbat lunch except the rabbis, but I’m over that). Even after I got divorced, which doesn’t happen much in the Orthodox world, nobody flinched. I still had my friends.

But my guru was absolutely right: you get out what you put in, in any community.

Maybe my dissatisfaction with Orthodoxy had to do with being distanced from the community as a whole, from living outside of its bounds. And for sure my lack of connection in the blogging world has to do with not being IN it. (I’m learning how to find blogs – here I come!)

Next week is the Maccabi Games here in Detroit, a sort of Jewish youth Olympics. Yesterday, I bought tickets to take the kids and my grandmother to A Fair To Remember, when we will fill the entire Michigan State Fairgrounds with a wild celebration of Israel’s 60th anniversary.

That’s community at its finest. And I plan to be front and center.


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