Since the blog was getting inundated with hits because of the Matisyahu, Maccabeats and Chanukah video posts, I didn't want any new content to be ignored/lost in the traffic.
I also wanted to give "Serendipity" as much exposure as possible, since I particularly liked the story and felt it was a big departure from my usual comedic style. If you haven't read and commented on it yet, please do.
A lot has been going on since I last posted, so I figured I'd compose several mini-posts to catch up.
1) One last Chanukah music video, which I was told about but forgot to post, "Maoz Tzur" by Except Saturday:
2) Overall, I think that the winner of the music video competition was Aish's "Jewish Rock of Ages," followed very closely by the "Miracle" by the Maccabeats. The main thing that made me like the Aish video more was the fact that all their songs were very sing-able and stuck in my head, which "Miracle" failed to do. Both videos had great production values, humor, and were executed very well.
3) Here is video proof that Matisyahu has joined the Maccabeats:
4) Of course, by now everyone should realize that my "interview" with Matisyahu post-shave is a clever forgery, as is the quickie Photoshopped picture I made of him wearing a white button-down shirt and black skinny tie. I was hoping to be the first to write about this humorous idea, but Jewlicious beat me to it, but thankfully didn't really expand on the joke or make the picture that sprang into my mind and later onto my computer screen.
5) The Maccabeats successfully raised over $80,000 for their Miracle Match campaign which benefits Gift of Life. Great job, guys - and everyone should continue to donate and help save lives.
6) Judablue announced via Facebook that have a new video in the works!
7) The Groggers are also apparently working on a new video, which will be filming in Florida.
8) I apologize for slacking off on the Jewish Music Fridays feature. I hope to continue that as a regular weekly update starting this Friday, G-d willing.
9) I submitted several of my stories to Mishpacha magazine. They praised my writing, including the sci-fi aspect depicted in a few of them, but didn't think the stories fit their readership :(
I'm trying to see if any of them are worth editing and hoping to hear back from them regarding what they would like to see in general in their published stories.
10) I recently read the book "Hush" (I know, I'm late). It's fantastic, gripping, moving, and scary. Everyone, Chassidic or not, should read it.
11) I am greatly dismayed by the disgusting actions of certain groups of chareidim in Israel. They do not represent Torah Judaism and this needs to stop. At any rate, here are two really great responses among the dozens that have been written and are must-reads. The first is an excellent critique of the whole situation: "The Curse of Violent Extremism" and the second is a very interesting analysis of the story behind the violent: "Ultra Orthodox extremism is a reaction to growing reform in the community"
12) New things upcoming on this blog: I (of course) have more posts and stories to share. I also am toying with the idea of rereading some of the dating and marriage books in my rather extensive collection and publishing reviews, which will probably be a monthly feature.
Anyway, it's good to be back.