Brand new look, same great taste -or- Why does a blog need a mezuzah?

I had been waiting for a new theme for a long time. I wanted something similar to the old look, clean, simple and black and white. But I was frustrated with having only one sidebar. So when this new theme, Coraline, debuted on WordPress yesterday, I got to work remodeling. I’m curious to hear what regular readers think.

In a comment today, one of my most regular readers and favorite commenters, Larry Kaufman, asked:

Kudos on the new look (or am I supposed to say Word?) I spotted GOP and UPB in the masthead photo, but no MT. Is that a statement or a happenstance?

Glad you like it, Larry. There is no happenstance in that picture. And there is, in fact a Mishkan T’filah. I thought about leaving it out, but instead left in the edition I take with me when I go to Reform shuls these days. (Which is actually two pictures.)

From left to right:

  • A set of Moroccan bongos
  • Haavodah Shebalev (Israeli Reform siddur)
  • Seder HaTefillot (UK Reform siddur)
  • Two contemporary Italian rite siddurim
  • The JPS Tanakh I bought before my semester in Israel that now goes with me almost everywhere
  • Siddur Sha’ar Zahav (San Francisco LGBTQXYZetc Reform siddur)
  • Gates of Prayer (the previous American Reform siddur)
  • Siddur Sim Shalom (American Conservative siddur)
  • NFTY Convention 2009 pocket Mishkan T’filah
  • Koren Sacks Hebrew-English (Israeli-British-American Modern Orthodox siddur)
  • Siddur Eit Ratzon (Mostly traditional egalitarian chavurah-ish siddur by a Rutgers math professor)
  • Union Prayer Book (Oldest movement-wide American Reform siddur)
  • Gates of Understanding (Guide to why Gates of Prayer is the way it is)
  • Siddur Rinat Yisrael (Israeli official government-endorsed Orthodox siddur)
  • The Amidah volume of My People’s Prayer Book
  • The Shabbat Morning volume of My People’s Prayer Book
  • An old sukkot machzor my mother picked up in Prague (I think)
  • A cowboy boot

I had planned to adapt the old logo and digital mezuzah banner for use in the new design, but I had this idea and ran with it. The second picture, which begins after the boot has:

  • The Lone Stars of David (glossy coffee table history of the Jews of Texas and a high school graduation present)
  • Another edition of the Union Prayer Book
  • Union Haggadah (American Reform Haggadah from the same era as the UPB
  • The door way into my room
  • The new glass mezuzah I bought in Italy earlier this summer

The mezuzah is still there for the same purpose as my bizarre old attempt at a digital mezuzah. It’s an attempt to define cyberspace as real space through a ritual object. I do this because we can do many of the same interpersonal things on this blog that we can do in a real physical space.

The books were chosen because I either like them, find them particularly interesting or because I use them a lot. There was also some attempt to make a diverse set of books.

UPDATE: JaneTheWriter jumped on what I’m now calling the blozuzah bandwagon and affixed one to the sidebar of her blog as well. Check it out.

UPDATE UPDATE: Newish Jewish added one too!

10 Responses to Brand new look, same great taste -or- Why does a blog need a mezuzah?

  1. Harold August 10, 2010 at 3:20 pm #

    I like it. In fact, unless you look very closely, you can’t tell there are two photos side-by-side in the masthead. It looks like one shelf.

    • David A.M. Wilensky August 10, 2010 at 5:30 pm #

      Oh wow. I thought it was pretty obviously two photos. Well, that’s good.

  2. JanetheWriter August 10, 2010 at 4:24 pm #

    I also like it….especially the explanation of the presence of a mezzuzah on your blog. Perhaps you’re on to something and others will follow your lead. (Don’t be surprised if a mezzuzah shows up soon on JanetheWriter Writes (if I can figure out how to add it, that is!)) :)

  3. David A.M. Wilensky August 10, 2010 at 5:31 pm #

    I’ve written about the blozuzah before and I don’t know of anyone who has adopted it thus far. But I’m glad you like.

  4. REK August 10, 2010 at 5:51 pm #

    I like it. It’s very you!

    Is it your old green cowboy boot? :)

  5. Glenda August 10, 2010 at 6:03 pm #

    Yes, it was located at an antique book store in the heart of the Jewish quarter of Prague.

  6. Sandy December 21, 2011 at 11:13 pm #

    Love the Blozuzah! It is as much a doorway as any. In fact….your blog may be MORE of a doorway than a physical one. Mazel tov.

  7. Alex December 28, 2011 at 6:05 am #

    what Sandy said…..and I love your blog. Shalom from Scotland :)

  8. Rebecca Tolman January 27, 2012 at 2:59 am #

    David, Do you use Seder HaT’fillot much these days? I caved and payed the shipping and got one I haven’t used it yet but I think it’s going to become THE siddur I use on shabbat. I think it’s a really interesting piece of liturgical work. Thoughts?