Monday, June 16, 2014

Blog Redesign and my Eight Favorite Parenting Lines

Hey all,

Voila!  I hereby reveal my all-new redesigned blog!  Huge shout out to a reader, one Keri Gerheart, who has been working on this with me since March, when I said I wanted to make some serious changes around these parts.  She said she was a reader who really appreciated my blog and wanted to help, and help she did.  She was awesome.  And now all of my changes are complete!

I'll tell you what's new in a sec, but first, I'm on Aish.com today, featuring my 8 favorite parenting lines, and why I credit Judaism with all of them. So many questions about parenting... one answer. Check it out and tell me what you think.


Ok, so here's the tour of the new blog.  I know some of you don't like change but I'm not one of those people.  Hopefully you'll love it.

Firstly, the look and feel are new.  Whiter. Fresher.  Lighter.

Second, there are now two navigation bars instead of one.  The top one, which was there all along, has a new tab, called "advertising."  This is info for businesses or ventures that feel their product or service would be of interest to the OOTOB community, and wish to advertise here.  I plan to treat this with complete integrity and only display partners that truly jive with our mission here at OOTOB.

Speaking of our mission, I've moved my "about" page right out front, where every reader can see it as soon as he or she shows up at the blog.

The lower navigation bar is where nearly all of my posts are organized by category.  This reflects my diverse readership - some really want to understand Orthodox Jews better, whereas others are interested in Jewish inspiration.  Some find interviews most interesting; voracious readers will want to peruse the book reviews; some love to dive into controversial observations.  This bar is an easy way to do that.

The social media buttons are all new, and will make it easier to connect and share my stuff.

On the right, you'll see some places I've been featured; under that are ads that relate to OOTOB. Finally, all the way under THAT, are the archives organized by date (as opposed to topic).

Also, look up, at the URL bar.  See that cute little orange box in the left corner?  That's called a "favicon" (Keri taught me that, I'm just showing off now).  It's new, too.  It's sort of like my little pet.

So... would love to hear your feedback!
20 comments

20 comments:

  1. I love it (and I'm web designer, too)! I especially love how the color scheme matches your hair. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well thank you!! Gosh.. I didn't even notice that!

      Delete
  2. Should be workingJune 16, 2014 at 8:51 PM

    A nice, very "you", article. I myself am far less concerned about full honesty. We train kids to be polite (like requiring them to say "thank you" when they want to say "I hate your food"), we omit things that will cause hurt in our dealings with others, I care about feelings more than about facts, and there are situational issues where other values--yes, including my own sanity in a difficult parenting moment--trump full disclosure for me. I sometimes think honesty is overrated as a value.

    Are you saying in the article that you yourself got these values from the Torah, or that the Torah was the very first formulation thereof (and if so, it could have been more direct on number one with that ox story, and maybe some of the others)? Some of them seem to me like just good values--which I guess for you means they HAVE to have come from the Torah. For me it looks like they are on their own good and also get confirmation in the Torah. Commonsense might dictate some of these as well. Or non-Jewish ethics. Or experience.

    I'm not sure about the O metaphysics behind "good values" or "good ideas" or "where good comes from". Could a human being come up with "a good idea" or even a value that didn't ultimately originate with God?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmmm.. what do you mean by "you"? A follow-the-rules thing? A "let's prove everything comes from the Torah thing"?

      I am saying that I myself got these values from Torah. I am also saying that all good ideas and good values will have their source somewhere in Torah. I am further saying that often people discuss parenting values with me, in a way where two options seem equally viable, and it seems so confusing, and Torah puts a total clarity on the issue in an objective sense where nothing else does.

      Delete
    2. As Ruchi quoted, the Torah says "midbar sheker tirchok" "You should stay very far from speaking falsely". It could have said "Thou shalt never lie", but it didn't. Why? Because sometimes the truth takes second place to another value, usually to avoid hurting people's feelings as Should Be Working mentioned. Examples in the Torah are Hashem not telling Avraham that Sara laughed at the idea that her old husband would have a child (hope I got the story the right way round!) and the debate in the Talmud between Hillel and Shammai about whether we should be honest in our praises of a bride or say what would make her feel good on her special day. Feelings win out over truth. Of course that is a Truth all of it's own. I think telling your children to thank a person for a gift even if they don't like it is totally a Torah value. I drill my kids on this before every birthday. Hakaras HaTov, expressing appreciation, is a Torah value.

      I think what Ruchi had in mind was things like not lying for your own convenience like telling someone to say you're not home when you get an unwanted phone call or lying about your kids' ages to get a cheaper rate at the zoo.

      As for what came first, values or Torah? We learn that G-d looked into the Torah in order to create the world and the world includes us humans and our psychological make-up. We also learn that our souls learn the whole of Torah in the womb. So it's "in us" as much as in the book. It's not that humans made a religion that fits the human psychology. Rather G-d makes a human psychology based on the Torah. Of course the struggle between good and bad within each of us IS the purpose and challenge of life so we weren't created as perfect Torah-following robots but deep down we all know a truth about the right way to be. The difficult part is that we also have the ability to fool ourselves about the truth when our desires pull us else where. Not to mention the fact that the desires are often to follow the crowd or the beliefs of groups that are antithetical to Torah values and these can be very appealing and convincing. That's just one of the reasons why Orthodox Jews place such an emphasis on constantly learning Torah because it helps keep us focused on the truth and gives clarity.

      Delete
    3. Should be workingJune 18, 2014 at 12:51 PM

      I meant "very 'you'" definitely as a compliment, as a synonym and expansion of "very nice"! Both practical, with those numbered points that make things easy to digest quickly, and lending itself to more thought.

      Reading your ideas about how all good values/ideas come from the Torah I'm getting a sense for how OJ seems to embody some elements of certain philosophical movements I've read about, from around 300 CE. Makes total sense, Maimonides etc. also must have read that stuff. This actually makes me feel more sympathetic to your way of seeing how all values come from Torah. I know that this is wayyy out into the dry academic sphere, though, compared to practical parenting advice.

      Delete
    4. But I love things that are way out and different from how I'm used to thinking. That's what makes this conversation interesting.

      Delete
    5. Re honesty being overrated. What would you do if your kid borrowed a friends' CD and downloaded a bunch of songs?

      Delete
    6. Should be workingJune 20, 2014 at 2:22 AM

      Not ok with me. I'm talking about fibs: "yes I brushed my teeth" and "it's not my turn to walk the dog" and even "no I'm not wearing mascara" (with grey smudges under eyes). The flip side of us not being so stuck on them being honest is that they also experience us not believing them sometimes when they are honest, and they get so indignant--but then have to admit that we have reason not to believe them all the time. Somehow it adds levity, kind of a space for irony. And it can go both ways--they might look online to check a store's open hours when I tell them it's closed so we can't stop there.

      Delete
    7. I do that too. I ignore plenty. I try not to box them into a corner though where forced to lie.

      Delete
    8. But practically how would you handle the CD thing?

      Delete
    9. Should be workingJune 20, 2014 at 11:11 AM

      I would say that I disapprove and say why. I wouldn't likely follow up with action though. I'm stricter than most of my adult friends about software piracy and all that.

      Delete
  3. Yay Ruchi!! It looks so great! I'm so excited for you to have it all organized this way. The white space is a fresh update, too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Nina! I was inspired by your design, actually. The sidebar "As Featured In" was copycatted from you. So thanks!

      Delete
  4. I LOVE the redesign! Looks great!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. From you, I take that as a great compliment!

      Delete
  5. Congrats on the new design, it looks great! It's always fun to make a webpage more your own. (Now off to read the article...)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks for the shout out! Glad to see your getting such nice feedback on the new look :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Ruchi, re honesty, what do you when someone says, "Let's get together" and clearly means it, but you know you never want to spend time with that person? Just wondering.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a great question. Most people don't follow up with vague invitations like that so usually it works to say something equally vague and true like "sounds like a plan [but I hope it doesn't happen]!" or "sounds good [on paper]!"

      Delete

The purpose of OOTOB is Jewish unity via mutual respect and education, and we reserve the right to decline or edit any comments. Comments are moderated, so it may take some time for your comment to appear. Thank you for your participation!