Category: Meta

Baruch Mehayeh Meiteim – 2018 Edition

*dust dust dust*

*dust dust dust*


Well, look what we have here.

It…looks like…a website!

Yes, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything here, even longer since I’ve been writing. Well, writing long-form, anyway. I realized that I’ve been taking an “easier” way out in moving ideas to Twitter, which while nice for its format has its limitations. I think it’s been better than nothing, but I think it’s time I get back to trying harder.1

And as a nice push for me to get writing again, you’ll notice the website has been completely redone! We’ve got a host, a new theme and new host for faster loading, and SSL if you care about that sort of thing.2

You’ll also notice that the 10 Year Anniversary logo has been replaced with a 15 year one, because that’s how time works. For those who can’t really believe I started 15 years ago, I’ve included a slideshow of how the site has changed over the years.

I don’t anticipate a regular publishing schedule (let’s not get crazy here), but I think I’d like to go back to having this site as a medium for me to develop and work out ideas which have been on my mind.

And there have been many, many things on my mind.

Stay tuned.

YUTOPIA’s 500,000th Visit!

Dear Loyal Readers,
On Mar 7 2011 11:50:49 pm, my humble abode on the web notched it’s 500,000th visit!1 The lucky visitor from Hobart, Tasmania searched Australia’s Google for “free chords jewish music” and stopped by the The Jewish Guitar Chords Archive.

I know what you’re thinking, 500,000 is nothing by today’s standards – even for Jewish blogs – and especially since I’ve been doing this since May 15th, 2003. However, consider the following:

  • For various personal reasons I’ve ignored the blog for months at a time intermittently
  • I’ve consistently held to my principle that there’s enough garbage on the internet that I don’t need to add to it
  • Even my most controversial posts are written carefully so as not to troll or start flame wars
  • My loyal readers are intelligent and mature enough not to start flame wars themselves. In the entire history of this site, I’ve had a grand total of one flame war (on the deconstruction) and I received apologies from both parties.

Finally, the 500,000th visit is not the same as a “hit” – as the chart below indicates most visitors to YUTOPIA stick around for a while, either taking time to read what I’ve written or downloading some of the chords from the archive.



Average Per Day266
Average Visit Length4:27
Last Hour26
This Week1,862
Average Per Day749
Average Per Visit2.8
Last Hour76
This Week5,243 


At any rate, I hope to continue keeping up the quality you’ve all come to expect both in the posts and now the podcasts which I am proud to say have already amassed approximately 5,000 downloads in total.

I thank you for your support and sticking with this site, even sometimes more than I have, and for putting up with my typos and grammar. I don’t have the time for a complete retrospective right now, though I suspect one should be due at some point. In the meantime, thanks again for helping this site achieve a Big Round Number and I look forward to reaching even more with you in the future.


1. At least since I started counting with Sitemeter – with all the changes I’ve made in the past, odds are I hit the mark a while ago.

And We’re Back!

Happy to say that after a minor hiccup the move to a new host went swimmingly. We now return to our regularly scheduled blogging.

Moving Blog…Again

YUTOPIA is moving hosts, so please excuse the forthcoming hiccups in the process. If this works, we’ll be good for the next 4 years.

New Commenting Policies

Now that I’ve moved to a more mature web space, I’ve decided to formalize some official commenting policies. Thankfully I’ve never had much of an issue in the past, but it’s probably useful to have something on the books.
I’d consider it a work in progress so any feedback or comments would be appreciated.
Within the new guidelines, that is.

Recent Happenings in YUTOPIA

By now my extended absences from blogging should come as no surprise. I’ve always held that real life must take precedence over any virtual identity. However, since I did promise an explanation, so here’s the scoop.

  • Once I got laid off1 I decided to use the time to remove my longstanding albatross of my U of C thesis. This, I should point out, is no small feat considering that previous attempts at finishing have elicited more panic attacks than paragraphs. At any rate, I managed to hunker down and actually managed to turn in a paper on secularization theories. The only problem was that my then adviser had since left and the new professors in charge thought the thesis was pretty much uninteresting or otherwise insufficient.2 After a near rewrite of the entire paper, it still wasn’t up to snuff and it was rejected.
  • So after basically writing two theses, I had to start from scratch again, but this time in conjunction with the new advisers. Following their suggestions and my own familiarity with the subject. I wrote a new paper dealing with the Conservative teshuvot on homosexuality and e-mailed it in last week.3 Thus, in a span of three months I researched and wrote well over 100 pages worth of thesis, with the last fifty or so in the past month alone.
  • In the middle of these theses, I also organized Mt. Sinai’s shavuot program and updated my own shiur on taxes and tzeddakah.
  • Oh, and I also wrote a piece for the upcoming issue of R. Marc Angel’s journal “Conversations” on the topic of “social justice”4
  • Anticipating burnout, I had planned on attending R. Aryeh Klapper’s summer kollel, but we got the dates mixed up and it actually started about two weeks before I had down on my calendar. This actually turned out to be fortuitous because…
  • I just found out today that my landlord is not renewing the lease on the apartment in which I am currently subletting. This means on top of being unemployed I also need to move out in about two months.

So yeah, it’s been an intense couple of months with neither respite nor resolution imminent. 5 Much has been neglected personally – I simply haven’t had the time to take care of myself as as I should.6 Despite the immediate concerns of job and dwelling, I’m still optimistic in the macro sense that this is yet another instance of being forced out of a comfort zone to grow in some way or another.
There have also been a few changes in the blog itself. I recently ported over all templates to MT4 which as you can see went must better than last time. Aside from some minor cosmetic changes, the significant perk is that commenting with the captcha actually works! This means no more bugs and no more Typekey registration.
Finally, I registered the domain names and for this site and the chords directory respectively. Currently these URL’s are only a masked redirect, but this may change in the future.7
And that just about covers it. I may try forcing myself to write again more regularly to maintain the outlet, but no promises.
Stay tuned for future developments…

1. Which I later found out to be another casualty of the Bear Stearns buyout.
2. Much of the problem stemmed from the fact that I didn’t chose the topic, but it was assigned to me from a faculty adviser. The problem was he left the university and the replacements didn’t like the new topic.
3. Advisers are on vacation and won’t look at it for another week. If it passes I’ll blog a summary.
4. More precisely, my perspective on which I hope to elaborate at some point.
5. Thankfully before I descended fully entered into “woe is me” mode, I found Kathryn Bertine’s recent and possibly final installment of her series “So You Wanna Be an Olympian” and found the last section to be particularly helpful.
6. I’ve even ignored my own 5 year blogoversary!
7. At the rate things are going it’s a good thing I don’t have a good pun for “Brave New World.”

Cut Of The JIBs

While we were otherwise preoccupied, Jewish Blog Awards winners were announced, and not surprisingly we got trounced in all categories for which we were nominated. Given that the JIBs are an open nomination/open voting award, I find them indistinguishable from a “people’s choice” award, which will naturally favor those blogs with greater readership.
Still, no cause at all for bitterness. In fact we’re happy to see friends Curious Jew and Abacaxi Mamao win something and the JIBs introduced us to Rabbi Without a Cause (another winner) who had a similar take on the conversion. Also many thanks to Seraphic Secret for your kinds words.
As we’ve said before, we never got into this thing for awards and this changes nothing. We’ll still keep up our sporadic and often delayed schedule of blogging, while hopefully maintaining the quality you’ve come to expect.1

1. Editors welcome, apply within.

Odds and Ends

A few bits of bookkeeping today:

  • My father has been posting some articles on UTJ Viewpoints. Despite the erratic typesetting, you may find it worthwhile.
  • Jewess has a very good report of the Mt. Sinai Town Hall meeting from a few weeks back, and delivers a fair reporting of what transpired.
  • While the new commenting policies have largely been a success there have been some complications with lost comments. If you forget to comment in the new field, all you need to do is hit “back” on the browser or the link provided and the text of your comment should be saved for resubmission.
  • Finally, this Shavuot I will be giving shiur on Halakha V’Ein Morin Kein at some point in Washington Heights. I don’t have the schedule yet and to be honest I don’t have the shiur finished, but I’ll keep you posted when I know more.