They’re out there at their keyboards, typing out their thoughts for you. Writing daily, weekly, or when they have something to say, these bloggers are hard at work on our home shores. (By complete coincidence, the three Jewish bloggers sampled here came originally from New Jersey!)
Blogger and longtime law professor Julie Shapiro. (Photo: Shelly Cohen)
When I spoke to Seattle University law professor Julie Shapiro, she was on her annual pilgrimage to Cape Cod with her partner Shelly Cohen and children Eli, 16, and Leah, 12. It’s where she spent childhood summers and is “the place I always came back to,” she says.
While she teaches civil procedure to first-year students, her specialty is in family law and law and sexuality. She does plenty of academic writing, but “I’d much rather reach the general audience…because of what I’m interested in,” she says, which is, “how we determine who is a legal parent.”
“Legal parentage is enormously important because the people who the law recognizes as parents have all sorts of … obligations,” she observes. “People assume that biology determines parentage, but that has hardly ever been true.” She tries to keep her blog, www.julieshapiro.wordpress.com, narrowly focused on two primary topics: Assisted reproductive technology and “the related fascination with DNA.”
Julie started blogging three-and-a-half years ago, and aims for three entries a week, turning to the daily papers for inspiration and subject matter. She’s had over 130,000 hits.
While it’s not in the blog, the Temple Beth Am member is always happy to comment on being a Jewish lesbian professor at a Jesuit university, which she calls “terrific,” adding, “Jesuits care enormously about dialog with people who are different… [and are] respectful of religious traditions.”
Ed Harris, second from left, with his kids Izzy, left, Sam, center, Gabriela, right, and future son-in-law Andrew, second from right. (Photo courtesy Ed Harris)
Over in Bellevue, Ed Harris (no, not the actor) is also blogging about family, but on a personal level. Ed explores the meaning of fatherhood at “Wisdom of a Jewish Dad”
In an ideal world, Ed would be a writer, “but my reality is that I’ve got a family to take care of” and he’s “never had the nerve to step away from” gainful employment. While writing is something he can only do in his spare time, the father of three managed to write a novel five years ago called Murphy’s Bed. An agent picked it up (an accomplishment in and of itself), but was unable to find a publisher, so Ed self-published through Amazon’s Create Space.
Writing is no problem, he observes, where volume is concerned. “I probably write 100 e-mails a day” in his day job as a technology company executive, but producing something that “has real merit is not something you can do quickly,” he says. He doesn’t want to just churn out copy. “Maybe it’s egotism: I want to have something of higher quality. I’ve only done 10 or so posts,” he says, but he hopes they are “book quality.”
Ed says he and his Dutch-born wife, Anne, who met in Israel, have an “Israel-centric” household. When we spoke, his middle son had just returned from the Alexander Muss high school program. They are members of Herzl-Ner Tamid and all three of their kids, Gabriela, 21, Sam, 17, and Izzy, 12, attended the Jewish Day School.
Like any good writer, Ed is also a reader who likes “chewy, meaty” books, calling Brideshead Revisited his favorite novel. He golfs a bit and rides his bike, but says his primary — and very dad-like — hobby is “driving somebody into Seattle or halfway across the Eastside.”
Mystery writer and new blogger Jane Isenberg. (Photo by Shilyh Warren)
Jane Isenberg is a successful author with eight mysteries, a novel and a memoir under her belt. But even with that track record, the retired English teacher’s agent is still looking for a publisher for her most recent manuscript, a historical mystery inspired by her adopted home and by the local history, A Family of Strangers by Molly Cone, Jacqueline Williams and Howard Droker. The former Florida resident set The Bones and the Book (working title) in Seattle, going back and forth from the Gold Rush to 1965.
Now the Temple De Hirsch Sinai member has started a blog that will make book-lovers’ hearts go pitter-pat. “Notes to My Muses”
(www.notestomymuses.wordpress.com) are fan mail from Jane to the authors who have most inspired her. So far she’s covered Philip Roth, John D. MacDonald, Bharati Mukherjee and Bea Kaufman on her site where she also provides links to other interesting blogs.
Adding entries when the spirit moves, the retiree says her life is “not too earth-shaking,” she says. “I write, I read, I babysit my grandkids, [who] are adorable, but not any more than other people’s.”