Tuesday, June 19, 2007

J Blogger Interview Featuring Dafnotes!

And now the moment you have all been waiting for: The Return of the J Blogger Interview!This new interview is with none other than Blogger heavyweight DafNotes. Enjoy.

JB: How did you get into blogging?

DafNotes:Last summer, after I finished teaching, I was off for two weeks before starting my camp job, and I said to my brother: “why don't we start writing on the daily Daf, and give everyone a chance to contribute a little?” Daf Yomi was always about “togetherness amongst Klal Yisroel." Having a Daf Yomi site where people can "chap" a bite of learning during lunch or by a break, thus inspiring them throughout the day, was something special that we wanted to be a part of. We currently have regular Daf Yomi learners who visit the blog daily and we have those that are interested in specific topics. We even have people that drop by who are not currently studying the Daf, but nonetheless, they enjoy learning and are interested in the issues discussed. The blogger community (including Mr. Bagel, Jameel, Bennett from Daled Amos, Soccer Dad, Rafi G., Jewish Blogmeister, Ezzie, Seraphic Secrets, Irina, Kasamba, Batya, The Way she Writes and others -sorry if I missed anyone) is extremely helpful for us amateurs, who were not trained in html codes, widgets and trackbacks.

JB: Tell us a little bit about your background.

DafNotes:I lived most of my life in Chicago and I studied in Telz Yeshiva and learned b'chavrusah with the Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Avraham Chaim Levin for many years. My first years in Yeshiva were in Edison at RJJ, when the Yeshiva initially opened, and then I spent a winter with the Talmid of the Chofetz Chaim, HaRav Yehudah Zev Segal in Manchester, England. That experience propelled me to advance in learning. I learned in the Telz Kollel for six years, and then I was asked to be a Rosh Chabura of a new Community Kollel in Beachwood, Ohio together with Rabbi Yaakov Zev Katz, son of the late Telzer Rosh Yeshive, Rav Mottel Katz zt"l. I was there for three years and then I began teaching sixth grade in the Cheder, Mosdos Ohr HaTorah, the position I am currently in.

JB: Besides discussing the Daf, is there anything else you deal with?

DafNotes: See above. I also say an early morning in depth "Dirshu shiur" to men before they go to work and I say a Daf-Yomi shiur in the evening. I take bechinos every month on the Daf Yomi and I have other study partners as well. In between, I write the Daf Notes, respond to comments, update my blog and help my wonderful wife take care of our family.

JB:At times the daf's discussion may be a little dry, how do you make it interesting?

DafNotes:I always look for a Torah discussion relevant to the Daf that will be interesting to all the serious Daf Yomi learners, the occasional learners and the one's that are just getting started. I look for stories related to the Daf, and issues that pertain to many areas of the Talmud. Every once in a while I will write about a somewhat controversial topic, which can be beneficial.

JB:Are you the only blog that does the daf?

DafNotes: There was one before me; David G. from A Daf a Day. He had stopped and I asked him some advice before I began. Since then, another one started called Heoros on the Daf from Avi Lebovitz, a Rosh Kollel in Palo Alto, California. His discussions are deeper and more intricate than mine.

JB:What's your favorite daf?

DafNotes:The Gemora tells us that we are not supposed to choose one portion over the other. Every day, I write over most of the Daf in English in a manner that it can be self-understood without the text in front of you, besides writing a short discussion on the Daf. It is easier to write when it is a halacha topic, but the discussions can be easier when it is a Homiletical Gemora.

JB:How long have you been involved in daf yomi?

DafNotes: I began twenty years ago, but it was sporadic. I started learning it b'chavrusah approximately ten years ago, and I have been saying a shiur for eight years.

JB:Your Blog is very well put together, did you do that yourself?

DafNotes: Thank you. I initially designed it myself, and then I had input from other bloggers on ways to enhance it. Recently, the blog took a facelift and all the credit for that must go to Mr. Bagel. He wanted to see a Torah blog have the appearance of a top-notch blog, and I must say that he's an expert and he succeeded in his mission. I can't thank him enough.

JB:What do you find most inspiring about blogging the Daf?

DafNotes: All the Gedolim always talk about the connection to your fellows that is created by learning the Daf. Rabbi Levin always talks about the people he sat next to on an airplane and they studied the daf together. With blogging, we have this experience every day. Like I said before, all types of people stop by. We get inspired from the interest that everyone has. People in all types of businesses take a break in middle of their hectic day to see what's cooking on the daf and to see if they have anything to add to the discussion.

JB:Do you see yourself continuing this blog for a long time?

DafNotes: With G-d's help I hope so. The next cycle should be easier.

JB:Any last words to our reading audience?

DafNotes: Firstly, I'd like to thank Hashem for giving me the opportunity to disseminate Torah to all over the world. Secondly, I'd like to express my deepest sense of gratitude and appreciation to my wife, Tzippy, for putting up with me and all my projects, and for offering her words of encouragement when things are going tough. My children pick up the slack for me in taking care of the house, and they are most helpful. I thank my brother Ben from topofthelinepromotions.com for taking on this project with me, and for all his assistance in editing and researching now. I can't forget my brother Motti from Petach Tikvah, Israel, who controls the Midrashiya server that delivers the Daf to everyone mailbox every day. I thank the rest of my family, personal friends, helpful bloggers and everyone for contributing to this Kiddush Hashem. Thank you and may we merit the coming of Mashiach speedily.


Rafi G. said...

nice interview. shkoyach JB.

kol hakavod to the dafnotes guys for the great job they do!

Anonymous said...

Nothing like a good shameless plug to the bros.

Anonymous said...

thanks, Z.

great site, great interview. time to start doing some daf notes and JB shirts, caps and promo items.

Avromi said...

Here is the correct link for Ben:

Top of the line promotions

Anonymous said...

Interesting blog you got here. It would be great to read a bit more concerning this theme. The only thing I would like to see here is some pics of any gadgets.
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