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The Blogs on TOI: More vivid, more personal, more engaging

We've got a sparkling new look and magical ways for bloggers to engage with readers -- we're not in Kansas anymore
They didn't have these features in Kansas, Toto (YouTube screenshot)
They didn't have these features in Kansas, Toto (YouTube screenshot)

Over the past six and a half years, The Blogs hosted by The Times of Israel have become the world’s most engaging, expansive and influential conversation about Israel, the region and Jewish life across the globe. That crucial, first-person engagement has been there from the start, a raucous thrum accompanying The Times of Israel’s core news mission to provide independent, non-partisan and fair-minded reporting.

Our editorial approach for blogs is forged by the two sometimes competing values of community and diversity: On the one hand, we invite those with shared views and sensibilities to engage with each other on the issues they care about, while on the other hand we open the tent flaps to welcome a vast, sometimes uncomfortably diverse mix of voices.

The platform continually offers perspectives from recognized thought leaders, elected officials, and known experts alongside contributions from emerging talent, and anyone with a calling to share stories and ideas on all things Israel, Middle East and Jewish. All those with a sincere desire to engage and ably communicate on relevant topics are welcome aboard (here’s the link to apply).

It is with great excitement that we launch a new design for The Blogs that lives up to the color and dynamism of this thriving marketplace of ideas, a platform that serves readers of The Times of Israel, as well as our expanding roster of partner sites that now includes The Jewish Week in New York, The Jewish Standard (New Jersey), Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle, Atlanta Jewish Times, and The Jewish News in the United Kingdom.

(YouTube screenshot)

When Dorothy stepped out of her monochrome farmhouse into the technicolor light of Oz, she needed a moment to take it all in. Take your moment to explore The Blogs’ vivid and dynamic new look and feel. Developed together with the ingenious and tireless team at RGB Media, with whom we built the original site, The Blogs now fit in with the elegant and more user-friendly design introduced on the news platform last year. Here are some of the most notable changes:

  • The Blogs’ section homepage is now reimagined as a far more dynamic gateway into the platform’s world of ideas and voices.
  • Featured images and video bring blog posts alive, both on the website and on social media platforms, where a post’s link can now be shared with a featured photo, and not only an author photo as was the case before.
  • Smart and seamless content scrolling paves an easy path to discovering relevant writing, whether it’s from voices readers want to hear more from, or on topics of special interest.
  • Bloggers are now able to embed pictures from Getty Images in the body of their posts, with convenient access to more than 50 million visuals from one of the world’s leading photo agencies.
  • And bloggers can now establish a bold, personalized presence on the platform, a homepage of sorts, by branding their blogs with a cover image and tagline, while providing as much detail as they wish about who they are. They also have the option to allow readers to engage with them via email.

As we toast our snappy new look, we never lose sight of the real stars of the platform, the thousands of wonderful contributors to The Blogs. They stoke the fires with their collective creativity, passion, dedication, and willingness to step forward and tell their truth. (Bloggers can find how-to info on the new features here.)

We look forward to reading more from current bloggers, and hearing from those who wish to join and help keep the conversations going about Israeli politics, Jewish identity, life in Diaspora, #MeToo, Zionism on campus, Start-Up Israel, women in Judaism, summer camp, death and mourning, humor, Jerusalem, Palestinian statehood, food, fashion, memoir, LGBTQ, media criticism, terrorism, the Holocaust, lone IDF soldiers, touring Israel, Halacha, archaeology, weekly Torah readings, kashrut, aliyah, Jewish holidays, education, intermarriage, Israel programs, the peace process, marriage, parenting, weddings, synagogue life, social justice, US politics, art, film, South African Jewry, non-profits and synagogue life, to name just a few.

About the Author
I edit The Times of Israel's Ops & Blogs section, and I also co-host the storytelling live show and podcast WhyWhyWhy! (That needlework in my cover photo is by Yocheved Herschlag Muffs.)