Hug Your Community Moderator Today

They have been around so long we take them for granted. They are where we go to find a ride, recommend a babysitter, and ask about electricians. I am talking about the English email lists that exist for every community with a reasonable number of English speakers. Janglo (short for Jerusalem Anglo) is the biggest with its own website, while the Jordan Valley’s group has five members.

I started the local list and continue to moderate it. At times it can be a thankless job. One member thinks the list is unfriendly, while another thinks there is too much discussion. Some posters have to comment about everything. Then there are the small businesses and public relations professionals who have discovered that community email lists are a free way to reach consumers. One even used our list to try and sell a $2 million property on the Tel Aviv beach. Do you think I could ask for a commission?

I decided to learn how moderators of other lists handle these issues, so I started a “meta-community” list for moderators and began inviting. Just reading the various list’s rules has been enlightening. About ten moderators have joined so far. We all share problems with annoying posters, pushy advertisers, and people who just can’t seem to follow the rules.

I get a lot of satisfaction in running the list. I know people have found rentals, service providers and helped people considering moving here (the main reason I started). I’ll share the last part of an exchange with a potential oleh, after I wrote him a long email about our community:

Hi Hannah:
We decided not to make Aliyah. Thanks for your assistance.
Please remove me from the list.

Hannah wrote:

Just push Unsubscribe on the next message from the list.
I hope it wasn’t something I said!

No, you were one of the few from Israel who did not act like a sour innkeeper, put off because a guest entered the lobby of their establishment — which has become pretty much my view of a number of Israeli’s — especially those in the service sector.
I thank you though for dispelling that idea.

There are some people who will be happier not making aliyah.


  1. Here Here to giving moderators a hug. The lists are an incredible resource.
    Nice idea for a posting and nice idea to put up your picture (!)

  2. A moderator’s list is a great idea!
    There are some people who will be happier not making aliyah.
    Unfortunately, I have to agree with you. IMHO, if someone doesn’t love Israel (and by that I mean the “real Israel” – not some vague, theoretical Never-Never-Land that doesn’t exist), their aliyah just won’t work.

  3. About community lists in general: on our local list, I’ve noticed that one local business person is very successful at responding to helping others who have questions. She uses her business name to respond, and she has a signature in her response. But she also provides a great community service. You could suggest this method to some of the local businesses, if they can learn how to help but not be in the face of everyone in the community.
    Interesting analogy, your non-Aliyah making correspondent wrote.

  4. Leora, we have someone like that on our list, but his help verges on irritating, because he relentlessly plugs his store with every “answer” to the list.
    I like your idea, just when the business owner doesn’t take it too far and when the owner can help in other ways aside from plugging his/her own business.
    I’ve found the community lists invaluable, especially here in Israel where finding trustworthy service providers can be challenging (to put it delicately).

  5. Shiloh has a bilingual yahoo list. Most of the correspondance is in Hebrew with a smattering of English and people like me who make a point of writing in both languages.
    Nobody does any moderating, different culture. The moderators just handle “emergencies.”
    I used to co-moderate the Israeli flylady list.

  6. Our Modiin list has been extremely useful to me. I actually met a woman who has become my best friend here in Modiin when we both were on the list as we were planning our Aliyah. The list has also helped me find doctors, electricians, gardners etc. And my daughters use it to publicize their babysitting talents.
    As far as the potential oleh, I don’t really understand what he meant. It’s late, maybe that’s why.

  7. mother in israel says

    Baila, it wasn’t completely clear, but he didn’t think the bureaucrats were as friendly as he would have liked.

  8. Lion of Zion says

    MRS. S:
    “Unfortunately, I have to agree with you. IMHO, if someone doesn’t love Israel . . . their aliyah just won’t work.”
    this is why i think it is ridiculous when people propose the aliyah panacea as a tuition sanctuary
    “and by that I mean the “real Israel” – not some vague, theoretical Never-Never-Land that doesn’t exist”
    well it does exist, at least as experienced by many stary-eyed american yeshiva/seminary students.

  9. Friendly bureaucrats? Wouldn’t that be an oxymoron? đŸ™‚
    Great post!

  10. You seem to be doing a great job here.

  11. It’s amazing how talented you are in zeroing in on issues that touch me!
    On the issue of advertising, I made a tough decision with that one on my list. I also felt it was too much in your face, so decided I wouldn’t post the ads on the discussion area, but put them in the files area. I was tested – they weren’t happy with my decision. So they left my site and created their own to advertise as much as they wished. It was a lose-lose propositioin in the end, but I felt strongly about it.
    On the issue of people on lists complaining of this or that, always is – I often wonder why people run for office, always someone unhappy.
    And lastly on aliya, who of us have been thrilled with bureaucracy? We all have our stories and hopefully get past them. It’s not being in love with Israel as it is, it is being in love with what could be here, and hopefully we can help make it happen – got to be an idealist to be here. Not that everyone must be active, it’s enough just to survive sometimes. But being here is a message that we accept life isn’t perfect, but G-d told us this is our country. What I find perplexing is those who accept the trials and tribulations without accepting that it all came from Torah.

  12. Shemesh List says

    How does one join the moderators list?