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Jewess » The Weekly 7: Tamar Weinberg, Tech-Savvy Jewess

The Weekly 7: Tamar Weinberg, Tech-Savvy Jewess


by Rebecca Honig Friedman

tamar_headshot.jpgIf you’re not a big tech blog maven you may not have heard of Tamar Weinberg, but if you are, you most certainly have.
A tech and social media enthusiast, Weinberg blogs about search, social media, business development, and productivity on Search Engine Roundtable (www.seroundtable.com), techipedia (www.techipedia.com), and Lifehacker (http://www.lifehacker.com), the “blog that covers tips and tricks for streamlining your life with computers (and sometimes without).”
Last week Weinberg served as a guest editor on Lifehacker, and a commenter called her “the bionic woman of blogging.” Indeed, she is.
She also happens to be a Jewess and a 2003 graduate of Barnard College/Columbia University who currently resides with her husband, Brian, in New York City.
Taking a moment from her own blogging, Weinberg answered some questions for this blog, giving us the scoop on being a woman in a predominantly male field, her personal views on modern Orthodoxy, and the effects of blogging on her marriage.

1. JEWESS: Why do you blog?
TAMAR WEINBERG: For me, blogging is a way of self-expression, and I have a strong desire to share ideas with the rest of the world. I like providing input and I like hearing from other people. A blog is a form of communication and an excellent tool for networking. I’ve met so many people as a blogger alone. It has opened a world of opportunity for me, from job offers to book writing gigs. And I love it.

2. You’re Jewish and you blog, but you’re not a “J-blogger.” How does Judaism influence your blogging, if at all?
It’s easiest to blog about something you’re incredibly passionate about and something you interact with on a daily basis. I began my blogging “career” reading blogs geared toward the search engine industry, as it relates to my company’s role in internet marketing. I’ve also spent a great deal of time learning and networking with people in that space. It’s something that I deal with regularly, and I have firsthand knowledge of the newest changes within the industry. I’m also modern Orthodox, but I don’t think I could blog as passionately about Jewish topics since I am not as much immersed in the day-to-day events of the Jewish community. However, there is a remote possibility that a friend and I will start a Kosher blog, and it’s something we’ve had in the works for several months. I also founded a blog about my Jewish day school, but it is targeted only to individuals directly associated with the institution, and I’ve taken more of a moderator role there than a blogger role.

3. Why do more men than women seem to be drawn to technology and gadgety stuff, as well as science and math?
I think the math/science fields are highly male-dominated and that deters women from entering the field. It’s extremely demanding and an incredible time commitment. Many studies have shown that men are more biologically predisposed to math and science, whereas other studies have shown that it’s more of a question of upbringing. For me personally, I’ve always striven to seek out the roads less traveled by, and I’m enjoying the journey.

4. Have you ever felt discriminated against as a woman within the tech or blogging communities? Or as a blogging techie woman outside of the blogging and techie communities?
It’s not so much a question of feeling discriminated against, because I don’t. It’s more of an issue that I feel there are just too few of us, but that is representative of the tech community at large. Blogging, too, is a huge commitment when you have a dedicated audience, and there are very few women that take on the challenge. I encourage others to get involved.

5. How do you balance your day job with all the blogging you do? What about your marriage? Does your husband ever feel jealous of your computer?
Fortunately, blogging is part of my day job. I also think blogging scored me my current job. :) But since I maintain a good number of blogs, I do have to commit time in the morning before work and after work to make sure I fulfill my other obligations. It’s busy, but it’s fun work for me.
As for my marriage, my husband is a computer geek too, so I have good company. He’s proud of my accomplishments and I am very fortunate and thankful to have such a wonderful support system.

6. As someone who affiliates as modern Orthodox, what was your take on the Noah Feldman brouhaha? Especially as a woman, do you personally feel tension between the modern and the Orthodox?
This is a bit of a tough question, because the school I attended where I was growing up was one where the majority of my classmates were *not* observant Jews at all. However, the curriculum was purely modern Orthodox and several Judaic studies classes were not co-ed while normal secular studies classes were mixed. We were raised with no particular mandates — I even recall a teacher saying on my first day of 11th grade that the Torah can be interpreted in many different ways, and every Jew can interpret it for himself/herself to live to be the best Jewish individual that s/he can be. What she was essentially saying is that everybody is different, but at the end of the day, we are still Jewish. And that lesson stuck with me throughout college, where finally I noticed that more judgment was being passed upon my peers. I am a firm believer that people can do what they choose, but that everyone in the end should be tolerant to each other. If you are not in agreement with a particular action that someone chooses to do, don’t make them feel awful or uncomfortable. At the end of the day, we’re all emotional beings, and I find that it’s more important to follow the laws “bein adam la’chavero” [person-to-person] to the best of your ability while still showing honor and respect to people who may not see the world in the same light as you.

7. Which woman from the Bible would be the most technologically savvy if she were living today?
I think I would go with Dina for two reasons: she could blog about her experiences since she’s had so many, and had her brothers been around today as well, she’d very likely have a lot of exposure to technology and gadgets.

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    Jewess is a blog about Jewish women's issues, and is part of the Canonist network of religion blogs.

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