If you’re wondering why this blog updates so sporadically, click here.

Update(s), December 2013: In a sad turn of events, Open Zion is ceasing publication this month — you can read Peter Beinart’s explanation of why here; as for me, in a much more lovely turn of events, I am very happy to say that I will be writing twice a month for Haaretz.com, the English-language, online version of Israel’s paper of record (and, broadly speaking the paper of record of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict), Haaretz.

Update, March 2012: In a lovely turn of events, I am now a regular columnist at The Daily Beast, as part of a blog project called Open Zion. 

See? I'm writing.

See? I’m writing.

For about six years, I wrote about what was in my head, for a paying public. I wrote commentary, about Israel/Palestine, about being a mom, about being a daughter, about abortion and racism and atheism and shoes. Teenaged pregnancy and baby daddies. The Jordan River and the Kindle. And then some. It was quite a range.

This came after many years as a straight-up reporter, followed by a few years as a graduate student. Not everything I wrote got published, but a surprising amount did. Most of it. By a certain standard, I was a successful commentary writer, and I am, at heart, an essayist.

The thing is, in spite of the fact that the public was a “paying” one, it didn’t pay very well. This was the world of newspapers, after all, a world long in the throes of a wasting illness. Then the Great Economic Meltdown of Aught-Eight dovetailed with the Great Folding of Venerable News Institutions, and I realized that trying to place freelance material had shifted from the merely-nearly impossible to the almost-literally impossible. My heart could no longer take it, and in September 2008, I stopped trying.

I kept up with the other work that I’d always done – for other people, who had always paid more than any outlet at which I was able to use my own by-line – but I stopped, utterly and in one fell-swoop, working for myself.

Well, perhaps unsurprisingly, this has been a sizeable loss for me, for such a long list of reasons that I won’t even bother to go into them. But the world of blogging beckons and while I have, in my neo-Luddite fashion, resisted for years, I now realize that I have to try. I’m a writer, and it turns out that writers need to write.

So here I am! I will be writing about what is in my head, about Israel/Palestine, about being a mom, about being a daughter, about abortion and racism and atheism and shoes. And so on. I will try not to force a shape on this effort, but rather let its shape emerge as we go along.

Comments are open and welcomed. When talking to or about anyone else, please be respectful, please be thoughtful, and if you can, please be kind. Funny will earn you extra credit. If I determine that the lines of basic decency have been crossed, I will cut you off at the knees. But no pressure! (For more about commenting, you could always check out my About Commenting page).

You can find me on Twitter: @emilylhauser.


UPDATE: To paraphrase The Big Lebowski and borrow from one of my favorite blogs (South Jerusalem), this blog don’t roll on shabbos. So, no posting on Saturdays! And also, mostly, no posting on Sundays, but that’s more flexible. I have been mentioning this on a weekly basis, but that seems silly, doesn’t it? Anyhoo, bottom line: I don’t roll on shabbos. FYI, and all.


  1. Fantastic. I will bookmark you and check back periodically for insightful words.

  2. La Chica Lucy

     /  July 10, 2009

    I have always found your comments at Jezebel to be so insightful, especially the ones concerning Israel/Palestine. I have learned so much from you!

    I too, am a former journalist (and current freelancer of puff pieces for the local rag’s special sections). I actually owned a weekly community newspaper, which I ran for 10 years with a partner (my ex-husband) before we took on a new “silent” partner who turned out not to be so silent, driving both of us to up and quit one day in 2005. It was a good paper, that we created, that won NYPA awards. We were a real part of our community, which I sometimes miss as much as writing.

    So I know what you mean about your sizeable loss. I now work 40 hours a week crunching numbers and writing in “cop speak” and I swear it’s made me dumber (you would not BELIEVE the horrific typos I encounter on a daily basis; I have literally had to shutdown my brain’s Edit Function). Thank goodness for the freelance work, as it at least forces me to write. I also started a blog, just to keep my chops up. It’s not very serious and is probably a little too ranty, but I guess I’m mostly doing it for myself as I have virtually no readers, am self-labeled as a “mature” blog (I like to drop the f-bomb when I’m ranting), and I haven’t done much at all to promote it, even among my friends. Weird for someone who made living writing, huh?

    I have babbled long enough. I will bookmark you and I look forward to reading your work!

  3. Mya Dyllen

     /  July 21, 2009

    I have also been a follower of yours at Jezebel. I am so happy to see that I can find more of your writing here. Thanks for letting me know. I look forward to reading more here.

  4. Julia

     /  July 21, 2009

    I was a follower of yours on Jezebel, and will continue to follow you here.

  5. honey_roasted

     /  August 7, 2009

    Hi Emily!

    I also used to follow you on Jezebel, and have missed your presence there of late (not that I can really argue with your reasons for leaving). I’m delighted to see that you’ve already begun posting on this site on a regular basis, and I’ll definitely be bookmarking this blog and checking back in.

  6. Bonita Applebum

     /  August 13, 2009

    Hey Ella Ester-
    Just found your message in my jezzie profile. i’ve missed you, now I understand why. I’m a fellow wordpress girl, you’re officially bookmarked. we seem to have totally different issues, you can broaden my world, maybe I can do the same for you.
    i never understood the change in the comments. but the memo came when i was at 37 stars and that was kind of a bummer. thanks for standing up to them. i just kind of shrugged my shoulders and gave up on commenting. but man, I love the jezzies. those are some funny ass bitches.

  7. taranwanderer

     /  August 18, 2009

    Hiya EllaEster, or should I say Emily!

    I’ve missed you on Jez and when I finally logged in and checked my messages, I realized why. (I’ve obviously reduced my comments on that site since the change.) The new system actually ended up not being that bad, but I completely understand why you left. I’m glad you sent us messages so I can continue to read your insightful comments here! Thanks for letting me know. Your blog is officially bookmarked. 🙂 Glad to hear you’re still around!


  8. Maya

     /  August 22, 2009

    Hi there,

    I finally came over to your blog having seen you mention it a couple of time on TNC. Great job, great layout. I didn’t read your farewell message on Jezebel but I would have loved to. I have rarely gone back since the changes. And now Megan’s gone too. Anyway, good luck to you, see you around on TNC, EllaEsther!

  9. Ari M. Trubitt

     /  March 7, 2010

    Dear Emily: I hope you remember me, as it has been a very long time since we saw each other, some 27 years ago, or so. I am amazed at the life you have carved out for yourself, not because I did not think you had it in you (because I certainly knew you were a strong personality with a well trained mind), but because I would not have thought your life’s path would have taken you to the Middle East. Congratulations on being an accomplished, published author/writer!

    As for me, I decided to become a lawyer, and for over 22 years now I have practiced criminal defense, with a side focus on Immigration Law, and Driver’s License reinstatement. The job requires me to wear many, many hats, including counselor, social worker, alcohol/drug addiction therapist, investigator, and on occassion, chauffeur or bodyguard. I have been married to a nice Jewish girl from Morton Grove for just over 20 years now, and we have two sons, ages 13 and 9. As you predicted in my family room at my Mom’s house in HP, almost 30 years ago, I am in fact a wonderful father to my sons (if I do say so myself).

    I know what you mean about going out on your own, and what loss can result. After over 14 years at my last job, representing Union Members per a benefit plan that provided them w/ a free lawyer, I went out on my own with no book of business, and have struggled to build something from nothing over the last 2 and 1/2 years. Nevertheless, my wife and I agree that my move was necessary, and we are trying to weather the financial crisis that we are facing, in hopes it all works out in the end.

    If you feel nostalgic enough to contact an old friend, I would love to hear from you. My office is located in Schaumburg across from Woodfield Mall, and my office no. is [redacted]. I live in Arlington Heights, and my home no. is [redacted], or you could just email me at the address above.


    • Bob T

       /  June 15, 2010

      As always, Ari, your modesty simply whelms.

      EM: A not-entirely-PC joke that’s likely to get me in trouble, so that’s why I sorta disguised this as a reply to Ari…
      A Jewish businessman in Chicago sent his son to Israel for a year to absorb the culture.
      When the son returned, he said, “Papa, I had a great time in Israel. By the way, I converted to Christianity.”
      “Oy vey,” said the father, “what have I done!”
      He took his problem to his best friend. “Ike,” he said, “I sent my son to Israel, and he came home a Christian. What can I do?”
      “Funny you should ask,” said Ike. “I, too, sent my son to Israel, and he also came home a Christian. Perhaps we should go see the Rabbi.”
      They explained their problem to the Rabbi.
      “Funny you should ask,” said the rabbi. “I, too sent my son to Israel, and he also came home a Christian. What is happening to our young people?”
      They prayed, telling the Lord about their sons.
      As they finished their prayer, a voice came from the heavens: “Funny you should ask,” said the voice “I, too, sent my son to Israel…”
      So I looked at your pic and I said, “Funny, she *still* doesn’t look Jewish…”

      Sorry I never answered that sweet note you sent me when I was in San Fancisco (mumble-mumble-mumble) years ago. About 10 days after I got it, I relocated from my quarters in the Presidio to an apartment 50 miles south in Santa Clara…then proceeded to got on temporary duty at Ft Leavenworth for the next two months…and somewhere along the line managed to lose all trace of yur letter. Dun be more of a stranger…


  10. Emily – thanks for taking the time to comment on my blog today – you may get a kick out of my humorous article today about our family and coffee ☺ I’d love your feedback!

  11. Michelle

     /  June 6, 2010

    Ms. Hauser,
    I stumbled across your blog while doing a little internet surfing about Israel and the flotilla issue tonight. I did manage to read quite a lot of what you have written on this topic tonight because I was so curious. I like to read all sides about an issue before deciding on an opinion. Your opinions on this issue (Israel/Palestine)are the opposite of mine.

    I honestly cannot wrap my mind around this…I cannot imagine why anyone would condemn Israel and not vehemently oppose radical Islam. I have a few questions for you. I am by no means an expert, just a concerned individual.

    You say that Israel is oppressing the people in Gaza…They were defeated by the Israelis were they not? It’s ok for them to want the land, but its not ok for Israel? That is unjust and unreasonable. I just cannot understand why Israel is criticized for wanting to hold on to their land.

    Do you really think that giving in to terrorists’ demands will placate them? How can it be a solution when they demand not only Gaza (Palestinian state)but also want to “wipe Israel off the map”. These are not separate groups (Iraq, Hamas etc), but all follow the same line of thinking. How do you not see that? They hate non-Muslims. They want as much territory as they can get (and they already have quite a bit–just look at the size of Israel on a map…it’s surrounded by Arab nations). Why is no one saying to them “Get out of Israel”? How exactly are they the one’s to be pitied?

    When Israel reclaimed their territories in the war why is it called “occupying” Is the US (Texas) occupying Mexico? Is the US occupying the British Colonies? Israel is surrounded by enemies… Why should Israel not defend its territory? The Muslim states defend their territory but are exonerated…I’m sorry but I just don’t get it 😦 It doesn’t make any logical sense. My brain hurts just trying to relate to that. Its so completely illogical.

    On a separate, but in my opinion related, note…Something just “tells” me that this is wrong-not just wrong, but deeply, deeply wrong:

    Radical Islam (Sharia law) believes it ok to beat and kill women and abuse them horribly (where are the feminists to speak out against this? It’s not politically correct I guess), Is it hateful to make people aware of these atrocities? They kill homosexuals…where are the liberals on this? They want to force the whole world (if they could) to worship their god. The Israelis do not do this. Sure–not all Muslims are like this…Many do convert to Christianity and are killed, or try to protest and are beaten down by tryannical governments. I say this not to condemn the people, but we must condemn these actions and beliefs. Where is the outrage and sadness over these horrible beliefs from you?

    These people will not be “less powerful” for very much longer. Their numbers are great and are growing rapidly. They recruit all over the world…They are willing to die for their cause…The world needs to wake up to the very real threat from these violent, hate-filled ideas (and the people who hold them) before another Holocaust. This time affecting not only Israel, but the whole world. They should not be underestimated.

    This threat cannot be over-intellectualzed to the point where it is not appropriately addressed. Not everyone can be negotiated with. Giving in to wrong ideas and to those who hold them cannot be a solution.

    Very disturbed and saddened,

  12. Karim Debabi

     /  June 8, 2010

    Hello, just want to join your site as I find it very interesting, thank you

  13. Charles Christiansen

     /  September 12, 2010

    I too am one who was sent by my father to Israel…. Seriously, I have enjoyed this blog and appreciate being exposed to a point of view expressed along a different bia. It always surprises me how valuable this can be in challenging and honing my own opinions. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here and elsewhere!

  14. Jerry

     /  November 14, 2010

    I ‘accidentally’ found your blog while searching for a TS Eliot quote. Read a few posts and am now a loyal follower. Thanks for a thoughtful and provocative blog and a lucid writing style!

  15. Dear Emily,

    I’m a Junior Editor at Gender Across Borders, an international feminist blog. I’m organizing a series of articles about the role women can play in bringing and maintaining peace in the Middle East. Would you be interested in contributing? The article could address any number of issues, including the continued under-representation of women in peace negotiations, your perspective on the ongoing efforts to involve women in peace-building, the impact of “the wall” on women’s lives in Israel and Palestine, or any other issue that falls within your interest.

    You can find our blog at http://www.genderacrossborders.com. The article may have been published previously in another venue. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have, and I look forward to hearing from you soon!

    All best,
    Kate Wiseman

  16. Daniel

     /  March 8, 2011

    I’ve just started my own political blog, and while looking around, I discovered this blog through a tag search… I think this is an instant favorite of mine. The articles I’ve read so far are rather thought-provoking and well-written, so I’ll definitely be keeping up with this one.

  17. deni

     /  April 14, 2011

    Dear Emily,

    Would you be so kind to share your email address with me. I’m a muslim and live in Jakarta, Indonesia. I would like to have a longer conversation about you and your concern on Islamophobia.


    • Sure! My email address is right up there in the “About” section, but here it is again: elhauser [at] hotmail [dot] com. Thanks!

  18. gabriela

     /  May 20, 2011

    Hi Emily
    BBC radio is looking to have a bunch of American bloggers discussing Obama’s ME speech today, are you at all interested and what is your number ?
    Thanks very much

  19. You have some really nice posts here.

  20. Hi Emily

    Much less serious than most of your good stuff, but I think thismight give you a larf 🙂



  21. Emily,

    I’m a new follower of your blog and am still familiarizing myself with your work. Nonetheless, I can say that I have seen enough posts & Tweets to say that you talented writer and a person of spirit, courage, loyalty, humor and heart. I’m very happy to have found your blog and am sure I speak for others when I say we’re happy that you’re writing again :). Purposeful, passionate voices that speak with truth and tenaciousness are hard to come by.


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