Applaud Mobile creates iPhone apps specifically for Jewish organizations like synagogues, temples and Jewish schools. I recently reviewed the app it created for the Solomon Schechter Day School in Newton, Massachusetts. Tamir and Marcia Borensztajn, active lay leaders in their community and parents at SSDS, came up with the Applaud Mobile app.
Many Jewish day schools are taking good advantage of technology these days. I was very impressed when I heard about how one Jewish day school in Detroit -- Hillel Day School -- made it possible for a family to celebrate a bar mitzvah together even though one cousin was in Mongolia.
Quite often I get asked to consult synagogues on their Web presence. The first thing I do is take a look at their current Web site and try to determine in which year it was created. I can usually tell its production date within a few years based on several factors. I then explain what a Web site should do today. After I explain its function, I let them know that the look of the site matters less today than its functionality. Today's Web site needs to be an extension of the community the synagogue is trying to create (or in some cases, has already created).
As Facebook has become more popular (500 million people is popular, right?), there have been several status update gimmicks. Some are just to be fun (dopplegangers) and others are funny with a cause (women posting their bra color in support of breast cancer research).
Now, the gay-rights organization GLAAD has come up with the idea of making your Facebook profile pic purple in support of LGBT Youth.
The tragic death of Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers University student who took his own life after being filmed having sex with a man, has led some to voice concern over young people's misuse of technology.
Rabbi Andy Bachman, the founder of BrooklynJews, wrote an open letter to young people in the community on his blog. The letter was reposted on the Forward's Web site.
Google Images and YouTube videos are helping Jewish educators create new midrash and bring sacred meaning to age-old traditions. Rabbi Rachel Gurevitz created an innovative, interactive experience for the seven hakafot (circles) of Simchat Torah.
Her "Seven Dances for Simchat Torah in the YouTube Era" is available on the Sh'ma Koleinu website. Sh'ma Koleinu is an online center for spirituality and connection from Congregation B'nai Israel in Bridgeport, CT, which seeks to bring sacred meaning to convey something of the deeper meanings of the High Holy Day liturgy.
This past Sunday, the president of New York University issued a mass e-mail apology to students and staff. The day after Yom Kippur might sound like a sensible day for issuing apologies, but the question is whether John Sexton actually needed to make a Mea Culpa.
Robin Chotzinoff reflects in the August/September 2010 issue of Hadassah Magazine about how she observed the Aseret Yemei Teshuvah (the ten days of repentance) last year by answering a series of e-mail questions from 10Q. Ben Greeman, who launched the project in 2008 explains that "we tried to let people tap back into tradition, but without feeling like they have to pass an entrance exam."