Just like the return of the clothing fashion styles of yesteryear, many things on the Web tend to make a comeback too. It seems like every few years the same hoaxes, urban legends, videos, jokes and funny photos get recycled around Cyberspace.
I noticed that this is the case with a photo of ham -- yes, ham! Through Facebook, hundreds of users are recirculating the photo of the boneless spiral ham on sale at a store with the sign "Delicious for Chanukah."
Chabad Lubavitch has always been out in front when it comes to using the Internet for publicity. Back in the 90's, Chabad took full advantage of the virtual communities on America Online (AOL) and then launched some of the most impressive websites once everyone migrated to the Web. For years, Chabad has been a strong force in Cyberspace with "Ask the Rabbi" websites, online distance learning, and viral videos.
When I hooked up my kids' new Nintendo Wii a couple years ago, I noticed that each player has to create their own Mii. The significance wasn't lost on me (or is it Mii?). As I set up this new video gaming device, I wondered if it would promote community or promote loneliness.
Would other kids join my children in the basement as they all took turns participating in an activity that prioritizes the Wii... or would each child find himself "bowling alone" with an interactive television in the basement thereby prioritizing the Mii?
Okay, that was me being sarcastic, but the problem with the Jewish tradition of sarcasm is that it doesn't translate well in Cyberspace where tone of speech doesn't come through in text. That's why it makes sense that the ability for computers to detect sarcastic speech has been developed in the Jewish homeland.
An article in All Facebook, the unofficial Facebook blog, reports that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has been using the social networking site to nab female Israelis who claim to be religious enough to be exempted from army service. Apparently, their activity on Facebook tells a different story -- one the army is interested to learn.
We all know that Jews can rock. After all, you only need to listen to Bob Dylan or Gene Simmons of Kiss to know that. But there are also some Jewish singers who are rocking Jewish music... and I don't mean Jon Fishman leading Phish in "Avinu Malkeinu."
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.