Aaron Herman attends the Unpacking the Ecosystem of Digital Media in Jewish Education conference in New York City, which brought together funders, educators and developers to discuss technology and Jewish education.
Sandwiched between the sparkly Christmas windows of Bergdorf Goodman and the high-end Under Armour sportswear store, 75 or so modestly, yet trendily, clad women sipped organic kosher wines, enjoyed cheese hors d’oeuvres and tested their luck with various Christian Louboutin wedges, Gucci boots and Marc Jacobs slingbacks.
$100,000 for a wedding? $20,000 for a bar mitzvah? When did extravagance and luxury become such primary Jewish values? I can’t remember the last simcha (Jewish celebration) I attended at which there were not tremendous amounts of wasted food, overly expensive napkins and bands large enough for a royal banquet.
I read your article, “Special-Needs Families Fighting Jewish Day Schools” (June 11), with considerable sadness. Beside the need to combat prejudice in this area, I believe that our yeshivas and day schools, which are now struggling financially, could and would provide more special-needs services given financial incentives and support.
I therefore urge the federations and our philanthropists to make this cause a major funding priority. There is no greater mitzvah than saving the soul of Jewish child.
JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Some 120 young Jewish innovators have gathered in Israel for a global summit.
The ROI Global Summit for Young Jewish Innovators, which began Sunday and runs four days, has brought together Jewish business and social entrepreneurs, innovators, thinkers and artists from all over the world to discuss how to strengthen Jewish education and identity, Jewish arts and culture, environmental responsibility, and tikkun olam, repair of the world.
The first time I heard about a "virtual simcha" was in the late 1990s. Detroit was hit with a massive snowstorm and the 8-day old baby boy's aunt who was to play the role of rabbi was stuck at the airport in New York. The rabbi improvised and she officiated at her nephew's bris via speaker phone.
Of course, if this happened in 2010 and not in the late 1990s the bris would have been officiated by the rabbi through Skype, and she would have seen the simcha and been seen by the attendees.
Using technology to add people to a simcha is becoming more common. An increasing number of grandparents and great-grandparents are attending their grandchildren's wedding in the virtual world.
Just last month I officiated at a wedding that was being streamed live to Israel so that the bride's elderly grandparents could "be there." Through Ustream.tv, the grandparents felt like they were at the wedding even if it meant staying up late into the night in Israel.