Spending a week in Israel earlier this month I kept my eyes open to the way Israelis use technology. Even on my first visit over 18 years ago I noticed that Israelis thirsted for the latest tech gadgets. Being a country that struggled with telecommunications early on in its existence made Israel primed for a telecom revolution. In the first decades of statehood, stories permeated about families who waited years just to get a telephone in their home. So when mobile communications took off in the middle of the 1990s, Israelis were eager to adopt the new technology.
Social media changes the zeitgeist in ways we couldn't have imagined. As we saw with the recent presidential election, opinions and attacks now travel at the speed of light. And so it should be no surprise that the ongoing Middle East conflict in Gaza between the Palestinians and Israelis has escalated into a Cyber war.
“I had to make sure that she was converting for herself, and not for me,” says John Newmark. Jen says: “I fell in love with both the man and his faith.”
John, a St. Louis grant writer by day, spends much of his free time on penning science fiction and poetry. He performs at poetry slams under the stage name Gavroche. For the constructive criticism and the friendship, he has belonged for more than a decade to WUTA (Writers Under the Arch).
Hurricane Sandy was the first major U.S. storm of the Twitter era. Like so many others, I was following the storm using social media, including Facebook and Twitter updates. Worried about friends in the East Coast, I tried to gauge just how devastating this act of nature was going to be.
One thing I noticed was that synagogues and temples along the Eastern corridor were using new media communication efforts to keep their membership informed about the storm, the cancellation of schools and programs, and to offer help to those in need (both during and after the storm).
He’s a Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, but still takes orders from his mother. “Mark,” she said, “You must ask out Becky – she’s Jewish and cute; she’s a physical therapist; and she has dimples.” How did his mom know about Becky Rosenberg? “She noticed her on my Facebook page,” replied Mark.
If we’re not already Facebook friends, please come find me. You’ll get updated on what my son Jacob is baking for Shabbat, what sports victory my daughter Sophie is celebrating this week, and how patient my husband Michael is in managing all of our personalities and schedules without losing his sanity.
Back in December 2004, I wrote about my technology experience at the Mamshit Camel Ranch, a Bedouin village in Israel. I explained how funny it was to be at a Bedouin village that appeared to be authentically rustic to the Birthright Israel participants I was chaperoning, but behind-the-scenes the place was equipped with the latest technology.
Like many rabbis, Rabbi Shlomo Aviner receives many requests for religious advice. A hundred years ago, Jewish people would put pencil to paper and send off their question to the rabbi and then await a response. At the end of the last century, email inquires became popular. Today, it’s not uncommon for rabbis to receive text messages from their congregants asking them to render a decision.
Every now and then we hear stories about young people drinking at synagogue celebrations. Many synagogues now bar youngsters from drinking even wine – and with good cause. An 11-year-old boy was hospitalized recently in serious condition after drinking alcohol at his synagogue in Bnei Brak, according to The Times of Israel.