As a rabbi who is a social mediaologist, I find myself consulting a lot of synagogues and Jewish nonprofits on their social media strategy. The leaders of these institutions all recognize that they require a social media strategy, but the plan for how it will be implemented varies greatly.
The #1 question during Hanukkah is: What is the correct way to spell the name of this holiday? As I blogged about last year, "Since it's a Hebrew word that is transliterated into English, there are several acceptable spellings. But people still want to know if there is a consensus."
I've written several times about how technology is changing the global Jewish community, but I haven't looked at other religious groups. Jamshid Ghazi Askar contacted me recently about an article he was writing on how different religious groups are using new technology like iPhone apps. It is interesting to hear how Mormons and Catholics are taking advantage of mobile apps in their faith communities.
Ynet News is reporting that the Israeli prime minister's emissary to the negotiations for a prisoner exchange deal with Hamas to return the captive Gilad Shalit said "it's not over yet. The deal reached is pretty complicated, but the most difficult part is behind us." The former Mossad agent turned Gilad Shalit negotiator, David Meidan, added that he plans to travel to Egypt soon, together with the negotiation team, to plan Gilad Shalit's return to Israel.
FaceGlat, the ultra-Orthodox social networking site, is an attempt to offer Haredi Jews the experience of Facebook without all the immodesty. From the opening page it reminds one of public restrooms with a sign for men to enter through one door and women to enter through their own door. FaceGlat's name is a mashup of Facebook and glatt, the term for kosher meat considered to be a higher standard of kosher because of the source animal's smooth lungs.
Tisha B'Av, the 25-hour fast day beginning Monday night, is not the most popular holiday on the Jewish calendar. Many Jews let this summer day of commemoration of the destruction of the two temples in Jerusalem (as well as other calamities that befell the Jewish people) go by without much attention. However, for the Jewish people who spend part of the night and day in solemn prayer, listening to the dirgeful recitation of Eichah (Lamentations), there is now an impressive Android app to help them follow along with the text.
One might think that rabbinical students spend much of their days sitting in the beit midrash arguing over sections of the Talmud containing the debates of the medieval sages. That's only partially correct. When I was in rabbinical school, I remember the arguments we had (students and teachers) over which is the best Hebrew word processor.
Google is making another effort to successfully compete with Facebook in social networking. Google Buzz and Google Wave never caught on, but Google can't afford to fail with their latest attempt Google Plus. The problem is that over 750 million people worldwide have already built up their Facebook profiles and might not be willing to invest the time in Google Plus.