Stand Up and Be Counted
Five Ways the Super Bowl is like Online Judaism
As a rabbi of an online congregation, I am often asked about whether people have “real” Jewish experiences online. Some argue that you can’t have a meaningful Jewish experience unless you’re in a room with other Jews.
I disagree. I have seen time and time again how having an online community like OurJewishCommunity.org gives people an opportunity to connect to Judaism, to other Jews, and to rabbis.
I was thinking about this as I watched the Super Bowl last night. (Continue reading by clicking here.)
Synagogue – There’s an App for That!
OurJewishCommunity.org is almost four years old! Our birthday is on August 1, 2012 – feel free to send gifts here.
As we’ve grown, we’ve always sought to find new access points for our participants. And behold! There’s an app for that! This summer we launched an Apple and Android version of an OurJewishCommunity.org app. Now you can literally carry our online community in your pocket.
When you open the app, you’ll see a musing. Updated every Tuesday and Friday, these contain short often thought-provoking and/or inspiring phrases from our liturgy. We hope you’ll enjoy those and check them out on a regular basis.
You’ll also be able to read my blog (just as you’re doing now) on your mobile device. And you can listen to Rabbi Barr’s podcasts (aka Barr’s Banter) there as well. One of my favorite features is that with a click of the button you can share on Facebook or Twitter (or via email) what you’re reading or listening to. You – our community – are our amazing ambassadors, so please feel free to share what we do with anyone who might be interested.
By clicking on our YouTube link in the app you can check out all of our videos – covering everything from the 3 minute Passover seder to how to make an ice cream map of Israel to sermons and Torah readings. And by clicking on our Livestream tab, you can watch our most current service live – or any of our services archived.
We hope you’ll check the app out and let us know what you think! Perhaps maybe even review it in the app store!
And remember if you get caught playing on your iPhone during class or when you’re at work, say – oh, sorry, but it’s for religious reasons!
Sanctuary of Congregation Beth Adam and OurJewishCommunity.org
One of the reasons that I love Congregation Beth Adam and OurJewishCommunity.org is because we have really strong and meaningful values – and another reason is that we give expression to them in several different ways.
Beth Adam was founded in 1981 and was a congregation without a building for its first 20 years. But in 2001, the members of Congregation Beth Adam finally dedicated their own building. Since last year was the 10th anniversary of the building dedication, I found and read the Shabbat service that was written for the dedication of the new building (I wasn’t here ten years ago). One of the lines that really struck me was that “we build walls so that we can move beyond them.” Wow, eleven years ago the congregation realized it would move beyond its walls – and then they decided to do just that in 2008 when they launched OurJewishCommunity.org – a true expression of the congregation’s vision and values!
The building itself also reflects Beth Adam’s values strongly. When you walk into the congregation you see not just the sanctuary but also the library – because both are important. In our sanctuary, the ark is off center because authority lies with people – not the Torah (though it is important too!). The ceiling in the sanctuary has arches above the congregants’ seats – because our congregants and guests are important to us and because they are the ones who grant authority to us rabbis as leaders of the community. Our eternal light (over the Torah’s ark) is a DNA helix – because we focus on people – and because we embrace science. Science is also reflected in our stained glass windows, 12 of them which illustrate the creation of the world (the Big Bang).
This week, I’ve been preparing to lead a weekday morning service for the Institute of Southern Jewish Life’s Education Conference and I thought it would be great to give them a virtual tour of our sanctuary.
Rabbi Barr does the honors and takes us all on a tour in this great video: