Pesach Seders on Twitter

CIE’s Director, Dr Andre Oboler, appeared in the Passover issues of the New York Jewish Week.  The article in question examined the phenomena of twitter seders and asked whether this use of social media was a positive development. The article, Let My People … Tweet, is by Sharon Udasin and available on the Jewish Week website.

The full quotation provided by Dr Oboler was as follows:

Passover, in my experience, is the biggest gathering of those closest to us short of a major simcha. Leaving to one side the differences between Orthodox, Conservative and Liberal Judaism, the question you are really asking is what does technology enables and at what price? Twitter, and to some extent Facebook, provide a yearlong ongoing chatter of minor news from friends to vague acquaintances. This is a surface level connection, wide and shallow. This can be a distraction and become the focus of our communication rather than time face to face with those we are closest to. Pesach, one of the three pilgrimage festivals, the shalosh regalim, is a time for gathering together. It is, perhaps, a time to disconnect from the world and focus on those closest to us and on a distant past well before the advent of the mobile phone and the computer. This night at least should be different from all other nights. It may take a special effort, but there is indeed something deeper and of great value if we want to take the opportunity. Experiencing the past as if we were there might just require us to switch off in order to be switched on.

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ZFA’s innovative internet initiative

To help the community become more involved with the online world, the Zionist Federation of Australia (ZFA) has this month launched the unique Community Internet Engagement (CIE) Project. Headed by online expert, Dr Andre Oboler, regarded for his research into online anti-Semitism and Internet issues affecting Israel, the project aims to build on the established community infrastructure and get Jews online collectively.

“Jews have always been big on communication. We are a literate peoplewho valued books long before many other cultures. Today we need to take that online,” Dr Oboler told the AJN.

With the assistance of two part time employees, Dr Oboler plans to ensure that all community organisations have a functioning website, in addition to having skills to discover, communication and share information.

“The CIE project is about connecting organisations with their members, and with each other. It is about removing barriers and bringing us closer together and closer to Israel,” Dr Oboler said. “We will work in partnership with the existing organisations, giving new skills to the community leaders and those that work for the community. We will be leaders in research into online issues that affect the community… fromt he positives of sharing simchas, to the problems that threaten and challenge us, we’ll be there working hand in hand with the community.”

The CIE will provide basic services – such as the building of small websites, occasionla updates, training, advice and public discussions – to the community free of charge. Dr Oboler said his team also aims to get the community blogging.

While based at the ZFA, the initative also involves the Executive Council of Australian Jewry.

Enquiries: www.internetengagement.com.au

NOTES:

Published as Dalia Sable, ZFA’s innovative internet initiative, The Australian Jewish News, 18 December 2009, p 11

CIE works with Australian Jewish community organisations that fall under the umbrella of the ZFA, the ECAJ and under affiliated umbrella bodies of either organisation.

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