TWO VOICES: How can Judaism harness the power of social media?
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

TWO VOICES: How can Judaism harness the power of social media?

Two Voices
Two Voices

This week’s Two Voices asks: How can Judaism harness the power of social media?

Two VoicesRichard Conradi says

Richard Conradi

A recent article in Northwood & Pinner Liberal Synagogue’s magazine headed ‘Our Global Network’ shows how much Liberal Judaism has moved into the ‘virtual’ world. It’s now connecting with a congregation who are ‘at home’ at their place of worship and also ‘away’ through streaming their Shabbat services on the internet.

The ‘away’ group includes those on holiday who want to remain in touch, those who live some distance away, those who are recovering from an operation, those too old or infirm to get to synagogue and even families who are thinking of joining.

Most communities are in touch regularly with their members through weekly email updates and thriving websites. Those preparing to read from the Torah for bar/batmitvah or for Simchat Torah can now go online to learn their passages and even how to pronounce and chant.

Facebook and Twitter help rabbis communicate with the younger generation, while knowing they also need to venture into Instagram and Snapchat to keep in touch with teens.

Meanwhile, live streaming helps older and more distant members get more out of their tablets – not just those they put in their mouth!

We live in an inclusive, connected world. Where we live is no longer important.

• Richard Conradi is leader of the streaming group and a former chairman at Northwood & Pinner Liberal Synagogue

Ed Herman says:

Ed HermanI am frequently asked to discuss the benefits of social media. Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s original proposal for what became the worldwide web was described by his boss as “vague but exciting” – add a dose of nerves, and this sums up what I often hear.

The nervousness in the Jewish community is that social media might detract from face-to-face interaction that’s crucial to Jewish life. My view is that it not only enhances it, but opens up Judaism to those who may not otherwise find it accessible. Like Liberal Judaism, to borrow from the old Heineken slogan, social media reaches the parts others cannot. It can give the whole community a voice through which it can create, share and exchange all sorts of information, ideas and images.

So the machers can reach out further, while those less regularly connected can at least keep in touch in a way that was impossible before. Online streaming of services in particular offers those who are unable to attend a synagogue the chance of a spiritual and communal Jewish experience, irrespective of location or ability.

‘Social’ is a concept at the very heart of Judaism. Jews are a people, am Yisrael, not just a religion. Interaction with others is central to our lives; together we pray, play, learn, mourn, celebrate, debate.

Social media offers another channel to do so.

• Ed Herman is trustee of Liberal Judaism with responsibility for communications

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments