Archive for February 2010

Jewish Ideas Daily

February 25, 2010

Let me tell you about my new project.

It’s a website called Jewish Ideas Daily which aims to be the premier aggregator and originator of Jewish ideas on the web. Our range of interest is very wide, and so is our range of sources: from daily opinion pages to weekly and monthly magazines, academic journals, books, blogs, think-tanks, universities, and online learning sites. Many items featured on the site are up-to-the-minute; others are classic and provocative writings from the far or recent past. Still others are of our own devising: original content in the form of columns, interviews, and commissioned debates on big questions. In brief, we hope to offer a one-stop source of the best that has been and is being thought and said by or about Jews.

If you are interested in current events, Israel and Zionism, Jewish Thought or biblical archaeology, this is the website for you. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg — many other topics are dealt with in an engaging and informative manner.

There are a few great ways you can subscribe to the feed and get the latest content every day. You can sign up for the Jewish Ideas Daily newsletter to be emailed directly to your inbox. You can join the Facebook group and you can follow us on Twitter @JewishIdeas.

Feel free to send feedback regarding the website through Facebook or Twitter or as a comment on this blog. I look forward to seeing you join our community of readers.

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Orthodox Women and Social Media

February 22, 2010

Seventy religious women gathered at the Ramada Renaissance Hotel in Jerusalem on Wed. Feb. 17 for a conference on social media. The organizers of the Kishor Social Media Conference, who belong to a haredi (ultra-Orthodox) women’s professional network, were extra-careful to avoid any halachic prohibitions. The conference was sanctioned by Rabbi Yitzchak Berkovits, who addressed the conference. He and Rebbetzin Holly Pavlov stressed the dangers of internet use, from pornography to malicious gossip.

In The Jerusalem Post’s report on this conference, one gets the impression that the entire purpose of the conference was to warn women off from internet use. However, this was far from the case. The aim of the conference was to empower women to use social media effectively as a business tool. One of the morning sessions, led by Debra Askanase and Talia Klein, demonstrated how social media is the fastest growing use of the internet. The afternoon sessions were devoted to practical training in the use of social media. A beginner’s track taught the basics of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and blogging. The professional’s track discussed time management, social media strategies and tools and tricks. An especially interesting presentation by Paula Stern showed case studies of successful social media campaigns, such as the one which publicized the IDF’s activities in Haiti in the two weeks after the earthquake.

Haredi society is often portrayed in a stereotypical fashion. The idea that haredim are closed off from the technology of the internet is widely held. This view has been strengthened by recent news items reporting that rabbis have banned the use of internet, including haredi websites. The Jerusalem Post’s take on this conference is obviously part of that trend. But the women at this conference were clearly a world away from that sector. Many of them belonged to the haredi world, and they were either involved in social media or interested in becoming involved. Every one of them owned a computer with an internet connection, and they all understood the importance of social media for business success. This was a social media conference geared towards religious women, not a religious conference about social media. And it was a success.

Read more:

Is Facebook Kosher?

The Jerusalem Post report on the Kishor Social Media Conference focuses on the halachic discussions at the conference.

Kishor – Professional Jewish Women

“The Kishor Social Media Conference will be a first-of-its kind event, with world-class speakers and focused educational value, teaching religious women about cutting-edge technologies at a conference sanctioned by leading rabbanim, and created by and for frum women.”

Are Haredi leaders losing their followers to the Web?

The Haredi rabbis’ ban on the internet doesn’t seem to be having much effect.

Overview of Social Media: Trends, Stats, and What It’s All About

Debra Askanase and Talia Klein have posted the slideshow from their presentation online.

Jerusalem Street Signs

February 2, 2010

Arutz Sheva reports (smugly) that three new streets will soon bear the names of religious Zionist leaders:

Jerusalem streets will be named after three late outstanding personalities in the Religious Zionist movement – Rabbi Yosef Kapach, head of Yemenite Jewry and a modern expert on Maimonides’ writings, Zevulun Hammer, former leader of the NRP and Education Minister, and Emanuel Medav, one of the architects of scouting for religious youth and a fighter who died in the War of Independence.

David Hadari, Deputy Jerusalem Mayor and head of the NRP-National Union faction in the city council, said, “This is a great day for religious Zionism, with three of its sons, who have all have achieved great accomplishments, being remembered in Jerusalem.”

It’s nice that these leaders are being memorialized but to view this as a great victory for religious Zionism seems a bit of an overstatement. Streets in Jerusalem are named for all sorts of figures, from ultra-Orthodox rabbis to secular Zionists and non-Jews. A few people sitting on a committee choosing street names are not really representative of Israeli society. So my only question is, where are these streets located? I would like to walk down Kapach Street.