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New Media: Taking our Temple to the Next Level

If Or Ami is so involved in blogging, eNewsletters, twitter, and Facebook, why am I sitting with our president Susan Gould and Board Member Kim Gubner (and 75 other rabbis and Jewish community leaders) in a Board of Rabbis and STAR sponsored seminar on Communicating and building relationships in an age of New Media?

We are here to hear and learn and figure out how to deepen the conversation within our community.
It is fascinating how many synagogues are experimenting with various social media and new media. I am fascinated by how so many are struggling to figure out how to get it started.
Workshops on working with the Main Stream Media mix with presentations on Social Media (facebook, del.i.cious, LinkedIn, Twitter). Conversations on how one-sided presentations (main stream media) is taking the back seat to the back-and-forth sharing and engaging of social media. A debate broke out as to whether what online communities are “real” communities or “virtual” communities.
I tend to believe that these communities are real. I do as much (more?) counseling that happens by email and facebook, as I do face to face. More people connect with our messages shared by eNewsletter, blog, facebook, than through a Shabbat evening sermon (and I would argue, a higher percentage of listeners/readers than most rabbis – even those in the bigger synagogues – do on a typical Shabbat eve/day at services). People connect, share, build relationships, inspire, motivate… and we synagogues do too.
I am proud that our Congregation Or Ami vigorously uses multiple types of social media and new media to create conversations between rabbi and congregants, and more importantly, between congregants themselves. I am excited to figure out how to deepen the connections…
The seminar is energizing for some of us; overwhelming for others. Some are frightened by the options for connecting, and the fear of the amount of work to do to make it work. Others, myself included, are energized by the new opportunities to bring people into the conversation… about Judaism, Torah, spirituality, God…
Enough. I’m multitasking during this fabulous presentation. I must get back to the seminar (and to multitask on another task as well).

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