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Personal, Haimische, Computerized

Bar Mitzvah for child #3 went computerized. Not the Torah or Siddur (prayerbook), but just about everything else.

  • We created an online invitation using a Create Your Own Website template (maybe sometime in the future we will post it here for all to see). We made an online donation to an Israeli Nature organization equal to what we had saved not printing invitation (and saving trees).
  • We uploaded addresses and sent an online invitation to everyone we wanted to invite (at our son’s request, we sent my son’s friends a one page flyer, instructing them to go online to view the invitation and to RSVP). Truth be told, we might have missed a few older relatives who do not have email or computers.
  • People RSVP’ed online (a feature of the website).
  • We tracked who was coming with a computer program – Microsoft’s Excel.
  • He drafted his d’var Torah (speech) on his computer and, using “track changes,” received edits and advice from his rabbi (my friend).
  • We kept a list of who gave which gifts on the same computer program.
  • We allowed our son to – radical – type up his thank you notes in the same computer on which he writes everything in his life – his school papers, his emails to friends – using Microsoft’s Word. I recall rewriting so many thank you notes as a young Bar Mitzvah because either:

My handwriting was unreadable
I forgot to address someone as “aunt” or “uncle”
I thanked someone for attending who did not attend

  • Typed thank you notes also afforded us the opportunity to edit the notes easily. Very little copying and pasting really (though he did use a template he wrote and supplemented or changed from there). It was natural for him, personal for most recipients, and painless for us parents who had to make it happen. Miss Manners might frown on the typing and printing, but this kid types and prints everything else, why should his Bar Mitzvah experience be anachronistic?
  • We printed the thank you notes out on Thank you cards. And he signed each one personally.
  • Soon, we will review digital pictures as we read email (electronic) notes from friends kvelling about the service and celebration as our extended family Facebook’s the experience for posterity.

So, Torah read from ancient scrolls, while the celebration and party was organized digitally. Old and new, combined. It felt natural to him and his generation. Why not?


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