by Anna Salomon
Jewish education is constantly evolving and is highly debated. Technology has provided both an opportunity and a challenge for Jewish education today. Education as a whole, whether Jewish or secular, is most successful when engaging and relevant. Technology is highly relevant to the students we are educating– for most of them it is also highly engaging.
The ability to learn about and participate in Jewish communal life always has predicated affiliating with a particular physical community. That is no longer necessary. Skype allows for conversation and study – even prayer – in a community on the other side of the city or the other side of the world, from your very own home. Live feed video broadcasting can be used to attend services. You can even convert online – though immersion in a mikveh must still be done “offline.” Jewish texts and sources are more widely available: different languages, translations, interpretations and commentaries – all at the click of a button. Practice Hebrew with a native speaker, plan a vacation, apply for a Birthright trip, watch the sunset at the Western Wall, buy Dead Sea salts, find new recipes, research and explore holiday and life cycle information, read Torah portions, give tzedakah, create and explore Facebook pages for Judaism/Jewish life, follow people/places on Twitter, start and/or read all kinds of blogs, and so much more. No longer is information and learning out of reach to those outside of a community.