Reform Rabbis Rock the High Tech Platform
Prayerbook App, Blogging, Tweeting
An Integral Part of the CCAR 2012 Convention
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 21, 2012 (New York, NY) – On the final day of the 123rd Annual Convention of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), Dr. Marshall Ganz of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government on Community Organizing ignited a Twitter-blitz from the rabbis in the audience who posted his messages in real time: Most communities that lack power do have resources. The task is to figure out how to turn resources into power; There's a difference between acts of charity and acts of justice; Leadership is about accepting responsibility for enabling others to achieve purpose under conditions of uncertainty.
This forward-thinking embrace of technology permeated the CCAR’s Boston Convention where pictures and status updates posted on Facebook drew immediate commentary, “likes” and shares, such as the photo of the 40th anniversary celebration of Rabbi Sally Priesand at the Monday morning prayer service or a post about the moment of silence observed by the rabbis after they learned of the deadly attack on the Jewish school in Toulouse, France.
During the Tuesday session on “Learning to See an Invisible God,” led by Rabbi Harold Kushner, the bestselling author and Conservative spiritual leader, Rabbi Yair Robinson blogged, posting “pithy quotes” from Rabbi Kushner, including the following:
- God’s job is not to make sick people healthy (that’s a doctor’s job), but to make sick people brave.
- We make very few pilgrimages to sacred places but a great many pilgrimages to sacred moments.
- We are SHALEM. Not a diluted Judaism but a supplemented Judaism.
The CCAR’s proactive engagement with the tools of the cyber-era is evident not only in the number of iPads with Mishkan T’filah apps, and in the tweets and blogs coming from the convention floor, but also in the commitment to integrating social media and tools of the Internet age in one’s rabbinate. Far from attracting only millennial colleagues, Tuesday sessions on this technology were standing room only – populated by rabbis ranging from their twenties to their seventies. Rabbi Dan Medwin, the CCAR’s Publishing Technology Manager, taught a session on “Enhancing Prayer with Technology” together with Rabbi Peter Levi, a rabbi at Temple Beth El of South Orange County, California.
The Tech Bar, located in a central location on the Convention floor, enabled rabbinic colleagues to fine-hone their skills. CCAR staff and cyber-savvy members, such as Rabbi Ellie Steinman, Rabbi Heidi Cohen and Rabbi Phyllis Sommer shared their expertise with peers at this popular destination.
Finally, a most tangible indication of the health of the CCAR is the phenomenal success of the CCAR Press, which features, among hard-copy work, a wide-range of electronic resources including e-books, apps, and Visual T’filah, On the final day of convention, a feature on JTA.org went live about the Mishkan T’filah app. It is available here: http://www.jta.org/news/article/2012/03/20/3092249/ipad-app-for-reform-prayer-book-is-launched.
The Convention schedule is available online at http://boston.ccarnet.org/.
Please visit www.ccarnet.org for more information about the CCAR.