Saturday, September 19, 2009


As we welcome year 5770 on the Jewish calendar, we sing this tune (recorded on someone's iPhone) over and over again with many sets of words. It's like the theme song of the High Holy Days. I will be humming and whistling it incessantly for the next 2 weeks.

So far we’ve had two excellent sermons. I’ve stayed engaged and not fallen asleep during either one the way I often do.

(Temple Micah’s senior rabbi) Danny’s message last night was entitled “Beyond Madoff.” It focused on the greed that seems endemic in today’s society, in its extreme form reflected in the Ponzi scheme of Bernie Madoff. He talked about how so many people are trying to game the system, to avoid the rules and regulations. This takes all forms, including sneaking diet soda into movie theaters that don’t sell it. Then he cited Susan Boyle as the antidote to Bernie Madoff and we actually listened to the song that won the hearts of the world.

Today our new rabbi Esther opened her sermon by proclaiming her love of all things Harry Potter, especially his invisibility cloak. As much as she is intrigued with the idea of being invisible, she is more curious about how people choose to relate to one another these days. She postulated that it’s the loss of community that has forced people to turn to Facebook, Twitter, and Blogging. She thinks these media offer us a chance to reclaim our individuality on our own terms, putting ourselves out there for the world to see.

She sees electronic media as a poor substitute for personal relationships. It is true that people can choose to hide behind a Blogging image or to remain in anonymity for a variety or reasons, but having just met three wonderful people in person after communicating with them in the Blogging world, I might beg to differ with Esther on this point.

The Twitter King (of my household) had to offer her his 2 cents after the service. I think she managed to sew the seeds of a much longer discussion that will undoubtedly take place at Temple Micah.


Blogger Steve said...

That is indeed a BIG discussion! I think electronic communication and networking is fascinating and beneficial, as long as people don't rely on it as their only community. It's true that it's a poor substitute for personal relationships, but electronic ones can become personal ones, as you and I know!

7:12 PM  
Blogger Pauline said...

from grunts and hand signals to two lines on twitter - I'd say we're coming full circle ;)

7:50 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Steve -- This discussion changes a lot depending on the age of those having it. I sometimes fear that young people will forget how to relate face-to-face as they plug in and text away with their thumbs, sort of the way they have forgotten (or never learned) how to add a column of numbers with pencil and paper, relying solely on a calculator.

Pauline -- I would love to know how people will relate to one another in 50 years, in 100 years. It would be a good test of your full circle theory!

9:02 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Happy new year, Barbara. What great and thought-provoking messages. I could definitely see more discussions stemming for the latter while the former just makes me think. (I've been thinking a lot about greed and consumption recently.)

8:09 PM  
Blogger Cyndy said...

Happy New Year!

11:01 PM  
Blogger Ruth D~ said...

Interesting commentary. Your rabbi may have a point, but i think we can have relationships in the flesh, and online. Both. People will not stop meeting face to face. Or if they do, there goes the species. :>)

11:18 PM  

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