10/31/10

HuffPost: Rabbi Laura Geller's Rosh Hashanah Temple Twitter

Here is a rabbi who gets it. Twitter and Facebook are there for the taking. For religion and philosophy, if that is what you want to do. Sure we don't expect all shuls and rabbis to embrace these systems in the sanctuary on a holiday. It was a mini-dramatic idea and we say the rabbi made her point. Rabbi Laura Geller tells us about her sermon.
...Sometimes we take risks, do something that might even be slightly transgressive. Consider for example these recent High Holy Days in our congregation, Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills, a large, almost 75-year-old Reform congregation in the middle of Beverly Hills. The opening words of my Rosh Hashana sermon, as I took my cell phone out of the pocket of my white robe, were: "Please do not turn off your cell phone."

There was stunned silence, then nervous laughter. "Yes, you heard me. Please do not turn off your cell phones. In fact, please take them out now. And if you have a Facebook or Twitter account, please log on."

The theme of all of our High Holy Day messages related to the existential question posed by God to the prophet Elijah in the Book of Judges: "What are you doing here?" "What are you doing here," we asked our congregants. "What are you doing here in the synagogue and here at this very moment in your life?"

So I gave the congregation an assignment right there in synagogue: "Please post your answer to the question 'What are you doing here?' in 140 characters or less."

In 140 characters. Characters, not words.

Many of them did, and the answers, because they were so short perhaps, were especially moving....more...

6 comments:

REW said...

Tzvee: You're right that the article targets egalitarianism unfairly. But the writer is, unfortunately, correct, at least as a matter of my experience, regarding the mind-numbing dullness of the conventional synagogue service, at least the Conservative brand. The issue isn't egalitarianism, it's a dumbing down and a blandness that seems to be engendered by a desire not to offend and to be all-inclusive. The result is pablum. No wonder the independent minyan movement is making picking up steam -- the notion of an energetic, Hebrew-literate, traditionally-themed service is enormously attractive in comparison.

tzvee said...

i think you want to comment on my previous post - anyhow - i don't see what people find so wonderful in the orthodox version of the synagogue. people there in shuls may know more Hebrew but that does not mean they understand the prayers, the themes, how they fit or contrast, etc.. there are many ways to numb minds - if that is how you want unfairly to characterize the prayer process - in many styles of synagogues. the indy movement is creating new social models. more power to them.

REW said...

I don't disagree (and apologies for putting this in the wrong spot. If your powers as Moderator permit relocation of these posts, by all means). When I did my "shul shopping" last year, I was not especially motivated by an old line Orthodox shul that I checked out. I have found more religious energy in some Modern Orthodox shuls in the LA area when I visit there and I have found much the same in the independent minyan that I've started attending in San Francisco (the Mission Minyan). There is something very shvach about the mainstream Conservative synagogue where I used to go regularly. That's what I was referring to in my initial post.

tzvee said...

The shul you like, the music you like, the wine you like, the woman you like, all personal tastes and opinions. It's rude of me to tell you that you are wrong...no?

REW said...

We seem to be at cross purposes here. I don't see this as an issue of taste. I'd like all synagogues to prosper -- but I'm not seeing that. Hopefully it's different in your part of the U.S., but in my experience, outside major Jewish population centers, main line synagogues are losing attendance in frighteningly large numbers and seem to have a major problem defining themselves in a way that's meaningful even to the communities they are trying to serve.

tzvee said...

not sure what you mean. out-of-town synagogues always had poor attendance. and definition is formulaic - shachris, michah, maariv, nisan, iyar, sivan. that's what religion is.