I am aware that our technology is available to the entire world. To be able to watch and participate in Shabbat and Yizkor services, virtual seders, Yom HaShoah and Yom HaZikaron memorials, Yom Ha’atzmaut celebrations, Israeli entertainment, lectures and interviews with Jewish scholars from all over the world from the comfort of your own computer station, is amazing.
If you want to attend services, pick a time zone that suits your needs and join in. The Yizkor services I attended, allowed for personal verbal memorials from 80 participants.
Through Zoom, you witness Jews from everywhere joining in with personal backdrops of Jewish art and symbols. I found the virtual seders to be particularly meaningful. Jewish families, in the casual comfort of their homes, conducting an ancient ritual at the same time as millions of other Jews, was very uplifting to me.
The experience speaks to the universalism of Judaism and its enduring, encompassing and value-oriented path through life. With so much media skepticism about the future of Judaism in the Diaspora, these experiences were quite encouraging.
All of these interludes lent some solace and meaning to my life as I have witnessed this pandemic unfold — with the misery it has caused so many individuals and families around the globe. The world will never be the same.
Many new religious and education technology strategies will evolve, allowing anyone who desires to learn more about their Judaism to participate in Jewish rituals and services. They will feel connected to the larger Jewish universe from the comfort of their homes. Infirm individuals will have unprecedented access to the Jewish world around them.
Michael W. Cohen, MD | Chandler, Arizona