From the time of
Ezra, who rewrote the Bible in a new script, Jews have always adapted to our
environment and taken advantage of the latest technologies. To encode our
conversations and sacred texts, we moved with ease from stone tablets to
parchment to paper, and we move now to the electronic word.
interconnected world does what Judaism has always aspired to do: It opens up
the vast treasury of Jewish knowledge to everyone. Judaism is not a religion of
elites; we are all expected to learn and to know. The Web provides access to
Jewish learning on a scale that was unthinkable a decade ago.
As the URJ has
begun to recognize, through its own blog and other communications avenues, the
Web has the potential to empower our members and democratize our synagogues.
The synagogue is the grassroots address of the Jewish world, and the Web gives
us an instrument to involve and include Jews as never before.
that synagogue members do not have the time they once had. We are working more
and sleeping less, and we can't get to the synagogue as much as we once did.
Carving out an hour or two for a class or committee meeting is harder than
ever. In this world, we need the benefits that online community brings.
This effort is
especially important in reaching out to young adults. We need to know who they
are, where they are, and what they want. Having grown up in the digital world,
theirs is a culture of interaction and enablement. They want to inquire,
discuss, and argue. They are natural collaborators and community-builders. And
they will not be attracted by authoritarian Judaism; they want a synagogue that
is more bottom-up than top-down.
It is time to
welcome diversity, encourage community, and join ancient tradition with cutting-edge
culture. It is time to create an online,
Oral Torah of ongoing Jewish discourse and invite in the opinions of our
THEREFORE, the Union for Reform Judaism resolves to:
each member synagogue to sponsor a congregational blog that enables members to
share their personal stories and Jewish memories and encourages hotly debated,
multi-voiced, civil discussions around current events and issues of importance;
training to facilitate congregational blogs (including providing a congregational
blogging platform) and to assist congregations in technological experimentation
and creative online approaches, including online forums, web-streaming, virtual
board meetings and congregational technology audits;
a plan to realize the potential of new technology to expand our outreach to,
and work with, young adults;
usage of new and emerging technologies internally and in communicating with its