'Etone' to reach 15,000 Reform Jewish college students this year
NEW YORK, Aug. 24, 2001- As young people across America begin another year of college, the Reform Jewish Movement this week launched a new webzine that will for the first time connect college students with their hometown rabbis, college-town synagogues and campus activities.
Hundreds of Reform rabbis across the country will be sending personalized electronic webzines every four-to-six weeks to their students on campuses through the Union of American Hebrew Congregation's Etone on-line newspaper. Etone, Hebrew for newspaper, will contain articles and entries personalized for students in regard to their home congregations, their campuses and the Reform communities within their campus town.
Etone, which merges the power of the Internet with sophisticated database technology, will also have practical information for college students such as whether to hang a mezuzah on a dorm room if they are living with non-Jewish roommates and how to make their Jewish home away from home.
In addition to hearing from their hometown rabbis, students can pull up buddy lists of former classmates, and receive information on religious services, events, as well as job openings at area temples. A password-protected site will include the names and e-mail addresses of other Reform Jews who attend the same school.
"As tens of thousands of Reform Jewish college students begin another year of school, Etone will serve them in a sophisticated and personal manner on their own turf-the Internet," said Morton Finkelstein, chair, UAHC National College Committee.
"As students go through college, Etone will offer regular updates to maintain interest and continue their relationship with the Reform Movement and the Jewish community," Finkelstein said.
College students have been among the hardest people for the Reform Movement to maintain contact with because most move annually and have many mailing addresses. But the UAHC has identified an address that won't change over several years- e-mail.
"Etone will help Reform congregations engage our young members during their college years, a critical period when students are faced with major independent decision making for the first time and where patterns of behavior are being set that may last a lifetime," said Rabbi Andrew Davids, associate director of the UAHC Youth Division and creator of Etone.
"Individuals find life partners while on campus, make major decisions about future professional lives and often establish their first Jewish home on their own during this period. Unless Judaism can add real and perceived value to this critical episode in a young Jew's life, it will be difficult to demonstrate a need for religious involvement at a later stage," Davids said.
To view a sample edition of Etone, please visit www.myetone.org/demo.
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The Union of American Hebrew Congregations is the central body of Reform Judaism in North America, representing over 1.5 million Reform Jews in over 900 congregations. UAHC services include camps, music and book publishing, outreach to unaffiliated and intermarried Jews, educational programming, and the Religious Action Center in Washington, DC.