Bat Mitzvah and Bar Mitzvah Lessons on the Web

Why shlepp your daughter to the synagogue for her bat mitzvah lessons when she can dial in virtually?

 

Bar Mitzvah Lessons on the Web

Bar Mitzvah Lessons in Cyberspace

A recent article in the New York Times shows how the tech savvy bar mitzvah tutors have taken to the Web to make the process more convenient for them and their students.

If dating, shopping and watching TV can be revolutionized by the Internet, why should bar and bat mitzvahs be immune? Parents who once might have turned to their local synagogue for Hebrew lessons and spiritual guidance are now turning to Google, where a quick search on “bar mitzvah” turns up sites like MyBarMitzvahTeacher.com (“the easiest way to prepare for your bar mitzvah”), barmitzvahlessons.com (“NO synagogue fees, membership dues, building fees”), and Jewish-Wedding-Rabbi.com, whose founder, Rabbi Andrea Frank, also conducts other “life cycle” ceremonies, including pet funerals.

Need to learn the prayers that precede the Torah and the accompanying haftarah readings? There are YouTube videos for that. At OneShul.org, “the world’s first community-run online synagogue,” the founders imagine Web-only bar mitzvahs, with an e-minyan, or group of 10, gathered via Skype. And they have a citation from Maimonides to prove it’s O.K.

There have always been families who bypassed synagogues for their children’s bar mitzvahs, traveling to Israel or holding a ceremony in a hotel. But, limited by geography, they generally worked with tutors who lived nearby. And while the new do-it-yourself approach has been enabled by the Web, it has its roots in demographic and attitudinal changes among American Jews, who are increasingly less likely to join synagogues, just as more of them marry outside the faith.

“Our generation doesn’t view Judaism as an obligation,” said Rabbi Jamie Korngold, aka the Adventure Rabbi, who offers an online bar mitzvah program. “It’s something that has to compete in the marketplace with everything else they have in their lives.”

No doubt, many traditionalists will find the idea of Jewish pre-teens logging in to learn their bar or bat mitzvah portion unappealing. Some will argue that part of the experience is the face-to-face tutelage with the cantor. Others will scoff at the change noting that if previous generations had to endure the hours of preparation in the synagogue, then so should today’s generation of would-be b’nai mitzvah.

Of course, many will simply note this as one more way technological innovation has changed the way synagogues do business. And if 12-year-olds can log off Facebook for a few hours a month to learn their haftarah, then that’s a good thing… isn’t it?

Read the entire NY Times article, “Bar Mitzvah Studies Take to the Web,” here.

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Jewish Techs: The Jewish Technology Blog

This blog looks at how modern technology affects Jewish life, particularly the impact of the Internet on Jews across the globe. The Internet has made the Jewish community seem smaller. The Jewish Techs blog, written by blogger Rabbi Jason Miller (The Techie Rabbi), explores the places where Jewish culture, education and faith intersect with technology. Of course, like anything, Jews will continue to ask if technology is good or bad for the Jews – the age old question of our people. Good or bad, it is undisputed that technology has changed Jewish life. If you’re Jewish or interested in technology or both… you’ll enjoy the conversation. Thanks for reading the Jewish Techs blog.

The Techie Rabbi – Rabbi Jason Miller

Rabbi Jason Miller, the Techie RabbiJason Miller is NOT your typical rabbi. Known as the Techie Rabbi, he launched Access Computer Technology in 2010 and has grown it into a full-scale technology firm that provides social media marketing consulting and web design in addition to IT support. Ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary a decade ago, Rabbi Jason has made a name for himself as a popular blogger, social media expert, educator and entrepreneur. Based in Detroit, his congregation includes more than a million people who read his blog and follow him in Cyberspace. He began the Jewish Techs blog in January 2010 as the New York Jewish Week's technology expert.

An entrepreneurial rabbi and an alum of Clal's "Rabbi Without Borders" fellowship, Jason Miller is a rabbi and thought leader whose personal blog has been viewed by millions. The Detroit Free Press called him “the most tech-savvy Jewish leader" and the Huffington Post ranked him among the top Jewish Twitter users in the world. A social media expert, Rabbi Jason is a popular speaker and writer on technology and its effect on the Jewish world. He writes the "Jewish Techs" blog for The Jewish Week and the monthly "Jews in the Digital Age" column for the Detroit Jewish News.

Miller won the 2012 Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the West Bloomfield Chamber of Commerce and is one of the winners of a Jewish Influencer award from the National Jewish Outreach Program.