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Charge Your I-Phones, it’s Almost Rosh Hashanah

Young Congregants Asked to Text Rabbi During the Service
By: Leonard Carl
Published: September 12th, 2012 in News » World
What’s going on in the world today? Up is down. Day is night. Dark is light!

I’m one of those rare individuals who are thrilled when, in a movie or at shul, is happy to be told to turn off my phone and/or electronic devices.

You see, it’s nice to get a break from the hourly barrages of my BlackBerry’s flashing red email light or the incessant sound of the old cell phone nagging me.

You want me to turn off my Blackberry? My phone? With pleasure, I say!

Well, I know one congregation I won’t be joining any time soon! It’s a Miami Beach High Holidays service for an anticipated 250 to 300 young folk where (Gasp!) they are asked to text the rabbi at various times throughout the Rosh Hashanah evening service.

“High school kids are never told to take out their cellphones and use them during a service,” says Scott Kroll, the Reform synagogue’s youth educator at the time. “I thought it may be a little gimmicky, but it ended up being very meaningful. Social media for teens and kids and young adults -- and increasingly for older adults -- is a way of communicating and staying in touch.”

Amy Morrison, a rabbi at Reform’s Temple Beth Sholom will take the reins of the complimentary service for The Tribe, a semi-autonomous pluralistic group, at a nearby Jewish Museum. Morrison will ask participants of the service to respond by texting, for example, who they forgive, etc.

Organizers also have prepared a unique prayer book that comes complete with quotes that run the gammut -- from Rashi and the prophet Amos to author Maya Angelou, rapper P. Diddy, “Lion King” and the animated kids’ flick, “Kung Fu Panda.”

The Tribe is funded by Synagogue 3000’s Next Dor, Temple Beth Sholom, the Woldenberg Foundation and other groups.

Related articles: Rosh Hashanah, Texting, Cell Phones, iPhones, Shul, Synagogue, Miami, Jewish, High Holidays
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