Ruminating on technology

The past several days Jewish educators from all over were in Seattle learning about technology and Jewish education. (If you are on twitter, you should check #nateseattle for some of the discussion). I am incredibly impressed with the work that so many are doing and I can’t wait to learn more from TS educator extraordinaire who was in attendance. If you want to see their conference website, go here.

Technology is completely fascinating to me. I really like all of the computer, iPad, smart phone stuff that it is possible to do that I couldn’t have dreamed of ten years ago. There are a few struggles that I continue to wrestle with. I’d love to know your thoughts.

1. Can I use an iPad on the bima to preach from? There are several different teleprompter programs. I am completely intrigued by this idea because it would eliminate lots of paper usage, perhaps enable me to make better eye contact with the congregation, and engage people in more advanced ways. There are several drawbacks. First, because I am using a digital device, this does not mean that it is appropriate for congregants to do so. It is often distracting, incredibly rude, and no matter how much the average teenager tries to hide what they’re doing, completely obvious from the bima. I have not yet used an iPad because of the mixed messaging.

2. Where is the happy medium? There are many people, like me, who think all of this technology is awesome. They read e-zines, follow blogs, and try out new things. There are lots of other people who do not feel comfortable with technology. Perhaps they don’t like change, dislike interacting with machines more than people, are overwhelmed by the possibilities, etc. What is the obligation of a community, even more important, a sacred community to bring everyone together?

What are your thoughts on technology? Do you have similar questions or is it just me?

About rabbisteinman

I am a rabbi living in North America. I was ordained from HUC-JIR. This is my blog.
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