By Moshe Dror
The basic questions that we will be dealing with relate to the possible, probable, and preferable nature of an emerging SYN “FOR” the 21st century.
We will be dealing BOTH with some observations of the Synagogue “IN” the 21st century and some thoughts on the possible extrapolations of this that are now developing-“FOR” the 21st century using the amazing cyber technologies that are so new to the human community and that are now an integral part of the world of the Net Generation.
Some brief notes on the terms that I will be using so that we all have some idea of what I am talking about and that perhaps some possible collaboration might happen.
This related to all of the kinds of information technology that is based on using computer technology, Websites, Internet, Digital, Web 2.0, Web 3.0, Web ??, video, fiber optics, cell phones, etc.
It is important to say that this is what I know about as of this writing at June, 2009. I can only guess what might be available in a short few years. Whoever might read this in the future might say- “how quaint”. While this may be an old term, it has caught on and has become part of the jargon of this generation. Indeed, these days the US government is setting up a wide range of offices and initiatives dealing with cybersecurity, cyberwarfare, cyberattacks, etc. So I will use it as well.
This is not the place to expand on all of the possibilities of the vast range of the communicopia (cornucopia of communications technologies).
These explorations are probes that attempt to provide an overview of what are the major trends of the present so that we might think creatively about the future…
My point is that both as CITIZENS of the globalized world community and as NETIZENS of our networked world and as Jews there are unprecedented opportunities for religious and spiritual growth and development.
One of the main characteristics of Judaism is its ability to creatively adapt to massive social change and most of the time comes out much stronger.
The new directions of these cyber systems are both the most interesting and also the most threatening. They can challenge the we-have-been-doing-it-this-way –for- ages mentality and can be confusing because they are so new. They also raise all sorts of questions about congretgational practice and traditional Halacha.
Some of this may be amusing to the baby boomers that are in their 40’s and 50’s, perhaps ridiculous and nonsense to their parents who are in their 70’s and 80’s. But it is likely to seem rather obvious and to the baby busters and the Net Generation who are in their 20’s and 30’s who are growing up in the digital world. To them and certainly their own children, much of this would seem rather tame with a so-what-else-is-new attitude.
I am writing this as sort of a theoretical exploration. As of this writing in July 2009, I am 74 years young.
I have been doing a lot of futures research on this aspect of our culture and I know that I do not know how to do this. I have been trained and worked most of my life in left hemisphere linear thinking modes. But I know where the cyber world can lead us…
The basic thrust of this exploration is not to offer solutions but rather to offer some significant questions.
It is evident that Judaism is an information rich culture. We are dealing with Jews and Judaism in a post information Era. What these relations are about is what this study is designed to explore.