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Cyber Synagogue Forum
by Moshe Dror and Richard Lippin, Oct 10, 2002
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Shalom
Greetings
Welcome

Welcome to the newly organized experimental Cyber Synagogue that we are calling CyberOr.

"Cyber"- for the cyberspace community that we are dealing with. Wherever we live, we are also all living in a new space called Cyberia: the place in cyberspace where real people live.

"Or"- the Hebrew word for LIGHT, the main medium through which all of this is actually happening.

This experiment is a project that is a direct outgrowth of a meeting of the World Network of Religious Futurists (http://www.wnrf.org/) at the recent World Futures Society (http://www.wfs.org/) conference in Philadelphia in 2002. I have done some research into the question of what might a Synagogue in Cyberspace be like. At this meeting a newly found friend and colleague Dr. Richard Lippin a physician (http://www.ricklippin.com/) suggested- "let's do it".

We have developed and created a site open to all Jews of all persuasions who are interested in exploring their Jewish spirituality using the emerging world of cyberspace and all its power (http://www.jewishfutures.com/). We see this as part of the spiritual renaissance that is happening on a global scale.

We do NOT want to create a cyber version of a traditional bricks and mortar Synagogue and CyberOr is certainly not a substitute for a regular Synagogue with its usual services and programs.

We DO see CyberOr as a new, creative, innovative site for Jews in Cyberia-our emerging world of cyberspace who are interested in exploring the CyberSacred, and CyberSpirituality within a Jewish context.

There is no $$$, no board, no committees, etc., just us: on-line.

We see CyberOr as a futures oriented Jewish site dealing with foresight and forethought in a Jewish spiritual context.

Of course, we are very respectful and appreciative of our historic continuum, and we would like to create a site that will move us into the 21st century idiom. Jewish worship and prayer had many sites and models: The Tabernacle, the two Temples, and the classic Synagogue. Now we can use the vast range of new and emerging potential opportunities that are available in cyberspace: hypermedia, virtual reality-just for starters.

We see that some of the characteristics are these:

1. It should be PHUN. We want to deal with "responsible pleasures"; the idea of "playing with the Torah" as a cybercommentary of Psalms 119.We should all ENJOY.

2. Although I (Moshe) am an ordained Rabbi, I see myself as the "orchestrator", rather than the Rabbi, of CyberOr. We could have set up the system of what we think this "should be" and invite you to join in, but no. We want to let it develop from its participants needs and interests --a sort of "autopoiesis" site where the system will listen to its own inner wisdom and adjust itself accordingly, on an on-going basis-- a self-organizing system for Jewish spiritual growth in cyberspace. Each of us has many interests and skills that we can share with each other. We respect and celebrate the "power of the individual" in this cyber spiritual quest.

3. The traditional synagogue served three basic functions. It was, and of course still is, a place of study, community and prayer. How could these be manifest in cyberia?

Bet Midrash- a site for Jewish cyberlearning

Bet Knesset- a site for virtual community, where the "members" may never meet in real face-to-face realspace (fleshtime), and yet we are a community --on-line.

Bet Tefillah- What might be Jewish cyberprayer and cyberworship and cybertefillah?

1. As we are living in an era of an "iconic revolution", we would like to emphasize and experiment with the arts, visual language and visual Midrash.

2. We are not just into using the new information technologies, we know that we are dealing with systems beyond the technologies, we are pioneers in the transformation of consciousness. How can we apply Jewish insights and wisdom to this exploration?

If you have read this far, you may even suggest that this may be interesting but this is no Synagogue, perhaps so. Not in the traditional way that we know and were brought up in. But what might be the new ways that we can do "Jewishing" in Cyberia.

So, if you are interested, just let me know and we will add you to our virtual community and begin.

To get us all in the same place, I have two suggestions:

1. Go to http://www.zenhug.com/ and experience a sort of cyberpresence from us. We may never meet in the flesh and yet we can share our "presence".

2. We would like to start with the simplest model -study together. We suggest that each of us get the wonderful book by Abraham Joshua Heschel -- The Sabbath, Farrar, Straus, and Young, New York, 1951. We will study the first section --the Prologue, that deals with space and Sacred time from a futures frame of reference. This can be obtained through Amazon.com or any bookstore.

On Sunday, November 3, 2002, we launched this study. We are using the WNRF Forum, "Cyber Synagogue" category and "Torah Study" topic. That URL is http://www.wnrf.org/cgi-bin/forum/ikonboard.cgi We recommend you go there and "register" on the board and leave a post, introducing yourself. Message board discussions will continue 24/7, day in and day out.

If you have any suggestions, comments or questions, please feel free to contact us.

Thank you for your interest.

Moshe Dror (mdror@bet-yatziv.ac.il)
Richard Lippin (RALIPPIN@aol.com)



URL: http://www.wnrf.org/cms/cyberor.shtml

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