Social Media for the Observant Jew

May 10, 2012 3:32 pm 1 comment

Photo: wiki commons.

On a Friday evening, I tweeted three times and posted three Facebook updates at three separate times — and I wasn’t even online.

Tools like HootSuite and Tweet Deck allow social media users to schedule posts in the future for major social networking platforms. This innovation allows Jews to observe the Sabbath while updating their “Followers” on Twitter and “Friends” on Facebook.

A HootSuite-like feature can be beneficial for both the observant Jew who is a marketing professional and for the one who runs a business. For the former, it enables them to maintain a constant social presence and to post notifications on behalf of a client. And for the latter, their business’ Twitter profile or Facebook page can offer deals during the Sabbath.

Of course, fellow observant Jews won’t be checking those updates.

However, one Conservative Jew I spoke with expressed concern at the chance of a post during the Sabbath being misinterpreted. He proposed a scenario whereby a fellow Jewish friend might later see the post and assume that it was written in real time. This in turn might cause him to think that he violated the Sabbath.

To remedy this, the man suggested there be a big disclaimer coinciding with such posts explaining that they were written prior to the day of rest.

The question of whether Twitter can be used by religious Jews in general was raised by Rabbi Hartman of the Shalom Hartman Institute, a Jewish think tank, who lamented over Twitter’s 140-character limit as a way to educate people on Judaism. In an article on the institute’s website entitled, “Judaism is Not a Twitter-able Religion,” he wrote:

“This content is not Twitter-able. The journey of a meaningful Jewish life needs a wide bandwidth. It requires knowledge, time, and commitment. If we want Judaism to have a great future, and not merely a great past, we need to set our sights higher and deeper.”

The Catch-22, he said, is that Jews, particularly because they are small in numbers, must utilize Twitter as a resource to reach more people. But, he added, “a dumbed-down and watered-down Judaism … cannot compete in an open marketplace of ideas.”

What Rabbi Hartman failed to note is one’s ability to add hyperlinks to a Twitter post. A successful Twitter post is meant to give a tidbit of information; to pique one’s interest. By clicking on a hyperlink, the user can be directed to a website or page with a “wide bandwidth.”

But the simplest answer to whether Judaism is Twitter-able may be the shortest answer. Consider the famous Talmudic story of Rabbi Hillel who was asked by a non-Jew to teach him the Torah while the latter stood on one leg. If successful, he agreed to convert to Judaism. And so the story goes that Rabbi Hillel answered with, “That which is hateful unto you do not do to your neighbor. This is the whole of the Torah, The rest is commentary. Go forth and study.” (His summary of the Torah, by the way, is only 57 characters, certainly within the character limit for a tweet.)

Another interesting innovation, one blogger brainstormed, would be to have a Kindle that could “bypass Sabbath prohibitions by disabling its buttons, turning itself on at a preset time, and flipping through a book at a predetermined clip.”

One of the most common activities of the Sabbath is reading, and as books shift from print to digital such a device will be valuable. According to the Association of American Publishers, ebook sales were up 117 percent for 2011 while trade print sales of books declined on all fronts. The largest decline of 36 percent was seen in mass market paperback books.

Like the advent of the Sabbath elevator that stops and opens at every floor from sundown Friday to Saturday night, advances in technology have further accommodated observant Jews, allowing them to, paradoxically, use technology without actually doing so.

However, while such innovations don’t constitute a break in the Sabbath, not everyone approves of them, feeling, as one observant Jewish friend of mine said, that they go against the “spirit of the Sabbath.”

1 Comment

  • Thanks for sharing the HootSuite story. We truly enjoy seeing the unique ways folks use the social media dashboard and this was one use-case we’d never thought about. Keep in mind, you can batch schedule up to 50 messages at a time with HootSuite Pro. I’d also suggest adding a hastag to denote pre-scheduled posts i.e. #presked if this is a concern.

    One other note, we have a crowd-sourced translation project which allows users to help us translate HootSuite into their language. If there is suffucient interest, we could do this for Hebrew. Start by checking out http://blog.hootsuite.com/translation and of course, please let us know of any other desired tools via feedback.hootsuite.com.

    Best regards,

    @daveohoots

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Lena Dunham Responds to Charges of Antisemitism: It was Just a Jew Joke

    Lena Dunham Responds to Charges of Antisemitism: It was Just a Jew Joke

    “Girls” creator Lena Dunham responded on Tuesday to charges of antisemitism over an article she had penned for the New Yorker, saying it was all in good humor. Speaking to Variety, Dunham reflected on her “tight-knit Jewish family, where Jew jokes were part of the essential fiber of our communication.” The article Dunham referred to was called “Dog or Jewish Boyfriend? A Quiz,” with options such as “He doesn’t Tip” and “He’s Crazy for Cream Cheese.” Among Dunham’s critics, Anti-Defamation [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Former NBA Star Tweets Article About Jewish Conspiracy to Control Global Media

    Former NBA Star Tweets Article About Jewish Conspiracy to Control Global Media

    Retired NBA player Keyon Dooling tweeted a link on Wednesday to a wildly antisemitic article that accuses Jews of seizing control of the world’s media and using it to promote their own interests. The article, published by an obscure blog in April 2013, highlights six companies it claims are owned by Jews — such as Time Warner, Inc. and the Walt Disney Company – that allegedly “control 96 percent of the world’s media.”  The post includes allegations of “Jewish control” and says [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Rosh Hashanah Won’t Keep the Giants’ Geoff Schwartz From Season Opener

    Rosh Hashanah Won’t Keep the Giants’ Geoff Schwartz From Season Opener

    New York Giants offensive guard Geoff Schwartz responded to an outcry from Jewish fans on Tuesday, saying he will go ahead and play in the season opener despite the fact that it falls on the first night of Rosh Hashanah. “Keep getting tweets about that being the first night of Rosh Hashanah… Don’t know what I’m supposed to tell you. It’s a tough break,” the Jewish athlete wrote, referring to the Giants’ on-the-road game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, Sept. [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Jewish Coach David Blatt Has NBA’s Cavaliers Surging at Playoff Time

    Jewish Coach David Blatt Has NBA’s Cavaliers Surging at Playoff Time

    JNS.org – When David Blatt was hired as head coach of the National Basketball Association’s Cleveland Cavaliers last June, he was not often recognized when he walked the streets of downtown Cleveland. What a difference a year makes. Now, Blatt can go few places without being recognized. For good reason. The Jewish coach has the Cavaliers in the mix to win the city of Cleveland’s first championship in a major sport since the Browns won the National Football League title in [...]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports Croatian Soccer Star’s Hebrew Tattoo Causes a Stir Online

    Croatian Soccer Star’s Hebrew Tattoo Causes a Stir Online

    A Hebrew tattoo sported by Croatian soccer star Mario Mandzukic became an internet sensation in Israel after it was exposed on Tuesday during a Champions League match between Ateltico Madrid and Real Madrid A first glance, the tattoo, on the athlete’s back, might leave one with the impression that it was an unfortunate artistic mistake, since the Hebrew letters do not make sense as they are written. However, a closer look at the tattoo shows that it was actually written [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Theater Why an Algemeiner Editor Wrote a Play About a Mass Shooter

    Why an Algemeiner Editor Wrote a Play About a Mass Shooter

    For the past two years, I have served as Opinion Editor at The Algemeiner. I’m perhaps most proud of the paper’s commitment to publishing diverse and opposing viewpoints on the controversial issues of the day. We pride ourselves on voicing different opinions because we know that most issues are not black and white, and because our community is better served by a public debate. In my life outside of the paper, I am a professional actor and playwright. And similarly, [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Commentary In ‘America in Retreat,’ a Real-Life Risk Board

    In ‘America in Retreat,’ a Real-Life Risk Board

    JNS.org – “Risk: The Game of Strategic Conquest,” the classic Parker Brothers board game, requires imperial ambitions. Players imagine empires and are pitted against each other, vying for world domination. Amid this fictional world war, beginners learn fast that no matter the superiority of their army, every advance is a gamble determined by a roll of the dice. After a defeat, a player must retreat. Weighted reinforcement cards provide the only opportunity to reverse a player’s fortunes and resume the [...]

    Read more →
  • Beliefs and concepts Sports Does Working Out With Other Jews Keep You Jewish?

    Does Working Out With Other Jews Keep You Jewish?

    JNS.org – For Daphna Krupp, her daily workout (excluding Shabbat) at the Jewish Community Center (JCC or “J”) of Greater Baltimore has become somewhat of a ritual. She not only attends fitness classes but also engages with the instructors and plugs the J’s social programs on her personal Facebook page. “It’s the gym and the environment,” says Krupp. “It’s a great social network.” Krupp, who lives in Pikesville, Md., is one of an estimated 1 million American Jewish members of more [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.