It’s a sign your new rabbi is progressive when he creates a parody video of Daft Punk’s hit song “Get Lucky” to honour Rosh Hashanah, the high holy holiday celebrating Jewish New Year.
So it should come as no surprise to the congregation of Temple Sholom on Oak Street to discover California-transplant Rabbi Dan Moskovitz uses social media, including Facebook and Twitter, to assist in his teachings.
“Everyday during the high holy holiday I’ll be posting a piece of text and a question on Facebook and Twitter to get dialogue going,” Moskovitz said of the holiday, which starts Sept. 4. “And I’ll continue on each of the 10 days of repentance.”
Moskovitz, who took over as senior rabbi at Temple Shalom July 15, began his love of technology after receiving an Atari 400 computer as a gift for his bar mitzvah in 1983. As an undergraduate at the University of Judaism in Los Angeles, Moskovitz developed a Jewish software company. He needed an online calendar to keep track of Jewish holidays and when he couldn’t find one decided to develop a program himself.
“This was before personal organizers and PalmPilots,” said Moskovitz. “It started out as a database program with stickers and as technology progressed it became digital file software called ShulTools. Today it’s used by more than 10,000 Jews all over the world.”
Moskovitz also uses technology at Temple Sholom to stream all live and on-demand services, as well as podcasts, so if a member can’t make it to the synagogue they have the option of watching it on a laptop or tablet from home or anywhere in the world. That technology will also come in handy as Moskovitz puts his plan in place to reach more young people. Instead of asking children and youth to attend temple for Hebrew teachings at the end of their school day, Moskovitz will send teachers to a home where a group of four, five or six are gathered.
“It’s not enough to sit on our doorstep waiting for them to knock on the door,” said Moskovitz. “Families are already busy with extra-curricular activities so we said, we’ll go to them.”
Another goal Moskovitz has is to reach out to more men. He explained that as women have grown in the ranks and taken more senior leadership positions, including that of rabbi, some Jewish men have taken a step back. It’s Moskovitz’s goal to have men and women working side by side.
“There’s been a wonderful renaissance for women, but in the progress some men have taken a back seat or even gotten off the bus completely,” said Moskovitz.
He added even when it’s a two-income family it’s often the female spouse who takes charge of the children’s Judaism education.
“The end result is that Judaism has become pediatric in many families, with no real meaningful space for men,” said Moskovitz. “I don’t want men to take the place of women, but to work alongside them. That will include separate programs for men such as women have.”
Moskovitz said the music video, entitled Apples and Honey, has received more than 2,700 views on YouTube.
“I’ve been doing a video every year, but this is the first time for Temple Sholom,” said Moskovitz. “They’re a lot of fun so there’ll be more to come.”
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