Blogs   Donniel Hartman  
Donniel Hartman 
Yehuda Kurtzer 
Yossi Klein Halevi 
David Hartman 
Our Scholars 
Torah Commentary 
Call & Responsa 
Our Participants 
Comments Add a comment
Judaism is Not a Twitter - able Religion
We can make many effords and think many ways. But the longer the occupation of the Palestinian poeple (which - asside the oppression itself - is an act of continued Israeli - Jewish self destruction)will continue, the less will Israel attract too many young Jewish and Non - Jewish poeple. Certainly not those who care for Jewish ethics and moral.
richard, Germany, 10/07/2011 17:47:00
Yes, Judaism is twitterable, ask Hillel! "All the rest is commentary"...
Hillel, Belgium, 08/07/2011 09:17:00
Too many Corrupt "Jewish" programs
The problem lies in many corrupt `training` instituations taking on "Jewish Training" with little or no knowledge themselves. One example of this is the Chabad Orthodox Beis Dins in Australia doing conversion programs - that take 10 - 15 years and hundreds of thousands of dollars of wasted time and effort - What for? To find out they are totally corrupt and dont know the Halacha anyway? There needs to be a thorough cleanout of these frauds. No wonder young Jews dont want a bar of it. The sad part is, it looks a though it will take secular courts and media exposure to get ANYONE to action such things. Enough is Enough. Get back to REAL Judaism and the people will come. That problem is, no-one appears to know what that is anymore.
Avigail, Australia, 07/07/2011 04:27:00
Being Jewish
The ideas and values learned from a Jewish education as a young boy is what gave me the best parts of who I am as a human being. Too often in today`s world the young people are just going with the flow and forgetting these important ideals and what being Jewish is all about. Since we are scattered among the world populations with sometimes very different beliefs and values trying to assimilate is pretty hard on a Jew. But it is I feel very important to hang onto those roots and values for us as a people and for Israel as a place for Jews. A place where Jews can be comfortable being Jewish together. Also it is very hard to find a mate to share those values with who is not Jewish.
Danny, USA, 05/07/2011 21:34:00
Jews are? Judaism is?
Democracy, tolerance, and freedom for all is the primary cause of Orthodox panic causing them to continue to shake their ragged Conservative Judaism voodoo doll and to warn of Reform Movement monsters under every bed. The Orthodox ghetto is growing in Jerusalem in Beni Brak and in New York and while many Israeli families have come to accept a Breslev or a Lithuanian groom it will never happen in America. Please define your Jew Mr. Hartmann, Americans will accept those Jews who look and dress as they do, who will accept hospitality and fellowship who will eat and drink with them, the rest are seen as a strange and foreign entity.
miki, israel, 05/07/2011 20:47:00
What are you twittering?
The problem with articles like this is that they ask the wrong questions. Asking whether Judaism is a twitterable religion is fruitless. Judiasm is being tweeted. Right now. As I`m writing this. I have my tweetdeck open and am watching tweets stream by written by Jewish who are experiencing some aspect of their Judaism online. I have been greatly enriched by some, amused by others, and ignore lots. The worthy question to ask is HOW twitter (and similar services) are relevant to Judaism and to attempt to understand what works and what doesn`t. As an active Jewish twitterer (I tweet under the name Teruah and use twitter as an extension of my Jewish music blog). I`ll tell two things I see work wonderfully well and one thing works really poorly. Good Thing 1. Jew`s living Jewishly in public, on twitter. In the US, the majority of liberal Jews (and I mean practicing Jews, not fully assimilated Jews) do little that is obviously Jewish outside their homes and their shuls. But on twitter I see comments all the time about their Jewish experiences. I know when Rosh Chodesh comes around and who`s fasting on what days. I learn and grow confident about my Judaism from theirs. The best part of this is that distinctions between traditional and liberal Jews blur in this space. I learn from people, whether they are traditional or liberal. Good Thing 2. Jew`s getting excited about Jewish resources. I`m find lots of great Jewish religious content on the web...from other Jews. And what they get excited about gets me excited. I found this article because one of my buddies tweeted it. Another friend just posted the link to a good deal on a CD ROM version of Soncino Midrash Rabbah. And yet another posted "Open invitation for Jewish liturgy and related resources for celebrating Tu B`Av and Rosh Hodesh Elul (the Rosh Hashanah for Animals"). These tweets are of the "hey hey look what I found" variety and are contagious. Bad Thing. Jewish organizations or educators treating twitter like a newsletter in once sentence chunks. These tweets attempt to talk at people instead of talking with them. It doesn`t work on twitter. I`d love to quote a dozen of them, but I unsubscribe to them immediately. Here`s one example: "Hayom yom: A Jewish sigh from physical bad & esp. a spiritual one is a great repentance. A sigh can schlep from depth of bad to a good place" But let me be clear, the reason I have this example is that they guy who posted it is really interesting and does not post this kind of thing all that much. In fact his next tweet was invite to some friends for a meetup and the ones previous to it were him chatting with friends on a variety of subjects. So bottom line. Judaism is already being experienced and learned on Twitter, and this learning can be encouraged and supported. But this is not the same as saying Judaism is being taught on twitter.
Jack Zaientz, USA, 05/07/2011 20:21:00
Not a twitter-able religion
No, Judaism is not a twitter-able religion. That`s because it`s not a religion for twits.
The Prophet, Australia, 04/07/2011 21:56:00
Stop the racism!!!
If the jewish people still believes that are more dignified than other human beings then judaism will cease to exist in the next 200 years.http://islamisationofturkey.blogspot.com
fahad, bangladesh, 03/07/2011 07:40:00
Wow Aharon, I couldn`t disagree more. I think that is the silliest rational I`ve ever heard - humans are EXACTLY tribal. When we don`t like the crowd we`re with, we just create new tribes. Man U jerseys, hippie dress, "Darwin Fish" emblems, Young Republican suit and ties ... we are ALL tribal all the time. We just like the "freedom" to jump around and join new tribes when we want.
Marc Muroff, United States, 01/07/2011 22:59:00
Welllllll You know certainly there will come a time in the near future when there will be only a few 1000s Jews left living in a "Ghetto" in the shadows of the Wailing Wall. The only way to be "Accepted" by the World Society it to have Very Large Populations. Jews missed this opportunity for the last 60 years. Now time is nearly run out and the Jews really have nothing to show for it. Religious Leaders worrying about whether or not to use the "Latest Technology" is consequential at best . The Jewish Population is Doomed and there will be not much to do about it.
Gary Fox, USA, 01/07/2011 13:48:00
Judaism is a Tweet-able religion
tweet two: The answer lies within. Be still and know G-d.
Peter, Beacham, 30/06/2011 16:37:00
As a convert to Judaism, I am finding it difficult to create a life which, as it`s core, reflects the depth of Jewish learning, tradition and culture. Some might argue that the Reform movement, to which I belong, is far too watered down but I don`t agree. I think the main concepts of this article hit on some essential questions well worth considering. Thank you for sparking my thoughts and encouraging me to continue this journey.
Trish Caruana, USA, 30/06/2011 16:20:00
Meaningful life?
I personally object to the notion that a "meaningful" existence means having to follow an organized religious set of rules. As for assimilation, one need only look at the skin, hair and eye colour of a large number of today`s Jews to see how much assimilation occurred in past centuries and it did no harm to the belief system. When each religion stops claiming a direct path to nirvana, there may even be world peace.
Glen, Israel, 30/06/2011 09:11:00

"We yearned for an era in which Jews wouldbe accepted as equals. We now need to learn not to fear it." I do not know whether the Zionist leader we have now yearned to be accepted as just "equal citizens." But I believe that learning to live as equal citizens in this World is our true path to Health Survival as Jews both in Israel and within Judaism itself without judging each other within Judaism as to who is an who is not a "real" Jew and where we are better than other human beings or not? I choose to live alongside other human beings in peace and equality and Jews will have to maintain their Jewishness just as other people maintain their religions. I do not believe it is any harder for us than others. We just have to stop separating ourselves from other people.
Llyn, Canada, 30/06/2011 01:43:00
Judaism is Not Twitterable
Although I agree with most of what Rabbi Hartman has expressed, there is one aspect which I believe is dangerous. The paragraph stating "In addition, it is important to remember that throughout Jewish history, this journey was sustained by the few. The masses came and went, but what Judaism stood for was the expression of the work of an elite and the result of their commitment... They are the real secret behind Jewish continuity. They both sustained the journey and served as its guides." Perhaps the major problem facing Judaism and Israel is the belief of the ultra-orthadox that they are the elite which will provide the continuity for Judaism. They distain the rest of us and by their attitude, put democracy and pluralism in Israel at risk. I say that these values of Judaism are too important to be left to the ultra-orthadox to determine. We must all make our voices heard.
Philip Greenberg, Canada, 29/06/2011 19:37:00

The moment, we as a people, force the government of Israel to end the occupation of the territories, we will be able to attract more youth to Judaism.
joe , martin, 29/06/2011 16:23:00
The Numbers Show We Can`t Depend on Numbers
Jews numbered around 4 million 2000 years ago. If all of the descendants of all 4 million remained Jewish until today, there would be 400 million Jews. We Jews alive today are but a remnant of that unfulfilled potential. But perhaps that`s the way it must be. Assimilation among Jews has been as unrelenting a pressure upon our people as the pressure of erosion upon rock and soil in the biosphere. It is simply a force of nature that we cannot restrain, much less reverse. Living a deeply engaged holistic Jewish life in the 21st century certainly would include maintaining a welcoming practice toward those who become Jews-by-choice. But the work of sustaining a Jewish community that nourishes the already-committed and would be attractive to any spiritually thoughtful fellow traveler through life needs to be our focus, As Rabbi Hartman has stated.
Chaver Steve, USA, 28/06/2011 17:37:00
Judaism is a Tweet-able religion
Tweet One: “Israel” is does not refer to a piece of real estate. It is a state of non-dual, transcendental consciousness.
Peter Beacham, Camada, 28/06/2011 13:40:00
I could not agree more with the idea modern Jewish life must be more than a numbers game. But Twitter is often creating connection to content and engaging people deeply too. For some wonderful examples see: http://elearning.huc.edu/wordpress/continuinged/
Ruth Abusch-Magder, USA, 27/06/2011 20:20:00
Showing the relevance of judaism to today`s crises
Kol hakavod, Rabbi Hartman, for your, as always, very thoughtful and insightful comments. I think that a way to attract young people to Judaism is to show the relevance of Judaism to today;s critical issues. For example, there are many current indications of climate change - severe heat waves, droughts, wildfires, storms, and floods - and there is a strong consensus of climate experts that climate change is caused largely by human activities and threatens all of humanity, as indicated in peer reviewed articles in respected scientific journals and statements by scientific academies worldwide. Yet I have found many Jews, especially in the Orthodox community in denial about what many consider an impending climate catastrophe. The same is true about current hunger, water, environmental crises. Israel is now in the 7th year of a major drought, and had her warmest year and worst wildfire in history last year. Fortunately, Judaism has splendid teachings on environmental sustainability and other current issues. Time to apply them to help revitalize Judaism and move our imperiled world to a sustainable path
Richard Schwartz, United States, 27/06/2011 17:31:00
from twitter to torah
I agree that we can compete in an open marketplace of ideas. I also see the dangers in promoting a dumbed-down and watered-down Judaism. However, you should not underestimate that power of Twitter and other social media to provide entry points to further Jewish study. See my Torah Tweets blogart project http://torahtweets.blogspot.com that offers an entrance to the significance of Jewish ideas in contemporary life. In my most recent book, `The Future of Art in a Postdigital Age: From Hellenistic to Hebraic Consciousness` (Intellect Books / University of Chicago Press, 2011), I present the thesis that in the 20th century competition for the redefinition of art, Jewish thought has already won it. In order to understand the 21st century global redefinition of art, everyone needs to learn to think Jewishly.
Mel Alexenberg, Israel, 27/06/2011 11:35:00
non-twitterable Judaism
Donniel, you have spoken what I have tried to tell many who want to use precious resources into thinning out our message to appeal more broadly. I fear it will get to the point that we have no intellectual or theological distinctiveness or value because we will be seen as homogenous, the bland same as all other spiritual ventures. knowledge/ideas/fact must be the gateway to our heritage of vigorous engagement with thinking, hard critical thinking
James Gibson, United States, 27/06/2011 04:40:00
judaism is not.........
the challenge to day is to create a jewish philosophy which does not depend on accepting rabinical judaism.....if the shalom center has anything to offer it is a raison d"etre for a judaism based on spinoza and einstein with rashi and the lubavicher rabbi as one possible interpretation around a core of a scientifically oriented world in which morality issues are shared by the secular society and occasionally either were or are abused by various religious establishments about as frequently as by the secular ones
shimshon kinory, us, 27/06/2011 01:35:00
Better yet, let`s eliminate religion and tribalism
As a former Israeli, I welcome intermarriage and assimilation, and am personally doing my part to advance these. The pushers of primitive religionism and tribalism stand in direct contradiction to liberal values, which require each human being to be seen as an equally worthy individual. Humanity can only survive if it adopts these liberal values. Those who insist that Jews, or any other tribal or religious sub-group must stand apart, rather than shed their ancient superstitions and join the rest of humanity, may yet prevail - but in the process they will destroy humanity, or at least all that is good and decent in human beings.
Aharon B., US, 26/06/2011 19:58:00

Donniel Hartman is President of Shalom Hartman Institute and Director of the Engaging Israel Project.

His latest book is Putting God Second: How to Save Religion from Itself.

Donniel contributes a regular column to Times of Israel and writes for many other publications on a regular basis.

  • Read all of Donniel Hartman's columns and essays.

Sign up to receive updates