I love books, and I hope to be able to hold a book in my hands and read for the rest of my life. I love turning the pages. I love flipping back and forth between pages. Sometimes, I go back to a book I have read in the past because I remember a particular passage or concept, and I find it based on the location in the book, where it is on the page, and I can scan paragraphs very quickly to find what I am seeking.
Some of you know that in my pre-rabbinic early college life, I studied computer science. I begin my love affair with calculators when I was about 10, graduating on to desktop and laptop computers, PDA’s, and iPad, and dabbling in programming, testing software, using electronic communication, and creating web pages.
The experience of reading electronic materials is very different, and although I like reading short articles, I still prefer the feel and small and texture of the book. Nevertheless, just as the scribes of old would have been foolish not to see that the codex was going to replace the scroll and the printing press was going to replace the codex, we would be foolish to imagine that the proliferation of ways to read electronic documents will not someday displace the book.
We supplement our written communications, the Voice and the Shabbat announcement page, with a weekly email and a web site that is intended at some point in the future to evolve into a replacement for the Voice. We designed the web site with specific features in mind to help this happen.
First of all, although a web site is something that you can go to for information, it is also designed to be able to send the information to you automatically. For example, if you use a google calendar to keep track of your personal calendar, you can subscribe to the synagogue calendar, so that events, classes, and meetings automatically appear in your calendar. Do this simply by adding AhavasIsrael@gmail.com in the entry box under “Other Calendars” along the left side of your google calendar page. You can also subscribe to the Jewish Holidays/candlelighting times and UJS calendars, but the calendar addresses are a complicated string of numbers and letters – email me and I’ll send them to you.
You can subscribe to my columns in several ways. If you go to EmbodiedTorah.Wordpress.com, there is an entry box on the right side to type your email address and click “I want to embody Torah,” and you will get email notifications of every blog post. Alternatively, if you go to the Divre Harav section of the web site, there is a set of five little buttons beneath the right menu. The last of these buttons is an RSS feed. RSS is normally explained as “really simple syndication,” an easy way to subscribe to articles on web sites. If you click on the RSS button, your browser or computer should give you options for how you want to read the articles. You can choose to read them in your browser, in your email program, or in another RSS reader program. You can also subscribe to any page of our web site, such as the upcoming events, the home page (where the most important/urgent articles will be posted), the library news column, and the presidents column.
The Voice will continue to show up in your mail box 10 times a year, but if you take advantage of ways to subscribe via our web site and calendar, you will be completely up to date at all times.