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73http://www.beth-israel.org/blog/2011/12/Rabbi-Lyon%27s-Blog---12_02_2011
Rabbi Lyon's Blog - 12_02_2011
12/01/2011 08:51 AM Posted by:

From the Desk of Rabbi David Lyon
December 2, 2011

 

Is it just a sign of the times? Over the holiday weekend, our house was full the way it used to be. All four children were home. My mother was visiting for the week. I walked into the family room where everyone was sitting, together. What I saw there was a sight I had never before seen. Everybody, including my mother, was staring into their laptop, iPad, or iPhone. The room was quiet except for the barely perceptible tapping sound of fingers on keyboards and screens. I stood in front of all of them and began to say, “I want you all to close your screens and devices; let’s watch TV…” and then I stopped. TV was just another bigger screen. I felt defeated, but not for long.

                Bowed heads over computer screens and devices only appeared to be a bad sign of the times. But, it wasn’t. It was a sign of the way things are and where they are going. In actuality, the children were doing homework, window shopping and playing games; my mother was reading a book on her iPad2 (she loves to read and now the print is adjustable), and even I found a seat and began to play “Words with Friends” and “Scrabble” with unknown opponents and then with my son, who sat across the room waiting for my move. Ironically, the TV, once the mainstay of households, was ignored. The internet has become much more interesting, educational, and interactive.

                Young people are taking to all the new devices like fish to water. In some places like the Shlenker School, they’re learning in classrooms on iPads. Imagine how these devices in their young hands will inspire the world they’ll build with increasingly changing technology. When they come of age, iPads will be like Model T’s in the auto world.

                Older people are not far behind. Those who don’t resist it quickly find that the internet is a vital link to their family and grandchildren who live around the block or across the world. A “mouse” is already cumbersome and a desktop computer feels like a dinosaur to those who own a touch screen device. Today, connecting via the internet is an intuitive experience. It doesn’t make older people feel older; it makes them feel part of the world around them. The goal is to participate. If you don’t agree, then next time you want to change the TV channel get up and go to the set and turn the dial.

                There are signs of the times all around us. If we’re merely bystanders then the signs will look like blurs to us as they move quickly past us. But, if we move with the times we’ll see that the signs are easier to make out.

                By the way, at the end of the day my children and my mother closed their laptops and turned off their devices long enough to sit around the table and play an old-fashioned board game. We rolled the dice, moved our pieces, and read the cards aloud. Nothing buzzed, beeped or whistled and we had a lot of fun.

                Being a Reform Jew is about being modern and Jewish at the same time. It’s my favorite part of being a Reform Jew. I love Judaism. I love modernity. What a remarkable time we live in. I want to read from my Kindle on Shabbat, and I want to tell my children in college that we can Skype or “Facetime” when I get home from services. Is there ever a time you and I don’t want to see our children? Especially on Shabbat! They’re all signs of the times. Thank God.

                From my digital family to yours, Shabbat Shalom.

 

REMEMBER: Shabbat Chazzanoot, Friday, Dec 2nd, 6:30pm, Sanctuary.

Special Music service featuring Cantor Daniel Mutlu.

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