Sunday, October 30, 2011
The Hasidic Jewish movement has decided to translate the huge potential into a real project, turning Chabad into a social network delivering online news through its network and on Twitter.
As opposed to other ultra-Orthodox streams, Chabad doesn't fear technology.
"We're not afraid of using what exists in the world in order to further our goal," explains Mordechai Lightstone, the manager of thelubavitch.com website and social network.
"Our website allows emissaries all over the world to receive updates on what is happening with everyone else, but it's in fact not just for them," he says.
"After the terror attack on the Chabad House in Mumbai, when the news on television began repeating itself, we could already provide details on what was happening and on our emissaries' condition. We also used Twitter to share our concern with each other.
"After the tsunami in Japan, our website offered updates on the Jewish community in the country, through our emissaries. A month later, in New Zealand, we had the option of receiving updates against through our people.
"I try to post the news I receive to the website, and that what each of our emissaries does. Together we get a comprehensive international picture. It's amazing how all of us in Brooklyn in the United States and in Christchurch, New Zealand, and everywhere, wait for good news and keep in touch."
Tweet from emissary
According to Lightstone, technology's great power helps Chabad ignore the natural borders between countries, ignore the huge distance – and share information.
"It allows us to give the emissaries, who are far away, the feeling that they're not alone. Twitter, for example, allows every messenger to update us on his whereabouts. If we have an emissary dealing with addicts, he can consult another emissary handling the same problem, even if he's in a different country.
"I think it also enables us to bring others closer. Jews who are in a place where there's no synagogue, or have no Chabad emissary there or feel uncomfortable approaching him, can receive access to our emissaries anywhere through Twitter.
"Any person interested in Judaism and in what is happening to us can find an interest in this initiative."