Jewish Center of Northwest Jersey

President's Message May 2008

Just when I thought I could research "everything" on the Internet via Wikipedia, I met with Ms. Sharon Halper, Regional Educator of the Union for Reform Judaism. She was extremely helpful in introducing me to the vast Jewish learning resources available on the Internet.

For the audience that does not have access to the internet, I would be eager to accompany you to your local library, where such access is available, and can be done quite privately. If one goes to the local library early on a weekday, there usually are not very many other stalwarts that got up early to visit this resource. All one needs is the capability to use the equivalent of a typewriter; no other skills required. Please feel free to contact me at services or at my telephone number and/or email address listed at the bottom of my message.

First of all, let me emphasize that the information listed below is far from exhaustive. In fact, it is barely the tip of the iceberg, and undoubtedly suffers from personal selection bias on my part. Nevertheless here goes:

  • www.urj.org/ (Union for Reform Judaism) provides a plethora of information. For example, one can click on the "10 minutes of Torah" button, and receive a weekly update, Monday-Reform Voices of Torah, Tuesday-Mishnah Day, Wednesday-Israel Connections, Thursday-Lessons from Our Traditions, Friday-Jewish World and Social Action. Click on "Torah Portion" and you can get the weekly Torah portion before services. Clicking on the "Learning" button, one discovers over 30 topics including "Becoming a Jew: Q and A", "Adult B'nei Mitzvah", and "Learn to Chant Torah". If one goes to www.urj.org/books/archive, over 60 recent books, many by well-known authors, can be found.

  • www.myjewishlearning.com is another interesting site. It is not always the case that a ".com" is a commercial site and that a ".org" is a non-profit site, but it is usually the case. Nevertheless, this site, if commercial, is very subtle about it. I decided to "surf" this site by clicking on the "drop-down" menu entitled "Ideas & Beliefs". On the next menu, I chose "Kabbalah & Mysticism", and of course, was overwhelmed by the choices of where to go next. I took the Atzmi "test" to determine my Kabbalah profile, but am still awaiting the "analysis" of my test. Possibly of more interest is the possibility of a.) Joining a discussion group, or b.) reading Isaac Luria's theory of creation, or c.) Obtaining a list of recommended books about Kabbalah & Mysticism.

  • Want a kosher Chinese restaurant less than a day's drive? Go to www.shamash.org/kosher/. The best idea is not to be too specific, and see what you get. I got Kosher Chinese Express in South Manalapan, Lin's Kosher Chinese in Manville, Mei Garden Cuisine in Highland Park. If you are outside the United States, the same approach still works.

  • Are you single, or want to introduce your children or friends to Jewish singles? www.jdate.com may be of help. Their web site claims the following, "Welcome to JDate, the premier Jewish singles community on the Net. It's no wonder that countless marriages begin right here - it seems like everyone knows someone who fell in love on JDate! Check out our Success Stories section for hundreds of success stories and you'll see why JDate is the undisputed leader in Jewish dating. As the modern alternative to traditional Jewish matchmaking, JDate is an ideal online destination for Jewish men and women to find friends, dates, and even soul mates, all within the faith. In just minutes, you can create a profile and be ready to mingle with other JDate members in your area. Our vast membership base and user-friendly interface make JDate a source of Jewish romance around the world."

    I would be cautious about providing too much personal information on the Internet. However, the sites I have mentioned above, especially the Union for Reform Judaism site, are extremely reputable. It is comforting to know that we are still "a people of the Book", however the Internet has simply made the Book much larger. If anyone has any personal sites they recommend, please let me know and I will include them in a future message. Please contact me at arvesen@att.net or by phone at 917-941-4332.

    Shalom,

    Jim Arvesen

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    Copyright © 2008 Jewish Center of Northwest Jersey

    Last updated: May 1, 2008