Tonight! Sh’ma Gathers Around a Virtual Jewish Table

Robert J. Saferstein
March 25, 2012
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Hosting first-ever online tisch, fostering connection through new media

Sunday, March 25th, 2012 at 8PM EST/5PM PST

There has never been a “Jewish table” quite like this.

Sh’ma, a print and online journal of Jewish ideas, is inviting participants from around the world to join its first ever “virtual tisch” – fostering Jewish learning, connection, and conversation in a unique community event.

Sh’ma has been committed to promoting conversation and pushing the boundaries of Jewish thought since its founding 42 years ago,” said Editor in Chief Susan Berrin. “This event pushes those boundaries even further – for the first time taking the Jewish table out of the dining room and creating a sacred virtual space.”

Please join us on Sunday, March 25th at 8 PM EST/5 PM PST for this community “tisch” (Yiddish for “table”), which will feature Rabbi David Ingber, Storahtelling founder Amichai Lau Lavie, Reb Mimi Feigelson, singer Renna Khuner-Haber, community activist and teacher Karen Erlichman, Bible Raps’ Jerusalem “Fow Ti” Chair AdAm Mayer, and many others on a live webcast.

Participants will enter the tisch through our website, shma.com, which will provide easy instructions on how to send in questions and comments.

“For the last year, Sh’ma has been running an ethics column examining the uses and implications of technology through a Jewish lens,” said Online Director Robert J. Saferstein. “This tisch is a culmination of those explorations and will broaden the conversation begun in our most recent print journal.”

“What is so remarkable is that we will quite literally join together at a table that doesn’t physically exist. While the harmonies of our voices will live solely in the virtual ether, the sense of community we create will be anything but virtual.  By using this technology, it is our goal to introduce people to the idea of the tisch – traditionally a rebbe’s Shabbat gathering – as an accessible, modern tool for Jewish learning.”

The March issue of Sh’ma, “At the Jewish Table,” features a bevy of contributors commenting on the Jewish table: what we eat, who sits with us, and what we learn.

Sh’ma has always been committed to fostering real conversation beyond the pages you hold in your hand,” Berrin wrote in the issue. “We hope this virtual gathering is a significant step forward, with real implications for how technology can radically transform something as intimate and sensory as the Jewish table.”

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Robert J. Saferstein (Market Development Director, prev. Online Director & Editor) Interested in the interfacing of ritual, experience, and technology, Robert J. Saferstein has used his background in the arts and technology to broaden the definition of what ‘Jewish’ can look like by building community and realizing new points of engagement across multiple platforms. Currently the Market Development Director of Sh’ma Journal, and named to The Jewish Week’s “36 Under 36” for his leadership in the LGBTQ Jewish world, Saferstein is the recipient of two Natan Grants for ROI Entrepreneurs for his series of upscale Shabbat and holiday dinners for gay Jewish professionals, Friday Night Lights (FNLights.com). His latest initiative is Eighteen:22, a Schusterman Connection Point that launched in August 2015 in Salzburg, Austria, that brought together over 70 Jewish LGBTQ and ally influencers from around the globe in order to cultivate an international network of visionaries working to advance ideas and initiatives that make the world a more inclusive and equal place. For more info, visit eighteen22.com. Prior to joining Sh’ma, Saferstein served as the founding Creative Director of BroadwaysBestShows.com, a leading Broadway website. Represented by Smart.MAGNA, Saferstein’s fine art and Broadway production photography has been featured in numerous publications, including, "The New York Times. " He is the author and composer of the musicals "Oedipus for Kids," (NYMF Next Link Selection, Samuel French, Inc.), and "The Zegend of Lelda" (Best Musical, WVMTF). Film work include "Generation Um," "The Confession," and "Gun Hill Road." He is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, a member of the ROI Community for Jewish leaders and innovators, and a PresenTense Social Start Trainer.

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