28 August 2013

Splitting Broadcasting Streams: A Foursquare-Twitter Experiment

Recently, while considering splitting the streams of my broadcasting of my activities between personal and professional, whether it be Instagram or blogging (or, less recently, Facebook), I have been considering whither I should send my Foursquare check-ins.  

While I have considered creating a separate Foursquare account for professional purposes, so people can keep up with where I am for work, I have - for the time being - decided not to create a separate account.

With that consideration, I have tried different ways of broadcasting my check-ins as it pertains to professional purposes.  I have gone through some changes (see, for instance, picture to the right):

     - Initially, I sent Foursquare check-ins to my personal twitter account, then threw an "RT @DrewKaplan:" in front of those tweets, simply retweeting them via my professional twitter account.

     - Then, I decided I did not need to include "RT @DrewKaplan:" in front of the tweets, since I did not want to (or need to) reference my personal twitter account in my professional account.

     -Yesterday, I decided that there's no reason to send tweets relating to my professional activities out via my personal twitter account: if people want to know what I'm doing personally, they can follow me on my personal account; if they want to know what I'm doing professionally, they can follow my professional account.  Of course, that means I just need to know the settings of my Foursquare account and know to which Twitter account it's sending out.

All of this does not rule out a future creation of a separate Foursquare account for my professional activities, but, for now, I am fine with keeping a unified account.

23 August 2013

My New Rabbinic Blog/Website

After wanting to do it for some time now, I have finally set up a website to broadcast via my "rabbinic personality".  Since before I graduated rabbinical school, I have owned the RabbiDrew.info domain name and kept wanting to use it as my professional website.  A couple of years ago, I decided I wanted to start a Wordpress blog through that domain name.  However, I've had issues with GoDaddy in getting it set-up, so I finally just decided to set up a free Wordpress blog, using RabbiDrew.info as a re-direct to it.
This week was my first in posting content to it, with a post each of the past four days (Monday-Thursday) and I am looking forward to continuing to post content to it as it pertains to my professional self.
For a while, I've been wanting to post about activities etc. I've been doing or about work, etc., but not wanting to post it on this personal blog, since that is not my intention with this particular blog.  This bifurcation of broadcasting of mine is exactly as I have done with Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

19 August 2013

My Jewish Identity: Someone Else Articulates A Similar View

The question that started it all for me
When I have gotten asked about what inspired me to get more involved Jewishly in my life and identity, I always point back to a particular episode in my life in high school.  It was the summer of 1998 and I was attending BBYO's International Leadership Training Conference, when, as part of a program, a question was posed to us: "Would you rather be leaders who are Jews or Jewish leaders?"  While I do not remember what the context of the program or discussion was, my parsing of that question ignited my interest to live Jewishly.  I certainly do not know what the intent of the querier was, but I understood the question to be bifurcating (obviously, for heuristic purposes) between a leader - let's just say a congressman, since that's what popped into my mind - who, while they may occasionally go to synagogue and occasionally use their "Jewish credentials" to their advantage when it suits them, they do not embody their Jewishness as an integral part of their identity; this is in contrast to someone who, while they, too, are a congressman, they do have their Jewish identity as integral to the warp and woof of their overall identity and don't just use it when it suits them.  

So, I thought that the latter category seemed more authentic and wanted to be like that.  But, the first, and most essential, question is "How do I live Jewishly?"  That has animated me since then.

Of course, this question can be re-understood as what do I need to do to follow Jewish Law (הלכה/halakhah)?  It has been my great interest, especially throughout rabbinical school; I tremendously enjoy learning/studying/exploring halakhah, since that provides the grounding for Jewish life (also, see number five here).

However, what undergirded this notion of wanting to be Jewish and identifying with my people I had never fully articulated, partly because I did not have a great way of articulating it.  However, after having printed out and reading Rabbi Zev Farber, PhD's Avraham Avinu is My Father: Thoughts on Torah, History, and Judaism, I discovered the following passage (here), which greatly reflects my own approach to my Jewish identity:
Rabbi Zev Farber, PhD (here is his dissertation)
I view the world through Jewish lenses—I always have. I believe that living a Jewish life, studying and keeping Torah, and throwing my lot in with my Jewish brothers and sisters gives my life meaning. I believe that by doing this, I am doing something good in a real way, fulfilling some sort of divine mission. I am well aware of the fact that I cannot demonstrate any of this in an objective way; I cannot prove that living a Jewish life bonds me to a divine mission or that it makes the world a better place. However, neither can I prove, in any objective way, that the world is better off with life on it than it would be as a barren wasteland like Mars. The Earth is a collection of stardust, after all, and if atoms on this small planet form themselves into a tree, a person, or a rock, what possible difference could that make in a universe as vast as ours? And yet, somehow I do not live in daily existential angst about my existence, the significance of my life, or even the veracity of my religious beliefs and commitments.
For the longest time, I didn't know if anyone else had a similar approach to mine and I was really glad to find this passage articulating a view to which I can point that reflects mine :)

07 August 2013

Why Are You Apologizing for That?

Occasionally, someone will cuss in front of me and apologize: "Sorry, Rabbi" or "I shouldn't speak that way in front of a rabbi."  They apologize as if I am a child or somehow unfamiliar with such language or even view it as somehow wrong/bad. I don't understand why people think that is and it continues to befuddle me - dropping the f-bomb, as uncouth as it is, does not go against Judaism.

However, on the other hand, people will either eat unkosher items or discuss eating them in front of me without apology.  Or they may discuss doing various activities on shabbat, etc. etc.  I find it bizarre that they see cussing as transgressive, yet eating bacon, lobster or cheeseburgers as something they are totally comfortable with in front of me....