Culture, Identity, Mishegas, Religion

6 More Days, 6 More Ideas: An update from Dan Sieradski's Jewish utopia

As promised, the second of Jewschool’s updates on Daniel (“Mobius”) Sieradski‘s daily gift of Jewish technocreativity, 31 Days, 31 Ideas, which is a must read if you are at all interested in how technology can interact with Jewish life. Offered in the spirit of the technical community’s December Advent calendars, it’s Wired meets The Fundermentalist.
Sieradski started out by making it easier to type in Hebrew on the web; to link to, and study, the parasha; and to learn the mixture of Hebrew, Aramaic and Yiddish words that afflict the vocabulary of Jewish machers and mavens.
So now, consider these six further snapshots from an internet-aware Jewish world of 2020:

  • #4: Surfcasting technology lets you play back a class on Jewish radicalism in which Sieradski narrates a tour of web sites on the topic. As you play the video of Sieradsky, your browser follows along and you pause to bookmark a sites on the tour. Then you copy some text to your Facebook status.
  • #5 Jonah: Jewish Educational Link Directory is a centralized, social, curated database of Jewish educational resources.
  • #6 An XML Jewish text specification, repository and API means that anyone who wants to download a classic Jewish text, adapt it, or reference it can do so easily. After all, Jewish classics are the property of the Jewish people, and they should be made available online.
  • #7 The Open Source Beit Midrash. Surfcasting meets XML Jewish text specification. An online environment where all the texts are at hand as you learn with a hevruta study partner through video chat.
  • #8 Jewish Book Builder. The traditional text is only the beginning of a Jewish book. The fun comes as you add commentary on the sides. Make your own Haggadah meets the Open Siddur project. Why settle for stamping your name when you can personalize a bencher for your wedding?
  • #9 Niggun Please is a Jewish Liturgical Music Database. Wouldn’t it be loverly if the website of your minyan, shul or school had a link to listen to the tunes and songs it uses? Imagine a playlist widget that could play a list of songs from a database of streaming niggunim — meaning Jewish liturgical tunes?

The posts are worth reading in full, as are the comments on them. Here on Jewschool, I thought I’d ask for thoughts and suggestions on making these visions a reality? How much effort and how much money will be required to make it happen? What sort of organizational structure(s)?

15 thoughts on “6 More Days, 6 More Ideas: An update from Dan Sieradski's Jewish utopia

  1. This is the most amazing collection of fantastic ideas I have ever come across, in any of the communities I belong to.
    Just reading the list of posts makes me want to stop what I’m doing and study toyrah for a bit.
    I find myself waiting each day for the next new idea… and wishing it was already a reality.

  2. I’m obsessed with all Dan’s ideas, they’re all kick-ass. But it should be noted that they mostly cater to highly engaged Jews who already know what they want and are actively looking for more. That’s why they’re not getting funding…funders are interested in the LESS engaged Jews out there and how to turn them on.
    You know who should fund these ideas? We should. We who are engaged could pay subscription fees to a company that Dan could start – nay even, a for profit, and he could take a few thousand people’s 20 bucks and pay for some of these ideas.
    My two cents. These are highly marketable ideas. Just not to the educational funding establishment at this moment in time…

  3. Is Dan going to yell at me and call me a dirty liberal if I suggest that playfully naming a project based on the similarity in the sound of the word “Niggun” to the word “Nigger” is inappropriate?

  4. No, I’m going to call you a) humorless and b) illiterate, because I acknowledge its inappropriateness myself in the post.
    I never called you a dirty liberal. I called you a post-gender extremist.

  5. I’ll take that criticism from a black person, not from a “privileged white male” who has appointed himself guardian of black people’s feelings.

  6. The incorrectness of the title was totally lost on me, as I’m sure it would be for most folks.
    Also, this here quote below of Soloveitchik says “Be nice.”

    “I may attack a certain point of view which I consider false, but I will never attack a person who preaches it. I have always a high regard for the individual who is honest and moral, even when I am not in agreement with him. Such a relation is in accord with the concept of kavod habriyot, for beloved is man for he is created in the image of God.” —Rav Joseph Soloveitchik

    That goes for everyone. Absolutely everyone.

  7. Out of curiosity, as regards the Soloveitchik thing, it only applies to direct conversation on the web, right? As in, you shouldn’t say “you are a jerk” to your interlocutor, but it’s okay to say, for instance, “Sarah Palin is a jerk.” Right?
    So I’m going to take this opportunity to say that I wouldn’t care if this Daniel Sieradski came up with 31 million new ideas for Jewish technocreativity, he’s rarely posted anything on this site (or some others) that wasn’t phenomenally arrogant, rude, obnoxious, intolerant, insulting, and demonstrative of a total inability to accept criticism. He is the very definition of a jerk.

  8. So I’m going to take this opportunity to say that I wouldn’t care if this Daniel Sieradski came up with 31 million new ideas for Jewish technocreativity, he’s rarely posted anything on this site (or some others) that wasn’t phenomenally arrogant, rude, obnoxious, intolerant, insulting, and demonstrative of a total inability to accept criticism. He is the very definition of a jerk.
    Actually miri: “And for the record, not that Dan needs to be defended here as a speaker but he’s objectively massively qualified[to speak about where our generation is heading]and to suggest otherwise is either demonstrating ignorance of him and his accomplishments or is downright rude.”

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