Apr 11, 2012

On Being a Digital Rabbi

On Being a Digital Rabbi
(c) Rabbi Menachem Creditor

Someone recently asked me how I find time to write. This reflection is my very brief response. (That in itself is, perhaps, also a response to the question).

I write when I can't help but write and when it fits in between the more important commitment of face-to-face interactions. 

The biggest two benefits for a rabbi "present" in digital media are: 1) it helps shul members (and many others) feel connected, which extends my rabbinic presence beyond those who "show up" and those I with whom I have time to meet and 2) it gives me a sense of sippuk nefesh (spiritual reward), since so much of the "frame" (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, Blogspot, etc...) that spreads the writing I do is engineered for a feedback loop.

The danger of all of this is also at least twofold: 1) it's easier to express myself into a affirming virtual ether than actually connect and 2) it is addictive and has a lasting impact on my brain (see the entries on neural plasticity in The Digital Divide, edited by Marc Bauerlein).