The world has now been traveling on the information super-highway for over a decade. The recent explosion of media sharing and social networking websites on the Internet – Youtube, Facebook, Mys Space, to name a few – makes clear that while the Internet may have had a dramatic effect on our commercial lives by making it easier than ever to find what we want, when we want it, the true value of the Internet, its strength and purpose, lies in creating a space for people to express themselves, share information, create communities, and foster individual and collective identities. In short, the Internet was made for social networking.
Today, many of the so-called social networking websites in cyberspace fail to foster the kind of community many of us want to be a part of. These websites nurture our insecurities, invade our privacy, undermine our individuality, encourage exhibitionism, and, too often, introduce inappropriate influences, images, and information to us and to our communities. Thankfully, KosherTube is a different kind of social networking website; with your help, we can together create a kosher online community. After all, social networking is the foundation of daily Jewish life.
It may come as a surprise that Jewish life is built upon “social networking”, but it is a principle we reaffirm on a daily basis. Every morning, prior to the morning prayer service, we read to ourselves a list of deeds that we are rewarded for in this world, but whose principle reward lies in the world to come (Shabbos: 127A). All of these deeds seek to strengthen communities and have a uniquely social component:
- Honoring our mother and father;
- Acts of kindness;
- Attendance at the house of study, morning and evening;
- Hospitality to guests;
- Visiting the sick;
- Providing for a bride;
- Escorting the dead;
- Absorption in prayer;
- Bringing peace between man and his fellow;
- And the study of Torah is equivalent to them all.
As users of KosherTube and members of our growing online community, you will find it easier than ever to join together to perform these deeds.
- Bring nachas to your parents by sending them video greetings from the whole family; imagine the smile on Bubby’s face in Brooklyn when she sees her grandchildren in Baltimore wishing her a good Shabbos, or the joy Zaidy gets in Toronto from sharing stories with his grandchildren in Montreal.
- Organize chesed projects with other users around the world.
- Attend any number of the vast amount of online video classes already available at KosherTube, or post your own. Take a class in Judaism 101 and learn “How To” do any number of mitzvahs or share your own wisdom with others. As long as it's kosher, the only limit to the content on KosherTube is our users’ imagination and ambition. Users can post weekly vorts (words) on the parsha (weekly Torah portion); host video shiurim, which other users can subscribe to; and post questions, receive responses and participate in any number of discussions on any number of topics.
- Share life's joys and passages: announce births, engagements, weddings and bereavement; send video mazal tovs and prayers for a refuah shleima (recovery from illness); pay video tribute to loved ones who have passed on, but whose influence continues to be felt; create a group to offer Shabbos hospitality. Again, the only limit is your own imagination.
As KosherTube grows, users will control much of the content as KosherTube moves beyond a website that hosts kosher content to a place in cyberspace that fosters genuine community. There is no limit to what KosherTube users can do: become the program director of your own online KosherTube channel, control the content and invite people to see the videos you share; start a video blog (journal) or share videos taken at a simcha with those who could not be there; organize chesed projects; start an online class or organize a chavruta with someone half-way around the world.