Jewish Journal

Facebook’s role in furthering Jewish life

by Brad A. Greenberg

May 15, 2012 | 8:25 pm

There is a lot of hype surrounding Friday’s IPO of Facebook, and though I’d like to complete the tech-companies-that-will-rule-the-world trinity by adding some Facebook stock to my Google and Apple holdings, I think I’m going to stay away. Facebook just seems a bit (or a lot) overvalued.

But is the Facebook IPO good for the Jews?

Strange question. Uriel Heilman of JTA answers it by saying that the Talmud, if written today, might look just like Facebook: status updates followed by commentary. More broadly, the IPO has potential to bring a lot of new money into the American Jewish community. Plus ...

Facebook enables Jews to construct communities organized around areas of interest rather than geography, religious denomination or institution.

When Hindy Poupko Galena and her husband, Seth, began using Facebook to update friends and family about their year-old daughter’s fight against a rare bone marrow disease, a community of sympathizers quickly emerged that included thousands of people who had never met the toddler, Ayelet.

Strangers reached out to the Galenas—members of the Modern Orthodox community on Manhattan’s Upper West Side—not just with messages but with care packages.

“It allowed people to connect with what was going on on a very deep and real level,” Hindy said. “So many people came out of the woodwork and emailed me and said, ‘I had a sick kid and never told anyone about it, but I now feel that I can tell people about it.’ ”

Even now, months after Ayelet’s death in January at age 2, the Facebook-based community, which they call Ayelet Nation, serves as a source of sympathy for the Galenas.

“For a girl who only lived two years, it’s very comforting to know that people know her name, and I think that was only possible because of Facebook,” Hindy said.

Read the rest here.

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