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July 21, 2011

Google+ and the end of physical minyans

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/google_and_the_end_of_physical_minyans_20110721/

I’ve been using Google+ for three weeks now, and though the place often feels dead, there is a lot of cool stuff to do on Google+. Like have a minyan.

That’s right. No longer do 10 men need to meet in a room in the middle of the day to pray. They can “huddle” on Google+’ which allows for group video chats of up to 10 people.

This caused PunkTorah to ask: “Will Google+ Change the Kaddish on Accident?

If Google+ works, it could completely eliminate the need for a physical minyan. Granted, you could pull this off with OneShul (which we do) or any other kind of webcam software, but the ease of use and the fact that anyone can lead without having to download anything means that your everyday shmo could pray in a quorum with nothing getting in the way.

Hangouts would have one downside: online synagogues like OneShul or OurJewishCommunity host around thirty or more people at a time…something you couldn’t pull off with Google’s software.

Still, leave it to Google to revolutionize Judaism.

Purists, of course, will say there is no substitute for the real thing. Face to face. But PunkTorah might be on to something, especially for younger Jews more comfortable living in a digital space.

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