Seder “happening”

Thinking about Marc Canter’s blog post a few days ago about a online haggadah”.
It would be interesting to use the happening infrastructure for a distributed seder.
People could call in and participate, by phone, chat, and hypertext haggada.
As in the “electronic democracy” event, a moderator could use the “hand-raise” convention in the chat space to call on people to participate on the phone, making it easier to moderate a group phone call.
The interleaving of chat threads would be an online version of the interleaving of conversational threads at a same-place seder. If the happening had a wiki back end, people could add commentary as they read the haggadah, and could transcribe and edit the chat into future haggadah material. These are contemporary instantiations of the techniques the Rabbis used to put the original Haggadah together.
Following up on Marc’s site, he’s been talking with Philippe Scheimann who seems to have thought of the idea too.
I also have some sympathy to Tom Shugart’s comment — there are advantages to the traditional, “unplugged” seder. The food and wine, and seder plate wouldn’t be the same, with individuals holding a plate of food and a glass of wine next to their laptop (and the traditional spills would be more dangerous!)
“Everyone who contributes to the telling of the story of the Exodus from Egypt is to be well-praised.” Or [green-card] and [thumbs up], as the case may be.

4 thoughts on “Seder “happening””

  1. Hi Adina,
    We should not try to have the online hagaddah compete with an ‘unplugged’ seder but we could have it as:
    – an extension of the existing seder
    – some collective guidance before the seder
    – a kind of alternative for all the people who can’t join their family, who are lonely
    – a gathering after the real seder has come.
    Thus, it is interesting to read the features you are mentioning.
    I have some more detailed ideas that I am working on so that they can become some real products.
    There is a small forum (The World Network of Religious Futurists )that I invite you to join, leaded by Rabbi Moshe Dror, who is interested in spirituality in the cyber-space and mostly in the construction of a cyber-synagogue.
    Check : http://www.wnrf.org/cms/messageboard.shtml

  2. OK. I’ll check in the forum. In various years I do two seders, with one as a more traditional seder, and the second as an experimental seder. This feels like an interesting “experimental seder” format — I wouldn’t want to give up the more traditional, unwired experience, but it sounds like something interesting to try.

  3. Some advantages to an online seder:
    –not time-bound, so people who don’t want to give up their offline seder would be able to participate, as Philippe notes above. I also like the idea of extending the seder.
    –espirit de escalier, as you used to put it: if you think of something cool after the seder is over, you get to tell people who are still interested.
    –accessible to Jewish Deaf. As you know, members of Boston’s Jewish Deaf community and members of Havurat Shalom (www.thehav.org) put together two Deaf-Hearing sedarim in the last few years. Deaf folks use the internet a LOT and would be able to participate in an on-line seder on an equal footing to hearing Jews without interpreters.
    –could result in Hagadah text to use with unwired relatives and friends in the next year’s offline seder. Yes, I know this violates Marc Canter’s original intent, to go paperless and save trees.

  4. I’m actually working on a project right now with Douglas Rushkoff, a popular media theorist whose new book, Nothing Sacred, deals with the idea of “open source Judaism.”
    To demonstrate his theories, we’re currently building (and will soon debut) a website we’re calling the Open Source Haggadah Project. In addition to the original liturgy, the site will have hundreds of translations, commentaries, songs, readings and rituals from various Jewish traditions, as well as the opportunity for visitors to contribute their own. They can then compile their own Haggadah from the various elements available on the site, which they can export as a PDF and print out for their seder.
    The site will be up and running and ready for data entry within a week or so. If you’re interested in getting involved or staying informed of the launch date, shoot me an e-mail.

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