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Stefanie Davenport

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High Holidays Innovation from OurJewishCommunity.org; First Ever Streaming of Services on Blackberries, iPhones and Droids

Progressive Synagogue Adds Children's Program in 3rd Year of High Tech Effort to Bring Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur Services to Thousands

Twitter Lets Far-flung Families Attend Services Together

CINCINNATI (September 1, 2010) - The upcoming Jewish High Holidays (Rosh Hashanah Sept. 8-9, Yom Kippur Sept. 17-18) mark the first time that Jews around the world will be able to participate in services not only by gathering in front of computer screens but also on mobile devices such as iPhones, iTouches, iPads, Blackberries and Droids.


Recognizing how many people access the Internet on their mobile devices, OurJewishCommunity.org the world's first and only progressive online synagogue, added the mobile channel as an important new feature in its expanded third year of using high-tech communications to bring Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services to thousands who might not otherwise be able to attend.

OurJewishCommunity.org, founded by Rabbi Robert Barr and Rabbi Laura Baum, recently named one of the 50 most influential female rabbis by the Jewish Forward, will be video-streaming two Rosh Hashanah and two Yom Kippur services live.Also new this year are holiday services for children; those will be pre-recorded and include stories and age-appropriate background about the holidays. There will also be a pre-recorded Memorial Service featuring photos that the web site's members' submit of deceased family members that they are remembering. All of the services will also be archived for future viewing on the computer (although archives are not available on mobile devices).

The services will be live-streamed at www.Facebook.com/OurJewishCommunity in addition to at www.OurJewishCommunity.org with Facebook and Twitter chats. Mobile devices can access the live services at www.MobileJudaism.com.

Dates/Times:

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 8:15 PM ET (Rosh Hashanah Evening)

Thursday, September 9, 2010 at 10:30 AM ET (Rosh Hashanah Morning)

Thursday, September 9, 2010 at 1:30 PM ET (Rosh Hashanah Children's)

Friday, September 17, 2010 at 8:15 PM ET (Yom Kippur Evening)

Saturday, September 18, 2010 at 10:30 AM ET (Yom Kippur Morning)

Saturday, September 18, 2010 at 1:30 PM ET (Yom Kippur Children's)

Saturday, September 18, 2010 at 4:00 PM ET (Yom Kippur Memorial)

Last year, nearly 4,000 computers logged in from 100 countries on Yom Kippur day. Among those watching were members of the military serving overseas, people who are homebound, and some who are geographically isolated. Many commented that they would not otherwise be able to afford services. Others chose to participate in this service because they appreciate the liturgy and contemporary perspectives. Viewers ranged from young to old, and many families (sometimes in different states) watched together.

Rabbi Laura Baum of OurJewishCommunity.org said "We know that there are so many people who don't have a connection to Judaism but would like one. We bring Judaism to people where they are. This means two things: having a philosophy that speaks to 21st century Jews and using the tools of the time."

OurJewishCommunity.org also streams a weekly Shabbat service and offers several other features: blogs, podcasts, video-casts, educational materials, holiday cards, access to rabbis, recipes, conversations, and more. Many people see OurJewishCommunity.org as their synagogue and Rabbis Barr and Baum as their rabbis.

"We are more than a website, we are a community," said Rabbi Robert B. Barr of OurJewishCommunity.org. "As rabbis, we interact with our participants from around the world, and they interact with each other. Meaningful conversations happen during services and throughout the year at OurJewishCommuntiy.org. For many, this is their only connection to Judaism."

Those viewing the Rosh Hashanah services were able to chat on the web site and through Twitter and Facebook. Many interacted with each other throughout the service. One Twitter follower wrote last year that she spent the "New Year with family" as she watched the service from Utah along with her brother who watched in New Jersey.

All of the services will be led by Rabbi Robert B. Barr and Rabbi Laura Baum at Congregation Beth Adam in Cincinnati. Beth Adam is an independent congregation that has written all of its own liturgy. Online viewers can download a PDF of the liturgy to follow along.

To join the free community and view any of the services, visit www.OurJewishCommunity.org or www.Facebook.com/OurJewishCommunity.

About OurJewishCommunity.org

OurJewishCommunity.org is an online congregation that reaches tens of thousands of Jews around the world. OurJewishCommunity.org features blogs, audio podcasts through iTunes, video podcasts through YouTube, streaming holiday and Sabbath services, discussion boards, holiday eCards, recipes, educational materials for all ages, and more. Rabbi Baum has more than 1,750 followers on Twitter (www.twitter.com/rabbibaum) and OurJewishCommunity.org has over 3,200 Facebook fans (www.facebook.com/ourjewishcommunity).


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Laura Baum, Rabbi, OurJewishCommunity.org

Laura Baum Headshot
As the Founding Rabbi of OurJewishCommunity.org, Rabbi Laura Baum works to engage Jews through social media and other technology. Baum was recently named one of the 50 most influential female rabbis by the Jewish Forward. "Baum's Blog" is a central feature of OurJewishCommunity.org as are Rabbi Baum's YouTube podcasts. An expert on social media and the changing needs of the Jewish community, Rabbi Baum has created a new model for engaging those seeking a new way to connect to Judaism.

Rabbi Baum was ordained by Hebrew Union College in 2008 and is now an adjunct instructor there. She graduated from Yale University in 2001 Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa, and with distinction in the Psychology major. She is also pursuing an M.B.A. at Xavier University.

Robert B. Barr, Rabbi, OurJewishCommunity.org
Robert B. Barr HeadshotRabbi Robert B. Barr, ordained by Hebrew Union College in 1981, is the Founding Rabbi of Congregation Beth Adam in Cincinnati, Ohio. Under his leadership for the last 30 years, Beth Adam has grown from 6 members to over 300. The congregation has a significant voice and is a resource for liberal Jews worldwide. Rabbi Barr first imagined the online congregation and has played a continuing role in its development, including his weekly podcasts ("Barr's Banter") which are available on iTunes.

Rabbi Barr is active in the leadership of many Jewish organizations and has twice served as president of the Greater Cincinnati Board of Rabbis. Recognized by his peers as a leader in the evolution of modern, liberal Judaism, his writings have been published in journals, books, and web sites around the world.

High Resolution Photos available at: http://bit.ly/ojcpress