Modern Technology in Meah Shearim!

April 22, 2011

The word technology is not often found in the same sentence as Meah Shearim. In fact, this famous Jerusalem neighborhood and its environs, are commonly painted as abhoring anything to do with computer systems, the internet, or any other vestige of technology that you or I may take as a given! That said, I recently needed a place to daven Mincha and chanced upon the legendary Zichron Yehudah Shtiebel. This Shtiebel is located in a neighborhood that was originally referred to as Meah Shearim HaChadash, but is commonly known today as Beis Yisrael. For more on this area and its expansion I encourage you to read this post by Varda Littman here.

In any event, I noticed that there was not the usual chaos that one typically experiences at a Shtiebel. I didn’t need to scurry from room to room trying to ascertain when the next Mincha was going to begin. Instead, this Shtiebel had unique technology in place that allowed for an automated system that would simply announce the beginning of a Minyan, followed by the room number. However, in this case, it wasn’t a room number. Rather, it was one of the letters of the Hebrew Alphabet! As you can see from the picture to your right, the Hebrew Alphabet letters were lit up in bright neon colors and allowed for a calming presence to be felt throughout the building.

It was then that I realized that this use of technology is in line with how this neighborhood views technology. Simply put: if it helps one get closer to Hashem, I’ll use it! If not, keep it far…far away!

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