Finchley's virtual audience

September 2, 2010
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Finchley Reform Synagogue's Community Without Boundaries project is launching with the streaming of Shabbat and festival services online.

The enterprise - funded by a Joint Jewish Burial Society grant and a member's donation - is aimed at both FRS congregants unable to get to synagogue and Jews without easy access to a community.

But initially, the highest concentration of users will be in Polotsk, a small northern Belarus town. FRS is twinned with the community, whose members will use the stream to learn the service and eventually to lead minyanim.

"We know that people learn to participate in services by attending them yet the community in Polotsk don't have the luxury of experienced service leaders," Finchley's Rabbi Miriam Berger explained.

"Modern technology is helping us to let the Jews of Polotsk experience our services so that they can then create their own. We are also helping to teach their bnei mitzvah students by Skype."

FRS has further plans to use technology to reach out to existing or potential members. A new website going live in November will allow users to request or offer help on a volunteers' message board. It will also enable families to continue their Sunday morning Hebrew learning online throughout the week.

    Last updated: 10:51am, September 2 2010