Saturday, November 10, 2012

Two Peas (not) in a Pod: Ultra-Orthodoxy and the Internet

This week, we are being asked to look at a classmate's blog and discuss what they are doing for their Frisch LEADS project. 

Here are two blogs that I am looking forward to following as the year goes on: 

1. Danielle Silber is exploring what it means to live in ultra Orthodox Jewish communities as a woman. I think this topic is a fascinating one. As Modern Orthodox Jews, we are members of both the religious and secular worlds. Thus, we are probably in the best position to reconcile religious extremism and traditionalism with modern ethics and values. Yet, I find that many people in the Orthodox community stay on one side of the debate, either neglecting to take into account the not all together adverse culture of ultra religious communities, or making up implausible excuses on behalf of these communities without considering their actions against the backdrop of modernity. Many of my family members recently read Unorthodox by Deborah Feldman, a book detailing one woman's experience in the Chasidic neighborhood of Williamsburg. Although I have yet to read the book myself, from what I have heard it raises a plethora of questions regarding religious extremism, gender roles, and so on. One of my cousins read Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali after reading Unorthodox, and commented that one of the differences between the two books is that while both women detail the oppression they experienced in their respective religious communities, Feldman seems to have a lot more anger than does Hirsi Ali. Although I have not read either book, I found this observation interesting. Since I don't forsee myself having time to read Unorthodox in the near future, I look forward to following Danielle's progress with her Frisch LEADS project.

2. Ben Katz is researching the impact that the Internet has on human interaction and connection. This topic is particularly important in light of the immense amount of time that we moderns spend using the World Wide Web. Ben plans to explore social media, popular websites that impact how we learn and research (like Google, Wikipedia and Yahoo! Answers), sites like eBay and Amazon that have changed the face of consumerism, and sites such as eHarmony that have fundamentally altered the way in which we interact with other human beings. Here are some of the questions that Ben wants to answer: " To what extent has the Internet changed human behavior? Is this impact worldwide or just concentrated in certain privileged countries? Will this 'revolution' continue at the rate that it has? Has the Internet brought a positive change for us? To what extent must we remove ourselves from it? What are some instances where the Internet has changed people's lives?" All of these questions intrigue me, so I am very excited to follow Ben's progress!

1 comment: