NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Watchitoo, a leader in live streaming technology, today announced that online Jewish congregation OurJewishCommunity.org has chosen their real-time collaboration platform to power its second annual online Passover Seder, taking place at 5:00 pm EDT on Tuesday, April 19, 2011. Last year, hundreds of people from 32 states and 10 countries participated. This year’s attendance is expected to increase to 1,000 participants, making it perhaps the largest Seder in the world.
Offering a distinctly twenty-first century opportunity for Jews to partake in the tradition and ritual of the Passover meal, the online Seder brings technology to the holiday table. OurJewishCommunity.org is the world’s first contemporary online synagogue and reaches tens of thousands of Jews year-round who otherwise would not have a connection to Judaism.
Participants range from families with young children to elderly adults. Rabbi Robert Barr of OurJewishCommunity.org said, “Our online community reaches Jews who are actually in the majority: the unaffiliated. There are many Jews who do not want to walk into a synagogue for a variety of reasons, but they want connection to Judaism and other Jews. Technology allows Judaism to transcend geographic boundaries and bring people around the symbolic Seder table on their computers.”
Watchitoo’s online social collaboration platform will allow OurJewishCommunity.org to stream live and recorded Passover content to thousands of attendees around the world, and provide them a forum to actively participate via webcam and chat.
Participants in OurJewishCommunity.org range from attendees who do not have a community of Jews nearby, to those who seek a liberal Judaism that they can’t find locally, to those who prefer to experience their Judaism online as they do with so many other aspects of their life. OurJewishCommunity.org reaches people in 155 countries, including soldiers serving in Afghanistan.
“When we launched the online seder, we wanted to bring an easy way to experience Passover into people’s homes,” said Rabbi Laura Baum. “Our Judaism is truly inclusive and has low barriers to participation. Our seder has a voice that speaks to contemporary modern Jews. With Watchitoo’s capabilities, we are able to enhance the experience even more this year, allowing Jews around the world to truly interact this holiday. Imagine a traveler in India reciting the Four Questions along with a grandmother in New York and a soldier in Iraq!”
Watchitoo provides any organization with an effective means to engage with their communities and host events in a unique way. Watchitoo allows users to interact with others via web cam and chat while collaborating in real time. This all takes place in a synchronized environment within the web browser that can be customized with any branding. Watchitoo can be embedded on any website and does not require any download to start using and interacting.
“Social media has broken down barriers and helped to establish relationships that transcend borders,” said Rony Zarom, CEO, Watchitoo. “The online Seder is a perfect example of the power of social collaboration to enhance and extend every aspect of our lives. By offering more than a static stream of video, Watchitoo is able to help foster a strong sense of community in a new and exciting way.”
Last year, Valerie Saturen of Tacoma, WA, who had not participated in a family Seder in more than 10 years, participated in the first online Seder and was able to share her experience with her husband, who was raised Catholic. Similarly, Gary Hoskie, of Melbourne Beach, FL, also participated in last year’s online Seder, making it the first time he had participated in years. And Lisa Sharp, of New York, finds the online holiday observances at OurJewishCommunity.org a great way to expose her non-Jewish husband and twin daughters to the traditions of her youth.
NOTE TO EDITORS: Seder Participants Available for Interviews; Additional Sources Also Available
OurJewishCommunity.org is the world’s first progressive online synagogue. Launched on September 1, 2008, OurJewishCommunity.org has reached more than 100,000 individuals in all 50 states in the U.S. and in more than 155 countries. The online community features blogs, audio podcasts through iTunes, video podcasts through YouTube, streaming holiday services, discussion boards, holiday eCards, recipes, educational materials for all ages, and access to rabbis. More information can be found at www.OurJewishCommunity.org, on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/OurJewishCommunity, and on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/JewsOnline.
New York-based Watchitoo provides an embeddable, live multistreaming platform that allows multiple participants to see and hear one another in real time, collaborate around any form of rich media, and be viewed by an audience scalable into the thousands. For more information, visit www.watchitoo.com.