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A Twitter Yizkor: Memorial for Israeli Victims of Terror Launched on Twitter

The double murder of Rabbi Yaakov (44) and Natanel Litman (18) on Friday, November 13th, was quickly overshadowed by the immense and horrific massacres across Paris later that night.

But even without the massacre, the names and stories of Israelis murdered in the past few months get lost behind the next group of names of victims.

Four more Israelis were killed in terror attacks today.

Inspired by the @ParisVictims Twitter account, created by Mashable to publicize the lives of each one of the 129 people killed in the horrific attacks on November 13th, 2015, we have launched @israelivictims to memorialize Israelis killed in terror attacks.

The @parisvictims account has quickly amassed more than 44,000 followers.

If you would like to help with this effort, just contact rabbi @ picoshul.org.

We pray to God that we don’t have to add any more names, and for a quick recovery of all the victims.

May God comfort all the mourners, and Hashem yikom damam.

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Rabbi Yaakov (44) a gifted teacher and Natanel Litman (18) a volunteer paramedic HY”D were murdered on Friday, November 13, 2015.

The Litmans were driving to pre-wedding Shabbat celebration for one of their daughters, Sarah Tihyeh. The family car was ambushed by Shadi Ahmed Matawa of Islamic Jihad, and maybe others, near Otniel in the hills south of Hebron.

Five other members of the Litman family were lightly wounded in the shooting, including Noa, three daughters aged 5, 9, and 11, and a 16-year-old son. On Saturday, Noa said an ambulance from the Palestinian Red Crescent Society stopped at the scene of the attack before Magen David Adom paramedics arrived, but left without offering assistance. Dvir, the 16-year-old son, called MDA and also said the Red Crescent ambulance left the scene.

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Countering This Darkness With Light: Responding to the Jerusalem Synagogue Massacre

I spent too long on Twitter trying to get CBC News to apologize over the “Jerusalem Police fatally shoot 2 after apparent synagogue attack” headline on their website. Looking back, that time could have been spent much more productively by being a first and foremost a Jewish first responder.

We all have a responsibility to be vigilant about media blunder, bias, and sensationalizing. However, I am afraid that I became so preoccupied on how this horrific tragedy was portrayed in the media that I neglected the Jewish response. I got into this “Honest Reporting Sheriff” mentality and forgot what God wants now that I am faced with his unbearable tragedy.

While my first response at that moment was to mourn — I let is pass by quickly as my emotions turned to anger and frustration. I “got up in the face” of CBC and CNN and who knows else on Twitter. I called them out for what they are.

When I realized that this anger was taking me nowhere fast, I returned to mourning. I cried over the loss of precious life, and to screamed out to God in frustration. I organized prayers for the dead and for the injured at our synagogue, and reached out to comfort students at USC who were in mourning. I hugged my children tightly to calm their sorrow.

Having helped to stem the bleeding of from our hearts, I turn my time to help bring light to the world that was filled with darkness and chaos. It’s time to make the world a more blessed place and tie myself to efforts around the world that are seeking healing.

So I joined a worldwide psalm recitation website to increase the time I am committing to prayer. I organized a new weekly Talmud study partner (chevruta) and a new Torah learning event, Leil Shishi, at Pico Shul. I committed myself to helping someone who can’t pay their rent this month and a young couple that need help making a wedding. I have added psalms to be said at Shul every week for peace in Israel.

Next time tragedy strikes I will only be checking twitter to get updates on what’s happening. I am done being a “Media Watchdog.” I’ll leave that to others.

I am going to be busy organizing a Jewish response to tragedy helping to repair the tear in the heart of the Jewish people and countering the darkness with light.

We mourn the loss of Rabbi Moshe Twerskis, Rabbi Calman Levine, Rabbi Aryeh Kopinsky, and Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Goldberg Zayig Sayif.

And we pray for the complete and speedy recovery of Eitan ben Sarah, Shmuel Yeruchem ben Baila, Yitzchok ben Chaya, Chaim Yechiel ben Malka And those who need healing.

May God comfort the mourners and bring healing to those injured, and may we see the redemption soon, quickly, in our days. Amen.

What # Should the @IDFSpokesperson use?

An article in the Washington Post today points out that the pro-Hamas, Pro-Gaza #gazaunderattack has 150x’s more occurrences on Twitter that #pillarofdefence. And that makes sense because #pillarofdefence is a stupid #.

As the terms “Gaza” and “Hamas” trended globally, Twitter users staked out hashtags for their respective causes. On the Israeli side: #PillarofDefense, the name of the latest military operation, which appears to have been started by the IDF account. For the Palestinians, if not necessarily for Hamas: #GazaUnderAttack, #Gazzeateşaltında (Turkish for the same) and several other foreign-language derivatives. As of 5 p.m., the IDF’s tag had received 808 mentions, while the #GazaUnderAttack derivations had around 120,000.

Israel is trying valiantly to stay ahead of the social media curve and use Twitter to live stream the events as they unfold in Southern Israel. Why can’t they pick a # that works? #pillarofdefence might be a basketball term.

I applaud the efforts of the @IDFSpokesperson to get on Twitter and be the voice of Israel and the events as they unfold. I just wish they were as clever with #’s as they are at finding terror masterminds and blowing them up.

Named a Top 10 Jewish Influencer by @JewishTweets and NJOP

Thank you NJOP for this honor. The Internet and Social Media are a powerful conduit for ideas, education, and inspiration for Jews around the globe. I take the issue of online Jewish content very seriously, even if some of my postings are irreverent in nature. Blogging and using the web to bring forward important issues in the Jewish world is part of being a catalyst for a dynamic Jewish renewal and fighting the continuing trend of disaffiliation and assimilation. Additionally, because so many Jews are disconnected from Jewish life and community, the web affords Jews to be in touch with spiritual leaders, community leaders, and other Jewish personalities on a personal level that never existed before the Interweb Revolution.

NATIONAL JEWISH OUTREACH PROGRAM REVEALS WINNERS OF THE FIRST JEWISH INFLUENCER AWARDS

@JewishTweets – Jewish Lifestyle Twitter Feed – Recognizes 10 Jewish Influencers in Social Media during Social Media Week 2012

New York, NY – (February 13, 2012) The National Jewish Outreach Program (www.njop.org) tonight announced the recipients of the first “Jewish Treats: Jewish Influencer Awards” during the organization’s 18th annual dinner. The announcement was listed as part of Social Media Week (SMW12) which kicked off earlier in the day.

Finalists were selected by an expert panel of judges and evaluated based on creative and strategic use of social media to positively impact the Jewish community. Winners will be listed on the NJOP website, featured on @JewishTweets and invited to participate in 2012 NJOP social media programming.

“We launched @JewishTweets in March 2008 and from the outset, embraced it for the way it allows us to connect with people everywhere. It has allowed us not only to be heard, but to listen and be inspired by others every day,” said Ephraim Z. Buchwald, founder and director of the National Jewish Outreach Program. “In particular, we wanted to take time to recognize some of those who are leveraging the power of social media to raise Jewish social consciousness and shine a positive light on Jewish life.”

2012 Jewish Treats: Jewish Influencer Awards

Rabbi Yonah Bookstein @RabbiYonah
Rabbi Yonah Bookstein is the executive rabbi for JConnectLA, which hosts events to help young Jews “connect to something bigger”.A popular blogger, Bookstein’s writings regularly appear in The Huffington Post, Jewlicious and LA’s JewishJournal.com. He also maintains the Facebook presence for both JConnectLA and the Jewlicious Festival, a popular youth event.