Joel Alperson, a Wexner Heritage alumnus, is the United Jewish Communities’ National Interfaith Campaign Chair and president of Omaha Fixture International in Omaha, NE. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So often, when I come across a Jew who has questions about Judaism or the Jewish community, my first instinct is to suggest a book. The problem is that the person I’m talking to has to remember my suggestion and then take the time to buy the book.
Today, technology allows for some interesting alternatives, and as a result, I’ve started giving out USB flash drives (thumb-sized digital memory devices). These drives contain my favorite Jewish lectures, articles, Jewish music, and even videos. A 1GB (gigabyte) drive is enough to offer a good variety of material and can be purchased for as little as $7.00 at www.pcconnection.com or www.circuitcity.com.
By the way, the opportunities for creativity are endless. The drive could contain a list of Jewish institutions in the area, great Jewish food recipes, and tips for how to conduct a Shabbat meal.
Now, instead of hoping someone will remember to follow up on a suggestion I’ve made, I give them a USB drive and all they have to do is plug it into a computer.
To build on this idea, please send me any files you believe would contribute to making a really good flash drive compilation.
You can reach me by uploading your files to www.JewGetIt.com (or you can e-mail me at email@example.com). This is a site I’ve created which is devoted to the exchange of Jewish lectures, photographs, articles, and videos. At some point, if the demand is great enough, I’ll offer a feature allowing you to upload your material to the site unassisted. But for now, send me what you have and I’ll get it posted. Currently, you’ll find around 100 free downloadable/streaming lectures which you can use for your own USB drives or for your own enjoyment. The site will also accept Word and .pdf documents, .jpg photos, as well as audio and video files.
Finally, I find the daily ritual of grabbing a couple of these tiny drives to carry around with me to be a great reminder of how important it is to reach out to other Jews. I find so many people are searching for a greater connection to their Judaism and a Jewish community.
As you come up with ideas of how to better use your flash drive or www.JewGetIt.com, please let me know. And as you create your own drives and hand them out, please let me know how things are going. I’d love to hear about your experiences.