Although many Jews abstain from technology during high holy days, some are embracing social media and taking to Twitter to seek forgiveness from those they have wronged in the past year.
For the social media sins we have committed with selfies, subtweeting, and smugness, forgive us, pardon us, grant us atonement. #YomKippur
— Sarah Seltzer (@sarahmseltzer) September 13, 2013
In all seriousness on this eve of Yom Kippur, if I have upset, offended or caused you pain I apologize and ask for your forgiveness.
— Bonnie (@bjr70) September 13, 2013
Atoning on social media may be part of a larger religious trend. After all, the Pope joined Facebook in 2009 and started tweeting a few years later. Cantor Debbi Ballard, founder of Shema Koleinu synagogue in Florida, is encouraging members of her congregation to use #skhiho13 to tweet their transgressions, which will be anonymously displayed on a screen during services. “My congregation is mainly young people and their parents. So I had to do something that would be attractive to young kids. What young kid doesn’t want to go to synagogue and have you tell them they can take their cellphones out?” Ballard told NPR.
The website eScapegoat has been collecting confessions before Yom Kippur as well. Some are funny: “My sister and I stole our bubbe’s false teeth to make maracas” and “I eat bacon cheeseburgers in my car so that no one knows.” But others show they are taking online confessions seriously: “My family is no longer interested in practicing Judaism. I resent them for it. I feel they’ve taken something from me.”