When Images of Mohammed Showed Up in My Facebook Feed

Originally published on

Today has been a frustrating day on many levels, and surprisingly, at the top of my frustration is two Conservative rabbis who are Facebook friends of mine who have chosen to share an Islamophobic cartoon depicting the Prophet Mohammed. I’m not going to link to it here because I don’t want to have a hand in further distributing the cartoon.

I wrote to each of them

I am disappointed to see the rabbis of my generation circulating a cartoon that flagrantly disrespects someone else’s religion, not to mention perpetuates harmful stereotypes. Is this the spirit in which you hope to enter 5773?

And to my surprise, instead of saying something like, “You’re right, I got carried away. I’m frustrated but this wasn’t the right way to express it,” both dug their heels in and defended their right to mock Islam in a way they both know specifically insults Muslims.

One of these rabbis is a chaplain with the US armed forces. The other holds a significant post in the Conservative Movement in the United States.

I have spent too much time and far too much emotional energy engaging with them and their followers, pointing out over and over again that both our tradition and common sense says that one does not achieve anything by inflaming the fires of hate or provoking those with whom we disagree. They refuse to hear me. Part of me wants to just unfriend them and be done with it, but I don’t want to contribute to my own retreat further into a bubble of people who share all my opinions. But I won’t back down because I believe this is an important discussion to have, and I know Jewish tradition expects us vigorously pursue justice. The quote from Mishnah that I’ve plastered on my social media channels today sums it up for me: “In a place where no one is behaving like a human being, be the human being.”

I have long since disavowed any affiliation with the Conservative movement that was once my home, but incidents like this confirm for me that I’ve made the right choice. I know, I shouldn’t judge an entire stream of a religion based on a couple of vocal leaders, but, well, you see the irony there.

It’s delightful, it’s delicious, it’s dlevy! 5 Tips for Better Live-Tweeting

Originally published on It’s delightful, it’s delicious, it’s dlevy!

Those of us who love Twitter are, by this point, used to answering the questions of the uninitiated who don’t understand the point of 140-character microblogging. When I am called to Twitter’s defense, I always find myself waxing rhapsodic about live-tweeting, the phenomenon of participants in an event sharing the highlights with their followers who can’t be there in person.

When done right, live-tweeting can extend the reach of conferences, lectures, and other collective experiences. But when handled poorly, all it does is clog up your followers’ feeds and aggravate those you’re trying to help. So I’ve compiled a list of best practices I’ve seen to help us all be better live-tweeters.  Continue reading