Our guest this week will be the famous blogger and tweeter Rabbi Josh Yuter, author of the Yutopia blog (www.joshyuter.com)..
Tablet Magazine refers to Rabbi Yuter as "Rabbi Zuckerberg" because of his dominating presence on Facebook, Twitter, the blogosphere, and every other imaginable form of social media.
He has over 25,000 followers on twitter including writers from mainstream news outlets such as the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Fox News, and The New York Daily News who site Rabbi Yuter's Tweets as authoritative indicators of the pulse of young Jews.
Among other awards, in 2012 Rabbi Yuter was acknowledged as one of the top ten Jewish influencers for creative and strategic use of social media to positively impact the Jewish community.
Rabbi Yuter and I know each other from our undergraduate days at Yeshiva University. We were both computer science majors (I subsequently switched to Math) and he seemed to be just a regular quirky computer geek who happened to know a lot of Torah and had a knack for clever punning (“The importance of Tu Bishvat in Judaism has gradually been reseeding.” and "professional weavers often face looming deadlines.")
Back in 1998 he was already involved in that new "internet" thing (probably just a fad) and he starting journaling and expressing his opinions in a log on the "world wide web" which some people called a web log - or "blog" for short. I remember thinking to myself, "who is reading that anyway? It is not as if that many people even have a computer!"
Enter the new information age and twitter and now that quirky punning computer geek can broadcast his thoughts to the world, and he has amassed an army of 25,000 followers who anxiously stare at their smart phones waiting to read the next witticism or radical idea that Rabbi Yuter can put out in 140 characters or less.
In almost 15 years of blogging Rabbi Yuter has touched on the most sensitive and provocative issues in modern Jewish life, particularly but not always those facing the Orthodox Jewish world. He has written extensively on gender issues, homosexuality, conversion to Judaism, American and Israeli politics, Rabbi politics, Jewish denominations, new technology, pop culture, and current events.
He never shies away from chiming in on even the most hotly debated topics, and you never know which side of a controversial issue he will side with. But you can always be sure that he will have harsh words for one side, the other, or both.
I believe that Rabbi Yuter's popularity stems from his courage to say things that others are afraid to say, and his fairness on any given issue. In today's world people tend to flock to blogs that articulate exactly what they are thinking and the discussions devolve into echo chambers. Rabbi Yuter is a refreshing break from these trends and he provides a thoughtful and challenging perspective on the issues of the day that force people to think and consider a point of view that they other wise would have dismissed outright.
I am very excited to welcome my good friend, Rabbi Yuter, to Omaha and to give the community an opportunity to meet one of the millennial generation's most provocative and widely disseminated Jewish thinkers.
Rabbi Yuter is very excited to be a guest for season 1 episode 10 of Good Shabbos Nebraska. The unique talk show format of GSN is a perfect opportunity for Rabbi Yuter to address a wide variety of topics and let people know exactly what he thinks about them - in more than 140 characters.
If you have not yet been to Good Shabbos Nebraska, you must check it out and see for yourself why Omaha Jews are raving about and flocking to the most innovative, exciting, and thought provocing synagogue experience anywhere north of Pacific st. and east of 132nd st.
It all takes place every Shabbos at 10 am ONLY @BethIsraelSynagogue - where every Shabbos is a Shabbaton! #wesias