Chets Appear on #Twitter For #YomKippur

September 27, 2012
Praying by chany14, on Flickr Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License??by??chany14?
For #YomKippur 2012, Twitter users confessed their sins on the micro-blogging site using #alChetHarvard. At the beginning of every Yom Kippur, Jews all over the globe gather and confess their sins in two types of prayer. The first is called the Ashamnu while the second is called the Al Chet. The Ashamnu is unique because sins are arranged alphabetically in Hebrew. Every confession will start with 'we' followed by the particular sins they have committed. The Al Chet also includes a list of sins followed by worshippers atoning for these. The Reform group at Harvard Hillel, Harvard University (@Harvard) has taken a radical approach for Jews to confess and atone for their sins on Yom Kippur, which began September 25 and ended September 26. The Jewish community encouraged worshippers to use the hashtag #alChetHarvard and confess their sins on the social media site, to represent a combination of new age approaches and traditional experience and practice. There were mixed reactions from the suggestion. Some people felt that it was inappropriate to use social media or and other public devices and platforms to celebrate a very solemn event. Others say that it was a great idea that would encourage more members to take part as well as be aware of the true message of atonement and forgiveness of sins. Many Jewish Twitter users seem to agree with the new approach by saying that worshippers can encourage each other and spread words of love and joy to others in the community. The idea is not completely new since several Jewish groups and other religious communities have also been using the Internet and social media for various cultural practices and traditions. During Rosh HaShana last year, people were asked to write their chets on cards to be included in the liturgy. Today, posting chets on Twitter would make the communal experience more efficient without compromising quality. It wouldn?t be detrimental to custom or tradition, according to many, since social media is only a new outlet, just like previous activities and methods used. Here's a graph showing activity for #YomKippur.

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