Today at a faculty professional development session, an interesting question was posed to us:
Do you consider Judaism an operating system or an app?
Judaism is an operating system at its core. Jewish values guide our actions and those Jewish values are “programmed” into us by our parents, synagogue, friends, religious school teachers, etc. However, I would also argue that the ways in which we choose to practice our Judaism in a meaningful way would qualify as apps. For example, I personally do not keep kosher and am not shomer Shabbat. I also do not attend Friday night services regularly. I find more meaning in teaching on Sundays and working at Temple, where I’m surrounded by the community while also helping. Some people go to services regularly, others are active in social justice initiatives, and another person may practice their Judaism by going to a Moishe House or something similar. These apps enhance the operating system and are interchangeable. I may decide when I’m older that Friday night services are more meaningful to me than teaching on Sundays (though I seriously doubt that will happen.) Apps change with time and according to where we are in our lives, but the operating system, the Jewish values and actions, guide my everyday life, whether I’m surrounded by other Jews or not.