I love reading articles about the intersection of technology and religion, specifically Judaism. My colleague Rabbi Eli Garfinkel, with whom I worked at Camp Ramah Wisconsin in 1997, was featured in a USA Today article last month about the use of podcasts in religious groups.
Rabbi Eli Garfinkel, spiritual leader of Temple Beth El in Somerset, N.J., a Conservative Jewish congregation, says he draws listeners from as far away as Italy, Argentina and Israel on his podcast, RabbiPod.The article explains that Podcasting is an inexpensive way for pastors and rabbis to greatly expand their audience beyond the walls of their own place of worship.
"I've been working on teaching the Torah in an accessible manner for a long time, and when the podcast technology was invented, it just seemed like a natural," he says.
Israel Anderson, a software designer in Denver who operates a free site called God's iPod, screens all podcasts submitted to him and weeds out most. Part of what's driving the popularity of religious podcasts is dissatisfaction with organized religion, Anderson says. "If you're in a home church or go primarily for fellowship but your church isn't particularly good at teaching, a podcast is a good way to hear from a wide variety of people."