Enhance, Not Replace

Educating readers on the many aspects of religious life is also Yosef Kazen’s goal. Kazen, the activities director for the Chabad-Lubavitchers in Cyberspace, offers a prayer area, streaming audio of various lectures, and online religious classes.

“I find this to be the best thing for religion,” Kazen says. “Our basic objective is to take 3,000 years of Jewish history, and make it available to people.”

Those who run the sites responsible for bringing religion to the Web, that is the key to the success of online worship. And they stress that their own offerings of virtual religion should reinforce, not replace, the real thing. ...

And while some may see the Net as an unlikely home for serious religious reflection, those who provide the service are hearing little criticism. In fact, they say they already have ideas in mind for increased interactivity in the years ahead.

“As people are going to become more involved at their own level in understanding what Judaism has to offer them, people living in remote areas will come together,” says Kazen. “It’s not going to replace, it’s going to enhance.”