A Trip to the Holy Land, Online

By Sarah Kricheff

Published January 16, 2008, issue of January 18, 2008.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Flying to Israel is costly and time-consuming, but a virtual trip is just a few mouse clicks away. The online world Second Life opened an Israel community last Sunday, and users can now travel to such sites as the Old City in Jerusalem, the Western Wall, the promenade and opera house in Tel Aviv, the Red Sea and the Eilat underwater observatory.

Cyberspace: The first Israel community was opened on Second Life, an online networking site.
Cyberspace: The first Israel community was opened on Second Life, an online networking site.

“We wanted to present Israel as a very modern country that is rooted in its history,” Second Life Israel founder Chaim Landau told The Shmooze. “We hope to present Israel outside the box.”

Second Life is an online community and networking site that was opened in 2003 by San Francisco-based technology company Linden Lab. Some 11 million users from around the world are registered. Members create avatars and partake in a variety of activities, including building houses and businesses, purchasing property, traveling, and visiting dance clubs, shopping malls and movie theaters.

Landau, 26, is a New Jersey native who moved to Israel eight years ago. He created Second Life Israel with the help of Beth Brown, a Dallas-based artist. Brown built Second Life’s first synagogue, Temple Beth Israel, in 2006.

Though Landau said that the Israel community is geared toward “everyone and anyone,” he hopes to attract non-Jewish users who wish to learn more about Israel: “Many [users] come from places like South Korea and Japan, and of course there are many Europeans. I want to reach a non-Jewish audience. I think there’s an interest.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • It’s over. The tyranny of the straight-haired, button nosed, tan-skinned girl has ended. Jewesses rejoice!
  • It's really, really, really hard to get kicked out of Hebrew school these days.
  • "If Netanyahu re-opens the settlement floodgates, he will recklessly bolster the argument of Hamas that the only language Israel understands is violence."
  • Would an ultra-Orthodox leader do a better job of running the Met Council?
  • So, who won the war — Israel or Hamas?
  • 300 Holocaust survivors spoke out against Israel. Did they play right into Hitler's hands?
  • Ari Folman's new movie 'The Congress' is a brilliant spectacle, an exhilarating visual extravaganza and a slapdash thought experiment. It's also unlike anything Forward critic Ezra Glinter has ever seen. http://jd.fo/d4unE
  • The eggplant is beloved in Israel. So why do Americans keep giving it a bad rap? With this new recipe, Vered Guttman sets out to defend the honor of her favorite vegetable.
  • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.