A Second Life in Israel
Second Life Israel was launched Sunday, enabling Second Life users from around the world to visit Israel’s beaches and historic sites. The virtual state, preceded by a whole Jewish neighborhood in Second Life, is a work in progress, meant to, “present Israel to a global audience beyond the traditional media,” according to co-founder Chaim Landau.
With over 3 million users on Second Life, the emergence of a Jewish community was inevitable, especially since a Jewish presence was established early on, with the creation of Temple Beth Israel. Otherwise known as the Second Life Synagogue, Temple Beth Israel was designed and created by Beth Brown, who now works with Chaim Landau on Second Life Israel. Brown’s creation, which went online in 2006, when there were fewer than 1 million Second Life users, immediately attracted Second Lifers, and now regularly sees an attendance of at least 100. Brown has continued innovating, not only by helping to build Israel in Second Life but by being the first person to have a Jewish wedding on Second Life too.
The creation of Second Life Israel marks the beginning of a new chapter in digital Jewish society. It also brings Israel in line with other countries that have digital counterparts. Instead of going there in person, tourists can wander up to the Western Wall or float on the Dead Sea without ever leaving their homes. Other popular destinations include Tel Aviv’s beach promenade, Eilat’s underwater observatory, the Old City, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and the Dome of the Rock. Whether or not Orthodox Jews can visit the Temple Mount without violating Jewish law is still up for debate. On the plus side, Palestinians can visit without the lengthy visa process.
Via: The Jerusalem Post