Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

10
Sep

Tweet Your Prayers in pictures

   Posted by: Alon   in Blog

Shalom all!

I prepared this short blog post to show you, in pictures, how the prayer-processing looks on my end. Hope you enjoy:

1. Printing: After the prayers have been received, the next step is printing them. Fortunately, I posses the amazing one-of-a-kind prayer printer!

process01

2. Rolling: When the printer has finished printing (or, the toner ran out), the pages are cut to strips using a utility knife. Then the strips are rolled into small scrolls. Here’s how it looks like when we’re just getting started:

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And a good few hours later:

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3. Driving: Now that the prayers are ready, it’s time to go to Jerusalem!(I should mention that this road-sign was photographed while I was at the passenger’s seat :) ):

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4. Getting inside the Old City: We have arrived in Jerusalem. The Old City has a wall surrounding it, and the Jaffa Gate is the nearest place to go through:

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We have reached the Western Wall – the Kotel! Here’s a picture of a wooden box filled with prayers with the Western Wall in the background:

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Here’s a picture of me standing on a chair, sticking my hand inside the Wall:

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And eventually…

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These are just some of the prayers that were placed. At the end of the day, all the prayers from the box found their final resting place in the Western-Wall.

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You can also watch the entire process on a video report Reuters made about me & TweetYourPrayers (Link).

6
Sep

Lots of great news!

   Posted by: Alon   in Blog

Shalom!!

I have just returned from a “Twitter Cocktail” event and I am very happy to say I bring you good news from that event, alongside other important news. Here we go:

1.

I spent a good portion of the time speaking with a very talented young man, also names Alon. He is responsible, among other projects, to the Israeli adaptation of Twitter. We also spoke for an hour on the phone a couple of days ago. Anyway, he’s willing to help with the automation process, which means that all of you who are waiting to be followed back (and unfortunately there are quite a few of you, sorry about that) will be followed by @TheKotel very soon. Then you’ll be able to tweet your prayers. Sorry it’s taking so much time; just hang in there. It’s coming. Soon!

What’s needed now is to be whitlisted by Twitter. What does whitelisting mean? Well, you can only follow so many people on Twitter for a given period of time, and also send a limited number of messages/tweets. If you exceed Twitter’s limit – your account is suspended. It already happened to @TheKotel in late July, if you were around back then and remember. It is better not to play games with Twitter, because they can suspend, and even delete your account. This is why I couldn’t follow-back all those needing to be followed. Just didn’t want to be suspended again – and in such event I wouldn’t be able to process any prayers at all. Anyways, to make a long story short, whitelisting means that Twitter decides your account doesn’t have a following/tweeting limit. Which would allow, technically speaking, to serve an infinite number of people. Pretty cool huh? :) So I’m still waiting to hear from Twitter regarding the whitelisting status. Hope to get good news very soon.

2.

Alon and I also discussed new features and services, which would definitely make your use of TweetYourPrayers more exciting. But one thing at a time.

3.

I was invited to speak and present @TheKotel and TweetYourPrayers at two conferences. One is in Tel-Aviv in about a month’s time. The second is abroad. Where exactly? Well, I’ll tell you in good time :) . I hope it will get enough attention to attract donors and sponsors.

4.

I’ll add a Gallery section to the website in a day or two. It will have pictures from Jerusalem and the Western Wall. Just adding the finishing touches to the gallery; so far it looks pretty good.

5.

I spoke with an accountant. He told me I should put up a donation box on the website, and that the technical procedure of paying income taxes here in Israel is nothing to be scared of. So I added a donation box; If you’d like to make a donation – you can just click on the yellow/orange “donate” button to the right, or go to the Help Us page and donate from there (again, click on the donate button). All donations are carried out by PayPal.

That’s it for now. Stay tuned!

2
Sep

Appreciating all the volunteers

   Posted by: Alon   in Blog

Shalom all,

A quick post before I go to bed. I just wanted to tell you what happened around an hour ago.

I’m producing an instructional video to guide new users step-by-step throughout the process of tweeting their prayers. Since I’m Israeli, and even though I consider myself to be rather fluent and eloquent in English, my accent could be better. So I posted a tweet that I’m looking for someone with a microphone and a native English accent. I’ve received around 12 messages from volunteers within minutes. Since then all I did was to answer messages on Twitter.

This is incredible. This is what keeps me energized and makes me continue zealously operating this service, meeting with tech-savvy people, etc. I am happy because my project brings the good people stand out, and the good from people to present itself from behind their shells. Thank you all very much, those who helped until now, and those who will help. There are so many, so I’m sorry for not thanking individually. Thank you all the volunteers to provide audio narration.

This song is dedicated to you:

Update 00:20 :

It’s funny how things turn out. I shared this post with a friend. She’s a great supporter of TweetYourPrayers and though I’m not comfortable with it, she describes herself as a fan. After she saw I thanked all those involved in some way or another with one of her favorite songs, she decided to share her cover version. Just had to put it. It fits so nicely with the theme of the post – appreciating those helping out :)

30
Aug

What does the Western-Wall (the Kotel) mean to you?

   Posted by: Alon   in Blog

Shalom all,

About two weeks ago Rev. Bosco Peters from New-Zealand wrote in his blog about TweetYourPrayers and @TheKotel. I was excited to learn that a Reverend wrote about this service. Most of my followers are in fact Christians, and they are responsible to most of the prayers coming-in.

Though I’m happy to see people of other faiths take part in this Jewish tradition of placing notes in the Kotel, I’m also curious as to what exactly does it mean for them. After all, the Kotel is a holy place for Jews, and the tradition is, as mentioned, a Jewish tradition.

I emailed the Reverend and asked him to shed a little light on this issue for me. I asked him to give me a general idea of what is the attitudes of the different denominations towards the Kotel and the placing of the notes. Rev. Peters gave me a simple answer, but it might just be the best one. He told me to ask my Twitter followers. After all, it is you that send in your prayers – than you must know better than anyone else what does this act mean to you.

I’d love it if we could get a discussion going here in this blog post, so we could all share our feelings, opinions and knowledge. So please leave comments with your take on this issue (Note: due to technical reasons comments do not appear right away). Also, please retweet this post so others could share with us too. You can retweet simply by clicking the green “retweet” button on top.

I’m waiting for your comments.

Link to Rev. Bosco Peters’ blog post – here. His Twitter page is @Liturgy .

28
Aug

The Kotel Team Shirt

   Posted by: Alon   in Blog

Shalom all,

Several people who saw the video reports on TweetYourPrayers asked me about the shirt I was wearing. This is the best close-up photo I have from wearing it in Jerusalem: (click to enlarge)

The Kotel Team T-shirt

Here’s a higher quality depiction of the logo:

The Kotel Team Logo

Well, this nifty Kotel Team logo shows the famous blue jay associated with Twitter, carrying a prayer to the Western Wall. I like it, I like the ingenuity and how it aptly describes the service.

A few weeks ago I tweeted that I’m looking for someone to design a logo to this operation. Several people offered their help (thank you Chana and Emily for all your hard work!) and eventually this design was chosen.

The logo was designed by a nice talented (and patient) guy named Dave Stark. I had him working hard tweaking the design again and again, and he was always happy to help. After I have finished tormenting him with “some minor changes”, we got into getting to know each other better. Turns out that despite his obvious talent, Dave finds himself – like many other talented people in this economy – out of work.

Even though he didn’t ask for any credit or mentioning, I ceased the opportunity of explaining about the shirt to give him the proper thank you he deserves. So thank you Dave! :)

You can check out more of his work here and contact him here.

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