Did you know there is a vibrant Jewish life in Second Life? (Pause: What is Second Life you might ask?)
Second Life is and internet-based 3D virtual world available by downloading an application by its developer, Linden Labs. Anyone can participate (they have a teen world that is protected for the younger set). “Residents” create an avatar, and can explore, meet other residents, socialize, participate in individual and group activities, and create and trade items and services with one another. Those who wish to participate in the commerce can pay a monthly fee for an “allowance” of Linden Dollars, and/or cash in real dollars for the Second Life currency.
Now, on to the Jewish life in Second Life. There is a synagogue, a yeshiva, a museum, Hebrew classes, Torah study, a mikvah, a Second Life Kotel, and much more. There is even a magazine about Jewish life in Second Life, cleverly named 2LifeMagazine (get it — Second Life / L’chaim?).
Beth Odets (that’s her avatar name – in real life, Beth Brown) created the synagogue in 2006 and convenes many holiday celebrations, candle lightings, sing alongs and other events in the Jewish neighborhood. Once again, she held a sukkah building contest in the courtyard outside the synagogue this year. Over the past few weeks participants have designed and built their sukkot, decorated them, added signs, and notecards you can take and “keep”, glasses of wine and slices of cake you can enjoy while visiting. You can stroll down “sukkah alley”, admiring the “handiwork” of the contestants, taking a seat in this one, viewing photos of families and ushpizin on the walls of another.
I toured 16 of them today, as the contest closed and the winners were announced. There were many stylish entries – some very traditional, some quite modern and unique. Many had music playing inside, birds chirping, and the fabric “swaying in the wind”.
Interested? Go to http://secondlife.com to download the application. A good internet connection and a decent video card are recommended. Even better, find friend who is experienced in Second Life to give you a tutorial. Or start by reading a bit about the Jewish community there in 2LifeMagazine.