In California, I'm in a strange time warp. Right now it's before noon local time. It's about 3pm in New York. And it's 10pm in Israel. Which means my Israeli friends are now past Kol Nidre, the opening prayer of Yom Kippur; New Yorkers are trying to finish up any last-minute prep for the holiday; and I'm still sitting here at the computer, finishing breakfast and wondering how the fast will go this year. And to an extent, I'm experiencing them all at the same time (except, obviously, fasting and eating), because people in our network are extensions of ourselves.
The nature of community in the technology age is an entirely new entity. Can people be there for each other, in good times and bad, across miles and without physically uttering any words of support, comfort and companionship?
Recently, I noticed that the Jewish community offline (and to an extent, it's online sibling) mobilizes best around tragedy. Protests, vigils, memorial services - we never miss them. We commemorate loss by gathering, having moments of silence, praying, lighting candles, creating emergency hotlines, petition campaigns, calling Congresspeople, crafting contingency plans, and framing it all within a fundraising appeal. There's no way around that, to an extent - money makes plans possible. But it also gives us an action plan over things that are events, unchangeable because they're in the past, or a future that feels beyond our control.