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Why not Skype??

From: Steve L.
Sent on: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 12:17 PM

Even though I live on Long Island, I also joined another Yiddish Meetup group, i.e. the Yiddish Culture Collective (based in Southern California). I suggested to them that they look into Skype, which allows people with cameras embedded on their computer or attached to one to communicate freely with another person who has the same. I wrote (in two e-mails to them):


“A month ago, after being urged to do so by a friend in San Mateo (I live on Long Island), I set up a Skype account and made an "Internet call" to my friend, and voila. It's free, and if you somehow have a camera either built into your computer or attached to it, you can set up your own Skype account and communicate (in English or Yiddish) with others, e.g. friends, family members, even Yiddish speakers, really anywhere, see their "sheyne punim" and talk to them without charge at your own pace. All you have to do is set up an account, which isn't so bad if you follow the instructions. You can find Skype at, sign up and make Internet calls to others who also have a Skype account.


As a continuation of my suggestion, may I suggest further that someone check into whether there's a way of making a "conference call" where multiple people (i.e. more than two) can chime in on a conference at the same time. This, of course, with proper planning can lead to small group interactions in Yiddish or English, for example. I suppose there are a myriad of ways one could take advantage of the features Skype offers, so whomever has the time to look into it -- perhaps someone in the group already knows a lot about it -- please do and let the group know what you find out.


I also know some genealogy societies that sometimes use Skype to present speakers to their group, rather than in person (in person, is of course best, but what can you do?).


You can even transmit events via Skype (though there are limitations), especially the ones that you set up yourself or with other groups. Why not a Yiddish poetry reading (with discussion)? A lecture? There is also a way to record Skype for future use (though I don't know if you need special software or not), though don't ask me how to do it or what it would take. You can even give Yiddish lessons with Skype (or via YouTube for that matter), if you so choose. So many choices, really. Like so many bright ideas, it takes someone to take the ball and run with it, so to speak. So it's really up to all of you.


It would be nice if someone out your way would lead a discussion during one of your well-attended Meetup functions, if it's appropriate at the time, and toss around some ideas about whether the use of Skype for the group is appropriate, and to find one or more people willing to follow up the discussions with planning, etc. Not always easy to find volunteers. While it's generally best to physically meet at a specific location, Skype does open up another way of "meeting up". Good luck!


You might even more easily touch base with your "sister" Meetup group in New York (The New York Yiddish Language Meetup Group), and who knows what could happen then? Oy!”




I received a reply from their group leader, suggesting that a hookup with our Meetup group might have some possibilities. They will discuss this idea at some time.


Even within our group, we may find some use for Skype. Perhaps someone in our group will take up the mantle and look into this, perhaps join the So. California Yiddish Culture Collective group and see how we can all cooperate, etc.



Steven Lasky
[address removed]




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