Friday, May 28, 2021

Life on Zoom: Keeping up appearances--or not

Some of us have become quite camera-conscious as a result of being on Zoom.  Honestly, I so dislike the way I look on Zoom that I actually bought lipstick for the first time in about 30 years.  Here's my latest attempt to look semi-presentable on Zoom:

On the other hand, I've finally resigned myself to leaving my webcam in one position--if my head disappears from view every time I stand up for the Amidah prayer, so be it.  And I'll confess that I've given up dressing up for evening Zoom services, unless it's our own synagogue's Zoom service--I just stay in my jeans, though I do try to wear one of my nicer t-shirts on Fridays.

Other people have gone in the opposite direction, losing all concern with how they look.  Some folks remain seated throughout an entire Zoom service, though they would never do that when praying in a synagogue.  Others just stare at the screen and don't follow the usual Jewish tradition of moving their lips when praying--they look as if they're watching a television show.  The worst story I've heard, though, was of the poor soul who apparent forgot that they were on Zoom and were caught onscreen in their underwear in the middle of a service, with the minyannaires all unmuting to shout "Turn off your camera!!!"

Synagogues have been all over the map on Zoom and/or livestream.  I mentioned some interesting issues in my post about "the tail wagging the dog."  More recently, I've noticed some serious challenges regarding the presence of cameras in sanctuaries.  Some cantors/cantorial soloists/synagogue singers have become so concerned about connecting with their online congregations that they play to the camera(s) and forget to, ya know, look at their siddurim (prayer-books).  In other congregations, the cameras have swallowed the services.  :(  It's one thing when arrangements are made to have a split screen showing the synagogue musicians playing their instruments safely in a different room or balcony while the clergy conduct the services on the main floor of the sanctuary.  It's quite another when the videographer(s) superimpose translucent shots of the musicians over opaque shots of the clergy.  How much more intrusive can a videographer get?  How is one supposed to maintain one's kavvanah (focus, intention, devotion) through such distractions?  What do these videographers think they're doing--filming movies?

How will some of the synagogues that have become heavily dependent on cameras readjust once they go back to in-person or hybrid services?  And how will congregants readjust to having to actually participate in the services?

See Life on Zoom, part two:  Camera quandary


Post a Comment

<< Home

<< List
Jewish Bloggers
Join >>