#jwapedia: Tweeting the Encyclopedia!
In honor of Jewish American Heritage Month, the Jewish Women’s Archive is launching a campaign to tweet our online Encyclopedia of Jewish women’s history. The project poses an intriguing and entertaining challenge: to summarize a scholarly article in no more than 140 characters.
“This fundamentally challenges the top-down model of history,” said Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder, Ph.D., Rabbi-in-Residence at Be'chol Lashon (In Every Tongue), the Global Jewish Community Institute for Jewish & Community Research in San Francisco. “Tweeting an encyclopedia has the potential to connect a wide variety of audiences to the power of historical learning.”
Rabbi Abusch-Magder, a contributor to Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia, proposed tweeting the Encyclopedia to Judith Rosenbaum and I, and we jumped at the opportunity. We recruited a diverse group of influential Twitter users, including organizations, clergy, lay leaders, social media professionals, and fans of JWA, to help us tweet the Encyclopedia using the hashtag #jwapedia.
It was exciting to see our Twitter partners call out the topics they wanted to tweet about, spanning genres including the ladies of Broadway, Canadian women's stories, cookbook authors, Jewish women of color, Jewish women of punk rock, labor activists, and anarchists. By choosing to share the pieces of history that are personally meaningful, we can each become historical curators - a role previously reserved for scholars.
“I believe both in serious scholarship and the power of social media,” Rabbi Abusch-Magder said. “While some might worry about marrying the two, I see this project as enhancing both.” Gail T. Reimer, JWA’s Executive Director, expressed admiration for the tweeters who “dare to approach history in a way that speaks to people using new media in different ways.”
Three days in, #jwapedia is taking off. So far 27 different articles have been tweeted, and since the Encyclopedia includes over 1,700 biographies, 300 thematic essays, and 1,400 photographs and illustrations spanning the globe from biblical to contemporary times, the project has huge potential to grow.
We hope you will join the campaign by tweeting a short blurb and a link to any Encyclopedia article of your choice using the hashtag #jwapedia. You can follow the campaign at Twitter.com by searching for #jwapedia or following JWA at @jwaonline.