Web gives 600,000 Jews chance to unite after Sinai

At a time when our children are far removed from the historical Jewish drama of the past two generations, how can we instill in them a sense of peoplehood? While most Jews identify themselves culturally or ethnically, this generation is the most Americanized, intermarried and assimilated since we landed on these shores.

Our tradition teaches that the Jewish people were formed as a nation at the foot of Mount Sinai. At the giving of the Torah, more than 600,000 Jews received a tiny portion of truth. There is a prayer that has not yet been uttered in Jewish history, which is reserved for that special moment when 600,000 or more Jews are assembled together once again, bringing their tiny portion of truth to the gathering. Ask your children to use their imagination about how they would have felt if they were one of the 600,000 Jews present at Sinai. After you have this discussion, it's time to go on the World Wide Web with your children and rediscover the diversity and richness of Jewish life from around the world.

On Feb. 22 to 27, more than 600,000 Jews — maybe even a million — will gather online for the first-ever Jewish Web/Net Week, an international event that brings together the full diversity of 613 Jewish sites to create a Jewish zone in cyberspace. At a time when the Jewish world is so polarized religiously and politically, the magic of the World Wide Web and the vision of rebuilding our people has united us. Sinai II, the sequel, is taking place at a computer near you at www.jww.org

Like the original Sinai, it's a family-friendly event. The difference is that this time you won't have to wander for 40 years in the desert.

Here are some activities you can do with your children online:

*Shabbat-o-grams. Send colorful greeting cards with your loving Shabbat messages to your friends and family by e-mail from www.ShabbatShalom.com

*Peace mural. Join hundreds of other children from around in the world in the creation of a mural, which will then be viewed online. Plan your art in advance, get it scanned and send it in to www.JewishArtist.com/mural/default.html

*Love stories. Share the story of how you and your partner met and compare romantic notes at www.JewishLove.com

You may also win Jewish artwork for the best entry and you'll find great articles on how to talk to your kids about love, sex, relationships and even President Clinton's recent scandal.

*Social action. Type in a good deed you or your children have done recently and 25 cents will be donated to charity in honor of your mitzvah. Send to www.Jww.org

*Feed the hungry. There are roughly 225,000 Jewish elderly in the former Soviet Union who are impoverished, isolated and hungry. Show your solidarity by logging onto www.FSUMonitor.com and pledge $18 as a family to feed someone for a month on the other side of the world.

*Discuss. More than 100 scheduled live events and discussions with experts and celebrities are taking place during the week, anything from how to raise moral children to great ideas for Purim. Join any and all these discussions with Jews from around the world at www.Jww.org

*Comics. Join a virtual tour of DC Comics as well as a live discussion with one of the Jewish writers at www.Sparksmag.com

*Answer a kid's question. Aliza is 5 years old and has questions for you to ponder and answer, anything from why did God make bad people to why should she share with her sister. Check it out at AnswerAliza.com

*Teens will be able to rap, unmoderated, on a different topic each night with other teens from around the world at www.JVibe.com

Although sitting in the glow of a computer screen is a far cry from witnessing the revelation at Sinai or visiting Israel, the World Wide Web can bring Jews together regardless of geography, denomination, affiliation or age. This taste of peoplehood for your children can be the beginning of an extraordinary journey, one that will be enhanced by your participation. The secret prayer — reserved for that special moment when 600,000 or more Jews are assembled together once again — will be found and hopefully recited at jww.org or JewishBlessings.com