If someone had told me a year ago, that I would be sitting at my computer "talking" to my friend Shimon in Jerusalem - while he telephoned my cousin Neville in Netanya to make sure that he and his family were safe, after the recent bombing attack - I would never have believed it.
Truth is indeed stranger than fiction - and both can be found, in a virtual abundance which increases daily, on the Internet. All you need is a computer, a modem and a telephone line and you, too, can be driving on the information highway. (And the "gasoline" rates offered by some Internet access providers are a bargain!)
You can correspond with or "visit" friends all over the globe, or check on the latest news from Israel. If you haven't seen the Chagall windows, try a "virtual" tour of the exhibit at the Arta Gallery in Jerusalem. Visit the Museum of Civilization in Ottawa, find out what is happening in the Portland Jewish community, or play a few rubbers of bridge with your partner in London, England! You can see for yourself - and be part of the effort to counter - the latest fictions offered by the Shoah deniers.
And yes, if you wanted to, you could even take a look at my creative efforts, find out what I look like (and do for a living) - or let other people know who you are and what your business might offer them.
There are some "potholes" on the highway, as well as people who are attempting to set up "toll-booths" (some of which are tantamount to highway robbery!), but these can be easily avoided with a few keystrokes or the click of your mouse.
Watch for future Internet Traveller columns in the JWB, to learn how you can do all this without ever leaving the comfort of your home (or office). But I warn you, you may well find yourself deserting your TV screen for your computer monitor!
*Hilary Ostrov is a Chartered Webaholic, who lives in New Westminster, BC. When not busy "surfing the net", she is a consultant and educator who offers Internet "driving lessons", hypertext authoring and design of World Wide Web "Home Pages", and computer-related training. She can be contacted via e-mail (email@example.com) or telephone (604) 525-3055
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