In the days leading up to Yom Kippur last week, more than 7,000 people confessed their sins to an online, animated goat.
Some people fessed up to road rage, others admitted to spending too much time on the Internet. One person even confessed to passing gas and blaming others.
The anonymous responses were all part of a new
G-dcast website and computer application titled eScapegoat. It was up and running from Aug. 9 (the first week of Elul) through Sept. 12 (the day before Yom Kippur). Elul is the month when Jews traditionally self-reflect.
The San Francisco–based nonprofit created the app this year in an attempt to blend modern technology with the ancient atonement tradition — as described in Leviticus — of a goat being symbolically burdened with the sins of the Israelites before being sent off into the wilderness.
On the website, people were invited to anonymously enter their sins, using up to 120 characters. According to Sarah Lefton, executive director of G-dcast, eScapegoat had more than 26,000 unique visitors, with 7,426 writing up a confession for the goat.
“This project blew away our expectations for what is possible through social media,” Lefton noted. “We managed to reach people in a way that increases their knowledge of a Jewish story, gave them a holiday-appropriate way to connect with friends and family, and also made them laugh a little bit.”
G-dcast is a 5-year-old venture that aims to make Jewish learning fun through animated videos, apps and more. Initially it focused on Torah lessons, but recently it has been branching out into other areas, such as iPhone apps that allow kids to “make” challah or “blow” a shofar.
See below for a sampling of sins from the eScapegoat app. To read others, visit www.escGoat.com/byebye. And although Yom Kippur is over, the eScapegoat app can still be viewed at www.escGoat.com. — j. staff
Sins reported via eScapegoat app
“I claimed the soup was vegan. It wasn’t.”
“Thanks to my road rage, my 3-year-old daughter has learned an impressive assortment of curse words.”
“Sometimes I pass gas near a group of my students and let them blame each other.”
“I’ve created a secret Facebook account just to gather extra lives in Facebook games.”
“When I babysit, I’m more interested in my iPhone than playing with my nephew.”
“I think my first confession here was as much an attempt to be
re-tweeted as it was a genuine confession.”
“I am hot with shame that my son only has a brown belt in his Kung Fu training.”
“I blame men when I don’t want to date them when actually I am the problem.”
“We did Chinese takeout on the first night of Pesach. Halfway through I realized the fried rice had pork and shrimp.”
“I am going to Las Vegas on Yom Kippur … That cannot be good.”
“I eat bacon cheeseburgers in my car so that no one knows.”
“When my wife gets mad at me, I just can’t sympathize with her, and shut down — no matter how hurt she is.”
“My son (6) says he’s sorry for not being happy (content) with all he has. I’m (dad) sorry I maybe bought him too much.”
“I’ve ignored my father’s attempts to reach out because I’m not ready to forgive. I’m holding onto anger over past behavior.”
“I yelled at my kids too often. I should remember their ages, rather than what was expected of me at those ages.”
“Sometimes I read my husband’s Web history.”
“I was high at your wedding. It was the only way to make it through.”
“I ate all the cookies and chips over the weekend while the wife was away … I blamed it on the kid when she got back.”