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January 25th 2017

I'm excited to let you know I'll be speaking at TEDxWhiteCity on January 25th 2017, at The Israeli Opera - Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center. 
It's an entire day (10:00 - 17:00), filled with ideas, stories and performances. 
The theme this time is: "Destination: Unknown". 
Tickets are available at:


2016: Summary

In December 2014 I published a summary of 2014
In December 2015 I published a summary of 2015
As it's December 2016, I'm about to publish a summary of 2016

Well, actually, I'm not. 

As you noticed from the few blog posts, few Facebook page posts and few lectures I gave during 2016: 
I had to take time off for personal reasons, and it ended up being pretty much full on from January till now: My father is ill and my family and I went through (yet another) not simple nor easy year. 
I took a long break from the blog and from the Digital Death realms. I'm coming back - not sure yet for how long - due to an event which shall take place at the end of January 2017. 
I'll let you know what it is soon, here in the blog, in the Facebook page of the blog, and in the Twitter account of the blog. 

Stay tuned. 


A New Project Launched in the UK Today: Digital Remains

On May 20th 2014, Mórna O Connor, an Irish colleague and a friend, sent me an intriguing proposition: to take part in developing an RLO - a Reusable Learning Object - dedicated to Digital Remains. 

Thanks to Morna's hard work the RLO is now online. It launched today, March 2nd 2016, which marks five years since my brother, Tal Shavit, was killed, and is dedicated to his memory.

Q:  What is this? 

"The resource is a Reusable Learning Object (RLO) that’s freely available online. It is a short interactive resource about what can be left digitally after death, how this can impact on the bereaved and what we, as members of the public and providers of health services, can do to better deal with this issue".
Q: How did it come into being? 

"The resource evolved from consultations with bereavement care staff about the role of technology in modern bereavement and grief. These care workers were uncertain about what can be left digitally after a death, why this differs from physical remains, how it impacts the bereaved, and what we can do about this issue. So, we invited these bereavement care professionals to participate, along with you, death studies academics from The Sue Ryder Centre and technology developers from HELM to create a resource that gives an introduction to these ideas and raises awareness about the modern experience of bereavement and grief.  We think it will be helpful for anyone who works with bereaved people and those at the end of life, and of course for members of the public. We all need to become more aware of the range and implications of what we leave behind digitally after death. We hope this RLO will be a step toward doing this". 

Mórna O Connor researches death, dying and bereavement and the role of technology in health. She has just begun a PhD exploring the digital-age experience of bereavement.She is part of both The Sue Ryder Care Centre for the Study of Supportive, Palliative and End of Life Care and Health E-Learning Media (HELM) research groups at the School of Health Sciences, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom. And she is also the narrator of the RLO! 

I have to say I envy her for having partners in the UK to collaborate with on such a project - just as I envy James Norris for having partners in the UK to collaborate with on his project (Digital Legacy Association: websiteFacebook page).  I wish and hope I shall find partners for such collaborations in Israel too. 

I know that in both cases, even with their partners, neither of these two projects would have come into being without their leadership, vision, hard work and dedication, and I am very grateful I got to play a part, however small, in them both.

Please feel free to share the RLO with friends, family members and professionals working in counseling, end of life support, palliative care etc. 

Thank you Morna for the terrific work you've done and doing, for helping to not only raise awareness to these important issues but for creating actual tools to be used in this regard, and for pulling through through all the technological obstacles you faced while accomplishing this. 


Be Kind: Backup

Someone you care about is grieving? You wish to be helpful and don't know how? I have an idea for you: tell them to backup. 

Backup? What do you mean "backup"? Do you think now is the right time to mention such a thing to the bereaved? 

Yes, I do: backing up videos, photos, texts and memories related to the deceased could be a very big - and very practical, meaningful and helpful - act of kindness. And not a moment too soon, too. 

The following stories are all in Hebrew and from Israel, but I believe the story is a universal one (and would appreciate receiving relevant links and print screens in other languages): 

2016. Anat Dolev passes away. Her son begs for help retrieving her stolen smartphone with the last pictures of her on it. 

 Facebook printscreen

Facebook printscreen

2015. Idan Shacham begs for help retrieving the stolen smartphone of Hodaya Goren. On it were pictures and memories of their recently deceased mutual friend Bar Shavit, who died a few months earlier.  

Facebook printscreen
(Link no longer available)

2014. Myriam Safrai begs for help retrieving her stolen smartphone. It contained un-backed up pictures of Muli, her five years old son, who passed away three weeks earlier. 

Facebook printscreen

2013. Roni Lahav - Vidra begs for help retrieving her stolen ipad. It contained un-backed up videos of her late husband, Yuval Vidra, with their baby boy Idan.

Facebook printscreen

2013. Tzach Cohen begs for help retrieving the stolen smartphone of his sister, Noy. It was stolen shortly after her death. 

Facebook printscreen

2005. Haim Avraham begs for help retrieving his stolen computer. On it were un-backed up memories and pictures of his dead son, Benny.

ynet printcsreen

This is why telling grieving people to backup could be such an act of kindness. Because pictures, videos, texts and memories might be lost irretrievably, if they are only on a single device which might get stolen or broken - smartphone, tablet, laptop, computer. Do it gently, but do it: suggest that they back up as much as possible to cloud storing and/or a portable, external hard drive. If you really wanna be helpful bring all the necessary cables along and find out for them how could it be done with their specific device/s and/or operating system/s. Don't expect them to think about it themselves - they are grieving. This is what you, as someone who cares about them and wishes to assist and support them during this difficult time, could be there for. 

When a tragedy occurs there is so much pain we can't do anything about and we can't ease. Let's at least ease up where we can and make sure the materials memories are made of are well kept. 

This is also why I say therapists, psychologists, social workers and other professionals and volunteers who support bereaved people should be trained in digital matters as well: to make sure there is someone there to tell grieving people to backup, and now