There is no evidence that the covid-19 virus was put together by the folks at Zoom, the Silicon Valley videoconferencing company whose stock has nearly doubled in value since February. Since then, we have seen huge swathes of Jewish communal life — funerals, shivas, services, seders, adult education classes — migrating to the platform, which offers convenient communication even if, as its critics argue, it provides neither security nor safety from anti-Semitic Zoombombers crashing our meetings.
But while celebrity-studded events like Wednesday’s Yom Ha’atzmaut broadcast (okay, that was on YouTube) are fun and diverting, and the more intimate video get-togethers of our families and communities radiate the wistful pleasure of intimacy amid our physical separation, the luster has faded from the zoomification of those meetings that were no great celebration when we held them in our offices in the real world in the before time. The Hollywood Square jokes are tired; the Star Wars backgrounds aren’t even noticed.
What to do?
Adamah, the Connecticut farm run by Hazon, the Jewish environmental organization, has an answer: Get their goat.
Yes, you can rent baby goats for your next Zoom meeting.
The sliding fee for a 10-minute video conference with a baby goat starts at $100; Adamah is splitting the revenue between their own farming activities, which supply local food banks, and a relief fund for farmworkers across America.
You may ask: “What happens when you hire a baby goat to join your video conference?”
The FAQ answers: “We will join your meeting at the time you book. Our humans will say hello and give a little intro, and then we will be the star of the show. You’re welcome to just watch us do our thing or ask the humans questions!”
You also may ask: “What kinds of Zoom meetings are enhanced by goats?”
Quoth the FAQ: “All kinds! From corporate meetings and happy hours, to yoga classes and webinars.”
You might also ask: “Hey, doesn’t this week’s Torah portion include the Yom Kippur scapegoat ritual? How cool would it be to bring a live goat to this week’s virtual Torah service?”
And that’s where the fine folk at Adamah won’t come through for you. Their goats don’t Zoom on Shabbos. The rest of the week, though, you can book them at babygoatzoom.com.