My name is Josh Mason-Barkin. This is my site.

Professionally, I’m a Jewish edu­ca­tor, tech strate­gist, and photographer/videographer. I’m founder and prin­ci­pal at The Motech Agency, and I also run my own pho­tog­ra­phy busi­ness. Previously, I served as direc­tor of con­gre­ga­tional learn­ing at Temple Emanu-El in San Jose, California hav­ing held the same role at Temple Isaiah in Los Angeles. On the way there, I earned MAs in Jewish edu­ca­tion and Jewish com­mu­nal ser­vice from HUC-JIR and a BA in pol­i­tics and reli­gion from Ripon College. Formerly, I con­sulted with schools and trained teach­ers in my role as direc­tor of school ser­vices at Torah Aura Productions. I am the author of two books, God: Jewish Choices for Struggling With the Ultimate and Artzeinu: An Israel Encounter, and I have worked in numer­ous syn­a­gogues in California and as an instruc­tor at HUC-JIR in Los Angeles.

I serve on the board of the National Association of Temple Educators and I am a mem­ber of the Jewish Educators Association and the Society of Professional Copy Editors (a job I held before enter­ing the field of education).

I’m also into tech­nol­ogy, espe­cially the role and usage of tech­nol­ogy in Jewish orga­ni­za­tions. I have worked on a num­ber of Jewish web­sites, includ­ing the mobile-opti­mized sites for the 2012 NATE con­fer­ence in Phoenix, the 2011 NATE con­fer­ence in Seattle, the 2012 NATE Kallah in San Antonio, musi­cian Noam Katz’s site, and the Temple Isaiah Religious School Blog. For the orga­ni­za­tion’s first three years, I served as web­mas­ter and tech con­sul­tant to B’nai Mitzvah Revolution.

I am mar­ried to Rabbi Sara Mason-Barkin, and I’m Charlie Mason-Barkin’s dad. In my free time, I enjoy pho­tog­ra­phy, writ­ing, play­ing with Charlie, and closely fol­low­ing my beloved Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Bears. I feel strongly about the Oxford comma, erad­i­cat­ing the prac­tice of typ­ing two spaces after a period, and the proper use of con­trac­tions. My favorite Beatle is George.

about this site

This isn’t one of those sites about a spe­cific thing. It’s my site, and I’m inter­ested in lots of things, so it’s about all those things. I real­ize that’s not the best way to get lots of clicks or attract the most eyes to the ads on my site. But that’s ok. I don’t have ads on my site anyway.


  • Like many excel­lent sites, this one is pow­ered by WordPress.
  • It is set in the Freight Text Pro and Proxima Nova type­faces (with help from Typekit).
  • It uti­lizes my own cus­tomiza­tion of Blogapp by Themes Kingdom
  • I use Civil Footnotes for source cita­tions and extra-tex­tual notes.
  • I’ve built this on a num­ber of com­put­ers, but all of them were Designed by Apple in California (or at least they run an OS that was Developed by Apple in California). Most of the HTML, CSS, and PHP code (at least the chunks I wrote) was writ­ten using Coda. Most of the posts were writ­ten in Coda, MarsEdit, or right in the WordPress backend.
  • It is best viewed using Safari, though any other mod­ern browser (Firefox, Chrome, Opera, etc.) should work fine. Use Internet Explorer at your own risk.
  • This site’s favorite food is meatballs.

stuff that interests me


most things that are Apple ((For the record: I’ve owned noth­ing but Apple com­put­ers since the used Apple IIe my dad bought around 1989. Four years later I bought myself a Performa 560. In other words: I did­n’t jump on this band­wagon after it was cool, and I never jumped ship. I used OS 7.5 and I liked it.)), Areca SAS RAID arrays, SSDs, Thunderbolt, and other things that mean I don’t have to wait for files to trans­fer; WordPress, clean CSS (which is to say I admire it — my own endeavor to become a CSS ninja is a work-in-progress), big high-res mon­i­tors, cloud-based ser­vices and stor­age, Keynote, Logitech mice and keyboards


typog­ra­phy, tex­tures, hor­i­zon­tal lines, lower-case, Helvetica (some­times)


base­ball, the Dodgers, foot­ball, the Bears (sorry… I don’t say “da Bears” since I’m not a fat, mus­ta­chioed man from Chicago), Kirk Gibson, the Lakers (if I have energy to fol­low the NBA), hot dogs, qual­ity pitch­ing and slick defense

grammar & punctuation

I’m stub­born about the fol­low­ing things. You have the right to dis­agree, but you’re wrong. (And I can prove it.)

  • It’s fine to split an infini­tive. ((The Chicago Manual of Style says so. And Merriam-Webster says the objec­tion to the split infini­tive has never had a ratio­nal basis. (see also: Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage (1994), pp. 867–868.) ))
  • Unless you’re writ­ing a very for­mal doc­u­ment, con­trac­tions are just fine. (And few peo­ple ever write doc­u­ments that for­mal.) ((See Chicago Manual of Style sec­tion 5.103: Most types of writ­ing ben­e­fit from the use of con­trac­tions. If used thought­fully, con­trac­tions in prose sound nat­ural and relaxed and make read­ing more enjoy­able. (see also: Modern American Usage, 2nd ed. by Brian A. Garner (2003), Oxford University Press, p. 194.) ))
  • The Oxford comma is cor­rect. ((The MLA, Chicago Manual of Style, and many oth­ers back me up on this, but I need no other ref­er­ence than Strunk & White: In a series of three or more terms with a sin­gle con­junc­tion, use a comma after each term except the last. (Of course, that’s from The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White (2005), Penguin Press, p. 3.) ))
  • Thou shalt not type two spaces after a period. Ever. Exclamation point. ((Your high school typ­ing teacher was wrong. Get over it. Don’t believe me? The style man­u­als are unan­i­mous on this one (MLA, APA, AP, etc.), but I like the sim­ple ele­gance of the Chicago Manual of Style (2003 edi­tion, p. 61): 2.12 A sin­gle char­ac­ter space, not two spaces, should be left after peri­ods at the ends of sen­tences (both in man­u­script and in final, pub­lished form). And flip to p. 243: 6.11 In type­set mat­ter, one space, not two (in other words, a reg­u­lar word space), fol­lows any mark of punc­tu­a­tion that ends a sen­tence, whether a period, a colon, a ques­tion mark, an excla­ma­tion point, or clos­ing quo­ta­tion marks. And on that same page: 6.13 A period marks the end of a declar­a­tive or an imper­a­tive sen­tence. It is fol­lowed by a sin­gle space. That should be enough proof, but if you require an expla­na­tion, Farhad Manjoo’s excel­lent 2011 essay on the topic is required reading.))