Tuesday 22 May 2012


In an extraordinary gathering of nearly 60,000 ultra-Orthodox Jews, leading rabbis of the yeshiva and Hassidic world all but banned the Internet.

A halachic decision rendered by Rabbi Shmuel Halevi Wosner, one of the senior rabbis in the Orthodox world, said the Internet could be used for work purposes in an office ~ but only if absolutely necessary, and with the use of a filter. There was no justification for Internet use at home under any circumstances. 
It is interesting to note that in YouTube there are several videos that were shot at this event with the obvious and express purpose of being posted on the Internet. 

May 21, 2012

When New York City's web-phobic ultra-orthodox Jews wanted to discuss how to face the challenge posed to their community by the growth of the internet, they could hardly set up a Google Hangout or host a webinar.

With tens of thousands keen to take part, the community needed a big venue. On Sunday 40,000 men filled Citi Field, home to the New York Mets baseball team, to chart a way forward.

ED: Warning. You will see thousands of black hats filling an entire stadium in this video. To me, that is a bit of a nightmare vision. I thought of the Roman games… 

Amid concern over the dangers the internet poses to traditional morality, organizers said the discussion focused on how to protect children from pornography and violent sites. The proliferation of social media was also a key concern.

 ED: Aren't these the people who circumcise baby boys under rather horrific conditions? Child abuse in the Jewish community has gone on for thousands of years before the invention of the Internet.

The event, sponsored by the ultra-orthodox Jewish group Ichud Hakehillos Letohar Hamachane, featured prayers and speeches from spiritual leaders. Tickets sold out quickly, and the organizers rented a nearby stadium to accommodate another 20,000 people. There were separate women's events in other venues.

Across the road demonstrators staged a protest, complaining that sensitive subjects ~ including child abuse allegations ~ were being ignored while the internet was identified as a source of problem and sin.

ED: It is not the internet but people behind the Internet, an ungodly number of them being of Jewish origin, who are the source of problem and sin. The net is a tool, it is the misuse that is the problem!

Despite a media ban the BBC received exclusive amateur video from inside the stadium, and spoke with attendees at both the protest and the rally. 

Amateur video courtesy of Eli Gleiberman.

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