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New York - Charedi Rebbis Set To Mega-Gathering To Address Dangers Of Technology

Published on: March 14, 2012 11:24 AM
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Rabbis meet to discus the upcoming Asifah. Credit: HamodiaRabbis meet to discus the upcoming Asifah. Credit: Hamodia

New York - Thousands of people are expected to gather in Queens this spring for an asifa that will offer both words of chizuk and halachic guidance on dealing with the challenges of modern technology.

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The event, which will take place on Sunday, May 20th at Citi Field in Flushing, is being arranged by Ichud Hakehillos L’Tohar Hamachaneh, an organization founded last year by R’ Matisyahu Solomon and the Skulener Rebbe to combat the dangers that are inherent in the contemporary digital world.

As reported in today’s Charedi newspaper Hamodia, Rabbonim from numerous different communities across North America have joined the Ichud in an effort to formulate an appropriate approach that allows the frum community to make use of current technology without compromising any religious standards.

Further details for the asifa will be announced in the upcoming weeks.



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1

 Mar 14, 2012 at 11:27 AM Anonymous Says:

How ironic this meeting will take place in a baseball stadium full of technology.

2

 Mar 14, 2012 at 11:36 AM IronDumb Says:

Its a waste of time. The Rebbes have lost this battle.. Unless they will publicly admit and say the internet is here to stay, lets try to utilize the internet to expend on Torah and Yiryas Hahsem.

If they are gathering to ban sites, or the internet, they will be a laughing stock, and this Asifah will be the last nail in the coffin for people to respect them.

3

 Mar 14, 2012 at 11:32 AM Anonymous Says:

I'm laughing...Of course this asifa needs to be held at citi field...

4

 Mar 14, 2012 at 11:36 AM AlbertEinstein Says:

Ein gozrin gezeirah she'ein hatzibbur yecholim la'amod bo.

5

 Mar 14, 2012 at 11:40 AM Online Says:

Will I be abel to watch the Asifah online?

6

 Mar 14, 2012 at 11:45 AM eighthcomment Says:

I have an idea- many people are not frum- let's use the internet to try and get every yid out there and spread yiddishkeit...everyone who uses the internet should do one thing a day do enhance yiddishkeit

7

 Mar 14, 2012 at 11:46 AM Anonymous Says:

The purpose of this meeting is to acknowledge that the original effort to simply prohibit internet access via computers and smart phones has been lost and the army is retreating to a new battle line where they will stress the need for filters and limiting access for younger children. I suspect within a year or two, they will simply surrender entirely.

8

 Mar 14, 2012 at 11:51 AM 2smart Says:

all the organizers have iPhones...............................

9

 Mar 14, 2012 at 11:55 AM Anonymous Says:

The main reason that this asifa will be just another formality and piece of drama is that our communinty no longer has the basic requirement of any community - leadership and the capacity to accept direction from leaders. We might wish to blame our leaders for being less than those who preceded them in earlier generations (though they were placed here, not back in time). We would do much more to worry about how we accept leadership. Is it all about asking rabbonim, rebbes, roshei yeshivos about what to name the baby? Perhaps, if we looked to seek guidance in how to be better ovdei Hashem, we might get somewhere. If we choose to complain about our gedolim, we would do well to recognize that they cannot be more than we allow - performers, figureheads, persons fitting for nice photos, etc. What a shame our generation has stooped so low. Torah has so much in it, and we waste it on frivolities.

10

 Mar 14, 2012 at 12:00 PM cresthill Says:

They cannot stand back and say nothing. The disturbances these devices cause in our shuls and sedorim are out of control. For some it is an addiction. Among some teenagers there is widespread Chillul Shabbos. If our families saw us leave the phone and computer off and at home when we go to shul/beis medrash it would make a roshem. Anyone who thinks they need to be available 24/6 has an exaggerated sense of self-importance. We have a concept of Ta'anis Dibur-how about a Ta'anis Technology?

11

 Mar 14, 2012 at 12:02 PM CSLMoish Says:

Stop being so skeptical I assume that they will not just ban the internet blanketly but they will try to educate people on how and why to use proper net filters and what to put in their childrens hands and rooms.

12

 Mar 14, 2012 at 12:06 PM Avi Says:

Asifa stands for

Android
Smartphones
Iphone
Facebook
Assur

13

 Mar 14, 2012 at 12:08 PM Rabbi_In_The_Know Says:

The only leverage that the Rabbonim have in order to dictate gezeiros regarding new technology (not including state of the art technologically advanced jacuzzies in their private mikva rooms), is through threatening to expel children from school whose parents are not in lockstep.
Shame. They should call an asifa about creating jobs for the yungerleit, and lowering the chasuna standards.

14

 Mar 14, 2012 at 12:09 PM Avi Says:

U can watch it live at asifa.org

15

 Mar 14, 2012 at 12:55 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #12  
Avi Says:

Asifa stands for

Android
Smartphones
Iphone
Facebook
Assur

Thanks for the laugh. That was awesome.

16

 Mar 14, 2012 at 01:10 PM Yechi Says:

I wonder will they except funds for their insitutions by way of pay pal or others..

I find it amazing how these so called ( mostly self appointed) leaders focus on every thing except Ahavas yisroel... Do they have cell phones, are their institutions using computers for their bookingkeeping, How about their tax claims, land purchases

How does the gemera say,,"the face of the generations is like the face of a dog""

17

 Mar 14, 2012 at 01:15 PM mit-seichel Says:

Most of you commenters are just so off!

I don't see where it says in this article that the Asifa will ban the Internet. In fact, it will clearly not do so. The Rabbonim are working on enabling people to use technology and the Internet for innocuous and necessary purposes, while saving ourselves and our children from terrible harm.

What exactly is wrong with that?

18

 Mar 14, 2012 at 01:51 PM Neptune Nathan Says:

In the shuls in my neighborhood, the rabbonim can't even get through a simple Mincha service without sneeking a peek at their Blackberrys. R'L

19

 Mar 14, 2012 at 01:53 PM Anonymous Says:

If we teach our children right from wrong, morals, ethics etc....there should not be a problem using the internet. Do you think that the outside world wants their children looking at porno? We all have to learn that there are things out there not for us. But don't put up walls, so that when someone breaks through the wall, there is no stopping him.

20

 Mar 14, 2012 at 01:57 PM yochtzel Says:

Reply to #13  
Rabbi_In_The_Know Says:

The only leverage that the Rabbonim have in order to dictate gezeiros regarding new technology (not including state of the art technologically advanced jacuzzies in their private mikva rooms), is through threatening to expel children from school whose parents are not in lockstep.
Shame. They should call an asifa about creating jobs for the yungerleit, and lowering the chasuna standards.

Well Well said!!! i have nothing more to add.

21

 Mar 14, 2012 at 01:58 PM mythoughts Says:

Reply to #17  
mit-seichel Says:

Most of you commenters are just so off!

I don't see where it says in this article that the Asifa will ban the Internet. In fact, it will clearly not do so. The Rabbonim are working on enabling people to use technology and the Internet for innocuous and necessary purposes, while saving ourselves and our children from terrible harm.

What exactly is wrong with that?

How exactly are they "enabling people to use technology and the Internet for innocuous and necessary purposes"? To use filters? Everybody already knows that. Why don't they hold an asifa to investigate the failures of some of our yeshivas? Oh I forgot, the aifas are for pointing fingers else at everybody else.

22

 Mar 14, 2012 at 01:59 PM Anonymous Says:

How about these brilliant (self appointed) leaders (not mine) deal with real issues like child molestors and wife beaters? If I remember correctly, it was not long ago when one these guys stood up at a public forum and said about a know child molesting rebbie - "We have to protect the dignity of the rebbie". Yeah, the heck with the kids, lets protect the low-lifes getting paid to teach them.

23

 Mar 14, 2012 at 02:21 PM proudjewboy Says:

Reply to #9  
Anonymous Says:

The main reason that this asifa will be just another formality and piece of drama is that our communinty no longer has the basic requirement of any community - leadership and the capacity to accept direction from leaders. We might wish to blame our leaders for being less than those who preceded them in earlier generations (though they were placed here, not back in time). We would do much more to worry about how we accept leadership. Is it all about asking rabbonim, rebbes, roshei yeshivos about what to name the baby? Perhaps, if we looked to seek guidance in how to be better ovdei Hashem, we might get somewhere. If we choose to complain about our gedolim, we would do well to recognize that they cannot be more than we allow - performers, figureheads, persons fitting for nice photos, etc. What a shame our generation has stooped so low. Torah has so much in it, and we waste it on frivolities.

good point!

24

 Mar 14, 2012 at 02:27 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #17  
mit-seichel Says:

Most of you commenters are just so off!

I don't see where it says in this article that the Asifa will ban the Internet. In fact, it will clearly not do so. The Rabbonim are working on enabling people to use technology and the Internet for innocuous and necessary purposes, while saving ourselves and our children from terrible harm.

What exactly is wrong with that?

You ask what's wrong with "Rabbonim ... working on enabling people to use technology and the Internet for innocuous and necessary purposes, while saving ourselves and our children from terrible harm".
IMHO there is a LOT wrong with the notion that one is incapable of exercising one's bechira to make correct choices and, rather, needs others to "enable" him or her to use technology properly. True, bans and such SEEM to be a fool-proof way to deal with many dangers - but their main effect is creating a person incapable of thinking and choosing the right course of action. And this in itself is extremely dangerous and counterproductive.
The man was created with the bechira for a reason. The man's ultimate goal is to struggle to "uvecharta bachaim" - not to become a mindless robot whose choices are made for him.

25

 Mar 14, 2012 at 02:29 PM kanga Says:

Definitely a waste of time and yiddish gelt!!!!!! Unfortunately its in vain! Its a lost battle.

26

 Mar 14, 2012 at 03:03 PM Exactly! Says:

Reply to #21  
mythoughts Says:

How exactly are they "enabling people to use technology and the Internet for innocuous and necessary purposes"? To use filters? Everybody already knows that. Why don't they hold an asifa to investigate the failures of some of our yeshivas? Oh I forgot, the aifas are for pointing fingers else at everybody else.

#21 hit the nail on the head.

We now live in a time and generation, as Chazal say that at this time, when any "Big One" will want to rebuke anyone to tell them to remove a tooth-pick from
Between his teeth, we will answer back to the Rebuker: "Why don't YOU remove your own Bolder, frorm right between your eyes"!

The Molestation issue is cover-up by all these very same people all the way at the top. All these Musar-Zogers, have to clean up their won act of them, themselves being guilty of covering up Molestation issues in the Yeshivos until now and their current continued blocking of legislation, now in Albany which would extend the Statute of Limitations, which is now being Lobbied and Blocked by many of those who will be attending this Asifa.

If the want to be "so frum" and preserve Modesty, the place to start is in our own back yard to stop the cover-up and stop blocking legislation which can help stop the abuse.

27

 Mar 14, 2012 at 03:23 PM Joe Says:

Once again the Rabanim are focusing on the wrong issues of today. What is destroying our world today is geneivishe shtick,stealing in business,stealing from employees,people borowing without intention of paying back,stealing of all forms.

If you put food in your mouth that came from stolen money we all now what the gemara says.

When will the Rabanim focus on community issues like stealing, kosher food prices through the roof that nobody can afford bread anymore. When will the rabanim talk about affordable housing and tell the real estate people to stop taking advantage of frum ehrliche yidden? And please do not reply that nobody has to live with yidden!

Only where frum epopel live are the prices 250,000 more then the rest of the country. It's ridiculous whats going on. The internet is the least of the jewish problems today. How about the rabanim also talk about putting pedophiles in jail once and for all. Oh, did i just hit a raw nerve?

28

 Mar 14, 2012 at 03:47 PM MTL Says:

Reply to #19  
Anonymous Says:

If we teach our children right from wrong, morals, ethics etc....there should not be a problem using the internet. Do you think that the outside world wants their children looking at porno? We all have to learn that there are things out there not for us. But don't put up walls, so that when someone breaks through the wall, there is no stopping him.

AMEN! I guess most people can't be bothered. (Maybe they're too busy with their gadgets...)
Then again, if they actually communicated with their kids, we probably wouldn't have so many going off the derech as well.

29

 Mar 14, 2012 at 04:39 PM anonymous23 Says:

Technology is NOT an enemy, you just have to know how to use.

Big waist of time.

30

 Mar 14, 2012 at 05:09 PM Crazykanoiy Says:

I fail to see the point in this. The problems presented by technology will not be solved with Mega Rallies and the Pontification of various speakers. These issues are best dealt with in an individualized way with each community, school or shul dealing with and receiving guidance from their own Rov or Moreh Derech. It is fool hardy to expect to find a common approach that will span the entire Orthodox community.

31

 Mar 14, 2012 at 05:13 PM Yossi Says:

Reply to #2  
IronDumb Says:

Its a waste of time. The Rebbes have lost this battle.. Unless they will publicly admit and say the internet is here to stay, lets try to utilize the internet to expend on Torah and Yiryas Hahsem.

If they are gathering to ban sites, or the internet, they will be a laughing stock, and this Asifah will be the last nail in the coffin for people to respect them.

Why do u feel that this battle is LOST..? Jews went thru much much harder Nisyoines in the last 100 years when most of Klal Yisroel was eliminated and with the Koach of Hashem and all Gedolei Hador we had burech hashem that Klal Yisroel is NOT bankrupt,just the opposite..There was never ever so much Torah,Gemiles Chasudim and Tzedukeh like now.
We have here terrible shvere nisyoines and klal yisroel needs awakening . With the Koach of Gedolei Hador and Klal Yisroel if only one person will become better it was worth it, al aches kamu vekamu if hundreds and maybe thousands will change then hashem yisburech will change the matzev we yidden are going thru those days..
We all know that the internet is here to stay and its impossible to rid the new generation from it but if we can maybe educate them and explain the downside of abusing the technology this might change their habits...
When some one starts driving a car which is a Danger for a teenager but if he goes to 5 hour class and takes the proper driving lesson he can start off on the road by himself on his own...If we educate the Tzibir more and explain the danger we will im yertze hashem succeed....

32

 Mar 14, 2012 at 05:26 PM J Actor Says:

Reply to #22  
Anonymous Says:

How about these brilliant (self appointed) leaders (not mine) deal with real issues like child molestors and wife beaters? If I remember correctly, it was not long ago when one these guys stood up at a public forum and said about a know child molesting rebbie - "We have to protect the dignity of the rebbie". Yeah, the heck with the kids, lets protect the low-lifes getting paid to teach them.

Well said.

I remember that dignity quote too. November, 2006, Aguda Convention.

33

 Mar 14, 2012 at 05:51 PM yidelle Says:

Reply to #16  
Yechi Says:

I wonder will they except funds for their insitutions by way of pay pal or others..

I find it amazing how these so called ( mostly self appointed) leaders focus on every thing except Ahavas yisroel... Do they have cell phones, are their institutions using computers for their bookingkeeping, How about their tax claims, land purchases

How does the gemera say,,"the face of the generations is like the face of a dog""

You just love every jew

34

 Mar 14, 2012 at 07:28 PM Anonymous Says:

I disagree with those that minimize the problems presented by technology. Yet, I will not contribute my voice to those who blame every ill of the community on it. Rather, I feel there is something seriously wrong at the core, and in our effort to cope with that, many of us gravitate to the lures of today's nisyonos, one major one being technology.

Where is the core yir'as Hashem with which each of us should be imbued? Why are we busy creating yeshivos for mitzuyanim, as if the only goal is the accumulated knowledge of Torah - when there are countless neshamos circulating in our streets who want to learn but "can't make the grade"? Every grocery offers for sale items that are definitely NOT needs but luxuries, but these are now staples in every home. We parents must provide chachkes and extras for our children "because others have them". Have we blocked out avodas Hashem, replacing it with heaps of gashmiyus? We live in a photo society, now that technology places a camera on every phone. Whatever "looks good" must be good. Check the newspapers for pictures of gedolim. Is their appearance all we need? Being empty of HKB"H, fill up on technology.

35

 Mar 14, 2012 at 09:35 PM yaakov321 Says:

Life is great. Hashem is True. And if you want to know who is in control, it is G-d. And what does this mean? He is LETTING AND ENDORSING the creation of all of the technology.
This says that if you think that you are to live in a Tech free world with no television set and no computer and no cell phone and all the like, you really have no trust in your G-d to bring you to an era of good experiences and good holiness.

G-d is not going to let this planet he created be destroyed by the future.

36

 Mar 14, 2012 at 09:55 PM MetsFan Says:

Is it in the season ticket package? Can't wait to watch these gedolim throw curve balls of eminah and bitachon, here or there a Home Run of chizuk, or a strike out throw 'em out DP on smart phones...problem is they'll lose 1/0 in the bottom of the 14th on a HR by google's newest 'Droid...

37

 Mar 14, 2012 at 10:33 PM hmmmm Says:

Reply to #18  
Neptune Nathan Says:

In the shuls in my neighborhood, the rabbonim can't even get through a simple Mincha service without sneeking a peek at their Blackberrys. R'L

The ra-banim?!!you must be kidding. If your rabbi does this, its time to look for a new rabbi.

38

 Mar 14, 2012 at 11:28 PM Anonymous Says:

who is paying for this citifield fiasco. the millions could be better spent to help yidden find jobs and provide food for the poor. smoking and drinking is more dangerous then the internet why no asifa for that? guess who is teaching our kids to smoke and drink, just wondering.

39

 Mar 15, 2012 at 12:18 AM rubyfec Says:

How unfortunate! Why could this not be done in a less public venue? How will I face my colleagues @ work? What will I tell them when they point to the technical futility of such an endeavor (or the mockery of our isolationist 'technology war')?

Why did none of the organizer reach out to me? I mean this seriously - rabanim know me when they need technical advice for their causes - why is my advice not sought on technology advancement?

Ubiquity is the lay of the land -and this probably means that neither filters nor buddy systems will be easily implemented even for those who want it. False protection is not much protection at all. "war" on technology is an even sillier notion and will only embarrass all those of us who have to face the outside word on a daily basis.

I guess I'll just bury my head in the sand and when asked by colleagues -I'll somehow have to mumble something about fanatics leading the rabbonim who then attempt lead the blind......

Don't get me wrong - there are issues to tackle but an ASIFA is a publicity stunt that will only serve to embarrass folks like me and shock the the lemelech in kollel.

40

 Mar 15, 2012 at 10:35 AM myownopinion Says:

Reality check for Rabonim:
Teenage boy has a mother or father that don’t dress according to the frumest standards not necessarily against any halacha or are not considered prestigious or rich, boy gets expelled from or not accepted to school when its not his fault, father tries to reason with school but school wont give in because it can chas vechalom affect the image of the school thus affecting the “kavod” of the rosh yeshiva. Father tries with the board which are usually a group of rich selfish megushemdick know nothing about chinuch with a frum exterior coating balei batim that really don’t care about the future of klal ysroel. Father runs to local rabbonim and gets nowhere. Boy and father are left broken hearted betrayed by everyone they were told all their lives to respect and will be there for them , boy is on the streets now or in a school where he cant possibly grow, boy makes bad friends, boy comes across bad content on the internet. Where should he get the strength or desire to fight after experiencing how the menahalim, rosh yeshivas and rabbonim the "elites" among klal ysroel behave like?
Its not all, but far to many.
Internet is step 3 not 1.

41

 Mar 15, 2012 at 10:58 AM lakewooder Says:

When we make huge asifos we show Hitler that he lost the war and we won. That is why the religion of the holocaust makes sure to make as many public asifos as possible.
Seriously speaking, what happenned to hatzpinu atzmechem? Why can't we keep a low profile and teach, on a private level, our talmidim and baalebatim how to fight the yetzer hora for lashon hora, pornography, apostasy and all the other evil on the internet? When are we going to learn that small is beautiful?

42

 Mar 15, 2012 at 11:59 AM sanhedrin Says:

Reply to #30  
Crazykanoiy Says:

I fail to see the point in this. The problems presented by technology will not be solved with Mega Rallies and the Pontification of various speakers. These issues are best dealt with in an individualized way with each community, school or shul dealing with and receiving guidance from their own Rov or Moreh Derech. It is fool hardy to expect to find a common approach that will span the entire Orthodox community.

Agreed. There has never been "one voice" in Klal Yisroel (as this asifa has been advertizing). There are twelve shvatim, each with his own derech. Despite the Jewish community living in a "global village", we must resist the urge to come up with a one-size-fits-all fix. There simply isn't one right way for everybody. This is besides for the fact that there are many far greater problems facing Klal Yisroel, as seems to be the consensus among the commenters.

43

 Mar 15, 2012 at 12:54 PM Anonymous Says:

Commenter #40 makes an important point, and this well deserves a separate forum to discuss. For virtually any ill, a knee jerk reaction is to expel the children from yeshiva/school. If a parent is observed to be doing anything that is displeasing to the yeshiva, the child is thrown out into the street. While I refuse to have internet access on my phone, Should I choose to have it, my children would be unwelcome in yeshiva, even expelled if already there. Why? I don't know. The child has zero responsibility, yet we are frequently witness to precious children being used as the spanking. Someone here has a huge responsibility for setting up this child at risk, yet the blame will be pointed everywhere but not at the offending person who rejects innocent children.

I am presently privy to a community where there is a parent involved in seriously sinful behavior. One of the community leaders is seeking to expel the children from their respective yeshivos and schools. I am appalled. This situation is not an exception - it is a rule. Don't we have anyone who can protest this, or is it up to grass roots efforts to choke off donations to any yeshiva trying this?

44

 Apr 16, 2012 at 07:32 PM Queenbee Says:

Will this be for men and women?
Not that I exactly see a point in this (I do agree though that we need filters on the internet) but if only half of the household (men) are invited then there's no point. Both parents need to be involved in this as they are both involved in the chinuch of their children.

45

 Apr 18, 2012 at 10:46 PM Anon Ibid Opcit Says:

Who will be live-blogging it?

46

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