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Letters To The Editor

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Message Of The Asifa (I)

How ironic that the asifa at Citi Field (“Haredi Event on Internet Dangers Draws Thousands of Participants,” front page news story, May 25), which was advertised as a gathering for all of Klal Yisrael and a show of achdut – unity – ended up being a platform for the main speaker, Rabbi Ephraim Wachsman, to write other Jews out of the world to come if they do not heed to the dictates established at the event.

Those who utilize the Internet know it is simply a communications medium that can be used for either good or bad purposes. Many Jewish organizations (Chabad.org, Aish.com, NJOP.org, HebrewBooks.org, YUTorah.org, and others) have successfully harnessed the incredible power of the Internet to promote positive Torah values and attract thousands of people to their sites.

Instead of railing about the evils of the Internet and trying to censor its use, the organizers of this event could have utilized their time, effort, and dollars to promote their important messages about family, Torah study, and service to Hashem and bring more Jews closer to Yiddishkeit through the very medium of which they are so frightened.

Michael Feldstein
Stamford, CT

Message Of The Asifa (II)

No modern piece of technology – whether a cell phone, a computer, a television, a radio, or even a car – is inherently good or evil. Everything depends on what is done with it and how it is used.

The asifa at Citi Field portrayed the Internet as a grave threat to Jews and to Judaism. Speaker after speaker spoke about the evils of the World Wide Web, about the Internet causing bitul Torah, about how the Internet should be banned in Jewish homes and about how children who come from homes with the Internet should not be permitted in yeshiva.

I am wondering if any of the rabbonim or other participants at the asifa are familiar with the many wonderful Torah websites that exist.

A person can log in and learn daf yomi. Need a d’var Torah for a simcha? Log on to Aish.org or Torah.com. Want to check out the kashrus of a certain establishment? Go to OU.org. Need a kosher recipe? Check out kosherrecipes.com. Want to verify the date of a yahrzeit? Check out hebcal.com. Many good Jewish charities even have websites to facilitate the mitzvah of giving tzedakah online.

Yes, the Internet can lead to bitul Torah, but, if used properly, it can be a terrific tool to spread Torah and Judaism.

Barry J. Koppel
Kew Gardens Hills, NY

Prenups And Jewish Marriage (I)

While I agree with Rabbi Michael Broyde that prenuptial agreements would ameliorate at least some of the problems facing many young women who are tragically relegated to the status of an agunah, I have a couple of problems with his article (“Three Cheers for IRF’s Mandating Prenuptial Agreements,” op-ed, May 25).

For one thing, I think he was a little extravagant in his touting of the International Rabbinic Fellowship. Before reading the article I had never heard of the group, and a quick Internet search yielded scant information as to its membership. I wonder, then, why any of us should be impressed by any of the group’s pronouncements on a matter of such halachic import.

For another thing, the RCA prenuptial agreement touted by Rabbi Broyde is far from universally accepted and is therefore potentially divisive, raising as it does the frightening prospect of Orthodox Jews being unable to freely marry other Orthodox Jews.

Menashe Greenbaum
(Via E-Mail)

Prenups And Jewish Marriage (II)

If we Jews resolved that no marriage could take place without a prenuptial agreement regarding a Get, much suffering would be avoided, and a stain on our public image would be eliminated.

How can we be seen as a light unto the nations when we consign many of our young women to a life of deprivation and hardship by the application of a Divine rule that was never meant to empower the venally recalcitrant?

Zundel Weissman
(Via E-Mail)

Rabbinic Marriage Annulment

I was taken aback by the May 25 news story (“Rabbinic Court Annuls 20-Year Marriage: Witnesses Weren’t Shabbat Observers”) about a woman, identified as “M,” whose husband refused to give her a Get and so the chief judge of the Jerusalem Rabbinical Court, Rabbi Eliyahu Abergel, freed her “from her agunah status and annulled her marriage because the witnesses who had signed the ketubah were not Shabbat observers.”

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