web analytics
September 16, 2014 / 21 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



Home » InDepth

My Friend Baruch Thinks the ‘Antinet’ Event Is Sooo Jewish

An Ultra Orthodox Jewish youth walking past signs warning that the Internet causes cancer.

An Ultra Orthodox Jewish youth walking past signs warning that the Internet causes cancer.
Photo Credit: Abir SUltan/FLASH90

I’ve known my good friend and former neighbor on the Lower East Side of New York Baruch Herzfeld for many years. We davened in the same really quirky shul for a while, the Stanton, where absolutely anything can happen on any given Shabbat morning (and often does). Over the years, I’ve learned to respect his perception of what’s in and what’s out, and so this morning when I went to mine the web and found his comment on Facebook, I decided to a.) take it seriously, and, b.) share it with you.

Here’s the gospel according to my friend Baruch regarding the Citi Field Antinet:

“I’m no expert on the Jews, but May 20th, 2012 might be the most Jewish event in the history of Judaism. Let me explain: some hardcore fundie Jews are renting out Citifield to protest the Internet (all male of course), however some ex-fundie Jews are protesting the protestors, creating a perfect storm loop of protesting Jews protesting protesting Jews. I would go, but I don’t know which side I’m on.”

On the money. It’s not a simple issue, and years of harbored attitudes are starting to explode here, with so many preconceived notions swinging about, it’s getting hard to breathe.

I’ll give you an example: my colleague Jacob Edelist published one of the first reports in English on the May 20th event. It wasn’t his story, though, as he plainly stated, he was merely translating an original story in the Haredi press, plus the text of one ad, a “Kol Koreh,” a call to action, if you will, by several Haredi rabbis.

Some of the reactions we received accused Jacob of using a flippant tone in reporting the story, and of intentionally making Haredi Jews look bad. It was stunning, how some folks project their own attitudes on what was, essentially, a completely newsy, attitude-free story.

The reason for the brouhaha, as my friend Baruch describes it so well, is that the topic at hand, the scourge of Technology or of the Internet, is just too broad to be dealt with on a yes/no (pass/fail?) basis. It’s like attacking the printing press because of some really terrible books printed over the years, or attacking the telephone as a concept because of telemarketing. Like those two, and like radio and television, the Internet will always reflect our own values in the choices we make while surfing it.

The impulse to prohibit a medium rather than deal with its dangers is a recipe for the squashing of creativity and communication, for the sake of some unclear notion of purity. I’m not sure that our Jewish tradition will smile on that impulse.

Over the years I had the privilege of working for the Lubavitch News Service and experienced first hand how a Haredi person may go about taking from the Internet the good that it has to offer, while rejecting, without much fanfare, the ugly stuff. It’s never perfect, folks fail now and then, which is why we have built-in systems of repair in our tradition.

A long time ago, Rabbi Avraham Shemtov, one of the leaders of today’s Lubavitch movement, told me that even when you pick up the phone, you take a chance. By answering the call, you are letting a stranger into your home. Who knows what might come next?

One of the common responses to that dilemma is to hang up, if the stranger on the phone misbehaves. Today we also have Caller ID, which helps determine in advance whether we want to deal with this individual. We all operate our phones every day, quite expertly, and I’m yet to hear an outcry to ban the telephone.

Still, on the subject of the dangers of Technology, no one can beat the great Reb Naftali of Rupshitz, in whose time the Russian government began a project of cutting down forests to make room for well paved highways (the railroad was yet to be invented). The Rupshitzer complained that now the wagons would be rolling safely without incident on the new roads, which was a terrible thing. Because when the roads were lousy, wagon wheels would often break or just come off their axle; the passengers were forced to disembark and wait for hours until the wagon driver fixed the wheel – and a Jew could sit down by a tree, say Tehilim and learn a blat gemorah. With the improvements in the roads, all that would be gone.

Now, that was one fundie Jew!

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

2 Responses to “My Friend Baruch Thinks the ‘Antinet’ Event Is Sooo Jewish”

  1. JDE says:

    “Some of the reactions we received accused Jacob of… intentionally making Haredi Jews look bad.”

    Too funny – as though they needed help on that score. They do just fine all by themselves.

  2. The Rup****zer..Now that was one fundie Jew!
    And truly, humor in the face of absurdity is the most Jewish response of all!

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
A scene from the opera "Death of Klinghoffer." Protests at Lincoln Center start Sept. 22, at 4:30.
Klinghoffer: Pretending Art Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry
Latest Indepth Stories
Donny-Fuchs-medium

Originally scheduled to be held elsewhere, the hotel canceled, pressured by local missionary groups

syria_stratfo

It’s likely that some of the rebel factions, including US clients, have indeed made pacts with ISIS

Phyllis Chesler

Imam Tafsirli of the Harlem Islamic center: “You cannot be a Muslim without believing in Jesus”

Gas Pump

If simple fuel choice were implemented, the power of petroleum and those who sell it would cease.

Value of IS: It enables people to see the place to which all other Islamist fascism is headed.

“When Frank does something he does it well and you don’t have to worry about dotting the i’s or crossing the t’s.”

President Obama: “ISIL is not Islamic. No religion condones the killing of innocents”

he time of the Uman pilgrimage is upon us, and we dare not ignore the opportunity to highlight the danger.

Healing requires that the victim be validated for being harmed and the guilty assume responsibility.

During the war, not once was Hashem’s name mentioned to the nation by Israel’s PM or gov’t officials

How many illegal Arab structures are there in the city? Why are they not being destroyed?

We did not win the war in Gaza because we are still captive to the concept of the 2 state solution.

Trapped in a false notion of power, America will lose the battle in the same way Israel now loses.

It’s a cliché, but nonetheless true that 9/11 changed my life. There is evil in the world. Our grandparents were right.

More Articles from Yori Yanover
rain ATM

A Jerusalem woman is trying to hold on to her umbrella while withdrawing some cash at a Meah Shearim ATM, Sunday, March 9, 2014. The rain appeared out of the blue (which is how rain should), after a warm week that started to feel like summer. Well, it don’t feel like summer no more. Last […]

Rabbi Meir Mazuz (seen visiting a synagogue in Crown Heights, Brooklyn) declared in a public Internet psak that it is legal for a Jew to go up to temple Mount.

Needless to say, Shas, the Haredi Sefardi party, is not happy.

“The only difference between this world and the time of Meshiach is our bondage to the gentile kingdoms.”

Here’s the Israeli Navy boat INS Hanit arriving in Eilat on Saturday, March 8, 2014, after capturing the Klos C, which was carrying dozens of advanced Iranian-supplied weapons made in Syria and intended for Palestinian guerrillas in the Gaza Strip. Here’s Israeli Navy Commander Vice Admiral Ram Rotberg speaking with the INS Hanit soldiers in […]

Pat Condell has a new video out, so, sit back, have fun. By the way, Message to Offended Muslims should not be confused with Message to Off Handed Muslims. Also, I’d love to hear what he has to say about Haredim.

The description that came with this picture says: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with American actor Bette Midler during an event at the house of Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan in Hollywood on March 6, 2014. But Bette Midler is not really an actor, she’s a singer who made movies for the LGBT community and […]

We will shut them up in the campuses, we will shut them up in the high schools, we will shut them up at the 92nd St. Y.

An Israeli female soldier (because they’re better at removing babies from their homes) evacuates a baby from a settlement in Judea and Samaria some time in the recent past. I’m thinking, if the baby was angry enough, couldn’t he evacuate in return, right there in her arms? Imagine the same picture, except with a settler […]

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/my-friend-baruch-thinks-the-antinet-event-is-sooo-jewish/2012/04/30/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: