In Israel, a new five month scholarship program being offered to young aspiring athletes – one of them could be you.
Editor’s Note: In light of all the attention that the recent Internet Asifa garnered, we thought it wise to offer this analysis on the subject by Rabbi Gil Student, founder of TorahMusings.com and former managing editor of OU Publications. Without a doubt, the Internet offers many wonderful opportunities, but it also presents substantial dangers for young and old alike. We believe Rabbi Student’s constructive advice and assistance will serve our readership well. The fact is that we can’t hide our heads in the sand; the Internet is often vital to our lives, especially in the work place, which is often Internet-related and dependent.
Internet Filters For The Orthodox Jew
Filters are an important tool in responsibly using the Internet. Without a filter, someone browsing the web may accidentally stumble onto, or in a moment of weakness intentionally go to, objectionable websites which may contain any of the following: pornography, gambling, gaming, profanity, lashon hara, counter-religious ideas or pictures/videos objectionable to Orthodox Jews. A filter will prevent that access or at least make it more difficult. However, filters are totally useless without attendant computer security, which we will also briefly discuss. What follows are explanations and recommendations I put together and had reviewed by a techie.
II. Filtering Methods
There are three methods of filtering: time control, content filtering, and content control. Time control sets limits on the time Internet access is available. For example, you can allow it only between the hours of 8 and 9 p.m. or on Sundays from 3 to 5 p.m. This can help prevent overuse of the Internet and also ensure that people only access the Internet when others are likely to be awake and may walk into the room.
Content filtering blocks websites that are deemed objectionable. Black lists contain addresses for offensive websites that are blocked. These are generally compiled by a combination of algorithm and human evaluation. Often, filters allow you to add your own list of blocked sites (for example, you can decide to block SportsIllustrated.com). They also allow you to choose entire categories to block or allow, such as social networking.
In contrast, white lists contain addresses of permissible sites that a user adds to it. The rest of the Internet is blocked. Each website must be approved before passing through the filter.
Content control actively changes objectionable content on a website. It may block pictures or change profane words to a string of punctuation marks. Ad blocking software is an important example of content control.
Filters have to be smarter than just blocking URLs and must use a combination of methods to ensure that content that is supposed to be blocked actually is. To my knowledge, there is no way you can fully accomplish this, but you can get pretty close to airtight.
III. Filter Types
There are four types of filter structures for consumers: browser-side, client-side, router-side, and ISP-side. A browser-side filter is either a web browser or a browser add-on that limits your access to the web in any of the three methods discussed above. In order for these to be effective, users must have limited ability to install and uninstall add-ons and new programs. Otherwise, they can easily disable the filtering capabilities or install an unfiltered browser or other program that accesses the web.
A client-side filter is installed on a computer (or device) and limits all access to the web from that computer. These sometimes slow the computer down, but they are harder to deactivate than browser-side filters and regulate all programs on the computer.
An ISP-side filter limits the Internet access provided to a customer. If the ISP successfully blocks content, the customer cannot access it through any program, on any device. These filters require a special Internet provider that usually lacks the same scale of operation (and therefore cannot offer cheap prices) as the large, unfiltered Internet services.
A router-side filter also limits the Internet access received by a customer, including wireless connections at home. Unlike an ISP-side filter, the customer installs this. It is generally somewhat complex to install but more powerful than a browser-side or client-side filter.
IV. Activity Monitoring
Another function many filters provide is the ability to monitor online activity. There are three types of activities often monitored: website visits, search terms, and social network activity. The results can either be saved and available for an administrator to access (pull) or sent via e-mail to the administrator (push). The latter includes “buddy” monitoring, in which a user selects someone to receive a detailed list of online activity. Social network monitoring is particularly important for parents who wish to ensure that their children are not sharing information that should be kept private.
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I watch my children use blocks to build a large structure, observing the trepidation with which they add each block. As the structure becomes larger there is a greater risk of it collapsing, thus bringing an end to an hour of playful labor. I anticipate what will happen when one child adds a block to the top floor, compromising the integrity of the building and resulting in the collapse of the entire structure. The argument that ensues is predictable, as each child blames the other for “ruining” the fun. As an adult, I wonder about the need to attribute blame. Will assigning blame be instrumental in rebuilding the structure?
In this week’s parshah the Torah discusses the halachos of when one steals from another and when confronted in beis din, the thief swears falsely with his denial that he stole. This parshah was already taught in parshas Vayikra; however, there are two halachos that the Torah adds in this parshah to this topic.
In order to carry from one’s home into the street (even when the area is enclosed by a properly constructed eruv), the eruvin ceremony must be performed. This ceremony involves the placing of food in one designated home on behalf of all Sabbath observers in the enclosed area. In order for the eruvin ceremony to be valid, however, it must be performed on behalf of all owners of streets and homes in the enclosed area.
Question: On Friday night the chazzan in many shuls ascends the bimah for Kabbalat Shabbos but goes to the amud starting for Barchu. Why?
Question: As Shavuot is fast approaching – a holiday on which we dwell on the story of Ruth and the origins of the royal house of David – I was wondering if you could help me resolve something. Some people say that Rabbi Yehudah HaNassi, the redactor of the six orders of the Mishnah and a scion of King David, purposely kept any mention of Chanukah and the Hasmonean kings out of the Mishnah because the Hasmoneans improperly crowned themselves and ignored the rule that all Jewish kings are supposed to come from the tribe of Yehudah. Is this true?
The Rema writes (Ohr Hachaim, 494:4), “It is customary to spread branches of trees in our synagogues and homes [on Shavuos] in order to commemorate that which the sages say [Rosh Hashanah 16a] that on Shavuos the world is judged concerning [how many] fruits the trees will produce [that year].”
‘A Separate Contribution From Each’
If a man suspects his wife of infidelity, he is to bring witnesses and warn her not to go into private quarters with the man in question. If she violates that warning, he is to bring her to the kohen, who will give her the “bitter waters” to drink. If she was falsely accused and was innocent, she will be blessed with children. If she was guilty, she will die a gruesome death.
A flash of red caught my eye, and I looked up and saw a cardinal perched on the picnic table on my deck. What a miracle, I marveled. You’re beautiful. Thanks, Hashem. And then my mind’s wheels began to roll, and it struck me that several miracle stories had come my way this week. The stories prodded me to think of and feel Hashem’s presence as a more tangible and vivid reality.
Over the years I’ve received letters from all over the world in which people share feelings and thoughts they’ve experienced upon becoming became Torah observant. Usually these letters arrive not long after the writers had heard one of my speeches. No matter where a particular speech took place, and no matter whether I spoke the language or had to use a translator, the magic always works. In reality, it’s not magic at all but a little voice in the soul – the “Pintele Yid,” that spark of G-d’s Word engraved on all our neshamahs. Here is one recent letter.
By the time these words are printed, there will be only a few more days left before Shavuos. We hope that up until that point, we will still have been counting the days of Sefiras Ha’Omer with a bracha, but we also know that too often, despite our best efforts, we drop out of counting with a bracha some time before the count is complete.
In this week’s parshah the Torah tells us that the bechorim were replaced by the levi’im to serve in the Mikdash. The Torah says that there were 273 more bechorim than levi’im. Those bechorim could not simply be replaced, and had to be redeemed. Hashem told Moshe that each bechor should give five shekalim to Moshe, who, in turn, should give them to Aharon and his sons. With that, they would be redeemed.
Question: Is there anything special that one should do on Yom Yerushalayim?
Question: As the shamash in a small community shul with an aging population, I am faced with numerous challenges. The following is only one of them. During sefirah, different people daven for the amud for Ma’ariv. Once, a bar mitzvah was one of them. On another occasion, a very recent ger lead the service. Were these individuals allowed to lead the congregation in counting sefirah? I also wonder, in general, if everyone should be trusted to lead the counting. What if someone forgot to count on one of the previous nights but does not inform anyone of this?
The Internet is a medium that has made its way in its short existence all the way to the center of contemporary life. Many of our daily tasks are now tied to it, and will be more so in the future.
In light of all the attention that the recent Internet Asifa garnered, we thought it wise to offer this analysis on the subject by Rabbi Gil Student, founder of TorahMusings.com and former managing editor of OU Publications.
Israel is a Jewish country – but can it continue to be so when Judaism threatens to destroy the state?
The unfair longstanding attacks on Israel’s legitimacy are a permanent stain on the international community. For over 60 years, Israel has valiantly grown under hostile conditions while fighting lies and half-truths in the international arena. Israel suffers doubly, however, when its very essence, its Jewish character, supports its opponents’ narrative.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/ask-the-rabbi/q-a-internet-filters-for-the-orthodox-jew/2012/06/01/
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