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July 31, 2015 / 15 Av, 5775
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At Least 50 Thousand Haredim Assemble to Decry Dangers of the Internet

Mincha prayer at Citi Field during the Asifa.

Mincha prayer at Citi Field during the Asifa.
Photo Credit: vosizneias.com

More than 50,000 ultra-Orthodox Jewish men packed Citi Field in Flushing, Queens, on Sunday, for the Asifa, a gathering decrying the dangers of the Internet. Organizers have also rented the nearby Arthur Ashe Stadium for the overflow crowd.

Several key leaders of the Haredi community in the U.S. attended the gathering, including Rabbi Matisyahu Chaim Salomon, the mashgiach ruchani (spiritual superviser) of the Beth Medrash Gavoha Yeshiva in Lakewood, New Jersey, Rabbi Eliezer Zusia, the Skulener Rebbe, Rav Shmuel Dishon, head of Mosdos Yad Yisroel Karlin Stolin, Rabbi Mordechai (Mottele) Hager, the Vizhnitzer Rebbe, Rabbi Zalmen Teitelbaum, the Satmar Rebbe, Rabbi Leibish Leizer of Pshevorsk, Rabbi Ephraim Waxman, and Rabbi Leibish Leiser, the Pshevorsker Rebbe.

Critics have called the gathering an anti-Internet rally, but Eytan Kobre, a spokesman for the Ichud Hakehillos LeTohar Hamachane (communities united for the purity of our camp) said the group wants to teach families how to use technology responsibly.

“They’ll make decisions about how much technology they want to allow into their lives and what kind of safeguards they want to apply to that technology,” Kobre told WNYC Radio.

“There is a very significant downside to the Internet,” he added, according to Vos Iz Neias. “It does pose a challenge to us in various aspects of our lives.”

Kobre cited online pornography and gambling as well as the risk of social media undermining “our ability to pray uninterruptedly, to focus and to concentrate.”

Women were not allowed to attend the meeting, but the rally was broadcast live to women who gathered in schools and halls.

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4 Responses to “At Least 50 Thousand Haredim Assemble to Decry Dangers of the Internet”

  1. Bet Tefillah says:

    The Internet is like wine. There are Kosher and non-Kosher web pages. A person can become drunk and act foolishly, but it is not the fault of the wine. Just as a person must use restraint and good judgment when drinking wine, he must also use similar restraint when using the Internet. If not for the Internet, few of us here would have the opportunity to interact. That is not to that it replaces interfacing with others. The Internet can be a place of Torah learning just as easily as a place of impure thoughts leading to Avera.

  2. A.m. McCoy says:

    My exact thoughts too,couldn't have said it better!

  3. IMO, Bet Tefillah say's very well, very well, indeed. The Forums, IMO, allow those of belief the chance to interface, while Facebook, and sites of that ilk, give us the chance to Reach Out, and share our Faith.

    We must walk very softly,
    Selective on where we go,
    But even in Brothel, or alley.
    There are those who want to know.

    Spirit filled, sharing our Faith blessing,
    To any person that lets us share,
    That they need not be second guessing,
    To those, with whom they care.
    AMEN

  4. The old saying is true " you are what you eat" too much of anything isn't good for you.

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