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October 1, 2014 / 7 Tishri, 5775
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Technology Can Save Lives, Even in Borough Park


Sunday night's Asifa at Citi Field, Queens. Organizers attempted to keep that which is good about technology and throw away the rest.

Sunday night's Asifa at Citi Field, Queens. Organizers attempted to keep that which is good about technology and throw away the rest.
Photo Credit: Stefano Giovannini / VosIzNeias.com

I, for one, was glad to read the distinction the Asifa organizers were making, between “good” and “bad” technology, meaning, of course, that there’s no such thing as an inherently wicked technology, only wicked people who take it to dark corners.

That was a sober and responsible approach to the issue, and I was impressed by the quickness with which the organizers responded to the potential pitfalls of being portrayed as Luddites, which does not befit a nation of scholars and questioners.

A story in Sunday’s NY Daily News reveals an altogether different angle of the same issue. Apparently, modern technology may end up saving a Haredi neighborhood from some of the internal conflicts it has been slow to resolve by itself.

Leiby Kletzky, a Hasidic Jewish boy, was kidnapped in 2011 on his way home from day camp in Borough Park, Brooklyn. Part of his body was found in the Kensington, Brooklyn, apartment of one Levi Aron, 35.

Now, according to the News, New York State will give $1 million to a Jewish nonprofit organization which will install 150 high-tech security cameras around Borough Park and Midwood, as part of the Leiby Kletzky Security Initiative.

Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Borough Park) said, “We can’t bring Leiby back, but we can make sure there are no other Leibys with God’s help.”

I believe this is a way in which technology will compensate for the Haredi community’s inner conflict regarding the issue of informing on “unzere menchen,” our own people, to the authorities. There’s no need to debate this issue any longer, when the cops already have the whole thing on tape, thank you very much.

It’s the biggest mass installation of cameras outside Manhattan, officials contend. That’s a lot of barn doors being closed well after the horses have left, but I don’t knock it. Better late than never.

It’s probably going to make life in Borough Park a whole lot more stressful, I suspect. Folks are going to be extra stiff around businesses, synagogues and schools, where those 150 cameras will be positioned.

It’s not Divine Supervision, but, it gets pretty close.

In the end, I think it was courageous on the part of the people of Borough Park and Assemblyman Hikind, to accept that their neighborhood deserved to be protected, even at the price of suffering a little ridicule.

And that was the positive spirit of last night’s Asifa in a nutshell.

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.


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