web analytics
April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘asifa’

Letters To The Editor

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Asifa Ignores Jerusalem Much time, money and resources are being poured into the May 20 asifa at Citi Field designed to warn Klal Yisrael about the dangers of the Internet.

Ultimately, as the symbol and motto for this gathering indicates, its purpose is to ensure that the “machaneh” – camp – of Israel remains holy.

It is therefore incredible to me that the organizers have so woefully neglected the paradigm of the “holy camp” – the holy city of Jerusalem. This is especially grievous because this gathering will take place on the 28th of Iyar – Yom Yerushalayim – when, 45 years ago, Klal Yisrael and the world witnessed the miracle of the liberation of Jerusalem by the Israel Defense Forces, with the help of the Almighty.

Sadly, there is not one word in the publicity literature for the asifa or its tentative program that indicates an awareness of the sacred aspect of 28 Iyar. If all that comes out of the asifa is a condemnation of modern technology, with no appreciation for the opportunity we have to daven at the Kotel under Jewish jurisdiction – a dream realized for the first time after close to 2,000 years of exile – then this gathering will have amounted to a berachah levatalah. Doniel Z. Kramer (Via E-Mail)

A New Song (I) I was enthralled by Rabbi Yaakov Rosenblatt’s beautifully written call to spiritual arms (“A New Song,” front page essay, May 11).

Individuals can cut through all of the cobwebs of modern day living by always anticipating whether their conduct will be a Kiddush Hashem or, chas v’shalom, the opposite. When you think about it, it is a perfectly logical way to direct one’s life on the right path. Avraham Reich (Via E-Mail)

A New Song (II) As someone of the same generation as Rabbi Rosenblatt, I enjoyed his well-articulated viewpoint. It is indeed a good question: What will our children contribute to the world, and how will they be skilled enough to do so? My Flatbush upbringing was similar to Rabbi Rosenblatt’s, but with a twist.

My father attended Torah Vodaas for elementary school and then went to Yeshiva University where he obtained an undergraduate degree as well as semicha from RIETS. After he served as a chaplain in Fort Dix during the Vietnam War, he went to Baruch for an MBA in finance.

My mother attended Bais Yaakov of Williamsburg and raised six children. From the beginning we were raised knowing we would all attend college; in our house it was a given. In a time when many girls did not go on to pursue graduate degrees I was encouraged by my parents and grandparents and then by my husband to keep going.

It is possible to have a foot in both the Jewish and the secular worlds, but it takes work. My secular education in yeshiva was far superior to that of my brothers. If we are going to live in this world we need to do so by providing both our girls and our boys with a strong Hebrew and English curriculum.

I practice in a town a mile away from Rutgers University and I have many professors from all walks of life as patients. I am able to engage in intelligent discourse with them because of my strong yeshiva and secular background.

We are scared of sending our kids out of their hermetically sealed yeshiva bubbles into the real world for fear of their being influenced by the secular culture. It is indeed a valid fear. But I found that my beliefs were strengthened in college and graduate school because they had to be tested. Hashkafa starts at home and is hopefully reinforced in yeshiva. We need to supply our children with the proper educational tools to be able to function in the world at large and create the Kiddush Hashem Rabbi Rosenblatt alludes to in his article. Dr. Chani Miller Highland Park, NJ

Doctoring Documents (I) I think the Obama administration’s tampering with past records to bring history into line with its policies is one of the more important stories in years (“Doctoring Official Documents,” editorial, March 11).

This is especially so since what was in those records was highly relevant to a current case now in the United States Supreme Court and prior to that in lower federal courts. However, I’m not sure I agree that the Sandy Berger scandal supports your claim that what the Obama administration did rises to the level of a crime. Berger, the national security adviser to President Clinton, was already out of government when he pilfered documents while the Obama administration had custodial oversight of the documents a staffer or staffers apparently altered. Stanley Hurvitch (Via E-Mail)

Why Do We Need an Asifa?

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

There is a huge argument raging right now on Twitter about the next big Internet Asifa scheduled for the end of May in Citi Field. Let me briefly summarize the other positions:

 

#1 The Asifa is just the latest attempt by the zealots and the gedolim they control to control our thoughts

#2 They’re worried about a neo-hashkofa haskola* and are trying to limit access to blogs and the like

#3 They fear their authority is eroding

* I first heard the phrase “neo-haskola” from Mis-nagid in 2005, and have used it promiscuously ever since

To which I reply: No, sorry. This Asifa has nothing to do with any of that. They’ve given up trying to ban the Internet, and the average haredi isn’t interested in thinking or reading. The problem, primarily, is porn.

To which the others reply (paraphrased): But people have always looked at porn! That can’t be the issue! Its a scam! A trick! They don’t really care about porn! They are just using that as an excuse! What they really want to do is run our lives, and close our minds. If they are saying they care about porn, they are a bunch of liars! And hypocrites! Porn has always been a problem! How dare they make believe that they all of a sudden care!

To which I reply: Sure people have always looked at porn, but over the last few years porn has become easier to consume. You can do it quickly, privately and at no cost. The desire to look at porn is a constant, I agree. But the obstacles to looking at porn have been mostly removed. When obstacles disappear consumption goes up. That’s ECO 101.

To which they reply: What are you talking about? You could ALWAYS look at porn

To which I reply: Sure people have always looked at porn, but over the last few years its become easier. You can do it quickly, privately and at no cost. The desire to look at porn is a constant, I agree. But the obstacles to looking at porn have been mostly removed. When obstacles disappear consumption goes up. That’s ECO 101

For some reason, my opponents are unable or unwilling to understand this. In their replies, they point out again, and again in various ways, that porn was always available. What they aren’t grasping is that nowadays more people are seeing more porn because, thanks to the Internet, the porn-watching experience has become so simple. In yesteryear, a shy kid might not be brave enough to ask an older cousin for a magazine, and he might not have had the money to buy one himself. Plus there was always the danger of being spotted in the store, or of the parents finding the contraband. Today, none of that is a worry. The teenager of 2012 can sit with his iPod and feast at a never-ending porn shmorg — all free, all private, with little to no risk of discovery. As a result, porn consumption has skyrocketed.

The purpose of the Asifa is to raise awareness and to discuss solutions. The analogy I gave on Twitter is this: Say you lived in a neighborhood that was frequently visited by bears. The non-idiots in the community would understand immediately that bears are attracted by food and you can encourage them to move on by cutting off their food supply. The non-idiots would take down their bird feeders and keep their garbage in doors for as long as possible. Expert non-idiots might start treating their garbage with some kind of bear repellent. But what abut the non-idiots who just don’t know about the bear? What about the people who are idiots? Until both groups are told about the problem and taught bear-control procedures, the bear will keep coming back. So, what you need to do is have a public meeting, where the problem can be publicized and solutions can be taught.

Its the same with the porn problem. Non-idiots already have filters and are already watching their kids and teaching them how to make good choices. But most people are not non-idiots. Most people don’t know what to do, and may not even be aware of the severity of problem. For instance, most people don’t know (until its too late) that a kid with an iPod is running a XXX theater during recess. Most people don’t know (until its too late) that their 15 year old texts on shabbos. Most people don’t know (until its too late) that their spouse has developed an inappropriate friendship with someone on Facebook How do you fix that? How do you protect people before it’s too late? By raising awareness at a public meeting, which is just another word for asifa.

I’m oversimplifying. Other problems the asifa will tackle include kids who text on shabbos, adults who look at porn, and married people who use the Internet to form emotional connections with members of the opposite sex or to meet extramarital partners and set up assignations. All of that happens today with greater frequency for the same reason 14 year old boys see more porn: Its become cheaper and easier to do. The purpose of the asifa is to raise awareness about all of these problems and to let people know what they can do to protect themselves and their families.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/dovbear/why-do-we-need-an-asifa/2012/04/29/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: