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November 23, 2014 / 1 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘filter’

Facebook! Gevalt!

Monday, May 21st, 2012

I was very pleased to read in The Jewish Press about the 50,000 packed Asifa gathering held yesterday in Citi Field in New York against the dangers of the Internet. Boker tov, brothers! I say this because some 7 years ago, we started the first website www.jewishsexuality.com which dealt with this terrible plague in a direct and open manner, in order to warn Jewish surfers and educate them how to escape – adults, children, and teachers alike – from the nefarious clutches and seductions of the net.

Years ago, before coming to Israel, I ghostwrote a book on gambling addiction for a major U.S. publisher. Using this knowledge, I applied it to the growing addiction to Internet pornography, and opened a “Pornoholics Anonymous” section on our website which has received thousands and thousands of hits. A booklet, “Shmirat HaBrit”, which can be downloaded free, discusses the issues straightforwardly, explaining why looking at immodest images is so detrimental to the Jewish soul, and presents concrete advice how a victim can escape from the sexual transgressions that evolve from it. The Questions and Answers which are posted cover just about every topic on the issue of Jewish Sexuality, and I translated dozens of important Torah articles, including the Laws of Marital Relations by Israel’s former Chief Rabbi Modechai Eliahu, of blessed memory; many selections from writings of Rabbi Kook; and the long and important confession which follows the “Tikun HaKlali.”

Every time a person sits down at his computer, he is tempted with the very same test that Yosef faced in Egypt. Thousands of seductive women are just a finger click away. That’s why, today, the Internet is Potiphar’s wife.

We who don’t have the same exalted fear of God that Yosef had, where will we summon the strength to overcome the temptation? For us, Divine assistance comes in the form of an anti-pornography filter. Thank God, there are many on the market. Many can be downloaded for free. They afford vital (if only partial) protection from the overpowering temptations of Internet surfing. I say partial because most teenagers today know ways of circumventing filters, such as USB Wireless attachments, 3rd generation cell phones, iPhones, MP4 players, and the Bluetooth copy program.

So grave is the danger of Internet-watching that Torah authorities have ruled that Internet surfing without an anti-porn filter is a violation of the Torah commandment, “Thou shall not put a stumbling block in front of a blind man.” Erotic pictures on the Internet, whether they be in ads, on the Yahoo home page, or in adult sites, cause a person to violate a long list of Torah commandments, including:

You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy!” (Vayikra 19:2)

Thou shall not turn astray after your hearts and after your eyes which lead you astray.” (Bamidbar 15:39)

Therefore shall your camp be holy, that He see no unclean thing in you and turn away from you.” (Devarim 23:15)

And you shall guard yourself from every evil thing.” (Devarim 23:10)

Do not turn astray after their gods!” (Vayikra 19:4)

You shall not walk in the customs of the gentile.” (Vayikra 20:23)

Thou shall not bring an abomination into your house.” (Devarim 7:26)

Our Sages have long told us that sexual transgression causes a terrible rift between the Jewish Nation and God, causing exile and national destruction. Our enemies know this and therefore muster all of their cunning, material resources, and technology to bring us to sin. This has been the strategy from the time of Amalek, Midian, Greece, throughout history down to the zillion dollar industry of Internet pornography today. Today, this terrible enemy has, like the Trojan Horse, entered our innermost sanctums and been afforded an honored place in our homes. So if you want to join in the fight and help win the battle, save yourselves, your children and the entire Jewish Nation – and expel this cruel and crafty enemy from your homes, if not by throwing away the computer, then at least by installing a reliable filter.

And while we’re on the subject, another thing is worth mentioning. Until recently, I didn’t bother with Facebook, thinking, why waste my time with the superficialities of social networking when I could write much deeper articles and books? Then, after all the publicity which Facebook received over its role in international demonstrations and revolutions movements, I figured, why not give it a try? I thought that maybe Facebook could help spread the message of aliyah to Jews around the world. So I started making friends….

Tibbi Singer’s Daily Roundup: Be the Best Sheigetz You Can Be…

Monday, May 7th, 2012

This Jewish guy gets to a small town out in the hinterland, and in his kosher traveler’s guide he finds a motel that’s run by a Jewish lady. Sunday morning the church bells are ringing and he hears the motel owner yelling out: Jimmy, the bells are ringing, time to go to church!

So the guest knocks on her office door and asks, What’s it to you if Jimmy goes to church or not?

So she wipes a tearful eye and says, Jimmy is my only child, and, God forgive me, he converted to Christianity. So I’m thinking, if I didn’t merit to have a God fearing Jewish son, at least let him be a God fearing sheigetz.

Reading Menachem Lipkin’s entry (see below) about Ami magazine and their coverage of things non-Haredi reminded me of that story. In a sense, we, Haredi, stam frum, and secular, are wishing for the other to be the best God awful misguided fool they can be.

Better than violence..

GEORGE CONSTANZA COULD WIN THE VIETNAM WAR

What an awesome article by Sultan Knish! And, incidentally, you can apply everything he wrote about GW’s and Obama’s fundamental failures in Afghanistan to Israel’s failures with the Palestinians. It comes down to politicians doing stuff because it made sense at the time. It’s the stuff that spawns all human tragedy.

My recommendation to all political leaders is to follow the example of Seinfeld’s George Constanza, who knew the value of doing the opposite of what made sense to him.

Winning the War

The Afghanistan victory lap is as much about disguising the ‘cut and run’ phase; as it is about reminding the folks in Virginia and Iowa that the man on television parachuted in, cut the throats of all of Osama’s guards, shot him in the face and then made a topical quip. Waving around Bin Laden’s head is a good way to distract them from the fact that the United States has lost the war in Afghanistan, that Obama’s own strategy there failed badly and cost numerous American and British lives, and that we are turning the country over to the Taliban.

Afghanistan and Iraq were part of a strategy for containing and draining the fever swamps of terrorism. That strategy failed for a variety of reasons, not the least of them being that we failed to learn the lessons of Vietnam. The Obama Administration alone managed to roll out a “hearts and minds” strategy and a brief push to intimidate the other side into coming to the negotiating table for a face-saving withdrawal. It’s almost a pity that Obama wasn’t old enough to have to dodged the draft. At least that way he might have actually known something about the Vietnam War. Daniel Greenfield, Sultan Knish

WE’RE ALL THE SAME UNDER THE BEARD

I’m waiting for the day when the media offer this headline:

Secular People Stole a Million Dollars

Agnostic Molested Children

Religiously Ambivalent Guy Cheated the IRS

It’s only fair. If we’re so happy to point out that this or that individual who just robbed the public treasure is a shomer Shabbat, we should also mention that the guy who did the hit and run eats traif.

With that in mind, here’s a juicy Jewsy:

Again: Haredim Stole Millions From Government In New Yeshiva Fraud, Cops Say Israel police raided several haredi yeshivas earlier today and arrested five school principals in what police say is a multimillion shekel fraud scheme. Failed Messiah

And, speaking of folks who won’t publish the picture of a woman, here’s a gripe against the Haredi Ami magazine.

Yom Ha’Atzmaut Through Charedi Eyes Ami’s CEO and Editor In Chief, Rabbi Yizchok Frankfurter, penned an editorial that was very troubling.  It represents much that is wrong with this type of publication today. Make no mistake, while Ami pretends to be an opened-minded publication, throwing out a few bones here and there to unsuspecting readers, at its core, as proven by this editorial and the fact that they won’t publish pictures of women among other things, they are solidly in the Chareidi camp. Menachem Lipkin, Emes Ve-Emunah

CULTURE SHOCK NEVER GOES AWAY

The difference between knowing and being…

My Children Live a Mixture of America and Israel. Today, my husband mentioned Shirley Temple and my children were oblivious to who she was. It happens quite often and is, for many people, unexpected. For the most part, their English skills are quite good. They are, most definitely, all bilingual. They understand English, read it, and speak it quite well. But where they “fall” – is with the culture and the sayings related to it. Paula R. Stern, A Soldier’s Mother

THERE’S AN INTELLECTUAL IN MY SOUP

Leslie Stein (“The Making of Modern Israel: 1948-1967″) is tackling the familiar question: Can one be an anti-Zionist without being an anti-Semite? But don’t assume you know what she’s about to say. Read, man, read, she’s really good.

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.

Are the Jews Good for Andy Warhol?

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

Andy Warhol: Good for the Jews?

Written and performed by Josh Kornbluth

Directed by David Dower

http://www.theaterj.org

 

 

Andy Warhol: 10 Portraits of Jews of the 20th Century in Retrospect

Through May 2

Ann Loeb Bronfman Gallery

http://washingtondcjcc.org/center-for-arts/gallery/

 

The joke about “old and tribal” Jews, who are always pathologically wondering if everything is good for the Jews, goes that when they see a new lint filter on the dryer, they want to know if the new mechanism is good for the Jews. So says Josh Kornbluth in his one-man performance “Andy Warhol: Good for the Jews?”

 

Although one understands the absurdity that Kornbluth is mocking, there is actually something a little inspiring about a worldview in which every seemingly ordinary object can carry vast spiritual implications. Whether the dryer – through some religious chaos theory – holds the Jewish fate in its lint filter, Kornbluth devotes his performance to the question of whether Warhol is good for the Jews, a question of which he is initially quite skeptical.

 

The Contemporary Jewish Museum of San Francisco commissioned Kornbluth to create a monologue about Warhol’s 1980 series, “Ten Portraits of Jews of the 20th Century,” which depicts Sarah Bernhardt, Louis Brandeis, Martin Buber, Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, George Gershwin, Franz Kafka, the Marx Brothers, Golda Meir and Gertrude Stein. Though he says he felt he should be the target audience for an exhibit at the Contemporary Jewish Museum – “I’m Jewish and I live now, it should be just for me!” – Kornbluth, who was not a practicing Jew at the time, grew frustrated with and offended by the banner announcing the CJM show: “Warhol’s Jews.”

 

Andy Warhol. “Albert Einstein” from Ten Portraits of Jews of the Twentieth Century, 1980. Screen Print on Lenox Museum Board, 40 x 32 inches. Photo courtesy Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York / feldmangallery.com and

Do You Live In A Fish Bowl?

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

Several months ago, at a children’s rally, my 10-year-old son was the lucky winner of a raffle. His prize? A plump goldfish. It came in a plastic bag filled with water.

 

My son was ecstatic with his prize. I, on the other hand, was anxious. While I feigned excitement, inwardly I dreaded what I was sure was to come. Previous experiences made me wonder how long we would have it before it would die on us.

 

We immediately drove to the closest fish store and purchased special food as well as a perfectly sized glass bowl that was to become our goldfish’s comfortable new home. Despite all our efforts, though, by the next morning our prized goldfish was dead.

 

But my son’s enthusiasm for a pet fish had been whetted. He begged us for another fish, a stronger one that he could care for long term. That is how Simcha, our blue Betta fish, reluctantly came into our home.

 

My son’s hobby grew into somewhat of a passion, as he studied more and more about all the different species of fish and the environments best suited for each to thrive. He learned of community fish tanks for the “friendly fish” as well as “aggressive fish” that needed their own space; he studied about fresh water tanks as opposed to tropical fish that needed salt-water environments. He could enthusiastically recite which species were “top” swimmers, and which preferred to swim/crawl along the ocean’s depths.

 

Little by little, my son’s ambitions (and persuasive power) grew, as did his thorough knowledge of handling fish and their unique needs. After dutifully caring for Simcha for several months, he begged us to buy a real fish tank, fully equipped with its own heater, filter, blue gravel bottom, fish toys, etc., as well, of course, as a whole assortment of brightly colored fish.

 

So after several more trips to the fish store, we now have two fully equipped fish tanks, a smaller one for our aggressive, loner fish, Simcha, and one with a whole array of exotic sounding, friendly species like clown Loaches, flamingo Guppies, neon Tetras, Panda Platys, Zebra Danios and more.

 

Even I have to admit that I’ve become somewhat enamored by this colorful new piece of decor. Daily as I pass our fish, I find myself hypnotically observing their graceful swim around the perimeters of their tank. And as I gaze at them, I wonder about their perceptions of their home:

 

Do our fish realize that this twenty-gallon tank is just a miniature replica of their authentic home, in some faraway lake or sea?

 

Do they understand that the sea blue, pretty background gracing the back of their tank is just a cheap, printed backdrop?

 

Do they enjoy the food that we drop in twice daily – even though it is a freeze-dried, preserved formula meant to mimic the native food that fish hunt?

 

Are the heater that keeps their waters warm and the filter that cleans it properly simulating the environments of their real homes, hundreds of miles from here?

 

Do they discern that the plants that they play with are artificial – plastic replicas of lush, living greenery?

 

Of course they can’t know any of this. They can’t possibly understand how artificial their environment is, or how far from their real source they have come. This is what they’ve been born into and what they will bring their offspring into. To them this is home. This is comfortable. This is what they know. They simply cannot fathom a different, more authentic existence.

 

And then I thought about us.

 

Despite our material comforts, despite being born into our exiled circumstances, do we realize how foreign our environments are? That soon will come a time when we will be submerged in life giving waters, with a new and genuine perception of our divine source and purpose?

 

Life in our fish tanks might be a more or less comfortable simulation. But it’s nothing like the real thing.

Do You Live In A Fish Bowl?

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

Several months ago, at a children’s rally, my 10-year-old son was the lucky winner of a raffle. His prize? A plump goldfish. It came in a plastic bag filled with water.

 

My son was ecstatic with his prize. I, on the other hand, was anxious. While I feigned excitement, inwardly I dreaded what I was sure was to come. Previous experiences made me wonder how long we would have it before it would die on us.

 

We immediately drove to the closest fish store and purchased special food as well as a perfectly sized glass bowl that was to become our goldfish’s comfortable new home. Despite all our efforts, though, by the next morning our prized goldfish was dead.

 

But my son’s enthusiasm for a pet fish had been whetted. He begged us for another fish, a stronger one that he could care for long term. That is how Simcha, our blue Betta fish, reluctantly came into our home.

 

My son’s hobby grew into somewhat of a passion, as he studied more and more about all the different species of fish and the environments best suited for each to thrive. He learned of community fish tanks for the “friendly fish” as well as “aggressive fish” that needed their own space; he studied about fresh water tanks as opposed to tropical fish that needed salt-water environments. He could enthusiastically recite which species were “top” swimmers, and which preferred to swim/crawl along the ocean’s depths.

 

Little by little, my son’s ambitions (and persuasive power) grew, as did his thorough knowledge of handling fish and their unique needs. After dutifully caring for Simcha for several months, he begged us to buy a real fish tank, fully equipped with its own heater, filter, blue gravel bottom, fish toys, etc., as well, of course, as a whole assortment of brightly colored fish.

 

So after several more trips to the fish store, we now have two fully equipped fish tanks, a smaller one for our aggressive, loner fish, Simcha, and one with a whole array of exotic sounding, friendly species like clown Loaches, flamingo Guppies, neon Tetras, Panda Platys, Zebra Danios and more.

 

Even I have to admit that I’ve become somewhat enamored by this colorful new piece of decor. Daily as I pass our fish, I find myself hypnotically observing their graceful swim around the perimeters of their tank. And as I gaze at them, I wonder about their perceptions of their home:

 

Do our fish realize that this twenty-gallon tank is just a miniature replica of their authentic home, in some faraway lake or sea?

 

Do they understand that the sea blue, pretty background gracing the back of their tank is just a cheap, printed backdrop?

 

Do they enjoy the food that we drop in twice daily – even though it is a freeze-dried, preserved formula meant to mimic the native food that fish hunt?

 

Are the heater that keeps their waters warm and the filter that cleans it properly simulating the environments of their real homes, hundreds of miles from here?

 

Do they discern that the plants that they play with are artificial – plastic replicas of lush, living greenery?

 

Of course they can’t know any of this. They can’t possibly understand how artificial their environment is, or how far from their real source they have come. This is what they’ve been born into and what they will bring their offspring into. To them this is home. This is comfortable. This is what they know. They simply cannot fathom a different, more authentic existence.

 

And then I thought about us.

 

Despite our material comforts, despite being born into our exiled circumstances, do we realize how foreign our environments are? That soon will come a time when we will be submerged in life giving waters, with a new and genuine perception of our divine source and purpose?

 

Life in our fish tanks might be a more or less comfortable simulation. But it’s nothing like the real thing.

Use Your Filter

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007

(Names Changed)


 


         We all have a filter, should we choose to use it. It is the sensitive part of us that allows us to hear what we are about to say before it leaves our mouth. It is that part that stops us before the inappropriate words exit our mouth leaving pain, shock and hurt feelings in their wake. We never set out to deliberately hurt someone with our words. Especially when our intention is to give comfort. However, if we do not examine what we are about to say and filter out that which is not quite right or is downright hurtful, that is exactly what we do. We all have this filter. All we have to do is think before we speak. Hear in your mind what effect our words may have on others and then make a conscious decision to speak them or try again.

 

         Mandy’s father was in the hospital. The prognosis did not seem life threatening, but it was serious. He needed both massive antibiotics and a feeding tube. There seemed to be some conflict on which to do first and days went by before either was done. Still Mandy’s father was lucid and seemed comfortable when his family visited. Ten minutes after Mandy’s daughter visited, her grandfather passed away. Everyone was shocked. Tearfully, Mandy was explaining what had happened to a very close friend. Along with the words of sympathy came, “If it was my father, I would have never left the room until they put in the IV and feeding tube!”

 

         Let’s take a pause and examine the results of what was said. Mandy had left the room. She had placed her father’s care with the doctors, trusting that they knew what to do and would give her father adequate care. She knew nothing of IV’s or feeding tubes or how they interacted or what the priorities were. She trusted the system. Now, Mandy is suddenly presented, though not deliberately, with something to feel terribly guilty about. Did not insisting that things be done immediately cause her father’s death? Was she indeed responsible for this? Should she have acted differently? Her grief was now compounded with guilt. Guilt she had not experienced before her friend’s comment. And, the comment came at the most vulnerable time in her life. After all, she had, just that day, lost her father.

 

         It certainly would have made sense, days before, to be presented with the suggestion that perhaps she needed to press the doctors into treating her father more swiftly, or having them explain to her why they were holding off. But what purpose did those words serve Mandy now, today? If her friend had just thought it through, she would have realized that her words had no useful purpose. The situation was over. Her friend’s parent was gone. Telling her what she should have done could only make Mandy feel terrible.

 

         After his father-in-law’s funeral, Menachem found himself alone in the kitchen with his mother-in-law. It had been a heavy, sad, terrible day. Searching for something to say to fill the uncomfortable silence (and not thinking before he spoke) Menachem said, “Do you think you’ll ever remarry?” His mother in law was shocked by the question, particularly on this day when she had just buried her husband. Worse, the question had been overheard by Menachem’s brother-in-law who decided, at that moment, never to have anything to do with Menachem again. But the words were out there, never to be withdrawn. If only Menachem had used his filter.

 

         Words are so very powerful. They can heal hurts or open old wounds. They can cause guilt that will last a lifetime or take guilt away and give peace. They can destroy a relationship of years. Once out of your mouth, they can never be taken back. That is why we must use our filter. Think about the effects of what you are going to say before you say it. It is not that hard to do. It is a habit that takes practice. It can become second nature. You may wind up speaking less and speaking more slowly, but if successful, what you say will be so much more valuable. You might even find that people will listen to you more carefully and seek your counsel.

 

         You can reach me at annnovick@hotmail.com

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/use-your-filter/2007/05/02/

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