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Posts Tagged ‘Internet Asifa’

Jerusalem vs. The Asifa

Monday, May 21st, 2012

I missed the Asifa. Admittedly, I wasn’t planning on going, though I do feel jealous of those software developers who managed to get 50,000 men (and an unknown number of women who participated remotely) to pay actual money to listen to a multi-hour sales pitch of their products, and then have their community leaders tell them to go buy them, which on top of that, they probably will.

Now that’s marketing to a captive audience.

Obviously internet filtering is important if you have kids in the house, and I guess for a closed, insulated community being hit on the head with the outside world it warrants an outing to Citi Field on a Sunday to find out how to protect yourself (and to get out of the Beis Medrash on a Rabbinically sanctioned field trip).

But in my mind, I was comparing it to another mass gathering that same Sunday – one I participated in with my family.

The Jerusalem Day Parade.

30,000 people, a significant number of them teenagers, mostly religious, gathered together to celebrate one of the modern, open, unexpected and important miracles of our day, the reunification of Jerusalem.

I admit that at one point I wondered, which gathering was the bigger Kiddush Hashem?

But mostly I asked myself, which one would inspire my children about the beauty and possibilities of Judaism?

A public gathering that demands yet even more conformity to community social pressures and standards, this time only to buy a kosher phone, or use an internet filter with the proper hechsher, or a gathering that thanks God for the incredible gift he gave us that actually we prayed for.

Obviously, one gathering isn’t mutually exclusive of the other.

I’m sure many of the Israeli yeshiva students who marched yesterday have internet filters in their homes.

But I wonder, how many men at the Asifa said Hallel that morning, or at least didn’t say Tachanun in commemoration of the miracle that occurred for all of Klal Yisrael, that they too benefit from whenever they visit their national homeland.

 

Tibbi’s Roundup: ‘Asifa’ Organizers Snub Women, Lubavitch

Saturday, May 5th, 2012

Happy New Week. I’m trying a topical approach to my roundup, so I went trolling for new, interesting things about Lag Ba’Omer (only a couple of days ahead), the ‘Asifa’ in Citi Field, and stam interesting Jewish tidbits. Let me know if this format works for you, I’m trying new things.

There’s a classifieds ad circulating the Israeli blogosphere which just has to be translated and shared as the most insightful sales pitch ever:

For sale, first owner! Encyclopedia Britannica, the complete set – 45 volumes! Bargain price, or to the highest bidder. I no longer need it. I got married last week – and my wife knows everything.

Is that deep, or what? And just in case you might actually be interested, since this year has seen the shutting down of the printed Britannica, the number for this wise seller is, in Israel, 03-576-9283.

Let’s blog.

LAG B’OMER, ANYONE?

Going to Meron. From Jerusalem people like myself including hundreds of thousands of Jews, are making their way to the Galilean city of Meron Wednesday night and Thursday 10th May, 2012, participating in the annual celebration of Lag Ba’Omer. Police in the quiet town situated just one mountain away from the mystical city of Tzfat are expecting half a million Jews to arrive, traveling in busses, private cars, and some even on foot.  As of 7:30pm Wednesday night, its expected for 20,000 people to have already arrived. Midnight Rabbi Inspires

First haircut & pe’ot shaping ceremonies for 3 year old boys are the highlight of Lag b’Omer for many families, as everyone gathers to help snip. Actually, everywhere in the world, Jewish boys born between Pesach and Lag b’Omer receive their first haircut and pe’ot on Lag b’Omer. Upon reaching the age of 3 (i.e., completing three years and beginning the “holy fourth” – see Lev. 19:23-25), a Jewish child begins to receive his or her official training in mitzvot. Rabbi Babs, Lech Lecha

Lag B’ Omer Picnic. The Jewish holiday of Lag B’Omer is next Thursday, May 10. Since this holiday is celebrated with picnics, parades and bonfires there’s still time to grab these great picnic essentials: Fun napkins from Target, Crate and Barrel’s collapsible basket… Rita from Connecticut, Design Megillah

 

MORE ASIFA NOTES

The Internet Asifa @ CitiField. Some people expressed their frustration with the fact that women cannot attend, others blasted the rabbis for ruining the Jewish future. As I am female, I will not be able to attend the asifah (bummer, no inspiration for me), a male friend kindly offered to take his time and attend on my behalf, so hopefully, there will be more to discuss after May 20th. Tania, Thinking Jew Girl

Lubavitch not invited to “Internet” asifa. I’m sorry for doing this, for airing our “dirty laundry” here in public, and in English yet! but this charade has to stop. This week’s meeting with the Satmar Rebbe is only one example of the exclusionary tactics being used by the organizers of the Internet event. You can choose not to believe what I write here, if it makes you feel good, but I know it to be 1000% true. Many efforts were made to get the organizers to include Lubavitch in this asifa. They were all rejected. For all kinds of supposed reasons. All people involved got the run-around, and the end result was that we got the message. Even the Skulener Rebbe said it has nothing to do with him. Hirschel Zig’s Blog Mistaken Report Says Asifa at CitiField to Be Held on May 28. Matzav.com has confirmed that despite a report in the chareidi media this week indicating a change of date, the upcoming Ichud Hakehillos L’Tohar Hamachane gathering, otherwise known as the “Internet Asifa,” will be talking place on Sunday, May 20, at CitiField in Queens, as originally scheduled.

A report on the front page of the Brooklyn-based Hamodia newspaper on Monday stated that the event would be taking place on May 28. Organizers, though, tell Matzav.com that this is mistaken and that the original date, May 20, was never changed. Noam Amdurski-Matzav.com Newscenter

Life Beyond Internet. On Monday, Paul Miller, a Senior Editor at a “technology-focused news publication” called The Verge, announced that he was quitting the Internet for a year. He’s switched to a “dumb” phone, and has pledged to neither use the Internet nor ask others to use it for him, if he can.

His reasons for this drastic move are informative. He hopes that “leaving the internet will make me better with my time, vastly more creative, a better friend, a better son and brother… a better Paul.” He said that he was spending an average of over twelve hours each day using some sort of device with an Internet connection, not even including his smartphone. Yaakov Menken, Cross Currents

Internet Asifa. While I often think that a stance may be valid even if I don’t agree with it, when it comes to the internet, I don’t even think the chareidi view is valid. I mean, let’s look at what happened. The internet comes out, and chareidi Rabbis decide it’s like TV. They assur it completely. Then, they see that some people need it in order to make money. Then they decide it’s still forbidden, but there are loopholes. You can show proof that you need it for work, and then you can have it – but only if the woman of the house has the password, and her husband is dependent on her to open it up. You also need a filter that meets chareidi standards. Proud MO, OrthoWatch

 

JEWS AT LARGE

Jewish leadership fails us again. The Netanyahu government keeps praising Obama and publicly smiling even though Obama keeps sticking the knife in. As a result American Jews maintain their support of Obama. Because Netanyahu doesn’t defend our right to build, they and even Israeli Jews, lose confidence in our rights. Many become ashamed of the “occupation” because our government gives the impression that criticism of us in this regard is well founded. Under these conditions we cannot win the PR battle. Ted Belman, Doc’s Talk

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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/

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