Sunday, May 13, 2012

Internet Asifa a Great Kiddush Hashem


A guest post by Yosef Drimmel 

May 20, 2012, Flushing, NY – A gathering of Ultra-Orthodox Jews from the New York tri-state area was held today at Citi Field. 40,000 men gathered here as approximately 40,000 women followed the events in their neighborhoods via satellite connection. This remarkable event filled with excitement and optimism offered a unique reflection on almost twenty years of Internet use and its effects on a generation.

Leading Rabbis spoke passionately about the various problems facing the community today and urged people to use the Internet and any tools available to address them. An introspective atmosphere was created that united laymen and leadership fostering a commitment to truth and transparency.

The leaders acknowledged they were short-sighted and unrealistic when in the past they attempted to ban the Internet entirely and that methods such as forced signatures on school applications were inappropriate and ineffective. Instead they expressed that many schools need to focus more on the academic and social growth of their students and less on their ability to conform to exclusive rules.

In a humbling manner, some rabbis went so far as to suggest that in the past they felt threatened by the dissemination of information and opinions over the Internet. But in the end they realized that transparency and open dialogue are in the greater interests of Klal Yisroel.

Perhaps the most moving moment of the day was the public apology issued by the leadership in the name of the entire community to the victims of decades of sexual abuse that occurred within our community, noting that it was the Internet that gave a voice to those who had none in the face of the establishment. A new covenant was drawn promising complete cooperation with law enforcement and advocating tougher laws to prevent and report child abuse. A number of enablers were removed from their positions and a new fund to support victims was created.

Some of the speakers also brought attention to the problems of Internet addiction. Expert psychologists and social workers discussed the pathways and pitfalls of excessive use of the Internet, a human challenge more than a religious one. Emphasis was made for teachers and clergy to be aware of individuals suffering from emotional problems of all sorts and to understand the best ways to help people. The disastrous stories of well-meaning but incompetent rabbis who offered counseling proved to be very enlightening to many in the field.

Some attention was paid to the unfortunate availability of pornography on the Internet. While no rabbi wanted to make a fire-and-brimstone rant against basic human instinct, even-keeled advice was offered regarding coping with this distraction and enjoying a healthy lifestyle and fulfilling relationships. A new program was presented to educate brides and grooms on the subject of positive attitudes about intimacy, mutual love and respect.

In the final remarks, the rabbis pledged to move forward with the continuous forging of new ideas. Future gatherings will probably be at a lower cost and scale but focused on actual changes and improvements the community will need to make. Future agendas will include problems and questions such as attitudes towards education and employment, proper allocation of charity funds, funding Jewish education as a community, today’s shidduchim system, agunos, extremism and intolerance, segregation of Ashkenazim and Sefaradim, participation in the Israeli workforce and armed forces, the system of Halachic rulings in Israel and America, reliance on subsidies, and integrity and honesty.

 Many of the attendees left the event feeling invigorated about their future and that of their children and grandchildren, echoing the sentiment that through justice and kindness we may merit the coming of the Messiah.

41 comments:

  1. wow, this blog just keeps getting worse. Well done.

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  2. Can I please live in your universe?

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  3. ...and then everyone flew home on their unicorns

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  4. "While no rabbi wanted to make a fire-and-brimstone rant against basic human instinct".

    What in God's name is that supposed to mean?!

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  5. I hope you at least realize you're so predictable...?

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  6. It was a guest post by someone else. How on earth does that make me predictable?

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  7. While everybody might realize now that this posit is satirical(?) it won't be so clear after the event has occurred and nobody is looking at the date this was posted. So maybe you should label it as such to prevent future mistakes.

    "The leaders acknowledged they were short-sighted and unrealistic when in the past they attempted to ban the Internet entirely and that methods such as forced signatures on school applications were inappropriate and ineffective."

    This might actually happen.

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  8. chin up Natan -- this is an important blog. say "bye" to the haters.

    Tuvia

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  9. I get the sense that Mr. Drimmel was tempted to get really sarcastic, but toned it down to have just the right balance of sarcasm and earnestness. All in all, I think he did a great job.

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  10. a little confusedMay 13, 2012 at 9:13 AM

    wait is this post for real or a joke?

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  11. It may be that the future-dated dateline is too subtle a hint for many readers, or that the story is too close to what we wish might really happen, to make it obvious that it is parody...

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  12. Whatever Reb Drimmel was smoking when he wrote this, I want some!

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  13. I never use irony because it is always misunderstood.

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  14. What an excellent asifa, very inspiring! We are lucky to have such leaders.

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  15. If you still want to go, tickets are available here http://www.ebay.com/itm/Internet-assifa-8-FRONT-ROW-tix-for-SOLD-OUT-EVENT-/320904752174?pt=US_Tickets_all_in_one&hash=item4ab769ec2e

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  16. My guess is that they will promote a Rimon like internet service. The major difference between them is, whereas Rimon is independent, and focuses on tznius and gambling sites, and does not usually block Jblogs, such as this one. This new one will block critical blogs under the guise of tznius.

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  17. My wish is that this review of the Asifa gets confused with the real one.

    It really doesn't matter what happens at the event, it's what people read about later.

    I recommend people blog about this post as if it's real.

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  18. it's kind of wierd women couldn't in person even attend the parody.

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  19. I wish you were right but I think my Chelm story has a much better chance "The Dangers of the New Highway System - A History Lesson From Chelm Part" http://dteitelbaum.blogspot.com/2012/05/history-lesson-from-chelm-part-i-crisis.html

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  20. Wow well done by the author. If only this would adtually happen.

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  21. Oh man...
    I read this post and was so excited. Then I read the comments and saw it was a cynical joke...sigh.

    I think something like this really will happen someday, though.

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  22. I agree 100%, pritzus is absolutely "basic human instinct" and should not be railed against...?huh?

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  23. the plan which is already in effect but will be promoted at the asifa is that everyone must sign up on a program which will notify your rav if an inappropriate image passes your home screen. Presumably the rav will then contact you and discuss this carefully.

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  24. Well done! So sad that religious leadership is devoid of, well, leadership!

    Back in the real world some decent people are organizing a counter protest outside Citi Field. Information is here:
    http://www.facebook.com/events/320642868009045/

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  25. to me a rally against pritzus makes sense, but there are also many issues today derived from unhealthy attitudes about it. and the way we are schmuezed about women as objects actually promotes the porn concept. the instinct itself is not bad according to Torah (unless like Rambam you agree with Aristotle). so it depends on how it is done.

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  26. IMHO, this aseifa is a huge chilul Hashem because it is a total waste of huge sums of money. There is no way that anyone can accomplish what they now say they wish to accomplish. There is no way that anyone can teach such a huge number of people what they truly need to know about technology and how to accomplish anything in such an environment. If they really wish to accomplish this it has to be done in small workshops and in a hands on environment where people can ask questions and get answers. People have a lot of knowledge and others have no knowledge at all. Each group will have various questions and will need a slew of answers in order to help them navigate these issues.

    A more comprehensive solution would be to have conferences and workshops in each yeshiva geared towards the staff and parents both mothers and fathers under the umbrella issues "The things that hurt our children the most: Hypocrisy and Technology". Those workshops can include the two major topics, keeping your children safe from predators both in the home and outside the home; being the best Yiddishe role models you can be for your children and your students; teaching yiddishkeit b'simcha and to love Torah and mitzvos and how to avoid the pitfalls of todays technology and to use them only for the benefit of Torah, midos, and maasim tovim.

    That would be a worthy endeavor and worth every penny raised and spent. Those are important subjects and important lessons for mechanchim, parents, neighbors, and friends. Basically for every Jew how to conduct themselves on a daily and hourly basis. How to live a Torah true life and how to raise a Torah true family.

    If the Gedolei Hador, Daas Torah would get together and be realistic about what is truly happening and what the Olam are truly concerned about and are willing to agree upon, they will make a huge impact on everyone and bring the K'lal together instead of separating everyone into divisive sections. You can't keep hurting children and different sections and groups of people while claiming to be helping the K'lal. You can't keep claiming that you are oskei tzibur when huge parts of the tzibur are being pushed and shoved off the derech in larger and larger numbers every year.

    Yiddishkeit is about loving and caring. We are not people who just turn our backs and ignore other's problems. That is just NOT the Torah way. That is not what our Gedolim used to do. That is not how our people lasted this long. That is not what our heritage is about. We can't ignore the pain that our own people cause one and other, and we are not talking about the reform against the othodox, we are talking about our own religious people throwing our own helige neshomas to the trash. This is like tearing and ripping Hashem's name to shreds, no doubt about it. You just can't condone uttering Hashem's name in silent and sincere prayer one hour and then an hour later destroying and betraying another yiddishe neshoma as if Hashem does not exist and does not see what you are doing. That is the biggest phony and the biggest chilul Hashem. How can one ignore that, condone that, protect that person and still honor him and give him kovod? Who are you and how can you consider yourself a frum Jew if you protect the abuser and NOT the victim or ignore your responsibility to stop this?????? SHAME on YOU for making an ASEIFA on technology and NOT on STOPPING the worst affliction against our yiddishe neshomas.

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  27. As someone who generally appreciates Rabbi Slifkin's work and blog, I'm sorry to say: this was a silly post.

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  28. They didn't have the asifa yet

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  29. I thought this was a recounting of an actual event, and I was filled with hope! Oh well, it's back to faith.

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  30. Wow! Amazing! I especially love how the author acknowledged the pitfalls of the internet even as he steered the Asifa toward the real issues. Kol Hakavod!

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  31. Fantastic. If only...

    btw...who might this Drimmel be?

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  32. No idea. I don't think that it's even his real name.

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  33. To me, Drimmel's piece was pure wishful thinking. Not the present day reality. Aries' piece came from a realistic but wounded neshoma. The dichotomy is the illness of this long Galus. it is time to be rescued once again before the 50th descent.

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  34. First I read the post and I thought, awesome, there are still smart, creative frum Jews out there.

    Then I read the comments. Holy smokes.

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  35. This is actually very well written.

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  36. i read this post and thought it was amazing. when i first started reading it, i was confused, as i am following the assifah closely and knew it hadn't happened yet. then i realized that iy was a parody. the people who didn't realize this obviously haven't been following the news. anyway, as i said, great post, very creative, and don't listen to the haters.

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  37. seeker

    http://www.yiddishdictionaryonline.com/

    nap (m.) dreml דרעמל

    so this seems to be josephs dreams (are the rabbis going to bow down to the public)

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  38. Charedi Gedolim (and/or their handlers) seem to regard any concession to modernity as a sign of weakness.

    The whole notion of Gedolim is predicated on their being right and the rest of the world wrong which is why a humble confession of their having been misguided is such a fantasy scenario.

    The intransigence of these individuals is digging their communities into a hole. But they will not they, cannot change course.

    It reminds me of Saddam Hussein with the Gulf War. Even with threatened with impeding disaster from President Bush he would not change course on Kuwait out of pride because this would show weakness.

    Instead he "bravely" stood his ground and brought disaster on his people.

    I don't expect any different behavior from the Gedolim.

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  39. Excellent! Excellent! Excellent!!!

    I would LOVE to be a part of this kind of Frumkeit. I would be PROUD of being a part of this Orthodox world.

    Instead, I am ashamed. Ashamed that those who are called leaders of what today is called Frumkeit are focusing on adjusting their neckties to perfection, while their pants are down to the floor, bunched around their ankles. They are completely out of touch. It is the leaders, who are off the derech, which is why so many teenagers AND ADULTS are going off the derech.

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  40. LOL quality humor , and don't forget the Chabad community was also there and a public apology was given to the community for originally banning them becasue they are not considered "part of Klal Yisroel "

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