I just found out about the ‘Asifa’ gathering last Sunday, May 20, at Citi Field in Queens New York. This was a gathering of roughly 40,000 Ultra Orthodox Jewish men who assembled against the evils of the internet – in particular it seems, pornography and the secular world that could influence their children.
In other words, 40,000 Ultra Orthodox men gathered to state the obvious concerns their communities have about pornography and secularism. The assembly allowed them to blame the internet for why their children misbehave so much they must be beaten. Perhaps it is the non-kosher food advertised on the internet that is causing their children to act out and therefore they should be denied food completely. Maybe it’s all the female voices you can hear singing on the internet that has caused their children to speak up with questions, resulting in making sure their children can’t express any opinion other than their parents’.
If anyone of those 40,000 men could guarantee me that if we block the internet from reaching their communities it will result in their children being nurtured and nourished, free to express their opinions and free of fear of being beaten and abused, I would be the first one organizing petitions. But of course, why look to the cause of a problem when you won’t even acknowledge there is a problem? Why search internally for those who desecrate God’s Holy Name by tormenting young ones when it is so easy to blame the internet as the culprit?
Not since Sinai have tens of thousands of Jews agreed together on something. Except at Sinai we agreed to accept Torah and its values of peace and wisdom. This time it was to agree to ignore the issues that profane Torah values and focus on the obvious nonsense that clouds their view.
Not one of our proudest moments.