Why 50,000 Orthodox Jews Gathered to Protest the Web

A strong turnout at the New York Mets' baseball stadium gave the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community an opportunity to address 'serious family-related problems' caused by the Internet. 

What's the Latest Development?

This week, more than 50,000 Orthodox Jews gathered at Mets' Citi Field Stadium in New York to discuss 'serious family-related problems' caused by the Internet. Organized by Eytan Kobre, US editor of the ultra-Orthodox magazine Mishpacha, the rally elicited speeches among many of the community's members: "Some of the speakers advocated for filtering software, while others insisted that Jews should avoid the Internet altogether, even for work. The speeches--some in English and some in Yiddish--carried on until nearly midnight, but the final verdict wasn't entirely clear." 

What's the Big Idea?

Kobre believes that the Internet has debased intimate relationships by making pornography more easily accessible and that education standards are falling because the Web robs children of their ability to concentrate and do effective research. Still, he praises the electronic medium for facilitating the Jewish faith. "Take Friday night candle lighting time," said Kobre. "Thousands of people all over the world have had their first Shabbat experiences by finding hosts on Shabbat.com. ... I could go on for hours in praise of the Internet in the service of Judaism."

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

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