The Internet Is Not The Problem, I Repeat, The Internet Is NOT The Problem

Record number of religious girls surfing sex sites

New research indicates that one in three teenaged girls from the religious and Ultra-Orthodox sectors surf porn sites – nearly twice as many as non-observant girls of the same age.

Seventeen percent of the non-religious girls polled said they visited sexually-oriented websites, while over 30% of the national religious and haredi girls polled responded likewise.

Over 500 11th and 12th-grade students from the national religious, haredi, and secular sectors participated in the study, which focused on the amount of exposure to the Internet and the “sexual conflict.” The research is a follow-up to a qualitative study published a year ago that examined attraction vs. reversion to sexuality and attraction vs. reversion to morality and conservatism.

Dr. Yaniv Efrati of Bar-Ilan University, who used the statistical research to examine religious youths’ sexual conflict, explains that sexual attraction among girls is “perceived as a much stricter taboo in the religious society than in secular society…..”

Interestingly, while the percentage of religious and haredi girls who surf porn sites is significantly higher than the number of secular girls who do, there was virtually no difference by sector in the number of boys who surf porn sites. According to the study, over 80% of all teens are exposed to online porn.


Notice that the “enlightened” non-Haredim fare no better then the crazy “Ban”ners.

And these folks still believe that the internet is not a problem. Stupid (and dangerous) fools.


Links for 6/15/12: Blood libels, More Internet Dangers, RCA In Trouble

If anyone still thinks that bloggers are 1) responsible and serious 2) in it to help 3) fair and balanced, please read this post.

Modern Day Blood Libel by Harry Maryles

If the internet commentariat still have a shred of decency left in them, there will be across the board denunciations of this travesty

RCA Facing Leadership Challenge

Someone’s finally waking up

Horace Mann Case Prompts New Look at State Abuse Laws

Which Haredi yeshiva calls itself Horace Mann…..oh wait

Picture of the Day: “Shield Your Eyes

Billboard goes up, heads explode. Love it!

Our Special Nation

Trending topic on blogs this week I’m sure.

IDF Embraces To’eva Month

Still wondering why Haredim avoid army service?

Poland vs. Russia: Fans Involved in Violent Outburst in Streets of Warsaw

Repeat after me: Only Haredim riot, Only Haredim riot

Flatbush Internet Asifa Held At Agudah On Ave L

Asifas, Asifas everywhere. Too bad it’ll NEVER work

One People, One Destiny

How DARE they? Were Reform there? Were Haredim there??

Recognizing Computer Addiction In Adolescents

Nothing to see here, move along, move along.

When Are Riots Bad?

Answer: When Haredim are the ones rioting. Otherwise, why rioting is just people “expressing” their justified frustration or something.

Case in point:

Israelis attack African migrants during protest against refugees

An African migrant in a car with shattered windows after a protest against African refugees and asylum-seekers in Tel Aviv turned violent.

Demonstrators have attacked African migrants in Tel Aviv in a protest against refugees and asylum-seekers that indicates an increasingly volatile mood in Israel over what it terms as “infiltrators”….

A car containing Africans was attacked and shops serving the refugee community were looted. Seventeen people were arrested.

A reporter for the Israeli daily Maariv described it as an “unbridled rampage” and explosion of “pent-up rage”.

“Suddenly one of [the protesters] noticed that in one of the cars waiting for traffic to move were two young dark-skinned men, apparently foreign workers. For the hundreds of inflamed and enraged young people, that was all they needed. Within minutes, they dismantled – there is no other word to describe it – the car and its passengers. Some of them smashed the windows with their hands and rocks, others kicked the car, bent the plastic parts and tried to attack the people inside. ‘I’m not from Sudan, I’m not from Sudan,’ the driver tried to tell the assailants, but nobody was listening at that stage.”

Haven’t heard of this violent “incident”? Surely the Prime Minister spoke out against this blatant racism? No? Instead he said this?

“illegal infiltrators [are] flooding the country” and threatening the security and identity of the Jewish state.

Oh well, then perhaps you’ve heard of this one:

Yeshiva World News:

Following the defeat of the bill in Knesset, protests became unruly outside the Knesset, trying repeatedly to close down the street. At least one arrest was made. Elsewhere in the capital, protestors set a garbage frog ablaze and pushed it onto the light rail tracks in the Beit HaKerem neighborhood.

Or this one:

Graffiti including “Death to Arabs”, “Regarding from Ulpana” and “Regards from Gilad Farm” was left on vehicles and the N’vei Shalom (Wahat al-Salam) School. The tires of a number of vehicles were slashed as well in the erev Shabbos vandalism attack in the mixed community where Jews and Arabs reside.

Also not? Must be nothing to see here, move along, move along. We’ll be sure to call you the next time Haredim block a street, but for now nothing doing.

Links for 6/8/12: What’s Going On In The Real World, Who’s Behind Israel’s Continued Existence, Mixing Into Other People’s Business & more

A look at the “outside world” Haredim are so fervently urged to join.

Most Israeli Parents Dissatisfied with Schools

Haredim Don’t Know What They’re Missing – Part 1

“Kill Scott Walker” as “Angry Liberals” Flood Twitter Over Tom Barrett’s Loss to Scott Walker in WI Recall Election

Haredim Don’t Know What They’re Missing – Part 2

Cannibalism Trend Can Feed On Itself, Experts Say

Haredim Don’t Know What They’re Missing – Part 3

20,000 NIS Fine for Cursing a Chareidi Man

No doubt this story will be covered wall-to-wall in the blogosphere. And this next one as well:

Chareidim Banned From Ramat Aviv Mall

Segregation, discrimination!!!!

Is Texting Ruining The Art Of Conversation?

Must be an article from Hamodia.

“The Germans can be proud to have ensured the existence of the state of Israel for several years to come – Ehud Barak

Yup, Aschalta D’Geula

Why haredim should not be Zionists

Speaking the truth

Conservative Jews Approve Gay Wedding Guidelines

Where’s the protest over this tremendous Chillul Hashem??

Rabbi Aviner: Draft Chareidim to Military of National Service

Tomorrow: Rabbi Aviner: How DARE Charedim Not Stick Up For Us Regarding Ulpana?? Gee, I can’t figure it out….

Same Old, Same Old: Today’s Oiber Chachamim With The Same Gripes As Yesteryear’s Oiber Chachamim

Ask the ever-so-gentle-and-thoughtful Haredi critics why they criticize Rabbis. Do they dispute the idea of leadership in Klal Yisroel? They’ll respond, ears red with righteous indignation, “Of course not! It’s today’s Rabbonin that we have a problem with”. “You know, the ones who think Judaism is all about prohibitions and bans”. “There’s a “negative attitude” prevalent in Rabbanic circles today, which is contrary to the Derachea Darkei Noam we saw in previous generations”, etc. etc.. In fact, they may say something like this:

Even worse than these are the teachers and rabbis, who know nothing of governance or circumspect judgment, or how to lighten the burden of the masses. All of their efforts are devoted to multiplying customs and prohibitions, and stringencies upon stringencies, which have no source in the Torah or tradition. Instead, these customs come from foreign sources, or the practices of old women, or foolish men . . .  If I would enumerate them all, there’s be no respite.

As for the Haredi community in general, the following is a good sample of their thinking:

Another illness which has spread among all the people is to rush to marry their boys and girls, even babies, and by multiplying the size of their families, they invite problems, physical illness, and oppressions, and they shorten their life spans. Before a boy knows how to earn a dime, he finds he has ten mouths to feed. All his days are nothing but problems, and pressures which never cease constricting him – and in his middle age he lives to see the same problems also in his own sons and daughters!

Want to know when this was written? In 1846 by the oiber chacham of his time, Adam HaKohen.

Folks, there is nothing new under the sun. The critics of Haredim today are the ideological descendents of the critics of yesteryear. They predict our demise today with the same certainty and conviction they did then, and for the same reasons. While, now as then, Haredim have much to improve on, reports of our demise have been and will always be, premature Be”h. Haredism is strong and getting stronger, contrary to what you may read online and hear from people who wish it were otherwise, B”H.

Links For 6/1/12 How to Criticize Haredim, More Internet Woes, Innocent Until Proven Guilty and more.

Three In Rockland Charged With Welfare Fraud

Those Haredi thieves………. or maybe not.

Op-Ed: Respect haredi life while offering criticism

Attention Bloggers: Wanna give this a try? Nah, gotta feed the Sitemeter

Prosecutors Drop False Assault Charges Against Queens Man

Accusers are ALWAYS right………Except when they’re not

Plugging Your Technology-Obsessed Kids Back Into Reality

Repeat after me (with ears stuffed up) Internet Good, Asifa Bad. We were ALWAYS at war with Eurasia

Orthodox Communities Struggle with LGBT Acceptance

Ya think they mean Haredim?

Satmar Rebbe’s Ultimatum: Turn in Smartphone or Get Out

It will never work. It Will Never Work! IT WILL NEVER WORK I SAY!!!!

Rabbi Fink: If I Were An Haredi Woman I Would Not Be Happy

It always brings a smile to my face to behold the reaction of my non-Jewish customers when our conversation turns toward our kids. Upon hearing that my children have no access to any form of media (i.e. TV, movies, radio, video games, Ipods, Iphones, internet, computers etc.), you can almost hear a loud crack as their jaws drop to the floor. It usually takes me another twenty minutes to convince them that, no, my children do not feel deprived and yes, they are quite happy with their lives, thank you very much. After all that, they still leave shaking their heads in wonder and full of rachmanus (pity), pure rachmanus, for my poor, bored children.

Which brings us to one of Rabbi Eli Fink’s latest articles. In it he takes issue with Chaya, and with the  exuberant joy and pleasure she find in her Chassidic lifestyle. He finds her story to be subjective and not necessarily representative of her community as a whole. As a rule, he is correct, one person’s experience cannot be extrapolated to reflect the society in which they live. Societal temperature can be taken with data alone, not through anecdotal and biased experiences. Had he stopped there, we would not object. But he continues and falls head first into the twin traps of moral arrogance and circular reasoning all neatly wrapped together with a nice bow of projection.

Rabbi Fink’s problem with Chasidism’s (really Orthodoxy’s) treatment of women? In a word, Feminism. To him, feminism, the idea of gender equality, that whatever one gender can do the other should be able to do as well, is sacrosanct. It is natural, undeniable and settled morality. Hence, he takes us for a ride. Come along.

Since Rabbi Fink believes that feminism rocks, therefore everyone believes that feminism rocks, that women should be able to do whatever men do. It follows that all women, including Haredi women, also believe that they should be able to what men do. Therefore, since Haredi women can’t do all that men can do, then ipso facto one can surmise that many of them are unhappy. You still with me?

See how easy that was? Never mind that feminism is rejected by as many women that accept it, if not more. Never mind that using Rabbi Fink’s logic, it is adherents to feminist ideology who should (and often are) miserable, considering that after 50+ years of feminist agitation, it is still a man’s world, by a mile. Disregarding the misery and suffering wrought by the social engineering of feminism, his article can be termed sheer fallacy for one simple reason: You cannot project your values on others and then use those values as a yardstick to divine their feelings.

Charedi girls are raised quite lovingly and competently with a totally different set of values. In their worldview, what they strive for and the goals they seek are as easy (or as difficult) to attain as it is for men. Were Rabbi Fink in charge it might be different, but as it stands Chassidic women, by and large, could care less about feminism. While there are surely some to whom the ways of feminism hold sway and may therefore feel chained in a Chasidic lifestyle, there are also many girls born to feminist families who feel their femininity undermined by the constant comparisons to men. Exceptions just prove the rule.

Were we to adopt the thought process of Rabbi Fink, then we Orthodox Jews would feel deep, heartfelt pity for our secular brethren, not to mention non-Jews. Surely they can’t be happy without the restful spirituality of Shabbos?? Rabbi Fink would be the first to condemn such holier-than-thou arrogance. An American boy without video games is a bored soul, therefore a pity on the millions of sub-Saharan teenagers with their Nintendo-deficient lifestyle.

The truth is, I hesitate to be too hard on Rabbi Fink, he is after all, not a happy man. How could he be, being that he doesn’t wear a Shtreimal on Shabbos!

Shavous With Haredim

Fresh off the three day Shabbos & Yom Tov break, many thoughts swirl around in my mind. What rises to the top is the amazing vibrancy, the chiyus, I was privileged to witness and be a part of this Shavous.

In the blogosphere, Haredim are portrayed as a uniform mass of repressed individuals clinging to outdated values and depressing lifestyles, while hemorrhaging followers and adherents. Haredi leaders are depicted as ham-handed tyrants leading the unwashed masses in their straightjackets deeper and deeper into misery land. This Shavous I was once again reminded how far from the truth this is.

What I saw was a diverse community i.e. old and young, rich and poor, right and left, smart and plain, intellectual and simple, all finding their place in the rich, multi-faceted tapestry of Haredi life.

There were the learners exulting in the holiday of the giving of the Torah; the worshipers immersing themselves in intense experiences of prayer, song and dance. Those of a more philosophical nature examining the deep meaning and intense spirituality found in classic sefarim. Then there were those who were there for the camraderie and the cheesecake. All were welcome and expected. I saw a community living it’s Jewishness, cut off from the outside world and with nothing else to do but to connect to G-d, their families and their fellow Jews.

I saw a Judaism that is alive, vibrant and meaningful. A Judaism that fires up the young with their idealism and black and white view of the world, speaks to the middle-aged with their world-weariness and endless responsibilities, and comforts the old, enjoying their golden years.

In my tiny slice of the Haredi scene, I saw people I know, people with shvere pecklech (major difficulties) and much on their minds, nonetheless come together and dip their hearts and souls into the refreshing waters of Torah and Chasidus. This is not the Judaism of nine-to-five, these are not the shuls set up like churches and quieter than libraries. This is the Judaism that is Parah Verabah, growing by leaps and bounds, despite the difficulties and deficiencies it faces.

It is the real Haredi Judiam, not the media-created “bogey-men” caricature. It is this Judaism that continues to prosper, that continues to offer all those who are interested the most authentic, heartfelt Jewish experience available.

Links For Today 5/25/12: Internet Dangers Acknowledged, Kiddush Hashem, Morethodoxy and more.

Today’s Links:

Survey: Facebook Wrecks Marriages

40% of Students Don’t Last 10 Minutes Without Digital Devices

NY Republicans propose ban on anonymous online comments

The internet is not the problem, people are…..of course.

Rav Kanievsky and Rav Shteinman: Teveriah Tragedy Related To Internet Use.

You’re playing with fire people. Gedolei Hador do not make these comments lightly.

Rubber Ducky Filter Experiences Toll Free Number Glitch Following Massive Citifield Response

The Haredi tzibbur will NEVER go for these bans, never…..

Spring Valley Woman Convicted Of Welfare Fraud

What’s the first thought that comes to mind? If it includes the words “Haredi” and “thieves”in it, you’re wrong. You may also want to take a long, hard look in the mirror.

Litzman Places Halacha Ahead of Diplomatic Protocol; Refuses To Shake Hand Of Female Diplomat

A True Kiddush Hashem (the sounds you just heard are certain heads exploding ;))

(Haredi) Math whiz chooses Queens religious school

Another Kiddush Hashem (Yes, he is Haredi, I know him. A true illuy.)

Open Orthodoxy: The Next Generation (and the RCA)

Is this what Modern Orthodoxy leads to? Let’s hope not.

No Data, No Problem? The Lack of Accurate Information on The Haredi Community

It is axiomatic in business circles that the quickest way to lose money is to invest and then fail to monitor the return on investment. Analytics is from the fastest growing fields in IT, giving business owners and investors more and more data they can use in every way imaginable. Metric on top of metric are compared and analyzed, sliced and diced until every drop of data is squeezed out of them. Google and Amazon have built global empires primarily on the enormous amount of data they collect and analyze.

Granted, a community is not a corporation nor a business concern, but the need for accurate data is no less essential. There are many voices hawking what to them is the “primary issue” facing Haredi Jewry today. Kids at risk, Abuse, Financial concerns, Yeshiva policies, Shidduchim are just some of the “crises” supposedly facing our community. But how do we know that it is so? Undoubtedly, these problems exist, but without accurate information, how can we determine what’s the ikar and what’s the tafel, what we should sound the alarms for and what can be handled with lesser urgency? Our resources are limited and stretched to the breaking point as it is, shouldn’t their allocation be governed based on the severity of the need?

As it stands now, problems are determined subjectively and on anecdotal basis, as well as through crowd-sourcing (everybody knows…) and rabble-rousing (whoever screams the loudest wins). Is there no better way to figure out what’s truly going on?

Klal Perspectives (a fine and perceptive periodical) devotes it’s entire spring issue to what it determines to be the “single greatest challenge facing the Orthodox community” i.e. “the increasing numbers from across the spectrum who feel no meaningful connection to Hashem, His Torah, or even His people.” .How do they reach that conclusion? They tell us: By soliciting the opinions of thirty community leaders and educators who mostly agreed with the above conclusion. I would suggest that their research does indicate a legitimate concern, but from there to “the greatest challenge facing the Orthodox community” is quite a stretch. Are the of opinions of thirty people, as wonderful as they may be, a true reflection of the community at large?

This is not to pick on them or anyone else. They are not to be blamed, they’re doing their best. How should they know which issues are the “greatest challenges” and which issues are not? Nobody knows! Without accurate data, scientifically gathered using proven methods, it is impossible to truly take the pulse of a community half a million strong.

Identifying problems accurately is not the only reason to acquire a true picture of what’s going on. It is needed to implement accurate solutions as well. How can we determine whether a specific solution is progressing as planned if we don’t accurately measure its results? How much time and money is being wasted on solutions that don’t work simply because we’re flying blind? Not to mention that we are depriving ourselves of the tremendous boost and chizuk we would get were we to see the fruits of our labors in front of our eyes. Success breeds success, but not if you cannot see it.

By knowing almost nothing about Haredi society and what it’s people are doing, by having nothing more then educated guesswork as to the opinions, struggles and hopes of our members, we are essentially throwing things up against the wall and hoping something will stick.

We also thereby allow our detractors to define us. When we are accused in the media and elsewhere of being freeloaders and lazy, uneducated and unhappy, we are reduced to unconvincing rebuttals and inadequate responses. Why?  Because we have not the data to disprove the lies and distortions that fester about Haredi Jews. We cannot fight misconceptions and falsehoods about us and our lifestyle with svaras alone: cold, hard facts are essential to win hearts and minds or at least cool down the rhetoric.

Why has this not been done? For several reasons. First, our default, Torah-mandated, position of insularity and separation from the outside world discourages any outside probing of the contours and composition of our machne (camp). We neither want nor need publicity. In addition, it may very well be that we simply haven”t gotten around to it yet. Haredi Jewry in America is very young and still getting it’s sea legs under it. Bouncing from crisis to crisis as we have, we haven’t had the time to catch our breath and take stock of where we are and where we are going.

Having accurate data is by no means a panacea and can easily be manipulated. As the saying goes, there are lies, bigger lies and statistics. The rise of the “study” industry has gotten so out of hand that the Pentagon recently commissioned a study to study the studies (I’m not kidding)! However, rather than avoiding getting the information we so desperately need, we should ensure that it is done properly This means using people we trust, people without an agenda other than helping the community. Let’s allow the voices of our community tell us themselves what’s going on and where we are headed.

UPDATE: This is a good start.