In Hindsight

The Best of Betabeat: A 2012 Retrospective

BETA BEAT Celebrates The Pitch Series

As 2011 came to a close, we looked back at our most popular posts. But this year, we’re a little older (a mature year and nine months!), a lot wiser, and thought we’d try something a little different. Thank you for reading!

LONGREADS

Ultra-Orthodox Jews Take a Hard Line on the Internet at Rally of 40,000 Men (And Me) In which our intrepid reporter sneaks into Citi Field in drag. 

Faith, Hope, and Singularity: Entering the Matrix with New York’s Futurist Set It’s the end of the world as we know it, and they feel fine. Read More

Moral Minority

Citi Field Counter-Protestors Say Forget the Internet, Fight Child Abuse

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The counter movement to last night’s “Jews Against the Internet” rally was pretty difficult to find. Outside of Citi Field, I had to ask two cops if they knew where it was—one of them didn’t. When I finally did find the 30 or so demonstrators, near Roosevelt Avenue and 126th Street, they said their protest amounted to a disagreement with how Orthodox money should be spent. I asked three male protestors to elaborate and they directed me to Ari Mandel, a sort of unofficial spokesman for the group. Mr. Mandel cited what he sees as the rampant sexual abuse in the Hasidic community:

“We’re protesting the lack of attention given to it or the cover up of it. If they spent half the amount of money that it cost them to pull this off, on preventing child sexual assault or sexual molestation, we probably wouldn’t be here.” he said. “It’s millions of dollars, clearly.” Read More

How to Score Tickets to the Orthodox Jewish Rally Against the Internet

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At the very least, Betabeat will be attending a Jewish rally against the Internet.

“If you find an Orthodox Jew in Williamsburg or Boro Park and offer him $50 for a ticket, I bet you could get one,” said the wise Rabbi Eliyahu Fink. Another source said that tickets went on sale today at a synagogue near the BQE.

With those two hot tips, Betabeat hopped on the subway and headed straight to Brooklyn. As the synogogue came into view, so did a gaggle of Hasidim crowding around two tables on the sidewalk. Betabeat stood in the crowd just like we would at any other disorganized ticket outlet, wondering if anyone would notice our lack of peyot. They did. Read More

Moral Minority

The ‘Jews Against the Internet’ Don’t Want to Ban the Internet, Just Keep An Eye On It

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Betabeat might be having trouble getting the “Jews Against the Internet” organizers on the phone, but they’re apparently returning the New York Times‘ calls. And it sounds like the campaign against filth and Internet-inspired anomie is going quite well: The paper of record reports they’ve booked the home of the U.S. open, nearby Arther Ashe stadium, to handle the overflow.

That is a whole lot of dudesBut isn’t some fly-by-night event, either. It’s being backed by community leaders in Borough Park and the Lakewood, N.J. yeshiva Beth Medrash Govoha. Plus, the Times reports that organizers are papering Williamburg with promotional posters “playing off biblical themes.”  Read More

Moral Minority

That Massive ‘Jews Against the Internet’ Rally This Weekend Is Not Very Press-Friendly

Shhhh.

Update: Contrary to a previous source, there’s at least one man behind this rally with an email address. The man in charge of the not quite non-existent but ever-elusive press-passes, Eytan Kobre, told Betabeat in an email thatto my knowledge, all available press passes are spoken for.” If only it hadn’t taken three weeks, six phone numbers and a call to another newspaper to find him. Mr. Kobre said he would “check further and try to get back” to us but that’s the line we’ve been getting all along. Ichud HaKehillos may be online but organized, they are not.

Update: It turns out that the Five Towns Jewish Times will be at Citi Field on May 20th, at least. Now on our sixth phone number (“the mailbox is full. Goodbye”) Betabeat’s attendance looks more promising, if not yet a sure thing.

After three weeks of getting the run-around (“Uh, I don’t know, call this number”) it seems that the rally of “Jews against the Internet” at Citi Field on May 20 is looking to exclude reporters as well as women. We asked, not The Times? The Post? The Daily News? Nope.

In retrospect, we should have purchased tickets. The rally is organized by Ichud HaKehillos, an Orthodox Jewish organization aimed at educating the masses regarding responsible use of technology, and we realized gaining access would probably be a unique experience after the moratorium on vaginas.

But after taking our information down on three separate occasions and promising to get back to us, one of the organizers gave us a flat-out no. The last number we tried led us straight to a voicemail explaining that there are no more tickets available for buses to the event.

When we called asking for an email address, the man who answered said they didn’t have one because “we don’t have the Internet.” Read More

Moral Minority

That Massive ‘Jews Against the Internet’ Rally at Citi Field Isn’t Letting Women In

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As it turns out, Betabeat was too hasty in declaring our attendance at the upcoming ”Jews Against the Internet” rally scheduled for City Field next month. As Rabbi Eliyahu Fink points out at Vos Iz Neias? (Yiddish for “What is news?”), women are not allowed to participate. Tickets are currently on sale for $10. “There’s just one catch. 50% of orthodox Jews cannot attend. The entire Asifa is for men only,” writes the Rabbi, who also blogs at Fink or Swim.

In addition to the general sexism, this dictum is particularly notable because the Israeli rabbis backing the event have blamed the Internet (and the insidious gadgetry that makes it omnipresent) for “family-related problems.” In fact, despite roundly decrying “the scourge of technology,” few other specifics are given. Read More

Ultra-Orthodox Rabbis Raise $1.5 M. for Massive ‘Jews Against the Internet’ Rally At Citi Field

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Update: No women are permitted to attend the rally, so it looks like Ladybeat will be invading the bleachers in drag. 

By definition, the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community cleaves to the old ways over modern societal norms. Thus it finds itself even more at odds with the technological wave of apps and gadgets transforming American culture.

And the time has come, apparently, to make that opposition known.

The Jewish Press reports that a massive rally is being planned for Sunday, May 20th at Citi Field in Queens “to combat the evils of the Internet and the damages caused by advanced electronic devices.” Read More