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.”
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.
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 dudes. But 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.”