Moral Minority

Moral Minority

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


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

Moral Minority

Ultra-Orthodox Jews Take a Hard Line on the Internet at Rally of 40,000 Men (And Me)

12 Photos

The Internet asifa at Citi Field.

On Sunday, 40,000 mostly Hasidic Jewish men in black hats and black suits gathered at Citi Field for a series of speeches concerning the corrupting influence of the Internet. The talks were broadcast to the JumboTron, betwixt the oversized bottles of Cholula censored with a white cloth over the label, which shows a woman.

The 7 train from Grand Central had become packed with men in black, all in a fine mood, before we poured out at the Mets-Willets Point train station like kids on a field trip. Now there were all kinds of ultra-Orthodox Jewish men in the stadium: fat, skinny, young, old, short, tall, with glasses, without beards, wearing watches, smoking cigarettes, talking on cellphones. “Hats off! Hats off!” the ticket-takers barked as the throng of yidden crowded around the entrance to left field. Jewish Reporter, one of the few media outlets approved by the organizers, said on Twitter that it was one of the biggest crowds the stadium had ever seen.

Yes, the stadium was full of men, and the women’s bathrooms were reportedly locked. Yet there were at least three females present: a ticket-taker, an usher, and me, in a pair of $15 Payless loafers, my brother’s dress clothes, and a donated kippah. Oh, and the white duct tape around my chest, G.I. Jane style.

I tested my disguise at Duane Reade and the 6 train and was relieved to see I wasn’t getting any longer-than-usual stares; but it wasn’t until the first Hasid asked me for directions that I breathed a sigh of relief. Or would have, if the duct tape weren’t so tight. Read More

Moral Minority

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


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


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


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