This afternoon, the terrifyingly-named Jewish orthodox group "Union of Communities for the Purity of the Camp" will be holding a rally against the evils of the internet ("and the damages caused by advanced electronic devices"), according to an article on the internet. The primary targets are what we in the internet biz like to call "The Big Three": Facebook, other social media sites and porn.
But what would a cluelessly nonsensical rally be without some intra-group bickering? It seems like some in the Union of Communities for the Purity of the Camp want to advocate for safer internet use while others just want a straight up ban of the internet. The ultra orthodox community has grappled with limiting access to the scary scary boxes of impurity for some time now and will use today's event to rally the troops.
And now, I will block quote three paragraphs because it is necessary.
In 2005, rabbis in Lakewood doubled down on their campaign against the Internet. Citing the "immoral lures that are present on the Internet," the community banned students enrolled in any of Lakewood's 43 yeshivas from having computers at home. The ban succeeded-to a degree. A year after the ban was instituted, the Lakewood Public Library reported a 40 percent increase in computer use at its branches, fueled mainly by ultra-Orthodox Jews.
The edicts continued. In 2009, the Council of Torah Sages focused its wrath on Haredi websites, calling on readers and advertisers to pull support. The websites were accused of being gateways to "the vilest of places" on the Internet, and of spreading "slander, lies, and impurities." In 2011, Haredi leaders in Israel unveiled an ad campaign claiming that the Internet caused, among other things, cancer. Using gematria, which assigns a numeric value to Hebrew letters, rabbis demonstrated that "Internet" and "cancer" were numerically equivalent. The web was also implicated in causing droughts.
In January 2011, the council issued its latest ruling: "Internet usage should by all means be avoided in homes and, wherever possible, also in business offices. In any event, children should not be given internet access. For those who must have internet access … it is assur [prohibited] to have internet access without an effective filter." Internet filters, the rabbis' newest salve, will undoubtedly be a primary solution advanced this weekend at Citi Field.
It's crazy to have to say this in 2012, but the internet is not going anywhere, Union of Communities for the Purity of the Camp. But this is probably not about how destructive facebooking at work or watching two girls explore the holiest of holies (maybe also at work) can be. This whole thing shakes out to be little more than a power move. "'By having a following that will make no decisions on their own, the ruler sets the tone,' wrote Michael J. Salamon in the Times of Israel, stressing that Internet access-and everything that comes with it-threatens basic rabbinic authority."
So, CitiField will be home to the hopelessly out of touch today. But hey, at least they sold the joint out.
Rallying Against the Internet [Tablet]