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Thursday, May 04, 2006


Anti-Internet Gathering in Stealth Mode

I may have sounded the Internet ban alarm too quickly. The hype and buildup I reported on earlier has, apparently, already culminated in a grand gathering - an אסיפה רבתי.

Only nobody knew about it.

It happened Monday evening, according to the Community Connections (CC). This week's CC ran three pages of photos and a one-page write-up of the event (see the photo at right). But it's all in Yiddish. I'll be happy to scan and e-mail the relevant page if someone wants to volunteer to translate it in full.

The Front Page--Monsey's newest English-language ad book--has no mention of it.

The photos in the CC show a room full of black-hatted, chasidishe men. I can make out one non-chasidish man at the dais, so identified by his wearing a jacket and tie. The caption - repeated on each page - simply says "Historical grand gathering at the Atrium Plaza to construct the fences and stand in the breach [of] the danger of the Internet." Funnily enough, the banner behind the dais says "Historical Grand Gathering" - in case anyone forgot it was historical.

Here's some of what I can make out from the Yiddish - take it with a grain of salt, because it has no byline and is rather overweening in its effusiveness:

* There were nearly 1,500 attendees, including nearly 100 rabbis and roshei yeshiva.
* R' Moshe Green cried bitterly about the situation - bemoaning the the destruction and spiritual pollution that has afflicted the victims of this evil trap.
* R' Yudel Wolf spoke about some horrifying stories that he's witnessed.
* The Viener Rov said the community must adopt strict takanos - decrees - to prevent any further destruction, and these should spread from Monsey to the entire Jewish people.

Now it's already late, the writer reports, and the hundreds of attendees have been sitting for more than three hours listening to the speeches. Then he spends a paragraph praising the fellow who took care of the sound system.

Next graf says something about how the victims come from good and not-so-good families, young and old, men and women.

R' Abba Chiya Tauber gave the closing remarks, and he said the danger is so immediate and real, we must enact takanos promptly.

Last graf says everyone went home--after four hours--enthused and encouraged to rid their homes and neighborhoods of this horrible menace. "Not to allow the destroyer to enter your homes" -- a play on a verse in פרשת בא.

So apparently the chasidishe population has come together to address the dangers of the Internet, but if they have any advice or instruction for the English-speaking, 'litvish' population of Monsey, they're not announcing anything just yet. Stay tuned.

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