East Brunswick, NJ – A highly sought after Flatbush Rov who is prominent on the lecture circuit came out strongly against the dangers of technology yesterday on the opening day of 89th Annual Agudah Convention and suggested that the internet be banned in every Jewish home and replaced with tightly supervised internet centers that would be open around the clock, 24/6.
Rabbi Avrohom Schorr, Rav of Kahal Tiferes Yaakov and son of the former Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Torah V’daath, Rav Gedalia Schorr, z’l, blamed cellphones, texting and internet use for some of the serious problems plaguing klal yisroel today and suggested that the only way to solve these problems is to drastically reduce the use of technology. Suggesting that a kosher-phone-only policy be adopted in America, like it has in places in Israel.
Rabbi Schorr spoke at length about the dangers posed by iPhones, among other technological devices.
Explaining that by removing the internet from every Jewish household in America and allowing people to go online only for work related matters at proposed internet sites, countless Jewish neshamos could be saved, Rabbi Schorr outlined a plan whereby every Jewish neighborhood would house an internet center containing a large number of state of the art computers, under strict supervision, available at all times except for Shabbos and Yomim Tovim.
Watch below Rav Schorr’s full speech. Credit: Shimon Gifter
I stopped going to the convention about 10 years ago when I realized that whatever gets discussed is never implemented (remember takonos at chasunas).
I absolutely love Rav Avrohom. I have enjoyed his speeches and his erudition for years. However, we already have 24/6 sometimes 24/6.5 coffee klatches for bored out their minds Yidden. We have more distractions than we can count. We need geshmak. Where is the geshmak? Where is the reality check that every boy and girl is not Moshe Rabbeinu and nor should they be? Where is being a mensch a chastizeable offense?
Ideal? Perhaps. Practical? Not even close.
The Rabbonim are attempting to treat the symptoms instead of the disease.
Shut down the molesters and you will save far more neshamos than kosher internet centers ever will.
This is like blaming cars for accidents, or guns for shootings…..
With all due respect to Rav Schorr, he like many before him in past generations find a scapegost for what ails the community. He should look within and will then realize that external influences are not the problem.
Firstly, I was zoiche to be in attendance at this massive gathering of yidden from all backgrounds that came to be inspired. They all knew that they were coming to hear about this undeniable plague. As one of the speakers pointed out, this is OUR problem and we should be begging for the Rabonim’s help rather than the Rabonim coming to us.
One of the speakers mentioned that the use of technology may be a symptom of emptiness etc. which WE the people must combat by bringing back true meaning to our personal and family lives. However, we must realize that we have a huge problem. A kid told his adult friend that he’ll break his phone if it’s an iphone because the iphone took away his father – he spends all his time on it instead of doing homework with him, talking to him and giving him attention! Don’t you all see this all the time? I can speak for myself, as much as I try to give my kids some undivided attention I find it very difficult when I get interrupted with the buzzing and beeping of my blackberry.
Instead of discussing why solutions are ‘unpractical’ why don’t you write a positive comment? Share with someone your idea how to rid our community from the mageifa.
There is a tendency in this age to ignore or diminish one’s personal responsibility in favor of blaming external influences. Since the Eruv Rav (since the Nachash haKadmoni?), man has been exposed to external influences. They are merely the tools of the Sitra Achra.
Those influences are not to blame, nor is the S”A. They are vehicles for setting up nisyonos that man is required to face in this world and overcome (see introduction to the Mesilas Yeshorim), in order to achieve his destiny in the Olam haEmess.
It’s the individuals who succumb to the Internet who are to blame – and who will give din v’cheshbon – not the Internet (I’m talking to myself, BTW).
Start acting like leaders and raise the kavod of the rabbonim and roshai yeshivos. Stop with your new kol koreh every month. Stop banning books you haven’t read. Stop signing letters and bans you haven’t read.
Perhaps then klal yisroel will follow.
Don’t talk to me about the dangers of pritzus on the internet until you get the pritzus child molestation out of yeshivos.
Don’t talk to me about following da’as Torah until you get the gedolim on the mo’etzes to answer a hazmanah from rav moshe ztz”l from 30 years ago.
Don’t lecture to me about frumkeit until you at least start to teach mentchlichkeit in your yeshivos.
Don’t talk to me about ahavas yisrael and about having kavod for torah and roshai yeshiva and rabbonim until you go beg mechilla at the kever of reb chaim brisker’s grandson ztz”l for making a gelechta out of him just because he was too big-minded to get into all the yeshivasheh shtick and taught gemara to talmidim no matter where they were.
Stop chasing kavod and gelt. Most of all, stop putting on a show.
We need role models for ourselves and our children, not entertainers and dictators.
There have been external influences on us since we were created. For generations, our beliefs had been more attractive than the external influences, many time under the pain of death.
Perhaps the question we should be asking is “why can’t we make Torah Yiddishkeit more attractive than an iPhone?”
Here is my proposal to Rav Schorr, In you shul you have more than a Minyan Yiddin, that I know have internet at home because of their business, would you return the money to them what they have given to you, becasue they have unfilrted internet at home?? or perhaps would you advice them to go to the new 24/6 internet cafe?
When a Rov makes these types of recommendations for the broad community people can come to the rightful conclusion that these Rabbonim are out of touch with reality. They make a joke of themselves.
Maybe we should ban going on subways because of the lack of tznius on the people (especially during the summer)and on the advertisements. We should also ban listening to the am radio because of all the ads for ED.
My suggestion is that the leaders look within and they will find the answer and solution for all the ills in our kehilois.
Rav Schorr is a powerful speaker, that’s where it starts, and ends.. he is proposing something that will never happen, I’m surprised Agudah gave him the podium.
Rabbi, there are many frum Yiddin including Rabbis who sit in secular courts, can you please address that first.. after that we can worry about the internet.
Rabbi Schorr is known as someone who is very to right. If Aguda was actually serious about this then they should have someone more in the center speak about this. Truth is either way it will never happen as others have already commented. But with Rav Schorr talking about it it will be DOA.
Interesting to note, this week is also the Chabad shluchim conference.. they don’t have such type of speakers on podium… the Kinus is uplifting, spiritual. I find Rabbi Schorr’s speech very troubling, extremely negative, zero uplifting.
I’m reading through all the comments here and every single one raises good points. However the bottom line is that we do have an issue here. Since the Internet has come to be countless homes have been broken. Children have been exposed to inappropriate content which has robbed them of their innocence. Just take a look at the guardyoureyes website for just a glimpse of this awful malady.
I personally have kept the Internet out of my home. However there is something to be said for those who responsibly install the proper filters on their devices. I’m willing to bet that in the not so distant future it will be impossible to live without Internet access. Children who grow up learning that they cannot surf the Internet without a filter will probably be better off than those who don’t have Internet at all.
Bottom line is that we’re living in a generation which forces us to have true yirat shamayim even when nobody is watching. Perhaps it’s the final nisayon before the arrival of moshiach. Those who care to protect themselves with filters will most certainly be afforded Heavenly assistance.
Yes the Interent is serious problem in our community, but this is not a practical suggestion as to how to deal with it.
Rabbi Schor. His community has their fair share of internet users , need I say more.
Convince these, your most ardent followers to give up their smart phones, tablets and internet before you impose this on everyone else.
Show us that you can control your own small minyan and then maybe we will give you our attention.
May I meekly remind the olam that there were problems and possibilities of all kinds long before there was an internet!
There are halochos mentioned even in the Torah about family relations etc, long before internet.
At least we should give credit to this Rav, for openly admitting that the Internet is here and we can’t ban it altogether.
Shame on all the commenters degrading daas Torah.
As someone who uses the Internet quite a bit I can say that he is right. The solution will be never happen, but attacking him just so you feel good that you aren’t transgressors isn’t honest.
How about the rabbis who allow To go to court? Or the ones In court?!
i find it strange reading here how people recommend baning internet use except in a “kosher internet cafe” while they themselves are here online… their logic is above me as i am sure they are not hypocrites..
my teen age children all go to jewish schools and there school work is online from assignments and sending in papers to may other things.. internet is so used that each child has their own laptop. as parents we supervise as best we can, the rest we trust in God
college applications, shopping, communicating with friends etc.. are all done online and texting and with smart phones. one child arranged a weekend at chabad out of town through, internet, cell phones and texting..
i suspect the proverbial ‘cat is out of the bag’.
If I didn’t have internet I wouldn’t have been able to hear his speech !!!
There is no question the whole internet & technology has changed the world as well our community…..here is a chushiver ruv talmid chuchom saying a devar miser which he thinks is the right thing to say & do ( in which most of all would agree that it is a viable problem & has destroyed many families ) who are we stupid bloggers to comment & judge this ruv if he is right or wrong to suggest it or not….. I am not here saying it would be easy to implement or that myself would follow through……but please lets not mock the rabanim for doing what our rebbes & sages did all through our generations since mount sinai which is giving direction & try to keep klal yisroel getting better…….lets not forget if not our rebbes we would not be here today…..
maybee if he would concentrate more on the molestation tragedy he will save more yiddishe neshumes then with this impractical internet banning.
Sadly the elders have taken the lazy road of nonsensical workarounds, if not outright bans, rather than educate and empower. Technology in and of itself is neither bad, nor good, and on this issue the rabbonim are wrong.
I find to many envolved in entertainment and louidment on the internet. I use it solely for communication, stock income and pictures.
First, I am a Noahide, so what the Rav has to say does not really apply to me. However, without the Internet in the homes of several Rabbis, I would not have been able to learn. We have Rabbis who are teaching online classes to Noahides who are anxious to learn. The students are from around the world and these classes are helping hundreds of Noahides. In fact, I run a free website that stores recordings of the classes for playback. If these teachers did not have their home internet connections, these classes would not exist. I would not have access to teachers who have dedicated time to teach Noahides, and I would still be struggling to learn what I need to do in life. One must take responsibility for their own actions, and if one wishes to do wrong, they will find a way to do wrong.
I find to many envolved in entertainment and louidment on the internet. I use it solely for communication, stock income and pictures.
How many of the choshive Rebbes, Rabbonim and askonim sitting in that hall have either or both of: an iPhone or Internet access at home? Here in Eretz Yisroel many many people, especially askonim and business people have two phones, a “kosher” one for appearances and a regular line to help make money to answer that call of the Rabbonim to support this or that cause that is “mamash pikuach nefeesh”. When will the Rabbonim start to understand that you cannot have your cake and eat it?
Rabbonim can not make takonos on what people do at home behind closed doors. The problem is NOT the internet, the problem is the chinuch people get, they are not taught WHY it is wrong to go to immodest sites. what needs to be done is to get people to understand why they must not go to such sites.
40 years ago when the Lubavitcher Rebbe Z”L initiated broadcasting Farbrengens on TV people criticized him for encouraging TV, he in his great wisdom answered “This is th esame argument that people had against Hashem for creating the sun moonand stars which people later beganm to worship, this is what TV was created for to spread Torah, if people are fools and worship the sun moon and stars or watch inappropriate things on TV, should teh sun moon and stars and TV have not been created?”
every one is a big preacher untill he finds out his kid is infected with the virus. I personaly “lost” 2 children to this machla (by peronal admission. they managed to by pass the filters(maybe the new ones are better). No one seems to have the problem when they yell “cigaretts cause cancer” ! every smoker will explain why it doesn’t efect him while ignoring all those who are dying of lung cancer. Internet can kill!!
With all due respect, I beg to differ with Rav Schorr. Pronouncements like this are DOA, and valuable time should not have been wasted on this.
Here is an observation, from the trenches. The filth of the internet is dangerous, but it claims its victims from the adult population, not kids and adolescents. I work with kids at risk, OTD, (various other labels), and have yet to meet a single one who left the fold because of the internet. I have also consulted to countless couples and single adults whose internet use became problematic. We’re addressing the symptom and neglecting the problem.
Take cell phones in shul. The problem is not the phone. It’s the lack of respect for davening. If we learn to regard tefiloh properly, we’ll seek to prevent distractions. Meanwhile, it is unfortunately too easy to recognize a shul, with people wearing tallis and tefillin outside talking on cell phones. It is a horrible practice, and creates a role model for children that is damaging.
If we had a lifestyle founded strongly on yiras shomayim, internet would not be an issue. I vote we return to yiras and ahavas Hashem before looking for bans or takanos.
There was also a time when speaking any language other than Yiddish was rejected. There was a time when teaching Jewish girls Chumash, Rashi and Halacha was rejected. There was a time when America was called a treife medinah and immigrating there was rejected. There was a time when studying basic history, math and science was rejected. Many people were turned off by all of these rejections and left Judaism altogether. Rather than rejecting – which never has worked – let’s work with it and fortify our youth and ourselves with greater love for Judaism and the fellowship of Klal Yisroel. Let us not have a mechanical adherence to Yiddishkeit, but an emotional adherence rooted in love and spiritual stimulation.
Now Yeshivishe parents of girls over 22 desperate to marry them off young without having to prepay the NASI shadchanus fees can relax. The “good bochurim” headed to Kollel, will only go to the kosher internet cafe (not chas vesholom have an iphone)and the prospective kallahs can go there to accidentally bump into them while inevitably figuring out their names as they order plane tickets to Eretz Yisroel! Go for it!! Do I hear about a collection or a new organization to open these kosher internet cafes around the US (specifically Lakewood) and Canada? Will that be a tax deductible Tzedakah?
Our parents did not need to be hooked up 24/6 to their jobs. Could be because they were able to stop paying their kids bills once they got married? Need i say more?
My Dream. A choshuve Gadol stands before a huge audience at the Agudah convention, his speech broadcast around the world. He speaks in a soft, heartfelt voice. He says, “My beloved Yidden, every Jewish child is my child and your child. Not someone else’s child. Every single Yid, man or woman, who hears of a child being molested, is obligated by the Torah to jump in to save him exactly as if he witnessed this child being murdered. Give a GREAT Geshrei!!!! Don’t be concerned with the molester. He doesn’t deserve pity! Save the heilige, innocent neshamas! No more coverups for ANYONE – not rebbes, not rich baalei batim, not a choshuve person’s relative… The Torah chiyuv is to save the child. Anyone who dreys with intellectually dishonest pilpulim to protect molesters is not representing the heilige Torah. Heed the words of Rav Elyashiv, and go directly to the police, for going to anyone else will result in the molester being free to continue murdering more souls. Any person who does not save a molested child, or prevents others from doing so, will have to answer for this before the Throne of True Judgement after 120.
I guess for the Agudah, internet is really inter-not. I wonder if this rav refuses to accept donations from business people who use the internet. I remember going to pay a shiva call when my husband’s rebbe died. I was stunned when I saw how the rebbe’s sons and followers were glued to their cellphones at the shiva. Technology isnt the problem, I have a cell phone but know enough to put it away when I go to a house of mourning. I used the internet but I know not to go to undesirable websites. How about taking responsibility for one’s actions and teaching one’s children to do the same? The rabbonim are all about controlling every aspect of one’s life.
To post 11, a genius among men. Great post.
since the beginning of time religious leaders have condemned new technologies.
even more so, technologies that can give information to the masses. it raises to many question that they have no answer to, or gives information to the masses that at one time only the leaders had.
nothing new hear just history repeating itself
Nebech Losers. Technology is here and it’s here to stay, now deal with it