New York – There are a million and one things to complain about regarding the Ichud HaKehilos Asifa at Citifield. Pretty much everyone has read the excellent post by Dovid Teitlebaum pointing out the fallacy of blaming the Internet for problems within the orthodox Jewish community. I wholeheartedly agree that positive chinuch is far more effective and valuable than bans, broad policies, filters, and fear.
I also understand that the Ichud HaKehilos believes that there is a legitimate reason to sincerely fear the Internet. I am willing to grant them the courtesy that the imaginary Internet boogeyman is the most pressing issue in the orthodox Jewish community for a moment. However, it completely boggles my mind how they can justify, on their own terms, one of their executive decisions.
The latest advertisements of for the Asifa are out and they proclaim that the Gedolim endorse the Asifa. Interestingly, there are no specific American Gedolim who are mentioned and I have not heard of any bold faced names from America in support of the Asifa other than R’ Matisyahu Solomon.
The new ads also announce that tickets are now on sale. You can have the privilege of attending the Asifa for just $10.
There’s just one catch. 50% of orthodox Jews cannot attend. The entire Asifa is for men only.
This is unconscionable.
If the threat of the Internet is so great, as the Ichud HaKehilos claims, how in the world can they make the marquee event for awareness and education about the Internet exclusively for men?! Are women not susceptible to the harms of the Internet? Should mothers of our children not be educated about the dangers of the Internet?
I honestly cannot fathom how the Ichud HaKehilos can say on the one hand that the Internet is so dangerous and then on the other hand exclude the mothers who are home with their children more than their fathers and the teenage girls who are just as present online as teenage boys. If anything, the girls have more access to computers and Internet than boys in yeshiva!
Again, I don’t think anyone needs to go to this Asifa. But for the Ichud HaKehilos who feels that this is the most important issue of our time, there is absolutely no excuse for limiting attendance to men only.
This is just further evidence to me that the project is flawed, lacks leadership and vision, and is very hard to fully endorse.
Rabbi Eliyahu Fink serves as the Rabbi at the Pacific Jewish Center in Venice California. Rabbi Fink attended the Yeshiva of Far Rockaway and is a Talmud of Rabbi Moshe Brown. Rabbi Fink is an ordained Rabbi while attending Ner Israel Israel Rabbinical College
Rabbi Fink runs his blog at http://finkorswim.com/