The weekly Tuesday Webcast will resume after Shavuot May 29. Today the family gathers in NJ to mark the 30-day Sheloshim Gathering for my late brother in law Rabbi Avraham Yeshaya Schroks obm.

No Webcast with Rabbi Perl today May 22.

Please read my thoughts, as reported in todays Daily News, on the recent Citi Field mass gathering on Internet use


Published: Monday, May 21, 2012, 11:32 PM

Internet leads 60,000 ultra-Orthodox Jewish men to Citi Field and Arthur Ashe Stadium to warn about dangers of ... the Internet

Rabbi says Internet can destroy families, be a colossal waste of time, and at times, a useful tool

Ulta-Orthordox Jewish men attend conference at Citi Field concerning the dangers of the Internet to Judaism.

One way news spread of the big event on the evils of the Internet was . . . the Internet.

The Internet helped steer 60,000 Orthodox Jewish men to Citi Field and Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens on Sunday night for a forum warning how the Internet can harm Judaism.

“Word spread from the synagogues like mine, and in newspapers like the Jewish Press, where I write a regular column, and, yes, by Internet, which is a positive use of this powerful tool,” says Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum of B’nai Israel of Linden Heights in Orthodox Borough Park, Brooklyn.

“I was at Citi Field,” Tannenbaum tells me. “And it will be the topic of my Wednesday column, which also appears online at As are all my previous columns. Another very positive use of the Internet.”

He laughs in a self-effacing way, but this cleric, who has no TV in his home for religious reasons, does have a computer.

“The speakers at Citi Field said that if improperly used, the Internet can destroy families, with gambling, pornography and other addictions,” Tannenbaum says. “But mostly, surfing the Internet is a colossal waste of precious time young people could spend working or studying. I direct Internet surfers to, where anyone can download 50,000 scholarly Hebrew books free, an astounding library at your fingertips. God created the Internet just for this site.”

A couple of times a week, I get witty emails from Rabbi Anchelle Perl of Chabad of Mineola, L.I., a follower of the late Lubavitcher Grand Rebbe Menachem Schneerson of Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

“I am a Chabad rabbi,” Perl emails. “And the Chabad Hasidim have long not only embraced the power of technology like the Internet, but our leader Rebbe Schneerson of sainted memory clearly taught from its inception how to use it in a positive manner. This isn’t to say that the effort at Citi Field to remind us of the dangers of the Internet isn’t worthy of focus. Every good thing has a bad side. So we must supervise our children’s access to the Internet so that the experience always remains one of holiness. We must teach our children the dangers of fire. Yet they must also embrace its worthiness to provide warmth, healing and hope.”

Perl has a website and a Twitter account. In his emails, he riffs with wit and wisdom on current events like Mark Zuckerberg wearing a hoodie, the Secret Service and public breastfeeding.

“I don’t use Facebook because it’s too personal,” Perl said when reached by phone. “But I was born in London and I first saw Rebbe Schneerson live from Brooklyn in video broadcasts. Without technology, I would never have experienced that. So I agree with those at Citi Field that we can’t ignore technology like the Internet, but we must filter it.”

Tannenbaum says that in some Orthodox communities like Williamsburg and upstate Kiryas Joel, many religious schools will not accept students with Internet in their homes.

“Those families must use public Internet kiosks to study or do business,” says Tannenbaum. “One popular suggestion at Citi Field was for Orthodox Jews to refrain from the Internet between Friday sundown and Monday morning. Other than that, it’s like trying to push water uphill. Today, most people have cell phones with Internet. It’s dangerous not to have one. They drive me crazy going off all the time in temple! But we needed to come together to try to regulate the Internet.”

Perl says it’s a balancing act.

“The Internet has broadened my congregation 1,000% in what’s become a virtual synagogue,” he says. “When I didn’t have enough men to conduct the services for a day of memory for my father, one click of the mouse brought more men than I needed. But misused, the Internet can destroy people.”

And the takeaway for Tannenbaum?

“Be always mindful that the Internet can be dangerous,” he says. “But also positive. I’ll have my own website very soon.”

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