VosIzNeias.Com Banned

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Vos Iz Neias has been banned by a group of rabbis including:

  • R. Yaakov Perlow, Novominsker Rebbe
  • R. Shmuel Kamenetsky, Rosh Yeshiva of Philadelphia Yeshiva
  • R. Malkiel Kotler, Rosh Yeshiva of Lakewood
  • R. Aharon Schechter, Rosh Yeshiva of Chaim Berlin
  • R. Matisyahu Solomon, Mashgiach of Lakewood
  • R. David Shustal, Rosh Yeshiva of Lakewood
  • R. Yerucham Olshin, Rosh Yeshiva of Lakewood

I’ve been following VosIzNeias for a long time and I’m a bit baffled by all the accusations made against it. It could use comment moderation but the other charges seem foreign to me. Can anyone translate the full text (click to enlarge it)? I don’t have the time right now. Thank you.

UPDATE: Translation by a commenter:

The danger of the Internet has long been known and publicized, that through it one could easily reach places that are incredibly filthy and fall into the pit of corruption, G-d forbid; and a proclamation by great rabbis has already come out regarding the serious prohibition for anyone who does not need this tool for anything other than absolute business, it is prohibited to use; and even someone who needs it for business, it must be completely filtered of any prohibited matter or image, and must be used entirely and only for business, nothing else.

Yet the Satan has found a way, that a site exists on the Internet known as “Vos Is Naiz”, as if it were founded only to spread news of the Jewish world; yet it contains a hidden ambush — as with the news, it includes stories and events of the corrupt, abdominable, and lowly; full of contamination, filth, foul language; slander, gossip, and degrading of Torah scholars; it also prints libels and slander regarding Torah individuals and organizations. Similarly the comments written there are filled with adultery and slander, and increase fights in Israel, putting everyone’s dirty laundry in public. It also writes against officers and politicians under whose favor we live, to ruin their repuation; the disgrace of G-d’s name is immense and mighty.

We are pained the the owner of this website operates in the darkness, and violates “Cursed is he who strikes his friend secretly”; we are pained that we don’t know who this individual is that we could warn him, push him away, or chase him to decimation; as our holy Torah deems appropriate for those who cause the public to fall to sin; it is obvious that the obligation rests on anyone who knows to come to a rabbinic court and make this known, just as the Torah states, “should he not testify, he shall bear his terrible sin.”

We have thus come to make clear our opinion, that of the holy Torah as we see it:

IT IS A SERIOUS PROHIBITION TO GIVE ANY ADVERTISMENT OR OTHERWISE WORK WITH THESE PEOPLE, AS THIS ENABLES THE WICKED AND ASSISTS EVILDOERS, THUS REINFORCING THEIR FILTHY ACTIONS; SO TOO, DO NOT BUY FROM ANY ADVERTISERS THERE.

It goes without saying that it is a great and terrible prohibition to read this website, besides the general prohibition against any Internet use other than for business purposes; and he who heeds this shall be granted pleasantness and blessing.

May G-d, Blessed is He, have compassion and pity on His people of Israel, and redeem it from all woe; and return His people soon and may be merit to a complete redemption soon, Amen.

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the founder, publisher and editor-in-chief of Torah Musings.

49 comments

  1. MiMedinat HaYam

    VIN doesnt conform to non reporting of abuse.

    plain and simple.

  2. I don’t understand how banning internet sites like VosIsNeis can have any positive effect whatsoever. When people see that it has been banned and ignore the ban (which they will surely do), it will make it much less likely that they observe bans on more questionable internet sites.

  3. A plain reading of the text certainly seems to fit with MMHY’s explanation.

  4. “VIN doesnt conform to non reporting of abuse.”

    Is this reason just speculation on your part, or do you know something specific?

  5. You really don’t see how from a certain perspective VIN is guilty of all the things it says?

    Not that it matters. You don’t really think that, ich veis, Rav Aharon Schechter sat and surfed VIN to see if it is what is portrayed here?

    !על כתב שרבותי חתומים גם אני חותם

  6. >I don’t understand how banning internet sites like VosIsNeis can have any positive effect whatsoever. When people see that it has been banned and ignore the ban (which they will surely do), it will make it much less likely that they observe bans on more questionable internet sites.

    Believe it or not, there are still loads of people who don’t read the things their rabbis say not to. It may well be that the rabbonim assume this group is larger than it actually is, but the fact remains that not a small amount of people will not read VIN and will even stop reading it because of this. Some people actually have emunas chachomim in the way these rabbonim want them to.

    Secondly, even if it is ignored there is another set of people who will not listen but will feel guilty about it. This way the rabbonim let them know what they considered a cheit.

    The rest of the drowning masses? They weren’t talking to them, the kofrim.

  7. Shalom Rosenfeld

    The danger of the Internet has long been known and publicized, that through it one could easily reach places that are incredibly filthy and fall into the pit of corruption, G-d forbid; and a proclamation by great rabbis has already come out regarding the serious prohibition for anyone who does not need this tool for anything other than absolute business, it is prohibited to use; and even someone who needs it for business, it must be completely filtered of any prohibited matter or image, and must be used entirely and only for business, nothing else.

    Yet the Satan has found a way, that a site exists on the Internet known as “Vos Is Naiz”, as if it were founded only to spread news of the Jewish world; yet it contains a hidden ambush — as with the news, it includes stories and events of the corrupt, abdominable, and lowly; full of contamination, filth, foul language; slander, gossip, and degrading of Torah scholars; it also prints libels and slander regarding Torah individuals and organizations. Similarly the comments written there are filled with adultery and slander, and increase fights in Israel, putting everyone’s dirty laundry in public. It also writes against officers and politicians under whose favor we live, to ruin their repuation; the disgrace of G-d’s name is immense and mighty.

    We are pained the the owner of this website operates in the darkness, and violates “Cursed is he who strikes his friend secretly”; we are pained that we don’t know who this individual is that we could warn him, push him away, or chase him to decimation; as our holy Torah deems appropriate for those who cause the public to fall to sin; it is obvious that the obligation rests on anyone who knows to come to a rabbinic court and make this known, just as the Torah states, “should he not testify, he shall bear his terrible sin.”

    We have thus come to make clear our opinion, that of the holy Torah as we see it:

    IT IS A SERIOUS PROHIBITION TO GIVE ANY ADVERTISMENT OR OTHERWISE WORK WITH THESE PEOPLE, AS THIS ENABLES THE WICKED AND ASSISTS EVILDOERS, THUS REINFORCING THEIR FILTHY ACTIONS; SO TOO, DO NOT BUY FROM ANY ADVERTISERS THERE.

    It goes without saying that it is a great and terrible prohibition to read this website, besides the general prohibition against any Internet use other than for business purposes; and he who heeds this shall be granted pleasantness and blessing.

    May G-d, Blessed is He, have compassion and pity on His people of Israel, and redeem it from all woe; and return His people soon and may be merit to a complete redemption soon, Amen.

  8. Shalom Rosenfeld

    (Just clarifying, the above post is my effort at translating the proclamation; I make no comment here regarding my personal views on this matter.)

  9. The main issue is that advertisers will decide not to take the reputational risk of advertising on a banned website. That will cut off the website’s revenue.

  10. Thank you for the translation!

  11. I think that the Rabbi’s have decided once and for all to destroy the idolatrous idea of daas torah by showing unequivocally that no such thing exists.

  12. Imagine no Hirhurim
    Its easy if you try
    No one to comment or post to
    No heresy to catch a Rabbis eye

    Imagine all the Jewish people
    living without the web
    Some may say I’m a dreamer
    but I’m not the only one
    I hope some day you will join us
    in a world that is no fun

  13. Please tell us where this banning document has appeared. On the web? On walls in Jerusalem? In print anywhere?

    It seems to me that this is crucial to understanding what’s happening here.

    Thanks.

  14. There is no date on it, meaning single day on which it was put together. Instead it is ‘dated’ chodesh Teves. That qualifies it as new.

    I counted thirty six signatories, only a small portion of whom are Litvaks or Litvish. Chassidish or non-Litvish way outnumber the Litvish signed on it. So the prominent naming of a few Litvish signatories in the blog post about the ban misleadingly implies that it is overwhelmingly a Litvish ban (at least in terms of signatories), when it lists seven names, all or almost all of whom are identified with the ‘Litvishe’/’Yeshivishe velt. Perhaps that can be corrected.

    Vos is Neias seems to be under Hassidic ownership/control. It was started by Satmar in Kiryas Joel, as I recall, and then sold to others some time ago.

    It appears to be more of a Hassidic site, as opposed to other similar sites that are more Litvish.

    Perhaps it should have been banned long ago, if only for the terribly low level of English and atrocious spelling on display there constantly, which also gives clues to the backgrounds of the writers.

  15. The “Litvish” names are listed because those are the ones most relevant and familiar to readers of this blog.

  16. “Please tell us where this banning document has appeared. On the web? On walls in Jerusalem? In print anywhere?”

    According to this

    http://frumfollies.wordpress.com/2010/12/22/ban-kol-koreh-vosizneias-vin/

    it was printed in the Yiddish newspaper the Tsaytung this morning.

  17. MiMedinat HaYam

    the chassidishe names are prob those whose chassidim wont go to the site (regularly).

    the litvish names are prob those whose (majority of) followers do go the site regularly.

    2. is there any significance to the kol koreh refering to the general ban on the internet unless for “trade” as opposed to a ban on “business” use? (or am i being nitpicking?) (sr’s translation is good, but the word used is “mischar” = trade, not business.)

    3. real question: who is the “askan” who circulated this particular “kol koreh”? and / or did VIN criticize him / his family / his business interests?

    4. if a small number of litvish, does that indicate that more litvish rabbonim know people wont listen to it anyway, or are the litvish consolidating their “daas torah” to a fewer number of rabbonim?

    5. as i was reading, i was waiting to see if it would call for a ban on advertising. next step — no advertising in jewish press, then hamodia / yated (which they only tolerate today; they’re not too crazy about it now, except that it promotes a particular chassidis or not. and posts the requisite rebbe pix.)

  18. How do you know that this is authentic?

  19. What I meant to say is, if you have not verified this why have you printed it?

    Do you have any standards?

  20. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why VIN is the subject of their ire and I don’t think it has to do with their reporting of abuse. Gil writes, “It could use comment moderation” which is a grave understatement, to put it mildly. The comments on that blog are an abomination by any standard. They are vile and derogatory and outrageously derogatory. There is rarely any form of “discussion” of issues as there is on a site such as Hirhurim. It’s all negative all the time. My last time visiting it was when they published the article/shiur by the Rosh Yeshivah in Williamsburgh decrying the state of yeshivos today. Comment after comment referred to roshei yeshivah and menahalim as “Reshaim who will burn in hell forever” and that sort of malevolence.
    I’m not sure a ban is needed. If one needs the ban to help him figure out what so many others already have, fine and good. It, along with Yeshivah World [which isn’t quite as bad] are both worthless and embarrassing sites.

  21. Yes, I verified it.

  22. What about the prohibition of lashon hara?

  23. it appears to me that this is a hoax. Usually these bans are published somewhere as the concert ban in 2008 was published in hamodia
    see here: (note the date and publication is clearly visible)

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_cktCgO7QYZg/R7x6OGNL5xI/AAAAAAAABAA/dGSCdW3ov7c/s1600-h/BigEventKolKoreh11.jpg

    This “ban” has only materialized online.

  24. With who? At the other website a commenter said that he talked to Rabbi Kaminetzky and he denied signing this.

  25. In Hebrew, comments is “teguvot” not “heorot”…

  26. why not prohibit the yeshivah world it is a “mesayim l’dvar averah”

  27. “It may well be that the rabbonim assume this group is larger than it actually is, but the fact remains that not a small amount of people will not read VIN and will even stop reading it because of this.”
    Similar to Slifkin who would not have sold as many books,invited to be scholar in residences as much but for the ban on him, VIN will pick up some readers-maybe I should start reading it regularly because of the ban.

  28. “Comment after comment referred to roshei yeshivah and menahalim as “Reshaim who will burn in hell forever” and that sort of malevolence.”
    Ridiculous none of us know how God judges people-who will burn in hell or who will be learning in yeshiva shel maalah.

  29. I get pilloried on a regular basis in the VIN comment section because I don’t think that Barack Obama is a Kenyan-born Muslim Communist Anti-Semite and say so. But the coffee rooms in YWN are even worse.

  30. How did you verify it and why is your source such a secret?

    I assume it was by one of the signers, so it can hardly be a request not to get publicly involved.

  31. >Similar to Slifkin who would not have sold as many books,invited to be scholar in residences as much but for the ban on him, VIN will pick up some readers-maybe I should start reading it regularly because of the ban.

    Slifkin is considered a rasha and an apikores by many in the yeshivishe world, and stam a kal and a tipish by many others. The fact that he has a following outside the yeshivishe world or continues to attract a yeshivish segment that is perceived as weak is not a battle loss for banning roshei yeshiva.

  32. This ban is not a hoax. It appeared in yiddish weekly in brooklyn, the tzeitung. The Tzeitung would go out of business if it published a hoax like this. By now the signators would have denied signing if this was a hoax. It is very real.

    As of now it is not clear whether VIN will go right on operating as it does. If it continues on it could be a game changer.

  33. It appears that this is a Hassidic initiative (as are the owners of Vos iz Neias seemingly, as one might deduce from the fact that the site name is in Yiddish, among other indications), based on various things that have come to my attention, including the following.

    1) If the ban is posted at the outset in a Hassidic paper, such as Der Tzeitung (as reported above), as opposed to elsewhere (anyone see it elsewhere yet?), that seems to indicate who is the primary target.

    2) Certain abbreviations (roshei teivos) uncommon in the general Jewish world are used, which may baffle the non-Hassidic reader, which indicate that it was drawn up by and for certain Hassidim who use them routinely. For example, דקיט”ל, which appears twice, and וומס”ב. Do you know what they stand for? Answers – a) דקהל ייטב לב (Satmar) and b) וויליאמסבערג (Williamsburg, Brooklyn). Indications that it may have come from the Williamsburg Satmar or allied types.

    3) Rav Shmuel Kaminetsky’s surname is misspelled, possibly indicating a lack of familiarity with it, which would be more common in non-Yeshivish circles.

  34. Could it be that this is a manifestation of the Williamsburg-Monroe Satmar politics?

  35. This is just a theory and a bit naive, although hopefully is closer to the truth. At this years Agudath Israel Convention there was a noticeable lack of talk about the “issur” of internet use. Some took that as an indication that many Gedolim feel it is time to move on from the absolute ban and instead push for guidlines for responsible internet use. This was already done about a year ago in Detroit where all the rabbonim signed a letter saying that homes that have the internet must have monitoring software as well as a filter.
    Everyone knows about the sights that are obviously assur to visit, the far less obvious, and perhaps more insidious danger is with sights like VIN where one is exposed to the things mentioned in the letter from the gedolim. If they wanted to start a discussion that would lead people to think more about this issue, this would be the way to do it.
    IMHO VIN is the very definition of Miskabed B’klon Chaveiro. The appeal of the sight as opposed to other “yeshivish” sights is that one can go there to find things that other sights will have the discretion not to post.

  36. Why don’t you ask Ezra Friedlander about it? He is connected to the site.

  37. I am, in fact, in touch with him

  38. Although I should add that I have no idea whether or not he is connected to VIN

  39. He writes opinion pieces there. So there must be a connection.

  40. B’shita, I don’t follow anything written in a kol kore, for 2 reasons:

    1) I have a Rav. If there is something that I personally, or the community at large, needs to change, he’ll say so. I leave it to him to sort-out the various pronouncements in the name of the gedolim (kol kore or otherwise) and let me know how/if it applies to me. This would apply even if his name appeared on the kol kore.

    2) Where I live, kol kores have been published with countless names of well known local rabbonim, who did not give permission for their name to be used. This has happened so many times to a certain famous Rav (who, I believe, nearly ever reader of TorahMusings is familiar with), that the Rav was forced to stop signing any form of kol kore at all. By doing so, people know that any kol kore bearing his name is definitely fraudulent.

  41. “In Hebrew, comments is “teguvot” not “heorot”…”

    ???teguvot means reactions, responses. hearot are notes or comments. On israeli sites like bechadrei charedim, i routinely see comments referred to as heorot. Sometimes as teguvot too (especially when someone means to refer directly to responses to his/her comment) but heorot is correctly translated as comments.

  42. Actually, comments on articles in Israel are generally referred to as “talkbakim” (i.e. “talkbacks”). There’s even a term for a “serial replier” – a “talkbackist”. This is generally NOT a compliment.

    Barring moderation, talkback discussion here tends to be vile no matter what the venue (esp. on news sites, but not only). Indeed, there’s even serious discussion here of requiring anonynous talbackers to identify themselves by law.

    There’s also a back and forth on the Jewish channels in ynet/nrg about the importance of maintaining decorum even on the net. There’s even a general debate whether talkbackist culture improves democracy by increasing free speech or coarsening it and dragging it into the swamp (IMHO, it’s both).

    I have to say that I’m not so much outraged at this turn of events as I am amused. It really reminds me of the Hebrew expression, roughly tranlsated, “the dogs bark and the caravan passes by”. The age of effective bans (at least as regards the internet) is over.

    Want proof? Remember that big ban on all the Charedi sites in Israel a while back? Guess what – the Bechadrei Charedim site merely changed ownership; now it’s owned a by a secular Jew utterly unfazed by pashkvilim. As I understand it, they intend to start an Enlgish-language web-site sometime soon.

    The “move to the right” of much of the old religious buraecracy (Rabbis, teachers, askanim) is being met with a great deal of “moving to the left” among the masses, at least in terms of being more pragmatic. While these bans keep coming, the people have spoken – with their keyboards :).

    Shabbat Shalom

    Avi/aiwac

  43. Mayer Fertig

    To the best of my recollection this is the second time VIN has been “banned.” This one is likely to have the same impact as the first one, which is to say it’s good for business.

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