Quick Takes VII

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Rock and Roll Judaism
This article about “Wannabe Cool” Christianity (link) is a good follow-up to this post of mine about learning from Christianity: link.

Internet Responsibility
All the talk this past Shabbos was that a local yeshiva sent out a letter requiring all parents to sign up for Web Chaver (link), a service that records every website you visit and sends it weekly to someone you select. This is expected to shame you into avoiding inappropriate websites. Reasonable people can disagree whether this decision is overly intrusive, I tend to think that it is not because you can choose your recipient and, frankly, off the top of my head I came up with two ways to get around the system (I won’t tell how and please don’t give instructions in the comments to this post). That’s not what interests me.

To me, the point is that I am not aware of any yeshiva that has sent around a list of acceptable TV stations you can watch. Why not? Because they have not given up on condemning television entirely. Evidently, this moderate Charedi yeshiva has rightly reached the conclusion that the internet is a part of life today and their community cannot or will not function with it. Therefore, the school is encouraging families to use it responsibly. This is a welcome trend, even if the details may require further work.

Ground Zero Mosque
I wonder if the people so opposed to the so-called Ground Zero Mosque have ever been to downtown Manhattan? The site of this proposed mosque is not particularly near Ground Zero. Consider the map below.

View 45 Park Pl in a larger map
The Century 21 department store is closer to Ground Zero than the mosque. I used to work in 7 World Trade and frequently passed the church that is much closer than the mosque. And the Broadway Kosher Cafe, which connects through the back to Torah UMesorah and its popular mincha minyan, is just as close as the mosque. But since it is offending so many people, can’t a compromise be found? Is there really no possible location that is a little farther from Ground Zero?

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of TorahMusings.com, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student serves on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America. He also serves on the Editorial Boards of Jewish Action magazine, the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society and the Achieve Journal of Behavioral Health, Religion & Community, as well as the Board of OU Press. He has published five English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

6 comments

  1. “I used to work in 7 World Trade and frequently passed the church that is much closer than the mosque”

    I agree that the location of the future mosque is much further than the many other religious sites. Sadly, since the issue has been joined-the US can’t be seen for geopolitical reasons to not allow a mosque where they wish to build it. Whose behind the funding is irrelevant. If I want to build a Jewish school and the Sochnut subsidizes it what difference should it be.

  2. “frankly, off the top of my head I came up with two ways to get around the system (I won’t tell how and please don’t give instructions in the comments to this post).”
    Hacking is for the young-even those who couldn’t figure it out themselves will find out how to.
    It is the challenge if nothing else-as a much younger person I sometimes just tried to figure out ways around computer center restrictions-eg using JCL to override their instructions.

    Mayim gnuvim mumtakim.

  3. web chaver report. This is supposed to shame one? It is more likely as yet another example of 1984 thought control, controling what peopel see, think about, and use as sources of information.

  4. “Whose behind the funding is irrelevant. If I want to build a Jewish school and the Sochnut subsidizes it what difference should it be.”

    Because Jews and the State of Israel weren’t behind 9/11.

  5. the christians thought of “web chaver” first. It is called covenant eyes and is pretty effective. As Rav Willig likes to say “there is an issur yichud with the internet”. This takes care of the issur yichud (assumming you can’t hack around it).

  6. For internet blocking I have found a free filter that works well called K9. To me the most important thing is being able to control what I see….not be guilted into reporting my web surfing history.

    I use: http://www1.k9webprotection.com/

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