Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Computer in Toldot Aharon ?


About a month ago, the Toldot Aharon Rebbe David Kahn held a meeting with his Chassidim. The Rebbe spoke about the spiritual impurity coming from the Internet. After the meeting, the Chassidim were asked to fill out special forms where they either admit to have a computer at home (and for what purpose) or they simply sign that they don't have any such "impure gadget". Let alone an internet connection.

Furthermore, the form was questioning about the cellphone of each Chassid (and his family members). As we know, haredi society demands a kosher cellphone with firewalls to any kind of impure accesses. 

Any Toldot Aharon member not fulfilling the demands for having an internet connection at home, will be excluded. Not necessarily thrown out of the group but limited within society. Men would not be called up to the Torah and loosing their firm seat at the Synagogue. Women may also be punished by loosing their firm Synagogue seat on Simchat Torah or Yom Kippur. 

During the past two weeks, the Toldot Aharon "modesty police" walked around the backyards and made a few checks at the homes of "suspicious" Toldot Aharon members. The Jerusalem weekly (secular) paper "Yediot Yerushalaim" reports that Toldot Aharon officials said that all those latest stringencies were necessary because it came out that a few of their teenagers may be vulnerable to negative internet use.  

With these rules, Toldot Aharon is not too different from other chassidic groups such as Gur, for instance. Internet use YES, but for professionell purposes only. Otherwise the computer should be locked or, at least, have a kosher internet connection where porn and other things are blocked. 

On the other hand, who is really able to keep all Chassidim away from the net ? Who is able to control mainly male Chassidim, cruising around in secular neighbourhoods and sneaking into Internet Cafes ? Not even the modesty police has such capacities. 
How about public libraries or the Bar Ilan University ? There you find many different Chassidim sitting and surfing the Net. Not too many Toldot Aharon but Gur, Belz or Litvaks.  

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