Why is the Internet Asifa at Citifield for Men Only?

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Update: Please read this – In Support of the Internet Asifa

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.

Here is the ad:

  • S.

    They didn’t have an extra 150k for a mechitza?

  • I heard they are renting out Madison Square Garden for the women. 

    • S.

      Are they planning on telling anyone at some point?

      • Anonymous

        There will be buses to bring the women over after the event is over for the mitzva dance.

        • ksil

          or to clean up

  • Joel

    If the danger of the internet is so great that it should completely be banned, then why on earth do they provide us an email address??? The emperor is naked, what can I say. Gut shabbes for veryone!



  • Anonymous

    wait, so i can’t sign up for tix online? i guess i’ll probably search stubhub the night before to get a cheaper deal for better seats. I will of course do anything to get into citi field as long as the kosher stand (with the sausages with sauteed onions and peppers) is open. what are the odds beer will be available? this could potentially be a real fun night out with the guys, heckling DAAAARRYL/MAAAAATISYAAAAAHUUUUU. also, wonder if the kiss cam will be on, that could be really fun, though a little off putting…

    maybe some rebbes will race in the seventh with different colored beks/streimels?

  • hmmmmmm, considering the amount of public money and public infrastructure involved in building and maintaining citi field, i wonder if there is a nice 1983 action here (prob. no state action, but maybe), or a discrimination civil suit . . .

    • Good thinking. Just find a frum woman who wants to sue and away we go.

      • Jhkkjh

        Refer to Boy Scouts of America v. Dale. The right of association should make it legal to bias against women in private gatherings.

  • Anonymous

    I have not heard of any bold faced names from America in support of the Asifa other than R’ Matisyahu Solomon.

    Isnt that like saying Bill Gates endorses Microsoft products? This asifa is his baby.

    There’s just one catch. 50% of orthodox Jews cannot attend. The entire Asifa is for men only.

    Two Answers:

    1) Everyone knows Nashim Tados Kalos, they cant understand what they read on the internet anyway.

    2) Everyone knows that women dont, um, watch *cough* porn.



  • Don’t waste your time with this shtus. Perhaps next they’ll rent out Yankee Stadium for an Asifa proclaiming that the world is flat. You can’t fix stupid, and you can’t stop progress. Next!

  • Anonymous

    Maybe the women can stay in the parking lot and watch the proceedings on video?

    The, at the end, the men can wait an hour until the women clear out before they leave. Maybe even have a short ball game while waiting 🙂

    • A ball game. That is a great idea. The chasidishe rebbeim should play against the litvishe gedolim!

      • Shitmale

        Thats a 100% loss for the chasidisha Rabbi’s…

      • Anonymous

        R’ E. Fink – Watch and learn: http://video.google.com/videop…

        I’m only a little shocked that you didn’t get my reference (I was tempted to include a link, but opted not to). 

  • Monsey

    I was looking at the quote “It will be a gathering of unity of all the
    Jews living in the U.S.” which is reminiscent of Megilas Esther, “Lech
    Knos Kol Hayehudim…” I wonder if Mordechai and Esther were planning
    to exclude women from “Kol Hayehudim” – which may explain why women must
    spend Purim in their “inner rooms” (See how it comes full circle?) 

  • Kashrusy

    Men only? yes-because-It’s not about the internet, It’s to rein in the Bloggers that are publicizing shortcomings & coverups.

  • Bgoldy

    So, Eliyahu, let’s see what you have done with this post.

    You publicly critcized and ridiculed Gedolei Yisrael.

    Not exactly a mitzvah to put it mildly.

    Whatever questions you have, I am 100% sure that Rav Matisyahu Salomon, one of the major supporters and leaders can answer them.

    You are very wrong for posting this and you gain nothing by being so cynical except to be a ‘hero’ to all the anti-Gedolim people out there.

    Ben Goldy

    • I asked a simple question. If you think that is ridicule, I cannot possibly live up to your standard.

      • Bgoldy

        Come one Eliyahu. The way you wrote this is PUBLIC bizayon for all the Gedolim who do support it. You are saying the project lacks leadership and vision, etc.

        You vs. Rav Salamon and all the other Gedolim who support it. In public?Your Rebbe, Rav Tendler, ztl, who you wrote so lovingly about some months ago, would be embarrassed that one of his talmidim wrote this.If all you wanted to do was ask a question, why blog it?  Who are you trying to reach with your question?Call up Rav Salamon and ask him if you have this question.What is the true, sincere, leshem Shamayim purpose of what you wrote?

        • Who am I trying to reach? I  reached the Ichud and spoke to someone there. I will be posting a followup on Sunday. Come back and read it then.


    Eliyahu, I’ve known you for a very long time- but now I am embarrassed for knowing you.  This post is a disgrace. Yes, Rebbe would be ashamed of you. And he should be. This gathering is not to forbid ANYTHING. It is to recognize that internet is here to stay and, therefore, it is something that must be dealt with. I watch porn. I do. I am married, 4 kids, I learn, have fun with my friends, chill, laugh, joke, shtieg, daven, klap al cheit……but the dangers are so real. SO REAL. And it is not only me. It is a large % of yiddishe yarai shamayim who are swept into the abyss of this horrific spiritual holocaust. I can’t tell you how ashamed I am of myself. I daven to Hashem to help me be koveish my yetzer. This is not who I am. I don’t want to be doing this. This asifa is most fitting for MEN ONLY. For it is the men of our Dor who are at risk. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    • Well hello old friend. Whoever you are.

      I don’t understand why you are embarrassed to know me nor do I think anyone should be ashamed of me.
      But I stand by my opinion. Leaving women out of the asifa is a mistake. I hope you’ll come back to read my follow up post on Sunday. I think you will be enlightened.

      • Bgoldy

        You are entitled to your opinion and to have a question. 

        But you have not answered why you chose to blog it and disagree with Gedolim and to write very strong criticism of Gedolim in public.You are playing with fire. Chazal say very strong things about people who are mevazeh Talmidei Chachamim esp. in public.That’s what you did.Re-read what you wrote. It’s cynical and very disrespectful to all the Gedolim.Sorry but you didn’t just ask a question, dear Eliyahu.And I say again. What’s the point in blogging it? If you are sincere, have your opinion and question and call up one of the organizers. Don’t write lashon hara and feed fodder to the anti-Gedolim crowd. That’s what you did by writing this post.

        • How do you think those same gedolim feel about you being online and reading blogs? I fail to see how you can honestly hang out online and not mevazeh the gedolim according to your own definitions.

          • Nflballer4lifespm

            you’re not addressing his point Mr. Fink

  • Mayer

    Wow – Its good you aren’t into hyperbole. “There are a million and one things to complain about regarding the Ichud HaKehilos Asifa at Citifield.” How about you enlighten us with just the first hundred thousand problems you have with it.

    I do not know, but I surmise that the reason for excluding women was to try to get the Chassidic community to attend. You are probably aware that many Chassidic communities have taken upon themselves extra chumros in regarding the seperation of the sexes. It is unlikely that there would be widespread attendance by Satmar chassidim if the event would have both men and women. If the goal of the Asifah is to generate a broad consensus of societal inteolerance to unfiltered internet access, then excluding a significant orthodox ideological movement would be unhelpful to say the least. However, excluding women could still result in the desired outcome of families deciding not to TOLERATE unfiltered internet. The husbands could discuss the Asifah with their spouses and perhaps they would come to a unified position on where they draw draw the line on internet access in their home. Do kids get cellphones? If so, at what age –  with data or without? Do the parents have accountability software? Can the children have Facebook pages. Do they block or allow streaming video sites such as youtube? There are a multitude of decisions that every parent and single adult has to make regarding responsible use of the internet. Having an Asifah with a broad ideological base can help communities come up with their own standards.

    I think it is helpful when talking about communal standards to use a real world example. Lets talk about mechitzahs. There is a very wide range of communal standards regarding the use and design of these. I am not talking about halachah – but rather what is considered normative within a certain community. Some shuls have  have a shoulder height divider  some have total seperation. Some communities will have a mechiztah by a vort or lchaim. Some will have men and women on opposite sides of a table, some in separate rooms and some have no division whatsoever. Some will divide families during shabbos meals at a sheva brachos and others will not.

    When one joins a particular community one will usually adopt the norms of the community. If all your friends and neighbors have a divider by a simcha, you would probably have one too.

    I think part of the purpose of the Asifa is to get communities thinking and talking about having a standard? Do I let my child play at a home of his classmate if I know they have unfiltered internet, or if he has his own laptop, DS, WiiI etc with unfiltered access. If every child in the class has an email address, is it appropriate for your 10 year old child to have their own? What will we as a community tolerate? Do we have a collective standard – do we try to say that we are an Am Kodosh and we deal with technology in a responsible manner. Isn’t one way  to start a meaningful and broad based conversation about where we make our stand against the universally recognized danger of the internet to have a very public and heavily advertised event? (Look at how much conversation and debate the event has fostered even before it has taken place)

    I wholeheartedly agree that a one size fits all solution is inappropriate. Obviously a community like Satamar, where strict segregation of the sexes is the socially accepted norm will have a desire for very strict guidelines. And a community where people watch tv or movies will have a different view of what guidelines would suit them best (probably not a white list filter such as yeshiva net. ) Howeve, I dare say that few communities have given this enough thought to foster a meaningful social statement of internet limits. (Of course no Jewish community would tolerate pornography – but what guidelines does the community find acceptable?)

    Forget the taboo keywords “assur”, “takuna” etc.. What statement do we tell our friends, family , community and world regarding where we stand and what actions and sacrifices we are willing to take to protect our children and ourselves.

    • Anonymous

      Mayer – I do not know, but I surmise that the reason for excluding women was to try to get the Chassidic community to attend. You are probably aware that many Chassidic communities have taken upon themselves extra chumros in regarding the seperation of the sexes. It is unlikely that there would be widespread attendance by Satmar chassidim if the event would have both men and women. 

      Are Chassidim coming to the siyum hashas (that is admitting women)?


    ” I don’t think anyone needs to go to this Asifa” and “there is absolutely no excuse for limiting attendance to men only” and “the project is flawed, lacks leadership and vision” are NOT questions, Fink. These are bold, brazen and harsh criticizing statements against daas torah.

    I want to pose a question for you- Who do you think you are? Just because you carry the label “Rabbi” gives you a right to bash R’ Mattisyahu, B’Rabim????? How could you question real daas torah?

    So far, the only person, let alone legitimate Rabbi, to publicly oppose this event is YOU, “Rabbi” Fink. You are a small, small human being. Very small.

    HOW DARE YOU RIGHT SUCH A POST???? OK, so while NIRC BOY, ESQ. above is a fiction (I wrote that post), it is a very real occurrence. No, I haven’t known you for a long time, and I do not have 4 kids. We never shared a Rebbe, and I am not an Esq. But at least I have some Seichel. We all know the dangers of the internet, and how it ruins marriages and lives. We all know that the average frum guy, married or not, has dirty thoughts and has a harder time with the yetzer hara (nashim) than women. That should answer your question. Now remove your post.

    • ….or else.

      • Bgoldy

        When the Ribbono Shel Olam asks you why you wrote this post, how it was His Ratzon, what will you tell Him? 

        Don’t be stubborn, my friend.

        You messed up big time here.  Just admit it and try to do better in the future.

      • Guest

        Everyone seems to have the same question: If you are a Rabbi why don’t you know better than to use the Internet to bash a well respected Rabbi(Yes, attacking an asifa that is endorsed and promoted by Rabbi Salomon, is attacking Rabbi Salamon)?

        Why do you act like such a coward, writing behing the Rabbi’s back, knowing full well that he won’t be reading this page to be able to respond and defend his position.

        Why don’t you show even a slight amount of respect to a respected elder Rabbi, and speak to him in private.

        • Bgoldy

          This week’s Yated has an ad supporting the gathering signed by:

          Rav Aharon Feldman
          Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky
          Novominsker Rebbe
          Rav Moshe Wolfson
          Rav Aharon Schechter
          Rav Dovid Feinstein

          and many others

          You were mevazeh all of them.

          • Milhouset

            U guys are coming from a “daas torah” perspective (which has certain precedents in Judaism, but was never big until this century), where there are “gedolim”, who can say an opinion about anything, and cannot be contradicted by a “lesser” rabbi. R’ fink is in another world, following what he feels is right, and stating his disagreement with a current public opinion of another Rabbi (or group thereof). This has happened throughout Jewish history, dating back to (and earlier than) Yisro and Moshe, David and Achitophel (a gadol) etc. For background on Daas Torah and its sources, see R’ Aharon Rakefet Rothkoff’s great classes on YU’s website. Either way, R’ Fink is fine accordins to his opinion.

        • …says the anonymous guy on the Internet..

          • Bgoldy

            I tried to get you to see the emes.  You are too stubborn, Eliyahu.

            Rabbi Tendler, ztl, your rebbe, according to you, would be horrified if he saw what you wrote here.

            I guess you are part of the anti-Gedolim crowd.

            You have no other reason to trash them here in your post.

            I tried.

            You are too stubborn.

            One day you will be shown how wrong you were.

            And it won’t be pretty.

            I hope you make wiser decisions in the future.

          • Guest

            Wow. You really don’t have an answer, do you?!

          • G*3

            > One day you will be shown how wrong you were.
            And it won’t be pretty.
            I used to live across the street from a church. The church van had a warning emblazoned across its side: “Accept Jesus or you’ll suffer in Hell.”
            I’m always fascinated by how all religions operate the same way.

    • RachelleRose16

      So the average frum woman doesn’t have a tough time with men as their yetzer hara? Are you for real? Have you seen what’s been going on with teenagers, male AND female? Do you think its permissible for women to watch questionable movies/TV? They’ve got a pretty darn strong yetzer hora. Shmiras Eynayim is as strict a commandment for women as it is for men, and for good reason. Give me a break.

      While perhaps Rabbi Fink was harsh in his descriptions, you aren’t helping matters very much.

  • Tanghu


  • Tanghu

    mr. fink, your article and comments are one of a bore! Please stop posting any of your thoughts as they show your stupidity.

    • Bgoldy

      At least the Baltimore frum website was smart enough to remove your article.  That’s where I saw it. I wrote my comments to him, similar to what I wrote here, and the one who runs it smartly removed your piece.

      • Monsey

         BGoldy, it seems you are missing a big point here.
        The organizers still don’t have a lineup of speakers. They don’t even know yet what language the speeches would be in!
        In other words, there are two issues here:
        1) The goal of the Asifa (which everyone agrees with – keeping kids in the fold and off of bad web sites)
        2) How it is done: (So far has been shown to be very ad-hoc, disorganized and not thought through)
        See, when the Agudah does something on a large scale, a month before it is done, they have transcripts of each and every speech, they know exactly what will be said, since it will be said in their name.
        The organizers of the Asifa do not yet know who the speakers will even be. Therefore, they can’t possibly know what will actually be said.
        The Gedolim who signed on, signed on because of the ultimate goal. None of them disagree with the goal of keeping kids off of porn, and neither does Rabbi Fink.
        However, they are not endorsing the actual proceedings, because they don’t know what will actually be said and done!
        What is Rabbi Fink is pointing out are the flaws of how it is being done.
        Given the fact that they don’t yet know what will be said, how can you say “The Gedolim” are behind the proceedings, when they don’t know what they are endorsing?

        • Kishmirin

          More proof that the gedolim are the equivalent of the wizard of Oz, lots of noise and bluster with no substance.

    • curious george

       classic yeshivish way to deal with people you don’t agree with. Call someone you disagree with, who is a rabbi “Mr.”

      well done Tanghu!

  • Chaim

    It actually makes sense for an asifa sponsored by the ichud hakehilos l’tohar hamachane to be separate seating.

    • Monsey

       Does that mean that the Siyum HaShas will be “L’Tameh HaMachaneh”?

  • Chaim

    It actually makes sense for an asifa sponsored by the ichud hakehilos l’tohar hamachane</strong) to be not have a mixture of men and women..

    • Monsey

       The Siyum HaShas will have women there, are they any less Tahor?

  • hyman

    Eliyahu, pardon me saying this but before you write things you should do at least a little research lest you make a fool out of yourself. 1.  I have seen at least 100 rabonim sign letters supporting this asifa. actually im having a hard time finding one rabbi that didnt sign. 2 there is no charge to go to the asifa. the only charge that they have is to attend the expo before the asifa. 3. Its great to hear the unbiased opinion about the issue from no one else then a blogger. Cant you a least admit that your opinion is biased? or are you too twisted for that too.

    • 1) Please show me the signatures. Please tell me why I should believe they are not forged. 2) There is a $10 charge. You cannot get a ticket unless you or someone on your behalf pays for a ticket. This was confirmed by the Ichud. 3) Everyone has a bias. Everyone. Claiming that someone has a bias is not an argument against what has been said. If it were, no one would ever be able to say anything.

      • hyman

        ” 1) Please show me the signatures.” Why do you want to see the signatures? Even if i would show them to you I have faith in you from what ive seen you write that youd twist your way out of that too in some fashion where everyone else- except you would realize what your all about. like you  might even say ” Please tell me why I should believe they are not forged.” See, how did i know? Then if i were to prove that they werent forged the next thing youd probably say was: Who said they werent forced? So its obviously pointless. you said something stupid and your gonna say even stupider things to try and fix the first stupid thing. You and Shmuly Boteach.
        Fact is you lied and said no one besides R’ Solomon is behind this based on the fact that you decided that all the signatures are forged ( and G.W. Bush blew up the twin towers himself).
        BTW rabonim have been having meeting about this for months. Hundreds of rabonim and gedolim. I suppose your probably gonna claim all the pictures of those meetings are forged too.
        If everyone has a bias, which by the way is haskaficly against the torah, (but what do you care) I suppose you dont trust U.S. state and federal judges. and how about therapists. they’re all biased, no? why should any couple go for counseling after all hes biased?
        Bkitzur E your a piece of cake. Your a knock out with half my brain tied behind my back. you make shmuly look like a genius.

        • I’m happy that you are so satisfied with yourself. Carry on…

          • Guest

            Why can’t you just admit that you made a mistake? Why must you open yourself to ridicule since everyone realizes you totally misread the situation, yet you continue to fail to admit it?

            • I don’t understand what you mean.

              Have you read my follow up post?

        • Harry

          I don’t think you know what the word “biased” means.

  • Pragmatician

    Noticed how the add has an e-mail adress (really?) , where’s the website?



  • Sholom

    You’re blog is very nicely designed. I wish you much success.
    I understand your concern about “excluding women”, but if one were to give the issue a second thought they might realize that eventhough the issue is (as you said) about positive chinuch, one has to be wise and respectuful of whom they are teaching. You can probably appreciate that appropriate public inteaction between genders is a sentitive situation in our community, but desensitation for those who might be viewed as exhibiting oversensitivity is not (in my opinion) achieved by overwhelming people with an uncontrollable situation.
    I beleive that one who seeks to teach in such circumstances has a lot to learn.
    Good luck!

  • As I am quiet new in Jewish, looking around for some Jewish information> Got something important here. Nice to get it.
    This piece http://goo.gl/DT6FN of video helped me forgive and let go of my frustration.