Showing posts with label London Kinus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label London Kinus. Show all posts

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Once more unto the breach

So the day has arrived, the game's afoot and kick off just hours away. The vuvuzela shofers will sound, the home team will cheer the players bought from overseas by cheque book scribblers and not a few brown-bags if not brown-nosed bungs. The fans will wrap themselves in the team colours of black and white, many own goals will be scored, the captain is guaranteed to be ruled offside and if I'm not careful I'll shortly be running out of metaphors.

But what do they hope to achieve and how do we measure their success? If a sell-out crowd is what they're after they have secured it by shrinking the stadium and summoning the kids which are never in short supply round here. We do have them for a reason, after all. If logging off or filters is their aim it may cause a temporary upward blip and then life will settle back to its normal course just as it did in the USA. The organisers will want to see how widely the event is covered on websites which their filters would otherwise block so some leeway will always be needed.

Whatever this rally's lasting legacy is it will not be to halt the onward march of technology or turn the tide of the internet, social media and global communications. It is only with the aid of the internet that they could arrange this event, hire the venue, bring speakers from around the globe, leaflet the place day after day and then gloat for ever after on their delusions of might and power.

For badly deluded they are. To arrange this event they have practically sold out the North West segment of the community. If I were a Golders Green resident I would be asking myself why must I associate with this lot if they care so little about me. North West London had a meeting discussing the internet only about 2 months ago. Without fanfare and in a modest school hall about 2000 people listened to an array of speakers who discussed practical solutions to a modern-day problem. The speeches were in English which is the vernacular of Golders Green and at least one of the speakers was a technology expert.

So why is this meeting called for again and why do they pretend to represent klal yisroel? If the UOHC represents all its constituent shuls why were virtually all notices and posters in Yiddish? Is it not that they are simply embarrassed to repeat all this nonsense in English where it will be judged by more level-headed people and laughed off the pitch with a mass exit from the stands?

If I were not carrying in the eiruv every Shabbos because the UOHC banned it, if my wife and kids were stuck in at home, elderly people and the disabled housebound due to the obduracy and intractability of the UOHC rabbis I would be asking what is in it for me. To ensure the attendance of the various chasidim, Padwa went grovelling to their rebbes, signing his name and his mother's name like a pleading supplicant. To placate the Belzers, Reb Leibish was kept even from the substitutes’ benches, and in order not to upset the Satmarers speeches are all in Yiddish besides one at the end by which time the holy ones can make their exit for their ministering angel will not attend an ESOL course. Yet to its long suffering members in Golders Green the UOHC and its rabbis have shown nothing but an oversized middle finger.

What they will be saying loud and clear tonight is: Klal Yisroel includes you not. Your meetings do not count, your support is unnecessary, your attendance not called for and your yiddishkeit in grave doubt. We are happy to take your moolah for our pounds of kosher flesh but as for you in person your smell is rather too pleasant for us less sensitive noses.

In New York they at least made a pretence of achdus but no such trivialities concern us here where scornful disregard is the name of the game. Obscure Lubavitch rabbis from Edgware are kosher but Rabbis Ehrentrau, Lichtenstein, Gelley, Abrahams and many others count for nothing. They summon Mount Sinai to their cause as if Judaism is dependent on 4000 loonies but they are nothing more than the club whose home ground they will occupy: a 3rd tier league devoid of star players.

And that is as far as they go. To the rest of us they will appear like wolves howling at the moon. Having sold out to the most extreme elements they will warn, threaten, cajole and plead supposedly for the future of Judaism and the souls of our children. Here in our community is a school established by communal figures, funded by communal coffers when not directly by us the taxpayers yet it excludes children at a whim term after term and year after year. And when the brothers who act as goalkeepers, players, captains, referees, managers, chairmen and shareholders all in one are summoned by Padwa he is laughed at to his face.

They will talk about sanctity yet here in Stamford Hill, in Craven Walk, is a mikveh which has been a building site for close to a decade grossly insulting if not endangering the women who use it. But they care for women only in their state of dress not undress. It was a similar situation with other mikvehs until someone stepped in. Funds are available for this extravaganza but as far as true kedusha is concerned let them dunk themselves in drains and keep the fancy mikves for the men. It is no exaggeration that we have some of the worst mikves in the entire chareidi world. But then others push their buggies on Shabbos while our womenfolk are better off stuck in at home.

And then there are the masses of our youth which see through all this hypocrisy, double dealing and sanctimony. They will not be saved by your howling of Shema. Your voice will not reach their ears just like when many of them are sexually and physically abused their cries do not reach yours. Your bans and prohibitions will ring hollow when all you seek to cover up are your own misdeeds. Many of these youths, our very future, are gone forever not thanks to the Internet but to you sitting there blinded by the glare of the floodlights and booming out your own voices to drown out all others.

Howl, howl, howl, howl! Oh, you are men of stones.

Had I your tongues and eyes, I’d use them so

That heaven’s vault should crack. She’s gone forever.

(King Lear, Act V, Scene III)

Mutiny in the terraces

anti protest

Another day another poster. The anti-internet rally organisers have been pasting our walls for the last fortnight with the palette of colours technology places at their disposal while the opposition uses nothing more than an old fashioned word processor and so must do with black and white.

The message however is clear: Leave the kids at home - this is not where they belong. If you want the kids to see their gedoilim take them to a shul not a stadium.

The organisers have spent a fortune to shrink the stadium so that banks of empty seats are not flashed round the world by tweeters at the anti-tweeting rally. All they need the kids for is as a stop gap and so at worst they might have to readjust slightly the partition. Moving the goalposts is what they call it at Leyton Orient.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Rav Schlesinger opposes rally

schlesinger asife

Hurrah for common sense! Finally someone is prepared to say what many are thinking and saying in shuls and mikves up and down the square mile that the event is an ego trip of our dear Rov and Rosh Hakohol and the expense, the invitees, the leaflets and the venue are simply to show that we can do everything that NY can. Except of course that NY has an eiruv.

It may be for the wrong reasons but how refreshing to see a contrarian view in these mad times. Reb Elyokum may also be concerned only with children, teens and koilel yungeleit rather than the event as a whole but then one must be mad to want to bring kids along in the first place. Incidentally, the Schlesingers are also the ones who won’t hold their events in YHS which suggests they know a lot more than we do.

Reb Elyokum: we’re all Briskers for a day!

Open letter to Internet-banning rabbis (Yiddish)

Open letter to rabbis banning the internet (Yiddish)

I would love to translate this letter which has been doing the rounds on the internet and if only I found the time. (Any takers?) It was written in response to the New York anti-internet rally in May and a recent incident which scandalised the Satmar enclave in upstate New York when a father of several kids was kicked out of the family home after confessing his atheism to his wife.

Basically the letter blames the ills of the internet’s influence on our society on our rotten education system. If the rabbis are really interested in doing something about the problem, the letter says, they should stop navel gazing, banning and controlling. Instead they should institute some sorely needed reforms, teach children the beauties of a Judaism that isn’t about excluding, banning, beatings, petty disputes and power struggles and our children might not be dazzled and fall for the world outside their ghetto on their first point of encounter.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Devil’s Advocate – On the Anti-internet rally

CCI28082012_0000 (2409 x 3436)

Inquisition… Enlightenment… Reform… Communism… Zionism… Technology – Find the odd one out

In the race to the bottom that the anti-internet campaign has become it appears that no form of words is too stupid, no expression too trite, no metaphor too far fetched and no analogy too extreme for the fearmongers and thought police organising these events.

Strange then that despite the apparent strength of their convictions and the steadfastness of their resolve the organisers will not spread the message beyond Hebrew and Yiddish speakers. Unlike strawberry, grape and fish infestations in which the English language is squished for the sake of saving a Jewish soul from the hazards of creepy crawlies, saving us from the catastrophe unleashed by the internet is confined to Hebrew and Yiddish speakers.

So as a public service we will provide a blow-by-blow translation of the clarion call for a mass stampede to Leyton Orient’s home ground as leafleted daily in tabloid typeface, brash graphics and garish colours. Oh, the wonders of technology. And so that the sacrifice of entire forests is not in vain we here will ensure that the message to rescue Judaism from oblivion reaches its widest audience.

Today we start with a debate between the Devil and his counterpart on the war being waged against God's Chosen on the battlefield of the world wide web. As every Miltonian scholar well knows the Devil gets the best lines and it is no different when trying to ensnare us poor vulnerable souls in the trap set by Tim Berners-Lee.

So without further ado here goes the first skirmish in the fight of the blinding light of fundamentalism and raging fire of ignorance against the candle of reason and the flame of knowledge.



Yetzer Hora

Yetzer Tov

I established an INQUISITION to apostatise ever more Jews

But Jews martyred themselves and went into exile leaving behind their wealth, possessions and belongings!

I developed the HASKALA (enlightenment) to create "enlightened Jews"

The sages of Israel with the holy power of the Torah and Hasidism successfully defeated it.

I created the REFORM to reform Judaism

The Gedoilim of the generation railed that 'Novelty is forbidden by the Torah' and Jews remained steadfast to tradition.

I organised COMMUNISM to divert the Jewish people

With immense devotion Jews maintained synagogues, schools and mikvo’oth until thank God it was destroyed.

I brought ZIONISM to destroy Jewish continuity

The people of Israel obeyed the call of 'Who is to God, let him come unto me' and there survived a Judaism devout  to God and his Torah.

Now I have produced TECHNOLOGY that is ripping God's people to shreds and this time I will UPROOT EVERYTHING

You just wait, hold tight, my battle for the rescue of the future has only just begun. As always with God's help we will succeed with a mighty victory.

For this purpose thousands of Jews, no evil eye, will assemble at 'The Assembly of the Jewish People’ in Leyton Stadium

Instead of engaging in a futile debate on the nonsensical analogies let’s just for a moment take them at their own word. Let us assume that the common denominator of the comparators is indeed that they were all aimed at destroying Judaism and that technology is the Inquisition of 2012. Yet one cannot help but notice that while the historical movements exerted pressure from the outside, whether by coercion or persuasion, in the case of the internet it is something we have and continue to embrace of our own free will.

No one forces you to connect to broadband, there is not auto-da-fe to make you sign up to a smartphone, the NKVD won’t make you open an email account and nor is there anything to prevent us logging off en masse if we were minded to do so. The problem for them is that we don’t want to. The same people who will attend the rally because they share some of the concerns or because they feel compelled to show their face will also log on once they get home to check news reports and web gossip of the event, assuming they weren’t monitoring the bans in real time on their very proscribed phones.

And that is the difference. We want the internet to communicate with the wider world, to broaden our horizons in hitherto unimaginable ways, to expose the corruption and downright idiocy of our leaders, to engage in the openness and accessibility denied to us by our education and way of life, to widen our circle of acquaintances, to debate freely issues we care about, to taste forbidden fruits available elsewhere and, increasingly, to decide we quite like what we see and move over altogether.

This is what we gain by technology and this is what they fear. If the 9 circles of hell exist in every amoled screen then we descend each more willingly than the last. So let them rail, let them threaten, let them ban. It is they who are acting like our persecutors of times bygone and our threat today comes not from without but from within. The web, however, is here to stay and the sooner it brings an end to the madness we have engulfed ourselves in the sooner we may see the end to rallies like this one.