A Hasidic Jew was walking down the street with a frog on his shoulder. As he made his way down the street, the frog would greet passersby in perfect English and sometimes Yiddish. He would make funny comments on the items in the shop windows. He was a clever frog. Wherever the Hasidic Jew with the frog on his shoulder went, a crowd would gather.
Finally, one bystander looked at the Hasidic Jew and and said, "Wow that's really unusual,where did you find him?"
The frog replied "In Brooklyn, they're all over the place."This week's article in the The Forward reminded me of this joke. The idea of 40,000 Hasidic Jews packing a baseball stadium is an incredible image. Where I live, you occasionally see a Chabad Rabbi , but that is the extent. Even when I was in Israel, I don't think I went anywhere a large number of Hasidic Jews would gather. Even though I am a liberal Jew the idea of the gathering fills me with pride of the resilience of the Jewish people.
They packed together to hear a number of Rabbis in their communities speak about the dangers of the internet.
Wachsman criticized the Internet in terms familiar to the non-Orthodox world. “The Internet is about the moment, it’s about the instantaneous, about the artificial, the superficial, it’s about if you’re bored you click on to something else, its about being fleeting and empty,” he said.While the dangers of the internet are apparent and must be approached carefully, I would have to say that I would know a lot less about Judaism without the invention of the internet and the willingness of orthodox groups, such as Aish HaTorah and Chabad, to use it.
Because of the internet, I have been able to learn Jewish History from some of the greatest orthodox scholars in the world. Nothing beats Rabbi Noah Weinberg's, 48 Ways of Acquiring Wisdom audio series or Berel Wein's Jewish History lectures.
Without these internet resources to give me a foundation, there are whole areas of Jewish learning that would have remained inaccessible to me forever. So, I respectfully disagree with the Rabbis of this gathering and hope that the orthodox world continues to use technology to engage the Jewish world at large.