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TANGLED WEB: ORTHODOX JEWS AND THE INTERNET


08/10/2012 07:00 PM Posted By: Josh Robin
TWC News: Tangled Web, Part 5: Internet's Lure Gaining On Orthodox Youth, Expert Finds
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Much like a parent teaches their children how to cross the street, at least one therapist is suggesting Jewish religious schools teach kids how to properly surf the web. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.

Philip Rosenthal, a technology addictions therapist, says business couldn't be busier. That business? Treating Jewish Internet addicts.

"I have people who are completely addicted to online pornography, I have people who are addicted to too much gaming," Rosenthal says.

Internet addiction isn't, of course, a problem just for Jews. But in his niche market, Rosenthal sees a unique challenge.

Rabbis, like those at the influential gathering at Citi Field in May, are telling their congregants to stay away from going online. It may be well-meaning, but Rosenthal says it's actually making things worse and quoted a proverb to make a point: Stolen waters are sweet.

"By building the wall higher and higher and higher to keep people out, the more you create the desire to peek over the wall and see the other side," Rosenthal says.

On the other side are many influential religious leaders. They, like Rosenthal, counsel people whose lives have been destroyed by the Internet. Their message: Buy a web filter, or even software that lets a rabbi or a friend see the sites that you've visited. Or best of all, they say, stay away from the Internet entirely.

Eytan Kobre helped plan the anti-Internet Citi Field event in May. He calls the Internet the greatest spiritual and moral challenge to mankind. Ever.

"It's so vapid, so empty, so nothing. There's like nothing there," Kobre says.

"Why start up with a wild animal if you don't have to. Let sleeping lions lie, that's for sure," says Rabbi Avi Shafran of Agudath Israel of America.

Rosenthal, himself religious, says people who want to go online will always find a way. He wants Internet safety part of religious school curriculum.

"This is not Jonestown. You can't expect people to just line up and drink the Kool-Aid. It just doesn't go that way, we're not that kind of a society," Rosenthal says.

And he stresses the problems aren't unique to fellow Jews.

"I sort of make a joke about it. It doesn't matter whether you're an Orthodox Jew, a Reform Jew or even a Catholic Jew. The problem is there," Rosenthal says.

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See the complete "Tangled Web" series.


08/10/2012 07:00 PM Posted By: Josh Robin
TWC News: Tangled Web Extra: Technology Addiction Therapist Philip Rosenthal
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NY1 VIDEO: NY1 interviews technology addiction therapist Philip Rosenthal.

Tangled Web Extra interviews are shortened for brevity.

More Coverage

See the complete "Tangled Web" series.


08/09/2012 07:00 PM Posted By: Josh Robin
TWC News: Tangled Web, Part 4: Chabad Rabbis Embrace The Web To Spread Jewish Learning
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For the past three nights, the "Tangled Web" series has shared stories about rabbis trying to limit access to the Internet, but this fourth report covers the Orthodox rabbis who want people to make their site, Chabad.org, the go-to place for all Jewish learning. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.  Continue Reading...


Updated 08/08/2012 08:48 PM Posted By: Josh Robin
TWC News: Tangled Web, Part 3: Midwest Blogger Finds Many Readers, Enemies Among New York's Orthodox Jews
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Shmarya Rosenberg, who is considered one of the most influential people in the city’s Jewish community, lives in the Midwest and is all but a heretic among the people he writes about on his well-read blog. Even more unbelievable, it's only increased his readership. NY1's Josh Robin filed the third report of his "Tangled Web" series from St. Paul, Minnesota.  Continue Reading...


08/08/2012 08:04 PM Posted By: Josh Robin
TWC News: Tangled Web Extra: "Failed Messiah" Blogger Shmarya Rosenberg
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NY1 VIDEO: NY1 interviews Shmarya Rosenberg, the blogger behind the Orthodox Jewish blog "Failed Messiah."

Tangled Web Extra interviews are shortened for brevity.

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