From Zackery Sholem Berger’s new article at Tablet, “Hasidic Writers, Plugged In”:
But there are also those who have decidedly not converted, who have not fled their communities. They hew to ideals they do not support because they are not yet ready to leave, or because they never will. Such a life can be exquisitely painful, but the writing that comes out of it can also be enlightening—or at the very least, can reveal a different view of the world within the Hasidic walls. Over the past few years, I have met some of the writers who are creating literature from within. I’ve come to believe that their personal struggles help us—and them—to see their surroundings in a new light.
Also at Tablet, a piece by Micah Stein, “Rallying Against the Internet,” on Sunday’s asifa of 40,000 ultra-Orthodox Jews at Citi Field, organized by Ichud HaKehillos LeTohar HaMachane (Union of communities for the Purity of the Camp):
The group’s stated goals for the rally are simultaneously modest and substantial: According to Together as One, the rally will provide “inspiration, direction, and viable solutions” for community members wary of technology. At the same time, the asifa represents “the first step in overcoming technology” and promises participants “an opportunity to have a part in the final redemption.”
But what do statements like these actually mean? In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Ichud HaKehillos spokesman Eytan Kobre stressed that the group fundamentally accepts technology. “We’re not looking to banish the Internet,” he said. “We understand it’s here to stay.” But articles in the Haredi press and materials published by Ichud HaKehillos tell another story. “In a perfect world, the internet should be banned altogether,” Together as One suggests, going on to note that “providing your children with an internet-accessible cell phone is giving them directly into the hands of the Satan.”