Friday, May 25, 2012

My final letter to the Ichud: 101 Questions on the Asifa

“If you don’t ask the right questions, you don’t get the right answers. A question asked in the right way often points to its own answer. Asking questions is the ABC of diagnosis. Only the inquiring mind solves problems.” — Edward Hodnett
My final letter to the Ichud:
You described this event as “Na’asa V’nishma”. And so 60,000 of us showed up, and now we would like to know, why?

  1. Why was this event so important?
  2. Who is the Ichud?
  3. When was the Ichud established? 
  4. What is their true agenda? 
  5. Who is TAG? What was their true agenda? 
  6. What’s the connection between them? 
  7.  Why wasn't it mentioned at the beginning that Ichud is a project of TAG? 
  8. Why doesnt TAG publish their recommendations online or in a pamphlet? 
  9. Why does it need to be over private phone calls? 
  10. Why is TAG still pushing for ISP filtering when there is free software available that does as good or if not a better job?
  11. What were the pre-asifa meetings about? 
  12. What was said at these meetings?
  13. Why were different things said at each meeting? 
  14. Why did some meetings mention Citifield and others not? 
  15. Why did every rabbi have a different understanding as to the point of the Asifa?
  16. For the first time our private lives of tznius and modesty of Yidishkeit was to be plastered all over the Jewish and non-Jewish news. What was to be gained by this? 
  17. Why did the world need to know our views on the internet? 
  18.  Why were the non-Jewish media reporters spoken to from the Ichud? 
  19. Was it important for them to know about this? 
  20. Why were different reporters given different information from the same people at Ichud? 
  21. Why was it that what many in the jewish and non-jewish world considered to be a huge Chilul Hashem was reported as a Huge Kiddush Hashem by all the chareidi press? 
  22. Why were OPINION columns from the non-Jewish media printed in an asifa pamphlet? 
  23. Why did we suddenly take non-Jewish opinions to be fact? 
  24. Why weren't the opposing opinion columns from the NY Times that didnt blame the internet printed? 
  25. Why were old studies quoted when they were clearly out of date? 
  26. Why were later studies that disprove the earlier ones ignored?
  27. Why did the same Rabbonim that said one should “kill themselves rather than use the internet” in January, change their minds one week later and say filters were the answers? 
  28. What happened that suddenly all the rabonim changed their position? 
  29. Why did they go back to forbidding it after the Asifa? 
  30. Why the constant flip flop? 
  31. What was the Ichud’s position on filters? 
  32. Why, with every ad, did they change the stated goal of the Asifa? 
  33.  What was the REAL goal? Why was there no “huge solution”? 
  34. What was the “huge solution” going to be? 
  35. Why were the speeches at the Asifa sending mixed messages? 
  36. What was the message SUPPOSED to be? 
  37. Why was there a paper printed to be signed by all those attended? 
  38. Why wasn't the paper given out? 
  39. What was the point of the pamphlets? 
  40. Why did the pamphlets not go out at the Asifa?
  41. Why were horror stories about the internet published by the asifa? 
  42. Are these stories true? 
  43. Why are there no authors to these stories? 
  44. Who wrote these stories?
  45. How did the asifa address any of these stories? 
  46.  What was the purpose of the stories, if not to find a solution to them? 
  47. Why does the ichud state that children are becoming less religious because of the internet, when every study shows thats not true (i.e. frank margolis book “off the derech”)? 
  48. Why was every other method of helping teanagers with issues not encouraged? 
  49. Why were none of the many mechanchim and rabonim that deal directly with teanagers not a part of the asifa? 
  50. Why didn't the ichud ask them advice as to practical solutions that work? 
  51. Why weren't therapist that work with these children quoted by name as to what they believed the problems to be? 
  52. Why was there no money in lakewood to support an “our place” for girls that needed an outlet and professionals to talk with, but there was millions for this event?
  53. Why, before the Asifa did everyone from Ichud say there is no “one solution for everyone” and then at the Asifa a verdict was given to all that attended? 
  54. Why did they say at the Asifa that those who don't follow the edicts that leaders of such a large gatherings make, will lose their Olam Haba? 
  55. What was the meaning behind this? 
  56. Why is the ichud quoted in the mishpacha as saying “Bans are not the right approach” and “The rabonim have a desire for change” if there was no change to take place?
  57. Who sponsored the event? 
  58. How much money was raised? 
  59. Who gave the money? 
  60. Who refused? 
  61. Who was going to profit from it? 
  62. Who was to gain power? 
  63. Who was going to lose power?
  64. Why was the name of the key organizers behind the event not printed on any of the ads? 
  65. Who is Yeshivanet? 
  66. Who is Jnet?
  67. Why were the chareidi newspapers all pushing for the Asifa? 
  68. Who wrote all these articles? 
  69. Why weren't the usual writers giving their views? 
  70. Why weren't the views of the rosh yeshiva’s that didn't support the asifa given a voice in the chareidi press? Why did some schools force parents to go? 
  71. Why did other schools not give out the papers? 
  72. Why was the event that called for all klal Yisroel end up with mostly a chareidi crowd?
  73. Which Rabbonim knew what was going on and which Rabbonim didn't? 
  74. Why did some Rabbonim go and others refuse to? 
  75. Why were signatures of Rabanim used that were clearly not for the asifa and didn't participate? 
  76. Why did Rabbonim change their mind? 
  77. Why did all the recent ads claim “All the gedolim” when clearly it was already known that many didn't support it?
  78. 60,000 chareidim get together and not a mention of R' Elyashiv, the "posek hador". No tehillim for his refuah, why not? 
  79. The same applies to R' Steinman and R' Chaim Kanievsky, Why were their names not mentioned at the Asifa? 
  80. Why did only one of the Satmar Rebbes show? 
  81. Why did only one Bobov Rebbe show? 
  82. Was it really for ALL of klal Yisroel as it was reported to be? 
  83. Was it REALLY about achdus? 
  84. Why was a main focus of the Asifa about achdus if there will be a Siyum Hashas in just a few weeks?
  85. Why was every other problem facing klal Yisroel not even discussed? 
  86. Why just the internet? What is the problem with the internet? 
  87. Why were other problems not even mentioned at the Asifa? 
  88. Why weren't the other problems addressed? 
  89. Why weren't any simple solutions presented? 
  90. Why was the expo cancelled? 
  91. Why wasn't the public told who will be speaking at the Asifa?
  92. What were the Gedolei Hador told about the internet? 
  93. Why were these meetings held in private? 
  94. Why is the chaeridi press not addressing any of these questions? 
  95. Why was the Asifa only for men? 
  96. Why was the Asifa in the Tri-state area? An event that's for all Klal Yisroel should have been promoted in all large Jewish communities. 
  97. Why was a psak halacha given at the event that contradicted everything the Asifa was to be about?
  98. Is our tzibbur capable of this??? 
  99. Why aren't most Rosh Yeshivas (besides BMG) following the Psak Halacha? 
  100. why did it come to be that Rav Wosner has suddenly become the posek hador for we Jews in America?  
  101. Why if Rav Wosner gave a psak halacha of no Internet in the home, did all the charei papers, on review of the Asifa remove that part of his speech???

    Why is it important to know the answers?
Because I believe Klal Yisroel deserve to know the truth so that something like this doesn't happen again. Because we can all close this chapter and move on with our lives.

Feel free to add your own comments... NO NAMES!

All these questions will be answered in my future post:
How 60,000 ultra-orthodox Jews were conned by a few manipulative Askanim, Rabbonim and the Chareidi Press!


  1. Dovid, as I've said a number of times, when a person (not referring to you!) uses excessively hyperbolic language in public regarding anything, you're playing with fire. Not only do you transform your argument into the equivalent of a hot air balloon that can be popped with a pinprick, you yourself can be subject to some sort of cognitive dissonance, which can do some strange things. Like cause the two opposing views you are dealing with to make your mental capacities freeze into some sort of limbo.

  2. Unfortunately, the answer to many of these questions are obvious and that's why they won't be answered.

  3. Just to clarify, I'm not referring to this post. I'm referring to the "discourse" regarding internet use.

  4. Do you really think you will get any answers?

  5. That's a lot of questions. The only one that I think is factually incorrect is where you asked why was it said that those who didn't come will lose their Olam Haba.

    More correctly, Rav Ephraim Wachsman quote a Rambam in hilchos Teshuva and Rabbeinu Yona in Shaarei teshuva that say that when the learders of such large gatherings make edicts, those who don't follow them lose their Olam Haba.

    The big question that is missing from your list is how and why did it come to be that Rav Wosner has suddenly become the posek hador for we Jews in America? If you add psak to what Rabbi E Wachsman said about the obligation to follow the decisions made or else... it comes out that what was being asked of all Jewery (or at least Chareidi Jewery) to instantly change their standards to that of chareidim in E"Y. What that a wise move? Is our tzibbur capable of this???

  6. Thanks I fixed the wording. As curious george you must want to know the answers more than anyone!

  7. Why were the speeches mostly
    in Yiddish when users of the internet speak mostly in English, the Bans
    were announced in YIDDISH, the lone english Speaker allowed filters.

  8.  yes I'm very curious

  9. some typos there: You wrote: Why did they say at the Asifa that those who don't follow the edicts
    that learders of such a large gatherings make, will them lose their Olam
    Haba?Why did they say at the Asifa that those who don't follow the edicts
    that leaders of such a large gatherings make, will lose their Olam

  10. thanks again.

  11. I will then be forced to give them myself  "The Asiva Scam" 
    How 60,000 ultra-orthodox Jews were coned by just a few manipulative Askanim" This incredible story will take you from day one, the initial planning until the final day where the scam was finally exposed!

  12. Last paragraph - good question. Their response would be that it was all rhetorical device to make a point.
    And this is where, like I've said many times, use of excessive hyperbole comes back to bite you in the rear. The whole event, hell, all of the prior Ichud thinking on the internet up till now, has been framed in hyperbole ("internet is BANNED", "internet is SOTON", "internet is the worst, biggest invention/nisayon EVER") and in terms of "trust our gedolim" or "our gedolim are the arbiter of what is right" or "our gedolim require ALL to attend" and on and on. You can't say all that, then turn around after a gadol at the asifa, which you billed as "at the request of the gedolim!!!!", "paskens"and then engage in damage control and say, "nah, this was all to drive home a point, nothing more!"It also helps to gather beforehand with an event billed with so much hoopla as "achdus" and work to at least agree to deliver a tightly coherent message and for all speakers to stay "on point". That was NOT the case here. Reminds me of that wacky moment at the Aguda Convention where you had R' Schorr one day thundering savagely about Blackberries "destroying the kedusha of klal yisrael" (he backtracked a little bit later by saying "what excuse does a non-businessman have walking around with an iPhone") and the next day R' Zweibel sheepishly... using his Blackberry in helping to make a point in his speech.

  13. And, not to wander to far afield, small inconsistencies like this, use of hyperbole to smother a complicated issue with a single blanket, kids pick up on these things. I think Dovid, who works so well and closely with kids, can attest to this. Kids ain't stupid; they're actually quite sensitive to even the smallest inconsistencies. They don't handle cognitive dissonance as well as a more mature, adult mind may be able to.
    If you were really worried about kids, by God you'd put KIDS on the damn dais and LISTEN to what THEY have to say. Don't children themselves have something valuable to add to what SHOULD be a discussion (as opposed to diktat)?


    the aguda will be holding its own asifa....for both men and english...lets see what comes out of this

  15. Question: Why, everytime there's a tragedy ( a family of eight dying in car crash in E"Y)) it's always blamed on the "pet project" of the week? Two Weeks ago it was lack of tsnius of the women. Now it's the internet's fault.
    Maybe Hashem has His own reasons?!?

  16. why did the monsey rahbunim push me away and cover up the fact that i came to them with victims (1 of them as recent 2010)

  17. melameds name is eli yoel webber belz and bais duvid

  18. Please tell me how 60,000 Jews had a get together with gedolim and the fact that it was the 45th anniversary of unification of Jerusalem was not mentioned?
    Yes it was kaf chet Iyyar and not mentioned. I did not ask anyone to say Hallel,( although I certainly do)  most people there have had the zechus ( or would appreciate the zechus) of davening at the Kotel ,yet no mention of this fact. What happened to hakarat hatov and kol Yisroel areveim zeh l'zeh??
    I find this unbelievably sad and I am not alone in this. How does such a thing occur?

  19. It is sad. I mentioned it in a previous post.
    My final plea to the organizers of the Asifa at Citi Field: BRING BACK LIPA!Read more:

  20. Dear Dovid,Hope that you are well and enjoying your Shavuot( yom tov sheni). It was a wonderful Shavuot in Eretz Yisroel BH. I want to bring up a topic that one might think has nothing to do with the "Asifa" but hear me out anyways please.One cannot take lightly the gathering of some 60,000  Jewish people with the gedolim that they came to listen to. I have a question which is bothering me. The date was kaf- chet Iyyar. That is the date of Yom Yerushalayim. This year on Sunday kaf chet Iyyar we, by  the grace of HaShem celebrated 45 years of a unified Jerusalem. Jerusalem as the Torah center of the world. The Kotel where the shechina rests and where I am quiet certain many of those at the "asifa"daven and beseech HKBH for all kinds of things. I am sure many of those at the Asifa have children living and learning in Israel. Many living ih Yerushalayim I'll bet. So , do you not find it odd that on such an occasion of so many Jews together that there was not even a mention of the word Yom Yerushalayim ??! I am not expecting anyone to say Hallel ( although I certainly do say it). but some mention of the day, a sign of "hakarat hatov"- something??I have many opinions about  the Asifa which I will keep to myself. But this one, Dovid, I cannot keep quiet. l'maan Yerushalayim al tishkot" For the sake of Jerusalem I will not be quiet.OK I said my piece and you can delete it or think about it and pose the question if you should wish to.I will maintain that we have lost the big picture.So many other issues ( the protests that were held outside of the Asifa etc... problems with Eretz Yisroel and the world... I am sure you are aware of many things that the Jewsih people need to daven for and think about and take care of.In my humble opinion ( shared by many by the way) this was a very big mistake and very absent at a place where there could have been an opportunity for a large kiddush HaShem and a showing of Hakarat Hatov. How sad. 
    Thanks for "listening". Yehudit Spero ( someone who is interested in your blog)

  21. I wish I had a answer for you, but I dont. I did try to bring it up in an earlier post. 
    My final plea to the organizers of the Asifa at Citi Field: BRING BACK LIPA!
    Read more:

  22. So I'll tell you a story...

    For Shavuos, we had my extended family by us. (Raucous but fun.) And Sunday night, at our third milchige meal of the chag, my 8-year-old nephew announced that HIS rebbi said that it is ABSOLUTELY ASSUR to go through a whole Yom Tov without a fleishige meal. (He attends a Yeshiva in Brooklyn - not sure which.)

    I assured him that, while that may be his rebbi's minhag, it is absolutely permitted to have a meatless Shavuos. Assuming said rebbi is a member of the same religion as us.

    I told my bro-in-law that I hope he has the "sometimes-take-what-Rebbi-says-with-a-grain-of-salt" speech with his son pretty soon. To which he agreed enthusiastically.

    We've all been there. Some rebbi with a little too much gaava and too little sechel makes some preposterous pronouncement, and us parents who live in the real world need to do damage control without totally eroding the child's respect for his rebbi. I had it as a kid when my 5th-grade rebbi launched into a diatribe against R' Meir Kahane HY"D. My father, a card-carrying JDL member, gave me that speech then. I've given it to my kids a few times since.

    Why mention it here? Because, on reflection, that's what I think the Assifa was all about. A few Rabbonim and Askonim (NOT "all the gedolim", as advertised) decided that they're everyone's rebbi, and the hamon am are nothing but children. And therefore everything has to be overstated, and forbidden, and CAPITALIZED, so that the "children" will take everything with a grain of salt and possibly put filters on their home computers. (Of course, filters sold only from the approved vendors, who stand to make lots of $$$$ on this. But I digress.)

    I believe that the Gedolim who didn't attend are the ones who realize that members of Klal Yisroel over a certain age are actually grownups, and should be treated as such.

    End of story.

  23. i was fourtnate to have your father obm as my rebbi for many years, the  factory that produced giants like him is sadly closed forever.
    he was at the forefront of technology and using it for torah
    he was not scared to say what he felt was the truth even when he knew he was going against the tide
    the naysayers on this or any blog must understand that as frum adults when we question something it does not mean that we disrespect or demean the person. you bring up many good points that most of us are thinking but are scared to say lest we be labled  apikoirus  nazi or anti semite! or worse tzioni!

    most of all your father had a way of teaching that wasnt all memorization
     you knew your stuff and it came along with hashkafa and a feeling that made you proud to be a jew.

    this asifa would have been a huge scucess had they put up someone besides

    rabbi wachsman  who actually knows waht a computer and internet is


  24. Isn't there a Halacha that you have to eat meat and drink wine on yom Tov ?

  25. Thanks. some good guys are working on a proper forum to teach about the internet. Stay tuned.

  26. Exactly, kids are super sensitive to inconsistencies. There is a lot to say on that topic.

  27. I can answer question 101. R' Wosner's psak has already been revised and toned down. Therefore the papers didn't want to print it and have a contradiction with this

  28.  Shulchan Aruch 529:1, Hilchos Yom Tov (rough translation) - "One is required to start the meal with two loaves of bread, and to have a set meal, with wine..."

    Mishne Brurah 529:11 - "...also there is a mitzvah to eat meat, if one can do so (im yado maseges)..."

    From the fact that the neither the Shulchan Aruch nor the Rema mention eating meat, and that the Mishne Brurah mentions it off-the-cuff, with a caveat, it's pretty obvious that we're talking about a mitzvah kiyumis, not a mitzvah chiyuvis. So Jewish cheesecake lovers, rejoice!

    Oh, and for the record, we did have a fleishige lunch on Monday, which we were planning to do anyway. (My wife's pot roast rocks, my friend.) It was the concept, and the attitude, which bothered me.

  29. Great questions our society is going through sifting process and only the strongest will survive and the rest will perish like in Korahs times.

  30. I have a question why did the main speaker  [almost only speakerwho spoke 3 times, if you calculate the time it took to get there & back against active hours of a life time he spoke fot 2 life times] find it important to address people of  different attire, & those who go with down hats black Jackets & white shirts "& EVEN THOSE WHO GO WITH BLUE SHIRTS & SHVE THEIR BEARDS."
    Are we not all one Klall Yisroel?
    Was there more than 100 people in the room who could claim that they themselves, or a parent ,or grandparent, or great grandparent didn't go dressed that way or as he would call worse?
    Gimmee a break that hat to be heard by 60K plus hoookups R"L.
    Many answer it was a mistake, I am sorry to say there is no room for mistakes when you use 2 productive life times you prepare &  recant enough to get it perfect.
    How come it wasn't even one of your 101 questions?
    Since the asifa I personaly had a yeridah, I went not to be poiresh min hatzibur.
    Next post i will explain the problem we have.

  31. There was a time when we had manhigim, those are people who don't judge yidden by aveiros, but go out and help them financialy & emotionaly.Reb Aaron Kotler took care of many yesomim in Kletk already, he took people in his yeshiva, because they had no home, and believed they belonged in Yeshiva, even if they didn't learn.I acn't list all, some were massive talmidei chachomim too.Satmarer Rov helped the war orphans etc. Moshe rabeinu helped his brothers, that makes a manhig.
    We also had choshuve Roshei Yeshiva who may not have been big manhigim, but were way above their talmidim in all aspects of spirituality & Torah, they had never waisted a minute in their lives, and lived modestly.
    The we had Rebbes who were Kuloi Kodesh, and above their chasidim, one or two per generation were all of the above. We still have a few of those today, Boruch Hashem.
    However today most of the chareidim sat years in Yeshiva, and are talmidei chachomim in their own rights, this narrows the gap leaving many Rabbonim, and Roshei Yeshive less choshuv, and less talmidei Chachomim than their talmidim, or mispallelim. Yet they wear than matel of leadership, and are first to slice the cake, be it government programs, or donations. The commener feels cheated, and that starts the divide.
    They had to go in cohorts with their mafia, to arrange an Asifa & order everyone to attend, to see if they still had power, eventhough they [chas veshalom not all of them] they may have little or nothing to offer.
    Therefore the asifa, had no goal, just to see who would come& if we are still in the driving seat. In that way they feel they suceeded, but I hope it isn't the last peak B4 the major fall.
    See Kli Yokor at the end of parshas Shemos , about the power of defense.
    It is time taht those who are real talmidei chachomim, and arenot recognized, or margained are gven the mantel to lead. It shouldn't be all family & connected, & so called gevirim, no matter how they inherited or made their fotune.
    I guess we need Moshiach.


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