Smash Your Attitude, Not Your iPhone

My Op-Ed in the Five Towns Jewish Times (link):

Recent news stories about wedding witnesses disqualified for their smartphones and a rabbi-led iPhone smashing ceremony need not generate feelings of alienation among moderates. We all need to remember a simple message: Even a united global Torah community has sub-communities with different customs and standards. What works for some people may be totally inappropriate for us. However, responsible Internet usage is a universal obligation, even if it takes different forms in different communities.

Over the past few months, Torah leaders have reminded us that filters are not enough for a kosher online experience. While someone with enough time and skill can always bypass a filter, even those with no such desire or ability need more. Filters, at their best, keep out the shmutz and other inappropriate websites. Frum Jews have a higher standard than that. As we rapidly transition to a digital age, we have to remember that people are still people and the Torah is still our guide.

R. Mordechai Kamenetsky tells the story of people paying a shivah call to his grandfather, Reb Yaakov. The large crowd required additional chairs. As individuals went to the basement to bring chairs, Reb Yaakov encouraged them to take a chair for someone else. In that way, he explained, you can turn a simple necessary act into an act of chesed. We, too, can raise our time online from a necessary chore into a mitzvah, an opportunity to help others spiritually…

Continued here: link

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