Above: The late rebbe of Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi menachem Mendel Schneerson, who died in 1994
Chabad’s Iconic Yeshiva At 770 Eastern Parkway Bans Unfiltered Cellphones, Tablets
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Students at the Central Tomchei Tmimim Lubavitch Yeshiva at 770 Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, NY were ordered yesterday to use only cellphones, tablets and other Internet-connected devices with approved Internet filters, COLLive reported.
The rosh yeshiva (dean) of the yeshiva, Rabbi Zalman Labkowsky, and the yeshiva’s mashpia (spiritual guide), Rabbi Shlomo Zarchi, wrote in a letter to students publicly posted in the yeshiva that if a phone or other device can connect to the Internet, "a good and strong filter that cannot be hacked must be installed."
The yeshiva administration arranged for technicians to be at the yeshiva Sunday between the hours 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm to install filters for free for those students whose phones require them.
A second letter to students from the administration noted that those students who don't want a filter installed must deposit their phones and other Internet-enabled devices with the yeshiva administration, which will return them to those students before a student travels or ceases to study in the yeshiva.
"Whoever does not do one of the two above mentioned options is removing himself immediately from the Yeshiva without any warning or additional notice," the letter reportedly said.
770 yeshiva students sign a letter of agreement with the yeshiva administration just before each school year begins that the student agrees to abide by all yeshiva policies.
According to COLLive, Rabbi Shmuel HaLevi Wosner, the late primary posek (decisor of Jewish law) for almost every hasidic group in the world – but not for Chabad – ruled that using the internet without a filter “violates the prohibition of yichud [a man being alone with a woman he is not married to and is not his mother, sister or grandmother; or a woman being alone with a man who is not her husband, father or grandfather].”
Kosher filters block porn sites. But they also block sites that contain information that questions haredi theology or haredi versions of history, and many also block sites that expose crime and corruption in the haredi community.
Most haredi groups have already banned smartphones and almost all require kosher Internet filters for any Internet-able device that has been exempted from the ban on a case-by-case basis based on the unique needs – usually job-related – of individual haredim.