Friday, December 24, 2010
Last December, we did an exhaustive post about Haredi rabbis in Israel banning Haredi web sites. Since we started this blog more than a year ago, we've reported bans on clothing, billboards, perfume, music lessons, even the female face. But rabbis banning their own web sites? That seemed a bit much.
Well, yesterday, they went a step further. The Jewish Channel News reported that 36 Haredi Rabbis issued a ban on visiting and advertising on the Most Visited Jewish web site, Vos Iz Neias (VIN). VIN, which translates from Yiddish as What Is News, gets more traffic than JTA, The Jewish Daily Forward, and The Jewish Week, mostly from orthodox readers.
We've been reading VIN regularly to find sources of Jewish humor, just as we check Jewish and Israeli newspapers and other web sites. We've always found VIN to be on the conservative side, for the most part aggregating and reprinting world and Jewish news from many sources such as daily newspapers and web sites, always giving credit to the source.
We suspect what's irking the rabbis is not the straight news reporting, but the comments that supposedly haredi orthodox readers are adding to the posted articles. For controversial topics, these comments stir up emotions as they express contrary views, often in a broken, yeshivish English. We find the comments and the fact of their existence often funny, and sometimes they point us in the direction of a funny story to blog about.
But however crude some of the comments may be, they are an expression of free speech, and often demonstrate original thinking. This is probably what the haredi leaders see as dangerous.
So take a look at The Jewish Channel video report on the ban below, and remember our comment when the subject first came up here last year:
Our (unsolicited) advice to the issuers of bans? If you can read this, you should not be using the internet. Press the "Delete" key.
Lighten up. Better still, subscribe to Jewish Humor Central.