Consultation of Virtual Rabbis on the Rise

United Press International reports that the “ultra-Orthodox” (just love that pejorative) are consulting virtual rabbis more than ever.

It’s not just the Orthodox — our Ask the Rabbi system fielded thousands of inquiries last year, and we’re not catering to intricate Halacha questions and the like. You can see published selections, with answers provided by dozens of participating Rabbis and teachers, at JewishAnswers.org. But the fact that the Orthodox are using the Internet for this purpose is certainly newsworthy. I’m afraid most of us still pick up the phone when we need to speak with a posek (Halachic authority).

Here, though, is a misleading entry if ever there was one:

Another statistic on the rise was the number of rabbis who surfed the Internet at home. According to the survey, conducted by the First Conference on the Subject of Judaism, Society and the Internet, 74 percent of ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) rabbis had home computers, while a whopping 84 percent of national religious rabbis did, the site said.

Since when is having a home computer synonymous with surfing the Internet at home? I am surprised that a conference on “Judaism, Society and the Internet” did not provide the actual number who access the Internet regularly. Or perhaps they did, and UPI didn’t report that data — or misrepresented what the number referred to.

If anyone finds the conference web site, please let me know.

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6 Responses

  1. Michoel says:

    JO
    “I know many charedim who had their televisions delivered in air conditioner boxes.”

    Ve’al kein?

  2. Jewish Observer says:

    “I know many charedim that have computers for their children to write reports on, but do not have a modem, email or internet”

    I know many charedim who had their televisions delivered in air conditioner boxes.

    (I know this because in the summer of ’86 when I went to buy an AC by Hoffy’s on 13th Ave, the baalabus told me he will have to deliver it in a TV box. So I said what do I care? he then explained to me that his other customers were having TV’s delivered in AC boxes. At that point I understood why I should care, but was too hot to really care. PS, the AC lasted for a long time, but a couple of years ago we got central AC which is incredible. I really recommend it.)

  3. Ahron says:

    This use of broad, non-specific, mushy statistics is typical of modern press reportage on a number of issues–there seems to be no thought given as to whether “computer at home” is synonymous with “surfing the internet”. Just a touch of logical discrimination would have led to that immediate followup inquiry. Heveh marbeh la’chakor es ha’edim!: Journalists, ask sharp questions please!

  4. Michoel says:

    JO,
    I know many charedim that have computers for their children to write reports on, but do not have a modem, email or internet.

  5. Jewish Observer says:

    “Since when is having a home computer synonymous with surfing the Internet at home”

    Good point. Maybe they are just experimenting with the computer.

  6. mb says:

    Since when is having a home computer synonymous with surfing the Internet at home? I am surprised that a conference on “Judaism, Society and the Internet” did not provide the actual number who access the Internet regularly. Or perhaps they did, and UPI didn’t report that data—or misrepresented what the number referred to.

    Well, here is a statistic you can’t argue with. 100% of the Cheredim who post on this site, surf the web.