Updated 05/21/2012 10:01 AM
Ultra-Orthodox Jews Discuss Dangers Of The Internet At Citi Field
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Thousands of ultra-orthodox Jewish men gathered at Citi Field in Queens on Sunday for a meeting about the pitfalls of the Internet, and how to use technology in a religiously appropriate way.
Women were not attending the meeting because of gender separation rules, but they were able to watch the meeting on live broadcasts in several neighborhoods.
Eytan Kobre, a spokesman for the event's organizers, said it was not about banning the Internet, but about raising awareness of its dangers.
"It's not about banishing technology. No one is looking to roll the clock back from the many benefits new technology has brought to our world," Kobre said. "What it is about, as our motto of the organization has it, using technology responsibly in accordance with Jewish values."
Organizers say pornography on the web and social media tear apart the fabric of society by feeding aggression, addiction and objectifying women.
Tickets were so popular that organizers rented out nearby Arthur Ashe Stadium to handle the overflow.
However, not everyone agreed with the group's message. Two separate groups of protestors held counter-rallies outside the stadium.
One featured members dressed as cave men. The other was made up of formerly ultra-Orthodox Jewish men and women who are trying to draw attention to child abuse within the Hasidic community.
"They're over here protesting the use of the Internet. As a result we figured that we should come here and protest their use of other technologies that they are not afraid of. Like car with round spin wheel, magic costume made of sheep wool," said Mike Vitale of NYC Anonymous.
"Child molestation is your house on fire, the Internet is a leaking pipe. They're concerned with a leaking pipe while our house is on fire," said Ari Mandel of The Internet Is Not The Problem.
Police said an appropriate number of officers were assigned to the event.