Re: "The London Asifa - Why We Should Attend".
Whilst I agree with your message and its contents, I must highlight one very crucial omission.
Were it not for the internet and its enabling technologies, the London Siyum HaShass would not have been as successful.
Think about the late start, inadequate human resources (as a result of the laid back attitude of the organisers); still the outcome was such that whoever was there is still raving about it.
What saved the day was the fact that technologies like eMail, web and TxT were put to good use to facilitate this logistic-intensive event.
We (read: the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community) have to realise that the message emanating from the Kinus/Asifa should be exactly this: grab hold of the Internet and don't let it out of your grasp, put it to the disposal of the Jewish people as another potent tool in its arsenal to build, to nurture, to enable our community to flourish as was never before possible!
Whilst on the subject, let me add my two-pence worth to the discussion:
We are now at the second of the three stages, which apply to any revolution:
- The first one is reserved for the idealists, whilst the cynics, ignorami and high society is oblivious.
- The second stage is the awakening of the masses, who are held back by the ivory tower denizens.
- The third stage is universal acceptance, with those in power creaming off the maximum benefits derived from the idealists' input.
To put it into context of next week's event:
- Stage one: we ignored the Digital Revolution for too long, which now lurks in every facet of life in the 21st century.
- The second stage occurred when the man in the street first became aware, then intrigued and finally smitten - by the immense potential of those new little gadgets that fit in the palm of his hand. Just to illustrate how deeply concerned are our community members, think about the immense turnout that we experienced when we organised the live broadcast (over the Internet) of the Asifa in CityField. Over 1,000 people attended from 12:00AM until nearly 4:00AM! Whether they changed their attitude, lifestyle or service providers is besides the point.
- As for the third stage, the powers that be are going to decide who is going to make a quick buck from other people's hard work.
Those who dismiss the the worldwide web as "Satan's new tool of destruction", should be reminded how Torah was saved by the printing press. The printing revolution started with non-Jews turning volume after volume of our most sacred writings. Only later did the Jewish printing industry take over, with the results speaking for themselves. Where would we be today without the Vilna Shas, without the Mikro'os Gedolos, without the Turim and Shulchan Aruch?
Then you will come across those who are generous enough to agree that the WWW is here to stay, whilst claiming that Jews are not to get involved in it, as it's impossible to create an all-Kosher internet.
The answer to them is this: Just as we managed to set up Kosher systems for Education (schools, Yeshivos, Shiurim etc.), Food (Meat, Milk, Bread etc.) and Lifestyle (Eruv, Mikwa, Shaatnez etc.), we can extend it to take us into the Digital Revolution - the Kosher way.
On the back of an envelope it would look something like the following: take the total budget of Kosher living in the world, compare it with the non-Kosher market and use only a tenth of the difference in profits, to set up a Kosher internet (more details available upon request).
I just 'jotted' down some of my thoughts, which might resonate with others in our community. Undoubtedly - as with any issue of public import - there are always a number of different perspectives, all which are welcome!
Wishing the organisers much hatzlocho in their endeavours,
P.S. There re always exceptions to the cause of your lament in the last paragraph; you are welcome to visit the Belz Dinner, to be held next week in the Holiday Inn, London N3, which is being organised by one of the most successful fundraisers in the Heimishe community. Prepare to be blown away...