By COLlive reporter
Students at the Central Tomchei Tmimim Lubavitch Yeshiva at 770 Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, NY, were instructed to limit internet access on their cell phones on Thursday.
In two separate letters by the Yeshiva’s administration, bochurim were told that “every student that holds a telephone, it is only if there is no other option for internet.”
Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Zalman Labkowsky and Mashpia Rabbi Shlomo Zarchi wrote in their letter, publicly posted in the Yeshiva, that if a phone has an internet option “a good and strong filter that cannot be hacked must be installed.”
They notified that a team of technicians will be coming this Sunday to the Yeshiva, between the hours 3:00-6:00pm to install parental controls and secure web filtering software on all mobile devices that will be submitted.
The installation will be free for the bochurim and paid for by the Yeshiva, it was announced, seemingly referring only to the Israeli bochurim who study there as part of their “kevutza” year in New York.
In a second letter to students, it was written that those who don’t want a filter installed must deposit their devices with the Yeshiva’s administration which will be returned to its owner before traveling or leaving 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 said.
Students typically sign a letter of agreement with the Yeshiva before the beginning of the school year that they will adhere to all the Yeshiva’s policies.
Rabbis have long tried to shelter youngsters and even adults from open access to the internet. The late posek Rabbi Shmuel Wosner said that “surfing without a filter violates the prohibition of Yichud. There is absolutely no excuse not to have an Internet surfing filter on one’s home computer.”
A recent email to the inbox of COLlive.com illustrates the problem. The 17-year-old bochur from Florida reported that “too many of my friends have an internet problem (you know what I mean…)” and that he sees “what the internet is doing to them,” including himself at one point.
Naturally asking to remain anonymous, he placed the responsibility on the parents. “You may think you know what your kids are up to, but you probably have no idea. If you love your kids, save them from the filth and put a filter on their phones.”
The bochur recommended the website venishmartem.com which offers cutting edge filtering and reporting solutions for internet enabled devices.