Wednesday April 24, 2019

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Orthodox Web Cafe in Brooklyn Keeps Internet out of Homes

In Williamsburg, Brooklyn, local tech cafe  iShop, owned by Joseph Oppenheim, filters access to websites in the area at the back of his store when Orthodox Jewish customers can go online.  Oppenheim’s goal, as he is part of the Satmar hasidic sect, is to follow the point of view of Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum about technology/Internet by offering a place to keep web access out of Hasidic homes in the neighborhood and instead offer a safe place for the local cliente to surf the Web.

According to The Jewish Daily Forward, if he had his way, Teitelbaum would have “kiosks like the ones in Oppenheim’s store will be the only way that his thousands of followers will be able to access the Internet.”  Oppenheim added, “in our community, we were raised and grow up in a way that we should not be exposed to the whole world.”

The filters at Oppenheim’s shop block social networking sites as well image search sites like Google images.  Yahoo is blocked too because it melds hard news with entertainment and all blogs are blocked.  “I might lose business from some kind of customers, but if I want the place to be a kosher place, I want to be comfortable that if I have someone who is very strict with themselves come in, [they will] not feel that I fooled them,” said Oppenheim to the Forward.
Possible loopholes to the Orthodox Web cafe’s is that there is still access to public libraries and other tech such as smartphones.