We have discussed in the past the necessity for the Agudah to maintain a web presence. In modern times, when the internet is the medium of choice with which to disseminate one’s message, the steadfast refusal to embrace today’s technology will unfortunately relegate Agudah membership to the older age bracket.
As the younger generation comes to grips with I-pods and I-pads, Twitter and Facebook, Blackberrys and Treos, the older folk must learn to channel the new technology to further their goals.
When printing was invented in the 15th century, most of the first customers were Jews. When newspapers proliferated in the 19th century, the Yeshiva communities quickly created their own to counter the Maskilic publications. When the telephone was invented, it was only a matter of time before Dial-A-Daf was created. Even the automobile can be used for good and bad. What is it about the internet that requires a blanket Issur?
Primarily, the answer seems to be the indecency which abounds on the internet. The Agudah has railed against that, but also against blogs many of which undermine rabbinical authority.
Whereas people laughed when Agudah banded together all those years ago to outlaw television, nevertheless they were remarkably successful. However, the internet differs with TV in one major aspect. While TV is mostly viewed as an entertainment tool, the internet is rapidly becoming a necessary life tool.
The answer then seems to be a filter. A simple download of an internet filter can have one protected in a matter of minutes. Although no filter is fool-proof, the inconvenience of attempting to bypass the filter should serve as a valid deterrent. One of the better free products is the K9 Web Protection filter offered by Blue Coat. This product allows the novice to easily configure the filter to meet their particular needs.
The Agudah can then launch their website with their online version of the JO, their Mincha Minyan map and all of their programs. All they need to do is issue a disclaimer, somewhat akin to the music industry saying “This website may only be accessed by those who have a filter installed".