Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ban Bonds Bullied Blogs

One of the ironies of this whole internet thing is how the "BAN", which fueled the Jblogosphere in its infancy, is now coming full circle.

The first BAN that I recall was that of The Making of a Gadol. Rabbi N. Kamenetzky's historical account of his father, Rav Yaakov Kamenetzky Ztl, and his era, was banned for various reasons. Primarily, because it depicted the greats of yesteryear as mere mortals, with all the shortcomings and foibles of such. Unfortunately, as bans are wont to do, this academic work which may have been read by a relative few was catapulted into the limelight and read by thousands. Copies of the book were selling for over 1000 dollars, and a second revised edition was subsequently published.

Shortly thereafter, Rabbi N. Slifkin's works were banned. Apparently, his books which targeted the Yeshiva crowd were more in synch with a Modern Orthodox world-view. This ban that was bandied about banded the Jbloggers together, and they began to fight back. The Yeshiva world had not yet comes to terms with blogging, and the primary Jbloggers were primarily of Modern Orthodox persuasion. This led to a strong backlash against the ban, and the birth of the anti-Yeshiva blogs.

Then came the ban of The Big Event. Some felt that Orthodox concerts were getting out of hand, and gathered signatures to ban the Lipa Schmeltzer "band" concert in Madison Square Garden. This only further eroded confidence in the rabbis, especially because of the methods employed in obtaining the signatures.

Finally, the ban came on the very blogs themselves, as VIN, a Jewish news site was banned. What had begun as somewhat of a police-blotter site had morphed into a full blown news service, culling articles of Jewish interest from a variety of newspapers and periodicals. I'm not sure what fueled the actual ban, but one could have seen it coming. If someone shops in a Jewish supermarket, they are not as careful to check for rabbinic supervision of the products; so too when one visits a Jewish news website, there is a certain assumption that the content and comments should be family friendly.

Unfortunately, I think that many of the comments on the Jblogs do not make us shine. Some have asked why similar Jewish news websites have not been banned. In all likelihood, they probably will be at some point in the future. Either that, or they will feel the shot across the bow and tighten up their commenting policy. Eventually, the comments section may need to be eliminated altogether, such as on the Drudge copycat

Yet even if blogs are banned, most Jbloggers do not follow the rabbis who have issued the bans and hence blogging looks like it is here to stay. Hopefully the Jbloggers will police themselves so that no more bans will be necessary.


  1. is the way to go. One can quickly scan the headlines and know what is going on in the world in a matter of seconds. The fact that they don't accept comments is a big plus.

  2. Nice to see the return of the "quad" postings. Thanks also for the history lesson and the link for I've long looked for a website that only shows headlines - that I can then follow the stories that I want.

  3. but even they have links to banned sites.

  4. If you hover your mouse over the intended article, you will see the referring link on the bottom left corner of your screen. If it is on the banned list, choose an alternate link.


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