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Ultra-Orthodox Jews to decry Internet use at Rockland Boulders stadium

Ultra-Orthodox Jews take in the view from Citi

Ultra-Orthodox Jews take in the view from Citi Field in Queens at a meeting to discuss the risks of using the Internet. (May 20, 2012) Photo Credit: Getty Images

More than 5,000 ultra-Orthodox Jews are expected to pack the Rockland Boulders stadium Thursday night for a men-only event to decry the inappropriate use of technology.

Congregation Khal Torath Chaim rented out Provident Bank Park in Pomona for the three-hour rally starting at 7 p.m.

With computers at home and cellphones in the hands of almost every teenager, immorality is sometimes just a click away, explained Yossi Gestetner, a spokesman for the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council.

"The purpose is to alert people to the dangers of technology and the Internet and encourage people not to use the Internet at home," said Gestetner. "It's not an issue of banning the Internet; it's limiting its use and using it responsibly."

Excessive time can be wasted using the Internet to sin, Gestetner warned, like looking at X-rated websites or finding illicit dates.

"(The Orthodox community) encourage or insist on not using (the Internet) at home and using it in the office with a filter," Gestetner said. "They encourage teenagers to not have access to iPhones. We understand it's the 21st century but those phones allow for communication with others without supervision."

Ramapo Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence said many young students will attend the event accompanied by their teachers.

"It's a real educational forum," St. Lawrence said.

Rebbe Mordechai Hager -- the grand rabbi of the Viznitz sect, the largest Hasidic group in Rockland -- will deliver the keynote address. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Similar events were held throughout the metropolitan area last May, including 60,000 who flooded Citi Field and Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens. With a similar separation of men and women in mind, more than 15,000 Hasidic women watched the live-streamed speeches from other sites -- by use of the Internet. It was unclear if live streaming would be available again this year.

Two volunteer groups will be on site -- including Hatzolah, a volunteer emergency medical service that caters to mostly Jewish populations along with 60 members of Chaverim of Monsey, who will provide security.

Additional police presence may be required, St. Lawrence said, and if so, the event's organizers can hire Ramapo police officers for $100 an hour per officer.

"They have to pay for police if they want it and all other things," St. Lawrence said.

The town rented the stadium for $5,700 for the rally. Tickets are $10 per person, but the town will not receive any proceeds from ticket sales, St. Lawrence said.

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