Out Of The Mailbag – An ‘Etrog’ Employee Writes YWN


YW.jpgDear YWN,

This was a terrible thing that happened – I respect the rabbis and their wisdom, but there should have been some warning…On Thursday, I and 30 some co-workers at “Etrog” lost our jobs. Overnight, we have no means of income, and will join the ranks of the “poor chareidim”. I am sure employees of other sites are facing the same reality.

We had a vision of providing a kosher site for anyone who happened to be online anyway – that is all over now.

I wonder what will happen to all the yeshivos, chessed organizations, and even chareidi publications that have websites. This decision is meant to protect our souls, but is seriously harming our livelihood. The Internet helped unify and unite the worldwide Jewish community – now we will once again be left to fend for ourselves, in our own locales. Cut off from the rest of the world, cut off from each other. And in my case, at the mercy of the chessed organization in my community, that will now have to help us put food on the table until I find another job.


Again, I am not criticizing the gedolei Hador. I am just trying to understand what alternative they have in mind for us. Chareidi people everywhere are learning professionals that require Internet use. Will that be banned too? Where will the cut-off be?

I am glad this site (YWN) is still here, so I can share my thoughts.

Signed, “Disappointed and Dejected”

NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of YWN.


  1. my wife and i are both degreed professionals, and have been unemployed for almost two years. we send out resumes constantly and are unable to find jobs. we can sympathize with you, but at least you have had a job until now. we have nothing.

  2. This is such a difficult topic. I am amazed there are no comments right now. Most people are probably afraid of being on the wrong side. I feel so bad for this man (and the touhsands more who will follow)who has suddenly become unemployed. AS the internet is a global phenomenon and frum yidden are everywhere, he is but a representative of thousands who will be in the same position very soon. The sad thing is that these sites were efforts to make it possible for the frum to use the internet which is an amazing tool. Was the fact that all of these people would become unemployed overnight taken into consideration? Are our Geloim actively helping to deal with the fallout of their decision? Becasue this is only the beginning and the reprecussions will be widespread.

  3. Duvys Media, LLC, the designers of the YWN web site, is also on the chopping block. Are there any statistics that show how many shomrei mitzvos derive their parnassa from kosher web sites? With unemployment at historic high levels, the ramifications of this ban are incalculable and terrifying.

  4. Disappointed and Dejected,
    I’m so sorry about your situation! I had not thought about websites like Oorah and such – sites that my husband and I go to to give Tzedaka on a regular basis and which makes it so much easier to give. What a shame, what a shame it had to come to this.

  5. Please excuse what might seem to some as my naivete, but I’m sure the Gedolim are well aware that this was a means of parnossa to many.
    Surely the Gedolim will be available to discuss with those who are in this difficult position which avenue they should take next.

    Much hatzlocha to those that followed through with their Emunas Chachomim, and in that zechus, they should be zoche to find a parnossa b’karov, as well as those tayere yidden that are still looking.

  6. “I am just trying to understand what alternative they have in mind for us.”

    Perhaps you should contact those who are behind this ban and ask them for financial assistance until you find another source of parnassa. Surely they feel they have an obligation to assist those who have been harmed by this ban.

    Yitzchok Levine

  7. I don’t see why YWN is an exception to the call of the Gedoilim. YWN your readers would expect no less from a frum site than to follow suit and shut down operations.

  8. Our Gedolay Yisroel also know about the parnassah ramifications and yet decided that Kedushas Yisroel is the overriding factor. Do you know how many businesses lose money from being closed on Shabbos and Yom Tov? Of course we believe that you don’t lose anything from doing what Hashem wants us to do. And that is exactly the same here. Every one who believes that Hashem is the one who gives us parnassah also knows that you don’t lose anything from doing His will. I hope and pray that all of these workers will find other and better jobs quickly. Gut Erev Shabbos

  9. I’m a big believer in the wisdome of Gedolim, but at the same time I am a student of reality, the reality of this Golus.

    I’m sure it wasn’t these Gedolim each one on his own looking into the subject, seeking the pros and cons. This ban, like every other, has a non-Gadol instigator, who I’m sure has good explenations and many stories which make up ONE SIDE of the issue.

    The thing about bans is, although some times there are good reasons for both sides, there’s no ‘Askan’ who will run around to keep things the way they are – if it aint broken why fix… so the noise comes from the other side.

    I personally think the Yetzer Hara is working hard on both ends of his battle….

  10. Anyone want to know what was accomplished? Etrog, a squeaky-clean website, and chareidim, a pretty-clean website have been shut.
    And the lowlives, like bichadrei charadim, and other “free-for-alls” will remain opened and continue their websites STRONGER THAN EVER.
    Why stronger than ever?
    Because let’s face it people, the Internet is here to stay, and now people will just go to those sites instead of a decent, clean site.

    Good job by the askonim once again.

    FYI, I learned in Mir, Brisk, and Ponavez, I have 6 children, and I live in Lakewood, and I am losing all emunah and bitachon in the gedolim of today.

  11. What do Chazal say about saving (even) ONE life? Are we not permitted to be Mechalel Shabbos to save (just) ONE life? Our Seforim Hakidoshim talk so much about the value of (yes even just) ONE life.

    Our Gedolim see the global effect on their decisions but they also do focus on EVEN ONE Yiddishe Neshoma. Nothing bad can come from following Daas Torah even if we do not understand it, and even if to us it may not make sense. The Almighty runs the world, we are his children and he will provide.

    Our Achrayus is to be Mispalel that these people who lost their Parnasa because they followed Daas Torah should find new and better jobs. Those who lost their jobs should be Mispalel that Hashem take care of them becasue they are following “his” orders of listening to Daas Torah.

    The only thing we should not do is question our Gedolim.

  12. #5 — And naive you certainly are. Will you pony up the airfare for those individuals now without parnassa to personally discuss their situations and the avenues open to them with Gavaad Tuvia Weiss shlita?

  13. #11 – May I humbly suggest that instead of loosing Emuna since you are a Talmid of the Mir and of Ponoviz why not go yourself to Eretz Yisroel and speak this over with Rab Noson Tzvi and Reb Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz and Reb Gershon edelstein and all of your other Roshei Yeshiva first and then if you can come back not satisfied with their take on everything then you may have a Tayna. but to give up without going to the source, without going to your own Roshei Yeshiva of the Yeshivos you went to is foolish.

    (and by the way – What do you think Rav Shach would say? Rav Beinish? Reb Nochum? Reb Chaim? – All Roshei yeshiva of the yeshivos you learned at?)

  14. Parnosso is one of the major Nissyonos today.
    Sometimes one has to be reminded that there are even bigger Nissyonos (like children & health) & people keep on trucking & don’t blame the Ribbono shel Olam or his emissaries.

  15. #13-I would if I was employed.

    But, I assume these people have their own Rov they can go to for hadrocha. Klal Yisroel is notorious for helping each other out….I’m not a fan of cynicism and despair.

  16. Someone please explain. I read the Kol Koreh, and I see the names of the Gedolim , may their torah be a zechus for all of us and may they live for long and fulflling days, but I did not know that when it came to a Kol Koreh that automatically every Frum Yoreh Shamayim has to follow any kol koreh put out by a group of gedolim? Since when are all Chareidim forced to follow one particular posek or group of poskim? If Rav Aaron Kotler said one thing and Rav Moshe said another why should the talmidim of Rav Moshe have to follow the psak of Rav Aaron? If your rebbe or posek is on the Kol Koreh then do not come online, but if he is not then why should a different poseks psak be binding on you, follow your own posek, dont mandate that everyone must follow your posek

  17. How sad. Look how in the same letter (from “Chareidim” saying that they are listening) they acknowledge that it’s really the work of ‘Askonim’, infemous ones, who did this out of revenge.

    The whole thing is a joke: The letter says that you can have internet in the work place if it’s open only to good sites, so why not just tell us which is good and which is not? What’s it different then newspapers? Why do a move to close only the good? onless their’s an interes of revenge involved…?!

    Their signitures arn’t on it, and it sure doesn’t look like a work of Chachomim. “Askonim” maybe.

    [Do you remember when the Indian-hair thing broke out how you had three different ‘Psokim’ all in the name of Rav Elyashiv, with his name PRINTED on them?]

  18. The point of chanukah is to fight foreign infuences and ideas, that are contrary to Yiddishkeit. One such foreign influence is the Talibanism that is permeating in some chareidi circles.

  19. The ban was for Eretz Yisroel, not for America.

    Once again, askanim have succeeded in ruining people’s lives by manipulating gedolim.

    I agree 100% that many published comments both here and in the coffee room have no place on a frum website, and I assume the blogs in Israel are the same way.

    However, a compromise could have been worked out to save jobs- perhaps news without comments. Or perhaps much stricter commenting standards.

    Regardless, this will backfire as much as the ban on the Internet.

  20. I see that websites such as Kol Haloshon are still operating. Are the Gedolim busy pulling their shiurim off of the internet? Do they realize how many Bnei Torah benefit from the availability of hearing Das Torah online, and being able to keep up with Daf, etc.

    This is clearly another instance of where people put their names to things (and our Gedolim are people) without understanding their ramifications. Remember in the aftermath of the Kol Koreah about concerts (that caused great financial loss to the producers of the Big Event), one of the Gedolim whose name had originally appeared stated that he had made a mistake in signing it?

  21. I have a hunch that the reason this site is allowing the comments challenging the logic of the ban is because they fear that as always, what happens in E”Y finds its way to America. If they don’t allow there to be a grass roots opposition like these comments being viewed by anyone who visits this site, and perhaps be able to show the leaders in America the damage these bans cause, they will be next to have to shut down.

  22. The frum community did not siccees in fighting bad newspapers till they created their own good ones. The way to fight bad is to create good.

    Again, I do not believe this is a valid ‘Psak” of these Gedolim, especially when I see no signatures, and I only saw it on the internet which is “full of lies”…

    It’s very clearly a revenge in the making.

  23. Now more than ever I can appreciate the derech of Rav Samson Rafael Hirsch ZTZAL. Rav Hirsch’s derech must be reestablished in Bnai Yisrael to ensure our survival in these MODERN TECHNOLOGICAL TIMES. We must not be afraid. We must be strong in our hashkufah as BNAI TORAH. What has happened to us? Why are we self destructing in these days of change? Where are our strong confident Rabbonim? May the zechus of Rav Hirsch protect us and keep our leaders strong to allow Bnai Torah to live in the world without fear and loathing and weakness. Read Horeb and the Intro Book on Horeb for a strong grounding on real Torah hashkufah.

  24. BS”D

    As always, the good guys suffer (as with Lipa during the ban) and the bad guys, the Hyde Parks and Bechadrei Charedim which are trailer parks (I personally spent tens of hours trying to help someone fight a disgusting and evil piece of untrue nonsense that was posted about him on one of them) will flourish as they disregard Daas Torah in any event for the sake of giving oisvorfen and malcontents a forum where they can think they are doing something constructive as they reinforce their own grubkeit and losershaft.

    This ban was very poorly conceived and we see that it has already backfired.

    I do however hope that YWN will take steps to remove some of the krumkeit that has crept in especially over the past 60 days or so in the Coffee Room. When someone who posts krum views is allowed to ramble, it should be only to allow those who can show such a person the folly of his ways to respond, and to respond in no uncertain terms.

  25. There is a problem here which seems to have occurred before. Bans are issued in the name of Gedolim and are later retracted or altered, because what actually happened is that a secretary or an aide to a Gadol was behind it, convinced the Gadol using slanted information, and then got support from other Gedolim by saying that “Rav So-and-so signed, so why aren’t you signing?”

    There are so many kol korehs that one begins to wonder. Remember the big tumult about sheitels with “Indian” hair, when all the sheitel-machers of Boro Park burned their stock, and then later on the whole thing was basically retracted?

    Yes there are problems with the Internet, but trying to wish it away won’t work. The printing press and the radio also cause problems.

  26. As if Etrog ever had close to 30 employees. Even YWN doesn’t have close to that number. You know what type of revenue they would have to generate to pay for 30 even part time workers?? I don’t think this letter is authentic.

  27. To sum up what many have rambled here:
    a) Most of the time these kol korah’s are issued because of vindicative and people who can’t fargin concot a “frum” crisis to present to rabbanim and because they are driven by anger (masked as righteousness) they don’t give up until they succeed.

    b) the rabbanim are not fools however, in our generation without ruach hakodesh their views and opinions are limited to the information they are given and research they do. Since what information they have is controlled by these so-called askanim they release a kol korah completely believing that they are doing the correct thing.

    c) unfortunately, oftentimes some people are completely overtaken by their greed, anger and inability to fargin and they simply can’t get their way – so they forge documents which have terrible reprecussions.

    d) Most Shaitel machers recovered and Lipa is doing just fine (doing mixed concerts now.) But as a whole these industries were damaged and the truly ehrlicha people are suffering. The people who listeneded 100% can’t survive anymore. Now, the jewish internet industry was hit. Sure, those who don’t care will go on with their sites and continue working but those like employees of etrog suffer. To compare to the music industry: Shea Mendlowitz suffered, Mordechai Ben David and Yeedle still suffer because they won’t do mixed concerts anymore so they have a very limited audience so they have fewer sponsors but Avraham Fried did his own thing and so did Shwekey and now Lipa – so they make money. THey did what the Kotzker guy wrote and were smart. NOBODY SHOULD LET OTHERS DICTATE WHAT YOU WILL DO – THERE WAS NO CHOICE BUT TO LISTEN TO THE KOL KOREH AND NOW GO ON!!! Open something quick and continue in the industry because the internet will NOT be shut down for frum yidden – it is and will be continued to be used and these 30 people will be the only ones suffering and that is cruel!! Your work is important – we are meant to be using and working with technology. TONS of good is being accomplished. DON’T become the next victims like Mordechai Ben David and Yeedle.