Can ultra-orthodox Jews live with the web?

Help

When New York City's web-phobic ultra-orthodox Jews wanted to discuss how to face the challenge posed to their community by the growth of the internet, they could hardly set up a Google Hangout or host a webinar.

With tens of thousands keen to take part, the community needed a big venue. On Sunday 40,000 men filled Citi Field, home to the New York Mets baseball team, to chart a way forward.

Amid concern over the dangers the internet poses to traditional morality, organisers said the discussion focused on how to protect children from pornography and violent sites. The proliferation of social media was also a key concern.

The event, sponsored by the ultra-orthodox Jewish group Ichud Hakehillos Letohar Hamachane, featured prayers and speeches from spiritual leaders. Tickets sold out quickly, and the organisers rented a nearby stadium to accommodate another 20,000 people. There were separate women's events in other venues.

Across the road demonstrators staged a protest, complaining that sensitive subjects - including child abuse allegations - were being ignored while the internet was identified as a source of problem and sin.

Despite a media ban the BBC received exclusive amateur video from inside the stadium, and spoke with attendees at both the protest and the rally.

Produced by Anna Bressanin. Camera by Ilya Shnitser.

Amateur video courtesy of Eli Gleiberman.

Living Online

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.