Chabad 'Likes' Facebook, But Not for Girls

Web-Savvy Sect Bans Teens From Joining Social Media Site

Social Pressures: Chana Lerner, 15, works on her computer as her mother, Yocheved Lerner-Miller watches. The teen’s Chabad high school has barred girls from joining Facebook.
claudio papapietro
Social Pressures: Chana Lerner, 15, works on her computer as her mother, Yocheved Lerner-Miller watches. The teen’s Chabad high school has barred girls from joining Facebook.

By Naomi Zeveloff

Published April 09, 2012, issue of April 13, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 2)

So when several 11th-grade girls were discovered to be maintaining Facebook accounts, thus violating the school’s pledge, administrators searched for other students using the social networking site. Offending students had to pay a $100 fine, which they would receive back at the end of the school year, or face expulsion.

Attempts by the Forward to reach Stock were unsuccessful.

Rishe Deitsch, senior editor of a Chabad newsletter for women, N’shei Chabad, is the mother of a Beth Rivkah sophomore without a Facebook account. Deitsch uses a software program called eBlaster, which lets her view websites visited, emails and chats conducted from her home computer. Her daughter, Mirel, 16, said that the tracking software is an effective deterrent from logging on to time-sucking game sites.

“It stops me from going on the wrong things, because I know that I am going to get a speech later,” she said, adding that she placed on the computer a sign that warns, “Your history may be read by mgmnt [management].”

Deitsch likens using Facebook to learning to drive. Mirel can use Facebook when “she is a full adult,” the mother says. “For Mirel and her friends, it’s like a 9- year-old driving a car.”

Chana Lerner, a 15-year-old Beth Rivkah student, said that she will never use Facebook — not even when she is an adult. “I never have, never did, never will,” she said. “I can’t figure out how to work the site. It’s not modest enough or not safe enough.”

On a recent afternoon in Crown Heights, Chabad adherents were reluctant to talk about the role of Facebook in their lives, with some adults saying they had accounts but that they agreed with the school’s decision to ban the site. Chaim Katz, 18, said that he has a Facebook account in order to stay in touch with family and friends, but that he was discouraged against it when he attended Chabad schools in Buffalo, N.Y. and in Brazil. “There is a bad side to it, too,” he said, noting that some kids get harassed on the site.

Harassment, modesty and procrastination concerns aside, movement leaders know the value of social media for communicating its message. Chabad even hosted workshops on social media at two of its recent international emissary conferences.

“With Facebook I am able to answer questions that people have,” Lubavitch.com’s Lightstone said. “I can create a persona that people can engage with, and it makes it a more comfortable setting to work with people.”

Contact Naomi Zeveloff at zeveloff@forward.com and follow her @NaomiZeveloff


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • Mixed marriages in Israel are tough in times of peace. So, how do you maintain a family bubble in the midst of war? http://jd.fo/f4VeG
  • Despite the escalating violence in Israel, more and more Jews are leaving their homes in Alaska to make aliyah: http://jd.fo/g4SIa
  • The Workmen's Circle is hosting New York’s first Jewish street fair on Sunday. Bring on the nouveau deli!
  • Novelist Sayed Kashua finds it hard to write about the heartbreak of Gaza from the plush confines of Debra Winger's Manhattan pad. Tough to argue with that, whichever side of the conflict you are on.
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.