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!
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • 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.