40,000 Orthodox Jews Protest the Internet at NYC Baseball StadiumS

Citi Field is usually home to the Mets, but yesterday the stadium was filled by over 40,000 Orthodox Jews—who gathered to discuss the dangers of the Internet.

The crowd—entirely male, in accordance with the ultra-Orthodox tradition of separating the sexes—were there to hear about potential problems that can stem from access to pornography and other explicit content on the uncensored web. The New York Times reports:

"Inside the stadium, a dais was set up by the back wall of center field, where rabbis led the packed stadium in evening prayers and offered heated exhortations to avoid the "filth" that can be found on the Internet. English translations of the speeches appeared on a jumbo digital screen, beneath an enormous "Let's Go Mets!" sign...

"Those in attendance were handed fliers that advertised services like a "kosher GPS App" for iPhone and Android phones, which helps users locate synagogues and kosher restaurants."

In an article on the NY Post, Eytan Kobre, a spokesperson for the event, explains that problems with pornography on the internet have "reached epidemic proportions" and as a result are "eating away the fabric of society."

Interestingly, the event was funded by "a rabbinical group, Ichud Hakehillos Letohar Hamachane, that is linked to a software company which sells Internet filtering software to Orthodox Jews", reports the NYT.

The average Mets attendance of recent times has barely scraped 20,000. This protest was a sell-out, filling the 40,000 capacity stadium. In fact, The Verge points out that the organizers even had to rent Arthur Ashe Stadium nearby, which has 20,000 seats, to accommodate extras.

Finally, Kotaku also has an interesting gallery of images from the event if you want to see what it was like. [New York Times, The Verge]

Image by Getty