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NYC Billboard Warns: 'Dear Jew: Shield Your Eyes!'

On the way to Manhattan, Ultra-Orthodox Jews warn: “Dear Jew: You are entering a dangerous place. Shield your eyes.”
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 6/18/2012, 5:44 AM

Ultra-Orthodox Jew
Ultra-Orthodox Jew
Israel news photo: Flash90

A group of hareidi-Orthodox Jews have paid to post a huge Hebrew billboard alongside the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway reading: “Dear Jew: You are entering a dangerous place. Shield your eyes.”

“Shield your eyes” also appears in English, for added emphasis.

The massive sign, sponsored by the Congregation of Yad Moshe, which is said to have ties to State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, is part of an offensive by hareidi-religious Brooklyn against secular Jewish Manhattan, asserts Josh Nathan-Kazis in an article published in the Forward.

“Hoping to preserve its massive growth, the ultra-Orthodox community has been on a war footing in recent months, striking back against web access in its homes and yeshivas by holding a massive anti-Internet rally and promulgating new bans against web use,” Nathan-Kazis stated. A local Chabad community news site also took notice of the billboard, revealing a diverse reaction among readers. 

“What's wrong with reminding thousands of Yiddin [Jews, ed.] about shmiras eiynayim [averting one’s eyes]?” asked one reader.

Another wrote, “Way to go! Someone realized that you’ve got to combat fire with fire. If you have spiritually dangerous billboards, you’ve got to have one that warns you of the danger ahead!”

“What a waste of money. Bunch of self centered egotistical extremist narrow-minded people who did this. The money would be far better used for real tzedakah, for people who really could use it and need it. Not for this garbage,” read another comment.

“I work in Manhattan and never see any thing faintly tempting. If anything, can't wait to get back to Brooklyn every day. I think the sign only serves to whet people's curiosity and LOOK for it,” asserted yet a third.

In May, a group of ultra-orthodox Jews held a massive rally in New York City protesting against,  the dangers of the Internet to and the intrusiveness of modern digital technology. 

However, modern Orthodox communities in Israel and the US, not only hareidi ones, have also held meetings, symposiums and written much about how to combat the fact that damaging content on the web is easily accessed inside the home and on one's children's smartphones - whereas once, one could close the front door and know that the Jewish home was a safe haven from negative spiritual influence .