Kosher Internet: A Niche, But Necessary Market for Ultra-Orthodox Jews

Image: Mamaaq/YouTube
Image: Mamaaq/YouTube
Jonathan was 20 when he left orthodox Jewish school, or yeshiva, and got his first computer: a ThinkPad laptop to get him through his college program in engineering.

By Madison Margolin | MOTHERBOARD

Having grown up in Jerusalem in the 1980s and 90s, he had gone the entirety of his life without a computer, or even a television at home—as was, and remains customary to varying degrees among Haredim, or ultra-Orthodox Jews. Still, that didn’t stop the future programmer from falling in love with computers.

While packs of yeshiva boys would sneak into town, crowding internet cafes to watch soccer or porn, or merely to cruise the web—the secular world only a click away—Jonathan hacked his school’s internet filters blocking certain websites in the name of ruchnius, or spirituality. Though he had ventured outside the insular Haredi community where he grew up, the Jerusalem College of Technology still adhered to strict codes of religiosity, which included filtering the internet.

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