Brooklyn Yeshiva Requires ‘Web Chaver’ Internet Software


web-chaverReuven Blau reports in the New York Post:  A Brooklyn yeshiva wants parents and pupils to abide by an 11th Commandment — thou shalt not surf the Web inappropriately. Tiferes Yisroel, a popular all-boys Jewish school on East 35th Street in Flatbush, has demanded parents buy ‘Net-nanny software to monitor their households’ online activity.

Parents then have to assign a chaver, or friend, to get detailed Web-browsing histories automatically e-mailed to them by a $5-per-month monitoring service called WebChaver.

Administrators at the 763-student Orthodox elementary and high school say the system is necessary to prevent online experiences that just are not kosher.

“We are following the dictates of our [rabbis] — that as human beings, we cannot trust ourselves. This is proper education,” said a letter from school officials mailed to parents this month.

Some parents scoffed at the Big Brother edict.

“Of course I’m not signing up. They really just want to monitor the parents,” fumed one father, who noted that his two young children are not even allowed to use the home computer.

“I’m not paying $60 a year so they can monitor me. I don’t go to that school — my kids do.”

While other Jewish schools have suggested parents use the spy system, Tiferes Yisroel is the first local one to actually demand that they do.

Only about 20 parents have agreed, a source said.

Rabbis at the school urged parents choose an eagle-eyed, and preferably female, chaver.

“It is our strong recommendation that our chaver should be outside the immediate family — certainly not a male member of our immediate family,” the letter said.

WebChaver, run by a New Jersey-based nonprofit, will give school officials a list of the parents who sign up and their chavers.

Administrators at the school did not return calls seeking comment.

{NYPost/ Newscenter}


  1. “In not spending $60 a year on that!”

    Does ANYONE actually believe that the money is what concerns him. Nothing is foolproof, but Webchaver gives you A CHANCE to remain tahor.

    What the school should do is just publicize a list of which parents dont agree to install it. That’ll get them to do it!

  2. #1 yes I believe the money is what concerns him, and it concerns me to. forcing parents to abide by arbitrary rules
    I love your call for lashaon hara that was funny.

  3. It is sad that we have come to such a thing … but, I don’t go anywhere that I’d mind someone else seeing, so why not? Who is going to decide which sites are questionable? I look at secular news and do on-line shopping. Is that going to bother the school that may only want frum sites viewed. I’d also want to be very sure that there was no opportunity for security breaches, vis-a-vis passwords for banking and stuff. I’m not sure that frum computer programming is always state-of-the-art.

  4. I am against any school monitoring my personal life. The parents shouldn’t have to be forced into this policy if they don’t agree with it. If the families are coersed into this “11th commmandment” what’s next?

  5. What if a parent is researching a mental illness and doesn’t want this ‘web chavrusa’ to know about it? Or any other private matter?
    Is the Yeshiva having a ‘Chavrusah’ to monitor all their business dealings to make sure that they are 100% Kosher?
    Parents are old enough to make their own decisions. Are we next going to have people notified where we take trips to? Why don’t we take people shopping with us to make sure that all the groceries we buy are in accordance with the schools ideals? Who is to say where to draw the line? There is temptation all around – but as adults – we have to make our own decisions. We don’t need a school to tell us how to live our life – we have the Torah for that. This is a matter of control and until now was limited to smaller communities where there are few schools and you don’t have a choice but to comply. My neighbor is 50 years old. How dare they require him to sign up for some ‘frum lady’ to monitor his web activity. Hashem will do the monitoring – thank you very much!

  6. Requiring parents to have Web Chaver or something comparable is a great, unfortunately necessary idea.
    Publicizing it in the New York Post is a dumb, not necessary idea.
    All the Yeshivos should do something like this as well since it is a great idea and can save k’lal yisroel. In addition, Tiferes Yisroel won’t stand out as the “only place with this crazy idea”. Kol Hakavod to them for having the guts to make the move and for being the forerunners.

  7. “I don’t go to that school — my kids do” sounds like a very poor-sensed argument, but i guess it’s good enough for the NY Post…

  8. I think all schools should follow suit. This is the only solution.

    I think with the proper presentation and educating the public, we may really have something here.

    Until now, all schools did was to require parents to sign that there was no internet at home. Who are we kidding?

  9. So if someone in the family has a personal medical condition and wants to find out some information on how to handle it, the whole world will know about it. Great !!

  10. I can’t believe that people are really concerned that anyone reviewing emails would really care if they noticed any research about mental illness. There are so many reasons why someone could be researching something (academic reasons, on behalf of others, etc…) that even if they would examine every sites so carefully (which is not the point of the program) they would never think twice. Only people who are subconsciously concerned with what they consider to be ‘regular’ browsing could kid themselves into being so liberal. Even if your concerns about such a relatively small amount of money (compared to how much you’d spend on much less life/neshama-threatening things) or the “RIGHTS” of your privacy, you would be much less vocal about it if there wasn’t a much larger underlying concern.

  11. $60 is money. The school should pay for it if they insist on it.

    Besides, “Whatever” is right and wrong. Programming from anyone is not to be trusted with banking info. Microsoft and Apple have security breaches. That said, the Internet has serious challenges for frum people.


  13. The school is not monitoring the parents.

    The school is asking the parents to choose any monitor they wish.

    You set your own standards.

    The system is very flexible. And it works. I’ve used it for years.

  14. What is apparent from those who are protesting against this is that they have no idea how this works.

    The school does not want and has no interest in seeing which sites people go on. In addition the page itself does not show up on web chaver, only the address of the page. The reports are NOT going to the school.

    The purpose is to be an extra deterrent from visiting sites that one should not.

  15. Many parents whose children got into serious problems surfing would pay many times over 60 a year in retrospect.Dont be naive.the children figure out how to access without the passwords.Kudos to Tiferes Yisroel

  16. The halacha does permit the monitoring of one’s correspondence if it serves to protect them from spiritual harm. The takkanah of Rabbeinu Gershom is not absolute, and according to R’ Jacob Hagiz, the takkanah is codifying the mitzvah in Vayikra 19:16, which really bans bearing someone else’s private information for the purpose of self-consumption or revealing it to someone else.

  17. To continue, Rav Chaim Pelagi in Chikekei Lev, Yoreh Deah 1:49, says that privacy can be violated in order to prevent moral and spiritual loss to the individual. Rav Chaim Halevy also paskens that privacy can be violated to prevent an overt transgression on behalf of a bocher; when no other option to prevent untoward conduct on behalf of the student exists, a yeshiva may act in this capacity. HaRav Eliezer Katz paskens that one’s right to privacy can be suspended for pedagogical concerns- he writes that just as it is a mitzvah for a rebbe to potch a bocher, as assault is considered a violation against personal privacy, it is also considered a mitzvah for the privacy of correspondence and media use to be violated in favor of pedagogical concerns. Therefore, the yeshiva here is acting in accordance within halachically permissible parameters.
    (R’ Doniel Sayani, shlita)

  18. #21-Hey, the Yeshiva has gotta make some money on the deal too!

    I think it is a nice idea, as a suggestion. Although in theory, any parent who does not like being forced to implement such a system can simply switch Yeshivos, in practice it is not a smart or healthy thing to do to a young boy when it is not necessary, and I therefore disagree with the Yeshiva’s policy.

    Is this being forced on the faculty and all members of the board as well?

  19. Nice, but misguided.
    Monitoring software is only a very small part of a solution. What the school should insist on is that the parents use a web FILTERING service – either software-based (such as FilterNet) or ISP-based (such as Jnet). Monitoring software only makes you afraid to go somewhere, it does not protect you from inadvertent exposure.

    The insistence on monitoring software comes from a snoop mentality, where it’s OK to snoop on whatever someone else is doing. It’s fine if you agree to it, but it’s not something that can be imposed on someone else.

    Web filtering, on the other hand, IS something that a Yeshiva can impose. Just like the Yeshiva policy can demand that students dress in a certain way, or not have a TV at home, and they certainly can insist that any prospective student come from a home that keeps Shabbos or eats Kosher. Having an unfiltered internet connection is like eating non-kosher food (or at least keeping some in your house). No Frum person would dream of bringing non-kosher meat into his home – even though it’s a third of the price. Why can they consider non-filtered internet an option just because of money?