Saturday, May 18, 2013

Orthodox group gets police OT bill for stadium Internet rally 

The town will bill an ultra-Orthodox Jewish congregation $7,500 to cover the costs of police protection at the baseball stadium rally on the potential dangers of the Internet to the religious community.

The officers worked 92 hours of overtime during the May 9 event, which drew about 5,300 ultra-Orthodox Jews to Provident Bank Park, Police Chief Peter Brower said Friday.

Brower said the department sent paperwork to town officials. “We notified the town, and the finance people will make sure whoever rented the stadium gets the bill,” he said.

Congregation Khal Torath Chaim in Kaser organized the rally and paid Ramapo $5,700 for use of the stadium, the home of the independent-league Rockland Boulders baseball team.

The congregation was responsible for security inside the stadium, cleanup and staffing for parking, Parks and Recreation Director Michelle Antosca said. She and Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence said if town police were needed, then the congregation would pay the costs.

The volunteer group Chaverim of Monsey maintained order inside the stadium as speakers warned thousands about the potential dangers on the Internet. The Viznitz rebbe — Mordachai Hager of Kaser — was one of the keynote speakers, members of the religious community said on Twitter.

The leaders of various Hasidic communities don’t want their followers exposed to sex, pornography and modern relationships on the Internet, as well as news and other information about the outside world. The Internet threatens rigid rabbinical control by opening up a new world for Hasidic youths, experts on the community have said.

While many Hasidic leaders prohibit Internet use, some of the communities have been given millions in federal dollars to install hardware for Web access in their schools. One such school is in New Square.

The organizers used Twitter to announce and publicize the event. Tickets were sold in local synagogues.

The event followed rallies last year — including a gathering of an estimated 60,000 people at Citi Field and Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens — that warned of the Internet’s dangers to members of the Hasidic Jewish world. Others there promoted some uses of the Internet as positive.

The Ramapo rally went off without any problems, Brower said. “This was probably the smoothest event we’ve managed since the stadium has been opened,” he said.


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