Rebbetzin Sara Gross
On Wednesday evening, June 22nd, the women of Baltimore joined over 75,000 others from around the country and across the globe to participate in the Nekadesh “Live Higher” event. TAG Baltimore organized a live hookup at Shomrei Emunah, and women and girls of all ages packed into the room to be a part of this historic evening. As Shomrei’s social hall began to fill, more chairs were added until every inch of the large space was utilized. The energy was palpable as we witnessed an experience of epic proportions.
The program was beautifully planned, and varied between inspirational speakers, such as Rabbi Yosef (Joey) Haber and Rabbi Ephraim Wachsman, to heartfelt songs and videos sharing a message of hope and clarity, to Rav Yitzchak Kolodetsky, Rav Chaim Kanievsky’s son in law, being mekabel עול מלכות שמים. Multiple women from the crowd shared their own struggles and triumphs with technology and the evening culminated with an inspiring choir and kumzitz, sharing a tefilla for siyata d’shmaya in this vital mission. Many sentiments shared that evening stood out, opening our eyes to the need to make lasting changes in our personal technology use.
The Gedolim called the asifa to beg the women of Klal Yisroel to take the reins in the fight against the greatest nisayon of our generation. Rabbi Haber raised several important points. He explained that so many of us were fooled into the addictive nature of technology use and he also pointed out that cutting back on technology is incredibly difficult, “but since when did difficult stop us?” He quipped, “It was difficult to keep Shabbos as the Jews moved to America after the war and struggled to keep their jobs! It was also difficult for mothers to feed their children in the ghettos in Europe! It was quite difficult as well for Jews during the expulsion in Spain and so on!” Rabbi Haber challenged the women of the crowd with doing what was difficult today and limiting our technology use, our generation’s personal battle.
Rabbi Wachsman described the sad reality of zombie-like mothers going through the motions of caring for their children, while their eyes are glued to their smartphones. He explained how every change has a tremendous impact on each person’s life. Charging us with the task of making lasting change, Rabbi Wachsman brought many stories and inspirational thoughts to help catapult transformation in our lives.
Rebbetzin Tarshish made a strong point of our personal expectations of change with an ingenious demonstration. She asked everyone to reach up as high as they could with their right arm. We, in Baltimore, followed her instruction as well, and lifted our arms towards the ceiling. She then asked us to reach even further and we each smiled as we realized that we could stretch beyond what we thought originally. Rebbetzin Tarshish tasked the crowd to make a change in technology use that night, perhaps, even in regards to something that we did not think we could at the beginning of the evening. Despite the late hour, the Shomrei social hall remained full, and the women sang along with the sweet choir and kumzitz. Arms around each other’s shoulders, swaying in unison, the women and girls at the Baltimore gathering felt an incredibly uplifting connection. A warmth and hopefulness ran through the room, bonding together to make significant changes in our lives.
Not wanting to let the inspiration slip through their fingers, some women handed each other their smartphones at the close of the asifa, to set passcodes for themselves to help limit their use and some others immediately deleted addictive apps, such as Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook. There were even a number of women who committed to exchange their smartphones for flip phones altogether. It was truly impossible to leave the event without some impact. A revolution of strength and meaningful change is flooding through Baltimore and the greater frum world. The influx of bracha and growth that resulted from the changes in each family are inestimable. Stories of personal miracles and far-reaching effects continue to crop up and spread inspiration.
To share personal triumphs and yeshuos in the battle with technology, to get involved, or to share ideas for further chizuk and strategies in our community, please email TechTriumphs@tagbaltimore.org or call 410-449-1824 and choose option 5. Sharing a personal victory or a resulting yeshua can inspire many others and will be kept 100% anonymous upon request. To hear the speeches of the asifa, call: 302-446-3464.
TAG Baltimore is available to help with all of your technology needs. Please do not hesitate to reach out to them at 410-449-1824 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.