From The Desk of Rabbi Baumann... Erev Shabbos Parashas Vayikra Shabbos Zachor 5779

Dear Parents,
As we begin to read Sefer Vayikra this Shabbos, we are reminded of how we express our yearning, at every opportunity, for the rebuilding of the Beis HaMikdash and the renewed opportunity to bring Korbanos, sacrifices. What are Korbanos? They are a physical manifestation of our attempt to connect with Hashem – as the name implies – Korban – to bring korov – close. We give up something of ours, dedicate it to Hashem, and thereby strengthen our relationship.
There are many other ways to connect to Hashem and there are also many impediments in our lives that have the potential to create a separation between us and our Creator. We are constantly in a tug of war between our physical selves and our innate spiritual yearnings that are the expression of our inner Neshama. Our very need to make a livelihood and sustain ourselves in the physical realm has the potential to drive us far from Hashem, R’L.
There are other challenges and they represent a more subtle, yet potentially devastating roadblock to our and our children’s connection to the more noble and sublime part of our essence. We have all probably heard or read one too many diatribes against the dangers of technology. We feel we have been there, done that, in terms of protecting ourselves against the excesses that others may fall prey to. We are in control, we maintain our desired balance, and things are good.
Except they’re not. More and more research keeps coming out about the negative impact of excessive screen time on the brains of young children. Silicon Valley techies have gone public about how technology is verboten in their homes because they know how much addictive manipulation they have programmed into much of what is now available online. The irresistible lure of the latest video games such as Fortnite have wreaked havoc with the functionality of many children’s lives. Cruel aberrations such as the fake Momo sensation have terrified even young children who are not directly viewing youtube or screens in general.
What I’ve expressed above are the views and feelings of many of you. Something needs to be done! B’H, help is on the way. Our Yeshiva is embarking on a multi-pronged project to assist our families in handling technology in a responsible manner, designed to fit each family’s mission. Our first step is a gathering for all parents on Sunday Evening March 31. We will have the privilege to hear from Rabbi Ephraim E. Shapiro and Dr. Eli Shapiro (no relation) to inspire and heighten our awareness of issues in technology today, specifically as it pertains to families and children. We will gain greater awareness into the challenges, insights into today’s digital impact and practical advice and an address to turn to for specific technical issues related to protecting ourselves and our family.
Other steps are in the works to create a comprehensive approach to the challenge. An email was sent to all parents with more details. Please mark the date and make sure to attend our inaugural event on March 31. In this age of connectivity, let’s remember to Whom we need to connect. Your children, our children are depending on it.
Best wishes for a wonderful Shabbos and Simcha-filled Purim,

Rabbi Kalman Baumann

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