A Tag Generation
April 29, 2021
Link after Link
“Mommy! Look at me!”
Sara glanced up, then down again.
“Mom-my! You didn’t look!”
Sara nodded absently as her fingers tapped, tapped, tapped. Suddenly, a shadow fell over her phone. She looked up.
“Mommy! I went across the monkey bars all by myself and you missed it!”
Sara looked at her son. Dovy’s brown eyes were flashing.
“Of course I looked,” she said.
“Maybe you looked,” Dovy said, stamping his foot. “But you didn’t really look!”
Sara bit her lip. She was busy—very busy. Just a few years before, she had created an online business selling children’s clothing, and it was doing well. She was committed to being a stay-at-home mother while earning a parnassah.
But while the money was pouring in, she wasn’t being much of a mother.
Her business was taking over her life.
And she didn’t know what to do about it.
There’s Sara, a busy mother of three, trying to care for her family while constantly responding to work-related texts and emails.
There’s Chaim, a successful businessman who relies on his many gadgets to keep his company running efficiently.
There’s Zaidy, who began using technology later in life, but finds that as time goes on his need for technology constantly grows.
There’s Yitzy, a bachur who is well aware of the challenges he faces and is terrified of being put to the test.
And there are so many others.
A cry from the heart
It’s a cry that echoes across generations.
Every Friday night, when Jewish women stand before their Shabbos candles, they daven from the depths of their hearts.
V’zakeini l’gadel… Let my children be holy. Let them be tzaddikim. Let them grow up to serve You…
Today, these tefillos contain added urgency and intensity.
Let my children retain their kedushah. Keep their eyes and hearts pure. The dangers are lurking everywhere…
These bakashos for our children’s spiritual welfare are expressed ever so eloquently in the Shelah Hakadosh’s poignant tefillah. Erev Rosh Chodesh Sivan, the eve of the month in which we were called banim laHashem, children of Hashem, is deemed the most auspicious time to recite this tefillah. Before introducing the tefillah in his sefer Shnei Luchos Habris, the Shelah writes, “We have an obligation to daven to Hashem for whatever we need, because all that we need, at all times, comes from Him. Therefore, a person should always say a short tefillah before undertaking a task, that Hashem should make his endeavors successful, because everything comes from Him. Even more, he should daven for upright generations.”
This, then, is the key to our children’s spiritual well-being. It is the key to success in any endeavor. It is the key to our future: Tefillah. And more tefillah.
And with that tefillah, we need a heavy dose of hishtadlus.
Nine years ago, on Erev Rosh Chodesh Sivan, 65,000 people came together in Citi Field stadium in Queens to learn how to protect themselves and their children from the dangers of technology. They walked away inspired and filled with determination to retain the kedushah that is integral to a Jew’s life. Since then, thousands of people have turned to TAG for guidance, advice, and assistance.
And with tremendous siyata d’Shmaya, thousands of people have succeeded.
This year, on Erev Rosh Chodesh Sivan, almost a decade after the historic Citi Field event, thousands of children will join together by phone to say Tefillas HaShlah and Tehillim along with our gedolim. They will beseech Hashem to allow them to grow up talmidei chachamim, to continue the holy chain of Klal Yisrael by raising their own generations of pure, ehrliche Yidden.
Together with TAG, they will face the future with a passion to succeed, to hold onto their kedushah no matter what.
TAG: Spanning ages and stages
As a Lakewood resident, you are familiar with TAG and the vital services it provides.
But what you may not realize is that TAG Lakewood is the backbone that supports TAG International. With over 50 offices in Jewish communities scattered around the globe, TAG has helped over 100,000 Jews navigate the pitfalls of the digital world.
And TAG never takes a break.
TAG’s staff work tirelessly, 21 hours a day, to make themselves available to anyone who needs them, free of charge. In addition to installing filters, trained counselors teach parents how to protect their children, and free Torah-based counseling is available for adults who need help navigating the world of technology. TAG mobile units assist those vacationing in bungalow colonies and faraway places.
TAG also works hand in hand with schools to develop protocols that will resonate with their parent body. Community lectures provide vital inspiration and information, and training workshops give mechanchim and mechanchos the tools they need to help their students cope with digital challenges.
In the workplace, TAG’s impact is also felt. Countless businesses have benefitted from TAG’s assistance with office setup and custom software, ensuring that the offices in our community are safe places to work in.
Always a step ahead, TAG is at the forefront of kosher technology research and development efforts, working together with companies to develop top-quality filters. TAG collaborates with Verizon to produce phones that are compatible with our community’s needs.
Furthermore, TAG makes it its mission to reach the global Jewish community by disseminating books, sefarim, and audio on the proper use of technology in English, Yiddish, Hebrew, Spanish, and Portuguese. Hotlines provide inspiration and chizuk at any time of the day.
TAG is truly an international organization, touching lives—and generations—in countless ways.
Shabbos TAG: A call to action
The Novominsker Rebbe zt”l said, “While we are all trying our hardest to keep away from this nisayon, our families are in great danger.”
We are being attacked on all fronts. We must continue to learn and be inspired in order to be equipped to rise to the challenge.
This past year, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, TAG worked overtime to help the many people who wanted to filter their devices, thereby upgrading the kedushah of their homes. TAG offered guidance and support and persevered throughout the pandemic to help Klal Yisrael through these troubling times.
But the hard times aren’t over.
As the reliance on technology becomes ever more pervasive, we must continue to arm ourselves with every tool at our disposal to keep our families safe. But that’s not enough. When the tzibbur is threatened, we have to think of others and extend ourselves to help them as well. TAG represents the efforts of gedolei Yisrael to provide protection to the tzibbur. This year, on Shabbos Mevarchim Sivan, rabbanim will be speaking about the importance of TAG’s avodas hakodesh in shuls throughout Lakewood. Let us come together to support TAG Lakewood, which is the nucleus of all TAG offices around the world. By standing alongside TAG Lakewood, we are, in essence, safeguarding the kedushah of the entire Klal Yisrael.
Together, let us make Shabbos TAG a Shabbos to remember, a Shabbos that will resonate for generations.
And as we say the Tefillas HaShelah this year, let us daven that the kedushah we are trying so hard to maintain be passed down from one generation to the next, link after link in a chain of holiness.
“Mommy! Look at me!”
Sara looked up and smiled. Her hands were free—free of the phone that had once been a cumbersome appendage. She lifted her hand and waved.
Together with TAG, she had made changes.
She still had her business, but more importantly, she had her family.
And that was something she would never, ever give up.
Looking to the future: The next generation
Our children, and especially our teenagers, are up against a lot.
An awful lot.
They are bombarded by technology everywhere they look.
Phones. Computers. Texting. Zoom conferences.
How can we keep them safe?
Perhaps even more troubling is the question, what will the next generation look like?
Enter Hineini. Echoing the immemorial declaration of Avraham Avinu, “Hineini—I am here. I am listening. I am waiting,” Hineini is a unique curriculum currently taught in over 80 girls’ high schools, designed to empower and encourage the future mothers of Klal Yisrael to overcome the nisyonos of technology. With the guidance of trained Hineini teachers, girls explore the pitfalls of technology and its dangers. They learn cutting-edge survival strategies and techniques. Most importantly, they are imbued with the strength and confidence they need to courageously face and overcome the nisyonos staring them in the face.
TAG also provides shmuessen to mesivta and beis medrash bachurim, enabling them to protect themselves from technological pitfalls.
TAG ensures that our young bnei Torah and bnos Yisrael have the ability to say “Hineini—I am here. I am ready to meet this challenge head-on.”
And they are ready to do whatever they can to keep future generations safe.