Introducing "Kosher" Facebook
Two separate windows for entering this pious network. (Faceglat.com)
September 12th, 2011
05:23 PM ET

Introducing "Kosher" Facebook

Editor's Note: The following article comes from Worldcrunch, an innovative, new global news site that translates stories of note in foreign languages into English. This article was originally published in Le Monde.

By Véronique FalezWorldcrunch

TEL AVIV – Faceglat is a new social network that allows its users to chat online, share information and pictures, and add new friends – all the while strickly separating men from women, just like in synagogue. Launched in Israel last month by a young Hasidic geek, this website boasts a social structure designed especially for ultra-Orthodox Jews. The name "Faceglat" comes from the fusion of two words: Facebook, and glatt, meaning highly kosher, according to the Jewish dietary laws of kashrut.

When men go on Faceglat.com, they sign up by clicking on the arrow on the right of the screen. Women click on that on the left. From this moment on their respective paths will never cross. "One day, a couple of friends paid me a visit, and while we were chatting, the young woman said it was a pity that there was no website where she could share pictures with her female friends without other people being able to see them,” says the site’s creator, Yaakov Swisa. “We started thinking about a religious social network, where there would be no indecent pictures, and which would garantee that men could not see photos posted by women, and vice versa.”

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And so, six busy months later, the first kosher Facebook was born. But the 25-year-old Faceglat founder does not wear the traditional wide-brimmed black hat, nor does he dress in the ultra-Orthodox dark suit. Wearing a checkered shirt, a black kippah on his head, carrying his laptop bag on his shoulder, he bridges the gap between his Lubavitch community from the village of Kfar Chabad, located 8 km south-east of Tel Aviv, and the thrilling world of new technology.

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No one could have predicted that the young boy who went to school in a yeshiva to study the Torah and the Talmud would one day become part of the Internet big league. "I taught myself on the family computer, during holidays," he recalls. His goal is not to push traditional communities towards change. Instead, he wants to protect them. "Orthodox Jews need the Internet, at home and at work alike,” says Swisa. “My website allows them to browse freely, while offering them maximum security. It also reassures parents who worry about their children going on pages that everybody can consult.”

Trust demands extremely strict rules. For example, a program tracks and deletes inappropriate words. And users who mischievously put photos of men in the women-only space, or who posted pictures that were deemed indecent, are simply banned from the website. For the time being, administrating Faceglat still involves a lot of improvisation. But in order to "move quicker," this Mark Zuckerberg of hasidic neighborhoods wants to buy a software that can identify and automatically delete pictures showing "more skin than is necessary."

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Though the website is only a newcomer on the Internet, Faceglat has already attracted more than 2,000 users, mainly by word of mouth, and about 100 new accounts are being created every week. "It’s only the beginning. There are lots of curious people, most of them men from Israel, but actually about 15% of our users live in Russia," says the active young man with a smile.

The website is only available in Hebrew and English at the moment, but it will be translated in French and Russian in the next few weeks. It will then lead to an online advertising campaign, on orthodox forums and on religous singers’ fanpages. A brand new feature of the Facebook revolution.

Read more at Worldcrunch.com.

Topics: Internet • Israel • Religion

soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. muhammad rahman raza

    do something to unite man kind not divide.

    September 12, 2011 at 5:46 pm | Reply
    • 100% ETHIO STRONGER!

      Do you think things will get better, when different Religions are expanded?
      Does Religions controlled the Society or vise-versa?
      Probably, One Religion only for all guaranteed people to be united?

      September 12, 2011 at 9:15 pm | Reply
    • j. von hettlingen

      I think people should be given the option to choose. I prefer the free flow of information and openness.

      September 13, 2011 at 4:08 am | Reply
  2. 100% ETHIO STRONGER!

    B 4, Hallal and Kosher. But, now the Faces of Halal and Kosher.

    September 12, 2011 at 8:32 pm | Reply
  3. ajd041

    That's very steriotypical of you to say that about muslims I'm not saying I am one but its wrong to punish a whole religion for something only a minor group of extremeists do anyway this isnt the place to discuss that. A kosher facebook seperated by gender sheesh one starts a trend and others soon follow in the next few years I predict a slew of religion based social networking sites will be made

    September 12, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Reply
  4. Quasi-neutrum

    Funny! Men and women a r e different: a total way of thinking, living, feeling ? The whole world is divided in two seperate species like sorting fork and knife? Who believes that? The little difference, deep gender gap has historically even been regarded as a relative factor. Hermaphroditism was accepted during Middle Age in Europe and the so called 'neutrum' was possible long after the renaissance. If people think somehow 'inhibited' or mad, they take their excuse very often through religious assumptions and even try to reach a quasi scientific evidence. Why not having facebook for all different groups of people: elite, snobs, feminists, racists and what ever: the world is colourful! (Haha) I needn't spend my time with people who think so boring! I don't need such facebook-pages!

    September 13, 2011 at 2:32 am | Reply
  5. Delex.

    This guy isn't forcing anybody on his website. I wonder why the bladblood. As for Thomas McVeigh, his comment isn't new, one of those overzealous writers who are overwhelmed with the freedom of speech and don't know what exacly to do with it but to rant.

    September 13, 2011 at 8:17 am | Reply
  6. Delex.

    This guy isn't forcing anybody on his website. I wonder why the bad blood. As for Thomas McVeigh, his comment isn't new, one of those overzealous writers who are overwhelmed with the freedom of speech and don't know what exactly to do with it but to rant.

    September 13, 2011 at 9:32 am | Reply
  7. Toppolina

    If a Muslim does this he is fanatic, but a Jew is religious. Separating men from women is the foundation of the true Jewish religion, Islam is just the younger sister religion. May be this does not happen in the USA but in most Synagogues in the world women and men are separated.

    September 13, 2011 at 10:51 am | Reply
    • Thinker23

      I'd recommend you to get a clue of what you're talking about... A fanatic is someone willing to FORCE or even KILL those who do not follow his way. No one can or should refer to people following their faith while allowing others to do otherwise as 'fanatics'.

      September 13, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Reply

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