This weekend I took a 45 minute train ride to Citi Field, which typically houses a baseball team called the Mets and some of its fans. But me and my fellow passengers on the 7 train weren't attending a baseball game: we were there, along with 40,000-ish ultra-Orthodox Jews, to learn about the internet.

Since I'm currently (for non-religious reasons) not using the internet for a year, I seemed to be the right guy to tag along. Of course, I didn't actually have a lot of specific information about my destination, like who was putting it on and why: I couldn't look it up on the internet, after all. I've since heard the rally referred to as "Asifa," but that's just Hebrew for "the big gathering," and it’s short on brand-name potential.

The ultra-Orthodox aren't difficult to spot: they wear black suits and large black hats (or at least a yarmulke) in all weather. In case the clothes don't tip you off, dramatic beards and lengthy side curls are a common sight as well.

There's no single style of dress because there's no single type of ultra-Orthodox Jew, but the black-clad clusters on each end of my train car seemed to be solid, middle-of-the-road fans of the Talmud. Still, while I've long been familiar with ultra-Orthodox Judaism and many of its mores, and watched a whole trailer for a movie where Jesse Eisenberg plays an ultra-Orthodox Jew, I've never actually met one.

After all, they're typically an insular bunch. There are a few that come into my favorite coffee shop around the time of various Jewish holidays, but they're only there to give delicious pastries to the Israeli employees and promote a little religious observance in their wayward brothers. I don't really factor into their concerns, and am never offered any pastries.

And then there's my own fear to overcome. They have many religious observances that I'm sure my day-to-day activities could violate. Most refrain, for instance, from interacting with women in public, and every once in awhile you hear a story of some kind of extreme encounter, like a woman falling on a sidewalk and a Hasid (the ultra-ultra-Orthodox, so to speak) refusing to help her up. An ultra-Orthodox Jew would never come over to my house for dinner, and might not even be willing to eat with a merely Orthodox Jew. It doesn’t strike me as an inviting religion.

But that's the whole point. Ultra-Orthodox Judaism, love it or hate it, is about being separated. In fact, the very meaning of the word "holiness" is to be set apart, and the Jews are called in the Torah (to me, the Old Testament) "a holy nation, a sacred priesthood." To them, as I understand it, it's an idea that you can't be immersed in a secular world and stay separate from its sin and mindsets, and that the way you serve the world is by demonstrating the value of living life by God's laws. So here's the problem: the internet has nothing to do with being separate.