My friend, Rabbi Avrohom Cohen, editor of the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society which I publish as president of the Rabbi Jacob Joseph School, has said to me often about our fellow Orthodox, “G-D gave us a beautiful religion and look what we are doing to it.” His words have come back to me as I have received sharp responses to my current Jewish Week article criticizing Jewish Action, the Orthodox Union’s magazine, for publishing a defense of Baruch Goldstein’s murderous rampage a decade ago in Hebron. Have we sunk so low as to justify murder? Goldstein’s defenders help drive Jews away from a religious life.
What saddens me most is that too few of those who speak or write on our behalf are prepared to challenge the mood of hatred and paranoia.
I apologize for self-referring, but let me state that I whole-heartedly support Dr. Schick on this matter and had blogged about it when I saw the despicable letter in Jewish Action.
The defense of Dr. Goldstein was, it should be noted, only published under challenge. The original article made no reference to a defense. Thus, I’d give it the status of a letter. Are you proposing that Jewish Action supress all comment that doesn’t meet your criteria? They did, after all, choose to publish the challenge attacking Dr. Goldstein. Should there be a standard of Correctness beyond which should now be aired?
I posted my thoughts on the Jewish Action piece on my blog a couple of weeks ago. I speak only for myself here, but my criticism of Jewish Action is less that Ms. Klein Greenwald was given the opportunity to defend Goldstein, but mainly that (i) her response was extraordinarily long – longer, indeed, that most op-ed articles, and (ii) that the magazine did not publish a disclaimer stating that it does not necessarily agree with her views. I doubt Jewish Action’s practice is to allow all writers to write a several thousand word response to letters criticizing something they wrote.
Simcha’s blog generated quite a few comments on the matter, and it was disappointing to see so much equivocation (and at times even outright support) with respect to Goldstein. As someone who is hardly a leftist (I oppose the Sharon unilateral withdrawal plan, for example), I find it shocking that so many observant Jews would in any justify a heinous act like Goldstein’s.
Mazel tov Shick pere et fils.