Who Needs Charedi Columnists?

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10 Responses

  1. LOberstein says:

    ” what is the role of the chareidi public in discourse bearing on major communal decisions”. How does it work? First of all, the chareidi papers don’t really tell what is going on. If one wants to find out why the Lipa Schmeltzer Concert was prohibited, one has to read the Jerusalem Post.There we find out that 2 activists can get over 30 rabbis to sign a ban without any process of finding out the facts. No one talks to the parties affected, no one tries to mediate, to salvage the financial investment. This pattern repeats itself time and again,we are a community that is subject to bans and condemnations and are helpless to defend ourselves.
    If a chareidi columnist would print a a “J’ Accuse” like in the Dreyfuss Trial, he would be destroyed immediately by those who would make his life unbearable . Chareidi Journalism is most comfortable writing eulogies to deceased men and women, dealing with the warts and injustices in the Chareidi world is too dangerous.

  2. Jewish Observer says:

    “the whole idea of placing issues on the communal agenda for discussion only raises a host of other questions. Is there a place for open public discussion in a Torah society?”

    – I think this is the most relevant and insightful point in this intelligent and honest essay. I propose the answer to Reb JR’s question depends on one’s hashkafa. That is to say, if you believe, as today’s mainstream charedi camp does, that there is a boolean right/wrondg in every ussue and that it can be divined from what the gedolim tell us, it is, in fact, paradoxical – nay sacriligious – to have the masses be discussing these issues. Taken to it’s logical conclusion, this thinking implies that any historical precedent of torah-true discussion forums flies in the face of today’s mainstream haredi hashkafa.

    Ironically, for RJT to even pose this question to us as readers, versus asking this as a hashkafic shaila of gedolim, is a violation of the precept about which he wonders.

  3. Yonason Goldson says:

    In response to some of my own published articles, I have discovered many learned, sincere, committed b’nei Torah who admit to feeling increasingly disillusioned and frustrated with (what they perceive as) the calcification and polarization of Torah society. Some months ago, Rav Emanuel Feldman published an essay in Jewish Action lamenting how the right and the left within the Torah observant world are growing ever more alienated from one another, with individuals on each side frequently eschewing reasoned debate in favor of dogma and stereotyping. It is my experience that, on the one hand, many prefer the psychological expedience of black-and-white hashkofah while, on the other hand, many end up feeling like barely-tolerated house-guests in their own communities because they can’t fit themselves neatly into either camp.

    Perhaps, as the author suggests, the greatest benefit of Torah writing from non-gedolim is to raise awareness of common trends of throught within the Torah community. By doing so, some good people may feel a little less disenfranchised; at the same time, this kind of writing may alert our gedolim to the need that many feel for guidance in resolving their inner conflicts and uncertainties.

  4. la costa says:

    1] i think the gdolim would see the use of columnists as pure hasbara, to try and kosherize ,to the non-haredi world,decisions of the gdolim that would seem to outsiders as untenable. as bans on just about anything are propagated daily, the columnists sole job should be to make haredi philosophy not seem ridiculous.

    2] halevai the gdolim would have advisors like these writers, instead of fomentors of dissent, pseudo-Torquemadas , looking koh vacho to embroil the gdolim in autos-de-fe….

  5. Baruch Horowitz says:

    “Who Needs Charedi Columnists?”

    I do; yeyasher cochacha and please continue.

    “Is there a place for open public discussion in a Torah society?” What kinds of forums are appropriate?

    Perhaps there need to be different forums for different people. For example, discussions which include open questions on gedolim’s decisions might not belong in the mainstream charedi press, but such discussions in the correct forum can still be considered part of a “Torah society” at large if done correctly.

  6. Daniel Shain says:

    Charedi columnists can and should help raise awareness on issues of community importance. The Gedolim do not seem to speak out on such issues, at least not to the general frum public (I am not sure why – if you know, please explain). Important issues that have been raised and addressed in recent years like “at risk youth”, spouse abuse, child abuse, educational issues, etc, have been with the help of frum authors and columnists.

    I am impressed that Cross-currents and other similar forums are starting to address issues of importance to the frum community, and stimulating thought and discussion on these issues, rather than writing only about maaselach and gedolim tales of questionable veracity.

    As to the issue of public discussion: Part of Torah learning is to discuss and understand halachik and hashkafic issues that we face. Even if we are not all talmidei chachamim, many frum people need to think and understand what they are doing and why.

  7. Ori says:

    Jonathan Rosenblum: Reb Chaim Brisker and the Chofetz Chaim were once discussing the wisdom of having a Torah newspaper. Reb Chaim Brisker asked the Chofetz Chaim who would write for the newspaper. “You won’t write because you don’t have time. I won’t write because I don’t have time. So who will write?” he asked. Then he answered his own question, “Those who have time.”

    Ori: How is writing for a newspaper that will be read by thousand of Jews less important than giving a Drasha, which will only be heard by a few hundreds?

  8. Dovid Kornreich says:

    In any event, the whole idea of placing issues on the communal agenda for discussion only raises a host of other questions. Is there a place for open public discussion in a Torah society?

    I thought a Mishpacha interview with Rav Mendel Weinbach a while back gave one good rule of thumb:
    Issues in Charedi society which the gedolim have already made a policy decision about can no longer to be put on the agenda for “discussion” by the laity.
    It seems that anything else (which is a lot) is fair game.

  9. Bob Miller says:

    Regarding the Comment by Dovid Kornreich — March 4, 2008 @ 10:02 am:

    If only some Gedolim are known to have made that policy decision, then what?

    The “other” Gedolim (assuming they have not made contrary views known) might be for or against that decision.

  10. Dovid Kornreich says:

    I would venture to say that if Chassidishe gedolim came out against something that Litvishe gedolim did not, then you can assume that the Chassidishe pronouncement was only intended for their inner circle of chassidim and not the wider Chareidi public.
    And visa-versa.
    The questions start when you many litvishe gedolim sign to something but not ALL the litvishe ones. Are there two litvishe worlds– Israeli and American? Maybe B’nei Brak and Yerushalayim are also different worlds and America is a third? Maybe New York is a third, and Monsey and Lakewood are a fouth and a fifth? All very good questions.

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