A New Low at the Jewish Week
As the Kletzky family began the shiva period and Jews everywhere joined in their mourning, and as millions of persons who are not Jewish felt the pain, there was one notable exception to the universal grief over the murder of young Leiby. That exception was the Jewish Week of New York, a community newspaper that over the years has specialized in targeting Orthodox Jews, depicting us as engulfed in wrongdoing, notably of a financial or sexual nature.
I write a column that is published in the Jewish Week. It is sponsored, meaning that it is paid for, not by me but by persons who believe that my views should have a forum. Admittedly, this is a highly unusual arrangement. In the first column years ago, I explained that my aim was to counteract the flow of negative writing about the Orthodox. Not that I believe that wrongdoing by religious Jews should be defended or covered up; to the contrary, it is obligatory that we do not justify or excuse such wrongdoing or simply act as, “we see no evil.” But it is also wrong to indulge in group libel, to take a community that is enveloped in so much chesed, Torah study and much else that is truly good and to take the wrongs that some do as representative of this community.
As I reflect on what the Jewish Week publishes on a regular basis, I know that I have failed. Orthodoxy-bashing is alive and well at this newspaper and this was abundantly on display recently in two long articles that unfairly attacked Ohel Children’s Homes, one of the many projects that we religious Jews are proud of. These articles were written by Hella Winston, whose animus towards the Orthodox knows no bounds.
The expectation was that coverage of Leiby Kletzy’s murder would be different, that like every other newspaper of whatever orientation in the New York area, as well as broadcast media, the Jewish Week would cover the tragedy with sensitivity and with empathy toward a community in pain, a community for which the unforgettable sacred face of young Leiby is forever seared into our consciousness.
It was not to be. The assignment for the main story at the top of page one in the current issue went to Winston, whose stock and trade includes anonymous sources, innuendo, surmises and believing the worst about the Orthodox. She flourishes in a netherworld of journalism. The fact that she was given the assignment is telling, because it meant that she was given a green light to utilize the tragedy to target the Orthodox. This is striking in its inappropriateness.
In fairness, the same issue that features her lead story contains two sensitive articles on the tragedy, one by Ari Goldman, the noted writer on religion, who has kind words for how Hamodia has handled the story. To my knowledge, this is the first mention ever of Hamodia in the Jewish Week, this despite the remarkable achievement of publishing a top-flight daily newspaper. The other article is by Jonathan Mark, who writes about his shiva visit: “Before writing about Leiby, I wanted to close my eyes and inhale, as it were, the holiness of the Kletzky home, imagining their final Shabbos.”
No such sentiments from Winston. Her long article, entitled “Tragedy In Borough Park Puts Shomrim Under Scrutiny” opens with a few cursory words about Leiby and then gets quickly to its purpose. Winston writes, “the tragedy is shining a light on the neighborhood watch groups that operate within the strictly Orthodox communities – and the largely under-the-surface tensions between these groups and the NYPD (New York Police Department).” What follows is a full-scale attack on Shomrim, featuring of course the Winston trademark of unnamed sources. Police Commissioner Kelly’s public praise of Shomrim’s role is brushed off.
I will not defend Shomrim, because to do so would inadvertently give credence to Winston’s nastiness and it would cloud the critical point that the negative focus on Shomrim and the Orthodox is unacceptable journalism. Instead of praising Shomrim for the good it does and the role it played in this sad episode, Winston uses it as another launching pad for an attack against the Orthodox, treating us to a vile exercise in group libel. She writes “Strictly Orthodox communities have a long history of not reporting crimes – and in particular, sexual crimes against children – to the secular authorities, preferring to police their own.”
There was one paragraph that goes beyond the bounds of ordinary odiousness. I cannot fathom how the Jewish Week allowed it to be published. It reads: “A law enforcement source with knowledge of the case told the Jewish Week that there is ‘reason to believe,’ based on the video footage of Aron and Leiby last Monday, that this was not, as the NYPD has publicly claimed, an abduction by a stranger, and that the two may have been acquainted prior to the tragic encounter.”
This is sick and despicable. If there is any decency left at the Jewish Week, it would apologize.
I also was troubled and very diaappointed in last week’s Jewish Week’s issue
Hella Winston is the Jewish Week’s Shachar Ilan. Mr. Ilan wrote a highly selective police blotter for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. He did notthing else but report on Haredi miscreants who became the targets of police investigations. Hella Winston follows in his footsteps.
I have been a long time subscriber to the Jewish Week iself. I do not receive it though the UJA. I realized shortly after I renewed my subscription for the year that I – as centrist Orthodox weekend Haredi – am no longer served by the Jewish Week. It could be that the success of the Haredi print media has reduced the number of people like me who subscribe to the JW. Whatever the case I have decided that I will not renew my subscription to JW whin it runs out.
I saw it mentioned in one of the many articles, that the Aron had been a shabbos guest at the family’s home. It could that is all that was intended by the term “acquainted”.
Agav, it is very much the modus operandi of a sicko to seek out ways to befriend a child, in order to build trust for a future act. People need to continue to have guests with confidence but they also need to tell their kids that just because he was out guest does not mean that you can get in a car with him etc.
“I will not defend Shomrim, because to do so would inadvertently give credence to Winston’s nastiness and it would cloud the critical point that the negative focus on Shomrim and the Orthodox is unacceptable journalism. Instead of praising Shomrim for the good it does and the role it played in this sad episode, Winston uses it as another launching pad for an attack against the Orthodox, treating us to a vile exercise in group libel.”
There were plenty of positive stories in the press about Shomrim, which assuming they were accurate, were well deserved. However, if the concerns raised by Winston’s article are accurate, than that story was deserved as well. If Shomorim is not reporting suspected abusers to the authorities, that is something that the community deserves to know about, and discuss.
“The assignment for the main story at the top of page one in the current issue went to Winston, whose stock and trade includes anonymous sources, innuendo, surmises and believing the worst about the Orthodox. She flourishes in a netherworld of journalism. The fact that she was given the assignment is telling, because it meant that she was given a green light to utilize the tragedy to target the Orthodox.”
Marvin Schick’s columns and posts are not known for his constructive critique of the Orthodox. Thus, the corollary to his above quoted comment would be “the fact that Cross Currents allowed Marvin Schick a platform to discuss the Hella Winston article is telling, because it meant he was given the green light to utilize the blog to silence a critic of abuse in the Orthodox community, thereby encouraging a cover-up of said abuse.”
Marvin Schick deserves a Yasher Koach for penning a great columnn and observations on the Orthodox and secular Jewish worlds. I think that his comments on the Jewish Week are unfortunately 100% on target and illustrate the presence of and encouragement of editorials and reportage ( except for that authored by Steve Lipman) that have a strong animus towards all segments of the MO world to the right of its editor and all segments of the Charedi world except for Chabad. Dorothy Chandler , the late publisher of the LA Times , once commented that anti Semitic coverage was a feature of her paper because it sold newspapers. Unfortunately, in secular Jewish papers, for the same reasons,whether they are Federation subsidized or not, Orthobashing , especially in the Jewish Week,reinforces the secular Jewish world’s many misconceptions of the MO and Charedi worlds. In all seriousness-when the editor in chief presides at confabs sponsored by the very subjects that he provides with extraordinarily positive editorial and news coverage well beyond their actual contributions to Jewish life, something is rotten in Denmark.
One can search in vein for the vitality of the committed MO and Charedi worlds in the Jewish Week for many issues on end. In contrast, what should never be confused with Torah, Avodah and Gmilus Chasadim is presented and parroted as proof of “Jewish continuity”-no matter how far or removed the subject matter is from any reasonable definition of that triad that defines one’s committment to the Jewish community.
Full disclosure-Back in July 2009, I published at Torah Musings and Beyond BT a critique of the Jewish Media-Charedi, MO and secular. Here is a link for those interested.http://www.beyondbt.com/2009/07/08/jewish-media-coverage-of-the-torah-observant-world/
the jewish week (or more accurately some or many or most of their writers)does exhibit an anti-orthodox bias. however, its impact is far, far less than that of certain orthodox groups and leaders whose attitude towards molestation is woefully inadequate. despite the fact there has been no evidence that this case is in any way related to the issue of sexual abuse, no less a publication then cross-currents expressed a desire that this serve as a wake-up call for garnering needed change in attitudes and responses to abuse. those who agitate too strongly (and probably with false/misleading information) will most certainly cause less damage to young lives than those who continue their previous inadequate approaches. given the situation, i would concentrate on what may cause further abuse. i doubt winston will cause anyone to assault an orthodox jew.
Why do you patronize that anti-semitic rag Jewish Week with your paid editorials in it?
That this periodical was anti-Jewish has long been known.
Dr Bill wrote:
“the jewish week (or more accurately some or many or most of their writers)does exhibit an anti-orthodox bias. however, its impact is far, far less than that of certain orthodox groups and leaders whose attitude towards molestation is woefully inadequate. despite the fact there has been no evidence that this case is in any way related to the issue of sexual abuse, no less a publication then cross-currents expressed a desire that this serve as a wake-up call for garnering needed change in attitudes and responses to abuse. those who agitate too strongly (and probably with false/misleading information) will most certainly cause less damage to young lives than those who continue their previous inadequate approaches. given the situation, i would concentrate on what may cause further abuse. i doubt winston will cause anyone to assault an orthodox jew
WADR, your comment, while accurate in its own right, is really IMO irrelevant, and IMO, a smokescreen intended to deflect the issue away from the subject of Dr Schick’s article-the orientation both in the biased editorial and news coverage of the committed MO and Charedi worlds. I can state from personal experience that many JW staffers, except for Steve Lipman, have no sense of what is happening in the committed MO and Charedi worlds and why their passionate priorities are Torah, Avodah and Gmilus Chasadim. I once spoke with a JW staffer when we were planning a Siyum HaTorah on Torah Shebicsav and TSBP in Queens, and the staffer had no awareness or appreciation of how important Limud HaTorah was as a mitzvah and why so many people were willing to be Kovea Itim LaTorah. When I look at the yearly top young 50 in the Jewish Week, I look in vein for a profile of at least one RIETS trained young RY-of whom there are many-who are all accomplished Talmidie Chachamim , authors and speakers. Instead, our attention spans are subjected to profiles of the “edgy”, and many whose committment to Jewish continuity is very distant from that of Torah, Avodah and Gmilus Chasadim.
I’m not a regular reader of The Jewish Week. For argument’s sake I’ll take Dr. Schick at face value and assume that the the paper has some sort of anti-orthodox bias. Given that, I see nothing here that supports Dr. Schick’s assertion.
Dr. Schick mentions that The Jewish Week ran 3 articles on this horrible crime. By his own admission, 2 of the 3 articles were “sensative” regarding the tragedy. Not having read Winston’s article I’ll assume, since Dr. Schick’s intent here is to crucify her, that the quotes he cites are the most egregious.
It is far from libelous to say that within “strictly orthodox” communities there is a general sense of taking care of issues internally before going to the secular authorities, if at all. I don’t think the leaders of many of these communities would argue this point and some would be proud of it. (Just look at the recent proclamation by the Agudah to get a sense of this issue.) If the report that Leiby’s absence was brought to the Shomrim before the police is true, and it this has been reported elsewhere, then this is certainly newsworthy. If, as some have reported, there was a 2-3 hour delay between reporting to the Shomrim and the police, that would be tragic and certainly worthy of exposure and investigation for the benefit of the entire community.
As for Dr. Schick’s most “odious” example of Winton’s bias, I just don’t see it. One of the reasons, probably the main reason, that this horror resonated with all kinds of people around the world is that it is, simply, every parent’s worst nightmare. The idea of one’s kid being randomly plucked off the sidewalk in the middle of a safe neighborhood is too much to wrap one’s head around. As we try, any little piece of data that makes it less random helps ease, ever so slightly, our cognitive dissonance. And there are other important implications in Leiby having known the murderer which don’t need to be fleshed out right now.
I honestly have no idea why Schick considers the last paragraph he quoted to be the worst. If anything, it’s the most pareve. What’s so despicable about the murderer preying on prior acquaintance, and why shouldn’t we know of it if he did?
You might want to check out Avi Shafran’s piece on the subject in this week’s Ami.
Nachum: Simply because the NYC Police Commissioner and the Brooklyn District Attorney have both publicly and on the record stated that the perpetrator of this heinous murder did not engage in any sexual abuse and did not have any acquaintance or meeting with the victim prior to this crime. They also stated this was the perpetrators first felony. They could not have been any clearer than that.
If this publication, and especially some of its writers, strain to find an anti-Orthodox slant on everything, why do we buy or read it?
Marvin Schick notes two articles sympathetic to the Orthodox community as opposed to one that was hostile. Since then, the Jewish Week has published a third article highlighting the work of Misaskim: another sympathetic article. That’s three to one in our favor. For a newspaper hostile to our community, that’s not bad.
Contrarian, why don’t you cancel your subscription to the Jewish Week right now and write them a letter telling them why. Ages ago after a particulary offensive article about Israel in the New York Times I cancelled my NYT subscription and wrote them a letter telling them why I did so.
The “Jewish Week” is not the only part of the media that used the Kletzky tragedy to focus negatively on “Shomrim”. “The Brian Lehrer” radio program of NYC radio (an NPR affilliated radio station that is ultra liberal)also did so. They described the Boro Park community as insular and criticized the parents and Shomrim of only contacting the police department 2 1/2 hours after Leiby A”H was missing. It was so hateful I couldn’t get over it. “Two and a half hours” after someone is missing. Not a day or two by just 2 and 1/2 hours!!! That is the only issue they found important to focus on re the tragic abduction and murder. By the way someone named Hussein of Patterson called into the program and told them that now (while the family was still sitting Shiva and he used the word shiva) was not the time to be focusing on this issue. I think he shamed the moderator
The Jewish Week, WNYC, NPR etc have many ultra liberal Jews among their supporters. They are among the enemies of the Jewish people (Israel, the ordinary recognizable Jewish person etc)
I beg to differ. The Jewish Week hit the nail on the head concerning the tragic murder of Leiby Kletzky. The reality is that many charedi and chasidic Jews operate under a different standard than other Jews when reporting possible crimes, in their neighborhood. Whether its child abuse or other acts of violence, their first response is to report the matter to a rabbi or an Orthodox watch group like the Shomrim before turning to the police. Many of them fear that if they report a fellow Jew to non-Jewish authorities, they will be labeled a “moser” by their community and suffer the consequences.
There is no way of knowing whether Leiby would be alive today had the police been immediately notified of his disappearance. But the fact that this possibility exists should compel charedi and chasidic Jews to ask whether new standards for notifying the police should be implemented.
Although I live “out of town”,I subscribe to the New York Jewish Week because it has stories one does not see elsewhere. Another source is the Forward, which has many articles not found elsewhere. I also read Hamodia, but they filter the news in a different slant. Neither side gives the whole story and each side has its own agenda. It is telling that Hamodia is big and thick and Jewish week slim and small. Marvin Schick adds his insights and I find them interesting and wonder why Gary Rosenblatt won’t just give him a column and pay him instead of having to be paid to print another viewpoint. gary is probably the most successful and professional editor in contemporary American journalism. He has a Teaneck centric view of reality, which is also found in Riverdale but not in Boro Park. When he edited the Baltimore Jewish Times it was lively and relevant, now , it is a thin as can be and who knows how long it will stay in business. Controversy sells papers, except in chareidi circles where no controversy is ever mentioned in print.
OK, Samuel, so it was an incorrect point. I still don’t see why it would be the *most* outrageous thing.
The police do not start looking for a 9 year old an hour after his parents missed him, even if the police are informed 15 minutes after he is missing. They simply don’t have the resources to look for a child a few minutes after he didn’t show up where expected. In fact, in this case if not for the Shomrim the police would have waited even longer than 2 1/2 hours after he was missing to begin the search. The Shomrim influenced the police department to begin the search forthwith upon being apprised of the situation, even though under their normal operating procedures they would have waited for more time to elapse from when the child was first missing before beginning a police search for the child.
PK wrote “Contarian why don’t you cancel your subscription to the Jewish Week right now and write them a letter telling them why.”
When I decided some time ago not to renew my subscription I did write the JW and told them why I did so. It is not anger that is driving me away but a sense that the JW no longer is interested in me. When the travel editor writes about non-kosher establishments in Paris, when the paper extensively covers the world of interfaith marriage, when it gives 3 pages of space to the doigs of GLBT temples but only 2 paragraphs of filler about Niaskim – no matter how laudatorty, when its website only carries lessons from liberal Jewish clergy and one solitary 30 year-old Orthodox Rabbi with one foot solidly planted in the Conservative side, It is time for me to leave.
Steve Brizel writes relative to my comment: WADR, your comment, while accurate in its own right, is really IMO irrelevant, and IMO, a smokescreen intended to deflect the issue away from the subject of Dr Schick’s article-the orientation both in the biased editorial and news coverage of the committed MO and Charedi worlds.
in my professional life i use this line often: on what you concentrate and set as objectives is often as important as how well you accomplish your goals. to worry about anti-orthodox bias, which is of minimal consequence, when issues of abuse remain, is both relevant and revealing. As many have noted, given the inability of parts of the orthodox community to embrace cheshbon hanefesh, perhaps our detractors are doing us an unintended favor.
Does Dr. Bill really mean to say that Jewish anti-Semitism is “of minimal consequence,” or that as long as their exists a single abusive person in the Orthodox community, obscene stereotypes are ok?
There is no evidence that abuse in the Orthodox community comes close to, much less exceeds, what goes on all around us. And there is no evidence that Levi was an abuser, much less a known one.
Most of Dr. Bill’s comments seem intelligent, but this one falls way short.
>“There was one paragraph that goes beyond the bounds of ordinary odiousness. I cannot fathom how the Jewish Week allowed it to be published. It reads: “A law enforcement source with knowledge of the case told the Jewish Week that there is ‘reason to believe,’ based on the video footage of Aron and Leiby last Monday, that this was not, as the NYPD has publicly claimed, an abduction by a stranger, and that the two may have been acquainted prior to the tragic encounter.””
Presumably I’m missing something. What is offensive about the quoted paragraph? Isn’t the presence/absence of prior acquaintance between criminal and victim a standard topic of investigative scrutiny?
“The Jewish Week – an anti-Torah, Orthodox-bashing publication” – Rabbi Moshe D. Tendler
Michael, i said not a word about Jewish Antisemitism just anti-orthodox bias. The former has more significant consequences than the latter. Please help me understand how the consequences of such anti-orthodox bias compares to the consequences of abuse that is still an issue in the community; it was the relative importance that was my point. the latter is certainly responsible for suicides and driving children away. anti-orthodox bias is rather annoying and perhaps despicable and Ms. Winston may well have her own personal vendetta, but i still fail to see its material consequence. It makes some squirm, but i know the vendetta against the OU/NCSY in the Lanner affair a decade ago led to reform within that community as well as acknowledged changes by some of its leaders. My respect for the leaders who very publicly apologized has only increased.
on a lighter note, your phrase “Most of Dr. Bill’s comments seem intelligent…” when i say it emphasizes the word “seem.” Wonder what you might mean?
Dr Bill-Let’s be real here-for most of the secular Jewish community in NY who receive the Jewish Week, its portrait of the Orthodox community that is to the right of its editor is the only source of any news about the same. One cannot ignore the biased coverage of Ms. Winston and the ignorance of committed MO and Charedi life by its reporters as well as the editor’s championing of LW MO and participating in its institutions’ events-which should at least present a possible scenario of a conflict in interest-unless, as in the case of the Israeli media-no pretense of objectivity is being displayed whatsoever.
As far as the coverage of the Lanner affair is concerned-IMO, your point is mistaken and irrelevant-yes, the coverage led to changes, but the initial coverage segued into a long and unwarranted bashing of Kiruv and NCSY. In contrast, when heterodox clergy engaged in crimes that would have been deserving of far greater penalties, the in depth coverage that marked the coverage of the Lanner Affair was missing in action-presumably not to offend the heterodox communities.
WADR, your claim that suicides and driving children away is endemic to the Charedi world needs documentation and proof-especially when the MO world seems just as allergic to helping kids at risk and those who are not the stars of their schools and communities.
Steve Brizel, i know it is easier to attack what was not said, but i did not say “suicides and driving children away is endemic to the Charedi world.” God forbid. Endemic implies characteristic of, occurring with some regularity, etc. That is clearly untrue and not even remotely implied by what i wrote.
As to why newspapers tend to report orthodox “sins” as opposed to others, there are two reasons beyond those you seem to imply: 1) the community’s response as opposed to the act is what is being highlighted and 2) it is more newsworthy when the unexpected occurs.
the orthodox community is strong enough not to fear the impact from openly addressing its issues. halevi we do; it would obviate the need of others to do so.
The comments on my post, “A New Low at the Jewish Week,” evoke these additional thoughts.
In this week’s Sunday Times, Arthur Brisbane who is the Public Editor criticizes the reliance on anonymous sources. Obviously, there are situations where sources cannot be identified, but this does not justify the wholesale hiding behind anonymity by any publication. Jewish journalism is not exempt from the ethical norms of journalism. Yet, the Jewish Week frequently takes the anonymity route, particularly in its bashing of Orthodoxy and most egregiously in the writing of Hella Winston. She is not a journalist, she is a hater. Her despicable traits were on display in the lead article on the murder of Leiby Kletzky, not long before in two very long articles on Ohel and in many other JW articles.
Whatever one may think of Shomrim or other issues in Orthodox life, the Jewish Week’s front page article is a journalistic disgrace. That article was authorized by Gary Rosenblatt as the family began to sit shiva. Not a single Jewish newspaper anywhere, nor to my knowledge any newspaper anywhere, took the approach that the Jewish Week took. Why should any of us defend what on its face is vile.
No other Jewish newspaper or publication anywhere has a writer on staff whose function is to attack the Orthodox community. As has been noted, for years Ha’aretz employed Shachar Ilan who specialty was finding wrong with the Orthodox. He is no longer at Ha’aretz. More importantly, Ha’aretz is privately owned and its publisher is avowedly anti-religious, as was made clear not long ago in David Remnick’s New Yorker profile. The Jewish Week is a community newspaper.
It is disheartening that there is some who defend Winston’s reporting. It is disheartening that Gary Rosenblatt who apologized not long ago when one of his writers went after the Reform movement, has not to my knowledge even once expressed remorse or doubt about the endless barrage of anti-Orthodox reporting that occurs in the newspaper over which he has total control. He cannot even express remorse over an offensive paragraph, denied by the Police Department, that Leiby and his murderer had previous contact. The truth is that Gary Rosenblatt does not know how not to be anti-Orthodox.
In my experience, much of the nasty writing about Orthodoxy, as well as several of the comments to my earlier post, emanate from a small vocal group of persons ostensibly Orthodox who have axes to grind. The truth is, as Gary Rosenblatt told me not long ago, he is fed a stream of negative stories about the Orthodox from Orthodox sources.
The eminent social psychologist Kurt Lewin wrote extensively more than two generations ago about Jews from the periphery who are engulfed in self-hatred. According to Lewin there are Jews who “show dislike for those Jews who are outspokenly so, and will frequently indulge in self-hatred.”
One of the dirty secrets of contemporary Orthodox life is that the phenomenon identified by Lewin characterizes sub-group behavior, meaning that there are Orthodox at the periphery of Orthodox life who indulge in self-hatred which is manifested in how they view the other Orthodox.
Whatever one might think about wrongs in the Orthodox community, it is unacceptable to defend Winston’s article in the Jewish Week. Gary Rosenblatt should apologize. He will not; in the issue out later this week he defends what should be indefensible.
Dr Bill -this is your exact quote:
“The former has more significant consequences than the latter. Please help me understand how the consequences of such anti-orthodox bias compares to the consequences of abuse that is still an issue in the community; it was the relative importance that was my point. the latter is certainly responsible for suicides and driving children away
IMO, your use of the phrase ” is still an issue” warrants clarification. Please clarify why the average reader would not interpret the same as being frequent, endemic or any other estimate of a non-anecdotal nature.
Dr Bill also wrote:
“As to why newspapers tend to report orthodox “sins” as opposed to others, there are two reasons beyond those you seem to imply: 1) the community’s response as opposed to the act is what is being highlighted and 2) it is more newsworthy when the unexpected occurs.”
WADR, since who appointed Gary Rosenblatt to be a self-appointed Ben Bradlee, prosecutor, judge and jury of all issues and personae in the MO and Charedi worlds that were to his “right” and not of his liking? Since when was that is mission or part of his job description? Since when does an editor have a right to abandon all pretenses of objectivity by being an active participant at a dinner and forum run by a LW MO institution that he has only the greatest praise for in his columns and news coverage?
Steve Brizel, Thank you; you make my case better than I. I write “is still an issue.” You think people will read it as endemic; i do not.
Your comment on the JW editor is interesting but its relationship to what I wrote escapes me. I dare say the accusation of bias is not unique to any particular paper. If you want a “fair and balanced” view, read multiple papers and take them all with a few grains of salt.
Evidently, Dr Schick’s post here prompted an editorial response by the JW which can fairly be called an attempt by the editor to simultaneously wrap himself in both rhetoric assuming a public right to know and a lack of Ahavas Yisrael by his critics. IMO, the editor of the JW doth protesteth do much.
Dr Bill-for many years, I have been reading the NYT, Commentary, and Newsweek before, its coverage degenerated. I also read the JW, Yated, Mishpacha and the Five Towns Jewish Times. When I read the JW, there is nothing of a praiseworthy nature about either the Charedi or committed MO worlds. It was precisely because of the consistency of that coverage that we chose to read Mishpacha and Yated, almost as a deliberate protest against what we considered to be Ortho-bashing in the Jewish Week.
“Yet, the Jewish Week frequently takes the anonymity route, particularly in its bashing of Orthodoxy and most egregiously in the writing of Hella Winston”
On a related note, R. Shafran referred in his criticism of the Jewish Week article to Hella Winston’s essay in Lilith(which itself was a response to Dr. Schick’s and R. Shafran’s criticism of her quotations in a New Yorker article on abuse in the Orthodox world).
Quite fascinatingly, R. Aron Rakefet relates that R. Moshe Sherer told him that he feels “very indebted” to the sociologist Dr. William Helmreich(lecture on R. Rackman, 1/28/02, 3 minutes into the recording).
Why? Because the latter uncovered, when doing research for “The World of the Yeshiva”,
the incidence of homosexuality, but did not write about it(the previous Skulener Rebbe actually wrote a letter on the subject addressing educators). What, then, is the difference between R. Moshe Sherer, the Skulener Rebbe, and Hella Winston, if they are dealing with the same issues ? Part of the issue is context, who is saying it, and how it is being said. As one Israeli educator critiqued the book “Off the Derech”(which itself one can disagree with):
“Imagine: a seasoned mechanech or rosh yeshiva gets up at an Agudah convention and announces, “Rabboisai, we need to introduce a little more hashkofa into our yeshivos at an early age, even if it comes at the expense of part of bekiyus seder.” This would be taken as a valid point of criticism of the yeshiva system that warrants introspection and a plan of action to make the necessary adjustments. But when [an outsider] makes what is essentially the same remark: “We focus on Gemara at the expense of basics,” it takes on a whole different meaning, both because of where she’s coming from and because of where that criticism leads her.
Despite the above, my reaction when reading the Lillith article then, and now, is that it, and other criticism, deserve a direct and in-depth response(perhaps by a frum psychologist, in this case). Even if one takes away the bashing, bias, and agendas of outsiders, there are still issues which need to be responded to directly and in depth.
The NY Post ran an editorial today taking the Shomrim to task for obstruction and lack of professionalism. (Partially funded by taxpayers, no less.) This further shows that Dr. Schick and Rabbi Shafran were obfuscating the bigger issue in their vendetta against the JW.
The NY Post only proves that it can rehash the same lies Winston told the first time in the Jewish Week. First and foremost, it’s Shomrim’s fault that the parents didn’t tell police immediately, like they should have. Oh, and of course, if the NYPD had been told earlier, they’d have mobilized a massive search in under 3 hours. Would you like to buy a bridge with that?