Friday, December 29, 2017

How To Save Orthodox Judaism

How do you stop Orthodox Judaism from descending into madness?

There are several manifestations of this to be found in popular Jewish weekly magazines. This week presents an extreme example. On the cover of Mishpacha, Ami, and all the rest is a smiling Sholom Rubashkin, who is being glorified as some sort of frum Sharansky. There are photos of his being paraded in front of adoring crowds like a Rebbe, and he is presented (at least in the Mishpacha article that I read) as innocent of any moral wrongdoing.

Now, many people agree that Rubashkin's sentence was excessive, and it is therefore wonderful that it was commuted. But he is nevertheless a convicted felon who hurt many people and committed some serious crimes for which he expressed no regret and does not seem at all concerned about the appalling chillul Hashem that he caused and continues to cause. What kind of message do we send, both outside and inside the Orthodox community, when we glorify such a person as a hero?

Yet this is just one of many examples of the shortcomings of the frum media. Another is how, contrary to recent Orthodox practice, they now refuse to print any pictures of women or girls, even if the woman is wearing a burqa! What kind of message does that send, when even covering yourself up with a burqa is still not enough to let your picture be seen?

Then there are all the other things that I and others have written about over the years. The notorious Ami puff-piece about Skver after the Rebbe's assistant set fire to a dissident (and continued to enjoy good standing in the community). The ridiculous Mishpacha editorials about why charedim should not go to the army and about how critics of charedi society are only motivated by hate. The enormous concern over the fate of frum people imprisoned for crimes, and the relatively little concern for captured Israeli soldiers. Ami magazine's interview with the pedophile Nechemia Weberman's defense attorney - but not with the attorney for the prosecution! The glorification of criminals and protectors of abusers and enemies of the State of Israel. The flood of advertisements from tzedaka and snake-oil organizations manipulating people with mysticism for money. And the general non-Torah u'mada, non-Torah im derech eretz, non-rationalist charedi outlook, which reflects the values of many Orthodox Jews, but by no means all.

(Mishpacha magazine, after the notorious YTT coverup of a pedophile, deserves praise for asking Rav Shlomo Miller "Why don't rabbanim take a firm stand on developments in frum life, such as denouncing perversions and corruptions, wrong agendas, wrongdoers?" But they did not protest when he replied that the Gedolim did indeed do so when they objected to the writings of Nosson Slifkin!") 

Especially frustrating is that these magazines are not only read in the chareidi community. On several occasions I have praised Mishpacha for pushing the envelope of charedi norms and publishing some excellent critiques of charedi society, but there's no reason why other communities should be restricted to such publications. Recently I was in a frum supermarket in the Five Towns and it was distressing to see that the only magazines available for purchase were Mishpacha and Ami. I'm sure that there are many, many families in the Five Towns who do not adhere to such a hashkafah. But there is no other comparable magazine to read over Shabbos.

The solution is very simple. We need a weekly magazine to rival Mishpacha and Ami. It should contain articles of interest to people across the Orthodox spectrum, but it should primarily reflect classical/Centrist Orthodox values, both in terms of its editorial policy and its writers. It should have pictures of women (except perhaps where the picture is not of the subject of the article/advertisement and would only be to allure people to buying a product). It should quote from, and profile, religious Zionist, centrist and modern Orthodox rabbis, as well as charedi rabbis. It should not have puff-pieces for quacks, criminals or protectors of abusers, and it should not run predatory advertisements from tzedokos.

The simplest way would be for the OU to make its superb Jewish Action magazine into a weekly instead of a quarterly. But if that's not going to happen (and perhaps it would be best to have an independent magazine), someone else should step up to the plate. There could be a lot of money to be made from it, but even if not, it's a way to exert tremendous positive influence on the Orthodox community.

(If you missed my previous post about Ayin Hara, check it out!)

79 comments:

  1. I'm glad to see that the new museum is doing so well that it has the disposable cash to cover the costs of setting up, printing and distributing a glossy magazine in both English and Hebrew across North America, Israel and parts of Europe.
    Here's the real problem there won't be a competing magazine: the Chareidi community may be split into various factions but it has a couple of underlying motivating factors that always create a sense of unity between those factions. One is the belief that the entire world (not just Yair Lapid) is obsessed with destroying Chareidism (which, in their language, they call Torah Judaism). Those nasssty goyim and secular Jews in fact think of nothing else. The threat is constant. Therefore you can have a Lubavitcher rabbi get an audience with one of the St. Mar... Satmar Rebbe's and be given a hero's wedding.
    The second is an undying urge to tell the whole world that this community is the only real form of Torah Judaism. It's not enough to think it, they must constantly declare it.
    So there's no wonder you have celebration, magazine editorials and the like.
    There are no similar factors in the non-Chareidi Orthodox community, hence there will be no mass movement.

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    1. Garenel, your blog has not posted any new articles since Septembet 2016. When will you return?

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    2. "St. Mar... Satmar"

      That's an urban legend.

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    3. It's not at all an urban legend. I've heard knowledgeable people on both sides of the debate. What we need is someone who knows Hungarian and knows how the Hungarian town where Satmar hails from got its name. Perhaps this information is simply not available.

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    4. Its an urban legend. It means the "great city."

      My FIL is FROM Satmar and he toold me that.

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    5. 1) There is no debate. The town is Satu Mare in Romanian, not St. Mary.

      2) The "great city" is apparently also based on folk etymology. See this from wikipedia:

      "The Hungarian name of the town Szatmár is believed to come from the personal name Zotmar, as the Gesta Hungarorum gives the name of the 10th-century fortified settlement at the site of today's Satu Mare as Castrum Zotmar.[5] Until 1925, in Romanian, the name Sătmar was used, which is the Hungarian name transcribed to Romanian orthography. Since 1925, the name of the town in Romanian is officially Satu Mare, which is similar in pronunciation to the original name, and, by popular etymology, conveys meaning in Romanian, namely "great village".[6]"

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    6. Joel Rich wrote at Torah Musings:

      "The original Hungarian name of the town of origin was Szatmár. The name appeared at first in a document written in 1213 in the form 'Zotmar'. Originally it was derived from a personal name. The Romanian name was first Sǎtmar, differing only in orthography from the Hungarian one, but in 1925 was officially changed to Satu Mare. That version means 'large village', with the Romanian Satu ('village') deriving from the Latin fossatum, while Mare means “large” in Romanian.[citation needed]

      There is a well known folk etymology, repeated both among members of Satmar itself and in outside literature about the group, that Satu Mare actually meant 'Saint Mary.'[citation needed] Many Hasidim, occasionally including Rebbe Yoel Teitelbaum himself, referred to the town as 'Sakmar' to avoid use of its allegedly “pagan” name. The folk story notwithstanding, the vast majority of Hasidim now use the original Hungarian name 'Satmar'.”

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    7. Good family friends of mine are from Satmar and told me that its St. Mary.
      Being the St. Mary Chasidim would explain why they're always ticked off about something, you know.

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    8. Okay, it seems like I was wrong. Now I'm wondering why a Jewish History professor at a top-tier university I know told me Satu Mare probably meant "St. Mary" when I asked him this question.

      Anyways, thanks for the clarification, and I retract my comment.

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    9. It is definitely not "St Mary", at that would be "Szent Maria".

      As for more likely etymologies: "Zotmar" is a personal name, possibly the founder's. "Satu Mare" sounds similar, and was chosen because people liked calling their hometown "The Big City".

      But in any case, since we know how to say Saint Mary, and it's not Satu Mare, we can rule out that one.

      And BOY is this off-topic!

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    10. Satu Mare is currently a Romanian city, the family of my wife was originally from there and as it has been said, the name of the town jas nothing to do with any Christian reference.
      In modern Romanian Satu is the name of a town, mare means big, period.

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    11. The local Goyim called it Sakmar.
      See https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/f74334b0-3eb0-0133-4b7d-00505686a51c pg. 26

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  2. Actually fixing Orthodoxy will take nothing less than an overhaul. We have to get back to trying to be ehrlichet yidn rather than all this frumkeit.

    For example, someone who thinks of a shomer Torah umitzvos in terms of ehrlachkeit, even if he thought your works really were apiqursus, wouldn't compare banning them to stopping children from getting molested.

    Frumkeit is a never-ending downward spiral, since it doesn't really satisfy what Viktor Frankl called "man's search for meaning".

    R' Wolbe has a great description of the etiology of "frumkeit" at Alei Shur vol II, pp 142-155. (PDF available here.)

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    1. You might find this blog interesting: https://thescepticblog.wordpress.com

      It's by a fellow who tries to do exactly that.

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    2. As they used to say in Yiddish, "frum vi a galach, erlich vi a yid". A priest is frum, a Jew is erlich.

      Michael

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    3. The frumkeit/ehrlichkeit discussion in English:

      http://www.aishdas.org/asp/what-is-frumkeit

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    4. Thank you for the link, Micha. Very interesting.

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    5. Davis, Thanks. I thought that something advocating a complete overhaul of Orthodox culture required the say-so of someone with more gravitas than myself. I therefore pointed to my copy of Rav Wolbe's essay, rather than my own discussion of it.

      But as long as we continue thinking in terms of "frumkeit", we're OTD.

      I like the quote R' Wolbe has of the Alter of Slabodka. To quote from my blog post:

      “Ve’ahavta lereiakha komakha — and you shall love your peers like yourself.” That you should love your peer the way you love yourself. You do not love yourself because it is a mitzvah, rather, a plain love. And that is how you should love your peer.“

      To which Rav Wolbe notes, “This approach is entirely alien to frumkeit.” The frum person is the one who makes sure to have Shabbos guests each week, but whose guests end up feeling much like his tefillin — an object with which he did a mitzvah. A person acting out of frumkeit doesn’t love to love, he loves in order to be a holier person. And ironically, he thereby fails — because he never develops that Image of the Holy One he was created to become. The person who acts from self-interest, even from the interest of ascending closer to G-d, will not reach Him.

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    6. Two guys walk into Rubashkin's shul. One is scrupulously honest in business, loving to his family, generous in giving tzedakah but wears a knitted kippah and blue shirt. The other lies, cheats and steals but has a beautiful Borsellino on his head and the whitest shirt you ever done saw. Who do you think will get shlishi?

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  3. Those of us here in the states who witnessed the railroading of Mr Rubashkin and the perversion of justice in his case can easily understand the excitement generated by his release. It was obvious that he was the victim of prosecutorial overreach, a vicious judge who colluded with the prosecution, and dare I say, Anti Semitism. Now that we can all see the corruption in the FBI,and DOJ at the highest levels in their pursuit of destroying the Trump Presidency, it is time to take a closer look at what and who was really behind the government destruction of Agri processors and the persecution of Shalom Rubashkin. I do not think it is Chillul Hashem to be the victim of an out of control government persecution and targeting of the largest kosher meat processor at the time. I think the banks that lent money to Agri likely did their due diligence and concluded that they could have recouped their money based on their own forecasts for the growth of the company. The government stepped in and deliberately shut it down.

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    1. The bottom line is that even in a dangerous industry, Agri stood out as uniquely so. That is how they had OSHA on their backs, the unions got involved, etc.... Recall, their problems started with the executive branch, not the judiciary.

      Let's start again from the beginning. About a year to a year and a half before the raid, well before the judiciary got involved but back when activists started talking about issues at Agriprocessors, I wanted to decide for myself. Should I continue buying the cheaper meat, or should be supporting someone else? So I went to Iowa-OSHA and [federal] OSHA's web sites and did some research. They nave searchable forms.
      Complaints by company: http://www.osha.gov/pls/imis/establishment.html
      By industry: http://www.osha.gov/pls/imis/industry.html

      You can sit down with those web pages and a spreadsheet and get exactly the same results I did.

      The majority of serious incidents (defined as permanent injury) in Iowa meat plants were at Agri. The majority of all injury incidents were at Agri. Let's take that in. All of Iowa's meat plants combined - Hormel (SPAM), Tyson chicken, dozens of firms including numerous one that each are multiple times the size of Agri - had fewer injuries than they did!

      Their DART (Days Away, Restricted, or Transferred) rate, that is, days of work lost to workplace injury per 100 employees per year was over 3x the second worst offender, and almost 10x the industry (in Iowa) average. So yes, in an industry where risking injury is the norm, Agriprocessors was in a class by itself.

      The majority of simple violations in a Iowa-OSHA search by industry - not taking full safety precautions - were at Agri. Such as employees cleaning the non-business end of machines while running, and not fully disconnecting machines when completely cleaning. As well as exposure to chemicals. Another one I remember was making employees pay for their own safety equipment, came out of their pay.

      Agriprocessors has been racking of fines and failing inspections since 2001, when the web site records begin. In fact, BEFORE Agriprocessors, the Rubashkins' textile plants -- Cherry Hill Mills and Montex Mills -- went down amidst investigations of worker safety violations.

      That's what I confirmed first-hand, at which point my gut made the decision for me. I couldn't enjoy a Shabbos meal knowing /how/ it was possible for me to save money on it. Made it harder for me at qiddushim with meat (my shul has a weekly chulent, or to eat at others' tables. But for better or worse, I kept it to myself. Until the Forward broke the story, and I got tired of listening to people wishfully assume it couldn't possibly be true.

      The pay thing came out later, and by that point I was believing the reports and pictures of pay stubs without spending hours on my own research.

      So, while it is true that this is not what he stood trial for, and the sentence was inappropriate, there was PLENTY of motivation to look at before screaming "anti-semitism" and corruption.

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    2. Nu, but who cares it-was only goyim who were suffering.
      And who cares what's going on in Rechnitz's old age homes. He supports olam Hatorah!

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    3. Misha, your comment doesn't make much sense. It's possible the conditions weren't great at that plant. It's perfectly reasonable for you to decide not to buy or eat the food from there.
      If the govt decided to bring him up on unrelated charges because they were as annoyed as you were about this other thing, that is by definition a form of corruption.

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    4. Student v: On the contrary... Your analysis explains my ambivalence perfectly. I am embarrassed that my fellow Jew was capable of such behavior. I am embarrassed that so many others think the issue is a minor one to simply wallpaper over, that his victimization is enough to imply he's a hero. Or that the only way they could be prejudiced against Moshe Rubashkin is antisemitism, and not because his behavior was reprehensible. There is something nice to the end of an abuse of justice. And something ugly to the whole story to feel very ashamed about. I feel both.

      I think that makes more sense than the more 2D responses one finds in both the magazines on the above newsstands, or those of liberal Jews on the attack.

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    5. Rechnitz's business model is buying homes with problems and fixing them.
      Of course he'll show up on such websites.

      As for rubashkin, he was acquitted of labor violations in state court.

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    6. Micha,

      I agree with you to a certain extent, but from the very beginning there was something arbitrary about the government's pursuit of Rubashkin. Illegal immigrants? Please. If the government was serious about arresting illegal immigrant workers, it could have raided any random major vegetable plant in southern California. Why did it target Agriprocessors? And how upset should we get upset at Rubashkin when hiring illegals is par for the course in California. Indeed, people justify it by saying no Americans will do such jobs.

      I know you are upset about conditions at the plant, but the fact is that the raid was over illegal immigration, not poor conditions. And it seems strange to me that the government all of a sudden decided to care about this topic. Someone in the Justice Department probably decided he could make a name for himself through this case. I'm not saying it was anti-Semitism, but I am saying there is was an arbitrariness element to the government's targeting of Rubashkin.

      By the way, I suggest you read "Three Felonies a Day" by Harvey Silvergate for insight on how the Justice Department sometimes operates. It isn't always yashar.

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    7. I don't see the arbitrariness. You have a family that owned two textile mills, both closed amid allegations of major safety violations. They buy a slaughterhouse, and it racks up violations and fines with both Iowa-OSHA and federal ("the") OSHA. The DART rates are absurdly high. Then you catch wind that all the malfeasance may not even be reported, because you are talking about illegal immigrants. Wouldn't any prosecutor take interest?

      As for who tipped off the government, that's easy. The union that wanted in. But again, going the route of focusing on the arbitrariness of the prosecution, or the ulterior motives of the union, or of PETA, are a distraction.

      Two wrongs don't make a right! The bottom line is that no matter how he was treated, Rubashkin was guilty of pretty heinous crimes. His face shouldn't be gracing magazine covers like we're proud of him.

      This is only possible because the magazines are organs of communities that pursue frumkeit, rather than ehrlachkeit.

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    8. MiMedinat HaYam: No he wasn't acquitted of labor violations in state court. Where did you get that from?

      The only thing he was charged with in Iowa State court was counts of child labor, and he wasn't acquitted, they were dismissed without prejudice (meaning: without any future implication of guilt or innosence). In fact, now that it's possible again for him to serve time for those violations, he is still illegible to stand trial for them.

      But I have no idea what general statement you're talking about.

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    9. Micha, I agree that his face does not belong on the front pages and I agree that two wrongs don't make a right. I don't agree that he was guilty of heinous crimes, but since this is a side point, I won't pursue it. Your main point is accurate. We shouldn't be treating him as a hero.

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  4. Unfortunately the economics of periodicals is not so simple. If yo don't have a lot of products to sell or a strong advertising base then you only have expenses. But I agree that it would be a good thing! BezH

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  5. You seem not to know the details of the Rubashkin story.

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  6. To at least some degree you're confusing the cart and the horse. Part of the reason there are only extremist fundamentalist weekly magazines is because the Orthodox community has shifted the readership/market in that direction. This is especially true of the movers and shakers of the community. It's not all a one way phenomenon, but unless you acknowledge it you're just going to launch a failed magazine.

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  7. A hurdle to overcome is that MOs already read secular sources for the news & aren't demanding more, as opposed to Hareidim who'll only read their own and buy up what's out there for them.

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  8. Shabbat Shalom, R' Natan. You will be either pleased or dismayed to know that Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky made a public statement about the Rubashkin madness, something to the effect of what you said: nice guy but he did wrong and this is a chillul Hashem.

    To be honest, I myself have a far less charitable view than you. Not only do I think this attitude is meet with indifference by our leaders here in Lakewood as well as elsewhere, it is enabled. The face of haredi society presented by Mishpacha, Ami and Cross-Currents apologists is very, very far from reality. (Read Yated for the unfiltered sewage.)

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  9. There is definitely a need for a more Centrist, or MO-oriented, weekly glossy magazine.

    Is there a dati leumi equivalent to these magazines in Israel? If so, perhaps they could begin by having it translated each week into English, and adding a few US-oriented weekly features?

    Or perhaps someone one in Israel could fund the creation of a Religious Zionist-oriented weekly (including articles about both the US and Israel), which they might see as a way of encouraging aliyah among Orthodox Jews?

    Another consideration with such magazines is that they should be unafraid to examine difficult issues in our communities, while at the same time containing enough inspiring material to convey an overall positive view of frum life. Current magazines are sometimes so focused on negative aspects that they might turn off people who are not yet completely committed to Orthodoxy and are reading the magazines as a way of learning more and beginning to find their way in the frum world.

    In my view, although Ami has a charedi outlook, it is still subtly more moderate than many charedim--for example, frum businesspeople are given a lot of space in each issue (implying business careers are a worthy pursuit for frum men), women involved in public activism, academia or business are regularly profiled, and Modern Orthodox Jews regularly appear in their pages in interviews or otherwise. I agree, however, that a magazine is sorely needed that would be based on the outlook and needs of more Centrist and zionist Orthodox Jews.

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    1. >Is there a dati leumi equivalent to these magazines in Israel?
      There was. It stopped printing for lack of readers.

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    2. Harry's blog today discusses this.

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  10. The Jewish Link in Bergen County is probably a good example of a local paper that fills this void (and it's weekly). But still has the same quacks and tzedakas advertising.
    --Bergen County fan

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    1. The Jewish Link also mainly re-publishes newsletter items and press releases from local day schools and other Jewish institutions. Its few editorials often have a RWMO bent. It perhaps fills a void, but not the one mentioned here.

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    2. You clearly haven't read the Link in awhile. While it still contains a lot of local day school boosterism (in the back section of the paper), it also demonstrates serious journalistic chops.

      The Link was at the forefront of the Mahwah Eruv controversy and its primary, on-the-scene research and reporting had a lot to do with exposing the town's true intentions, and bringing about real policy change.

      The essays and divrei Torah (including those occasionally by my son) are also first-rate. All in all it's a wonderful and excellent publication.

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  11. You are aware that in the most recent Jewish Action edition there was an exceedingly praiseful article of Chareidi publishing Behemoths (namely Artscroll) with virtually no criticism of its style or lack of rational content?

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    1. JA is just as complacent as the charedi papers.
      And by the way, artscroll is a major subcontractor of the OU.

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  12. Ami magazine's interview with the pedophile Nechemia Weberman's defense attorney - but not with the attorney for the prosecution!

    This is the big one because the victims can't opt out. Unfortunately, the centrist orthodox are hardly better on the issue.

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  13. The problem lies with circulation and money. First of all - if the audience is in any way open to the internet, then a paper publication is redundant. Secondly, there are resources that cover the spectrum you talk of. "Times of Israel" regularly carries op-eds from Lipman, Lopes Cardozo, Sacks etc. as well as more 'right wing' opinions. It is regularly decried as too Leftist, too Zionist, too supportive of Right-Wing voices (in the Op-Eds) and so it must be doing something right. Seek and you shall find.

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  14. Rabbi Nosson Tzvi Finkel:
    “I am not against secular knowledge as such, where there is no question of apikorsus.
    It is the same as materiel wealth; it is wonderful to possess. Problems only arise when one comes to believe that riches or secular knowledge makes one into a superior person.
    CHRONOLOGY: Rabbi Nosson Tzvi Finkel was known as (the Alter of Slabodka) was in born in year 1849 CE and died in year 1927 CE.
    SOURCE: Remembering Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetsky by Rabbi Nisson Wolpin, Jewish Observer magazine, May 1986, page 21

    Rabbi Mordechai Gifter:
    “We teach general studies, and they should be studied properly.
    One should try to excel at whatever he does.”

    SOURCE: Rav Gifter: The Vision Fire and Impact of an American Born Gadol (chapter 23, page 288) by Rabbi Yechiel Spero, June 2011, Mesorah Publications, ISBN-10: 1422610977 ISBN #: 9781422610978

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  15. Sefer Pele Yoetz, Perek Cetibah [writing] paragraph 1 of 3:
    An unmotivated Jew [literally, person] who has not learned the skill of writing correctly in Hebrew [literally, the sacred tongue] AND IN THE LOCAL LANGUAGE [literally, foreign language], he will be covered with shame and disgrace.
    CHRONOLOGY: Rabbi Eliezer Papo lived from 1785 CE to 1826 CE.

    Rabbi Samson Rafael Hirsch:
    “Rabbi Hirsch’s positive view of the study of secular subjects was not limited to science and history.”
    MICROBIOGRAPHY: Rabbi Shimshon Rafael Hirsch was born 1808 CE, died 1888 CE, this great Talmudic scholar was the father of Orthodox Judaism in Modern Germany.
    He was a Chief Rabbi, Member of Parliament and an important author.
    SOURCE: Rabbi Samson Rafael Hirsch by Rabbi Eliyahu Meir Klugman (chapter 17, pages 204 to 205), 1996 CE, ArtScroll History Series, Brooklyn NY 11232

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  16. Rabbeinu Yonah commentary on Mishnah, tractate Avot, chapter 3, last paragraph:
    The study of Mathematics [Chachmat HaCheshbone] sharpens the [mind of] a man.

    CHRONOLOGY: Rabbeinu Yonah of Gerona died in Toledo, Spain, in 1263 CE.

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  17. I am willing to step up to the plate, but the community does not want that, I learned much to my chagrin. When I started working for one bi-weekly, that later became a weekly, the goal was exactly what you described. And then the moneybags and rightwingers came in and turned it into just about exactly what you want to get away from. Polemics, Islamophobia, and more advertorials that you can shake a stick at.

    So if someone is willing to fund a multifaceted magazine that serves a wide swath of the Modern Orthodox community and other denominations, like Conservative and Reform Jews, without eliminating females, with good grammar, without wonder rabbi ads and kishufmakherin, I am game... but it ain't ever gonna happen because the money that is needed to do can't come from the people who want it the most, because the big bucks belong to the other side.

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  18. I disagree. I see the need for a normal Haredi magazine. Not an MO/classical/RZ magazine. I want to see a Haredi magazine that will push all of the buttons.

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    1. I don't think such a magazine is likely to emerge. Instead, however, if there was a MO/RZ oriented magazine that also had room for moderate charedi voices (like R' Adlerstein?), then it could actually have a positive effect on both communities.

      Personally, I am Centrist Orthodox but I enjoy reading Ami and don't have a problem with 90+% of what they publish. It's only every few weeks that there's something in an article I really disagree with -- like something anti-Zionist or about secular education.

      I agree with other posters that there was nothing inappropriate about celebrating Rubashkin's release--there was a real crime but it was something that deserved probation or a couple years, not the kind of multi-decades sentence normally reserved for murderers and rapists, and the crime might not have even occurred anyway without the prosecutorial misconduct in the case.

      That said, it would be nice to have a magazine with a wider hashkafic range (though the "open" orthodox would need to be excluded), and with more articles about making aliyah, trends and major personalities and rabbis in the RZ/MO world, etc.

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    2. Search amazon.com for der veker for a Yiddish language publication with a broad range and non agenda oriented editorial policy.

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  19. R. Natan,

    I agree with your sentiments, but on one point I must respectfully disagree. The OU and Jewish Action are no longer reliable vehicles of the Centrist hashkafa, having long ago veered into the Chareidi Wanabee camp. A Torah-adherent Jew has to be ever vigilant about steering off into Chareidiism or Openism, and such would be the challenge of any magazine catering to the shvil hazahav of Torah-true Judaism.

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  20. Interesting that you mention Skver and Rubashkin in the same article. I presume I'm not the only one struck by the irony of SMR getting a hero's welcome in skver, the only place on earth an attempted murderer is lauded as a tzaddik

    nb. Jewish Action is great, but as someone correctly observed above, anyone who is content with secular sources of news aint gonna pay money for a Jewish version.

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  21. Shame on you Natan, that you gravitate to the lowly and cling to dirt. What Rubashkin did or didn't do is immaterial. The rejoicing and spontaneous celebrations came unsolicited. They were celebrations of Jews happy regarding the simcha of another Jew. If you don't feel any simcha it's because you are out of touch with your fellow Jews. Your passing judgment on Rubashkin is despicable and shows the true colors of the hater you are. Anyone not subscribing to your rationalist ideology is automaticly a ganiv and a bad person. Natan you are lowly indeed and continue to stoop lower and lower in your drive for revenge against your "fellow" chareidi Jews.

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    1. Shame on YOU, "Modern_Orthodox," for your nasty comments and poor reading skills. Nobody here is claiming that one should not be happy that his sentence was shortened. The point is only that a criminal shouldn't be celebrated as a hero. If you can't recognize that point, then your moral compass is severely flawed.

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    2. It's also possible that not feeling joy is due to knowing Rubashkin and his siblings are horrible רשעים who all deserve to rot in prison.

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    3. Truly_Orthodox, I agree with you 100%.

      The hatred directed by some against anyone questioning the hero's welcome given to a criminal is truly shocking.

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    4. Avi, horrible resha'im? Aren't you going a bit too far?

      Delete
    5. The celebrations had nothing to do with recognizing Rubashkin's character. Theses were celebrations recognizing the correction of a grave injustice. It just so happens that Rubashkin happened to be at the center of these celebrations. Make no mistake - all ritual slaughter in America was under attack. The sneaky feds did the whole initial raid and subsequent destroying of his Kosher plant all under the guise of "law".

      Delete
    6. So it's just pure simcha at another Jews wellbeing is it?
      Tell me, how many Jews are in prison in the USA? And how many did you celebrate their release?

      Delete
    7. Difference is this was a clear correction of a miscarriage of justice. Incidentally, it also was a referendum on the government's mishandling of of justice.

      Delete
    8. @Modern_Orthodox
      Long time no speak. In general your comments have low credibility because while you call yourself "Modern_Orthodox" the byline of your blogger profile states "The chachmei hatalmud didn’t put scientific information into the Talmud for vain reasons and if they did they must have had a very good reason. (and it wasn’t to write a science book)." In other words you're a zealot faking as an M_O.

      Shame on you Natan ... Your passing judgment on Rubashkin is despicable ... etc. etc.

      Don't single out "Natan". No commentor disagrees with him as strongly as you. Such that your criticism also directs itself to a sizeable group of commentors within a certain range of opinions. And the whole group disagrees with you.

      Delete
  22. Let's not forget Ami's whitewashing of Lev Tahor.

    ReplyDelete
  23. http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/the-backstory-of-sholom-mordechai-rubashkin/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Written by a Chabad rabbi! Clearly completely impartial.

      Delete
    2. Everyone from far-left Nancy Pelosi to right-wing Orrin Hatch was supporting his release. Dozens of congresspeople, and several former Attorneys General were among those supporting his cause. I suggest you read their material (including this letter signed by dozens of judges, prosecutors, law professors, etc.) before mocking this issue any further.
      http://2r72hl2o7aau2n03cc3evb5b.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/0.18184638463_2147341.pdf

      Delete
    3. Mr. Slifkin, it would seem that if a Chabad rabbi is not allowed to write about Reb Sholom Mordechai, all your writings on the Charedi community should be discredited in the same fashion, no?

      Delete
  24. The picture of the young boy posing with a headless girl is really spooky!
    --Yehudah P.

    ReplyDelete
  25. How To Save Orthodox Judaism?

    Shut down this blog.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Regarding a Centrist/MO magazine I agree, but the community is smaller, in terms of making it economical. Perhaps internet publishing can help, and one can expand YU's "Torah to Go" given out to shuls, with some additional features, similar to Chabad's L'Chaim publication.

    The current Jewish Action, incidentally, has a feature on Charedi journalism.

    I don't know if anyone noticed this, but I was pleasantly surprised to see a recent Mishpacha article on Israeli summer tourist attractions include The Biblical Museum of Natural History with a picture of its director.

    ReplyDelete
  27. It's notable that one of the commenters above mentions the Jewish Link of New Jersey as a possible “savior.”

    Several weeks back, a meeting took place at the offices of the Link to discuss just this possibility: launching a "modern" Orthodox magazine with a Torah Im Derech Eretz perspective. The goal of this magazine is to produce excellent writing—longform journalistic pieces that investigate, inform and inspire, along with shorter pieces that engage, educate and entertain—all within a framework of Torah values.

    Content will include profiles, history, fiction, recurring features—such as translated excerpts from older seforim and profiles of Jewish communities around the world. Shorter content would include book reviews, humor, and even single-panel cartoons. The overarching goal of the magazine is to produce appealing, thoughtful pieces that would enrich and elevate the frum community, from the secular to the yeshivish.

    While the MO world often sees the Chareidi world in monolithic stereotypes, there exist plenty of Chareidim, particularly in America but also increasingly in Israel, who are open to fresh perspectives. The key is to be unflinchingly loyal to Torah and to Truth wherever it leads you. That is attractive to (almost) anyone.

    The chief hurdle is financial. For such a magazine to be successful it would need both top-down and bottom-up support. Top-down from investors who see this as a worthy project and won't necessarily expect a financial return on their investment. Bottom-up from subscribers such as those who tune into this blog, and who will be willing to buy a $35-$50 annual subscription for themselves, plus a couple more as gifts for family and friends. The magazine does not need to produce a windfall for its publishers, but it has to eventually (in true TIDE spirit) support itself.

    Ultimately, the success of this project—the saving of Orthodox Judaism, as R. Slifkin would have it—is in your hands.

    ReplyDelete
  28. SMR pleaded not guilty causing the long sentence.2) he used $2,000,000 in public funds in lawyers

    ReplyDelete
  29. Rav mendel kessin in his utube drasha on SMR also claims he is innocent... i tried to leave a comment but he no longer allows. 2) i see that SMR's wife is now speaking at the ):חספד for rav steinman זצ"ל

    ReplyDelete
  30. The kosher magazines tend to include puff pieces (everyone named is wonderful, we can never say anything critical, not even that Rubashkin was guilty of fraud). The level of the writing is often low quality (the fiction is often written on a junior high school grade level, has contrived plots, no character development, never any ambiguous meanings). The ads are often disgusting (Pesach in fancy hotels, luxury items).
    As a working mom who pays tuition, I can't afford to buy them even if I wanted them. They are one more item some people who get tuition breaks "need" to buy, while those of us who pay full tuition can't.
    I'd love to see a normal kosher magazine. But who will pay for it?

    ReplyDelete
  31. Is the free market incapable of generating the type of publication you, and apparently many others, want to buy? Or are there too few such others to make it work economically?

    About our relationship with the American legal system:
    I see grave problems with the attitude that discounts all legal action against any Jews in one's camp as being hate-driven. People can cry wolf too many times. I guess the idea of always being a victim could reinforce group solidarity but what about truth? Were we put here to dodge the law successfully while feeling ever-so-virtuous, or to do the objectively right thing?

    ReplyDelete
  32. I looked at a copy of Mishpochoh in the dentist's waiting room. Yep, it's extemist @#$%. It glorified the draft dodgers in the East End during the Second World War and missed the irony of them being considered lunatics. There is a woman's magazine published with Mehor Rishon that is thought provoking and has fashion pictures, but not longerie. It seems a more reasonable read.

    ReplyDelete
  33. A few posters posted what i think is the most obvious point. Charedim buy Charedi magazines because they feel everything else is prohibited but if the MO are fine with Time and Newsweek then a free quarterly Jewish Action magazine is about as far as people will go. I look forward to Rabbi Slifkins response

    ReplyDelete
  34. I disagree with the practice of not including women in pictures, but in the interest of historical fact, there have been many eras where Jewish society was much more extreme on issues of modesty than now. (Do you think your typical Eastern European shtetl would have approved of glossy, glamorous wig ads? There were Jewish towns where men and women wouldn't even walk on the same side of the street.) I'm not approving of it, just stating some historical facts. Marc Shapiro has written about this on his blog.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Going back to the original post: 1. why not just read books?
    2. If you don't feel like reading a book, and you don't want to read a secular magazine, there are other alternatives. In the biggest American cities there are Jewish newspapers like New York's Jewish Week.

    ReplyDelete

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