From JTA.org: The former editor of a Florida Jewish newspaper is suing The Miami Herald for defamation.
Dwight Owen Schweitzer, who served as editor and publisher of the now-defunct Jewish Star Times, which was owned by The Miami Herald, says the Herald defamed him in two “false and misleading stories” published in December 2002. The stories reported that Schweitzer was charged with misdemeanor battery for an incident involving an altercation with a prostitute at Schweitzer’s home.
Jeffrey Wells writes: There's a kind of low-key genius in Luke Ford's "The Producers: Profiles in Frustration" (iUniverse), a just-released book composed of question-and-answer interviews Ford did with 68 producers. It's in his decision not to write a damn thing about who these people are or what any of it finally means. He lets them say it, and lets us draw our conclusions, and that's that.
This is hardly an original approach, but it sure gives you food for thought and then some. In a way you can almost feel THE PRODUCERS: PROFILES IN FRUSTRATION taking flight inside you after you've finished reading it, like a bird. Because it's not just about "producers," but the life force inside the practitioners of this profession.
Ford, an ace-level gossiper and story-teller (his website, www.lukeford. net, has lots of telling Hollywood profiles, including one about me), has, in any event, chosen his subjects well.
Today's the Day. He recently befriended several other Christian men who share his belief that masturbation is sinful, and together they've pledged not to "defile themselves" for 40 days -- the same amount of time the Bible says Satan tempted Jesus in the desert. They encourage each other to remain steadfast by e-mail and instant messages.
"I'm only a few days into it, but I'm really seeing how used to it that my body really is, and how I am addicted to it," Rick writes in a blog chronicling his quest. "As difficult as it is, I'm contending not only for myself, but the men that are on this fast with me, to be strong, and beat this addiction. Let's do it guys! We can be holy."
Menahem Wecker writes: We have another scandal in the Jewish community. It is not a scandal because we know anything happened. I have no idea what the facts are, and for that reason I won’t link the name, in case the person in question is innocent. But that we are sitting here asking ourselves what his status is, is a tremendous chilul hashem.
Some that didn’t make the cut: The Bobover, Rabbi Willig, Rabbi A Schechter, Rabbi A. Feldman, Rabbi A. Kaufman (Waterbury), Rabbi JJ Schachter, Rabbi H. Lookstein, Rabbi Y. Krinsky, Rabbi K. Auman, Rabbi Y. Blau, Rabbi S. Carmy, Rabbi M. Kotler, Rabbi A. Kotler, Rabbi D. Feinstein, Rabbi E. Greenblatt, Rabbi A. Shafran, Rabbi M. Klein, Rabbi Y. Abbadi, Rabbi J.D. Bleich, Rabbi S. Greenberg, Rabbi Y. Belsky, Rabbi M. Heinemann, Rabbi T.H. Wienreb, Rabbi M.D. Tendler, Rabbi R. Feinstein, Rabbi E. Feldman...
Menahem Butler IMs Chakira: WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING WRITING Rabbi Hershel “The Monkey” Schachter U HAVE NO RESPECT FOR GEDOLIM!
i'm sorry, but i cant speak to you anymore. u crossed the line with this post. please dont IM me again
Chakira tells Luke: ppl were mad pissed at me. they were telling me im going to hell
We are introduced to Mendel, the son of an Orthodox rabbi. Mendel is in every way the model of a good Jewish boy, except for one thing: he loves Rock ‘n’ Roll, and he knows deep in his heart that even if he follows his father’s example and goes to rabbinical school, his true passion is rock. When we see Mendel, he is 8, wearing a yarmulke and over-sized 70s headphones, listening to the hard rock sound of England’s hardest band, The Rip-Roar Boys.
Mark Silk was named the founding director of the Center and adjunct associate professor of religion at Trinity in July of 1996. He is also editor of Religion in the News magazine. He joined the Center from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where he worked for nine years as a reporter, editorial writer, and columnist. He holds a bachelor's degree and a doctorate in medieval history from Harvard University, where he taught from 1983 to 1985. Silk also edited the Boston Review from 1985 to 1987. Silk is the author of Unsecular Media: Making News of Religion in America (1995) and Spiritual Politics: Religion and American Society Since World War II (1988). He co-wrote, with his late father, New York Times economics columnist Leonard Silk, The American Establishment (1989) and Making Capitalism Work (1997).
Is getting fired a good excuse for standing up a dinner appointment? I left my home an hour early for a 6:30 p.m. dinner appt. I wanted to be on time. The girl got fired and called me at 6:12 p.m. saying she was too upset to make dinner. I picked up the message at the restaurant at 6:30 p.m. and turned around and drove home, arriving at 7:20 p.m. I lost two hours of my life. I even took a shower and changed into nice clothes before I left.
Michael Kennedy Amnon Marty Mordecai Smith (Luke's REAL No. 1 Fan) writes: "What exactly is the point in a man busting his balls to become a success in life if he can't use his success to have some fun?"
Marty Kraar. He was head of CJF (Council of Jewish Federations) for ten years. He was at the end of a marriage. He had a sexual affair with a woman in her 20s, Liz Hollander, who worked under him at the CJF. After he ended their affair, she threatened a lawsuit in 1999 against Kraar and the Federation (spearheaded by her New Jersey father, Sandy, a lawyer with The Jewish Agency). News coverage was slow. Liz moved to Israel and had at least one more affair with a married man (in Marty's Israel's office, broke up a family south of Beersheva with four kids) and then a relationship with a Holocaust survivor who worked for the Jewish World Service. In most, if not all, of the press coverage, only Marty, not the woman, got named. Marty remarried. Liz apparently resented that. Apparently, the Federation gave her about $60,000 to kill a lawsuit.
David Twersky (head of MetroWest Jewish News at the time, now called New Jersey Jewish News) says: "Gary Rosenblatt wrote a signed editorial about it. Marty was furious. He said to me that I had to write a response. I wouldn't do it. The woman involved, her parents lived in Metro-West [the district of Twersky's Jersey Jewish News]. I thought there was no point in dragging them through the mud on this. There's no higher goal here. Marty Kraar's done. He's not going to become the head of this new entity UJA. I can't save him or do him in. It's been aired in a gigantic Jewish forum. If I go after this any further, I am going to do to that particular family what Philip Roth did to the parents [Patimkins in the novela] of the girl in Goodbye, Columbus. There are still people in my synagogue who do not forgive Phil Roth."
From a profile of James Taranto: Yet as he’s risen steadily in his profession, Taranto has remained, by his friends’ account, much the same geek he was back in his L.A. adolescence. “I imagine he must be very lonely, as are many talented writers I’ve come across,” says Laurel Touby of Mediabistro. “Regular people have trouble relating to him. I recall hosting parties, and women would later ask me, ‘Who is that guy?’ because he was so intense. He’s a force, a bigger-than-life brain at a party. People are used to idle chitchat, and he would be in there with serious issues. Girls can’t wait to get out of there.”
Questions and areas I would like to see addressed:
1) How a sexual predator could have been allowed to prey on women for so long in the Orthodox community.
2) Why so many in the Rabbinical community and in leadership positions in Orthodox women's groups chose to protect Rabbi Mordechai Tendler instead of his vulnerable victims.
3) How post-Lanner, there is still nowhere ano no one for victims of abuse to turn to. There is an utter failure by our leadership to create any effective mechanism to deal with sexual predators operating inside the Orthodox community.
4) Why people missed and ignored all the warning signs.
5) Why people in the Orthodox community once again chose to silence the victims and protect a sexual predator.
6) There is a side issue involving alleged alterations/editing of his grandfather's tshuvot by Rabbi Mordechai Tendler in subsequent printings (the real reason his grandfather's family have nothing to do wih him and are quite angry with him). Even the slightest changes have great significance in the Orthodox world.
7) Rabbi Mordechai Tendler is not the only sexual predator who has been promoted as a champion of women's issues in the Orthdox community despite the knowledge of community leaders and Rabbonim that these so-called "champions of women" are preying on the most vulnerable in our community.
8) The pressing need for a leadership change not just in the Rabbanute but also in many of our community organizations that failed the vulnerable in our community. It didn't happen after Lanner (2 people left the OU and several others were shifted out of decision making roles regarding NCSY) but Rabbi Mordechai Tendler (and his protectors and enablers) once again demonstrates the real need for a "regime change" in the Orthodox community.
The main union of Modern Orthodox rabbis is investigating allegations of sexual harassment against the scion of a prominent rabbinic family, the Forward has learned.
Officials at the Rabbinical Council of America, an organization representing more than 1,000 Orthodox clergymen, confirmed that the organization is examining sexual harassment allegations against Rabbi Mordecai Tendler. He is a son of Yeshiva University professor Rabbi Moshe Tendler, a leading Orthodox arbiter of bioethical issues, and a grandson of the late Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, the Orthodox world's most respected religious arbiter for much of the 20th century.
Lisa On The Face writes: For five years, Shabbatot veHagim followed the lives of a group of ordinary Israelis in their thirties (plus one teenage girl, played by the sublime Romi Abulafia), living in Tel Aviv and traveling the psychological/emotional journey with which we're all familiar - of gaining self knowledge, finding and losing and finding love, searching for happiness and personal fulfillment, making many mistakes along the way and not always learning from those mistakes. The only American TV series I can think of that comes close to Shabbatot veHagim is Thirtysomething, but it's not nearly as good - not as deeply felt, not as well-acted and not so completely and utterly real.
Jewlicious reports: So uh… we’re flattered and all. But we’re also kind of, well concerned. I mean, why are you all here? What is so damned compelling about the ramblings of a bunch of nobodies? I guess that’s what blogging is all about. It applies in general to the redefinition of the relationship between traditional media and the public. In our case it also says something about the dynamic between the Jewish public and the traditional community controlled media. Let’s face it, Bubby and Zayde’s Jewish weekly newspaper is simply no longer relevant to a large cross section of its constituency.
Jewlicious reports: Tatts and Jews - two things that, despite traditional prohibitions, are beginning to become more and more related. I mean the idea of Jews getting tattoos is still considered novel enough that the topic is persistently newsworthy. It has been noted that many secular Jewish parents who don’t mind if their kids keep kosher or go to synagogue, freak out at the idea of a tattoo. A lot of that has to do with the uncomfortable associations that tattoos have with the holocaust as well as the popular myth that Jews with tattoos cannot be buried in a Jewish cemetery.
Jonathan Mark of The Jewish Week writes: Each of us has a special relationship with someone in the Jewish community, or a special respect for someone, and, like O'Henry's story of the cop who didn't want to arrest the old friend he met under a street light, we'd prefer that another journalist do what has to be done. There are limits to the benefit of being an outsider and an alien within the community. The best of us are in and of the community. That's where we get a lot of our stories and where we learn about the life and issues that our newspapers should be covering. You have to pick your spots about when and whom to jeopardize.
If in the big and tough world of Jewish journalism not one other journalist can do the story, if not a single publisher chooses to publish the story, if no members of an organization care about abuses of leadership or management, then Jewish community doesn't deserve to have the story done, and our community can die a corrupt and dull death.
We should be more in alliance as a journalistic community. If a story can't be published in New York it should be published in Philadelphia or Phoenix, with a byline or without a byline, or on a blog if that be the only venue. There's no reason any story shouldn't get out, somewhere. If a Jewish leader wants to pressure a journalist, fine. We ought to be able to be pressured and not give a damn. But if any one journalist, not backed up by his publisher, can't stand up under personal or financial pressure, also fine. I understand. Another newspaper or journalist surely can be found to step up and get the story out.
If we invested as much energy in figuring out how to share stories and support each other, we'd have more power than any Jewish leader.
And if we weren't so patronizing and condescending to the idea that we have of our readers, if all of us were instead the kind of newspapers that earned the love and devotion of our readers, and showed on a consistent basis that we love and are respectful and devoted to our readers in return, than no Jewish leader would dare pressure us because we'd have the Jewish people on our side and no leader could stand up to that.
But how many of us can say we really love, respect and are devoted to the Jewish people, both as journalists and in our private life? How many of us can use the word "love" in conjunction with Jewish journalism, and keep a straight face? How many of us can say we are loved by the people? When the readers believe that they are loved by us, and that we understand them, that we ARE them, then they'll trust us when we write about what's unpleasant because the reader will know, from years of trust, that what we're exposing or investigating is being done for the holiest of reasons. On the other hand, when so many of our week to week stories are silly and unsophisticated, we lose that essential trust and reservoir of good faith that we need to call upon in a tough spot, or when under pressure. We've convinced readers and leaders, who read us regularly, that our papers are silly and unsophisticated and alien, and therefore can be pushed around.
It reminds me of a story from some old Democratic convention. A rally had started on the floor for a candidate, with a marching band roving through the aisles and placards waving in the air. The chairman boss of the convention began to gavel the convention to order: "Will the guests of the convention please come to order!" Bangs the gavel. "Will the guests of the convention please come to order!" Everything quieted down. Then one guy in the balcony screamed into the quiet -- "Guests, hell! We're the people!" And the arena exploded with excitement and the boss with the gavel didn't stand a chance.
The trouble is, not enough Jewish journalists today are "the people," but are "guests" at the convention. Imagine walking into the Wall Street Journal and declaring yourself a journalist who doesn't understand or know anything about business, or doesn't care about the future of business. You'd be laughed at.
Imagine walking into The New Yorker and telling them, without shame, that you never heard of Fitzgerald because he wrote 70 years ago, or that you don't like reading. You'd be told, "Kid, this isn't your kind of job."
A sports reporter would be laughed at if he walked into The Sporting News and said he didn't like going to games, or didn't know who Bob Feller was, or about the Giants-Colts sudden death game in the 1950s. Imagine trying to cover any team and not being conversant with that team's history. Yet, aside from the Gary Rosenblatts, JJ Goldbergs and some others out there, many Jewish journalists and editors, especially the younger ones who are often highly assimilated, couldn't tell you who Achad Ha'Am was, or who Jabotinsky was, or who Itzik Manger was. They don't go to shuls -- of any denomination -- and they don't send their kids to Jewish schools. They don't know Israel's landscape and they don't know Jewish neighborhoods, other than their own, if indeed they even live in one. They couldn't tell you anything about chassidus or the Lubavitcher rebbe except "outreach" and the messianic crap of the 1990s.
The rebbe was arguably among the most important rabbis in the last 500 years, let alone the last century. And yet these journalists couldn't write one paragraph, not one paragraph, on the Lubavitcher rebbe's ideas and policies in the 1940s, 50s, 60s, 70s or 80s. They couldn't write or refer or understand the echo of most any Jewish idea that happened the day before they showed up for their first day of work in a Jewish newspaper. But these same journalists walk in like the cock of the barnyard and want to write about the Jewish people, the rabbis, the Jewish arts.
But they're like sportswriters who don't love the game, and it shows in their writing and in their editing.
People get into Jewish journalism because it's journalism, but they don't know the team, and they don't know the fans. The don't know where the bodies are buried and they don't know where the treasure is buried.
You look at the choice of stories, the absence of savvy, the absence of communal memory, the many writers who cover Jewish communities as if the writer just landed from Mars, and you tell me: Are we the guests or are we the people?
Answer that question honestly and you'll understand why many Jewish newspapers and Jewish journalists are insecure.
When all of us, not just a few of us, are as immersed in community and know as much about the community as Malcolm does, and have cared about the community as long as Malcolm has -- going back to his teenage days in the Soviet Jewry movement -- and are as sure of our place in the inner Jewish community as much as Malcolm is, and are as personally invested in our synagogues, in our neighborhoods and in our schools as Malcolm is, and if our readers knew that, and if Jewish leaders knew that, then we could deal with any Jewish leader with so much Jewish pride and dignity that pressure would be powerless.
Dr. Susan Marilyn Block is a nice Jewish girl, who talks about sex on late-night cable TV.
Raised in Philadelphia, bat mitzvahed and confirmed at Temple Har Zion, she credits Rabbi Gerald Wolpe and Rabbi Ivan Caine of Society Hill Synagogue with inspiring her to convey serious topics theatrically, and to think critically. Her "Dr. Susan Block Show," which has inspired an Internet site (www.drsusanblock.com), a book ("The Ten Commandments of Pleasure") and two HBO specials, combines elements of both. As Block, who has her doctorate in philosophy, vamps suggestively, she answers callers' questions on sexual issues.
It is a sad day in Jewish journalism when the Journal profiles a woman who soft-pedals pornography on cable access television ("From Esther to... Dr. Suzy?" July 18). For Robert Eshman to call Dr. Susan Block, "a nice Jewish girl from a dedicated Conservative Jewish upbringing," undermines the values that my movement, and dare I say, all of Judaism, holds to be holy.
Being Jewish is more than coincidentally being born Jewish, and it is more than going to Hebrew school. It is thinking like a Jew and, much more importantly, acting like a Jew. Block does neither, and Eshman, along with his editors, act irresponsibly when they publish this type of drivel.
Dr. Suzy's husband Max was a notorious child pornographer in the 1970s. Then he met Suzy and converted to Judaism through the University of Judaism (C).
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach has appeared on Dr. Suzy's show twice and has warm relations with Dr. Suzy and her husband Max.
Today I learned there are criminal charges against Max for having sex with his daughter Danielle. He defends himself by saying that the relations only occurred after she was of legal age.
Max told me in 1999: "Susan and I try to reach out to children. We wanna get them as young as possible. Children love to watch Susan's show. We teach them about life and sex in a loving, gentle way."
Amnon Finkelstein, the hard-driving Israeli, is doing fine and hitting hard on chicks. He tells girls to feel the ridges on his head from his fall. I'm thinking of trying this line myself.
The couple were doing drugs and having sex when the accident occurred.
I say, he who hasn't done drugs and had sex and a big fall with one of his students, let him throw the first Torah scroll.
The girl suffered permanent brain damage and amnesia. She can't remember anything for weeks before and after the accident. She also has people feel the ridges on her head. She has no plans to sue.
Amnon may sue the UJ for the way they handled things. I guess the railing they were boffing against was faulty. Sounds like a good case to me. I hope he makes a million bucks. In this guilt-ridden uptight society of ours, it's getting so a University of Judaism administrator can't even do drugs and boff students without upsetting somebody.
Jonathan Mark of The Jewish Week writes: Two points on Yossi Klein Halevi. You can't bust Yossi for writing Loshon Hara about "Steinhartz" at New Jewish Times. Yossi was using a psudonym for the real individual, who was every bit as sleazy as described. That Yossi doesn't use the person's real name can only testify to Yossi's discretion, a remarkable kindness in this instance. You can't "loshon hara" someone if you hide that someone's identity.
Second, not all "scoops" are the same, and it's meaningless to hold Yossi to an arbitrary standard for what a writer should be writing. Knocking Yossi for not having scoops is like busting DiMaggio for not dating redheads. Give the man credit for what the man's done.
Let's go way back in time, even aside from his work at the Voice and New Jewish Times. In the mid-1980s, when I was senior editor at the Long Island Jewish World and Yossi was sending in pieces there, I remember some of his essays that foretold the intifadah when most everyone in Jewish journalism was still writing about the West Bank like it was Willy Wonka's. Yossi, better than anyone else, gave a clue that the West Bank was about to blow. In the Jewish World, and elsewhere, he wrote essays from Europe that were startling, journeys through the end of the old Eastern bloc, and the Europe we knew, or thought we knew. Over the years, he's written about the Jewish Defense League and the Soviet Jewry movement in ways that were a revelation, and before anyone else. He's been able to explore the souls of Jews, Christians and Moslems in Israel in stunning prose and reporting that ought to be studied -- proof that no one can write, or interview, about the landcape of the soul as well as he can. His analytical pieces in this current war have been consistently wise -- free of rant, party or predictability. In each of these areas he was either first, or as good as anyone in the ring. Just because he doesn't look for front page stories on schemes and scams within Jewish organizations and Jewish leadership (I'm glad that others do) doesn't mean Yossi ought to be questioned on not "breaking stories" in the simplest sense of the term. Instead, Yossi has broken through and illuminated every key Jewish turning point of the last 40 years, with a clear, distinctive writing style, a voice all his own. It's a tremendous loss for this book not to have had a serious conversation with Yossi about what Jewish journalism ought to be about.
Yeah, I'm his friend, as I'm friends with a lot of people in this book, and a lot of them have inspired me, but when his collected works are published it would be the first book I'd hand out in journalism class, Jewish or otherwise.
He replies: I don't remember having anything to do with any of the JNF stories, outside of office conversations. I may have spoken to Yossi at the time, perhaps to explain my understanding of the paper's position, but it was never within the realm of my responsibilities to veto or authorize a major investigative piece, or these kind of news items. Those responsibilities strictly belong to the managing editor and the editor-publisher, alone. So I doubt I chewed anyone out, as I was peripheral to Yossi's interaction with the paper.
But the idea that one paper publishes what another paper won't is why I don't think of any Jewish paper as being "in competition" with another. I think of the Forward and anyone else, in blog or paper, as brothers-in-arms, each of us better because of the other, just different pieces on the chessboard, but the same color. The idea that someone else would print what another won't creates a pressure on editors that offsets the many other pressures that are at work. Federation or not, each of our papers, and blogs, too, has someone, or something they don't want to touch, or choose not to go with after honest journalistic deliberation. But the more of us that are writing, the more likely the Great Story of the Jewish People will be told, somewhere. I actually hate it when anyone, particularly in Jewish journalism, thinks of Jewish papers as rivals to be undermined. That kind of thinking is in the interests of businessmen, not Jewish writers and journalists. The competition, as far as I'm concerned, are only those that don't read, don't care, don't write, and don't encourage. I don't remember the details of Yossi's experience, but for all my loyalty to The Jewish Week and respect for its choices, I'm only glad that he had other places to go and other success along the way.
Folks, in my view, it is bad form to ask for a link to your blog (unless you are a beautiful woman, than that form takes precedence over etiquette). But, if you have a particularly good entry, then please email that permalink to me and I will link it and your blog if I/Steven Weiss and the Elders see fit. I've just cleaned out about 20 deadlinks from the blogroll (anyone who has not updated in a couple of months or more or has announced they are closing their blog).
I don't cotton to these religious types who say that consensual sex outside of marriage is not immoral. Every major religious system says it is. Thus sayeth Your Moral Leader: Are you in or out of your religion? Judaism does not recognize a difference between a moral and a religious sin. There's no such thing as religion. Judaism dictates what is permitted and forbidden.
It's not often that New York's civic fathers can feel more upright and honest than their counterparts in other states. Corruption charges, accusations of sexual harassment, even of rape, pop up with such regularity that it's a wonder the newspapers don't list the latest market prices for buying an elected official.
Just now, however, with a jury watching surveillance videos of a senior judge accepting $US1000 ($1380) and a box of cigars to fix a trial, even New Yorkers can feel proud. All they need do is cast an eye across the Hudson River to neighbouring New Jersey, where that sum would be small potatoes indeed. In fact, by Joizee standards, it might even qualify as an honest transaction. In New York, at least the plaintiff secured the verdict he paid for.
Steve Dunleavy writes: August 20, 2004 -- FRIEDA HANIMOV, the lollapa looza of the Judge Garson trial, is very angry.
She's as angry as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.
Frieda will take the stand next week, but she spoke to me yesterday: "I want him to go to jail."
NY Daily News: Two women who were divorced before an allegedly crooked judge testified yesterday that the court was more like a clubhouse - for the judge and their husbands' lawyer.
"They were laughing so loud and talking about lunches and horse races," Sigal Levi said in Brooklyn Supreme Court, where a clerk and a court officer for Judge Gerald Garson are on trial for taking bribes from a crooked lawyer to steer cases to Garson.
Somebody I interviewed for my Jewish journalism book emailed me: "I think something is missing from your book: an interview with you. people are going to want to hear your motivation and hear your take on what you've uncovered. think about it."
So if you have a journalism background, professional clips, and have been following my interviews on this topic and would like to interview me for the final chapter in my book, please let me know. lukeford at comcast.net
I sat in the bar until 2 a.m. Friday persuading French journalist Christelle Laffin to convert to Orthodox Judaism. She said Orthodoxy held down women. I said no, Orthodoxy puts them on top, on a pedastal.
I was so sleep-deprived, I couldn't sleep until sunrise. Woke up at 9:15 a.m. Got to shul at 10:30 a.m. The cute security guard was there. I listed off all my sins to her. By the time I was finished, shul was finished. I didn't even set foot inside. I shmoozed with my friends, went to Kiddush.
The Professor says you can know you are a part of a community when people talk about you. He said I am now a part of the community.
"The most oft-updated site shop for Jewish kitsch and personal commentary in the blogosphere." -- Jewsweek Magazine "If you only have time for one Jewish blog, make it this one." -- Jewish Journal North of Boston
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