“Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom”

Thanks to National Public Radio magazine for the following:

A new issue of the online magazine Inspire — from the Yemeni group al-Qaida of the Arabian Peninsula — has some alarming advice for would-be terrorists: Open fire on lunch-hour crowds in Washington, D.C., to “knock out a few government employees.”

After making a splash with the first issue of Inspire, an English-language magazine that grooms readers to become radical jihadists, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula released a second edition this week, complete with essays by Anwar al-Awlaki, suggestions about bombing Washington, D.C., restaurants and tips for using your pickup truck to “mow down the enemies of God.” In the magazine’s introduction, the editors celebrate “recent U.S. assessments” that have designated AQAP “one of the most dangerous branches of al-Qaeda,” and tell readers that they can expect more to come: “[Y]ou haven’t seen anything yet.” Inspire is believed to be spearheaded by Samir Khan, a 24-year-old former North Carolina resident who attracted attention in 2003 by running one of the Internet’s most popular—and radical—al Qaida sites. After Charlotte’s Muslim community staged an intervention, Khan boarded a flight to Yemen, and six months later, the first issue of Inspirewas published. In the October issue, Khan is credited with an essay titled “I Am Proud to be a Traitor to America,” in which he lambastes the U.S. for “kill[ing] millions of Muslims around the world” and “get[ting] away with it wearing a tuxedo.” Counterterror experts worry that the magazine’s Western-friendly attitude—it features articles like “Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom,”—”will appeal to kids who have never really been very interested in violent jihad before,” one official tells NPR. “The magazine seems to make it fun and accessible. It used to be to get into this you needed to speak Arabic. Now you don’t—English subtitles, English translations of extremist videos, that’s the norm now.”

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Ground Zero imam plays the innocent sweetheart when it suits his game.

Oh, no. Tolerance is only a one way street.

In a speech before the Council on Foreign Relations, Imam Rauf, the head of the Ground Zero mosque, said that he is a reasonable man and that he would never, ever think for one second of being insensitive.

“Everything is on the table,” he said with relation to the mosque location.

He added that the mosque is not hallowed ground.

Here is my response:

Inside Cordoba House, the name of the new mosque, is part of one of the planes that flew into the WTC.

Cordoba House is named after the city in Spain, Cordoba, where the victorious Muslims destroyed the largest church and built a very large mosque which still stands. According to Muslim law, no mosque may ever be removed from its site.

The 13 story Cordoba House mosque will tower over Ground Zero, which, along with the site of the mosque and the plane there, is hallowed ground. This site is a deliberate choice on the part of those who want a symbol of Islam overlooking the site of a mass grave of 3,000 New Yorkers who were murdered in the name of Islam.

The Arabic word Islam translates into English as “submission”.

Recently, one of the last bastions of moderate Islam, Turkey, fell to the extremists who have now taken over the entire religion. A referendum was passed which gives the ruling Islamic Party power over picking the judiciary. The Islamist immediately announced that Muslim law, sharia, will be imposed on Turkey, a previously secular state. Women are now wearing the veil in Turkey just as they now are in Gaza, which before Hamas , the Islamists ,took power, was largely secular.

There is no going back to a secular life once sharia is imposed.

The imam is playing a game with us until he and his cronies get what they want, our submission to their demands.

If you want us to show respect, Imam Rauf, try showing some yourself first. You are a guest in this country. Act like one and don’t push us around.

You may just find that we will push back.

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Teaneck Rabbis: Whatever it is, we deny it!

The orthodox rabbis in Teaneck, NJ who have pushed the local newspaper, the NJ Jewish Standard, to refuse to carry Jewish same-sex union announcements, have, with one exception, refused to allow their names to be known.

As the NY Times wrote in its recent article on this matter, “Neither the Orthodox rabbis contacted nor the newspaper responded to phone calls. And on the streets of Teaneck, businesspeople preferred to speak anonymously, rather than risk offending. Still, there was widespread speculation that the economic clout of the Orthodox gave them outsize influence.”

Now, however, they have emerged with a statement which was leaked by The Jewish Channel (TV).

As publicized by Failed Messiah , a major online journal of investigative reporting on the Orthodox Jewish community, this statement is noteworthy both for its condemnation of the exposure of the rabbis, who were caught with their pants down as well as for their excessive denial of any wrong doing while at the same time affirming that they are innocents whose only crime was that they are too devout to be involved in such bitul Torah ( waste of time when you could be learning Torah) as terrorizing their local Jewish newspaper.

Here are some choice nuggets taken from the statement .

Following Jewish traditional exegesis, we have inserted commentary  as appropriate. All bold type is used to highlight certain language used by the rabbis and is not to be found in the original statement.

To our great consternation,

[hence the phrase, ” pain and consternation“, used in the NJ Jewish Standard statement disavowing future same-sex union pieces which Rebecca Boroson, the editor of the paper allegedly was forced to sign. ]

the local Orthodox rabbinate, comprising the RCBC (Rabbinical Council of Bergen County), has become and continues to be the target of much venom presently being spewed, especially on the aforementioned blogs, based on the presumption that the rabbis played a major, and indeed bullying and arm-twisting role in the Jewish Standard’s decision making process. As a result of many erroneous assumptions, unsubstantiated claims and baseless fabrications, the rabbis of our community have been vilified in the most insulting, defamatory and obnoxious of terms.

[ One of the aforementioned blogs was the NY Times which included language in a previously referenced article discussing the allegations of extortion and financial pressure on the newspaper]

The following open statement is directed to our congregations in an attempt to accurately present the facts and set the record straight.

In the days following the appearance of this marriage announcement, a number of RCBC rabbis spoke with each other either in person, on the phone or through email. There was never, as suggested in one report, any special rabbinical meeting convened to deal with this matter. The reactions among the rabbis varied. Some stated that they had been approached by numerous congregants who were very upset by what they saw in the paper; others said that only a few in their synagogue seemed to care. Some held that the RCBC should send some kind of response to the newspaper, either orally or in writing; others contended than in as much as this paper does not conform, and does not claim to conform, to Orthodox standards – they do, after all, advertise non-Kosher food establishments and announce communal events which take place on Shabbat – this is not an RCBC problem. In light of the lack of any consensus, and in light of the fact that all this was taking place in the middle of the holiday of Sukkot, when the minds of most rabbis are understandably focused elsewhere, it was decided that any official RCBC reaction would wait until a full discussion could take place at our next regularly scheduled meeting, already planned for the week after Yom Tov.

[ No official meeting took place but  it was decided  via informal discussion among the various rabbis that any official RCBC reaction would wait. But none of these unofficial discussions count except that they resulted in a group decision.]

One single RCBC rabbi, who has been consulted by the Jewish Standard on a number of occasions in the past about issues relating to the religious sensibilities of the Orthodox community, did go, with the approval of the RCBC leadership, though not representing the RCBC,

[ Come on, guys, you can’t have it both ways]

to meet with the executive staff of the Jewish Standard. The meeting was characterized by calm, civility and mutual respect. The rabbi communicated that there were a significant number of Orthodox Jews who felt that the Standard had crossed a line by publishing this wedding announcement, and that if the leaders of the paper are concerned about the opinions of these members of our community, they should reconsider their position on this matter for the future.

[ As in, we respectfully advise you that you have crossed a line and in publishing this announcement – it was a union, not a wedding – to do as you are told or there will be consequences. Sorry, we cannot discuss the consequences now because our minds are understandably focused elsewhere, on our spiritual duties.]

– At no time did this rabbi or any other RCBC rabbi express any threat whatsoever, financial or otherwise, to the newspaper.

[ Such as, “you have crossed a line”; if you are concerned about our opinions, don’t publish what we tell you not to publish. Read the report in that tiny blog, The NY Times, for what everyone is discussing.]
– At no time did anyone representing the RCBC ever contact any proprietor of a food establishment under RCBC Kashruth supervision regarding anything to do with this matter or with the Jewish Standard.

[ No one officially “representing RCBC” but unofficially things kind of get known, even though, as mentioned earlier it is via email, phone, conversation, innuendo,etc. Come on, we weren’t born yesterday.]
– At no time did anyone representing the RCBC advocate any kind of boycott of the newspaper or force, urge, encourage, coax or cajole anybody else to do so.

[The magic words throughout this statement are no one officially representing the RCBC. These same rabbis to this day refuse to put their names on paper and even identify themselves in the media. They simply will not take responsibility for the mess they have created.]

Any reports, allegations or accusations implying the contrary are outright lies. They remain outright lies regardless of how loudly they are proclaimed or how often they are repeated.

It is a source of embarrassment to the greater Jewish community

[ Their homophobia is also a source of embarrassment for the entire world. One wonders,what greater Jewish community are they referring to? How would they know what the greater Jewish community thinks, given that they represent at best a tiny portion of the smallest minority within the Jewish community, the orthodox community. Certainly most Modern Orthodox and even many of the rabbis quoted earlier in your statement have no problem with the announcement.]

that there are various Jewish blog sites, claiming that they accurately report on the Jewish world in general, or cover the Orthodox world in particular, or something of the like, who seem, at least in this case, to have felt no need to display any sense of professionalism, journalistic integrity or even common courtesy. Any one of these values would dictate that all relevant facts should be thoroughly checked and rechecked before launching a nasty verbal attack on others, but that clearly did not happen here.

[Tell it to the NY Times which specifically mentions the speculation of rabbinical economic clout. Tell it to the NJ Jewish News which also addresses this reality. ]

Instead, the sites fed off of one another, built on the uncorroborated posts of others hiding behind the anonymity of a screen name and “protected” themselves by inserting words like “allegedly” and “supposedly” every once in a while. And so the Orthodox rabbis of Bergen County have this past week been labeled thugs, Ayatollahas, Mafiosos, Taliban and who knows what else. All, of course, in the name of tolerance, decency and sensitivity to the feelings of others, and all based on falsehood.

[Actually, all in the name of providing the Jewish community with the news of what is actually happening. That is our mission.]

——

All of this follows on the recent homophobic attacks on several gay men in New York City which the NY Police Department describes as the worst anti-gay hate crime in the history of the city. Just a few weeks ago Tyler Clementi committed suicide not too far from Teaneck, NJ because of homophobic harassment by fellow students who have since been arrested. NJ is vigorous in enforcing hate crimes. The rabbis have been notably silent on such matters. They are too busy attempting to change policy at their local newspaper.

Posted in Gay and lesbian, Jewish, Judaism, Media, Orthodox Jews, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

NJ Jewish paper unlikely to reverse decision in face of orthodox threats.

 

NJ Jewish Standard photo: " Teaneck Orthodox rabbis meet to promote inclusiveness."

 

People familiar with the situation in Teaneck, NJ, the home of the NJ Jewish Standard, caution that it is extremely unlikely that the publisher of the newspaper, James Janoff, will reverse his policy of refusing to publish same-sex union announcements.

After much deliberation, the newspaper ran the announcement — the first in its 79-year history for a same-sex marriage — in its Sept. 24 issue. Then, in its next issue, citing complaints from Orthodox rabbis and a “firestorm” that resulted, it issued an apology for the “pain and consternation” the announcement had caused members of the Orthodox community. It promised not to run similar announcements again

The publisher has been meeting with many rabbis to discuss the matter. On Thursday, 6 October, he met with a group of 35 Northern NJ rabbis. Conservative Rabbi David-Seth Kirshner of Temple Emanu-El in Closter organized Thursday’s meeting along with Rabbi Randall Mark of Wayne, president of the North Jersey Board of Rabbis. The gathering brought the paper’s leadership together with rabbis from the four main branches of Judaism – Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist and Orthodox. While the Orthodox generally oppose to same-sex marriage, some rabbis from the other branches are supportive.

Kirshner said that during the meeting, James Janoff, the Standard’s publisher, did not reveal whether the paper would start publishing gay marriage notices again. In a statement on the Standard’s Web site earlier this week, Janoff conceded that the Teaneck-based paper “may have acted too quickly” when it decided not to publish such notices, “responding only to one segment of the community.”

As reported, the publisher stopped publishing the same-sex union announcements after local orthodox rabbis complained that they were were suffering from having to read such matters. They say that the newspaper is not following Jewish law in reporting these unions which are sanctioned by NJ law. Some observers have noted that the very same rabbis who are so upset about the one notice that was printed have never once complained about the regular notices for non-kosher restaurants or activities which violate the Jewish Sabbath which regularly appear in the paper. Apparently, their wrath is reserved for celebrations of commitment and love between same-sex couples.

“It is our hope that these meetings — such as the one held this morning at Temple Emanu-El in Closter — will be ongoing, leading to public discussions of the issue and enhancing respect among the many groups that coexist in our community,” Janoff said. “We are pleased with the candor and integrity of what we are hearing.”

He did not say whether the paper would reverse course again and start printing gay marriage notices.

“This is one where they almost couldn’t win,” said Andrew Silow-Carroll, editor in chief of The New Jersey Jewish News, which serves a much less Orthodox readership. Mr. Silow-Carroll said his publication ran its first same-sex wedding announcement in January and received no response. “The Orthodox community has huge economic clout,” he said. “If they put out the word that their members shouldn’t be reading or advertising, it could be crippling for a newspaper that size.

According to the NY Times, neither the Orthodox rabbis contacted nor the newspaper responded to phone calls. And on the streets of Teaneck, businesspeople preferred to speak anonymously, rather than risk offending. Still, there was widespread speculation that the economic clout of the Orthodox gave them outsize influence.

“This decision didn’t reflect the whole Jewish community,” said Rabbi Steven Sirbu, of Temple Emeth, a Reform congregation in Teaneck, where nearly all the other Jewish congregations are now Orthodox. “It looks like the newspaper was held hostage in some way by a small group of Orthodox leaders.”

Another rabbi, David Kirshner, of Temple Emanu-El, a Conservative congregation in Closter, said that while critics of the same-sex announcement couch their argument in terms of Scripture, the newspaper contains numerous elements that can be seen as impious — like ads for nonkosher restaurants.

“Make no mistake about it,” Rabbi Kirshner wrote in a public letter. “This is homophobia masquerading as religious piety. Pure and simple.”

“It’s time for the Jewish Standard to wake up and smell the chicken soup,” said Steven Goldstein, head of Garden State Equality and a Teaneck resident. Goldstein, whose engagement to his partner in 2002 was the very first such announcement ever printed by the New York Times, added: “The paper has thrown three movements of Judaism — Reform, Reconstructionist and Conservative — overboard in an effort to mollify some Orthodox.”

Mr. Goldstein who lives within sight of the newspaper’s offices in Teaneck says that he is still waiting for the publisher to contact him about this matter. He noted that he doesn’t expect the newspaper to resume its former policy of printing same-sex union announcements.

Andrew Silow-Carroll, writing in the NJ Jewish News, NJ’s other major Jewish newspaper, notes, “For example, some Orthodox readers and leaders tell me they can’t have our newspaper in their homes, or their schools, because of the subjects we treat as normative. Some are disappointed when we profile or merely report on a public figure whose own religious practice is obviously thin or non-existent, is intermarried, or whose accomplishments are in fields considered immodest (e.g., risque entertainment) or antithetical to their halachic values (e.g., the environmentalists who push an ”eco-kashrut” that is more organic than it is technically kosher).

Other subjects likely to give offense are the liberal movements’ more welcoming attitudes toward interfaith marriage, the Reform movement’s adoption of patrilineal descent, the ordination of gay rabbis, and gender egalitarianism. It’s not merely that some readers disagree with these positions — they see it as our responsibility as a Jewish newspaper to either ignore them or condemn them.

But there does come a point when, after respectfully hearing all sides of an issue, you have to make a decision, and someone is bound to feel disappointed that their position has not been adopted. And to the chagrin of the Orthodox, our commitment to pluralism leads us to treat as normative things that will offend them. ”

As the days pass and this story gets buried and eventually forgotten by the media, it seems likely that the publisher will make a decision based purely on business factors.

The orthodox are the only ones who have the clout to shut down his advertisers by removing kosher certification. Everyone knows this in Teaneck. Many observers believe  that this implied  threat is being used to get their way. The telling point was that the publisher specifically asked each non-orthodox rabbi if they would continue to read the paper if it decided to refuse to print the announcements. To date all of them said that they would.

What is a freedom of the press to the orthodox?

A joke when it doesn’t serve their own purposes.

In that, they reveal themselves to be little better than the Taliban or other fundamentalist bullies who use religion to disguise thuggery.

For complete articles quoted, go to:

http://www.northjersey.com/news/100700_Rabbis_discuss_Jewish_Standards_gay_marriage_notices.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/07/nyregion/07towns.html

http://njjewishnews.com/justASC/2010/10/07/the-times-weighs-in-on-the-same-sex-announcement-debate/

Posted in American Jews, American politics, Gay and lesbian, Hasidim, Jewish, Judaism, Kosher slaughtering, Lubavitcher, Media, Orthodox Jews, Torah, United States | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Interview: We don’t hide who we are.

 

What a cute couple. Avi Smolen on right, Justin Rosen on left.

 

This interview and picture ( from Avi) were taken from New Voices, a national Jewish student newspaper, which we suggest you check out for further information. Ben Sales is the author of the article as well as the editor-in-chief of this publication.

http://www.newvoices.org/community?id=0029

Behind the Jewish Standard controversy

Jewish newspapers often print controversial stories, but they don’t usually appear in the wedding section. On Sept. 24, however, Avi Smolen and Justin Rosen announced their upcoming marriage in the pages of the New Jersey Jewish Standard, causing a commotion among some of the paper’s large Orthodox readership.

A group of community Orthodox rabbis complained to the Standard in the wake of the same-sex announcement, causing the editors of the Standard to post a note Monday apologizing to the Orthodox community and declaring that it would no longer print same-sex announcements. After a whirlwind of subsequent pressure, however, from liberal Jewish readers and groups, the Standard retracted its original note in a later publisher’s note Tuesday night.

This discussion has erupted across the Jewish media, and the Standard has received harsh criticism. New Voices has already entered that fray, and today we go straight to the source. Below is an interview with Avi Smolen, one of the grooms who–according to the Jewish Standard–will be married in New York on Oct. 17.

NV: How did the two of you meet?

AS: We met over five years ago. We worked as camp counselors at Camp Ramah in Nyack, and we dated for over 4 years. Last year, just before Thanksgiving, we decided to take the next step. We’re getting married at North Shore Synagogue in Syosset, Long Island. It’s a Reform synagogue but we’re having a friend of ours who’s a Conservative rabbi do the ceremony.

NV: Why did you choose the Jewish Standard as the place to announce your wedding?

AS: My family is from Bergen County [in northern New Jersey] and we get the Jewish Standard every week. As part of the wedding process, we thought, “Where should we send our wedding announcement?” and we thought we’d send it there because it was a community Jewish paper. It wads the first time they’d received a same-sex wedding announcement. They published our announcement and we were thrilled. It was nice to be recognized.

NV: Were you expecting them to publish the announcement?

AS: I hadn’t given it much thought, that it would be a big deal that it was a same-sex announcement. I come from a community that’s very supportive. I have many Orthodox friends who are fully supportive of our relationship and coming to our wedding. We don’t hide who we are or our relationship.

When I heard that they were deliberating [over whether to print the announcement], I was glad that they decided to publish it. We urged our friends to send positive letters. Instead of seeing letters we saw the note from the editor.

NV: How did you feel about the initial editor’s note, which announced that there would be no more same-sex marriage announcements in the Standard?

AS: I was somewhat surprised because it was a pretty quick turnaround, to decide that ours would be the first and the last. It’s very hurtful because it marginalizes a group of people.

NV: How do you feel about the publisher’s note, which retracted the initial editors’ note?

AS: It was the right move to make. They obviously have paid attention to all of the attention they’ve been receiving for this decision. I hope that their conversations with members of the community are productive and that this will eventually lead to a change in their policy.

NV: What does this say about the power of those who protested the ban on same-sex announcements?

AS: The Standard’s reaction to all of the pressure speaks volumes about the support of the greater Jewish community for inclusion and pluralism. This is not just an issue for the gay community. This is an issue for people of all different backgrounds.

NV: What do you hope to see happen now?

AS: It would be fantastic if they realized that they’ve made a mistake and printed a mew letter saying they’ll publish all announcements. I don’t think that’s likely this week. I hope this generates dialogue about this issue and that in the future they come to a decision that comes to a recognition of the importance of these announcements from all segments of the community.

NV: How do you feel about the Orthodox community’s reaction to your announcement?

AS: I understand that they’re not in favor of same-sex marriage because of the halakhic difference. But one of the bodies of Orthodox rabbis published a paper on how important it is to welcome gay Jews into the community. This flies completely in the face of that paper.

There are plenty of Orthodox Jews who are happy to have their viewpoint, but that think there’s a right to publish ads about non-kosher restaurants in the community. They’re being given a bad name.

NV: Could this controversy end up helping the cause of gay rights?

AS: Any attention that this gets will raise people’s consciousness and has positive implications for inclusion.

NV: Has this changed your feelings about your place in the Jewish community?

AS: I’m not shaken by this in the least because I know that I have many Jewish friends. I was the president of my Hillel at Rutgers [University] and I feel very accepted in the Jewish community. This is an unfortunate instance of a minority of people trying to silence another group of people.

NV: How do you think this has reflected on the Jewish Standard?

AS: The whole issue has become a disaster for them. They wish now that they had formulated a stronger policy. They’ve received a lot of negative press in local, regional and national media and this portrays the paper as a less than inclusive paper and it doesn’t make them seem very welcoming.

I would hope that people don’t jump to conclusions and blame the newspaper. I think they made a mistake but are a generally good and pluralistic newspaper. The Jewish Standard will stay afloat with support from the greater community. They don’t need to toe the Orthodox line.

NV: Would you subscribe to the Jewish Standard if you lived in New Jersey?

AS: Yes.

——

We wish them both lots of nakhes, love and joy in their union.

What a great couple. You guys are a real inspiration in how a true mensch lives life and reacts to adversity.

Posted in American Jews, American politics, Citizen journalism, Gay and lesbian, Jewish, Judaism, Media, Torah | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

NJ Jewish paper threatened by orthodox thugs.

Next year in Teaneck.

Our previous story detailed the decision by the NJ Jewish Standard to change its policy of printing announcements of local Jewish couples by specifically excluding same-sex unions authorized by New Jersey law.

After we published the story we were inundated by readers who clicked on the article and sent it to friends.

One person sent a comment which we posted following the story.

She is obviously very familiar with the situation at the newspaper and notes that the editor, Rebecca Kaplan Boroson, who signed the editorial announcement regarding the new policy took responsibility for a statement which, in fact, was not written by her. Apparently, she was forced to sign her name to a statement which did not reflect her personal views.

Furthermore, it was noted that this is a private newspaper and the employees must do as they are told or lose their jobs. The NJ Jewish Standard is dependent on its advertisers all of whom are very vulnerable to condemnation and boycott by the local rabbinical community and their supporters within the orthodox world of New Jersey. The newspaper is located in Teaneck, New Jersey which has a very large orthodox Jewish population many of whom advertise in the newspaper and read it.

The situation, as explained in the posted comment, is that members of the local orthodox community have threatened the newspaper with a financial boycott unless it follows their views on Jewish law. This includes refusing to publicize anything which positively reflects on gays and lesbians whom they believe are violating Jewish law.

The author of the comment explained that the staff of the newspaper, which includes one gay member, is afraid that if they do not follow the demands of the orthodox Jews who threatened them, they will no longer be able to earn a living and that the newspaper will be closed.

She ends her comment by offering a way out of the situation:

“Instead of vilifying the newspaper and withdrawing support from it, those opposed to this statement should make it clear that the newspaper’s rescinding this decision means they would *support* it by advertising and/or supporting its advertisers. With the threat of financial ruin removed from the equation, see what the Standard will do – remember what they did before this, before any pressure was brought to bear.”

This last line may reflect the original policy of accepting all wedding announcements from the Jewish community regardless of whether it was a heterosexual or homosexual couple. This was in keeping with the mission of the newspaper to accurately report the news of the entire Jewish community.

Click on comments to read the full comment following this article:

https://jewishdailyreport.wordpress.com/2010/10/04/nj-jewish-paper-bows-to-bigots/

Posted in American Jews, American politics, Business, Citizen journalism, Jewish, Judaism, Orthodox Jews, Torah, United States | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

NJ Jewish paper bows to bigots.

Jewish Taliban intimidates NJ Jewish Standard and wins!

The New Jersey Jewish Standard, a Jewish community newspaper in Central NJ, has announced that it will no longer publish any ads celebrating unions of Jews who are gay or lesbian.

On September 24, 2010, a  gay Jew and his partner joined other happy couples in letting the world know of  their civil union. The NJ Jewish Standard printed the piece without comment. It was an announcement of their union and they and their families wanted to celebrate and let the community know about it. They are both observant Jews and well known in the community.

Such civil unions are the law of the land in many parts of America including New Jersey. According to Reform, Reconstructionist, Conservative and some modern orthodox rabbis, they are quite acceptable for Jews.

The editor of the New Jersey Jewish Standard, Rebecca Kaplan Boroson, wrote that many letters were received, some of them condemning the publication of this announcement, others supporting it. She said that she met with orthodox rabbis who said that they were offended and hurt by the announcement.

She wrote:

“A group of rabbis has reached out to us and conveyed the deep sensitivities within the traditional/Orthodox community to this issue. Our subsequent discussions with representatives from that community have made us aware that publication of the announcement caused pain and consternation, and we apologize for any pain we may have caused.”

Her solution was to ban all such announcements in the future.

Thanks, Ms. Boroson, for caving into the bigots in your community. I suppose that will not cause “pain and consternation” for the rest of us, right? After all, gay, lesbian and the majority of Jews other than the few bigots in your community lack feelings.

The New Jersey Jewish Standard has set a new standard for the lowest common denominator in Jewish journalism.

Your newspaper serves the Rutgers University community where freshman Tyler Clementi, a victim of the homophobia which you allowed to intimidate you, killed himself.  It is shocking that you would publicly ally yourself and your newspaper with such hateful people.

What a delightful way to enter the new year, 5771.

Here is the offensive announcement which caused such “pain and consternation”:

Simchas | Engagement
Avichai David Smolen, son of Robert Smolen and Barbara Schneider of New Milford, and Justin Taylor Rosen, son of Keith and Elizabeth Rosen of Coram, N.Y., plan to be married next month by Rabbi Joshua Gruenberg at North Shore Synagogue in Syosset, N.Y.
Smolen, 23, is a development and communications associate at the Manhattan office of Keren Or, the Jerusalem Center for Blind Children with Multiple Disabilities. He received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Rutgers University and worked as a Faiths Act Fellow in Washington, D.C., a joint venture between the Tony Blair Faith Foundation and the Interfaith Youth Core. His father is the principal at the Gerrard Berman Day School Solomon Schechter of North Jersey in Oakland and his mother is a medical technologist and high school biology teacher in New Jersey.
Rosen, 24, is a master’s degree candidate in public administration at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and at the Skirball Department of Hebrew & Judaic Studies for a master’s of arts in Jewish studies. He is a Wexner Fellow taking part in a leadership development program for emerging professionals in the Jewish community. He did his undergraduate work at List College, the joint program between Columbia University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, and Jewish Theological Seminary, where he received a bachelor’s in Jewish thought. His mother is a teacher at Longwood High School and his father is a computer software programmer in New York.

Let the NJ Jewish Standard know your thoughts. I am sure that they would appreciate it.

http://www.jstandard.com/content/item/a_statement_from_the_jewish_standard/

Posted in American Jews, American politics, Gay and lesbian, Media, Self-hating Jews, United States | Tagged , , , , , , | 10 Comments