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Sunday, August 26, 2007

More on Schwach

This op-ed was submitted to Howard Shwach - at his request - to be printed as a rebuttal to his own noxious editorial of last week. Somehow, he neglected to run it, so I am running it here to give it as wide an audience as possible:
By Richard Altabe

Whether we like it or not, the Wave is “Rockaway’s Newspaper” for the entire Rockaway Peninsula. As such it needs to represent a diverse constituency with diverse lifestyles and views. In response to a 1999 charge leveled by members of the African-American community regarding the alleged bias of editor Howard Schwach in reporting crime incidents in the eastern end of the Rockaways, Mr. Schwach wrote:

It is the intentions of The Wave to work with the Far Rockaway community and make them aware that this is their paper too…Rockaway is one community. The Wave will not divide our community by "west end" and "east end." Politicians have done that and look where it has left us. The Wave wants to be in the forefront of making Rockaway one again. We all share the same concerns, and the only way we can bring prosperity to our community is if we stop being our own worst enemies. The Wave will be the voice of all Rockawayites. Put us to the test…together we’ll bring Rockaway to new places. (Wave, 10/09/99)

After reading the editorial page of the Wave last Friday, one wonders how the paper can claim to be the voice of “all Rockawayites” after its editor’s baseless attack on the Orthodox Jewish community of Far Rockaway. Describing any demographic or ethnic group as “taking over” a neighborhood is an outright racist and ethnicly biased statement designed to heighten tensions and divisions between groups rather than to bring diverse groups closer to unity. If you doubt my opinion, try re-reading the following and insert your own ethnic category to see how it sounds:

In Bayswater, the Satmar community is taking over, buying property and converting many of the large homes into synagogues… There are many people who believe that the influx of Orthodox to the Five Towns has ruined it for the rest of the population. A great number of the stores and restaurants have been taken over by Orthodox owners…. This question could easily overtake Rockaway as it has the Five Towns area.


Unfortunately for us in the Rockaways, Mr. Schwach does not limit his anti-religious sentiment to Orthodox Jews. In a July 2002 piece he attacked the use of the words “Under God” in the Pledge of allegiance, claiming that it had been the work of the Knights of Columbus and the Catholic Church. He painted a picture of poor Jewish kids in Far Rockaway High School in the 1950’s feeling that the “God” referred to in the pledge was not “their God”.

One angered Catholic reader at the time responded with the following statement:

Mr. Schwach, your anti-Catholic views have been documented in this newspaper for years. It is well known and has been discussed among the Rockaway Catholic community since I have been reading this paper. Many Catholics I know have stopped buying this paper because of your slant. Rockaway's population consists largely of Jewish and Catholic people, and your publication can be a great tool in improving relations between these communities. Instead, you seem to prefer to create hostilities between the two. It's a real shame. (Wave, July 13, 2002)


In 1999, Mr. Schwach asked the diverse communities of the Rockaway to put his paper to the test because he as editor was going to use his position to “bring us together”. Perhaps he believes that attacking organized religion is a great way of bringing people together. If only we would all put aside our diverse beliefs, enroll our children in public school and adhere to his secular humanistic definition of Americanism, we would certainly all come together.

The problem with this view is that it flies in the face of the very pluralism our great democracy stands for. As Americans, we have a constitutional right to Freedom of Religion. Decades ago, the Supreme Court recognized the right of individuals in this country to send their children to parochial schools and these same parochial schools have been part of the backbone of American society ever since, producing many of our nation’s leaders.

Our community is strong precisely because Catholic, Jewish and Floyd Flake’s Church of God schools are able to coexist and even cooperate when needed. Who can forget the sight of the boys from the Belle Harbor Yeshiva running a soup kitchen for our firefighters on beach 129th St the night after flight 587 almost came crashing down on their dormitory? Was their effort an expression of Orthodox Jewish communal isolation?

Mr. Schwach indicts an entire community because of three alleged and unsubstantiated stories of perceived religious coercion. Of course as editor, he does not need to verify his story as he is merely expressing his views. While he is free to do so, we wonder how he can claim that his paper aims to unite all diverse groups in the Rockaways.

He is correct on one thing however. We do need unity. However our unity must also respect our diversity. Unfortunately “Rockaway’s Newspaper” has failed in its stated goal to bring our communities together because it fails to respect our American pluralistic tradition.
Mr. Schwach has betrayed his own intolerance for his neighbors who are not exactly like him. Let's not use him as any sort of role model.

128 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent rebuttal with a message of healing embedded. It is Howie's loss that he didn't run it.

11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I totally agree with Schwach about the Pledge of Allegiance. I always felt it was wrong to say it in school, since we presumably separate church and state. It's not fair to athiests or to believers who believe in very different forms of a deity. It simply doesn't belong, outside of a religious school where the existance of God is assumed.

OM, I really don't understand your obsession with this guy. I don't agree with much of what he wrote, but you seem so fixated on him. Sometimes we don't agree with editorials. That happens. There are those who agree with what he feels. That happens, too.

Move on. You hate the guy and everything he stands for. We get it.

11:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoops -- two words spelled wrong. "Atheist." "Existence." Sorry about that, hadn't had my coffee.

11:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Om isn't obsessed. She's right. If Schwach doesn't print this very cogent rebuttal then someone has to. Someone has to speak out against the assault on our world. Did you notice that Feldman got top billing again in the New York Times even after he misled their readers.

12:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This isn't about whether you agree with Schwach on certain points. His editorial crossed all lines into blatant bigotry. OM is right to stay oon his case.

12:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fertig at the Star also wrote about it again this week. We need to stay on his case. It isn't like he apologized.

12:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The hypocrisy is stunning.

In other words we are supposed to validate, support, AND tolerate a belief system that isolates and self-segregates from society at large?

Why not embrace other separists? Should it really matter whether the group does it for religious (Orthodox) or racial (Neo-Nazi) reasons?

Instead of "inserting our own ethnicity and seeing how it sounds", let's insert a different religion/ethnicity/race into YOUR doctrine and see how THAT sounds:

I will only eat in WHITE restauarants

I will only send my kids to school and camps with other CHRISTIANS.

I consider it a slap in the face and a rejection of my IRISH culture if my daughter (or even a complete stranger) marries a hindu.

1:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

once again,, the new title of my book.." THE HYPOCRISY OF ORTHODOXY"

2:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

once again,, the new title of my book.." THE HYPOCRISY OF ORTHODOXY"

Mazel Tov!

Should be required reading!

I hope it becomes a best seller!

2:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how about a book called "the hypocrisy of the liberals". Its ok for pornographers, abortionists and strippers - even neo-nazis - to have their freedom of expression. But those who happen to follow organized religion will find themselves out of luck. No one will champion the rights of the religious. Its just not fashionable in liberal circles.

2:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but are you equating doctors that perform abortions with pornographers and strippers?

Egads.

3:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 1:34, I understand what you're trying to say, and I'd like to respond. I absolutely understand people feeling that a certain group wanting to separate themselves in some way reminds one of racism. I, at times, have bristled against the way the Orthodox seem to separate themselves from everyone else, or create some contentious situations as they have in the whole Five Towns school board fiasco.

That said, let me explain why your examples don't work for me. We're kosher, because we are observant, although we're not Orthodox. We don't just go to Jewish restaurants (we eat in vegetarian restaurants that aren't kosher, exactly) but when we do, it's awfully handy because we can eat everything. And as far as schools, my kids go to a Jewish day school because we want them to have off for Jewish holidays, to learn some Judaism and to be able to easily be kosher at school.

My only concerns with the choice, frankly, is that my kids are just surrounded by white, Jewish kids at school, except for a couple of multi-racial kids who were adopted. Also, this means that they are largely with kids who are somewhat or very affluent, as they can pay for private school. It is not a realistic view of the world. For this reason I've been happy that they go to secular camps, and we live in an area which is very mixed.

My point is that not all of us want to be separated from the other people of all faiths and colors. In certain areas, it just makes certain things so much easier.

Even though there are lots of Jews in my area, I don't think I'd want to live in an area with only other observant Jews. I want privacy in my choices and don't want to feel community pressure if I do things my way, in terms of certain practices. I want to live in an area with lots of kosher food choices (in supermarkets or in restaurants) and I want to live near some decent synagogues with some like-minded people.

Plenty of observant Jews don't want to lose our connection with the rest of the world, and I'm sure some of the people you condemn (for eating in kosher restaurants or going to certain schools) don't deserve to painted with this brush.

3:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, anonymous 2:56, Guess what? Some of us are religious Jews AND liberals.

3:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am jewish and a republican ( not too right-wing).

it is the hypocrisy of the orthos in how many lead a so-called religious and observant life...yet, cheat on their wives..beat their wives..eat tref with their mistresses...cheat on their taxes,,,need i go on???

i have more respect for anon:3:39
who is probably a good, honest, upstanding citizen who tries hard to pass down our traditions and faith, than many of my so-called observant orthodox friends who are proud of their husbands ability to cheat the government and their friends and neighbors... I truly apologize to those few observant jews i know ( you know who you are) who walk the walk and truly exemplify jew ish living and traditions... i wish there were more of you!!

4:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Each post brings up excellent points. I too thought about my child not being exposed to other cultures and having a realistic grasp of society as a whole.

As a young doctor doing a residency in Brooklyn Hospital, I offered a ride to a young woman (I too am a woman) who just came in with her father who was critically ill. She could tell me the name of her street, but couldn't give me directions. In her 22 years, she was born, educated and married on the same street she lived in. All the writing on the signs were in Hebrew (without the vowels, so I was lost). She did not know how to travel by cab or public transportation, trusted very few, and was greeted at the door by her four sisters who looked like they were afraid of me. She was to be married the following month to a guy who lived across the street from her.

This young lady was only six years younger than I, yet I had been exposed to so much more than her.

This could have been an Amish family with the same story, in another part of the country. Only the Amish have a "wilding year" where they taste the secular world before making a decision to stay Amish or pursue secular interests. In Judiasm, we learn based on what we are exposed to.

Very interesting subject.

Yes, I agree that we should clone 3:39 a million times over! Oops - cloning is a no-no.

4:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yet again Richie Altabe impresses me with his no nonsense approach. He is really an amazing person. We need more people like him in the five towns!!!

5:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 1:34

You make a good argument and appreciate you NOT attacking me. Still, what if EVERY group lived life the same way of someone who was Orthodox.

What kind of country would this be?

Would you feel that it would be beneficial to you?

Also, how about friendships with others? Isn't it limiting?

Is that "good"?

As a non-observant jew, I can go anywhere I like and eat anywhere I like and still maintain all that is good about my ethnicity and my heritage.

I can be their in a heartbeat for any of my friends at any time. I can celebrate with them in good times and mourn with them during bad.

My point is, neither my children or myself have no restrictions to my fellow human beings.

7:25 PM  
Blogger Abbi said...

7:25: That's all very nice for you. These are the life choices that you made and the consequences of those choices. Why do you deserve to make your own life choices but Orthodox people don't deserve to make their own choices?

For a while in human history, people were relegated to strictly bordered population structures. It was called the middle ages. History has moved on, and today it's pretty unrealistic that "EVERY group [would live] life the same way of someone who was Orthodox." Unless some weird magic happened that canceled the modern era, this is highly unlikely.

As for the rest of your post, you seem to imply that Orthodox people don't support their friends and family and don't celebrate happy occasions with them. I find this a very bizarre accusation, since family and smachot (celebrations) are usually the top two most important things in an Orthodox families' life.

Maybe it's time to take off your prejudiced glasses and actually get to know an Orthodox family (and a little bit of sociology/history wouldn't hurt either) before making these types of pronouncements.

1:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As for the rest of your post, you seem to imply that Orthodox people don't support their friends and family and don't celebrate happy occasions with them.

Really? You mean others who are not Orthodox? Well, let me ask you something.

What would you do if a very close friend (who was non-observant) suffered a horrible loss- say the loss of a child.

Suppose the services fell on Shabbos or Sukkot? What would you do?

9:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"
What would you do if a very close friend (who was non-observant) suffered a horrible loss- say the loss of a child. "

I don't even want to contemplate such a horrible loss to one of my close friends. I will tell you that a very close non observant friend lost a parent very suddenly. The funeral service was on Shabbat. My friend did not even CONSIDER the possibility that I would have been there, and was more than content to see me helping to run the kitchen of the Shiva home two days later when I was able to travel to where she was mourning. She didn't even consider it because she respects my observance and knows its an intrinsic part of who I am. She is a tolerant and accepting person. You are obviously not one.

9:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

She is a tolerant and accepting person. You are obviously not one.

And YOU obviously would rather be a brain-washed religious fanatic than a comfort to your "friend" at their hour of need.

I'm sure you recieved a HUGE thumbs-up from your fellow frummies!

9:49 AM  
Anonymous CE said...

wow, anonymous, you seem very angry and resentful. What happened, if I may ask, that makes you so intolerant of Orthodox Jews. I never thought of myself as naive until today, when I came across this blog, but wow! Orthodox Jews cheat on their spouses and don't pay taxes? I didn't know that, really? And I've been Orthodox all this time and never knew we were supposed to do all of that! I think it's really unfair to imply that either one is a religious fanatic OR a good person. Well, I always thought that we were Orthodox Jews AND upstanding American citizens. We are friendly to all of our neighbors, have friends of all different types, pay taxes, give 10% of our income to charity, volunteer with community organizations, and yes, we also eat in ONLY kosher restaurants, name our children hard-to-pronounce Hebrew names, and send them to yeshivas, as is our right as American citizens. Would you attack a vegetarian who couldn't participate in a steak cookout? Would you attack an allergic child for not eating your peanut butter cookie, would you feel offended if you went to an Asian neighbors home and you were told to take your shoes off? These are all culturally acceptable differences, and yet, believing in G-d and following the Torah is fanaticism that offends you. Why? I don't push my beliefs on anyone, and I am kind and pleasant to all. Why are you so bothered by this? Again, call me naive (although no one ever has before) but I just don't get it.

10:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i was not the poster that anon 10:32 is referencing, however,you obviously are unique since orthodoxy in the five towns does shove their unique observances on everyone.. just ask the former GG owners, ask Bagel island, ask the owners of the now defunct carvel.. dont tell me that the rabbonim of vaad did not force their brand of judaism on all and ostracize thhose who are non-compliant.

in addition, ask about Women of Valor... find out how many of your "brethren" are abusers.. psychologists outside of town are well aware. as for tax cheats... how about " donations" requested for continuity of business. how about a religious organization that we pay thousands to that seems not to care about reporting income. or requests for state and city services and the bragging rights for receiving same?

as with any negative criticism here, i have come across some truly wonderful, devout and gasp!!orthodox people in my travels... they are few and far between, but they renew my faith in my faith..

11:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, I've had about enough of this.
To all the ortho-bashers out there: Most of us "orthos" could care less if you guys eat pork, party on Yom Kippur, spit on your ancestors' graves and burn in hell. It's your choice. No one is forcing you to do anything you don't want to do. That's why this is called a free country. Now, is it asking too much for you to allow those of us who choose a religious lifestyle to do so without being harrassed by all you "secular humanists" out there? Or are you so insecure about your life choices that you feel threatened by the very presence of Orthodox Jews? Sheesh. Keep up the good fight, Orthomom. (And Richard Altabe.) And, nothing personal, but I'm glad I don't live in your neck of the woods. My condolences.

11:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 11:59, your post was obnoxious, but easy to dismiss. I'm Kosher and observe Shabbat and holidays, but the sentence about eating pork, partying on Yom Kippur, spitting on ancestors' graves and burning in hell was a ridiculous and obnoxious attack on those who observe Judaism or any other faith in their own way. Do you really think that not practicing kashrut can be used in the same vein as spitting on graves and burning in hell? You really need to watch what you say. You are only confirming peoples' worst feelings about how the Orthodox view the rest of the world.

12:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 12:05:
OK - I went a little overboard. My apologies. But I've been reading about a week's worth of Ortho-bashers screaming about how the Orthos this! And the Orthos that! My point, simply put, is that we aren't trying to cram our belief system down anyone else's throats. Maybe we believe that disobeying Torah commandments systematically is cause for punishment (i.e. "burning in hell") in the world to come. The "secular humanists" obviously don't believe that. And that's fine. All I'm saying is that we have a right to live our lives without being harrassed by those who have made alternate life decisions. And that anti-religious bigotry is no better than any other kind of bigotry. And maybe, after reading the hate-filled diatribes that have filled the comments section of this blog for the last week or so, I responded in kind. It was wrong. But it doesn't take away from the essential truth of what I'm trying to say. And yes, I'm still glad I don't live in 5-Towns/Rockaway. Where I live, Orthodox and secular treat each other with respect and civility.

12:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to anon 12:26

you are truly lucky not to be subject to " all" the five towns has to offer..

however,, do not claim to know what goes on here without ever having a business in town or having kids in yeshivas...you have no clue.

12:34 PM  
Anonymous CE said...

BTW- I don't live anywhere in NY either. Maybe it's different here, but the others love the Jews here b/c we are respectful and devoted and keep the neighborhood clean. I guess it's different in NY. Glad I live here... come and join us!

12:35 PM  
Anonymous JB said...

As a lifelong communal leader born and raised in the Greater Far Rockaway/5 Towns Jewish Community and it's environs, Richie is in a unique position to comment on equality and community relations. Love the article, and I for one sincerely hope that it is published in NY based Jewish AND Secular periodicals for all to read. We aren't outsiders, we are participatory contributing members of the community!

12:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 12:26 and others:

Boo Hoo!

Give me a break. You choose to live in a marginalizing way (in the name of religion, no less)and you become upset when people call you on it.

When are you going to realize that your way of life flies in the face of what we as a nation hope to achieve, and how far we have come, as a nation, in the 21st century?

2:23 PM  
Anonymous CE said...

What does our nation hope to achieve? I didn't realize we had one collective goal. What's all the congressional fighting for then? Why are there political parties if we all only want the exact same thing? Why wasn't I informed of this goal? I'm being excluded because I'm Jewish, right? Oh man, not again.

2:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 2:23:
Right - "we've really come far, as a nation, in the 21st century." If you study your history books, one of the founding stones of our nation was a little something called "freedom of religion". That's not just freedom from religion, but freedom to practice your religion as you see fit. As far as I'm concerned, if we've lost that in the 21st century, we've regressed.

2:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why wasn't I informed of this goal? I'm being excluded because I'm Jewish, right? Oh man, not again.

Absolutely not.

Your being excluded because you choose to exclude yourself.

It has nothing to do with being Jewish. We, as a people, have been at the forefront of many progressive social movements (Women's rights, civil rights, etc.)

This is not anti-semitism. It is anti-religious fanaticism in any stripe.

3:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's not just freedom from religion, but freedom to practice your religion as you see fit. As far as I'm concerned, if we've lost that in the 21st century, we've regressed.


you have EVERY right to self-segregate and practice your religion as you see fit.

everyone else has does not have to swallow or validate it either.

3:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i, too, believe in the right of all to practice their faith to whatever extent they wish to... what i object to is my rabbi telling me where i may or may not shop. of course, i can go against the psak, but then my neighbors and their children will not eat in my home..or allow their children to play with mine if i attend a concert or go to bagel island. this is not practicing your religion,,this is being an autonomatron if yu follow blindly.

3:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 3:30

Beautifully said. Your post clearly illustrates the problem with Orthodoxy.

Another way of putting it might be, "Yes, I'll have another serving of Kool-Aid".

3:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is ridiculous. where do you people live? not here. i went into gg when we were not supposed to and my rabbi didn't condemn me and my friends didn't abandon me.

i dont know what was really up with the gg thing, and i admit that it wasnt handled well but there is no kosher mafia in this town. there is a unified vaad that makes it easier for everyone.

and to all you anti orthos - get over it already. if you try to get to know us instead of attacking us on-line, you might have something different to report.

7:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TRYING NOT TO BE ANTI-ORTHO:
WOW Reading all the comments posted here has been nothing short of incredible. I find it truly amazing how religon can incite such nastiness between people of the same basic faith. It appears to me that all religons,Jewish, Catholic, Muslim, Hindu, etc.. all have problems within their own choice of worships. Why then do we expect people who are not of the same faith to get along with people of our faith when we cannot get along with each other? Why does our faith in religon bring out such hatred in ourselves and other people? I am not talking about just the Jewish but all religons. It seems the best way to pick a fight or argument is to bring up religon. Maybe the Atheists are the only ones at peace with themselves, they have no religon. This is some very deep and disturbing stuff. I just wonder if we will ever find out who's brand of religon is right. When it's all over who will be standing there saying "I told you so". Well I guess thats something else we can all argue over now. Sorry if you missed my usual anti ortho rant guess I was just in a non fanatical mood. LOL Besides it is clear that it is being handled without me. Ortho-man and Anonymous Mom how are you two doing? Hope all is well.

8:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TRYING NO TO BE ANTI-ORTHO:

OOPS! RELIGION SORRY DON'T WANT THE CORRECTION FANATICS AFTER ME

8:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 7:10, What do you mean that you went to GG when you "were not supposed to"? Are you 12? I don't get this at all, don't know the background story, but who is telling you where to go?

9:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Anon 7:10, What do you mean that you went to GG when you "were not supposed to"? Are you 12? I don't get this at all, don't know the background story, but who is telling you where to go?

9:21 PM


YOU MUST LIVE OUTSIDE OF NEW YORK NOT TO HAVE HEARD ABOUT GG. IN A NUTSHELL..GG WAS BOYCOTTED BY MANY OF THE RABBIS AND THEIR CONGREGANTS. MANY OF THE RABBONIM ISSUED PSAKS FORBIDDING ANY SHOPPING THERE.. IN THE SAME ARTICLES, THEY SAID IT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH KASHRUTH.. APPARENTLY GG REFUSED TO LISTEN TO RABBI EISEN EDICT TO LEAVE THE AREA WITHIN 4 MOS.. APPARENTLY, THERE WAS SOMEONE ELSE WHO WANTED TO BUY THE RECENTLY REMODELED STORE AND IT WAS NOT FOR SALE.. THE VAAD PULLED THE CERTIFICATION WHEN GG HIRED ANOTHER PERFECTLY FINE HECHSER. RABBI EISEN RETALIATED AND HAD MANY OF THE VAAD RABBI ANNOUNCE A BOYCOTT. BUSINESS WENT DOWN IMMEDIATELY..RICO, EXTORTION YOU SAY??? OF COURSE, BUT THE AUTONOMATRONS IN TOWN BLINDLY FOLLOW THEIR RABBIS NO MATTER WHAT.. GG WAS FORCED TO SELL TO A CONGLOMERATE FRONTED BY A MO WHO INCLUDED A VAAD RABBI..AMAZING ISNT IT?? IN THIS DAY AND AGE....JUST LIKE THE COSA NOSTRA IN THE 50S AND 60S.

THIS HAPPENED TO A WONDERFUL BUSINESS WITH OWNERS WHO CARED AND WERE IN BUSINESS IN TOWN FOR OVER 20 YEARS.

SINCE KASHRITH WAS NOT THE ISSUE ( QUOTED FROM RABBI EISEN IN A LOCAL JEWISH PAPER) WHAT WAS THE ISSUE?? THE MO WANTED THE STORE AND GG HAD JUST FINISHED EXPANSION..SO I GUESS STRONG ARMING IS ACCEPTABLE TO CERTAIN PEOPLE..

10:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a horrible story! It's bad enough that the rabbis did this, but people are such sheep to follow this! I am opposed to any kosher certification company doing anything except giving an opinion on food. If they withdraw certification for any reason except the food not being kosher, they should not be in the kashrut business.

10:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems the best way to pick a fight or argument is to bring up religon.

This is news to you?

It used to be a part of basic etiquette that you avoid discussions about politics or religion at any social gathering. Forget about Joe Dimaggio, where have you gone Emily Post?

10:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

THE IRONIC THING IS THAT IT WAS THE VAAD'S OWN RABBIS THAT CERTIFIED THE KASHRUS THROUGHOUT THE STORE..INCLUDING THE RABBI FROM THE OU WHO "WROTE THE BOOK" ON KASHRUS.

10:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To anon 10:09--

You tell half a story as well as anyone.

10:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

THE IRONIC THING IS THAT IT WAS THE VAAD'S OWN RABBIS THAT CERTIFIED THE KASHRUS THROUGHOUT THE STORE

Where's the irony when kashruth wasn't the issue?

10:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

READ THE BOOK ON THE WHOLE UGLY CHAPTER IN THE FIVE TOWNS HYPOCRISY WHEN IT IS PUBLISHED. THE WHOLE STORY TAKES A WHOLE BOOK.

10:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The GG story had EVERYTHING to do with Kashrut. Let's not go into it again. The people have spoken about what thet want in terms of Kashrut.

10:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MAKE NO MISTAKE,,,THE PEOPLE NEVER SPOKE...THEIR RABBIS MADE THE DECISION AND THE AUTONOMATRONS BLINDLY OBEYED. THAT IS NOT THE SAME AS FREE WILL WHERE I COME FROM.

10:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The GG story had EVERYTHING to do with Kashrut. Let's not go into it again.

Can't we go into it until we all agree that everyone who had a hand in it said it wasn't about kashruth?

Now you might say it had everything to do with kashruth, but who are you? Certainly you're no one who had any inside info on what it was all about because if you were and if you did you would be saying it wasn't about kashruth just like everyone else who does know what happened.

So as long as you say it was about kashruth we can all dismiss you as a fool or a liar.

11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BTW the word is automatons.

11:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Can't we go into it until we all agree that everyone who had a hand in it said it wasn't about kashruth?"

Where in the world did you get that from? That's not how it was reported by my very reliable and invovled Rabbi. It had everything to do with Kashrut. Representing one thing as another is not "Kosher". Kashrut relies on a shopkeeper being trustworthy. Neemanut has everything to do with Kashrut. But as I said, I'm not going into this again.

11:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At least we know that the "automatrons" guy is the same commenter as the "automatrons" guy from before. I guess we can assume there is one very active commenter with a very anti-Orthodox agenda? (and I actually don't mean the commenter formerly knows as anti-Ortho)

11:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Autonomous robots are robots which can perform desired tasks in unstructured environments without continuous human guidance.


AUTONOMATRON --SIMILIAR ROOT AS ABOVE DEFINITION.
GIVE ME SOME CREATIVE LEEWAY..I HAVE CREATED THE NAME ( AND MODIFIED) DEFINITION FOR MY BOOK.

11:11 PM  
Anonymous anonymous mom said...

How are you, "trying not to be anti"?

Just because you asked and because I like you, I'm just soaking up the sun watching the waves crash on the Jersey shore. I checked in, but am resisting the urge to read all the comments (I scrolled up instead of down). Here's an example of the global Jewish family. I'm here on the Jersey shore with the kids (my first love, Long Beach, doesn't have an oceanfront hotel for me yet) and my hubby is in Vegas at a trade show. I'm lamenting the lack of good Schwarma in Deal, NJ to my hubby who just spent a rousing Shabbat with a couple hundred Syrian Jews who eat and pray together each year during this particular trade show. Not all are Orthos and actually not all are Syrian Jews for that matter (my hubby included). So as I lament to him on my cell while I sit on my little deck overlooking the ocean, he turns to one of his Syrian friends (non-Ortho, in case anyone cares) with whom he is dining somewhere in the middle of the Vegas strip to ask about a good Schwarma place for me (his dinner companion just happens to live where I am currently vacationing) and he tells him that there isn't one at present, but there is a Kosher oceanside restaurant. Within minutes I have the directions, some examples of menu items, and the inside track on some other restaurants in the area. It can be nice being part of this family of ours, squabbles and hailstorms aside. Carry on with your Kashrut controversies. As for me, I'm thinking "I'd rather be surfing."

11:42 PM  
Blogger Abbi said...

"You choose to live in a marginalizing way "

Anon 2:23: What the heck is a "marginalizing way"? Whatever happened to live and let live? You get angry every time an Ortho man or woman doesn't run up and hug you every time you walk down the street? Maybe you should work this out in therapy rather than on the comments board of a blog.

(btw,My Ortho parents have lived for 25 years in a suburban community in the tri state area and are very good friends with their Irish/ Italian neighbors ( I played with their kids growing up, even though I went to private schools). They enjoy seeing my children when we visit.

You know what they say about assuming...

1:11 AM  
Blogger Abbi said...

Anon 3:30:"what i object to is my rabbi telling me where i may or may not shop." It sounds like you have a problem being living in this type of community. At a certain point, you have to decide if this is the right community for you.

No one is forcing you to live there. I grew up in an Ortho community near NY and I would never dream of living in the Five Towns.

But they have a right live and organize their Ortho community however they want.

There are many lovely Ortho communities "out of town" that you might want to consider. That's the route my parents took when they moved from Queens to CT 25 years ago and they've never regretted their choice.

1:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Completely off topic, but there are 55 Israeli firefighters currently fighting the out-of-control fires in Greece.

7:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Watch out, OM and the others will find a way to blame the Greek fire on Mr. Schwach.

8:29 AM  
Anonymous Brooklyn said...

Watch out, OM and the others will find a way to blame the Greek fire on Mr. Schwach.

8:29 AM

Mr. Schwach is an a__whole. Unfortunately freedom of speech gives him the right to be an a__whole.

8:57 AM  
Anonymous Brooklyn said...

Mr. Schwach is an a__whole. Unfortunately freedom of speech gives him the right to be an a__whole.

8:57 AM

PS. I misspelled a__hole to show the quality of Schwach's reporting. It's as good as my spelling.

9:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brooklyn, Freedom of speech gives everyone, including you, the right to be an a__hole.

God bless and keep freedom of speech!

9:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

freedom of speech gives us the right to say a lot of disgusting or deragatory things about people. God gave us brains and common sense to choose not to say those offensive things. I guess Howie doesn't believe in god (he did say so himself) then he doesnt believe he has that god-given judgment to exercise.

9:11 AM  
Anonymous Brooklyn said...

Brooklyn, Freedom of speech gives everyone, including you, the right to be an a__hole.

God bless and keep freedom of speech!

9:07 AM

That's exactly my point. He has this right. I'm just wondering, though, how far he will push this righ untill things turn violent.

9:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You get angry every time an Ortho man or woman doesn't run up and hug you every time you walk down the street? Maybe you should work this out in therapy rather than on the comments board of a blog.

Thanks for the advice.

Perhaps you can explore therapy as well. It might serve as a wake up call to find out why you actually believe, in this day and age, that using electricity and ripping toilet paper on a Friday and Saturday is an affront to God.

9:48 AM  
Blogger Abbi said...

why you actually believe, in this day and age, that using electricity and ripping toilet paper on a Friday and Saturday is an affront to God."

Hmm, that's fascinating that you think you know exactly what I believe. You're really stuck on this assuming thing.

Again, why do you care whether or not I think God is insulted if I rip toilet paper on Saturdays? What does it matter to you?

Additionally, do you also think that all other American ethnic groups should be in therapy for their own lifestyle choices? Will you be knocking on all Amish, Native American, Mennonite, Seventh Day Adventist people's doors to inform them that they, too, need " to really find out why they actually believe "?

No one is allowed to believe what they want without your certification? Please let me know where I can send a SASE so I can get this terribly important certificate of yours.

12:55 PM  
Anonymous ortho-man said...

Hey TNTBAO (Trying not to be Anti-Ortho) - guess you never came up with a better name option huh? That's OK - Doesn't exaactly roll off the tongue but I'll go with it for now!
Like Anon Mom, I to am staying away from this one for now...just too crazy ... tying in the whole GG controversy seems ludacris to me. One issue is an internal kashrut issue and the other relates to an out of control newspaper editor...whatever.
Anyway, I most appreciate you moderate tone and philsophical, thought provoking comment.
Thanks!
(Note: If you would like your comment to be from you - select "other" when you post and simply put the name you select in the "name" box - this way you won't come up as Anonymous and have to put your name in the message. Just a suggestion.)

5:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

abbi said:
No one is allowed to believe what they want without your certification? Please let me know where I can send a SASE so I can get this terribly important certificate of yours.

I'm sure he/she would be happy to receive your SASE.

I have a great idea...

On Saturday, why not roll up those sleeves (ESPECIALLY if you're a female), get a pen, write out a SASE, drive over to your post office and drop it in the mail!

6:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To anon 6:46

Do you have a mezuzah on your front door post? If you do, why?

Were you Bar Mitzvahed? Why?

Are you circumcised? Why?

Do you ever go to synagogue? Why?

10:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TRYING TO BE ANTI-ORTHO HERE:

Thanks for the tip ortho-man. A new name will come soon I am just waiting for the right one to strike me. It is amazing how the bolgs evolve in this site from the starting issue into something that is a completely different. I do remember reading in the local papers about the GG issue but I really have no knowledge about it although it sounds like it would make a good political thriller. It has been interesting reading. I know my comments were nothing new Anon 10:19 but sometimes when you re read something even for the hundrenth time you can sometimes find a new meaning to it or help someone else re think it.
Anonymous Mom I am very glad to hear you are on vacation and enjoying it even without your husband being there to enjoy it with you I wish he was there to make it complete for you. This is what it should be about for all of us kicking back and enjoying what we have while we can because it can be gone so quickly. I am glad you found a place to eat I hope the food was good. As beautiful as the Jersey shore is I still remember growing up in the Rockaways in the 60's and early 70's and to this day I say I would not trade it for anywhere else in the world IT WAS GREAT! You know even without trying to you have made a point to everyone. A Syrian Jew dining with an American Jew and enjoying it and helping to solve his wife's problem OY whats this world coming to! LOL Enjoy the rest of your vacation. Ortho-man you also have a nice holiday weekend.

11:41 PM  
Blogger Abbi said...

Honestly, to all of you who have such a huge problem with Orthodox people: None of you have answered the question I have asked repeatedly throughout this thread:

WHY DOES IT MATTER TO YOU WHAT ORTHODOX PEOPLE DO ON SATURDAYS OR ANY OTHER DAY OF THE WEEK?

Witty (not) anon from above who thinks I wear long sleeves (ha!): why does it matter to you whether or not I write on Saturday? How exactly does that interrupt that day?

And once again, would you make the same obnoxious demand of Amish people to take off their bonnets and jump into cars?

12:38 AM  
Blogger Abbi said...

Oh, and also to 6:46: Do you regularly demand from all your neighbors that they receive some kind of certificate of approval? Do you hand them out as well?

Next time think before you try other witty responses.

12:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

abbi, you're correct- it really DOESN'T matter what you do (or don't do) on a Friday or Saturday night. To the MANY others who do not adhere to your "religious" practices I'm sure it is probably viewed, at the very least, as silly or superstitous.

That being said, it is the bigger picture in which these practices take place. The whole living in a self-created "bubble" breeds an "us AND them" mentality. Seperating from people who are "different" is never a good thing. I don't care whether it is in the name of religion (your case) or racial reasons. When all is said and done, the bottom line is the same.

Look at the prior post concerning "inserting a race/religion/ethncity" into your doctrine. Are you comfortable with any of those statements? If not, why? Is there any REAL difference?
If so, did you know that Mormons, up until 1978 believed that African-Americans suffered a curse were not allowed priesthood? Or how about Fundamental Christians (the equivalency of Orthodox Judaism) who believe that you must accept Jesus as your personal saviour in order to go to heaven?

Is all of that OK? Should that be accepted because it is THEIR religion?

Another poster talked of "automatons". Do you ever question why it is OK that females, regardless of age, are basically deemed temptresses who should not sing in front of mixed audiences or expose an elbow (even in the sweltering heat)

Another is the hypocrisy (especially apparent in Modern Orthodoxy). For example, until an eruv is created it is not OK for a handicapped individual to go to temple?

Really? So, God would rather have them home as a shut-in?

Finally, abbi, maybe you do not take your religion to the extremes that I mentioned. Perhaps you're MO and your beliefs lends itself to keeping your children and yourself at an arms length from others who are "different".

Again, that's fine. But please don't complain when others look at it as not something to celebrate.

9:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 9:41
I read your post with great sadness and a feeling of true helplessness. Not because I thought your points were valid - rather, I felt this way because it truly underscores 1) the terrible misinformation and misunderstanding that is out there about my religion and 2) just how much revulsion and disgust there is out there for my faith.
You see, yours is not a "blind hate" as is so many others for the Jewish people. Yours is a true and "informed" disgust. You THINK you know what we're all about and what drives and motivates us and you have logically concluded that we are disgusting to you.
The shame of it all is that there is so much beauty and meaning in our way of life - if only you chose to see it. This does not mean that we would expect others to accept our beliefs – only not look so disdainfully and negatively at them.
I can go point by point - but then you'll just throw out another 20 "racist" things we do.

Instead, I'll try to address your underlying message – religion, specifically orthodox Judaism, is twisted - and maybe counter some of your specific points along the way.

Let's first establish and re-emphasize this country's freedom of religion. I HOPE you would agree that in this, the greatest country in the history of the world, it is OK for me to believe in a god, ok for my neighbor to believe in a different god than mine and ok for you to believe in nothing. All fine so far right? I don’t want to belabor this point but I hope you understand that what makes this country unique in history is TOLERANCE for others. It is this tolerance and freedom from tyranny that has allowed this country to succeed on levels never seen in the history of the world.

Now, I understand your point that just because some certain belief is claimed to be part of a religion that it is not always OK. It is not OK, for example, to believe that your god told you to kill people. Agreed. But the standard for determining what is “ok” and what is not is pretty simple overall – I’ll mind my business and you mind yours. You want to believe that Jews will burn in hell for not accepting Jesus as lord and savior? Hmmm…I don’t think that’s a very nice belief but…as long as you do not harm me, my family and my co-religionists – I do not have a problem with that. (On a personal note, I have acquaintances who are Southern Baptists who do believe this concept – and we joke around about it all the time. This is the ULTIMATE goal – I have my beliefs, they have theirs and – although if you sit down and pick them apart they would clash violently – we can still be friendly (more than civil), do business and so on.)

You can judge us all you like – I would say you are misinformed, prejudice judgmental, self-righteous and a “know-it-all” – but judge us from afar and I have no problem with you either. If you think we are “wrong”, superstitious, backward – whatever – FINE. You do not have to insult us – frankly it’s impolite. So long as we are not bothering you and we are acting in a legal manner, we can believe what we’d like as can you.

I would suggest, since you have such strong opinions on the matter, that you educate yourself a bit more before leveling accusations such as we consider women “temptresses” as the reasoning behind some of our laws. This is so overly simplistic and ignorant it is barely worth addressing - but needs to be because you state it as fact. The FACT is, Orthodox Judaism REVERES women as the heart ad soul of our religion. It is the woman in the traditional Jewish family who is given the awesome responsibility to raise the children – our greatest pride joy. Children are our foundation and building blocks and women are the architects who shape and form our young minds. The unfortunate fact that modern society no longer considers motherhood and family life as anything of value is of no consequence to us. We believe that this is the single most important contribution one can give to the world. And no, in most modern day orthodox families, the woman is NOT relegated to the home if she so chooses. Medicine, law, business - all doors are open if a woman so chooses – so stop making us sound like we’re the Taliban – it’s outrageous – CUT IT OUT.

All of your other points were also grounded in basic misunderstanding or misreading of jewish law. If you are ill informed please do not comment on matters above your head.

(For those of you, including anon 9:41, who are reading this and saying “but you ARE NOT minding your own business – you people took over our neighborhood!!” I submit to you – “taking over your neighborhood”, by moving freely around this country is not a violation of anyone’s rights. Neighborhoods change. Demographics change. They always have and always will. If Chinese people moved into the neighborhood you’d have a lot of the old stores close and new stores would open that cater to Chinese tastes and culture. If Greeks moved in, in large numbers, the same would be true. Do not make the mistake of tying in a demographics change – which happens all the time and in many areas around the country – to an inherently “Orthodox Jewish” issue, which some of you seem to imply or believe this is. The fact is, nothing in Judaism and/or Orthodox Judaism stops you, or WANTS to stop you from your lifestyle – you may do as you please – we don’t judge you and you should not judge us.)

1:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you heard of Naomi Regan's new book, The Saturday Wife?

It seems to describe 5-Towns life perfectly!

2:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey anon 1:09 good post - a bit too long.

next time, post twice:)

8:28 PM  
Anonymous Fox said...

I actually left the academic world precisely because of the kind of reasoning that seems to characterize many of the posters who claim to disdain Orthodox Jews. The message that comes through loud and clear is "I'm an incredibly tolerant, open-minded person. As long as you don't disagree with me!"

You may not agree with people who self-segregate themselves based on religion, money, or common interests. Fine; good; there are excellent reasons to be against self-segregation.

However, there are also excellent reasons to be *in* favor of self-segregation, as anyone with children can understand. Each of us must make the best choice we can based on our beliefs and family needs.

I wonder if the same people who are outraged by the practice of kashrus would be similarly moved to mouth-foaming rancor by a vegan.
Are the folks that get upset about my following certain dress guidelines similarly outraged by school dress codes?

In circles that claim to be "liberal" or "progressive", disdaining religious impulses has long been a litmus test of proper thinking. Now, I can certainly understand someone who rejects such impulses personally. But why should it make anyone angry if other people pursue their religious feelings -- at least when he/she is not being forced to pursue them in the same way? And why the desire to hurl epithets?

I am reminded of the old joke that made the rounds many years ago: During the 1940s, an elderly woman boarded an NYC bus and sat near a man in Chassidic garb. After a few minutes she said to him, in Yiddish, "Why do you go around looking like that? We're in America. You shouldn't dress like that and call attention to yourself. It's a shanda."

The man responded in perfect, American-accented English, "Pardon me? I didn't hear you."

Well, the woman was terribly embarrassed. She jumped back a bit and said, "Oh, you must be Amish. I have such respect for how you people don't cave in to any modern notion that comes along."

12:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, what a hypocrite you are Orthomom. You have the audacity to attack an editor in your posting while never making statements about Larry Gordon of the 5 Towns Jewish Press. I guess when the views are slanted in your direction it must be OK…pathetic.

1:08 PM  
Blogger Abbi said...

"Seperating from people who are "different" is never a good thing. I don't care whether it is in the name of religion (your case) or racial reasons. When all is said and done, the bottom line is the same."

Um, that may be your belief, but, once again, why do you need to force it on everyone else?

4:10 PM  
Anonymous David Bar Magen said...

Orthomom: Just weighing in on the Schwach guy, not entering the hail of blood and fire in here.

Several years ago, three of the boys from the yeshiva in Belle Harbor were arrested on aggravated assault charges against three Catholic girls. (Charges were later dismissed.) I knew many of the students of the Yeshiva and, upon questioning them about these events, I discovered that the exchange of insults hurled between these girls and themselves was your regular, run-of-the-mill teenage namecalling session.

Nonetheless, the esteemed Mr. Schwach insisted on running a column that painted these events as a sign of the "brewing religious warfare" in the Catholic/Jewish community, a "warfare" that does not and never did exist. Kids are kids, and kids are cruel. I'm pretty sure Mr. Schwach was aware of this, and was merely behaving like the alarmist rabble rouser he is.

To confirm my suspicions, the letter I sent, signed and validated by several students of the yeshiva, was never run by The Wave.

The sooner they get this guy out on a park bench where he belongs, the sooner The Wave can become a less yellow publication.

5:23 PM  
Anonymous Fox said...

Referring to Abbi's assertion: I think you're not being realistic when you claim that separating oneself from others based on differences is "never" a good thing. There are certain beliefs, morals, and ideas that I don't want surrounding me on a daily basis.

For example, I choose to live in the Midwest because I place a premium on friendliness and certain types of politeness in day-to-day interactions, and I want my children to imbibe that value. I prefer to surround my family, in general, with others who value the same things, and I find that easier in my region.

Notice that I did *not* state that East Coasters are rude, ignorant boors (except, perhaps, for certain relatives of mine!). In fact, they could easily argue that *their* standards of daily contact are, in fact, superior to mine. Likewise, they could claim that while perhaps they *are* abrupt in certain situations, the benefits of living on the East Coast outweigh this disadvantage.

Most of us -- especially those with families -- make *lots* of decisions on a daily basis to separate ourselves in ways that have nothing to do with religion or race.

The late film critic Pauline Kael was widely quoted -- and widely ridiculed -- for her statement in 1972 that she couldn't understand how Richard Nixon had defeated George McGovern for the presidency when "Nobody I knew voted for him [Nixon]!" If you claim not to be "separating" yourself, you're probably not being honest.

I still don't understand why anyone would find the behavior of Orthodox Jews to be coercive. If kosher restaurants begin to predominate the landscape, it is because they have customers. If Orthodox institutions begin to dot the landscape, it is because they have a base of support. Just because my skirts dip below my knees doesn't mean yours must.

6:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey 1:08. In order for OM to be a hypocrite for not criticizing Larry Gordon like she did Schwach, he would first have to say something similarly odious. Concrete examples only, please.

10:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 1:08:

its the 5 towns jewish times. the jewish press is another esteemed and highly regarded jewish publication. sheesh!

11:52 PM  
Blogger Abbi said...

Fox, I was quoting a previous anon (that's why the first part was in quotes; too lazy for italics. ;) )

I agree 100% with everything you said. So much so, I moved to Israel. Talk about self-segregating!

Everybody makes life choices that are best for their family. Too bad not everybody can respect them.

I completely agreed with your previous point too, about liberals who are intolerant of religious people.

8:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with not exposing children to certain things that are harmful to them. I think that is a given for ALL parents.

However, I do it based on individuals and not groups. Unfortunately, that concept is hard to execute in the Orthodox community because an individual, is "different" because they belong to a "different" group.

Example: "I'm sorry Rochelle. You are not allowed to go over to Maria's house. I'm sure she and her parents are wonderful people but they are different from us"

As opposed to:

"Yes Maria, you may go to Rochelle's house for a play date. I've met her parents and they seem like very lovely people. I'm happy you are friends with her and I would much rather see you playing with Rochelle rather than Irene".

9:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting, although I am confused. Why is it okay for you to write your opinions and not somone else? Why is okay to lobby to spend 1 million dollars on four year old busing, while other children play in dangerous playgrounds and are in unsafe schools? If you want to be against the injustices of the world you need lobby against them all,and follow it for yourself. You can't dance to all the weddings

12:46 PM  
Anonymous Fox said...

Good for you, Abbi! I'm spending increasing time mooning over Internet real estate sites advertising apartments in Teverya. Not ready to make the move yet, but a lot closer than I used to be!

As for Anon 9:32, this sounds great, but the amount of vigilance needed when dealing with children makes it a lot more difficult that it might seem.

Let me give you some examples from my own childrearing:

We are, with very occasional exceptions, a non-TV household. When I once picked up my kids from a classmate's birthday party, I discovered the "entertainment" was watching the Disney channel. Now, I don't believe that their brains rotted during those two hours, but there were definitely elements of the programming that I didn't want my then-young children encountering.

Or the time my 11-year-old daughter came home from someone's sleepover discussing the Britney Spears videos she'd viewed? Again, not the end of the world, but not something I want to repeat.

My compromise is that I don't forbid my children from having friends who have somewhat different lifestyles and I try not to say or do anything unkind or judgmental. But like any parent, I send my children to schools, camps, and organizations where my values are validated and supported. As a result, most of their friends share our *general* values even if there are variances.

So while I can't disagree with the general principle of permitting others into one's "circle" based on individual differences rather than group identification, I find it to be a slope made slippery with moral relativism.

Let's be honest here: When we discuss "separating" ourselves from the larger world, we're not talking about whether a 20-year-old chooses or is permitted to read "Ulysses" -- we're talking about whether 11-year-olds are watching Britney Spears. And I feel perfectly comfortable "separating" myself and my family from Britney, et. al.

2:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fox,

The way you are raising your kids (Disney Channel too suggestive, worrying about them seeing a music video, etc.) reminds me so much of the way certain Catholic friends of mine were raised when I was a kid in the 60's. They were the wildest ones in college, really getting into busting out of their restrictive youth with as much sex and drugs as possible.

My kid sometimes plays a game or sees a show at someone's house that wouldn't be something we'd do at home. We discuss it, and the reasons that these things aren't our cup of tea.

I think you're racing some future rebellion that will turn your hair gray, if it isn't gray already.

3:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1:08 said: Wow, what a hypocrite you are Orthomom. You have the audacity to attack an editor in your posting while never making statements about Larry Gordon of the 5 Towns Jewish Press. I guess when the views are slanted in your direction it must be OK…pathetic.

besides for the fact that the two can not be compared as other posters have already pointed out (10:30 pm), your argument doesnt even make logical sense. why do u call OM a hypocrite? where did she say anything about the 5TJT? shes a hypocrite for NOT saying something? if i say, for example, "that store has bad service"- does that mean that thats the only store with bad service?

6:54 PM  
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3:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Richard Altabe's comments were published in its entirety this past week in the WAVE. Thank G-d. The pressure worked.

It doesn't erase what was written, but I am happy to see that both sides, along with many letters have been published. That is fair reporting in my eyes.

1:20 PM  
Anonymous Fox said...

Anon at 3:27 -- Why would you believe I found the Disney channel "too suggestive"; I'm not sure what you mean by that. Truthfully, I find your parenting advice kind of mean-spirited and off-putting.

Of course you know people whom you believe to have suffered from excessive restrictions. I grew up on a college campus in the 60s with peers who "discussed" everything with their parents and also came to grief. For that matter, we can probably find anecdotal evidence that repeated exposure to the theme from "The Brady Bunch" did in a whole generation.

"Do X (or don't do X) and your children will come to a bad end" is a usually a symptom of prophylactic thinking. We beat each other up over everything from breastfeeding to preschools to teenage fashions rather than feeling secure enough to allow people to make different choices regarding how they raise their kids. You want a fight on your hands? Bring up the topic of nutrition. People go crazy!

While I acknowledge that there are many ineffective or incompetent parents running around, there are no magic "do's" or "don'ts" that will guarantee the health, safety, and success (however you choose to define it) of your child. Parents can only attempt to know their children well, weigh options, seek advice from an experienced rav or other mentor who knows them well, and do their best.

My point, though, is not how we react to the "not our cup of tea" variations in family values, but truly significant lifestyle differences. There is a huge difference between watching a TV show that we perhaps don't condone and sending a child to a home where, say, "The Sopranos" is broadcasting in the background.

Leaving aside TV, what about a family that adheres to very different standards of dress or undress in their home? Or uses inappropriate language that we hear creeping into our child's vocabulary? Or exposes our child to drug or alcohol abuse?

I believe that most caring parents -- whether or not they admit it -- *do* set limits. And that is where "separating ourselves" sets in. So we draw our lines at different points? Big deal! To paraphrase the old joke, we know what we are; now we're just negotiating price!

1:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA and you claim not to be an exclusionary religion while members of your community can easily be quoted above as not liking their children playing with another child because of Britney Spears. If that is the slightest criteria for not allowing intermingling of children, I can just imagine what the outrage would be if they owned an MP3 player or a PlayStation or God forbid…they wore a Crucifix…AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. Who do you people think you are kidding, at least most of the exclusionary groups are obvious (i.e. KKK, Black Panthers, Bloods/Crypts) with their hate and loathing for others, you just hide behind your specific interpretation of the Torah to exclude all others. Try practicing tolerance before telling everyone else how to live.

2:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if OM's next post will be entitled "Still More on Schwach." Or maybe "Let's Gripe More About Schwach." Or, "Shwach is a Bad Boy because He Doesn't like Us!"

2:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Try practicing tolerance before telling everyone else how to live."

See, that's what you don;t seem to comprehend. I couldn't care less what you choose to do. Let your children watch Britney Spears videos. Let them watch soft-core pornography if you believe that's in their best interests. I don't agree with you - but it's certainly not my decision or care if that's your parenting choice. But don't dare try to foist your choices on me. I raise my children as I please. Everyone makes choices about who and what to expose their children to. I daresay that you who criticize me for MY limits have limits of your own. And that's your choice.

Why don't YOU try practicing tolerance before telling ME how to live my life?

3:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Why is it okay for you to write your opinions and not somone else? Why is okay to lobby to spend 1 million dollars on four year old busing, while other children play in dangerous playgrounds and are in unsafe schools?"

What in God's name are you even talking about? Private school students get EXACTLY the same transportation services as public school students. Four year old busing is provided to the public school population, how much it will cost to provide similar services to the private school population isn't really up for discussion. Services must be distributed equitably. As the law dictates. How anyone can argue about busing of actual children, whether they attend public or private schools, is beyond me. Isn't this all about providing for children?

3:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 2:48

Let it go. Forget Brittney Spears.

Remember, you are trying to talk "sense" to a bunch of people who ACTUALLY believe that eating a cheese burger is an affront to God.

Doesn't THAT about sum it up?

By the way, read the Noah Feldman article (online) in New York magazine. It's called ORTHODOX PARADOX.

4:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"
Remember, you are trying to talk "sense" to a bunch of people who ACTUALLY believe that eating a cheese burger is an affront to God."

Are you as intolerant of vegetarians? Of people who don't eat white sugar and flour? Or do you just save your intolerance for Orthodox people?

"
By the way, read the Noah Feldman article (online) in New York magazine. It's called ORTHODOX PARADOX."

And then read the articles that show that he lied and misled in the article. His story is not exactly credible.

4:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 4:06

So, do you know why Orthodox people do not eat cheese burgers? I am curious to know if you do - and disagree with their reasoning (while this still wouldn't mean that the Orthodox lack "sense"). Or perhaps, you simply enjoy launching bigoted ad hominem attacks?

Rational respectful discourse is welcome.

4:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you as intolerant of vegetarians? Of people who don't eat white sugar and flour? Or do you just save your intolerance for Orthodox people?

No and yes.

If a person chooses to be a vegetarian and their decision is not driven by religion then I say pass the tofu burgers.

And then read the articles that show that he lied and misled in the article. His story is not exactly credible.

I'm not surprised you would feel that way. After all, Orthodoxy should NEVER be looked upon as closed minded or intolerant of differing beliefs or viewpoints.


_________________________________________________

So, do you know why Orthodox people do not eat cheese burgers? I am curious to know if you do - and disagree with their reasoning

Of course I do.

Like many other "customs" and "traditions" the restriction of mixing meat and dairy is based on what the torah says.

Or perhaps, you simply enjoy launching bigoted ad hominem attacks?

No. Not really.

I find it quite interesting that for all of the "I have many different kinds of friends" rhetoric not many answered the "insert a different ethnic group into YOUR doctrine" post or commented on the "what if my goy 'friend' suffered a loss on Sukkot" dilemma.

7:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"
I'm not surprised you would feel that way. After all, Orthodoxy should NEVER be looked upon as closed minded or intolerant of differing beliefs or viewpoints."

Um, no. He out-and-out misled the readers of his article, no matter what religion they practice. Read here. You might understand.

7:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"
I find it quite interesting that for all of the "I have many different kinds of friends" rhetoric not many answered the "insert a different ethnic group into YOUR doctrine" post or commented on the "what if my goy 'friend' suffered a loss on Sukkot" dilemma."

Because it's absurd. Who are you to judge how my friends should handle my religious convictions? My "goy friends" as you so indelicately put it, are quite tolerant and understanding. They always dress respectfully to my family parties, wish me Good Shabbos, and one even buys kosher food when I come over. I in turn respect their conviction, religious or otherwise. But you wouldn't understand about such respect for others.

7:17 PM  
Anonymous anonymous mom said...

"at least most of the exclusionary groups are obvious (i.e. KKK, Black Panthers, Bloods/Crypts) with their hate and loathing for others,"

I kinda disagree with you there. I think their cool with you if you "make your bones" or I think that's what they call it. If you follow their rules, you're in. Now the KKK, not so much. Hell's Angels, now that's a nice bunch of people. Always polite. Really. I have a cousin who's a member--Jewish guy, too--and he has a cute nickname like "Rabbi Prophet" or something like that. Anyway, you're not excluded if you want to join the Ortho Homeboys. You don't even have to kill someone. You do have to abide by their rules. Have you ever been to a Star Trek convention? I have. My husband had a trade show in the same hotel, his show followed theirs. Guess what? That group isn't exlusionary either, but you do have to know your stuff to fit in. Okay, I am totally going back to preparing for my class. Back to school for teachers too, you know. Carry on!

8:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 7:05

"So, do you know why Orthodox people do not eat cheese burgers? I am curious to know if you do - and disagree with their reasoning"

"Of course I do.

Like many other "customs" and "traditions" the restriction of mixing meat and dairy is based on what the torah says."

You still haven't answered the question. Why does the Torah say it? Please demonstrate to the readers that you actually know what it is that you are attacking. Simply attacking out of old fashioned ignorance is boring. What is the reasoning offered by the Sages?

Show us that you are entitled to your hubris... or are you merely follwing the dictate that states that "when your point is weak - speak louder"?

Additionally, speaking like a bigot - and then simply stating that you are not one - doesn't exactly clear your (anonymous) name.

12:02 AM  
Anonymous Fox said...

"If a person chooses to be a vegetarian and their decision is not driven by religion then I say pass the tofu burgers."

This seems to sum up the entire argument made by anonymous commenters. Apparently *anything* done for religious reasons is wrong, but the same actions taken for unspecified secular reasons are okay.

Now I get it! This is easy! I can do this!

Let me try again:

I don't want my young children to watch Britney Spears videos because they represent the music industry's commercial exploitation and glorification of young women's sexuality at the expense of their self-actualization through multi-dimensional development of their personalities. Excessive exposure to a cohort inculcated with the postulate that externally defined visual elements of sexual attractiveness determines status could potentially undermine efforts toward such multi-dimensional self-actualization in individuals without meta-cognitive skills.

See? Now I'm lambasting poor Britney and her ilk not because I'm religious, but because I'm a liberal who spent too much time in graduate school. Better?

And here you thought it was just because I didn't want my kids to covet skanky clothing!

1:11 AM  
Blogger Abbi said...

"This seems to sum up the entire argument made by anonymous commenters. Apparently *anything* done for religious reasons is wrong, but the same actions taken for unspecified secular reasons are okay."

Exactly. But religious people are the intolerant ones.

And no one has yet to explain to me why these anonymous attackers are not demanding that Amish women throw off their bonnets and go out and buy cars and TVs (their poor children are also Brittney deprived!) and Seventh Day Adventists accept Sunday as their Sabbath like the rest of the Christian community. Talk about exclusionary communities!

8:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Abbi,

Your post makes no sense at all. Nobody is demanding that Orthodox women be less observant. Nobody is saying that somebody who doesn't watch Britney videos is "deprived."

Your post is why it's best to stay away from these discussions. You just take little bits away from what others write, and twist it around in a defensive way that doesn't even address what has been said. Frankly, it's like arguing with a child.

The fact that this generates such response just means that everyone is bored. Enough about Schwach already. All this makes me feel is grateful that I don't live in the Five Towns.

8:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You still haven't answered the question. Why does the Torah say it? Please demonstrate to the readers that you actually know what it is that you are attacking. Simply attacking out of old fashioned ignorance is boring. What is the reasoning offered by the Sages?

"You shall not cook a kid in its mother's milk"

Reason enough to boycott meat and cheese? Why not go the full nine and start stoning homosexuals?

"Additionally, speaking like a bigot - and then simply stating that you are not one - doesn't exactly clear your (anonymous) name"

Oh please. Your beliefs have "bigotry" and "exclusion of others" stamped all over it.

9:17 AM  
Blogger Abbi said...

"Nobody is demanding that Orthodox women be less observant."

Really? That's not what I take away from this statement: "If a person chooses to be a vegetarian and their decision is not driven by religion then I say pass the tofu burgers."

This person is say, personal decisions are fine by him/her as long as their source is not RELIGIOUS. This person is demanding that religious people give up their ridiculous, backwards, illogical, superstitious customs. If this is not what he/she is saying than what is it?

Nice use of "You're a baby" to shut down the argument. Do you talk to adults that way in real life?

12:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't want my young children to watch Britney Spears videos because they represent the music industry's commercial exploitation and glorification of young women's sexuality at the expense of their self-actualization through multi-dimensional development of their personalities. Excessive exposure to a cohort inculcated with the postulate that externally defined visual elements of sexual attractiveness determines status could potentially undermine efforts toward such multi-dimensional self-actualization in individuals without meta-cognitive skills.

See? Now I'm lambasting poor Britney and her ilk not because I'm religious, but because I'm a liberal who spent too much time in graduate school. Better?


Actually, this is a considerably superior argument than any other offered at this point in time. If this is truly the way you believe (from a secular standpoint) then you have made the top argument against Britney videos of the day. If this however was a rant about how she is offending your religious persona, then you are simply a bigot.

4:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, the sad part is that I have never considered myself a bigot. I have many friends of different ethnic and religious backgrounds, but I after moving here and being exposed to the Orthodox of this community, I can understand the issues.

10:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 4:02

EXACTLY.

I can appreciate a differing opinion from a secular standpoint more readily than one that stems solely from race/religion/ethnicity.

In my opinion, it shows REAL thinking and not just automatically following a script.

Well said!

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