Somehow I am on the list that receives a free newspaper called WJD, the World Jewish Digest, that is the tabloid journalism of Jewish life. Earlier this year they did a story on how Hebrew Schools can never work that featured an opening salvo about a ten year old who literally had to be dragged kicking and screaming from his car into the synagogue because the Hebrew School situation was so oppressive. It never asked the obvious questions, “Was he be bullied?” “Did something happen at home?” “Was their some dramatic event that had so embarrassed him that entering was traumatic?” It just never faced the truth that ten year olds are usually not so freaked out about a schooling event that they would resort to this kind of behavior. In short, no one ever asked why, they just left us with Hebrew Schools are so bad that some kids need to be dragged in kicking and screaming. Good journalism!
This week I got an issue with a cover story that asks, “Is Enviornmentalism a Jewish Issue?” They staged a debate on the “No” side is Edward Bernard Glick who manages to confirm our worst stereotypes of Orthodoxy today. He manages to say, “In this 21st century–when intermarriage is rife, when even Jews who marry other Jews have a negative birthrate, when United States Jewery is declining in numbers, percentages, prestige and power, when Islam seeks to subjugate all other faiths and the Koran preaches that “the unbelievers are your inveterate enemies”; when Iran threatens Israel with nuclear annihilation; when European Jews face levels of antisemitism not seen since the days of Adolf Hitler–American Jewry must remember and reorder its priorities constantly.
Global warming is not a greater threat to Jews than Islamic terror. Using longer-lasting light bulbs is not on a par wth putting a mezuzah on your doorpost…”
Forget the fact that this is bad Judaism and a bad path towards the very Judaism he is concerned with saving. When his spiritual home in Brooklyn is underwater, when Jerusalem is beach front property, his arguments will be academic. But, what bothers me most is that this gives Orthodoxy a bad name. We have for most Jews–and most Jews are his target–Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist, Renewal– the conclusion that Orthodox Jews are Crazy Fundamentalist, Racist Jewry. He speaks poorly for his argument–and by sharing this as a valid Jewish position, an equally valid choice, WJD reduces itself to the level of publications that report Alien sightings and babies with two heads. It saddens me, because the tradition has a lot to offer non-Orthodox Jews who can’t help, like me, be offended by this article. The anti-Moslem racism is unforgivable, the lack of clear understanding of ecological mitzvot shameful, and his dismissive nature towards all issues but the “saving of the Jewish people” will drive more Jews away. I am really sorry that seems to have become the ubiquitous Jewish publication in America. I rather read about the Satmayr Rebbe being secretly an alien from Pluto (even if it is no longer a planet).