The Wounded Rabbi

Cross-Currents -- Media Manipulation Far and Near: "Media manipulate, though, in myriad ways. Sometimes even with good, if misguided, intentions, sometimes even unintentionally, and sometimes even in our own backyard."

Ordinarily I'd ignore what passes for a literate op-ed that I don't agree with.

But here Mr. Shafran compares the attempts at media manipulation by the Hezbollah with what he thinks is "media manipulation" by the Jewish Week.

Wait. Let me get this straight. Our real enemy Hezbollah tries to lie in the media. I agree with Shafran. That is despicable.

And now Shafran says that we should compare that chicanery with the Jewish Week story on a synagogue in NYC.

Here is the Shafran worldview. Hezbollah=Synagogue in NYC. Both are his enemies. Both are manipulating the media. Both are evil.

Here is a gem from Mr. Shafran:

"The answer lies in the fact of journalism’s dirty little secret: Those who manufacture the product have personal opinions and hopes that they are not always able to prevent from informing their reportage. That is manifestly true in the larger journalistic world and, it has become amply clear by now, in the Jewish one no less."
Yes the larger journalistic world and the Jewish one are both contaminated by personal opinions. And don't forget KOE on the UWS of Manhattan is just like Hezbollah. They both are enemies trying to manipulate the biased media.

But listen to what he says, rabosei. He insinuates that the Jewish Week is like Hezbollah. He suggests that those true enemies of the Jewish people who launch rockets to kill us -- they are the same as the Jewish Week. Oy.

Why, you ask, does Mr. Shafran make such bizarre comparisons? How does this man's mind work?

He has been schooled in the classic ploy called the "wounded bully". When a bully is discovered outright, one method he uses to cover himself is to claim to be hurt, to elicit sympathy and to take away the attention from the discovery of his bullying behavior.

Where is the bullying in this instance? The NY Times asked Rabbi Bleich about the new woman leader of KOE and he blasted her as a schismatic. It is a given. This woman will be relentlessly attacked by the right wing Orthodox.

And then there will be the passive bullying. No RWO rabbi will congratulate her. None will offer her help or chizuk.

Why exactly should we pity this rabbi? Well he tells us it is because the whole world is distorting the news to hurt him. The Jewish Week and the NY Times are saying that KOE is Orthodox and a woman is its spiritual leader.

Imagine! Such lies! Pity the poor bully.

It is Elul and time for introspection. Perhaps it is time for Shafran and other Orthodox public spokesmen to stand up and repent of their bullying.

The Torah teaches ways of peace, not ways of hurling insults, denigrating fellow Jews and then claiming to be the victim and asking for pity.


Tzvee Zahavy said...

Dear Rabbi Zahavy,

I was sent a copy of your comments about my recent essay "Media Manipulation Far and Near" and was disappointed to see my words severely mischaracterized.

My comparison was between a member of the international print media and a member of the Jewish media, not between the latter and any terrorist.

I realize there are some who might automatically equate a photographer who has an Arab name with terrorism. I do not do so, and would hope that you would not either.

I hope you will amend the misleading posting, and exercise due care in the future when relating the ideas of others.

Best wishes,

Rabbi Avi Shafran

Tzvee Zahavy said...


The article from the first paragraph is quite clear, not at all as you mischaracterize it:

"With the hiring of a woman as spiritual leader, an Upper West Side congregation — largely Orthodox in practice though not in name — may be charting new territory in the terrain of religious practice.

In a decision that could be seen as fracturing the stained-glass ceiling or at least rendering a tiny fissure, Congregation Kehilat Orach Eliezer (KOE) has hired Dina Najman-Licht, a scholar of Jewish law with an expertise in bioethics, as its rosh kehillah, or head of community."

I'm sorry that you continue to pursue this when you are clearly in the wrong.

Shavua Tov.