|Clipping from the FJJ accusing me of being anti-gedolim”|
MORAL MAFIA – While they have no shred of morality, they claim to be speaking in the name of G-D. They manipulate rabonim by presenting false information and then claim to be speaking for “Daas Torah”. And if you dare have an opinion that differs from them, you are called an Apikores!
OPINION-PHOBIA – Those who wont let other opinions be heard for fear of being wrong themselves.
My story…A view from under the bus…
Update: After intense pressure I was finally able to get the name of the Rabbi that “blackmailed” the FJJ into shaming me. I decided to call him myself. I never met him before and knew nothing really about him and so I explained who I was and asked him why he felt the need to embarrass me publicly in my community. Instead of listening to me, he just started yelling, and accusing me of being mivaza talmidei chachomim. When I explained that that wasn’t true, and asked if he read my article he said he didn’t have to, the title was enough! He then yelled some more, called me a “tzadik’le”, told me he had much more important things to do on Erev Pesach and hung up the phone. I recorded the conversation so nobody can deny this took place.
Please note to anyone reading this:
Its still hard for me to comprehend what happened and the insanity of it all. Everyone I have spoken to, my rabbayim, friends, family, neighbors and campers know the truth and are just as upset as I am. They have been beside me 100%. Will I ever get an apology? probably not. But really, who cares. And so, I’m writing this for myself, my family and friends so they know what really took place, and I am writing this for those that have questions and want to know the real story
To: Editor of the FJJ.
My intention in writing my thoughts on the use of technology was, as stated in the original piece “Blaming Technology”, so that we can have a proper discussion on an issue that seems to be of concern to many. Unlike others, I used my full name because I felt it would be taken more seriously, and I believed in the truth in what I wrote. Never did I dream that what I said would cause such a personal and vicious response by your paper. For the most part, I was accused of saying things I never wrote. While I clearly stated the Internet was a dangerous place, I was accused of saying the exact opposite. It’s easy to defame someone when you misquote them. The gist of my letter was how I thought it’s time we educate our children on how to safely use these devices and to teach them all the positive things technology can do for us and how by blaming all our problems on technology we are doing more harm than good. I was trying to raise a topic that I felt needed more examination by the community. I wasn’t expecting everyone to agree with my point of view but I thought if the topic was raised we would all gain from it.
Instead, the next week I was amazed to see my name completely smeared and ridiculed by Rabbi Nechemiah Gottlieb: Director of Ichud. Click here to read his response. While I was hoping to read letters that either supported or challenged what I wrote (and there were some) I was surprised and shocked to see him accuse me of “criticizing all of gedolai yisroel as being dim-witted, out of touch and naive”. I never said anything remotely of that kind, I never mentioned any Rabbis name and I never even referenced anything a Rabbi might have said. The method of finding a gadol that agrees with your opinion and then accuse anyone that disagrees with you as “anti-gedolim” is not just Motzei Shem Ra but makes any discussion on the issue a waste of time. In addition, his false accusations were followed by a statement in the FJJ that insinuated that my letter was not in accordance with Das Torah. Random quotes from specific Gedolai Yisrael at the Aguda convention were inserted as to make it seem as I differed from them, when in reality there were those that had made similar sentiments to my own.
I grew up in a family that had the utmost respect for Rabbanim and I have tried my best to instill those same values in my children. Moreover, as a director of a camp I often speak with many Rabbanim, Rebbeyim and teachers, and I am in awe of the dedication I see them put into their students. I never allowed myself or my family to read anything that might contain loshon harah, whether it be printed in the tabloids or on so called kosher news sites. I specifically wrote my letter to what I believed was a properly moderated frum newspaper.
On the chance that my language may have, unintentionally, lent itself to misinterpretation I have tried to respond to the accusations against me by sending in the above response many times, even quoting other famous Gedolim with similar views, but all my letters were turned down. When I asked what the specific issue was, I was never given an answer. I have had my letter looked over by many respectably Rabbanim of the community to see if there was any hint of hatred or negativity toward gedolei yisroel and have yet to been told there was. I decided to let the whole thing pass and forget about it, but a month later again the FJJ published a statement, repeating the same diatribe, stating that my opinion was contrary to the stance of Gedolai Yisroel, with three photos of Gedolai Yisroel as if to imply they agreed with the published statement.
I was additionally attacked for going against Jewish Mesorah that we must shelter our children from evrything the outside world has to offer, again I tried to reply with a letter, quoting Rav Hirsh verbatim, and it was not allowed to be published for not being in compliance with “Gedolai Torah”. When I asked on specifics, they wouldn’t say.
Discussing Jewish ideas is built into our mesora, but the second we defame another person, it changes from a mitzvah to an aveira. For someone to make it seem as though there is just one solution and one method to deal with any problem is misleading. Flatbush is a diverse neighborhood of all types of frum Jews and every Rabbi tries to deal with the given situations according to their own kehila and what they feel would be the best for each individual. But most importantly we all have the same goals in mind.
And so I wonder, how is it possible that I was accused of such nonsense. If the FJJ felt my article was in some way not in accordance with Daas Torah they would never have printed it in the first place. The answer is even more depressing. I have come to believe that there are those out there, and while they may be a few, that will stop at nothing to suppress those that differ from their own opinion. They will go as far as blackmailing to make sure only their views are heard. Even worse, they will publicly allow a newspaper to spread false gossip about someone so that another opinion is not heard!
One of the most important functions of a newspaper is to serve as a forum to examine social, political, and ideological issues important to the public welfare and education. Often, the presentation of issues will take the form of a debate, with opposing sides presenting their views. Debate however, should not be confused with controversy (machlokes). It is vital that a newspaper will serve as a medium to clarify actual issues and not encourage and promote strife between people. Articles that are written to inflame people’s emotions in the hope of creating an issue, or that pit two personalities against each other to create controversy are inappropriate. Needless to say motzei shem ra applies to defaming a neighborhood just as well!
The Chofetz Chaim says, the proliferation of newspapers that contain lashon hara, slander, and divisiveness, exists only when the readership is willing to accept this fare. There is such a powerful desire to read this sensationalism that for many, a day cannot go by without reading this type of “news”. The newspaper and the readership, warns the Chofetz Chaim, do not appreciate that they will be held accountable before Hashem.
My intention with this letter, is that what has happened to me, won’t happen again. Not to me or to anyone else. If I had to be the one to get stepped on to make a change, so be it. In addition my hope is that we can have a newspaper that will discuss issues that really need to be addressed without anyone being afraid to have their opinion heard, as long as it’s L’shaim shomayim. Unfortunately, the current trend is to wait till we have a so-called crisis until we are willing to address the issue at hand.
I’m thankful to all those that stood by me, whether publicly or anonymously, it makes me believe in the frum community. To those that tell me how brave I am, not so, I was naive. To all those that tell me you’re wasting your time, it’s of no use and that people dont want to hear the truth, to them I say, maybe you’re right, but at least I tried. And to those that ask me, aren’t you afraid of “them”? Well, I’m just not.
I would also like to add that I feel lucky and proud to be a part of the diverse Flatbush community and my beautiful neighborhood of Marine Park.
A Chag Kosher Vsamayach
Director, Camp Sdei Chemed International