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March 08, 2013

The Moral Failure Of David Brooks And Rabbi Meir Soloveichik

David BrooksDavid Brooks of the New York Times goes on a guided tour of haredi Brooklyn featuring the Pomegranate grocery store with Rabbi Meir Soloveichik, and manages to gush about all the positives of haredi life without mentioning even one negative – even the negatives his own paper helped to publicize.

 

In the world of David Brooks, there is no E-rate fraud, no school lunch fraud, no welfare fraud, no Section 8 fraud, no child sexual abuse coverups, no haredi schools that fail to teach any secular subjects, no widespread poverty, no agunot, no child neglect. In the mind of David Brooks and his moral midget tour guide, there is only beauty, wonderful families, and plentiful varieties of bagged snacks and gourmet treats:

…Pomegranate looks like any island of upscale consumerism, but deep down it is based on a countercultural understanding of how life should work.

Those of us in secular America live in a culture that takes the supremacy of individual autonomy as a given. Life is a journey. You choose your own path. You can live in the city or the suburbs, be a Wiccan or a biker.

For the people who shop at Pomegranate, the collective covenant with God is the primary reality and obedience to the laws is the primary obligation. They go shopping like the rest of us, but their shopping is minutely governed by an external moral order.

The laws, in this view, make for a decent society. They give structure to everyday life. They infuse everyday acts with spiritual significance. They build community. They regulate desires. They moderate religious zeal, making religion an everyday practical reality.

The laws are gradually internalized through a system of lifelong study, argument and practice. The external laws may seem, at first, like an imposition, but then they become welcome and finally seem like a person’s natural way of being.…

Much of the delight in life comes from arguing about the law and different interpretations of God’s command. Soloveichik laughingly describes his debates over which blessing to say over Crispix cereal, which is part corn, but also part rice. Jonathan Sacks, the chief rabbi of the British Commonwealth who is on a tour through New York, notes that Jews are constitutional lawyers: “The Torah is an anthology of argument with a shared vocabulary of common restraint.”…

Not a word about the multitude of crimes against children or the frauds or the poverty or the agunot. Not one word.

[Hat Tips: state of disgust, Yochanan Lavie.]

Comments

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David Brooks is actually my favorite columnist, and he's usually quite astute. But I agree with Shmarya that he is looking at things with rose colored glasses. Even if his article is meant to accentuate the positive aspects of Orthodox life (and there are some, of course), he should have at least acknowledged in passing that the communities also have deep problems. By not doing so he is distorting the picture. It would be like writing about the positives of Catholic America (and again, there are some), without at least alluding to the challenges. I suspect that as a secular Jew, Brooks may be suffering from Fiddler on the Roof style nostalgia, probably unconsciously. It prevents him from being objective.

Scott, you are so freakin messed up. The type of compaliant you have cleary exhibits your sever mental illness.

Posted by: Yochanan Lavie | March 08, 2013 at 07:20 AM

I think Soleveichik is fundamentally dishonest, and Brooks was more than willing to regurgitate Soleveichik's BS as if it were true, because Soleveichik is a 'rising star' in the conservative (small c) movement.

Shmarya: I agree that Brooks took Meir's line uncritically. However, Brooks is not a conservative automaton. He is a moderate who is disregarded by most conservatives as an ideological, and he also is an independent thinker, albeit one to the right of center. He recently endorsed an essay that argued that conservatism/republicanism is just as exhausted as liberalism/democratic (which I happen to agree with). An ideologically pure conservative would NEVER EVER, EVER praise such an essay. Brooks started off as a neoconservative, but if you read his columns regularly (as I do), you see that he no longer really is one. I think it's unfair and inaccurate to judge him as another predictable Bush-bot on the basis of one bad column. Not every non-liberal is a clone, just like not every liberal is a genius. There are good and bad thinkers on both sides, IMO.

(Disclosure: I am an independent who is disgusted with both political parties. Both parties would be very happy to see this country in the toilet rather than lose an election. Unlike La Guardia, who famously said, "My country right or wrong, but my part only when it's right.")

Correction: Should read "He is a moderate who is seen by most conservatives as an ideological traitor..."

Posted by: Yochanan Lavie | March 08, 2013 at 07:40 AM

Brooks reads his own paper and therefore knows about the child sexual abuse. But he doesn't mention it.

5 minutes of looking at his paper's archives would have given him the Pell Grant scandal.

5 minutes of Googling would have given him all the other scams, frauds and abuses.

But Brooks either did not do any due diligence or he lied by omission.

Either way, it's disgusting.

So quick question then: when is someone allowed to saw something, anything at all, positive about Chareidim without incurring your wrath or a "But he didn't mention how evil they are!" comment?

Posted by: Garnel Ironheart | March 08, 2013 at 07:56 AM

How does it feel to be so completely devoid of both a moral compass and a brain?

I am not defending this piece. It's a shitty column because it's uncritical and one sided. But Brooks is not a member (at least not anymore) of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. Liberals also use half-truths and distortions to prove their points. It may be "disgusting" but it's disgusting for both sides. I no longer believe in a Manichean world of the Children of Light vs. The Children of Darkness. There are good and bad people on both sides.

(Granted, some things are never morally ambiguous such as child abuse and scams, but there is more to Orthodoxy than just that).

Brooks was star-struck and wrote a shitty column. He did not defend child molesters.

> How does it feel to be so completely devoid of both a moral compass and a brain

No wonder you sit alone in a dark basement all day with bags of Doritos.
I wasn't arguing your point about all that's wrong with the community. I simply wonder why anyone who has anything nice to say about Chareidim gets attacked because he didn't automatically add in "But they're all horrible" to his comments.

Not sure I understand. This is a bit of a "fluff" article I admit, but:

1. In what way is it about "haredi" life? Everything said in the article simply speaks to living as an Orthodox Jew - pre-ripped toilet paper, what bracha to say on what, infusing everyday acts with spiritual significance, etc. And the article is called the "Orthodox" surge.

2. Imagine someone writing an article about an upscale market catering to Muslims. Should we also get on the writer & guide's case for neglecting to mention honor killings and jihad? Or would we call that Islamophobic?

I hope someone is responding to Brooks for the print edition. I already see plenty of critical comments online.

The Levite is absolutely correct. Good right winger: Rand Paul. Good left winger: Dennis Kucinich. They are among the few that still have any credibility, and actually stand on their true principles.

…Brooks was star-struck and wrote a shitty column. He did not defend child molesters.

Posted by: Yochanan Lavie | March 08, 2013 at 08:22 AM

No.

Brooks made a decision not to report the truth. He either accomplished that by not checking to see what the truth is, or he intentionally did not cite it.

Either way, he's a trained journalist and he knows that it is his responsibility to check what sources tell him and to look for balance.

He did neither.

Shmarya do you mention the many positives of life in orthodox communities when you write some negative story?
Does it make a you a moral failure to avoid mentioning this in the same story anymore so than it makes Brooks a "moral failure' to write a story highlighting positive aspects of orthodoxy without mentioning the negatives?

…. Imagine someone writing an article about an upscale market catering to Muslims. Should we also get on the writer & guide's case for neglecting to mention honor killings and jihad? Or would we call that Islamophobic?

Posted by: Atheodox Jew | March 08, 2013 at 08:37 AM

You have a very real difficulty in understanding moral issues.

You play theh idiotic, foolish game of pretending there is a middle ground we should all agree to, when in reality that contention is absolutely false.

Now try to process:

Little children are being raped and rabbis are covering up some of those crimes. The level of coverup is every bit as deep and wide as with the Catholic Church.

In the middle of this scandal, in walks David Brooks and acts as if it doesn't exist.

If he did the same thing with the Church during the height of that scandal, don't you think many people would have been rightly upset?

Or do you think there is some wishy washy middle ground somewhere where Brooks is right to ignore those crimes?

You don't really have to answer that question. As I noted above, your moral confusion has been abundantly clear for a very long time.

david brooks is a child paedophiles best friend. he sees nothing going on under the covers in these hardei homes. a well fed little pompous american jewish man with his eyes removed, painlessly no doubt.The word dicomfort is nor in his vocabulary.

Shmarya do you mention the many positives of life in orthodox communities when you write some negative story?
Does it make a you a moral failure to avoid mentioning this in the same story anymore so than it makes Brooks a "moral failure' to write a story highlighting positive aspects of orthodoxy without mentioning the negatives?

Posted by: A Yid | March 08, 2013 at 08:49 AM

Are you really this stupid? Did your rabbis teach you to think this way?

Process: little children are being raped, moron. Not one or two – dozens and dozens. And rabbis are covering up some of those crimes.

Speaking out about those crimes helps end them, helps save future children for torture and a life of hell.

That you are too ignorant and too amoral to process this is sad – but hen most of Chabad is sad.

I love it when Shmarya opines in this manner. It shows his true colors. And I hope he does it more and more into the future. I'm sure he will, as he can't help himself. And the more he does it, the bigger a buffoon he becomes. The more marginal he becomes. The more a sick caricature of a legitimate social commentator does he render himself. And I think Shmarya knows the damage he causes himself. And I think Shmarya knows how he harms himself and his cause (if he even has one anymore) each and every time he does something like this. That inner torture that he must suffer is the greatest comeuppance for the sins he commits against a community that never did him any wrong, and for the sins he commits against people who never did him any wrong.

Well, I've said enough. Now it's Shmarya's turn to "nyah nyah nyah" me and say how he hopes I get indicted and go to prison.

Posted by: DBSesq | March 08, 2013 at 08:56 AM

There he goes again. The rude, pompous ass of a man who is the president of NY State's most scandal-ridden school board again shows absolutely no concern for children.

You should be indicted, Danny Boy, and hopefully, you will be.

I have a different read... the column strikes me as condescending. You know the tone, "we modern folks are all so busy with our individual lives and keeping up with the rat race, yet we should pause a moment to reflect on the Yanomami people. Here they can be seen in their native environment, keeping their traditions alive despite being surrounded by modern cities..."

(and not mentioning the part about killing the men of other tribes, raping their wives, beating each other with clubs, etc.)

Posted by: Eli, what me messiah? | March 08, 2013 at 09:03 AM

You may have a different read, but Brooks simply has no history of writing the in that fashion.

Posted by: Shmarya | March 08, 2013 at 09:00 AM


YAWN!!!

Danny Schwartz, ESQ, you haven't responded to any questions put forth to you as the President of the East Ramapo School Board, yet you have time to harass posters here? This is a work day. Why are Kantrowitz and Goldhammer paying you to troll on the internet even though you are working from home? Are you billing for your time now? When you are indicted, convicted and sitting in jail, you will have plenty of time to post.

Oy gevald!!!

Someone wrote a positive article about Hareidim! How can we allow this to happen in our bigoted world?

If he did the same thing with the Church during the height of that scandal, don't you think many people would have been rightly upset?

If there was a particular Church scandal that made international news, yes I think to write a fluff story a day later would be worthy of criticism, just as it would to write an article about a quaint Halal market on 9/12/2001.

But if the "scandal" is something which simmers on for years, with various peaks along the way, does that make any other story off limits?

I take it you see this very moment as being at the HEIGHT of the scandal, but I'm not sure everyone else sees it that way.

your moral confusion has been abundantly clear for a very long time

I didn't hurl epithets at you - just offered a challenge.

sane -When it comes to mental illness as the saying goes ,it takes one to know one.

Didn't realize HTML bold/italics has been disabled on comments - too bad!

I thought the column was pretty funny. By making the consumerism/counterculture link, Brooks essentially classified Orthodoxy along with phenomena like.. attachment parenting!

You could write a similar story taking a tour of Boing maybe attending an attachment parenting and breastfeeding support group.

Seriously, I thought it was funny.

Posted by: DBSesq | March 08, 2013 at 08:56 AM

Look douscheface you aren't telling people what they are thinking about Shmarya you are (attempting to) tell people how to think about Shmarya.

Anyways everyone there is no reason to expect DBS cares about kids. Remember, he adheres to a religious system that denies kids secular education and job training while DBS himself and certain other elites fly high with law degrees and shit. Historically hareidi leaders believed its better to be poor and pious because making a living can make you go OTD.

The only thing worse than a lawyer is an orthodox lawyer.

Only thing is in jail with DBS be the butt f###er or the butt f###ed? XD he looks tall in the video so he may be a bit of both. XD

Posted by: Atheodox Jew | March 08, 2013 at 09:33 AM

You have no conception at all of what journalism is and how journalists work.

Past that, we just had the Weberman and Yegutkin sentences handed down, the Channel 4 documentary in England and the subsequent arrests, and two major cases in Rockland County. The Weberman sentence and the case itself was front page news and got international coverage.

But you, always looking for the middle ground that doesn't exist, wonders if perhaps all of that isn't significant enough to qualify for Brooks to have to mention it.

You are a very confused person.

So when every positive article about Orthodox Jews is deliberately misleading if it doesn't talk about child abuse? This wasn't even an article about rabbis or about Satmar. It was an article about Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn, a group that includes chassidim who don't want their kids to read English, and MO people who send their kids to Yale; people who were complicit in concealing evidence of child abuse and people who testified against them in court.

Of course, to Shmarya, it's like writing a positive article at the height of the scandal, because every day to Shmarya is the height of the scandal.

Shmarya,
I really feel bad for you and your friends commenting on this blog, if you would only try to help yourself to have some self confidence you would sooo enjoy life be happy and relaxed in life, how much negativity how much anger can a person have in him? it's a shame that you're wasting your time sitting in your basement trying to dig up dirt on G-ds chosen people, My father always used to say "when you play with dirt you stink from dirt" well Shmarya i have one word to tell you "YOU STINK TO HIGH HEAVEN" what a waste of a life. But hey its never too late go to a doctor, psychologist, try to take your meds every day and get a real happy relaxing enjoyable life like you deserve!
Now you can try to laugh it off and keep on doing stinking up the place, but that will take you no place, or you can really think about it and do something about it.

Shabbat shalom!

You seem to be ill equipped to separate your mission from your prejudices. It is fine to expose corruption root out "evils" and so forth. But a positive snapshop rankles you?

Would you complain about a beautiful article on gays and lesbians if the journalist failed to mention the amount of negative stuff they can bring up there?

I think its time to reconsider what you are really feeling these days.

>> Posted by: Good jew | March 08, 2013 at 10:06 AM<<

A good Jew tries to stop the rape of defenseless little children.

A good Jew speaks out against fraud and theft.

A good Jew tries to protect the weak.

You, little man, are not a good Jew, and the tree your father planted has a very malodorous stench.

@ Good Jew

Why do you keep coming back to this blog?

>>Posted by: Shaul | March 08, 2013 at 10:12 AM<<

Try it this way.

A Latin American country is persecuting Jews, and many Jews have disappeared and are rumored to be locked away in clandestine prisons or dead – tortured to death.

David Brooks comes to visit that country and writes a lovely article about the country and its foods and its public image.

Would you still say Brooks did no wrong?

If you would, you have a serious mental illness or you're simply amoral.

Literally thousands of haredi kids have been sexually abused. Many lives have been ruined. There are suicides and drug addictions and lots and lots of pain, all caused by this sexual abuse.

Process that.

No one could ever accuse news reporters of being math mavens. I don't think Mr. Brooks has a clue as to the rising costs being born by society at large because of the Haredi lifestyle. I wonder if he even understands compound interest? How long will it be before Orange and Rockland counties go broke because of their rising Medicaid bills?

There again goes the grandson of Leon Gleckman..... He will never be taken seriously.

this Nazi like diatribe by this self hating piece of human garbage,
proves once again that Shmaryah should absolutely change his name to Julius Streicher

@Gold
it makes me feel good to see how different i am from you self hating people!!!
the Gemara in Brachot says that you have to go out and greet non jewish kings so you will see a differents between a jewish king and a non jewish king, well i see a big difference and I am proud of it.
like i wrote before "you a chiose" you can either make fun and laugh it off or you can really start to take your life back and live a positive, happy, healthy,life!

Posted by: Shmarya | March 08, 2013 at 10:13 AM

A good Jew doesn't malign innocent people. You do that all the time.

A good Jew makes sure to verify ALL the facts before publishing negative stories about people. You clearly never do that.

A good Jew tries to increase peace and harmony in the world. You thrive on insulting, deriding and belittling anyone with whom you disagree.

You are not a good Jew by any stretch of the term.

Dbesq....funny that you think Shmaya is pointing...have you ever heard your own diatribes? Have you read your manifesto that was printed in the JN? Wait, don't bother answering that question...you are so full of yourself that I am sure we could find you watching your own videos, admiring yourself like Osama Bin Laden...lol! I can just picture it now!

shmarya-- please tell us more about being a
'real journalist".....

Hate auto correct...should be opining, not pointing.....

I'm intrigued by the concept of a sponge that doesn't hold water (as mentioned in the full article.) I cannot conceive of the usefulness of such an item for the 6 other days. (or on Shabbat for that matter)

I'm also intrigued that if DBSesq is really from one of the gonif school districts, how he has the chutzpah to comment here criticizing others.

People RELAX it's almost Shabbat here,
i know the truth really hurts, i can understand why my comment hurts you sooo much.
Before you attack me personal take a minute and really think who is more happy and relaxed in life, you people that thrive by negativity on Jews or people who are proud Jews?
Remember "negativity is destruction, positivity is construction"!!!
And again it's in your own hands to make the decision what you prefer in life.

>>>A good Jew doesn't malign innocent people. You do that all the time.

A good Jew makes sure to verify ALL the facts before publishing negative stories about people. You clearly never do that.

A good Jew tries to increase peace and harmony in the world. You thrive on insulting, deriding and belittling anyone with whom you disagree.

You are not a good Jew by any stretch of the term.

Posted by: DBSesq | March 08, 2013 at 10:48 AM <<<

Yes. I suppose because you consider yourself to innocent and good – something very few people agree with – then anything I write about you has to be ill-considered and wrong.

But it isn't.

And the day will come when that becomes clear to you.

>>Before you attack me personal take a minute and really think who is more happy and relaxed in life, you people that thrive by negativity on Jews or people who are proud Jews?<<

Lets try to see if you have the ability to process.

Who is more happy and relaxed in life? A person who doesn't care about others and who relaxes and enjoys the good that he personally has, or the person who spends 15 hours a day every day trying to help people who are suffering?

The first person is almost certainly happier and more relaxed.

The second person is almost certainly less happy and not relaxed at all.

But which person is doing the correct thing, the good thing?

The second person.

So you see, there is more to life than happiness and relaxation, and neither happiness or relaxation makes you a good Jew.

Can you process this?

Or do you need remedial assistance?

it makes me feel good to see how different i am from you self hating people!!!
Posted by: Good jew

Do you have low self-esteem?

A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject.
Sir Winston Churchill

Sounds like Shmarya

How disturbing it is to consider that many of us would regard it as perfectly warranted to make important decisions in life based on information we got from a supposedly 'responsible' source, such as the NY Times.


The fact remains that Brooks' utopian portrayal of the ortho/chareidi lifestyle -- even within the limits of the matters he's addressing -- is so far removed from the reality on the ground that it would be far more suitable as a piece of satire in Onion Magazine.

DBSesq --It could work the other way around also,as the saying goes it takes one to know one ,i am talking about fanaticism

>>

A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject.
Sir Winston Churchill

Sounds like Shmarya

Posted by: DBSesq | March 08, 2013 at 11:29 AM <<

Quite an odd accusation, Danny. I grew up secular, studied Judaism and became Orthodox – and, in the process, had to change my mind about quite a few things. And then more than two decades later I also changed my mind after studying object academic works about Judaism.

In other words, unlike you, I have had the courage to change and the courage to say that I was wrong.

Past that, what you accuse me of being a fanatic about are the lives of children, not some abstract philosophical concept or a sports team.

You truly are a shameful person.

In your opinion, is it ever possible for an honest person to discuss and describe the Jewish religious community, and not mentions anything negative?

In your world, whenever religious Jews are talked about, any honest person must immediately point out every shortcoming that any religious Jew ever had?

Shabbat Shalom

Gold-Hey shoite you see in others what you youreself are,if you see hate you youreself are full of it.

Posted by: Shmarya | March 08, 2013 at 11:45 AM

And in the process, you have become a fanatic and rabid hater of all that is Orthodox. I am neither a shameful person, nor and ashamed one. You however are pathetic and hateful. The best thing about you is that you have no children. When you leave this Earth, you will be soon forgotten.

How disturbing it is to consider that many of us would regard it as perfectly warranted to make important decisions in life based on information we got from a supposedly 'responsible' source, such as the NY Times.

It's important to differentiate between new pieces and opinion pieces. The Times makes a point of publishing conservative opinion columnists. Brooks offers his opinion, but there's nothing necessarily truthful or newsworthy about anything he writes.

>>>And in the process, you have become a fanatic and rabid hater of all that is Orthodox. I am neither a shameful person, nor and ashamed one. You however are pathetic and hateful. The best thing about you is that you have no children. When you leave this Earth, you will be soon forgotten.

Posted by: DBSesq | March 08, 2013 at 11:58 AM <<<

You're such a pathetic, arrogant fool, Schwartz.

Posted by: DBSesq | March 08, 2013 at 10:48 AM

Sorry, usually I try not to direct my comment about your job, because I understand that sometimes you cannot answer specific arguments, which might implicate you or your board members in some malfeasance.

Nevertheless, your enumeration what a good Jew would do, fails the objective and subjective test. Common sense dictates that when you write about a group or organization you do a balance piece. And as Jew we know that we always cared for the underdog, oppressed, poor, and sick.

A good Jew cares about the children who are being molested, a good Jew when they are in the leadership position of children e.g. on a public funded school board, they understand that they were send by the voters to work for the children of the public school, not the parochial school.

A good Jew doesn’t put all the orthodox Jews in a specific area in a bad light, you see eventually, the shenanigans or the illegal activities you and your board engage in, will come to light for all people of NY, not only your area, and then it will go national don’t say you were not told so.

Finally, when I try to understand you and wondered why you would engage in these despicable activities, it dawned on me, that the board is not different than Madoff, in the beginning when Madoff decided to fake some quarterly statement, he was just nibbling and was hopeful that eventually it will work out, but a nibble was not enough he wanted a bite, eventually even the full sandwich was not enough, he wanted the whole hog. I hope you understand that currently you are at the sandwich but you are eyeballing the whole hog. Remember, we told you to stop eating.

Posted by: Shmarya | March 08, 2013 at 12:05 PM

YAWN!!!

Before you attack me personal take a minute and really think who is more happy and relaxed in life, you people that thrive by negativity on Jews or people who are proud Jews?
Posted by: Good jew | March 08, 2013 at 11:02 AM

I will not debate you who is happier me or you, you could easy argue from now till hell freezes over that you are. Nevertheless, we all could agree that the guy who sleeps under the overpass with the bottle of hutch is definitely happier than you, so go join him.

Did Brooks attend a bris in Jewland, and witness the Hasidic penis sucking ritual?

Reading the comments posted on this article at NyTimes says it all. Most of the disagreements seems to be from secular Jews.


Posted by: Joe Field | March 08, 2013 at 12:06 PM

omg

+10000000000 points

Joe Field, great comments!

WoolSilkCotton:

"Did Brooks attend a bris in Jewland, and witness the Hasidic penis sucking ritual?"

LOL. That slayed me.

Luke.

"A good Jew doesn't malign innocent people."

"A good Jew makes sure to verify ALL the facts before publishing negative stories about people. "

"A good Jew tries to increase peace and harmony in the world."

Question? Do #1 and #3 also extend to include professional personnel hired by an individual as well as the individual himself as related to a 17 year old?

Just say..... Luke.

Joe Field:

Beautifully written. Absolutely!

Luke.

I think we need to get Yossi G. in here to moderate the debate in this blog. We could all use comedic relief a well as some fundraising tips.

Just saying.... :) Luke.

"as well as"


"I'm also intrigued that if DBSesq is really from one of the gonif school districts, how he has the chutzpah to comment here criticizing others.

Posted by: Sarek"

He just doesn't care and this is the way he reacts to the entire public school community, however, hundreds of us are complaining to the state regarding his remarks, so expect something soon! It's almost as if he gets a perverted pleasure hurting childrens' futures. As a bully, he should not be a parent.

Yochanan Lavie:

"I suspect that as a secular Jew, Brooks may be suffering from Fiddler on the Roof style nostalgia, probably unconsciously. It prevents him from being objective."

I concur. My read was he was aiming for a feel good piece (which is fine) but he got lodged in sugarcoated land, so in the end it devalued the piece.

Luke.

Luke.


Posted by: DBSesq | March 08, 2013 at 12:08 PM


Based on various news articles, it appears that you're a man whose agenda was to commandeer a school board and gut secular school funding in order to fund your preferred school system. I have no idea how accurate that reporting is to date. However, based upon NYS concerns about your performance, your claim to being a moral person is tenuous at best.

"I'm also intrigued that if DBSesq is really from one of the gonif school districts, how he has the chutzpah to comment here criticizing others."

Sarek & Devorah:

I would think that the District Counsel would have advised against this. But then again, I guess that answers my question.

Luke.

All:

"Provide money-valued awards to news agencies and independently to individual reporters who are outstanding in fair reporting on the Orthodox Jewish Community"

This from the recently formed OJPAC Mission Statement. You can find it on twitter at OJPAC. They just commented about Brook's article so I guess he gets some cash thrown at him. Wow, image control through bribes. Cool. :)

Luke.

Thank you, gopjew, WoolSilkCotton, and Luke.

Scott is being rushed in to the hospital for emergency surgery this very moment, to remove his head from his ass. Its so far uo there its interfering with breathing and eating.

Scott can't seem to understand that no amount of demonizing chareidis and other orthodox,or, if he could , convert every last one to being secular, is going to change the fact that he wasted, in his mind, twenty years of his life living as a chabadnik, spending twenty years believing in what he now sees as total bullshit. Tough shit Scott.

Hey, folks, lighten up, this is a human interest story. Does every nice portrayal of Jewish life have to be balanced by the scandals? Like, if someone wrote a nice article about a new Soul Food restaurant, must there also be references to the murder rates in black neighborhoods, the destruction of the black family due to government depndency, or Jesse Jackson's shakedown of corporations? I jsut want to read about the delicious sweet potato pie.

What a Nazi, Shmarya

Dear Satan,

I have been looking for you everywhere. I really need to talk to you. Do you text?

Well, anyway, I have a list for you. Is there anyway to mail it to you? I know you hang out alot at the post office. Can I reach you there? Should I send it to you care of 770? Will you receive mail at the Conclave?

Please contact me at your earliest convenience.

Your besty,

dh

History is like a wheel. Olam KeGalgal. The Haredim will one day have their downfall. Brooks' problem is that he thinks the Haredim are out of "Fiddler on the Roof" or Chaim Potok's "The Chosen."

"[Brooks] manages to gush about all the positives of haredi life without mentioning even one negative."

Why should he bother when you and your amen-chorus do a much better job than he would ever dream of and you do it constantly. After all, he is busy pundit-ing for the NYTimes while all you do is rant about some non-existent Chareidi tsunami.

Truth, truth,...but not the whole truth.

I personally cannot stand David Brooks, who IMO is even smarmier and more condsecending on tv than he is in print. In this case it looks to me as if he fell for Soloveichik's snow job without an ounce of critical thinking. Never mind discussing child sexual abuse abuse and its coverup in the orthodox community, there is a lot more that he could have said about Pomegranite as a cultural signifier that might not be all that flettering.

But then there are the comments. By the time I got to the article out here in Mountain time, there were already hundreds of comments, and I couldn't bring myself to read them all. But I did read some of the early ones. I was struck, for example, by one of the first Charedi apologists who made the claim that one can walk in any charedi neighborhood throughout the world in peace without being disturbed. Seriously??!! Not if you are a little MO schoolgirl in Beit Shemesh who has the temerity to wear sandals--which I imagine were the preferred footwear of Sarah, Rebecca, Leah, Rachel, Miriam, Deborah, etc., etc. Not if you are a woman who dares to walk on the "male" side of the street. Not if you are a woman who dresses according to her own tastes and values and does not enshroud herself in long black skirts and highnecked blouses with long sleeves, bullet-proof stockings, and some hideous scarf covering every stray hair. A woman who walks through a Haredi neighborhood (or even a non-Haredi neighborhood near the Haredim) who doesn't adhere to their bizarre ideas of tznius can expect to be verbally assaulted, spat upon, and even stoned, and if she has a car, to have her windows broken and her tires slashed in spite of the fact that she was on a public street.

I cannot even imagine being in a state of denial so deep as to publically paint the Haredi world in such rosy colors as this commenter and many others did. And that is the problem with Brooks's piece. I am sure Pomegranite is an attractive place to shop; so is Whole Foods. But a deeper look at both reveals negative things about the culture of those who patronize them, as well as the superficial positives laid out on the shelves and produce bins and frozen foods lockers.

Wow. It always interests me to see which posts gain traction and which do not. I didn't think this one would be so contentious. But I guess the Old Grey Lady still has some legs. Yashar koach to WSC, Joe Field, and Luke, among others. Shabbat shalom to all.

Dbesq...there is a difference between being a religious Jew and a Righteous Jew. You are not a Righteous Jew. Would a Righteous Jew stand by and watch the District's lawyer curse at a 17 year old AP student and public school parent and Laugh? Can a happy person take pleasure at watching a student being verbally assaulted and bullied by a man 3 times his age?

Why don't you save the District millions of dollars in legal fees by stepping down? You have presided over the beleaguered district during the past 2 years. The District has become insolvent by over 14 million dollars under your direction...that alone would be reason enough for most people to resign in disgrace.

birds of a feather,,who is Brooks really?

David Sasha puts him in context;

Tellingly, Brooks freely offers in the article’s very first line that he was having dinner with the “chief executive of a large bank.” Was the
dinner for business reasons or pleasure? We are not told. But the idea
that Brooks is hobnobbing with the 1% is not much of a surprise. One might
think that he would not seek to make this public, but it would appear that
it is something he is proud of and does not wish to hide.*

* *

*What is important about the dinner with the bank CEO is how Brooks
presents the issues of the CEO in a very thoughtful and sympathetic light.
Rather than write an article that deals with the matter of data and its
usefulness in an abstract philosophical way without reference to the
financial industry, Brooks has chosen to illustrate his point with
anecdotal material from an area that we would think he would prefer to avoid.*

But – no – he goes right at it and offers us the story of what would seem
to be an American bank CEO’s quandary over whether to remain in Italy or to
pull out. The story, whose particulars are wisely not presented, raises
questions not simply over data, but over the fact of American banks being
in **Italy** in the first place. Beyond this, the question that is not
asked in the article is what the connection is between **Italy**’s “weak
economy” and the role of American bank conglomerates and Wall Street
interests in foreign countries in the larger context of the casino-like
maneuvering of these banks and their huge financial losses that have helped
to cause market collapses and government bankruptcies.*


And Brooks with a straight face poses the question of whether or not the
bank should pull out of **Italy**. The CEO is portrayed as a deeply
thoughtful person who is sincerely concerned with **Italy**, when in
reality it has been the Wall Street firms whose greed and criminal
malfeasance have lit the fire of these financial collapses.*

Rather than looking at the primary problem with data – its use in
high-speed financial transactions that have transformed the manner in which
those transactions are conducted – Brooks duplicitously reconfigures the
problematic into a discussion of the human element and the
bureaucratic-mechanistic embedded in the larger epistemological-ethical context.

*By doing this he craftily marks the financial-corporate sector as having
human characteristics while avoiding the ways in which those banks and
corporations have looted the world economy in order to line their own pockets

*Brooks, as is consistent with his approach, refuses to address the issue of criminality and immorality on Wall Street while pretending to have a
deep philosophical discussion about ethics and epistemology. The pretense
is designed to mark his thinking as profound and humane when in reality, as
we see from the frame story with the bank CEO, he is mired in the
corruption that has undermined working Americans and made their economic
situation precarious at best, disastrous at worst.*

By creating this epistemological-ethical smokescreen Brooks seeks to
confuse the reader and trick us into thinking that he is saying something
intelligent. In reality what we see after we unpack the stodgy rhetoric
from his duplicitous PILPUL is a thinker wedded to power and prestige who
falsely deploys ideas and values that profoundly contradict an elitist worldview and lifestyle which has served to undermine our basic civic virtues

*Whether he praises data as the key to our cultural salvation, or whether
he turns around and vilifies it by showing its limitations, as he does here, Brooks consistently marks himself as a Hypocrite of the first order;
a political-cultural pundit who appropriates ideas in order to pervert rational ethics and common-sense logic. The elites, according to Brooks’
pretzel logic, are better than the rest of us and it is through their
“productivity” that our society will be redeemed even though these elites through their criminal malfeasance and sheer incompetence have ruined our societies.

Rather than mark the elites as criminals and bunglers, Brooks insists instead that they are saviors.

It is the classic cliché come to life: Urinate on my head and tell me it’s raining.

MM and others, Pomegranate is not a haredi store. The shoppers represent a broad cross-section of mostly observant Jews. As on the rest of Coney Island Avenue and the nearby shopping strips like Avenue J, you see haredim, just plain Orthodox, and non-Orthodox Jews, and a broad cross-section of Brooklyn's other ethnic groups. Men and women are not segregated, and no one attacks women who wear slacks, jeans, sleeveless tops, whatever.

There is a tendency in this blog to paint all "frum" Jews with the haredi brush. When my son lived in NYC, he went to Pomegranate to buy exotic shmura matzah before Pesach because he likes it -- and no one bothered him for walking bare-headed down the aisles.

Follow-up and contrast to my last: A few years earlier, my son and I drove through Kiryas Yoel, and stopped to buy some food; I had a hankering for old-fashioned herring. We were both wearing baseball caps and informal Amercian clothes, probably sport shirts and jeans. The looks we got! No one threatened us, but you know when you're not welcome.

Koryas Yoel is haredi. Pomegranate and the yidden there might be a little provincial, but they're mostly heimish.

Dear Outcast Yid--

You did not read what I wrote very carefully. Nowhere did I say that Pomegranite is a Haredi store.

I was referring to a Haredi apologist who wrote in the comments section. This commenter made the incredible assertion that anyone can walk in peace and safety in any Haredi neighborhood IN THE WORLD. The examples I cited of women and little girls who cannot walk in safety were from incidents primarily in Israel--which last time I looked was a part of THIS WORLD. I dare say if Haredim physically attacked women in Brooklyn, there would be at least some response from the NYPD, and therefore it isn't done. However, there are signs that appear in various Brooklyn neighborhoods requesting/demanding that women dress/behave in certain ways on the public streets. And, of course there are places like Kiryas Joel and New Square in which the community leaders seem to forget they are living in the US and tolerate (and perhaps even incite) attacks of various kinds (including arson) on those who don't follow community norms in lockstep.

My point was that, in spite of this commenter's assertion, Haredi neighborhoods throughout the world are not havens of peace and tranquility where all may walk without fear.

I know not all "frum" Jews are Haredim. My beloved Litvak grandparents were certainly traditionally observant Jews straight from the shtetl and certainly not Haredim. My Chasidic grandfather, well, ein andere zach.

Outcast Yid, if you are going to criticize me, at least criticize what I actually wrote, not what you fantasized.

I stand corrected. Sorry.

Hey Danny Schwartz. I find you and your fakahkte school board to be the biggest Chilul Hashem in the USA right now.

I'm utterly disgusted and embarrassed by the shit you guys pull.

Hmm, a post about the whitewashing of the inherent, hidden, criminality streak of a group that not only doesn't prosecute said, but actually rewards the perps and castigates the victims. Let's see how people contrarian to having this point brought up did in regard of this exposition:

Posted by: sane
"Scott, you are so freakin messed up. The type of compaliant you have cleary exhibits your sever mental illness."

Posted by: Garnel Ironheart
"No wonder you sit alone in a dark basement all day with bags of Doritos."

Posted by: A Yid
"Does it make a you a moral failure..."

Posted by: DBSesq
"The more a sick caricature of a legitimate social commentator does he render himself... And in the process, you have become a fanatic and rabid hater of all that is Orthodox."

Posted by: anti semite
"Oy gevald!!! Someone wrote a positive article about Hareidim! How can we allow this to happen in our bigoted world?."

Posted by: Good jew
"'YOU STINK TO HIGH HEAVEN' what a waste of a life. But hey its never too late go to a doctor, psychologist, try to take your meds every day... You self hating people!!!."

Posted by: Amused
"There again goes the grandson of Leon Gleckman..... He will never be taken seriously."

Posted by: Shmaryah,should change his name to Julius Streicher
"This Nazi like diatribe by this self hating piece of human garbage,..."

Posted by: larry
"Shmarya-- please tell us more about being a 'real journalist'....."

Posted by: Satan
"Scott is being rushed in to the hospital for emergency surgery this very moment, to remove his head from his ass."

Posted by: Sam
"What a Nazi, Shmarya."

...Sameo-sameo. Happy Hour at the Extremist Religious Chareidim's Apologist support Shul.

@Joe Field

Bravo!. Well put. =)

I was a bit surprised by David Brooks' column myself. If my memory serves me right, he is usually more balanced and even-handed than he was when he wrote that column. I was even more surprised by his omission of the fact that hareidi in the US reject (almost completely) secular education for their children. Brooks has always championed education.

Robert Barron: The column was a puff piece about a trip to a Jewish supermarket. It was certainly not meant to be fair and balanced reporting or an editorial opinion. The balance was provided by many of the reader comments, for those who bothered to read them.

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