"As the Kletzky family began the shiva period and Jews everywhere joined in their mourning, and as millions of persons who are not Jewish felt the pain, there was one notable exception to the universal grief over the murder of young Leiby. That exception was the Jewish Week of New York, a community newspaper that over the years has specialized in targeting Orthodox Jews, depicting us as engulfed in wrongdoing, notably of a financial or sexual nature."
So begins a blog post by Marvin Schick, a man who has spent much of the waning years of his life explaining to anyone who will listen that Orthodoxy in all its forms is good, pure, wholesome and right, and that all who expose its flaws are evil bigots.
In Schick's world, there are no shades of gray. You're with him or against him, pro-Orthodoxy or anti-, a good person or a bigot.
Over the years, Schick has asserted that there is far less child sexual abuse in Orthodoxy than outside it, that spousal abuse in Orthodoxy is exceedingly rare, and that the examples of such Orthodox crimes that do exist are due to the influence of ba'alei teshuva, people who became Orthodox as adults.
Those assertions are foolish and bigoted. They're not supported by statistical or anecdotal evidence. But that doesn't stop Schick from making them.
At the same time, Schick is quick to attack academics and journalists who do cite evidence. Their studies or reports are always "biased" and written out of "animus" for Orthodoxy.
Sometimes, when name-calling won't suffice, Schick will point out that there are far more [fill in whatever crime or aberrant behavior you want] in the non-Orthodox Jewish community or in the Christian or Muslim communities than there are in Orthodoxy. More Catholic priests have molested children than Orthodox rabbis, Schick might write, hoping you are oblivious to the fact that there are many more Catholics than there are Orthodox Jews, and that when that demographic difference is factored in, Schick's rhetorical advantage crumbles.
He also writes straight-faced about particular areas of crime, never mentioning his own Orthodox family members were indicted and convicted of those same or closely related crimes. It is as if he believes we won't notice, and therefore the crimes do not really exist.
So, what is it about The Jewish Week's coverage of the Kletzky murder that so distresses Marvin?
It isn't Ari Goldman's column or Jonathan Mark's hauntingly beautiful column about the murder, and it isn't the first report The Jewish Week carried about a missing 8-year-old child or its report of the murder – all of which were nothing but deferential to Orthodoxy.
What has Schick's mind in a knot is The Jewish Week's exposé on Shomrim, written by Hella Winston.
I will not defend Shomrim, because to do so would inadvertently give credence to Winston’s nastiness and it would cloud the critical point that the negative focus on Shomrim and the Orthodox is unacceptable journalism. Instead of praising Shomrim for the good it does and the role it played in this sad episode, Winston uses it as another launching pad for an attack against the Orthodox, treating us to a vile exercise in group libel. She writes “Strictly Orthodox communities have a long history of not reporting crimes – and in particular, sexual crimes against children – to the secular authorities, preferring to police their own.”
In other words, Schick believes it is unacceptable to write that, “strictly Orthodox communities have a long history of not reporting crimes – and in particular, sexual crimes against children – to the secular authorities, preferring to police their own” – even though the head of Borough Park's Shomrim himself admits that many rabbis tell their followers not to report those crimes to police.