Anti-Semitism and Bigotry, Should Protesters and Party-Goers be Compliant? KJ Wedding and Covid-19

kj wedding

Kiryas Joel wedding calls into question state’s order on large gatherings, religion

A high-profile wedding celebration is calling into question the state’s executive order when it comes to large gatherings and religion.

Thousands of people packed inside the Village of Kiryas Joel’s main synagogue on Garfield Road last Tuesday.

Video of the event given exclusively to News 12 shows people sitting shoulder to shoulder and without masks, on rows of bleachers and on the floor, during a Hasidic custom called a mitzvah dance, following the wedding of Grand Rabbi Aron Teitelbaum’s granddaughter.

Catering halls statewide have not yet reopened, causing many people to postpone their weddings, but Village Administrator Gedalye Szegedin says the event was held at a synagogue and falls under Phase 2 guidelines, allowing houses of worship to reopen.

Szegedin also compared the event’s size to recent protests saying, “Sometimes social gatherings are unavoidable and spontaneous as we’ve seen the multiple large protests all over the streets of the U.S.”

According to the New York state website, whether protesting or at a wedding, New Yorkers are required to wear masks and maintain a 6-foot distance in public.

Places of worship are permitted to reopen – but at 25% occupancy – with all social distancing protocols in place.

Village officials say despite the turnout, the synagogue was at 25% capacity and that masks – whether worn or not – were made available to everyone.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has repeatedly said it’s up to local officials to enforce the executive order, which can include misdemeanor charges and fines up to $10,000.

County officials say it’s up to state police to investigate and that the governor has been notified of the apparent loopholes.

News 12’s calls to state police have not been returned.

Members of Jewish Community Need to do More – George Floyd and Jews for Racial & Economic Justice

A placard stating "Silence Kills" during a "Black Lives Matter" demonstration, June 7, 2020.

As a Jew of Color, I Need More People in My Community to Speak Up’

Sitting on the stoop of his apartment building in Crown Heights early last week, Yehudah Webster took out his cellphone and began recording himself. Being a community organizer for the group Jews for Racial & Economic Justice, he had been conducting virtual meetings from his apartment all day and stepped out for some much-needed air.


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Jewish Newspapers and George Floyd Killing – a Paradigm – We Need to Call Out Our Own Racism…

How should a Jewish newspaper respond to George Floyd’s killing?

The unlawful killing of George Floyd was a tragedy for the black community. But as the trauma of recent days has shown, it psychologically scarred people of all colours. Something snapped in us all. As the Chief Rabbi wrote last week: “This is an essential wake up call for each and every one of us.”

That’s why I was determined to put George Floyd on the front page of last week’s Jewish News, the first non-Jewish news story to lead the newspaper since 9/11. The question was, how? How should a Jewish newspaper contribute to a painful debate on racism that isn’t about antisemitism?


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BLM, the Ultra-Orthodox Community and Lip Service, Time for Change from the Inside Out.

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Dear Readers:

We will be posting on the African American/Persons of Color/Jewish relations issues more. The death of George Floyd and the commentary coming out of the Jewish community, which we believe in large part diminishes that death as “another act of racism” has left us a little unsettled, if nothing else.

For now we are starting with an editorial written on a Facebook Site – The Diary of an OTD Girl. For those who do not know, or are new to this site, OTD means “Off the Derech” or someone who has lost his or her way. This is a reference to someone who has left Orthodoxy. It is an otherwise rather derogatory reference, which is as seen by someone who is still Ultra-Othorodox, as an assumption that someone who has left is somehow lost. We would argue that many who have left have in reality been “found”.

We are in awe of this writer. She has courage beyond the capacity of language. We do not, however, assume that she feels similarly about this page.

We are posting this without permission to re-post and will therefore only post a portion of her editorial. Please see her Facebook page for the rest of her opinion which is listed on Facebook as public. Please be supportive, our one ask. Her words are nothing if not honest and her experience as a former member of the Ultra-Orthodox community is both painful and profound. One can learn a lot from her.


This isn’t going to be an easy post to write or read. And yes there will be people who will call me names for saying what I am. But this is my opinion and I need to speak up.

Before I say what I want I’d like to mention that the community I come from which is hasidic and Ultra Orthodox is incredibly racist. They don’t see black people as the same. They’re looked at as less than. As sub-human. The same way the Palestinians are looked at as sub-human.

The things I heard growing up are about as racist as anything you can imagine. There will be those who will say this isn’t true. But I lived that life and know for a fact that it is absolutely the case. Jews I was brought up with are some of the biggest racists. The inflammatory language used about black people is vile.

Even now as the world sees how unfairly black people are being treated there are Jews who justify it by using terms such as “they’re animals” or “they are tigers escaped from the zoo. What do we do to tigers who escape? We kill them”. And so many more that I cannot possibly write here.

I am in no way condoning the looting or rioting, much of which has been done by white people. What I’m talking about are regular black folk going about their lives and being constantly targeted simply because they’re black.

Over the last couple of weeks as people worldwide have been protesting the murder of a black man in broad daylight by 4 police officers. Feelings and emotions are high and there’s been a lot of anger at the police brutality particularly in America but indeed across the globe.

What has infuriated me are the number of Jews who have somehow made this about them. It’s not about YOU. Guess what? There are things that affect others. It’s not always about Jews.

I’ve had countless conversations, some very heated, where jewish people have tried to say that they understand racism because they have experienced antisemitism. Antisemitism and racism are so different. And to compare the two is ridiculous.

I’ve been accused of being antisemitic for using the Black Lives Matter frame on my Facebook page. Why? Because apparently this movement is antisemitic. I’ve asked several times for proof of this or links to data but as yet haven’t received any. That’s because this is nonsense.

I’ve also been told that jews have suffered more because 6 million Jews were killed in 6 years whereas that hasn’t been the case for black people.

This isn’t about who has suffered more. It’s not a competition. Yes Jews died in WW2. But that hasn’t got anything to do with what’s going on right now in 2020. Police brutality against the black community, for decades, does not affect Jews.

There are reports of a synagogue and kosher shop being targeted. This isn’t okay. But that’s done by bad people who are using this opportunity to be hateful. They are not the people who are protesting because they want long term changes to be made.

Jews can leave their homes and not have to worry that they will be a target by racist police. Black people have to be aware of this ALL the time. Never has there been a police officer who has strangled a Jewish person to death on the streets of America.

The fact that all this has to be said saddens me. Why would we need to discuss this as a black/Jewish issue. It’s not a Jewish issue.

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FailedMessiah Accused of Bigotry…Where is Rosenberg is posting the following blog post because we find it rather perplexing that when a person or group is uncomfortable with being held accountable for their behavior, they resort to responses of racism or bigotry. Calling a spade a spade means making a point; and if it so happens to call attention to a particular group, so be it. Shmayra Rosenberg, a former Chabadnik himself, called attention to the crime, sexual abuse, dishonesty, hypocrisy, lies and deceit of a community of ultra-Orthodox Jews, with which he, at one time identified. Did that make him a bigot? In our opinion, no. But it would be so very easy to diminish his 11 years of work as bigotry.

It has been said that it only takes one bad apple to kill a tree. Well, within the ultra-Orthodox communities throughout the United States, Australia, Antwerp, England, Israel and so forth, there are many, many bad apples. Saving the tree that is Judaism means removing the bad apples from the tree before the whole thing dies. We do not suggest an all-out attack on ultra-Orthodoxy, per say, but rather a demand that people within those communities be held accountable for their behavior when such behavior crosses legal, moral and ethical lines.

Shmayra Rosenberg discovered instances of sexual abuse, improper use of Kosher certification to hold businesses hostage,  bribery, child abuse, educational deficiencies and he brought them to light. That those behaviors are being defended as acceptable under shield of bigotry is for us, almost laughable. To those who closed down we, as Jews, as ethical people, as moral human beings, will not rest until we have called out behavior that is morally bankrupt. If bloggers want to call us names, it will only serve to substantiate our claims, and those of Mr. Rosenberg before us.

Failed Reporters Protect Bigotry: Whitewashing Shmarya Rosenberg and Failed Messiah

02/24/2016 ~ eiruvrav

Dov Bear, Debra Nussbaum Cohen, Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt, Steven Weiss, Josh Nathan-Kazis, protect bigotry and racism of failed messiah shmarya rosenberg

Reporters Whitewash Vile Bigot Shmarya Rosenberg

Imagine a blogger who claimed that “African Americanism = Lies and Deceit,” and warned the public that “African Americans are your enemies.” Imagine the same blogger wrote a story on a white criminal with the subtitle “So much crime! And he isn’t even Black!” Imagine the same blogger hosted a website on which he interacted positively with individuals who called for African Americans to be killed in gas chambers and repeatedly wrote that “the slaveowners were not wrong about everything,” all while he banned hundreds (if not thousands) of other individuals from his website.

Such a bigot would undoubtedly be roundly condemned by most responsible people and journalists. But apparently not by Debra Nussbaum Cohen, Josh Nathan-Kazis, Steven Weiss, Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt, Dov Bear, or JTA. If you substitute “Haredi” for “African American” (and Germans for slaveowners) in the aforementioned examples of bigotry, you would have an exact quote from vile bigot Shmarya Rosenberg, who ran the hate blog Failed Messiah for over a decade. Yet these disgusting (or merely ignorant) journalists wrote largely complimentary stories about Shmarya upon the sale of the Failed Messiah blog, taking pains to frame any negative attitudes toward his blog as merely counter-reactions of the Haredi community to uncovered criminality, grossly exaggerating negative reactions as extremely as possible [Hint: mention Nazis] in order to discredit them. Not one of these failed journalists referenced or provided an example of his overt bigotry.

Debra Nussbaum Cohen quotes Steven Weiss, managing editor of The Jewish Channel, as crediting Rosenberg with forging “a path of aggressively antagonistic journalism,” and for shining a light on “a lot of things that needed shining on, pretty selflessly.” Weiss apparently considers bigotry a selfless endeavor, perhaps accurately. Cohen did write that some people compared Shmarya’s blog to a “rotting piece of meat”(?) and that Shmarya “occasionally got things wrong and had no problem being overtly biased.” She then respectfully quotes the disgusting bigot regarding how much he will miss bigoting.

Josh Nathan-Kazis would only say that Shmarya’s site had a “rudimentary design, strident tone” and was run by someone with a “prickly persona.” Perhaps Nathan-Kazis also condemns David Duke for his prickly persona.

Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt called Shmarya a muckraking whistelblower, and wrote that “public reaction, needless to say, has been ugly.” Public reaction to Mel Gibson was also ugly, wasn’t it Avital? Let us lament all that ugliness…

JTA wrote that “Most talkbacks wished Rosenberg well and lamented his leaving, though others said they were happy to see him go.” Most talkbackers may have been misinformed by whitewashed media reports that refuse to acknowledge Shmarya’s obvious hate and bigotry.

Dov Bear was probably the most nauseating of all: “I didn’t know Shamrya as well as I would have liked.” Bigots are not appealing enough for you from afar, Dov Bear? [Note: Dov Bear responded on Twitter by agreeing that posts like “Haredim are your enemies” are unacceptable. He wrote: “As I said to others who criticized me. I rarely looked at FM. When he did he was shining light where it was needed.” ” And if you want to go through everything he wrote, post by post, I am sure there is stuff I’d dislike.”]

How vile that these spineless, mindless reporters let bigotry sightlessly waddle right under their stories.