Mishegas, Religion

Hacked by Haredim: Un-Orthodox Jew Gets His for Criticizing Black Hats

While most of the fight against fundamentalism in the Jewish world is focused against the Activist, or Zionist, Jewish fundamentalists (including on this blog), it is important to remember that the quiescent fundamentalists are also a powerful and ever-growing force within the Jewish world. And they don’t like public dissent very much, particularly from their own.
Un-Orthodox Jew is an anonymous blogger who challenges the convictions of the black hatters, but unlike critics of the Haredi world such as Godol Hodor, Dov Bear, or Failed Messiah, (whose site was also hacked), UOJ writes in a style accessible to readers even if they are not particularly sophisticated or educated outside of their insular world. He writes in a style that even a Touro College undergraduate can understand. He also republishes articles of interest to this world which would never appear in their fundamentalist, rabbinically monitored newspapers, inserting his own, usually sardonic, commentary. Full Disclosure: I have guest posted on the UOJ blog on occasion, in order to address problems in the Ba’al Tshuvah institutional world.
UOJ generally restricts his topics to those which will most displease his black hat readership (but embolden the disgruntled), and frequently focuses on issues such as fiscal impropriety, fraud, the lack of a work ethic, nepotism, corruption, increasing and misguided halachic stringency, cruelty, physical abuse of women, the socio-economic costs of discouraging secular studies, the flagrant denial of the transmission of herpes through the ritual practice of metziza, and perhaps most disturbing to his most religious readers, he has consistently attempted to argue against the belief that Rabbinical leaders are (or ever were) infallible.
He is not very popular in black hat circles, but he is well-known, and was widely read.
So his site was hacked. The information on the site was not defaced or destroyed, ostensibly to make it appear that he simply hasn’t blogged lately, nor call attention to their sabotage. UOJ emailed Jewschool that, “My IT guy told me this was a professional job, not some kids. He used to be a senior V.P. at IBM and he can’t fix it. I better watch my ass; they’re out to get me.”
UOJ claims, and even many of his detractors appear to believe, that he is relatively high ranking in the left-wing black hat community, and UOJ has insisted he will continue to blog even if hacked again.
“The only ax I have to grind is to make our Judaism a ‘bit’ cleaner. I’m under no illusion of scraping ALL the shit off my shoes.”
He has begun a new site, which merely added an “s” to “unorthodoxjew,” and has republished all previous content from the old site there.

59 thoughts on “Hacked by Haredim: Un-Orthodox Jew Gets His for Criticizing Black Hats

  1. I appreciate the post. I hope to attract readers who have gone to “real” colleges from the black hat communities. There’s an awful lot of smart guys & gals who have been jerked around by their schools and their teachers. I intend to shed some light on the issues that are most hypocritcal and misleading. Thanks again.

  2. “He writes in a style that even a Touro College undergraduate can understand.” David Kelsey: this soesn’t seem consonant w/ the “Jewish Bloggers for responsible free speech online” movement. I hope you’ll either modify your statement or be more mindful next time.

  3. I have not visited the site yet, but I have to object to people who only see the bad about everything. If he otherwise (only from what you described) would choose a couple of issues and concentrate on them, he’d get so much farther. Look at the Business Ethics Centre people. They could easily set up a blog and rant about trojan horses, lying bank managers and plenty of other things, but instead they set up an initiative to improve things.
    Blogging is an easy way to let off steam, criticize people, and meet like people and chat, usually doesn’t go anywhere unless the idea is taken further. Contrast that to Jewlicious that does real world stuff.

  4. right. we don’t do any real world stuff at all. we’re not rabbinical school students and directors of jewish orgs. we’re not students at jts, huc and rrc. we’re not campus chabad rabbis. we’re not the people at heeb, jdub, jewish fashion conspiracy, teva learning center, zeek magazine, atlanta jewish life, jews in the woods, kol zimrah, the mission minyan, the national havurah institute, limmudny, elat chayyim, mimaamakim, corner prophets, the new shomer shabbat theatre troupe — we don’t do shit in the real world. we don’t do fundraisers for jewish orgs, we don’t do concerts near monthly, we don’t lecture at conferences, we don’t write books, we don’t do anything at all. because we don’t do jewlicious at the beach or have had our own birthright trip yet. nothing at all in the real world.

  5. Combine narcissism, repressed anger and a lack of funds for a quality therapist, and you have the makings of most Blogs. All of these “let me tell you the truth about this Jewish movement…and that shul” reek of projected angst against a community the blogger either:
    a) Didn’t fit into and had to leave
    b) Forced out
    c) Some combination there of
    They position their blogs as a benevolent act, when all it is the National Enquirer with Yiddish catch-phrases.
    It would be more emotionally mature to admit that it takes two to tango, and that while problems exists in ALL movements, shuls, etc., it is by far the Orthodox community (and I’m not Orthodox) that walks the Jewish talk.

  6. Right Shtreimel, That’s why you’re on so many blogs yourself, and why UOJ’s blog was hacked. We should all be more emotionally mature and not blog ourselves, but merely call people on other blogs emotionally immature.

  7. Kelsey,
    You’re a bright guy, so I know you can read…I said:
    “…you have the makings of most Blogs”. In other words, the time it takes to come up with the idea, learn how to use the blogging software, and attract readers (in a world where porn is only one click away). I spend my time on three blogs/bb
    1) Jewschool
    2) Jewlicioius
    3) Ableton Live
    I don’t believe that any of the above would fall into the classification that I’ve described. But I’ve seen yours, and yes, you sound like an angry young man.

  8. David,
    whats with the knock on touro students? while its no Princeton, based on test scores, and my personal experience with touro grads, touro and its students are really no different from all the other middle of the road colleges, such as the cunys, YU, the sunys, etc., where im sure most of this blogs readers come from.

  9. David, Thanks for this post. Good to know that some folks respond to open debate with an attempt to silence. A professional hack job says to me UOJ must be hitting awful close to home.
    Josh, how the hell can you comment on whether a site is good or not based on NOT READING IT? To me (and just maybe this is the crazy activist in me), when I hear someone attempts to silence a voice of critique, I tend to think, “wow, I wonder what that person had to say? Someone must’ve really felt threatened.” If it was a blog that was merely blowing off steam and not making valid critiques, why go through the trouble of hacking it to shut it down?
    Streimmel, who’s blogs are you reading so you can say “most blogs” and “they”? And if we’re all so emotionally immature, why do you waste your time on us?

  10. Of course there are things to critiscise in the UO community, far too many. But there are different ways of doing things. UJ’s way is very crude and he acts very much like a wild man swinging an ax.
    The reason that the UO bloggers are so negative is that there is very little open discussion of the points they raise, and the only forum in which they can openly say what they think is on the blogs.
    UO society can often be very repressive.

  11. I’m in no way trying to justify the hacking of websites, but I’ve seen Un-Orthodox Jew. It’s an immature stew wherein all kinds of accusations are thrown around, and hardly ever supported with any evidence beyond “trust me, I know what I’m talking about”. It’s a shame, because I think UOJ is often correct in its general subject matter – many of the problems it discusses are real – and an honest discussion of these problems could immensely benefit the Orthodox world. But instead, UOJ simply repeats every accusation ever made by anyone, however doubtful, that it can get its hands on, and presents these as fact. In a style the National Enquirer would sneer at.
    Kelsey, I’m not against the airing of Orthodox dirty laundry. But when you participate in a site like UOJ, you embarass yourself and damage your own cause.

  12. Joe,
    There is, unfortunately, often a big difference at times between the type of black hat student who attends CUNY schools and those who attend Touro. Can you imagine seriously comparing the English department of Brooklyn College (where Ginsberg taught) to Touro’s?
    Full disclosure: I myself attend Cuny graduate Center, but my bias began before I ever did.
    I had nominally black-hat friends who told me they went to Queens College because there were “behavioral problems” in many of the Touro classes. There is often a focus on degree solely, with little expectation or interest in a liberal arts education.
    Touro is also very, very different than Yeshiva University, which has benefited tremendously from Touro drawing away the right-wing Orthodox uninterested in a serious secular education on any level. There is absolutely no comparing the two–only contrasting.

  13. J,
    You wrote,
    “Kelsey, I’m not against the airing of Orthodox dirty laundry. But when you participate in a site like UOJ, you embarass yourself and damage your own cause. ”
    J, when I try to air the dirty laundry of the BT institutions on other sites with a black-hat readership such as beyondbt.com or cross-currents.com, I am quickly “edited.” You are not allowed to say anything bad about specific BT insitutions. Ever.
    UOJ’s site was the closest I could get to the black-hat readership I wanted to reach.

  14. “He used to be a senior V.P. at IBM and he can’t fix it.”
    Well, then. That’s the last time UOJ will hire a former IBM accountant to be a webmaster. 😉
    And if this is not a joke, than this is a red flag that UOJ is lying. Why would someone making a high six-figure salary go into web-hosting? Especially one who is as non-technical as a senior VP. Something stinks here…

  15. Dude, Mobius. How come the “HTML allowed:” list includes “i” tags for italics, but the comment-script weeds them out? We alls gots to stop hatin’ on the italics.

  16. David,
    first, your post didnt take issue with the behavior of touro students, but rather, their intelligence or education level (“He writes in a style that even a Touro College undergraduate can understand”).
    Second, the average touro student scores significantly higher on the sat, in both english and math. Also, only about 20% of the students of brooklyn (or queens, or hunter) graduate within 5 years. Last, the average scores of touro students on graduate standardized exams, DESTROYS the average scores of cuny students. Clearly, you anecdotal evidence and second hand stories about touro students as compared to cuny students is way off. So it is absurd to think that a cuny student is more likely to understand a writing style than a touro student.
    I did not go to any of the above mentioned schools, so i have no reason to be bias one way or another, but im sure you will be pleased to hear that just as you put down the touros of the world, students from top colleges are constantly putting down and laughing at the cunys and yus of the world.

  17. Taltman,
    Your reasoning is off. It is clear that his friend took a look at this as a favor, not for money. There was and is no web hosting, it was on blogger, this is clear from the address, blogspot.com.

  18. Joe,
    Do you really want to claim that the academics of touro are comparable to YU? Are you serious? I just want to know if you are serious.
    Additionally, we need to contrast the scores of JEWS at CUNY to JEWS at Touro. Not the Cuny population in it’s entirety.

  19. but you also wrote:
    “Can you imagine seriously comparing the English department of Brooklyn College (where Ginsberg taught) to Touro’s?”
    Which are you comparing, the students, or the faculty, or the jewish students ony? If you keep changing your argument it makes it difficult for me to respond. Either way, students are comparable in YU and touro, and all standardize tests demonstrate this. And im sure this holds true with jewish cuny students and touro students.
    “Do you really want to claim that the academics of touro are comparable to YU? Are you serious? I just want to know if you are serious.”
    Yes, i am seriously claiming this. What is so hard to believe. They accept anyone with a pulse, and 90%+ of their secular faculty is second rate who would never have a shot becoming professors at decent colleges. The frum world has a misguided view that that YU has some top academic program, full of top students, when this is certainly not the case. Its not a bad school, but no better than touro.

  20. the top of last post got cut off. It should have read:
    you wrote
    “we need to contrast the scores of JEWS at CUNY to JEWS at Touro. Not the Cuny population in it’s entirety. “

  21. David – We have been very patient with your usually hostile posts at beyondbt.com. despite your initial accusations that we were banning you from day 1 (it was a technical problem on your end).
    As some previous commentors pointed out, if you can control your hostility and shouting a little more your points will be easier to hear.

  22. I’ve never heard of beyondbt…but now that I’ve seen the site, I’m very impressed. I’m sure this wasn’t your intent when starting this post, but I’m appreciative nonetheless.

  23. Mark Frankel,
    Yes, very patient, unless you criticize Ohr Somyach or Aish HaTorah. Then your comment is immediately deleted. Because these are place beyond reproach. There can be no patience for criticizing them.

  24. “Yes, very patient, unless you criticize Ohr Somyach or Aish HaTorah. Then your comment is immediately deleted.”
    If this does occur, than it’s a shame.

  25. I spent time in Aish and Ohr. And while I didn’t fit in (because I could never wrap my head around the divinity of the Oral Law), I found their classes to be interesting and engaging. No one forced me to do/say anything. However I’ve heard other stories that weren’t so pleasant.
    Isralight was a much better fit for this Jew.

  26. Mob,
    I wasn’t commenting on Jewschool, though now that you brought it up – does Jewschool do anything specific besides provide a forum for ‘alternative voices and culture’? Please remind me what ‘Jewschool’ has done. The examples brought up are of the collection of fine bloggers you give posting access to, not ‘jewschool’.
    So, what mitzvah have you taken to correct with your blog? One of the first things you learn in the army about firing a gun is that spraying the targets on full-auto will always waste a lot of ammo. Bitching and whining about religious/settlers/orthodox all the time are not valid targets especially since they are the only Jewish segment ever singled out here and you never have anythign ‘bad’ to say about other Jews. Am I to believe that all anarchists and reformers are perfect?
    You started with the loshon hara initiative. Go for it, enlighten the masses here with teaching a chafetz chaim a day (perhaps bring some rabbi on to do that work). I’d rather you actually do the ‘dirty work’ though. A rabbi would just be anohter individual poster on the blog.
    RubyK, is there an obligation for visitors to blogs to visit every single link provided? A good post will have a point to discuss, people should be able to discuss the post and not be forced to go browse another blog.

  27. DK, you’re experience is off. You’ve obviously never worked in a large IT/technical organization. Most senior VP’s barely know how to use Excel, let alone how to do intrusion detection / computer forensics on a web server or hosted blog. So either UOJ is exaggerating, or his senior VP friend was over-stating his technical prowess.
    Ummm… how exactly did you construe UOJ to be referring to “his friend”? “[M]y IT guy” is now how you refer to someone who is giving you technical advice casually. It implies some sort of arrangement by which “senior VP dude” assists UOJ on a (semi-)regular basis.
    Still stinks…

  28. David – The truth is that we allow for constructive criticism of Aish or Ohr Someyach. The key word is “constructive”. If you want some help in wording your posts in a constructive fashion, you can send them to me first and I’ll do a quick edit for your approval.

  29. Mark,
    Are you joking? Why can’t you just answer my criticism’s of these places and prove them false? Stop being so hypersensitive to questions or arguments or dissent. Just deal with the issues. What is with you? Did you no grow up in a country that at least placed some value on free speech? We aren’t living in Saudi Arabia or under the Maccabees, thank G-d. Just take the question and answer it if you can.

  30. David – The problem is that you paint with too broad a brush and you quest for absolute “proofs” limits your vision.
    The viewpoint of the vast majority of the Orthodox world is that these are worthy institutions that do much good. Nobody has every said that they (or any other institution) is perfect. And I am not doubting that in your case mistakes were made.
    As for answering your criticisms, the words of one of my teachers comes to mind, “You can’t answer an emotional quesiton with an intellectual response”. Distance yourself a little from your questions (although I know that is difficult for everyone) and send me an email at [email protected] and we can have a dialogue if you wish.

  31. Mark,
    This is, in my opinion, an example of much I find fault with in the neo-Ultra-Orthodox world, where frank discussions can’t be had, but must only be conducted (and conceded) privately.
    It is unfortunate that beyondbt.com is so protective of these places and therefore their policies. And you do end up being an apolgetics site, filled with straw man arguments and just plain revisionism.
    Do you really see value in this? Do you really expect you be respected as a serious makom of discussion? Do you think that silencing us (former BT’s, I am not the only one who has been “edited” on your site, please see ball tshuvas Anonymous) on your own site will, in fact, keep us quiet?

  32. “You can’t answer an emotional quesiton with an intellectual response”.
    This is a good point.
    And David, you’re not helping your case by using Jewschool to bait Mark – in a comments section no less – into a discussion about your deleted critiques/points/etc.

  33. I will say this though,
    The DK’s and other folk know that they can’t be silenced like the good ‘ol days before the www. It will force shuls, rabbis, uja’s and kiruv organizations to grapple with public criticisms of how they do business (and/or how they abuse their power). And in most cases this is a good thing.

  34. David,
    There you go again. Put down that broad brush. Just because we won’t allow outright slander and loshon hora, does not necessarily make us an apologetics, straw man site. And I think we have some serious discussion taking place and in just over a month we have thousands of weekly visitors who might agree, but I’m extremely biased in this matter.
    I see the value in constructive criticism, which hopefully with practice you’ll improve at. I hate to break this to you, but nobody is really interested in silencing you. If you calmed down a little and presented your arguments in a non-hostile respectful manner some people might listen, but right now you are basically SHOUTING into the wind and no one wants to listen to all the noise coming through. Consider being less hostile and less broad brushed and you’ll see that people might actually hear what you’re trying to say.

  35. Mark,
    Your definition of “constructive” is that all discussion accepts certain, er, fundamentals, and allows for discussion within that black hat framework. Educated criticism outside of that narrow tent is considered “noise” and “emotional” and therefore “forces” you remove those comments.
    I still think you should consider not erasing all comments that include some negative assertions about the admittedly quite powerful Ohr Somayach and Aish HaTorah franchises.

  36. David,
    One other non productive thing is when you “tell” me how I define words like constructive and make other unsubstantiated assertions. Here, try this:
    David, you define educated criticism as anything that comes out of your mouth and neatly stuff anybody who disagrees with you into the box that you call black hat framework.
    Isn’t that an annoying and an unproductive element of debate.
    I hate to repeat myself, but we do not erase all comments that include negative assertions of Aish and Ohr Somayach but we will continue to erase comments that are exceedingly hostile or contain broad base slander or loshon hora.
    I will try not to respond to your next comment to let you have the last word, but I’ll admit that it will be difficult.

  37. RubyK, is there an obligation for visitors to blogs to visit every single link provided? A good post will have a point to discuss, people should be able to discuss the post and not be forced to go browse another blog.
    Not when the discussion is talking about another blog or something a person admitted to having not read or seen before. My point is that to “object to people who only see the bad about everything” without actually reading blog seems kind of senseless to me. Until DK pointed out UOJ’s blog to me, I hadn’t actually read it before. So you know what I did before I posted commentary about it? I read a few posts.

  38. Hi Guys,
    I post my comments as experiences & facts that I know are true. My readers have many choices:
    1-Don’t read me
    2-Disagree with me
    3-Find out for yourselves
    4-Share your experiences
    5-Prove me wrong
    I am “a wild man swinging the ax”, because there are a lot of bad people out there that are getting away with murder, and do not pay attention to people that say it “nicely”.
    Eight thousand hits a day on the average, and five thousand profile views, speaks for itself.

  39. UOJ,
    No, I am not. I am saying that there is too much focus on being positive and constructive while the real emphasis is on sweeping terrible problems under the carpet, hence it is impossible for me to reach Baal Tshuvahs specifically, as yours is not a specifically BT site, but more FFB. This problem of a lack of open discourse in these communities is generally unknown, or at least the full scope of the problem, to people who have never been in the black-hat world, and I can see why it may be confusing to some why you are focused specifically on illumitating without offering a defense of these problems. Which isn’t to say there isn’t the same thing in other Jewish communities (and non-Jewish communities for that matter), but it’s more intense in the black-hat world, and your answer is therefore equal in its intensity.

  40. my site was hacked years ago – bu now xlubi.com is not as shocking – and people have got used to it – the point is there IS criticle dicussion within the community – but they don’t want to wash their dirty washing in public – that’s all.

  41. As i’ve mentioned in another post – its obvious by these comments that you don’t know how a frum comminuty works – and what is fueling this discussion is the fact that you think or imagine that a ‘religous community’ is supposed to be somewhat better than any other community – but that idea is stupid – most people in the Frum world DO NOT CHOOSE to be FRUM, they are born into it. Just as You where (propably) born into assimilated western Jewish homes – and think that its normal to go to university, sleep with gentiles, and critique frummers for being fanatics etc… Frum people are brought up in a culture that expects them to go to Yeshivah – Sem or get married and wear a Sheitel or a Black hat etc… it’s primarily the same reason why people get pissed off with God because ‘shit happens’ in the world – and you lot scream – ‘how can there be a God – if this or that happens?!’ – the point i’m trying to make is that it is not God or the Orthodox community which is the real issue is YOUR misconstrued preconceptions of them – which when confronted with normal behaviour of falible human beings (how happen to be within ‘frum’) or the nature of existence – you call fowl! I bet the next post will be – Wow! Frum Rabbi’s Shi*t actually smells!! or ‘Gay and Hasidic!’ or Frum with a coke addiction! This Rebbe Loves his S&M! etc.. Big Deal! the Frum world has the same problems and issues and stuff as every other urban comminity – but they just don’t talk about it in PUBLIC! – There is critical discussion within the OJC – but its not done in public that’s just the way it is. AND when a frum person does go public – well – that’s just not the done thing – and hey what do you really expect? Its like being the school grass – nobody likes a grass – even if the issues are real and the problems are real. Extrenal critisisim is NOT going to change anything. All you are doing is some fun FRUMMER BASHING! – probably to justify your own morally superior lifestyle?

  42. MaxKohanzad,
    I certainly don’t intend to pick on those aspects and individuals of the community which suffer the same failings of the human condition we all fail at. I do take issue with those issues of the religious community which are justified either by ther perpetrator or segments of the frum community (preferably both) for religious reasons.

  43. Firstly DK – as i’ve mentioned somewhere else on this site – the ‘Torah’ is vast and almost everything can and is justified and justifiable within a Torah Lifestyle – I know it might be hard for you to accept but the Torah isn’t JUST this flufy lovey dovey humanist philosophy of social responsibility etc.. or whatever it is you have been brought up to believe.
    You must be a BAAL TESHUVA! or Modern Orthodox – because you are such a nieve idealist (no harm intended) as i’ve said – most people DON’T CHOOSE to be FRUM ! You’re lucky that you have chosen to be frum albeit in an Un-Orth way and good luck to you! You are dealing with people who for the most part don’t give a sh*t about your so-called morality etc… the have the Torah and torah lifestyle to give them the boundaries of what is right and wrong. And you just don’t get it – your allowed to kill (as in the example of Rabin) your allowed to do loads of stuff – because the Torah, Commentaries & Community give you permission to do so.

  44. Well UOJ then start your own religion – because those so-called ‘crooks’ feel they are MORE Jewish and Frum than you are – or will ever be – suprising i know.
    But you really haven’t taken on board that being Frum (for most people who are frum) is not about God or ‘being mitzvah observant’ – that might be what you think if you CHOOSE to be frum (went on Aish or whatever or where brought up in a MO or middle-of-the-road Saphardi home) – But what if, you NEVER CHOSE to be ‘frum’ in the first place? -What if you were born into it – without your concent – IMAGINE that your first words were ‘Torah Siva Lanu Moshe’ and NOT Mum or Dad or TV or Car or Me?
    What if you’ve never questioned what you really believe? What if you’ve never thought about ‘What it MEANS to be FRUM?’ some people go to football and baseball matchs, go to university, buy their clothes from GAP, or wherever – go to clubs, get laid, others go see films- (it’s not something you BELIEVE in is it?)
    Frum people in the ‘OJC’ – Othodox Jewish Community – are EXACTLY THE SAME except – instead of going to watch the fooball they go to shul (every day 3 times a day), instead of going to university they go to yeshivah – (which btw they’ve been doing almost since they were born) What if – as i’ve said before; becoming a ‘Rabbi’ is just like graduating University – (paricularly within Chabad) It is expected of you whether you like it or not? (and if you don’t you’re concidered a bit of a failour). And instead of getting their clothes from GAP – they get it from ‘Heimisher Mentch’ in the back of someones house in the ghetto- instead of going to clubs they go to weddings, instead of getting laid they get married, instead of going to see a film they go to see Hasidic Rebbes. It is a CULTURE. NOT A RELIGION!!!
    Side Note: No one speaks of God or Hashem – and the more you do the more people will suspect you of being Reform or something even worse – an idealistic neive Baal Teshuvah Meshugana – who probably takes drugs!?
    Whatever it is YOU believe Judaism is about – that is Your Personal Religion (which has some nice Jewish roots) IT IS NOT the same religon that everyother FRUM person is practising or believes in. Please DON’T fool yorself into believing that it is.

  45. i just tried to leave a really good post in responce – but it vanished! – the point is YOU are Practicing a DIFFERENT religion to people in the OJC – for them it is not a religion but a Culute a Lifestyle and until you get that you’re gonna be bitching about it.

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