Culture, Mishegas, Religion

Making an Example of UOJ

Today, the haredi world can rejoice.  The anonymous blogger UOJ has (perhaps, perhaps not) finally been outed.  Even if it is someone else (UOJ says it is), it doesn’t really matter. The point has been made.
For generations, our response to criticism of our gedolim (great leaders) or their insitutions has been to silence those who criticize through various forms of communal pressure or excommunication.
But these blogs proved outside our grasp.  So we banned the internet, and blamed it on porn.
But the wicked did not listen, and their evil counsel led many weak souls astray.
But the greatest source of all our woes—UOJ (or at least this guy named Paul)–can hide no more. 
Let all Jews who think they can publicly criticize anyone or anything in the haredi world (no matter how egregious) understand: It is futile to fight us.
If you succeed in gaining traction and a significant following in the ultra-Orthodox world, we will:
1) Place your picture all over the net, and make fun of how you look.
2) Fabricate in a suggestive manner unsavory details about your personal past.
3) Attack your motivations, and ignore the important issues you raise.
4) Declare you mentally insane.  You must be.  You are fighting against us.
5) Harass you at your business and place of work, and list your work and home telephone numbers in hopes of getting you fired and harassing you into silence.
6) Mock your wife.
7) Assert that you are not rich (even if by our own depiction, you clearly are), as this is perhaps the most damaging form of character assassination for a layman in the charedi world, where the many, many impoverished know their place.
This is not to say rabbis are completely infallible, or deny that there are sometimes problems.  It is to say they know better than we do, and even if they are contributing to the  problems or blocking their alleviation, they will figure out how to correct these problems themselves, even if they have declined to do so for decades.
Once there were prophets, who once they were recognized as such by the Sanhedrin, were able to act with a measure of independence, and criticize all aspects of our society.
Today, the checks and balances are a faint memory.
There are no kings.  There are no temple priests.  There are no prophets. 
In our community, our decisions are final.  Our power absolute. 
Submit or leave.
But if you stay…you have to shut up.

15 thoughts on “Making an Example of UOJ

  1. Are you saying this one guy’s blog speaks for the entire “ultra-Orthodox” community? For that matter, why should the Haredi community be accomodating to secular Jewish society when it seems like you aren’t interested in being accomodating with it?

  2. The Middle: Right. Because the only choice in Orthodoxy is hard core haredi Judaism. If you don’t like that then your only other choice is soulless, uninspiring Conservative Judaism. Yup.
    Don’t we do enough of thisd shit on our blog?

  3. Wow…lashon hara if I ever saw it. Even if the allegations are entirely true, the way in which this ‘blog’ has gone about presenting their ‘case’ will only inflame matters and obscure the truth.
    I won’t even comment on what others have said regarding Conservative Judaism other than to say ‘grow up’. What you may deem ‘soulless and uninspiring’ may be quite the opposite to others. Be secure in your own Judaism and love your fellow Jews…attacking someone else’s choice of practice has absolutely no bearing on the discussion.

  4. Of course, the “outing” is TOTAL crap. I wonder why nobody is focusing on the fact that this is NOT UOJ.

  5. David,
    You make excellent points. Even if UOJ was indeed this Paul/Feivel guy, I fail to see how his identity, now exposed, negates the validity of anything he said. On the contrary, in his personal and professional life, he seems to have made something of himself, so, as far as I am concerned he has a a”one-up” on his anonymous detractors who have yet to show us their own contributions to society. After all, by their own definition, their continued anonymity severely detracts from their credibility. Which leaves me wondering: What are their ulterior motives?

  6. Nah, ck, we hardly touch on it on our blog. For example, I didn’t touch the agunah story that resides lower on the Jewschool home page and I didn’t touch the suicide of the 25 year old frum woman who was dumped by her fiancee. I’ve been well trained that way.

  7. I thought Jewschool is the web’s leading “progressive” Jewish weblog. Ya’ll have hijacked progress. This is crap if you ask me. Drawing attention to our collective disunity and bashing pluralism and the authenticity of non-haredi approaches to Judaism is seriously ghetto and against the grain of progress. i don’t care who started it- this petty business of public humiliation really turns me off and there is no excuse for it. where is the derek eretz? why stoop to that level. does it feel good? maybe. does it do any good? probablly not.

  8. David,
    I posted a comment the other day under the story about that poor Haredi woman who killed herself because the bes din wouldn’t compel her abusive husband to give her a get. In it, I referred to your post of a few months ago, in which (if I remember correctly) you advocated forcing change in the Haredi subculture by cutting the funding they receive from Jewish philanthropies, pressuring the government to ease them out of public/low income housing and entitlement programs, etc.
    I agree with you completely; I’ve had it up to HERE with these people. I’m going to be fifty in several months, and, as one of the last of the “bleeding-heart liberals” (and I remember when most Jews considered that to be a badge of honor, but I think it was back before electricity), I still believe that society has an obligation to intervene and to protect the weak and the victimized. In this case, that would involve breaking the cycles of poverty and ignorance that the Haredi authority figures have been reinforcing for decades.
    How serious were you? Do you think that an organized attempt could be made? Do you want to try? You know that world; you’ve experienced it and lived to tell about it. You’re in the publishing business, so I assume that you have at least some access to the media. You’re in New York, the epicenter of their world.
    You’ve seen their excesses; you know that lives have been and continue to be destroyed. If you want to begin a concerted effort to institute change, to undermine the hegemony of their authority figures by getting them off the teat, or by any other means, – I’m in.

  9. Cipher,
    I think people do not understand the haredi world, or its evolution into what it is today. But I am just a tiny tortured writer (not an activist) who at this point in terms of writing, mostly just blogs. I am not hopeful, Cipher. Look at what is happening in Israel. The problems grow.
    I am working on a book about Jewish fundamentalist recruitment, but the fundamentalists everywhere continue to gain the upper hand.
    The liberal Jewish world is spent and when in a fighting mood, ditzy; the Modern Orthodox are too busy defending themselves and are anyway too selfish to make an assault.
    The future is grim.

  10. OK, whoever brought up the lashon hara thing was on the money like “Annuit Coeptis”.
    It disturbs me that there is seemingly no safe haven from those who would paint the charedi world as this monolithic ulemaa with social patterns which are 50% Sopranos and 50% Mossad.
    Obviously in your mind it is inconceivable that publicly shaming rabbis in the community while blogging on Shabbos might raise the ire of a few people. Child abuse allegations have channels in which they are worked through. None of them are WABC. The rabbi of UOJ fame is still under investigation, the lawsuits are still pending, there still will be IY”H justice for any and all victims. As well there should be.
    “Know their place”? I hope your book is as fair as your article is.
    This entire article reeks of anti-charedi prejudice. But I guess some type of sinat chinam are more dignified than others. This unified front of “rabbis” existing to control and manipulate people’s lives, I would have hoped, was restricted to the hallucinations of the likes of Shinui’s PR people.
    An intellectual license to denigrate Jews. Who’da thunk it?

  11. Y-Love,
    My issue was some of the personal assaults on the person claimed to be UOJ. There is no reason to bring his wife into this, or her previous life before conversion, nor some of the other slurs offered on various websites targeting this man and others, nor his work number.
    I am not claiming I don’t have anti-charedi bias in certain ways, but I reject that I look upon them as monolithic, or that they run as secret police or mafioso in their entirety. I do appreciate that even in your attacks, you implicitly recognize that “anti-charedi prejudice” is different than a general anti-Orthodox bias.
    I have not brought any information to light about the investigationson this blog until they were dealt with by larger print periodicals, not blogs. The first time I mentioned them was only after the Jewish Press editorial on the subject failed to dismiss the charges as one would expect, and I interpreted that to mean that they suspected the yeshiva in question did indeed face serious trouble, and that turned out to be the case.

  12. David,
    For the record, if you look at my posts recently, I have posted alot about Rabbi Mendlowitz. In this post, I make clear my connection to the whole “Mendlowitz” affair
    Also, thanks for defending me. Unfortunately most others are not. Look what I have to deal with:
    First Gil Student at hirhurim bans me
    Then canonist writes an ugly post about me:
    then frummer writes this:
    When OUJ first started back in May 2005, he used to try to use my blog as somewhere to leave his nasty comments so as to attract attention to his blog.
    I was very much against his nasty and vile comments and had to delete many of them.
    In the end, he left my blog and stopped giving me trouble.
    I have not kept up with his blog, but have dipped in enough to see and appreciate the damage which he is doing.
    Whilst I cannot be considered to be one of the “really frum” bloggers, I am decent enough to know that what OUJ is doing is wrong wrong wrong.
    May Hashem help you bring about the downfall of this nasty twisted individual.

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