Culture, Justice, Politics, Religion

The Un-Orthodox Jewish Hero

How One Blogger Rocked Black Hat Brooklyn
Fighting corruption and sexual abuse is not an easy task anywhere.  It certainly wasn’t in an insular, ultra-Orthodox enclave in Brooklyn.  No one could or would stop some very nasty things by removing a very nasty person from his teaching position.  This is not like rioting over alleged anti-semitism or waging an awareness campaign for use of pre-washed lettuce only.  Things like repeated sexual abuse by the same sick bastard at a prestigious yeshiva is a more complicated issue.  One mustn’t act rashly.  In fact, one mustn’t do a damned thing. Except silence the abused, and protect the child molester.
What happened, and more significantly, what didn’t happen at Yeshiva Torah Temimah of Flatbush, Brooklyn, is a gruesome story, perhaps the beginning of many more like it.
But if we accept that as true, and not a new situation, then this is also a story of hope.
The Un-Orthodox Jew is featured in this week’s edition of New York Magazine in the story on a lawsuit in Brooklyn entitled, “On the Rabbi’s Knee.”
Things will be different now.  Because of him.

Framowitz found what he was looking for on a blog called Un-Orthodox Jew. The site—one anonymous insider’s blistering, some say heretical, accusations of hypocrisy and corruption in the community—started about a year ago and took just months to report a half-million hits[…]UOJ says that he first became disenchanted with the established Jewish leadership when as a young man he attended a beit din with his father and saw the rabbis there behaving in less than honest ways. “They were businessmen, mostly,” he says. His earliest postings, in March of last year, reflect what would become his signature cynicism. “By the time I was Bar-Mitzvah, I got the whole picture,” he wrote. “The guys with the money got the respect, the final say in the schools and shuls, and were the guests of honor at Jewish functions, period! . . . Give me one truly religious and honorable Jew, and I will give you one hundred thousand who do not have a clue.” UOJ’s first reference to Kolko came on June 26 of last year, in a broadside against Margulies. In no uncertain terms, he accused Margulies of harboring a pedophile and threatening the parents of victims into silence…
On February 2, UOJ paid for a bulk mailing to Orthodox homes in Borough Park, Flatbush, Williamsburg, and Crown Heights that might be too observant to have access to the Internet. The mailing accused Kolko of molestation and Margulies of a cover-up and even included their phone numbers. That’s when UOJ says he started receiving threats—“We’re gonna get your family” and “We know who you are.” (Many of these e-mails have been forwarded to Herman.) People accused him of betraying his community and having an ax to grind against Kolko and Margulies. The Jewish Press ran an editorial blasting the mailing

The thing about UOJ is, he does all his work alone. No one knows who he his. 
There are no parties, no grabbing drinks.  No live human support at all. And no money from the massive lawsuit he orchestrated. He can physically celebrate his victory with no one.
UOJ told Jewschool that his reward is that he was “vindicated.”
He explained that he started his blog “as a personal diary of my feelings and observations. I never wanted to be a pedophile exposer.  I’m way too emotional to suffer the pain along with the victims.”
And while UOJ certainly learned Talmud along with the yeshiva bochurs as a student, I can’t help but suspect he may have privately made time to study the prophets who excoriated the corruption of the powers of their time, and drew some modern parallels.
Congratulations, UOJ. 

4 thoughts on “The Un-Orthodox Jewish Hero

  1. David,
    I don’t forget my friends. When my blog was hacked and my readers could not find me, you put up a post announcing my new web address.
    This is a very bittersweet day for me; I would have certainly preferred that the rabbis would have been able to deal with this vile issue without the assistance of an anonymous blogger.
    Perhaps we have entered a new dawn; a method of handling legitimate issues that the rabbis are incapable or unwilling to handle.
    Thanks my friend.

  2. YOur headline is faulty. this is a story about UOJ, Kolko and Margulies. this is not about “black hat brooklyn”.

  3. UOJ’s doing good work….now if only he wasn’t such a bigot and a homophobe, and if he cleaned up his attitude towards non-frum Jews, and…..
    oh well. At least he’s fighting the good fight on this issue.

  4. I’d like to ask UOJ, Kelsey or anyone else who can answer this question: At this point in time, with no investigation yet made or discovery had, what are the reason(s) that I or anyone else with no personal knowledge of the case should believe the allegations? I’m not asking this provocatively, but purely to understand.

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