Culture, Justice, Mishegas

Why is this Jewish news?

This just in from the JTA: two Jewish college students were shot by a jealous ex-boyfriend, who was also Jewish. More details later? Why is this “Jewish” news?

Breaking News: 3 Jews die in murder/suicide
A Jewish student at Arizona State University and her visiting Jewish friend were murdered.
Carol Kestenbaum and Nicole Schiffman, both 20, grew up together on Long Island, N.Y.
They were returning from celebrating Kestenbaum’s birthday early Tuesday when they apparently were shot dead by Joshua Mendel, 22, who then turned the gun on himself.
Local police said Mendel, who was dating a friend of Kestenbaum’s, was angry about her interference in his relationship.

I give up on the Jewish press. I really do.

18 thoughts on “Why is this Jewish news?

  1. Interesting because when my RSS caught this my first thought was a sadness over the loss of three young lives. My next thought was why do I need to know this in the context of Jewish news?
    However, it did provide me with a space to feel something heartfelt and that’s not a bad thing considering its easy for me to go through my days rather numb and insulated form the from life outside my immediate surroundings.
    Maybe that’s a good enough reason?
    My question (respectfully) to you is…
    Is it any better on your part to turn the news of three needless deaths into an opportunity to slam the Jewish press? I mean you reposted the entire story but didn’t same to pause and think about the loss it shared.
    At least not from what I can see in this post bit I could well be wrong.
    Although I agree with your underlying question/felling, I am not so sure that this post reflects any better behavior on your part.
    Kind of like the pot calling the kettle black IMO.
    Be well.

  2. On an NYC local news show last night (I think channel 4), the newsreader, trying to say that either the victims or the alleged assailant (I missed which) was “coming from Tempe,” the Arizona city, said instead that they were “coming from temple.” He corrected himself quickly; but the incident suggests that somebody other than JTA thinks this is Jewish news.

  3. I think that KFJ’s question is more rhetorical than anything else. Is KFJ really slamming the press, or the idea that Jews should feel a connection to each other? I’m not sure. Perhaps he should clarify.

  4. Jewish and mainstream media are not mutually exclusive. I think that you should ask why you haven’t given up on mainstream media yet, since this tragedy has barely been covered. There is so much Jewish about this story. It involves Jews and affects the American Jewish community all around it, as well as impacting the national college world.
    While the story’s focus should not leave the tragedy at hand, much of this is about the American Jewish community today. Of course, all of them were Jewish. Phi Sigma Sigma is a Jewish sorority at Maryland. My friend from yeshiva at Maryland hooked up with a girl at that sorority (not to cheapen the story). I heard about the story today from my mother. Not because she read about it online, but because my sister’s close friend is a cousin of Carol Kestenbaum, may her neshama have aliyah.
    This may sound bad, but we know girls like this. We all know Jewish girls from Long Island on secular campuses. This could be anyone of them, and surely we know people who know these girls.
    (Before I am accused of being insensitive, this is not to say something like “all Jewish girls are alike.” This is not to take away from the victims’ individuality either. My point is that these girls are very real to us, just as seminary girls, yeshiva bachurs, or hipsters are.)

  5. I’ll explain myself further: this should not be considered newsworthy, outside of Arizona and Long Island, much less important for the Jewish world to consider. If it carried some significance of a greater issue, then of course. It’s absurd to call anything that involves Jews as Jewish news. It’s newsworthy in the sense of news that drives ratings, through voyeuristic curiosity. I too felt sadness for this senseless loss of life. But does it need to be blasted all over the Jewish world? I think not.
    The mainstream media doesn’t escape my frustration either–covering useless celebrity news. For example: Zimbabwe’s economy is imploding and rule of law is failing, bearing stark consequences on Africa as a whole. So what gets the news? Britany’s bald head. I understand that people in America don’t care about small African countries the way we obsess about a three-person murder/suicide or celebrities, I feel it is very right to be highly pissed at the stupid things that excite people. By this, I do not include the seriousness of the Arizona matter, but I *do* include the rush to read about it.
    I’m working in the story-pitching field after working for the story-accepting side of the biz. It’s true for most media, “If it bleeds, it leads.” And it’s enough to make me furious that more important things in the world don’t get the coverage they deserve.

  6. Who’s rushing to read about it? I wouldn’t have heard about it if you hadn’t brought it to my attention. I don’t know if you would have heard of it if you didn’t follow the JTA. Nobody is forced to read a news story.
    The magnitude of your response does not seem reasonable. It makes me suspicious about what could be behind such a strong reaction.
    If you were from Zimbabwe, you may find the economic implosion interesting in the same way as a Jew in Alaska finds a murder/suicide in Arizona newsworthy (or bald pseudo-kabbalists and Britany’s shorn locks, if you prefer).

  7. I think Britney’s bald head is also Jewish news. First she studied Kaballah. Then she shaved her head as a sign of Jewish modesty. And now she’s wearing a sheitel. What could be more Jewish than that?

  8. KFJ writes: “I’ll explain myself further: this should not be considered newsworthy, outside of Arizona and Long Island, much less important for the Jewish world to consider.” Well, as you have probably noticed, a good portion of American Jews actually live in the New York metropolitan jews, specifically, like it or not, on Long Island. A triple murder involving three young people from that area- yup, chances are JTA readers may indeed have some connection to the victims. Further, must every piece of news have some greater significance? As far as I can tell, the coverage of this murder isn’t turning into an ANS style media farce. So cool the self-righteousness for a minute and start pitching the JTA on your Zimbabwe story.

  9. “Rokhl, I pray for a day in which pieces of news with greater significance are covered before the lesser ones.”
    You mean the stories that are of greater significance to you, right?
    While it may be objectively correct see many deaths as more significant than a few, we live in a subjective world. Like it or not, people care more about those who have some connection to them than they do about those that do not. And, they sure as hell don’t want to be beaten over the head with wall-to-wall depression-inducing coverage.

  10. What makes news is that Jews don’t normally kill each other with guns. They may talk or point someone to death, but not kill them with a gun. When you hear on the news that two college students were gunned down by another college student, it would never occur to me that three Jews were involved.
    I grew up in Kentucky, where it’s about as red-neck as anywhere, but the Jewish people I knew didn’t own guns or ever think about owing or using them. (I’m talking about the U.S., not Israel.) But in today’s violent society, Jews are not exempt from gun violence from other Jews.
    That’s what makes it news to me. Doesn’t that ring true to anyone else?

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