Are Blogs Kosher? Lashon Hara And Community Responsibility

Rabbi Mark Dratch writes in the Jewish Week:

[D]enial and cover-up and dismissal of complaints and victimization of vulnerable children and adults are also serious and cannot be easily dismissed or pushed aside. Too many innocents have felt unheard, ignored, rejected, and sacrificed on the altar of public and private reputations. They have been silenced in order to protect the image of a community whose perfection exists only in their imaginations.

Too many times Jewish law and Jewish values are misapplied, misinterpreted and misappropriated in order to achieve these reprehensible ends.

There are reasons that victims, along with their supporters and advocates, have turned to the blogs, Web sites, newspapers and magazines. And that’s because too many times they first turned to rabbis and Jewish institutional leaders to complain about the abuse and violation they suffered — and they were abused again.…

[B]logs are here and, for now, supply a valuable service. In a community that was responsive and accountable the excesses on the blogs would be unnecessary. At the moment, there are those who feel that they have no other choice. Innocents — victims and potential victims of abuse and the values and reputation of a compassionate and valuable community — are being hurt by a community that could and should do better.

That so few Orthodox Jews understand this is telling.

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4 Comments

Filed under Crime, Haredim, Jewish Leadership, Modern Orthodoxy, Sefardim

4 responses to “Are Blogs Kosher? Lashon Hara And Community Responsibility

  1. Shmuel

    Well said, Rabbi Dratch. And right on, Shmarya.
    Write on!

  2. do tshuva

    Shmarya,

    Your blog is the best weapon for those who claim that blogs are dangerous. that Shmarya does not get it is telling!

  3. Yochanan Lavie

    Blogs are valuable not only to uncover abusive rabbis. In my opinion, they provide a voice for dissidents like me to express their views. The official community is all “sha! shtill!” I am a dissident because Judaism does not live up to its ideals. I don’t want to deconstruct tradional Judaism- I want to reconstruct it. I, and the Failed Messiah community cannot do that alone. But at least it’s something. That is why I appreciate this space, and all those who respond to me. Even the #@$% jerks who disagree with me (LOL).

    Also, I have learned a lot about Rubashkin’s, and the Ethiopian situation here. As a famous justice once said (Brandeis?) “sunlight is the best disinfectant.” We cannot solve our communal problems by sweeping them under the proverbial rug, or hiding behind a misinterpretation of Loshon Harah.

  4. sarah

    I think those few paragraphs by Rabbi Dratch are very important and should be copied and handed out to every communal leader.

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