Jonathan Rosenblum’s latest article about Tiger Wood’s indiscretions is a clever analysis of how heroes can tragically fall.
However, Rosenblum waffles his way into the trap of finishing his piece by disingenuously bringing the orthodox Jews into the picture, as a ‘neat’ contrast, wrapping up his article:
I wish I could say that self-destructive behavior, like that of Tiger Woods, is unknown among Orthodox Jews, or at least among Orthodox rabbis. But I have no particular desire to make a fool of myself.
Rosenblum would have wished to say that orthodox Jews don’t succumb to weaknesses of the flesh – in contrast to Tiger Woods. But, in view of this week’s scandal of Rabbi Tropper – such a claim would indeed “make a fool” of Rosenblum.
So he goes for next best:
I am not aware, however, of any figure revered by a large cross-section of Torah Jewry whose private behavior ever stood revealed to be wildly dissonant from his public image.
Rosenblum’s argument is that some orthodox leaders (those “revered by a large cross section of Torah Jewry” – that’s quite a limitation in our factious world) have not been exposed/revealed to have behaved as badly as Tiger Woods.
From a man who eloquently espouses (on any and every occasion he puts pen to paper) that Hareidim are demonstrably better people than all other types of Jews, Rosenblum’s half-hearted claim that the world’s greatest Hareidi rabbonim are better moral examples than a golfer is rather sad.
Yes, it has been a bad few weeks for the Agudah and for their trusty-lackey spokesman Jonathan Rosenblum.
Things seemed to get to a good start, with the much heralded speech by Agudah head Rabbi David Zwiebel, who boldly mentioned at the Agudah convention in October that the “Internet addiction… Substance abuse. Alcoholism. Tobacco addiction. Gambling” exist.
“We are not immune,” he continued. “These things are happening, in our world! We’re losing too many of our young ones… Can we not face these problems? Can we not recognize them?”
And then Rabbi Zwiebel explicitly mentioned child molestation and domestic violence.
“There are problems, and they are niglos [out in the open—ed.]!” concluded Zwiebel. “We can’t pretend. We must talk and we must do something!” (www.vosizneias.com)
After dozens of years (generations?) of NOT recognizing these human problems also exist in Hareidi communities, and therefore a disastrous history of their rabbonim repeatedly resorting to Denial/Distract, Blame the Victim/Messenger and Circle-the-Wagons knee-jerk responses - whenever these crimes and social diseases were (inevitably) revealed – this seemed to some like a long overdue breakthrough.
Finally, a willingness to admit, openly discuss and work on solutions to these problems.
But, in December the rabbonim of the Agudah surprisingly banned all Hareidi internet sites, blogs and forum – the only place where exactly these covered-up issues Rabbi Zweibel referred to have been “niglos” and openly discussed – was a step back to the old discredited Agudah methods.
It then became clear that this banning (glaringly out-of-step with the fresh new honesty policy) was immediately needed as an emergency pragmatic tactic by Agudah - in order to shut-up the snowballing revelations on these Hareidi blogs, of the nefarious indiscretions of Rabbi Tropper.
This revelation (nigloh) has been followed by an awkward silence by all the Agudah “gedolim” and the pathetic response of their spokesman Rosenblum.
Rosenblum prefers to direct our attentions to Tiger Woods' indiscretions, rather than those rather closer to home, of Rosenblum’s colleague Tropper.
Rosenblum has missed an opportunity to take Rabbi Zwiebel’s call for honesty and action seriously. It’s all very well preaching this from a convention podium – but quite another to throw out the old Agudah habits when a new scandal hits the fan.
Deny/Distract (Rosenblum smoke-screens about Tiger Woods);
Blame the Victim (rabbonim issuing insinuations about the abused woman)
Blame the Messenger (ban the Hareidi blogs);
Circle the Wagons (no Agudah statements, no recognition of a problem)
....business as usual for the Agudah.