The good work of Rabbis is often invisible

The reality is that newspapers and reporters are seemingly more likely to report and aggrandise horror stories and mistakes than they are to report excellent outcomes and outstanding effort, especially when it comes to Orthodox Rabbinic work. Sure, if a philanthropist donates money, they will report that as a big story with a nice picture spread. You won’t, however, find the headline on the front cover

“Reform rabbi speaks in favour of the anti-zionist BDS-supporting AJDS”

The “passionate” support of the Reform rabbi happened. It was mentioned in an article about the meeting of the ECAJ. I’d suggest such a view and display of passion has bigger ramifications for the reform movement and the opinion of many Jews than a Zablo that was screwed up and set aside by a NSW court. We should have had a transcript of what she had said.

As Rabbis Ullman and Moshe Gutnick noted in their letters to the Australian Jewish News, the focus on positive work and outcomes of Orthodox Rabbis seems to occupy no space in the AJN.

I wonder how the left-wing, and Limmud Oz supporters would react if it was suggested that they invite the following Neturei Karta people to speak about why we should be appeasing Ahmadinajad and dismantle the State in favour of Palestinian Arabs. After all, it’s all about tolerance, diversity and giving everyone a fair go to express their views?

No, Limmud Oz wouldn’t ever invite Neturei Karta, even remotely by video conference. Why not? I wonder if the AJDS would support them being invited? I imagine they would. After all, democracy is their religion. And yet, Limmud Oz invited Slezak! I don’t see much difference. In retrospect, there is a significant difference. Slezak is taken more seriously, especially by the young and green, and the young and green are mainly behind Limmud Oz.

People like Jeremy Stowe-Lindner, principal of Bialik College in Melbourne, writing in an article in the Australian Jewish News that amounts to a whitewash of a serious error by Limmud Oz in inviting Slezak, should now support Neturei Karta using his own arguments. Would Stowe-Lindner also use an error of inviting Neturei Karta to promote his agenda of sidelining denominational issues to the category of personally baked pareve cheese cake?

I know of recent cases where the Victorian Rabbinate, through the Beth Din, have solved very serious and long running cases of recalcitrant husbands not giving a Get. Was that a front page story? Heck, no.

It’s also the Rabbinate’s fault. They need a PR person in this day and age. In addition, they should have supplied statistics about the number of mediations they have overseen over the last few years which have been successful and not been challenged and compare those with  secular mediations and arbitrations that have been challenged.

No, you won’t see any of this in our Australian Jewish News. They are in the business of selling papers, and horror stories especially about Orthodoxy are better.

[AJDS really should rename themselves ADJS because I struggle to find Judaism in their politics. Left-wing democracy would seem to be their religion.]

Author: pitputim

I'm a computer science professor in Melbourne, Australia. I skylark as the band leader/singer for the Schnapps band. My high schooling was in Chabad and I continued at Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh in Israel.

6 thoughts on “The good work of Rabbis is often invisible”

  1. “They need a PR person in this day and age“

    a PR person that will tell the people, how many mediations or Levayot they have overseen over the last few years, or how many times they said hello to a poor person, or how many times they kissed a baby, will have the same effect as PR person will have, on the public image of Catlic priests, if he will tell about the good work trhey do in Africa, or the number of Sacks of rice they delivered to starving people around the globe.

    both need more than a PR person.

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  2. The fact is the rabbis in general do very good work and the RCV have got many programmes in place for the benefit of the community,
    The stuff ups occur when individual rabbis under their own auspices undertake ventures beyond their capabilities and it unfortunately reflects badly on all the rabbis.
    Clever people know when to put up or shut up.
    It will take some time for the community to recover from the debacle.

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  3. If the roof bodies that the Rabbinate are signatories to do not publicly censure those who behave badly then it tars the whole community with the same brush.
    When a Rabbi does & says things that are outrageous & there is silence from the roof body/ies & the community itself is largely apathetic then the whole community is besmirched & rightly so.I am aware of Talmudic & other references that are definite about admitting your wrongdoings & the importance of protesting against wrongdoings but can find no references for doing the opposite to this.Are there any such references?

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  4. רמב”ם הלכות יסודי התורה פרק ה הלכה יא:

    “ויש דברים אחרים שהן בכלל חילול השם, והוא שיעשה אותם אדם גדול בתורה ומפורסם בחסידות דברים שהבריות מרננים אחריו בשבילם, ואע”פ שאינן עבירות הרי זה חילל את השם ט כגון שלקח ואינו נותן דמי המקח לאלתר, והוא שיש לו ונמצאו המוכרים תובעין והוא מקיפן, או שירבה בשחוק או באכילה ושתיה אצל עמי הארץ וביניהן, או שדבורו עם הבריות אינו בנחת ואינו מקבלן בסבר פנים יפות אלא בעל קטטה וכעס, וכיוצא בדברים האלו הכל לפי גדלו של חכם צריך שידקדק על עצמו ויעשה לפנים משורת הדין, וכן אם דקדק החכם על עצמו והיה דבורו בנחת עם הבריות ודעתו מעורבת עמהם ומקבלם בסבר פנים יפות ונעלב מהם ואינו עולבם, מכבד להן ואפילו למקילין לו, ונושא ונותן באמונה, ולא ירבה באריחות עמי הארץ וישיבתן, ולא יראה תמיד אלא עוסק בתורה עטוף בציצית מוכתר בתפילין ועושה בכל מעשיו לפנים משורת הדין, והוא שלא יתרחק הרבה ולא ישתומם, עד שימצאו הכל מקלסין אותו ואוהבים אותו ומתאוים למעשיו הרי זה קידש את ה’ ועליו הכתוב אומר ויאמר לי עבדי אתה ישראל אשר בך אתפאר”.

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