The February buyout of Failed Messiah by Diversified Holdings left a gap. For almost 12 years, its previous proprietor, Shmarya (Scott) Rosenberg, kept tabs on all the misdeeds of the orthodox world mostly by locating and aggregating news from other sources, and sometimes with original investigation and reporting. His sources included public professional media, blogs, kol korehs (rabbinical proclamations), pashkavilim (flyers, often anonymous), and other leaked documents.
The orthodox world, especially its Haredi segment, does not distribute information that can embarrass it, except in the rarest and most unavoidable circumstances. So those wanting to understand its happenings benefited from Shmarya’s work. It now seems clear that the new owners of Failed Messiah bought it to shut down its criticism. In spite of early promises to continue to cover sex abuse problems, they have done zilch. However, at least the old posts are still up. Should they delete them, they are mostly copied over on the Internet Archive. Just plug in the no-longer working link from FM or any other source, and it will show up if it is on the Archive.
Frum Watch, a FaceBook page attempts to fill that gap and they do a pretty good job at the aggregating function. In fact, I would say they do a better job than Failed Messiah. There is less needless inflammatory language. They have a commenting policy prohibiting bigotry towards any group and they enforce it. They are a collective, including some Hebrew and Yiddish fluent members who occasionally translate and in any event annotate or synopsize material from non-English sources. They seem to post a good half a dozen or more stories a day. There is no muss and fuss. Sometimes they let the story title speak for itself. Sometimes they briefly introduce it. Sometimes, when needed, or when they have more to say, they add to it.
I appreciate their efforts when it comes to sex abuse. I have never been one to post every single orthodox sex abuse story. I prefer to focus on a few important cases or on other cases that serve to illustrate an important point. Occasionally, I write think pieces. While I have a good network of sources, I check Frum Watch regularly to be sure I don’t miss any stories. While I take pride in the job I do for my readers, Frum Watch is a logical complement to Frum Follies.
I compliment them on the things they do well and wish them continued success at their volunteer effort which is a service to all of us eager to know the truth, warts and all. Things cannot be fixed by ignoring what is broken.