Rules for Comments on Frum Follies

Readers sometimes ask me about my rules. They are the rules of commonsense for civil discourse and it should not be necessary to state them.  But since I have been asked, here they are.

Don’t insult others. Don’t hock away. If you have made your point and someone doesn’t agree, don’t dump the same thing ten times. You are just shouting in internet fashion. Continue reading

FROM THE SATIRE ARCHIVES: Panic Spreads in Rabbinic Circles Over Failed Messiah’s Purchase of Vos Iz Neias (SATIRE)

This post first appeared in January 2011 when the website Vos iz Neias was subjected to kol koreh (proclomation) banning the site. It is a timely reminder of how things can change. Now it is Failed Messiah that was bought out by orthodox bussiness people. Enjoy and laugh.

Panic Spreads in Rabbinic Circles Over Failed Messiah’s Purchase of Vos Iz Neias (SATIRE)

Jewish Financial Times– Exclusive Report by Zahava Gold

Shmarya (Scottie) Rosenberg, the blogger who operates the muckraking site, Failed Messiah, announced today that he acquired Vos Iz Neias, known for short as VIN. Goldman Sachs provided a $7.3 million dollar combined equity investment and loan to make this deal possible. The two sites will operate separately but Shmarya intends to make major changes in VIN. He said in an interview today with the Jewish Financial Times:

Jews are entitled to the same gossip as gentiles. The gloves are coming off at VIN. No more sanitized polite treatment of charedi miscreants. We will name molesters and crooks. The political interests behind every new ban will be exposed. Every rabbinic shidduch will be evaluated for its implications for the standing of a malchus. We will produce objective ratings of yeshivas just as US News and World Report ranks universities. We will also start ranking Jewish charities for their effectiveness and overhead, same as they do at Charity Navigator. Kiruv guys watch out. People are going to find out whether you really are having any effect. Brochures and propaganda speeches will no longer fool contributors. Families will no longer be able to dump their less capable relatives into jobs where they are ineffective. Orthodox Jews are hungry for the truth. I will make a ton of money feeding that hunger.

The editor of VIN is pleased with his new wealth but complains about being inundated by calls from shadchanim, Realtors from Miami and Jerusalem, and Lexus dealers.

Shmarya explained why he would operate Failed Messiah separately from VIN.

Goldman Sachs insisted that VIN could not succeed if half of the headlines contained the words “charedi rabbi arrested” and a third of the articles dealt with Chabad. I wasn’t willing to give up that sort of journalism. I also am not interested in reporting on the latest heimish pop music event, special Passover cruise, new kosher product, kosher certification squabble, or new standards for modesty in clothing and speech. But these are very profitable areas to cover because they bring in a lot of advertising. So I will continue to personally write and edit Failed Messiah for my own emotional satisfaction, while I manage VIN as a moneymaker and delegate these tasks to people who are actually interested in the moneymaking topics.

As rumors about of the impending deal rippled out from Wall Street to heimish Brooklyn and beyond, askanim tried to nip it in the bud. Pinny Lipschutz offered to retract his insults about VIN and replace it with fawning coverage. Matzav announced that they would fire Gavriel Rivlin. The Novominsker Rebbe offered to have Agudah take out large ads in VIN to announce that the ban was a mistake and they had been mislead by askanim. David Niederman and  R. Malkiel Kotler offered the VIN editor the shishi aliyah at the Satmar bais medrish in Williamsburg and the BMG bais medrish in Lakewood.  But these attempts at placating VIN were too late. The deal had already been signed.

Only Chabad was indifferent to the threat. As their spokesperson, Mendel Krinsky explained off the record,

We have access to the New York Times, the Presidents of the United States and Russia and the Prime Minister of Israel. Why should we worry about the Jewish media? Our big contributors aren’t frum and they don’t read Jewish media, except the stuff we hand them. Those are already followers will believe anything we tell them, especially when we claim it was said by the Rebbe shlita/zatzal. Besides how can VIN be any worse for us than Failed Messiah?

As this story goes to press we await further details about the ways in which this merger acquisition will be implemented.

Meanwhile, there is a story in the Wall Street Journal about a consortium of investors developing technology for blocking all mobile and WIFI signals. They anticipate hiring high-powered lawyers and lobbyists to craft legislation which allows a community to declare itself an “information free zone” and exempt itself from laws which make it a crime to jam the airwaves. Sarah Palin supports the idea as long as it doesn’t apply to her. Agudath Israel of America’s Executive VP, David Zwiebel, proudly declared, “we are unequivocally behind such legislation.”

RABBI BESDIN (PART II): CONTROVERSY IN BORO PARK

Rabbi Besdin, Part I was edited on Nov 1 to eliminate the specific calls for action. They will reappear later in the series

The Besdin Buzz

Boro Park was buzzing on Friday morning. “Rabbi Besdin is right.” “Besdin is hockfleish (hamburger).” “Besdin is a liar, did you hear that there is a ban on relying on him. He made the speech to look good because he was going to be exposed.” Nebich, he is mentally ill, always was, but now it is getting worse.” No, he is tzadik, one of the few that never did any favors for anyone.” “Nah he was just another rebbe who hung out a shingle and had to use amaratzim to get enough hassidim to pay for his shul.” “Honest, if he was honest he would have  more people who learn full time- he just wants balabatim who can give him money.” “When something happened to the daughter of my neighbor he was the only one who made sure the camp fired the head counselor. He also made sure he didnt do it somewhere else by having him sell insurance.”   “It was very convenient that those who gave him smichah were already dead.” “So if this was true why didn’t anyone say anything until after he gave the speech last night.” “Come on,  he was trusted by everyone.” “Remember when there was fight between two halves of the divishnitzinzwei hassidim and a group of Goyim. The Goyim suggested him and the two hassidic groups immediately agreed. Amazingly that is the only agreement with those two that is still in place.” “How come he never shows any special lomdus in his drashas.” “I will tell you why. For the same reason the early rebbes told stories. Because a story seems simple, but from a holy rebbe it has the very sod (hidden profound knowledge) of the Kaballah.  “I agree. Anyone can drei around pshat to make it complicated. It takes a chacham to make complicated things simple.” Continue reading