Thursday, May 12, 2005
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Luke Jumps The Shark
Apparently he's in cahoots with some woman who publishes info about rabbi sexual predators... and who was on Oprah Winfrey talking about how she was raised by Jewish Satanists (? my understanding of the state religion of the Zionist Entity is that they have no big scary devil). She sacrificed babies, was ritually raped, and so on. Of course there will never be any forensic evidence for any of it (murders... tend to leave evidence behind, y'know), because it didn't happen.
Luke Luke Luke... my man... The most charitable description is that she's nuts. One of my best friends was involved with people who made Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) allegations back in the 1980s (the so-called "satanic panic"). Did you know there hasn't been ONE victim of these crimes ever documented? Not one? They're as real as the "tunnels" under McMartin Preschool where hysterical allegations like this locked two grandmothers and their dopey but harmless son in jail for years. My pal dismissed the case and actually spent years of penance trying to help the people his clients accused rehabilitate their names.
So she's either lying or she's crazy ("mixed up" is a nice way to put it). Either/or. There's bored teenagers who listen to Judas Priest and draw scary pentagrams on Church doors but that's it. There's any number of books about this. Hell, there was a whole industry behind the "satanic panic" and now there's a whole industry debunking it.
Heroin addicts in the Big Apple can always seek help at the New York heroin addiction treatment centers operating in the city.
Dennis Miller Show Cancelled
I never thought it worked. I only watched when Cathy asked me to.
The Late Conservative Columnist Eric Breindel
I know this guy was a favorite of my friend Evan Gahr.
The other day, I read a comment on Cathy Seipp's blog by David Ehrenstein that Breindel was a heroin addict and it was that addiction that killed him.
I asked Evan about this. He replied:
He was addicted to Heroin in 1983 it cost him his job with Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan on the prestigious Intelligence Committee. He was on the trajectory to become a Senator himself maybe even the first Jewish president.
He kicked the habit and joined the New York Post as editorial page editor, with the personal help of Marty calling Rupert Murdoch, and lived a wonderful life. Boyish grin. Brilliant. Schmoozing with the entire NYC power elite in every field, business, media. Major player in NYC. Award winning editorials helped force the New York Times to stop ignoring the black racist fruit boycott against Koreans, led by Sonny Carson who famously said he's not anti-Semitic he just hates all whites.
At the top of his world at age 42. Then he suddenly died in March 1998 because of liver problems.
No published reports said that the prior heroin addiction contributed to his death.
His father was a doctor. So was mine.
I'm not Eric. And Eric is not me. But rebounding from his "difficulties" as he called them once in an intensely private conversation with me, he was stoic and made no references to it even at editorial meetings, certainly not in public-- and not being consumed by bitterness, or anger is something I struggle, much as Christian's struggle to emulate Jesus, to get back on track.
I used to be like a puppy dog, sitting in his office he's at his desk behind pictures of himself with "everyone"--Nixon, Dinkins, Netanyahu--and listen to him talk and feel like I was in a Senator's office, and think how great it was that he never asked what might have been.
Negro Alert, Negro Alert. Attention all black people, and guilt-ridden whites
Evan Gahr writes:
Has anybody else notice that the Great White Liberals at the New York Times and Washington Post both misidentified the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 as the 1966 Civil Rights Act when they described the just-croaked Peter Rodino's crucial role in it.
Like, duh. What's next? Obituary on the pilot who dropped the Atomic bomb on Hiroshima in 1947?
It's certainly understandable that the Washington Post and New York Times might want to forget in light of their all-consuming diversity fetish, that Hubert Humphry but just how many editors did this huge mistake get past about something that remains today one of the most important laws in the nation even though Hubert Humphry, if true to his word, must have choked to death in 1978 same year as the Bakke decision?
Sure, everyone makes mistakes in the rush of deadlines, and over at the new-post Jayson Blair New York Times which values input from readers Obituary editor Chuck Strum showed just how this new sensibility has infused the entire paper.
Chuck Strum: New York Times
Evan Gahr: Chuck?
Chuck Strum: Yeah
Evan Gahr. Hi, this is Evan Gahr. [The New York Times misidentified the landmark Civil Rights Act in the Rodino obit as the 1966 Civil Rights Act]. Can you tell me when are you going to correct that error and why you are so determined to keep Johnny Carson's black granddaughter from readers?
Chuck Strum: Thanks for calling. [Click].
Context: Under tight deadline, Bill Carter who asked NBC for a list of Carson's surviving granddaughter, omitted the name of his late talkmeister's illegitimate black granddaughter. Informed by this reporter, he took the honest mistake very seriously, and told Chuck "click" Strum who refuses to correct the error.
To learn more how the New York Times has marginalized this proud African-American woman go here.
The Washington Post also hung up on this reporter when the guy who made the mistake was asked why he just won't go ahead and correct.
Matt Schudel: "We're trying to get to the bottom of this."
Evan Gahr: Is this difficult? It's a landmark piece of legislation in all the history books . . . What's the big deal? [ I know lots of black people should I tell them to stop by the Post and explain it to you?]
Matthew Schudel: Goodbye. [Click]
An assistant to the Washington Post managing editor sounded like she took the matter seriously and promised to convey a message to her boss. She and the Washington Post operator gave conflicting titles for "Mr. Strudel."
Adam Bernstein under whose byline the piece appeared said he wrote it two years ago--he was certainly ahead of the curve!-- and it did not misidentify the Civil Rights Act. The misinformation was inserted by his colleague above, and he sounded quite annoyed.
--Evan Gahr, a former press critic for Eric Breindel, has done investigative reporting and writing about race matters for the New York Post, Washington Times op-ed pages, National Review, the American Spectator and Washington Jewish Week.
This is the unofficial start of his non-blog blog; all items shall include or make good faith effort to include actual reporting and leading questions, which are easy to handle if you have integrity but impossible if you don't. And absolutely no first-person references. I think I think. I think.
I just saw the New York Times obituary about the guy who played a key roll in the Hiroshima bombing of 1947. Oh, gee: You can access the internet and read. Big accomplishment: You need to let everyone know your triumph.
Who asked you? Who cares?
"Journalism I-disease" already prevalent before blogs and now gone out of control embodies some of the most pernicious trends in society: the primacy of feelings over facts.
Our Fathers - Compelling Showtime Movie About Roman Catholic Sex Abuse In Boston
I saw this Tuesday night at the Directors Guild of America. A friend points out that they could've lost the Spagnola/Dennehy character and the pace would've been faster.
The movie captures the essence of Boston. The New England accents are exact.
The characters are nuanced.
I had four helpings of dessert afterwards. That was my dinner. I know that was wrong but it was the only way I knew to express my feelings and scope out the chicks. It is empowering to have some cookies and a cup of herbal tea in your hand as you wander around trying to meet people.
Is Oprah's 'Rachel' Vicki Polin?
Larry Yudelson writes on Canonist.com:
Fascinating as it always is to reread Yori's old postings, what's much more interesting -- dare I suggest newsworthy? -- is Yori's allegation, apparently confirmed by Luke Ford, that Vicki Polin is the woman who appeared on the Oprah show 15 years ago and claimed she was part of a Jewish cult which involved ritual murder.
Was she really the "Rachel" that appeared on Oprah? If so, has she ever retracted the allegation? If that was her, and if she was telling the truth, the Jewish community has a much more serious problem than a chief rabbi with kidnappers in the family.
I believe that Vicki today stands behind the essential truth of everything she said on Oprah, including that "she was part of a Jewish cult which involved ritual murder."
That Jews would commit child sacrifice seems unbelievable to me but it is a fallen world we live in (to use Christian terminology).
Vicki has several times offered me the opportunity to watch the videotape in question but only at a place on the other side of America from me. Finances and time have prevented me from taking her up on her offer.
If I had had things my way, I would've published a transcript of that Oprah program as soon as I had it, and an interview with Vicki addressing it (as soon as I found out about it, which, I believe was late 2004). But I don't always get the things I want. I understand that other people have priorities other than addressing my questions. Sometimes they have family issues. Sometimes they have health issues. Sometimes they have work issues. Sometimes they don't want to be the focus of attention.
I've done a ton of work on Vicki Polin's life and on the allegations she made on the Oprah show. Because of commitments I made to get at this information, I can not reveal what I found as yet. I am far from determining the truth of what Vicki said on Oprah.
I've done a ton of work on various purported rabbinic sex abuse cases which I get the consent of people who've given me their stories (they were only given on this condition).
I've developed acquaintances, allies and perhaps friends along my journey of Jewish journalism over the past year (all started by Steven I. Weiss's invitation for me to guest-blog on Protocols). None of these relationships are more important to me than the truth (though I am willing to hold back on publishing publicly-important truths for a while for strategic and other reasons).
In my 20-plus years of reporting and writing, I've found that I constantly have to trade on stories. I have to hold back on certain things to protect a source or a personal relationship or to get an important story down the road. I rarely get to publish everything I know to be true and publicly-important.
I knew about Vicki's controversial 1989 appearance on Oprah about six months ago and have held back on publishing about it for various reasons. I've tried through various sources over that time to get a copy of the tape and a transcript. Until now, I've failed in that quest.
Thanks to Yori Yanover, however, I received May 10 what I believe is a substantially accurate transcript of Vicki's appearance on Oprah.
USAJewish.com's Yori Yanover On My R. Hershy Worch Ambush
Yori writes a captivating, compelling and important analysis of us, me and rabbi J. Hershy Worch. I thought he was fair and balanced in his write-up and weighed in with serious criticisms of my internet publishing.
Here's an excerpt:
In the last few years I’ve visited Chicago several times. I don’t like Chicago. It’s like New York without the breaks. The cops are tough and mean, the minorities are ghettoized, and way too many drunk Polaks and Micks with beer mugs loitering on the sidewalks outside the downtown bars. So I don’t go to Chicago for Chicago, but because that’s where Hershy Worch lives.
I met Hershy in 1989, when I reviewed his gallery show for Israel Shelanu. The special thing about it was that he was a total haredi guy, with a wife and six haredi kids, but his images were Super Realistic American, complete with breathtaking portraits and a couple of full frontal boobs. So I was instrumental, with my review, in getting Hershy in trouble. But Hershy was a permanent resident of Trouble, so it wasn’t like such a big bad on my part.
It was an instantaneous friendship, the kind I only share with three or so other people. I love Hershy, even though at times I’m ready to dump something heavy on his balding head. All year long we speak on the phone and via email, and twice a year we meet: On Passover, when I bring my family over to his house, and on Yom Kippur, when I fly over by myself to hear him serve as cantor at a local shtieble.
One late night last October, shortly after the high holidays, I received an email from another close friend, with a URL to the now discontinued Jewish Protocols site. I had been as unaware of that site as I had Luke Ford before our interview. It was a shocker. Ford used the site to announce that “Chicago Orthodox rabbi J. (Jeremy) Hershy Worch is being investigated for allegedly using his hypnoeroticism techniques to rape women. Though he has a cult-like following, a string of women have come forward to complain about him.”
I advise you to “search and replace” Hershy’s name with your own, to try and comprehend the horror one would experience in seeing this paragraph posted about them.
My Email Discussion With Yori Yanover Of USAJewish.com
I email Yori 5/9/05: "Do you think we should do an on-the-record discussion/debate of this stuff FOR PUBLICATION via the phone?"
Yori replies 5/10/05: "I was thinking MS messenger."
Luke: "Yeah, but do you think I looked good in my tighty whiteys?
"Yori, turnabout is fair play. I need a pic of you in your undies for my site."
Turnabout is WHAT? Oh, megosh, he used the F word!
My X-large skivvies are not for public consumption. But I do admire you're willingness to be vulnerable and exposed. I thought I sniffed a trace of vodka in the HTML code when you posted those images...
Luke: "JewishWhistleblower2. Is this yours?"
Saw a Tivoe'd "The Long Goodbye" with Elliot Gould as Marlow (Bob Altman, 1973) --- very LA of the Rockford Files era. Thought about you. It must be very difficult to own a brain in a town like Los Angeles. No insult intended. It's just that the very notion of LA sweeps an anti-intellectual fog across the thinking thingie.
Anyway, the Gould character is so freaking passive, absorbing blows by the cops, the thugs, the other thugs. Then, in the end, he just takes out a gun we never knew he owned and shoots the culprit. Then he's back to his passive stance, whistling carefree. Only in LA.
In New York we agonize, we hyper-analyze, we want clarity.
...[W]e can cross-messenger. The topic should be: "Why did you try to kill my best friend?" Something lighthearted and humorous like that...
I'm a lot like that Gould character you describe. I'm passive in most everything.
"Why did you try to kill my best friend?" Sounds like an appropriate topic.
I'm not going to be able to get into a lot of details about women who've brought accusations but it is certainly a fair topic for discussion. Yes, it is unfair that they can bring anonymous accusations and not be held accountable for anything false they allege (but if I ever found one was lying to me, I'd out her as a liar).
But then will you also feel obligated to trace down all of Jewish Chicago to inform every last acquaintance of Hershy's that you did him wrong? False accusations on p. 1 and retractions on p. 22 under the classifieds satisfy only lawyers and ratify nothing.
Let me ask you something else:
Do you honestly believe that Hershy Worch can bring a woman to her knees with his piercing eyes? Did you really believe that when you got the first email?
This may be a NY-LA gap that won't be bridged. Over here we tend to separate fantasy from reality. We also hold that women above age 21 who get laid without coercion are entitled to an orgasm, perhaps, time permitting, but not much more than that.
#1: Regarding the allegations of sexual impropriety directed at rabbi Worch while he was in a position of religious leadership, I believe the note from that group of people in Melbourne, which I published in his profile, is accurate and that the behavior described was not limited to Australia.
#2 The majority of what I published about Worch, and what upsets many people (fantasies about murdering a shaygetz, etc), was my accurate quoting of Worch's writing published on the Internet.
A question back at you: What percentage of the blame for what Hershy has gone through since I published, as a result of what I published, do you give me and my sources and what percentage of the blame to apportion to Worch for his foolish choices? If the Worch situation was reversed, I'd like to think that I'd take 100% of the responsibility.
Here are some of the questions I had for you:
* Ask Yori how he would report allegations of sexual abuse (say, the allegations against Rabbi Worch).
* How does he know what I know before I publish documents, etc?
* Where did I complain about the Forward/JJ about...?
* How do you know how much work I did on rabbi Gordis before I published? How do you know that you know more than me about rabbi Gordis or any other case I tackle?
* Did you ever make anonymous comments in threads about sexual abuse? If so, what were they and what names did he use?
* Do you believe that you know more about Vicki Polin and the workings of The Awareness Center than I do?
You're reversing the chronology, Luke.
The letter you published from someone in Australia came several months after your ambush of Hershy. You were not trying to save the Jews of Australia from the clutches of this Svengali rabbi, because your google quest hadn't led you there yet. Please be real with me.
No, Luke, when you opted to hit him without provocation Hershy had been without a congregation some two years, divorced and unemployed, barely making the rent. This was the situation you "reversed."
None of us are without sin, like the tall guy with the water-walking gig once said. Are you going to go door by door now, email by email, exposing all the adulterers, all the glue sniffers, all the peeping Toms? What function will that serve?
The only justification for exposing a person like this -- after due journalistic process -- would be if, indeed, he holds official office, or somehow using taxpayer money. Hershy didn't even collect SSI or unemployment, being a British subject. What public interests were you protecting?
Oh, were you to answer that, you'd make me a very happy man... Less, grumpy, at least.
I was aware of the allegations in the letter and its solid sourcing before I published anything on Hershy. Just because I don't or can't go with everything I have at once doesn't mean I don't have it. It just means I can't/won't publish it at that time.
Rabbi Worch was still actively representing himself as a rabbi at the time I published.
The public interest is that people make better decisions when they are better informed. How would you have handled a story like Worch (using the assumption that the subject is not your friend)? Here you had a guy publicly identified as an Orthodox rabbi making a whole bunch of provocative postings on the Web (including about murder and dismemberment) and with a long history of troubled relationships in his work (got moved on from almost every job he ever had) and troubled sexual relationships that developed from his work as a religious leader/teacher.
I've never said Worch is a bad guy. That's not my role. I'd probably enjoy talking to him and I bet we have a lot in common. All this, however, is irrelevant when it comes time for me to publish about a person.
"Hershy had been without a congregation some two years, divorced and unemployed, barely making the rent."
That's irrelevant to whether I am going to write about someone. I don't not write about someone because they are divorced, unemployed and broke when they fulfill the other criteria that Worch fulfilled (his troubled history as a religious leader, his publicly identifying as an Orthodox rabbi while making news-worthy postings about murder and torture).
"Are you going to go door by door now, email by email, exposing all the adulterers, all the glue sniffers, all the peeping Toms?"
Absolutely not. My interest for my next book is in Orthodox rabbis. If they were doing the behavior above interconnected with their work, and having affairs that sprang from their position of religous leadership and the access to the vulnerable that that gave, then yes, I would be writing about it.
A rabbi who has an affair with someone he's not counseling and is not in a position of leadership/power over would be far less newsworthy.
What justification was there for exposing Worch? He's a great story and you know it -- a publicly identifying Orthodox rabbi who was publicly teaching Torah (and still doing Shabbatons etc) and interconnecting it with a BDSM-angle and who left behind him a long string of troubles at many of the places he's worked... What's not to love about such a story?
Just as women I date or people considering employing me would be better off Googleing me than not.
If I were a person who was learning from rabbi Worch's teachings, I'd want to have read my profile of him. Or if I were someone considering dating or befriending him or employing him, I'd prefer to know. I am not arguing that anyone then should not befriend or employ the guy. That's not my role. My role is to report. I realize that my methods of reporting are not your methods, nor conventional journalistic methods, but I am unaware of any factual mistakes in my reporting on Worch.
Rabbi Worch had published several books on Judaism, identifying as an Orthodox rabbi, and he taught Judaism, at times, with a BDSM angle (the internet archives prove it). That's inherently newsworthy and compelling. If that's not a great story, then I don't know what is.
>>Ask Yori how he would report allegations of sexual abuse (say, the allegations against Rabbi Worch).
There are several levels of reporting. The most crucial one is to the legal authorities, be it rape, harassment, etc. The system today is hyper-prepared to take on sexual crusades, after the priests etc. Why, only a couple of months ago a priest in Boston who had already paid 1/2 a million to his victim, was charged criminally by the same victim, and all of it based on recovered memories alone. So that system is very much available.
In the Jewish communtiy, like any minority community, there are systems in place which inhibit prosecution. The agunot cases, the Baruch Lanner case, have shown a problem in defending the rights of the weak and the abused. In those cases the job of the reporter is tougher, but his obligations to the truth are clear. Thed story must include an opportunity for the accused to refute the accusations against them.
In all those issues there should be a separation between cases involving minors or the infirm, and those involving adults.
>>How does he know what I know before I publish documents, etc?
I don't know anything I don't read in your articles. And everything you publish is seriously lacking in both context and depth. If all you can do is add to the he said she said without a chance in hell for an unbiased reader to understand what the heck is going on, then you failed as a journalist. I recall having to respond once on your site to an annonymous "Jane." In the end you failed to make the distinction between myself, a real person with his name and record on the line, and an anonymous accuser. You celebrated this situation, in fact, saying that either camp was going to go with its biases anyway. Well, that's not your job, to fan the flames of biases. Your job is to add to the debate a note of better understanding.
And it doesn't relieve any problem when you declare that you've examined some source to the best of your understanding, because, frankly, that understanding thing is not your strongest suit. I know because you interviewed me and I saw how much you were able to misunderstand.
>>How do you know how much work I did on rabbi Gordis before I published? How do you know that you know more than me about rabbi Gordis or any other case I tackle?
I do not know more than you know, but I certainly kknow more than you published. No legitimate publication would go with that raw stuff. It's useless.
>>Did you ever make anonymous comments in threads about sexual abuse? If so, what were they and what names did he use?
Very early on I realized, on the Protocols site, that conducting debates with anonymous posters was useless. The fact that the notorious "ME" was focusing so much on my identity at the time, and the fact that I have about 10 years of online publishing under my belt, made me a tempting target and a useful name for use by countless posters. To this day I'm being accused of stuff, like I found out about the anti-Blau site from an email asking me if I designed it. This morning you asked me if I did the JBW2 site. What's the point in my doing this?
Never mind that I think anonymous posting is cowardly and that all my professional life I've been out there, putting my name on some seriously combative articles, including the ones that got me fired from Yedioth. Never mind that when "ME" was posting all my business relations online with total disregard to any semblence of civility, the postings only increased (trust me, I was watching in horror). And back then you, as moderator, did nothing to discourage it.
What if one of my clients were to google me and come up with those really abusive, horrible postings by "ME"? Did you think about that? And the repulsive notes about how my wife and child would be sexually abused by this or that "predator" -- did you really believe it made for a good sicussion, befitting civilized Jews?
But what about you, Luke, have you posted anonymously? Were you the author of some those vile messages?
>>Do you believe that you know more about Vicki Polin and the workings of The Awareness Center than I do?
Luke, I read your interview with her and it is not even softball, its nerf. Come on, the woman is accused of going on Oprah as "Rachel" and saying she's from a Jewish Satanic cult. The woman is full of so much hurt. And tops: the woman was seeking spiritual support from the very men she then attacked so viciously and without any shred of fair play. The woman was accused of stealing from friends and colleagues. If you knew all that, you never let on.
So, in the final account, it's quite possible I know much which you either don't know or don't want to know about The Awareness Center.
I've never posted anonymously on Protocols or anywhere (I have used well-known handles in postings on stuff outside of Jewish topics).
I had no moderation powers on the comments section of Protocols. If I would've had that power, they would've been considerably restricted.
I would say that I took far more abuse on those comments section than anybody, including you and Worch.
You didn't say yes or no whether you posted anonymously on Protocols. I believe you posted considerably under the name "Yori" but without your last name. At least someone did who sounded like you.
You wrote on USAJewish.com: "Even as we speak, you’ve been complaining that established newspapers are refusing to run with some complaints from a student about her Conservative rabbi teacher."
I made no such complaints. It's like saying I complained that Hershy Worch posted fantasies about murdering someone. I didn't complain. I posted his fantasy.
I would say that most of the nasty postings on Protocols related to the Worch case from supporters of Worch.
"I realize that my methods of reporting are not your methods, nor conventional journalistic methods, but I am unaware of any factual mistakes in my reporting on Worch."
Let's examine the record of your publishing regarding Hershy.
1. "Some women who've known R. Worch intimately allege that he uses kabbalah, hypno-eroticism and other manipulation techniques to have sex with women and to take their money."
This sentence is in English, but conveys no real information. How does one use the ancient tradition of the Zohar and Sefer Yetzira to have sex with women? Why doesn't anyone tell me about those things? I'll bet we could get the Mir yeshiva to convert to hasidism overnight if we told them they could get laid through Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. This is obvious gobeldegook which you cite verbatim and move on to the rest of the story. Can you explain to an uninitiated such as myself how this is done?
Then you cite that he takes money from women via his hypnotic powers. This is already serious defamation. Do you think that for the sake of INFORMATION, forget fairness, you should have given the guy a call the night before, asking, "Rabbi, how do you get laid through the kabbalah, and how much money did you rob off of your quivering victims?"
The fact that you move on like that, with no reference to what your actually mean in any perceptible reality, simply takes your material out of the realm of reporting straight into slander.
This, I suspect, in the end, is why Steve booted you, gently but firmly, off the Protocols site.
The overwhelming majority of what I published about Worch were in context quotations of his own writings. I did not pour anyone's allegations about Worch unchecked on to the Web. I had multiple sources and I was confident that their stories were inherently coherent and matched other sources of information on the subject.
I believe that what I wrote (including the portion you quoted) about rabbi Worch is easily understandable to an average person. I reported multiple allegations from first-hand sources that he used his religious teachings, including his knowledge of Jewish mysticism and hypnosis, to get things from women such as money and sex and that in retrospect, some of these women believe they were coerced and manipulated by rabbi Worch.
I disagree. When I got the email from my friend to take a look at the Protocols site, I was shocked by the opening paragraphs. You've been updating Hershy's profile on your site, and so the original is completely gone. But it was about the erotic hypnotism and using the kabbalah to do women. It was the kind of thing people jump out of windows when they read it.
It's easily understandable as slander. In this context, had you not done this to a poor, unemployed rabbi, if you had done this to a Tendler, you'd be looking at a libel suit that would have brought you back to writing in note pads. Hershy had no resources, he couldn't punish you for being so calloused with his life, so you got away with it.
The fact that you now substituted "mysticism" for "kabbalah" in your sentence still doesn't explain how someone can have sex with women against their will using that holy crap. And any serious practitioner of hypnotism also knows that no one gets hypnotized against their will.
But your carefree use of these words as if they actually represent a factual content was injurious to a man who never in his life had sex with another human being against her will. That was ashameful thing to do.
You intimated a sense of empathy for Hershy Worch, saying you're probably very similar. Can you elaborate on what gives you that notion?
I know you logged on to his live journal site and asked for his emotional support, complaining that your book wasn't cutting it.
I know after the initial few postings about Hershy you tried to call him and seek him out in other ways. Are you angry at him for rejecting you?
Are you aware of Vicki Polin's extensive correspondence with hershy as her spiritual adviser? Do you know about her contacts with other "new age" rabbis she later tried to hurt?
1. His coming from England and my coming from Australia. We're both rebels. We're both interested in the erotic and the religious. I think we both can be eloquent and that we both have tendencies towards womanizing. I think we've both met women in religious contexts and developed relationships with them.
2. These were clearly humorous postings.
3. That's hilarious. No. I asked Worch for his side of things. He chose not to give it to me. Fine.
4. I am unaware of these things.
Let's say Elijah came down and showed you in no uncertain ways that Hershy is blameless of these charges. How would you remedy his injury in a way that is meaningful to him?
When Vicki releases on TAC posts that Hedrshy ran away to Turkey to flee a custody hearing, and the story has no veracity whatsoever, yet you publish it without any comment -- how would you then fix it for him, so the world knows he's not a deadbeat father, that, in fact, he is a loyal and devoted father.
I suspect that even if you spent the better part of your life trying to remedy the damage, you'd still miss a few people who only heard of the accusations and not the fact that they're baseless.
Are you not responsible in the least for the consequences of your actions?
If Elijah did that, there would be no way for me to fully remedy the damage. I'd do everything that Hershy asked me to to try to repair.
The court records on his custody hearings etc are public record which I checked before posting about them.
I am completely responsible for the accuracy of my postings.
My original posting on Worch is complete and unchanged in the Protocols archives (from the first post onwards).
What happened privately between Worch and the women who alleged he abused them is not completely knowable. All I can do is rate the coherence and truthfullness of the accusers and compare what they say with other sources of information about Worch.
Frankly, I don't think you did. Show me where it says that Hershy failed to appear for the March 15 hearing. Show me the custody dispute.
Luke, this one smells...
You remind me of Prof. David Berger, whose reputation is that he never met a historic text he didn't take at face level.
Give me an example of this rating process. How do you do it? Where, for instance, did you get that he is using kabbalah to get into women's pants and get them to pay for it. If you can establish how you verified that, I'll be stunned.
I posted that link.
Rating credibility: Spend hours talking/emailing with a person, see if their stories inherently cohere or contradict. See if they ever mislead you. Contact others to check on the person's credibility. Check to see if what they allege that is verifiable can be verified.
The Australia letter showed how a group of people allege that Worch used his position as a religious teacher (and much of it was about kabbalah, a specialty of Worch's) to sexually pursue women.
His writings (internet and in print) are focused on jewish mysticism, desire, sexuality, BDSM. These are the things that occupy him and some of the women he's had relations with.
Can you read?
"Case Type: PETITION FOR DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE"
All this is is a Lexus search result which details court sessions for Mr. and Mrs. Worch.
Where did you get the custody from? Where did you get the failure to appear 3/15/05? Where did you get any support for the innanne stuff Vicki sent you about Rabbi Hershy Worch who "fled the US for Turkey rather than show up at custody hearings"?
This is total hogwash and you know it. This is not a document, it's the cover of a folder for crying out loud. No one gave you documents, and you never read any.
What about fact checking and cross-referencing? What about contacting the accused? Why isn't this on your list?
You see, what emerges is the image of a lonesome, rather submissive fellow, sitting in his little room, making blind allegations based on his gut feelings.
When you say that you "Check to see if what they allege that is verifiable can be verified" - does that mean that after [name deleted] said she co-published some crap with Hershy you went and saw there was crap there so she must have been truthful?
Did you find out if [name deleted] is gainfully employed? What is her mental health history?
Did you ask yourself how much of that murder fantasy was actually her own?
Probably not. I'll tell you why I think so: Because you never asked the other guy.
So the process of verification is you get an email, you look at it for a few hours, and if your computer didn't crash you post it.
Did the same group of people tell you about the other aspect of his job as Hillel Rabbi in Melbourne? His David and Goliath fight to the death against [name deleted]? Did they tell you how his Hillel students took up his cause when [name deleted] had sworn to destroy him (they had a public dispute: [name deleted] said a good Arab was a Dead Arab, Hershy said maybe some living Arabs could live too -- don't ask).
Hershy's stay in Australia was marred by [name deleted]'s relentless attacks. Hershy's children were kicked out of kindergarten because of [name deleted]'s pressure. Life was a living hell in a Jewish town... [name deleted]. And then there was this bright thing, the creation of the yeshiva where youngsters came to pray and study with this very gifted and, yes, also flawed man. And it came with a fabulous new book, a translation of the Esh Kodesh, which I don't think you know enough to appreciate, but several congregations here and abroad are suckling on for spiritual sustenance.
What you need to understand is that wherever you have brave religious men who are willing to push the social envelope, there are bound to be accusers. Why, even the Lubavitcher Rebbe was accused of having extra marital affairs. As a reporter on Gafni, Avi Weiss, Shlomo Carlbach, it is your duty to report about the existence of allegations. But by doing it out of context, regarding a relative unknown who is powerless to respond -- you do no one any service, other than satisfy the need for revenge of a few overweight women who secretly lust for this strange little man.
As I'm writing I can picture you yawning, turning off your capacity to understand, empathize, perceive the greater context. You're simply not interested.
I yawned at your attacks on me. I don't yawn at the story of Worch. And no, I was not aware of his fight with [Deleted Name]. Rabbi Worch had every opportunity to talk to me about this and other matters. I made several invitations to him to do an interview. He did not respond.
He didn't have any opportunity at all before you ruined his reputation and made his private life public with malice.
There are so many layers to this story, and so many socially crucial points. Why are so many of the attacked rabbis on the left end of the Orthodox spectrum? Who stands to gain from the ruined reputation of rabbis who support women's equality within Orthodoxy?
That's why journalists who don't cover nuclear wars take their time in building up a story. And social service organizations even more so.
You never answered about Vicki on Oprah, a well-documented allegation.
"The court records on his custody hearings etc are public record which I checked before posting about them."
I was wrong when I said that. I retract that.
To the best of my knowledge, I have not seen any documentation in public records about Hershy Worch's custody issues. I only recall the link to his divorce which I posted months ago in his profile.
My information about his lack of paying child support comes to me from women who have been involved with Worch and recall him almost being taken off to jail for not paying child support (this is within the past three years).
You write: "Frankly, I don't think you did. Show me where it says that Hershy failed to appear for the March 15  hearing. Show me the custody dispute. Luke, this one smells..."
You are right. I have no documentation to support this. I took the report of JWB at his word on the March 15  hearing. I did no independent verification of this report aside from talking to two sources (one of who was intimately involved with Worch within the past three years) near the Worch case.
You write: "Where did you get the custody from? Where did you get the failure to appear 3/15/05? Where did you get any support for the innanne stuff Vicki sent you about Rabbi Hershy Worch who "fled the US for Turkey rather than show up at custody hearings"?"
I republished that information from JWB without any other verification aside from the two sources I mentioned in my previous email.
I asked Worch for an interview. He refused.
I verified that there was more than just one person making these allegations before I published. I did not get into the employment history of the women complaining. I did enough communication with them to verify that they were not lying.
Thank you for the retraction.
I believe we can now establish that the way in which you verify stories is entirely impressionistic, relying on vague memories of rumors dispensed by sources completely hostile to the person about whom you're reporting.
I'm sorry, what is it you said your profession was?
The fact that an ex-wife out for revenge can call on the police to knock on her ex-husband's door with false accusations is not the same as "almost being taken off to jail." Hershy and Deborah share in equal custody rights. When Hershy was late returning from a trip with their children one summer, Deborah called on the cops, complaining that Hershy didn't tell her he would be late and didn't call from their trip. In effect, she misrepresented to the police that her ex-husband had kidnapped the children. This is why the police showed up. And when Hershy showed the cops the divorce papers they said, Sorry, and went away, in fact contemplating taking Mrs. Worch in downtown for a show and tell of their own.
You didn't know that because you don't inquire, you don't investigate, you just copy and paste verbatim.
You still haven't told me why in your interview with Vicki Polin you didn't mention all the many allegations against her, including theft and appearing as the member of a Jewish satanic cult on Oprah.
I believe that Vicki appeared on Oprah in 1989 as alleged and that she said things that as of now I don't believe are substantiated. I believe that her allegations were so heinous about her experience with part of the Jewish community that the ADL persuaded the Oprah show not to make the show available and I have been unable to track down a copy of the show nor a transcript. I have been aware of this for about six months. Vicki was not ready to talk about this at the time I did the interview with her and to this day I don't believe she is ready to give an interview (to me anyway) about her appearance on Oprah. I am of course greatly interested in getting her to do an interview about her time on Oprah and getting a transcript of the show and a videotape copy of the show.
You write: "There are so many layers to this story, and so many socially crucial points. Why are so many of the attacked rabbis on the left end of the Orthodox spectrum? Who stands to gain from the ruined reputation of rabbis who support women's equality within Orthodoxy?"
These are questions that need to be explored. I have not done so because I don't have those answers as yet.
For $3 you could search the NYT for this:
"Satanic Worship" - Oprah Winfrey Show, 2/88
Winfrey guest accuses Jews of ritual child sacrifices
6 May 1989, New York Times
Section: Front Page: 16A
By: New York Times
Hundreds of television viewers and the leaders of several Jewish and civil-liberties organizations protested allegations on Oprah Winfrey's talk show this week that Jews ritually kill children.
During the Monday broadcast, Winfrey introduced a guest -- who used the pseudonym "Rachel" -- as someone who was undergoing psychiatric treatment for multiple personality disorder.
The woman told Winfrey she had witnessed the ritual sacrifice of Jewish children and had been a victim of ritualistic abuse.
She said: "There's other Jewish families across the country; it's not just my family."
The show focused on the cult killings of 15 people whose bodies were found in March near Matamoros, Mexico.
The woman's comments provoked hundreds of angry phone calls and letters to Jewish and civil liberties groups, spokesmen for the groups said Friday. They said viewers contended Winfrey did not challenge the woman's statements.
"We have grave concern about both the lack of judgment and the insensitive manipulation of this woman, who is clearly mentally ill, in a manner which can only inflame the basest prejudices of ignorant people," said Rabbi David Saperstein, the director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism in Washington.
Jeffrey Jacobs, the chief operating officer of Winfrey's production company, said Winfrey and her producers would meet with representatives of the Jewish and civil liberties group next week in Chicago, where the show is taped. Jacobs said the sole purpose of the program was to call attention to what happened in Mexico.
"Oprah pointed out this is one particular person talking about her particular situation," he said, "and she was identified at the top of the show as being mentally disturbed." "We are aware that the show has struck a nerve," Jacobs said. "Under no circumstances do we believe there was any attempt to tie what this woman said she witnessed to the Jewish religion."
A spokeswoman for the program, Christine Tardio, said Friday the producers were satisfied with the truth of the guest's claim she had been a victim of abuse.
Early in the interview Winfrey said, "This is the first time I heard of any Jewish people sacrificing babies, but, anyway -- so you witnessed the sacrifice?"
The woman responded: "Right. When I was very young, I was forced to participate in that, and which I had to sacrifice an infant."
During the interview, Winfrey said, "I want to make it very clear that this is one Jewish person, so don't go around now, saying to people, you know, 'Those Jewish people, they're worshipping. . . .'
Luke: I believe I've had a copy of this article for about six months.
So you just let it slide?
I'm stunned. It's like you haven't written the 20 or so emails to me about how you have an obligation to publish.
It's like I'm speaking to a new man, with concerns and considerations for the feelings of his subject.
It's like... It's like you sold out, Luke, because you don't play fair, and you don't love the truth enough to turn off your sources.
Gosh, you should have told me before you wuz making exceptions...
My retraction was specific and I don't agree with your overall characterization of my methods.
I didn't let it slide. There are many stories I can't publish now because people won't let me publish their remarks yet (I had agreed to not publish until they gave me permission) and for other reasons.
You are not at all stunned. You've said for about six months what a horrible journalist I am.
I have written nothing to you about having an obligation to publish.
Not so fast, Cowboy Bob.
We may want to examine the documents presented by [name deleted] which she stated were written by Hershy.
Did you have a chance to compare them to the wealth of other documents published by Hershy?
Would you say that the murder theme is typical or a-typical?
If you think it is typical, please provide another source which you've culled from the web at large or printed material, where Hershy independently describes a murder fantasy.
I believe that what you will discover that this specific thing, the connection of sexual desire and murder is highly unique to [name deleted]'s material. In fact, I know that it was entirely [name deleted]'s work, with Hershy's participation as marginal as can be imagined considering the two were lovers at the time.
But, please, I urge you to find even one other place, not [name deleted]-related, where Hershy describes a longing to sexualized murder.
"I didn't let it slide. There are many stories I can't publish now because people won't let me publish their remarks yet (I had agreed to not publish until they gave me permission) and for other reasons."
I understand, I have clients like that too. But then we don't call it an interview, we call it a PR job, a purchased ad, a brochure. Definitely not an interview.
And when that interview comes out dead center at the time of the greatest heat surrounding the Awareness Center, with the first few Board members jumping into the side boats, that's not just a brochure, it's a complete CPR job.
Face it, Luke, you tried to help a friend in trouble. She still got herself deeper in the goo, but your job on her was more cunnilingus than cesarean, to use terminology from your former life.
To be continued.....
I found this dismemberment fantasy Rabbi J. Hershy Worch posted February 2, 2001, long before Worch began a relationship with [name deleted]:
Date: Fri. Feb 2, 2001 7:18 a.m.
Subject: Epiphanic question time
I'm sitting here in my hotel room in Dryhump, Kentucky, the day is ove, Let's say I'm a Mashglach for the Star-K or something like that, It's "Yes, Rabbi" this, and "No, Rabbi" that all day long.
His name is Brian, a reddish blonde Shaygetz of the most impossibly alluring sort. Do you know what kind of world it is out there in the interior of America? Do you know how invisible the Jewish World has become since I got into my car at the beginning of the week and drove west by south?
Here I am asked, whyt are the Israelis and Palestinians fighting each other for God's sake, they're all Jews over there aren't they? I tell him, No, Israelis and Palestinians are not the same, one is Jew the other Arab. But I can see he remains perplexed. Small difference, he mutters. I know for certain that there is not one person in a hundred in this factory who can find Israel on a map of the world.
But back to Brian. He is dressed in starched whites like all workers in this super-sterile environment. Food-grade sterile. My kinda whites, almost transparent, almost fluorescent, I can see the individual vertabrae rippling through his jacket back, almost read the label on his underpants. "Hi Brian," I say. "Oh Rabbi you remembered my name." He smiles and I can smell the feel of the stubble on his cheeks, red and gold.
I want to lock him into one of the two hundred huge stainless steel hoppers which feed whatever it is that gets manufactured here in this plant. I want to hear him beg me to let him out, I want control. I'm thinking to myself, I might cause an international incident if I were to do any one of the mulitiplicity of violent and kinkily sexual scenarios I have in mind even moderate justice in this sleepy hillbilly town.
I did not take my plastic Star-K numbered sealing tags and bind his wrists to the pipes in the boiler room so that I might rape his mouth. I did not clamp his nipples with the small electrical clips or the ring widgets or the abrasive tape or the rubber compound coating sealant or the other accoutrements of torture available to Rabbis in strange places. I kashered the inlet nozzles and stuck my seals on bags of feedstuffs for export to Israel. No dismembered 22 year old shaygetz with a smile on his face and strange metal objects in his rectum found his way into my sealed cartons. No food grade quality control Paqid in the Holy Land need fear encountering my gory leftovers next week in Holon or Metullah.
Interview with Rabbi Yosef Blau
Steven I. Weiss has it.
Disney Airing Failed Fox Show Skin On Their Cable Network SoapNet
DawnElicia writes January 17, 2005 on IMDB.com: "I read that SoapNet bought the rights to Skin and plans to show the series that was on air plus the episodes that never aired. I am so excited because I loved that show and I was said that it was canceled."
The pilot episode aired Saturday night.
After an 18-month attempt, the LA Times no longer charges for access to its arts and entertainment coverage.
The most important point about this -- The LAT Calendar content is so feeble that almost nobody would pay for it. By contrast, the Dallas Morning News charges for most of its Dallas Cowboys coverage (Cowboysplus.com) and gets a sizable number of subscribers (I suspect). For seven years, I've subscribed to the WSJ online (the only online news source I've consistently paid for, it's averaged about $50 a year). It never occurred to me to spend $5 a month for access to CalendarLive.
I wonder how many people would pay for access to the LAT's sports coverage. I suspect a lot more than for Calendar. So what does that tell you about the strength of those LAT departments?
The most important thing for me in a newspapers arts coverage is its books coverage. When I looked back through the archives of the LAT in this department, I had to go to February 11 (a review by Richard Schickel of James Stewart's new book on Disney) to find anything that interested me. The LAT Book Review under Steve Wasserman was horrible (The NYT Book Review is far more interesting).
The difference is just as large when you compare the Forward's book coverage to that of the hokie Jewish Week and Jewish Journal.
Yori Yanover Vs. J. Whistleblower
Yori writes on USAJewish.com:
Since he turned off the comments feature, limiting it not just to registered bloggers, but to those very few bloggers he trusts not to hurt his fragile feelings, JWB turned a site with dozens of responses to each posting, rife with hate and virtual bloodshed, into nothing. He diddles with the Sephardi Chief Rabbi scandals, with a couple quotes from Ha’aretz (which he doesn’t bother to edit even so much as to delete the “advertisement” code). He is dejected, frustrated, and, I’ll bet, in the throes of an exhaustive search for the hormonal storm which got him going in the first place. Call it shmutzer fatigue (Ah, the pheromones of youth).
Somebody has started a JewishWhistleblower2 site where anyone can make comments about the matters the original Jewish Whistleblower raises.
Vicki Polin Equals Shauna Green
Vicki is the "Shauna Green" in Rachel Lev's 2002 book Shine the Light: Sexual Abuse and Healing in the Jewish Community. Vicki is described this way: "Shauna is a 40-something artist, therapist, and survivor of ritual abuse, who over the years recovered from a dissociative identity disorder."
From page 175: "As a teenager I lived in a car for a while," said Shauna Green. "I was certain my parents were going to kill me. I wish there had been a safe house to go to -- to get away from my parents. I wish there had been some way to force them into treatment. It was my word against theirs. No one did anything. The schools made it into a behavioral problem. Family decided I was a discipline problem. I was molested in my temple by the rabbi and others. What do I want the Jewish community to do now? Instead of belittling, educate. Learn the symptoms of abuse. Learn what to do. Learn how you can reach out."
The book contains some of Vicki's art work and on the back features an endorsement from rabbi Mark Dratch.
Vicki Polin writes:
FYI: This quote isn't completely accurate. As a few other quotes in the book.
When I was either 19 or 20 I lived in my car for short time. There were times when I was in high school that I would sneak out at night when I was afraid I was going to be attacked and sleep in a barrel at a local playground. I felt safer there then I did in my own home. A few of my friends and my high school guidance counselor was aware of the fact that I was doing this.
There was a time that the school psychologist attempted to get me into a respite home for teens. My parents refused to sign the papers giving me permission and I had no choice but to return back to my families home.
My parents made my actions into a behavioral problem, NOT the school. The school was lacking in action once I disclosed the physically abuse. I was told by the school nurse that my bruises wouldn't photograph well enough, so there was nothing they could do. I never told them about anything else, since I felt they didn't do anything with the allegations of physical abuse, even though there was evidence.
This quote is wrong: "I was molested in my temple by the rabbi and others." I was molested in a temple.
For years, Vicki used the pen name "Shauna Green." Here is an article she wrote under that name in 1992: "Questions to Ask Yourself Before Disclosing, Confronting or Going Public." It's on The Awareness Center website.
Another error in the Rachel Lev book is that Vicki's parents did not belong to a Reform synagogue.
Skip Bayless On Tom Landry: 'God's Coach'
When I moved to the United States in 1977, people at my Pacific Union College Elementary School tried to socialize me into the local ways by introducing me to the books in the school library (I was used to read adult works of history in the college library).
I started reading children's books (for the first time in years) about such fine Christians as Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach and Cowboys coach Tom Landry.
After the Cowboys won the Super Bowl in January 1978, I adopted them as my team (they would not win again for 15-years, I also selected around this time the Los Angeles Dodgers as my favorite baseball team and the Washington Bullets as my favorite basketball team). In their cool silver-and-blue uniforms and their athletic superiority, the Cowboys lived out the type of winning graces I lacked. Landry, with his cool computer-like brain, was a father-figure to me.
In most ways, my obsession with sports over the next six years wasted time that could've been put to better use doing what I had been doing before the addiction -- studying serious books on religion and history.
In the early 1980s, I started reading in the Sacramento Bee the syndicated stories of Dallas sportswriter Skip Bayless. I thought his insights into the Cowboys were the best. I eventually read all three of his books on the team.
On Sunday, December 22, 1985, my heroes collided.
Around 8 am, I got a phone call in the KAHI news room from my boss -- the news director Pete DuFour. He was sick. Did I want to cover today's Cowboys game? Yes!
I packed my stuff, jumped on I-80 and drove for more than two hours to San Francisco's Candlestick Park.
I picked up my press pass at the Will-Call gate and entered the stadium. The enormous press of rabid 49er fans frightened me. I got to the press box an hour before the start of the game and got to eat free food and hang out with the people I'd read for years and watched on television - Ira Miller of the San Francisco Chronicle, and KRON-TV sportscaster Pete Liebengood.
The Cowboys got off to a great start but the 49ers roared back in the second half to win 31-16. For the final minutes of the game, we got to go down to the field next to the action. I looked at the cheerleaders. I wanted to do grown-up things.
After the final whistle, I raced after the players into the lockerroom. I saw Tom Landry in a conversation. I pause and listen in on the conversation.
I'm not starstruck. Sports reporting is my job. But I revel in the access journalism has given me to people I'm interested in.
Tom's asked about Skip Bayless.
Wearing his fedora and exuding calm despite his team's loss, Landry says Skip hasn't spoken to him for more than two years and that he really doesn't know what Bayless is thinking.
Unbeknownst to me, but clear to Bayless, Landry had been descending into dementia for years (he was also more interested in God than in people, a trait he shared with many Christians I knew intimately) and this would be his last winning season and entrance into the playoffs (the Cowboys were knocked out in the first round 20-0 by the Los Angeles Rams -- though it was the Sabbath, I watched the game in the KAHI newsroom).
In 1988, I was at UCLA during Troy Aikman's Senior year. We were both 21 and some people thought we looked alike. For a couple of weeks, UCLA's football team was ranked number one in the nation. Aikman went number one in the draft -- to the Dallas Cowboys.
In 1991, Bayless had published the best biography of Landry -- God's Coach.
In 1993 and 1994, the Cowboys won consecutive Super Bowls, I recovered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and moved to Los Angeles.
In 2000, Landry died of leukemia.
I toy with doing a book on sportswriters akin to what I did on Jewish journalists. Skip Bayless, a Christian (who now writes for ESPN), would be my number one choice for an interview.
Joe writes: "You're one heck of a frontunner. Picking the Cowboys, Dodgers and Bullets in '78? At least the Dodgers didn't quite win the World Series that year. Have you ever been to a Cowboys or Bullets/Wizards home game?"
I've never been to a Cowboys/Bullets home game. I've never been to a Bullets game period. I stopped caring about the Bullets a long time ago. Are they even around?
Yes, I am a frontrunner. Why would I want the needless pain of rooting for losers? I've only been to one Dodger game since moving to LA. I no longer care that much about any sport other than the NFL. I took Dennis Prager's advice to only follow one sport (to avoid wasting time).
Marcia Falk Vs. University Of Judaism
On June 25, 2004, I interviewed Gene Lichtenstein, the founding editor of the Jewish Journal.
"Were there any great stories during your tenure that you couldn't get in the paper?" I asked.
Gene replied: "There was one story that I killed [circa 1988] but not through pressure. My killing it was unpopular. Naomi Pfefferman, who I had hired, had done a long piece about the University of Judaism. There was a female professor there, a poet [Marcia Falk], who was popular among the students and had published a lot and had a PhD. When it came time for tenure, the president David Lieber, vetoed her tenure. He was popular and he was leaving. He was a humane decent man but he had a hard time with women. The faculty had been for her. There were some ugly incidents concerning students who had protested. Naomi had done a terrific job. We had the story. I regret that we didn't run it.
"I got calls from people on the board of the University of Judaism. Kill the story. They hadn't read it.
"I did some background. He [Dr. David Lieber] said to me, 'I can't bear this woman. She was obnoxious.' If we ran the story in its entirety, we would've had to come out with the reason she was denied tenure -- that the president and some of the faculty found her obnoxious. They didn't want her as a colleague.
"I should've run it but I didn't want to hurt her feelings."
"She didn't realize that?"
"No. Nor did Naomi. People thought I was knuckling under. The poet had had dinner at my house. In fairness to David Lieber, I would've had to say that, so I killed the story. If I were working at The New York Times, I wouldn't have killed the story, but I felt that a community newspaper has an obligation to people in the community to not hurt them unnecessarily. That is not a journalistic view."
Dr. David Lieber replies to my inquiry on this matter:
I am sorry that a legal agreement we reached with the professor in question precludes me from divulging the details of the case. All I can say is that an academic review committee of her peers, including a distinguished professor in her field from another university, voted unanimously not to recommend her for tenure.
Mr. Lichtenstein was a very competent editor. The same cannot be said of many of his "journalists," most of whom were part-time and did not know how to research a story. Thus the writer in question never interviewed either me or the dean of the school in which the professor taught, nor did she inquire about the circumstances of the professor's leaving the university at which she taught prior to coming to the University of Judaism.
Liturgist and poet Marcia Falk sued the University of Judaism for not giving her tenure and won a settlement. The EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) came in and helped her. She had a great attorney.
There was word put out by sources at the UJ (in 1988) that Falk was a bitch. But a national professors association -- AAUP (American Assoc. of University Professors) -- issued a report that censured the UJ for its handling of the Falk case. The AAUW (American Association of University Women) also wrote a report on it.
Behind The Religion
You've heard of the VH1 show where they go behind the music? On Lukeford.net, we go behind the religion.
James from Harvard writes:
Jesus Luke, I just looked at your .net page and you're picking the most annoying segment of the population. They're like bees when you show that behind the religious stuff, they're still ambitious, and the ambitious don't serve any god. Bright people without much money have way too much free time -- they'll chase you around trying to sting you forever unless you ignore, kill or discredit them.
Yori Yanover's Furious With My Shoddy Journalism
Yori writes on USAJewish.com:
Luke’s notion of what’s fair and balanced is faulty, even bizarre. Most of all because he really believes that when he copies and pastes an email he received in the middle of the night he is “reporting,” even “fair and balanced” reporting.
No, Luke, this is not reporting at all. It isn’t even close to any common notion of reporting. It may be web graffiti, it may, at times, be the electronic equivalence of smearing feces on a wall, but it isn’t reporting.
The job of the reporter is to serve as the eyes and ears of his readers. He must examine the issue with which he is dealing, assess to the best of his ability the veracity of the charges on one side, the response from the other side, perhaps speak to insiders and experts, in an attempt to conjure a reasonably satisfactory picture of events.
But you never do that, either because you can’t, or because you don’t want to. I’m yet to read any actual report written by you, one with context, supporting views, analysis. All you do is copy and paste, first come first served, often without rhyme and reason, often pouring stunningly lengthy and virtually unreadable screenfuls of text.
But you, Luke, are employing this chronically lazy attitude towards the written word in regard to real human beings. Such as my friend, Hershy, who woke up one morning to discover that his whole neighborhood knows things about him even he didn’t know. You pounded at him from an ambush, in the middle of the night, without even dreaming of getting as much as a fact-checking response from him, never mind giving him ample time to respond before you slashed his throat like a terrorist.
I’m furious at you, Luke, most of all for your intellectual laziness, moral laziness and frightening lack of introspection. You really believe what you’ve been doing is good reporting, and you don’t understand that the reason folks are frequenting your site is to see fresh blood being spilled.
It’s tragic when a butcher fancies himself a writer.
I was going to serve as the eyes and ears of my readers to this story, examining the issues, assessing the veracity of the charges, and speaking to insiders and experts, but then I yawned (exhausted from my complaining about Jewish journalists doing their work responsibly) and took a nap.
TO LUKE FORD WITH SOMEWHAT APPREHENSIVE AFFECTION
Yori Yanover posts on USAJewish.com:
Who is holy and who’s a vermin…
Our colleague Luke Ford has a problem: He is entirely unable to read the very texts he copies and pastes on his own website. This may have to do with the fact that some of those C&P’s are miles long (it’s a common trait with all victim-movement apparatchiks, copying and pasting so much crap, your eyes start tearing and you give up).
On occasion Ford—whose chief endearing quality is a happy-go-lucky attitude, often at a dissonance with the life-wrecking he engages in—offers incredibly valuable indictments of his own schmutzertroika (the three-pronged pitchfork comprised of Vicki Polin, JWB and Luke), possibly without reading them himself.
For his benefit, and for the benefit of countless tired readers who just want to know who did what to whom—and move on to their favorite flash cartoon website—we present this comic-book version of an exchange between Rabbi Saul J. Berman and Vicki Polin. All citations are from the LF website, utilizing Vicki Polin's response to the rabbis, dated June 16, 2004. Since Vicki, no slouch copier and paster herself, meticulously c&p's each item she responds to, we'll rely on her for the text for our visually enhanced presentation. Orchestra, s'il vous plait...
Luke replies: Dear Yori, I read many times (before posting) all the documents you cite.
I report, you decide. Fair and balanced.
I don't decide my postings on the basis of whether or not something will be good for rabbi Yosef Blau or Vicki Polin or Jewish Whistle Blower . I decide on the basis of whether I think something is true and important and interesting.
Nobody controls this website but me.
That I publish some document does not mean that I endorse the document or support what it says. I publish documents because I think they are important or entertaining or both. I usually just present stuff and allow the reader to decide what to do with it.
This page on the Tendler family history has disappeared from The Awareness Center (TAC) website. It must be a reaction to the onslaught behind the new site Blaufacts.com and the resignation of rabbi Blau from TAC.
'You're Going To Have To Prove To Me You're Not A Lesbian'
From the male Dean of a Conservative Rabbinics program to a prospective student.
The first answer to that question that sprang into her head, and mine, was a blowjob. (How else could such a woman prove she's not a lesbian?)
Times have changed in the yeshiva since I was a bocher.
A Declaration About Conservative Judaism Leader Rabbi Danny Gordis
This was signed and made by a female Conservative rabbi. It was used in a lawsuit against the University of Judaism:
4. In [date removed], I entered the rabbinical program at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, NY. My first year of the program, [date removed], was spent in residence in Los Angeles, California, at the University of Judaism, at that time a branch of the Jewish Theological Seminary.
5. By [date removed], I was seriously considering leaving the program due to my dissatisfaction with the classes and the overall environment. During [date removed], I met with Rabbi Danny Gordis (hereinafter "Gordis"), then Dean of the University of Judaism in Los Angeles. I expressed to Gordis my dissatisfaction, and inquired about a return of my tuition. At that time, Rabbi Gordis encouraged me not to leave, and urged me to attend with him a Scholar-in-Residence program being held in Camp Ramah in Ojai, California, that weekend. At his urging, I also changed Talmud classes to become a student in his class. I was one of two women in his section of the Mechina (first year preparatory) Talmud class.
6. Within a short period of time, Gordis began regularly complimenting me on my clothing, my looks, with comments such as "You look good today." At first I was not concerned. However, as the term progressed, Gordis's comments made me increasingly uncomfortable, and finally scared and embarrassed. These feelings began with a discussion in which I expressed my difficulty in accepting the interpretation of a particular story regarding the Prophet Elijah.
Gordis responded to my comments:
"[Name removed], didn't your parents ever read you bedtime stories? I'm going to have to come to your bedroom, tuck you in, and read you bedtime stories. We'll make a date."
Gordis repeated the comment, "We'll make a date," several times.
A few days later, at the next class, Gordis said to me, in front of my classmates:
"[Name deleted], I have been thinking about this. I will come to your room, you will be all undressed, and I will sit on your bed and read you a bedtime story."
These comments brought forth feelings of embarrassment, anxiety, and concern. I was also feeling as if I was about to be coerced.
After class, one male classmate stated to me: "You know you can tell him to stop."
7. I felt scared to confront Gordis in large part because I had heard stories regarding his history of getting rid of people he did like either by failing them, or forcing them from the program. I finally decided his behavior towards me was unacceptable, and decided to leave him a note in which I told him that I knew he was probably just joking, but that his proposed date "was not going to happen."
8. Gordis, after reading my note, called and insisted he was just joking and that I was overreacting to his comments. He later "joked" that I wanted to sue him for sexual harassment. He did not continue to push for a date, but he did continue to regularly compliment me on my clothing and looks.
Another woman had a similar experience received an F in rabbi Gordis's Talmud class even though her performance in the class warranted otherwise.
I publish the above declaration because there are similar stories from other former female students of Rabbi Gordis. Despite this, he remains in a position of religious leadership in the Conservative movement. He lectures at synagogues around the world and is the Vice President of the Mandel Foundation Israel and the Director of Mandel Leadership Institute:
Dr. Gordis guides the North American educational activities of the Mandel Foundation. Dr. Gordis was Founding Dean of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the University of Judaism in Los Angeles. He also held the positions of Vice-President for Public Affairs and Community Outreach, and Assistant Professor of Philosophy. Dr. Gordis writes extensively about American Judaism and Israeli society, and is the author of, among other books, God Was Not in the Fire, Does the World Need the Jews, and his most recent book on the demise of the mid-east peace process, If a Place Can Make You Cry.
I read three of the rabbi's books (his grandfather, rabbi Robert Gordis, was a terrific writer and thinker). Two (God Was Not in the Fire, Does the World Need the Jews) were worthless (they simply repeated previously published material) and one was moving -- If a Place Can Make You Cry.
In my 2004 book Yesterday's News Tomorrow: Inside American Jewish Journalism, I wrote (based on information akin to the above declaration) about eleven problems with Jewish journalism:
#10. Placing sensitivity, tact, and restraint above other values.
Though restraint is always the safest option, it is not always the best. Problems hushed up are not necessarily problems solved. By not naming the sexual sins that cost rabbi Sheldon Zimmerman his job at Hebrew Union College, the Forward and other Jewish papers left people wondering about his fitness for his current position with United Jewish Communities. By not naming Amnon Finkelstein, dean of admissions at UJ, for his drug-and-sex debauchery that led to the permanent brain damage of a UJ student, the Jewish Journal let him and his university off the hook. Instead of inquiring why UJ has been rife with inappropriate relations between faculty, staff and students, the Journal took the lame angle of a cover story on "When Bad Things Happen to Good Institutions." My headline on all this would read, "When Good Stories Happen to Bad Newspapers."
The Rebbe's Army Conquers Europe
The JTA has a detailed report on Chabad's successes in Europe.
As the report makes clear, Chabad often succeeds by filling vacuums – vacuums created by the failure of Rabbis Hershal Schachter and Mordechai Willig – the 'leaders of Modern Orthodoxy – to do their jobs. When all is said and done, the history of the rise of Judaism's latest Sabbatean movement will mark Rabbis Schachter and Willig for what they truly are – abject failures.
What We Can Do To Preserve Our Catholic Culture?
I got this flyer from Dr. E. Michael Jones of CultureWars.com:
"The Hispanic Challenge and the Logic of Empire"
Dr. Jones' talk will deal with the writings of Samuel Huntington, a Harvard professor whose books have had a great deal of influence with the elite policy makers in America. Mr. Huntington thinks that Catholics are un-American! "Would the United States," he muses, "be the country that it has been and that it largely remains today if it had been settled in the 17th and 18th centuries not by British Protestants but by French, Spanish or Portugese Catholics? The answers is clearly no. It would not be the United States; it would be Quebec, Mexico or Brazil." As the bulk of Latinos enter peak child-bearing age in a decade or two, the Latino share of America's population will soar. And what does this mean? It means that Mexican-Americans in the Southwest will soon have (re: Huntington) "sufficient coherence and critical mass in a defined region so that, if they choose, they can preserve their distinctive culture indefinitely. They could also eventually undertake to do what no previous immigrant group could have dreamed of doing: challenge the existing cultural, political, legal, commercial, and educational systems to change fundamentally...the very institutions in which they do business."
The message here is clearn enough. Any group which has enough coherence and critical mass to preserve its distinctive culture indefinitely poses a threat to the American Imperium (which Huntington represents). If we accept Huntington's definition of America, America's creed entails the destruction of any and all opposing cultures, which at this moment in history means the deliberate destruction of Islam abroad and Catholic Mexcian (Latino) culture at home. This is the only logical extension of the social engineering which worked to destroy the ethnic neighborhoods of America's Catholics in the period following World War II.
What can Catholics do? In this regard, the San Patricio Battalion, a group of Irishmen who began the Mexican War of 1846 fighting for the United States, but as a result of religious bigotry, switched sides and fought with their Mexican co-religionists, may have great relevance for us Catholics today. Our battle is with the secular humanist creed of social engineering flooding our communities such as MTV, pornogaphy, and the Planned Parenthood contraceptive 'Culture of Death.' The San Patricio Battalion can serve as a model for Catholic anti-racism by fostering collaboration between the pan-European Catholics who have been here since the 19th Century and the newly arriving Hispanic Catholics.
Catholics...have reality on their side. Religion is the enemy of nationalism and racism, both of which are idolatry, but it is the friend of ethnicity, which can only endure with religious roots. Ethnos needs Christ to survive, but the Body of Christ needs ethnos as form needs contents... The hand that shapes the destiny of the Catholic peoples left behind to pick up the pieces is the same one which created Europe out of the rubble of Rome.
Jewish Seminary Connection (Orthodox) Prays For Well-Being Of Jesus Christ
At the top of its prayer list is a request for "Yashka bas Miriam," meaning Jesus son of Mary, who suffers from "stigmata."
Rabbi David Orlofsky weighs in again on the rabbi Nosson Slifkin evolution controversy.
Who's Behind BlauFacts.com?
Blaufacts.com says that rabbi Blau has been refusing to appear before the Beis Din. I understand that rabbi Blau was never asked to appear.
I immediately suspected supporters of rabbi Mordecai Tendler, who was just kicked out of the Orthodox Rabbinical Council of America, as the folks behind this new site.
A source writes:
Probably proof of connection to the Tendlers:
META content="yosef blau, rca, the awareness center, rabbi blau, vicki polin, mordechai tendler, yu, blau, tendler, jewish week, rabbinical council of america, israel, israel news." name=keywords meta content="yosef blau, rca, the awareness center, rabbi blau, vicki polin, mordechai tendler, yu, blau, tendler, jewish week, rabbinical council of america, israel, israel news." name=description
These tags are called "meta tags". Someone creating a website will put meta tags in their html source code containing a list of the keywords that the site is associated with. When a search engine comes to this page, it reads the meta tags and based on the keywords listed in the meta tags, serves up this document as a search result when someone types in a search for these keywords. That Mordechai Tendler's name is listed here, even though the site has no overt mention of him, indicates the motives of the person who created it.
I'm In Time
When I arrived in the United States in May of 1977, I knew few people. So I spent most of the next four months immersed in the stacks of the Pacific Union College library. Over the next 15-months, I looked through every issue published of Time, Newsweek, Life and Sports Illustrated magazines.
I hoped that one day I would join the national conversation.
Now I have.
Richard Corliss writes 5/7/05 on Time.com:
My updated guess would be near Ford's number —which is about what the Lord of the Rings trilogy earned in theaters. Not bad for a segment of the film industry that spends thousands, not a $100 million or more, on an average title.
May 28th - Luke's Window of Opportunity Slowly Closes
Gentlemen, May 28th is Luke's 39th birthday and what has he achieved? Minor notoriety in mainstream press, major infamy in the ---- press, absolute obscurity in Hollywood circles, and general ostracism in the Jewish world.
For all his years of fruitless toil his crowning achievement remains his designation as Hustler Magazine's "Asshole of the Month" back in 1999.
We all know that Luke has the potential for so much more, but this potential has a shelf life. If Luke doesn't make it by 40, I suspect he never shall.
Have you seen any recent photos of Luke? His posture. His paunch. His ill fitting suit. His crows' feet. His boyish charm and "twink appeal" is fading fast. At this point, no selfrespecting homosexual producer would bother to put him on their casting couch for even a measly five minute interview.
The burden is on us, the members of the Luke Ford Advisory Council. How can we immediately maximize Luke's celebrity, finances and appeal to the opposite sex?
Remember, we all live (for better or worse) vicariously through Luke, lets push him over the top.
The fuse is lit. On May 28, 2006 Luke turns forty.
In many ways, Luke has a "Peter Pan" existence, fluttering above the outskirts of the Never-Never land.... All things considered, I don't think his toil as been fruitless. You want to see fruitless? Stop by some time and I'll teach you how to write patent applications.
Luke is loosing his school-boy looks. His self publishing career is a shambles (never met a successful vanity author yet). However, the worst that can happen to him is he will evolve into the Walt Whitman of gossip, singing songs of despair, at karaoke. "Regrets, I've had a few, but then again..."
Chaim Amalek writes: "We all know none of us can make it happen for anybody, or we wouldn't be here."
The Wit And Wisdom Of Rabbi Saul Berman
It is not often that the painful subject of sexual abuse provides amusement but Saul Berman is a full-service rabbi who goes above and beyond the call of his prosaic responsibilities. My favorite part of his lengthy letters is where he suggests that victims and their rapists be brought together for mediation. Please Email Luke your healing scenarios for how this might play out.
I phoned rabbis Berman and Telushkin about this stuff nine months ago. They did not respond.
Steven I. Weiss Weighs In On R. Blau Resignation
I inserted the links into Steven's writing:
Rabbi Yosef Blau of Yeshiva University is indisputedly the leading Orthodox rabbi seeking to combat rabbinic abuse. There's been a significant effort to trash him that has grown significantly in recent weeks, owing to the fallout of the situation regarding Rabbi Mordechai Tendler.
1) Why are we only hearing about the site from people who aren't involved in the anti-Blau effort, such as Luke Ford? Usually, you'd hear about such a project from the partisans behind it or supporting it.