Sinner Number One

The cover of the premier issue of Ami Magazine

Today is a special day –  a friend alerted me this afternoon to the fact that I was mentioned in a magazine article. Slammed, would be more like it. But hey – any publicity is better than no publicity, right? Well, maybe.

I would post the link to the article, “The Seven Sins of the Charediphobic Media” (apparently “Charediphobic is a word), in Ami Magazine (a Haredi publication out of Brooklyn), but there is none. But I can quote the relevant parts from the pdf of the article my friend sent me.

It seems I am the best example they could find for sin #1 (I’m honored to have been #1): “Different – and unequal – strokes” (as in, I paint all ultra-Orthodox/Haredi Jews with one brushstroke, lumping them all together in one big undifferentiated group). The writer of the article, Rabbi Aryeh HaKohain Katz, took particular umbrage at a story I wrote for the Forward about a ban in Williamsburg on women’s talking on cell phones in public. It’s not too shocking that they went after me and the Forward, rather than the male writer of the Failed Messiah blog, which I cited as my source for the story.

Here’s what Ami had to say about me:

“The sign was put up by member of one particular group of people. Williamsburg is quite a large neighborhood, with numerous voices. Yet, according to Ghert Zand [sic], the implication is that all Charedi groups/and or their leaders joined together in unison and voted unanimously to post this sign…And there we have it, sin number one in all its glory [!]; ‘Will the Charedim try to silence women all together?’ The Charedim. That monolithic, uni-brained colossus where others do the thinking, or rather non-thinking for them. (By the way, I think she meant altogether – but far be it from a Charedi writer to correct the grammar or spelling of a genuine journalist from the Forward).”

I don’t appreciate Katz’s challenging my journalistic credentials – nor his sarcasm – but I do appreciate the grammatical tip. I’ll try not to make that error again in the future.

I don’t think there is really any point in my responding in detail to what Katz said about me or what he read into what I wrote. I know that the Haredim are not monolithic, but that does not excuse any xenophobic, misogynist or other negative, hateful or destructive behavior coming from any Haredi group or individuals (or any Jew or person, for that matter).

And FYI, Rabbi Katz, some of my best friends and closest colleagues wear black suits and black hats, and long skirts and wigs. Really.

© 2011 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.


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3 Responses to “Sinner Number One”

  1. Preeva Tramiel Says:

    Renee, I support you unconditionally. And I’d like to meet your black-garbed friends.

  2. Renee Ghert-Zand Says:

    Thanks, Preeva. One of my closest friends, who wears said clothing, lives in NJ, so I can’t easily introduce her to you. However, some of the colleagues I refer to are from the local area – I’m sure you know some of them.

  3. jon Says:

    Sorry to say, but you are guilty as charged. Western media has regrettably become shallow. Every reporter views the world solely through the prism of Western culture. All one gets is a reporter evaluating society from the point of view of mainstream USA. Seldom does one encounter today a true journalist who can get under the skin of a person with a different set of values.

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