Sunday, January 18, 2009

Bad Jewish Charity Allegations "Unfit to Print"?

The New York Times article "But Is Madoff Not So Good for the Jews? Discuss Among Yourselves" (January 16, 2009) starts promisingly, with a kind of joke:
Among some Orthodox Jews, one response to a member of the faith who egregiously violates their religion’s fundamental values and beliefs is to rend clothes and treat the transgressor as if he were dead — sitting shiva, or mourning, for him.

For the more secular there is a different response: convene a panel discussion.
But about halfway through the story about such a panel discussion at the 92nd Street Y, the reporting takes a turn for the worse:
The one good that may come out of this, Mr. [Michael] Steinhardt continued, is that it might prompt Jews to re-evaluate their charitable giving in these leaner times. Naming names, he called a handful of Jewish agencies "lousy, miserable, corrupt organizations”; he said contributors were "just plain stupid," for giving them money. "They spend $150 million for about 18 anti-Semitic incidents per year," he said.
Even though the Times reporter (along with a full house at the 92nd Street Y) heard the names of a handful of "corrupt" charities, the paper didn't report any of them.

Bad form, to say the least.

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