Sunday, November 11, 2007

"Backward" Fifty

A number of years ago,while serving as OU President,I was chosen By the Forward as number two of their annual 50 most prominent -influential Jews in the U.S.Of course I was honored,not only to be chosen,but to be included in such a group of prominent Jews.
At that time,I had given up my surgical practice, and was working full time for the klal,in what heretofore had been a part time voluntary leadership position.
Some of the group were controversial,but even if you did not approve of their politics or religious outlook,they were deserving of prominence.
To my knowledge, no Jewish swindlers,sex deviants or murderers were included,even if they had received publicity for their shameful acts.
With the change in the ownership and editorial leadership of the Forward,the list has become more avant garde'.Some years I question who are these people? and why are some prominent former list members absent? Where is YU President Richard Joel who is opening new vistas in Orthodox life?Why is Malcolm Hoenlein not at least paired with June Walker? The people chosen now,are not part of community life as in the past.
The same questions come to me this year.However,the Forward has hit a new low,by including Shalom Auslander on the list.I have previously had 2 blogs on him.He is a man who is ashamed of his heritage,and who seeks to embarrass his family and traditional Judaism.
He is a "Lehachis" meaning spiteful.He acknowledges his status by wearing a pendulum with the word"Acher" a well known apostate(whose real name was Elisha Ben Abuya) who was in a way
excommunicated from the community.
Infamy,and chutzpah do not make one a great Jew,even if he writes well,has a great PR person,and is loved by the NYT.
The Forward does our community an injustice.But then again it goes along with the outrageous
stories and features that they cover,and give prominence to on a weekly basis.