The muckraking Jewish blog FailedMessiah is losing its publisher and sole writer, according to a statement posted February 2.
Shmarya Rosenberg, a disillusioned former member of the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic sect, has run the site from his home in Minnesota since 2004. The site combined news aggregation with some original reporting, and a was a central clearinghouse for news on ultra-Orthodox wrongdoing, and especially on Orthodox sexual abuse.
In his lengthy farewell post, Rosenberg said that he was leaving the site to “work on anti-poverty issues.” He wrote that the site would continue to be run by an entity called “Diversified Holdings.” It’s not clear who or what that is. Rosenberg did not immediately respond to an email from the Forward requesting comment.
Despite its rudimentary design, strident tone, and the prickly persona of its publisher, FailedMessiah attracted a large following both inside and outside of the ultra-Orthodox community.
Rosenberg often lashed out at other media outlets and writers in his posts. Yet stories the site championed, like the scandals at the Agriprocessors meat plant in Postville, Iowa, often found their way into the mainstream press. Rosenberg was profiled in the New York Times in 2010.
In the comments section beneath Rosenbeg’s farewell post, regular commenters lamented his departure.
“Nooooooooo!” one commenter wrote.
Josh Nathan-Kazis is a staff writer for the Forward. He covers charities and politics, and writes investigations and longform.