Menachem Stark and God's Missing Cliff Notes

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Amid the torrent of ink spilled over the murder of Menachem Stark — some of it callous, some of it defensive, much of it self-righteous — one of the smartest pieces appeared Monday on the website of the Jewish Press, the Orthodox Brooklyn weekly.

Written by the paper’s online editor and columnist, the irreplaceable Yori Yanover, it managed to strike a very difficult balance between sensitivity toward the family’s grief and acknowledgment of the serious allegations against Stark, together with some serious and learned thoughts on sin and repentance.

Unfortunately, you can’t read it there. It was taken down for some reason, just hours after it went up. If you click on the link you get an error message. I’m guessing that probably speaks volumes about the mood in the Orthodox community right now.

Fortunately, I saved some of the text before it went down, thinking I would use some of it for a blog post and refer readers to the original. I didn’t save Yori’s detailed summary of Stark’s reputed misdeeds, but you can get it in the original Post article that Yori drew from, to hear what investigators knew and thought about the deceased.

Among many other things, the episode, and the news coverage, offers a reminder of the sharp difference between the bottom-feeding, destructive instincts of the Post’s editors (and of the larger Rupert Murdoch-News Corp.-Fox culture within which they dwell) and the serious, professional work of the reporters and journalists who fill the inside of that paper.

It should also be a wakeup call to those conservatives who like to get their news from Murdoch properties, print and broadcast alike, because they don’t like what the “liberal” media tell them about Israel. Before all else, the News Corp. culture is one of salacious, divisive, demagogic and race-baiting sensationalism. You know how it goes—they smeared blacks, but I didn’t protest because I’m not black. They smeared Muslims, but I didn’t … etc. Then they come around to you. It’s hurtful.

Anyhow, here’s what I salvaged of Yori’s article:

Yori described Stark’s generosity and the love of his family and community. He noted that the various accusations against him had never been brought to court, and continued:

If you don’t follow Yori Yanover regularly, you’re missing something. He’s sometimes infuriating, and I probably disagree with him more often than I agree with him, but I always learn something from him and besides there’s the pure pleasure of his writing.

Written by

J.J. Goldberg

J.J. Goldberg

Jonathan Jeremy “J.J.” Goldberg is editor-at-large of the Forward, where he served as editor in chief for seven years (2000-2007).

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Menachem Stark and God's Missing Cliff Notes

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