Eli Valley’s provocative comic about the controversy caused by Bnai Jeshurun’s rabbis continues to garner controversy of its own. I’ve been reading comments and posts like this one that are sympathetic to Eli’s scathing look at the rabbis and their stand on Palestinian statehood, and try to grapple with the larger issue of when and how rabbis should speak their minds.
But there are other readers who continue to be dismayed by Eli’s message. Here is another one of those letters.
The point of the Eli Valley cartoon is that Rabbi Rolando Matalon, the main target, planned a groveling apology as he drafted his original statement. In other words, the point of the cartoon is that Roly is a hypocrite and a liar. There is no other reading of the text of the cartoon. The Forward would never run an op-ed saying, “Rabbi Matalon is a liar and a hypocrite” because the Forward knows that is not true. So why publish an editorial cartoon saying the same thing? Even if blog standards are lower than print, they cannot be that low. This cartoon should not have been run. Kathleen Peratis
And a second:
I was shocked and dismayed to see the Forward pile on to denigrate the BJ rabbis in this awful cartoon. With friends like you, progressive Jews, trying to love both Israel and express their Jewish social justice values. certainly need no enemies which as you know are not in short supply. With sadness and disappointment. Deborah Sagner
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Jane Eisner, a pioneer in journalism, is writer-at-large at the Forward and the 2019 Koeppel Fellow in Journalism at Wesleyan University. For more than a decade, she was editor-in-chief of the Forward, the first woman to hold the position at the influential Jewish national news organization. Under her leadership, the Forward’s digital readership grew significantly, and won numerous regional and national awards for its original journalism, in print and online.