The only news organization doing any real reporting on this matter has been Washington Jewish Week, and a little bit Religion News Services, LLC. The Forward and JTA just copy and paste blurbs from the AP. The one thing the Forward has done is publish numerous “opinion” pieces on the subject, most of them sympathetic to the Freundel camp that have tried to minimize what he did and Kesher’s responsibility for it. This reached it’s apex right after Fatso’s guilty plea when the Forward published an op-ed by Jay Michaelson. Based on information posted on his self-promotional web site, Mr. Michaelson has a law degree and Phd in “Jewish Thinking” (whatever the fuck that is) from Hebrew University. He also has a non-denominational rabbinic ordination, is an advocate for LGBT rights and claims to be a “Jewish Buddhist”. One thing he definitely is not is Orthodox. So, he wrote an op-ed piece at the Forward entitled “How Could We Have Trusted Rabbi Barry Freundel?” He then proceeds to answer his own question when shortly into his screed he states:
“When I lived in Washington, I attended Kesher Israel regularly. It was a thrill to sit behind Senator Joseph Lieberman, Leon Wieseltier and other luminaries of the American Jewish scene.“
He confirms his position as a Freundel apologist when he discusses the investigation of Freundel that had been conducted prior to his arrest, stating “…the RCA provided a (hopefully exhaustive) account of complaints it had received about Freundel. If that account is complete, it doesn’t amount to much.” Extorting money, extorting labor and sharing a room with a woman he’s not married to doesn’t amount to much!!??!!??
Mr. Michaelson also thinks we should be very concerned with Fatso’s feelings about his appearance saying,
“It’s easy to look at a bad photo of him today (especially one that makes light of his partial facial paralysis
—a cheap shot that editors should be ashamed of)”
This is really an unfair accusation to make against newspaper editors because, really, is there any good photo of him? They are doing the best they can with what they have to work with.
Here’s a little piece of advice to Mr. Michaelson on how to avoid this kind of incident in the future:
The next time you decide to attend a synagogue, look for one whose beliefs and practices you actually SHARE. Then visit it and see if you actually LIKE the people there. Don’t join a religious institution for the social status you think it will give you or because you think it’s just so cool to sit behind the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Douche-Bags in shul. And, if you’re not Orthodox don’t go to an Orthodox synagogue. Then you don’t have to waste your and other people’s time by writing sanctimonious, pseudo-soul searching drivel for a Jewish tabloid.
There were many comments left on this op-ed which can still be seen on the Forward web site. The comments are rated by readers with “thumbs-up and down” and appear in the cue by order of “thumb” rating, meaning the most thumbs up is at the top. My comment was at the top for several days, with a total of 18 thumbs-up (oooo….I am so cool, I got 18 thumbs up!). Then Bethany Mandel wrote a response to Mr. Michaelson’s piece a few days later and my comment got knocked down a few thumbs. (boo-hoo).
Bethany, Bethany….the woman so enamored of the sound of her own voice deserves her own entry and that will be the subject of my next post….
Victims of Freundel are encouraged to join the class action lawsuit freundelclassaction
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