Wednesday, June 23, 2004

When Jews Attack

I recently criticized a prominent Conservative Rabbi for publically attacking the publicity & controversy surrounding the the Indian Shaytelach. At the time, I promised a more worked theory on the issue. So here goes:
As a private citizen you can privately attack whomever you want. Now this will not make you a better person, influence people for the good, or necessarily change things, but go ahead and attack if you want.
As a public figure (or a private figure in a public forum), you should only criticize those in your circle of interactions & community. Meaning that Conservative Jews can criticize the Conservative movement, the Federation world, & National, State or local politics. Orthodox Jews can criticize trends in Orthodox Judaism, and areas which directly affect other Orthodox Jews in their community. Meaning that questioning the belief system of Chabad is valid if it deals directly with Chabad meat, teachers, & resources. Attacking Chareidim in Bnei Brak from Teaneck or vice versa is not valid.
If you are asked a direct question about your opinion on a given matter, individual, or community, then you can be honest, though hopefully in a respectful manner.
Of course there will be grey area and open questions. But at least there should be some general guidelines.

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