Hoo boy. Yesterday a New Jersey Jewish newspaper published an apology to its readers. For what? For the “pain and consternation” caused by the “divisive” act of running its first (and apparently last) engagement announcement for a Jewish male couple.
So many rabbis and academics and pundits fretting about intermarriage, yet here we have two Jews getting married, wanting to celebrate their simcha with their community, and the community’s own newspaper slaps them in the face at what should be a joyful time. (And the editor’s craven act, kowtowing to an unnamed group of Orthodox rabbis who objected to the engagement announcement, flies in the face of the newspaper’s mission statement: “The Jewish Standard is not affiliated with any program, organization, movement or point of view, but is dedicated to giving expression to all phases of Jewish life.”)
The paper has been published since 1931. Apparently its social attitudes still live there.
I blogged about it for Tablet.
On its Facebook page, the paper says it is reconsidering its reconsidering of the decision not to run engagement/wedding notices from The Gay.
And two comments at Tablet I find intriiiiiiiiguing:
An insider has provided us with the facts.
The editor was forced to write an editorial that she totally disagrees with or risk losing her job.
She is absolutely heart broken over the entire situation.
Members of the local orthodox Jewish community are acting like the Taliban and have threatened the staff with closing down the paper and relieving them of their jobs if they don’t tow the line and print what they are instructed to print regarding this issue.
The clout of the local orthodox rabbis and some of the more vocal and obnoxious members of their flocks is such that the paper, the oldest Jewish newspaper in NJ, feels threatened.
However, our informant writes that if they can be pursuaded that they will be supported in their fight, their intention is to retract the bigoted policy and fight the hatemongers.
and from a different commenter:
It is my understanding that the Jewish Standard was basically being blackmailed. The RCBC, the Orthodox Rabbinate threatened to take away the hechsher, the certificate of kashrut, from any restaurant that continued to advertise in the Jewish Standard if they did not announce that they would never publish another gay wedding announcement. This would effectively put the Standard out of business, as it is advertising and not subscriptions that keeps their doors open, and it would have put the Kosher restaurants, caterers, and other Kosher food providers in the position of having to find another hechsher, which in Bergen county would be hard to do. It would alienate the Orthodox community from all of the liberal Jews who keep Kosher and it could cause financial havoc in the Jewish community. RCBC should be ashamed.