Out of the Mailbag:
I was shocked and appalled to read the letter to the editor in today’s Hamodia where they actually printed the “s” word in their publication – a derogatory Yiddish term referring to African-Americans that is considered by many non-Jews to be a racist term.
When I read it this morning, I was really disappointed. After all, even the author of the letter said that someone from outside the community used that term. So why wouldn’t Hamodia leave that offensive word out of their newspaper? This is the same Hamodia that won’t even print an email address or a website address, but it’s okay to print a racial slur?!
Specifically, I was worried that this would snowball into a Chilul Hashem (desecration of God’s name). Well sadly it has. Please see the post on the venerable NY Daily News – “Daily Politics” blog [posted below].
Shame on Hamodia.
I sincerely hope that they run an apology to the community for the resulting Chilul Hashem or at the very least publicly explain which one of their many rabbonim signed-off on the publication of this shameful term.
Finally, I know that this letter will generate controversy. However, I still respectfully request that you print it online because I know that Hamodia would never print it.
Fanning The Flames
By Elizabeth Benjamin
[NOTE: Although the NY Daily News printed them, YWN has edited any derogetory slurs below]
A reader forwarded this letter-to-the-editor from the Orthodox Jewish newspaper Hamodia that adds fuel to an already racially-charged fire by alleging an ethnic slur was used outside the Bloomberg-Giuliani event in Boro Park yesterday.
According to author of the letter, who identifies himself only as “Elimelech Freiman” and doesn’t say if he’s in any way connected to a campaign, “pro-Bloomberg activists” were seeking to “disparage candidate (Bill) Thompson by citing his race.”
“One person grabbed by suit collar, and asked me, ‘are you going to vote for a “s”?'” Freiman writes.
“I think such talk is morally indefensible. This person was by his looks and demeanor obviously not a member of our community. But his free use of this kind of language was certainly based on an assumption that such talk is acceptable and effective when talking to a Chassidic person like me.”
“It is scary to think that a person would assume that such hate talk wouldn’t offend a Chassidic-looking person. When I heard it, that assumption worried me more than the actual offensive language.”
For those who don’t speak Yiddish, “s” is a derogatory term for a black person. (There’s debate about this word, of course, because by itself it simply means “black” and is not a slur; it apparently all depends on how you employ it).
Aside from this disturbing allegation, which, it should be noted, is being made by someone who is obviously pro-Thompson and is not being pegged on anyone directly connected with the Bloomberg campaign, this writer also notes something that perhaps should cause even more concern in the mayor’s camp.
He alleges that there is a consideration amount of “frustration” in the Orthodox community with the Bloomberg administration. That’s worrisome for the mayor, who needs this voting bloc, and also explains yesterday’s big Giuliani-fest. (The former mayor has apparently retained his popularity with Orthodox voters).
Among the issues of concern to the Orthodox community cited by my reader are: The priority 7 vouchers, the Kent Avenue bike lane and, that old standby, parking tickets.