YWN MAILBAG: Why Is Hamodia Promoting Intermarriage?

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Sounds crazy, right? Hamodia, the newspaper of “Torah Jewry,” promoting intermarriage, how can that be?!?!? As much as it pains me to write this letter, I feel that I have an obligation to do so. You see, I am a Rebbe in yeshiva. I spend my life trying to instill in my talmidim yiras shomayim. I don’t make a lot of money and as you can see from this letter; my English is okay, but not great. However, every week I scrape a couple of dollars together to buy a weekly edition of Hamodia. Why? Because Hamodia promises me that it is a quality newspaper that only brings a Torah hashkofah into my home. Well, I won’t be fooled by that false promise again.

Let me explain. This week, as I was reading my copy of Hamodia and as my older son was enjoying the magazine, I came across a photo announcing “Yeshivos Thank Assemblyman,” where three prominent rabbonim were photographed supporting Steven Cymbrowitz – a renowned yid Assemblyman who is now intermarried to a Hispanic Catholic woman. If that wasn’t bad enough, a few pages later Hamodia’s star interviewer – Yosef Rappaport –  spent a full page interviewing Anthony Weiner, another renowned yid Congressman who is now intermarried to a Muslim Arab woman.

So let me get this straight: chas v’shalom Hamodia should ever show a picture of a woman, even a little girl, but they will promote politicians who have intermarried? Hey, you’ll tell me, they have NO CHOICE. After all, these are the politicians we are stuck with. Normally you may be right. However, this is the final newspaper before Election Day and both of these politicians are being challenged by better candidates. Cymbrowitz has a frum yungerman running against him – Yosef Hayon and Weiner has a conservative Republican running against him – Bob Turner. So why not profile them instead?

Even worse, standing in the Hamodia picture with Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz were three prominent members from our community.

Why on earth would three prominent rabbonim stand with a man who has intermarried in the heart of our frum community? What kind of message does it send to their talmidim that when a yid becomes a successful elected official the first thing the yid does is go and marry a shiksa?

If that wasn’t outrageous enough, Hamodia played into the propaganda by allowing Congressman Anthony Weiner, who is still in his shona rishona with his Muslim Arab wife, to be photographed with a yarmulke on at the Hamodia offices. In my yeshiva we have an apt description for this: “Kusher Chazer Feesel.” And please spare me about him NOT being Jewish. One of the parents in my yeshiva has known Weiner since he was a kid. I’m told definitively that both of his parents are 100% Jewish (apparently they have mezuzah’s all over their home, made a bar-mitvzah for all of their kids and even sat shiva, nebach, for one of their sons who died at an early age).

Enough is enough. Hamodia owes all of us an apology. Until they publicly apologize, I won’t buy another Hamodia and encourage you to do the same. From now on it’s only Yated Ne’eman in my home.

Sincerely,

A.S.

Rabbi A.S. is a Rebbe in a prominent yeshiva in Brooklyn and has asked YWN to refer to him only by his initials. The views expressed in this letter are solely of A.S. and are not necessarily those of Yeshiva World News.

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57 COMMENTS

  1. I personally don’t read the hamodia that well. But if that is teh case, then AS you are 1000% right!!
    Shame on you Hamodia!
    Are there Rabbonim who filter through what material (incl. pictures) what goes into the newspaper????

  2. I am sorry. Showing pictures of intermarried office holders or even endorsing them does NOT promote intermarriage.
    Rabbi A.S. If these candidates were conservatives, would you also be so concerned? It doesn’t seem so from your letter.
    I am not supporting these candidates, but let’s call a spade a spade.

  3. With all due respect, Rebbe, I interpret these as political endorsements at most, nothing more than “We suggest you vote for ________” which says nothing about approving of his lifestyle or behavior. Let’s not get carried away.
    ;

  4. Thank you Rabbi A.S. for linking the hypocricy of Hamodia showing and thereby endorsing intermarried meshumads with chas v’sholom not showing pictures of heilige frum women in their newspapers. I guess women are inherently sinful while beheimeshe men can get away with everything.

  5. I think the author misses the point here:

    The main issue I, and many other frum people, have with the yeshivishe endorsements is that there is a lot of corruption. Especially in the ‘heimishe’ community, they simply endorse whoever promises to do more for the ‘frum’ causes which include: getting ‘heimishe’ people out of prison, turning a blind eye to illegally built shuls, shteiblach and yeshivas and giving tax emeptions and low income housing to frum families that don’t work. I know the folliwing FIRST HAND, there are tons of kick backs involved in these elections as ‘frum’ people get politicians a slice of the action if they allow various shady real estate deals. The rabbonim are in on this too as they get buildings and ‘tzedakah’ out of all of this. The list goes on.

    The fact that these corrupt politicians chose to intermarry is very tragic but is their personal business and when Hamodia endorses their campaign it doesn’t mean they endorse their personal religious choices. I have no problem endorsing someone who isn’t religious but who’s policies will be good for the Jews and would be a kiddush Hashem overall. I do however, have a problem if the politician conducts him/herself in a corrupt way so that his/her business and public life is totally tainted…yet we seem to have no problem with that???

    Also, you are right for being upset that they do not allow any pictures of woman – as a frum paper they no question should only have pictures that fit within our modest boundaries, but not allowing any pictures at all is already in Taliban territory.

  6. YWN, how can you print this garbage? A.S. brings proof from another web submission?
    Paladino will read what’s handed to him and YWN will print what’s submitted to it.
    From Wikipedia – “The family lived for a time in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn. Weiner’s father is Jewish, and his mother is of Italian descent.”
    Where is the proof that Cymbrowitz’s wife, Vilma Huertas is catholic and not Jewish? Where is the heter to spread lies about someone who is not frum?

  7. Anyone ever read the “Rav Moshe” book? and anyone ever see the *gasp* photos of the posek hador with his *GASP* rebitzen and *GASP* grandaughters at simchas?

    What a sick world, full of fake.

  8. Who cares what non-frum Jews do (and increasingly, many of them aren’t even Jewish by halacha). Indeed, having a Jewish surname only proves that his male-side ancestors were Jews. Frankly, once a person has long since abandonned Shabbos and Kashruth (and most of the other mitsvos), and is in no way influenced by halacha in choosing who they “marry”. Rightly or wrongly, all we care about is their attitude towards our community (do they help subsidized our poor, do they slip money to our yeshivos, do they provide jobs, etc.).

    We tend to judge politicians based on what they do for us, and that’s it. If the goysha politicians is “good for the Jews” (meaning “good for our community) we don’t ask about his personal life, or even if his overall policies are good for the country (so since the liberal Democrats give us lots of gelt, we don’t worry that they’re trashing the country).

  9. i made a thread about that in the CR. i found it appalling that time after time after time we endorse politicians simply because they promise us section 8, welfare, and food stamps. is it worth sacrificing the morals of the country for some money? everything we see and experience influences us. including the actions of our non jewish neighbours. when they do wrong, we see wrong, and when we see wrong we become jaded toward immoral behaviour.

  10. Many “Jewish” last names are really just eastern European or German last names that many Jews adopted over the last 200 years. In many cases non Jews have the same last names.

    Not being a New Yorker I have no comment on these specific candidates.

  11. With all respect to YWN, but the heading of this article is wrong and touches Hotso’as Shem Ra.
    The Hamodia is not promoting intermarriage! Whether they are right or wrong in wooing a politician who is (if he is) intermarried, but as long as they don’t openly support this marriage, and actually not even mention it, they are not supporting it.

    I think you should change the heading to: “is it right for the Hamodia to praise intermarried politicians” or something like it

  12. “I won’t buy another Hamodia and encourage you to do the same. From now on it’s only Yated Ne’eman in my home.”

    Not man enough to sign his name, yet he promotes another paper. Something very fishy!

    Who you fooling? (none other then yourself)

  13. The title of this article is very misleading. According to this article you are saying that if a newspaper endorses a candidate who is michallel shabbos then that paper promotes chilul shabbos. Every candidate Jewish or not is going to have something going on in their personal lives unless they are frum that is kineged torah. when a paper endorses a candidate they are looking at who would do the best job, not at their personal lives. Most children probably didn’t even know that these candidates were intermarried in the first place until you came along and mentioned it.

  14. Endorsing a candidate has nothing to do with approving of his lifestyle. I agree with #14 that the YWN headline is hotzo’as shem ra. If you consult with any halachic authority on questions of lashon hara/rechilus/hotzo’as shem ra, you should definitely run this past him. If in Israel there were separate elections for Prime Minister as there had been in the past, and Rav Elyashiv shlita would advise to vote for Netanyahu rather than Livni, would that constitute Rav Elyashiv’s approval of Netanyahu’s lifestyle if all chareidi newspapers would feature UTJ MKs in a photograph with Bibi Netanyahu? Hardly! These are two separate issues.

  15. I don’t get it . . . if the paper supported Bush does that mean it supported evangelical Christians? Does supporting Blumberg mean supporting non-frum “movements?”

    Get a grip – supporting an intermarried political candidate does not equate with support for intermarriage.

    Get a grip.

  16. From now on, it’s only HaModia in my home instead of Yated, which specializes in loshon hora and inflammatory innuendo (in the name of Torah!), as evidenced by this nasty and dishonest article.

  17. As many commentators have already written above these endorsements are not endorsements of any politicians personal lifestyle. As far as those who write disparaging comments that “its all about money” just understand that these are not personal donations from these irreligious jews in exchange for an honor at a yeshiva dinner rather its our tax money that will be spent either way if not on our yeshivos then it will go elsewhere. That is “kashering chazer feesle” that’s doing business with the government. Of course we’d all rather conservative policies that are in sync with our torah lifestyle but in NYC/NYS such politicians are not winning so we have to deal with the world we live in.
    To A.S., a self described “rebbe trying to instill yiras shomayim in his talmidim”, you border on chutzpa to offer your de’ah when the people you criticize are mevatel their de’os to gedolay hador in all instances especially before such a public endorsement. Rather than criticize, try to find the facts first & then if you disagree with the gedolim you can tell your talmidim that although you don’t understand the godols shita you’re mevatel da’as to it. THATS TEACHING YIRAS SHOMAYIM.

  18. I disagree with you guys sticking up for hamodia.

    the point is that a newspaper who is sooooooooooooooo frum that they can’t post a photos of a woman dressed tzniusdik, then they should not be cuddling up to the dreg of the jewish nation.

    and those who question if the assemblyman did in fact marry a cathloic, do your own investigation as i have.

  19. Why isn’t anyone allowed to question the editorial decisions of a PUBLIC NEWSPAPER!!!????

    For crying outloud, are these people the holy of the holiest?

    please.

  20. The Hamodia didn’t even report the toeiva parade in yerushalayim, when the anamilistic cops stormed mir yerushalayim and beat bochrim mercilessly, and sprayed tear gas in a bais medrash – something not seen since the time of the Nazis ym”s.

    yes. i agree. we can ask questions.

  21. To #8 cherrybim,

    Please don’t misquote Wikipedia, there is no mention in that article about an Italian mother at all.
    In fact, if you Google “Anthony Weiner Jewish”, you will find plenty of proof that his mother is quite Jewish.

  22. #20- “when the people you criticize are mevatel their de’os to gedolay hador in all instances especially before such a public endorsement.”

    Keep drinking the cool-aid…..

    Crawl out of the cave that you are in.

    You think for a second that they consulted with a gadol before running these stories? And most importantly, WAS THE GADOL (not that any existed here) INFORMED OF ALL FACTS?

  23. Anthony Weiner although he wears a yarmulke at Jewish institutes is definetly not Jewish. He married a goy just like his father! He thinks he is Jewish so I don’t know which is worse. Agudah should come out strongly against Cymbrowitz since his picture is all over his campaign literature with their leadership, who represents the Agudah! His opponent does not have the money to campaign as well as Cymbrowitz. too bad. We should give some free publicity on sites like this!

  24. What I’m about to write should, in no way, be interpreted as an endorsement of inter-marriage. As an observant Jew, it’s obviously not something I support.

    Perhaps the fact that so many well-accomplished non-Frum yidden (of BOTH genders) inter-marry, should be a cause for introspection within the Jewish world.

    As a BT, I’ve dated on “both sides” — the Frum way and the secular way. Sadly, many of the non-Jewish women my friends and I met, before I became Frum, seemed to focus more on “internals”: Personality, character, sense-of-humor, etc. Many — certainly not ALL — of the Jewish women seemed to focus more on “externals”: Salary, height, appearance, etc..

    Since I’m Frum, I will marry a “yiddishe maidel”, as a matter of course. But can we be totally shocked when someone who’s NOT frum — and doesn’t have that “requirement”, so far as they’re concerned — decides to inter-marry? Again, this is simply a thought — not an endorsement of inter-marriage (G-d forbid).

  25. “Rabbi” A.S.
    Stick to teaching, leave the politics to those who have an education and understand the pros and cons of endorsing candidates.
    you obviously, do not understand.

  26. We can’t choose our legislators by how they lead their personal lives. It has little bearing on how they will act as legislators. The community leaders should endorse whomever they will think will act, as a politician, in the community’s best interests. This fact is clear and obvious, to the point that everyone who reads the Hamodia understands that the politician is being endorsed as a politician, not his individual choices.

    The only exceptions would be if the politician promotes immorality in his politics or if he is hiding his sins and can be blackmailed because of that. Neither seem to be true in this case.

    The pictures show the politicians not the sins they committed. If your child interpreted this as an endorsement of intermarriage I’d be shocked. If anyone at Hamodia would tell you they support intermarriage I’d be shocked. No harm no foul.

  27. menachemrabin – Learn to read. Not only did I not misquote Wikipedia, I copied and pasted directly from Wikipedia.
    And I guess you can consider Weiner Jewish too, that is if you follow the REFORM shita of patrilineal decent. I prefer the HALACHIC definition of a Jew.

  28. To Vishinantom Livanecha:
    I drink bourbon (with a hechsher) not cool-aid. Anyway the people I was referring to are the ones who endorsed (photo-op’d) the candidate not the Hamodia who reported it. And YES I do know for a fact that they consulted gedolim before the endorsement (photo-op.) Sorry if you don’t like the truth.

    BTW Try adding some vodka to the cool-aid that YOU’RE drinking and take a chill.

  29. I AM A CHASIDEDHE YINGERMAN AND I ONLY READ THE YATED. Yated fights for the right causes like Sholom RUBASHKIN while Hamodia hasn’t done a thing besides for writing stupid editorials why we don’t give the same treatment to Pollard. i mean i don’t nead to explain you but they are a discrace!

  30. How could Hamodia AND Yated endorse chillul Shabbos so openly? How many pictures do they print each week with various Jewish men who are mechallelei shabbos b’farhesia?

    No wonder kids are going OTD in droves- our frum media is encouraging them! Why didn’t we chap this sooner? Thank you Rabbi A. S.

  31. This Rabbi is promoting a political (conservative) and/or financial (Yated) agenda which has nothing to do with intermarriage. Does he think the Yated doesn’t picture intermarried candidates.
    What we should be more concerned about is endorsing candidates who promote immorality as public policy.

  32. THE HAMODIA DENOUNCED ALL THE EFFORTS DONE FOR RUBASHKIN ALL IN THE NAME OF JONATON POLLARD. IS THAT CALLED DASS TORAH? btw yated hasn’t written any Loshon Harah in years!!!

  33. I was looking for one sentence in this letter: “It pains me to feel compelled to send this here but Hamodia refuses to publish this letter.”

    R’ A. S., did you even try?

    And then people will have tainos against Hamodia for not addressing this….

    And what about MN, where you had Franken vs. Coleman – both men with solid long term marriages…and presumably, in their defense, both tinokos shenishbu…

  34. Fiftyseven (comment 38), Hamodia regularly carries decent sized ads asking people to send donations to…the editor of their major competitor.

  35. Ok. Now I have to take my son out of “a prominent yeshiva”. If these are the Rebbeim they’re employing I’d rather my son become an Am ha’aretz. What a chutzpah… If you don’t want to bring the paper home that’s your decision, but don’t tell us all about it. Mr. A.S. you have some serious teshuva to do now.

  36. To “getze/l” ur sons rebbe has to blog bec he knows that’s one place he can get a message accross to his students parents bec they r busy reading and blogging that they have no time to speak to their kids and to their kids rabbeim also I would say people in america should try and research the YATED with all their stupidity of pumping all the bala batim who have money money money is this the newspaper r elya wanted or is it what bala batim find “important” why do people just fall for accepting everything

  37. to smart2
    no, actually BMG & THE VAAD brought themselves down to destruction-through corruption-by telling everyone to vote for bob singer although he is involved in intermarriage. UPDATE: now they have no say in convincing the town & BMG to vote for who they say everyone should vote for BOTTOM LINE: when you vote for corruption-& only think about yourselves & not the public of everyone- YOU BRING YOURSELF TO DESTRUCTION

  38. I’m offended by Hamodia running bios of politicians who support redefinition of marriage, giving them equal space with those who don’t. How can they even mention the name of such a candidate–and state his/her position on this disgusting issue–in their newspaper that purports to serve the observant Jewish home?

  39. Maybe if the editors of the hamodia were also asked to “darshan” in all the public places they would of also promoted the rubashkin cause

  40. I hate to be a spoil sport, but Anthony Weiner, is not Jewish. His father was Jewish, but his mother was not. Are we boycotting people who’s parents intermarried?

    In regards to Steven Cymbrowitz’s marriage to Vilma Huertas, It was a reform marriage. Although we don’t hold by reform conversions, this unfortunate sold does. Did the rebbe known as “A.S.” ever try to get Steven Cymbrowitz to put on teffilin, did he ever reach out to Steven Cymbrowitz after his wife’s death to console him, to arrange for someone to say kaddish?

    Then how dare he admonish him now publicly, when he is just as guilty. Kol Yisrael Areivim Zeh loh Zeh!

    I actually do agree with the mysterious “A.S.” on one thing. I agree that Mosdos Hatorah, and the Frum community in General have sold themselves out.

  41. Dear A.S.

    I would like to thank you for your support right at the most crucial moment in time. Please understand that I write this partial rebuttal in good faith.

    While I am also a little disappointed at Shmuel Lefkowitz from Agudath Israel and other organizations, my disappointment has nothing to do with intermarriage.

    Intermarriage is not a license to hurt anyone, even verbally. We should reach out to them and help them. We do not fully understand their Yezter Harah. Of course, we cannot allow them to be Hazzan, or give them any religious honor. We do have a requirement to honor them as elected officials. Even Moshe Rabbenu had to honor Par’oh.

    Unfortunately, many leaders don’t seem to realize the difference between honoring an elected official and supporting a candidate, who happens to be an elected official.

    In addition, truth be told that to save a life we must do almost anything, and this would include supporting an intermarried individual for public office.

    However, we all know the “big three” sins that we must give up our lives, and kal vachomer any amount of money donated to Yeshivas, paid advertisements and other non-profit organizations. One of those big three sins is two males “marrying”.

    Those individuals supporting Weiner and Cymbrowitz are indirectly supporting gay marriage, and in Cymbrowitz’s case, he wants to force Yeshivas to teach the concept of two mommies and two daddies to 5-year-old children!!!

    This is an issue that will directly affect us. This is why Rabbi Yisroel Belsky, who never endorsed a candidate before, has endorsed my campaign against Cymbrowitz.

    With regards to Hamodia, I was told that they featured an article about my campaign in their daily paper yesterday.

    The title of this letter would be more along the lines of “Why is ______________ (fill in the blank with all supporters of Weiner and Cymbrowitz) promoting same-gender marriage?”

    Again, I thank you, Yeshiva World News, and everyone else here for your support, and for those of you that are eligible to vote for me, please vote Joseph Hayon today.

    Sincerely,
    Joseph Hayon