Feb 22, 2009

A Charedi al-Jazeera?

An Anonymous Guest Post

Some troubling news is on the horizon, for all of the normal people in Bet Shemesh/Ramat Bet Shemesh.

At present, there are a number of news weeklies that are distributed for free in Bet Shemesh: Hed Bet Shemesh, Keren Or, Temura, Shopping Mekomi, and Chadash. The first four target the general population of Bet Shemesh, while Chadash aims at the charedi market.

About half a year ago, a number of moderate charedim in Ramat Bet Shemesh were not happy with the coverage in Chadash. Namely, that the paper did not give coverage to Ramat Bet Shemesh A and when it did, it covered the more extremist Rabbis and their communities (without naming names...).

So these people teamed up with a veteran publisher in Bet Shemesh, with the goal of producing a newspaper to compete with Chadash.

Unfortunately, the publisher chose an extreme Yerushalmi kanai, Dovid Shlesinger, to be the editor of the paper. Shlesinger puts forth a moderate image, but, in fact, he belongs to an extremist group and is friends with some very active hooligans. Kind of like a charedi al-jazeera. When I heard that this was the case, I asked one of the people pushing for the new paper, how was he going to keep Shlesinger in check. Shlesinger had previously written columns justifying the violence that has been plaguing Bet Shemesh. This person told me not to worry, that he would be able to keep Shlesinger at bay.

Now, however, it turns out that Shlesinger has hired two new writers. The first, is Bezalel Kahn. If you remember the disgusting smear campaign that was run against "Tov" during the November municipal elections, then you can get a sense about who Kahn is. He was responsible for the nasty propaganda that Degel Hatorah put out, against Elie Friedman and Tov.

The second written is perhaps more disturbing: Shmuel Chaim Pappenheim. Pappenheim is a yerushalmi. Like Shlesinger, he has more contact with the outside world and presents himself as a moderate. In fact, he is a rabid extremist. He was kicked out of the charedi newpaper, "Bakehilla," for writing articles that were too "kanaish" and extreme. In a recent column in a local newspaper, Pappenheim also justified the violence perpetrated on the part of the kanaim.

While this newspaper cannot be stopped -- and freedom of expression allows for all opinions, no matter how absurd, to be voiced -- it is also important to be aware of the extremist background of the editor and his writers. To quote the great Supreme Court Justice, Louis Brandeis, the best disinfectant is sunlight.


  1. personally, I dont mind. I need more bathroom reading material.

  2. I like reading everybody's point of view, so i don't mind that such a paper will exist. I just think you should know where it is coming from and not be deceived to think it represents something it does not.

  3. Yep, Moschiach is coming through the hilonim. I look out my window from my office in downtown Tel Aviv and I see a special school with severly disabled/retarded children. There many "asses" (as Rav Ovadia called them) teachers dedicating their life to helping this souls and getting paid peanuts. Wow, there are people out there who don't even know who Hashem that helping these handicapped children performing one of the largest mitzvahs out there.

    Bye Bye Heredi world!

  4. What's the name of the new Hareidi paper?

  5. I think as warped as it is - I do not think I would freak out as much if my kids read it - as I do when somehow hed bet shemesh gets into the house and my kids see pictures of challas made into the shape of the male anatomy or the jokes about dr's molesting thier female patients....

  6. Rafi, do you know this to be true? Is Dovid Shlesinger a Kanai? My impression from him writing in Temura is that he is quite open minded. I also spoke to someone who knows him and he also thought that Dovid Shlesinger is fairly modern Charedi.

  7. I don't know. it was a guest post. I will ask the guy who wrote it.

  8. BK is an excellent example of what Hillel said in Pirkei Avos:

    על דאטפת, אטפוך.
    וסוף מטיפיך יטופון.

  9. Shimon A - this is the response from the author of the post...

    "The comment that was posted about Shlesinger being a "moderate Charedi" is exactly what drove me to write the post and exactly why I chose the title that I chose. Shlesinger comes from that world and is friends with hooligans. His facade of being normal compounds the problem.

    Look, I am sure that the writers for Al Jazeera are more moderate than most extremist Muslims. However, the very fact that that extreme Islam has an outlet (a respected one at that ) is the issue."

  10. Competition in a free market is a fine thing. Let them compete with Chadash for readership and advertising shekels.

    Having said that...

    ...the gutter press is always going to give the readers what they enjoy reading. If these two end up competing around who can be more hateful then that's a damning indictment of the local population.

    Perhaps if local businesses refused to advertise with them they simply wouldn't be able to keep going. They need to be convinced that it isn't profitable to publish all their dirt.

    If we keep buying or consuming, they'll keep producing so we've got no-one to look to than ourselves.

  11. I think it is all semantics.
    Our great community has many individuals who are "wolves in sheep's clothing".

    They portray themselves as moderate or "open minded" yet buy into the elitest and "kanoish" attitude that is destroying the fabric of Klal Yisroel.

    Yes, there is something to be said to being "chared l'dvar HaShem". However when humans begin to create new "divrei HaShem" through chumros and "better than you" applications of halacha a serious problem arises.

    It is even more serious when the average people (and even many Rabbonim) are frightened into "towing the line" or they will be outcast in their shul, kid's school or social network.

    There is no area of life in our community that is not affected by this "farkrumteh" attitude.

    We must stand up and resist the pressure to "conform" to nonsense just because our neighbors, friends, relatives, etc. do it.

  12. there is a documentary called GEVALD that features shmuel chaim pappenheim. if you ask me , him and his ilk is the reason we are in galus. he and his ilk are worse than the arabs and worse than the nazis if you ask me. the propoganda they put out is just like jew hating propoganda the arabs put out for their children.its chilling. i dont think we need to fear the arabs. we need to fear jew hating jews who defend evil work by saying this is what hashem wants.


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