Thursday, January 12, 2006

Jewlicious & the Defamation of the Dead

I wrote an article yesterday concerning the Jewish & Israeli Blog Awards (JIBs) being more about popularity than quality Jewish blogging. As I stated prior, I love the awards, and I truly love Jewish blogging. Nothing is greater than to see Jews all across the globe bringing our people's issues to the forefront for the world to see. With this being said, allow me to remind you that with such exposure also comes responsibility. You in essence become a figurehead and a spokesman for the Jewish people. Why? Because in many parts of the world there are no Jews. Therefore your blog may be the first and only brush with a Jew that a person may ever have. What do you want that first and final impression to be? Now before I go into details as to what I am talking about, allow me to first say that I am in no way advocating watering down your opinions, or trying to come across as politically correct. Anyone who has read any of my posts knows good and well that I can be as fiery and loud as the next person. But what I am talking about is the overall content. What is that content, and how does that content make the overall Jewish community appear. Let's face it. The Jewish community has never won a popularity contest amongst the nations, and my guess is that we won't prior to the redemption. That's just the way it is. Despite this, we do have an opportunity to show our non-Jewish friends and enemies alike that although we may not be the most popular, we are the most dignified. That was a long introduction to what I have to say, but I think it was something that needed to be stated prior to my comments. One of the most popular Jewish blogs on the Internet is Jewlicious. It's a beautifully designed and textually creative site that gets an enormous amount of daily readers. I love to see Jewish success, so I am happy for them. Yet with that being said, a recent post on their site made me cringe. Actually it wasn't the post itself, but a picture included within the post. One of the topics in the post was the fact that they had changed their cover model. For those of you who are unaware, Jewlicicous usually has a cover model on the page background of a woman wearing a shirt that says, "I Love Hashem". Pretty fantastic, right? Apparently there was some hoop-lah over them changing their cover model to a non-Jewish girl. Pretty boring topic in my opinion, but that's just me. As I previously stated, the problem I had with the post was not the words that were written, but the picture that was included with them. Seemingly to appease their fan base, they decided to include a picture of the old cover model in the post. And what was she wearing? No, not the "I Love Hashem" t-shirt that she previously adorned every time you went to their site, but instead she wore a shirt that exclaimed, "Christ Killer". Nice. So millions of Jews have been murdered for the last 2000 years because of that blatant lie, and they are bragging about it? Has the Leftist Jewish community lost all respect for our own dead? Do you think this girl’s ancestors would be laughing at her shirt? We undoubtedly all have at least one ancestor who was killed in the name of their deity, and the people at Jewlicious are no exception. In the Ashkenazi community in particular, our ancestors were forced to wear a yellow magen David patch or other similar mark to distinguish them as the "Christ Killers" throughout history. Has the Jewish community become so "enlightenend" that now their sacrifice for us is nothing short of a joke? I know that Jewlicious didn't design the shirt, but they certainly are happy to promote it. Therefore it is only right that those of us, who find such things repulsive, to take a stand and tell Jews and non-Jews alike that such behavior is disrespectful to the Christians who support us, and to our ancestors who were murdered because of the phrase "Christ Killer". I have no doubt that the purpose of the shirt design was to mock the ignorant fools who have oppressed us throughout history, but is mockery worth lowering ourselves to that same level of ignorance? Is the defamation of the dead worth the price of visual revenge? I think not. We were given a special mission by the Creator to be the bearers of Torah, and to pass it down throughout the ages. Disrespecting those who died in faithful pursuit of that goal serves only to impede that same ongoing mission for the current generation. It's fruitless and counter-productive. The reason that I bring this up now is because of the exposure that Jewlicious is getting because of the JIBs. A single picture within a single post may be the only Jewish impression that a non-Jew may ever have of us. Is this really the lasting impression we want non-Jews to have of us? Do we really want them to think that we take the martyrdom of our ancestors as comical? Think about it.










23 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tovya-

You are in bigggg trouble now. Jewilicious is the most elitist site on the Jewish web. WHatever they say, that's how it really is in all of Judaism and Israel. They are going to rip on you, and all the kids in college will follow them all the way off the cliff of the obnoxious left. Good luck buddy, you the man of the day.

1/12/2006 03:24:00 PM  
Blogger Tovya @ Zion Report said...

haha, yeah, no doubt. i will say their blog is pretty though.. see i said something nice!

1/12/2006 03:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Moshe said...

Jewlicious is a hole... its too bad they are great writers wastng it on celebrity sex lives and what not

**Moshe**

1/12/2006 04:26:00 PM  
Blogger ELAshley said...

Well, if you guys aren't going to be offended, I'll be offended for you!

1/12/2006 07:37:00 PM  
Blogger Tovya @ Zion Report said...

Moshe:

A hole might be kind of strong, but certainly not getting my kosher certification.

elashley:

Yeah, well, some people have no respect... and the people there and at christ-killer.com are no exception to that rule.

1/12/2006 07:41:00 PM  
Blogger TM (Jewlicious) said...

Yeah, Jewlicious is a hole and we're leftists and we're elitist and ugly and we disrespect our ancestors and we rule over legions of students who obey our commands to go and attack other sites.

Wow.

Whatever you do, please don't vote for us on the blog awards, we obviously suck.

Ck (ck stands for christ-killer, by the way), founder of Jewlicious, did design that shirt as well as the site that goes along with it.

You should read what happened to my son just two days ago when his Christian friend asked him why the Jews killed Jesus. I wrote about it on Jewlicious. My son's response was extremely dignified according to you. You see, he didn't challenge the other child or force him to consider how he came to such an opinion. He didn't shame him into questioning why one person would have the audacity to accuse the other of the murder of god. He didn't inquire who taught him such things before he hits double digits in age.

Nope, my son respected and honored his ancestors by responding that the other boy was wrong and then immediately changing the topic...to something safe. I believe that's called turning the other cheek. Jesus would have been proud.

Is that dignifying the memory of all those Jews who died because of this accusation?

No, that's just a safe way out.

That shirt was created during the days when The Passion came out. At that time, did you see many Christian mea culpas about the error of their ways with respect to accusations against Jews that have caused all this pain that our ancestors suffered? Or did you see unity and passion in the Christian world about the film and its contents?

Did you notice how most Christians who had seen it did not feel that the Jews came off too badly or any differently than these people had always perceived Jews? You know why? Because that is what has been taught for centuries. Then again, it's also because the Jews were not in a position to argue. So what you consider the dignified response - that of a meek acquiescence and hopeful avoiding of the topic - doesn't force those who make the accusation to consider their accusation and its meaning.

On the other hand, wearing that christ-killer shirt forces people to consider their prejudices and biases very clearly. The shirt merely says what is taught in churches and schools and seminaries all over the world. Except that suddenly it isn't a book with words or some preacher in front of them distancing the reader/listener from the meaning of their hate or the violence perpetrated by people because of that hate. Nope, suddenly there is a live human being in front of them forcing them to consider the meaning of what they believe.

How undignified that must be...

1/12/2006 07:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tovya-

Told ya!!! They aren't bad folks over at Jewilicious. They're just as righteous as the next Jews. It's tough for websites to get along with each other.

1/12/2006 07:58:00 PM  
Blogger Tovya @ Zion Report said...

somehow i doubt that that is what is going through their mind when they see your shirt.

it's actually tasteless... your time would be better spent combating missionaries who are the biggest threat to us.

1/12/2006 07:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Grand Muffti said...

Muffti has to concur with TM (not surprisingly). First of all, anonymous, Muffti can't help but find the site he calls home rather right wing for his tastes. Second, the Christ Killer T-shirt was not intended to celebrate our alleged role in killing JC but, in the words of it's creator CK, to point out that even by Christian doctrine, we are all Christ Killers. It's been a theme on the site since the beginning and we stand by it. (If this counts as ragging on you and leading college kids to the obnoxious left, well, so be it.) Third, anonymous, if you took the time to read the site, you'd notice that it is composed of the most internally conflicted writers on the internet: if anything commentators will rag on us for too much disagreement amongst the posters. We can't tell you how it is for the rest of judaism because we can hardly ever convince one another.

Finally, Moshe, you're a total liar. Only like 96% of Jewlicious involves celebrity sex lives. The other 4% is really quite hard hitting stuff...

1/12/2006 08:04:00 PM  
Blogger Tova Shulamit said...

At first I thought the shirt was funny and I would wear it for spite than I thought about it a bit and thought hey we are basically admitting to the wrong by wearing the bloody thing. They don't see it as spite they see it as aknowledgement. Get into the heads of these people before parading such ludicrous things.

Great post Tovya

1/12/2006 08:22:00 PM  
Blogger Irina Tsukerman said...

Hmm... I never thought of it when I saw the picture (though it creeped me out for a moment), but now that you've put it... you're quite right! I think there are certain lines that shouldn't be crossed in public.

1/12/2006 08:28:00 PM  
Blogger BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

Well, I doubt that being Jewish and having a blog makes one a spokesperson for Jews. That is rather self-serving, is it not?

Notwithstanding, I am unfamiliar with the Jewish blog awards. Being a Jew is a good enough award for me!

1/12/2006 08:45:00 PM  
Blogger Tovya @ Zion Report said...

Grand Mufti:

You totally with your last comment... how could I have ever believed such non-sense ;-)

tova yehudis:

thanks for the support, and i am glad we agree...

Irina:

I agree. Funny is one thing, but disrespectful is another thing all together. I actively fight missionaries myself, I'm not fan of christianity when it comes to missionizing Jews, but I won't slap every christian in the face for their ancestor's crimes... nor will i defame our own dead (which is far worse).

Barbara:

The problem is like I stated. Some people's only perception of a Jew is what they see on the internet. we owe Hashem the duty of being more mature than to stoop to the level of our enemies.

we are jews, and therefore we are different! let's act like it!

1/12/2006 08:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tovya,

I agree. This Christ killer non-sense is going a little to far for laughs. I understand the meaning behind the shirt as a mockery to the movie "The Passion", but making light of something that has been the reason for so many Jews being slaugtered is silly. I also do not agree with the Passion, but I go about letting people know differently than wearing a Christ Killer t-shirt. I plainly just tell those who say it was a great movie, I tell them historical facts that disprove it. Whether they listen or not, at least I didn't dishonor my ancestors by doing so.

1/12/2006 10:30:00 PM  
Blogger TM (Jewlicious) said...

Funny, by wearing that t-shirt, neither did its wearers.

1/12/2006 11:04:00 PM  
Anonymous ck said...

Tovya, Tovya, Tovya ...
I'm writing this from Jerusalem... where I live. You should know that in the past year no less than 3 Jewlicious writers have made Aliya. Just a cute little factoid for you.

Another cute little factoid? Romy who is wearing the christ killer shirt, IS NOT JEWISH. Not even by Reform standards. See the irony yet?

The shirt is admittedly provocative but no disrespect is meant to our ancestors - only to those idiots who continue to perpetuate the hateful messsage that violence against jews is justified because we killed their lord. Such a message is abhorrent and not only that, internally contradictory. christ-killer.com was created by both Jews and non-Jews in order to counteract the hateful message promoted by the passion of the Christ. I really wish you would have read the site before passing judgement.

Now I am off to machaneh yehuda to do my shabbat shoppping. I wish we had the influence you think we have - because then I'd influence our audience to move to Israel, keep kosher and respect the sabbath.

I know you mean well but I wish you'd get a bit of a clue. Shabat Shalom!

1/13/2006 12:12:00 AM  
Blogger Tovya @ Zion Report said...

Anonymous:

Good for you, that's the way we should all be... always standing up for our people, but not dropping our standards in the process.

CK:

Ah, now you are on to something! Even my blog, which although gets a lot of readers, certainly doesn't get as many as your site, has convinced many people to make Aliyah.

You are selling yourself short if you don't think that your website is important enough to accomplish what even mine has.

You should seriously consider making Aliyah a primary topic on your site! If you did, even though no doubt our levels of observance and political sides are different, even I would have to support yous guys site.

Oh and congrats on the fact you keep shabbos, I couldn't be happier than to hear such a great thing.

Shabbat Shalom to you as well.

1/13/2006 06:04:00 AM  
Blogger TM (Jewlicious) said...

Making aliyah is a topic of our site, not its raison d'etre. However, since we only have 7 posters and 4 live in Israel, do you suppose that perhaps we show by doing?

We also discuss and create a very open forum for discussions about politics in Israel and life in Israel. Trust me, lots of right wing comments fill our pages, if that's what you think qualifies for Israel advocacy.

I know that people who read our site receive a healthy dose of support for Israel and for living there. They also get commentary that represented a broad swathe of opinion about what goes on in that part of the world.

I have just read your other post where you hint that since we sometimes dare to talk about other topics like pop singers, we are not an Israel advocacy site. You even went to another popular website and wrote a laughable comment about how not only should Jewlicious not belong in that category but another site that has referred to Israel as an apartheid state (yes, it was their founder who wrote the comment and yours truly who debated the point with him until he finally backtracked) is a better beneficiary of that vote.

With all due respect, even if ck is right and you do mean well, you really don't seem to have a clue.

1/13/2006 11:35:00 AM  
Anonymous ck said...

Tovya wrote:
You should seriously consider making Aliyah a primary topic on your site! If you did, even though no doubt our levels of observance and political sides are different, even I would have to support yous guys site.

Jewlicious, like the Judaism that inspires it, is not a monolith. I would caution you against making presumptions about levels of observance - especially since while you wouldn't give us a hechsher (fwiw), you have no problem granting your hechsher to halachically questionable others.

But whatever. We don't really need you to support our site. Your critiques, when well informed and well thought out, are always welcome. But remember the proviso: "well informed and well thought out" - not like Mr. Anonymous for instance. In any case, we're still waiting for it. שבוע טוב

1/14/2006 03:38:00 PM  
Blogger Tovya @ Zion Report said...

I didn't give anyone my hechsher, I made myself clear that I do not agree with ANYTHING Mobius says... him and I have sparred a more than once concerning his own ignorance and lack-of-loyalty issues. The point I was making transended politics.

My "critiques" will always be there... it comes from an America-Jewish upbringing... we can't help but say what's on our mind at any given moment.

In closing though, I do not dislike yous guys site... I am proud of the fact that a Jewish site has gained such popularity...

Unfortunately, "well thought out" in your book means that Zion Report and Jewlicious has to agree.. which we don't... but that's okay, we are all Jew, and at the end of the day that is all that matters. A Jew is a Jew, and that transends politics.

1/14/2006 08:47:00 PM  
Blogger westbankmama said...

You make a great point.

1/15/2006 09:48:00 AM  
Anonymous ck said...

No, "well thought out" means well tought out. You don't need to agree with me but at least try to be factual and logical. Jewlicious is not a left-wing blog. Nor is it a right-wing blog. We're a collection of individuals with diverse opinions. We often disagree with each other, and rather vociferously at that. I like to think Jewlicious transcends (that's TRANSCENDS) simple ideological characterizations, that are favored by the more doctrinaire or feeble minded amongst us.

Romy, the woman wearing the shirt, IS NOT JEWISH. Get it? See the irony in that?

So are we mocking ignorant fools who victimized our people based on a fallacious understanding of their own dogma, or are we disrespecting the dead? Can't have it both ways, it's one or the other!

So... let your opinions be well thought out. Then we can agree to disagree and everyone can be chill!

1/15/2006 12:59:00 PM  
Blogger Stevin said...

Amazing. The shirt is filth. Not only is the shirt offensive to those of our ancestors who have been slaughtered by misled christians, but it is a banner of hypocracy. While we excoriate the nations for hating and persecuting the followers of Judaism throughout history, we have the audacity to hate and excoriate the founder of another religion?
Jewlicious should be very ashamed.

1/17/2006 03:06:00 PM  

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