Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Australian Kosher News or Australian Treif News?

The Australian Jewish News is again sermonising on Kashrut matters. The shameless promoter of Treif establishments and products to the Jewish community depicts itself as a friend and supporter of Kosher consumers. How righteous and frum of them!

Last week issue treated us to no less than a full poster front page, a news report and an editorial. Yes, the very same front page where for a few dollars any non-Kosher food purveyor may ply its wares! (Obviously the AJN couldn’t find a treif establishment prepared to pay last week.)

We doubt that most Jewish News readers ever read the editorials, but those who did were treated to some astonishing hypocrisy and two-facedness.
“The AJN isn’t afraid to discuss the fraught topic of Kashrut!”

Of course not. Rather it is the fraught topic of Jews marketing treif products to fellow Jews that they’re afraid to discuss. Like how they aid and abet in the destruction of the fabric of Judaism for the sake of a few dollars. Come on. Let’s see some fearless dialogue on this matter.

What a nerve. A newspaper that has no qualms with a advertising chazir-treif restaurants, Chametz on Pesach and Chilul Shabbat events, giving us opinions on Kashrut!
Their chutzpah was best described by a prominent Melbourne rabbi when he observed in his Yom Tov sermon: “The Jewish News offering advice on Kashrut matters is akin to the Islamic Weekly counselling our community about the merging of the UIA and the JNF appeals”.

And the claim about the paper’s support for Kosher catering through their Kosher Living, Wedding and Bar Mitzvah supplements!
Really? And all along we mug readers were under the impression that it was simply another money-making enterprise for the AJN – like its car and property supplements or the pages about Glenhuntly and Glenferrie Roads. Silly us. Of course the AJN is out there to support Kosher caterers.

(Still, what’s the betting that given half a chance to make a few bucks, the AJN would just as quickly publish a “Treif supplement”?)

We have plenty more to say about this, but enough for now.


  1. I don't think you understand that the orthodox section of the Melbourne (and, indeed, global) Jewish community is a minority. Or, you do understand this, and that this is a manifestation of your anger towards the populous Jewish view of discarding strict observance in favour of cultural participation in Judaic life. To argue rationally that the AJN should not have secular content is impossible.

    The simple fact of the matter is that the AJN caters to a large number of secular Jews who have no qualms eating treif. I don't quite see how this should bother you? You have the right to lead your life however you see fit. Your religious beliefs (so long as they do not infringe on the rights of others) are yours to cherish and fulfill.

    I think it is most arrogant of you to impose your interpretation of Judaism onto others. That you should assert that the AJN is somehow forsaking itself for advertising treif food/restaurants is highly intolerant of the fact that the majority of the Jewish community does not keep kosher. Religions and culture evolve, and this is a new evolution of the Jewish narrative. You might not like it, but that's what it is. And it doesn't affect you. You're not secular. We are. Who gives a rat's ass? Why should ONLY your way of life be discussed or promoted by the AJN? Who says you're right? I am a Jew, too, with a different set of values to you. Values which are shared by many fellow members of the community. Who decided that only your views are "correct"? The fact of the matter is, neither of our views are 'correct'. They are simply our views.

    I enjoy the fact that within the same newspaper, I see a wonderful mesh of Orthodox and secular. I know that I am being catered to, and it gives me pleasure to know that other sections of the Jewish community are also being taken care of. I do not understand why it should bother you that the AJN (which is the AUSTRALIAN Jewish News and not the OAJN - Orthodox Australian Jewish News) decides to write material for secular readers.

    And that's the thing about the AJN, it comprises all sections of the community. You CAN have orthodox and secular in the same newspaper without it being hypocritical. Why can't the orthodox writers/staff at the AJN write material for the orthodox section of the community and the secular writers/staff for the secular? What's so wrong about that?

    If secular material offends you, then don't read it. But it is not INTENDED to offend you. I think you should return to your blog's original aim, which is to keep the AJN accountable for alleged verbal 'bashing' of the Orthodox community. If those allegations are true, then that is something that should be brought to light and debated.

    Your current blog post, in fact, is hypocritical as it attacks the secular community, as if we're not somehow entitled to be covered by our communal newspaper. That is intimidation and excommunication and infringes on our rights as human beings to feel safe in our environment.

    If you only want Orthodox news, you have Hamodia, but I caution you not to begrudge us our right to live the way that we wish to and to have a newspaper that reflects this majority sentiment from the community. You are clearly attempting to marginalise those who lead an alternate way of life to you. That is not on, under any circumstances. I urge you to reconsider your position.

  2. I think you rather miss the point. The objection is not to the AJN publishing adverts for non-kosher food per se; it's to the same newspaper publishing such adverts - which undermine kashrut - and then writing an editorial advising on what's best for Kashrut.

  3. Daniel Levy has indeed missed the point. It is sheer chutzpah for a secular organisation like the AJN to espouse any view of orthodox organisations in the purported interest of furthering kashrus! It is nothing less than sheer humbug and hyprocrisy as avowed promoters of treif products for them to argue the case for improving kashrus! Fine, advertise whatever you want - pork, bacon, pritzus, etc. - but then don't think you have some kind of moral highground to pontificate about the shortcomings in kosher food supply!

  4. Well, coming from Sydney, I for one would be happy to see the Kashrut authorities shaken up.

    We try to keep a kosher home, but the cost of kosher products versus their non-kosher equivalent is ridiculous.

    And when I say "non-kosher equivalent", I mean it! Can anyone tell me what the hell is the difference between a $4 bag of non-kosher nuts, and a $9 bag of kosher nuts? Or a "non-kosher" and a "kosher" Vegemite?

    It is gouging of the highest order, and the ACCC would get involved except refuse to as they write it off as a Jewish internal matter.

    Unfortunately, when Rabbonim act in behaviour that is corrupt, nepotistic and bordering on criminal, our upbringing makes us very uncomfortable pointing it out.

    Needless to say I am talking about a very small clique, and not tarring the whole Rabbinate with the same brush. However enough is enough!

  5. To the two anonymous, it would in fact be you who have missed my point.

    I addressed the AJNWatch's claim that a double standard existed by pointing out that the AJN is a communal newspaper, and as such should umbrella both the orthodox and secular sections of the community.

    Reread AW's post and look at how many times the notion of the AJN being money-grubbing is bandied about. I find it sadly ironic that AW would be so quick to use a stereotype used so commonly by anti-semites to depict the AJN.

    Throughout history, Jews have been made out to be only after money and would sell their own mothers for the right price. It is interesting that AW would employ this tactic on its own brethren. Especially when it is so wholly unjustified.

    This attack on the communal newspaper needed a defender, and so I decided to set the record straight on the AJN's coverage of both treif and kosher foods. It is not hypocritical for it to deal in both as it represents our entire community. Orthodox and secular. Can't we all just get along? :)

  6. Daniel Levy
    .....can't we all just get along... indeed !
    According to a meal you just had prepared earlier, of your strident dialectics, there is somewhere a vacuous argument you are proposing according to which the Orthodox Jews are defined as intollerant/arrogant/selfrighteous and a few other inherent attributes which make for a perfect selfdestructive secular Jew as ideal for ... getting along with. As about that famous suburban magnet philosophy that opposites attract, please, I do not drive a ute.
    I've been waiting for ages to pose this question: where do "secular Jews", as (very ) against the religious ones, source their Jewishness from ?!
    Also: what kind of vision (!) do you posess to assert so clearly the substance of those you prefer to keep such a massive distance from, unless you also believe that NOT knowing anything about something makes one an expert in dismissing it.
    Before you jump again, if you were seriously immersed in matters Judaic I promiss I wouldn't, in fact,I couldn't have addressed this to you.


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