Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Guest Post: The thoughts of a long-time AJN reader

AJN Watch is proud to publish our first guest post.
We invite our readers to submit their posts and comments.

by Old-Timer

I thank the blogmasters for allowing me to join them as an irregular poster here and look forward to offering my thoughts about the standards of reporting in the AJN.

As my name divulges, I have been around for a long time and despite my general repulsion of much what I see in that newspaper, I am a news junkie and just cannot help myself reading it weekly. Belive me, it pains me that I am financially supporting the hand that so often strikes me and those close to me. A few good slaps back at them are long overdue. So thank you AJN Watch.

There is much to be said about the huge difference in AJN’s reporting (or more often non-reporting) of scandals and negative occurrences in the community. When these relate to religious Jews the AJN carries on mercilessly. However when rich and important figures who are not well known for their observance of our faith it may get a few lines, or in many cases not a single word.

Cast your memory back to about 7-8 years ago when a certain former president of a frum Shul was in the news, Who can forget the nasty and vicious coverage the AJN gave that story which at the same time guaranteed that every single Jew who ever had anything to do with that Shul community felt that he/she was being personally smeared by the relentless and disgusting articles – week after week.

It was around that time that a person of major note in the community, but with no claims to religiosity, was being featured in the general media with some truly ‘juicy’ personal scandal. There isn’t the slightest comparison of that personage to the humble ex-shul head. But did the AJN sensationalise the revelations of this person? Of course not. Not a single line in their paper.

Or take the case of another important and well-known communal figure who was charged and found guilty of offences involving hundreds of millions of dollars – lost by investors large and small. This story too, featured on the news and finance pages of every newspaper in the country…except the AJN. Not a SINGLE word. The charges against Rabbi Engel are a zilch compared to what this gentleman was found guilty of. But anyone reading our Jewish ‘newspaper of record’ would never had known. In that case, in addition to not being (at least knowin to be) part of the frum community, the other great advatagge for this individual wasl that the AJN was owned and run by close relatives. They obviously had no intention to add shame to the family. And that would be very understandable – had they had such feelings for the families of other members of the community who happen to have a relative in trouble. But the AJN has no such concerns at all for families of religious Jews and often hurts their families and even entire communities.

This type of ‘religious-anti-Semitism’ actually warrants a proper examination by some major media investigative source, eg, The Age or the TV program Media Watch. But until that happens I appreciative this new AJN Watch blog, which hopefully will – if not achieve in keeping the AJN bastards honest – at least expose their hypocrisy and double standards and their targeting of a certain powerless segment of Australian Jewry.

To help achieve this, visitors to this site should spread the word and the link – especially to any connections to the wider media.


  1. Great idea. I think Media Watch would LOVE to do a story on this.

  2. One more tidbit: Yitzchok Rubinstein, the founder of the AJN, once admitted (actually bragged) to someone I know that he had been the lookout for the Haganah hit squad that murdered Yaacov de Haan HYD.

  3. Correct. I heard that story from him as well.
    He did say that he wasn't prepared to do the actual killing.

    In the 60s I worked for YR who was editor of the Yiddish edition of the AJN. (He wasn't the founder of the AJN. His father Chaim Rubinstein took over the paper and it was later run by Yitzchok's brother Tony.

    For more about that and other Jewish paper's history - see

  4. Hey wake up you fellows. Its thursday afternoon and nothing about this weeks ajn! or have they already taken notice of this blog and mended their ways? sure and pigs will fly

  5. Dear Anonymous
    1) Did you think that maybe we too have to spend time making a living?

    2) Have you seen anything particularly objectionable in this week's issue that you can bring to our attention? After all, despite what we have written here on this blog, not EVERY word of the AJN requires a response.

    As we have mentioned previously we ask all to be the eyes and ears of this blog.

  6. Ripponlea StationmasterThursday, July 02, 2009 7:01:00 PM

    This may be different to the usual comment here, but Yossi Aron's piece about Chasidus in Adass - while interesting - does have a few inaccuracies which should be corrected.

  7. RS, go ahead and forward the corrections. If appropriate we may include it as a guest post.

  8. In other words you want us to do your work for you.

  9. I commend you for your efforts in criticising some of the positions of the AJN from a frum perspective. However, I am surprised at the sheer bitul torah that has taken place in the preparation and upkeep of this site. Does Australia's Torah-true community really need a blog dedicated to slamming a secular Jewish newspaper? Surely more constructive efforts could be undertaken towards kiruv rechokim and to promote limmud Torah? Chabad does a wonderful job at this, as do Kollel Beis HaTalmud. I am surprised that Adass in Melbourne does not engage with their fellow yiddenin this regard.

  10. Thanks for your commendation. I suppose the bitul Torah aspect can always be questioned, whenever anyone takes time off learning Torah – for any purpose - even for the sake of kiruv, chesed, and not only to defend Torah and Mitzvos and Jews who observe it. Oh, and if we may ask, what exactly are you doing here reading blogs, when you could be studying Torah yourself?

    Do we need a blog to defend our values against the onslaught on the AJN? Only if it bothers or hurts you that they attack frum Jews and rabbonim on a regular basis.

    If you don’t feel the pain of Rabbi Yossi Engel and his family and the method that he is being crucified, then maybe you should be spending your Torah study time with mussar and chasidus seforim that specialize in Ahavas Yisroel.
    As to your ‘surprise’ at what Adass does or doesn’t do, maybe you could bring up this matter with their Rav and explain to him where he and they have got it all wrong.
    (You may y have noticed, BTW, that the aim of this blog has not been to explain the hashkafos of Adass or any other kehilla.)

  11. To man in the street...

    No one has to do anything.
    It may come as a surprise to you but some people actually enjoy seeing their writing being published.

  12. Thanks for your response re my post on bitul Torah. I only visit sites such as this when I am at work and need to take a breather... so I am not really in a position to be learning Torah at such moments.

    My comment about Adass not doing enough re kiruv is occasioned by the fact that I assumed that site seems to be run by Adassniks. However, perhaps I was wrong in this assumption, and I apologise for making a disparaging remark about that kehilla.

    As for Rabbi Engel, I couldn't agree with you more, but will this site really get the AJN to keep shtum on the subject? Surely this site only preaches to the converted. Perhaps a better approach is writing letters to the AJN or convincing frum readers to withdraw their advertising/subscriptions?

  13. To anonymous.
    why is blogging or reading blogs any greater bitul torah than reading a newspaper - even a frum one?

    I really don't understand how adass and kiruv come into the picture. and if the blogger is from adass - so what? pls explain.

    Writing letters to the AJN, even critical ones, achieves their aim in creating more controversy which they love. they are always looking for sensations if they involve frum jews.

    I'll bet that 90% of our community doesn't know that Bialik imported as their principal a gay south african TOGETHER WITH HIS PARTNER! did you read about that in the Jewish news? Now imagine yeshiva or adass doing this. It would be front page headlines for weeks. I doubt that the new man is a risk to the kids, though I wouldn't want my kids in such a school.but isn't this newsworthy enough to be mentioned in the local newspaper?


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