I am very gratified that I receive much positive feedback for the articles I write in this paper. It makes it worth some of the challenges that come with writing in the public, including occasional biting criticism.
My article last week recalling Eugen Gluck a”h generated a host of compliments, written and oral. Why not? The subject matter was an easy one.
But I must clarify one matter in the article. When my father read the article after it was printed, he remarked, “Beautiful article, except for one point. The story with Mr. Gluck receiving a brachah from the Gerer Rebbe for his business success was not correct. It was for an entirely different businessman!”
Through a series of misunderstandings, I had thought the story was with Mr. Gluck. My apologies go to the family that was as surprised to read that as was my father.
This is not the first time recently that I find myself correcting something I had written. A few weeks ago, I corrected an article that referred to a rabbi in the community, in which I left out an important detail.
Indeed, even the Queens Jewish Link often finds itself apologizing for an incorrect statement, a questionable article, or an image that should not be found in a Torah-based publication. Last week, you will recall, the QJL sent a “blast” advertising an English translation of the Satmar Rav’s VaYoel Moshe for a view of “True Torah Judaism’s” outlook on Zionism. The publisher did not realize this was actually a propaganda piece of the much-despised Neturei Karta. As soon as this was brought to their attention, the QJL issued an apology to its readership and promised to be more scrutinizing in the future.
Somebody quipped to me that the name of the paper should be changed to the “Queens Jewish Apology.” I responded that the difference between this paper and many others is that it readily owns up to its mistakes. How many full apologies have you seen in The New York Times? A colossal error will appear on page one, and the correction, if at all, will be buried in the back of some future edition. Even in Jewish publications, how many do you see that come clean after a blunder?
Years ago, a certain very respected hashgachah was found to have an inexplicably higher amount of glatt kosher tongues than it could count for glatt animals slaughtered under its supervision. The hashgachah reacted by immediately going public and putting a moratorium on its slaughter until the discrepancy could be addressed. The difference between a reputable hashgachah and a questionable one is how they react to a problem brought to their attention. The exact same thing is true of the Jewish media.
The Chazal in Pirkei Avos (5:9) state that one of the characteristics of a wise person is that he owns up to the intellectual truth. We know, as well, that even the greatest of all Jews, Moshe Rabbeinu, did not hesitate to admit that he was not aware of a certain ruling (see Rashi, Sh’mos 10:20). The truth must remain paramount. As Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz zt”l explained, if one cannot depend on the leadership to be wholly dedicated to the truth, even at the cost of embarrassment for that leadership, then the whole integrity of our mesorah, our Torah tradition, is brought into question.
So, yes, the Queens Jewish Link makes mistakes; but, thankfully, the QJL owns up to them. That is the mark of a respect-worthy publication.
Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld is the Rabbi of the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, Vice President of the Coalition for Jewish Values, former President of the Vaad Harabonim of Queens, and the Rabbinic Consultant for the Queens Jewish Link.