Yeshiva World News, a popular ultra-orthodox news publication, ran an editorial on Wednesday that argued that the real problem wasn’t anything that Rabbi Ganz had done. No, the real problem was that the matter came to the attention of the proper authorities in part because fellow Jews had told the government and the press about Ganz’s behavior. The article is misleading in that it implies that the criminal in question, Tuvia Stern, was merely awaiting charges . This is not accurate. Stern was convicted and is serving a sentence. Moreover, although Rabbi Ganz is a chaplain for The Tombs which is used primarily as a holding prison for not yet convicted criminals, most of the favoritism he is accused of providing benefited convicted prisoners.
From the article (comments in brackets are my translations of relevant Hebrew and Yiddish phrases):
So to be clear: An Orthodox Rabbi engaged in behavior that was at best ethically dubious, he got caught, and YWN is complaining that fellow Jews reported on him.Centuries ago, one of the worst things a Jew could be was a “mosser,” a term generally translated as “informer” but more accurately rendered as a “snitch.” A mosser was someone who reported the transgressions of other Jews to the non-Jewish government. In an era when pogroms could occur on the flimsiest pretext and where Jews handled most legal matters internally, this was a reasonable stance. However, this has not been the case for hundreds of years in most of the world, and has never been the case in the United States. Yet, here in the United States in 2009, we have an Orthodox Jewish publication criticizing Jews for reporting clearly inappropriate behavior out of concern that such reporting will lead to increased anti-Semitism. This position is both reprehensible and short-sighted. I know what will lead to increased anti-Semitism: Non-Jews learning that a substantial part of the Jewish community considers itself so divorced from the civic life of the United States that it thinks that people who report the failures of government employees are worthy of death.
The inmate had arranged to have his son’s Bar Mitzvah celebration in the jail where he was being held. This information was subsequently leaked to the press at which time they had to act on the information. And act on it they did. What a travesty!
This has caused an obvious chillul Hashem [disgrace to God’s name] of the highest magnitude and has put the orthodox community at large and all frum [orthodox] inmates, once again, under great and unwarranted scrutiny. It has had a tremendous ripple effect and has left in its wake the evisceration of years of mesiras nefesh [self-sacrifice] and infrastructure that has been built for inmates past, present, and future.
We all know how important the mitzvah of Pidyan Shvui’im [redeeming andcomforting captives] is and it is not our place to judge another Jew. That is a job for Hakodosh Baruch Hu [The Holy one Blessed be He] alone. Our job is to make sure that we do all we can to facilitate these individuals and their families in their time of need to the best of our ability. No one would condone any of their alleged behavior and some may agree or disagree with the considerations they may have received until this point, but no one would disagree that we must stand by our fellow Jews and help in any way we can. Unfortunately, that was all lost and a lesson that will come at a severe price. Who knows what will, Lo Aleinu [God forbid], await these prisoners as they get shipped off to Riker’s Island. Their potential mistreatment is beyond our comprehension as they will be in the company of the worst criminals in our state.
Does someone really believe a good thing was done here? Is this what our Torah teaches us? The anti-semitism this has caused will be on their head and only death can be m’chaper [atone] the chillul Hashem [disgrace to God’s name]. We, as Jews, must think long and hard of the far reaching ramifications of our actions.
I hope that the sane elements of the Orthodox community will condemn this outrageous editorial in the strongest possible language. Jews are American citizens with the same rights and the same obligations as all other American citizens. The United States has welcomed and extended civil rights to Jews in a historically unprecedented fashion. This editorial displays profound unawareness of and ungratefulness for that reality.
Hat tip to Onion Soup Mix.