One interpretation of a mishnah in Chapters of the Fathers is that Jews must prepare answers, with which to respond to those who hate Torah scholars. Hating those who cherish the Torah is one sense many readers may get from recent reporting in The New York Times on Orthodox schools.
“We resent that the Times are engaged in what appears to be a crusade,” Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, an Orthodox rabbi and executive vice president of Agudath Israel of America, told Dillon. “A crusade to get people to consider chassidic Jews in a negative light.”
Zwiebel added that the Gray Lady’s reporting on Orthodox Jews is “not only troubling, but even dangerous to a certain extent.”
He has not seen any change in Times coverage after meeting with the newspaper, and he hopes those stuck in traffic near the Lincoln Tunnel, adjacent to the Times building, in Times Square or in other Manhattan locations see Agudah’s billboards, which state, “Dear New York Times, words do break bones. Please stop attacking our community.”
Moshe Krakowski, a Yeshiva University professor who is an expert on Chassidic education, told Dillon that Orthodox Jews “feel demonized, justifiably, and would like people to get another side of the story since nobody else is actually articulating the other side of the story.”
For those who want to know that story, Zwiebel has some advice, and it isn’t to just read about Orthodoxy in the paper of record. “Get to really know us,” he said.