Tablet Magazine Judaism = Haredi All The Time


I say this with some embarrassment because of colleague-friends in Jewish Studies who are now a part of it. Expecting their tolerant forbearance, I’ll say it nonetheless.

Tablet is incorrigible.

Whether Haredi, ex-Haredi, neo-Haredi, it is Haredi-Haredi-Haredi all the time over there, almost without exception, pushing the point that the only Judaism that really matters is Haredi Judaism, and rabbis. It’s hip there to be reactionary; you can be anti-reactionary  but only if you know the rules of the game from the inside.

It is set up to look that way, by design.

At the “Belief” section it’s the Baal-Shem this and the Satmar Rebbe that, reflections on being orthodox or even Unorthodox (it doesn’t make a difference); and Kahane; and Kabbalah.

The “History” section is also inundated; by rabbis; by rabbis, rabbis, and Israel; and Brooklyn.

At the “Community” section, read up on balcony minyonim, my crushes on rabbis, sex and the religious girl, what the Talmud can teach us about infertility during Coronavirus, and so on.

This year’s Lag Ba’Omer special was especially over the top.  “7 Reasons Why Lag B’Omer is the Jewish Burning Man Today on Jewcy: Bonfires? Weirdly esoteric? Check!,” “The Grateful and the Dead. It’s easier than ever to visit the gravesites of beloved rabbis and sages,” “Fun for a Girl and a Bow From Hunger Games to the London Olympics, archery—a Lag B’Omer tradition and great girl-power sport—is hot”

If I’m wrong, please send me a link and I’ll take a look. Was there even a word over the last several week at Tablet that some 75% of the Coronavirus victims in Israel are Haredim, that reactionary religion is maybe not such a great thing, that religion can kill you if it doesn’t kill you, that yeshiva bochers can’t do math? Was there anything over there that reflected critically on Haredi Judaism and rabbis? Or for that do you have to go here to Kikar ha’Shabbat?

Meanwhile, the section devoted to “Israel and Middle East” is given over to the likes of Liel Leibovitz, Lee Smith, and David Samuels. That Agamben showed up the other day is the exception that proves the rule, with him going on about the state of exception is only par for the course of anti-liberal animus at Tablet. Most of time, it’s things like Osama outsmarting the west, Arafat and the Ayatollahs, Bibi King of Israel.

I’m not quite sure when it started. Now it just doesn’t stop, and won’t.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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1 Response to Tablet Magazine Judaism = Haredi All The Time

  1. animalizard says:

    I object to Tablet, but for different reasons. I had to unsubscribe this yom shishi. I had reached my frustration limit back in April when some ultra-conservative loony-tune published an article that ultimately blamed working women for the spread of the coronavirus in the US- failing to be at home, keep the world clean and sterile. But my poor free soul has been battered by every weekly Tablet email- since I picked up on this change in the mood over there under the new editor, who closely watches every writer and every article. I can’t possible have such delusional articles written by people with third and fourth level degrees bouncing into my inbox every week. There is nothing more disheartening than the prejudiced misuse of critical thinking.

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