January 2009 was an interesting month for the Jewgle Perth blog. We had 5,000 different users view our site, with around 50,000 hits. By comparison, during 2008 we welcomed 30,000 people to this blog who took the time to read through our pages some 200,000 times. The surge of traffic in January was no doubt due to Israel’s Gaza incursion, and the material we published to advocate for the sad but necessary action that the Government of Israel needed to take for the sake of its citizen’s security. Thank you to all of those people who have viewed our blog, engaged in debate, and sent in feedback. These figures go to show just how more effective the online media is by comparison to the print media in this day and age.
It is timely to remind our readers, many of you regular readers, and most of you local to Perth, why this blog was first established. You can read more in the about us page, but essentially we were established to provide a medium for profiling and discussing local Jewish issues from an Orthodox perspective.
We started this blog when, some years back, we were concerned that not all of the important issues were being raised, and that neither the local or national Jewish newspapers were always appropriately representing Jewish values. On occasions the Jewish media went as far as presenting our community with content that is the very antithesis of traditional Jewish values (masked as Jewish commentary) which undermines the halachic integrity that has sustained Jewish communal life for millenia. All of this has been permitted in the supposed name of plurality, through the mechanism of intellectual dishonesty. The impact of this destruction of communal unity and dilution of Judaic interpretation is more destructive than its publishers could imagine, and represents a blight and an embarrassment to the Jews of our generation. Sadly this remains the case today. We therefore consider that one of the functions of this blog is to put forward a critical (often contrary) position that keeps our communal discussions focussed on both substance and accuracy where we believe that a stand needs to be taken.
Some things are slowly getting better, but it is still not right. For example, this week’s Maccabean contains a respectful and well considered article by Ken Arkwright claiming that he does not have a bias against Orthodox Judaism. Unfortunately however, through the commentary that follows, the author once again demonstrates he has no appreciation of understanding of what Orthodoxy actually is. Using the philosophy of Samson Raphel Hirsch he presents the dogmatic side of halachic Judaism and incorrectly portrays it as inflexible. Yet again it is misrepresentative and unwittingly offensive to those people who are Orthodox Jews. With items like this, it is no wonder that many Rabbi’s come to the conclusion that reform Judaism is a theology that is far closer to Christianity than it is to Judaism.
People who are not qualified medics don’t go around telling Doctors how to treat patients. People who are not qualified air traffic controllers don’t go around telling airport controllers how to manage incoming traffic. And people who are not observant Orthodox Jews shouldn’t go around telling other people what Orthodox Jews do and don’t believe, because they are not qualified enough or sufficiently exposed to Jewish life to be able to understand what it means to live such a life.
The Jewgle blog will continue to be an advocate of traditional Jewish thought, and sadly but not apologetically, we often have to be outspoken in order to acheive this.
On a different note, over the past month some of the search terms that have brought people to this site show that there are many haters of Jews that reside in the Perth community around us. People have arrived at this website because their search terms have included phrases such as “seeking Nazi’s in Perth”, “sexy Jewish women” “Perth rally against Israeli crimes” and some other unmentionable terms. There have also been some amusing phrases such as “Is Andrew Denton Jewish?” and “how to digest Matzo”. We pass no judgement on those people who arrive at this blog with no prior interaction with Perth Jewry and who are adverserial towards Jews. However, we hope that you do take the time to communicate with us and where possible, allow us to try and break down some of the prejudicial barriers that comprise your world view. We have had to censure some comments, but only due to their offensive nature. A track back through this blog will show that we have given a fair hearing to those who hold positions that differ from those (diverse) views of the blogging team.
The followers of Moses are stubborn, stiff-necked, and obstreperous. True to this cultural norm, our measure of Jewish pride is recognised in this context. We are glad that our blog reaches so many thinking and exploring minds, and that we do have the opportunity to contribute to debate and make a difference. Once again, thank you for being part of it.