Nice. Whoever you are. Futzing with the DNS was a nice touch too. I have only one question. Why?

For those of you wondering what that was all about, it seems that someone has taken it upon themselves to vandalize a client’s Web site. This was also not the work of some random Bulgarian hacker. It was someone who reads this blog and knows me. The messages left behind clearly demonstrate that.

Now, I know I may not be the easiest person in the world to get along with, and that some of my opinions are difficult and maybe even offensive to some, but attacking a client’s Web site? I can tell you that Jewlicious takes up a lot of my time and a lot of the time of everyone involved. On top of Jewlicious, many of us are also involved in any number of charitable projects for which we do not get paid. Attacking a company that is completely unrelated to Jewlicious is unfair to me and unfair to those who depend on our non-Jewlicious activities for their sustenance.

I don’t use Jewlicious to promote my company, but I can tell you that the 6 people I work with don’t give a rat’s ass about what goes on on this blog. They just want to eat and pay their rent. If you don’t like me then please limit your attacks to just me and try not to engage in activities that will harm others.

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About the author


Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.


  • Okay, I cannot bear the guilt anymore. I was just trying to brighten up ck’s day, with a nice lil’ surprise stating “ck is smile”. 🙂 A typo later, and then a lunch break, and I forgot all about it until ck posted this. Sorry dude. I’ll cease and desist all of my futzin’ activities.

  • Dude, forget the slime! Rep J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ): More Jew than you! Really! Cheers, ‘VJ’

    “OUTREACH. Rep J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ) thought he might feel just a tad unwelcome at Shul recently after he expressed support for notorious anti-Semite Henry Ford’s “americanization” program, and refused to apologize after protests from the Jewish community in his district. So on Tuesday he backed out of a scheduled campaign appearance at a local synagogue and instead sent a surrogate. Some might say that was already a sign of disrespect and not a step in the right direction. But things really got ugly when Jonathan Tratt, a spokesman for the Hayworth campaign, reportedly told the audience that Hayworth “is a more observant Jew” (Hayworth is not Jewish) than those in the audience. That went over real well. Another Hayworth surrogate, Irit Tratt, replied to the audience’s unenthusiastic response by saying “No wonder there are anti-Semites.” It sounds like Hayworth may need to mend some fences, which at least makes it a good thing he’s close with Jack Abramoff.”

    Thought you’d want to be the first to know…

  • While Hayworth’s shtick is undoubtedly offensive, it’s hardly as surprising as it might seem at first blush. After all, he’s probably just taking his cue from those rightwing Jewish fanatics who are his political bedfellows, who never miss an opportunity to call non-Orthodox rabbis liars, heretic and moral deviants, and who nonchalantly claim that Reform and Conservative Judaism are equivalent to Jews for Jesus. Why is such filth any more repellent coming from him?

  • Welll david smith, aren’t people entitled to their opinions? I for instance simply don’t believe in Conservative and Reform Judaism. Often my critiques are similar to those voiced by those in the movements themselves. You’re of course totally entitled to disagree with me but can one not voice criticism without it being labeled filth?

  • Due to the high level of writing and obvious technical expertise (not to mention time and $) required to maintain this site, I frequently forget that I’m reading the work of 20-somethings. That fact hits me in the face like a wet fish (a pike-carp-whitefish hybrid) when I read a phrase like “I for instance simply don’t believe in Conservative and Reform Judaism.”

    “Believe” like how? That it exists? That it’s valid? That’s it’s Jewish? Well, if that’s the case, you’re just one of many people who believe many things that are empirically 100% wrong.

    Though, perhaps by “believe”, you mean that the precepts and practices and quirks of individual congregations don’t “speak” to you.

    I was raised in a Reconstructionst shul and since then have been a member of (in chronological order) Conservative, Orthodox, and Recon. shuls. I’ve loved most of them, and it was usually a change of locale that necessitated a new shul. My present (and I hope permanent) congregation is egalitarian Conservative, the Conservative label having more to do with the siddur we use than with dogma.

    The point of this? Belief is not like your blood type: unchanging and final. It evolves. As do people and as does religion. . .at least as long as it’s a living religion.

    And no, I didn’t take down your client’s website.

  • Oh Barbara,
    Don’t be offended. Allow me to explain. I do not believe in the Conservative, Reform or Reconstructionist interpretation of Judaism. How’s that? Keep in mind that in this respect I speak only for myself – Jewlicious is made up of many different people with many different opinions. Does that make it clearer for you? Those other branches of Judaism are totally foreign to me. being Sephardic my people never experienced Emancipation and the attendant existential dilema that it created for European diaspora Jews. My people stuck with the traditional Judaism that we always practiced. Now, an Ashkenazic Orthodox service is also kind of strange for me, but at least the liturgy (if not the pronunciation) is familiar and I can safely eat from the kiddush. I can go to the Rabbi for advice and trust his opinion. I can’t say the same for any of the other branches of Judaism. OK?

    Yes, belief and faith waxes and wanes, but there are certain lines I cannot cross while still claiming to be faithful to my origins and beliefs. Now keep in mind, I’m not saying I am better than any other Jew. I’m not saying that someone who doesn’t share my beliefs is less of a Jew. I’m just saying I have the right to believe what I want to believe, as do you. I am open to reasonable criticsm just as I have no qualms in dishing it out.

    Thanks for not hacking my client’s site Barbara. If you know who did, let me know….

  • Yeah, well, OK. . .I guess. Here’s a story for you: sometime in the late 1960’s, my mother and a # of other Jewish women were talking — I suspect in my home, but the recollection isn’t that clear — and, one of them piped up: “Well, it goes to show, there’s nothing as ignorant as a Sephardi.” I recognized the word “ignorant” and thought I also recognized the word “fart.” That evening, my mother told my father about the exchange with disgust and anger, feelings my father shared in the face of such blatant bigotry. Also that evening, I was given a definition of “Sephardic”. It was a few more years (I was only about 6 at the time) before I grasped the big cultural picture.

    The point of this story: Well, for one, it contains the word “fart,” which is always a crowdpleaser. But for another, if my thoroughly Ashkenazic, Western, liberal, etc. parents could get their minds past the conventional Ashkenazic wisdom of the time (with stories still fresh in Western Jewish minds of Yemeni women trying to light cooking fires on planes during Operation Magic Carpet), surely 40-something years later, surely you (though perhaps not to the extent I suspected by your previous comment) and so many others who DO believe non-Orthodox Jews are somehow “less than”, can do the same. I’m now 1/2 an hour late to work!!

  • And I used “surely” twice in one sentence. The proper response to that is “Stop calling me Shirley.” Bye.

  • What does bigotry because of someone’s race, creed or color, have to do with the belief that someone else’s new-fangled religious fads is just that? Or are we not allowed to dismiss, for example, Jews For Jesus? Maybe you don’t, Barbara, and that’s your prerogative. But don’t deny us Torah observant Jews to believe in “Moshe Emet ve’Torato Emet” (see Medrash on Parshat Korach), as many of us have sung for generations every Simchat Torah.

    Liberalism – a one way street.

  • For what it’s worth and not because I plan to engage in debate with you Shy Shmo, but only because it’s a good story, I once took a handful of pamphlets out of the hand of a J4Jer and tossed them into West 40-something St. rush hour traffic. Good times.

  • It’s when people who imply that after a century and a half, Reform Judaism “someone else’s new-fangled religious fad” then go on to celebrate Israel that the ironies mount higher…

    Without the Reform and secular folks fighting for YI back then, where would it be now?

    Interesting, seems like many of the folks here would walk up to say, Hannah Senesh — were she alive and using a motorized scooter on Shabbat — and tell her she’s got no right to wear a kippah…

  • LirotTov: I’m confused by your comment. European and American Reform Judaism was not Zionist before the creation of Israel. It was only after Israel survived the 1948 Independence War that (American) Reform Judaism became actively Zionist.

    And Hannah Senesh probably, like most non-dati Israeli women, would never feel the need to wear a kipah. Perhaps a ‘kop haTembel’. :-p

    And what the heck does ‘YI’ stand for?

  • You are right about my typo (YI for IL) and my poorly-presented statement. The irony still exists, though, unless you can explain that Orthodox leaders were the driving force behind early Zionism…

    I wish you (and CK) a sweet (and hacker-free) Shabbat, except if you are offended by such wishes from someone who is not as observant.

  • ck asked,

    aren’t people entitled to their opinions? I for instance simply don’t believe in Conservative and Reform Judaism. . . .You’re of course totally entitled to disagree with me but can one not voice criticism without it being labeled filth?

    Frankly, the answers to these apparently rhetorical questions aren’t quite as simple as they seem, and largely depend on the definition of certain basic terms, without which a meaningful discussion of this contentious issue is impossible.

    Let me start with something of secondary importance, but a pet peeve, i.e., the pernicious and misleading notion that people “are entitled to their opinions” Quite simply, being “entitled” to one’s opinion only means – unless you’re a Republican, of course – that you don’t throw people in prison or torture them for what they believe. What it doesn’t mean is that they’re entitled to a presumption that their opinions are legitimate or even plausible. Or, as Daniel Moynihan said, anyone’s entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts. The question, then, isn’t whether I believe people are entitled to their opinions, but whether the views I’ve called “filth” are so extreme as to be completely illegitimate.

    I have no problem with those who “don’t believe in Conservative and Reform Judaism,” but only those who claim that Reform and Conservative Judaism are equivalent to Jews for Jesus. There are lots of Orthodox Jews “don’t believe” in Conservative Judaism; only the most fanatical of them would dream of denigrating it as a different religion entirely, or slandering its rabbis as heretics, liars, and deviants. It’s time to drop the pretense that such accusations reflect some theological disputation or doctrinal conflict; they are, instead, the rank bigotry of an alien, predatory cult of religious fanatics. I should note, too, that I’m not using cult in a strictly clinical sense, but in the way the concept is understood in a broader cultural and political context. And like such cults, the adherents of this particular sect embrace an ideology that is truly remarkable in its sameness.

    A few of the most salient attributes of this ideology include the following:

    Perhaps the most outstanding trait of these Jewish fanatics is their sense of absolute moral infallibility that results from the combination of acute paranoia and religious indoctrination. The possibility of moral ambiguity is utterly non-existent, and, accordingly, there are no individuals with competing political priorities or religious values, just enemies and heretics. Jews who support trading land for peace aren’t merely naïve, but are murderous traitors and terrorist sympathizers. Rachel Corrie wasn’t a fool or a misguided dupe, but a Nazi. Yigal Amir isn’t a deformed monster, but a sympathetic and exploited patriot, just like the heroic martyr and tzaddik, Rav Kahane.

    Another cult-like attribute of such Jewish fanatics is their bizarre affect and diction, as though following some uniform script. There is the sneering contempt for goys, homos, shvarzters, and the like; the skin-crawling reliance on such phrases as “Go learn!” or “The truth hurts, doesn’t it?” and the nonchalant bigotry of accusations that “Reform and Conservative ‘rabbis’ are liars, who made up their own religion to fit into gentile society,” Finally, there is the frequency with which virtually every dispute, no matter how trivial, devolves into some crude form of Torah Jeopardy – “Where did you go to yeshiva? Go learn!”

    Another attribute of this cult of Jewish supremacists is the participation of a disproportionate number of those who had no interest in Judaism for 20 or 30 or 40 years, and who suddenly had the scales fall from their eyes. Some of them – such as David Mamet, as discussed in a recent Jewlicious post – devote their principal efforts to denouncing the spiritual and moral bankruptcy of non-Orthodox Jews, and slandering their rabbis as liars and heretics. Indeed, there’s something obscene about the notion of some recent “convert” to Orthodoxy passing judgment on someone like my rabbi, an 80-year-old man that has never turned on a light or driven car on Shabbos, or eaten a non-kosher meal in his life. Alas, they simply disregard the fact that vast numbers of Conservative Jews have no need to “return” to anything, as they were never afflicted with the sense of futility and emptiness that led those like Mamet to embrace fanatical orthodoxy in the first place.

    I’m not saying that someone who doesn’t share my beliefs is less of a Jew. I’m just saying I have the right to believe what I want to believe, as do you. I am open to reasonable criticism just as I have no qualms in dishing it out.

    Good; then it seems to me that we really ought to be in agreement. I fully concur with the notion that we all have the right to believe whatever we want. Moreover, I, too, have no problem with “reasonable criticism.” Alas, claims that Conservative Judaism is comparable to Jews for Jesus are not reasonable under anyone’s definition, but are the bigoted attacks of scheming religious hustlers, the Jewish equivalent of Louis Farrakhan, Al Sharpton, and Jerry Falwell.

    These attacks are something more, as well: they are a declaration of war against my religion. In response, I’ve decided I will never again provide an ounce of support on behalf of any group that engages in bigotry against Conservative Judaism or slanders the integrity of its rabbis. Except when it comes to sniffing around for our money and political support, these bigots consistently claim that Conservative Judaism is specious and fraudulent, bearing no greater resemblance to “real” Judaism than Jews for Jesus. To a certain extent, they’re right; they do, indeed, practice a religion that is completely different than mine, one with which I have no shared destiny or beliefs in common. As far as I’m concerned, I have as much in common with these fanatics as I do with the Black Israelites, who, not coincidentally, similarly claim to be the only “real” Jews.

  • How on earth did we get on this tangent? This post is about someone’s clumsy hack of a client’s Web site! But whatever… let’s get on with it.

    david smith wrote: “I have no problem with those who “don’t believe in Conservative and Reform Judaism,” but only those who claim that Reform and Conservative Judaism are equivalent to Jews for Jesus.”

    Fair enough. Jews for Jesus is simply Christianity masquerading as Judaism. No one here is claiming that the Conservative or Reform movements are trying to get Jews, through lies and deception, to worship another God.

    But david smith, there’s got to be a middle road between the extremists you discuss and legitimate criticism. Why don’t I believe in Conservative and Reform Judaism? Because the Conservative movement tells Jews it’s ok to drive on shabbat. Because the Reform movement tells Jews it’s ok not to eat kosher or believe in Torah m’sinai or Moses or even God for that matter. I don’t think the rabbis of these movements are liars. I’m pretty sure they mean well and are sincere in their beliefs. But is it hard to understand how some people view the violation of the sabbath, of kashrut laws, of the denial of the centrality of God and Torah as akin to worshiping Jesus? Is that such a stretch? I mean “You shall have no other gods before Me” is the first commandment while “Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy” is the 4th commandment, but both merit the death penalty.

    Thus while I don’t equate Jews for Jesus with C. and R. Judaism (except to flesh out points during a discussion) I still don’t view them as, uh… how shall I put this… compelling. They have an aura of inauthenticity in my opinion. And I don’t doubt that there are many pious and wonderful people within these movements. I just don’t believe in the movements nor do I hold by any of their Rabbis. Does that make me filth?

    Geez I hope not!