I never thought that it would come to this. However, due to a puzzled phone call from a Jewish professional, an upset online publisher, a withdrawal of support from an organization that doesn’t support us, and some fuzzy lures that I saw the other day at Big 5 Discount Sport Store, I thought that now would be as good a time as any for me to reiterate our standard disclaimer.

Mind you, I am not a lawyer, I am a rabbi. While I post on Jewlicious as a blogger, I do not have rabbinical jurisdiction over this site, nor do I want it. The views here do not represent my views any more than what those of Wolf Blitzer speak on behalf of all wolves. Just because I am a rabbi, and not a lawyer, I am not even sure what a disclaimer really does in legal terms, in theory I understand it, but I also realize that it is important that I carry one around in the event that I am ambushed at a party or an event.

I will not even mention what post or posts have caused a stir.

So here it is, a disclaimer:

The views and opinions expressed in the media, articles, posts or comments on this site, or ones linked from this site to other sites, or ones linked from those secondary sites to tertiary sites, are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions held by Jewlicious, its bloggers, board of directors, staff, advisors, affiliates or subsidiaries.

There, I said it.

About the author

Rabbi Yonah


  • a withdrawal of support from an organization that doesn’t support us LOL, it’s one thing for people to announce they’re boycotting a product they don’t even use, but I’d love to hear which people running an organization are boycotting Jewlicious.

  • Yes, apparently something on this site doesn’t mesh with their sensitivities. They dispatched a student intern to tell my assistant.

  • It’s a crazy world we live in. On the one hand some in the Organized Jewish Community won’t fund us because they think we’re a stealth kiruv organization. On the other hand, we’re getting hassled by some parties because of a post written by Wendy In Furs about sex on Birthright trips. I’ll flesh out as many of the details that I can.

    The lowest level of sponsorship for Camp Jewlicious is $180. An organization that does otherwise wonderful work and could have benefited from exposure to our Camp Jewlicious participants decided against said $180 sponsorship because they didn’t want to be associated with an organization (us) that would write such an article. Never mind the 6,137 other articles that we’ve written …. So not such a big deal.

    But at the same time that this happened, we got a call from a Federation professional who had been pointed to the Birthright article as well. I think he thought it was critical of Birthright or something. Never mind the hundreds of posts we’ve written about Birthright in the past – all supportive – one article, that isn’t even critical, and this is what we get. Have we ever gotten a call from these people thanking us for our unequivocally positive coverage of Birthright? No. I think that says it all.

    Besides, none of these articles are really geared towards Jewish professionals. Maybe they should just stop reading them. Anyhow, now you know a little more.

    So while you shake your head in amazement, check out the last Birthright Israel Mega Event in Tel Aviv Online!

  • Sounds like cheap excuses to me. It’s not as if projects that do benefit from sponsorship were monolithic in their views. What is it that we lack? Family ties? Family secrets? Simple syntax?

  • i would withdraw my funding if you had published a story titled “No Sex on Birthright”

  • Ok, so maybe that is a good start, to piss more people off. Stealth kiruv. LOL. In the next generation, there won’t be any fringe Jews left for them to spend money on so it’s in there interest to support kiruv or stealth kiruv organizations in order to keep fringe Jews around or them.

  • Well, I hope Wendy writes another article for us soon.

    The people who have a problem with that article need to get a life.

  • Birthright once sold the trip with slogans like “It’s safe to come” and “You always remember your first time.” It seems ironic that anyone could be upset that we discussed this matter, when in fact, they use sex to sell this trip. At least they have in the past.

  • Satire is an important part of growth and I wish we weren’t such a sensitive society.

    Yet, as a Jewish organization headed by a Rabbi, I’d hold the whole blog to a higher level of ethical behavior than “I <3 Hashem" on a pair of underwear, for example.
    However, Jewlicious solicits funding from many Jewish organizations.  Whether the article in question was offensive or not, factually true or not, or even well written is beside the point.  Is it “Jewish” to write tactless articles about programs that help the community and are partners of the same cause?

    Don’t you think we owe it to ourselves to elevate the level of dialogue?

    • Who is we? Do you write for Jewlicious?

      The level of dialogue here is just fine. The fact is that people are going to be offended regardless of what we write because different people have different values. That’s why my posts get criticized by the Left and the Right. That’s why some people call us a kiruv organization and others lecture us about our lack of values. Some people find underwear with I Love Hamas on them hilarious and others want to blow us up. Really, grow up. When we’re serious, we’re serious and when we’re having fun, we’re having fun. Reasonable people get it. Self-righteous schmucks don’t.

      As for being critical of organizations, institutions and elements of the Jewish community, trust me when I tell you we are treading too, too lightly. Considering the massive failure of the community to provide Jewish education or to help keep young Jews in the fold, we should be dedicating many posts to taking apart these groups. We don’t. In fact, we try to help them. Birthright, for example, has received a ton of promotion on this site over the years. For free.

      • You’re right. I’m consciously aware of my self-righteousness. That does make me a schmuck. However, from your syntax and blatant snobbery, I’d put you in the boat with me. See, it’s easy to point out someone’s flaws and criticize. The difficulty is acknowledging one’s own and making time to influence a positive change. If you think your work is “fine,” I’d say we’re not trying hard enough. The nature of your work is free publicity of the issues deemed appropriate and topical to your audience. All I’d like to see is some respect – as a voice of our community. Then again, who am I? Just a schmuck, I guess.

        • You’re not a schmuck. We’re all just a little testy of late. I don’t think Wendy’s post was tactless. Jewlicious isn’t here to please Jewish community professionals. The people at whom the article was targeted really appreciated it. It was funny, and informative and Birthright Israel-positive. We’re not the court bloggers of the organized Jewish community, though we’ve been accused of being that in the past. I mean we could be – pony up and we’ll run all the OJC’s press releases, no problem. But then no one would ever read Jewlicious. So I guess there’s a bit of a trade off involved here. Anyhow, I’d like very much to discuss how we can elevate the discussion while staying relevant. But I have to go break my fast with some yummy sushi! By the way, Rabbi Yonah runs Jewlicious Festival but here on the blog, he’s a writer just like anyone else. He has no more or no less authority than any other writer. OK so he calls me every day but still… just bc he’s a nudnik does not mean he is the king of me!

    • Guess what? Sex is hereditary…

      Is it Jewish to be hostile towards sexuality and dissenting opinions? Clue, it’s Puritan. I’d say ‘back to the roots’, more opinions, is what we need rather than complacent drum-circles with star-shaped stickers on them.

    • And I must add: please find a more convincing reason why it’s ok to slap CK in the face that way. He lives what others put up in banner ads. I heard of people who went to Israel with no clue of what to do, where to stay and how to even get by that eventually ended up at CK’s through various links of connections. I cannot imagine a person who stands more for welcoming hospitality. CK’s moved there. He could have had it easier elsewhere. Are you saying it’s ok to punish him for being the, admittedly tall, poster boy of what you’re trying to sell?

      I could add more, but on my way out to work. Don’t think it is not known how certain projects are connected to certain funders. It’s their right to do with their money as they please, but I’d appreciate if they didn’t try to sell us lame excuses.

  • Now, now, there’s no need to be all offended just because you were called a self-righteous schmuck. After all, you didn’t mean for us to be offended when you suggested that we need to be more ethical, stop being tactless and elevate our writing so that it meets some unknown standard that would be acceptable to you as well as to the people criticizing us for being either too much of this or too much of the opposite of this.

    I mean, I guess what you wrote wasn’t snobbish at all and apparently I elevated my dialogue far too much when I responded to your responsible, considerate and, yes, effervescent critique of We with my snotty, syntax-laden retort.

    Shall we start all over again?

    I’ll go first.

    The level of dialogue on Jewlicious is just fine. You’ll note that I didn’t say our work is fine, just our level of dialogue. We have a broad range of dialogues going on here, touching on multiple subjects. Sometimes things are crazy and sometimes they’re dead serious. We certainly have more work to do and can improve our content and the amount we write, but sadly, we also need to make a living and take care of our private lives since this is a hobby that doesn’t pay the mortgage or rent.

    But you know what one key aspect of being an unpaid writer is for me? The freedom to write what I please, when I please and for any audience I please. I’m not beholden to anybody and I have no obligations other than to whatever topic I’m covering. I cherish that freedom and even when I read or see things on Jewlicious with which I disagree or that I think are “beneath” us, I respect the freedom of that writer to publish what he or she sees fit.

    Beyond that, and now I’ll say this as your friend, I believe we have shown a tremendous amount of respect and concern for the Jewish community. We have always been supportive of projects within the community, including ones we thought were wasteful. We’ve always talked up projects that are seeking to get off the ground or grow. When we’ve been critical, generally the criticism comes from a desire to improve things and make changes that will benefit the community. And we’ve also had honest and strong differences of opinion within the site. We don’t agree on all topics and we have not shied away from airing those differences. The beauty of the set-up here, however, is that we can all express our opinions and voices without restriction and without thinking about whether we’ve offended somebody or not.

    Self-censorship is certainly the mature and serious thing to do, and its outcome is also often the most boring, most stale, lifeless content one could imagine. It also undermines the possibility of improving things because if all one does is, pardon the expression, suck up to the powers-that-be, then the powers-that-be think they’re doing a grand job.

    Now, I do agree that it’s unfair that the underwear with I heart Hashem is on a woman and not a man, and perhaps ck can do something about that. Maybe he can also write a post called “Birthright is a great project that gives kids a great perspective on Israel, and don’t worry, nobody has sex or any fun on their trip other than traipsing around ancient sites and modern falafel shops.”

    That sure would be respectful to the community. It would also be a waste of “ink.” Then again, if we write that post, do you think they would then stop (falsely) calling us a kiruv organization and help to fund our (extremely) worthwhile projects?

  • At the end of the day, it’s easy to lose the forest for the trees. It’s easy to confuse the sizzle for the steak, and vice verca. Criticizing Jewlicious for a blog entry that may or may not have been questionable in nature is a waste of time, energy and is counterproductive.

    I apologize for the metaphor in advance, but this is akin to movie studios telling the Papparatzi to stop taking pictures of celebrities. It’s bad for business and it’s in the movie studios’ best interest that as many pictures get taken of celebrities as possible. This is free marketing that the studios don’t pay a dime for. To complain about it in any real way is totally counterproductive to the fiscal goals of the studios and their shareholders.

    It’s easy for a person to cut off their nose to spite their face when someone else is paying for the anesthesia B-)

    Gratitude for marketing efforts and results, content and spin aside, seem to have been lost in the mix. Anyone that thinks college kids aren’t hooking up on birthright should get their head checked. Whether Jewlicious writes an article about it or not, it’s happening regardless. It’s a mitzvah to live in reality, and all of this reeks of misguided focus in the name of……..relative moralism? Neo-Semetic Pluralistic Nepotism? The only thing the Federation and Birthright and organization unnamed that withdrew their funding should be saying is ‘Thank you’. I’ve seen Birthright garnish results in every direction, from Jews who were previously involved marrying out, to the most of secular Jews becoming religious as a direct or indirect result of their Birthright experience.

    Birthright & The Federation seem to have forgotten one major principle: bad publicity is still publicity, and this isn’t even really leaning in the direction of bad.

    What would be actually bad is birthright funding drying up completely and not having anything to complain about in the first place because the program doesn’t exist.

  • This makes me sad, but really underlines some of the reasons why mainstream Judaism fails for me. Who needs the tsk tsks and raised eyebrows?? Here is what I have learned: to get the $ you need, lie, lie and lie. Give us a view of Jewish kids that doesn’t make anyone uncomfortable. They’re never gay, they don’t have tattoos, and MOST importantly, THEY NEVER HAVE SEX, especially not on sponsored trips in Israel. In short, write for MOM and you will mostly never get into trouble.