My Open Letter To Jacob Stein, “The Jewish Philosopher”

My Open Letter To Jacob Stein, “The Jewish Philosopher” January 14, 2012

SCREEN SHOT FROM JACOB STEIN’S CALL FOR EXECUTION OF GAYS

————————————————————————————————-

A few days ago I was hit by an infamous blog troller named Jacob Stein.  He runs a blog called “The Jewish Philosopher” that has, among other things, called for the death penalty for gays (pictured above) and blamed Jewish disobedience to God for the Holocaust.

Last week he posted some taunting comments on my blog that I deleted.  Then he sent an e-mail to my employers telling tham that I have a hate blog.  Finally, he decided to feature my blog in a post in which he placed my home and employer’s address, phone, and e-mail.  There was also a link to my domestic partnership certificate, some vague information about my family, and plenty of choice words about me and this blog.

You can see all of it here:  http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2012/01/atheist-rabbi.html.  Feel free to leave comments there.  Like here — since this all began — comments are moderated.

I have posted what will be my one and only response in the comment section of his blog (I had to post it in two parts).  It is reproduced in its entirety below:

———

Dear Jacob,

I’m writing to thank you for taking note of my blog and to make a few corrections and comments.  Just so you know, I’m cross-posting this on my blog just in case people at yours don’t have the opportunity to read it.

First of all, since you left those comments on my blog and wrote your post about me I have never had so much traffic on my blog.  I guess what they say is true, any publicity is good publicity as long as they spell your name correctly, which you thoughtfully did.  I also appreciate the link to the information about Humanistic Judaism.  Between that and the link to my blog our readers will have ample opportunity to contrast your beliefs with mine.

As for my being a homosexual in a committed relationship, that is no secret.  You posted a link to our Miami Beach domestic partnership certificate.  That will be helpful if I ever need to get a copy in a hurry.  Just to set the record straight, we are also registered with Miami-Dade County.  And most wonderfully, we were legally married in Montreal a little over two years ago.  I know that this differs slightly from your view of gays, er, homosexuals, but we’ve been in this monogamous relationship for quite a while.

I was taken aback when you said I was around fifty.  I don’t turn fifty until June, but I guess I need to start getting used to it.  They say it’s the new thirty.  As for the picture, I’ve been losing weight recently so there are better ones I could have provided, but that one is okay too, even if it was a little low resolution.

I won’t say much about my kids except that I have them – more than the one you seem to know about.  My ex-wife became Orthodox after our marriage and she raised them that way.  I wasn’t thrilled, but I love them dearly, met all of my financial obligations and then some, and even helped send them to Orthodox study programs in Israel (but Zionist ones that I know you don’t approve of).

As for my employers, whose details you also published and to whom you sent an e-mail about me, they are fully aware of my blog and I have a disclaimer on it.  They also know that when you employ over one hundred people, you’re going to have many with different opinions.  I guess they chalk it all up to living in America.   By the way, my employers are very pluralistic and welcome people from all walks of life, Jews and non-Jews, regardless of race or creed.

Of course, I do live in a very tolerant community.  In fact, the University of Miami’s Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies is bringing in my colleague, Rabbi Adam Chalom, North American dean of the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism (www.iishj.org) this Thursday evening to speak about non-theistic Judaism.

Speaking of Miami, allow me to address your publication of my home address and phone number.  I just want to remind anyone who now realizes that I live in the heart of South Beach’s Art Deco District that it is the height of tourist season, so please call before dropping by!  Just don’t use the home number listed.  We don’t answer it.  We really just kept the land line in case a hurricane blows down the cell towers.

I want to respond to just a few things that you wrote.  You make mention of those who have sought my guidance.  You may rest assured that they were all fully aware of my point of view and either shared it or were quite respectful of it.  You also stated that I don’t publish comments that I don’t agree with.  Actually, there are many such comments and they’re searchable, too.  Sadly, since I received yours, I am now moderating them. Exactly the way that you do.  You characterize me as being “openly anti-religious,” but I’ve written enough posts about that, including one I just published, that I can leave it to my readers to judge.

And again, thank you for all the new readers.  It appears you have quite the following of people who are interested in what I have to say.  For over a year I’ve been writing this little blog that only a handful of people were reading and now traffic is really picking up!  I notice in comments to your blog that you seem to have many people who take issue with your points of view.  Now I know they’ll have an outlet to learn more about Humanistic Judaism and that’s thanks to you.  And in case you or any of our readers were unaware, I’m not the only Humanistic Rabbi.  There are others, all non-theistic, here and in Israel (www.humanisticrabbis.org and www.tmuraisrael.org.il).

Now I want to say something to you, man to man.  This will be my final communication to you.  I will not answer your taunting questions and I will not engage you any further or publish you on my blog.   As a child I was bullied quite often and frequently called a “faggot” and other names.  So I recognize a bully when I see one.

Go ahead and call me every single name you can come up with.  I am not a child any more.  Like most adults, I have learned that when someone taunts or engages in name calling, it reflects only upon himself.

By the way, I am also not alone.  Since you started this on my blog, I have received expressions of affection and support from so many people.  So thank you for that, too.

Sincerely,

Jeffrey Falick

The Atheist Rabbi…and not the only one

"nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very oftenMortgage Broker in Orange NSW Australia"

Trumpism Unites Neo-Nazis, Jewish Defense League
"nice topic.top colleges in canda"

Prayer Is Indeed Powerful
"No true secular humanist?That’s a first"

Atheist Jew? Apparently This Is Not ..."
"very informative information thanks for sharing it.. Finance Broker in Orange NSW Australia"

Some Thoughts About Islam (And The ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


TRENDING AT PATHEOS Nonreligious
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Posting to voice my support for you and appreciation for your blog.

  • Excellent letter!

  • SQ

    Nicely done. Kill ’em with class.

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Stein,

    Or asshole if I may, I hve known the person that you are so vicously trying to put down for about hree years. I had the pleasure to meet his daughters and ex-wife and if I may say so I am proud of the father that he is and the person that he is. See my sister is gay and she was ridiculed and stepped on for many years but I love her for who she is and all tht she has contributed to this society. People like you are still in the closet persay and really need to wake up and smell the coffee. Rabbi Falick is a wonderful, careing person and I am more than proud to know him. I worked with him on two different projects for his daughters school and if I may say so, he is the best person, kind, seet and rreal that I have had the honor to meet. So Stein get a life, get out of the closet and repent for all the bad things you have done in life to people. Look in the mirror and see who you are. It is people like you that do not deserve the pardon of God. Those who ridicule and hurt others will only go to HELL. My the way I am not a Jew and I am not gay. I am the proud parent of three sons and seven grandkids and what they choose to be in their lives I WILL ACCEPT UNCONDITIONALLY.

    Sincerely,

    Maritz Calleiro
    Proud to know Rabbi Falick

  • Add my voice to the chorus of support for you and your blog, Rabbi Fallick. Keep fighting the good fight.

  • Anonymous

    what a great letter. growing up i always heard “kill them with kindness” and you did just that. you’re setting a great example for others out there. keep on keepin on 🙂

  • Moshe P. Mann

    I am just here to offer my support for you after the vicious and threatening attacks of the (non) Jewish Philosopher.

    God Bless you!

  • Anonymous

    What an amazing articulate and dignified response to such contempt and harassment. Rabbi, Falick, you are the embodiment of courage and dignity. Jacob Stein is no philosopher, and certainly does not represent the vast majority of Jews. His use of the term “Jewish Philosopher” offends me.

  • Miles R.

    Jacob Stein’s application of the term “philosopher” to himself on the strength of his grotesque apologetics for a deranged system of belief is only the first of his perversities. In no other J-blogger have I ever encountered such cold-blooded hatefulness and inhumanity. I have no doubt that if Stein had grown up in Salem in the 17th century he would have presided over the burning of “witches,” if in 15th-century Spain then over the torture of nuevos cristianos, and if he lived in present-day Afghanistan he would be throwing acid on girls who try to go to school.

  • SJ

    dude, YOU’RE NOT NORMAL.

  • Joseph

    He posted the confidential information pertaining to a blogger on a previous occasion. He also posted the confidential information of the blogger’s mother. So his statement to the effect that he’s never done this previously is an outright lie.

  • a truth seeker

    Rabbi Falick, I would rather have you as my Rabbi than that philosopher Taliban Rabbi Jacob Stein. What is humanistic Judaism? Thanks for putting humanity back into Judaism.

  • NC

    I have been familiar with JP’s blog for several years, and I used to comment on it. I am a medical professional, and my honest clinical opinion is that most likely he is a psychopath. Not the mass-murdering type, more a sociopathic personality disorder, characterized by transient and poor personal relationships, and lack of the emotion of empathy. Yes he is intelligent and at times can be charming, as is true with most sociopaths. But beneath that veneer is a dishonest, cunning and heartless individual who has a history of bullying others, and has had his own career severely harmed (including losing a job and getting kicked out of nursing school) because of his blogging activities..
    You are smart to cut off all contact with him.

  • NC

    BTW even though I am Orthodox I have a cousin who is Humanist and I have a lot of respect for his and his beliefs.

  • Okay, then. Looks like you’ve defeated me. Now you can move on. Lots of other blogs out there to read!

  • Stu

    Cheers to you, Rabbi, for your measured and adult response to the childish bullying of JP. He is,like most fundamentalists, a bigot against anyone who dares to think differently from him. There is no rational way to deal with his sort of irrational, closed mind.

  • @SJ: Also, atheist rabbi is a contradiction in terms.

    You mean like “Messianic Jew”?

    (Jeff, SJ is a Jewish “believer in Jesus” – or at least, he has been. I don’t know what he believes these days.)

    SJ, how many blogs do you need to get banned or asked to depart from before you begin to realize it’s you?

  • soso

    That’s a really, really great response to the attack.

    I left a comment on JP page to the effect that JP was insulting “jewish” and “philospher” with the many comments he left on other blogs. He did not publish it…

    • No, of course not. There are still a few misguided souls who allow him to spew his venom on their blogs, because they have a sentimental attachment to the notion of “free speech”. The irony is that he’d never return the favor.

      He really is the most miserable excuse for a human being – and yet, he does have readers. People follow his blog and engage him.

      It’s mind-boggling.

  • As perhaps the one and only goy who regularly visits this site, I was most interested to learn that Judaism has its own version of Ken Ham!! 🙂

  • Anonymous

    I wonder how Mr. Stein would feel if he were given a taste of his own medicine. I’d hazard to guess he goes to one of five shuls within a mile or so from his home in Spring Valley (he prefers to call it Wesley Hills). One could email the Rabbis and board members of those shuls to point them to the hateful and outrageous comments he made.

  • Anonymous

    I am a student at a “black hat” yeshiva in Yerushalayim. Full disclosure: I agree strongly with some of the hashkafa points of Mr Stein. However I totally diagree with and strongly protest his bizarre and hateful methods and personal attacks. This is the opposite of “ahavas Yisroel” and it’s not the way for people disagree. Derech Eretz kadmah l’Torah.

    Yerachmiel H.

  • Rabbi Frank Tamburello

    Rabbi Jeff,

    My dear colleague and friend: Thanks for the sensitive and supremely humanistic response to Mr. Stein’s stunningly ignorant rantings. What can you say to someone who professes a strong belief in a loving God, who claims to be a Jew, and yet feels comfortable and empowered to spew hateful, damaging speech against his own brothers and sisters?

    I would like to direct Mr. Stein to a verse from the Tanach, which I’m sure he holds in high regard: “These (religious) people draw near with their mouths, and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me; their worship of me is a human commandment learned by rote.” (Isaiah 29. 13).

    Mr. Stein can find that verse repeated twice in his own Lutheran bible as well. (Matthew 15. 8-9; and Mark 7. 6-7).

    In other words, the God Stein says he believes in does not want hypocrisy. And, according to this verse at least, his claim that he is “orthodox” apparently, in his God’s mind, amounts pretty much to nothing.

    I have to assume that Mr. Stein missed the lesson in his conversion class that says it is sinful to spread rumors and lies about people. By his unkind, hurtful words and deeds he demeans not only himself, but Klal Yisrael. He has failed to grasp the most basic and fundamental tenet of Judaism. “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

    Jeff, thanks for again illustrating that as humanistic Jews, we consider ourselves dedicated to tikkun olam above everything else. We await the day when all people, humanists and religious people alike can truly greet our only “messiah”: Universal Equality, Justice, Peace, and Love, with great joy.

    Rabbi Frank Tamburello