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

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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:

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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


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