Just a few weeks ago The Jewish Week published a negative article about Ohel that suggested it covered up sex abuse in the Orthodox community (“Abuse Case Tests Ohel’s Adherence To Reporting Laws,” Feb. 25). Now, Gary Rosenblatt follows with “Covering (Covering Up) Sexual Abuse” (April 22), yet another article highlighting the foibles of the Orthodox.
In the same issue the paper published “Dawn Of The Mourning Business,” about people who turned shiva into a for-profit business.
Obviously, The Jewish Week never heard of Misaskim, a nonprofit Orthodox organization that provides shiva services for free. It reaches out to bereaved families immediately after learning of a death. It provides chairs for the mourners and guests, water coolers, coat racks, siddurim, chumashim and Sifrei Torah for prayers. It publishes the names of the departed, list of mourners, their relationships, the locations where they are observing shiva, the times for tefilla (prayer) and the period of shiva.
Orthodox Jews don’t need people to suggest menus for the mourners. In almost every case, before the family even returns from the cemetery, meals for the entire week have been arranged by the friends and relatives of the bereaved.
The Jewish Week ignored an opportunity to “expose” the chesed of Misaskim, an Orthodox group of dedicated volunteers, in favor of profiteers.
Editor’s Note: Misaskim was, in fact, mentioned in the article in the following paragraph: “These new entrepreneurial ventures are taking their place alongside more traditional, shul-based caring committees and community-based nonprofits like Misaskim in Brooklyn as providers of shiva services.” Since the focus of the article was the new ventures, it did not devote more space to Misaskim.