The Jewish Week has always played an important role in informing our community and has the responsibility to hold powerful people and organizations accountable for their conduct. We applaud any effort to break news about important and influential figures, without fear or favor.
However, by publishing a lead article about Hillel International investigating Michael Steinhardt, you seem to have picked sides in an investigation that is not yet complete (“Hillel Investigating Allegations Against Major Philanthropist,” Sept. 14).
Yes, Michael Steinhardt may be guilty of boorish humor, even being provocative and insensitive. However, to publish this article and to dredge up lawsuits, which were not against him but against others, in order to further your story about Hillel’s investigation today, is unfair. You have allowed innuendos and unwarranted suspicions of wrongdoing to color your readers’ picture of a man who has devoted the last 23 years of his life to the service of Klal Yisrael; a man whose first thought each day is, “What can I do for the Jewish people?”
The Jewish Week’s decision to drag Michael Steinhardt through the mud reeks of a soulless and irresponsible brand of journalism.
An effective newspaper must retain its editorial independence. Yet without checks and balances, it’s easy for even the best intentioned among us to stray. The Jewish Week should establish an independent editorial board, made up of respected journalists and academics, to provide oversight and guidance on the activities of the editorial staff. It could be selected by The Jewish Week editors and the executive board. Such an oversight mechanism will restore a fuller sense of due process and communal obligation to the major editorial decisions of this paper and would avoid the injustice as seen in the article about Michael Steinhardt.
The writer is a member of the board of directors of The Jewish Week.