A Misjudgment

Letter to the Editor

Published August 30, 2012, issue of September 07, 2012.

I have a lot of respect for investigative journalism, making the world a better place, and commitment to the vitality of the Jewish people. That’s only part of the reason I have enormous admiration for the Forward, its editors, its journalists, and Rabbi Steven Wernick. (Full disclosure: I’m Jewish, a contributing editor to the Forward, and a consultant to the Conservative movement.)

For all those reasons, with all the challenges in the world, with all the deficiencies in Jewish communal policy and leadership — and even a few rabbis, I suppose — I cannot fathom why your otherwise sound editorial judgment failed you when you decided to make a front-page story (“When May a Rabbi Use Words of Others?” August 31) over Rabbi Wernick’s oversight in neglecting to properly credit Bradley Artson and Ismar Schorsch in an online posting using their words.

I’ve worked with Steve for years. He’s one of the good guys; in fact, one of the very good guys — with a well-deserved reputation for managerial effectiveness and personal integrity. The citation failure was a mistake, but it wasn’t one worthy of a front-page story — or any story — in the nation’s leading Jewish newspaper.

Steven M. Cohen New York, N.Y.

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