Orthodox Judaism and the News

Nora L. Rubel

in The Oxford Handbook of Religion and the American News Media

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780195395068
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Orthodox Judaism and the News

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Zionists once dreamed of a state where Jewish criminals, arrested by Jewish cops, would be tried by Jewish judges. In other words, normalization occurs when all Jewish behavior becomes unremarkable. Jews in America feel differently. Twenty-first-century Jews look out for one another to protect the group's standing in American eyes. In other words, American Jews do not need Jewish criminals to signify their acclimation to American society. Accordingly, many American Jews are horrified to see the bad behavior of fellow “members of the tribe” splashed across headlines. The allegations plaguing Agriprocessors, a kosher meat company owned by the Rubashkin family, are a case in point. The Rubashkin family is Hasidim, the most visibly identifiable of Jews. Regional Iowa newspapers offered a crash course in observant Judaism and attempted to explain some of Agriprocessors' former CEO Sholom Rubashkin's unfamiliar religious practices. This article examines how the mainstream secular press—both regional and national—reported on the Agriprocessors scandal, focusing on the way that Sholom Rubashkin's Jewishness—and specifically his Orthodoxy—factored into this coverage.

Keywords: American Jews; Agriprocessors; scandal; Sholom Rubashkin; Jewishness; Orthodoxy; Judaism; newspapers; Iowa; press

Article.  6259 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Religious Studies ; Judaism and Jewish Studies

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