Thursday, August 02, 2007

Correction: Feldman Photo Was Not Altered

An anonymous commenter pointed me to this article in The Jewish Week:
Noah Feldman, who ignited a firestorm of criticism last week with his pointed attack on Modern Orthodoxy in The New York Times Magazine, admitted this week that he learned before publication of his article that he in fact was not intentionally cropped out of his reunion photograph.


The photographer, Lenny Eisenberg, told The Jewish Week Monday that he had difficulty capturing as many as 60 reunion participants within a single frame. Eisenberg ended up taking several shots from one side, then the other, and several people on the far side — not just Feldman and his fiancĂ©e — happened to be out of the picture when it finally appeared in the newsletter.


However, Wolff acknowledged that the school’s alumni updates had indeed rejected Feldman’s subsequent submission of his lifecycle events once it became known that Feldman eventually married his girlfriend, who did not convert, making his children non-Jewish according to traditional Jewish law.


The photographer, also a Maimonides alumnus, said that after the 1998 reunion he ran into Feldman at a “Conservadox temple” when the conversation took place that Feldman recounts in the Times: Eisenberg told Feldman, “don’t blame me,” with Feldman assuming he was referring to the yeshiva’s cropping because of his girlfriend.

Eisenberg now says he wasn’t thinking of Feldman’s girlfriend, only the photo’s unwieldy circumstance. “I would have said the same thing” to any one of “16 other people” who didn’t appear in the final picture.

“Maybe we didn’t understand each other correctly,” Feldman now says. “I thought he knew what I was talking about.”

The original article (now locked behind the Times's stupid pay wall) did not state that the photo was cropped or altered, but I erroneously assumed that it was. I don't know whether to believe that the choice of a photo that excluded Feldman and his girlfriend, among others, was intentional or not.

Regardless of the specifics of this case, from my personal experience and from the comments of the Orthodox bloggers that I read, most of whom also assumed the photo was altered but thought it was largely acceptable, I continue to think that Orthodox Judaism has a denial problem about those of us who leave or marry out and that they are unfairly cruel to us, albeit unintentionally.

(My original post on the subject and a follow-up.)


Anonymous said...

1. There was nothing left of his case that he was shunned. He admits that his friends are cordial to him. He was invited to the reunion. The photo was not cropped.

2. I think you are being quite unfair. I haven't read all the comments on your blog, but I saw some on this blog and on other blogs that said that cropping the photo was silly, petty, even dishonest, and that if they did want to omit his picture, they shouldn't have printed a photo at all. What commenters are reacting to is a guy who attacked the community publically in a very disingenuous way. He implied many things in the article without quite stating them, to preserve deniablity. (You can see this disingenuousness in the Jewish week article too, where he says that he can't tell if they chose the photo he wasn't in deliberately as though that is the same as cropping a photo, and he wasnt obliged to modify the essay to make it factually correct.)

This is from a guy who took on pro bono work against Orthodox Jewish interests (the eruv case) even though taking on that case contradicted his legal philosophy. The guy wrote a whole book supporting government tolerance of religious symbols in the public square, but took on a losing case, pro bono that was inconsistent with the principles he advocated in the book and was antiOJewish interests.

People are disinclined to cut him slack.

I don't see any evidence that commenters themselves would crop photos or would be cruel to those who leave Orthodoxy or intermarry. I only see people who are angry with a guy who shafted orthodoxy disingenuously in the NYTimes.

asher said...

I understand...see, even if the basis of the whole article isn't true it doesn't matter. So long as JA agrees with the conclusion what difference do the facts make?

This guy is a real piece of work. He purposely shows up with his Korean-American fiance when he knows all his cohorts are married with children. How kind of him. Then he gets pissed when they supposedly crop his photo.

Face facts, JA, the guy is full of himself. In his rambling article he fails to make anything resembling a point. The Times, which has always been critical of Jews, Orthodox Jews and Israel was salivating when it was printed this article. I mean, the article isn't timely, isn't newsworthy and brings nothing new to the table.

And, can imagine this is a law professor from Harvard writing. No wonder he doesn't practice law...he's above it. Any lawyer worth his salt (like myself who went to law school at night) would have at least investigated the cropping story before writing an article for the Times which he knew would be read by the public.

Oh, who cares?

Jimmy said...

Feldman played a number on both camps, those seeking to accuse OJ and OJ itself taking every opportunity to act slighted.

Anonymous said...

reading the article more carefully, he doesnt actually state the picture was cropped. Though that does seem to be implied.