Helen Thomas and Bravo’s Princesses Long Island

Although I support my local Long Island paper which covers local news there is still room for improvement when it comes to issues about Jewish women and Israel. Last night I wrote a letter to the editor about the Sunday edition which had printed the death of Helen Thomas as a top story. In chronicling her life, a reporter said that Thomas had apologized for telling Jews to go home (regarding her infamous anti-Israel remarks.) Missing from this report was the rest of Thomas’ comment. In Thomas’ career changing interview she specifically had said that Jews should go home ‘to Germany and Poland.’ Also, the groundbreaking interviewer who broke that worldwide story happened to be a Long Island rabbi named Rabbi David Nesenoff. For a Long Island paper to ignore this fact added to a new level of my shock and dismay in reporting about Jews and Israel.

Recently I have been greatly disappointed by the positive focus given by the paper to a Long Island reality show that profits from the demeaning stereotype of Jewish women on Long Island as a ‘JAPS’. How is this type of anti-women racism acceptable? I thought that outdated anti-Semitic characterization was already deemed to be a societal and politically incorrect no-no.The show is called Princesses and perpetuates the worst stereotypes of Jewish women. Being a Jewish woman who grew up on Long Island without wealth and guided by the values of human rights and tikkun olam ‘repairing the world’, this stereotype personally undermines my whole life.  In my letter to the editor of the paper I suggest that the Long Island paper raise their collective consciousness. I say that the essence of a good journalist is to be able to separate personal prejudice in pursuit of the facts. After all that was the down fall of Helen Thomas.

About the Author
Rabbi Dr. Leslie Schotz serves the egalitarian Conservative synagogue called the Bay Shore Jewish Center. She was born on the block of the same shul; where her mother was educated as a girl growing up on a dairy farm nearby. Rabbi Schotz' parents were married on the very same bimah where Rabbi Schotz leads services, officiates at life cycle events and delivers sermons. Rabbi Schotz became a mourner for the first time when her father Hilbert Israel Schotz, of blessed memory, died. He is buried in the synagogue cemetery which has roots going back to the late 1800s. Rabbi Schotz is proud to serve a shul with the slogan "You don't have to pay to pray." They are a House of God welcome to all.