Rabbi Jill Jacobs Tips Her Cap to Voice Slumlords Piece


Rabbi Jill Jacobs, a key interviewee in our December 8 cover story about Jewish slumlords, “Beyond Belief,” took her arguments to the mainstream media — the Daily News — in an op-ed riff yesterday about the Voice‘s story.

In “Jew or Not, a Crook’s a Crook,” the activist rabbi from the Conservative branch gave several tips of the hat to what she called our “provocative” article. She also acknowledged the rarity of Jewish leaders talking about such matters in the mainstream press.

As Jacobs wrote:

Some have asked: Why air dirty laundry in the pages of secular newspapers like The Village Voice and the Daily News? Why not conduct an internal conversation in Jewish newspapers? First of all, in the Internet age, the boundary between public and private has largely disappeared. Jews no longer have secret conversations in Yiddish in the pages of the Forverts [Forward]. Now, Jewish newspapers are accessible to anyone with a Web connection.

Furthermore, far more Jews read The Village Voice, the Daily News and The New York Times than their local Jewish paper. Like other ethnic and religious groups, Jews can now have communal conversations in the secular media.

Jacobs previously called out her co-religionists who were exploiting their tenants in an article last April for the Forward, “When Slumlords Are Us.” That piece had been prompted by our “Ten Worst Landlords” two-parter the previous month. Our list of slumlords included several religious Jews.