The Matzav Shmoooze: Writing Rubbish

37

newspapersDear Editor,

Someone sent me this sentence from an article he said he read: “This business of Rabbi’s in Israel saying that John Kerry is picking a fight with God is crazy and irresponsible.” I don’t know where it is from and my friend wouldn’t tell me. The reason he sent it to me was to show me the way the author wrote “Rabbi’s,” capitalized and with an apostrophe. My friend wrote to me: “Look at this. It’s from an editorial in a Jewish publication. Rabbi’s? Is this a joke? Do people not know an ounce of grammar? Do they have no respect for their readers?”

I believe my friend is right. How come there is such widespread ignorance? Why do we, frum readers, not demand more?

My friend added that much of the ignorance he was referring to, including the “Rabbi’s” gaffe he mentioned, is in the free periodicals thrown around certain Jewish neighborhoods. But that still doesn’t explain the utter dumbness and poor quality of the writing. The advertisers and readers should be demanding more.

You’d think that a most basic education would ensure that an editor somewhere knows to write “This business of rabbis,” not, “This business of Rabbi’s.” The stupidity is unbelievable.

A Reader

New York

{Matzav.com Newscenter}

37 COMMENTS

  1. This type of article is why we as jews are going to fail in the common world. We are so uptight about one small example and not the entire scope of reality. And thus we lay down our common sense on a daily basis to be a squalor of limited brevity in the world of cancelled friends. I guess you can argue either way on that sentence above and it really does not bother me the way that they wrote it. Yet the unnamed “reader” has written a massive complicated assault on the entire dignity of just one smile on the fax of many commentaries. I would suppose that “reader” is more of a stickler for his own commodity. If you have an issue with the education of the community- do something. Give a donation to a university but do not make my day a focus of your policing the internet. A garbage man might be more straight than the writer of the above commentary. Dismal society here on Matzav.

  2. I wholeheartedly agree with your contention that the level of literacy in our “frum” magazines is an embarrassment of epic proportions, and makes them almost painful to read.

  3. Calm down & get a life! You clearly have to much time on your hands. Is this your biggest worry in life? Why don’t you get married?

  4. The writer is writing on a typic he doesn’t know exists never saw the article or editorial doesn’t know from where it comes or even if it exists. And you publish this. Sorry but you have sunk to bottom of my list
    His friend told him he saw but won’t tell him where to find it and you accept it as true. Fool me once shame on you
    Purim isn’t for several weeks

  5. Thank you for pointing out our error. We are the editors of the publication that you have referenced. We had hired a copy editor who handled this particular article. She was a former almana who had just remarried, her new husband being a kollel yungerman. That day she was rather harried, taking care of the children and all and missed the error. You will be happy to learn, however, that we did fire her because her “stupidity is unbelievable.”

  6. He is right. If they don’t know English, maybe they should write in Yiddish or Loshon kodesh. 😉 But who knows if they would do better with them.

    Rav Yissochor Frand shlit”a relates in one of his English works that Rav Mordechai Gifter zt”l told him to be careful to use impeccable English when he speaks, to make a kiddush Hashem.

  7. I am not in anyway defending the writing on this or any other periodical (which leave much to be desired) — but perhaps ?? ??? ????:

    The free periodicals are the ones most likely not to be able to afford an editor to review submissions for error

    We all make mistakes; I personally would have liked to see another comma in your letter and perhaps another preposition or two.

  8. This very well may have to do with our overpriced tuition-to-underperforming-secular-studies ratio.
    As a board member of the largest yeshiva system in Michigan, I can say with certainty that this is an unfortunate product by design.
    There is a stigma felt by an influential few that to have a stellar secular program – or even one on par with state public school standards – is too “unfrum”. These fine folks who do raise incredible funds, are likely dealing with internal personal issues as those of us who are close to them are all too familiar with these facts.
    You wouldn’t know by looking, as they are modern businessmen who would otherwise seem to push for higher educational standards

  9. If you write about reform guys who call themselves rabbis, you should write “This business of rabbi’s.” However, if you write about holy Rabbis, yes, you should capitalize it to show respect.

  10. ATTENTION #6 Jr:
    YOU WRITE: Just vait till you cee vhat da readers right about your articel

    AY VEEL ZTELL YOOO VAT AY TINK.
    VUZ? YEAH? FOIST LETS SMUZZ AVITTLE YEAH?
    SHHHNOOPS AND A VITTLE O DIS AND A VITTLE O DAS
    YEAH?

    MAY AXENT IS NO COREKTA CAUSSE I MOOVE FRRUM
    VILLAIMSBOORG TO BORRRO PAAARRK, YEAH?

  11. #5: You are a perfect example of the subject of the article, except to the opposite extreme: rubbish garbed in a lame attempt at sophisticated English.

    “Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

  12. It looks like many have forgotten that the vast amount that Rabbi Moshe Sherer accomplished for klal Yisrael during his lifetime, was largely due to his ability to articulate his message when he “spoke before kings”. Homiletics IS extremely important!

  13. The lack of proper grammar, misused punctuation and just plain bad English is to be blamed on schools who think that these things are less important or not important at all.

    I conducted a survey of Jewish jail Inmates over the past two decades and found that many, almost all of them have something in common. They have a poor command of the English language and they don’t think following “little” laws such as jaywalking, lying on applications, speeding, smoking weed, shoplifting, etc. is important. When they get caught committing a crime they find excuses and/or blame someone or something else for their indiscretions.

    The proper use of English is important. Obeying all laws even “little ones” is required.

    When I attended Yeshiva, many years ago, we would say the Pledge of Allegiance every morning. They Menahel (a Satmerer Chusid) would lead us in the Pledge. Today this is ossur like avoida zoro.

  14. To albert einstein: i agree with #5. i will say it more simply to the point. MURKIER UNDERBELLIES FLESH OUT THE RUBBISH. ACERBIC COMMENTS ARE MERE RANTS OF A CLUTTERED MIND.READ THE HANDWRITING AND SMELL A POIGNANT AFTERTHOUGHT BEFORE YOU TROUNCE THE OPPOSITION!

  15. Only the people who read this trash read that trash. You’ve posted in the right place.

    PS Only those who write this trash write that…

  16. Ah, it is a frum problem is it?! Never do we find these goofs in secular, respected magazines and papers — do we? Ah, my friend, you are the perfect example of the self-hating Jew. There is no less illiteracy in the outside world — I work in an environment totally of non-Jews and let me tell you the English language is murdered daily by my co-workers. It makes one yearn for the mistakes of rabbi’s. And, (yes I began my sentence with and – -writer’s privilege), I would never hire you as a writer. You lack the flair, are not grammatically inclined to be right and are just a plain old kvetch, to be quite honest. If you are such a stickler for the fine-tuning of words, I suggest you indulge in buying a copy of Eats, Shoots and Leaves which might be a way for your to find your kindred spirit in being up-in-arm over “dumbness” which in itself is a form of “dumbness”.

  17. to #26:
    I get a daily attack on my dignity as a writer even though I use concise language, trust in Hashem, better eloquence than the average popeye smurf online and a smile in my eye. I take it as a gratuity. A blessing is a curse that is perpetuated by its own insipid answer of poorer minded blame. And I smile every time someone thinks it is a need so egregious to shake a stick at my prayer.

  18. If you want a job outside the heimishe community, you had better be able to write grammatical English. Correct spelling is also required. A resume with a typo or a grammatical error goes straight into the round file (wastebasket). If you can’t write reasonable English on the job, you won’t have it long. Yes, we need stronger secular studies departments, and school administrations who take them seriously.

  19. Although I strongly agree with the general point of the post, nevertheless, one needs to differentiate between a rare error, and a publication regularly replete with them.

  20. The great writer e e cummings despised all

    punctuation

    So who cares?

    If you really do,
    the publications are, unfortunately, so replete and suffused with other inaccuracies,that how big of a deal could a few misspellings be

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