Certain Websites Destroying the Fabric of Our Communities: How Much Longer Will We Stand for It?

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matzav_networkBy Rabbi Yosef Shubert

Sometimes we see things that just don’t seem right. Last week, I had such an experience. I ask you to continue reading, because the message I will share here is powerful and is so important for the health and well-being of our frum kehillos across the country – and the world.

It all started last Thursday morning after I saw the Matzav.com report about Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin being placed in solitary confinement and having been threatened by a fellow inmate. The report said that this new inmate of Sholom Mordechai had threatened to kill him and threw him across the jail cell.

I am not involved in the effort to assist Sholom Mordechai, but I have followed his case as much as possible considering my hectic schedule, primarily by reading this site. I first saw the report Thursday morning, but noticed that the story had actually broken the night before. A bit later in the day, on my way to teach a class, I met a friend of mine and asked if he had seen the awful news about Sholom Mordechai. He said that he had heard about it, but had also been told that another website claimed that Sholom Mordechai was never threatened. I didn’t make much of our conversation at the time, but as I arrived home that evening, for some reason, the episode with Sholom Mordechai stuck in mind. On the one hand, I had seen on Matzav.com that Sholom Mordechai was threatened, and yet, my friend had told me that another website claimed it was not true.

It was too strange. Being an inquisitive person, I knew I had my work cut out for me.

Why would Matzav.com make up a story about Sholom Mordechai being threatened? I later read the mainstream media report and could not believe a word. I had read enough about Sholom Mordechai to know that something did not jibe.

I reread the Matzav report and got to work. I went ahead and did what this other website apparently never bothered to do. I made phone calls. I spoke to people involved in the Rubashkin case. What emerged was startling to me.

From those I spoke to, including those closely involved in the Rubashkin situation, I gathered that the incident with Sholom Mordechai and his inmate had occurred the day before. Sholom Mordechai was indeed threatened. There was absolutely no question about that. He was scared for his life – and for good reason. I learned some other details about his condition, his interactions in the jail, his matzav ruach, and his possible legal avenues. I learned that he had been a model prisoner. The mainstream media’s portrayal was as off-base as can be.

At the time the story was first reported on Matzav.com Wednesday evening, only a handful of people even knew that he had been threatened, and few people knew he had been placed in solitary confinement. The next morning, shortly before 8:30 a.m., the aforementioned website reported from a “government official who asked to remain anonymous,” that while Sholom Mordechai was placed in confinement, he was not threatened by other inmates.

Based on my discussions with those involved in the Rubashkin case, I concluded as follows:

1. At that point in time, at about 8 a.m. last Thursday, no “government” official was aware of the goings-on at the Linn County Correctional Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The only ones privy to what had taken place were the prison officials – not government officials – and several people close to Sholom Mordechai.

2. This report on the website first stated in its headline that “officials” had denied that Sholom Mordechai was threatened and later changed it to one “official.” Was it one or was it several who made the claim?

3. If, in fact, an official at the prison was contacted – and let me tell you, I have tried to contact the prison, and getting any information is like pulling teeth – it is hard to imagine that any official would tell anyone over the phone what was going on in the prison. Perhaps this unnamed person who answered the phone at the Linn County Correctional Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, said that they are “not aware of any threats made” to any inmates. That, however, is very different than denying the threats. Of course this assumes that such a phone call was actually placed and someone at the prison even responded. As I mentioned, that is highly unlikely.

Anyone who has dealt with the jail knows that this whole scenario is so remote that it is plainly preposterous.

However, for the sake of our discussion here, as far-fetched as it may be, let us say that after Matzav.com reported that Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin was threatened, this other site proceeded to speak with the unnamed “government official” who claimed that there was no threat.

What exactly was the purpose of reporting that he wasn’t threatened based on the claim of a [non-Jewish] government official? Was it to paint Sholom Mordechai in a negative light without knowing anything – nothing at all – about the case and what happened?

This much I can tell you with certainty based on my extensive investigation. Even if this mysterious, unnamed “government official” had told this website what they claim he or she said, they were completely unaware of Sholom Mordechai’s condition and they had no idea what had preceded his being placed in solitary confinement or any details about what had gone on at the Linn County Correctional Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. They were completely ignorant of the case, and I know that for a fact, because those who are in the know never spoke to them. But did that stop them from putting out the report early Thursday morning? No. Apparently, this “government official” was enough for them. The fact that it might hurt Sholom Mordechai didn’t matter. 8:27 a.m. EST was the perfect time to release this unfounded, flawed report. Couldn’t they make a phone call to find out what really happened? How about some basic research and investigation? It appears that that would have been too hard, even when the person involved is a frum Yid.

A Yid was cursed at, beat up, and threatened, and a so-called Jewish website decided to rely on some official – who either exists or doesn’t – to report, bright and early in the morning, that the Yid wasn’t threatened.

Are you starting to see the picture here? Are you starting to see what is wrong?

Could it be that the website, in their zeal to show that they are “on top of the news,” recklessly released a poorly written and totally spurious report that, according to those close to Sholom Mordechai, was absolutely damaging to him? Is “getting the scoop” all that matters – even when it is totally untrue?

Does anyone protest? Does anyone say a word? No. We sit back, we pay no attention, and we allow a website to do damage to a Yid in irresponsible fashion.

This case, which I researched thoroughly and could not be more certain about, is just one example of how we continue to allow certain websites – not all, but some – to literally tear apart the fabric of our communities and cause damage to fellow Yidden on a daily basis. They suffer no consequences, they pay no price, and they continue on without any action being taken.

Two years ago, the same website printed a false and potentially damaging report about Dor Yeshorim. At the time, a secular Jewish newspaper ran the story, which was critical of a particular aspect of the renowned genetic testing organization. The editors, publishers and most of the readership of that newspaper have almost no connection to the frum community, which has been fortunate to utilize Dor Yeshorim for pre-marital genetic screening for the past quarter-century. Most people would never have even known about the article, except that this supposedly “ultra-frum” website – actually, the site calls itself “Orthodox” – feeling that a controversial story would elicit readers and comments, published the attack without thinking of the ramifications of the laws of lashon harah, rechilus and motzie sheim rah. This, of course, exacerbated the motzie sheim rah, as many uninformed readers decided to comment on something they knew nothing about.

This website, as it has done numerous times before, reported the lies, knowing that a slanderous story about a well-known organization would generate feedback and comments, which is all that matters, apparently, to the anonymous proprietor(s) of the site.

Amazingly, virtually no one took this site to task for posting the story. The lone criticism came in an article by Rabbi Yosef C. Golding of Rofeh Cholim Cancer Society (RCCS), who is a board member of Dor Yeshorim. Rabbi Golding’s article, published shortly after the website shamefully posted the story, provided some background information. About one year ago, I reported about that debacle on this site.

But what happened after that? Nothing. That site continued operating – and its advertisers continued advertising. The non-anonymous writers for that site continued their affiliation without any protest.

Think for a second what would happen if any newspaper or print media would publish a slanderous report such as the one about Dor Yeshorim, or a baseless report such as the one about Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin. They would pay the price, believe me. Their advertisers would feel pressure to pull out, their subscribers would cancel, and immense pressure would be applied to their writers to disassociate themselves from such a publication.

In the aforementioned case, the website never apologized for the slanderous report about Dor Yeshorim. Not a word of remorse.

I understand that people make mistakes. That’s what apologies are for. We are all human. No one is perfect. But when people refuse to apologize and are continually defiant, it means that thay don’t care. It means that they aren’t concerned about the consequences of their actions. How immensely dangerous that is…

In the recent case regarding Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin, the website in question never did their due diligence. Instead, several hours after their careless and unsubstantiated morning report, they published a story about Sholom Mordechai from the secular media.

Once again, did they make one phone call to find out the truth? No.

Did they contact anyone involved in the Rubashkin case for details? No, they did not. I know that for a fact.

How much longer will we put up with this nonsense? How much longer will we allow such a website to operate with complete abandon, tearing apart our community and its members? How much longer will people keep reading an uncensored, out-of-control website that couldn’t care less about the general well-being of our communities and Yidden in general? How much longer will we allow frum businesses to get away with advertising on a website whose ideals and levels of moderation are contrary to kedushas Yisroel? How much longer will we allow writers and educators to publicly associate themselves with such a website?

Enough of the bizayon. We should not be tolerating this. The damage that this particular website rendered last week with their fictitious report should be enough to sound the alarm bells and proclaim that we have allowed things to go too far.

Let us support those, such as YeshivaWorld, who would never have committed or been associated with such gross misreporting. Let us support those whose aim is to stand up and protect our community members, and let us finally remove from our midst the cancers who each day are slowly destroying the very fabric of our communities.

This isn’t just an article or exposĂ©. This is a call for action. We cannot wait any longer.

{Rabbi Yosef Shubert-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. Let this be a lesson – anything read on the web must be taken “with a grain of salt”.
    In this age of Real-time media there is much out there which is at best inaccurate or even patently false.

  2. I’ll agree with you 100%.However Let’s not forget Al Pi Shnayim Eidim Yukim Duvar.I’ve learned not to believe anything anymore. I don’t care how reputable an organization ,paper ,or wesite is there are too many people pulling in all different directions whether it is for money, prestige kuvod or anything else that you can’t believe anything anymore.

  3. You’ve got to be kidding me..

    Please, for everyone’s sake, get off the high horse on your own, ’cause when you get knocked off you may break a leg.

  4. they should be required to make a public apology to Dor Yeshorim
    they should haver to call the Rubashkins and apologize
    they should apologize to klal yisroel for ruining jewish lives

  5. WOW Rabbi Shubert you hit it right on the nail!
    I’m sending out this article to my email list. Let the world know the truth!

    Thank you

  6. Let’s get a few things straight. First of all the title is misleading. Nobody is destroying the fabric of our communities. If someone or something is, its not that website! What an absolute joke!! If anything MACHLOKES is what destroys the fabric of our community.
    Why can’t you let it go? That is a worthy news site and so are you. you make yourselves look childish.
    Ill be very surprised if this gets posted at all. Everyone knows how you moderate all comments that actually speak the truth and an opinion contrary to yours.

  7. Are there not rules for reporting news if one is in the Journalism Profession? Should not a news organization confirm its sources directly? If it has not confirmed a story, should it not simply state that it is only repeating what other sources have reported. News must be credible or it is just fiction.

  8. we have no backbone. no one is ever willing to do anything. we sit aroung making believe the internet doesn’t exist, so how can we take action against a website that is causing problems? how about starting with the people who publish their stuff on the site?

  9. Rabbi Hubert you hit the nail on the head
    today that website lied about Rubashkin.
    Yesterday they defamed Dor Yeshoirm
    tomorrow they will publish a libel about you – YES YOU , ANY OF YOU – and you will be wondering why they get away with it

  10. The cancer destroying the community is too little skepticism, not too much. But sure, feel free to stick your head in the sand, Rabbi Shubert, and imagine that all the problems in the Jewish community are due to slanderous websites and anti-semitism or whatever else people like to blame things on.

  11. Unfortunately, if you look at the web sites, their pictures and what is allowed to be published in the comments, they should all close or be brought under rabbinic scrutiny. One web site posts ridiculous pictures that charaterize people and serious situations, they also break sensational news that is erroneous, and while I do not know which site this writer is referring to, all of these sites should be held to a very high standard of appropraiteness and truth. There were twenty-five newspapers in Warsaw before the war and they expressed every possible point of view. I don’t know that I, you, or anyone else authorized any of these web sites to represent the Orthodox community. Do they have a mandate from the Gedolei Yisroel?

  12. It’s not the SMR case or the the Dor Yeshurim case all you have to do is read the headlines on the same story from Matzav and this other site. Just subtle changes adding/removing only one word… you know what i mean.
    In the last few days, it could be a interesting psak by a Gadol or a chance to poke fun at Ashkenzim, a Chatzitzah or a problem with married women going to the Mikveh, etc.

  13. The blog problem is a real problem, it is a Cancr in our frum society. Posts are posted without proper research, people’s hatred are as clear as clear can get. The many stories that this very same website has posted in the past is horrific. How can “frum” webhost post such terrible stories without properly checking. I for one have done research on a story which this website posted and found it to be just the opposite of what they were reporting.

    People who hosts such website should not be welcomed in our Kehilos, they should not be given Alyias to. Why are they any different than any other rotzchim? They assasinate people’s character.
    Just my personal opinion.

  14. I constantly post comments on that site against them and their policy of fomenting rechilus and slander. I challenge them to print it. Lately they have printed some of my anti-website postings. They know that my comments won’t sway anybody. It would be wonderful if somehwo it were closed down. But a boyciott coming from readers won’t do anything. The potential advertisers must boycott them. And I’m afraid that won’t happen because it’s a cheap way for mosdos too, to reach a broad readership.

  15. You will find errors even in what most would call responsible print media. Any time you read an article about a topic where you have inside information, you notice at least one and probably many mistakes. You can clearly extrapolate that at least as many errors are present on a topic of which you have no personal knowledge.

    I think the print media are also guilty of the “rush to print” – calling families of aveilim during the levayah to make sure to get the info into tomorrow’s paper, etc, etc.

    On the other hand, most fact-checking is neglected, as that takes too much time! I know of at least two cases where the paper listed a living person as being in the next world.

  16. I dont get it. If R Shubert feels so strongly about “this site”, why dont you post their name? Whats the deal with the guesswork?

  17. Rabbi Yosef Shubert Great work keep it up! at least there is one normal Yiddish site. the rest should go out of business as they bring Machlokas / Slander / Lies and prolong the bringing of Moshiach

  18. If you would’ve seen the amount of deleted comments at that vicious exposure story here on Matzav (including mine), you would’ve seen the protests. That website really wouldn’t care if they were banned as it is officially a rabbanim-bashing website.

    While I agree with you that a protest should be called for. I think it is much too late. We are at fault for ignoring it till today. I can count numerous organizations that were ripped upon on that website one-sided.

    I was banned for a while on that site for standing up and leaving ‘spam’ comments supporting Rabbanim and Orgs. (that was of course never posted). Everyone that was never accepted in the community found a place where to give his ‘opinion’ and ‘piece of mind’. Every piece of dirt and spat against the Jewish nation reported in any unrecognized site was picked up by them and made famous.

    Where were we till now. It’s time we boycott them. Draft an official ban against that organization and its advertisers. The askanim that were and are always busy with equal or less significant matters, should delve into this, place phone calls to advertisers, make sure all ‘filters’ restrict this site and we will show the world that ‘Yesh Manhig L’Birah’…

  19. Rabbi Shubert,
    Are you serious? This is destroying the fabric of our community? I can only think of a few dozen things that may come before that. The other website is entitled to their opnion and I can choose to disagree but your rant is over done.
    Chag samaech!

    Matzav.com editor responds:
    Overdone? So destroying Jewish lives and organizations counts for nothing?

  20. I call on all Kosher filtering services to block that vicious website (that I would name that site here if the Matzav editor would oblige).

    I plea to all advertisers to pull their advertisements off that malicious site right now (and I bli neder won’t ever support any company, business, institution or organization that advertises there.

    And a call to all Rabbanim and Askanim. Come out forcefully with a Cherem and Nidui against that anti-Torah site.

  21. To #28: You are right “The other website is entitled to their opnion”
    But when you see a pattern of Rabbonim and Mosdos bashing going on that site’s since its inception you know that there a war going on the internet, its a war of whos going to influence us the most, how we precieve rabbonim and mosdos which are the backbones of our communities.

    And many heimishe people dont “chap” that they are slowly being brainwashed to think against the “establishment”, because that site is a so-called “hiemishe” site.

  22. We can vote with our money! Organize a petition online with people who will agree not to patronize their advertisers. Call or email their advertisers that unless they stop their ads within 1 week, we will boycott their businesses. That is the only way to do it.

  23. anyone who reads this site knows that everything about sholom rubashkin here ahs been accurate

    what the other site wrote is damaging ebc. it makes it look like the rubashkin supporters are just making uop stories for syympathy. obviously that is not the case.
    the fact that he was threatened is a very important point bec. it shows who was responsible for the altercvation

    may they be punished for what they have done to hurt a yid

  24. Giving an opinion does not destroy organizations. And how exactly did this destroy lives? In most cases the other website is just repeating news. They don’t shy away from controversy and
    Rabbi Shubert thank you for your sharing your opinion. I think you are making a mountain out of a mole hill.

  25. Please, let’s ban it somehow. We have to. There is no choice. These people should not even be considered frum. It’s one thing to have open reporting, it’s another when a site is malicious. In that case we have the right to protest. We need to come up with another word though – as the word “ban” has been maligned. It should be called something else.

  26. rabbi shubert, great article, but why don’t you lead the effort? why don’t you confront thw writer who seems to be employed by them and ask him how he can work for a site that prints lies about yidden. rabbi shubert, why don’t you ask rabbi yaakov horowitz how he can keep an affiliation with such a site?

  27. “Does anyone protest? Does anyone say a word? No. We sit back, we pay no attention, and we allow a website to do damage to a Yid in irresponsible fashion.”

    No, we don’t protest, because we don’t visit that site, and are therefore unaware of what they print. Visiting that site allows them to increase the amount they charge for ads. Reading what they wrote gives them validity; ignoring them decreases their ad revenue and their publicity.

  28. I was finding R’ Shuberts article very interesting until the last paragraph. Telling us to suppoort another news blog? Feh! Support Matzav and that’s it.

  29. rabbi shubertput your money Where your mouth is and go to the rabanim you have access use it doesnÂ’t take much to talk LETS SEE YOU DO IT!!!

  30. Lets start a website, listing all the advertisers to that website. I will get 50 people to promise not to buy anything from these advertisers. when we will have 10 thousand boy-cotters things will change

  31. I’m surprised that none of your readers commented about the huge chillul Hashem web site that spreads all the filth in a specific area. True or not, that site doesn’t hesitate to bashmutz any moised, person, gadol, rav, askin, or chessed organization.

  32. another ex-reader- BH

    I’m not much of a writer, so it’s hard for me to express my anger through writing. I simply can’t fathom how frum yidden can read that website, let alone advertise there. R’ Shubert, I’m no baki in Hilchos Shmiras HaLashon, but woudln’t such a situation require public verbal/ written deffamation? I also used to visit that site and tried to stick up for the truth, but I stopped going there because I DON’T WANT TO RUIN MY NESHAMA!
    Threre’s so much stress about “the dangers of the net”, ie, pritzus websites etc. I’m no rabbi, but I would think that the Avera of Vlo Sasuru definitely applies to that site
    R’ Amnon Yitzchak has at times referred to the media as ’tishkoret’ (instead of tikshoret). He explained that the media is meant to connect people – kesher/ tikshoret, however many times it accomplishes the exact opposite with its lies- sheker/tishkoret. I feel that a site such as the one discussed here has been very matzliach in that respect; creating great Sinas Yisroel and great distance between Jews. And of course the worst part is that it’s under the guise of a frum website. How come no one knows who’s the editor/owner of that site? Why is he so scared for his life, yet apparently has no fear for Yom haDin?! What about the readers of that site? Have they got no fear of Heaven? In a way I feel bad for them. They have many people praying for their destruction, perhaps themselves included. We say thrice daily “v’Lamalshinim Al Tehi Tikva Vchol Harisha Krega Toved Vchol Oyvei Amcha Mehayra Yikaraysu”…

    I don’t know what the solution is. They say “the best way to sell a book is to ban it.” But perhaps that idiom is only true for some people, not those who are G-d fearing. How unfortunate we are, how orphaned we are, that we need our rabbis to tell us “don’t visit a website that’s full of Loshon Haro, Motzei Shem Ra, Sinas Chachamim, Znus. It’s not good for your Neshama.” I would like to think that this is a matter that any Jew that has an ounce of Yiras Shamayim, should be able to understand on his own.

    I’m sorry for my rant, Matzav. I guess I’m just a bit jealous of Shmuel Mliskin’s priviledges. I don’t know if my ranting helped anyone but I would like to reiterate my plea. Please fellow Jews- for your own sakes, don’t visit sites such as the one discussed in Rabbi Shubert’s article which only propogate Sinas Yisroel. I can promise you, you won’t feel like a more erlich yid going to sleep that night after you read that site.

    And a big Shkoiach to R’ Shubert and Matzav for publishing this article. You obviously took a big risk here since yesh harbay minim ba’olam and there will be those who think that this article’s intent was to boost Matzav. But a person can sense Yiras Shamayim and I sensed it in this article.

  33. Please tell me what this slandering website is. Otherwise I’ll just assume that they are right and Matzav is gulity of slandering. Saying “they are very bad and I won’t tell who, but they are” is infantile.

    You may send an email to editor@matzav.com for further information.


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