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Purim Jokes Go Too Far
Wed, 03/13/2013

Purim is one of my favorite holidays, and I love the tradition of the Purim shpiel and Purim Torah making nonsense out of normally staid or even somewhat holy topics. But I was taken aback by your annual “Jewish Weak” Purim spoof (Feb. 22), in not one but two jokes about the sexual abuse of minors.

“Chasidic Rabbi Defends Pedophiles” and the longer “Jewish Backward Exposes ‘New’ Sex Scandal” both make light of a recent spate of revelations of rabbis in trusted positions taking sexual advantage of their students. Quoting the “Friskier Rebbe” implies that sexual abuse is just being “frisky,” sexually suggestive or slightly forward. There is nothing funny about the sexual abuse of children, no jokes to be mined from it that belittle it or make light of it in any way.

You have plenty of worthy fodder for great jokes — stick to Mayor Michael Bloomberg being the next pope and leave the sex abuse reporting to your paper’s serious side (where it is doing a fantastic job, by the way).

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