An Apology From The Jewish Week On Tebow Column
12/15/11
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We apologize for posting an Opinion column on Dec. 14 by Rabbi Joshua Hammerman entitled “My Problem With Tim Tebow,” the Denver Broncos quarterback who is an Evangelical Christian. The column, in fact, violated our own standards calling for civility in posting comments on our website. The policy statement notes that “name calling in any form will not be tolerated, and comments that denigrate any religion or Jewish religious stream will always be rejected.”

The column was removed from our website later that day.

Rabbi Hammerman is a respected spiritual leader and longtime Jewish Week columnist whose writing over the years has been exemplary. This column, however, was more inciting than insightful, and we erred in posting it, which we deeply regret.

Repentance and forgiveness are cornerstones of all major faiths, as is the recognition that we all make mistakes. We trust that the sincerity of our remorse, as expressed by the rabbi as well, will be taken into account by those whom we offended.

The rabbi’s comment follows:

“I have spent my entire career engaged in dialogue with people of all faiths while speaking out passionately against intolerance and extremism. I have the deepest respect for those who are committed to their faith, including Mr. Tebow. I realize the way in which I attempted to make my points was clumsy and inappropriate, calling to mind the kind of intolerance and extremism my article was intended to disparage. I sincerely apologize to Mr. Tebow, his family, the Broncos and Patriots and all those whom I may have offended.”

Last Update:

04/02/2012 - 17:07

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I appreciate your apology concerning your incorrect and defamatory comments toward Christians and Tim Tebow. I hope the apology is sincere. I have to ask though: Do you really believe that every Christian is going to engage the activities that you referred to simply because of Tebow? That is absurd. I am a Christian and I like Tebow, but I still root for the Houston Texans. If Tebow wins the SB I am not going to happy. And even if I was why would I engage in the activities that you referred to? I wouldn't. Your comments are illogical and silly. I'm not going to hold a grudge, but I am going to watch your writings going forward and see if your intolerance and ignorance of Christians and Christianity continues in the future.

To all the Christian readers:

My heart breaks as I read Hammerman's opinion piece. I felt sick as I read the things he wrote. I can only imagine how hurtful and painful his comments were to you.

I teach (in addition to Communicating with Compassion), tele-courses on Micah 6:8: "What does God ask of you? Only to do what is just, to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God."

This--doing what is just and kind and humble--is the essence of our Jewish tradition. What Hammerman wrote is NOT who we are or what we are about.

It almost seems so trite to say that today, a time when lack of civility and rudeness have become the order of the day in so many quarters. But for both Jews and Christians, 'love your neighbor as yourself' includes treating others with respect and dignity.

The First Amendment can be an unpleasant freedom and especially when exercised recklessly, arrogantly and without respect for others as Rabbi Hammerman and The Jewish Week have elected to do.

Even so, there is at least one blessing and one retribution in the midst of Rabbi Hammerman's ugliness.

The blessing? Rabbi Hammerman has willingly exposed his bigoted view of Christians thus allowing others to know the true ways of his heart. His lack of sincere apology afterwards provides further confirmation.

And the retribution? Rabbi Hammerman's stated bigotry will now live on for the world to witness. Christians may be forgiving but the internet is not. What a terrible legacy for any man to leave behind much less a Rabbi.

Though he takes a very different tact, Mr. Tebow, like Rabbi Hammerman, has also exercised his First Amendment right by expressing freely and without censorship his religious beliefs.

But what a difference motivation makes. Mr. Tebow's First Amendment expression is done with the intent to glorify the God he worships while Rabbi Hammerman's focus is on glorifying himself at the expense of Mr. Tebow and Christians around the world.

Not exactly my image of a Godly man.

Rabbi Hammerman, after reading your apology I re-read your article and agree that the way you attempted to make your points by being, what I would describe as, insulting to Mr. Tebow, his mother, political opponents, those less educated than yourself, as well as other geographical regions of the country was “inappropriate”. However, rather than being “clumsy”, I found your points quite clear and my offensive is in reaction to them not because I did not understand you.

You did an effective job of highlighting your fear of a Denver Broncos Superbowl victory for a number of reasons including a) American Christians will behave in a barbaric fashion against their fellow man b) America would become less inclusive c) There would be an increase in both the amount and success of Christian proselytizing. Additionally, you shared your fear of people of "certainty" and then helpfully placed the branches of the major religions into either the scary "certainty" side or the "doubt" side with which you seemed much more comfortable.

I am offended because while you profess tolerance, you sow fear. I am offended because while you call for inclusiveness, you draw lines. I do not know you, your heart, nor your struggles, and I wish you no ill will, but if this represents who you are I hope you will find through this experience that you can be better. I, in turn, will reflect upon how I can avoid making similar mistakes in my own life.

When I was in high school Isreal became a nation. I was so proud that the jewish people had a nation of their own and I have never lost that pride for them and every night I remember them in my prayers. I m a Christian
And a big Tebow fan and I was sadden to read such hatred for christians from a Rabbi. His apology was empty for I think he really hates Christians. I think the Jewish weekly should read their rules at the beginning of this page. They certainly threw them in the trash when it came to Rabbi Hammerman's article.

May God forgive both of them for they betrayed Him.

Congratulations on making the big time: USA Today ran an article today On this apology, with major excerpts from Rabbi Hammermon's piece. He dropped a jagged little pebble in the pond? Fortunately for your -- and his -- relations with the rest of the country we all live in, they skipped the ever so clever bits about HeeHaw and Republicans. I think I'll vote straight Republican in the next election -- my effort toward tikkun olam.

Rabbi Hammerman owes an apology to all Jews in America for spewing his irrational, paranoid bigotry onto a worldwide platform. If he's not willing to do that, he has no business calling himself a rabbi.

"I realize the way in which I attempted to make my points was clumsy and inappropriate, calling to mind the kind of intolerance and extremism my article was intended to disparage."

Can I offer an edit?

"Since I was called out on it, I'll just try saying that the way I attempted to make my points was clumsy and inappropriate, since they clearly demonstrate the kind of intolerance and extremism I feel in my heart."

Sadly, multiple individuals, above and beyond Hammerman, had to be complicit in (that specifically means 'chose to allow') the publication of his sad and hateful opinion.

Further: "Rabbi Hammerman is a respected spiritual leader..." For me, these few words cast profound doubt on the sincerity of this publication's apology. After all, unless this article was some accidental or freakish out-of-character departure for Hammerman, the people around him know precisely how he feels about Christians. Anyone that respects a man who so freely and loudly offers such bigoted words very likely believes those words himself. This wafer-thin apology is, absolutely and certainly, the very-very-very least you could do. You're in my prayers.

I was raised Catholic and am agnostic, probably more universalist than anything (how can an all knowing alll loving god exclude x% of the world's population for having been born in India, China, Europe, Israel). I have atheist friends, hindu friends, jewish friends, etc.

This dumbfounds me! As a lifelong Denver Bronco fan, I actually agreed with Jake Plumber's commentary that I would like Tebow more when he finally stopped thanking his Lord all the time. Though frankly, I was even more impressed with Tebow's response: http://usat.ly/tGgDK8

If a Christian periodical had printed a similar op-ed by a priest talking about how if a outwardly jewish person succeeded churches and mosques would be set ablaze the ADL would rain holy hell upon the author.

To defend the rabbi as "a respected spiritual leader" rings hollow...if you respect hateful speech - then you are hateful. Decide what you stand for, Jewish Week. Seems like you stand for little.

The Rabbi's "apology" is feeble and your decision to publish this tripe and not openly condemn it shows who Jewish Week really is.

Imagine my surprise, after reading Rabbi Hammerman's provocative opinion piece, to learn that he was active in interfaith relations.

Insulting Mr. Tebow -- a public figure -- is one thing, but accusing Christians of mob violence is quite another. If the Rabbi had similarly castigated Muslims, he would be arranging to employ private security now.

Why is it open season on bashing Christians in today's society? Perhaps we have been too forgiving of slights.

Rabbi needs to be fired. That's what would happen if he were a Christian saying that about a man of any other faith.

Rabbi Hammerman is a bigot and his "apology" was a standard non-apology.

I appreciate Jewish Weeks admission of error in publishing the column, however, the rabbi's apology is telling. He says the way he made his point was clumsy and inappropriate, but it was the point he was making that was so offensive, not the method he used to make the point. His column surely reveals how he truly feels otherwise he would not have written the words. And now it is too late to take them back. Its kind of like an extended "Freudian Slip". Rabbi, yes, you really said did say those things out loud, and your inner feelings have been revealed to the world. The mirror of reality has reflected back to you how lost & confused your soul really is. You should try again on that apology and consider a repentant redirection of your life.
Psalm 51:17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.

Leave the rabbi out of this. Any competent editor would have removed the offending remarks in the column. The fault lies with the editors of the Jewish Week, not the writer. Gary Rosenblatt published the column. We assume he read it first and approved of it. If he did, he should resign. And if he didn't read it, he should resign.

Congratulations, guys -- today you were mocked in the Wall Street Journal, in editor Taranto's Best of the Web column.

The thing that angers me as an active member of the Jewish community is that Rabbi Hammerman did not see anything wrong with writing that blatantly bigoted piece, and editors of The Jewish Week did not think anything wrong with publishing it. It's all very nice that apologies are issued afterward, but slapping a band-aid over open heart surgery is about all the good that will do. The Internet never forgets, and this one is going to be around longer than sneering Hee-Haw references, which only showed that Rabbi Hammerman and his editors are out of touch old fogeys as well as Oikophobes.

Rabbi Hammerman's comments explain a lot.

They explain him and his ilk - anti Religion - with a capital R. This Jew will take Beck, Hagee, and Bachmann as friends and neighbors and wishes to be kept as far from this 'rabbi' as possible. How he draws a line from Tebow to gay-bashing and burning mosques is beyond me. I wonder what this actual bigot would have said if Tebow were a devout Muslim.....

Rabbi Hammerman needs to carefully search his heart.

Luke 6:45 The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.

Wow! ??????????? This cuts to the bone! Wow! Wow! Wow!

Rabbi Hammerman's "apology' amounts to "I'm sorry you were offended by the truth; I guess my messaging could have been better."

Shame on the Jewish Week for winking at Hammerman's bigotted hit piece by publishing his insulting, disingenuous apology.

This is one Jew who's rooting for Tim Tebow.

If a major religious figure made the statements about Judaism that Rabbi Hammerman did about Christianity and then asked for forgiveness, we, at the very least would recommend that said leader spend time learning about Judaism so as to never be so ignorant again. Let me similarly suggest that Rabbi Hammerman go and meet with a wide range of Christian Leaders (not just the handful of ones he's felt comfortable doing Interfaith work with in the past) and really learn why his column was so offensive. Now THAT would be Teshuvah. Rabbi Hammerman, as a lifelong Conservative Jew you represent me and you embarrassed me. Please make me (us) proud and do the right thing!

What I don't understand is why Jewish Week published it at all. Doesn't Jewish Week review everything they publish before it's put on line? Good editorial proceedures would require that everything you publish be reviewed. If you did review it why didn't you catch the violations of your policy? Even if you had an obligation to publish it you could have included a comment about the column and it's bigotry. If you currently don't review things before they go up on your website are you going to change your proceedures so that you review the material you publish?

Rabbi Hammerman owes a better explanation of why he thought what he wrote was acceptable and not bigoted. You have to wonderif he's ever discussed Christians and conservatives in a simlar manner before in other forums? If a conservative or Christian minister had made simlar comments about someone who is Jewish or Muslim liberals would expect that question to be answered.

Apology not accepted, following the spiritual doctrine of "talk is cheap!".

Has Hammerman been sanctioned or punished in any way? Is his repentance genuine or is he only repenting about being called out? When one has harmed someone, it is one's duty to do penance, to repair the damage one has caused before forgiveness can be asked.

Errr. You must be kidding Rabbi. May have offended. Try penning "my offensive commentary" The mystical power of taking active responsibility rather than pass connotative action to the offended puts a shot of pain in any educated man's soul through the act of writing.

Oddly no apology was given to Coloradans, or as you like to call my home.."The Oberammergau of the Rockies". Though apologies were directed to your sports team. If you wanted to better address those who were negatively associated by your comments, I would believe it better placed to apologize to the Jewish community; those that are more directly burdened by your salatious comments and beliefs.

I appreciate the actions taken by the tjw. Thank you

One wonders what would be Rabbi Hammerman's attitude would be if Mr Tebow was Muslim.

As an unabashed Christian and HUGE fan of Tim Tebow, I was appalled at the comments from Rabbi Hammerman. I don't know what planet Rabbi Hammerman lives on, but where I LIVE, my family alone has donated hundreds of dollars to support Aliyah. We lobby our representatives to SUPPORT Israel. We are against Israel being divided and forced to compromise on its National Security. We support Jerusalem being recognized as the Capitol of Israel. We pray for the peace of Jerusalem, because the Talmud promises that we shall prosper because we love Israel, and we believe it! We are alarmed at anti-semitism and are the first line of defense against it.

As for Tim Tebow, he is a paragon of Christian virtue, refusing to return insult for insult, railing for railing. Can you rationally think for one moment he would promote violence against Muslims! Seriously? I've never heard him comment on gays! But as a Rabbi, your own Talmud denounces and warns against homosexuality. Maybe you should get out more.

If you came to my home you would find a Mezzuzah at the door. A beautiful brass Menorah in my living room given to me by my mother. You would see art my sister brought back to me from her study abroad in Haifa. As Christians we consider ourselves your best friends.

It was with profound shock and sadness that I read your remarks and perplexity that they would be published, lending legitimacy to them. One can only conclude that you are projecting on Tebow and Christians what is in your own heart. Either that or you are a self-loathing Jew. In any case, we forgive you, pray for you, and will continue to support, lobby, defend, advocate, and champion God's chosen people.

"Rabbi Hammerman is a respected spiritual leader and longtime Jewish Week columnist"

I think it is time "The Jewish Week" rethink their perceptions of this rabbi. It's not like he cut off a car and was later apologetic. Like Mel Gibson with his anti-semetic comments, these are deeply rooted believes he holds.

It's time The Jewish Week do the right thing and do more than the obligatory apology that we are sorry if his article offended anyone. There are consequences for this type of behavior and he should be banded from contributing to your paper. Yes, you can forgive him, but that doesn't mean he gets the same level of praise and stature as before.

In my opinion, Rabbi Hammerman has attempted to set-back Judeo-Christian relations fifty years - a seemingly ironic objective for a seemingly tolerant individual. My sense is that you tolerate religious expression that conforms to your political ideology and doctrine of "progressiveness".

By the way, if Tim Tebow were Muslum and proclaimed "Alah Hu Akbar" at the end of each game, would you taken issu

Kudos to the Jewish Week for taking the higher road. While it's easy to fault the Jewish Week for printing Rabbi Hammerman's thoughtless and callous attack on Tim Tebow and Christianity, it's clear the powers-that-be acted swiftly and appropriately to remediate this terrible assault.

Thank you for that apology. And it is accepted. As a Christian it is so lovely to see civility honored. Thank you Jewish Week.

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