Orthodox community watchdog calls it quits.
After nearly 12 years of exposing controversies, crimes and cover-ups within Orthodox and charedi communities, Failed Messiah blogger Shmarya Rosenberg announced that he will no longer be running his controversial website.
In a Feb. 2 post entitled “Goodbye and Thank You All,” Rosenberg wrote that he plans to work on “anti-poverty issues,” but did not go into further detail, promising to keep readers in the loop through his social media.
Rosenberg created Failed Messiah in 2004, mocking the belief among some Chabad chasidim that the late Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson is the messiah. Formerly a Chabad chasid himself, Rosenberg, who lives in Minneapolis, was excommunicated from his synagogue and community after a few months of posting about messianism, but continued his work, eventually expanding his coverage to other sects of Judaism. Perhaps most notably, his Internet sleuthing following the raid and subsequent legal action against the Agriprocessors kosher meatpacking plant in 2008 was cited in The New York Times.
Failed Messiah has not been without some controversy of its own. While hailed by some as a sharp investigator and crusader against sexual abuse, political extremism and financial indiscretions committed by Orthodox leaders, the blog has also faced criticism for Rosenberg’s relentless mud-slinging and dismissed as a trolling, attention-hungry tabloid.
While Rosenberg may be leaving the blogosphere, debates surrounding the issues he raised and how he raised them will surely continue in online chatter.
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