Always thoughtful, GetReligion.org ponders the press’s handling of the murder of an 8-year-old Hasidic Jewish boy by an Orthodox Jewish man in New York City:
Read this part of the AP report and you can just hear the reporters and editors asking question after question to make sure they got things right.
It’s crucial, for example, that the suspect who has implicated himself in the murder — Levi Aron — is an Orthodox Jew, but not part of the Hasidic community. (…)
As you would expect, the New York Times is all over this story and has reporters on staff who know they are dealing with a culture that is both local and foreign at the same time.
I was, in particular, struck by their somewhat risky decision — in my humble opinion — to put some of the blunt theological language of the funeral into print without any kind of context and/or clarification from other Hasidic believers and outside experts.
I say this because I have Hasidic friends and I know how careful they are in expressing their beliefs.
Yet in the passion of this kind of scene, blunt words are often used that may make sense to the believers present, but not the reporters. (…)
This was a close call on a terrible, awesome, stunning story. I would be interested in hearing the views of Jewish readers on how the Times handled the theodicy content [ME: theodicy = “why do bad things happen to good people?”] in the funeral remarks. I am not saying that I would have done any better. I am saying that great, great care was needed in handling those remarks.