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Does Marc Schneier Speak for Us?

Rabbi’s infidelity said to reflect on community

Marc Tracy
August 18, 2010
Rabbi Schneier, in flagrante delicto.(Wikipedia)
Rabbi Schneier, in flagrante delicto.(Wikipedia)

Rabbi Marc Schneier, of the Hampton Synagogue and The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, had been having fairly well-publicized difficulties with his (fourth) marriage when a photo surfaced of him making out with a congregant (further rumor is he got her pregnant). Poorly done, dude.

Yet Rabbi Brad Hirschfeld makes the case that it is wrong to see this sordid incident as an embarrassment to “the Orthodox community,” as some have done:

Why should an entire community be embarrassed by the bad acts of one member, even a high-profile one who happens to be a rabbi? Would Ms. Bender suggest that when an Imam does something wrong, the entire Muslim community should be embarrassed? I hope not.

(Let’s pause and note the obvious analogy, namely, that the majority of the country currently believes that an unrelated group of Muslims should be in some way linked to a small group of deranged evil fanatics who happen to be their co-religionists.)

Hirschfeld should give us something to think about next time we blame someone for being a shanda fur die goyim: He or she is only one if we let him or her be one. Unless Hirschfeld is wrong, in which case let me just say that I am embarrassed about Rabbi Schneier’s actions, both as a Jew and as a Marc with a c.

Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.