The Meanie of Hanukkah

Howard Jacobson, whose terrific, Booker-prize-winning novel I just reviewed, has a great article up in the NY Times about Hanukkah, and why it sort of sucks:

Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that Hanukkah doesn’t draw on events described in the Hebrew Bible. The Book of Maccabees, from which the story comes, is in the Apocrypha, the non-canonical, more esoteric books of sacred scripture. There’s a reason it never made it out of there: I won’t say it’s spurious, but it doesn’t quite feel authentic.

Isn’t there something a touch suspicious, for example, about our defeating the Syrian-Greek army? It lacks equivocation. Escaping from bondage in Egypt by dint of magic and smart talk is comprehensible: Exodus played to our strengths. Similarly, Esther — who had married out of the faith, remember — turning the tables on Haman. In our best stories, we lose a little to gain a little. We use our heads. Trouncing the Syrian-Greeks sounds worryingly like wish fulfillment, and the story of the oil that should have run out after one day actually lasting eight feels too much like parable.

I find myself every year explaining to Christian friends that Hanukkah is not really a major holiday in which I take days off from work. It is really a minor one. The reason it finds so much resonance in American culture is so that little Jewish boys and girls do not feel left out of the whole Xmas, gift-giving thing. So the quintessentially American Buy Gifts For Your Loved Ones Or Else The Economy Will Go Down The Tubes now includes Hanukkah. Hooray.

But in terms of religious value, it is way less important than Passover, The High Holy Days, Shavuos [i.e., Festival of Weeks], Sukkos [i.e., Tabernacles], and the Sabbath. For all but our Sabbath [which BTW is the most important holiday in the Jewish calendar], we say Yizkor [Remembrance of the Dead] and miss work or school. Hanukkah is more like Purim or Tu B’Shvat on the Scale of Importance. Sure, we have some fun, but….meh.

Still, there is an upside, an important one, to the exaggerated importance of this minor holiday. The kids really do like Hanukkah. OK, they like it because they get bribed. Whatever. They manage to sit still and listen to some accounts of their traditions and lessons on how it all fits into who they are. Believe me, I’ll take it.

Bilious Rubin

I don’t normally participate in making fun of anybody’s name: under most circumstances, people do not have control over their names and bravely go through life with them.  That said, I must make one example for Jennifer Rubin of Commentary, a persistently hypocritical blog writer on the Contentions site who is little more than – no, nothing more than – a shill for the GOP.  Of course, there’s loads of those, what makes her special?  As I will explain below, it is the sort of bile in her writing, the incredibly obvious double standards she has for people, that drives me nuts.  And someone who spews bile like this and has a last name of Rubin…I cannot resist.

Anyway, Jennifer Rubin  has been at the top of the shrieking heap against the Park51 Islamic Community Center, 2 1/2 blocks from NYC.  I’m not going to post any of her rants about it as anyone reading this post has heard it all before: the acknowledgment of the “right” to build, but the necessity to be “sensitive” to the 9/11 families [some of whom are Muslim, and others of whom support the project].  Plus, ugly questions about the funding source for the center and the personal leanings of Imam Rauf, the spiritual leader of the Cordoba Initiative, the group behind the project.  All of it is bullshit, and further commentary on it by me is a waste of your time.

No, I want to lay before you the sort of character this political marionette is or has become.  I don’t know her personally of course, so I can only judge her from her writings.  And believe me, judging from her writings, she is a unique character: an anti-Semite who accuses other Jews of being anti-Semites.  I do recognize how bizarre this charge is, and how easily it can be turned back on me.  But seriously, you must see what I mean to believe it.

I posted before about an article Rubin wrote this past January called “Why do Jews hate Palin?”  To summarize, Rubin looooves Palin because Palin loooooves Israel, despite the fact that Palin’s stated position on Israel aligns with fundamentalist Christians and Jews and is a sure path, according to every Mideast expert, to the destruction of Israel as a democracy and a haven for Jews worldwide.  Jews hate Palin in droves not because of Palin’s propensity to lie, or be divisive, or to be a dumbass.  No, Jews hate Palin because they hate who she is.  Palin is sexy, Jews like frumpy.  Palin is blue collar and has worked jobs Jews won’t touch.  Palin’s child is in the military, Jews never do that.  Palin has 6 (or 5) children, Jews never have that many kids [oog, unless their frum, then they’re OK].  Jews read, but they have been misinformed about Palin, who loved to read as a child, and they simply don’t appreciate “instinctual” leadership anyway.  O, and Palin has a Downs baby, while Jews love to abort.

If you think my interpretation of her article is extreme, it is not: people who are paid to notice these things for a living say the same damn thing.

To its credit, Commentary publishes readers’ letters, and has the author respond.  The letters chosen, of course, are chosen from the milder lot [the practice of any magazine], but the charge remains and Rubin responds:

Other readers…found in my article echoes of anti-Semitic tropes or fodder for anti-Semites, especially with respect to characterizations of “elitism” or “intellectualism.” But there is, I would suggest, nothing remotely anti-Semitic about the observation, supported by Tom W. Smith’s 2005 Jewish Distinctiveness in America: A Statistical Portrait and ahost of other data, that Jews are more educated than the population at large. Nor is there anything controversial in observing that the proportion of Jews in intellectual professions is higher than the proportion of Jews in the population. Simply observing an antipathy felt by a disproportionately well-educated, highly credentialed group for a politician with a different persona and background is not a value judgment on either half of the equation. Rather, it is a candid recognition that Palin and most American Jews simply don’t share a common perspective or life experience.

This is, of course, garbage.  Yes, the document she cites goes into the themes she mentions, but there is a huge difference.  Smith’s document, at 154 pages, is a carefully written sociological study [and, at the risk of attaining my wife’s ire, I must point out it lacks, despite heaps of table of results backing the conclusions, no decent summary of the statistical validity behind those conclusions] whose validity is does no use here to question.  David Harris, the head of the American Jewish Committee who published the survey, says the following:

Why should we care about all of this—other than for “bragging rights” or a parlor game? We care because the numbers reveal an underlying strength of the American Jewish community: Despite our declining share of the overall American population, a high intermarriage rate, and a growing geographical dispersion, Jews have been able to retain a distinctive profile which bespeaks a unique core Jewish identity. Furthermore, Jews have embraced certain broad values, such as belief in the importance of education and in expressive individualism, that seem to have resonance for other Americans as well.  Why should we care about all of this—other than for “bragging rights” or a parlor game? We care because the numbers reveal anunderlying strength of the American Jewish community: Despite ourdeclining share of the overall American population, a high intermarriagerate, and a growing geographical dispersion, Jews have been able to retain a distinctive profile which bespeaks a unique core Jewish identity. Furthermore, Jews have embraced certain broad values,such as belief in the importance of education and in expressive individualism,that seem to have resonance for other Americans as well. [Emphasis mine.]
That is, Jewish identity is something of which the American Jewish community should be proud.  Further, it is meaningful that American Jewish values have become American values as well.
The importance of this statement cannot be overemphasized with respect to Rubin, whose article bemoans these values because, let’s face it, it makes her an outlier with respect to her hero-goddess Palin.  She turns these values on their head as negative and anti-American.  That her article was published in Commentary and not the Occidental Quarterly is surreal.
Now, for my cri de coeur.  Peter Beinart, who has  stood up and questioned the role of American Jewish leadership in its stewardship of young Jewish Americans’ values, wrote with regard to the Park51 project:

And oh yes, my fellow Jews, who are so thrilled to be locked arm in arm with the heirs of Pat Robertson and Father Coughlin against the Islamic threat. Evidently, it’s never crossed your mind that the religious hatred you have helped unleash could turn once again against us. Of course not, we’re insiders in this society now: Our synagogues grace the toniest of suburbs; our rabbis speak flawless English; we Jews are now effortlessly white. Barely anyone even remembers that folks in Lower Manhattan once considered us alien and dangerous, too.

To which Rubin, of all people, writes:

As for Beinart’s second paragraph, it is an unfortunate example of the bile that can be splattered on Jews by Jews, with nary an eyebrow raised by elite opinion makers. Had Pat Buchanan, to whom Beinart lately bears an uncanny resemblance, accused Jews of walking with Father Coughlin, or had Al Sharpton (before becoming part of polite liberal company) referred to Jews as “effortlessly white,” I imagine all sorts of elites would be throwing a fit. But now it is par for the course.

I imagine she writes this with a straight face, for she clearly feels she has acquitted herself of the same accusation laid onto her by her intellectual superiors.  [I also love her use of the word “bile”.]  But all Beinart is pointing out is that the language used by many Jews is exactly analogous to that used by their former tormentors in years past.  And Beinart is not the only one to make this observation as well.

So, on the one hand, Rubin uses an anti-Semitic canard to someone who is attacking anti-Semitic language in discourse regarding American Muslims.  On the other hand, she is happy to take findings from an AJC report about “Jews” [ill-defined, but I assume they know of whom they speak] and turn them on their head to expose the other-worldliness of those values because they result in a severe dislike of Sarah Palin.

Anyone not lobotomized should only read Jennifer “Bilirubin” Rubin’s yellow journalism with derision.

Danny Ayalon can go fuck himself

Danny Ayalon is the Deputy Foreign Minister of Israel.  Both he and his boss, a racist from the Yisrael Beitanu [Israel Our Home] party named Avigdor Lieberman, represent an unfortunate trend of Israel being seen as less and less likable to its allies.  But it is Ayalon who is in my line of fire this week, for several reasons.

Ayalon made the news last month because of an incident which a skilled diplomat could have handled discretely and in a dignified manner.  Turkey, with whom relations with Israel have been going down the tubes, had one of its stations broadcast a program with anti-Semitic themes.  A quiet complaint and message of understanding the balance between freedom of expression and placing Jews in danger would have been appropriate.  But Ayalon, representing an increasingly tone-deaf Israel, made a mess of things:

Footage of Mr Ayalon urging journalists to make clear the ambassador was seated on a low sofa, while the Israeli officials were in much higher chairs, has been widely broadcast by the Israeli media.

He is also heard pointing out in Hebrew that “there is only one flag” and “we are not smiling”.

In an interview with Israel’s Army Radio on Tuesday, Mr Ayalon was unapologetic.

“In terms of the diplomatic tactics available, this was the minimum that was warranted given the repeated provocation by political and other players in Turkey,” he said, according to Reuters.

One Israeli newspaper marked the height difference on the photo, and captioned it “the height of humiliation”.

That, however, is not even my main problem with him.  Massachusetts Congressman Bill Delahunt is part of a contingent of Democratic lawmakers in Israel, traveling as part of a mission sponsored by liberal lobby group J-Street.  I will say that I have been warming to J-Street, although I do not like the arrogance of its identification as “pro-peace, pro-Israel”.  [So is the Zionist Organization of America…it just has vastly different definitions of these terms than does J-Street.]  Standard protocol is that such a delegation, if desired, may seek out an audience with Ministry officials.  However, Alayon, because he feels that J-Street is not in fact “pro-Israeli“, has locked the delegation out from any such meetings:

“We were puzzled that the Deputy Foreign Minister has apparently attempted to block our meetings with senior officials in the Prime Minister’s office and Foreign Ministry – questioning either our own support of Israel or that we would even consider traveling to the region with groups that the Deputy Foreign Minister has so inaccurately described as ‘anti-Israel,'” Delahunt continued.

“In our opinion this is an inappropriate way to treat elected representatives of Israel’s closest ally who are visiting the country – and who through the years have been staunch supporters of the U.S.-Israeli special relationship.”

Ayalon has clearly associated himself with the rabid right.  The combination of this tone-deaf outlook and utter incompetence as a diplomat is making for an explosive combination.  How dare he insult a delegation from the United States because their politics do not dovetail with his!  It is men like Ayalon that will be the downfall of Israel.  For that, he can go fuck himself.

Meanwhile, Michael Oren, in contrast to his dumbass administration colleague, is wisely making peace with J-Street.  Good for him.

Is there antisemitism on the right?

Another odd story begets an odd claim from my favorite Jewish crank, Norman Podhoretz.  We begin with a rather crude remark from Rush Limbaugh [OMG OMG!!], who claimed that Obama’s remarks about bankers was really an attack on Jews, and geez shouldn’t they be regretting electing such an anti-semite?  This earned a denunciation from Abe Foxman at the ADL because in reading so zealously so as to accuse Obama of antisemitism,  it was Limbaugh himself that propagated such an antisemitic canard:

Limbaugh’s references to Jews and money in a discussion of Massachusetts politics were offensive and inappropriate. While the age-old stereotype about Jews and money has a long and sordid history, it also remains one of the main pillars of anti-Semitism and is widely accepted by many Americans. His notion that Jews vote based on their religion, rather than on their interests as Americans, plays into the hands of anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists.

But since Rush is such a hero of the Right, he has his defenders.  And here he must have a Jewish defender.  NPod, take it away:

Foxman has a long history of seeing an anti-Semite under every conservative bed while blinding himself to the blatant fact that anti-Semitism has largely been banished from the Right in the past forty years, and that it has found a hospitable new home on the Left, especially where Israel is concerned. … Now Foxman has the chutzpah to denounce Rush Limbaugh as an anti-Semite and to demand an apology from him to boot. Well, if an apology is owed here, it is the national director of the Anti-Defamation League who should apologize for the defamatory accusation of anti-Semitism that he himself has hurled against so loyal a friend of Israel as Rush Limbaugh.

Man, in that little passage, NPod has managed to say two things that are ridiculous on their face, and an additional one that is at best questionable.  Let’s start with the first:

Foxman has the chutzpah to denounce Rush Limbaugh as an anti-Semite…

Wrong.  He denounced Limbaugh for making the link between Jews and money.  Even I don’t think Limbaugh is an antisemite.  [I do think he’s a racist, but never mind.]  Rush’s goal was to paint the President [who is pure evil in his eyes] as an antisemite, which is even more ridiculous than his being an antisemite.  In order to do this, he had to make insane leaps in logic, which led him to the bankers = Jews canard.  Foxman’s job is to refute such lies and call out those who propagate them, which he did.  Limbaugh is guilty of insensitivity in his quest to mow down his enemies.  NPod, as I have observed before, has a bizarre system for labeling antisemitic material.

Next:

[A]nti-Semitism has largely been banished from the Right in the past forty years…

Really.  I guess Pat Buchanan is a leftist.

Writing of “group fantasies of martyrdom,” Buchanan challenged the historical record that thousands of Jews were gassed to death by diesel exhaust at Treblinka: “Diesel engines do not emit enough carbon monoxide to kill anybody.” (New Republic, 10/22/90) Buchanan’s columns have run in the Liberty Lobby’s Spotlight, the German-American National PAC newsletter and other publications that claim Nazi death camps are a Zionist concoction.

Joe Sobran, as NPod has more than help point out?  [Getting booted by Bill Buckley doesn’t mean that you are a Commie all of a sudden.]  And has NPod ever read the Occidental Quarterly and its even more obnoxious little brother, the Occidental Observer?  I will not reprint any of the garbage in there, not on this blog.  But I will state that, however NPod and his allies would say that they are not representative of the right, they are a fringe, so be it.  But, all the same, they are well-funded, are staffed by educated nutjobs, and claim to represent the Right.  NPod may ignore and marginalize these folks at his peril.  I refuse to do such a thing.  [And we should recall the publishing of incredibly anti-Semitic stereotypes, without irony, by Jennifer Rubin in his magazine last month.]

Finally, there is this observation by NPod:

…so loyal a friend of Israel as Rush Limbaugh.

For NPod, a loyal friend of Israel is one that assumes that everything Israel does, even in its maximalist behaviors, is a-OK.  Even when those behaviors will obviously lead to all-out war, apartheid, or the loss of Israel as a Jewish state.  For NPod, anyone who criticizes Israel at any time for any reason is not a friend of Israel.  For NPod, Rush and Sarah Palin are friends of Israel.  You know, I’ve seen friends of alcoholics encourage their drinking.  In reality, Rush and his ilk are no friends of Israel.  True friends are supportive of policies that will keep Israel a thriving democracy for the long-term.

It is time for NPod to retire to a quaint West Bank outpost, where he can safely ignore the neo-Nazis on the Right here in the US and elsewhere.

Why [non-self-hating] Jews Hate Commentary

Having read Hitler’s biography and various historiographies on anti-Semitism and racism in general, I have come to the conclusion that there is no more offensive phrase to me than “The Jews”.  Enemies of Jewish people everywhere lump in some set of characteristics attributable to The Jews.  There are no individuals, just The Jews.  And what of them?  They are overeducated, over-represented in the professions, overly liberal, hate work that gets the fingernails dirty, hate the military, love big words and complicated reasons.  Responsible for the mess we find ourselves in right now.

You can find this rationalization for this stereotyping of Jewish people in tracts like Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf.  You can also find it in the article recently written by Commentary‘s Jennifer Rubin, “Why Jews Hate Palin”, in order to get at the [incomprehensible] reasons why most Jews retch in disgust at the sight of Sarah Palin.

Yes, I am serious: I am equating an article in Commentary with Mein Kampf.  I am left with little choice after passages like this:

Palin calls herself a “hockey mom” and brags aloud about the athletic prowess of her children, while Jews are more likely to sport “My child Is an Honor Student” bumper stickers. Palin’s oldest, Track, has joined the military, while many Jews lack a family military tradition.

Or this:

Pro-life Americans saw Palin’s son Trig, born with Down syndrome in April 2008, as an affirmation of Palin’s deeply held beliefs, a rare instance in which a politician did more than mouth platitudes about a “culture of life.” But in affluent communities with large Jewish populations, Down-syndrome children are now largely absent due to the widespread use of diagnostic testing and “genetics counseling.” Trig was not a selling point with many Jewish women who couldn’t imagine making a similar choice—indeed, many have, in fact, made the opposite one.

Or this:

For those for whom an Ivy League education is the essential calling card for leadership of any sort, an elite-bashing populist with a journalism degree from the University of Idaho who lacks both a mellifluous grasp of policy and a self-consciously erudite vocabulary was always going to be a hard sell. As Continetti observes with savage irony, “The American meritocratic elite places a high priority on verbal felicity and the attitudes, practices and jargon that one picks up during graduate seminars in nonprofit management, government accounting and the semiotics of Percy Shelley’s ‘To a Skylark.’” Given that Jews are overrepresented in these sorts of professions, it is not surprising that they would be among those most put off by Palin.

Or this:

Jews…are swayed by the notion that the presidency is a knowledge-based position requiring a background in the examination of detailed data and sophisticated analysis. They assume that such knowledge is the special preserve of a certain type of credentialed thinker (the better the university, the more unquestioned the credential) and that possessing this knowledge is the key to a successful presidency…The argument that such knowledge might be acquired or accessed when necessary by a person who has demonstrated a more instinctual skill set—the capacity to make decisions and to lead people—does not resonate with those for whom intellectual rigor has been a defining characteristic and a pathway to success.

The mind reels.  I have never in my life read a more obvious instance of Jewish self-hatred than the one on display within the pages of Commentary, a magazine more recently known for placing that epithet on anyone that disagrees with its concepts.  Let me see if I can summarize Rubin’s view of the great majority of her co-religionists:

Jews’ hatred of Palin goes beyond liberal/conservative divide.  They hate who she is.  Palin is sexy, Jews like frumpy.  Palin is blue collar and has worked jobs Jews won’t touch.  Palin’s child is in the military, Jews never do that.  Palin has 6 (or 5) children, Jews never have that many kids [oog, unless their frum, then they’re OK].  Jews read, but they have been misinformed about Palin, who loved to read as a child, and they simply don’t appreciate “instinctual” leadership anyway.  O, and Palin has a Downs baby, while Jews love to abort.

On that last point.  Does Rubin have children?  Has she ever had a Tay-Sachs test?  Would she knowingly bring a Tay-Sachs baby into the world?  Would Sarah Palin?  And as far as Downs babies are concerned, we have Jewish friends that have kept theirs: Shalom Lowell is now 26 years old and is, from what I understand, a happy young man.

Commentary is no longer of any use as an intelligent forum for American Jewish issues, as it once was.  They are a right-wing Republican vessel, taking sides with whoever has the most maximalist Israel policy, at all costs.  They can gai kaken so far as I can care.

Where Local Control Goes Awry, Cont’d

A few days ago, I posted a story about the E Ramapo, NY school board.  The Board has a majority Hasidim and has used their clout to replace the long-serving attorney to the Board with one 4X as expensive and for the seeming purpose of trying to transfer tax dollars meant for public schools to the special needs programs at the yeshivot that the Hasidic children attend.  The VP of the Board and leader of the meeting in which the attorney was voted in over howls of protest from the non-Hasidic community was one Aron Wieder, who spent the 20 Nov meeting looking sullen and annoyed that he had to deal with angry people as he virtually ignored them.

While I thought Mr. Wieder lacked class and basic manners, I do not fault the Hasidim for their actions.  They are only doing what is in their interest and exercising the fruits of majority rule and the political process.

Mr. Wieder seems to have seen what we did in his performance that night.  Here is a speech to address the polarizing issue of the lawyer before the community:

A few thoughts:

  • “Change we can believe in…”?  Huh?  I didn’t think the frum went so much for Obama.
  • He basically accuses the non-Hasidic board members who claimed that they were never invited to interview the new lawyer of lying.  Nice way of uniting the community.
  • No proof offered in that accusation, BTW.
  • “God Bless America”: the hooting and hollering when he says this were just creepy.  Who was in the audience here?

No matter anyway: Mr. Wieder has been offered a position as Administrative Assistant to Spring Valley’s [Democratic, non-Jewish] Mayor, and has taken it.  Good for him.  But I hope that the inclusion of the Hasidim in their larger community brings folks closer together.

Where local control goes awry

When we lived in Poughkeepsie and kept kosher, we would occasionally travel down to Monsey in Rockland County for shopping.  There is a strip mall in Monsey in which every shop is exclusively kosher; it was there where we could do our one-stop grocery shopping and get some kosher Chinese.  Such a mall can only be supported by a strong and orthodox Jewish community, which Monsey is certainly.  Monsey, NY, a hamlet of the town of Spring Valley and part of the E Ramapo school district, is one of a handful of upstate NY villages that have gone majority Hasidic over the years.  And, as the taxpayers of E Ramapo school district have discovered, such a situation brings with it a special clash of interests that seems to be upending a social contract that has bonded Americans of all backgrounds for decades.

The story that has touched off this observation has to do with a seemingly boring meeting of the E Ramapo school board on Nov 20.  However, this meeting, held at 12:40 AM while most taxpayers were sleeping, was designed to slip a very controversial move through with minimal fuss.  That move was the changing of the Board’s legal representation, from the local attorney who had represented the board for the past 33 years, to a new one.  The new one, it was revealed, not only would charge 4 times as much for an appearance at a meeting, but also had problems with the Attorney General.  And the leader of the Board, Aron Wieder, wanted the change to be confirmed then and there, with no consideration of a transition plan or any other sort of risk management.  And this new attorney would be confirmed no matter what that evening.  How is this possible?

It was possible because, out of 9 members, the Board has 6 Hasidim.  As a rule, the Hasidim [nominally called “ultra-orthodox” in the news – I find that moniker meaningless] do not send their children to the public schoold, but to private yeshivot.  They do, however, pay taxes.  And, to their dismay, they were seeing their school taxes rise even as the local school population was dropping.  So the Hasidim did what we in America applaud: they took action, used their numbers, and got a majority to the school board.  This of course is disastrous news to the people who actually use the public schools, now that a majority of the board only has an interest in minimizing their taxes.  Now, supporters of the Hasidic community point out that they have not been all about slashing taxes and have, for example, expanded the full-time kindergarten.  Further, they, like anybody else, have an interest in quality public schools.

But this latest dealing with the attorney has rightfully set off the anger and mistrust of the non-Hasidic taxpayers.  Why would the Hasidic members, who ostensibly only wish to control costs, abruptly switch legal counsel to one that is 4 times more expensive?  The answer, it was revealed, was even more disturbing.  The new counsel is also the counsel for the school district of Lawrence, NY, which is also controlled by Hasidim, and has successfully diverted public funds for the special needs programs at their yeshivot.  There was no consideration of any other attorney.  One non-Hasidic board member stated for the record that he never met or interviewed the new counsel: the whole concept of the attorney switch was done behind the backs of the non-Hasidic board members.

The meeting was recorded and put on Youtube; a short contentious part can be seen here:

[The entire meeting, which is about an hour, is split into 6 parts: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.  It is worth watching it to see the entire context.]

As awful as the actions of Mr. Wieder are, I cannot fault him nor the Hasidic community.  What is happening is purely legal, albeit procedurally improper.  But in the grand scheme of things, the Hasidim have it right.  They were unhappy with a situation, they used the political process and their numbers to make things how they wanted it.  And now they are using their power to divert their tax dollars into causes they want.  You and I may not like what happened at that meeting, nor do we like the way Mr. Wieder runs things.

What is insane is the way schools are funded and boards are run.  The problem is that Mr. Wieder and his 5 cronies on the board were driven to be there because of what they felt were unfair expropriations of his tax dollars.  And now he’s turned it around on his community.  There needs to be more oversight from the states on these boards so that arbitrary decisions like those taken by Mr. Wieder could not be possible.  Mr. Wieder, through his arrogance and a sense of entitlement, put his board in major legal risk, as the superintendent so clearly points out.

The story did not end there.  An interim attorney was hired because of all the mess that Mr. Wieder never thought through, and the decision to hire Mr. Wieder’s attorney is still pending.  But the problem remains. What do you do when the majority of your school board, who are backed by a majority of the voters who send their kids to private schools, has no interest in the school?  This will be an interesting story to follow.