10 Indicators of Less-Than-Credible Profiles Across “Jewish” Social Media
When allegedly Jewish and “allied” profiles just aren’t
Social media can be a minefield, and doubly if you are Jewish and subject to all sorts of hatred you can’t necessarily escape in today’s digitized world where seemingly every service, job, and network has migrated to the world wide web. Likewise if you are not Jewish but are looking for information or Jewish perspectives on a multitude of issues, the diversity of allegedly Jewish and allied profiles and publications can be daunting. How can you discern a credible Jewish or allied perspective versus a fake one?
Here are ten warning signs, in no particular order, that what you’re reading isn’t kosher.
1. non-Jewish “Jews”
Jew in progress: This is language candidates for conversion and those considering conversion use when attempting to capitalize off a group of people they do not belong to and have not claimed them. Getting the obvious out of the way first, you’re either Jewish or you aren’t. If your mother is not Jewish, you need an Orthodox conversion for complete naturalization to the Jewish nation, as Judaism is a covenant, not merely a religion or an ethnicity. While other allegedly Jewish movements do perform conversions, one of the requirements for a valid conversion is that the rabbis involved be in good standing, and sadly, that’s often not the case. Additionally, beginning the conversion process does not guarantee successful conversion: until the person emerges from that mikveh and if male, has been circumcised, they’re not Jewish.
Patrilineal “Jews”: This group is most infamous for manipulating Jews into rejecting Torah in order to avoid hurting someone’s feelings. This is most often done through Jew-baiting, in which an alleged Jew or pack of them befriends an Orthodox Jew and pressures him to renounce Torah by manipulating his feelings. If the effort is not successful, the patrilineal “Jew” initiates a dogpile and targeted harassment campaign in the name of hurt feelings.
We already know who’s a Jew. Even in Reformism and Karaism, the child of a Jewish father should usually be raised strictly Jewish in order to be considered Jewish, though Reformism’s definition of Judaism isn’t Judaism anymore.
Once you have a valid, halachic conversion, you’re in. That’s why it’s so incredibly hard to join the Jewish people: whatever you do reflects on millions of people, especially when one of the largest antisemitic tropes is collective guilt despite Torah’s emphasis on uniqueness of creation and Judaism’s unparalleled emphasis on education. While there is a halachic basis for accepting the convert who did not intend to uphold all 613 mitzvot (this is incumbent upon all converts), there is also an argument to be made that whichever rabbis performed the conversion were not in good standing, having somehow missed or failed to ask or ascertained via a candidate’s social media whether or not the conversion candidate was going to, y’know, convert! This issue includes alleged converts who decide to flaunt how unique their non-Jewish religious practices are (an actual convert doesn’t have those) and then get upset when they aren’t fully embraced by the community, often resorting to pointing out anti-convert “racism” after they allegedly joined a people they’ve expressed no intention of joining. A convert would know that not singling out converts includes converts themselves, and that beginning a conversation on their own conversion is an invitation for others to finish it with opinions that aren’t always favorable towards the one who began such an anti-Torah conversation.
Other red flags include impossible conversions, such as before the age of 18 for a candidate without immersion in the Jewish community via family, alleged conversion while married to a non-Jewish spouse who did not also convert, and conversion with ulterior motive. Conversion at a young age is only done under very special circumstances, and it’s considered damaging to convert one spouse but not the other. Immersion in something other than a mikveh is also a red flag, as is virtual conversion as opposed to an appearance before the Beit Din (COVID causes delays; it doesn’t change the conversion process).
Judaism’s attempted reduction to a religion is the contemporary equivalent to the translation of the Torah to Greek, one of the focuses of the fast of Asarah B’Tevet. Judaism is a covenant. At Sinai, Jews offered up our forbears, then ourselves, and then our future children and generations as guarantors for our covenant with HASHEM. Judaism has survived precisely because you need the feminine hereditary component to uphold the survival of Torah and the survival of Torah to, in turn, preserve the feminine hereditary component. A mere religion will soon die out without a community, and a mere ethnicity will be swallowed up in other cultures.
We’re a group. We didn’t survive for millennia intermarrying or assimilating into dominant cultures. Right now with Oppression Olympics and intersectionality having become the dominant culture, we’re not going to survive by twisting Judaism to fit that mold, either, and the alleged convert or conversion candidate who chooses to flaunt how different they are from the rest of the community will likely not last in the community — but they will likely capitalize off the “rejection” they’ve manufactured by a community they allegedly joined, seemingly for accolades instead of the community as determined by Torah itself. Judaism is not a voluntary box Jews can tick and not tick as we please: Orthodox Jews can’t remove our skin, hair, or strip according to society’s comfort level. With today’s level of socially accepted antisemitism, Judaism isn’t exactly the fun box to tick you think it is given perpetuation of the myth we’re white and must be responsible for all manner of oppression.
While yes, every Jew brings something different and plays a different part in the Jewish Nation, that’s totally different from attempting to bring principles into Judaism that violate Torah.
It goes without saying: if you have to begin everything with “As a ___,” you’re singling yourself out as a non-representative of that group or one who is struggling to admit he wants to allow his inner representative shine through, and AsAJews are no different.
There are Jews, and there are AsAJews. Jews don’t have to say we’re Jews. It’s obvious we’re Jews by how we look and how we behave, both according to Torah. There’s no battle for any Torah-observant Jew to prove our Yiddishkeit because it’s inherent. We are Jews before we are anything else.
Token AsAJews, on the other hand, weaponize the Jewish box they’ve decided to tick in order to get ahead in the Oppression Olympics and garner credibility AsAMinority you wouldn’t know were a minority without the magen David the size of a dinner plate around her neck or the kippah that may or may not be hidden beneath his hat (for “safety” reasons, of course). The same way they have to beat their own brains into believing they’re Jewish and know anything of antisemitic oppression, they have to try to force the world to accept them AsJews.
This crowd doesn’t just exist in the form of the technically Jewish antisemite who weaponizes his Halachic Jewish status to validate antisemites and perpetuate antisemitism; it also exists in the form of the newly “politically homeless” Jewish crowd that is experiencing a wave of “Jewish pride” while trying to reinvent the wheel at every turn, including by waxing poetic about the “new antisemitism” in every byline they can get and publication they can make up. This further marginalizes and isolates the Orthodox community by speaking over us, the main targets of antisemitism, in publishing space desperately needed to get our perspectives out there so a world broadly accepting of antisemitism can hear our voices and see us as humans, adding to our marginalization. It also promotes the false narrative that antisemitism ever went away, and it was only with Donald Trump’s candidacy that it awoke from its deep slumber, falsely and dangerously tying antisemitism to one end of the political spectrum when it is a systemic, worldwide problem. (Why isn’t it going away now that we have a vice president with a Jewish husband?)
These same AsAJews mirror their token counterparts when it comes to their opinion of the Orthodox community: they’re totally ignorant, but worse in that they feel having some Jewish roots means they get to speak for us and need to “help” us “modernize” in order to pass the feminist snuff test. When called out on this blatant antisemitism and attempts are made to educate them on Torah ways, they weaponize their feelings — and their major followings — against the very Jews they were trying to benevolently “save” the minute prior, because how dare we exist as people of self-determination.
Once the Oppression Olympics fad passes in about a decade or so, the “politically homeless” AsAJews who decided to adopt a Jewish “identity” in order to tick an extra box will be gone, along with their “Jewish pride,” because it will no longer be advantageous to be Jewish, and according to JPPI, they’re not raising or likely to raise their children to be Jewish, either. They’ll be fine blending into the secular world again, not as [race] with an asterisk, but as [race] because the race to the bottom will be over, and the tokens will probably have joined terrorist cells by then.
This is slacktivism at its most benevolent and speaking over the most marginalized group of Jews at its most sinister. These weirdos don’t have the perspective, knowledge, or spirituality of the people they’ve decided to abuse as a fashion statement.
The prime manifestation of cosplaying Judaism rampant on social media is when alleged Jews dress up as married Orthodox women, posting media of themselves praying, baking, and doing other mitzvos. It’s super creepy and predatory to women who already have their agency dismissed by the secular world and often lose out on bylines because “Jewish” publications label them extremists or stereotype them politically. It’s great that someone wants to do mitzvos! It’s gross that she’s decided she needs to be seen doing it looking like someone she’s proudly posted she’s not.
Disgustingly, cosplaying Judaism has its roots as a strategy used by genocidal groups, like Messianic “Jews” and Christians trying to convert us and manipulate us away from Torah, their own ancestors having refused it. They do this by infiltrating our synagogues and preying on those, such as potential conversion candidates and brand new ba’alei teshuvah who aren’t well versed in Torah’s parameters and might not understand that supersessionism is historical revisionist antisemitism perpetuated (mainly) by Christians and Muslims to convince Jews that the Torah was added to by Christian and Muslim prophets.
Just because you’ve decided you’re an ally doesn’t mean you get to cosplay Judaism. People aren’t antisemites because they think we look weird; people are antisemites because of the systemic conspiracies they attribute to those of us with the image. A goy wearing Jewish clothing doesn’t reduce antisemitism — that’s like saying, “See! Not all people wearing kippot have horns under their hats! You don’t have to worry about everyone in a kippah covertly dominating the world because not everyone wearing a kippah is a Jew!” — if anything, it reinforces antisemitic conspiracies to antisemites while accumulating accolades from Jews who don’t understand this, and don’t wish to.
4. Capitalizing off antisemitism by “preaching to the choir”
Building off the previous example of cosplaying slacktivism, it’s even worse when self-proclaimed “allies” who are asked to engage antisemitism in a way that’s actually beneficial to Jews trot out Nazi canards.
The above can happen when a supposed ally to the Jewish community or Israel throws a huge tantrum when it’s pointed out her perspective isn’t in line with Torah. When I (on a previous account) pointed out the Torah perspective that we’re all unique, and a goy’s experience is a goy’s experience, not a Jew’s, regardless if we would rather not have antisemitic Jews at the table. Even if a Jew is antisemitic, there is still hope her children will reject his toxicity.
No amount of allyship, degree of closeness, or literacy on antisemitism ever excuses using Nazi canards. Even if you’ve allegedly discouraged a Jew from following Torah by marrying him when you’re not Jewish, you don’t get to be antisemitic (in addition to anti-Torah!) in response to another Jew disagreeing with you. If you have a Jewish soul, you’ll convert, and if your soul is really Jewish, the pain will be too deep for you to pull something like that, ever. If you truly, deeply care about Jews, your brain will never go near Nazi canards.
When Jews speak on how allies can best help us fight antisemitism, which is usually for allies to help debunk antisemitic myths to their fellow goyim because of the antisemitic stereotype Jews complain too much, an ally will listen. If an ally does not listen and instead throws a tantrum like the above or turns the issue into one of us being ungrateful to the poor ally, then they weren’t here because they care so much about us. They were here for the applause from Jews.
Preaching to Jews that antisemitism is bad and you’re one of the “good ones” for recognizing water is wet is easy and not productive. Using your credibility to reach people who would never, ever hear us, some of whom are extremely gross, is hard and what we need.
5. “My grandparents were Orthodox, so I can speak over a community I’m not even part of.”
This is a different form of cosplaying, extremely dangerous to Hasidim who need desperately to be able to speak for ourselves in public in order to dispel myths and fight the core of antisemitism. This cosplaying is dismissive of Hasidic perspective and extremely self-centered, adjacent to the choir-preacher who gets offended when the needs of the Jews in question do not align with what’s yielded accolades for the preacher from the Jewish community. It’s cosplaying with some credibility thrown behind it: surely the relative of an Orthodox Jew can speak for us, right?
Most media regarding the Orthodox community is grossly antisemitic: it’s endlessly stereotypical and fetishizes oppression and voyeurism, often accompanied by the presentation of us as backwards and anti-modern, such as “UnOrthodox,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” and “Disobedience.” We make up the core of the continuous Jewish community and just because we’re good at having children and those children overwhelmingly marry and remain Jewish doesn’t mean we’re out of touch or oppressed. Just because social justice in our communities isn’t secular doesn’t mean we need saving.
If your policy is listening to a given group on issues regarding the group, don’t shelve that when it comes to Orthodox Jews. We’re not antiques: we’re living, breathing, thriving human beings and if we say something hurts us, it hurts us, even if you love it. If you’d like to share in that pain without just ticking an identity box, there’s always teshuvah.
6. Playing politics with Judaism
Judaism is the covenant between HASHEM and Jews at Sinai upheld by Torah. It is not a political battle cry and cannot be distilled into today’s politics. Any Jewish group attempting to shoehorn Judaism into political support for a particular position isn’t practicing Judaism, but politics. For example, a politician will tell you Torah supports abortion, while a rabbi will enlighten you it depends on the case.
Reformism and its adjacent radical organizations that all happen to have the same board members (Do they just make up new orgs to add titles to their names? When do they have time for their congregants?) is infamous for having leaders who make sweeping statements on behalf of their whole movements. It’s sad to see tons of comments beneath their announcements stating, “I’m Reform and don’t agree with that!”
The most notorious is what’s been nicknamed “Tikkun-Olamism,” in which a definition of Tikkun-Olam (“repairing the world”) is used as a battle cry for political liberalism instead of doing mitzvos to reveal the hidden Creator. The actual concept of Tikkun Olam is closest to making a home for HASHEM on this Earth by doing mitzvos, and that’s not super compatible with multiculturalism — or those who out of one side of their mouths are so Jewish but out of the other are totally antithetical to Torah, and usually loudly preach how Jews aren’t oppressed like other peoples today.
Interestingly, Jews on the left have adopted Islamist positions and Jews on the right have adopted Christian positions, and both seem to think they’re rooted in Judaism, playing the thousands-years-old game of telephone with Torah. The reality is that both sides fail spectacularly at Judaism, since Torah cannot be added to or subtracted from, and supersessionism, including Christianity and Islam, is just that: attempts to add to the Torah. They also sort Jews into “good” and “bad” based on whether we appear to support Christian or Islamist agendas, which demonstrates a profound lack of Ahavas Yisroel (love for one’s fellow Jew), especially when the discrimination is based on characteristics the Jew in question can’t change or may struggle with. Supersessionism is the worst form of antisemitism, having led to millennia of genocide in the name of Christianity and Islam.
7. The “white Jews” canard
This is a contemporary dog whistle used by historical revisionists in order to reimagine Judaism as a choice and erase us as the main targets of white supremacy. The whole idea of “white-passing” is to distill identity to the eyes of certain beholders, and placing power and trust in any beholder other than HASHEM is extremely anti-Torah, when the Torah’s position is that every human is unique and has unique gifts to bring to the world. Likewise, reducing human experience to a paint color chip has done a marvelous job of setting the stage for collective guilt, even in small, Disabled children.
8. “Reclaiming” the k-word
Jews this word was used against — Yiddish-speakers, mostly Hasidim, and those easily mistaken for them — are not reclaiming this word, meaning the word is simply being claimed by cosplayers and contemporary supersessionists.
A large part of Hasidic culture is tznius, commonly known as modesty: making sure what we want to express is clear and not obscured by distractions in physical appearance or behavior. We want what we say (mouth), what we do (hands), and our outlook on life (eyes) to be what matters, not obscured by a hurtful or vulgar delivery. Casually throwing around language connected to humiliation and trauma is cruel and a great way to obscure communication, and there’s no way to know how the recipient of your communication relates to traumatic language. In light of this, the argument for changing the connotation of traumatic language into something positive doesn’t make sense unless it’s a decision the whole community agrees on and we’ve all worked through our trauma. That’s not how coping with trauma works; the process of seeking treatment and assistance with trauma only happens when one is ready.
9. Using anything other than Torah to define Judaism
There is a constant need (one often in the anti-Chabad territory) to redefine Judaism, misrepresenting Torah as outmoded or oppressive. We have ample community resources, almost entirely thanks to Chabad’s efforts to make observance accessible to every Jew. Well, antisemitism is a consequence of success, and the goalposts usually shift whenever anyone brings up a deficit in the Jewish community Chabad has already solved, and upon learning this, he claims Chabad is oppressive and unwelcoming, spouting anti-Chassidic propaganda left and right.
Chabad is not some secretive organization controlled by “770” (its main headquarters in New York). That’s an antisemitic trope of Jews having a hive mind. Orthodox rabbis exist to provide communal support and legal guidance, not to speak on behalf of the community or dictate our politics, apparently unlike progressive, Tikkun-Olamist politician-“rabbis.” If other Jewish and “Jewish” organizations are struggling with declining numbers while Chabad is building thriving communities, Chabad is always there as a model, but it’s clear not everyone wants Torah: some are only here for the aesthetic, so they’d rather not have the free kosher food, free High Holiday services and meals (and free Shabbes and Chagim in general!) where the whole family is welcome, free menorahs and mezuzot, or grants to individuals and families to help offset the costs of keeping kosher in areas where that’s tough.
Skin-deep beauty is financial pain; Torah is a spiritual investment regardless of the price you’ve chosen to pay by your choice of Jewish or “Jewish” institution.
Along with the need to redefine Judaism comes the apparent replacement of Torah’s Divine authority with [*checks notes*] Nazism: “If they’re Jewish enough to be targeted by Hitler, they’re Jewish enough for me!” is something shockingly common in online “Jewish” spaces, and yes, when called on it, the person doing the calling is considered to be the one with the bad takeaway or else this wouldn’t be online, would it? Well, Nazis don’t get to define who’s Jewish. Another replacement candidate for Torah is [*checks notes again*] Israel: “But ISRAEL considers them Jewish!” No, Israel clarified the Right of Return to spouses and relatives of Jews in 1970 in response to immigration of assimilated Jews from the East Bloc, not based off the Nuremberg Laws in the Holocaust. Still another is [*checks notes one last time, I promise*] antisemitism itself: being an anti-antisemite is one of the best, most exploitative ways to get an “in” with Jews exhausted by online antisemitism.
If someone wants to form his own religion like the Reformists did, that’s his choice, but it’s not Judaism and he has no right to force it on Jews. The answer will always be no, but unlike Reformists, he won’t be eligible under the Israel’s Law of Return.
10. “BUT Israel!”
An opinion is not an identity: no amount of support for Israel equals support for Jewish people or an increase in safety for us, within Israel or without. Praying facing the Bet Hamikdash in Jerusalem multiple times a day wherever we are in the world establishes our thousands of years old connection to Judea and Samaria, not merely possessing a political position supporting modern Israel. Support for modern Israel isn’t an indicator of support or love for Jews. It could signal the desire for the Christian or Islamic End of Days, support for certain political positions within Israeli politics, enmity towards the Islamist extremism throughout the Middle East and Africa, support for LGB+ rights in the region, support for a safe haven for oppressed groups and their preservation throughout the region, support for anti-terrorist measures, etc.
Most importantly, trotting out one’s alleged support for Israel is a personal choice, not a shield from criticism, and absolutely does not mean Jews owe some form of gratitude for support of what, for many of us, is a country thousands of miles away on another continent, even if we hurt when it bleeds. It’s socially and politically uncomplicated for a goy to support the dead Jew by denouncing the Holocaust or the living Israeli Jew by supporting a country’s right not to be razed, but it’s politically terrifying for someone in the USA to support the Chassidic Jew-of-the-week who just got assaulted in New York in the unending stream of antisemitic attacks on Orthodox Jews by people who don’t fit the white supremacist archetype or support the popular antisemitic narrative that racism is only present when the perpetrator is punching up, and to bash an Orthodox Jew is to punch up hard. There’s a reason the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting gets so much airtime and remembrance while Poway does not, the same way Anne Frank has a whole social cult and millions of young, Observant Yiddish-speaking Holocaust victims don’t: everyone loves a dead Jew, and more so everyone loves the socially acceptable dead Jew, and an Orthodox Jewish woman and pillar of the Poway Chabad community (Lori Gilbert Kaye, OBM) whose life was taken from her, is, sadly, too much for most people.
Supporting a Jewish Israel is vital to the world if we are to vanquish the ills of Islamic Jihad and Christian expansionism, but we cannot conflate that with goodwill towards Jews worldwide full-stop if we want to maintain Torah as our authority and not Israel-supporters’ feelings. While supporting Israel is great and might look like a major risk online, the supporter gets to walk free from antisemitism and likely not worry about friends and family every time there’s a terrorist strike in the region. We don’t know supporters’ intentions. Needless to summarize, any account weaponizing feelings to pull Jews from Torah is a bad actor and not worth a serious look.