May 23, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

More ‘Name Withheld Upon Request’ Letters, Please

I would like to applaud The Jewish Link—in my own name—for continuing to run letters that offer reliable information and reasoned arguments even if names need to be withheld where necessary. It is good practice under generally accepted journalistic principles as well as the special times we live in.

If information is relevant and reliable, or an argument is logical and coherent, it should be able to stand on its own and receive a hearing even if there are reasons the author cannot provide his or her name. The fact is that no one can avoid noticing that we live in an age of “cancel culture.” People are quicker than ever to take great offense and even seek punitive measures against people saying something they don’t like, even if what they say is known to be true or reasonable. Perhaps especially when a point is clearly true or reasonable. Whatever the cause for the growth of this sociological phenomenon, our community is not immune to it.

Moreover, every single major news reporting organization in this country, each with hundreds of journalists at their disposal, on a daily basis rely on and quote anonymous, off-the-record and background sources. Local newspapers do not have the same kind of staffing to cultivate those sources, so local papers that allow for such sources to send in letters where appropriate is necessary.

Lastly, I believe it’s been proven to our community that anonymity can sometimes be a catalyst for positive developments. The creation of Yeshivat He’Atid, with hundreds of students today, was made possible by the efforts of a group of individuals who only first came together as a result of discussions on an anonymous blog.

Dan Barenholtz
Teaneck
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