An interesting look at what a Charedi newspaper censors

I have always been curious about how the editors censor articles at Charedi publications. I’m pretty sure that anyone trying to write for the Yated, Mishpacha Magazine or Binah is going to be censored. I just was never sure how far they went until now, Eli David Lebowicz recently sent Hamodia a purim piece and it came back looking like a poorly done book report, all marked up in red and basically too many changes had to be done to it – to make it worthwhile. My favorite of the edits “Starbucks is Chalav stam and it got cut from one of my articles”. 

Anyway, here are some things that you mentioned in your article that Hamodia will ask you to replace (I’m not saying for sure, just in my experience):
1. Page 1 – references to professional sports

2. Page 1 – the party only had non-kosher food? They might not like you contradicting a midrash

3. Page 1 – can’t mention goyish comedians by name

4. Page 1 – can’t show Jews liking bacon. Even if you’re right and they did like it, hamodia would not consider that a laughing matter.

5. Page 1 – reference to a goyishe song

6. Page 1 – not sure you could talk about facebook. I’ve always been afraid to go there in my columns.

7. Page 1 – can’t reference girlie movies (or any movies, really) – also on page 2, page 3, page 4, page 5, page 6

8. Page 1 – not sure they will like you mentioning hitler in any way in a humor piece. Too soon.

9. Page 2 – reference to celebrities and required knowledge of what American Idol is

10. (Page 2 – the pinky and the brain references will probably go over their heads)

11. Page 2 – reference to modern family. And tivo

12. Page 2 – reference to mel Gibson who is a huge anti-semite, but only famous because of movies, and Hamodia reads aren’t supposed to know who he is.

13. Page 3 – oj simpson, Charlie sheen, steven spielberg, mel gibson

14. Page 3 – I’m not even sure you can reference a maccabeats song that was a parody of goyishe song

15. Page 4 – starbucks is chalav stam. This actually got cut from one of my articles once.

16. Page 4 – Seinfeld reference

17. Page 4 – amazon

18. Page 5 – professional sports

19. Page 5 – hamodia might think you’re implying that mordechai’s feet smell worse than garbage

20. Page 5 – bert and ernie. Also the lion king song reference

21. Page 5 – was there really a third party? I thought there were only 2

22. Page 6 – they’re not going to love you giving G-d dialogue, no matter how respectful

23. Page 7 – you might not be allowed to mention a non-jewish holiday.

Anyway, I don’t mean to hurt you in any way, I’m just trying to teach you the rules. Once you take out what I told you to, you’ll be left with like two jokes. It’s just important that you know the rules before planning a new piece. Oh, and also, no references to shaving (Chassidim don’t do that), women driving (again, Chassidim), shidduch dating (Chassidim don’t believe in that), and this is even though most of their audience is not actually chassidish. Also, nothing that is halachically assur or questionable or frowned upon by rabbonim, unless you’re going to excuse it in the very next senence, and often not even THEN.

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