Slichah — I apologize

And I do, most sincerely, to Marc Gronich, who wrote the original Jewish World article about the two young Jewish children in foster care in Rensselaer County.  He wrote a balanced, thoughtful, and sensitive article, after a long conversation with Judy and conversations with many other people, and we especially appreciate that he wrote accurately about our family situation.  I didn’t acknowledge any of this in my letter to the editor or my previous blog post, and it should have been the first thing I said, before I laid out my criciticm.  It was indeed the first thing Judy and I said to each other — appreciating how well the article was written.  I apologize to Marc for putting him in a bad light.  This publishing thing is harder than it looks!

And I know that retractions and apologies are never read by all the people who read the original article.  So, I’m depending on you to spread the word if it comes up in conversation.

Marc Gronich also didn’t write the headline, which framed the situation in terms of a disagreement in the Troy Jewish community.   Nor did I write the headline for my letter to the editor (which is the core of my previous blog post).   Both headlines, plus the first paragraph of the original article (which says that the situation is “pitting the Troy Orthodox and Reform Jewish communities at odds over how Jewish children should be raised”), imply a conflict that I don’t think exists in Troy.

But I’ve figured out where the confusion comes from:  It hinges on the word “raise.”

In foster care circles, you don’t so much talk about “raising” foster children.  You talk about “caring” for them.  So “raising,” to me, implies permanence, which is exactly the thing that children in foster care don’t have.  “Rearing,” in the headline, seems to be a synonym for “raising” — perhaps it’s not, but it’s not a word in common usage, either.

“Raising” has two meanings.  “Raising children temporarily” is a description for the day-to-day work of foster care.  Then there’s “raising children permanently in their ‘forever family,’” which is adoption.  Marc and I and the headline writer, I think, confused these different meanings of “raising.”  Unintentionally.

But I think that Agudath Israel of America is confusing them deliberately.  And much of my letter and blog post in reply to the  original Jewish World article focused on a dismissive comment made  about me by that organization’s general counsel.  This led to the other mistake I made in my letter and blog post:  I segued from criticism of the paper (or the writer) to criticism of AIA’s representative, without making that distinction clear.  In retrospect, I see how that could leave a reader with the mistaken impression that this aspect, too, was reported incorrectly.  It wasn’t!  I was objecting to the content of the criticism from this third party, not to the reporting at all.

I’m going to write more about Agudath Israel of America and the difference between “being in foster care” and “being raised by your parents” in the next post.  This post is my apology to Marc Gronich.  Slichah, Marc.