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"It's Just Business"

Image via fullbellysisters.blogspot.com

When I was a little girl one of the topics we fought most furiously about at the Shabbos (Sabbath) table was Jews who cheat in business but are still treated as respected members of the community. Honored in synagogue and at community events.

My mother used to say, what a chillul Hashem (disgrace of G-d's name). How can those people even be considered religious? How can they go to shul? (synagogue)

As I recall it my father thought her views were simplistic. His mother was in Auschwitz. Members of her family shot in cold blood. His father was in a Romanian labor camp. The scars were fresh and government could not be relied upon to enforce the law after the Nazis got away with raping our people, murdering them, beating us in the street and stealing everything down to our gold teeth.

But he did not say she was wrong, either. Rather he would say that you should quietly do what was right. I am not sure how he felt about Jews trying to survive financially, who were scarred by what government officials had done to them.

I also remember that my dad would not let me go to the rallies to free the Soviet Jews. He did not want the FBI taking my picture and putting it in a file. That's how deep the fear goes.

To cope with the issue of internal "law enforcement," Hasidim have their own way of handling people who step out of line. There is a word he would say occasionally, "chaptzem." It literally means that you are seeing a Jew being mugged on the street, and you call out to others to help (as religious Jews live close together, because they can't drive to synagogue on Sabbath.) But the way he said it, it meant that Jews would take some sort of action against other Jews, to keep them on the straight and narrow.

There is a Jewish community watch group called the Shomrim, which patrols the streets of New York to keep religious people safe. They also have been known to engage in hate crime, which is why self-regulation cannot be totally free.

Sometimes the lines are blurry. Do you remember the case of the rabbis in Monsey, NY who would use cattle prods against husbands who refused their wives a divorce? That is a good example. When they were arrested, a friend was so upset, because due to the insular nature of the community and the way in which its religious hierarchy is structured, such rabbis were the best hope they had. "And now the evil bastards are laughing."

There is a fear and distrust of the government within the Hasidic community and more broadly within the religious Jewish community there is tremendous sensitivity to embarrassment. The proclivity to shame is one of the reasons that the community hushed up child sexual abuse, preferring instead to "deal with it" internally.

Of course that did not work and there is a growing understanding that such cases must be referred to the authorities and a movement from within the rabbinate to help and support the victims. (Read about a groundbreaking community event in New Jersey, the reporting of Hella Winston in the Jewish Forward, or follow the blog Failed Messiah.)

I think I have become unshockable, but sometimes the cases shock even me. Like when I read that a Brooklyn, N.Y. Orthodox Jew is allegedly part of the "largest child porn ring in history." If that is true, how disgusting can you get? Is that for money? For some kind of sick satisfaction? What? Does he go to synagogue on Friday night and Saturday and then "it's just business" during the week?

Financial crimes are less surprising but no less sickening, and scary from the perspective of anti-Semitism. Members of the Jewish community are very sensitive about being identified with Bernie Madoff (this is a running theme in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine - the son leaves Harvard out of shame and runs away to a place where "money doesn't count," so to speak) We identify with the Assault on Wall Street rage of the common man who has lost everything to a greedy character just like Madoff.

Here is the problem though. We live in a money economy. And right now there is not enough money to go around, to pay for the things that everybody wants, to deliver the kind of status that everybody thinks they need. That is a problem extending within and way beyond the Jewish community.

In a capitalist country, where people need to pay the bills, the survival requirement shapes behavior in a work environment. It's the idea that "in business, anything goes."

The dramatic way to depict this concept is cutthroat corporate stuff, like in the classic Oliver Stone 80s movie Wall Street. But I'm not talking about that. Rather it's the concept behind social networking in a social economy, that you make connections because you may need someone in the future.

Is that ethical? To support others, because one day they may support you? It seems to me that we hear that advice a lot, that it is treated as essential. And I was uncritical about it myself, for a long time.

Until somebody said to me: "You don't do anything without thinking about what's in it for you."

And that sounded really wrong.

What do you think about it? Where does the morality lie in social networking?

Is it OK, because everybody knows it's just business?

* All opinions my own.

Which Way Is The Wind Blowing Again? 15 Social Media Trends Govies Need To Know


Many people think that social media is sort of easy, like, just send a Tweet out or write a blog and it's done.

The fact is it's so much more complicated than that. What works for one audience does not work for another. For example after five years I decided that I liked Facebook. My youngest kid, who introduced me to it, has now decided she hates it and uses other tools where the kids talk to each other and the parents cannot find them. No, not even Snapchat. There are these Q&A boards, and kids register, and then other kids can ask them anything they want.

It's complicated!

So how do we effectively reach and engage with our audiences using social media? Now, and in five years from now?

A presentation now on Slideshare has excellent information about the current trends. These are things I sort of vaguely knew about, but Eric T. Tung really has put them together in a neat and useful way.

Reviewing the 78 (yes, 78) slides, a lot of it is more pertinent to a private sector marketers, so I've modified/adapted/expanded on the slides so that the information is pertinent to government.

Note: Actual implementation would require careful coordination to make sure all applicable laws, regulations and policies are adhered to.


Reading through this list I realize that more than a few are "old hat" to people who have been doing social media for awhile. But there is a big difference between knowing something conceptually, and implementing it in practice. These trends reinforce that the need to change our mindset is very real.

1. The average Facebook user age is 42, not 21. This is not to say that Facebook is dead, only that you should have the information before you do a Facebook campaign.

2. We already know that print media are dying (no more newspapers soon) but did you know that regular TV is dying too? More and more it's about 1 source of information: The Internet.

3. Going forward, web-based email will likely decline in importance
as a communication tool. For everyone except people age 55+, use of web-based email decreased between Dec. 2009-Dec. 2010. It may work now; it won't work forever.

4. Social media only amplifies word of mouth, which has existed since forever and is the best marketing tool you can imagine (a little editorializing there). The concept now is "word of mouse." When you write content, it should be shareable. But more importantly, the place you put it should facilitate sharing too. With a single click, on many platforms.

5. Twitter for customer service: It is not an official CRM system. But it works because it shows responsiveness and generates good PR.

6. Set up live events so that people can hold up their iPads and smartphones and record what's going on. Do not restrict this activity.

7. People appreciate services that enable them to connect without actually having to interact. This is not new, but there is a need to go beyond the same old same old in this respect - to connect hyper-specialized interest groups over social media.

8. Forget about controlling the message. Focus on finding out where your audience lives in the social media world. Then find a way to reach and engage them there. Also not new, but are we really going where the Agency audiences are, finding out what their consumption habits are, and providing engaging content in a way that is not "astroturfing," that respects the culture, and so on?

9. The tech giants are gobbling up social media channels.
The main impact is cross-posting. This means that every piece of content you post should be shareable across many platforms. Little is big.

10. It is important to gather up the little bits of data from social streams to find out what people are saying about you. There are automated tools that do that. It's not just about a Twitter search anymore, a news clip search, or a quick review of the top blogs.

11. Crowdsourcing is a way of solving problems by getting help from the public in little bits. It is huge and only going to grow in importance. Everything you do, can be crowdsourced - designing a logo is just the start.

12. We are entering the age of the sharing economy. If before it was agriculture, then manufacturing, then service, and now experience, the future will be about helping others and getting help yourself. (Not just information, but literally opening your home to guests or sharing your car.) What physical things might we share? What services?

13. Big data, metrics and analytics cannot be overestimated in their importance. It is critical to understand who exactly you are dealing with and what their preferences are. The right tools can help you go through a sea of content and drill down to what really matters at the finest level of detail.

14. The quantified self: People are becoming obsessed with tracking their health and other information using connected devices -- this is way beyond the pedometer. Can we offer them a way to connect with "their" government services on a credit card - almost like a store credit card?

15. This one is not mentioned, but it is worth bringing in - "the internet of things." How can "smart" devices interact with social media to deliver access to desired records in a way that is easy, seamless, and even fun?

When you work in social media it is easy to get stuck in the day to day. But the real fun, and productivity, lies in looking 5-10 years down the road, and making that reality a part of your actual work world. 

In the government, where money is tighter than ever, such innovation is essential.

* Originally posted by me in an internal blog at my agency. References to the agency have been removed. Government produced work is public domain. So are all of my personal blog posts.

Numbers Don't Matter. Only Numbers Matter.


The brand master understands the three basic rules of decision-making:

* It's about emotion not logic.
* It's preferable for things to feel good.
* It's painful to have to stop and think.

There are times when marketers use numbers objectively. For example, to bolster credibility. Or if they can get sued for saying an untruth.

The rest of the time, they are using numbers to tell a story. That story can be very close to reality. Or it can be a force-fit, designed to say what they want to say at any given moment.

You can think very broadly about what a "marketer" is. It's not always a brand manager at Procter & Gamble. Rather the marketer is anyone who must influence others, persuade them of the veracity of an idea.

I have very little faith in numbers. I know they can be twisted around and around. They are useful to compare to other numbers. But I always ask myself, who has an interest in putting these numbers forward? What is the context in which they were gathered? What is the methodology? What do the competing numbers say?

Personally I prefer qualitative research: watching people, talking with them, and simply breathing the air that they breathe. But that has biases of its own.

In the end it is not so important whether this number or that number is true. Rather that we think critically about who has an interest in the number. And how they may be trying to turn a complicated set of findings into evidence upon which a brand is based, pushing you in the direction of the purchase.

It's like those commercials for housecleaning products, where they show the germs and then how the product eliminates them. Do you need to buy the product, or should you simply get some distilled vinegar and wipe the dust really well? Or maybe get an air cleaner...or move to a less polluted town.

Numbers can give you a head start. But neither they nor their spokespeople can give you the whole story.

* All opinions my own.

New Visualization: 5-Step Strategy Boot Camp - Elevating Change Communication

I'd Rather Be A Fool



You could say that Rabbi Nachman of Breslov was a Jewish self-help guru. He taught that one must avoid depression at all costs, even if it meant acting silly. Depression was distance from the Divine. Which was death to a Jew.

Breslov was a serious person. He knew the law. He starved himself, too, and regularly walked alone in the woods. His devotion was extreme and ascetic.

Still, he took the people as they were and loved them. He could handle the heavy stuff. They could not. He carried the load for them and simply asked them to feel joy in return. Joy does the rest.

Joy can be achieved through silliness. Fools feel free to be silly. Laugh, tell a joke, crack a smile.

Fools are limber. Their minds are relaxed enough to believe. Not inherently closed off, like skeptics and pessimists.

Thus Breslov wrote that fools are actually better off:
"It is better to be a fool who believes in everything than to be so clever that you do not believe in anything.

"If you believe in everything, some of your beliefs may be foolish but you will also believe in the truth.

"However, when a person is too clever and does not want to believe in anything, he may begin by ridiculing falsehood and folly but can easily end up so skeptical of everything that he even denies the truth."

- Sichot Haran #103
I am not advocating that we act silly all the time. I am simply suggesting that we not dismiss foolishness as a tactic. Sometimes it gets you closer to where you need to go.

* All opinions my own.

Crushing Mr. Roboto ("Serious Business People Do Not Feel")

Photo by Handmade Stuffs via Flickr

One of my favorite movies is Working Girl. I never fail to cry, rooting for good-hearted, hardworking, honest Melanie Griffith against the stuffy, scheming, not-too-original Sigourney Weaver. 

It is hard to pick my favorite scene. Is it where Sigourney gets her comeuppance, and she can't remember the idea she stole from Melanie that got her so much kudos? Or is it when Melanie gets her little lunchbox from Harrison Ford, who has packed her a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to take to work?

Doesn't matter. The movie pointed up the importance of feelings. Melanie, Harrison and the other good characters in the movie represent the idea that you can't and shouldn't leave your heart and soul behind when you pull into the corporate parking lot.

Senior executives truly understand the concept of heart at work. But the people who work for them -- that is to say, the upper management ranks -- has a lot of trouble with it. They persist in defining professionalism as the absence of emotion at work.

They would not tell you this. But in talking to them, you get the impression that they think we're supposed to be robots of a kind. We should get things done using only cognitive skills. Emotions, insofar as they exist, are really like dirt -- they get in the way.

Of course this is not only stupid but sexist. Very very subtly, it tells you that the basic, superior, elemental individual against whom all others are judged is the one who exhibits no emotion. 

Traditionally, the stereotypes say, women are the nurturers. We mother. Men are the protectors and the killers. They are taught to be expressionless at will, "Like Toy Soldiers."




Fortunately times have changed. In 1995, the publication of Daniel Goleman's book Emotional Intelligence began to shift the leadership conversation away from pure technical and cognitive skills and toward the interpersonal ones. Finally, a respected man was talking about the importance of emotion at work.

Let's ignore the fact that ten years prior, in 1983, that Arlie Hochschild's The Managed Heart had already portrayed a workplace in which emotional skills were becoming absolutely critical to employment. Which makes sense in a service economy. And even more sense now, in a collaborative one.


In 2013, brand expert John Gerzema's The Athena Doctrine came out, arguing that women and those who "think like them" will soon be dominant.


The point of all this is not to argue that women are superior to men, that women are inherently more feeling, and so on. That is nonsense. 

Rather it's about starting a conversation about what kinds of beliefs are implicit in the workplace around emotion. Is it really true, as many seem to believe, that there is no place for feelings at work? That serious business people do not exhibit emotion? 

Of course not!

Multiple intelligence is all the intelligence that we have. It's bringing all thought, all feeling, all spirit, and all sense and sensibility to bear.

* All opinions my own.

Mutually Assured Privacy



They say the greatest luxury in the world is time. But another one is personal space. The time and ability to think and reflect. Without it, you spend your entire day focusing on minutiae rather than the big picture, a waste.

Reflection means that you think to yourself about stuff. And you don't necessarily share everything you think. But if you do, it is important that others respect your right to privacy.

This weekend we went to a Purim party in Baltimore, at my friend Penina's house. This is Penina's beautiful family, which runs the Jewish Collegiate Network locally and has dedicated their entire lives to religious outreach.

It is OK to share the photo because they've put it online as part of the outreach effort.



They also put a Purim photo and assorted videos online, publicly as well. It's all about drawing people into their home to learn about how to practice observant Judaism.

After we left I wondered to myself, how can they live under such a microscope? They have photos and video of the family out there for the public to view. They write about the kids. They fling open the doors of their home to complete strangers - everyone is invited to join them for a Sabbath. But don't they deserve some privacy too?

Yet Penina and her husband Efy have dedicated their lives to that kind of openness. They know it's strange. But they also know there is no other way to draw others in besides offering the atmosphere of an observant Jewish home. They've sacrificed something.

I respect their commitment and total life focus. But for me it points up even more the importance of giving others the space to be who they are, outside the public view. It is not "hypocritical" to have a public and a private presence. It is called being human.

* All opinions my own.

The Next Frontier In Personal Branding: Rough Edges


Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the past 15 years at least, you have heard of the term "personal branding." (Here is the classic 1997 Fast Company article by Tom Peters.)

And then came Naomi Klein's No Logo in 1999. Branding was more important than counter-branding, but slowly a backlash built, fueled by the concept and technology of social media. And the online publication of The Cluetrain Manifesto in 2000.

Nowadays it is fashionable to be completely revolted at the thought of selling yourself like a product. The ultimate symbol of such understatement is the hoodie. Whether Mark Zuckerberg wears it or Eminem does, the message is the same: Why are you trying so hard? People who "force it" have nothing real to offer.

And so we talk about "authenticity." Authentic skills, authentic survival gear, bows and arrows, dystopia, The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Walking Dead, Sons of Anarchy, Game of Thrones, Vikings, The 300. Urban Decay makeup. Steampunk. Antique. Heritage. A world of sepia now.

There is now an entire TV show dedicated to arm wrestling. It is all about "being real."

It is difficult to "do authenticity." Take work clothing and "business casual" -- what an impossible concept! Whereas most of us know how to wear a business suit, it is harder to know exactly which clothes are just a level up from sitting at home on the couch, yet not so refined that you look like an overdressed dork. (Two words: "Banana Republic.")

What about good manners? The rules used to be so simple. "If you have to cry, go outside" was the career advice in the book of the same  name by Kelly Cutrone. (An awesome book.) And never curse, obviously.

And yet just a few days ago, Adam Levine goes on the Chelsea Lately show to commiserate about the bad rap the F-- word gets. And the President and other political leaders openly cry in public.

Apologies are becoming more common too, instead of silence or defensiveness. This January, the dean of the Harvard Business School apologized for its second-class treatment of women.

There is more. Blogs are becoming more real. My favorite blogger, Penelope Trunk, writes about hating a fellow self-help guru (Tim Ferriss), not to mention her experiences of domestic violence, mental breakdowns, anger fits, problems driving a car, and oh yeah, Asperger's.

Plus she is a homeschooling mom on a farm in Wisconsin.

None of it detracts one bit from her popularity or effectiveness as a blogger, a coach, a career adviser and a serial entrepreneur. Because she is real. Penelope may write under a pen name, but the research is solid and her stories feel like the truth. I trust her. (Disclaimer: We occasionally email so I consider her a friend.)

Last example: President Obama on the Zach Galifianakis web series "Between Two Ferns." This is a form of entertainment (not sure what to call it) in which the host is totally, totally rude to his guests. So much so that they walk off the set. The President appeared on this show and got into it with Galifianakis, all to promote Healthcare.gov. And from my perspective, it totally worked -- precisely because the show has that reputation for being "real."

The director Ron Howard is a very good example of rough edges. So is the investor guru Warren Buffett, and management expert Tom Peters is the same. Chelsea Lately. Roseanne Barr.

These are the people you want to emulate now. Not the ones who seem slick and over-polished. The ones who get a cup of coffee at McDonald's, show a scuff or two on their shoes, and don't over-think whether their earrings match at all.

Note, it's not about being careless. It is about showing that you're trustworthy and confident. And that you hate the idea of putting on airs.

Mad Men is outmoded. Nowadays, top talent lets the real self shine through. And doesn't rely on shells, shills and manipulations to get the message across successfully.

* All opinions my own.





Three Posts Are Back Online Now


Over the past few weeks a few folks cautioned me that I should not speak so freely on my blog. I took the coward's route out and removed a couple of posts. But looking back at the content, I believe it is wrong to self-censor. I've put the posts back and changed the headlines slightly.

We cannot let the thought police get inside of our head: It is a free country and we are all entitled to our beliefs.

* All opinions my own. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

The Normative Fallacy That Gets In The Way Of Diversity Programming

"Uncle Sam" is an example of an implicit normative figure. 
So is Santa Claus - the Caucasian male against whom others are "different."

The hidden premise of diversity programs is an imaginary figure (the normative figure) who sets the standard.

This is never articulated outright. And we don't even like to admit it to ourselves.

But it is there, and it's why messages around equal employment opportunity are often so out-of-touch and stale.

In the protective sense, i.e. in the interest of ensuring the employee is not prevented from enjoying equal opportunity, diversity messaging should emphasize that:

* Nobody is the "norm" -- we are ALL diverse, even if you can't see it on the outside

* There are endless categories of diversity -- way beyond the protected groups in the EEO statutes

* Within categories, there is substantial variation -- e.g. the Jewish community is relatively tiny, but incredibly diverse

In the productivity sense, i.e. in the interest of enlightening the organization, diversity messaging should emphasize that organizations too often leave money lying on the floor because they don't know how to leverage diversity well.

Here's a great and very simple example. Childbirth and the raising of children, rather than being treated as a "time-out" or "other activity" could be integrated into the workplace with:

* Private wellness rooms not only for lactation, but also for a quiet time-out
* On-site childcare, open to any caregiver of a child
* Community area in the cafeteria so parents can spend time with kids during the work day
* Work/life support group for caregivers
* After-hours care line for referrals to support providers of working parents

To fully do this means to get away from the false dichotomy between "us" and "them," the "regular person" and the "different one," the "able-bodied" and those for whom "accommodations are made."

Long way of saying, in a truly diverse workplace, all of us are "freaks and geeks" -- and none of us are.

* All opinions my own.

10 Factors That Undermine Women In Authority: Yeah, That Makes Me Mad


Things that get us tied up in knots:

1. Interactions demonstrating that men "naturally" hold authority -- at work, at home, at school. Men speak up, men write, men are the heroes in the movies, men act. We may SAY different things, but the messages come from what they WITNESS through interaction. For example, the media did not know what to do with Hilary Clinton as First Lady because she was clearly every bit as much the politician as Bill. However, they are very comfortable with Michelle Obama, because of her "feminine" role promoting nutrition. (Of course, both of these women will kick your ass.)

2. In school, children reinforce gender messages in ways large and small. Girls make fun of girls who aren't "feminine" (i.e. sexualized) and boys make fun of girls who are "bossy." Boys who are "sensitive" are targeted as well. Teens who have gender identities along the spectrum, whether gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender become the object of speculation and derision because kids begin "going out" even before junior high.

3. Sexual violence against girls is rampant, and not only are girls not supported by peers, but they are videotaped while being attacked, blamed for provoking the attack, and endure grueling questioning about how the attack came to happen. The overwhelming majority of sexual assaults occur against girls and women, and are committed by someone known to them, whether a family member or acquaintance. Thus girls who report are frequently seen as "betrayers" of "relationship ties," and the inner torment this causes can and does last a lifetime.

4. Popular culture reinforces the message that women, even when they do what they "naturally" do, are are weaker and less effective then men (with a few exceptions of "extraordinary" women who are "just like men.") Here is an example. There is a Buick commercial on TV where the stay-at-home mother can't get the toddler to stop crying and eat. The father comes into the kitchen, all freshly pressed and ready to go to work, and makes the zoom-zoom sound to the kid, and immediately the kid shuts up. Cut to a picture of the car -- the car is better, the workplace is better, the mother is inadequate even when she chooses to do her "natural" duty regarding childrearing.

5. The standards for women's appearance are absolutely impossible for any normal person to meet. Whereas men are not expected to be good-looking, women are, and guess what, most of us are not good-looking! And even if we are, it's not for very long, if you consider how people look over the span of an approximately 85 year lifetime. Plus you're supposed to be skinny, but not too skinny...the endless preoccupation with weight.

6. The standards for behavior are impossible to meet. Whereas men are expected to get loud, angry, and physical when their rights are violated, women are expected to hope that someone will rescue them. Whereas men are expected to assert authority, women are expected to submit to authority. Women who act just like men are respected, but also seen as deviants. And there is an invisible "balance" or "middle line" that people keep talking about, but that I rarely see in practice.

7. I do not have statistics on this, but I suspect that the impact of caregiving still takes a greater toll on women than on men. Women care for the children, for their husbands, for their parents, and for their husband's parents. It's not just appointments, but also shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry, and of course serving as the emotional glue of the household.

8. When women occupy positions of authority at work, they experience gendered resistance from men to having a female "boss them around." Similarly, male colleagues can oppose them simply because they are women and it is demeaning to be occupying the same table. Opposition can be demonstrated in ways explicit and implicit.

9. Women in authority at work are expected to be impassive and emotionless (otherwise they look weak) yet to demonstrate care and compassion. This is an impossible standard to meet.

10. Women have been taught to put everybody else first, and if they pursue their own career, there is something "selfish" about that. Of course you cannot advance unless you take an active interest in your own development.

All of these factors would drive anybody crazy. I suggest we think about how we treat half the universe, and give the women in the room a little more care and compassion, for the benefit of everyone, including ourselves.

As the lady said to me and my husband in the store on vacation, "Happy wife, happy life!"

* All opinions my own.

Justice for Taj Patterson

Screenshot via NY Post; also see the NY Daily News story

In a nutshell, here's what happened --  based on several news reports of the incident, and analysis at Failed Messiah:

On December 1, 2013, at 5 a.m., a black, gay, male student named Taj Patterson left a party bus in Williamsburg on foot. Williamsburg is home to a lot of people, including some from the ultra-Orthodox Jewish Hasidic community. He was jumped by a group of white, male Hasidic Jews who proceeded to beat him so badly that his eye socket was broken and his retina was torn.

What was this group doing walking around at five in the morning? According to Failed Messiah they "appeared to be part of a street patrol, probably Shomrim." That would make sense, as Williamsburg does have such groups to protect the community. 

But why would they attack Patterson, if he didn't do anything wrong? You could say that it was pure racism, as the attackers were white, and the person being attacked was black. (The New York Police Department's Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating.)

So we may have a case of an insular community's street patrol gone awry. Perhaps.

But then why did they shout anti-gay slurs at him? According to one account, citing the Daily News, they told him to "Stay down, f----t!" 

Setting aside the question of how they knew he was gay, why would this fact bother them so much? Again, perhaps they're just insular and intolerant -- we know that Judaism strictly forbids men from engaging in homosexual practice.

But I have another theory. Hasidic people are part of a culture in which sexuality is repressed and the genders are separated. Increasingly it has been reported that this leads to homosexual practices (and pedophilia) in religious school and beyond. Reportedly (NSFW) Hasidim have been known to go outside their communities as well, seeking satisfaction that is not permitted on the "inside."

My belief is that Taj Patterson was an innocent sacrificial lamb to people who could not confront their own impulses.

The New York City Police Department has plenty of evidence of this crime. There are eyewitnesses including the bus driver who stopped the attack. There are photographic images. Patterson was drunk, but the evidence speaks for itself. The political response by Brooklyn Assemblyman Hikind, that the accusation sounds "out of character" and "bizarre," is ridiculous on its face.

I hope the NYPD prosecutes this crime and that Hasidim realize the world, including their Jewish brothers and sisters, are watching.

* All opinions my own.