I'm taking a break from studying to put up this post that I've been meaning to write, but haven't out of procrastination that I should do more informal research pre-blog posting.
I was asked, I don't remember if it was by Email or in the comments, to write about this man. I was actually thinking about doing so. However, I just want to point out that I wonder if I was expected to comment on this convert who died in an untimely manner purely because I'm a convert or because most of the other prominent Jewish bloggers wrote about it (not including the 20-somethings who mostly write about shidduchim, there's so many of those).
Anyhow, so I think most people know that a black male convert around my age was working in a liquor store in Flatbush, Brooklyn. The store got held up and the robber demanded Jewelry from Yosef's girlfriend-almost fiancee who had JUST gotten there. Yosef got in the middle and the robber took it out on him instead, meanwhile the girl was in the store's back room. That is the basic story.
Unfortunately, there was another story from this. That story is the story of many Jews who had to make comments about his conversion and such. After all, a convert was in the spotlight. Lacking the decency and middos to keep their mouth shut, they questioned the yiddishkeit of a corpse. As usual, white Jews were hating a black. They were hating a convert. They were hating a man who possessed both qualities. Most distastefully, Jews, even perhaps other Jews of color, were putting in their two cents. So, am I just another Jew putting in my two cents? Perhaps, I am. I suppose that's what a blog is, no?
I did not know this man, personally, which is why I was hesitant to blog about it. However, that's exactly what I want to talk about. How is it that people who didn't know him or inside information about the levaya could be going around running their mouthes? What am I talking about? Well, for example, a person might have posted levaya information on their Facebook status and another would come in and state that, "no Jew should go to this man's funeral." I saw articles online that mention that he was being buried next to his grandmother in Jamaica. The comments flourished that he was obviously an insincere convert and that he was obviously not being buried Jewish.
As a convert myself, I've felt the hatred towards us and I know how it can get out of hand. My inquisitive and analytical mind was thinking, "considering how they hate us, if he wasn't being buried Jewish, they would have flat out stated that instead of leading people towards that conclusion WITHOUT stating it. If he lost his connection, why was he complaining about a ex-wife raising a daughter not-so-religious? Finally, I can't see Brooklyn Jews giving business to a store that had a defunct Jewish convert working there. The store would have gone under. Therefore, I want to see if these accusations are warranted. They were not.
So, I asked a friend who knew him what the story was. She told me that he was indeed buried next to his non-Jewish grandmother. HOWEVER, she also said that some rabbi from Brooklyn went to Jamaica to bless or pray over or something the plot of land to make it all kosher to bury him there. I have more news for those of you who are still skeptics. Over yontiff, I stayed in Brooklyn and while I was there I was speaking with someone and the conversation actually changed to the Yosef Robinson topic. I didn't have anything to do with that topic change. Unbeknowst to this woman, I was plotting this post. She stated, unprobed, all of that which my other friend had told me. She knows the rabbi who "Jewish-ized" the plot of land, personally. Apparently, Yosef's family said they have no problem with a Jewish burial, but they really wanted him buried next to grandma. The rabbi flew down there and made it happen.
Now, seriously? To the those Jews that did, speaking lashon hara about a dead person? Can you stoop much lower than that? Incidentally, I tried to comment on one of these articles that speaking lashon hara of the dead is outrageous. Somehow, it didn't make it up. The media is out to mold your mind. As usual, the zombies followed.