in minnesota, a successful palestinian family went into a crisis mode. their daughter’s once deleted tweets went public. as a 16 year old, their daughter posted vile tweets that were anti-black, anti-jewish and anti-gay. as a result, the community and social media upset ensued causing interruption to their business. the reported financial losses have been staggering.
the family, the business, and the daughter went into damage control mode. apologies have been issues and efforts have been made to heal the wounds. their road to redemption has been rocky. cancel culture has been blamed.
there are reasons why the community was and is upset. children don’t spontaneous learn to express hate in a vile fashion. it is something that is learned. it can be from peers, from social media, and it can be from family. thus, the family must understand that they are a suspected source of her then hatred.
thus, the family, in one circumstance, hypothetically, could admit that they played a role in their daughter’s views. in alternative, they could deny it. even if not true, the denial, for public relations’ purposes, may be be viewed as a better choice than expressing the truth.
under this hypothetical, the public knows that the denial was not truthful. as a result, the family’s efforts to seek redemption will not be viewed in the best light. their alternative, in this hypothetical, is also painful. if the family admitted some involvement, it may stoke outrage. on the other hand, there are other people who would be appreciative of the honesty and find it as a big step towards redemption.
when discussing redemption, we turn to the great spanish rabbi rabbeinu yohan of gerondi. he wrote a whole book on this topic. his scholarly text is entitled “sha’arei teshuva” or the “gates of redemption. ” sefaria.org
he found that there were twenty gateways toward redemption. these included regretting/acknowledging the sin; forsaking the sin; worrying about the future consequences of the sin; acting and speaking with humility; acting in a way opposite to that of the sin (for example, for the sin of lying, one should speak the truth); understanding the magnitude of the sin; refraining from lesser sins for the purpose of safeguarding oneself against committing greater sins; confessing the sin; praying for atonement; correcting the sin however possible (for example, if one stole an object, the stolen item must be returned; or, if one slanders another, the slanderer must ask the injured party for forgiveness); pursuing works of chesed (good deeds) and truth; remembering the sin for the rest of one’s life; living from committing the same sin if the opportunity presents itself again; and teaching others not to sin. wikipedia.org
with these redemption concepts in mind, let’s look at some of the facts. please note that there are alot of facts that will not be addressed. also, local news organizations deserve a lot of credit for their excellent reporting. they reported on many facts not addressed in later articles.
from one report “el-amin[an imam] remembers the first time he saw lianne wadi’s posts. there was the repeated use of the n-word, a reference to the elimination of “jews, blacks and fats,” and an anti-black and homophobic tweet with the tag #s**tpeopleinmyfamilysay. he was stunned and hurt, he told me.” npr
reading into this quote, there is a question whether the family had any involvement in shaping their daughter’s attitudes. the family denies it. in light of the recent middle east conflict in which some palestinians and their supporters chased down and physically attacked jews in the united states, family attitudes concerning hate in a relevant issue.
another quote leads to some skepticism concerning family involvement:
in the article, it went further, “he and his wife have looked for answers about how lianne learned the things she wrote, he said. he denies it came from his home — even though one tweet said he once responded to a black man calling him a “terrorist” by calling him the n-word. wadi said he doesn’t recall this particular incident, but said the business was “frequently targeted and threatened because of our ethnicity and faith.” “the tweets, he said, were things lianne wrote in high school when she was going through what wadi called a “bad phase,” the only brown muslim kid in her white school trying to fit in. “i came to America in 1994. she was my first child. nobody ever told me — which is not an excuse — how to raise an arabic muslim palestinian kid in america,” he said. “this country gave me what nowhere else in the world gave me. a home for my kids. as a palestinian, as a refugee.”” npr
in sum, the facts indicate that their daughter thrown under the bus which thus provided the family some cover.
in support of the family, they are hard working and dedicated to their business. this dedication may have some with some sacrifice with respect to child rearing. children from successful families get out of control.
in sum, the family deserves credit for their efforts to seek redemption and heal the wounds. for many, however, the question of the extent of family role in their daughter’s offensive expressions and beliefs remains.
there is legitimate skepticism concerning the explanations that are being presented to the public. community members may believe that they are not getting the entire story concerning the family’s role in their daughter’s attitudes. and as noted, on a hypothetical basis, the family may have felt that it was better to deny involvement rather than being more truthful. the alternative could have been quite difficult and carried with it much uncertainty.
i wish the family success on their continued efforts to heal the wounds. i wish that their business remains successful and that they learn from this experience. i do wish them to understand that, despite their denials, that community members may still believe that other family members may have played a role in shaping their daughter’s beliefs. thus, cancel culture may not be the only reason for the stalled redemption efforts.
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