Mesirah among the feds

We’ve heard plenty about ultra-Orthodox Jews shunning their own for turning in miscreants to the authorities. But that’s not treatment you’d expect at a Reform synagogue.

In today’s Washington Post, Jesselyn Radack describes the aftermath of her disclosure in 2003 that John Walker Lindh, the “American Taliban,” had been interrogated in 2001 without counsel:

After her case went public, she noticed a chill in how she and her family were treated. She took her children to the “tot shabbat,” or sabbath celebration for young children, at Temple Sinai in Northwest Washington and noticed that no one would sit near her and her family. It turns out that some of the people she blew the whistle on also attended her temple. The situation got so bad, she said, she had to talk to the rabbi about it.

“We’re inside the Beltway, and it’s a small city,” Radack says. “It’s like high school. They just freeze you out.”

Ron Kampeas is JTA’s Washington bureau chief, responsible for coordinating coverage in the U.S. capital and analyzing political developments that affect the Jewish world. He comes to JTA from The Associated Press, where he worked for more than a decade in its bureaus in Jerusalem, New York, London and, most recently, Washington. He has reported from Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, Bosnia and West Africa. While living in Israel, he also worked for the Jerusalem Post and several Jewish organizations.