Sunday, April 14, 2013

Justin Bieber on Anne Frank

JUSTIN BIEBER DID WHAT most visitors to the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam do. He signed the guest book. It's something I did as well back in February 2011. I remember taking a few minutes to myself to think about what I should write. How could I sum up my feelings after taking a 1-hour tour of the small annex where Anne Frank and her family hid? How could I leave a reflective and meaningful note in this book? I also wondered about who, if anyone, would actually read my message.

Well, Justin Bieber likely gave it a moment's thought too before autographing the book at the Anne Frank House with his signature and a message. His message, however, will be critiqued over the course of this next week until something else he does is able to take the headlines away from this story.

Bieber's message was, "Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber." Not really inappropriate or tasteless. Certainly not something offensive. Anne Frank was, after all, a teen when she lived in that annex. The Anne Frank that we all know through her diary is the type of young woman who seemed more into literature than music, but I don't think Bieber deserves to be chastised for his message in the book. To be fair, as the Washington Post reported, Anne Frank’s "bedroom wall was covered with photos of teen idols of an earlier era, like Deanna Durbin and Rudy Vallee."

Justin Bieber wrote the message in the guestbook at the Anne Frank House on Friday after his private tour. Museum staff posted his comments on Facebook Saturday, which of course set off the social-media cycle of condemnation. No matter what Bieber says or does, he's going to hear from his detractors. But regarding this matter I think Justin deserves a pass. Sure he could have written something more serious and meaningful, but he shouldn't be judged for his tongue in cheek comment.

Rabbi Jason Miller, co-founder of the blog, is a blogger, technologist and educator. Follow him on Twitter at @RabbiJason and on Facebook at