Saturday, January 07, 2006

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Wednesday, January 04, 2006
Prominent Frum Lawyer Active On The Sex Abuse Problem In Our Community

I am in communication with Mr. Pasik Esq., he is spending his own resources trying to institute various laws and programs to protect our children and vulnerable adults from sex abuse. I have done my due dilligence on this gentleman; he has an impeccable reputation in the legal as well as the Jewish community. I am urging members of our community to assist him in this noble and much needed effort.

I'm a lawyer, and I've been active in trying to do something about the problem of sex abuse in our community. In person, on the telephone, and by numerous letters and e-mails with all of the major frum organizations, I've been trying to accomplish two things:

1. Criminal background checks of all employees and volunteers working in yeshivas/day schools;

2. Torah U'mesorah having an internal registry of people who are unfit to work in our mosdos, because of a history of violence or sex abuse.

In May 2003, Torah U'Mesorah had a seminar on the problem of sex abuse, and some of the speakers said that the concept of a registry has been endorsed, but nothing has yet been done.

I got a boost in May 2005, when the RCA at its Convention passed a Resolution that I proposed and drafted, which endorses my two proposals. You can read it on their website,

At this point, I've written letters to the Governor, and leaders of the Assembly and State Senate, asking for a new statute (law) that would require criminal background checks in all nonpublic schools, i.e., yeshivas, day schools. As I state in my letter, 42 out of 50 states require their public schools to perform background checks; 10 states require their nonpublic schools to do background checks; without compulsion of law, many nonpublic schools and volunteer youth groups are doing background checks, e.g., all Catholic schools, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, Little League of America, etc. Only we Jews aren't doing this.

Public support for my proposal would help, and if you, or someone you know, or any other serious person reading this blog would like to invite me to speak somewhere, I am available.

Finally, I hope to form an association of yeshiva/day school parents and friends that will push this proposal, and also explore other, new ways to make our schools a better and safe place for our children. Again, all interested persons can contact me at my e-mail address below. I do have some specific ideas in my mind. I particularly need somebody with computer skills to set up a website, which will include some of my letters on this issue; and I also need lawyers who can set up a nonprofit corporation, eligible for tax deductions.

Kol tuv.

Elliot B. Pasik, Esq.
Long Beach, New York

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 12:55 PM | 96 comments

Monday, January 02, 2006
The Wrong Message From The Gun For Hire Charedi Stooge

by Jonathan Rosenblum

Though the economic crisis of the chareidi community in Israel is much discussed subject, that discussion typically focuses on the threat to our yeshivos or trumpeting the percentage of children under the poverty line to demonstrate the failure of the government's social and economic program. Much less frequently discussed is the impact of poverty on our homes and families.

I know of no authoritative statistics on the number of gittin in the chareidi community, but each one of us is privy to plenty of anecdotal evidence of the rise in divorce, in particular among young couples. Prior to the Gaza withdrawal, the black humor in at least one community with a high concentration of younger couples went: "Yehudi aino m'garesh Yehudi, aval Yehudi megaresh Yehudiah -- A Jew does not expel another Jew, but a Jew does divorce a Jewess."

Economic factors are rarely the only factors behind divorce. But no one would deny that economic pressures are adding new stresses to marriage, and that many marriages are not standing up to the strain. As Chazal say, "Arguments are not found in a man's home, except as a consequece of [a lack of] grain" (Bava Metziah 59b).

One of the leaders of the generation recently asked a respected talmid chacham to undertake a kollel in a community with many young couples. He couched his request not in terms of limud HaTorah, but rather in terms of "pikuach nefesh". The gadol told him that he personally knew of 12 cases of gittin in that community in which economic pressures were a major factor.

In many of these cases, the problems begin soon after the wedding, when the husband is unable to secure a place in Kollel. The areas to which young couples are attracted by virtue of relatively lower housing costs, are also furthest removed from major population centers and good jobs. As a consequence, many young married women find themselves with little, or no, work.

Even if the husband in such a situation spends most of the day in a beis hamedrash --by no means an easy matter, if one is not a member of a kollel -- the young couple inevitably find themselves too much in one another's company. Too frequently, each feels that their spouse has somehow failed him or her, either by failing to secure a place in kollel or to find a job, and as the pressures caused by a lack of incoming income mount so do the mutual recriminations.

The economic pressures on young couples are only one aspect of the problem. Unfortunately, those pressures do not abate with time and the growth of the family. A rosh yeshiva of a yeshiva ketana recently told me that even families in which both parents work, are often unable to pay full tuition, especially if they have already married off one or two children and are heavily in debt. By that time, of course, the marriage is on a much sounder basis than for young couples but daily, grinding pressure takes its toll on the ability of even the finest people to deal with the challenges that all married couples face.

NOT UNRELATED TO THE STRESS ON MARRIAGES from a lack of money even for basic necessities is the adverse impact on children.

We would like to think that the simplicity with which we live conveys to our children a message of mesirus nefesh for Torah. And that is no doubt true in many cases.

But where there is constant discussion in the house of a lack of money or squabbling between parents over monetary matters, the children may end up receiving a message far different than that which the parents intended to convey. The message for many children in such a situation is that money is the solution to all problems and that Torah learning is the cause. And that may be true even where the parents mesirus nefesh is in fact extraordinary and a reflection of both parents' sincere desire to sacrifice for the husband's growth in Torah learning.

Someone close to one of the leaders of the generation once told me of a young boy just a few years after bar mitzvah, who came into the gadol's house and demonstratively threw down his kippah. The gadol asked him to explain his dramatic act. The boy's reply: "Everything is no, no, no. We can't afford that because Tatte learns Torah. Even when all I want is a cheap candy, the answer is still, "No, because Tatte learns." That teenager viewed Torah study as a source of deprivation, rather than of the greatest imaginable joy, with predictable consequences for his future learning and mitzvah observance.

During his years as a rav in Tzitevian, Rabbi Yaakov Kaminetsky was very poor. His salary was collected from the members of the town in the smallest possible coins. Reb Yaakov and his Rebbetzin possessed only one pair of galoshes between them, and he had only one shirt to wear. Yet whenever the children asked for something, Reb Yaakov was careful not to tell them that he could not afford the item in question. Instead he always explained why the item in question was not really necessary.

Better that the children should see him as a tightwad, Reb Yaakov felt, than that they should feel that their father was unable to provide for them. Not only do too many of our children lack the security of feeling that their parents are able to supply their basic needs, but they feel that they too are destined for a life of even deeper poverty.

In the end the hidden costs of rampant poverty on the quality of our marriages and our children may turn out to be even greater than the more obvious consequences of poverty.

UOJ Comments


Now I know you have lost it completely. Are you suggesting that the opening of new kollelim is a matter of life and death?? Do We need MORE kollelim and more young men breeding poverty?

How confused have you become? How many kids are you willing or able to support in kollel?

Assuming the average Charedi family has only five kids and each kid has five kids, add their spouses into the equation and in no time there are 30 people added to the welfare roles.

What kind of advice is this from a Yale graduate? Either you have become a dishonest broker for the Fundies, or you have gone off the deep end.

Then you end the article with an imaginary Art Scroll story, pathetic!

Shame on you!

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 9:25 PM | 134 comments

Saturday, December 31, 2005
An Open Letter To Rabbis Moshe Tendler And Dovid Feinstein


This is the open letter I published July 20, a mere five months ago, urging Mordecai to settle this issue with the RCA. Please read it very carefully. I will direct a new letter to you at the end of the July letter to Mordecai.

(I urge readers to go back to July 20, click on the comments, and see how wrong you were for blasting me. I'm talking particularly to a few "bigshot" bloggers who have as much brains as the amoeba and apes they came from).

Wednesday, July 20, 2005
An Open Letter To Mordecai Tendler

I have no idea whether you are guilty or innocent of the many charges against you.

I do assume innocence,although the latest developments with the RCA causes me to pause.

I do not have a horse in this race.
I do not have a kugel in this oven.
I do not have a black hat on this head.

So for starters you need to know I hope you are innocent.

I did not say I hope you are" found "innocent,because the only thing you can be" found" is guilty.
You know what the score is. Either you are guilty or innocent,there is no gray area.
I do know what this fight with the RCA represents, and that makes me a nogaih b'dovor, because whatever the outcome of this matter, all streams of Orthodox Jewry will be affected.

Trying to avoid the well known cliche, I have come up with my own.


The above is a general rule that I learned throughout my own trials and tribulations that life offers. I sense that there is something here that does not quite meet the proverbial eye.
You have waited way too long to come out swinging. These rumors have been swirling around for years.

Why pick a fight with an adversary that you can not beat? You can NOT beat them!
They will destroy whatever is left of your reputation.
I am not saying you should not be defending yourself, but this Israeli bais din gimmick sounds and feels like camouflage and subterfuge.

I know Rabbi Shmuel Fried extremely well. He is the toain or attorney for the RCA.
A few things you must know about this guy.
We speak often on business issues, especially when it comes to real estate.
He is unbeatable when his client is right, and never takes a case unless he is sure they are.


I know of your Toain Mittleman,he is out of his league.

Mordecai Tendler,

You are getting very bad advice.
Your ego will destroy you and your family.

This is my advice to you.

Give it up!

Have your respective representatives meet in private.

Let both sides come up with a pareve statement that is ambiguous.
Fried is a big mentsch,he will encourage a respectable settlement.

You are in way over your head.
Your father and all your uncles will not be able to help you.
Fried will absolutely crush you!


You are still the rabbi of your shul, if you proceed with this nonsense you will lose your job.
You will join Moshe Londinski from Seattle in no man's land.

I hope you don't one day have to look at this blog, wishing that you should have listened to this anonymous blogger.

The problem is people do not listen to free advice, so send a check in my name to your local Tomchei Shabbos.



Rabbi Moshe Tendler And Rabbi Dovid Feinstein,

You are both New York boys, so no need for warm and fuzzy language.

You messed up big-time.

Instead of sitting down with Shmuel Fried and settling this matter, you let Mordecai and your egos get in the way of reality.
I warned Mordecai that Fried was going to CRUSH him. The legal action brought by Ms. Marmelstein has Fried's fingerprints all over it. He destroyed your son without himself or the RCA going to court.

Who do you think is behind this lawsuit. Who's idea was this and who encouraged her to proceed like this out of the blue??? Who do you think is advising her?


You gotta be crazy to fight with Fried. He's doing this thirty some odd years and is a genius. Your family and all the good that it once represented will be turned into fertilizer.

And Fried has just begun, He will hit you from every direction imaginable.
He will pull witnesses out of his shtreimel that you never knew existed.
Mordecai will be facing criminal charges as well by the time Fried gets done with him. He has more tactics and strategies than Shlomo Hamelech had wives and concubines.

Proceed at the peril of "you" being accomplices in destroying your own family.

Sit down with Fried and settle, he can help you with the Marmelstein lawsuit, and pull the plug on his other tactics that will hit you in the head.
Pay no attention to Mordecai, he lost it years ago and needs serious help. You should force him to resign his job at KNH before he destroys that kehilla and whatever is left of your family's reputation.


I'm publising the Marmelstein lawsuit for shock value only. Perhaps Mordecai hid it from you. Read it carefully, PEOPLE DO NOT MAKE THIS STUFF UP. There is more coming, it will be relentless. SETTLE, SETTLE, SETTLE.

I wish you well,

Case Against Rabbi Mordecai Tendler - Supreme Court of the State of New York County of New York

Supreme Court of the State of New York County of New York
Filed: December 20, 2005
Index No: 05117629
Plaintiff designates New York County as the place of trial
The basis of venue is plaintiff's residence
Plaintiff resides at:
(Address removed)
County of New York

Survivors Adina Marmelstein, Plaintiff,
Kehillat New Hempstead: The Rav Aron Jofen Community Synagogue, and
Mordecai Tendler, Defendant

To the above named Defendants:
You are hearby summoned to answer the compliant in this action and to serve a copy of our answer, or, if the complaint is not served with this summons, to serve a notice of appearance, on the Plaintiff's Attorney(s) within 20 days after the service of this summons, exclusive of the day of service for within 30 days after the service is complete in this summons is not personally delivered to you within the State of New York); and in case of failure to appear or answer, judgment will be taken against you by default for the relief demanded in the complaint.

Dated: New York, New York
December 20, 2005

Yours, etc., Kramer and Dunleavy, LLP
Attorneys for Plaintiff

Lenore Kramer, Esq.
A Member of the Firm
350 Braodway, Suite 1100
New York, New York 10013
(212) 226-6662

Defendants Addresses:
Kehillat New Hempstead: The Rav Aron Jofen
720 Union Road
New Hempstead, New York 10977

Mordecai Tendler
653 Union Road
Spring Valley, New York 10977
Page 2

Supreme Court of the State of New York County of New York

Verified Complaint
Filed December 20, 2005
Index No: 05117629

Survivors Name Adina Marmelstein, Plaintiff,
Kehillat New Hempstead: The Rav Aron Jofen Community Synagogue, and
Mordecai Tendler, Defendants.

Plaintiff, by her attorneys, KRAMMER & DUNLEAVY, LLP., complaining of the defendants, respectfully alleges, upon information and belief, as follows:

1. That at all times hereinafter mentioned, defendant KEHILLAT NEW HEMPSTEAD: THE RAV ARON JOFEN COMMUNITY SYNAGOGUE, was and still is a domestic not-for-profit corporation duly organized and existing pursuant to the Religious Corporation Law of the State of New York.

2. That at all times hereinafter mentioned, defendant KEHILLAT NEW HEMPSTEAD: THE RAV ARON JOFEN COMMUNITY SYNAGOGUE held itself open to members of the public as a place of worship, guidance and sanctuary.

3. Defendant MORDECAI TENDLER was and still is the founder and leader of defendant KEHILLAT NEW HEMPSTEAD: THE RAV ARON JOFEN COMMUNITY SYNAGOGUE.
Page 3

4. Upon information and belief, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER was and still is an employee of defendant KEHILLAT NEW HEMPSTEAD: THE RAV ARON JOFEN COMMUNITY SYNAGOGUE.

5. At all relevant times, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER had a reputation as a scholar, educator and community leader within the Orthodox community.

6. At all relevant times, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER held himself out to the public and to the plaintiff as a counselor and advisor with an expertise in women's issues.

7. That the plaintiff (SURVIVORS NAME REMOVED) first became acquainted with defendant MORDECAI TENDLER and his work on behalf of women in 1994.

8. That beginning in 1994, plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) consulted by telephone with the defendant MORDECAI TENDLER on various personal issues.

9. That beginning in 1995, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER began to actively recruit plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) to join his congregation at defendant KEHILLAT NEW HEMPSTEAD: THE RAV ARON JOFEN COMMUNITY SYNAGOGUE.

10. That in September, 1996, plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) began attending services at defendant KEHILLAT NEW HEMPSTEAD: THE RAV ARON JOFEN COMMUNITY SYNAGOGUE.
Page 4

11. At all relevant times, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER took on the role of counselor and advisor to plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) and did counsel and advise her with respect to her personal, legal and financial problems.

12. At all relevant times, a relationship of confidence and trust existed between the plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) and the defendant MORDECAI TENDLER.

13. At all relevant times, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER represented to plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) that she was his "favorite" and his "closest."

14. At all relevant times, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER represented to plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) that he would "be there" for all of her needs.

15. At all relevant times, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER represented to the plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) that he would assist her in finding a prospective husband so that she would be able to marry and have children, as she wished.

16. At all relevant times, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER represented himself as an advisor, a father figure and a god to plaintiff (NAME REMOVED).

17. Beginning in November, 2001, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER began a sexual relationship with plaintiff (NAMED REMOVED).
Page 5
18. That from November 2001 through May, 2005, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER had an ongoing sexual relationship with plaintiff (NAME REMOVED).

19. That prior to and throughout the duration of the aforsaid sexual relationship, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER advised plaintiff (NAME REMOVED)
that she was "close to the possiblity of finding a husband" and that she would never find a husband in her current state.

20. That prior to and throughout the duration of the aforesaid sexual relationship, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER advised plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) to permit him to have sexual intercourse with her so that her "life would open up and men would come" to her.

21. That prior to and throughout the duration of the afordsaid sexual relationship, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER advised plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) that "Everything was closed" to her and that she should let him "open up her to the world."

22. At all relevant times, defendant "MORDECAI TENDLER advised plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) that, if she had sexual intercourse with him, "doors would open," she would be "open up to meeting men" and she "would get married and have children."

23. That from November 2001 through May, 2005, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER had sexual relations with plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) at
Page 6
various locations, including in his rabbinical study at defendant KEHILLAT NEW HEMPSTEAD: THE RAV ARON JOFEN COMMUNITY SYNAGOGUE.

24. At all relevant times, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER told plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) that he "was as close to God as anyone could get."

25. At all relevant times, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER told plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) that he "talks to God all the time."

26. At all relevant times, defendant "MORDECAI TENDLER told plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) that he "was the Messiah."

27. That plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) was induced to engage in this physical relationship with defendant MORDECAI TENDLER as part of a course of sexual therapy which he represented would lead to her achieving her goals of marriage and children.

28. At all relevant times, defendant (MORDECAI TENDLER warned plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) that, if she told anyone about the sexual therapy, he "would have her placed in a straight jacket," "have her put in the penitentiary" and/or "have her thrown in jail."

29. At all relevant times, defendant "MORDECAI TENDLER warned plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) that, if she told anyone about the sexual therapy, he "would have her banned from the shul (synagogue)" and "would turn the community against her."
Page 7

30. At all relevant times, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER advised plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) that engaging in sexual relations with him, was her "only hope" to open her up to become receptive to men.

31. At all relevant times, plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) believed the words, advice and threats of defendant MORDECAI TENDLER.

32. That once plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) submitted to his course of sexual therapy, rather than assisting her to reach her goals of marriage and children, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER physically and emotionally abused plaintiff for his own sexual pleasure and gratification.


33. Plaintiff repeats and reiterates each and every allegation contained in paragraphs 1 though 32 inclusive, with the same force and effect as in specifically set forth herein at length.

34. That the aforesaid representations made by defendant MORDECAI TENDLER to plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) were false and reckless.

35. That at the time he made the aforesaid representations, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER knew them to be false and reckless.

36. That defendant MORDECAI TENDLER made the aforesaid representations with the express intent to deceive plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) and induce her into a sexual relationship with him.
Page 8
37. That in knowingly making the aforesaid false and reckless representations to plaintiff (NAME REMOVED), defendant MORDECAI TENDLER took unfair advantage of his position as her counselor and advisor.

38. Plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) relied on the false and reckless misrepresentation of defendant MORDECAI TENDLER and engaged in sexual relations with him.

39. That had plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) known that the course of sexual therapy advised by defendant MORDECAI TENDLER was solely for his personal pleasure and gratification, she would not have engaged in sexual relations with him.

40. That as a result of the foregoing, plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) was physically violated, had her reputation impugned, was ostracized from her synagogue and has lost her standing in the community.

41. That as a result of the foregoing, plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) has been injured and damaged in a sum which exceeds the jurisdictional limitations of all the lower Courts that would otherwise have jurisdiction over this action.


42. Plaintiff repeats and reiterates each and every allegation contained in paragraphs 1 through 41 inclusive, with the same force wand effect as if specifically set forth herein at length.
Page 9

43. At all relevant times, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER occupied a position as fiduciary to the plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) as her counselor, advisor and therapist and owed her a relationship of trust and confidence.

44. That as a result of the foregoing, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER breached his fiduciary duty to plaintiff (NAME REMOVED).

45. That as a result of the foregoing, plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) was physically violated, had her reputation impugned, was ostracized from her synagogue and lost her standing in the community.

46. That as a result of the foregoing, plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) was caused to and has suffered and sustained severe and serious personal injuries, severe and serious conscious pain and suffering, severe and serious mental distress and anguish and attendant economic losses.

47. That as a result of the foregoing, plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) has been injured and damaged in a sum which exceeds the jurisdictional limitations of all lower Courts that would other wise have jurisdiction over this action.


48. Plaintiff repeats and reiterates each and every allegation contained in paragraph 1 through 47 inclusive, with the same force and effect as if specifically set forth herein at length.

Page 10

49. Defendant MORDECAI TENDLER encouraged his congregates at defendant KEHILLAT NEW HEMPSTEAD: RAV ARON JOFEN COMMUNITY SYNAGOGUE, to harass, threaten and intimidate plaintiff (NAME REMOVED).

50. The congregates at defendant KEHILLAT NEW HEMPSTEAD: THE RAV ARON JOFEN COMMUNITY SYNAGOGUE did harass, threaten and intimidate plaintiff (NAME REMOVED).

51. Defendant MORDECAI TENDLER engaged in a concerted scheme to embarrass, humiliate and diminish plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) in the orthodox community so as to injure her reputation and destroy her credibility.

52. Defendant MORDECAI TENDLER knew, or should have known, that his actions towards plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) in falsely inducing her into a sexual relationship, in physically violating and abusing her, in causing her to be harassed, threatened, intimidated and ostracized from the community and in intentionally injuring her reputation and standing in the community would result in serious emotional distress, pain and suffering to her.

53. In doing the actions hereinabove alleged, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER acted with willful, wanton, reckless, intentional and deliberate disregard for the likelihood that plaintiff would suffer severe emotional distress, pain and suffering as a direct and proximate result of his actions.

Page 11
54. The aforementioned wrongful conduct of defendant MORDECAI TENDLER was extreme and outrageous and went beyond all bounds of civility and decency.

55. That as a result of the foregoing, plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) was caused to suffer severe mental and emotional distress, pain and suffering.

56. That as a result of the foregoing, plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) has been injured and damaged in a sum which exceeds the jurisdictional limitations of all lower Courts that would otherwise have jurisdiction over this action.


57. Plaintiff repeats and reiterate each and every allegation contained in paragraphs 1 through 56 inclusive, with the same force and effect as if specifically set forth herein at length.

58. At all relevant times, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER was aware that plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) trusted him, relied on him and placed her confidence in him.

58. At all relevant times, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER knew or should have known that his actions would cause her severe mental and emotional distress, pain and suffering.
Page 12
59. That as a result of defendant's actions, plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) was caused to suffer severe mental and emotional distress, pain and suffering.

60. That as a result of the foregoing, plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) has been injured and damaged in a sum which exceeds the jurisdictional limitations of all lower Courts that would otherwise have jurisdiction over this action.


61. Plaintiff repeats and reiterates each and every allegation contained in paragraphs 1 through 60 inclusive, with the same force and effect as if specifically set forth herein at length.

62. At all relevant times, defendant KEHILLAT NEW HEMPSTEAD: THE RAV ARON JOFEN COMMUNITY SYNAGOGUE was aware of the aforesaid conduct and actions of defendant MORDECAI TENDLER.

63. At all relevant times, defendant KEHILLAT NEW HEMPSTEAD: THE RAV ARON JOFEN COMMUNITY SYNAGOGUE knew or should have known of propensity of defendant MORDECAI TENDLER for the aforesaid conduct.

64. At all relevant times, defendant KEHILLAT NEW HEMPSTEAD: THE RAV ARON JOFEN COMMUNITY SYNAGOGUE knew or should
Page 13

have known that defendant MORDECAI TENDLER used his rabbinical study at the synagogue to conduct his sexual therapy sessions with congregation members.

65. At all relevant times, defendant KEHILLAT NEW HEMPSTEAD: THE RAV ARON JOFEN COMMUNITY SYNAGOGUE knew of facts that would lead a predent party to investigate the use by defendant MORDECAI TENDLER of his rabbinical study at the synagogue.

66. At all relevant times, defendant KEHILLAT NEW HEMPSTEAD: THE RAV ARON JOFEN COMMUNITY SYNAGOGUE had notice of prior allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct by defendant MORDECAI TENDLER.

67. That in spite of the aforesaid notice of prior allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct by defendant MORDECAI TENDLER, defendant KEHILLAT NEW HEMPSTEAD: THE RAV ARON JOFEN COMMUNITY SYNAGOGUE took no steps to warn or protect plaintiff and other female congregants, to adequately supervise defendant, to remove defendant from his position of authority or to make an appropriate investigation.

68. That defendant KEHILLAT NEW HEMPSTEAD: THE RAV ARON JOFEN COMMUNITY SYNAGOGUE, was grossly negligent as follows: in failing to properly and adequately supervise the activities of defendant MORDECAI TENDLER; in failing to use reasonable care to correct the conduct of defendant MORDECAI TENDLER; in failing to remove defendant MORDECAI TENDLER was an employee; in failing to conduct an adequate and appropriate investigation; in
Page 14
failing to warn congregants of in failing to take the steps necessary to have prevented the fraud and assault on plaintiff; and, in further failing to exercise that degree of due care as a reasonable party under the same or similar circumstances.

69. That as a result of the foregoing, plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) was physically violated, had her reputation impugned, was ostracized from her synagogue and lost her standing in the community.

70. That as a result of the foregoing, plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) was caused to and has suffered and sustained severe and serious personal injuries, severe and serious conscious pain and suffering, severe and serious mental distress and anguish and attendant economic losses.

71. That as a result of the foregoing, plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) is entitled to recover punitive damages from and against defendant KEHILLAT NEW HEMPSTEAD: THE RAV ARON JOFEN COMMUNITY SYNAGOGUE.

72. That as a result of the foregoing, plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) has been injured and damaged in a sum which exceeds the jurisdictional limitations of all lower Courts that would otherwise have jurisdiction over this action.

WHEREFORE, plaintiff demands judgment against defendants KEHILLAT NEW HEMPSTEAD: THE RAV ARON JOFEN COMMUNITY SYNAGOGUE and MORDECAI TENDLER for both compensatory and punitive damages in the sum which exceeds the jurisdictional limitations of all lower Courts that would.
Page 15
otherwise have jurisdiction over this action and is within the jurisdiction of this Court

Dated: New York, New York
December 20, 2005

Yours, etc.,
By Lenore Kramer
A Member of the Firm
Attorneys for Plaintiff
Office and Post Office Address
350 Broadway - Suite 1100
New York, New York 10013
(212) 226-6662
Page 16


I, the undersigned, an attorney admitted to practice in the Courts of New York State, state that I am a member of the firm of KRAMER & DUNLEAVY, L.L.P. attorneys for the plaintiff in the within action; I have read the foregoing verified complain and know the contents thereof; the same is true to my own knowledge, except as to the matters therein stated to be alleged on information and belief, and as to those matters I believe it to be true. The reason this verification is made by me and not by plaintiff, is because the plaintiff is not now within the County where deponent maintains her offices.

The grounds of my belief as to all matters not stated upon my own knowledge are as follows:

Conversations with plaintiff and a review of the file maintained at my office on this matter.

I affirm that the foregoing statements are true, under the penalties of perjury.

Dated: New York, New York
December 20, 2005

Lenore Kramer

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 7:07 PM | 109 comments

Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Famous Author Looking For Participants From New Jersey

Dear Readers,

I received this e-mail from Hella Winston, the author of the Unchosen. I read her book, no surprises, but a very interesting read.
I am in communication with the author; she assures me that she has no other agenda other than to report the various experiences of people who are struggling with, or who have left Orthodox Judaism.The identities of the people will not be revealed.
She kindly requests that you e-mail me at:; I will forward them on to her.

Hello! I am writing to introduce myself, and to ask whether anyone
who posts here is from New Jersey. The reason I ask is that there is
a reporter from a New Jersey (Jewish) paper who is planning to write
a story pegged to my book, Unchosen, about the issues it raises. He
would like to speak with people who grew up strictly Orthodox
(chassidish or litvish) in New Jersey, or who live there currently.

He is interested in people's intellectual and emotional struggles,
as well as how they are treated by the larger the "community" if they
go public with their doubts and questions,leave altogether, etc.
One of the issues I have discussed with him is the way in which people
who openly question, or who "go off,"often get labeled as mentally ill, narcissistic, unable to control their lust, losers, etc.

But I don't think my thoughts are nearly as compelling
as hearing from people who have actually lived this experience.
If anyone here feels that they would like to be interviewed
for this article (the reporter has assured anonymity), I will put you in
touch with the reporter. (The Newark Star Ledger is also planning a
similar piece and is also looking for participants as well, but I
believe that will happen later in the month).

Thanks so much and I apologize in advance if anyone here feels that this post was in any way an intrusion into your privacy.

Hella Winston

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 8:05 PM | 51 comments

Another Chag, Another Scandal -Kashruth & Money Don't Mix Well With Oil

by N. Katzin

Two weeks ago Taaman CEO Chaim Shalom told the following telltale fact: If olive oil is priced below NIS 20 per bottle it might be fake. One week later Taaman olive oil could be found on grocery store shelves for NIS 11.75. So what is the smart consumer to conclude? This anecdote typifies the state of the olive oil market in the chareidi sector during the Chanukah season. It seems the rumor mongers who started disseminating stories about supposedly fake olive oil did not imagine how high up the rumors would spiral.

The wild competition in the lucrative oil market reached its peak recently when competing dealers sent samples of each other's products to the Israeli Standards Institute for lab testing, only to find not a single brand met the institute's standards. What are we to make of these findings? Have commonly sold olive oils really been uncovered as fake? What does the kashrus seal on the bottle indicate?

The first rumors in circulation spoke of revelations that products labeled olive oil were actually not made from olives according to the Standards Institute. These vague rumors from unnamed sources effectively indicted all of the dealers selling low-priced oils. The rumors were accompanied by supposed telltale signs of fake olive oil.

Chaim Shalom of Taaman, whose oil was sold at a relatively high price, explained that the primary identification mark of fake olive oil is the price. "Every bottle sold today under NIS 20 is suspect since the oils in Spain itself are currently priced at approximately NIS 17 per bottle," he said. The same rumors suggested the chareidi consumer could also spot fake olive oil according to the shape of the bottle. These rumors were accompanied by praise for the quality of Taaman olive oil, which should be a sufficient tip- off for even the innocent reader to realize this is not exactly objective advice.

The rumors alerted the managers of chareidi grocery store chains who were astonished to discover an attempt had been made to set high price levels by disseminating vague rumors about low-priced products. They insisted olive oil sold for NIS 15-19 — and even less — was genuine.

The claims of false olive oil were reminiscent of the walnut oil affair on Erev Pesach 5765, when major shortages in olive oil jacked up prices significantly. At the time Yated Ne'eman revealed that the exclusive importer, Taaman, was accused of taking advantage of the situation to rake in large profits at the public's expense. The company's CEO denied the claims.

Discovered Fake Last Chanukah

Where did the rumors really originate? Apparently from a combination of factors.

The only bona fide fake was a product labeled "Yerushalayim Semen Zayit Katit," which HaRav Machpud's Yoreh De'ah organization announced was no longer under their kashrus supervision. But this was actually old news, for a simple test revealed it was fake even before last Chanukah.

Last year the standards institute issue a press release saying two brands of olive oil, Yerushalayim and Romis, had been found to be diluted with soy oil although they were packaged as fine pressed olive oil. Both brands were marketed for eating, not for lighting purposes, whereas the recent rumors referred to candlelighting oil.

Another brand, Menora, also lost its kashrus certification. Contrary to rumors Chug Chasam Sofer of Bnei Brak did not remove its kashrus certification because the product was not genuine olive oil.

"We discovered the oil was purchased by a party that bought the oil in barrels, bottled it and sold it to two dealers who marketed it," a Chasam Sofer spokesman told Yated Ne'eman. "We learned the bottled oil was sent to a certified lab for tests and was found to be 100 percent pure, clean olive oil. But because the oil was not under our supervision at the time of packaging we removed our kashrus certification and announced that Menora olive oil was not under our responsibility."

"Anyone who reads the wording of the announcement carefully can see this was stated very clearly, not that fake [olive oil] had been discovered but that the oil was packaged without supervision and therefore we do not take responsibility for it. The decision was made several days before we made a public announcement and certainly before the rumors about fake [olive oil] began to circulate."

The Kashrus Seal and the Reliability of the Oil

The products the rumors refer to were marketed under mehadrin kashrus. What does the kashrus seal indicate? Does the hechsher apply only to the kashrus of the product or does it include supervision over the reliability of the claims by the manufacturer or dealer?

According to the Badatz Eida Chareidis its kashrus "includes supervision to ensure the oil is 100 percent pure olive oil as the label indicates. We are very careful to avoid misleading the public in this matter, which is important in and of itself."

Through its representatives in Eretz Yisroel, Dayan Osher Yaakov Westheim's kashrus organization also confirms the olive oil under its supervision is 100 percent pure. They say Maagal Hashana Olive Oil was under their supervision "from the start of the production process to the finish, all along the way through the marketing of the product. In the middle samples were sent to certified labs and it was found to be clean olive oil."

Dr. Eliyohu Licht, a chareidi chemist and an established authority in the area of kashrus, refused to comment on any brand of olive oil, but remarked, "Every chemist checks the samples brought to him at the lab and the certification applies to these samples and not all of the products. The chemist certainly does not oversee or grant a hechsher for the products.

"I would also like to state regarding quotes that had me saying one brand of candlelighting olive oil or another is edible and the label `Semen Zayis Lema'or' is affixed because of import customs, etc.—if the manufacturer does not take responsibility the olive oil is edible nobody else will take responsibility for determining the oil is edible."

Pure Olive Oil — But Does Not Meet Standards

Dr. Eliyohu Licht explains in greater detail what tests are conducted on olive oil.

The first test is to check the fatty acid, which provides an indication of its source. Every type of oil has a different composition, which allows us to identify whether it is olive oil or a different type of oil, i.e. whether the olive oil was diluted with a different type of oil. If the additives are a substantial percentage they can be discovered at this stage.

Two other tests relate to quality: Acidity testing: olive oil contains free acids. The standard institute ascribes different terms to olive oil according to a ranking of acidity. Extra virgin cold pressed olive oil has an acidity level of up to 1 percent. Virgin olive oil has an acidity level of up to 2 percent. Regular olive oil has up to 3.3 percent.

Beyond 3.3 percent acidity, according to the standards this is inedible olive oil. Dr. Licht notes, "The public should be made aware that even if the standard sets an upper limit of 3.3 percent still this does not mean that in actuality the oil cannot be consumed. The limit is hard to determine. In any event olive oil above 3.3 percent acidity is not fake. It is pure, clean olive oil, but it is not of high enough quality in the eyes of the Standards Institute. By the way, acidity level is advancing and rising all the time [as part of the normal aging process of olive oil]."

Another test is peroxide value: oil that comes in contact with air oxidizes and goes bad over time. The standard institute has determined that within one year of bottling the peroxide level should not exceed 8. It definitely can happen that when the bottle was filled the oil has a value of 2-3 and at the end of the year it is hovering around the 8- mark.

This leads us to an interesting conclusion: olive oil should not be stored, certainly not for more than a year, for its quality diminishes over time.
( In other words, throw out the oil so you have to buy F*** NEW kosher oil next year at a higher price, GET IT??? - Who makes this shit up? UOJ)

Another test is solvent residue. Olive oil can be 100 percent clean, but pose a health hazard. Using a chemical process oil can be extracted from olive dregs after the pressing. Although the oil is clean and has a low acidity level, its quality is poor and it may contain chemical residue.

Note: This article addresses consumer, not halachic issues surrounding olive oil (except for the sidebar).

The closer Chanukah came the stiffer the competition became. Dealers sent samples of competing brands to private labs for testing and reveled in the findings: none met the standards for olive oil. But their exultant claims competing brands were "fake," were based on a lack of knowledge and understanding, for the standards institute does not have a separate set of criteria for candlelighting oil.

Did a shyster infiltrate the group of dealers involved in the import and marketing of candlelighting oil and deceive the public by diluting olive oil? This claim goes unsupported. It goes without saying that the chareidi consumer should not buy olive oil blindly but should choose the product based on the trustworthiness of the importer, manufacturer and seller, and of course "mehudar" kashrus.

Ho-Hum just another day in the world of bullshit hashgachas.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 7:33 PM | 20 comments

Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Rabbinic Judaism Inc.

A Portable God for the World’s First Multinational Business

Paul Johnson, A History of the Jews (Phoenix Grant, 1987)
Israel Shahak, Jewish History, Jewish Religion (Pluto Press, 1994)
Dan Cohn-Sherbok, The Crucified Jew (Harper Collins,1992)
Henry Hart Milman, The History of the Jews (Everyman, 1939)
Josephus, The Jewish War (Penguin, 1959)
Leslie Houlden (Ed.), Judaism & Christianity (Routledge, 1988)
Karen Armstrong, A History of Jerusalem (Harper Collins, 1999))
Jonathan N. Tubb, Canaanites (British Museum Press, 1998)
Norman Cantor, The Sacred Chain - A History of the Jews (Harper Collins, 1994)

Whatever daughter religions might spin off from old Judaism, the parent religion itself had inevitably to refashion itself for the new era. After the disaster of 135 AD, a number of Jews retreated into asceticism, banning meat and wine altogether, since sacrifice in the temple was no longer possible. Others lost themselves in mysticism, attempting to reach the ‘celestial throne’ via their imagination, the forerunners of the later ‘Kabala’.

But for all their suffering, most Jews were not ready to bastardise their traditional creed by infusing it with the dying godman mythology. The vacuum was filled by ‘Rabbinic Judaism’, the inheritor of the Pharisee tradition.

"The rabbis, a smallish group (perhaps a hundred or so in the whole Roman empire) of religious specialists descended from the Pharisees, gradually enhanced their status and developed a specifically Jewish way of arguing, which marked them off quite dramatically from both Christians and Romans." (Keith Hopkins, A World Full of Gods, p234)

In Palestine itself, where the Jews were now a minority, what remained of traditional Judaism turned inward. No longer could its priests use the ‘temple magic’ once used to summon divine favour, no longer could Judaism be proselytised.

The Rabbis became ‘clericalised’ – obsessed with cultic ‘rules’ as a practical substitute for the lost temple. They peopled the air itself with beneficent and malign spirits. A Jewish ‘code to live by’ - the Mitzvoth (the forerunner of ‘monastic rules’) detailed no fewer than 613 rules, governing every pious moment from waking to sleeping, to keep the Jew on the right side of an all-seeing God.

‘His rising from his bed, his manner of putting on the different articles of dress, the disposition of his fringed tallith, his phylacteries on his head and arms, his ablutions, his meals, even the calls of nature were subjected to scrupulous rules – both reminding him that he was of a peculiar race, and perpetually reducing him to ask the advice of the Wise Men, which alone could set at rest the trembling and scrupulous conscience.’ (Milman, History of the Jews, p165)

Within a few generations Judaism would be codified anew, into a portable (albeit confining) religion which could accompany and – fatally – identify this pseudo-race in their wanderings in the centuries ahead. By the close of the fifth century, the total population of Jews would be half of what it was at the beginning of the ‘Christian era’.(See, Cantor, ibid)

The Jewish people – dispersed but bonded by an exclusive faith, uniquely among ‘peoples’ – established enclaves in every major city from India to Spain, from Arabia to Britain. Capitalising upon this network of ‘safe havens’, and with a filial presence in every major resource, from African ivory to Germanic slaves, the Jews threw themselves into the commerce of the ancient world.

Jewish merchants traversed with impunity the hostile frontiers between Rome and Persia, sailed the sea lanes from the chilly rivers of Germany to the balmy seas off the Horn of Africa. The Jews became dealers in amber and fur, gold and silver, slave-traders and money-lenders.

But they were also dealers in superstition as well as produce:

‘The empire swarmed with Jewish wonder-workers, mathematicians, astrologers, or whatever other name or office they assumed or received from their trembling hearers.’
(MiIlman, History of the Jews, p158)

Levies on their new wealth paid for a programme of synagogue building, and in turn, the synagogues strengthened the bonds of the Jewish communities. Rarely assimilating into their host cultures, convinced they were especially favoured by the deity (and thus strengthened in their faith), the heady mix of piety and mercantilism rewarded the Jews with an unparalleled financial success – and an unequalled and universal opprobrium.

UOJ Comments

Sound familiar?

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 9:31 PM | 38 comments

Saturday, December 24, 2005
Kollel Meant For The Select Few, Not For Parasites Whose Sole Talents Are Baby Making - Says The "Ballsy"Rebbe

By Yair Ettinger

"Israel is not a state of parasites," shouted Labor's candidate for prime minister, Amir Peretz, at a businessmen's club last week.

He said he was confident he could "reach agreements with leading rabbis that productive work, which provides a living and dignity, is not contradictory to Torah studies."

But the leading rabbis and ultra-Orthodox public are not waiting for Peretz. The issue of men going to work (ultra-Orthodox women have always worked outside the home) instead of remaining in the halls of study has risen to the top of the ultra-Orthodox agenda.

The growing poverty in this community as a result of the slashing of state allowances without any let up in the birth rate, the Tal Law enabling more flexibility in going to work and social changes in the ultra-Orthodox communities have created a new reality. More men are seeking jobs, even in areas once closed to them.

Colleges and ultra-Orthodox centers for vocational training, which were first set up in the `90s, are now thriving. No less important is the renewal of an ancient ideological argument about making a living and the proper proportion between Torah study and work.

The Belzer rebbe, Rabbi Issachar Dov Rokeach, gives his annual "political speech" at the end of Simhat Torah. His last speech to thousands of followers in Jerusalem's world Belzer center is still making waves two months later in both the hasidic and Lithuanian ultra-Orthodox communities, in Israel and overseas. The speech was partially devoted to going out to work.

"Long-term students in yeshivas who are talented and have the economic means, are fortunate," he began. "But students who after a year see their studies are not going well, whether because of their skills or their economic situation, must learn a profession that earns a living. I'm not talking about getting rich but earning a living, so that one does not fall into debt... One can prepare for this in the yeshiva and devote a few hours a week in the evening to studying a profession."

The Belzer rebbe has always been considered a maverick who goes against the mainstream, whether in his own court or vis-a-vis other rabbis. This is not the first time he has urged his hasids to go to work. But this year he encouraged acquiring a profession in an institution.

People in his court say he is determined to fight to change the situation that forces his hasids to live in poverty. But the main novelty in the situation is that Agudat Yisrael's newspaper Hamodia published his address on its front page.

"The rebbe has advocated going to work for years, as have other rebbes. But the important thing is that this is exactly opposite of what the secular people want - to have the haredis leave the yeshives and stop studying Torah - his message is that they can go to work and continue to study and preserve a Jewish life style," says a senior Belzer source.

This week, on the Kolel (religious education institution for married men) floor in the Belzer center a note was posted on the bulletin board: "Students are invited to a course in real estate, which will open in the next few days."

UOJ Comments

Well, we at UOJ have been ranting and predicting that the day will come when the leidegeirs ( people with nothing constructive to do) will be forced to go to wwwwwork,a difficult word to utter for many.

The State has basically told the Charedim," F.U.", we had enough of your B.S., we can get elected by buying off a few key Charedim in positions close to the decision makers of the religious parties.
The "Ballsy" Rebbe realizing " game over", takes a pre-emptive strike to garner support from the State and from the baalei batim who had enough of their kids' parasitic behavior.(Make no mistake, he will be handsomely rewarded by the Government).

The day is not that far away when this model will be used here in the U.S..The Kotlers, and their compatriots will fight this with all their might. If this concept were to take hold in the U.S.A.," their" Monopoly game with "our" real money will come to a screeching halt.

I view their change in venue for their yearly dinner to a buffet in Brooklyn, as the first sign that their baalei batim are telling them, "hey guys, bring your "five ring circus" to us, we're tired of you telling us to waste a complete evening on your version of how to buy real estate with no money down".

Change is difficult and slow. The "Ballsy" Rebbe has made this move for selfish reasons, he would rather use all the money he can garner for his new shuls, schools and personal agenda. He, as well had enough of seeing his coffers being bled dry by assholes who would rather roam the streets of Tel-Aviv, than be in the bais medrash.

Atlantic City casinoes and houses of ill-repute may soon have to look for new clientele; clients that are clean-shaven, clean clothed, and clean conscienced.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 7:10 PM | 116 comments

Thursday, December 22, 2005
Kosher Electricity-What's Next?

Gedolei Yisroel Call for Reinforced Efforts to Use Kosher Electricity on Shabbos

by A. Cohen

Gedolei Yisroel including Maran HaRav Eliashiv, shlita, signed a letter of encouragement for the askonim who are making marked progress toward plans to install a Shabbos generator for the entire city of Modi'in Illit.

The letter was written by HaRav Eliashiv and his signature appears along with those of HaRav Aharon Leib Shteinman, HaRav Shmuel Halevi Wosner, HaRav Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz, HaRav Nissim Karelitz, HaRav Chaim Kanievsky and HaRav Shmuel Auerbach. "It is a great mitzvah," read the letters, "to assist the activists who committed themselves to this important matter of strengthening Shabbos observance by supplying the city of Modi'in Illit with electricity on Shabbos generated without chilul Shabbos, which is an act of kiddush Sheim Shomayim."

The gedolei Yisroel who signed the letter attach great importance to kosher electricity in every place with a large concentration of chareidi residents. "It is well known how [strongly] Maran HaChazon Ish zt"l [opposed] the use of electricity generated through chilul Shabbos Kodesh. And it is kovod Shabbos for the botei knesses and streets as well to be illuminated by electricity kosher for Shabbos."

The letters ends, "And may all of those helping toward this effort be blessed with the blessings of Shabbos, which is the source of all blessing. As is stated in the Talmud Yerushalmi, `"Bircas Hashem hi sa'ashir" refers to Shabbos' (Brochos, Chap. 2, Hal. 7), "and may the merit of the tzaddik [the Chazon Ish] protect all of those assisting in this matter to be blessed with all of the blessings written in the Torah."

The letter was written at the end of Tishrei following progress in setting up the electrical plant in Modi'in Illit. Recently the plan took another major step forward when City Council Head Rabbi Yaakov Guterman met with top officials including Electricity Authority Chairman David Assos, Electric Corporation's CEO Dr. Yaakov Ratzon and the assistant directors in charge of planning the generator project. At the meeting the two sides signed an agreement on the construction of the plant.

Electric Corporation heads said they were pleased over the letter by maranan verabonon, which was presented during the course of the meeting. They pledged to work to have the Shabbos power plant in operation as soon as possible.

The Modi'in Illit project is expected to serve as an example for other places with large chareidi populations.

UOJ Comments

The Charedis' coffers are dead broke.
The organizations are corrupt from top to toe, stealing, yes stealing from the government and fraudulently raising money for people and causes that are non-existent. Who is dreaming this shit up?

Do people stay up at night thinking what other chumras we can slap on to our followers? Boasting that R' Elyashiv signed his name to this "important" cause, tells us how OUT of touch he is with the reality around him.
He is suppose to pasken for us in America, when he is clueless as to what is going on in his own backyard???

Kosher electricity is on it's way to Monsey, Boro Park and Flatbush while we are probably eating non-kosher food. I'm certain that's what the Chazon Ish had in mind.
Any more window dressing coming? Any more cover-ups of the real problems, by changing the subject?
This is sickening!


posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 3:06 PM | 65 comments

Wednesday, December 21, 2005
A History Of Kashrus Scandal In America

By Joseph Adler

When the great Jewish migration from Eastern Europe to the United States began in the late 1880s there were about two hundred major congregations in the country, of which only about a dozen were Orthodox. Indeed, for most of the nineteenth century no Orthodox rabbi of repute had established himself in the United States. Organized Judaism remained foremost a virtual monopoly of the Reform movement, which the German-Jewish immigrants of earlier decades had brought with them to America.

Orthodox congregational life in the two decades preceding the advent of the twentieth century was at best chaotic, and lacked real leadership. Congregations created by the Orthodox immigrants were constantly springing up, only in many instances to be torn apart by factionalism within a short time. In most cases the services at these little synagogues established by the first groups of Eastern European Jewish immigrants were conducted by the most learned members of each congregation; often their learning was quite minimal. Plagued by a lack of qualified rabbis, ignorant of the problems poised by life in a secularized environment, Orthodox leadership was slow to grasp the fact that Old-World religious authoritarianism could not easily be transferred wholesale to the New-World. In the new environment with its congregational polity and voluntaristic character, the automatic leadership of the rabbinate was not accepted without question.

This situation was a far cry from Eastern Europe where the rabbi had served as a communal rather than a congregational official. With State approbation, legal matters among Jews had been left to Jewish law, and the rabbis adjudicated that law. In short, a rabbi had been envisaged not as a pastor but as a jurisconsult. In America, however, the State pre-empted virtually all matters of law. Thus, for example, a rabbi could not grant divorces, could not decide matters of inheritance and adoption, could not so much as perform marriage ceremonies without State approval.

Adding to the Orthodox rabbi's diminished power and prestige in America during this period of mass immigration, was the competition he encountered from non-ordained self-styled "reverends." Indifferent to Jewish, or even American law, many of these charlatans presided over dubious practices. They conducted questionable marriage ceremonies, and granted illicit divorces, and most profitably of all, competed in the single area of Jewish life that offered authentic rabbis a certain economic security — namely, the supervision of "kashrut" (the Jewish dietary code), especially those laws relating to ritual meat slaughter.

Scandals relating to "kashrut" were already an old story in Eastern European Jewish life, but nowhere did they flourish as extensively as in the United States, a nation lacking an officially recognized Jewish communal authority. Agonizing over this state of affairs an attempt had been made as early as 1879 to organize the Orthodox congregations of New York. The effort, however, proved abortive. Some years later, in 1886, a group of eighteen Orthodox consregations managed to successfully band together under the name Association of American Orthodox Rabbis. They agreed to import a rabbi from Europe who would be given the title "chief rabbi," and be responsible for rulings on matters of ritual and belief; raising the spiritual level of the faithful; and bringing order to the preparation and sale of kosher products.

Accordingly, the Association of American Orthodox Rabbis corresponded with the leading rabbis in Europe, and eventually settled on the choice of Jacob Joseph, a highly respected rabbinic scholar of unimpeachable piety. Rabbi Joseph had been born in Kovno (Lithuania) in 1848, and as a youth studied at the famous "yeshivah" (talmudic academy) at Volozhin under Hirsch Leib Berlin and Israel Salanter. His aptness as a student had won him the title "harif" (sharp-witted), and after ordination he served as a rabbi in various Jewish communities of the Russian Empire. Joseph's piety and scholarship was soon recognized and he was rewarded with the prominent post of "maggid" (preacher) of the great Jewish community of Vilna (Lithuania).

The Association committed itself to pay Rabbi Joseph the munificent salary of $2,500 per year, and bestowed upon him the title "chief rabbi." In July of 1888 stevedores at the port of Hoboken (New Jersey) were treated to the spectacle of some ten thousand bearded Orthodox Jews awaiting Joseph's arrival. The Lithuanian rabbi was greeted appropriately with cheers, pious chanting, and prayers of welcome.

However, from the outset the appointment of Rabbi Joseph by the Association created a furor among certain Jewish circles. Many Orthodox congregations who did not partake in the selection refused to recognize Rabbi Joseph's leadership. Reform Jewry, on the other hand, remained indifferent or hostile to the entire idea of a "chief rabbi." Jacob Joseph's appointment was particularly resented by the Anglo-Jewish press, then dominated by German Jews. Thus, the New York correspondent of Isaac Mayor Wise's American Israelite, even before Rabbi Joseph's arrival in America, expressed bemusement that a man who spoke neither German nor English, and whose vernacular was an unintelligible jargon (Yiddish) had been chosen as a fitting representative of Orthodox Judaism to the world at large. The Jewish Messenger in its editorials cautioned Rabbi Joseph to appreciate that in marriages and divorces the courts of the State must be sought for redress, and not a rabbinical court that the "chief rabbi" was known to favor.

From the start Rabbi Joseph realized that his major mandate was less to cope with marriages and divorces than to bring order to the system of "kashrut," notably the kosher meat business. It was a lucrative business and notorious for its strong-arm methods, chicanery, and squabbles. The butchers and "shochatim" (ritual slaughterers), as well as some rabbis had repeatedly been locked in disputes over the income from "kashrut": fist fights were not uncommon and disregard for Jewish law and Board of Health ordinances were rampant. Exploiting the vacuum of both secular and rabbinical authority, Jewish abattoir owners and retail butchers alike resolved the matter by engaging their own rabbis, or pseudo-rabbis to validate the ritual purity of their products. With this seal of "kashrut" the entrepreneur kept his foothold in the Jewish market and justified the higher prices derived from its religious value. The system lent itself to corruption, and it has been estimated that during this period possibly half the kosher meat sold to the Jewish public was non-kosher. Until the arrival of Rabbi Jacob Joseph in New York no one had dared tamper with the highly lucrative arrangement of the abattoirs and butchers.

To facilitate Joseph's task the Association of American Orthodox Rabbis proposed a penny tax upon poultry. Every bird slaughtered in the abattoirs would be under the strict rabbinical control and supervision of Rabbi Joseph's staff, and stamped accordingly with a lead seal. It was anticipated that the penny tax and the congregational dues paid to the Association would be sufficient to cover the salaries of Rabbi Joseph and his inspectors. Instead of easing Joseph's job the lead seal became a weight which dragged the "chief rabbi" to depths of indignity and eventually led to his downfall.

To many housewives the tax smacked of price gouging. For Jewish radicals, and for most of the Yiddish press, the tax was reminiscent of the infamous "karobka," the hated levy imposed by the czarist Russian government on kosher meat. An equally bitter protest came from the ranks of the butchers and slaughterers who were convinced that inspection best which inspected least. They expressed their discontent by forming their own association with the aim of resisting outsiders from gaining control over their industry. In addition, some rabbis threatened with the loss of their income from the abattoirs and butchers, and resentful of the exalted state and salary conferred on the "chief rabbi" joined in the agitation against Joseph and the penny tax.

Opposition to the Association and to Rabbi Jacob Joseph also came from a number of Galician and Hungarian congregations who were unwilling to submit to an authority dominated by "Litwaks" (Lithuanian Jews). Instead, they decided to look for a "chief rabbi" of their own, and in 1892 settled on Rabbi Joshua Segal as their choice. What followed was a squalid competition between the two "chief rabbis", and their partisans over the supervision of "kashrut." In 1893 still another rabbi entered the fray. His name was Hayim Vidrowitz of Moscow. He managed to gather to his side a few followers from a number of Hassidic "shtiblakh" (prayer rooms), and hung out a sign reading "Chief Rabbi in America." Asked who had given him this title, Rabbi Vidrowitz replied, "the sign painter."

Rabbi Joseph, despite a small and appreciative following could not overcome the centrifugal forces in the New York Jewish community. Reduced to shame and parody his influence gradually declined. The Association of American Orthodox Rabbis soon began to renege on payments of Joseph's salary, and for all practical purposes became a mere paper organization. Eventually, the Association dissolved in an atmosphere replete with acrimony.

Rabbi Joseph left without a source of income was forced to move his family to a squalid Lower East Side tenement flat. There disillusioned and ill he suffered a series of paralyzing strokes and in 1902 at the age of fifty-four he passed away. The Yiddish newspaper Forward in an editorial on his death stressed that Rabbi Joseph had been a sacrificial offering to business-Judaism.

Even in death Jacob Joseph was not to be spared further indignities. Perhaps guilt ridden at their treatment of this gentle scholar, a crowd estimated at between fifty and one hundred thousand lined the route of Joseph's funeral cortege (July 30, 1902). As the funeral procession coiled its way through the Lower East Side enroute to the Grand Street ferry it stopped at synagogue after synagogue. Finally, turning into Grand Street the procession reached the factory of R. Hoe & Company, makers of printing presses. The Hoe establishment was a massive building occupying a solid city block. Some one thousand employees worked there, nearly all of them Irish. Animosity of the Irish toward the Jews at this time was a fact of life in New York City. Much of this hostility had its origins in Catholic religious attitudes; distrust of Jewish political radicalism; and Jewish economic competition in the marketplace. In an earlier period of American history this hostility of the Irish immigrants toward other groups whom they feared or saw as competitors had resulted in the infamous Civil War draft riots directed against the blacks of New York City.

During Rabbi Joseph's funeral as the hearse passed directly in front of the R. Hoe plant the employees on the second floor of the building began emptying buckets of water on the tightly packed mourners, then hurling bottles, screws, and blocks of wood. Enraged, a number of Jews ran into the building entrance, shouting in Yiddish, and attempting to get at the missile throwers. At that point the factory superintendent blasted the Jewish interlopers with a powerful stream of water from a fire hose, and then turned the water on the mourners in the street.

After some forty minutes the violence ebbed, and the funeral procession began to move again. Belatedly then, some two hundred policemen arrived on the scene. Led by an inspector named Kevin Cross, who allegedly ordered his men to club their brains out, the police ignoring the Irish factory workers suddenly waded into the crowd of Jewish mourners. Shouting anti-Jewish epithets, swinging their clubs vigorously the police drove the Jews back from the R. Hoe building. Heads and arms were broken, and bodies relentlessly beaten as the police joined by R. Hoe employees continued to pursue the fleeing Jews. By the time the assault had ended a half hour later over three hundred Jews required medical attention. Adding insult to injury scores of Jews were arrested and fined whereas only one R. Hoe emoloyee was detained.

This disgraceful episode which in many ways reminds one of the recent Crown Heights riots shocked the Jews of the Lower East Side. At no previous point in the life of the community had there been so free a display of Jewish anger. The Forward observed that nobody ever talked about inequality in America. Indeed, everyone tried to hide it, not only the Gentiles, but the elite of American Jewry. Continuing on, the newspaper noted that the behavior of the police, and still more the attitude of the American press, clearly proved that there was little sympathy for Jews. At this moment of shame the Forward editors bitterly commented not one English newspaper, not one Christian voice, was raised in protest.

Protest meetings followed, resolutions were passed, and Jewish delegations besieged City Hall demanding justice. Mayor Seth Low, who not long before had been elected on a reform ticket appointed an investigative commission. The ensuing hearings and commission report confirmed a widespread pattern of police anti-Semitism. Mayor Low then launched an extensive house cleaning of the police force. However within three years the reformist program abruptly ended. Unseating the mayor in the next election Tammany Hall would control City Hall for the next thirty years, and police reform was low on its list of priorities. However, not all Irish Tammany municipal sachems sanctioned the attack on the Jews during Rabbi Joseph's funeral. John Ahearn the Tammany chief eager to win Jewish support for his organization ordered his followers to break every window in the R. Hoe factory as a sign of his displeasure.

In retrospect Rabbi Jacob Joseph was a victim of changing times and a New-World setting. An Old-World rabbi, his outlook could no longer evoke credence among a rising generation of immigrant children, and an older generation eager to escape through congregational independence the bonds that had formerly tied them to a European style hierarchy.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 8:05 PM | 5 comments

Rabbi Urinates In Aisle, Diverts Brooklyn Flight

Associated Press-name changed to slam the asshole.

-- FBI investigators said Lipa Margulies was the unruly passenger who caused a United Airlines flight to be diverted to Ocean Parkway instead of Lakewood.

Authorities said he lit a cigarette, argued with a flight attendant, then urinated and made a kaka in the plane's aisle.

Margulies was taken off flight 1502 over the weekend and questioned by police, a spokeswoman said.

The man was "acting extremely inappropriately," the airlines said. "When you want to run a safe airline, we don't tolerate that type of activity on our aircraft."

Flight attendants noticed that Margulies appeared drunk not long after the plane left Miami. Margulies later lit a cigarette, started singing "oi es iz gut tzu zine a Yid", and allegedly began to argue with a flight attendant who asked him to put it out, she said. He said something about being so happy because he fleeced some old people out of their life savings.

He obeyed, but when the flight attendant walked away, he allegedly stood up, urinated, and took a crap on the person in row 9c.

People familiar with the alter kaker/pisher, say he can't help himself, he has been urinating and shitting on people all his life.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 1:41 AM | 9 comments

Sunday, December 18, 2005
Why The OU-Yisroel Belsky & Star K-Moshe Heinneman Are Blasting The Shit Out Of Each Other

Kosher craze sweeping U.S.

Major food manufacturers, grocery chains compete for 9 billion dollar kosher market; analysts say market for kosher products growing at 15 percent per year

Associated Press

UOJ comments at the end of this article

When U.S. supermarket giant Albertsons hired Yaakov Yarmove more than three years ago, the company found a point man to navigate what might seem like an unlikely market for a grocery chain with stores in places like Cheyenne, Wyo., and Evanston, Ill.: kosher food.

Albertsons, one of America's largest grocery chains, has since dramatically expanded kosher aisles at hundreds of its supermarkets across the country.

The company has also launched more than two dozen kosher destination stores that include everything from bakeries to delis.

"There's a kosher awakening," said Yarmove, an observant Jew who is Albertson's corporate kosher, marketing and operations manager.

"Kosher was perceived as scary and foreign. Now it's perceived as chic. I think everybody is realizing that there is an opportunity," he added.

Bringing matzah to church

The Idaho-based Albertsons is just one of many companies around the country competing to get a lucrative slice of an approximately USD9 billion kosher industry that is growing at a rate of 15 percent a year.

Experts say the boom is being fueled by several factors, including vegetarians and younger customers looking for healthier and safer food – the same demographic that has helped the organic market take off. Plenty of these customers are not Jewish.

"When I take the matzahs to the church, they love it," said Ursula Torres, of Manhattan, who was buying 100 percent wheat matzos recently at Streit's, a Jewish landmark on New York's Lower East Side.

Marcia Mogelonsky, a senior research analyst with Mintel International Group, a Chicago-based consulting firm, recently completed a nationwide study in April that produced some surprising results about the kosher craze.

She found 55 percent of the people who buy kosher products believed the food was better for them – almost double the number in a similar study Mogelonsky conducted in 2003.

"They trust the kosher symbol like they'd trust the Good Housekeeping seal," she said.

Part of the trust, Mogelonsky said, is derived from how the animals are raised. There is a popularly-held myth that Jewish law forbids the use of antibiotics, additives, hormones or feeding animal byproducts to animals raised for kosher slaughter. But Jewish law has no such regulations.

Jewish for 'good food'
Manischewitz, one of the best-known kosher food companies in the world, is developing an advertising campaign that says their name is "Jewish for good food."

Hebrew National, a division of ConAgra Foods, has always touted that famous tagline found on its packages: "We answer to a higher authority." But over the summer, the company decided to move the "Finest Kosher Quality" seal to a more prominent spot on certain product packaging.

Lou Nieto, president of packaged meats at ConAgra, said two things are driving the double-digit growth at Hebrew National, which recently opened a new state-of-the-art kosher facility in Michigan.

"First and foremost is taste but number two is that it's 100 percent kosher beef – nothing artificial," said Nieto, who oversees the Hebrew National brand.

He added that sales were being bolstered by non-Jewish customers, who devour the company's popular hot dogs at hundreds of venues across the United Stat

To meet demand, the industry has undergone radical changes, recognizing that kosher food is more than matzo, gefilte fish and borscht.

The transformation was on display last month in New York at Kosherfest 2005, a convention that drew more than 6,100 retail and foodservice buyers, manufacturers and distributors from 36 countries.

"Anything that can be made kosher, is being made kosher," said Menachem Lubinsky, who founded Kosherfest. "Even the Chinese are going kosher."

Kosher dumpling wrappers – no problem. Asian sesame ginger noodle and Thai chili sauce? They got it. Italian kosher. It's in abundance. Penne rigate, lasagna, angel hair, and all enriched with soy protein. There is also a kosher energy drink called "Kabbalah."

And it seemed like almost everyone was selling humous, creating a war of the chick pea. If any one food is leading the kosher charge, it might be humous.

One of the biggest humous makers is Sabra Go Mediterranean, produced by Blue & White Food Products in New York.

"Today, all the hippies buy this stuff," said Nissim Ohana, who distributes Sabra products and has been selling kosher food for 20 years in the United States. "Humous has become a very hot item.

At Streit's, the venerable New York company is adapting to the changing environment, producing Mediterranean, Spelt and five-grain matzos, along with spreads like sundried tomato morsels.

"Chains carry it," said Alan Adler, director of operations at Streit's, which has been making matzos since 1925. "Our products are on the shelf year round. We are having trouble baking enough matzos."

In two decades, Ohana, an Israeli, has seen the number of Brooklyn stores purchasing his kosher food rise from 16 to more than 200.

"Five years ago, it wouldn't have sold," said Frank Widdi of Met Foodmarkets in Brooklyn. Widdi, a Palestinian, now has two separate refrigerators with humous, including one for Sabra which he gets from Ohana.

A Palestinian selling kosher humous?

"Business is business," Ohana says.

Rabbis Rule Romaine Lettuce Off Limits to Kosher Consumers

Kosher Today-New York

A cross-section of Orthodox rabbis ruled last week that “it is forbidden” to eat romaine lettuce and several other packaged vegetables, including Spring Mix and Baby Spinach, because of insect infestation. The 30 rabbis, however, noted that “this prohibition does not apply to iceberg lettuce, cabbage or greenhouse vegetables provided they are under a reliable, expert hashgacha.” According to several rabbis reached by Kosher Today, a key target of the edict published in many Jewish newspapers was Fresh Express, whose certifying rabbis have since withdrawn their certification. A spokesman for the Orthodox Union said that while the US grown romaine lettuce was off limits, it approved the romaine lettuce grown in hothouses by Alei Katif, which after having being evicted from the Gaza Strip was said to have resumed production in Israel’s Negev Desert. The letter by the rabbis singled out pre-washed romaine lettuce, romaine hearts, romaine mixes (European, Italian, Greener Selection) and Fresh Leafy Salads (such as Spring Mix and Baby Spinach).

The letter noted: “It is unfortunately our duty to inform you that insect infestation was found in most packages, regardless of the company or the supervising authority…Caterers, restaurants and stores that offer these products are guilty of offering food that is forbidden by Torah law.”

UOJ comments

The OU lead by Yisroel Belsky was on the attack. The Star-K, Moshe Heinneman's organization was permitting it.
As we can see from the numbers, "Kosher" is a multi-billion dollar business.

Moshe Heinneman was relying on a p'sak "he said" was told to him by Rabbi Aron Kotler z"l. UOJ called the Kotler & Schwartzman families and none of them knew of this psak by RAK, which would permit eating lettuce that normally had bug infestation in excess of ten percent of the time checked; providing that a particular batch of lettuce was checked and found bug free.
In other words, Heinnemann claims RAK told him you can go by a particular batch; if there is less than ten percent of bugs found, you may eat them.
The OU and gang, say you go by the type of vegetable, if generally there are bugs, you must clean them all or throw them out.

I called Heinneman and asked him the following.

1-When did RAK tell you about this p'sak?
2-How old were you at the time of the p'sak?
3-Why would you have asked this shaila, if the shaila of bugs in Romaine lettuce was on no one's radar screen in the early sixties?( thinking he had asked him in the sixties)

Moshe Heinneman is 67 years old, RAK was niftar in 1962. Assuming Heinneman asked him the shaila that "no one knows about" in 1962, that would put Heinneman at 24 years old. The problem is Heinneman said he asked RAK this shaila the year he came to Lakewood, when he was 18 years old. Counting backwards, this would be circa 1956.
Who in the world was thinking about bugs in lettuce in 1956?????
The whole bug "epidemic" is maybe ten years old!!!

The OU is losing market share to Heinneman, they seem way to eager to do him in.
Heinneman's p'sak from RAK sounds really questionable to me at best, and a friggin lie at worst.
When money is involved everything is possible.

Tell me what you think!

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 11:32 PM | 35 comments

Saturday, December 17, 2005
Brain Damage & Death An Outcome Of Fanaticism-Legal Action To Be Filed Against Mohelim And Rabbis Endorsing This Process

City Urges Halt To Ritual Practice

Unprecedented open letter says controversial circumcision technique is dangerous; haredim say they won’t heed warning.

Debra Nussbaum Cohen and Larry Cohler-Esses - UOJ loses his mind at the end of this article.

In the face of a religious court’s failure to conclude its investigation of a mohel who health officials say transmitted herpes to three babies, New York City’s health commissioner issued an unprecedented public warning Tuesday that a controversial circumcision procedure is endangering the lives of Jewish infants.

“There exists no reasonable doubt that metzitzah b’peh can and has caused neonatal herpes infection,” Dr. Thomas Frieden wrote in “An Open Letter to the Jewish Community” about a procedure routinely practiced by mohels in some sectors of the Orthodox community. “The Health Department recommends that infants being circumcised not undergo metzitzah b’peh.”

But some community leaders in sectors of the Orthodox community where the practice is common indicated they would continue to insist on the procedure as a requirement of religious law.

The letter — the Health Department’s first official warning against the procedure — follows an apparent breakdown in an agreement the department had with a Jewish religious court in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

In September, the city withdrew a lawsuit against a mohel the department concluded had transmitted the disease to three babies on whom he had performed the procedure, including one who died as a result and one who suffered brain damage. It also withdrew a court order barring him from continuing to use the technique.

In exchange, Rabbi Yitzchok Fischer voluntarily agreed temporarily to stop performing metzitzah b’peh. Rabbi Fischer and his attorney dispute that the rabbi was the source of the infection. And a Jewish religious court took up the case for final resolution. But according to Frieden, the religious court, or bet din, failed to meet the Dec. 1 deadline.

“They’ve since communicated to us that it’s a complicated situation and they’re not sure when they can come back,” Frieden told The Jewish Week. “So rather than let that continue indefinitely, we felt it was important to make clear to the public our own conclusion and position.”

Rabbi David Niederman, liaison for the Williamsburg bet din, said he was “shocked” at Frieden’s reaction to the delay.

“We have set the date, and it might be a little bit later,” he said. “However, I believe that the lines of communication are open, so it’s only a phone call to ask ... when would the report be issued. We did not break down the agreement.”

The rabbinical court, he said, “is making a very thorough and broad investigation. They will not leave one stone unturned.”

But whatever the court’s ultimate conclusions about Rabbi Fischer, it will not impact the practice of metzitzah b’peh in the haredi community, said Rabbi Niederman.

“We are convinced that it’s not dangerous,” he said. “Had it been dangerous we would not be performing it, and you know that Hashem [God] would not give something to us that is dangerous.”

In metzitzah b’peh, a mohel orally sucks blood from the site of the genital cut he makes during the circumcision procedure. Not all haredi groups mandate the practice, and the Modern Orthodox-oriented Rabbinical Council of America recommends using a sterile tube and gloves to avoid direct oral-genital contact.

But several haredi sects insist Jewish religious law requires the practice. City officials said mohels from these sects may also apply the procedure outside their communities.

Rabbi David Zwiebel, executive vice president of Agudath Israel, an Orthodox umbrella group, estimates that metzitzah b’peh is performed more than 2,000 times a year in the New York City.

Two New Herpes Cases

In his Open Letter, Frieden reviews seven cases of herpes that have occurred locally, including two this year that the letter discloses publicly for the first time.

Health Department investigators have concluded all were transmitted by mohels performing metzitzah b’peh.

According to Frieden, in one of the two new cases, the infant shows evidence of severe brain damage. The case came to the Health Department’s attention in October.

Frieden said in neither case have the families been willing to identify the mohel who performed the circumcision.

“We are continuing to try to gain their cooperation,” he said.

In legal documents filed several months ago the department stated that herpes, which generally causes just blisters and cold sores in healthy older children and adults, is fatal as much as 30 percent of the time in newborns.

Frieden’s warning against the procedure comes more than a year after a cluster of three neonatal herpes cases were attributed to Rabbi Fischer.

Furthermore, The Jewish Week has learned, the warning comes a full five years after two senior pediatricians at Long Island Jewish Medical Center warned the city that metzitzah b’peh was putting the lives of Jewish infants at risk.

Dr. Philip Lanzkowsky, chief of staff of Schneider Children’s Hospital at Long Island Jewish hospital, said he and a colleague reached out to city health officials and members of Brooklyn’s haredi community about the danger in 2000. The physicians acted after determining that two cases of neonatal herpes brought to Schneider Hospital had been caused by metzitzah b’peh.

“I went to Brooklyn myself and met with rabbis and a representative of the Health Department,” said Lanzkowsky.

He said he acted without publicity at the time, explaining, “One of the things we didn’t want to happen was adverse publicity in the general media that might affect [ritual circumcision] in general. We wanted to deal with it in the local Jewish community.”

There is little doubt the city was aware of Lanzkowsky’s warning. In his open letter, Frieden cites Lanzkowsky’s investigation of the two cases, published in the March 2000 edition of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Journal.

Asked why he thought the city was acting now, Lanzkowsky said, “Obviously they [the community] didn’t heed the first warning.” But after the death of a child last year, “I think the Department of Health, which carries a responsibility here, could not sit quiet.”

Last year the city began to investigate the suspected link to one local mohel of three herpes cases in 2003 and 2004. As it probed the link, some sectors of the Orthodox community lobbied city officials heavily not to interfere with the practice. That effort included a meeting in August between Mayor Michael Bloomberg and prominent members of the Satmar chasidic community based in Brooklyn and Rockland County as Bloomberg was gearing up for re-election.

“We’re going to do a study to make sure that everybody is safe, and at the same time it is not the government’s business to tell people how to practice their religion,” Bloomberg said one day after the meeting.

‘They Haven’t Banned It’

Frieden issued his statement in two parts: the open letter and a flier titled “Before the Bris: How to Protect Your Infant Against Herpes Virus Infection Caused by Metzitzah B’peh.”

The latter is a one-page “fact sheet” the city intends to distribute directly to new parents at hospitals frequently used by Jewish mothers to give birth, circumventing religious authorities who maintain that metzitzah b’peh is an essential element of brit milah, or ritual circumcision.

The fact sheet introduces options that Jewish parents could have for the ritual circumcision of their new sons — information they might not receive from within sectors of the community insisting on metzitzah b’peh. The fact sheet and letter are also on the Health Department’s Web site,

The flier begins with the statement “circumcision has health benefits,” but goes on to explain how herpes is contracted from mohels who employ metzitzah b’peh and encourages parents to “consider other options.”

It takes aim squarely at arguments offered by some fervently Orthodox community leaders in the last few months claiming the practice is safe.

“There is no proven way to reduce the risk of metzitzah b’peh,” the flier says. “Although a mohel may use oral rinses or sip wine before metzitzah b’peh, there is no evidence that these actions reduce the spread of herpes. A mohel who takes antiviral medication may reduce the risk of spreading herpes virus during metzitzah b’peh, but there is no evidence that taking medication eliminates this risk.”

Other members of the haredi community joined Rabbi Niederman in expressing concern over the Health Department’s action.

David Zwiebel, an attorney and executive vice president of Agudath Israel, an organization that represents haredi interests, said he would have preferred the statement not be issued.

But at least “they have been true to their commitment that they would not regulate the procedure,” he said of Health Department officials. “They haven’t banned it and haven’t required some sort of informed consent, which was an idea on the table at an earlier stage.”

Zwiebel was concerned that the department’s action could harm the haredi community’s public image and serve as a “foundation on which other jurisdictions might choose to regulate the practice, or even New York City might do that at some future date.”

Haredi communities often view government agencies as interlopers meddling dangerously with their internal religious affairs. In this case the Health Department’s statement may prompt some to ask questions of their rabbis, Zwiebel said.

“The most likely reaction is that there will be a general message from many of these rabbonim to their communities whether or not — and probably not — the statement from the commissioner could impact their halachic practice,” he said.

Rabbi Levi Heber is a mohel based in Crown Heights, from the Lubavitch community, where metzitzah b’peh is considered a spiritually integral part of the brit milah ritual.

“The concept of non-Jewish authorities trying to influence certain behaviors should not be accepted by anyone,” said Rabbi Heber. “You never know where it could lead.”

Since the potential health risks of metzitzah b’peh hit the headlines, many clients have brought up concerns about it, Rabbi Heber said. “It’s something that’s been brewing.”

But parents “are sincerely interested in finding out the facts, and with a little bit of explanation they agree to it,” he said.

Rabbi Heber said he has never refrained from metzitzah b’peh because of a parental objection, but has had parents say “ ‘do what you have to do, but I’m not going to be there’ ” to see it.

Rabbi Niederman stressed the huge number of metzitzah b’peh procedures performed with no apparent ill effects.

“There have been seven cases, allegedly over a span of 15 years,” he said. “In Williamsburg alone we have close to 57,000 people. The overwhelming majority is very young, so you’re talking about 120,000 brises of metzitzah b’peh. You tell me, is it safer to give a flu shot or to do metzitzah b’peh?'

But Rabbi Moshe Tendler, a dean at Yeshiva University’s rabbinic school and a professor of biology there, as well as an expert in Jewish medical ethics with a doctorate in microbiology, has long opposed metzitzah b’peh as halachically unnecessary and medically dangerous.

In an interview this week, he said that indications of brain damage in one of the boys whose case is being cited by the Health Department should make people aware of the dangers, besides death, of herpes contracted through metzitzah b’peh.

“I’m convinced that many children have been infected and not diagnosed, and years later they are in special education in the schools and no one knows why,” Rabbi Tendler said.

Dr. Jonathan Zenilman, chief of the infectious disease department at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, and an internationally renowned expert in sexually transmitted diseases, agrees.

“Because neonatal herpes has a large variety of presentations, it’s quite likely that cases prior to this recent increased awareness were undiagnosed,” he said. “And because neonatal herpes causes encephalitis, the long-term effects of that infection will be lifelong, including neurological impairment.”

Public health policy experts, including Zenilman, say Frieden’s statement is unusually pointed.

“As these things go this is pretty strong,” said Zenilman.

The only reason the city Health Department didn’t impose an outright ban on metzitzah b’peh, he said, is because it would be nearly impossible to enforce, with most ritual circumcisions taking place in private homes and in synagogues.

Dr. John Santelli, a pediatrician and chair of the department of population and family health at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, said “it’s difficult when there’s a potential clash between religious values and medical information, but it’s really important that parents know, and for the commissioner to take the position that this is a dangerous practice.”

Health departments have learned from dealing with HIV-AIDS that “in public health you have to start with education, with a community and its leaders,” Santelli said. While the health commissioner has broad latitude protecting public health, in some cases amounting to police authority, officials “rarely take draconian measures because it alienates the people you want to work with.”

“The commissioner is now throwing the ball back to the Orthodox community and saying ‘how are you going to respond to this?’ ” Santelli said. “I hope we don’t have another tragedy.”

UOJ comments and loses his mind about the vile behavior of the Charedi fools.

I picked up the TOILET PAPER OF RECORD in the Jewish community and saw a full page ad about an "Urgent Kashrus Notification".This notice begins with "we have "HEARD" allegations that", and goes on to describe the transgressions of Torah law by eating Romaine Lettuce........, and any restaraunt offering this assortment of foods is "GUILTY OF OFFERING FOOD THAT IS FORBIDDEN BY TORAH LAW".

This ad was signed by; born, bred and educated in America "respected poskim", such as Yisroel Belsky, Shlomo Miller,and Yisroel Reisman. There are another twenty five clowns and mental midgets that signed this ad.

Yet these SAME three guys either visited city hall in protest or have signed endorsements for the unrestricted continuation of the metziza b'peh circumcision ritual under the guise of a "TORAH mandated practice"

The above article speaks for itself. Children have been infected by mohelim performing this practice.
They have either gotten ill, died or have been BRAIN DAMAGED by contracting herpes through this practice.
It does not make a difference if according to Niederman these kids are anyway "only a few" and therefore "BOTUL B'SHISHIM OR BOTUL B"ROV".THIS PRACTICE WILL CONTINUE!

What's wrong with you Belsky & Co? Don't you realize that the illnesses,death and brain damage caused by this "NOT" TORAH MANDATED WEENIE SUCKING, is not immediate?

The repercussions of this barbaric and age old practice which began because of the ignorance of our ancestors on the medical consequences, will be killing our children and damaging our grandchildren for generations.

Chances are that most of you will be dead and not see the tragedies caused by your criminal behavior of endorsing practices that lead to death and illness.
Shame on you for not standing up for what's right.You know better.
Even if there is a chashash (chance) that a child would be harmed you have an obligation to at the very least SUSPEND the practice.

Are all the doctors anti-semites and out to get us????

Can it not be possible that the increasing number of children needing "special education" can be related to a virus that was caused by the herpes infection?

Well, I guess you've got lettuce on your mind, and you can't prohibit lettuce and prohibit metziza at the same time.

I will hold you all responsible for any child's death or illness from today on forward. Any child that gets ill or dies, I will be setting up a fund to file a civil lawsuit against all of you, and urge the D.A. to file criminal charges against you and all your cohorts for MURDER.

I'll see you in court.

Anyone having information of any mohel doing metziza, or knowing of any child getting ill or worse, e-mail me at
All replies will be held in the strictest confidence.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 7:03 PM | 211 comments

Wednesday, December 14, 2005
There Is Nothing Dumber Than A Rabbi With A Little Knowledge

December 14, 2005
Torah: Tookie’s Execution Was A Miscarriage of Justice
Filed by Yitzchok Adlerstein @ 1:50 pm
Tookie should not have been executed.

He may have been a bad man, but he was done in by bad law.

Tookie should not have been executed by the State of California, because his conviction was based on evidence that runs afoul of decency and the laws of the Torah itself. He may have deserved to die, and there may even be poetic justice in that it was injustice that took the life of an unjust man. But his conviction was also a breach of the law – the expectations of our Torah.

Tookie was not executed because he may have contributed, directly and otherwise, to the deaths of hundreds of people. He was convicted for the deaths of four people. The jury convicted him on nothing stronger than the testimony of convicted felons, some of the worst slime known to man. Regarding three of the victims, the testimony was not even about the murder, but about Tookie bragging in jail about his having committed the murders. As I understand it, halacha is quite clear about where the evidential bar must be set in Noachide law. The single witness (to the deed, not to an incident of jailhouse braggadocio) must be observant of the Seven Noachide laws. So says the Chazon Ish. (Avodas Kochavim 69:3 s.v veha.). In Bava Kama (10:15 s.v. v’nireh d’im), he modifies this considerably, taking into account that most of the non-Jewish world is far from perfect regarding a number of the seven laws. The minimum he sets, however, is observance of laws that the majority of people do adhere to: strictures about theft and murder. Those whose testimony doomed Tookie struck out on both counts.

I reject the notion that capital punishment is inherently barbaric and inhumane. The most vocal opponents of the death penalty as completely unjustifiable are the heads of the EU. It is hard to find a more convincing argument in support of court-mandated executions.

I reject the notion that a condemned prisoner can “redeem” himself in any manner or form. The death penalty, once accepted by a given society, is a statement that there are some crimes that simply revoke a person’s license to live. It takes into account the fact that humans can and do change, and rejects that as sufficient to continue existence in the company of civilized humanity. The champions of redemption were most prominently avatars of the entertainment industry. It is hard to find a more convincing argument to reject it, than that is endorsed by the single group least endowed with education, intelligence, stability, or morality. (I specific exclude Mike Farrell, whom I know, respect, and profoundly disagree with.)

Tookie went to his execution maintaining his innocence. I am not ready to smugly declare him wrong. I don’t doubt that he was fully capable of those murders. So were his accusers; so were thousands of Crips, and thousands of Bloods, and thousands of other Angelenos.

In our rush to differ with those who claim that the death penalty is never justified (and heterodox rabbis who never lose an opportunity to proclaim to the world that Judaism stands for the polar opposite position of what the Torah says), we ought not be guilty of what we charge our opponents of doing: ignoring the Torah. The Torah does allow for taking life. It also sets standards of evidence. The evidence is there (as far as I see it) that these standards were not met.

We should not be cheering for something the Torah does not endorse.

UOJ Comments

I read this with disbelief.Since when is the American judicial system suppose to be congruous with the Torah's standard of bearing witness. Where in the world are you going to find a witness in every or any criminal case that keeps the seven Noachide laws? I'm not going to waste my time debating with a shmuck.

I've heard from many people that you're an ass-hole, they were dead wrong, you're the ass itself!

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 11:30 PM | 20 comments

Rabbi Kaduri Taken To Hospital -UOJ Predicts He'll Be Dead Soon, And There Will Be No Moshiach Revelation

Leading Kabbalist, over 100 years-old, said to be suffering from severe flu
Meital Yasur Beit-Or

Earlier, Rabbi Kaduri was taken to the Bikur Holim hospital in Jerusalem after suffering from weakness. He underwent a series of medical tests, before receiving treatment.

Friends of the rabbi say he has been suffering from severe flu. "We and his family are praying for his welfare," said a friend. Rabbi Kaduri is over 100 years-old.

Kaduri started out as a modest bookbinder, and has become one of the best known Kabbalists in the country.

He was born in Iraq, and immigrated to Israel at the age of 17. He studied in a Jerusalem Yeshiva, and was a student of Jerusalem Kabbalists who worked in the capital at the start of the previous century, including Rabbi Eliyahu, father of Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu.

Kaduri is considered a world Kabbalah expert.

Many members of the public possess a gold or silver mascot made for them by Kaduri. He has publicly backed the Shas party, and the humble Rabbi was introduced to the party by Aryeh Deri.

In recent months, Kaduri offered a blessing to opponents of the disengagement from Gaza, but surprised many followers when he offered his support for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Gaza pullout in April.

"If we give them a small thing and there will peace with them, we can leave Gush Katif. We can trust Sharon, he is okay. It is allowed to give up on territories in Gaza," the Rabbi told an ultra-Orthodox newspaper.

He added: "I have no faith in the Arabs but we must have a little quiet. Sharon's government isn't so bad.

Recently, rumors have circulated in the ultra-Orthodox world that that the messiah has revealed himself to Rabbi Kaduri in dreams.

UOJ Comments

I'm sorry, but in my humble opinion, these guys are frauds.He will be dead soon, and Moshiach will be nowhere to be found.
The damage these guys do to a public starving for some hope for something better than what exists, is mind shattering.
How can any sane person believe in this hocus-pocus? How many times are we going to be duped into believing something that was created by charlatans and dreamers?

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 7:50 PM | 10 comments

Monday, December 12, 2005
Lawsuit Over Yudi Kolko, the Tora T'mima Rebbe's Nipple Fetish Resolved

Lawsuit Over Yudi Kolko, the Tora T'mima rebbe's Nipple Fetish Resolved
By The Associated Press-Edited and amended by UOJ

(AP) - Two former board members who refused to bare their breasts to a 250-pound (120-kilogram), love-language speaking rabbi named Kolko, have settled a lawsuit against the Rebbes Molester Foundation.

Avrohom Greenfield and Yaakov Applegrad claimed they were fired after they refused to expose their bosoms to the rebbe, and after reporting sanitary problems at Kolko's home in Flatbush, an upscale town in Brooklyn, New York.

The pair claimed they were threatened that if they “did not indulge Kolko's nipple fetish, their employment with the Rebbes Molester Foundation would suffer,” the lawsuit alleged.

Greenfield and Applegrad claimed that Lipa "Gelt whore" Margulies, the molester's longtime caretaker and president of the "Genaive Lifetime Foundation", pressured them to expose their breasts as a way to bond with the 60-year-old pig, and to avoid getting Kolko angry enough to blackmail Margulies.

“On one such occasion,” the lawsuit said, “Applegrad said, 'Kolko, you see my nipples all the time. You are probably bored with my nipples. You need to see new nipples.”

The plaintiffs never undressed, said their attorney,"honest"Abe Konstam, from Monsey. The foundation has denied the allegations.

Lawyers for both sides refused to disclose terms of the settlement, but Deep Nose claims that one of the elements of the settlement bans Kolko from going to the mikve for life.

A second similar lawsuit filed by another employee is pending.

The Rebbes molester Foundation was founded in 1976 to promote the preservation and study of perverted rebbes in black suits and hats. It's best known for Kolko, who has mastered a variety of more than 1,000 ways to seduce innocent kids.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 11:23 PM | 84 comments

WJC Probe Explores Possible ‘Slush Fund’ For Israel Singer, Bronfman's Gofer

Spitzer investigation uncovers e-mail suggesting Singer had personal account from Bronfman.

Gary Rosenblatt

Attorney General Elliott Spitzer’s investigation of the World Jewish Congress has focused of late on statements attributed to Israel Singer suggesting that the chairman of the group’s governing board had a personal $2 million “slush fund” provided to him each year by Edgar Bronfman, the WJC president.

The subject came to light recently through an e-mail written Jan. 9, 2002 by Larry Cohler-Esses, then an investigative reporter with The Daily News, to Singer, who was then secretary general, the top professional post at the WJC.

At the time Singer had offered Cohler-Esses the position of head of the North American section of the WJC, the international defense agency currently under scrutiny for alleged financial improprieties.

In the e-mail, Cohler-Esses summarized his prior meetings and conversations with Singer, and asked him a series of questions.

One of the questions: “Are there any skeletons in WJC’s closet of which I should be aware before I take this position?”

Apologizing for any possible perceived “impudence” in the nature of the questions, Cohler-Esses wrote: “As we discussed on Friday, WJC officials publicly describe their annual budget as approximately $5.5 million, but its 1999 IRS tax report lists a budget of $11.1 million on income of almost $12 million. Of this, $8.1 million is listed as going to program services; about $741,000 to administration and management; and $2.2 million to fundraising.

“When we spoke on Monday, you mentioned that Edgar [Bronfman] has established a ‘slush fund’ of about $2 million for use at your personal discretion. If you subtract this sum and the amount devoted to fundraising, that leaves about $6.9 million, or still an extra $1.4 million.”

Cohler-Esses then asked if Singer’s “personal discretion fund” explained “some of the extra money,” where the rest of the money went, and if Singer was certain the funds were handled and reported legally.

The correspondence was shared with The Jewish Week recently, but not by Cohler-Esses, who was a Jewish Week staff writer from 1993 to 2000. He was hired by The Daily News in 2000 and left the paper earlier this year. He is now editor at large at The Jewish Week.

Cohler-Esses’ copy of the correspondence was subpoenaed by the Attorney General’s Office, and he was questioned about it and his relationship with Singer for more than 90 minutes on Sept. 30. Cohler-Esses appeared before Gerald Rosenberg, head of the charities bureau, and Carolyn Ellis, chief investigator.

Cohler-Esses said he affirmed the contents of his communique, a copy of which the Attorney General’s Office already had, as accurate. He said the questioning by the investigators was “very focused,” and that they were “keenly interested” in his references to the possible discrepancy in the WJC’s tax report and the mention of the “slush fund.”

“They wanted to know what I thought Rabbi Singer meant by that term when he used it,” Cohler-Esses said, “and I told them his use of the term concerned me and I wasn’t sure whether he used it facetiously, jokingly or subconsciously.”

Cohler-Esses said he subsequently turned down the WJC job offer.

Singer, through spokesman Hank Sheinkopf (Mordecai Tendler's spokesperson), told The Jewish Week he denied receiving a letter and said there was no such fund. Singer acknowledged that he had met with Cohler-Esses about the position at the WJC, but Sheinkopf said that “no such letter exists in the WJC files, nor did Singer receive such a letter.”

Sheinkopf added that the Attorney General’s Office “has inquired about this document, and we have responded appropriately.” He would not elaborate.

Sheinkopf said “no inquiry was initiated by the IRS [Internal Revenue Service], and there was no such [slush] fund.”

Darren Dopp, a spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office, would not comment on the specifics of the investigation, which began early this year, but said it was “moving toward conclusion.” Dopp said he expected the probe would be completed next month or, at the latest, by the end of December.

In June, sources close to the investigation said it would demand reforms in the WJC’s financial control and board oversight, for which critics of the group have called, though criminal prosecution is seen as unlikely.

The controversy over the WJC began in 2004, precipitated by the discovery of a Swiss bank account that raised questions about accountability at the venerable organization.

In recent years the WJC has been known for its success in gaining hundreds of millions of dollars in restitution funds from Swiss banks for Holocaust survivors.

The most outspoken critic of WJC practices, Isi Leibler, was ousted as senior vice president of the WJC earlier this year. Bronfman, who had pledged to step down as president after 24 years, decided to run again and was re-elected, and Stephen Herbits, a close business aide of Bronfman’s, was elected secretary general.

UOJ comments

Anytime you see Hank Sheinkopf opening his LYING FOR HIRE mouth, and secret Swiss
bank Accounts, well you know the rest of the story.......

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 6:08 PM | 4 comments

Sunday, December 11, 2005
Say It Aint So Young Israel, Please Say It Aint So!

Spitzer's Office: We Found 'Significant' Problems At Young Israel

The office of New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer was riven by an investigation of an Orthodox synagogue organization, but the one thing all members of the attorney general's office agree on is that the office found "significant" problems at the synagogue organization that have not previously been disclosed publicly.

Spitzer's office began looking at the organization, the National Council of Young Israel, in 1999, when the council made a routine application to the attorney general for a new mortgage. The mortgage was for a nursing home operated by the National Council in a suburb of New York City. The inquiry, routine in the case of a refinancing application by a non-profit, soon uncovered a $6.5 million liability that the nursing home had to the New York department of health.

The investigation was passed to the attorney general's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, which, prior to 2002, identified some $215,000 in illegal loans made to the organization's former president, Chaim Kaminetsky, who was also the administrator of the nursing home. Those loans, which contravened state charity law according to the attorney general's office, were paid back, some before the investigation and some afterward. In addition to the loans, the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit identified close to $5,000 in payments on behalf of Kaminetsky's relatives.

The attorney general's office also identified $130,000 in payments that went to the National Council's executive vice president, Pesach Lerner, and were not backed up with contemporaneous documentation. The National Council provided explanations to the attorney general's office for many of these payments, including $50,000 that was described as a loan to Lerner, and $25,000 described as an adjustment for sick days, according to the attorney general's office. In the end, $20,000 was not accounted for and the attorney general's office decided to hand the case over to state and federal tax authorities.

Spitzer also said that the National Council had governance problems that his office worked to correct.

A lawyer for the National Council declined to respond to specific allegations. In declining to respond, the attorney cited an earlier article written by the Forward that contained a factual error, corrected a week later, about the sale of the National Council's headquarters building in Manhattan.

"We are surprised by your new convoluted inquiries which appear to have been suggested by those with various axes to grind," wrote Kenneth Fisher, a lawyer for the National Council.

"We are proud of the work done by our professional staff, rabbis, lay board and volunteers, including the planned sales of some of our real estate interests which were approved by Attorney General Spitzer's office after extensive review of our operations and procedures, and which will enable us to continue our services to our more than 150 member congregations for many years to come."

Multiple messages left at Chaim Kaminetsky's home and office, seeking comment, were not returned. Kaminetsky left( was asked to Leave) the National Council and works today as the president of the Highland Care Center, a nursing home in Jamaica, N.Y.

Only one element of the attorney general's investigations of the National Council has previously been made public. In 2002, the National Council needed the attorney general's approval when it decided to sell its Manhattan headquarters, which also housed a member synagogue, the Young Israel of Fifth Avenue. The synagogue sued to block the sale. Some members of the attorney general's office were also opposed to allowing the sale.

The dispute was settled in August 2005, when a member of the Young Israel of Fifth Avenue agreed to buy the building and allow the synagogue to remain. As a condition for the attorney general's approval of the sale, the National Council agreed in court documents to use $4 million from the proceeds to set up a trust that cannot be dissolved until the nursing home Medicaid liability is repaid to the state.

The liability had been accrued after the nursing home was granted not-for-profit tax status in the 1980s. Medicaid payments are calculated, in part, based on tax payments, and as a result the exemption should have lowered the nursing home's reimbursement rate. According to a letter from the National Council's lawyers, the organization was told in the 1980s that the department of health would lower its reimbursement rate, but the department never did so.

The attorney general's office says that after the liability was uncovered, the state department of health began recouping the money by withholding a set amount from Medicaid payments to the National Council's nursing home. To date, the attorney general's office said that $1.5 million of the liability has been recovered.

Some members of the National Council's governing bodies have said that even after the attorney general's involvement with the National Council, governance problems have continued at the organization. A lawsuit regarding the governance of the National Council was filed earlier this year by a member of the National Council's delegate's assembly — the organization's top governing board below the board of directors. The suit, filed by Ira Sturm, whose father is a former executive vice president of the National Council, said the National Council leadership had violated the organization's constitution by not allowing for proper oversight.

The National Council's constitution mandates that the delegates assembly meet at least three times a year, approve the budget once a year and elect a president every two years. According to Sturm's lawsuit, none of these conditions have been fulfilled since the current president took over in 2000. Sturm, who belongs to a Young Israel synagogue in Woodmere, N.Y., withdrew the lawsuit earlier this year and declined to comment on it. But another member of the delegates assembly — from the Young Israel of Fifth Avenue — said that the points Sturm made about the delegates assembly were still true.

"They really should be held to a higher standard," said Victor Bellino, who was president of the Young Israel of Fifth Avenue from 2000 until earlier this year, and a member of the delegates assembly during that time.

Bellino, whose synagogue will become independent of the National Council under the deal worked out in the sale of the Manhattan property, said, "I'm glad we're getting away from them."

UOJ Comments

Chaim Kaminetzky, has a long list of questionable financial dealings going back to the 1970's.

Why the Young Israel organization has kept him on is anyone's guess.

He is the same Chaim Kaminetzky that runs the Pesach program in California, and about one thousand people trust him with a reliable "kosher for Pesach" program.
When one has questionable financial dealings, and " borrows" money from a national organization and has not yet been able to "clarify" the accounting entries, CAN WE RELY ON SUCH A PERSON FOR KASHRUTH?


posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 9:24 PM | 22 comments

Saturday, December 10, 2005
The "Bigger" The Rabbi, The Bigger The Filthy Rotten Thief

Buy a rabbi

By Haaretz Editorial

UOJ comments at the end of this shameful article

This weekend's Haaretz magazine exposes a major corruption scandal that could be called the "Latvia 2 affair." Hundreds of policemen, army officers and noncommissioned officers are suspected of having received fictitious certification as rabbis from important yeshivas. This gave them salary increases of up to NIS 2,000 a month, equivalent to the increase granted to those with academic degrees. For the yeshivas, it was worthwhile due to the tuition they collected for the few hours of study each week. But the treasury annually suffered millions of shekels of damages.

This scam, which has been going on for three years already, involved senior members of the rabbinic establishment: former Sephardi chief rabbi Mordechai Eliahu, former Sephardi chief rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron, and members of the Chief Rabbinate Council, including Haifa Chief Rabbi She'ar Yeshuv Hacohen, Be'er Sheva Chief Rabbi Yehuda Deri, and Safed Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliahu.

Employers ought to encourage their workers to pursue an education in their line of business and reward them with pay increases. But in recent years, Israel has witnessed a growing phenomenon of "pseudo-education" solely for the purpose of salary increases, which turns the issue of professional education into a laughingstock and is liable to injure those who truly deserve such raises.

The Latvia affair involved people who obtained academic degrees without studying at all. Sources involved in the investigation in the current affair reported that some of those certified as rabbis were not even familiar with basic Jewish concepts. Particularly grave was the fact that policemen, including senior police officers, behaved as if the law did not apply to them.

The religious world attaches great importance to the term hillul hashem (desecration of God's name), meaning acts that are not only undesirable and even forbidden, but that sow contempt for religion. The rabbinic certification affair is a desecration of God's name on a grand scale. The Chief Rabbinate is striving to preserve its monopoly over the rabbinic establishment and prevent state recognition of Reform and Conservative rabbis. Therefore, one would have expected Chief Rabbinate Council members to demonstrate greater responsibility when certifying people as rabbis, instead of cutting off the branch on which they are sitting.

The investigation, which is being conducted by the Justice Ministry's Department for Investigating Policemen, the National Fraud Squad, and the Military Police, has been under way for three years already. Such a drawn-out process is liable to create the impression that the police have no interest in completing a probe involving the force itself.

Claims made by Chief Rabbinate officials that the police pressed to have the certificates issued to policemen quickly must be investigated. The police's deputy chief rabbi, Chief Superintendent Aharon Gotsdiner, has resigned, but the public deserves to know whether the police's chief rabbi, Ya'akov Gross, also was involved in the affair. The policemen involved in the affair are complaining about the lengthy investigation, saying it has impeded their promotions. Therefore, it is necessary to complete the probe and bring this affair to an end expeditiously.

There is absolutely no doubt that the above named "chief rabbis" knew exactly what their underlings were doing, and approved of their behavior.
This is more than just stealing, lying, forgery, cheating and fraud, this is a pure and unadulterated desecration of the process that leads one to become a LEADER of the Jewish nation.

How low can people go? At least with prostitutes they make no claim to ethical behavior. These rabbis are worse than the pimps and prostitutes that frequent the streets of Tel-Aviv. MUCH WORSE.

My anger is so deep, I find it difficult to express myself properly.Is this what Judaism has come down to; EVERYTHING IS FOR SALE? Even S'micha from the Rabbanut?

We know who the gangsters of New York and New Jersey are, we either choose to participate in their fraud or we don't.The chief rabbis of Israel are suppose to represent world Judaism with their morals and ethics.

I say the Israeli government should suspend ALL funding to the Charedi institutions and offer a reward for the information leading to the masterminds of this theft and all theft and fraud within the Charedi organizations.


By Esti Ahronovitz and Shahar Ilan

Last Update: 11/12/2005 12:14

M.'s turn came this past August. Like 580 other policemen around the country, he knew that in the end, the Police Investigation (PI) personnel - from the unit that investigates suspected wrongdoing within the police force - would get to him, too. M., who is with the Afula police, got entangled in what the police are calling "Latvia Affair 2" (referring to the dubious degrees awarded by the local branch of the University of Latvia to senior officials?). Again there are dubious titles that translate into hefty salary boosts, but this time it's not just a matter of an academic degree. This time the police under investigation received the title of rabbi. They have become rabbicops.

"Someone on the force decided that policemen should be a little more intelligent," M. said this week. "We were sent to study Judaism and get a degree that would increase our salary by NIS 2,000 a month, gross. People went. I was one of three or four groups that studied in a beit midrash [religious school] in Beit She'an - I don't even remember what it was called. Tuition was NIS 15,000, and we had classes twice a week. We studied for two years. We did three or four external exams. In some cases our teachers were soldiers. We were supposed to study for 24 months, but after 20 months you could already get the salary hike. The diplomas were sent from National Headquarters and we received the extra pay four months before the end of the studies. My diploma says that I was ordained as a rabbi for salary purposes only."

Senior police sources confirmed this week that three parallel investigations are under way. One, by the National Unit for Fraud Investigations, is dealing with the institutions that issued the rabbinical titles; a second, by PI, is investigating the 700 or so police graduates of these studies; and the third, being conducted by Military Police Investigations, is concerned with 600 personnel from the career army, on similar suspicions. PI has so far questioned 400 of the approximately 700 rabbicops; according to sources involved in the investigation, it will continue for many more months.

The investigations have led to dozens of rabbis and religious teachers, including some of Israel's preeminent rabbis. Those who have been questioned and have given testimony included Rabbi Yitzhak Ohana, former director of the unit for examinations and ordination in the Chief Rabbinate and now the bureau chief of Rabbi Yisrael Lau, the chief rabbi of Tel Aviv; Yaacov Gross, the chief rabbi of the Israel Police, and his deputy Aharon Gottesdiener, who took early pension in the wake of the investigation; Meir Rosenthal, from the staff of Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger; Yosef Eliahu, the son of former chief rabbi Mordechai Eliahu, from the Darkei Hora'ah educational institution; Rabbi She'ar Yishuv Hacohen, the chief rabbi of Haifa and head of the Ariel network of institutions; Rabbi Benayahu Bruner, head of the Safed hesder yeshiva (combining religious studies with military service); and individuals close to the chief rabbi of Be?er Sheva, Rabbi Yehuda Deri, who organized study groups in his school, Kol Yehuda, in return for payment.

Bring money, get diploma
The case of the rabbicops was discovered by chance. In 2002, a Border Policeman was facing a disciplinary hearing on domestic violence charges. A senior officer in the disciplinary unit at police National Headquarters who went over the Border Policeman's file noticed something odd: the man's salary slip stated that he was getting an increment because he had a degree. And not just any degree, either, but a rabbinical degree. The senior officer, not understanding how a secular person could be a rabbi, sent a memo about the matter to Avi Werzberger, who was then a senior member of PI. Commander Werzberger began to look into the affair. He discovered that 580 such rabbis were listed in the Israel Police, most of them secular.

At first it sounded like a joke. The PI personnel could hardly believe their findings: hundreds of policemen, the majority holding junior posts as patrolmen, warehouse staff and even mess hall workers, many of whom did not even have 10 years of schooling, were ordained rabbis. They were serving in the north and south of the country and in Jerusalem. Werzberger ordered an intensive investigation, which is now being conducted by his successor, Commander Alex Or.

PI discovered that between 2000 and 2002, about 600 Israel Police personnel had registered to study Judaism. The studies were held in a number of institutions for fees ranging from NIS 10,000 to NIS 15,000, which each person paid out of his own pocket. At the conclusion of the studies, the policemen received a diploma signed by Rabbi Yitzhak Ohana, then a senior official in the Chief Rabbinate, stating, "Rabbi [name] studied for five years in high yeshivas and passed examinations as required. By the directive of [Sephardi] Chief Rabbi Eliahu Bakshi Doron, shalita [may he live long and happily], the above rabbi is eligible for a diploma as the possessor of high Torah education." The document adds, "This diploma does not constitute qualification for serving in the
rabbinate in practice."

When PI personnel asked how it was possible to squeeze the five years of study cited on the diploma into two years, they were told that the policemen had studied for 35 hours a week, which was the equivalent of five years of study. In practice, the rabbis who were questioned and the policemen themselves did not hide the fact that none of them had attended so many weekly classes. "At most," says a source who is involved in the investigation, "they studied four hours a week, eight hours a week, and in some cases not even that much."

Sources close to the investigation said this week that not only were most of the rabbicops secular, they also showed great ignorance about the subjects that were taught. Asked basic questions about the content of the subjects they studied, they replied that they could not remember. Some of them could not identify photographs of the city rabbis who were supposed to have examined them orally.

The police believe that the various colleges and other institutions involved raked in hundreds of thousands of shekels from the studies by the policemen and the soldiers. To illustrate, the annual revenues of the yeshiva run by Rabbi Bruner, in Safed, plummeted by NIS 179,000 in 2003. The audit issued on behalf of the Registrar of Associations states that according to the yeshiva's director general, the shortfall is due to the fact that "in 2002 the association gave a course for members of the security forces. That course was not given in 2003." This represents almost a quarter of the yeshiva's revenues from tuition for that year. Bruner and members of the yeshiva's administrative staff were questioned in the case. According to informed sources, about 80 policemen from the north and 40 career army personnel studied at the yeshiva. ("I was not involved in that program," Rabbi Bruner said this week. "We taught policemen Torah subjects in our center and they received ordination not from us, but from the Chief Rabbinate.")

The investigators have receipts for the tuition fee paid by the policemen - who covered the expense through the extra monthly salary, which also goes toward their pension. By a rough estimate, this amounts to millions of shekels from the state coffers. "It was pure commerce," a senior police officer sums up. "You brought money, and after two years you got a diploma and everyone was happy."

Sources in the State Prosecutor's Office take a grave view of the affair. Two meetings were held there in the past year, with the attendance of the ranking personnel in the department and in PI, to "formulate strategy." "It was decided to deprive the policemen of the money and the benefits, because not one of them actually studied," says a prosecution source who is involved in the investigation. "In contrast to the Latvia affair, which was extremely complicated, things in this case were straightforward. Either you attended the 35 hours of classes or you didn't. And they didn't. In practice, not one of the policemen was able to show that he did the 35 weekly hours. And anyway, these are secular people. What kind of rabbis?"

Sources in the state prosecution note that they are now preparing for a situation in which policemen who will not receive the extra salary and other rights for the studies will turn to the High Court of Justice.

Everyone wanted a slice
The whole affair started back in 1998 and was marked by struggles and intrigues among some of Israel?s leading rabbis. "This is a story
involving high emotions within the rabbinate," says Rabbi Ohana. Underlying it is the old rivalry between Shas party spiritual mentor Rabbi Ovadia Yosef - Rabbi Bakshi Doron is from his camp - and former chief rabbi Mordechai Eliahu, who is considered the spiritual leader of the national-religious right in Israel.

According to Ohana, "The story started when Rabbi Bakshi Doron authorized a course for a group from the yeshiva of Rabbi David Yosef." A source in the Chief Rabbinate relates that "Yosef came with a proposal that there were policemen who wanted to take courses, that this would advance their career." Sources in Shas say that Yosef's course was coordinated with the public security minister at the time, Avigdor Kahalani, and with a few senior police personnel.

However, Rabbi Eliahu's institutions soon realized the potential and sought authorization to give their own courses. Rabbi Bakshi Doron and Rabbi Eliahu sparred over these courses - even the attorney general at the time, Elyakim Rubinstein, intervened in Eliahu's favor - and in the end the Chief Rabbinate Council authorized it, sources say.

The impression is that there was great eagerness to be involved in this. What is the interest in regard to policemen and career soldiers?
Ohana: "They made money from it. They had schools. They made money. What are you talking about?"

According to a member of the Chief Rabbinate Council, the initial demand was for the students to pass exams of the Chief Rabbinate even for the partial title. However, "afterward they started to bypass that." The legal adviser of the Chief Rabbinate at the time, attorney Menachem Yanovsky, says that there were "allegations that some of the students were secular and that the courses had become money machines."

Even though the problematic nature of the courses was clear to the Chief Rabbinate - or maybe precisely because of that - its officials are quick to impute responsibility to the Israel Police. "Who came up with the idea for the courses?" Ohana asks, and replies, "The police - the initiative came from them. Period. The police are feigning innocence here. They came to Rabbi Bakshi Doron in 1998 and said, 'Let's set up a school to train students.' The p-o-l-i-c-e. Rabbi Bakshi Doron tried to stop the plan but they pressured him and pressured him. It was imposed on the rabbinate. That is what happened. That was a time of peace, when the police had a surplus budget. Not like today, when there is a shortfall. They looked for a way to give the police a bonus. And from that, all this Latvia and all these bad troubles began. Those ills all began from that."

So what you are saying is that the police started it and now is investigating itself?
"Without a doubt, without a doubt. Incidentally, the police are investigating because PI coerced them. You have to understand - top people in the police were involved in this in one way or another, in the studies, in the schools, in the lectures .... Why did the police authorize it? Does a policeman in rabbinical studies become a better policeman? There are police documents: 'Please hurry, please speed things up.' They expected that the policemen would complete the studies within a year. They wanted everything done fast, fast - for them to complete the studies and get the titles within a year."

Why did you sign diplomas stating that they studied for five years? They studied for two years, and only a few hours a week.
"That is not the point. It's not that. That is less important. They brought documents that they would complete the studies and some of them did study for five years. That did not interest the police. It did not interest them whether they studied for a minute or an hour. It didn't interest the army, either, and there are documents about that. Everyone is now telling you half-stories, because the police are already fiddling with this for years. It is transferred from one [investigative] team to another and they are looking for where the mistake was made and where the flaw is. Everyone is now looking for others to blame. Every six months they wake up and call you and ask, 'Why was it like this? And why was it like that? And who said what?' And they go around splitting the hairs of hairs."

What did you tell the interrogators?
"I gave them the details. Why it was so and why it was like that, who did what. Because it was all documented, you know. What am I, after all? I am an official who received orders. There are hundreds of people who were involved in one way or another, and millions of witnesses. It is not something that was done in secret. After all, who was all the paperwork about the rabbinical training sent to? To the police. Let's not make people out to be all that stupid."

Rabbi Eliahu Bakshi Doron, former Sephardi Chief Rabbi: "I was against authorizing these courses. There was a majority in favor in the Chief Rabbinate Council. A committee that the council appointed set criteria according to which only a person who had been a chief rabbi could give the courses."

Oded Wiener, director general of the Chief Rabbinate: "The Chief Rabbinate holds ordination examinations for the rabbinate which are known for their quality and strictness. Anyone who does not pass them cannot serve as a rabbi." The members of the security forces, of course, did not pass the rabbinate examinations. Even though Wiener has held his post since 2000, he maintains that the events under investigation occurred before he became director general.

Ask the Chief Rabbinate
One of the best-known bodies whose staff was questioned in the rabbicops case is Darkei Hora'ah, under the aegis of Rabbi Mordechai Eliahu, a former Sephardi chief rabbi. Among those questioned was his son, Rabbi Yosef Eliahu, who is in charge of the rabbinical courses of the institution and serves the head of its kolel (yeshiva for married men).

Also questioned was Rabbi Meir Rosenthal, who is described as the organization person of the institution's rabbinical training courses and is now the bureau chief of Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Metzger. Rosenthal said this week that he will not comment until the investigation is concluded and emphasized that the investigation is dealing with a period before Rabbi Metzger became chief rabbi.

"The investigation has been proceeding lethargically for three years and so far has not produced anything incriminating against my clients," says attorney Zion Amir on behalf of Darkei Hora'ah. "My clients have undergone a serious and uncalled-for perversion of justice." He added, "The Darkei Hora'ah institutions held a study program that was approved by the authoritative bodies. My clients cooperated in the investigation, responded to questions and did all they were asked in order to help advance it." According to Amir, the fact that the investigation has been leaked to the newspaper has about it "the smell of a political investigation that was born against the background of the forthcoming elections."

The investigation that led to Darkei Hora'ah started in a religious school in Beit She'an where Rabbi Meir Ruyemi taught about 100 policemen. "We taught for two years according to the authorizations," Ruyemi said this week. "We are being bothered for no reason. And we also took token payments."

Did the policemen really come to study with you?
"They studied for two years. I teach in Darkei Hora'ah, I am a branch of Rabbi Eliahu's Darkei Hora'ah. All the responsible individuals are in Jerusalem. In Rabbi Eliahu's kolel. Talk to Rosenthal."

What kind of diploma did the policemen get?
"It is a diploma of two years of study. In the Chief Rabbinate it is compatible with the title of rabbi, but without ordination. The person will not be able to be a rabbi or a mashgiah [supervisor of kosher food] tomorrow. They studied for a salary increment.

"The police asked why we did not teach for five years, like in law school. They asked me why the Rabbinate wrote that they studied five years and we stated that we taught for only two years. I told them, 'Why are you asking me? Go to the Rabbinate.' Our directive was to teach the policemen for two years, and the army, too. The Rabbinate told us that the diploma is as though compatible with a rabbi who completed five years. As though."

Counting hours in the synagogue
Another well-known religious network whose staff was questioned is Ariel - Centers for Torah and Judaism. Its head is Rabbi Hacohen, the chief rabbi of Haifa, who was visited in his office by PI personnel to take testimony. The deputy rabbi of the police, Chief Superintendent Aharon Gottesdiener, was also connected with the Ariel institutions.

Gottesdiener was arrested in March 2003 on suspicion of bribe-taking; namely, that while he was a rabbi in the police Northern District he taught at Ariel and urged policemen to study at the institution. His son received a scholarship at the time, and police sources say that his daughter also worked there. Gottesdiener took early retirement from the police a year ago. People close to him said this week that when the investigation began, he realized that his career had come to an end. He was given the option of suspension until the investigation ended, or retirement; he chose the latter.

One of his confidants said this week the rabbi had shown the investigators that the students in the college studied 35 hours a week, as required. "He brought directives of the Rabbinate showing that the studies include hours of self-learning in the synagogue and he showed that the students also counted hours of learning on their own in the synagogue - exactly according to the Rabbinate directives."

Gottesdiener himself chose not to comment for this article. His lawyer, Shuki Stein, said that he will be pleased to respond to the allegations after the police investigation concludes.

Gottesdiener's boss, Aharon Gross, the police chief rabbi, has also been questioned several times by PI. It was Gross who by his signature authorized the salary increment for the policemen "rabbis." He was the one who forwarded to the payroll unit the document on which he signed that the person in question was entitled to a quasi-academic rank and to the commensurate salary. A source involved in the investigation describes Gross as the person who shut his eyes in this story.

The police spokesman stated in connection with Rabbi Gross' interrogation: "In regard to Rabbi Gross, the investigation is still ongoing in PI. No material was ever received by the police concerning Gross which would make it necessary to consider disciplinary measures against him."

Rabbi She'ar Yishuv Hacohen, who heads the Ariel network, also gave testimony. "There were no cases in which people received a degree without studying and passing a test," he said this week. Hacohen says he opened the courses in order "to help the members of the security forces." For the institutions, he says, "There was more outlay than income. We charged a low price." All the students, he says, arrived at the recommendation of an army or police chaplain and were required to participate in three classes week, and the school was strict about attendance. Some, he said, finished after one year, but it took most of them two years. All the graduates, Rabbi Cohen says, were examined by three rabbis, of whom two were chief rabbis of cities. To reach the five years cited in the diploma, he says, ?previous years of study were added on. In general we accepted people who had studied in a yeshiva or taken a course of a local rabbi."

The chief rabbi refused to sign
Yet another well-known figure in the case is Rabbi Yehuda Deri, the chief rabbi of Be'er Sheva and a brother of former Shas chairman Aryeh Deri. PI personnel visited his school, Kol Yehuda, where dozens of army and police personnel studied. Their studies were coordinated by Rabbi Ofer Ohana, who was questioned half a year ago. That investigation was launched by PI, but the material was also made available to the Military Police, as most of the students involved were from the army.

"I set up a network of Torah studies throughout the city," Rabbi Deri said this week. "Within that framework I was approached by Rabbi Ofer Ohana, who told me, 'Your honor, there is a serious group in the city who would like us to arrange Torah lessons for them so they can learn what is permitted and what is forbidden.' These are studies for which it would be appropriate to receive a diploma. I told him, 'If we have good enrollment, why not?' In the first course we had about 60 guys from the army. They studied for three years, twice a week. Serious studies, with exams. In regard to payment, I told Ohana that with me they will not pay. Anyone who wants can donate a token amount directly to the yeshiva. Maybe a third donated. After that we started more courses."

Rabbi Deri says he has not been questioned, though Rabbi Ofer Ohana was summoned for questioning six months ago. "He brought them all the personal files of the students. It seems to me that they came away with a positive impression," Rabbi Deri says.

"We said all the time that the studies are not for a degree, but purely for Judaism studies" Ofer Ohana explains. "We said we are not a college and we do not issue diplomas. We give Torah lessons. With us it is known that studies are solely for the sake of Torah."

However Boaz Tairi, who teaches in the beit midrash, has a somewhat different account. "I taught there," he says. "The class I taught was the last one that was able to get in, most of them policemen and a few soldiers. They came because they knew that until a certain date it was still possible to study Judaism for a degree. After that the army and the police no longer recognized the studies. I taught every Monday and Thursday, each lesson four hours, in the evenings. A course like that
lasted three years."

What kind of diploma did they get in the end?
"All told they received the subject of 'prohibited and permitted' and a 'yoreh yoreh' diploma after being examined and succeeding in the studies. There is a concept that a person who studies halakha [Jewish religious law] and afterward is tested on it and succeeds can teach in that subject, and that is called 'yoreh yoreh.' They were tested and succeeded."

Haaretz is in possession of a diploma that was given to a senior NCO in the Israel Defense Forces which is signed by Yitzhak Ohana and lists Rabbi Yehuda Deri as one of the examiners.

A senior IDF officer said this week that the Military Rabbinate has conveyed to the Military Police all the files of those who received a rabbinical degree for salary purposes. According to the IDF, the Military Police can investigate only those who received degrees but not the institutions that trained the rabbi-NCOs. "On that subject we are dependent on the civilian police."

Since 2000, the chief army chaplain, Brigadier General Yisrael Weiss, has refused to sign the diplomas of the graduates of the rabbinate courses. According to IDF sources, when he took over as chief chaplain he stated that he would refuse to sign, because "a rabbi is someone who serves as a rabbi and not an NCO in a workshop or in the personnel administration. They are not rabbis." It was decided in 2000, at Rabbi Weiss' initiative, that rabbinical studies would be recognized only for those who serve as army chaplains. But the implementation of this decision ran into snags. Many of those who took the courses had study authorizations from the army and the degree could not be denied to them. As a result, the decision was not implemented until March 2001.

The army set tough criteria for recognizing the rabbinical studies, insisting on three authorizations: a study authorization from the personnel unit, an authorization from the institution and a certificate from the Chief Rabbinate. Rabbi Weiss still refused to sign, even for those who met the criteria, and the head of the Personnel Directorate appointed another officer to sign in his place.

Today, according to an IDF source, the phenomenon of rabbinical studies for salary purposes "no longer exists." Nevertheless, and despite the
investigation, those who were recognized are continuing to receive the salary increment.

The IDF Spokesperson's Office stated in response: "The Military Police is conducting an investigation into the matter of the rabbinical titles. When it is concluded, the findings will be transferred to the Military Advocate General?s Office."

We were wronged
The rabbicops affair is deeply embarrassing to the Israel Police. The rabbicops themselves are especially angry. They and their colleagues say that it was clear to everyone from the outset that the studies were solely for the purpose of a salary increment. The view in PI is that the policemen involved will face only disciplinary proceedings, but in the meantime their promotion has been frozen, they are being investigated and the significant hike in their monthly pay is liable to be slashed.
"I think we have been wronged," says a policeman who works in the mess hall of a station in the north and obtained a rabbinical degree. "Our whole class in the course was interrogated."

"We are talking about hundreds of policemen who studied and now are suspected of committing a criminal offense," says the chief of a police station in the north, whose men are under investigation. "I do not say that they are guilty, heaven forbid. PI says that the policemen knew they were doing something wrong, that they knew it wasn't really a degree. My policemen are now coming to me and saying, 'No way: we were told to go twice a week for two years and that it is worth a degree.' Someone did not tell them the truth about these studies."

"Suddenly, after two years, they came to everyone who studied with the allegation that we should have studied for five years and not two," M., from the Afula station, relates. "I was summoned to an interrogation and questioned for 45 minutes. They showed me documents connected to the college in Haifa. I didn't know what they wanted from me. If I had known, I would not have invested so much money and time. During the interrogation I struck up a conversation with the interrogator. I told him, 'I am a cop and you are a cop. You know how much effort we put into the studies. You know how much a cop makes. A rookie policeman gets NIS 4,000. So what's the deal?'"

A., from the Beit She'an station, adds, "A few months ago I was summoned to a PI interrogation. Another 10 from the station were questioned with me. I can tell you one thing: whoever went to study got an authorization from the police saying it was all right. Everyone knew what it was all about, that it is a rabbinical title only for salary purposes. I have no authority when it comes to kosher food or marrying people. None of us really thought of becoming a rabbi. They came and told me that I should have studied five years for the degree. 'What five years,' I told them, ' could have studied medicine in five years.'"

The Justice Ministry response: "The investigation is now being conducted and we are unable to provide details."

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 6:40 PM | 53 comments

Thursday, December 08, 2005
Penguin of the Week Award

By David Kelsey

A UOJ Exclusive!

In conjunction with the Elders of this site, I have begun a “Penguin of the Week” Award to illuminate ignorant and destructive behavior committed by select leaders, activists, sages, and writers within the Ultra-Orthodox community.

The winner may receive the remains of a three day old shabbes leftover Gefilte fish loaf. The loaf may not be picked up before Wednesday, and a nominal donation of $1 must be “given” to the Un-Orthodox Jew blog. Unfortunately, UOJ is NOT currently able to accept food stamps, so many of our winners will not be able to receive their award. Once again, the voluntary but still mandatory $1 must be payed in cash.

Without further ado, let us go to this week’s “winner.”

And the winner is … The Orthodox Jew Blog!

Congratulations Orthodox Jew Blog!

Created “to answer the guys at the unorthodoxjew blog,” the Orthodox Jew blog bravely rebukes aspects of the Jewish community for not being frum enough, such as this eloquent apologetic from November 18th.
“Lets make this clear when we do mitzvahs we are mesaken the world that's not why we them that's not our ultimate goal.”
I said bravely, because like many in the Ultra-Orthodox world, they have accepted this mandate to fight in English without knowing English (or any single language fluently, for that matter), or bothering with those period things that the Jewish secularists use to end sentences with, attempting to emulate the goyim. Why should they? It’s Avodah Zorah or something. We all make spelling mistakes, but these guys have no shame. You know why? Because it’s l’shame Shemyaim.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that everyone, absolutely everyone, should contrast the ideas and writing abilities of UOJ blog to the OJ blog. This is as worthy an ultra-Orthodox resistor to our ideas as the Ultra-Orthodox community will produce in their worthy fight against the evil cabal of allies against the frumme yid. This evil alliance of Soneh Yisroels includes but is not limited to: The UOJ Blog, Dinosaurs, Information, the Internet, the NY Health Department, and the impure drinkers of unfiltered water.

Keep up the good fight, boys.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 6:06 PM | 13 comments

Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Judaism And All Kinds Of Shit For Sale - Come One, Come All, To Our Holiday Sale

From An Aish Hatorah Advertisement.

Eternal Kaddish Service $540.00* tax-deductible donation

During the first year, Aish HaTorah will recite Kaddish 3 times a day until the first Yahrzeit.

On the first yahrtzeit (and all subsequent years), Kaddish will be recited, Mishnayot will be learned, and a yahrtzeit candle will be lit.

A yahrtzeit reminder letter will be sent annually to those specified on the Kaddish Request Form..

[Mishnayot forms the basis of the Talmud. The word Mishnah is comprised of the same letters as Neshama -- soul. Tradition teaches that study of Mishnayot on the Yahrtzeit brings great merit to the deceased, connecting the soul to the foundations of Jewish history, and strengthening the eternal spiritual bond with God.]

In appreciation for your generosity, please accept our gift of "Remember My Soul: A Path of Reflection, Inspiration and Personal Growth" by Lori Palatnik. This book provides the comforting voice of wisdom at life's most painful moment, offering everything you need to know about mourning and coping with loss in Jewish tradition. Included is a 30-day guided exercise that both comforts the mourner, and according to Jewish mystical tradition, provides spiritual elevation for the soul of the departed.

Yahrzeit Service (after the first year) $360.00* (tax-deductible donation)

On each Yahrzeit, Kaddish will be recited three times.

Mishnayot will be learned.

A Yahrzeit candle will be lit.

A Yahrtzeit reminder letter will be sent to those specified on theKaddish Request Form. .
Mishnah Study and Talmud

Mishnah – one tractate
Mishnah – entire 63 tractates(524 chapters)
Talmud – one tractate
Talmud – entire 5,422 pages

*Payment Schedule

Donations may be paid in full or in monthly installments by credit card.

Please click here to fill out the Kaddish Request Form in order to begin Kaddish immediately.

As soon as we receive the name of the departed, we will start Kaddish. Upon receipt of payment, the name will be permanently instituted in our records.

This stinks to the heavens. Getting a donation is one thing, "selling" these services is disgusting.
Just another example of Judaism going into the commercial toilet.


posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 6:30 PM | 31 comments

Monday, December 05, 2005
Will Yeshivas Avrohom Fruchthandler DBA Yeshiva Chaim Berlin Remove The Thief Englander Name Off The Yehiva K'tana Building ?

Millennium Partners to pay $121.4 million By Michael Gormley, The Associated Press

Millennium Partners will pay $121.4 million in "ill-gotten revenues," its founder Israel Englander will pay $30 million in civil penalties, and two management companies will pay $26.6 million under an agreement in a New York and federal investigation into market timing, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said Thursday.

That is the first major settlement involving a hedge fund for Spitzer and the Securities and Exchange Commission. They have been investigating similar market-timing schemes in mutual funds that benefit insiders at the expense of individual investors.

"Millennium developed multiple schemes that cost mutual fund investors tens of millions of dollars," Spitzer said. "Restitution will be made to investors who were harmed."

The complaint accused Millennium of taking ill-gotten profits of more than $100 million from 1999 to 2003, much of it from transactions structured to avoid mutual fund defenses to block market timing or to conceal Millennium's role.

"Today's action demonstrates the commission's commitment to prosecute vigorously all the wrongdoers involved in fraudulent market-timing practices, not just mutual fund managers and broker-dealers, but also the hedge funds and other entities that profited so handsomely from the fraud," said SEC Enforcement Division Director Linda Chatman Thomsen.

Market timing of mutual funds, which involves rapid in-and-out trades, is not illegal but is prohibited by many funds because it can put ordinary shareholders at a disadvantage by diluting the value of their shares. Many of the cases brought by Spitzer and the SEC have targeted mutual fund companies that allowed favored clients such as hedge funds to engage in market timing.

"Millennium is pleased to have reached a comprehensive resolution of the investigations regarding mutual fund trading in years prior to 2004," Millennium spokesman Thomas Daly said. "We agreed to these civil settlements, in which we neither admitted nor denied the various allegations, as a business decision in order to put this matter behind us and to allow us to concentrate on our investments. Today, we have stronger financials and stronger controls, including the supervision of the former general counsel of the SEC, than ever."

Millennium has $5.4 billion under management, 20% more than in 2003.

Millennium was also accused of using false addresses and renting post office boxes to avoid detection by mutual funds, Spitzer said. Employees also posed as long-term investors, allowing the company access to "subaccounts" that kept Millennium's identity secret.

Spitzer claims the company was able to camouflage as much as $19 billion in market-timing activity.

Terence Feeney, Millennium's chief operating officer, will pay $2 million, and its general counsel, Fred Stone, will pay $25,000 in penalties. Both will be banned from mutual fund trading for three years.

Israel Englander has been in trouble with the law for the last thirty years.
Avrohom Fruchthandler is in bed with this guy, and certainly is aware that the yeshiva has received money from "ill- gotten revenues."
Avrohom, do you have the balls to remove the name from your building, where kids come to learn Torah and it's values? Or money is money regardless of the source?
Tell me Avrumy, are you going to send the message to our children that as long as you give money to your yeshiva, it's ok to steal and cheat?
We're watching, you have a chance to do the right thing.


posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 8:31 PM | 115 comments

Saturday, December 03, 2005
UOJ's Theory Of Evolution - Chassidim Direct Descendants Of ( Beaver) Animals -They Can't Let Go Of Their (Fur) Hats

By The Chairman Of The Board - R' Gross

The “Talibaner” Rebbe
Rabbi Mordechai Hager, the Vizhnitzer Rebbe of Monsey( The Guys Who Wear Their Fur Hats Backwards)

One only needs to look at the Chassidim to make a pretty accurate assumption as to the character of their leadership.

Having been raised in a purely litvishe environment, with rather oppressive institutions of “education” and prayer, I naievely assumed that Chassidim, as a general rule, were a bit more accepting of those outside their circles - more so than their litvishe counterparts. After all, they seemed “pretty cool.” Heimishe davening, various Chesed organizations, jovial expressions of love for their creator, friendly shteiblach… I apparently was wrong; as the generations progress (or rather, regress) new expressions of ugly fundamentalism rears its head…

Several months ago, “Chaim,” an acquaintance of mine, stopped off in Vizhnitz on Route 306 in Monsey, for a late Shacharis. Moments after arriving, a young man approached Chaim and asked him why he wasn’t wearing a hat. Stunned and unsure of the man’s motives, he just ignored him.

When he later related the story to me I brushed it aside insisting that it was just an isolated incident and either the man was joking or he wasn’t “100%.” In fact I found it very hard to believe that in such a Heimishe environment, someone wouldn’t go out of the way to make him – an obvious outsider - feel comfortable by offering him a siddur or a place to sit.

A few weeks later, Chaim returned to Vizhnitz forgetting about the incident. While donning his Tallit and Tefillin he was shocked to see a sign posted on a wall stating the institution’s requirement that all congregants must wear a hat and jacket! The story doesn’t end there.

A group of recent Baalei Teshuvas, attended Vizhnitz one morning for Shacharis. They were dressed casually but neatly and were obvious BTs. Moments after arriving, they were asked to leave – that’s right they were asked to leave -immediately and their efforts to protest were futile as a small mob of threatening Chasidim surrounded them. That very day, one of the men thrown out of Vizhnitz ceased being observant.

In yet another incident, a man went into Vizhnitz for Maariv and after permission from one of the Gabboim approached the Amud in an attempt to lead the Maariv service. This man was a “Chiyuv” and therefore he had reason to do so.

When the man started Maariv it was obvious to all that he had a speech impediment (the speech impediment resulted from a slight hearing impairment.) After several minutes, the davening was interrupted and the man was asked to step away from the Amud. He refused and in an instant he was physically removed from the premises. The man was in tears.

How long will we allow these pieces of garbage to claim Judaism as their own? Is it not enough that they live in a welfare society, depending on OUR tax dollars and handouts for their corrupt Mosdos and gauche displays of personal excess? Is it not enough that we (those of us who work) suffer the embarrassing results of a public display of Chasidishe animalism, when confronted by our non-observant co-workers interested in knowing why there were fistfights in Willamsburg on Yom Tov? They don’t believe us when we say that “those people are not really Jewish.” How stupid can the Chassidim be? Don’t they realize that it’s all about money and real estate – at their expense? And NO, your Rebbe doesn’t have any Ruach HaKodesh and is a mere mortal like the rest of us (and probably an Am Ha’aretz too!

I say: Be as crooked as you want but remove the beard and payos and stop humiliating the rest of us!!!

Religion is not to be "object" driven. The "hat" has become a symbol to the Charedim, as the "cross" is to Madonna.
The parallels are so very similar. As long as the symbol is displayed openly, ALL the important elements of religion and appropriate behavior become irrelevant.

We see the Puerto Ricans and the Shvartzes driving around with "Jesus" bobbing around on their rear view mirrors, especially noticeable on their getaway cars as they race away from the convenience store or bank they just robbed.


posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 7:00 PM | 30 comments

Thursday, December 01, 2005
Rosh Yeshivas Get Together To Discuss New Ways To Squeeze Americans

Roshei Yeshivos Meet to Discuss Housing Crisis Among Young Couples in Israel

by Betzalel Kahn

A number of roshei yeshivos took part in a special meeting to discuss the housing crisis among bnei Torah. The roshei yeshivos discussed the possibilities currently available to avreichim and the difficulty in bearing the costs of marrying off children.

The heads of Binyan Sholem, founded by Degel HaTorah of Jerusalem, presented an overview of various projects currently marketed to bnei Torah in chareidi towns and elsewhere.

The roshei yeshivos shared accounts of painful cases of young couples seeking advice on how to alleviate the burden on parents trying to purchase apartments for their children. The shortage of work for kollel wives was also raised on the agenda in light of the increased cost of living as well as cuts in government funding and allowances in recent years.

A decision was reached to start a committee comprised of HaRav Boruch Shmuel HaKohen Deutsch, one of the roshei yeshiva of Yeshivas Kol Torah, HaRav Dovid Cohen, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Hevron, HaRav Yigal Rosen, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Ohr Yisroel, HaRav Yehoshua Ehrenberg, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Chadera, HaRav Gavriel Yosef Levy, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Be'er HaTorah, and HaRav Nachman Leibovitz, one of the roshei yeshiva of Yeshivas Mir.

HaRav Moshe Frank and Rav Menachem Blumental of Binyan Sholem spoke about the new project slated for construction in Yeruchom. HaRav Tzvi Friedland, who has led the Torah community in Yeruchom for decades, also addressed the rabbonim.

As an initial step the roshei yeshivos decided to start a unique kollel in Yeruchom immediately after Chanukah based on the precept of "Yehuda sholach lefonov."

The roshei yeshivos said only top avreichim from the Torah and yeshiva world would be selected for the kollel, which will offer excellent terms to allow them to labor and settle in "the tent of Torah" without having to worry about housing or income. The kollel will even offer periodic shiurim on a regular basis given by prominent roshei yeshivos making an extra effort to raise the banner of Torah in Yeruchom as part of the plan to help solve the housing crisis among bnei Torah.

During the meeting the rabbonim discussed the possibility of setting up a major foundation through the generosity of "yirei Shomayim contributors" from "abroad" to assist avreichim to purchase homes in the least expensive housing project available, the one in Yeruchom.

According to Binyan Sholem the roshei yeshivos will soon begin locating avreichim who will be carefully screened for the kollel in Yeruchom, calling this a first step in expanding the Torah community in the town and turning it into a large center for ruchniyus.

The Negev Region is currently slated for an impressive development boom. The government is allocating extensive resources to make the South flourish. By Chanukah, Israel Railways will reach the nearby town of Dimona and Highway 6 will reach as far as Beit Kama, bringing the Central Region much closer.

Development plans include the construction of software houses and high-tech companies, which will employ kollel wives at high salaries, tourism infrastructures including a hotel and convention hall, upgrading the artificial lake, widening roads, etc.

Following its successful bid for the construction franchise in the new part of Yeruchom, Binyan Sholem heads have decided to expand registration for the Naot Ha'irusim project.

They're coming for the YIREI SHOMAYIM CONTRIBUTORS; meaning if you don't give it up, you're just an American Shaigetz


posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 10:42 AM | 50 comments

Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Second shelter for abused Haredi women opened in central Israel

By Ruth Sinai

A shelter for abused women from the ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) sector was inaugurated on Wednesday in a city in central Israel. The shelter began operating several months ago, and it can host up to 50 people. Eight women and their children are currently staying there.

The shelter, second of its kind, is being funded by the International Fellowship for Christians and Jews (IFCJ), the Welfare Ministry and private donors.

The Bat Melech fund, a body designated to treat abused women in the Haredi sector, operates the shelter on behalf of the Welfare Ministry along with another establishment for the protection of abused Haredi women. The shelters offer women protection, mental and social assistance and legal counseling.

According to Welfare Ministry figures, 1,388 women sought protection in shelters in 2004, but only half of them were placed in shelters. Currently there are 1,064 children residing in shelters, a third of them under the age of three.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 6:35 PM | 13 comments

Monday, November 28, 2005
Girls Seminaries In Israel - A Scam By The Scum

Received this e-mail from a reader

Date: Fri, 25 Nov 2005 09:42:24 -0800
From: "Oyba Zoy"

I've read your blog a few times, some of the things you have written about have really hit home. I want to share a seminary story with you. I don't know the name of the seminary, but I'm trying to find out.

A girl from my community got accepted to a real frummy place. Although her parents have very little money and a bunch of kids, if they want their daughter to get a shidduch with a learner, they have no choice but to send her to a $15,000 a year seminary. Right?

Anyway, she gets to Israel, and the first thing that happens is the head "Rabbi" takes away her passport and tells her that if she wants to leave the country, her parents better send the rest of the money immediately. Apparently. her parents could not pay the $15,000 in one shot, and thought they could pay the rest out over the course of the year. Sounds reasonable right? Wrong!

The girls father had a fit, spoke to the local rabbonim, and decided to borrow or do whatever he had to do to send the rest of the money asap. They sent the money, the girl got her passport, and she had a wonderful year in seminary learning that she's going have to work the rest of her life to support someone in kollel, or work he decides that if he wants to make some real money he had better open up a seminary and hold girls hostage. Pretty sickening isn't it?

Have a great shabbos.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 8:58 PM | 16 comments

Was The UOJ Blog Responsible For Alan Stadtmauer's Resignation From Yeshiva Of Flatbush?

Intelligencer-New York Magazine
Saturday the Rabbi Came Out
Or was the former head of Flatbush’s Orthodox Yeshiva inadvertently outed before he was ready?
By Shana Liebman

UOJ Comments at the end of this article

This past summer, Rabbi Alan Stadtmauer resigned abruptly as principal of the prestigious Orthodox Yeshiva of Flatbush. Officially, the reason was that he wanted to pursue another career, though the school didn’t mention the real reason he believed he couldn’t continue his current one: Stadtmauer, 42, was just coming to grips with his homosexuality, which is anathema to Orthodox teachings. So he quit.

“We don’t know of any other heads of yeshiva anywhere in the world who have come out. It is a first,” says Sandi DuBowski, whose documentary Trembling Before G-d is about the struggle to be gay and Orthodox.

Actually, it’s not clear that Stadtmauer, who’d taught at the school for ten years, intended to come out—at least not yet. In September, after the rabbi resigned, a student politely e-mailed him to ask about rumors that he was gay. Stadtmauer replied, “I appreciate your understanding about my coming out . . . ” But one close confidant of Stadtmauer’s, Rabbi Steve Greenberg (author of Wrestling With God and Men: Homosexuality in the Jewish Tradition), says that when Stadtmauer told the student he could share the e-mail “if your friends were wondering the same things,” he was thinking “maybe three or four friends. He didn’t want this information out like this. He told me this twice.”

Instead, the e-mail circulated widely; The Forward even covered it. And many former students felt betrayed, not because he’d been hiding his sexuality but because he implied that he was giving up, at least provisionally, on Orthodoxy: His e-mail stated, “I still believe in the Value and Truth of Torah, even if I don’t feel bound by Halacha,” the rabbinic laws. “And I may yet return to it.”

“What shocked me personally,” says alum Steven Zeitchik, a writer for Variety, “was not the gay part . . . but the fact that he left Jewish education.” Zeitchik says he still feels confused by Stadtmauer’s decision, “because the things he hid were so integral to what I was talking to him about, so elemental to how we live our lives in terms of faith.”

According to modern Orthodoxy’s interpretation of rabbinic law, homosexuality is a grave sin, so it wasn’t surprising that the response on certain blogs was more unforgiving. “I knew since day one he was a faggot,” one alum wrote on “He deserves the punishment of the worst tortures possible.”

School officials sent a letter to parents stating that Stadtmauer had recently told them he was gay but that “he had never previously discussed these issues with members of the faculty or with students.” It added, “There have been no allegations of inappropriate behavior during his tenure at the Yeshiva.”

Greenberg’s hoping all this will at least get people in the community talking about something they don’t like to even acknowledge. Flatbush grad David Cameo knows many Orthodox Jews “who officially admit it, yet decide to walk the ‘straight’ path. Some actually still choose to have a wife and
kids . . . Some remain celibate.”

Greenberg said Stadtmauer never spoke to him about his sex life, and his e-mail made no reference to his celibacy (except to say, “Given how alone I have been all my life, I just couldn’t see fighting an uphill battle just to remain lonely in the Orthodox community”). Stadtmauer isn’t making any public statements for now. Shortly after the e-mail got out, the rabbi left New York for a three-month hiatus—on the other side of the world. He spent Yom Kippur not in Brooklyn but in Bangkok.


I do not know Alan Staudtmauer, and he may be a wonderful person, but my position is really clear.
Any person who WILLINGLY violates a " forbidden" precept of the Torah, should not be in a leadership position.
A rabbi in an Orthodox shul should not keep his job if he WILLFULLY violated the Shabbos, or willfully ate non-kosher food.

I feel, at the very least, that Stadtmauer falls into the category of WILLFULLY violating a behavior that the Torah forbids.
I am familiar with all the arguments, claiming that he can't help himself regarding his sexual orientation........

Firstly, I do not buy into that.
Secondly, even if that would be the case, a homosexual has no right being in a leadership position in an Orthodox School.
The same goes for rabbis, rosh yeshivas, and rebbes, if they willfully and knowingly participate, directly or by proxy in any "genaive" (fraud) from anyone or any entity, they should be forced to resign their positions or thrown out on their fat behinds, regardless of the color or length of their clothing.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 3:33 PM | 102 comments

Saturday, November 26, 2005
Naked Man Dies In Jump From Boro Park Office Building

A UOJ Exclusive In Conjunction With The Washington Post

A naked man darted from a car into a Boro Park office building at lunchtime yesterday and then jumped to his death from the top floor, officials said.

The man double-parked in the 4800 block of 13th Av. about noon, bolted from his still-running gray 1980 Chevrolet, dashed past a crowd on the street and ran into the lobby of an office building, witnesses said.

Police were still trying to identify the man yesterday and to determine why he jumped. Witnesses also were trying to sort out what happened. The man had no apparent connection to the building, according to people who work there.

"He didn't even have shoes on," said Zalman Teitelbaum , who was working as a temporary security guard at the building until the Satmar mess gets straightened out. Sitting behind the security desk, Teitelbaum first saw the man from the waist up and thought "maybe he was a rather strange jogger. But then I stood up and saw the rest of him, and realized he was very Jewish."

The man told Teitelbaum that he was "desperate and broke," asked him for 50 cents to make a phone call and then spoke incoherently, mumbling something about not being able to support his son in-law in kollel, Teitelbaum said.

Then the man ran to an elevator. Minutes later, he emerged from a stairwell on the top floor. The fire alarm had been set off, presumably by the man, and the office doors on that floor were open as people began to file out, witnesses said.

The man pushed his way into one of the offices, where he said "excuse me" several times while charging toward a window, witnesses said. He smashed the glass and jumped through the window, falling onto a parapet between two buildings. Some local workers and shoppers saw him fall.

Boro Park firefighters and emergency medical service personnel arrived at the scene, and police quickly cordoned off the block. Women with baby carriages were visibly upset that they could not continue shopping. One woman with a hat on top of her wig lamented, "he could have waited until the stores closed."

Workers in the top floor office said they had not seen the man before and did not believe that he had ties to the offices there. They didn't hear anything he said other than "excuse me, I need money to support my son in-law in the Lakewood kollel" a witness said.

Before it became apparent what was taking place, the city's parking enforcers reacted to the abandoned car, which had badly torn seats, New Jersey plates and no sign of clothing inside other than a beat up Borsalino and a jacket with a shatnes label. They slapped a flyer on the windshield inviting people to attend a parlor meeting for the Lakewood Yeshiva.

The police met with "all" the various Bobover Rebbes and was told that the man had seven married daughters and was acting strange as of late. Recently the man was seen in shul naked except for a towel on his shoulder, screaming why they moved the mikve.

These acts of desperation have become rather common in the Orthodox Jewish community, since fathers with daughters are expected to support their sons in-law whether they have the ability or not.

Many social workers in the community have noticed a dangerous increase in mental disorders particularly by men over fifty.

We interviewed eight young men who were in the local pizza parlor, all of them noticably obese. We asked them about their reaction to the increase in mental and emotional disorders in men over fifty, particularly by the men with daughters.

We had similar reactions by all eight young men. One fellow said it was "not my fault that the poor shmuck doesn't know how to make enough money to support thirty people. Summer camps, expensive houses, cars, jewelry, Pesach in Cancun, and tuitions are a father in -law's obligation, even if he has to work three jobs, or steal from his employer". They're just a bunch of whining lazy bastards".

Another young fellow said" I am sick and tired of hearing these bullshit stories from fathers in-law. If they produce the kids, they MUST support them, period, no excuses. This fellow who was not more than twenty years old, was wearing a gold Rolex. I complimented him on his watch; he turned angry and said" he told the shadchan that I would get two Rolexes, one for daily use and one for Yom-Tov, and the SOB finked out on me; what a piece of shit father in-law I wound up with. If I would have known that, I never would have married his meeskite (extremely ugly) daughter." He said he had to leave, and drove off in a brand new Cadillac Escalade.

The reaction by the others were similar, ranging from anger to dismay about the lack of appreciation and gratefulness to God exhibited by their fathers in-law. They all felt that they could have married anyone in the world, and if their father in-law ever decided to stop giving them "serious" money they would return their daughters to them in a heartbeat, blackmail the family in order for him to give a Get, and get a father in-law who really understands what a catch they are.

Particularly interesting was how they all agreed that they never intended to ever get a job, regardless of how many fathers in-law jumped off buildings. They saw it as a dirty trick and didn't believe the guy was really dead." I find it very interesting that these shameless fathers in-law would go to any lengths to avoid their obligations to us", said the fellow who was the most obese, weighing about three hundred pounds and was not more than five foot three inches tall.

Calls to the rabbis of the Lakewood Kollel were answered by a taped recorded message.
"If you are attempting to join our prestigous institution,the only requirement is that you must be proficient in filling out lengthy government aid forms. These forms are available in all languages and can be filled out at any Lexus dealer in Boro Park or Flatbush; or available on the internet by the shgatzim uremasim (low-lifes) who have internet access.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 6:39 PM | 97 comments

Tuesday, November 22, 2005
It's "Shver" To Be A "Shver"- The Tale Of The Scumbag Son In-Law

Just returned from a very important assignment in HUD country.

”Schnorrer,” has been married four years and has 3 children in diapers. (In fact, several weeks after he was first allowed to touch his tired wife, after a C-section produced child #2 , she was already pregnant with the third.)

Desperate to marry his aging 21 year old daughter, four years ago, Schnorrers’s shver (father in law) agreed to support Schnorrer in the amount of $1000 per month as long as he was in kollel. It was understood that Schnorrer will go out to work after a few years. Schnorrer is quite capable of working; he is rather quick with numbers as you will soon see.

So what is the problem? Recently, Schnorrer, having a head for figures, made a quick calculation on his way to a 10 AM shacharis, You see, he is facing a dilemma, whether or not he has to work. That calculation went as follows:


A recent job prospect offered a generous starting salary of $30,000 ( remember, absolutely no education or experience!) after several weeks of Cope training (Don’t praise the Agudah just yet, but if you must then take a few moments to do just that…)


+++Shver pays him $1000 per month ($12k/annually)

+++Schnorrer schnors $700/month from mother, a professional, who was coerced into paying his Lakewood tuition she paid for him as a bochur, directly to him now (which is no longer due to the Yeshiva because of his newly attained matrimonial status, rendering him scot-free from tuition. Another instance of singles being discriminated against by the thugs who run our religion)

+ ++ Hundreds of dollars per month in the form of government handouts ranging from rent to groceries, most of which he will lose once gainfully employed.


+++Go to work and earn the same amount of money.

“Why work?” he said. I’m better off not working and getting (I nearly slapped him) the same amount of money. Besides both my shver and mother are getting tremendous mitzvos for supporting me while I learn!”

This is not a unique situation. Schnorrer is not alone! Yungerleit that never held jobs and collect money in the form of WIC, HUD, etc.... are purchasing homes under their shver's name and "renting" it to themselves and having the govt pay their rent! PURE THEFT. Others invest in Lakewood real estate to become slum lords. They rent houses to families of Mexicans, polluting the very demographic they have created.
Oh, that’s right it’s the “treife newspapers” and Internet that are to blame for all the tragedies. Go ahead and justify it! “It’s “hefker” anyway, the shvartzes do it so why can’t we?” So you’re comparing yourselves to these lower forms of humanity – that’s one step in the right direction!

When will it stop? This type of “economy” cannot sustain itself. It is impossible! A generation of schnorrers is trying to breed another generation of even bigger schnorrers (these new schnorrers won’t have working parents with money.) There will be a spiritual rebellion. Many Lakewood kids are messed up already! The ones who have zero interest in learning have even less of an interest in attaining a secular education that might enable them to live a decent life. These idiots aren’t going into any decent business either (except for the occasional “mortgage guy“.)

So get ready to sit back and observe the community that will implode and self-destruct in 10-15 years (if even that long) when the well runs dry and the kids have “had it.” Prepare to watch. And laugh. Don’t say we haven't warned you!

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 10:32 PM | 93 comments

Monday, November 21, 2005
Rabbi Naftoli Herman Neuberger Z"L - The Hesped Without The "Help" Of Moshe Sherer

M. Plaut
Shema Yisroel Network
UOJ comments at the end.

On motzei Shabbos parshas Lech Lecho a hesped for Rabbi Neuberger zt"l was held in the Friedman Beis Medrash of Yeshivas Mir.

The first speaker was HaRav Yitzchok Ezrachi. He asked why in general does a son have to say Kaddish? He answered that it is to fill the void in Kiddush Hashem that was left in the passing of his father. He noted that for someone like R' Naftoli Neuberger, who was responsible for so much Kiddush Hashem in the world, everyone has to pitch in to fill the void in Kiddush Hashem that he left behind.

The next speaker was HaRav Aharon Feldman, rosh yeshivas Ner Israel in Baltimore. He said that R' Naftoli ben R Meir was a father to widows, orphans, and to entire American communities. He said that his efforts in Iran had nothing to do with the yeshiva; all his prodigious efforts were entirely out of selfless concern about the future of Iranian Jewry which he saw had no Jewish leaders. His involvement began under the Shah, and continued under the Islamic regime that overthrew the Shah. At one point when Jews had to leave illegally through Afghanistan he had to answer the phone on Shabbos because of the dangers involved.

At a time when other yeshivas "struggled" to absorb a "handful" of Iranians, Ner Israel took in 100.

Many had serious reservations, but R' Naftoli insisted that it would be a success. And it was. Virtually the entire connection the Iranian community today in the US has to Torah is due to graduates of Ner Israel. Even today there are 70 Iranians in Ner Israel.

HaRav Feldman said that in one town there was a machlokes that could have destroyed the Yiddishkeit of the entire city. R' Naftoli flew in and spoke to the rov of the town at the airport for 20 minutes and outlined a course of action to defuse the entire affair. The rov took the advice and R' Naftoli's advice proved effective.

HaRav Aviezer Piltz, the rosh yeshiva of Tifrach, said that he had met Rabbi Neuberger some 40 years previously. He said that he had created a true Torah malchus. In contrast to the power structures of most of the world which are characterized by their riches and ostentation, a Torah malchus is typified by the statement of the Bas Kol: "Kol ho'olom kulo nizon bishvil Chanino beni, veChanino beni dai lo bekav charuvim mei'erev Shabbos le'erev Shabbos — The entire world is sustained through the merits of my son Chanino, but my son Chanino has enough with a few pounds of carobs a week" (Taanis 24b). The builders are totally uninterested in personal advancement.

He noted that Torah institutions are not built up in the same way that other institutions are built. The adonim of the Mishkon, the foundation upon which the Mishkon stood, were made from pure silver — not iron and steel such as is used in the foundations of conventional structures. Visaditich besapirim (Yeshayohu 54:11) — the foundations are precious stones. Middos and tzidkus are the proper foundations for Torah buildings.

If we see hatzlochoh in a yeshiva, especially in the America of half-a-century ago, said HaRav Piltz, it cannot be only because of its gadlus in Torah. It must also have been properly founded upon foundations of gold and silver and precious stones.

When Dovid Hamelech finished Tehillim he said, "Is there a creature that says better shiros and tishbochos than I?"

A frog came and challenged him, saying that it says greater shiros and tishbochos than Dovid Hamelech. This, HaRav Piltz explained, means all of the creatures who by their very existence are a praise of the Creator, even without saying anything: Ein omer, ve'ein devorim. Bli nishmo kolom. Nonetheless, Bechol ho'oretz yotzo kavom . . . Tehillim 19:4-5). And not only that, said the frog, I do a great mitzvoh since there is a creature in the ocean that has no food and I let him eat me.

The lesson of the frog is that such mitzvos are greater than the shiros of the frog that are in turn greater than the shiros of Dovid Hamelech.

Rav Yosef Kalman Neuberger, grandson of the niftar, said that achrayus was burning inside of his grandfather. It was a word that was always on his lips.

He said that once someone called him and said that he had a medical problem with his daughter. As soon as his grandfather got off the phone he went into action. He called doctors and asked them about the disease and about treatment. He bought a book about the disease and read it through. He called in his granddaughters to ask them about the disease. In short he threw himself into finding a way to help this man and his daughter as if it were his own daughter.

He noted that it mentions Noach three times at the beginning of parshas Noach. Chazal say that this is because he lived in three different worlds: before the Flood, the Flood itself and after the Flood. Noach brought the quality of life that he had seen in the world before the Flood, when the creation was close to its Creator, through to the world after the Flood. In a similar way, Rabbi Neuberger took the lessons and approach that he had learned from HaRav Leizer Yudel Finkel while he was at Mir yeshiva in Poland, and brought them through to America.

Mr. Plaut is a hard line Right Winger, yet he was able to publish a hesped WITHOUT "Hollywood" Sherer.

Take note that Ner Yisroel took in 100 Iranians, while "ALL THE OTHER YESHIVAS COMBINED, STRUGGLED TO TAKE IN A HANDFUL!"

Alzheimers Elya Svei, Smiling Shmuel The Fool & Gangster Lipa Margulies did not feel that the Iranians were good for their image.(and of course there was no money in it)

Hatzolos Nifashos was not "cool" then, later, of course, they took in a few token Arabs, upon pressure by the klal.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 11:37 PM | 15 comments

Reform "Leader" Weighs In On Hitler, Gays & Charedim

Reform leader slams religious right-wing

The leader of the largest branch of American Judaism blasted conservative religious activists in a speech Saturday, calling them "zealots" who claim a "monopoly on God" while promoting anti-gay policies akin to Adolf Hitler's.

Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the liberal Union for Reform Judaism, said "religious right" leaders believe "unless you attend my church, accept my God and study my sacred text you cannot be a moral person."

"What could be more bigoted than to claim that you have a monopoly on God?" Yoffie told a friendly audience of about 5,000 in his keynote address during the movement's national assembly in Houston, which runs through Sunday.

Yoffie used particularly strong language to condemn conservative attitudes toward homosexuals. He said he understood that traditionalists have concluded gay marriage violates Scripture, but he said that did not justify denying legal protections to same-sex partners and their children.

"We cannot forget that when Hitler came to power in 1933 one of the first things that he did was ban gay organizations," Yoffie said. "Yes, we can disagree about gay marriage. But there is no excuse for hateful rhetoric that fuels the hellfires of anti-gay bigotry."

The Union for Reform Judaism represents about 900 synagogues in North America with an estimated membership of 1.5 million people. Of the three major streams of US Judaism - Orthodox and Conservative are the others - it is the only one that sanctions gay ordination and supports civil marriage for same-gender couples.

Yoffie's lengthy speech first addressed several other issues, and his criticism of conservative religious activists came in the middle. The audience was largely sedate until Yoffie reached that topic and responded with repeated, enthusiastic applause.

Yoffie did not mention evangelical Christians directly in his speech, using the term "religious right" instead. In a separate interview, he said the phrase encompassed conservative activists of all faiths, including within the Jewish community.

Yoffie said the activists have little understanding of the liberal religious community, which he insisted also grounds its beliefs in biblical teaching. "We study religious texts day and night, but we have no direct lines to heaven and we aren't always sure that we know God's will," he said. "We bring a measure of humility to our religious belief."

Yoffie said liberals and conservatives share some concerns, such as the potential damage to children from violent or highly sexual TV shows and other popular media. But he said, overall, conservatives too narrowly define family values, making a "frozen embryo in a fertility clinic" more important than a child, and ignoring poverty and other social ills.

"When they cloak themselves in religion and forget mercy, it strikes us as blasphemy," Yoffie said, urging a renewal of religious tolerance in the United States. "We need beware the zealots who want to make their religion the religion of everyone else."

One attendee, Judy Weinman of Troy, New York, said she thought Yoffie was "right on target."

"He reminded us of where we have things in common and where we're different," she said.

Yoffie also urged lawmakers to model themselves on presidential candidate John F. Kennedy, who famously told a Houston clergy group on the campaign trail in 1960 that a president should not make policy based on his religion.

On other topics, Yoffie asked Reform synagogues to do more to hold onto members, who often leave after their children go to college. He also said the Reform movement, which is among the most accepting of non-Jewish spouses, should make a greater effort to invite the spouses to convert to Judaism.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 6:11 PM | 17 comments

The Missing Yemenite Children - Words Of The Lubavitcher Rebbe

The Missing Yemenite Children
Words of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Shneerson - The Lubavitcher Rebbe

As expected, different people reacted to this issue of stolen Jewish infants in the Land of Israel. One such reaction came from the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menechem Mendel Shneerson, in his book, "Hitvaaduyot", written around 1987-88.

To quote from his writings:
"On the matter of the kidnapping of children from their parents in order to educate them not in the way of the Torah.

"It is well known what happened thirty to forty years ago during the Aliyah [immigration] of children from Yemen and Teheran [Teheran, the capital of Iran. It seems that he, too, was unaware of the many different communities from which the children were stolen] to the Holy Land.

"Small children, who came with their parents to the Holy Land, were suddenly taken away from their parents, who were given strange and unfounded reasons for this, such as the need for medical treatment, and that their children were in bad shape. These explanations continued, until the parents were told that their children had died . . . . And all this for the simple reason that they (the authorities) did not want them to be educated by their parents, who kept Torah and Mitzvot (commandments), but wanted to educate them as they wished, in a way totally devoid of any connection with their Jewish heritage! For this purpose - children were stolen from their parents!!"

What Rabbi Shneerson wrote then was based on the fact that when many religious Jewish men and women immigrated to Israel, there were people in authority that thought that religion was not what the country needed in its first days. Certain actions were taken by these authorities, such as shaving the beards of new immigrants and cutting off their side curls. Not to mention all the Torah Scrolls, Holy Books, and many other possessions taken from the Jewish immigrants back then. Although this explanation is accepted by some, others do not accept this as a possible reason for the kidnapping of children, since so many of these children were sold abroad for profit.

Rabbi Schneerson continues:
"And who was at the time one of those in charge - a Jew who puts on Tefilin (phylacteries) [Another Religious Jewish custom] and prays three times a day, and who in his private life, observes Torah and Mitzvot.

And nevertheless, not only did he not prevent this from happening, he cooperated, and was even amongst those who were in charge of the people who committed this terrible crime!"

Here, Rabbi Shneerson was referring to Rabbi Dr. Issachar Dov Bernard Bergman. When people started an outcry, as to how this could possibly have happened, for it is an act that is the complete opposite of all that is just and right, and the complete opposite of humane behavior, they were told: 'We saved them from death and gave them a new life, therefore it is as though these children belong to us . . . .'

"And not only did they behave with the children as a man would behave with his "Canaanite servant" [In other words, a slave] who "belonged" to him, but even worse. They treated the children as an object that was their own private posession, that could, if they so wished, be burnt - where in this matter, the burning was of the children's soul and not of their body, Heaven forbid. [What Rabbi Shneerson says here conflicts with reports of children that know they have been sold in this fashion, when they were children. In these reports, most of the people report that they were raised with love and care, as if they were the real children of their adopting parents].

"During that period, hundreds of small children disappeared without a trace, and until this very day, the parents do not know what was the fate of their children, and where they are today."

Rabbi Shneerson mentions hundreds of children, although the number of such occurrences is now known to be in the thousands.

"Today, after thirty to forty years, it is still possible to trace these children, for the same offices that dealt with the children then have exact lists that contain the names of all the children, where they were sent to, etc. The trouble is that noone wants to give out the lists of the names of the children!"

As for the lists of the children's names, not everyone accepts the idea that there are lists of the names of the original families of the children, as so many of them were said to be stolen without the kidnappers even caring who the original parents were. Why should they? It is also commonly believed that, considering all the forged and "confused" documents, there are no real documents. Also, there are those who believe that real documents did exist until Ami Chovav, the investigator mentioned in Part Six, "took care" of the records, as Chovav worked in the national archives, following his investigation. He was quoted in "Haaretz" as saying:

"After the Shalgi committee, all the material was in a mess. The committee finished its job, but none of the documents were catalogued in order, in the archives. The main archive manager asked me to organize all the material, of both investigation committees, in order for the archives. So I sat in the archives, and organized the material, until the order was given to hand the material over to the current (Cohen) committee".

Of course, there are also those who believe that the documents do exist, some say in a certain safe, in Jerusalem. An article in the "Makor Rishon" newspaper, written by Journalist Pini Ben-Or, describes these suspicions.

To quote the article:
"In these days, when in many countries in the world adoption of children occurs, and adoption certificates are issued, there was no way found in Israel to try and help find children that have disappeared. Even the adopted people themselves are faced with many difficulties in finding their biological parents. Today, the belief is getting stronger that thousands of children disappeared, and were stolen from their parents in the first years of the existence of the State of Israel. 'Makor Rishon', which is following the stolen children issue, has checked on the other possibility. The best kept secret in the country - the safe of Mr. George Klein.

"George Klein is the manager of the archives, belonging to the Ministry of Interior, where appear the records of all the people that are removed from the population records: People who have died, been adopted, left the country, and so on.

"From one investigation protocol of George Klein, from the 16th of September, 1997, it is seen that, in his archives, there is a safe where all the adoption records, ever since the British Mandate in Israel, are kept.

"In his questioning in front of the committee for investigating the disappearance of these children, George Klein said that only he has access to the safe, which is located in a safety room. He received the adoption orders, as well as the original personal file of the adopted child, from the bureau of the Ministry of Interior. The material is placed in the safe, and the child receives a new birth certificate, where the names of the adopting parents are found.

According to Klein, he writes the original I.D. number of the child, in the adoption book.

"After writing the details, Klein has the information updated. The original birth certificate, along with the adoption certificate, are placed in an envelope, that is filed in the safe, in the safety room.

Anyone looking in the adoption book only sees the new details of the adopted person, but adding up the new details and what is written in the envelopes that contain the old details - will reveal who the adopted person is.

"The biggest secret is in the hands and safe of George Klein. Maybe there, an answer to the issue of the missing children can be found."

Since that article was written, it has been rumored that the safe has been moved, although not everyone believes that. Again, it is commonly believed that records of which children went where do not even exist. Although, it is possible that details of a certain number of the missing children can be found there.

To return to the writings of Rabbi Shneerson:
"And the even greater trouble is - that noone gets up to speak of it!

"Lately, a few people have woken up and begun to ask for the lists of the children but unfortunately, this was but 'the sound of the tune of defeat', and nothing came of it.

"And not only this, but as always, there are those who immediately make a 'mockery' out of everything, and they made a mockery out of this request too! . . . . And we know that one should not talk with scoffers, and even not sit in their company, as king David said at the beginning of the Book of Psalms - 'Happy is the man that hath not walked in the counsel of the wicked . . . . Nor sat in the seat of the scornful.' (Psalms 1:1) Our sages have already told us that a 'Cult of Scoffers' is one of the four cults that 'do not receive the Divine Presence'.

"However, this claim also has no place in the discussion. For, although it might be very hard work, nevertheless, in no situation is one allowed to despair of a Jew, and noone can take the responsibility to say that, as far as so and so is concerned, nothing can be done to bring him closer to Torah and Judaism."

Here again, it is evident that Rabbi Shneerson believed that these children were stolen to keep them away from Judaism, and Torah.

"And, in any case, as long as not everything possible is being done to correct the situation - it is as though the crime is continuously being committed! Obviously in this matter, doing Teshuvah (repentance) will not help - for Teshuvah is between man and his Master - and so above all, what must be done is to correct the injustice and the crime that was committed against both the children and their parents!

"After all this, if anyone thinks that they (the authorities), regret their past deeds, and certainly will not repeat them, God forbid, 'Trouble shall not rise up the second time' (as said in Nachum, 1:9), they are making a bitter mistake.

"Not only do they not show any remorse, and are not even trying to return the situation to its rightful state, but on the contrary - until this very day, they are repeating what they did (to the children stolen back then) with the children of Teheran [Iranian Jewish immigrants], and in a more acute way, and no one is standing up to be heard, and let the world know. And especially those who are meant to represent, so to speak, the demands of the Charedi (ultra-Orthodox) Judaism - even they are sitting quietly and doing nothing at all!

"It is the holy obligation of anyone who has it in his powers to do whatever they can to prevent and to stop the stealing of children that is currently happening, and in addition, to try and correct what was done in the past.

"And those who cannot do anything, as far as this matter is concerned, should increase their activities in the field of education.

In other words, try and ensure that all Jewish children receive a Jewish education that is in the spirit of the Torah, and no effort should be spared (just as no effort is spared by those opposing the matter), for one is talking about Pikuach Nefashot (the saving of endangered lives)!

"To what can this be compared? To a man who sees a house burning - he surely will not spare any effort to try and save the people who are in the house. Not only that, but even if he is unsure if there is anyone in the house, he will knock on the blinds and the windows, etc., to check if there is anyone in the house, who can be saved. And the moral of the example is an endangered spiritual life.

"Remember: 'And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death' (Exodus, 21:16).

And his death, according to the Halachah [Jewish law, as set by the Rabbis . . . although there are many laws in Halachah, such as this, that are not enforced in these days], is by strangulation."

This is what the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menacham Mendel Shneerson, has written about the issue of the stolen children. Apparently, Rabbi Shneerson, as well, knew what went on. According to him and others, such things are still happening, although, as many say, on a much smaller scale.

Yechiel A. Mann,
Eshhar, Israel.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 2:59 PM | 4 comments

Sunday, November 20, 2005
The Lawsuit Against Satmar That You Have Not Heard About

A UOJ exclusive
I literally received hundreds of e-mail asking me to republish this post. Enjoy!!

A Williamsburg man who had a panic attack when he found he was glued to a toilet seat in a Satmar restroom, has sued the two Rebbes for negligence, saying the Rebbes were too busy fighting to help him get his tuchis off the toilet.

Retired shamash and old Rebbes' left handed ass wiper, Moshe Chaim Penislover, 67, said on Thursday he was stuck in the stall with his pants down for about 20 minutes and that being only two years after the "incident" where the Rebbe shit on his head, he was suffering from post-traumatic stress, which has triggered diabetes and heart complications.

"I have these nightmares every night where I am locked in this dark room, with no windows, no doors, no fresh air, no route for escape and the Rebbe pissing all over me. I wake up in these cold sweats, feeling like drek, and soaked to the bone" the Shamash said.

Spokesmen for Satmar could not immediately be reached for comment, they were all in jail.

The Shamash said in a lawsuit filed last week in Villiamsboog, Brooklyn, near Hevesh Strit, that he thought he was having a heart attack when he realized his tuchis, one ball, and legs, were stuck to the toilet seat in the Satmar restroom that doubles up as a boxing ring, drug money laundry, and a shul.

He explained his plight to a Satmar gangster who came into the restroom but other mamzerim thought it was a hoax so he had to wait until someone else came in, to again summon help.They went back to eating herring and onions, the lawsuit complains.

The ex-Shamash is claiming unspecified damages for help with medical and psychiatric bills, for humiliation and for the diabetes he said he has developed as a result of the stress.

The Mohel, Yitzchok Fisher, was called to examine him and see if his "yatzmach" was effected by all this trauma. Fisher gave him the usual quick suck (actually not that quick), and assurred the cheering crowd that the "yatzmach" was an oldy but a goody.

"Satmar not only ignored my plight, they refused to help a Jewish asshole in distress," he said. The Shamash said he suspected the glue had been placed there as a prank by the two Rebbes seen earlier masturbating in the restroom, and now out on bail.As is well known, Rebbes are forbidden to work for a living, and have much free time "in" their hands. (pun intended)

UOJ has attempted to interview the Shamash, but was told he was locked in the New Square restroom with Hillary Clinton seeking to have his ass pardoned.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 8:40 PM | 31 comments

Saturday, November 19, 2005
The Homosexual Slippery Slope Keeps Rolling Downhill - Another "Tragedy" In Our Midst But Now Called "Intolerance"By The Heterosexuals

Community of Intolerance
By Jay Michaelson
The Forward

The resignation last week of Rabbi David Kaye from the educational program Panim, after revelations that he had solicited a 13-year-old boy online for sex, elicited the usual expressions of shock from the Jewish community. Of course, we all should be outraged when such immoral conduct is brought to light, but those who follow the Jewish world know that Kaye is hardly the first rabbi to have engaged in it in recent years.

In 2001, for example, Rabbi Jerrold Levy was sentenced to 78 months in prison for sex crimes involving teenage boys. Indeed, a 2000 photo now circulating on the Internet features Kaye, Levy, and Israel Kestenbaum — three rabbis, one from each major denomination, who were all later found to have solicited minors for sex online. And for every one case that makes the news, those of us who work in the Jewish community hear a dozen stories: the whispers about this teacher, that rabbi, and the scandal the school tried to sweep under the rug.

Rabbinic offenders have seduced both boys and girls, but one cannot help but notice that a disproportionate number of them have targeted males. There are no reliable statistics for rabbinic sexual abuse, but government studies show that in the general population, one-third of child sex abuse victims are male, even though only 3-5% of adult men identify as homosexual. Indeed, approximately 16% of boys are sexually abused before the age of 16.

What is going on? Are there suddenly more closeted gay rabbis than there were a decade ago? Or are we, like the Catholic community, merely bringing to light what has been a dark secret for many years?

It does not appear that the problem in the Jewish world is of the same magnitude as that in the Catholic one. Perhaps, as some theorize, this is because the rabbinate, with its expectation of marriage, is less attractive to closeted gay men than the celibate priesthood. Then again, we cannot know how much abuse took place when rabbinic authority was impossible to challenge, and when incidents were quietly buried. Perhaps our scandal is just beginning.

Generally, cases like that of Kaye — who has been praised, in recent days, as a decent man and a good father to his two daughters — elicit responses like "he needs help." Surely he does; how could a well-known rabbi risk everything by sending a naked photo of himself, with his face fully visible, to someone he didn't know? Merely that Kaye's judgment was so clouded bespeaks the severity of his desperation.

Yet the question we must ask ourselves is: Where did that desperation come from? Healthy people, gay or straight, do not molest 13-year-olds. Only deeply disturbed people do — and those are precisely the sorts of people created by the deception and repression of the "closet." Moreover, according to the American Medical Association, 98% of men who sexually abuse boys report that they are heterosexual. Are these really all sick, straight men? Or are they actually, in the words Kaye used when seducing his target online, "waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay in the closet"?

Unquestionably, predators like Kaye are the ones responsible for their conduct, but they do not operate in a vacuum.

The Jewish community bears responsibility as well, for the way we perpetuate the circumstances that cause them to hate themselves, distort their sexuality into something dangerous — and, if statistics are accurate, kill themselves at the rate of 4,000 each year in the United States alone. We create "the closet," through our intolerant actions and inactions, our cruel and selective reading of Jewish law, and our endlessly proclaiming the unacceptability of a sexual orientation which is either genetically determined, or fixed so early in childhood as to be an unchangeable part of one's being. In short, we create the very monsters about whom we later profess shock.

Nor are we doing so based on religious authority. Only a minority of non-Orthodox rabbis still believe that the narrow prohibitions of Leviticus 18 extend to all the sexual behavior of gay men (and women). Yet many Jews who are quite lax about their Sabbath observance and routinely look the other way regarding intermarriage become religious fundamentalists when it comes to homosexuality. Consider your reaction to a Sabbath-breaker on the one hand — who merits the death penalty under rabbinic law — and a religious gay Jew on the other. Around whom are you more comfortable? Whom do you fully accept, and whom do you merely tolerate? And is your choice really based on religion? Or, for that matter, on reason?

The "closet" is entirely the wrong metaphor for the kind of repression which leads to acts like Kaye's. I should know — I was in the closet for 15 years, and it is a much more odious, terrible phenomenon than merely hiding in a wardrobe while you do what you oughtn't. Imagine lying to everyone you know, all the time. Imagine feeling that your heart, your way to love and relationship and sexual expression, is actually distorted, evil and broken. And imagine believing that, because of something you cannot change, God hates you.

Of course, under such circumstances, and in a world that has made clear it would reject you if it knew the truth, you would hide your sexuality — perhaps, as I did, even from yourself. Of course you would do everything you could to somehow "make yourself straight": maybe marriage, maybe seeking spiritual solace to fill an emotional gap, maybe even the thoroughly discredited, and completely ineffective, forms of "reparative therapy" being peddled within the religious community and inflicted on innocent young people every day. And of course, you would fail, because sexuality cannot be changed.

And then, without any appropriate means of expression, your sexual urges would find inappropriate ones. Personally, I never engaged in activity such as Rabbi Kaye's, and never once violated the trust of anyone, of any age. But I was hardly a healthy adult when I was in the closet. I met men for sex, not relationship. I lied about my age, my name, my background. And I rarely went on a second "date."

Today, I am happily partnered to a future rabbi, and am blessed to be in a loving, long-term relationship.

That's what "coming out" does — it enables gay people to be as healthy and loving as everyone else. But as the director of a gay and lesbian Jewish organization, I receive emails every week from men and women still struggling in the closet, from all across the ideological spectrum. Charedi adults, modern Orthodox kids, women and men — I've met them all, and while none, to my knowledge, has become a predator like Kaye, all are trapped in the same web of deception, repression and desperation. Many are like powder kegs, ready to explode. Really, what do we expect will happen to someone who fights his innermost being all his life, never has a proper outlet for his sexual expression, and lies to everyone he knows?

And then there are those open secrets. The influential rabbi who was forced into 'reparative therapy' after being accused of sexual harassment by a young male student. The youth director with a past. "Everyone" knows about these secrets, yet no one does anything — even though those of us who have been in the closet know just how dangerous it is. Indeed, one of the most important public voices on the issue of Judaism and homosexuality himself has a "record" of homosexual misconduct, both on his own part and among other members of his family. Yet we pretend that none of this matters, or that we don't know what we know, or that rabbis and communal leaders are impartial about demons they themselves are battling.

Each person is responsible for his or her own conduct.

But as long as we create the conditions that make misconduct all but inevitable, the right response to the scandal of Kaye is not "he needs help" — it's "we need help."

We need to stop demonizing what is natural, healthy and good, using selective piety to mask our fear.

We need to stop believing that what God made can be unmade through coercion or brainwashing. We need to acknowledge that the closeted-rabbi-who-everyone-knows-about may not be worthy of our trust. And we need to see that what causes scandals is not homosexuality, but its repression. Until we do these things, our exclusion and repression will continue to lead to their tragic, seemingly inexorable, results.

Jay Michaelson is director of Nehirim: A Spiritual Initiative for GLBT Jews.

What is so pathetic about the above writer is that he is attempting to sell the Gay agenda as NATURAL, and that WE, the heterosexuals ,are to blame for the behavior of the predators.I'm sorry, I'm mad as hell and I can't take it anymore.
Hey, you are one sick perverted, messed up SOB!!!!

The Pink City
Yediot Achronot

Local tourism officials plan on turning Tel Aviv into the gay capital of the world; Israel Hotel Association official: Tel Aviv and gay people are a perfect fit
Danny Sadeh

Tel Aviv is known throughout the world as “The White City” due to the many Bauhaus-style structures that adorn its streets, but the city may soon be called “The Pink City,” as tourism industry heads are planning on transforming the city into the gay capital of the world, Israel’s leading newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported.
“Tel Aviv and gay people are a perfect fit,” an Israel Hotel Association (IHA) official said.

The idea was born when IHA Director-General Eli Ziv visited London recently to participate in the 2005 World Travel Market exhibition.
During the exhibition Ziv met with representatives of the homo-lesbian travel industry, and discovered an audience that would travel just about anywhere for a good party, even to the Middle East.

“The gay community has amazing consumer power, and Tel Aviv has a lot to offer to this community,” Ziv explained.
“We have the beach, sun, culture and nightclubs. To our knowledge, gays are capable of hopping on a plane and traveling to the other side of the world just to participate in parties and events that are related to the gay community.”

The IHA in Tel Aviv, along with a local gay rights group, turned to European travel agents who focus on the gay community and requested they prepare vacation packages to Tel Aviv. “We are drafting plans to encourage gay tourism from Germany, England and Holland,” Ziv added. “We plan on approaching travel agents who are aware of the gay community’s needs, launch a special website for gays and advertise Tel Aviv in gay European websites as well.
Jerusalem is scheduled to host the 2006 World Pride Parade , but Ziv is already working to have it moved to Tel Aviv.
“This event could mark the grand opening for homosexual events in the city,” he said. “We need the boost."

Meanwhile, Tourism Ministry Director-General Eli Cohen said he would offer any financial assistance necessary to turn Tel Aviv into the gay capital of the world, and he is not alone: TUI, Europe’s largest tourism conglomerate, has recently decided to offer charter flights to Tel Aviv. Israeli tourism officials said they believe the decision would facilitate the travel of thousands of gays to the country. “It will be helpful to our initiative if they increase the number of flights to Tel Aviv,’ Ziv said.

Our values, and our civilization is slipping away before our eyes.
God help us, please.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 7:20 PM | 37 comments

Thursday, November 17, 2005
A Bigger Bastard.....Part Two-The Yemenite Children Were Sold And Kidnapped For Profit

Were the Children Sold?
by Yechiel A. Mann
Eshhar, Israel

The shocking testimony of Rabbi Avidor Ha`Cohen may show that Children from Israel were likely "exported" to the United States for adoption and sold for about $5,000 each. Herein an outstanding excerpt from The NY Times, alleging about corruption in the Israeli National Religious party, Mafdal.

On April 25th, 1996, Rabbi Avidor Ha`Cohen, testified in front of
the Cohen Committee that investigated the disappearance of the
Jewish children.

His story began with a meeting that he had in 1963 with a
New-York couple, American father and Israeli mother. They raised a
young girl, who was about ten years old then. It did not seem to
Rabbi Avidor that this child was theirs. She had beautiful, large,
dark eyes, also dark skin, quite unlike her "parents". This couple
later told Rabbi Ha`Cohen they had adopted her and that she was
likely Yemenite. Moreover, other families in New York had adopted
children from Israel.

Consequently Rabbi Ha`Cohen found out the identity of the person
who organized these adoptions. It bothered him that these children
had immigrated to Israel, but were later brought to the United
States and likely sold for adoption.

When Rabbi Ha`Cohen reached this point in his testimony, he was
asked by Hon. Judge Yehuda Cohen about the number of children
adopted in this manner. Ha`Cohen answered that he had not known
it back then. Merely he had been told, they were bringing children.
Only when he returned to Israel, he began looking into this matter,
in more detail.

Avidor further reported that he had spoken to Deborah Eliner and
others of the immigration section of the Jewish Agency. He
discovered that the Israeli institutes that dealt with adoption
did not know anything of this matter. This made him even more
curious as to what was being done. He was holding names of some

Avidor then sent a memo to Minister Haim Shapira, because he was
part of the "Mizrachi", a Jewish organization devoted to
Religious Zionism, and Rabbi Dr. Yissachar Dov Bernard Bergman,
the man behind the adoption of the children in the United States.
Rabbi Bergman was one of the main people running the "Mizrachi"

Avidor found it unconscionable that an
organization devoted to Religious Zionism was working to take
Jewish children away from their homeland for profit.

Avidor never received an answer from Minister Shapira. He then decided
to call him on the phone. Shapira answered that there was much
gossip about Bergman, but he is, all in all, a good Jew. Avidor
still felt something was terribly wrong, since the adoption
institutes here in Israel didn't know a thing about Israeli
children being adopted in the United States.

He then tried getting various journalists interested in this
story and a large amount of source material was given by him to
almost every important journalist working for every newspaper in
the Israeli mainstream press and this material was in their
possession for many months. Avidor only got responses saying
that there was no public interest in these cases.

He did not give up. He continued trying to get information to
the public but nothing was published until he spoke to one
journalist, Shalom Cohen, and told him of the information he held
and how important it was to bring it to the attention of the
public. The final agreement was that the information would be
published with the names of the families indicated by initials

Avidor testified that, at that point, he found out that the
cases were not uniquely connected to the Yemenite community, that
there were other Jewish children from many other countries being
abducted and sold for adoption in this fashion. The entire
matter was then published and received almost no reaction in the
Israeli media. The treatment this issue was getting really
bothered Rabbi Avidor.

It was then that he discovered that many social circles, mainly
Ashkenazi religious zionists, had a tendency to believe that
instead of growing up in a poor family with many children, it is
better for a child to grow up with a family that has more
financial stability. Rabbi Avidor also says that there are still
various religious social groups that believe this and thus
justify the crimes that were committed against the children and
their families. This is one of the "moral explanations" referred
to in a previous article in this series. Rabbi Avidor was
shocked to see religious Jews using these explanations.

The individuals who dealt with adoption here in Israel said
they do not know of such things happening and so had no written
records of these adoptions. In such a case, Rabbi Avidor claims,
there can arise a terrible problem of marriages within the family
including incest.

Rabbi Avidor learned then that it cost five thousand American
dollars to adopt a child from Israel at that time.

It is also crucial to mention that Rabbi Dr. Bergman died a few
years ago while in jail for a different crime - his fraud and
abuse in New York nursing homes that he ran. This was an issue
covered thoroughly in the United States and Israel. The New-York
Times reports:

"Bernard Bergman, the central figure in investigations into
possible fraud and abuse in New York nursing homes, has decided
to abandon his public defense of his business dealings. In
refusing to testify at televised Senate hearings last week, he
invoked his constitutional rights under the Fifth Amendment. His
lawyer has argued that to testify would be prejudicial if
inquiries by Federal and state prosecutors result in criminal
proceedings against Mr. Bergman. A Federal grand jury is known to
be looking into his affairs. And a state grand jury, assisted by
Special State Prosecutor Charles J. Hynes, has also been
impaneled to study alleged improprieties in the state's nursing
homes. This is not the first time Mr. Bergman has been prominent
in such inquiries. At a state hearing on nursing homes last week,
Civil Court Judge Louis I. Kaplan, who in 1960 issued a report on
city nursing-home abuses, testified that Mr. Bergman was then,
too, the major figure in the industry under investigation. He
said he presented evidence of criminal fraud in the industry to
former Mayor Wagner. No prosecutions followed and Mr. Wagner says
he doesn't recall what happened to the so-called Kaplan report.
The first indictments in the investigations of the industry have
been handed up. The owner of a Smithtown, L.I., nursing home and
an accountant were accused of swindling Medicaid out of more than
$500,000 by charging personal and improper business expenses to
the program. In Connecticut, which is also investigating its
nursing homes, a state official said at General Assembly hearings
that top state officials had financial interests in nursing homes
and used their influence to get favorable treatment for them".

It appears that the entire issue of Rabbi Dr. Issachar Dov
Bernard Bergman, and the nursing homes in New-York were a big issue
in the United States back then, and the New-York times spent much
work on getting articles about it written. Bergman was a main
figure in the Orthodox religious community in the States,as well as
President of the United States branch of the "Mizrachi" movement.
He was closely connected to the Israeli religious nationalist party
(known as the "Mafdal"), which was directly linked to the
"Mizrachi" movement.

In the early seventies the New-York Times began their investigation
into the issue of Bergman's nursing homes. They reported that the
Federal Government would grant a specified amount of money for every
elderly person in a nursing home, that Bergman, his relatives and
friends were taking huge amounts of money from these funds while the
elderly people suffered. For those of you who may remember, shortly
afterwards, many other newspapers and other media then joined the
investigation. There were those that called it "The Jewish
Watergate" and others who claimed it was simply anti-semitic
journalism. It is a pity that there were those in the Israeli
government who agreed with the latter statement. As reported by
The New-York Times:

"TEL AVIV, Dec. 29-Interior Minister Yosef Burg
dismissed today as irrelevant a request by
Representative Edward I. Koch, Democrat of New
York, that Israel refuse citizenship to Bernard
Bergman pending the outcome of a United States
Senate hearing next month on nursing homes. Mr.
Bergman is among 35 persons affiliated with
nursing homes in New York State for whom subpoenas
have been issued by Senator Frank E. Moss,
Democrat of Utah and chairman of a subcommittee of
the Senate Special Committee on Aging.

The Senate group, which issued the writes Dec. 20,
announced at that time that it was joining the
investigation of alleged large-scale fraud among
New York nursing homes that is being conducted by
the State Temporary Commission on Living Costs.
The Israeli Minister, who represents the National
Religious party in the Cabinet here, has affiliation
with Mr. Bergman through the party's parent
organization, the Orthodox world Mizrachi movement.
Mr. Bergman is the dominant figure in the Mizrachi
Religious Zionists of America. But this affiliation,
Dr. Burg emphasized, is very loose, "The Israeli
movement is absolutely independent," he said.

Mr. Bergman and his wife arrived in Jerusalem at
the end of last month, apparently after learning
that he was about to be subpoenaed to testify
about fraud involving Medicaid funds. The
Bergmans, who entered Israel as tourists, have no
resident status here, though they own a luxury
apartment in Jerusalem. They left Jerusalem in
the middle of this month and are reported to be
living with relatives in Vienna. A Bergman
relative there has said that the couple would be
back in New York, before January 7.

The press here has reported that the couple left
after having been cautioned that they would not be
protected from extradition, should the United
States request it. Dr. Burg, reached in Jerusalem
by phone, said of the request by Representative
Koch that he would make a statement in Parliament
in response to a similar request, submitted in the
form of a parliamentary question, by Shulamit Aloni.

Mrs. Aloni is a member of the opposition Civil
Rights Movement. But the question of Mr. Bergman's
citizenship, Dr. Burg said, does not arise at this
time. "No request whatsoever about this case has
come to me," he said. Mr. Koch had cabled Dr. Burg
from Washington on Friday to urge that Mr. Bergman
"not be permitted to exercise the right of return"
pending the outcome of the Senate committee inquiry.

Under Israel's Law of Return, a Jew can claim
citizenship and a right to live here. Mr. Bergman,
an ordained but non practicing rabbi, holds the
prestigious title of member of the presidium of
the World Mizrahi Movement. He was elected in
January, 1973, together with Tibor Rosenbaum, who
is involved in a multimillion- dollar banking
scandal in Europe, and Rabbi Avigdor Zipperstein
of Jerusalem. Rabbi Zipperstein resigned a few
months ago. Mr. Bergman and Dr. Rosenbaum had
been sponsored in the election by the Minister of
Religious Affairs, Yitzhak Raphael, a controversial
figure in Israel.

Mrs. Aloni said in an interview today that she had
submitted her parliamentary question about Mr.
Bergman to draw attention to her charges of
corruption in the National Religious party.
Support for Representative Koch's plea came today
from the newspaper Ma`ariv in an editorial.
'If Rabbi Bergman is innocent, if his actions as
director of a chain of old-age homes in New York
were without blemish, if he can disprove the
charges against him, let him do so before the
competent authorities,' the paper said.
'If he wishes, he can then come to settle in Israel
and will be welcomed like any Jew who decides to
come to Israel.'".
(End of quote from The NY Times.)

At one point, there was a public hearing in New York. In this
hearing, workers from Bergman's nursing homes testified about
elderly people dying of hunger, of ill ones dying of thirst, of
tired elderly people lying in their own vomit without receiving
any sort of medical care, and many others who suffered cuts and
injuries that were neglected and uncared for.

"I looked at my father, and saw he was about to die",

one witness told the committee formed to investigate the matter.
She quickly took her father to the hospital, where he died of
dehydration and infection. His entire body was covered with
bruises. A qualified nurse told the investigators how the
authorities twisted and changed her findings, after she reported
to the city health authorities about the horrifying conditions in
the home, as reported in Ha`aretz, on the 5th of September, 1997.

Ha`aretz also reported that the testimonies of the workers and
the relatives often sounded in the committee like "terrible scenes
from a sadistic horror film".

It was then discovered that Bergman's nursing homes received 1.2
million dollars from "Medicaid" for treatment of people who never
existed. It was even said, back then, that elderly people with no
family who passed away in the homes were secretly kept for long
periods of time in refrigeration, unburied, while Bergman
continued to receive money for their care.

Some of the newspapers even alleged that Bergman's homes served as a cover for the
Mafia's financial activities and when they continued to
investigate, they discovered the crimes Bergman's father committed
when he smuggled heroin inside Jewish Holy Books.

One day, in a mail office in France, a few Talmud books were accidentally
dropped from one of the mail bags, and a stream of heroin poured
out. Bergman used this incident to beg that he not be accused for
his father's crimes, cried, and made comparisons between himself
and the holy men of Judaism, but at the end was found guilty by a
jury, Ha`aretz reported.

The best way to sum up most of Bergman's life is to quote part
of a news article from the New York Times, titled "Many Roads
Lead to Bergman", by Lee Dembart:

"...In his public posture, Mr. Bergman combined a
talent for fund-raising, a friendship with
politicians and a zest for self-promotion to make
himself a respected leader in Orthodox Jewish
circles. In his business posture, Mr. Bergman used
many of those same contacts to help him turn a
$25,000 inheritance into a net worth he has
certified at $24-million, though he insists he
owns but two nursing homes...".

To back up the claims, the article also mentions that

"In 1960, the City Investigation Commissioner,
Louis I. Kaplan, linked him to a total of 18
homes, and he was estimated to be worth
$10-million", and later on in the article "When
Medicaid started in the mid-1960s, the bonanza
began. By 1973, Mr. Bergman's accountant, Samuel
Dachowitz, certified to a bank that Mr. Bergman
was worth $24-million".

The irony is that Rabbi Bergman used his "friendship with
politicians" to ensure for himself wonderful living conditions
when he was imprisoned. The one who was not imprisoned was the
person that Rabbi Avidor Ha`Cohen met, with the adopted Yemenite
child, an ultra-Orthodox Jew, Rabbi Tuch, who was also found to
be involved in bringing Jewish children from Israel to the United
States. It was a well-known fact within the Jewish community in
the United States that if a family wanted a child they could go
to either Bergman or Tuch and simply pay the necessary fee.

The nursing home Mafia Consisted of The Bergman, Weiss-Spinka Rebbe, Braunstein and Teitelbaum-Kirhauser Rebbe families.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 11:23 AM | 28 comments

Wednesday, November 16, 2005
A Bigger Bastard Than I Thought

I am dedicating this post to my dear reader, Ron.

By Yigal Mashiach

As controversy rages over the fate of the Yemenite babies who went missing in the 1950s, Yigal Mashiach asks why the investigating committee has ignored the startling case of Rabbi Bernard Bergman.

In the early 1970s, as Watergate wound down, America warmed up to its next monstrous scandal. Bernard Bergman, a "prominent" figure in the Orthodox community, was investigated, tried and convicted for swindling the government in a fraud involving a series of nursing homes he owned. Bergman was pocketing millions of dollars in Medicare checks, leaving residents of the homes to suffer from inadequate medical and nursing care. Witnesses told the court about patients who had died from starvation, dehydration and infected bedsores.

It seems that Rabbi Bergman's crimes may not have ended there. He may have been a key culprit in the scandal that continues to consume Israel: the fate of Yemenite children who were separated from their parents in the early years of the state.

Shimshon Giat, head of the Organization of Yemenite Jews in America, has some personal knowledge of the subject. He says that while visiting Israel a couple of years ago, he was approached by Yossi Yossipov, a lawyer who serves as chief investigator for the state committee appointed to look into the issue of the missing children. Yossipov asked Giat for his help; he had received some unverified information claiming that at one time Bernard Bergman had "imported" Yemenite children from Israel. Yossipov heard that the children had been sold to adoptive parents.

"Yossipov suspected that while wiretapping Bergman during the nursing home investigation, investigators might have come across material relating to his involvement in bringing Yemenite children to the U.S.," Giat recounts. "He implored me to use my connections to find out who headed the Bergman investigation 20 years ago, and arrange a meeting with him."

Giat willingly acceded to the request. Upon his return to the United States, he discovered that the investigator on the Bergman case was now a district attorney in New York City. Giat spoke with the man, who agreed to meet Yossipov to discuss the findings of the investigation., Giat called Yossipov in Israel to schedule a meeting, but Yossipov responded that he would not be able to visit the U.S., offering no further explanation. "That first refusal was peculiar," says Giat. "If the material in the hands of the D.A. could shed some light on the suspicion that Bergman did in fact bring children to the United States, how could the investigator not immediately jump on a plane to get a look at the material? Even if it turns out there is no worthwhile evidence, the chance is certainly worth the investment.", I asked Giat if he knew how Yossipov first heard of Bergman's possible involvement.

"Apparently there was a rabbi named Avigdor," he said.

Giat was wrong. The rabbi who tipped off Yossipov was not Avigdor. It was Shmuel Avidor Hacohen, who had a huge flock of avid fans in the 1980s, thanks to his televised Friday evening talks on the weekly portion of the Torah. Avidor Hacohen, who was the rabbi of Kfar Shmaryahu, confirms that he mentioned Bernard Bergman's name in a conversation with Yossipov about 18 months ago. He told Yossipov that during a visit to the United States over 30 years ago, he had heard people in the Orthodox community openly talking about how Rabbi Bergman was responsible for bringing Yemenite children to America. After checking his passport, Rabbi Avidor Cohen was able to pinpoint the year: it was 1963.

Even then, as editor of the religious magazine Face to Face, Avidor Hacohen was already a well-known figure. Dining in a New York restaurant, he was introduced to an ultra-Orthodox Jew named Tatz. Tatz was with his daughter, who had strong Yemenite facial features. This took place long before any accusations had been raised about the disappearance of hundreds of children, and Avidor Hacohen innocently inquired about the very visible difference between father and daughter. The girl was adopted, he was told; she was a Yemenite who had been brought from Israel. He was also told that there was a macher who could set people up with children. The name Bernard Bergman was mentioned. Avidor Hacohen found out that Tatz himself was also involved in bringing over Yemenite children from Israel.

"This information was completely out in the open," Hacohen says. "We talked about it candidly, in meetings at homes and synagogues. They did not see it as anything awful. Quite the contrary. They regarded the adoptions as humanitarian deeds.

There were families who couldn't have children of their own, so they would go to Bergman and he would set it up."

It sounds quite sensational, I comment. Rabbi Avidor Hacohen laughs. "They didn't make a big deal out of it. It wasn't a secret. Back then I didn't think about children being stolen. What did amaze me was that Israeli children were being allowed to emigrate to America. They replied that it was a matter of saving lives. Anyone looking for a child to adopt went to Bergman or to Tatz."

But was the community blind to the fact that Bergman was a con-man?

"Bergman acted like he was a king," Hacohen says. He had a chauffeur with a cap who would open the door for him. They knew he wasn't lily white. It is strange, but among the haredim, I learned a long time ago, nothing is considered strange. They accepted him. They did not reject him until he went to jail."

When he arrived back in Israel in 1963, Avidor Hacohen tried to interest his journalist friends in the story. For whatever reason, the newspaper correspondents were not biting. Finally he approached his friend Shalom Cohen, who immediately recognized the importance of the subject and published an article in Olam Ha-zeh ("This World"), a muckraking journal that has since ceased publication. The article caused a great sensation, but the writer had not published any names of the concerned parties, and did not back up his sensationalist allegations with any documentation.

Last January, Yossipov, the state committee's investigator, called Shimshon Giat in New York and once again asked him to set up an appointment with the District Attorney who had been in charge of the Bergman investigation back in the 1970s. Once again the D.A. expressed his willingness to share what he knew. He promised Giat that not only would he show Yossipov all the material from the investigation, but he would also summon the other members of the investigation team to the same meeting.

The meeting was set for 11:00 A.M. in the D.A.'s office. Yossipov had flown to New York together with his wife. After a few days in the city, Giat relates, Yossipov canceled the meeting with the D.A., once again without providing any reason. "Yossipov knew that the D.A. was prepared to lend as much help to the investigation as he could," stresses Giat. "I invited Yossipov and his wife for dinner at my home. I thought he might tell me his reasons for canceling the meeting. Yossipov didn't breathe a word about it. If Bergman and his associates were indeed responsible for bringing in Yemenite children for adoption, then the state investigation had blown a prime opportunity to get its hands on some solid evidence."

Giat's information regarding the canceled appointment was confirmed by the office of the District Attorney in New York.

"All I was trying to find out was whether there was material or not," counters Yossipov. "Bergman was being followed for several years, and when you wiretap a phone you also pick up other things."

But if there was a chance to expose Bergman's involvement in the case, why did Yossipov cancel the first meeting?

"I didn't initiate the first meeting," he says. "I didn't even ask him (Giat) to arrange it. It was a spontaneous act on his part, not long after the committee began its work." But Yossipov admits that "the second time, I was the one who asked for it."

So what happened? Why was the meeting called off?

"I didn't call it off," Yossipov insists. "I told him that given the circumstances, the meeting could not take place. It was a week or ten days before the meeting."

While Giat maintains that Yossipov canceled immediately prior to the planned meeting, Yossipov sticks with his story: "It was at least a week beforehand. It was during a private visit I made. I asked Giat to apologize for me ten times over."

Yossipov maintains that he was in New York vacationing with his wife, and suddenly had second thoughts about pursuing business while he was there. "Why not let the Israeli police handle it?" he asks. "They have a representative in New York."

Asked if any application had been made to the Israel Police representative to look into the matter, Yossipov replied: "I was told that there was. I don't know what the result was."

Pressed as to how the committee investigator could not be aware of the results of his own investigation, Yossipov shrugs.

"I don't know," says the chief investigator.

This is the family of the Spinka gangsters.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 6:01 PM | 27 comments

Tuesday, November 15, 2005
The Fraud at Beth Din & Their Bias Against Women

By Craig Horowitz
New York Magazine

Chayie Sieger accused her husband of adultery and battery. Then, after a rabbinical court ruled against her, she accused the rabbis of taking bribes. Is she unstable, as her opponents allege? Or is something rotten in Borough Park?

Chayie Sieger never intended to become a rebel. In fact, for most of her life she was the ultimate conformist, someone who followed the rules and didn't make waves. She was the last person anyone who knew her could imagine doing something to rock the world of ultra-Orthodox Judaism. But that is exactly what she has done.

Sieger, 50, is a pleasant, soft-spoken Hasidic woman who has lived her entire life within a six-block area of Borough Park. She wears a brown wig, dresses in stylish but modest clothing, and dutifully observes all the laws and customs of her religion. She never questions the role of women in the Bobover Hasidic sect, and will even happily argue on behalf of such anachronistic practices as arranged marriage.

For seven and a half years, however, Sieger has been locked in a divorce battle so ugly, so mean-spirited, and so entangled in Jewish law and observance that it has achieved the status of urban legend in Orthodox communities from New York to Jerusalem. She's an accidental activist, who made a decision to fight only when she believed she had no other choice.

Sieger's close-quarter domestic skirmishing has escalated into a legal war that raises disturbing questions about the rights of Orthodox women, the integrity of the rabbinic courts, known as the betei din, and the ethics of a number of ultra-Orthodox rabbis, who stand accused by Sieger of taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to issue her husband the religious divorce ruling he wanted.

It has also raised some questions about New York's civil courts, where her case has crawled through the system, its progress stymied by dozens of motions, appeals, judicial turnover, and endless continuances—a Hasidic version of Jarndyce v. Jarndyce.

Her children don't speak to her. She's a pariah in her community, with many of her former friends agreeing with a lawyer representing the rabbis that she's "the Tawana Brawley of the Orthodox community." And her husband, though still not legally divorced from Sieger, married another woman in a religious ceremony in Florida.

For years, Sieger lived what seemed to be a typical existence in Brooklyn's community of 50,000 Bobover Hasids. Daily life centered on the family and Jewish ritual. She took care of her two children, kept the house strictly kosher, prepared for the Sabbath every week, and once a month attended the mikvah—the ritual baths where a married woman purifies herself for sexual relations after her menstrual period. When she was supposed to cook, she cooked. When she was supposed to go to shul, she went.

The social schedule revolved around ritual. Someone was always celebrating a milestone: a birth, a bar mitzvah, a wedding. And the rest of the calendar was filled with religious festivals. The only thing that made Sieger a little unusual in her world was her profession. She is a contemporary businesswoman who learned the ins and outs of the nursing-home industry from her father and now operates a successful facility of her own.

But Sieger had a secret—she was trapped in a woefully unhappy marriage, suffering silently with someone she says is an unfaithful, quick-tempered, physically abusive husband. A man of obviously large appetites, Chaim Sieger weighed 325 pounds at one point (he's five foot eleven) and gambled incessantly in the stock market and at the craps tables in Atlantic City—a high-roller Hasid with a comped penthouse suite. His manic gambling was so out of control, she says, that he bankrupted them several times, forcing her—in the early eighties when her son was 11 and her daughter 9—to have to earn some money. This was when she started working for her father.

In the late eighties, she discovered that her husband owned two Upper East Side co-ops. Chaim told her he'd bought them as an investment. Chayie Sieger claims she eventually found out he used the apartments for sexual trysts: his own and those of his fellow Hasids, whom he sometimes videotaped in action. During the last six months before she left him, Chayie tapped the house phones, and she has audiotapes of his phone conversations discussing the escapades.

On one tape, Sieger can be heard playfully telling a woman—whom Chayie Sieger claims was his girlfriend at the time—how much he misses her and desperately wants to see her. He tells the woman, who apparently worked in a hotel, that he wishes he could come and see her and they could go use one of the empty rooms. Or that she could come see him, but his wife could be home at any time.

On another tape, he can be heard excitedly pushing someone to have sex with a certain woman. When the man says no, Sieger says, "What, you don't think she's attractive? C'mon, tell her to get undressed. Do it, and turn on the video."

Chayie Sieger stuck it out, she says, because she plays by the rules. Among Hasids, divorce is taboo. A breakup of a marriage would have a negative impact on the ability of the couple's children to marry well. As children of divorced parents, they would be viewed as damaged goods, far less desirable as potential partners. So she waited. But her plan was clear. As soon as the kids were married and settled, she would be gone.

Finally, on a Monday in December 1995, she moved into her father's house several doors away. Sieger knew that leaving her husband after 24 years of marriage was going to be difficult. She just had no idea how difficult. What Sieger hadn't factored in was the severity of the Bobov response. First came the shock-and-awe campaign. The day she left was the day her son and daughter stopped talking to her. She maintains that her relationship with them had always been very close. She blames their abandonment on intense pressure from their father and members of the community. "In the last 25 years, I'm only the fourth woman in Bobov to leave her husband," Sieger says. "And in each case, the woman lost her children. My children essentially went from A to Z in one day, and that's not normal. I didn't see it before, but I think that Bobov is a cult and my children need to be deprogrammed."

Along with her kids, Sieger has lost essentially everything that was important to her. She hasn't seen her grandchildren in nearly eight years (those born after 1995 she's never seen). Lifelong friends cut her off. People she has known since childhood cross the street to avoid her. Invitations to the social events that are central to life in Borough Park stopped coming. "The reaction was so gender-biased," she says. "No friends stuck by me. All of our friends became his friends."

Sieger has become an outcast in her own world. "When everything goes smoothly, there is no better place to be than in an ultra-Orthodox marriage and an ultra-Orthodox community," says novelist Naomi Ragen, an American who lives in Jerusalem and who has written three books about Orthodox women. "But when it goes bad, everyone is against the woman. No matter what goes wrong in the marriage, it is the woman who gets ganged up on and ostracized. There is no justice whatsoever."

But perhaps the most bizarre reaction was her husband's. At first, Chaim attempted to apply pressure to get her to reconsider ("He told me, `I'll give you the kids back in a minute if you come back to me,' " she says). At the same time, he employed a charm offensive. He called, he sent flowers, and whenever she agreed to talk to him, he swore that he was a changed man.

Though she was the one who walked out, according to Jewish law only the husband can grant a divorce. As a result, there is a long-standing problem in the Orthodox world with women whose marriages end but whose husbands won't give them a get, a Jewish divorce. Without a get, these women remain essentially chained to nonexistent marriages, unable to remarry an Orthodox man, while their husbands can go on and get rabbinic permission to remarry. These women are known in Hebrew as agunah, literally "chained woman."

But once Chaim Sieger realized Chayie was serious, he also had a problem. A divorce would mean they'd have to divide their assets, and this was not an attractive proposition. According to a tenet of Jewish divorce law, any assets brought to the marriage by one party leave with that person if the marriage breaks up. Anything not acquired together during the marriage is not community property. The law is the same in New York civil court as well. And in this case, the lion's share of the Siegers' substantial assets was brought to the marriage by Chayie.

Her father, a native of Poland who did time in a labor camp in Siberia during the war, managed to escape to America and in the fifties went into the nursing-home business, eventually acquiring more than seven facilities, which are now controlled by a family trust.

The bottom line for Chaim was that his wife was not likely to be in a giving mood when settlement time came. She'd already made it clear to Chaim that she was not about to let him keep the two nursing homes the family had put in his name when it was advantageous from a business standpoint to do so.

Legally, he knew he didn't have much leverage. He discussed his situation with Rabbi Jacob Meisels, a lifelong friend and yeshiva classmate, who, Chayie Sieger says, became her husband's guide through the sometimes confusing maze of Jewish law. Reconciliation was tried first. She had one marriage-counseling session, without her husband, with Rabbi Solomon Herbst.

At the same time, Chayie says, Herbst was trying to get her to sign an arbitration agreement. When both of these things failed, Chaim Sieger found another avenue to pursue—an obscure, rarely used 1,000-year-old procedure known in Hebrew as a Heter Meah Rabanim, or Decree of 100 Rabbis.

Basically, the Heter was devised to enable a husband whose wife was somehow not able or not willing ("recalcitrant") to participate in the process to obtain a divorce and remarry. According to experts on Jewish law, it was intended for use in extraordinary cases in which the wife had run away or been institutionalized or somehow incapacitated. Because it is such an extreme measure, the document requires the signatures of 100 rabbis in three different countries.

Though none of these conditions appears to have existed in the Siegers' marital dispute—and there is great controversy in the Jewish community about whether the decree should be used under any circumstances—Chaim managed to secure a Heter. The document was issued by a bet din (rabbinical court) that operates under the aegis of the Union of Orthodox Rabbis, a small, right-wing organization that has achieved some notoriety for its strident, outrageous public statements about non-Orthodox Jews. But why would the court issue this document? Why would 100 rabbis sign off on it?

The most serious charge in the 27-page English translation of the Heter is that Chayie Sieger was "not fit to live with and have sexual relations with" because she failed to attend the mikvah; more precisely, she would pick fights with her husband to delay or avoid going. Short of calling her a whore, this is the worst thing you can say about an Orthodox woman. "It's ridiculous. If I can't be trusted to go to the mikvah," Sieger says, "then the food in my house probably isn't kosher either. It's like saying I'm not even Orthodox."

The Heter also charges that she was unable to care for her children because she was more interested in her career ("even though Mr. Sieger supported her with dignity"), and that she filled her house with "quarrels and embarrassment," turning it into "an insane asylum." According to the Heter, she did this by waking her husband up in the middle of the night, turning the radio on really loud, and pouring water on him while he slept.

Sieger believes that the rabbis who run this court were bribed by her husband to issue the Heter. She filed a $13 million civil suit in 1998 charging them with accepting bribes that ranged from $50,000 to as much as $215,000. She also charged them with defaming her and essentially ruining her life by leaking information contained in the Heter in Borough Park.

"All my life I've trusted rabbis, believed in them," says Sieger. "So why wouldn't people believe what's been said about me? After all, if the rabbis are saying these things, then they must be true."

Sieger believes her husband paid the rabbis to issue the Heter and its damaging accusations so he could use the document to blackmail her into giving him what he wants in the divorce settlement. In other words, he would tell her the Heter existed, then offer to have it torn up if she accepted a get on his terms. However, she chose to fight rather than give in. "Look," she says, "husbands are entitled to be greedy, vindictive, angry, or whatever. But they shouldn't have rabbis to help them act on those impulses."

For their part, Rabbis Aryeh Ralbag, Haim Kraus, Hersh Meir Ginsberg, Elimelech Zalman Lebowitz, and Solomon B. Herbst vehemently deny Sieger's charges. Well-known Washington, D.C., attorney Nathan Lewin, who has litigated many highly charged cases involving Orthodox Judaism, is handling their defense with a bare-knuckles bravado that seems to indicate a personal passion for the case. (Herbst is represented by Louis Tratner.)

"She's managed to mislead and bamboozle everybody with her stories," says Lewin, a compact man with white hair and a trim white beard, whose fees for defending the rabbis are being paid, in large part, by Chaim Sieger.

Chayie Sieger's response is succinct:

"Nat Lewin would represent a monkey, as long as it's male and has a beard."

It is clear from the legal briefs, the various motions, and the mountain of deposition transcripts that the defense position is that Chayie Sieger is making everything up. But if she is indeed lying about everything, what about the police report from the 66th Precinct that was filed when she'd gone in after she says Chaim had beaten her?

"I don't believe Chaim Sieger beat her up," says Lewin, an observant Jew who says he knows of cases where women inflict wounds on themselves. "I have seen other instances when women make false claims about what their husbands do."

While Chayie Sieger's original sin in the eyes of the Bobov community was walking out on her husband, her second, perhaps even more serious transgression was to seek relief in the secular courts.

To understand how serious an offense this is considered in Hasidic communities, you only have to know that a poster popped up all over Borough Park that said, in Hebrew, IT IS A COMMANDMENT TO KILL A MOSER (an informer, someone who tells stories outside the community). "Rabbi Daniel Frommel took me to his synagogue in Brooklyn and showed me the poster," Sieger says. "He told me I was the target for going outside the rabbinic courts." Ironically, Sieger herself agrees that Orthodox Jews should not use the secular courts. "I never would have gone outside if there had been another choice. But I was desperate, and I knew there was no chance I was going to get justice any other way."

Chayie Sieger was not quite 18 when a family friend suggested to her parents that she meet a young yeshiva student named Chaim. Perhaps, if the unofficial matchmaker was right, they would like one another. In Borough Park, where Hasidic Jews do things the same way they did them hundreds of years ago in Eastern Europe, this was the first step in arranging a marriage.

As it turned out, Sieger was quite taken with her "blind date," whom she remembers even then, when he was barely 20, as a very charming smooth talker. And so, on their third heavily chaperoned meeting at her house, they had a l'chaim: a toast to the couple's engagement. It was June, and the following March, filled with hope and expectation, the two young Hasids were married. The year was 1972. Twelve months later, they had a son, and two years after that a daughter.

But very early on in their life together, there were signs of trouble. Nine months after the wedding, when Sieger was six months pregnant, she says, a woman who worked with her husband called and said she had had an affair with him. The woman claimed she was calling because she felt guilty and because she thought it was a terrible way for a supposedly pious man to behave.

When Sieger confronted her husband with this information, she says, he didn't even flinch. He said the woman was angry because she hadn't gotten a weekly paycheck she believed she deserved and this was her way to get even. "I made excuses from the very beginning," Chayie Sieger says. "I heard what I wanted to hear and believed what I wanted to believe. It took a long time, but eventually I realized there's no fixing this guy."

Still, Sieger says, she suffered quietly, never telling anyone what was going on. Even when she finally left and her son and daughter turned on her, she would not let them hear the details of their father's secret life on the audiotapes. The only people who knew the truth, she says, were her father, her brother, and Solomon Halberstam, the Bobov grand rebbe.

In June 1996, six months after she had moved out, Sieger went to the Bobover rebbe's daughter and requested a meeting with her father. She hoped that if she told Halberstam her story, he would help her get through the difficulties in the best way possible.

And so, on a beautiful Sunday afternoon she went to a house at the corner of 48th Street and Fifteenth Avenue. The building contains both the synagogue and the rebbe's home. They sat down at the dining-room table in his modestly furnished second-floor apartment.

She asked the rebbe, who was dressed in the traditional chalat, the black silk belted robe, to talk to her husband and help her secure a get. The rebbe asked her what the problems were in her marriage and told her to speak candidly.

"I talked to him about Chaim's bizarre behavior," she says, "and explained that for a long time I thought I could change him. But after years of trying, I finally realized I couldn't. He was very sympathetic and very disappointed in Chaim. `How could I not have known?' he asked. I was surprised by how warm he was on a personal basis with a woman."

The rebbe told Chaim he should give her a get, and his daughter told Chayie she should go to see Rabbi Herbst for counseling. "In the meantime," she says, "Chaim was telling everyone nothing happened. We just had a little fight and it'll all be fine."

In the rabbinic tribunal system as it's currently practiced in America, there is no central authority—no oversight, nor any avenue for appeal. And simply refusing to show up if someone starts a proceeding is not as easy as it sounds. "If you and I have a dispute, it is very difficult for you to refuse to come to court," says Rabbi Moshe Dovid Tendler, professor of Talmudic law at an affiliate of Yeshiva University.

"Essentially, I have you over a barrel. If you don't come, there can be rabbinic sanctions. For example, you can be prohibited from being called up to the Torah. And there are social sanctions as well. You'll stop receiving invitations."

If you refuse to go to court, other ultra-Orthodox people may even stop doing business with you. They will assume you can't be trusted, and if there is a disagreement of some kind, they'll have no recourse because you won't appear in court.

In this case, Chaim Sieger went to a rabbinic court run by the Union of Orthodox Rabbis and asked them to preside over his divorce. They agreed to take the case and sent Chayie a hazmannah, which is something between a summons and an invitation to appear.

Sieger says she was told by a knowledgeable rabbi that she would not get a fair hearing from this court. He told her to instead opt for a zabla, which is, in essence, going to arbitration. She picks a representative, the other side also picks a representative, and then the two of them pick an arbitrator to hear the case. She then notified the court of her intent to seek a zabla.

Beyond this point, however, events become impossibly murky. The rabbis' side argues that Chayie Sieger never followed through on the zabla request and that she didn't respond to the next two hazmannahs they sent. Jewish law states that if the notices are ignored, the court can then act without the participation of the delinquent party.

Chayie Sieger says that she was never given proper notification of the proceeding or sufficient time to respond.

Lewin has argued in court that Sieger's lawsuit against the rabbis should be thrown out because it violates the separation of church and state. "This whole debate is over something that only matters to religious people," he says.

"I don't care whether Mrs. Sieger wanted these rabbis to decide this matter or not. And whether she agreed to participate or not is irrelevant. The whole notion that these rabbis are three thugs off the streets who've come in and taken somebody who hasn't voluntarily gone to a rabbinic court is ludicrous."

When there have been problems with the rabbinic courts, the primary corrupting influence has been money. Some of the courts have suspect reputations, and one widely respected expert in the Jewish world told me off the record that the court in the Sieger case has "a reputation for having its hand out."

"A rabbinic court that charges money for its services is really an oxymoron," says Tendler, who talked to Chayie Sieger five years ago about getting involved in her case but ultimately did not because of time constraints. "It is actually against Jewish law for these rabbis to charge anything for their services, and yet it's gotten very expensive. They sometimes charge as much as lawyers now."

In the past, when Jews lived an insular existence and had their own institutions, these rabbinic courts received salaries that were paid by the community. There was also, as there is in Israel today, a higher authority to deal with controversial or disputed decisions. But while America is a secular state, Israel is a Jewish state, with a chief rabbi and government oversight of religious institutions.

In the case of the Union of Orthodox Rabbis, the court that produced the Heter for Chaim Sieger, there are two questions at the heart of the case: Were they bribed by Chaim Sieger to produce the result he wanted, and even if they weren't, did they act properly and responsibly in accordance with Jewish law in issuing the Heter Meah Rabanim?

"A rabbinic court that knows its business would never have gotten involved in this," says Tendler, "until a civil court had acted in their divorce case. This court did not follow protocol. They jumped the gun."

Tendler says that in any marital dispute where there are complicated issues to be resolved, like a disagreement over assets, a Heter is unacceptable. "The Heter is a very extreme step that shouldn't even be considered until years and years have passed without a resolution."

Then there is the peculiar matter of the 100 signatures. Rabbi Ralbag testified that he threw them away because there was no reason to keep them. He also said he could not remember the name of a single rabbi who signed the document other than his fellow court judges.

"A Heter is so rare," Tendler says, "that any rabbi who is involved in one and does get 100 signatures would probably frame them and hang them in his living room."

During his deposition, Chaim Sieger said he never bribed any of the rabbis and paid only a relatively modest fee of $5,000 for their services. But circumstantial evidence suggests otherwise. Near the end of January 1998, about seven weeks after the Heter was issued, Chaim Sieger withdrew $945,000 from an account at Chase Manhattan Bank in cash, cashier's checks, and money orders.

When questioned about this by Chayie's lawyer, he said he couldn't remember what he did with the money. Perhaps, he blithely said, he was making interest-free loans to friends. There are, however, no records to support this.

That very same week, Rabbi Ralbag, who testified in his deposition that his annual salary is around $35,000, suddenly came into $40,000. He then invested that money in stock in an Independence Savings Bank initial public offering.

Ralbag at first offered no explanation for where the $40,000 came from. Ultimately, he said it was a gift from his parents. So far, however, he has not submitted his parents' bank statements or a gift-tax filing. The same day that Ralbag deposited his sudden windfall, Rabbi Ginsberg, whose stated salary is $11,000 a year, deposited $50,000 into an account at Independence. He has so far offered no explanation for the source of his money.

Chayie has charged that her husband transferred $500,000 to an account belonging to Rabbi Meisels. Meisels, who is not named in the lawsuit, kept $215,000 for himself and then distributed the rest, in several cases through an intermediary, to the rabbis who took care of the Heter. Chayie Sieger has copies of bank statements, canceled checks, and money transfers to back up her claims.

Rabbi Herbst, who did not sit on the rabbinic court but served as a marriage counselor to the Siegers and, when that wasn't working, introduced Chaim Sieger to Rabbi Ralbag as someone who knew about Heters, also had enormous good fortune that same fateful week as Ralbag and Ginsberg. Herbst also invested $50,000 in Independence stock.

Herbst, who testified that he makes about $25,000 a year, submitted bank records in the name of Congregation Kehal Premishlan, Inc., which he said was "his congregation," dating from 1992 to 1993. He also submitted bankbook photocopies that showed a balance hovering around $20,000 over a four-year period. Not exactly sufficient funds for his investments. Particularly given that it appears he made a second purchase of Independence stock, also in January, this time totaling $215,000.

In addition to the financial "coincidences," there was the sworn testimony of a man named Frederick Frankel who said he went to Rabbi Ralbag to discuss getting a Heter and that Ralbag told him it would cost $100,000. "He [Ralbag] told me he needed a $10,000 deposit to start the process," Frankel said, "and I asked him basically who to make the check out to, and he told me it had to be cash . . . And he said that normally the whole $100,000 is in cash, but at a minimum, 50 percent of it had to be in cash." Frankel never went any further.

In January 2002, New York State Supreme Court judge Martin Schoenfeld, ruling on Nathan Lewin's motion to have the case dismissed, found that there was more than enough evidence to take the bribery case to trial. Despite the weight of the circumstantial evidence, the defense argues that all of this adds up to nothing more than coincidence. Lewin says the Independence IPO was a very hot topic in Brooklyn's Orthodox neighborhoods and that "everyone in Borough Park was investing in it."

A large part of the defense strategy has been to depict Chayie Sieger as an unstable, manipulative shrew. Abe H. Konstam, Chaim Sieger's divorce lawyer, laughed derisively when I asked about Chayie Sieger. He referred to the "well-documented shenanigans she has perpetrated" and said all his client wants is his freedom. Then he refused to talk to me any further.

His reference to Chaim Sieger's desire to have his freedom was particularly curious. Though the Siegers' divorce case has yet to come to court in New York, Chaim is already remarried. And he has two new babies. Not long after the Heter was issued, Sieger traveled to Florida with his girlfriend and they were married by his friend Rabbi Jacob Meisels. According to copies of American Express bills that were produced during the legal wrangling, the newly married couple threw a party at the Doral in Miami that cost, for catering, flowers, music, and travel expenses, upwards of $200,000.

Why Florida? One possible explanation is the state does not recognize religious marriage ceremonies. Therefore, since Chaim and Chayie Sieger are not divorced, he could still "remarry" this way, without, presumably, being charged with bigamy. Chaim Sieger's lawyer vehemently denies that his client is remarried, though he refuses to comment further. He would not, for example, explain how it is that Sieger is living with a woman and their new babies in the middle of the intractably religious world of Borough Park, if they're not married.

Chayie Sieger's decision to take her husband and the rabbis to court was opposed by virtually everyone. Even her own daughter essentially told her to tough it out. "She said I'd put up with it for 24 years and was still in one piece, so why couldn't I just continue to put up with it?" she says.

Several days after this conversation, her daughter-in-law, a Canadian who now lives in Borough Park, came to visit. She told Sieger that if she didn't reunite with Chaim, she would leave her son and go back to Canada.

"I was shocked," Sieger says. "I told her I'd taken a lot on myself and didn't want to take it on anymore."

As Sieger tells this story about her children on a recent steamy summer morning, her eyes fill with tears. She speaks haltingly, sitting in her meticulously arranged office in the Bronx nursing home she owns.

But just when she seems about to lose it, she regains her composure and the look on her face hardens. "All my life I've played by the rules, and this is the position I end up in," she says. "No family should be destroyed the way mine has been. They have made me a wife without a husband and a mother without children. This is what's pushing me to see this through. I'm going to fight till the end."

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 2:36 PM | 39 comments

Saturday, November 12, 2005
Rabbi Naftoli Herman Neuberger Z"L , The" Light Of Israel" The Charedim Attempted To Extinguish

I will have you read the two eulogies written by the self-appointed spokesmen for Orthodox Jews. Please read them carefully, for what they DO say and for what they DO NOT DARE say.
"My eulogy" and comments will be at the end of their articles.

Rabbi Naftoli Neuberger, zt"l, and Us
by Jonathan Rosenblum
Mishpacha Magazine
November 10, 2005

Rabbi Aharon Kotler once told his friend Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchak Ruderman, Rosh Yeshiva of Ner Israel Rabbinical College, "I only envy you one thing: Rabbi Neuberger." Reb Aharon was referring to Rabbi Naftoli Neuberger, Ner Israel's long-time president.

Reb Aharon's envy is easily understood. Ner Israel's 90-acre campus is the largest in the world, and serves nearly 1,000 students in the high school, beis medrash and kollel. The campus boasts over hundred housing units for the faculty, administrators, and kollel families. There is no parallel anywhere in the world. After a visit to the campus a few years ago, MK Yuval Steinitz told me that it reminded him of a yeshiva kibbutz.

All this was the result of Rabbi Neuberger's breadth of vision.

Running and raising the funds for such a large institution, with an annual budget of nearly $10 million dollars, would have been a full-time job for any man. But Rabbi Neuberger's impact extended far beyond the Ner Israel campus.

Despite his strict, uncompromising religious observance, he was a revered figure among all segments of the Baltimore Jewish community, as the extensive coverage given to his passing by the Baltimore Jewish Times and the presence at his levaya of the top leadership of the Jewish federation attests.

The Orthodox community of Baltimore is more integrated into the general communal framework than that of any major city in the United States. As a consequence, the non-Orthodox community pays greater heed to Orthodox concerns than in other cities. When it was proposed to open a suburban Jewish Community Center on Shabbos, for instance, one of the most prominent local Reform leaders wrote an impassioned letter against doing so, and the proposal was defeated. Much of the credit for this goes to Rabbi Neuberger's insistence on maintaining ties with the communal leadership, even as that leadership understood that he could not and would not ever compromise on halachah.

Nearly every person interviewed by the Baltimore Jewish Times mentioned Rabbi Neuberger's overwhelming love for his fellow Jews – as Howard Tzvi Friedman, the incoming president of AIPAC, put it, "every Jew, any kind of Jew." He never failed to respond to any request for help, and if he heard that a Jew was in danger anywhere in the world, he would move heaven and earth to help him. That concern for every Jew was the key to his influence with those far removed from his own high standards of observance.

Perhaps his greatest achievement on behalf of world Jewry was the rescue of thousands of Iranian Jews after the fall of the Shah. That rescue required international diplomatic and political connections, and Rabbi Neuberger was the initiator and one of the masterminds of the operation. Over the years, over 800 Iranian students studied at Ner Israel, providing a level of rabbinical scholarship that allowed the Iranian community to reestablish itself in America on a stronger Torah footing than in Iran.

Nor was Rabbi Neuberger's influence confined to the Jewish community. His counsel was sought by local, state and national politicians. Both the mayor of Baltimore and the governor of Maryland attended his levaya. Congressman Benjamin Cardin told the Baltimore Jewish Times, "He is truly one of the great thinkers of our community. . . . He is in a class by himself, the person you go to when you want to talk about political issues."

Senator Barbara Milkuski credited Rabbi Neuberger with having given her the initial push she needed to run for the Senate. She once related at a Ner Israel dinner how she had turned down an invitation to dine with Vice-president Al Gore that night. "I said, "Presidents come and go. I've got to go with Rabbi Neuberger."

Politicians found in his modest office at Ner Israel something they could find nowhere else: disinterested advice and the chance to escape the seemy, calculating political world for the company of a genuinely high-minded person. Two weeks before Rabbi Neuberger's passing, Maryland Governor Robert Erlich visited Rabbi Neuberger, and the latter reminded him that winter was fast approaching and that something must be done for the many poor people who would not be able to afford heating fuel.

That remark was typical of his genuine interest in making the world a better place. Rabbi Neuberger rescued the concept of tikkun olam from the Reformers, who have kidnapped it. Far from serving as an alternative to mitzvah observance, Rabbi Neuberger's public activities proclaimed tikkun olam to be the goal of a life of Torah and mitvos.

The only communal leader of the last fifty years who can be mentioned in the same breath with Rabbi Neuberger is Rabbi Moshe Sherer, zt"l, the president of Agudath Israel of America. The two were bochurim together at Ner Israel, and lifelong friends and partners. They shared an acute understanding of the political process and people, commanded the respect of a vast array of politicians and public officials out of all proportion to the votes they could deliver, and were able to convey an attitude of hating the sin not the sinner to every Jew they met, whether in a public or private context. Among their many major projects together were the Iranian rescue, creation of a national accreditation agency for yeshivos gedolos, which has brought tens of millions of dollars in federal funding into yeshiva coffers, and the preservation of the draft deferment for divinity students.

Contemplating the influence of figures like Rabbi Neuberger and Rabbi Sherer in America, those of us living in Israel cannot help but feel a certain envy. Who can imagine, for instance, a secular Israeli political leader visiting any chareidi leader to discuss issues of general national concern, except in the context of coalition negotiations? Those discussions would quickly get down to horsetrading over how much chareidi support would cost in terms of support for yeshivos. The context is hardly conducive to secular politicians going away with a heightened respect for the Torah.

The blame does not rest on our communal leaders. The structure of Israeli politics and society makes it much more unlikely that a Rabbi Sherer or a Rabbi Neuberger will emerge – e.g., the fact that much of the government financing of chareidi institutions comes only through supplemental budgets that must be renegotiated each year using political threats. In addition, the media consistently downplays the activities of chareidi politicians on matters of common concern, such as those of MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni on environmental issues.

But the fact remains that outside of a handful of geniuses of chesed, such as Rabbi Elimelech Firer and Rabbi Uri Lopoliansky, we have failed to convince our fellow Jews of our love and concern for them. We are widely perceived as concerned solely with maintaining the financial support of our communal institutions. And the truth is that if asked to demonstrate our concern with our fellow Jews many in our community would reply that our learning, and therefore larger budgets for our yeshivos, are the best protection for the entire society. Remarkably, however, that response has failed to convince our fellow Jews that we care about them as people.

Even as we mourn the passing of askanim of Rabbi Neuberger and Rabbi Sherer's international stature, it behooves us to consider how we can ensure that others emerge to replace them.

By Avi Shafran
Agudath Israel

The voice on the phone several years back could have belonged only to one of two people, and I really had no reason to imagine that Henry Kissinger would be calling me. To my greater honor, the caller was Rabbi Naftali (Herman) Neuberger, president of Baltimore's Ner Israel Rabbinical College (where I studied in the early 1970s).

Neuberger passed away at age 87 on Friday night, October 21, shortly after lighting the Sabbath candles.

He shared more with Kissinger than a deep, resonant voice and Teutonic accent. Neuberger was brilliant, a formidable negotiator who had a deep understanding of issues and people. If there were a Jewish equivalent of the Nobel Peace Prize, he would have been a recipient. Several times. Come to think of it, he would have been a contender, too, for the economics prize, considering his transformation of a yeshiva with a few dozen students into a thriving institution with a student body of nearly 1,000 in its high school, post-secondary yeshiva and married-student Kollel — all situated, along with faculty and Kollel housing, on a stunning, sprawling suburban campus that resembles a small, lovely city.

To be sure, the success of Ner Israel Rabbinical College is inextricable from the scholarship and reputation of its founding Rosh Yeshiva, or dean, Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchak Ruderman — Rabbi Neuberger's brother-in-law — and of Ruderman's illustrious successors, Rabbi Yaakov Weinberg and Rabbi Yaakov Kulefsky, all of blessed memory. And Ner Israel continues to thrive under the tutelage of the renowned Rabbi Aharon Feldman, may he enjoy a long and fruitful tenure.

But yeshiva deans are educators and inspirers. Yeshivas need builders, too — visionaries who possess the savvy, and not infrequently chutzpah, to identify potential and know what is needed to realize it. That was Rabbi Neuberger. He took out a personal loan (resulting in nervous, sleepless nights) to begin the process that culminated in Baltimore's famed yeshiva. And he worked tirelessly to convince others to build alongside him.

And it wasn't only Ner Israel that he built. He built bridges among Jews and between the Jewish community and others — which helps explain the presence at his funeral of Maryland's governor and Baltimore's mayor, and the expressions of sorrow at his passing from across the Jewish spectrum as well from such non-Jewish luminaries as Cardinal William H. Keeler, the Catholic Church's top liaison to the American Jewish community, and Senator Barbara Mikulski, a Maryland Democrat. Neuberger worked with and served as adviser to both Keeler and Mikulski. He was known as a political powerhouse, but this wasn't because of money or voting blocs; everyone simply knew he was a selfless leader whose word was as good as gold.

And Neuberger, assisted by the late president of Agudath Israel of America, Rabbi Moshe Sherer, helped build an entire community, too, moving heaven, earth and the U.S. State Department to transplant hundreds of Iranian Jews to these shores (many of whom were enrolled tuition free at Ner Israel). He was also a founder, with Sherer, of AARTS, a network of some 50 post-secondary institutions of higher Jewish learning, and served as its president for many years.

Neuberger was renowned for "being there" for individual members of the community, doing whatever he could (usually quite a bit) to help people with marriage, employment or other issues. He sought no thanks and shunned praise. In keeping with Jewish law, his burial during the week of Sukkot precluded eulogies at the funeral; he would have been pleased.

In my current life as an Agudath Israel spokesperson and media liaison, I had the occasional honor of speaking with him (as I was during that phone call). I also remember well the gracious welcome he gave me and a New York Times reporter I had in tow one spring day in 2000, when we visited Ner Israel.

After lunch and a tour of the campus, we stood outside the main study hall, where several hundred young men in pairs were animatedly arguing points or poring over texts; my guest was clearly intrigued. Neuberger and one of his five sons, Rabbi Sheftel Neuberger, a member of the yeshiva faculty, invited my guest to enter the cavernous, crowded room and engage students in conversation. "Unscripted?" I wondered to myself in public relations horror. Even the reporter hesitated, not wanting to take the students from their studies. But the senior Rabbi Neuberger insisted; he knew the yeshiva he had built.

The reporter went from one pair of students to another; at each stop, the students stood up to welcome the visitor, invited him to sit down with them and happily answered his questions. A good while later he returned, pad filled with notes, eyes with wonder at the "sincerity and idealism" he had encountered. (The resultant article confirmed the positive impact left by his conversations.) Yes, Neuberger knew his yeshiva.

The image that came to mind, though, when I heard of his passing, was one that was more than 30 years old. Walking a path near the building where he had his office, I saw his silhouette on the shade of an adjoining conference room. He was seated, swaying, likely over a volume of the Talmud, doing for whatever time he could manage at the end of a long day what he had enabled thousands of students to do for millions of hours.

May his memory be a blessing.

The True Legacy Of Rabbi Neuberger Z"L, And The Eulogy Of Charedi Judaism


The two above self appointed spokesmen for Orthodox Judaism would have you believe that R' Neuberger's legacy was limited to his askanus, chesed, and political savvy.
He was a man of so many accomplishments and talents, way too voluminous to attempt to delve into on a blog; Iranian Jewry, being certainly one of his greatest.

I am offended as well as all Orthodox Jews with intelligence should be. You can pick up a newspaper any day of the week and find most eulogies to include many of these attributes assigned to many people. Chessed , askanus...any Brooklyn Jew that dies, that's the buzzword at their funeral.Have you not noticed that any behaima in Boro Park, as soon as they die, they become a world famous askan and baal chessed?

The greatest offensive remark these two above guys are guilty of, is associating Neuberger's accomplishments with Moshe Sherer. Moshe Sherer was no Neuberger, what Neuberger forgot Sherer never learned. Sherer needed a podium, a camera, and a soapbox; Neuberger worked for God, and worked his greatest deeds without the spotlight or fanfare.

There was no man, rosh yeshiva or otherwise, that has so positively impacted American Orthodox Jewry in the past forty plus years as Rabbi Herman Neuberger.
I knew Rabbi Neuberger, I ate at his home and he was a guest at ours.
He was a visionary that changed the face of Orthodox American Jewry.
He knew, better than anyone in the world, that for Orthodoxy to survive in America, Yeshiva boys would have to be able to earn a living outside of the Yeshiva.
Yes, he was the number one proponent of a four letter word that ends in "K".

He made it perfectly acceptable and honorable for a Yeshiva boy to go to WORK and support his family.The entire Frum community of Baltimore was built with pride on this principle. He initiated relationships with the major universities, enabling Yeshiva boys to learn by day, and go to college in the evening. The vast majority of his talmidim are frum baalei batim who are bnei Torah and raising generations of frum children. He built a kollel as well for the talmidim that were chinuch or rabbonus bound.

The Fundamentalist Gedolim marginalized and ridiculed him. They called him all kinds of degrading names, including insulting his German heritage and associating him with the Maskilim. My father was at many a meeting where the "Gedolim" referred to Ner Yisroel as a home for the "lost generation" or for the "gur shvacher kinder"(very limited children).

Avi Shafran, a POOR student at Ner Yisroel, mocks in jest R' Neuberger's German accent. He heard it at many a meeting at Agudath Israel. Comparing him to Kissinger, is that the very best you can do? How about comparing him to Samson Rafael Hirsch, the builder of German Jewry with the ability to support their families without becoming shnorrers and welfare cheats? Your condescending and gratuitous remarks reads like something Moshe Sherer would have scripted for you.

Jonathan Rosenblum, how dare you tie in R' Neuberger's accomplishments with a "B" rated actor, Moshe Sherer? How many smiling , political back slapping photos were in Sherer's office? Is that your yardstick of accomplishment, how many millions of dollars one raises or gets from the government? Obviously, you are writing a book about Sherer, a guy you never knew, but are being fed with Agudah and Art Scroll regurgitated propaganda. I also assume, you are getting paid handsomely to participate in the Sherer charade.

I knew Sherer well, too well, he was a "fraud."
Speak to anyone who knew him before he studied politics and acting.
To put him in the same breath with Neuberger is a grievous sin and a lie. Thousands of Iranians were already freed by Rabbi Neuberger's intervention before Moshe Sherer joined the photo op.

The Ner Yisroel campus is a kiddush Hashem. It proves to all of us what can be accomplished with fierce determination, vision and emunah.To have known Rabbi Neuberger was to love him, and people willingly lined up to help him with any and all of his projects.

But his everlasting legacy for Orthodox Judaism is the pride he instilled in his talmidim and all who were in awe of his philosophy of Torah V'Avoda (my words), and would not permit the Moetzes or other moronic Black Hat guys who had NO CLUE what it would take for Judaism to survive in America, to intimidate him or disrupt his vision.

He swam against the Charedi Tsunami, and prevailed. "Everything else is commentary".

Yehi Zichro Boruch!

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 7:09 PM | 65 comments

Thursday, November 10, 2005
The Rambam's Views On Gentiles, Blacks And Other "Mute Animals"

A Few Quotes From The Greatest Jewish Philosopher Who Just Happens To Be Sephardic.

Maimonides, the greatest medieval Jewish authority on matters of religion, teaches in his Book of Knowledge that it is a duty to exterminate "with one's own hands" Jewish infidels "such as Jesus of Nazareth and his pupils, and Tzadoq and Baitos [the founders of a Jewish sect active in the second century BC] and their pupils, may the name of the wicked rot."

In his Guide to the Perplexed "justly considered to be the greatest work of Jewish religious philosophy," Maimonides explains that "some of the Turks...and the Blacks (kushim = Africans) and the nomads in the South" are incapable of attaining the true worship of God because "their nature is like the nature of mute animals, and, according to my opinion, they are not on the level of human beings..."

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 6:51 PM | 46 comments

Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Israelis unhappy, unsafe in bedroom


We should really be proud of our brothers in Israel for their honesty, but feel really bad because they are so unhappy!UOJ

Israelis are among the world's most ignorant population when it comes to knowledge about sexually transmitted diseases.

According to an annual sex survey conducted by the Durex condom company, 23 percent of Israelis have never heard of the most common STDs. By contrast, only 8% of those surveyed in some 50 other countries were unaware of the existence of these diseases.

The poll also suggests that Israelis are feeling generally unsatisfied with their sex lives.( I feel really bad for them )

The survey, which was published on Tuesday, was conducted by Internet, and the data was analyzed at the company's British headquarters.

The good news, according to the survey, is that "only" 7% of married Israelis admit to cheating on their partners.

Matters are much worse in Turkey - where 58% of survey participants reported instances of infidelity - and in Denmark, where 46% of those surveyed reported having sex outside of a stable relationship.

. (Shvartzes in Brooklyn, N.Y. report 100% INFIDELITY rates, in matter of fact they are not sure what FIDELITY means. I walked up to Leroy on Flatbush av. the other day and I said, "Hey bro, do you know what fidelity means?"
He said, "sure, my brother went to jail robbin one of them offices".)

The bad news, however, is that 41% of Israelis have had unprotected sex without inquiring about the partner's sexual history. (Oy Vey Is Meer)

According to Harel Braude, the product management director for Durex in Israel, the latter statistic "explains the growing percentage of Israelis who have been infected with STDs in Israel in recent years."

Also worrying, 56% of Israelis report having one-night stands, as opposed to an average of 40% in other countries.

Nevertheless, Israelis lag behind the rest of the world in their degree of sexual satisfaction. In comparison with the 44% of those surveyed in general, only 36% of Israelis reported satisfaction with their sex lives. Makes you want to cry!

Men and women differed on this matter: While 41% of Israeli men said they did not feel they had enough sex, only 21% of Israeli women felt the same way. Nevertheless, 85.5% of Israeli men reported that quality was more important than quantity. Only 4.4% of Israeli women thought that quantity was more important. ( this cracks me up)

Still, 12.8% of Israeli women consider a month to be too long a time to forgo sex, while only 23.9% are willing to wait as much as half a year.

Men, by contrast, are more impatient. Only 9% of Israeli men are willing to forgo sex for six months, and 5% believed that even a single day without sex was too much.

Despite their relatively high level of sexual discontent, Israelis consume less pornography than the international average (34% compared to 41% in other countries); only 15% of Israelis use vibrators, compare to 43% of Americans and Britons.

For those concerned about their degree of sexual experience, it may be useful to know that the average number of partners reported worldwide is nine.

Here too, gender plays an important role: Men reported an average of 10.2 partners, while women reported a 6.9 average. Israelis are slightly above the average, with a reported average of 10.6 partners.( that's for the Charedim, The seculars are known to have 100 PLUS

Overall, Israeli participants in the survey reported that the most common locations for sex outside of the bedroom was a vehicle (57%), the beach (41%) and the bathroom (39%). Twenty-two percent of Israelis also reported having sexual relations in clubs and shuls..( This Is Very Important to Know)

Exhibitionist tendencies were especially prevalent among Chassidic Americans and Canadians - 21% of whom reported they enjoyed having sex in front of their Rebbe.

Worldwide, 36% of participants in the survey reported that their favorite place for having sex was in their parents' bedroom. (PATHETIC BASTARDS)

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 1:22 PM | 48 comments

Tuesday, November 08, 2005
The Future of American Orthodoxy

Jonathan D. Sarna

In the struggle for the soul of American Jewry, the Orthodox model has triumphed," Samuel G. Freedman announced in his widely discussed volume titled Jew vs. Jew. Freedman, himself raised as a secularist, is far from alone in his analysis. In the thirty-five years that have passed since Charles Liebman, writing in the American Jewish Year Book, first pronounced Orthodoxy to be "on the upsurge" and concluded that it was "the only group which today contains within it a strength and will to live that may yet nourish all the Jewish world," Orthodoxy has emerged as the great success story of late 20th-century American Judaism. Some of its leaders proudly proclaim themselves the winners in the race to save American Judaism, and insist that non-Orthodox Jews, with their high rate of intermarriage, will have no Jewish grandchildren and no Jewish future.

History warns against triumphalistic claims of this sort.

In the post-Civil War era, Reform Jews believed that they would define American Judaism. The architect of American Reform Judaism, Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise, called his prayer book Minhag Amerika and, given the number of synagogues that moved into the Reform camp in his day, his vision did not seem farfetched. Many in the mid-1870s believed as he did that Reform would in time become "the custom of American Jews." Of course, with mass East European Jewish immigration that did not happen and within half-a-century Reform Judaism had stagnated.

Conservative Judaism, meanwhile, became the fastest growing movement on the American Jewish scene and it too enjoyed a moment of triumphalism, especially in the immediate post-World War II era. But its success proved no more long lasting. In recent decades, its numbers have declined both absolutely and relatively.

The question now is whether Orthodoxy will follow the same trajectory.

History, of course, does not always repeat itself, but insiders in the Orthodox world know that their movement suffers from many "dilemmas and vulnerabilities."

Indeed a symposium organized by the Orthodox Union in 1998 spoke of "a sense of triumph mixed with trepidation." I want to focus on six reasons for this trepidation. Without discounting any of American Orthodoxy's obvious strengths, anyone who is seriously interested in the future of American Orthodoxy needs to confront these issues.

First of all, Orthodox Judaism in America has had trouble retaining its members.

Indeed, according to a demographic study by Sergio Della Pergola and Uzi Rebhun, published in the Orthodox flagship publication, Jewish Action, Orthodoxy loses more of its members over time than does any other Jewish religious movement.

Even among the younger and supposedly more committed Orthodox (born 1950-1970), according to the survey, Orthodoxy retained only 42 percent of those born into its fold.

To be sure, some of these losses are compensated for by gains of new followers, and Orthodox Jews also enjoy a higher birthrate than their non-Orthodox counterparts. Figures from the 2000 National Jewish Population Survey, one suspects, will show an improved rate of Orthodox retention. Notwithstanding all of these factors, however, the demographers concluded that, "overall, the size of Orthodoxy does not seem to be bound to dramatic growth."

Considering that not even 10 percent of American Jews are currently Orthodox, this represents a significant problem.

Second, Orthodoxy in America is suffering from a severe leadership crisis. The greatest of its 20th-century leaders - Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, Rabbi Moses Feinstein, and the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Schneerson - all have passed from the scene, and no worthy successors have emerged. Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein, Rabbi Soloveitchik's son-in-law and now the Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshivat Har Etzion, in Israel, has recently acknowledged and bemoaned "the current dearth of first-rank gedolim [giants]" in America.
"One can think," he writes, "of no indigenous American gadol certain to be remembered with wistful awe a century hence...of no giant majestically bestriding the contemporary scene and securely moving American Orthodoxy into the future."

Perhaps for this reason, American Orthodox Jews increasingly look to Israeli rabbis and yeshivah heads for direction. When a young American Orthodox Jew speaks of "my rebbe," chances are that he is referring to someone in Israel.

One cannot but wonder, however, whether Israeli Orthodox leaders really understand the American Jewish scene well enough to exercise leadership here. Historically, at least, religious movements that cannot count on indigenous leadership to direct them have not fared well in America - at least, not for long.

Third, American Orthodoxy is experiencing a significant brain drain. It sends its best and brightest to Israel for long periods of yeshivah study, and unsurprisingly many of them never return. Even those who do come back and succeed feel a spiritual longing to return to the Holy Land, and count the days until they can do so. Thus, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, one of the most successful American Orthodox rabbis of recent decades, left his congregation in New York in order to make aliyah to Efrat. His success at building that community is remarkable, but in the meanwhile his former congregation grievously declined and American Orthodoxy lost one of its most dynamic leaders. One can think of literally dozens of similar examples: remarkable Orthodox men and women who might have transformed American Jewish religious life but preferred to cast their lot with Zion. This may be terrific from an Israeli perspective, but can a movement that sends its most illustrious sons and daughters there truly expect to triumph here?

Fourth, American Orthodoxy is deeply divided over the issue of how to confront modernity.

There is nothing new about this: Jeffrey Gurock has shown that the tension between "accommodators" and "resisters" in Orthodox life dates back to the 19th century. Parallel debates have animated many other American religious movements. Indeed, such debates have also often proved salutary: each side checks and balances the excesses of the other.

The problem is that, in the absence of broadly respected leaders, the fault lines between modern and right-wing Orthodox Jews have deepened.

In one particularly vitriolic attack, Rabbi Elya Svei, a prominent member of the right-wing Agudat Israel, characterized Yeshiva University's President Norman Lamm as "an enemy of God" - a charge that he subsequently refused to retract.

More broadly, Modern Orthodox Jews - including, recently, Senator Joseph Lieberman - have found themselves written out of Orthodoxy altogether by some right-wing critics. No wonder that Professors William B. Helmreich and Reuel Shinnar, in a recent analysis, described Modern Orthodoxy as "a movement under siege." The question, however, is not whether Modern Orthodoxy will survive - in fact, it retains thousands of adherents. The question is whether Orthodoxy itself can survive as a single movement or whether, like so many Protestant denominations that have faced similar challenges, it will ultimately polarize so far as to crack.

The fact that Orthodox Judaism, unlike its Conservative and Reform counterparts, does not have any strong institutional ties binding all of its factions together makes the danger of such a schism all the greater.

Fifth, American Orthodoxy faces sweeping challenges from contemporary feminism. Jewish Action calls this "perhaps the most explosive issue facing Orthodoxy" and wonders aloud whether it "will estrange feminists and their supporters from the rest of Orthodoxy."

In many communities, the answer would seem to be yes.

So-called "women's issues" - whether, for example, women may organize separate prayer groups on a regular basis, or dance with the Torah on Simchat Torah, or celebrate ritually the bat mitzvah of their daughters, or wear tallit and tefillin - divide Orthodox synagogues one from another in many of the major communities where Orthodox Jews live, and have divided many synagogues internally as well. Indeed, it can be argued that these issues are to contemporary Orthodoxy what debates over mixed seating and the height of the mehitzah were to an earlier generation. Those issues turned out to be defining ones for Orthodox Judaism: in time, synagogues with mixed seating had to stop calling themselves Orthodox. Will the women's issues today prove similarly divisive? The heated rhetoric on both sides hardly hints at the possibility of compromise. The question, as Orthodoxy ponders its future, is whether "the most explosive issue facing Orthodoxy" will ultimately blow up, fragmenting American Orthodoxy in the process.

Finally, American Orthodoxy is currently mired in several ugly scandals that have undermined the credibility of some of its foremost lay and professional leaders.

The mystery surrounding missing tape recordings of Rabbi Soloveitchik's lectures has already tarnished several reputations. Meanwhile, the far more serious scandal surrounding the alleged sexual misdeeds of a charismatic figure in the National Council of Synagogue Youth along with the alleged widespread cover-up that allowed him to maintain his job for years, accusations against him notwithstanding, threaten the credibility of the entire Orthodox Union. So far, the impact of these scandals has been circumscribed. The long-term damage to the movement, however, may prove more far-reaching, just as the scandals involving television evangelists did untold damage to the fortunes of Evangelical Protestantism.

Taken together, all of these "dilemmas and vulnerabilities" demonstrate that the Orthodox model has not triumphed in America. The question instead is whether Orthodoxy's unexpected rise will be followed by an equally precipitous decline.

Such cycles are familiar in religion, just as they are in economics, but they are by no means inevitable. In the end, Orthodoxy's future will actually depend upon its own actions.

Will it confront the challenges that it faces, or will it discover only in retrospect that success blinded it to the internal problems that ultimately proved its undoing?

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 7:35 PM | 14 comments

Rabbi Kaduri – Will he bless Madonna -UOJ Says Of Course He Will

YT News
Pop star plans to have another child, wants blessing of renowned Israeli Kabbalist

Good news for Madonna fans in Israel: The Kabbalah-loving pop-icon, who calls herself “Esther” these days, may visit Israel during the upcoming Hanukah holiday, Israel's leading newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported Thursday.

One of the singer’s managers, Guy Ozery, confirmed that Madonna has expressed her wish to visit Israel again soon, following an earlier visit about a year ago.

Meanwhile, Madonna’s managers apparently contacted associates of renowned Kabbalist Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri, including his grandson Yossi Kaduri, in an attempt to arrange a meeting between the pop singer and the rabbi.

Madonna, who is a mother of two, plans to have another child and is interested in receiving Kaduri’s blessing first.

Addressing the issue, Ozery said associates of the rabbi are looking into a possible meeting.

For the right price, paid to Kaduri's grandson Yossi,the world's most famous whore will get a blessing or some mumbo jumbo from Alzheimer Kaduri.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 3:17 PM | 9 comments

Saturday, November 05, 2005
Two Satmar Scumbags For The Price Of One

Satmar Slugs It Out
Choosing a rebbe turns ugly when two factions brawl.
Jonathan Mark - Associate Editor The Jewish Week

Like the sukkah being dismantled on the sidewalk in front of his Williamsburg shul, the Satmar rebbe’s family and empire are in ghoulish disarray.

Rebbe Moshe Teitelbaum, 91, has been in and out of hospitals because of strokes and ailments.

“He has good days and bad days,” a relative told a confidante, but the good days retreat faster than wintry daylight.

So on the morning of Shemini Atzeret, Oct. 25, nearly 100 police in riot gear had to separate some 1,000 Satmars who were punching and choking each other, and pulling at beards, over which of the rebbe’s two sons should be the rebbe when this rebbe dies.

A Satmar group known as the Aronis — supporters of the older son, Aaron — had marched on the main Satmar shul on Rodney Street controlled by the Zalis — supporters of the younger son, Zalman.

“Mazel Toughs,” said The New York Post headline.

It’s “Satmar-Gate,” headlined the Daily News, when about 12 hours later, on Simchat Torah night, a group of 26 men presumed to be Aronis, all between the ages of 18 and 25, broke into and reportedly ransacked the congregation’s office next door to the shul.

The group reportedly broke computers, jimmied open cabinets, destroyed disks and documents, and upturned drawers before relaxing on the floor with cigarettes and whiskey. It was Simchat Torah, after all, second only to Purim as the wildest drinking night of the Jewish year. The police arrested all of them.

One Aroni told The Jewish Week it was a bum rap.

“Come on,” he said, “they were just smoking.”

Another insisted, “They were studying.”

Wolf, a more mature Aroni, explained, “The Zalis do a good job of PR. What happened was there were about 20 bolvans [translated by Yiddishist Leo Rosten as “gross, thick-headed oafs”] who go and smoke on Shabbos. Every community has its outcasts. Bolvans. Wild kids.”

Wild kids may make for a wild time when the rebbe dies.

According to Jewish communal officials, the median age of white non-Hispanics in Williamsburg is 16.8; in Kiryas Joel it’s 15.2.
When you’re talking about Satmar’s kids you’re talking about Satmar itself.

In 1984, the rebbe appointed Aaron chief rabbi of the 18,000 Satmars in Kiryas Joel. Then in 1999, the rebbe, sensing his mortality, reportedly told Aaron, “Both Williamsburg and Kiryas Joel have populations larger than any shtetl in Europe. You couldn’t possibly manage both of them. What will you do? You’ll place your son in charge of Williamsburg. You have a son. I also have [another] son. I’m asking Zalman Lieb to come back from Israel to become the rav in Brooklyn,” with its 35,000 Satmars.

Aaron acquiesced, but now he wants Williamsburg, as well.

Aside from physically slugging it out, Aronis and Zalis are locked in litigation in three state courts.

In 1952, Yetev Lev D’Satmar, the congregation that oversees official Satmar organizations, adopted by-laws that gave the rebbe almost dictatorial powers over the congregation.

“Nobody can perform his functions without his consent,” according to the by-laws. “He is the only authority in all spiritual matters. No rabbi, ritual slaughterer or teacher may be chosen without his consent. His decision is binding on every member.”

Kings County Supreme Court Justice Melvin Barasch ruled in October 2004 that those by-laws led him to determine that “Rabbi Moses Teitelbaum is invested with the ultimate authority to determine all matters effecting Satmar,” and therefore Zalman would be the Satmar rebbe of Williamsburg.

In Kiryas Joel, where Zalman does not dispute Aaron’s leadership, Aaron is less popular than might be supposed. A slate he supported in recent congregational elections won by only a 6-4 margin, an unusual amount of dissent against a rebbe.

According to an Aroni leader, there are 2,600 dues-paying Satmars in several Aroni shuls in Williamsburg.

Aaron Teitelbaum, who has an apartment in Williamsburg, decided to spend the last days of the holidays in Brooklyn. He would lead services in a huge tent that the Aronis erected in the playground of P.S. 16, not far from the shul on Rodney Street.

After the dancing with the Torahs on the night of Shmini Atzeret — chasidim dance with the Torahs on that night as well as on Simchat Torah — a chasid stood up to make the announcements.

He told the crowd that Judge Stewart Goldwasser, hearing one of the "three" Satmar lawsuits, declared that the Aronis had control of the Rodney Street shul.

In fact, Goldwasser said, “This court will not be sucked into the Brooklyn litigation,” according to this chasid.

Perhaps the Aronis misunderstood. The chasid making the announcements said to great cheers, “Tomorrow morning we daven at Rodney.”

The Aronis showed up the next morning at the Rodney Street shul, where some 5,000 Zalis were davening in numerous minyanim.

To even the odds the Aronis, numbering less then 300, arrived with “their so-called security people,” said one community official.

“They were not chasidim,” the official said. “They were people of color, and in black leather jackets. It was clear who was hitting whom.”

The Aronis were ready to rumble. Clearly visible on a videotape from a security camera turned over to the Brooklyn District Attorney were black men in baseball hats fighting alongside the black fur-hatters.

Wolf, an Aroni, said, “What happened shouldn’t have happened. It was the young ones, the hot ones. Rav Aaron didn’t agree with it. We felt, let’s do this properly. We can smell the victory, what’s the rush? Why disturb the holiday? But, as usual, the young ones do whatever they want. There was pushing and shoving. That was the end of that. We went back to the tent, had great hakafos [dancing with Torahs on Simchat Torah] with a tremendous crowd. It was a tremendous Simchas Torah.”

Life creeps back to normal after the holidays. In the first prayer hall, inside the main doors on Rodney Street, dozens of memorial candles burned in an alcove while late afternoon Minchas followed one after the other, as if in a continuous loop.

Six elderly Satmars sat at one of the many long study tables with scratched and indented wooden surfaces. On the tables and shelves, miles of black adhesive tape covered the bindings of texts and held community announcements to the walls. Some posters announced a sale of permanent press shirts. Someone left a bottle of Pert shampoo near a washroom.

Outside, boys pointed up at the window where neon light illuminated the office wrecked a few nights before. Suddenly, one of “the wild ones” grabbed an older man’s tallit bag. The old man raced after him, followed by dozens of others, each holding on to their hats, a blur in the darkness.

What just happened?

“Nothing,” said a kid. “Two people having a fight.”

These animals are NOT part of the Jewish people.

Just because they had their SHLANGS cut when they were a baby, and speak Yiddish?


How come NOT ONE "RESPECTABLE" rosh yeshiva or rabbi has publicly come out against them?




posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 6:45 PM | 32 comments

Thursday, November 03, 2005
Sanhedrin-Good For The Jews, Or Just Another Divisive Action

By Nadav Shragai

When the "new Sanhedrin" was established in Tiberias a year ago, hardly anyone took it seriously. The 71 rabbis who came to the northern city 1,660 years after the original Sanhedrin (the assembly of 71 ordained scholars that was both supreme court and legislature in Talmudic times) held its last meeting there, were welcomed by many in the Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox sectors with smiles tinged with derision.

The declaration of the Sanhedrin's reestablishment was perceived as both a curiosity on the margins of the right and as a rebellion against halakhic conventions; as a perhaps daring step, but one that was also a warning; far-reaching, but to a large extent provocative.

The fact that the leading Torah scholars of this generation, or those who are identified as such, took no part in this pretentious venture posed many questions about the new Sanhedrin's source of power and authority. The founding rabbis, most of them fairly anonymous, did agree in writing to vacate their places in favor of rabbis who are greater Torah scholars, as soon as some are found willing to serve.

Nevertheless, the initial impression was that this was another effort by the Jewish Leadership movement within the Likud, an effort that had a Torah-oriented, halakhic-messianic slant and was striving for a revolution in the government.

The man who headed the new venture was Hillel Weiss, a professor of literature and one of the leaders of Jewish Leadership, who nearly twenty years ago reinstated another ancient practice: the traditional hakhel gathering, which took place once every seven years at the end of the Sukkot festival, the year after an agricultural Sabbatical (shmitta) year, and was attended by the king of Israel.

The first hakhel gathering organized by Weiss at the Western Wall plaza in 1987 was attended by then-president Chaim Herzog, prime minister Yitzhak Shamir, Supreme Court president Meir Shamgar, chief rabbis Avraham Shapira and Mordechai Eliahu and many other dignitaries. It has been repeated twice since, once every seven years.

A year after its establishment, it is impossible to see the new Sanhedrin as the domain of the extreme right wing alone: at a large gathering in Jerusalem's Har Nof neighborhood Tuesday, Rabbi Adin Even Israel Steinsaltz, a well-known Talmud scholar who is much esteemed in Torah circles, both in the ultra-Orthodox world and in the national-religious sector, came forward as the president of the Sanhedrin.

Steinsaltz avoided delving into politics and spoke about gradually building up the ancient institution, which would take several generations, he said. The very fact that he is leading the new Sanhedrin can be considered a dramatic event, given the numerous efforts in the last few years to strengthen the Jewish character of the state, integrate into it elements of Hebrew law and to combat the idea of a state for all its citizens. The fact that the new Sanhedrin also includes many rabbis affiliated with the ultra-Orthodox stream, added to the fact that they are not among the best known and leading rabbis in that sector, endows the effort with another unusual dimension that distances it from being another "extreme right-wing" venture.

In its first year, the new Sanhedrin initiated a dialogue with the Ministry of Education over the Bible and Scriptures curriculum; set up a "High Council for the Sons of Noah," whose task it is to establish contact with non-Jewish communities seeking to observe the Noahide laws - the seven commandments given to the sons of Noah, or all mankind, which non-Jews are obligated to uphold according to halakha.

The Sanhedrin also discussed at length the physical location of the altar and Holy of Holies on the Temple Mount and dealt with the question of whether in our generation, Jews abroad must continue to observe the second festival day of the Diaspora, an additional day that is added to each of the three pilgrimage festivals - Sukkot, Passover and Shevuot.

The new Sanhedrin sharply attacked the disengagement plan and recently ruled that three minors who asked it for a ruling had acted properly when they refused to be tried in a court not based on Torah law.

"We hereby instruct you to continue your refusal, and the One who releases prisoners will release you from your confinement," the rabbis wrote them. In another ruling, the Sanhedrin's "Court for Matters of Nationhood and State" permitted a family from the evacuated community of Sa-Nur to accept compensation from the state for their evacuation, "even though this was an unjust law forced on the expellees."

Ordination revived

According to halakha, in order to revive the Sanhedrin, "ordination" is required, i.e., the ordination of members by others who are greater and wiser Torah scholars, to serve on the Supreme Court as necessary.

The first ordination, you may recall, was that of Joshua Bin Nun, whom Moses ordained. Other famous ordinations over the course of the generations included the "five elders": Rabbi Meir, Rabbi Yehuda, Rabbi Shimon, Rabbi Yossi and Rabbi Eliezer Ben Shamu'a, who were ordained by Yehuda Ben Baba, between the towns of Usha and Shfaram.

Ordination ended in Israel when the yeshivas closed and the Sanhedrin stopped functioning. The last people ordained no longer placed their hands on their students' heads, because of the restrictions imposed by the Roman government.

Maimonides wrote that if all scholars in Israel agree to appoint scholars and ordain them, than these are ordained people and they may discuss matters of fines and punishment and may ordain others. However, even Maimonides did not see this as a fait accompli; he added that the matter needed to be "decided on."

In the 16th century, nearly all the Torah scholars in the land of Israel accepted the initiative of Rabbi Jacob Birav to resume ordination and reestablish the Sanhedrin. Rabbi Levy Ben Haviv, the rabbi of Jerusalem who was not informed of the plans, sabotaged the effort, and in the end Birav was forced to flee the country.

Upon the reestablishment of the state, the first minister of religion, Rabbi Yehuda Leib Hacohen Maimon, attempted to renew the Sanhedrin, but the opposition of the ultra-Orthodox sabotaged the effort.

It is therefore surprising that the first ordained person in modern times, who ostensibly authorized the convening of the new Sanhedrin, was an ultra-Orthodox figure - Rabbi Dov Levanoni of Jerusalem. The members of the new Sanhedrin present a video in which Rabbi Levanoni relates how he received the first ordination to take place since the time of Rabbi Yaakov Birav, from one of the leaders of the Eidah Haredit's Beit Din Zedek religious court, Rabbi Moshe Halberstam. Levanoni ordained two other rabbis, and they ordained four more.

Since each person can only ordain two people, it took almost a year to ordain the 120 men needed for the new Sanhedrin. Most of them were present at Tuesday's gathering in Hai Taib Street synagogue in Har Nof, to mark a year since the renewal of the ancient institution.

The new Sanhedrin is recognized by a very small public, and this is its Achilles heel. Rabbi Re'em Hacohen, the head of the hesder yeshiva in Otniel, who delivered the opening address at the meeting - he is not a member of the new Sanhedrin - sketched clear halakhic parameters that indicate the problems involved. According to him, it is not possible to resume the ordination without the consent of the entire Jewish people.

"The Sanhedrin is the foundation for the presence of the Divine spirit ... and until this body has representatives from the entire nation - and at the moment it does not have representatives of the entire nation, not even representatives of the religious, Torah observant segment of the nation, then it is problematic," Hacohen said. Like other speakers at the conference, he too feels that "today there is a total division between the executive and judicial branches, and the nation and the rabbinical court system is also not free of this plague." Nevertheless, he says, "The Sanhedrin cannot replace them until it draws its power from the entire nation."

The establishment of the new Sanhedrin reflects profound unhappiness with the way the Israeli legal system is run, there were harsh remarks to that effect at the conference. Rabbi Israel Rosen, the head of the Tsomet Institute of Halakha and Technology, which provides solutions to halakhic problems using technology, attacked the sections on religion and state, minorities and the status of the Supreme Court in the draft constitution proposed by the Israel Democracy Institute, for whom the "Supreme Court has become their Sanhedrin."

"But the Sanhedrin in its existing format," acknowledges Rosen, "is not serious. Even if in principle one accepts the need to revive the Sanhedrin, it should include authoritative halakhic scholars and Torah scholars of the first order. At the moment, it seems as if they have jumped too high."

Ultra-Orthodox Rabbi Yoel Schwartz, spiritual advisor to the ultra-Orthodox Nahal brigade and a member of the new Sanhedrin, accepts the criticism and defines the institution as "infrastructure only." Not everyone sees eye to eye with him. Hillel Weiss, who also has become one of the ordained members, says, "The goal of the new Sanhedrin is to become a source of authority for the Jewish people, and this is contrary to the accepted position of the left that the state of Israel is the source of this authority.

"I and many of my colleagues want to be part of this state, but not at the cost of our spiritual and physical destruction. This Sanhedrin draws together all the scars and injuries and anguish from the injustice and persecution that Jews endure here from the Supreme Court and whoever follows the Supreme Court and whoever pretends to maintain the rule of law here."

Rabbi Ratzon Arussi, the rabbi of Kiryat Ono and a member of the Supreme Rabbinical Council, also feels persecuted. On Tuesday, Arussi sharply criticized the Knesset and the court. He spoke about the "clash that is gaining momentum between Torah law and state law," and despaired over "barren dialogues with the secular side that ostensibly create understandings, which have no practical value for various connections to our heritage." The court, Arussi feels, "is today obligated only to the state, but not to its Jewish identity."

Arussi suggested setting red lines for this identity and announcing that if the Knesset does not incorporate them into legislation, all the religious parties will resign. Rabbi Dov Lior, the head of the Committee of Judea and Samaria Rabbis, said things at the conference that were even more far-reaching: "A collective of evil people is not part of the quorum ... every law against the Torah is invalid. There are forces of evil seeking to harm anything related to the sanctity of Israel, and the legal system is one area where the greatest desecration of God's name is occurring.

It is hard to know how long Steinsaltz will last as president of the new Sanhedrin. At the public session held on the first anniversary of the apparent reestablishment of the ancient institution, he appeared to be fighting internal opposition. He pointed out to those present that worldwide events couldn't happen in one fell swoop.

Jerusalem wasn't built in a day

"Before the flood, Noah built the ark and prepared to enter it for 120 years," he reminded the audience. "In order to move forward and no longer be defined as `an aborted fetus,' to become serious so we can say, `a child was born to us,' we need a lot of time. The mere mention of the name Sanhedrin is not a given. It is no longer a matter of a religious council, or a council for the cats on Emek Refaim Street. It's something that has historical meaning. A basic change, not of one small system, but of fundamental systems.

"It's no wonder that these things frighten people. There are people who are concerned about what is emerging here. And where is it headed? After we have made it through this year with no catastrophes occurring, even though there were some foolish comments and chuckling, we will intensify and strengthen our activities. We will do things with an eye toward future generations, not with a stopwatch and an annual calendar. The Jewish calendar is a calendar of thousands of years. A lot of patience and a lot of work are needed. I'd be happy if in another few years these chairs are filled by scholars who are greater than us and we can say: `I kept the chairs warm for you.'"

Steinsaltz used his position as president of the Sanhedrin to protest its involvement in politics. "I'm not afraid of the Supreme Court, the police or the attorney general. A rabbi is also permitted to engage in public issues, but to do so he has to have all the appropriate material before him, whether he is dealing with the kosher status of a chicken or the disengagement.

"When there is such a disengagement plan, and I don't have enough information about it, just as there is a commandment to speak out, there is a commandment to remain silent. As a private person, I, just like every one of us, have understanding, but as a rabbi, dealing with political matters such as the disengagement is a mockery of the essence of the concept of a Sanhedrin.

"If I don't want to be a laughing-stock, then I won't express an opinion on every issue. These words of truth need to be said, so that this Sanhedrin does not become a branch of the Yesha Council (of Jewish Settlements in Judea, Samaria and Gaza) or of the Council for Peace and Security."

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 6:57 PM | 14 comments

Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Rabbis Keeping Busy With Bullshit

Rabbis issue list of names Jews should not give their children

By The Associated Press and Haaretz Service

A group of Israeli rabbis has put together a list of names they say
should be off-limits to Jewish children - including Ariel and Omri, the given names of Israel's prime minister and his eldest son.

Saying the name Ariel is problematic because it could beckon an angel instead, drawing down his wrath, the rabbis caution.

Omri - the name of an evil Biblical king - should be taboo because of the highly negative connotation.

And naming children after dismantled Gaza settlements, like Katif, is another bad idea, they say, because of the controversy involved. Jewish settlers, predominantly religious, unsuccessfully opposed the Gaza withdrawal this past summer.

The rabbis' list, presented on an Internet site, also offers preferred names. Rabbis said they compiled the list in response to a flood of requests from parents concerned they may accidentally give their children names that could shame them for life.

What other names raise rabbinical ire? All those that sound non-Jewish - like Donna, Barr and Shirli. So do typically male names given to girls - like Roni and Danielle- and names that include the suffix or prefix "el," which means God in Hebrew.

But parents should not run off to the Interior Ministry too hastily.

Only those names with a very negative connotation, like Omri, should be changed so as not to risk traumatizing the children.

Instead, parents can slightly alter the names to Hebraicize them. For example, Susie can change to Shoshi, which means "Rosie."

Concerned parents' questions appear on the Web site.

"When my daughter was born, we called her Roni but I was never comfortable with the name," wrote a woman named Liat. "Afterward I had a dream that it wasn't good to call her Roni. What should I do?"

"Change it," was the reply.

In Judaism, names are very important and each person's soul has a designated name, the Web site explains. The names follow people into their afterlife.

Israel's Interior Ministry has barred the names God, Hitler and Bin Laden from being registered in its population files, said Sabine Haddad, a spokeswoman for the Census Bureau.

Names like Ovadia, Should be changed as well to Eved l'kesef!

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 2:37 PM | 9 comments

Extremely Elevated Relative Risk of Paraffin Lamp Oil Exposures in Orthodox Jewish Children

A public service message from UOJ

In observance of the Sabbath and other religious holidays, many Orthodox Jews maintain a burning lamp that uses paraffin lamp oil as fuel. Unintentional pediatric exposure to paraffin lamp oil, a hydrocarbon, is typically by ingestion and carries a risk of aspiration with subsequent pneumonitis. This investigation was prompted by an apparent increase in paraffin lamp oil exposures during the Jewish Sabbath, from sunset Friday until sunset Saturday, noted by the staff of our regional poison control center.

Objective. In this investigation, we retrospectively reviewed all exposures to paraffin lamp oil occurring in our large city in children <18 years old reported to our regional poison control center between January 1, 2000, and February 1, 2003. Reports were investigated to ascertain the frequency of occurrence of paraffin lamp oil exposures on the Jewish Sabbath and Jewish religious holidays. Caregivers of involved children were surveyed by telephone to determine the exposed child’s religion and circumstances of exposure.

Results. During these 25 months, 45 cases met inclusion criteria, and all were ingestions. Orthodox Jews accounted for 32 cases (71%), 4 cases (9%) occurred in children who were not Orthodox Jews, and demographic data were unavailable in 9 cases (20%). Twenty-four cases (53%) occurred within 10 hours before or during the Jewish Sabbath or Jewish religious holidays.

The relative risk of Orthodox Jewish children to ingest paraffin lamp oil, calculated by using census data, is 374 times that of other children.

Conclusions. Public health authorities and caregivers of Orthodox Jewish children should be cognizant of this phenomenon. Educational efforts directed toward both Orthodox Jews and the general public aimed at preventing paraffin lamp oil exposures are warranted.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------Robert J. Hoffman, MD*, Solomon Morgenstern, MD, Robert S. Hoffman, MD and Lewis S. Nelson, MD

* Department of Emergency Medicine, Beth Israel Medical Center, New York, New York
Department of Pediatrics, Schneider Children’s Hospital, New Hyde Park, New York
New York City Department of Health Poison Control Center, New York, New York

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 2:15 PM | 9 comments

N.Y. Times Gives Jacko's Ex-Rabbi Another Shot

Roger Friedman, FoxNews

"I am sad to say I read yesterday's story in the New York Times about Shmuley Boteach and got a little ill. Samuel Freedman, a good reporter, writer and author of interesting books, evidently was sold a bill of goods on Boteach.

His report on Shmuley's WWRL radio show with Peter Noel made it sound like Michael Jackson's onetime rabbi was on the up and up. But readers of this column know otherwise.

Back on May 23, 2001, we revealed the truth about the 'Kosher Sex' rabbi who started a bogus charity with Jackson. To this day there has no been no accounting for the money Boteach and Jackson raised for their Time for Kids/Heal the World Foundation.

Indeed, the event they held on Feb. 14, 2001, at Carnegie Hall — a symposium on children — has never turned up in tax returns. London newspapers reported that Boteach was ousted from the L'Chaim Society of Oxford University for mismanagement of funds. (He allegedly used money from the charity to maintain a lavish home. Boteach insisted it was his right to do so.) He was also reportedly banned from having a pulpit in the U.K., although during our conversation last year he denied that. The New York Times also didn't bother to look into the infamous L'Chaim Society, Boteach's New York charity. The most recent tax return available, which covers all of 2000, states that the New York edition of L'Chaim Society took in $203,185 in donations but paid out $240,164 'for administration.' There are no funds listed for 'Program Services.'

In May 2001, this column discovered quite a lot about the so-called Oxford L'Chaim Society of New York, which has nothing whatsoever to do with Oxford University in Great Britain. I wrote: 'In 1999, the British government criticized (Boteach's) L'Chaim Society of Oxford, London and Cambridge — an organization that was supposed to support and promote Jewish thinking and life on the Oxford campus — when they discovered that Shmuley (his name is Shmuel but he loves the nickname) had been dipping into the funds ... An article dated June 1, 1998, in the London Daily Telegraph clearly states: 'Ah Shmuley. The shame, the disgrace. (He's been) publicly reproached by Elkin Levy, president of the United Synagogues; forced to resign from the synagogue in Willesden where he preaches, accused of conduct unbecoming, bringing the rabbinate into disrepute.' The resignation was apparently in response to the publication of Boteach's controversial book, 'Kosher Sex,' which has been a bestseller and was excerpted in Playboy."

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 11:30 AM | 7 comments

Tuesday, November 01, 2005
We Were First On The "Out Of The Closet Allan Stadtmauer Story"

Allan Stadtmauer, Scoops, MSM and Blogs (picked up from the Canonist Blog)

The Canonist laments:"A reader who claims to know a lot about what went into the decision-making for the Forward's story on Stadtmauer e-mailed me with some specific questions about my post of last night and my initial reaction to the Forward story, touching on a number of issues of news philosophy in general and how blogging affects that discussion. While, on some recent occasions I've avoided writing about these issues because I feel that a lot of the blogging vs. MSM territory has been covered — even in specific regard to Jewish and religious coverage, in posts past — the questions presented by this reader deal with some issues I've yet to address, and the reader is a person for whom I have great respect.
His questions:

1) Why did you not call Ami [Eden] and ask him about why he ran the story before you blogged about it? "The only reason for the paper to cover that story before obtaining comment is the general fear of getting scooped"- How can you write this without a qualifier such as "it would appear". Ami assumed the entire time that other newspapers would have it- he felt the Forward would do a better story, no matter what other papers had.
2) Would you have blogged about this before speaking with Stadtmauer? If yes, what is the difference? Are you a journalist or not? If you are, why the double standard?
3)Why not critique "unorthodox Jew" for publishing the e-mail, long before the Forward story?"

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 11:52 PM | 15 comments

Jews and Fundamentalism

Samuel C. Heilman

The differences between active and quiescent fundamentalism, two stages of the phenomenon, help explain developments among contemporary Orthodox Jewry, which is also divided along these lines. Included in the former category are Orthodox Jewish settlers in the Land of Israel as well as Chabad Hasidim who are on a mission to transform Jewish life. Those who make up haredi Jewry, and in particular those in the world of the yeshivas, constitute the latter category. The year of yeshiva study spent in Israel by young Orthodox Jews from America plays an important role in shaping these categories.

The fundamentalist view is that there is a single truth, that the people who share this truth are tied in an unbroken chain to the past, and that this truth is not limited to the private domain but can and should be imposed on the public square. This truth is articulated as fundamentals of the faith, which must be practiced or believed if one is truly to be among God's defenders.

Of course, despite the fundamentalist assertion that these essentials are tied to tradition, and often demanded by an inerrant text, fundamentalism reinvents that past by selectively retrieving from it those elements that challenge alternative truths that are offered by contemporary culture. As such it constitutes a kind of counterculture and society. Fundamentalism is therefore often engaged in an intense battle against forces in the contemporary world that, in its view, seek to undermine or to defile the world as it sees it.

Active and Passive Fundamentalists
This culture war can essentially be conducted in two different modes. One can be called active fundamentalism, in which the battle is waged aggressively, taken to the enemy who is to be completely obliterated. Sometimes fundamentalists become active because they believe they have no choice. The enemy is at their gates and about to enter into and defile their world; they cannot keep the enemy out and so they are forced to fight back. Other times they become intensely engaged in the culture war because they think the enemy has been weakened and this is an opportunity to finally, apocalyptically, liquidate those forces that oppose the truth.

A second phase of fundamentalism is its quiescent or passive stage. Adherents believe they are in possession of the truth that will ultimately triumph and dominate the public square but for the moment must remain in protected waiting. Although the alternative ways of living are seductive and dangerous, these quiescent fundamentalists argue, they are ultimately doomed. All true believers have to do is to insulate themselves from becoming defiled until that judgment day, when history will right itself as stated in the prophecies of the inerrant text. The key is to remain behind a wall of virtue, protected, waiting for the day that all true believers know is coming and for whose signs they are constantly on guard.

Whether quiescent or active, cultural and social struggle is at the heart of fundamentalism.
There must be an enemy. Fundamentalists are much better at fighting against something than at simply defining what it is they stand for.

And that is why they often thrive precisely where they can perceive themselves as surrounded by enemies. The promise of a better time is always easier to live with than the need to deliver on the promise when the time has come, as the fundamentalist regimes that come to power soon discover.

Hence, it is not surprising that at least in the case of Jewish fundamentalism, one finds its adherents in two of the most visible precincts of secularity and modernity: the United States and especially New York, as well as the modern state of Israel. In both these locales, the enemy and the counterculture are quite close and visible.

Active fundamentalists among the Jews have largely been confined to those religiously inclined messianists who believe that through a particular set of activities they can hasten the day of redemption. For some these activities mainly involve religiously settling what they consider the biblical Land of Israel. Having elevated this "commandment" above nearly all the other 612, they are convinced that by doing so they are being true to the fundamentals of Judaism. Their conviction that this activity not only sets them apart from Jews who have hopelessly compromised God's will but also is indispensable for righting history and saving the world often places them in opposition to the rest of Jewry, whose Judaism is more complex and less essentialist. This is the fundamentalism of the religious bloc that once called themselves Gush Emunim. For these Jews any compromise in settlement activities, especially within the territories conquered in 1967, is tantamount to retarding the redemption and a propaedeutic to Jewish destruction. For them nothing more than settlement in the Holy Land, particularly when accompanied by religious faith and practice, is a full expression of Judaism. This activity is fundamental for assuring Jewish continuity.

There are other active fundamentalists for whom the redemption can be hastened not by settlements but by acts of Jewish ritual activity. For these fundamentalists, Judaism is boiled down not to the need to establish settlements in the God-promised land but to the practice of a set of ritual acts - lighting Sabbath candles, donning phylacteries, giving charity, and so on - whose performance by all Jews - and in some cases also by non-Jews - will hasten the day of the Messiah's return and hence the redemption. This is the approach of Chabad Lubavitch. For them the religious transformation of the nonobservant and secular Jews into Lubavitcher Hasidim as well as the assurance that the "Seventy Nations" - that is, the non-Jewish world - abides by the seven Noahide commandments is the key mission of Judaism.

Both these groups are engaged in an active struggle to bring about as soon as possible the time of redemption, a utopian messianic age, and to dominate the public square with their beliefs and practices. They believe they are absolutely right in their emphases, that God is on their side and abetting their activities, that they are fulfilling His commandments as presented in holy writ, and that history is close to the day of judgment and the "first flowers of redemption," when the world - and particularly those who currently fail to see the truth in this way - will recognize that they are right. They are often willing to challenge the status quo and engage in world-transforming activities, regardless of the this-worldly consequences. For these active fundamentalists, the world is divided in a Manichean way between those who are joined with them and those who are their opponents. The fact that they see enemies nearby, both from within and without, only encourages them to continue in the struggle and trust that history will vindicate their efforts.

Quiescent fundamentalists also believe that the world will someday learn the truth. They too emphasize certain essentials of the faith. But they are ready to wait patiently. In the meantime, they build the walls of their fortress, remain within their enclaves, and construct a corps of believers and defenders of the faith. This is largely the strategy of the haredi world. They too see themselves in a struggle, but most consists of keeping the secular, contemporary, seductive West at bay. This is a society that has used the yeshiva as its instrument of choice, raising study in it and life around its strictures and leaders to the highest level.

The yeshiva is viewed as a protective and insulated environment in which Torah Judaism can grow. Secular learning is regarded as not having particular ontological value; it may have pedagogic value of a very limited sort. Those who abandon yeshiva life or are unwilling to support it are portrayed as Jews who contribute to the undoing of Judaism at worst and as hopeless compromisers who have endangered Jewish continuity at best. The quiescent fundamentalist Jews who are, in contrast, willing to make the material sacrifice and embrace what one haredi rabbi called the "heroic retreat" from concerns and entanglements, to be in contemporary society but not caught up by it, are the ones who assure Jewish continuity.

Nonfundamentalist Modern Orthodoxy in Decline
This view was not the ideal in modern Orthodox institutions. These institutions - predominantly the day school - sought to reflect a nonfundamentalist model that modern Orthodoxy embraced. This trend saw Torah learning as important but not as the exclusive intellectual or spiritual pursuit of the observant Jew. Indeed, modern Orthodoxy took the position that tradition and the contemporary world could coexist. Struggle was not the dominant mode of Jewish life, the world outside the Jewish one did not have to be kept at bay, and Judaism was far more nuanced and complex than the fundamentalists argued.

These ideas emerged out of the modern Orthodox worldview that argued in the early post-Holocaust period that the best way to assure Jewish continuity until the redemption was not to be insular, since that certainly had not guaranteed Jewish continuity in Europe, but to have a foot in both worlds, and that while Torah and ritual observance were important, and maintaining a strong fidelity to Jewish values and learning was critical, this alone was not sufficient for the Jewish people. There was an ontological and educational value to what we would call today a liberal arts education, and education was second to nothing. Western culture was not just a vehicle for making a living but something worth living

But fundamentalism has found a way to infiltrate and undermine this view and is increasingly becoming the dominant mode of Orthodoxy. In Israel, modern Orthodoxy was largely caught up in the political ideology of Gush Emunim, making settlement in the biblical lands the most important commandment and the sine qua non of modern religiosity, with all else becoming secondary. In America, while this too became a concern, fundamentalism has largely taken a more quiescent form in the slow and steady undermining of liberal and multiplex values and outlooks in favor of the monist and Manichean haredi way.

Four factors appear to account for this change. One is the perceived decline of American culture beginning in the late 1960s and 1970s. This led many modern Orthodox Jews to have second thoughts about the ontological value of standing with a foot in that culture and raised fears that doing so would mean a step down the slippery slope of religious diminution and cultural assimilation.

The second is the professionalization of day school education to an extent that led to the family's complete handover of the responsibility for Jewish education to the schools. Since few modern Orthodox themselves were part of the religion faculty in those schools, the task of religious socialization was ipso facto turned over to those who did go into Jewish education, those who saw it as a moral calling, the haredim. The transformation of women's roles in Orthodox Jewish life in America, a product of the feminist movement in the United States and the college educations they received, led to an increased flow of Orthodox women into the career culture, removing them as an important modern Orthodox source for Judaica faculty. A woman who could be a lawyer, doctor, professor, or CEO was unlikely to choose to be a teacher of Torah in a day school. She and her husband simply gave that role to those who remained in that job. But those people came more and more from another world.

Third, this changing nature of Judaica faculty in the day schools, and in particular the changing nature of those who became Orthodox rabbis, a role that the modernists also abandoned, served to enhance the haredi, fundamentalist outlook in the schools. Because the parents had largely withdrawn from personal involvement in the education of their offspring, they became overly dependent on the Judaica faculty of these schools. These teachers increasingly promoted a way of life that was far more fundamentalist than the modern Orthodoxy that characterized the homes and families from which the students came. Moreover, whatever those teachers said, the parents who were in a kind of iron cage were forced to accept. After all, they hired them, sent their children to them, and endowed them with an authority that was near absolute in the domains of religion. That discontinuity between what they saw at home and learned in school either made the students reject Orthodoxy altogether, because it was so disconnected from the way they lived at home, or converted them into haredi sympathizers, who saw their parents and the rest of modern Orthodoxy as the incarnation of folly, duplicity, and hypocrisy.

America declining, the Jewish education of children completely under the control of the schools, these schools themselves and the Judaica faculty moving further and further to the right - all this produced a fear that for the children eventually to enter American society via the university, which was still much more radical and liberal than the rest of America, and also remain fully committed to Orthodox Jewish tradition would prove impossible. In other words, it would not be possible to guarantee Jewish continuity in its Orthodox incarnation. Finally, as a response to all this, came the emergence of study in Israeli yeshivas and women's seminaries or midrashot as an essential part of Orthodox education for American Jews - something that began as a kind of extra insurance against the seductions of American contemporary culture that the young were expected to encounter in college. This further helped transform the modern Orthodox into a more fundamentalist mode.

The Role of the Israeli Yeshivas and Seminaries
Because these Israeli yeshiva institutions are dominated both by active and quiescent fundamentalists - settlers and/or haredim - the "graduates" of these schools often absorbed the ethos and worldviews they represent. Moreover, they were taught that there really was no graduation. Torah was the only legitimate pursuit; all else was selling out and going down the drain of assimilation. Some stayed in the haredi world of the yeshiva and Israel; others became settlers and converts to the messianic cause. Those who came back home came back ready to transform the Orthodox world into a far more fundamentalist one.

The yeshiva/midrasha experience in Israel is extraordinary. Here, where there are no pressures of getting grades - since most students have already been accepted to college - one finds young people who are ready for a change. They are in the period of identity quest and role moratorium. For many of them, this is their first extended period away from their parents. It is spent in what is essentially a total institution, cut off from their parents and everything that is familiar to them. Being in a yeshiva is being where the key element of life is sitting side by side with a peer, in a protective environment where the rabbis and religious teachers are the only adult models, where all one has to do is study Torah and absorb the holiness of the place (both the school and the Land of Israel) and where one is told that by doing so one fulfills God's plan. The result is a kind of identity transformation. Ultimately the goal is never to leave the yeshiva because that is the ideology of yeshiva life. The Land of Israel and Torah become the essentials of Jewish life, surpassing all else.

There are few if any alternative voices or patterns of life that these institutions present. Life beyond is viewed as threatening at worst and defiled at best. There is no going back. If one does return to that world left behind it is only to engage in a struggle with it, to transform it. Those who do come back see themselves as a class apart. They seek to recreate cultural enclaves where they can fashion a kind of quasi-yeshiva or where they identify with and support the activities of the messianists who seek to hasten the redemption.

The complexity of Judaism is lost; the contributions of general culture are often denied. The only concerns are those that are the fundamentals of the faith. Whether this guarantees the continuity of Judaism and the Jewish people is of course subject to debate. The Jewish people has throughout the millennia of its existence managed both to retain some key elements of its identity while also adapting to the societies and cultures in which it found itself. That ability to rebuild and recreate itself was what allowed a people that began as a Temple cult and became a people of books to survive exile and dispersion. It was nothing less than the capacity to be different in different times and places, even as it remained attached to a covenant and a history, that enabled the Jews to endure. To those who argue today that all this complexity can be devolved into a few fundamentals, one can only say time will tell. If one considers what has happened to the rich culture of Islam as it has devolved into Islamist fundamentalism as a model, the Jews who espouse this option would do well to rethink their strategy.

* * *

PROF. SAMUEL HEILMAN holds the Harold Proshansky Chair in Jewish Studies at the Graduate Center and is Distinguished Professor of Sociology at Queens College of the City University of New York. He has also been a visiting professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv University, and the Universities of New South Wales and Melbourne in Australia.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 2:44 PM | 9 comments

Monday, October 31, 2005
Hassidic rabbi suspected of officiating marriages of underage couples

By Eli Ashkenazi and Vered Levy-Barzilay, Haaretz Correspondents

Police on Monday detained for questioning a Hassidic rabbi suspected of officiating the marriages of minors.

Rabbi Shlomo Eliezer Schick, the spiritual leader of the Bratslav Hassidic movement in Yavne'el, near Lake Kinneret, is suspected of officiating the marriages of some 20 underage couples, mostly ages 12 to 16. Tiberias police began investigating the case some two and a half years ago, following complaints from the secular residents of the community.

Police detained Schick for questioning at the Ben Gurion International Airport upon his arrival from New York.

Schick denied all allegations against him and was released after the investigation, though he is currently forbidden from visiting Yavne'el.

The Bratslav community in Yavne'el has also dismissed the allegations made by police, calling them rumors concocted by the secular farmers in the community who they say have embarked on a hate campaign against them.

Followers of rabbi Schick settled in Yavne'el, a farming community, in 1986. The Hassidic residents, who are mostly newly religious, comprise just a few hundred of Yavne'el's 3,000 residents.

The Hassidic residents of the community are known as "Schickim," or devotees of rabbi Schick, who lives in New York and visits the community every few months.

Since the establishment of the Hassidic community in Yavne'el, there have been countless tense incidents between them and the veteran residents of the community.

The veteran residents have accused the Hassidim of assault, threats, arson, sabotage, vandalism, obscense language, spitting and making insulting remarks to the secular residents. The veteran residents also raised their suspicions of widespread underage marriage in an interview with Haaretz two and a half years ago.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 6:30 PM | 23 comments

Saturday, October 29, 2005
Leading Kabbalist Urges Jews to Israel , Says More Disasters Coming- Also Woman sees Jesus In A Tree

Leading Kabbalist Urges Jews to Israel - More Disasters Coming

By Baruch Gordon

On Thursday night, Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri said, "Jews must come to the land of Israel to receive our righteous Mashiach (Messiah), who has begun his influence and will reveal himself in the future."(WOWEEE!!)

It was during the meal after the 24-hour Yom Kippur fast that several followers approached the 104-year-old leading known Kabbalist Rabbi in Israel. A family member asked him about his remarks last month regarding natural disasters in the world. The Rabbi said that the disasters are directly related to the redemption process, which will culminate in the coming of the Mashiach.

The Rabbi added that in the near future, another wave of natural disasters will strike the world.(WOWEEE!)

Last week before Yom Kippur, Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri's grandson, Rabbi Yosef Kaduri had a private audience with the elder Rabbi, along with an Arutz-7 journalist who is closely linked to Kaduri's court. Rabbi Yosef Kaduri said to his grandfather, "Not many Jews are coming from overseas. Why should they come? ?"( There's no bigger Asshole than this guy who drags his grandfather around to cash in on him.)

The Kabbalist answered, "Because of impending danger." Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri then added a quote from Deuteronomy 4:15: "Be extremely protective of your lives."(like it's safe in Israel)

According to Rabbi Yosef Kaduri and the Arutz-7 journalist, the Kabbalist elder referred to a known esoteric concept of a "struggle between the oceans," and said that the large oceans [Haokeanus hagadol] would strike the world. Rabbi Yosef Kaduri said that grandfather's warning includes were Jews of the Americas.( How the F*** does he know?, pathetic whore)

The elder Rabbi Kaduri told the two that on Yom Kippur he would have more things to say.(WOWEEE, can't wait)

During the afternoon Mincha prayer on Yom Kippur, the Kabbalist scholar surprised his students and fellow worshippers with secrets relating to the coming of the Mashiach. During the service, Rabbi Kaduri lowered his head and entered a deep mystical concentration which lasted uninterrupted for some 45 minutes. The Rabbi covered his eyes as though reciting the Sh'ma prayer and only his lips were seen moving.That's about the only part of his body that still moves The Alter Kaker fell asleep

Students who thought the elderly Rabbi was suffering an attack of sort tried to communicate with him, but he did not break his intense concentration for a moment, even to nod.(Dead people don't move.)

Only after some 45 minutes, the Rabbi raised his head and looked around the room at the students and worshippers who were gathered at his Nachalat Yitzhak Yeshiva, in the Bucharim neighborhood of Jerusalem. With a broad smile on his face familiar to his students when he has a revelation, he declared, "With the help of G-d, the soul of the Mashiach has attached itself to a person in Israel" GIMMEEE A BREAK [In the original Hebrew: 'Hit'abra bezrat hashem nishmat mashiach b'adam m'yisrael'].

At the conclusion of his short declaration, murmuring was heard among the congregants as the Kabbalists' words were repeated for those who could not hear. A few congregants farted as well.

Rabbi Kaduri has spoken repeatedly about the Final Redemption and referred to the calculations of the Vilna Gaon regarding the redemption, which appear in the Gaon's writings and are considered difficult to decipher.

The Vilna Gaon (1720 - 1797)
According to the writings of the Vilna Gaon, a sign of the Gog and Magog war is its breaking out on the Jewish holiday of Hoshana Rabba (the 7th day of the Sukkot holiday), just after the conclusion of the 7th or shemittah [agricultural sabbatical] year.

On September 24, 2001, Channel One Israel TV broadcast an item on what Torah and other mystics were saying in the wake of the World Trade Center attack. Speaking from the room adjacent to where Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri receives visitors, Arutz Sheva Hebrew radio showhost Yehoshua Meiri, a close confident of the Kabbalist, explained to the cameras Rabbi Kaduri's understanding of the events based on the calculations of the Vilna Gaon: "On Hashanah Rabba, the actual war of Gog and Magog will commence and will last for some seven years," said Meiri.

Precise to the minute, 13 days later on October 7th as the sun was setting and the Jewish holiday of Hoshana Rabba was ushered in, US and British forces began an aerial bombing campaign targeting Taliban forces and Al-Qaida. That year was the Hoshana Rabba just after the shemitta year of 5761.

According to the calculation, a 7-year count from that Hoshana Rabba is the date of a major revelation associated with Mashiach. Those close to Rabbi Kaduri say in his name that the 5th year of this redemption process is now beginning.

They explain that the above-mentioned "attaching" of a righteous soul to a person of Israel makes the recipient a candidate for Mashiach, but not yet the actual Mashiach. This person gets an additional soul which finds expression in the adding of a letter to his name, without changing its pronunciation. The elder Rabbi Kaduri says that the letter added to this person's name is "vav" and the secret of his power is a Star of David hidden in his attire.

Before he reached the age of 13, the young Yitzhak Kaduri studied with the renowned Rabbi Yosef Chaim (the Ben Ish Chai) of Iraq. Rabbi Kaduri tells that the Ben Ish Chai blessed him that he would live to see the revelation of the Mashiach. The Ben Ish Chai passed away, and Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri immigrated to Israel soon after.

What happens when Kaduri dies and Mr. Moshiach is not here???

In a similar bullshit story!

"Image of Jesus seen on city tree"

'This is God giving us a sign,' one believer says of silver maple

Greg Livadas
Staff writer

(October 26, 2005) — Call it a cry for peace, a test of faith or a random act of nature, a tree growing on Rochester's North Clinton Avenue so far has attracted several dozen believers who say they see the image of Jesus Christ on the tree's trunk.

"I see it clearly," said Yomaira Otero of Rochester, who stood in the pouring rain Tuesday with six members of her family to see the tree. She spoke in Spanish to her relatives and pointed out the facial features, including the beard of bark she saw. "He looks like he's sleeping."

The "Jesus tree," as some are calling it, is a silver maple growing on the front lawn of the Hickey-Freeman Co. factory at 1155 N. Clinton Ave. It's a few feet from the sidewalk and behind a black metal fence.

The factory, which makes Hickey-Freeman, Bobby Jones and Burberry tailored clothing, has been at the site for 92 years. It sits in the heart of Rochester's infamous "crescent," known for high crime rates.

"It's a sign from God that there should be peace," said Maria Trinidad, who lives on Clifford Avenue. "There is a lot of crime here. People should have faith in God. This is God giving us a sign."

Her daughter, Keila Negron, 13, said she also believed it was a divine sign, but admitted she had trouble visualizing the image on the tree in the rain, which darkened the bark. She vowed to return in better weather and take pictures of the tree.

Jim Holtz, 54, of Greece, said he noticed the image Monday when he stopped in the Cash King pawn shop directly across the street from Hickey-Freeman.

"I was looking out that way as I usually do and saw that on the tree," Holtz said. "I said, 'Am I seeing things?'"

Holtz walked across the street to see whether the image had been spray-painted on. It wasn't.

"I said, 'We gotta get some pictures of this,'" he said, and he contacted the media.

Holtz doesn't know whether the image is a coincidence or a message. He says he believes in God but doesn't regularly attend church.

Karen Marshall, 43, of Rochester also stood on the sidewalk looking at the tree Tuesday. She held newspapers over her head to help keep dry as she pointed out the tree's features to her sister, Ann Manigoult, who had trouble picking out the image.

"We can't physically see Jesus, so we only have signs," Marshall said. "The only way we can know he's here is through signs. He's everywhere. You just have to have faith."

Officials from Hickey-Freeman Co., who were unavailable Tuesday to discuss the tree, so far have tolerated the cars stopping in front of their building and the groups of gawkers on the sidewalk. They aren't sure what else to do because, as the facilities manager said, "there's no protocol for this sort of thing."

Mark Day, 30, a shipping clerk at Hickey-Freeman, took a picture of the tree after seeing others standing outside the factory looking at it.

Day said he believes the tree's design is a coincidence. "I don't think it's a message because God is everywhere," he said.

Doug Mandelaro, a spokesman for Rochester's Roman Catholic Diocese, said he "wouldn't dare to comment on someone else's moment of inspiration or religious experience. Religious experience is and always has been a mystery and very personal."

Jesus in a tree, Moshiach in Israel already with a vuv attached to his name, and Kaduri will live long enough to see the Moshiach!!!

Enough already you delusional sick Moshiach whores!!!!

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 7:40 PM | 37 comments

Thursday, October 27, 2005
Twelve new Orthodox women halachic advisers ordained

12 new women halachic advisers ordained

Twelve new female halachic advisers, ordained in Jerusalem on Wednesday, will help mitigate inhibitions felt by religious women in need of halachic advice on the intimacies of Jewish family purity laws.

These 12 women, the fourth graduating class of halachic advisers produced by Nishmat, a college for higher Jewish learning in Bayit Vagan, are trained to answer the same questions normally directed at a male rabbi. But as women answering questions posed by women these advisers minimize the awkwardness that often accompanies exposing intimate details on, for example, menstruation to a male stranger.

Dean of Nishmat Chana Henkin said that in many cases religious women who were apprehensive about asking a rabbi about family purity laws were needlessly stringent on themselves.

"Women remain separated from their husbands needlessly," said Henkin. "There are quite a few babies in this world that probably never would have been born if our advisers had not helped make the halacha more accessible."

However, Henkin's husband, Rabbi Yehuda Henkin, who, together with Rabbi Ya'acov Warhaftig, supervises the fielding of dozens of questions via Internet and a special daily hot-line, said that the advisers are not a substitute for male halachic authority.

"We purposely call them halachic 'advisers' to emphasize their role in citing known, undisputed Jewish law. But none of the women are poskei halacha (halachic authorities). None of them make decisions on new, unprecedented issues in halacha."

He added that "very few men have enough halachic knowledge to make groundbreaking halachic decisions let alone women...But the time will come when women will have the appropriate background necessary to make innovative halachic decisions."

Although Henkin did not admit it, his willingness to accept the possibility of a female halachic authority equal to men, even in theory, is a radical idea not just in haredi circles. Even many religious Zionist rabbis would be opposed to a female rabbi deciding precedent-making questions in halacha.

Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, admittedly a conservative though widely respected religious Zionist halachic authority, announced several years ago that any man who learns Torah from a woman should be pitied.

In the meantime, rabbis Warhaftig and Henkin answer the tough questions. Chana Henkin said that six to eight questions are fielded daily on Nishmat's Internet site [] and over the past five years about 50,000 questions have been answered on Nishmat's Golda Koschitzky Women's Halachic Hotline.

Rabbi Henkin said that during their two-year course of studies female halachic advisers cover all of the studies demanded by the Israeli Rabbinate for rabbinic ordination.

But unlike the men, the women are required to study physiology, anatomy and certain medical issues such as the effect of birth control on the body and fertility problems.

"We also require women to learn basic psychology, sexology and counseling," Rabbi Henkin said.

Henkin does not rule out the possibility that additional fields of halachic will be taught to women. "We've thought about opening a course to teach women the halachot of kashrut. But it is still in the planning stages," he said.

Ira and Charlotte Green sponsored Wednesday evening's ordination ceremony for the new advisers who will join the other 28 who have already been trained. Other major supporters of the program include Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein and Moshael, Zahava and Bethia Straus. Dr. Norman Lamm, former rector of Yeshiva University, is an academic adviser to Nishmat.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 7:32 PM | 26 comments

Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Lack of Ethics- The New Ugly Jew

Lack of Ethics
Rabbi Gregory Marx

"I have a confession to make. I read the newspaper Jewish-style. I look for those articles that are about Jews and things that affect Jews. All events can be interpreted by the question, 'Is it good for the Jews?' 'Economy falters.' Is it good for the Jews? Middle East flare up…Is it good for the Jews? All heroes and criminals are subject to that probing question: are they Jewish and will their behavior influence public opinion about the Jews? ...

Tonight, I want to talk about other types of Jews who are in the news. And it doesn’t make me proud. I read recently that Jews from Israel are the leading importers of Ecstasy into this country. That’s right, the drug lords of New York speak Hebrew. Last summer, New York police seized over one million Ecstasy pills from Israelis David Roash and Israel Ahkenzi. They had a street value of forty million dollars.

Those of us who travel on El Al, are not only with Yeshiva students and Zionists, we are traveling with drug dealers as well. And who are the carriers?

According to the Jerusalem Report, Bobover Chassidim are paid $1500 and a free trip to Europe for carrying up to $500,000 in cash to Amsterdam and returning with a load of Ecstasy.

They travel back to Israel with 30,000 to 40,000 aspirin-sized pills, which are then sent to America, Australia and New Zealand for sale.

Colleagues that I work with have deeply disappointed me. In Florida, an Orthodox colleague of mine is currently in prison, serving a multi-year term for soliciting minors on the Internet. He solicited a 14-year-old boy and was caught establishing a liaison with the youth. In his depravity he decided not to prey on his Bar/Bat Mitzvah students, but went instead to outside youths that he met in Internet chat rooms and subsequently dark parking lots.
We still await the beginning of the retrial for a south Jersey rabbi who is accused of hiring a troubled man in his congregation to bludgeon his wife to death. Then there are the cantors from New York and Harrisburg who are accused of molesting young boys in their own family and beyond.
And of course, a neighboring synagogue suffered for the past year, having discovered that its trusted employee allegedly embezzled over $1.2 million. While the staff was taking pay cuts in order to stem the financial hemorrhage, two employees were allegedly cutting checks to themselves for thousands of dollars a week.

More often than I care to admit, Jews in the news are not making us proud ... Four Chassidim ripped off the government to the tune of millions and millions of dollars by getting federal grants for schools that didn't even exist! And that didn't stop their fellow Chassidim from coming to the defense of their cohorts by claiming they didn't keep any of the money for themselves.

The chief rabbis of the community defended their actions, because it was strengthening the religious efforts of the community against the evils of secularization. What is happening to our community?

Rabbi Elimelech Naiman was given a prison sentence for mail fraud and misappropriation of government funds. He was the deputy director of the Council of Jewish Organizations of Borough Park.
Rabbi Jacob Lustig got 3 years’ probation and a million-dollar fine for skimming more than 2 million dollars from his synagogue's bingo proceeds.
Rabbi Hertz Frankel got nabbed for cheating the government out of six million dollars.
Recently, Rabbi Yizchok Fried was arrested for dealing in drugs. Two Chassidim were jailed for rigging an election in England!

And headlines in the New York Post and Daily News told the world of the arrest of 14 Satmar Chassidim of running a multi-million dollars 'full service fraud factory,' which bilked banks, credit card companies, individuals and the IRS of millions of dollars.

These are just a few from within the Orthodox community!

Not only have Jews in the news sunk to moral lows, but worse still, they have failed to accept responsibility for their moral wrongdoings.

I will never forget officiating at the funeral of a mother of two infants who was stabbed to death by her husband from Monsey, New York. Her two children are too young to remember the events that changed their lives, but when they mature, they will sadly come to understand their loss of innocence, the intrusion of violence and the betrayal of trust that turned their lives upside down. One parent gone, another in jail for the murder. I know that it goes on all around us.

It’s part of the daily news that makes up the larger world. But I’m not talking to the larger world. I’m talking to our community. You’re the only ones who will listen.

We Jews are supposed to be a light unto the nations. We are supposed to define our characters by our behavior. And judging from the past years, we are in terrible shape ...

We are here to remind the world, that deeds not faith redeem the world. If we lose sight of this teaching, if we forget to live like decent people, then we loose the essence of our faith.

We become irrelevant. The world won’t need Jews anymore.

With all these recent revelations and scandals, it's not so much my concern what God thinks about it, and it is not even my concern what non-Jews think and say about it.

My deepest concern is how our own Jewish children feel about it!

A congregant told me that she swelled with pride when she discovered her elementary school-aged children avidly reading a front-page story in the newspaper. But then she was horrified to learn what article they were reading.
It was the headline about jury selection for a rabbi accused of murdering his wife. Who would have dreamed that a Jewish standard bearer would gain national prominence before children’s eyes in this way? ... So yes, 'Why be Jewish?' is being asked by many. And 'Why marry Jewish?' is being asked by many more. Can I still say because of our moral passion?

Can I still say, that it’s because we Jews have historically taken the ethical high road?

What do I say when our children are bombarded every day with stories of Jews who are corrupt and have sunk to the lowest levels of inhumanity ???

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 7:47 PM | 18 comments

Saturday, October 22, 2005
Chassidic rabbis implicated in Colombian drug trade

I will keep posting the criminal behavior that is so prevalent in the Jewish community. Let the readers decide how low the community has sunk and what to do about what has become acceptable behavior.

N.Y. Jewish Week

Berish Grunfeld, 64, president of the Bobover yeshiva and an executive director of Bobov's New York institutions, said nothing as federal prosecutors charged him and 11 others in a conspiracy to launder millions of dollars in illegal drug profits for Colombian drug dealers through the bank accounts of the yeshiva and synagogue of Bobov. The largest Chassidic sect in Boro Park and the second largest in the state after Satmar, it has perhaps as many as 30,000 adherents.

The complaint charges that Grunfeld and Rabbi Mahir Reiss, 47, laundered tens of millions in drug money through the bank accounts of the Bobover Yeshiva, Congregation Eitz Chaim and Chaim Shel Shulem, believed to be a free-loan society and apparently located at the Bobover World Headquarters on 47th Street.

They are accused also of helping the drug dealers buy an airplane that is commonly used to transport illegal drugs.

The rabbis and others allegedly skimmed 15 percent to 18 percent of each transaction for themselves, federal officials said.

"Money launderers are indispensable partners of major drug traffic, and the cynical act of using religious institutions to conceal drug proceeds is particularly reprehensible," declared Zachary Carter, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, in announcing the charges at the downtown Brooklyn courthouse Monday.

Grunfeld and Reiss, as well as Reiss' brother Abraham, who also was charged, face up to 20 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines. They each were released on a $750,000 bond. Reiss secured his bond in part by committing his $3 million residence.

Reaction to news of the arrests on the streets of Boro Park was a mix of shock and anger. One resident, asked for comment, said testily, "Look elsewhere for a story."

Others, like Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who represents Boro Park, downplayed the fact that those arrested were rabbis, saying, "Everyone in this community is a rabbi."

Still others stressed that the matter should be seen in personal, not communal, terms. And still others surmised that Grunfeld may not have been fully aware that the money he was allegedly being asked to launder was connected to the drug trade.

But Assistant U.S. Attorney Lee Dunst said evidence indicated that "Bernard Grunfeld knew that this was the proceeds of drug trafficking or was deliberately closing his eyes, which under the legal standard makes him criminally culpable."

It is not the first time a Chassidic sect has been linked with the billion-dollar Colombian drug cartels.

In 1994, Satmar Rabbi Abraham Low, married to the niece of the Satmar rebbe, Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum, was convicted for conspiring to launder drug money -- part of an international network that laundered up to $5 million a week. Other cases have involved a Brooklyn shtiebel (elementary school) and a Lower Manhattan yeshiva.

A 100-page federal complaint announced charges that the rabbis and other Orthodox Jews joined with five New York members of a Colombian drug gang to launder $1.75 million in drug profits.

The complaint said Grunfeld was brought into the operation by Reiss, president of Realex Capital on Park Avenue, and his brother Abraham, a real estate executive from the Upper West Side.

In the complaint, Reiss is referred to by other defendants as "The Rabbi," "Uncle" or "Barbas," Spanish for "beard." Abraham Reiss was known also as "Roomie."

Nine others were also indicted Tuesday, the result of a three-year federal undercover operation that employed wiretaps and other devices, authorities said.

Federal officials said the alleged Bobov-Colombian connection worked like this:

Three middlemen went from a Long Island home to Manhattan, where they would pick up the drug money from Colombian drug dealers. The three would bring the cash to a safe house, an apartment at 243 W. 75th St., to be counted. Investigators said Abraham Reiss would bring the money to Grunfeld, who would cut checks to people named on a list faxed to the Reiss brothers, according to Dunst, the assistant U.S. attorney prosecuting the case.

A key part of the scam, officials said, was the attempt to hide the bank transactions from federal authorities by keeping each check under $10,000 -- the amount that triggers automatic review by federal banking officials.

The complaint charges that Grunfeld and Israel Knobloch, who was also charged, created the structure to divide $1 million into 95 separate deposits to avoid federal scrutiny.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 7:45 PM | 71 comments

Wednesday, October 19, 2005
The New Square Gangsta' Rapper (Rebbe) And His"Shtreimel Rappers Band" Of Thieves

Anatomy Of A Pardon
How four New Square felons got their sentences commuted, and what Hillary had to do with it.

By Eric J. Greenberg
The New York Jewish Week

NEW YORK — Several weeks after her historic victory in New York's U.S. Senate race, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton attended a meeting at the White House with President Bill Clinton and the Skverer rebbe -- Rabbi David Twersky, spiritual leader of the scandal-scarred New Square chasidic sect in Rockland County.

But this was not the first meeting between New York's new junior senator and the 60-year-old grand rebbe of the 7,000-member village -- the first incorporated Jewish community in the U.S.

Clinton first campaigned there last August. That visit launched a series of events that last week culminated in a controversial last-minute clemency action on behalf of New Square by outgoing President Clinton.

His act came 10 weeks after New Square, breaking with most Orthodox communities, heartily supported Clinton's Senate campaign, delivered almost all of the village's votes for her.

The decision by President Clinton to commute the sentences of four prominent New Square men who stole tens of millions from the federal government in a phony yeshiva scheme is being criticized this week by law enforcement officials.

Questions are being raised about whether the first lady unduly capitalized on her relationship with her husband, who had the unregulated power to pardon or commute prison sentences.

New Square officials and a spokesman for Senator Clinton emphatically deny that any ``deal" was made before the election to deliver votes for her in return for the commutations of the ``New Square Four." Both say the subject was never even raised until December.

Clinton said Wednesday she played ``no role whatsoever" in the commutation. ``I had no opinion about it," she said.

But some critics don't believe it.

``Just look at the math," said a Republican operative familiar with the Senate race. ``She gets all of New Square's votes and two months later she [helps commute the sentences of] four people from the village."

The New Square commutations came among a blizzard of last-minute pardons and commutations -- many controversial -- directed by President Clinton on his last day in office. But New Square seems to be the only one connected to his wife's unprecedented race for the Senate.

New Square advocates argue the sentences were too harsh and that the convicted men did not gain personal profit from ill-gotten federal money -- a claim disputed by the federal judge during sentencing. New York law enforcement officials were irate over the New Square commutations.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White said they bypassed Justice Department procedures and did not give her office enough time to prepare arguments against them.

White's office learned of the New Square commutations on Jan 16 -- four days before the decision to pardon -- and was given a one-day deadline to reply. ``We found out about the New Square virtually at the last moment," said a law enforcement official.

In contrast to New Square, Clinton also publicly expressed concern about the Jonathan Pollard case, but no action was taken to commute Pollard's life sentence for spying on behalf of Israel (see accompanying story).

On Aug. 8, Clinton visited New Square, about 40 miles north of New York City. She visited the girls yeshiva and schmoozed with Rabbi Twersky's wife, Chana. She also had a private meeting with the rebbe.

At the time, Clinton's campaign was desperately trying to boost stagnant support for her among the state's key Jewish voters. Her opponent, former Long Island Republican Rep. Rick Lazio, seemed to be gaining momentum.

For Clinton, it was already clear that New York's Orthodox and chasidic communities would be a hard sell, as they were expressing their personal dislike for her and her positions, particularly regarding Israel. She needed to show she could win some support in Orthodox circles.

Meanwhile, New Square was coping with a series of scandals in which top village officials were going to jail or fleeing the country for swindling tens of millions of dollars in federal education, housing and small-business subsidies in a decade-long scam.

One widely publicized case included laundering money through a phony yeshiva set up in Brooklyn.

Rabbi Twersky desperately wanted to win clemency for the four noted New Square residents who on Jan. 25, 1999 were convicted of 21 charges including conspiracy, embezzlement, and wire and mail fraud. Kalmen Stern, 42, was sentenced to 78 months; David Goldstein, 54, of Brooklyn, 70 months; Jacob Elbaum 40, 57 months; and Benjamin Berger, 30 months. They were ordered to pay back millions of dollars.

(In addition, two others fled the country: New Square founders Chaim Berger, Benjamin's father, and Avraham David Friesel, son of Mayor Mattus Friesel. Chaim Berger, who fled to Israel, is awaiting extradition pending an Israeli Supreme Court hearing, while Abraham Friesel is still listed as a fugitive, authorities said.)

``The [prison sentences] were weighing heavily upon the rebbe's soul and mind," said an Orthodox leader familiar with Rabbi Twersky.(UOJ SAYS BULLSHIT, IT'S WEIGHING ON HIS POCKET)

For Clinton, the Aug. 8 meeting was a like a splash of cool water in the desert. Unlike more hostile receptions in Orthodox quarters, New Square welcomed her with warmth, participants agreed.

``The rebbetzin and Hillary got along extremely well," a Democratic campaign source recalled. ``The rebbe endorsed her."

But spokesmen for Clinton and New Square emphatically state that the issue of the four imprisoned men was not brought up then or anytime before Election Day.

``It was raised sometime after the election," Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson told The Jewish Week Tuesday. Asked specifically when, Wolfson said he did not know.

New Square spokesman Rabbi Mayer Schiller also vigorously assured that the issue was not brought up in August. But other Rockland County political insiders dispute their claims.

``From day one [the issue of commutation] was part and parcel of the whole thing," said one source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. ``[New Square representatives] spelled out clearly their interest in her helping those who were incarcerated."

After the August meeting, New Square officials began campaigning for Clinton, even outside the village, though Clinton's positions on such core issues as school vouchers, abortion and Israel were in opposition to New Square.

Community members drove around in cars with loudspeakers urging -- in Yiddish -- for Rockland County Orthodox residents to vote for her. A Yiddish weekly endorsed her based on lobbying from New Square.

``It's not a secret their support was based on the hope that she would look kindly towards the people that are incarcerated," said Rabbi Ronnie Greenwald, a prominent Orthodox leader who lives in nearby Monsey. ``They really went out and helped her. It was an honest attempt to get votes and get support for Hillary Clinton."

On Election Day, Clinton carried New Square, 1,400 to 12. It was a glaring exception to much of the Orthodox world and New Square's chasidic neighbors, who voted overwhelmingly for Lazio.

``I would say in general that chasidic voting blocs are motivated greatly by self interest," explained Rabbi Schiller when asked about the anomaly. ``New Square tends to vote in blocs, usually based upon personal relationships developed with politicians."

Six weeks after the election, Rabbi Twersky and New Square Deputy Mayor Israel Spitzer found themselves sitting in the White House map room with President Clinton and Sen.-elect Hillary Clinton. It was the first time Rabbi Twersky had ever been in the White House, Rabbi Schiller said. (Rabbi Twersky does not grant interviews and Spitzer declined to be interviewed directly.)

During a scheduled 15-minute meeting on Dec. 22 that stretched into 45 minutes, according to New Square officials, Rabbi Twersky raised the issue of seeking mercy for the New Square four and help for fugitive Chaim Berger in Israel.

Rabbi Twersky has never publicly commented about the sins of his community members, and repeatedly turned down interviews to explain the scandal.

Spitzer related that Rabbi Twersky told the president about ``a dark cloud" over the community, referring to the prison sentences. The rabbi then presented a letter to President Clinton signed by several Jewish organizations asking for mercy.

``[Clinton] read the letter and said he would look into it," Rabbi Schiller quoted Spitzer. Rabbi Schiller said he could not provide a copy of the letter.

Asked to see any photos taken with the rabbi and the Clintons, Rabbi Schiller denied they existed. But a former White House spokesman confirmed photos were taken and sent to New Square.

Meanwhile, following the White House session, New Square hired Washington attorney Samuel Rosenthal to file the forms necessary to request presidential pardons and commutations -- actions an outgoing president traditionally takes in the last weeks of his term.

On Saturday, Clinton commuted the sentences of the New Square four. In all Clinton pardoned 140 people and commuted 36 prison sentences.

Also under attack is the pardon of Susan Rosenberg, found guilty of possession of 700 pounds of explosives and a submachine gun in a 1984 New Jersey case.

In the case of the New Square four, Clinton commuted Benjamin Berger's sentence to 24 months and the rest to 30 months. All will serve about another 18 months.

But according to a Justice Department spokeswoman, Clinton's commutation does not dismiss the court's order that they repay millions of dollars in restitution and undergo several years of supervised release. Stern still owes the government $11.2 million; Elbaum $11.1 million; Goldstein, $10.1 million; and Berger $522,977.

Experts said commutations, unlike pardons, are generally granted to shorten a sentence that is deemed too long or otherwise unfair, or to reward cooperation with the government.

White, in a statement speaking of the New York related cases, said: ``The facts of several of these cases in particular raise significant law enforcement concerns, the seriousness of the crimes is diminished, and the fact and the appearance of evenhanded justice is compromised." This apparently referred to claims by New Square that her office was overzealous and biased against the village.

But criminal justice experts said the New Square commutations sends a dangerous message about the workings of the justice system to a community that in 1996 was fined $1 million by a federal judge for contempt for refusing to comply with his order to provide evidence.

(Those Bastards set a F***** building on fire to destroy the records and then collected fire insurance to boot)

Observers also fear the commutations will have negative repercussions among New Square's non-Jewish neighbors, who believe that Orthodox Jews already receive special treatment from elected officials.

``This is not justice, this is politics," said Rockland County Sheriff James Kralik, whose office began the investigation years ago.

``This was a situation in my opinion that grew out of the election campaign of Mrs. Clinton and possibly Al Gore," he told the Rockland Journal newspaper Tuesday. ``And the community certainly showed their respect for Mrs. Clinton with their votes.''

It just makes you puke! These gangsters do not practice Judaism, they USE their filthy disguises to steal, lie, cheat, and destroy our religion. CHASSIDISM IS NOT JUDAISM. David Twersky AKA the Rebbe is the same worthless low-life scumbag as the rest of his gang of hoodlums. The people who seek him out for brachas, will have those words turned into curses. All of them will rot in Hell as they should. There is a special place in HELL for ALL the fur hat gangsters, or whatever they call themselves!

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 7:45 PM | 46 comments

Saturday, October 15, 2005
Hasidic Village Keeps Women Out of the Driver's Seat

Steven I. Weiss
The Forward

Even as the White House presses Saudi Arabia to permit women to drive, an ultra-Orthodox community in New York has launched a campaign to reassert its ban on female motorists.

During her trip last month to Saudi Arabia, Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes delivered a speech in which she stressed the Bush administration's determination to see Saudi women obtain more rights — including the right to drive.

Meanwhile, in the Hasidic village of New Square, N.Y., religious leaders recently issued a document reminding residents that "women should not sit in the front of a car." Released in July by the community's top rabbinical court, the document was aimed at shoring up several communal standards — especially those regarding women's conduct.

"It's considered not tzniusdik [modest] for a woman to be a driver, not in keeping with the out-of-public-view [attitude]," village spokesman Rabbi Mayer Schiller said. "If you can imagine in Europe, would a woman have been a coach driver, a wagon driver? It would've been completely inappropriate."

The village's religious leaders have made an exemption for an 80-year-old woman who was one of the community's original residents and hadn't known about the driving prohibition before she moved there.

New Square, a 7,000-person enclave located 40 miles north of New York City, was founded by the late Skverer rebbe Rabbi Yaakov Yosef Twersky, a Holocaust survivor, and his followers. The village was established in 1954 and officially incorporated seven years later. It relies heavily on private charitable donations and on government-assistance programs.

In the recent document, New Square religious leaders reiterated the prohibition against girls riding bicycles; also, women are forbidden from going outside in their long housecoats, a common fashion staple in many Orthodox communities.

The rules "are nothing new," Schiller said, but "there's just a sense that for some of the young people they need to reinforce them." He added that in the village's entire history, similar comprehensive lists of communal standards have been posted "maybe five or 10 times, but probably no more than that."

"If you would poll the community... 97.5% would say, 'Yes, this is what we want,'" Schiller said.

While the rules are meant to apply to residents, clearly they're not part of the criteria for endorsing candidates for elective office. New Square's top rabbis endorsed Hillary Clinton in her successful run for the senate in 2000, and delivered all but a few votes for the former first lady.
Clinton spokeswoman Me-ah Zonah did not return repeated requests for comment.

The recent document in New Square addressed a wide range of prohibitions. One rule requires that a fence be constructed around houses that have a trampoline.

Another states that exercise groups can be formed only with the permission of a rabbinical court and that they require a mashgiach (religious inspector) to oversee them.

Some of the regulations are targeted at men, including a clause instructing male worshippers to keep their cell phones off and to refrain from talking during prayer times. But it is the rules pertaining to women — in particular, those related to driving — that bear a striking resemblance to the Saudi practices criticized by the Bush administration.

In some ways, Saudi Arabia's laws regarding women are more permissive than the religious edicts in New Square. For example, a Saudi woman is allowed to ride in the front seat of a car if the driver is her husband. While husbands and wives in Saudi Arabia are allowed to walk with each other, New Square men and women always must walk on different sides of the street. In strong contrast to Saudi Arabia, the government does not enforce the religious rules in New Square; violations do not result in any form of corporal punishment. But those who frequently violate the rules in New Square are blackballed from the community.

"I can think of just a handful of cases over the years" in which someone was expelled from New Square's religious community, Schiller said.

"I don't think any of these transgressions would get you to be expelled from the community," Schiller said. But, he added, "If a young woman was driving, that would be fairly serious."

Schiller warned against drawing any negative conclusions about New Square based on the Saudi situation. "It is a mistake to view a religious practice negatively just because another culture, aspects of which we may find troubling, also practices it," he said. At the same time, the New Square spokesman was critical of the Bush administration's efforts in the Middle East.

"American foreign policy has moved towards a messianic, crusading secularism which judges all other peoples by the standards of our own 'fashionable' elites," he said. "This monolithic utopianism inevitably yields spiritual, moral and practical disasters."

UOJ Comments
Schiller did not comment about the fire that destroyed all the financial records at New Square as the Government was investigating millions of dollars of theft.
Schiller also did not make mention of the convicted felons from New Square, close associates of the Rebbe, that were pardoned by Bill Clinton on his last day in office.
New Square has become a sewer of corruption led by a smiling Howdy Doody buffoon.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 8:21 PM | 40 comments

Friday, October 14, 2005
Orthodox Criminals

A great e-mail from a new Frum Skeptic

A- the community has a tendency to live in self-denial and delusional
grandeur ("it doesn't happen here"), and to sweep things under the rug
when it does happen: talking about such things is taboo. (examples of
such taboos are someone who: served time; was in a clinic for
addiction, mental ilness, eating disorder, chronical problem (such as
a young person with congenital heart problems), or any
"non-conventional illness"; came out of the closet; had troubles with
the law; ran away for a while (either from home, yiddishkeit or both)
but returned and so forth - not to mention the presence of a
handicapped individual in the family, see more below). therefore,
voicing disapproval is by extension forbidden because one cannot say
loshon hora, "be motzei shem ra" (i hate the yeshivish english) or
accuse another yid of something false ("do YOU have ANY proof of it?
no? then don't accuse if you cannot prove! never mind what the new
york times says, YOU do not have proof and the press is
anti-semitic!"). simply put, it never happened - and if it did, the
person does not exist or was absolved by wither previous holiness,
denial, or some type of perceived teshivah.

B- as practical examples:
there is a head of a beis din in north america whose son is serving
time in an american prison for armed robbery - and nobody ever talks
about him, not even cousins - and there are members of his family who
even do not know that this person exists (kids who are almost
teenagers, spouses of cousins, etc.)!

There is the camp in new york state for handicapped children whose
counsellors are required to sign a legal document of non-disclosure of
names or the identity of any of the campers and their families; the
campers are taken to and from camp by hired drivers (almost always
non-jews) and whose families do not visit them, unless it is already
"public knowledge" that such handicapped individuals exist.

Although no crime is involved in the second instance, the attitude is
symptomatic of an intolerance of any deffect in those who should be
holy above all reproach - even when it is not their fault and others
could actually help them make things better for themselves and the
community (in my community, large as it is, there is no organized
group home for disabled individuals from frum families - there are
other "jewish" places, but without kosher food, etc. but the frum are
either homebound or shipped away until they die and are "found out"
only to vanish again after the shloshim when all mourning ends).

A- it really depends on what his "illegal activities" were.
oftentimes, it will not diminish his respect in the eyes of the
community as a rabbi, and this rabbi will rule as he pleases in all
matters, even if it blatantly contradicts his own behavior. see #3.

B- as an example: it happened with a head of a beis din in south
america that he attempted to leave the country with a briefcase filled
with american dollars (note: u.s. federal law requires that anyone
entering or leaving the country with more than 10,000 dollars declare
it - and many other countries have similar rules; the rabbi had much
more than ten thousand dollars). stopped by the police at the airport
(during a random security check, way before 9/11) he refused to talk
about the money, saying "i am a man of g-d, and it is none of your
business what i do". long story short, he missed the flight, spent at
least one night in detention and was freed with posting of bail and
bribes to clear his record (with the bribery making it 2 wrongs, but
still making it all right). but the said rabbi is very strict in his
rulings about business honesty, and no one even talks about this
incident anymore!

A- money-related offenses, especially financial fraud against the
government, is not seen as a crime by the frum community - especially
if the perpetrator/s use the money obtained to support a community
cause. the most famous case is perhaps that of zalman "jimmy" Gourary
of crown heights, who served time in federal prison for tax evasion
and fraud, but was seen in lubavitch - even by the rebbe - as a pillar
of righteousness and charity, mainly for his sponsorship of printing
of the rebbe's books and of a free mikvah right next to 770. other
cases - which happen daily and any yeshiva bochur heard of at least
one - include cheating car rental companies, long-distance providers,
insurance companies, purchase return policies (who never heard of the
"borrowed simcha outfit"?) and many other "soft" crimes (in one
instance there was even a way to obtain a driver's license without
knowing either english or how to drive, but technological changes to
the process ended that one). halacha clearly prohibits cheating
anyone, but since these involve cheating "the government, who steals
enough from us through taxes" or "the goyim", it is seen as no problem
("those companies/the government have so much money anyway!").

B- there is alwasy the "relocation" method: one commits a crime
somewhere and moves away to another community where s/he is either
unknown or out of reach of the jurisdiction of the first one. cases to
point include draft-dodgers who flee israel (too many to mention, but
nevertheless illegal aliens in the usa), people who run away from
their spouses with a lover (one such case now heads a
kashrut-supervising agency in North America), and one businessman
Fischer who pocketed money and building and land deeds from the crown
heights community council, fled to israel and avoids all cherem
provisions just by being out of the crown heights beis din
jurisdiction. the case became famous when it went to court and the
RICO act was invoked.

the bottom line:
Unfortunately, the orthodox community has created a self-perpetuating
vicious cycle of tolerance to crime and corruption, sometimes in the
name of jewish holiness ("lashon hara"), sometimes in the name of
protection of the families (e.g shidduchim, innocence of children
about crimes), but most often out of honor for some persons who do not
deserve it, safe for the position they currently hold and should lose
for their crimes.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 1:05 AM | 14 comments

Monday, October 10, 2005
Rabbis Pissed Off By Competition-May Seek Cherem

Rabbis Criticize New Madonna Song
By RACHEL HOAG, Associated Press Writer

JERUSALEM - A song on Madonna's upcoming album dedicated to a Kabbalist rabbi is drawing criticism from other rabbis, the Israeli Maariv daily reported Sunday.

The album, "Confessions on a Dance Floor," is to be released on Nov. 15 and features a track entitled "Isaac" about Yitzhak Luria, a 16th century Jewish mystic and Kabbalah scholar.

Rabbis who oversee Luria's tomb and a seminary in the northern town of Safed are unimpressed with Madonna's musical tribute and see the inclusion of the song about Luria on the album as an attempt by the pop star to profit from his name.(OY VEY)

Rabbi Rafael Cohen, head of a seminary named after Luria, suggested Madonna's actions could lead to divine retribution.

"Jewish law forbids the use of the name of the holy rabbi for profit.(WHO ARE THESE ASSHOLES KIDDING?)

Her act is just simply unacceptable and I can only sympathize for her because of the punishment that she is going to receive from the heavens," Cohen told the newspaper.( OH,OH,LOOK FOR HURRICANE PUTZRINA IN BEVERLY HILLS)

Another rabbi called for Madonna to be thrown out of the community.( and into his bed).

"Such a woman brings great sin on kabbalah," Rabbi Israel Deri told Maariv. "I hope that we will have the strength to prevent her from bringing sin upon the holiness of the rabbi (Yitzhak Luria)."( WHAT ABOUT YOUR SINS, SHMUCK??)

Madonna spokeswoman Malky Kotler-Wachtfogel didn't immediately return a phone call seeking comment Sunday.

The singer and actress was raised a Roman Catholic but has become a follower of Kabbalah in recent years and adopted the Hebrew name Esther. She made a much publicized visit to Israel in 2004, when she visited many sites important to Kabbalah, but didn't travel to Luria's grave.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 7:45 AM | 77 comments

Saturday, October 08, 2005
Charedi Women Get To Be On Top

Charedi women get green light to bike

Chief of Bnei Brak traffic police says women are now allowed to ride motorbikes while respecting Charedi values.This heter came from the Moetzes Gedolei Haputzim just in time for Yom K' "Purim".

Bnei Brak- After a quarter of a century of being denied the pleasure of riding a motorbike, Charedi women appear to have been given the green light to straddle a two-wheeler and cruise away solo.Finally, a KOSHER way for women to receive much needed attention to their physical needs.

Most of the married Charedi women were quoted as saying, "Finally after centuries, we have something between our legs that actually moves!"

"It is not an offence for women to ride motorbikes and they can apply, just like men, for a driving license and ride while respecting Charedi values," Moshe Laitzunos, the chief of Charedi traffic police, was quoted as saying by the Yated Sheker daily.

Pinky LipShits, the editor, would not publish this news until it was formally approved by the majority of the Alzheimers Bais Din.This did create some complications because ALL the rabbis on the Bais Din did not remember they were on the Bais Din.

Going solo on a motorcycle has been off limits since the 1979 "Mikve" revolution given that wind resistance encountered by the rider could negate the efficiency of a Charedi dress code designed to hide bodily curves. So why couldn't/didn't the Ayatollah Elyashiv Cockamaime issue a fatwa that women are permitted only to ride bikes in the direction of the wind??
How come NO KOL KOREH and NO Tehillim gathering?
Why NO full page ad in the toilet paper of record, the Yated?

Charedi women are not allowed to drive cars; riding bicycles has been tolerated provided they ride their bikes in Syria. Since the 1990's women are also allowed to ride pillion on a motorbike in Iraq. True,some poskim allow them to drive cars, but only from the back seat, so the accident rate across Bnei Brak has been excessive.

The latest sign of further change, however, could prove to be a false alarm.

In 2002, thousands of women lined up for free motorcycle lessons offered by a manufacturer, but the classes were quickly called off due to apparent opposition from rabbinical authorities. Hey, can you blame the dames for crowding like that? Simple math: straddle a vibrating motorcycle engine for free vs. paying for a Halacha-approved dildo. (Assuming they could find one!)

P.S.- Late breaking news; the OU, the KAJ, the OK are sending their rebbetzins' out to test this vibrating bike.We may get hechsherim just in time for Simchas Torah.
As the men are jumping with the Torah, the women on the other side of the mechitza are HUMPING their bikes.

I parodied this correspondence from an e-mail I received and added much "wisdom" of my own.
I changed some names and words(Iran,Koran...)just to piss off ALL fundamentalists,especially the Jews.
Everyone I see and talk to is so tzetumult and depressed, I figured a good laugh could be healing! Remember the "Unorthodox Jew" gets to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 8:11 PM | 14 comments

Thursday, October 06, 2005
The Jewish Bin Ladens

Ultra-Orthodox Jews and the State of Israel

What Shall I Do With This People? Jews and the Fractious Politics of Judaism
By Milton Viorst

“After 2,000 years of strenuous survival in exile, it would be a grim irony if homecoming is remembered by history not as the seed of the Jews’ redemption but of their self-destruction.”

These final words in Milton Viorst’s latest book, What Shall I Do With This People? sums up his exhaustive study of Judaism and the conflicting ideologies within this faith that could lead to civil war or worse in Israel.

Viorst selected the title from Exodus 17:4 in which an exasperated Moses, trying to lead Jews out of Sinai, cried out to the Lord; what shall I do with this people? Before long they will stone me.

At that early time, God called the Jews a stiff-necked people, and the author contends it is this attitude of the ultra-Orthodox that could bring about disaster in Israel.

In his earlier works, Viorst has explored Arab states and argues that religious fundamentalism holds them back from developing viable democracies and high tech economies.

In this book, he demonstrates that Ultra-Orthodox Jews share negative traits of so-called fundamentalist Muslims. Both divide society according to faith; reject temptations of modernity; exalt ancient texts and glorify the distant past. Both are politically authoritarian, male-dominated, impose restrictive dress codes and enforce strong sexual taboos.

The lay reader will learn more than he ever hoped to about Jewish history, but through this approach, Viorst documents earlier catastrophes brought about by the Zealots and other Jews with tunnel-vision nationalistic ambitions. They seem to have been reincarnated in the right-wing religious militants seeking political and societal control of Israel today.

Viorst cites the late Israeli historian Yehoshafat Harkabi, a retired general, who theorized that the Jews from King David to Simon Bar-Kokhba (who precipitated the Roman destruction of Judea) were blinded by nationalism that cost them their survival.

The early Maccabean victory over the Romans led to a pride that fell when they were defeated in two subsequent wars with Rome. This feeling of omnipotence after the victory of the 1967 Six-Day War may be a repetition of history, Harkabi warned.

The rift between Sephardi and Ashkenazi cultures was hardly noticed at its outset, Viorst contends. Rabbinic Judaism (Othodox) which began with the ancient sage Hillel ended in the yeshivot of eastern Europe. Rabbinic Judaism, Viorst writes, maintained the Jewish identity separate from the temptations of the Gentile world. But the arrival of the Enlightenment at the close of the 18th century tantalized European Jews and brought about Conservative and Reform movements.

In the U.S., Conservative and Reform Jews arrived in the early 19th century and prospered. Eastern European Orthodox Jews arrived at the turn of the century and were not welcomed into the temples of their co-religionists. But, the author stresses, Jews knew that in the U.S., their sectarian battles between Orthodox and Conservative and Reform would be unacceptable. It was only when Israel was founded that they had a terrain on which to resume their struggle.

“Sovereignty, moreover, brought a rise in the stakes,” Viorst writes. “Without Gentiles to overrule them, Jews went at the conflict more bitterly. What Orthodox Judaism saw in sovereignty was an opportunity to make up the losses of the centuries since the Enlightenment. What Reform and Conservative Judaism saw was a chance to have their legitimacy formally acknowledged. All three sought to enlist the secular state on its side, as tolerance among them seemed to grow increasingly distant.”

Even though the Zionist movement was founded by Theodor Herzl, a secular Jew, Rabbi Issac Reines, who founded the Mizrachi movement in Russia in 1902, insisted on a place for religious Jews in the Zionist cause. This opened the door for the Orthodox to be a legitimate faction within the Zionist movement.

After World War I, the Mizrachi World Organization moved to Palestine where it represented Orthodox interests and eventually became the National Religious Party. Nonetheless, Haredim badgered Mizrachi for failing to lead Zionism back to the faith.

Religious Zionists always accepted the legitimacy of Israel as a state, Viiorst points out, while the Ultra-Orthodoxy insist that only the Messiah can legitimize the state – hence they are still living in exile.

Whereas Western democracies separate church and state, Israel has followed the opposite path and accepts Orthodox Judaism at the nation’s one official faith. Israel has two chief rabbis (one Ashkenazi, the other Sephardi, both Orthodox).

Viorst states: “(Israel) maintains at public expense all Orthodox rabbis and their synagogues. It finances religious education at every level, run by Orthodox administrators. It empowers a system of Orthodox courts to preside over the enforcement of Halachic law in personal matters. It also sets enforcement of Halachic law in personal matters. It also sets Orthodox standards for naturalization and waives military service for students at Orthodox yeshivot.”

Over the centuries, Jews had observed the Three Oaths, Viorst informs the reader. These were (1) not to return en masse to the Holy Land, (2) not rebel against the host nation they lived in, and (3) in return for their quietude, the host nation would not unduly oppress them.

Because they observed the rule not to return to the Holy Land, the Hasidim called Zionism a sin. Some Hasidic rabbis went so far, Viorst notes, as to claim the Jews brought the Holocaust on themselves for failing to uphold the Three Oaths.

However, in 1948, when Israel offered a refuge to the Haredim, they took a more pragmatic point of view. Nonetheless, Ben Gurion refused to promise them a “state according to Torah.” They retaliated by threatening to go to the United Nations and testify against the establishment of Israel. Even though he denounced this as extortion, Ben Gurion compromised with the “status quo agreement.” In return for political – but not religious – recognition of the state, the Orthodox received special privileges: an official Sabbath, rabbinic jurisdiction over marriage and divorce, rabbinic administration and public financing of religious schools, application of kosher dietary laws in state institutions and exemption of yeshiva students and Haredi women from military service.

This, Viorst emphasizes, has produced a parasitic class of cloistered Haredi men who do not work and live off government subsidies. Haredim vote in blocks which perpetuates a system that drains the economy.

Religious Zionism has its roots in the teachings of Rabbi Abraham Issac Kook, who, Viorst says, put the Messiah back in Zionism. “By settling the land, Jews hasten the return of the Messiah,” Rabbi Kook prophesied. He emigrated from Latvia in 1904 and became the first Ashkenazi chief rabbi after World War I.

It was Rabbi Kook’s son, Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook, who shifted the religious focus from the Torah to territory. Following the 1967 War, he demanded that the government erase forever the demarcation line of 1948 separating Israel from “Judea and Samaria.” Out of this extremism emerged Rabbi Kook’s disciple, Rabbi Moshe Levinger, who holed up in the Hebron Park Hotel and launched the settler movement in 1968 with the militant settlement of Kiryat Arba.

Viorst traces the development of the hardline extremists. After the Yom Kippur War of 1973, Gush Emunim (Block of the Faithful) spouted its call for a Maccabean theocracy. These are the bearded men we see in photos wearing jeans, the knitted kippot and shouldering machine guns. In the 1980s, their Jewish Underground terrorized Palestinians, booby-trapped the cars of three West Bank mayors, maiming two of them. They killed three students and wounded 30 more at Hebron’s Islamic college. Rabbi Kook’s followers publicly applauded this while Labor and Likud did nothing.

On May 14, 1948, the day of its establishment, Israel was to have a signed and sealed Constitution within five months.

“If a country is to survive,” Viorst states, “it must hammer out a foundation of common values, which all of its citizens, or nearly all, willingly accept. That has not happened to this new nation of Jews, at least not yet.”

Just as the founding fathers of the U.S. avoided a decision on slavery, the rift between religious and secular communities was too wide to hammer out a compromise – let alone even consider the needs of Arab citizens.

The founding fathers of the U.S skirted the unpleasant controversy around slavery and decades later, the nation was divided by a crushing civil war. Has Israel fallen into the same trap?

Viorst starts this important work and ends it with the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by a militant yehsiva student, Yigal Amir.

“Amir was a zealot who wouldn’t have acted without the backing of the rabbis,” Viorst told me at a book signing. “Rabin, the only prime minister who tried to stop the settlements, paid for this decision with his life.”

This is a very thought-provoking book whose depressing prophesy that the militant Ultra-Orthdox element is on the ascendancy may, unfortunately, prove true. If so, will secular Jews remain in a state hog tied by the authoritarian strictures of religious fundamentalism?

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 7:20 PM | 26 comments

Wednesday, October 05, 2005
The Real Gay Agenda - Destroy The Family Structure

The sky doesn’t fall in a day
by Alan Sears

In the arena of political discourse, a “straw man” is often a weak or extreme argument one side in a debate falsely attributes to their opponents. It’s an age-old tactic that presents a nice-sounding argument that is, in reality, easily refuted or “knocked down.”

That is the tactic now being used to defend the court-ordered legalization of same-sex “marriage” in Massachusetts last year.

With over 6,000 same-sex couples “wedding” in the Bay State since May 2004, proponents of this change are crying, “See, the sky didn’t fall. The world hasn’t come to an end. And everything is just lovely!”

However, virtually no one in support of authentic marriage ever said that marriage would be destroyed or the country would fall into anarchy the moment same-sex “marriage” in one corner of our nation became a temporary reality. Setting up and knocking down this kind of straw man may feel good, but it does little to deal with the real issues involved.

It’s a bit like a “friend” of a patient with slow-growing cancer saying, “Don’t worry, your cancer really isn’t affecting your health yet. Everything’s fine.” This is a much more apt analogy. Furthermore, the other side calls what is distorted “good,” so it’s no surprise they don’t see a problem.

The pro-family community has always maintained that the oxymoron of same-sex “marriage” is detrimental to the institutions of marriage and family, harmful to children, and ultimately destructive to our society. Nothing taking place in Massachusetts over the last 15 months or so has altered that prognosis. You see, this debate is really not about “equal rights,” as the proponents of homosexual behavior like to frame it, but about redefining marriage, family, and, yes, American culture. And such things don’t happen over night (they’re not designed to).

Nonetheless, if allowed to proceed, like the proverbial frog in the pot, we may well wake up one day in the not-too-distant future to find that marriage and family have lost all present meaning.

If that sounds extreme, consider this comment by activist Michaelangelo Signorile, who ardently promotes homosexual behavior:

[You should] fight for same-sex marriage and its benefits, and then, once granted, redefine the definition of marriage entirely. The most subversive action lesbians and gay men can undertake is to transform the definition of “family” entirely.

This is no idle or isolated threat, but a definitive statement of their strategy. In Sweden, the Feminist Initiative, a new political party, has already essentially called for the abolition of marriage as the next step of “progress” in their nation, promoting instead “a cohabitation law that ignores gender and allows more than two people in a partnership.”

Of course, when put to a vote, the American people overwhelmingly reject the legalization of same-sex “marriage.” So the demands of homosexual activists depend heavily on activist judges to either command state legislatures to rewrite long-standing marriage laws, as in Massachusetts, or to declare laws—even state constitutions—that seek to preserve marriage unconstitutional.

Since the Massachusetts court order, this very thing has been happening. If radicals have their way, they will effectively nullify the clear will of the people and further erode the foundations of our republic. Ultimately, they hope to have this issue settled by the Supreme Court, which is one of the reasons President Bush’s final Supreme Court nominee will likely undergo intense scrutiny.

Nonetheless, even in left-leaning congressional districts in New England, it remains far from certain that the people want same-sex “marriage.” Outraged over blatant judicial tyranny exercised by the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, signatures are being gathered for a constitutional amendment, supported by Gov. Mitt Romney, preserving marriage as the union of one man and one woman so that it can go before the people for a vote. Even where the media says the fight is “over,” the people want to have their say.

No, the sky hasn’t fallen yet because of the actions of a few arrogant judges in Massachusetts.

But make no mistake: the goals of those who would impose same-sex “marriage” on this country are nothing short of subversive, and they don’t care if the sky does fall. In order to validate their sexual choices, activists in support of homosexual behavior will stop at nothing—even if it means destroying marriage, redefining the family (so that it can mean virtually anything), outlawing all opposition as “hate speech,” and undermining our precious heritage of government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 11:19 PM | 13 comments

Sunday, October 02, 2005
A Message Of Hope And Priorities

It's Cancer
Tony Snow

People respond in different ways to such news. My first reaction was to think it was cool, in a bizarre way — as if I had been inducted into a club known not just for its danger and darkness, but also for promising survivors something precious and rare: a fuller glimpse of life itself.

That feeling didn't last long. Within hours, the novelty dissolved and panic set in. My wife and I lay numbly in bed, fretting about what might be. A neighborhood friend had died of cancer only weeks before, leaving behind young children. We both thought, "What if ... ?"

Meanwhile, I felt pings and pangs in every conceivable organ and extremity. I interpreted transitory pains as evidence that micro-tumors had begun spreading wildly throughout my body and were attacking with fiendish efficiency. At one point, I mistook normal, allergy-related sinus pain for a brain tumor.

Fortunately, this panic didn't last long, either — mainly because I received a very important visit from a friend. She came over to our house, armed with books and advice. Lounging on the couch, she talked about how she survived simultaneous cancers of the breast, lungs and lymph nodes.

There's nothing quite like a pep talk from a cancer survivor, especially one who by normal calculations ought to have died long ago.

Here is the most important thing she said: "When I was sick, my husband and I would sit in a group with other women who had the same thing. We sat in a circle, the same people each week.

"Some looked strong and vigorous; others were pale and weak. But none of that mattered. We discovered that we could figure out who was going to live and who would die just by looking into their eyes. The ones who were afraid didn't make it. The ones who were pessimistic didn't make it. The women who made it were the ones who wanted to live, and were ready to fight. Some of the big, strong women weren't ready to fight."

From that moment on, I haven't felt a pang of fear or trepidation. My friend inspired me to stop acting like a passive nut-job, performing diagnoses based on toe twinges and random gas pains, and to get moving. Suddenly, I couldn't wait to enter the hospital, where a terrific surgeon removed my colon, and then to undertake a six-month course of chemotherapy, complete with annoying side-effects and days of dreary exhaustion.

And so I did.

Winston Churchill once noted that there is nothing quite so thrilling as being shot at without effect. One can say much the same thing of grappling with cancer, with one difference: When a bullet passes, you know it. When cancer passes, you have to wait at least five years to mop your brow in relief.

Still, the last few months — my time of surgery and chemo — have been the happiest and most thrilling of my life. They have confirmed lessons that seem at once too good to be true, and too important and vital not to be.

Here is a short inventory:

Faith matters. Prayers heal. Love overcomes.

People want to do good for others; they just need excuses.

Fear is a waste of time. The worst that can happen is that we'll die — which happens to everybody, anyway. Until the Grim Reaper comes knocking, we're alive.

We can count our hardships, but not our blessings.

Life does not revolve around us. It envelops us.

There is no condition that someone else has not already overcome.

Nothing makes one feel more alive than the prospect of death and the requirement that one fight for the things that give life its richness, meaning and joy.

Seven months into my little adventure, I love my wife and children more than ever; relish my work more than I could have imagined; and feel joy that I cannot begin to describe. I also have some street credibility when it comes to counseling cancer patients. I now can do what my friend did: Dispense a little advice and encouragement, so someone else can replace fear with hope and anxiety with determination.

Which leads to the final healing lesson. When you find a good thing, don't be selfish. Pass it on. You'll feel better — and so will someone you love.

A k'sviva v'chasima tova to all.May Hashem bless all that need a refuah shleima, and ALL of Klal Yisroel.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 9:45 PM | 24 comments

Saturday, October 01, 2005
Judaism And Homosexuality

Rabbi Chaim Rapoport
Member of The Chief Rabbi's Cabinet

In his summary of the orthodox position on homosexuality, Rabbi Dr Alan Unterman writes: "…it is not demanded that one should be sexually attracted to members of the opposite sex, but it is demanded that, attracted or not, one should still get married and have children."

I disagree. To be sure, marriage and procreation are supreme values in Judaism. It is antithetical to the spirit of Judaism to initiate a procedure whereby children will be conceived, born and bred outside the normative family nucleus. Where the potential for a healthy and stable marriage exists, one ought to respond positively to the Divine calling "Be fruitful and multiply." Yet those unable to find a suitable spouse or are constrained by mental or physical incapacity are exempt from fulfilling this Commandment. Emotional incapacity for a heterosexual relationship may, likewise, exonerate the individual from embarking upon a marriage that is likely to bring untold suffering to both partners.

Hence, notwithstanding our high regard for marriage, a confirmed homosexual would be best advised to invest his or her energies and talents in other areas. Rabbi Aharon Feldman is closer to the mark when he writes that: "a homosexual who does not have a family can make serious contributions to Judaism which others cannot." Not being restricted to the rigours of family life, the homosexual can undertake many projects to which a married person could not commit himself. Rabbi Feldman speaks of individuals, highly respected for their communal achievements, "even though it was well known that they had no interest in marriage."

One should not jump to conclusions. Many people who have experienced manifestations of homosexuality may still be enabled, with therapeutic assistance, to engage in a mutually satisfying heterosexual relationship. Transitional homosexuality amongst teenagers, bisexuality, ambiguous sexuality or even confirmed sexuality amongst people who have been constrained in close-knit same gender settings, are all scientifically recognised phenomena. Even some 'confirmed' homosexuals have been able to get married and have children after intensive, albeit somewhat gruelling, therapy. But where therapy is either unattainable or ineffective, it would be inadvisable to draw a member of the opposite gender into a relationship where the basic ingredients for harmony and emotional security are lacking ab initio.

Jewish Law forbids premarital, extra marital, promiscuous and homosexual relations. Consequently the bachelor, the spinster, the homosexual or a person trapped in a sexless marriage, all face a formidable challenge: they have to remain celibate. It is, admittedly, theologically challenging to accept that Divine Providence has deprived the blessings of marriage and the bliss of intimacy from so many people. Yet the believing Jew accepts that ultimately the Torah's teachings are for the benefit of mankind, both the individual and society. Some temptations may require a Herculean effort to be overcome and as Rabbi Feldman asserts, cessation of homosexual activity will often "be difficult and will have to be accomplished over a period of time." Accordingly "a Jewish homosexual has to make a commitment to embark on a course through which he will ultimately rid himself of homosexual activity."

However people cannot ordinarily be blamed or penalised for experiencing homosexual feelings. Rather understanding and empathy for those facing such challenges are called for. The ethos of imitatio Dei - emulating G-d's kindness - particularly for the oppressed, surely dictates that we do not ostracise or alienate people who may well face untold loneliness, misery and sexual frustration. Sadly, some otherwise 'progressive' thinkers, don the mantle of zealousness when dismissing the plight of homosexuals. In reality they are merely projecting their own personal prejudices under the guise of religious teaching. Yet whilst we may not judge a person "until we stand in his place," we are likewise forbidden to abandon all moral objectivity and allow chaos to reign in the hierarchy of Jewish and ethical values.

Furthermore, our advocacy of tolerance and patience for the homosexual refers to the individual. It does not apply to organisations that promote homosexuality as a cause celebre or even as an equally acceptable 'alternative lifestyle.' '

Gay Synagogues' are anathema to the religiously sensitive because their aim is not only to condone behaviour that the Torah proscribes but, moreover to sanctify such practices. As to the retort sometimes advanced 'where should Gays daven?' - the answer is - in the same Synagogue that Jews who eat shrimps, desecrate the Sabbath and behave promiscuously render service to their Father in Heaven. Would they be made welcome? - yes, provided they do not proselytise. Flamboyant displays of 'gay pride' demonstrate a lack of sensitivity for the teachings that the Synagogue represents.

Many Synagogues may sometimes offer an aliyah to someone who dined in MacDonalds the previous night, so long as he does not flaunt the bill for his cheeseburger in Shul. We would likewise welcome a Jew whose sexual life is not in accordance with the Torah unless there is reason to believe that he may parade his 'cause' or attempt to win over new 'converts'. Nothing is more objectionable in our Tradition than one who seeks to lead others astray.

Taking all the above into consideration, a number of conclusions emerge:

Homosexual intercourse is forbidden for Jews and Gentiles alike. Yet when counselling homosexuals it is unrealistic to expect that prohibited behaviour should cease immediately. In the interim, we must help the homosexual avoid the pitfalls of promiscuity, despair and the various ailments to which he may be more vulnerable. Depression and suicide attempts among homosexuals are not rare occurrences. Rabbis, teachers and counsellors must be alert to these issues and "not stand idly by" in matters of pikuach nefesh. On a national level, we must endeavour to curb the worrying trend of personal attacks on homosexuals, which are reminiscent of Nazi policies.
Jewish Homosexuals should be encouraged to participate in every aspect of Jewish life that they feel able to. We are enjoined to promote the spiritual welfare of every Jew. Judaism does not advocate a 'take it or leave it' position. The journey to religious perfection is a long and indefinite one. Everyone should be supported to make progress on his or her own level.
G-d Almighty loves all His 'children' irrespective of their sexual orientations. He cares for the errant Jew even if his wrongdoing is inexcusable, a fortori when his or her behaviour has invariably been influenced by the predominantly secular and liberal nature of contemporary society and culture. We, too, should endeavour to emulate G-d's ways and befriend all our 'brothers and sisters'. In this way we can hope to create a society which will indeed reflect the G-dly attributes of love and benevolence.


posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 8:40 PM | 26 comments

Friday, September 30, 2005
A Formula For Eliminating Jewish Criminals???

Bennett: Black Abortions Would Lower Crime
Associated Press/AP Online09/30/2005 11:02 AM

WASHINGTON - The White House on Friday criticized former Education Secretary William Bennett for remarks linking the crime rate and the abortion of black babies.

"The president believes the comments were not appropriate," White House press secretary Scott McClellan said.

Bennett, on his radio show, "Morning in America," was answering a caller's question when he took issue with the hypothesis put forth in a recent book that one reason crime is down is that abortion is up.

"But I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could, if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down," said Bennett, author of "The Book Of Virtues."

He went on to call that "an impossible, ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down. So these far-out, these far-reaching, extensive extrapolations are, I think, tricky."

Responding later to criticism, Bennett said his comments had been mischaracterized and that his point was that the idea of supporting abortion to reduce crime was "morally reprehensible."

Bennett was education secretary under President Reagan and director of drug control policy when Bush's father was president.

This is the way it could work.
You zero in on the families of known thieves ,molesters and FAKE gedolim.
The Sanhedrin led by me forces them to use birth control.
We establish a police squad, of course led by me, sort of like Shomrim.
If their wives get pregnant chas v'shalom, the Sanhedrin (led by me) proclaims "Din Sotah"- and you know the rest of the story.....

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 2:31 PM | 26 comments

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Posted by Anonymous-who sought help and got it!

I am a guy who struggles with SSA (Same sex attraction). Believe me, it is no easy lifestyle. I have been in therapy for 2-3 years now. I have grown a lot and I am stronger than I have ever been. My attraction to men is a lot less and my attraction to women has grown tremendously. I have been in a therapy called reperative therapy- to help one change his sexual orientation. It is long and difficult but for me it has been well worth it. I certainly wouldnt criticise someone who decided not to go through the therapy. It is the most difficult challenge I have ever faced, but as I mentioned earlier, well worth it. For those of you who are interested see or There are many books that have been written about the topic. Change is an option. Unfortunately many dont know that because of gay politics and the gay agenda. It worked for me and for many others that I have met through the process. Again, whether one decides to actually go through with it is his own decision, but at least he should know it is an option.

Posted by Anonymous to UN-ORTHODOX JEW at 9/29/2005 12:10:33 PM


posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 5:30 PM | 34 comments

Do Not EAT Your Cell Phones-They May Not Be Kosher

Gedolei Yisroel Caution Public Not to Use Unapproved Cell Phones
Shema Yisroel Network

Gedolei Yisroel are issuing instructions to stop using cell phones not approved by Vaadas HaRabbonim LeInyonei Tikshoret now that Mirs, Pelephone and Cellcom all provide kosher cellular services—and therefore there is an alternative for everyone.

Vaadas HaRabbonim, which was appointed by gedolei Torah from all streams and backgrounds, has been working to reach a solution to avoid the stumbling-blocks brought about by unapproved cell phones, which are exposed to the spiritually detrimental elements of life far from Torah and mitzvas. The rabbonim worked in cooperation with telecom and computer experts as well as top jurists, including Attorney Yaakov Weinroth.

Six months ago a breakthrough was made when Mirs announced that it was willing to provide kosher cell phones and a block of distinct phone numbers designated for the religious public. After thousands of Jews heeded the calls by their rabbonim to join Mirs, one month ago Pelephone and Cellcom followed suit.

Now approved cell phones are readily available through three large companies, with competition to keep costs low.

In light of the new development, Maran HaRav Eliashiv, the Admor of Gur, HaRav Shmuel Halevy Wosner and HaRav Ovadia Yosef issued an announcement on Tuesday warning against the great danger inherent in cell phones, which have transformed into a tool of destruction for yetzer hora, and instructing those who must use cell phones to use only models approved by Vaadas HaRabbonim.

This important achievement, which was intended to save Jewish souls both young and old, is being hailed by both educators and parents alike.

Who are these clowns talking to?
KOSHER cell phones are NOT the answer, instill Yiras Shomayim in the kids by setting examples for them to follow, not by mouthing idiotic assinine prohibitions!
Get a life you idiots, this information you are trying to hide is everywhere!

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 12:19 PM | 23 comments

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Root & Branch Information Service

Root & Branch: The first Jewish outreach organization geared to assist homosexual men and women seeking to change their sexual orientation has been established in New Jersey.

Calling itself JONAH, the group intends to deal with homosexual issues in a manner consistent with Jewish principles as set forth in the Torah.

According to the group's director, Rabbi Samuel Rosenberg, the name was chosen for the Biblical prophet who warned the people of Ninevah to return to G-d in an act of teshuva, and as an acronym for "Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality".

Desiring to be inclusive, the non-profit group will embrace any Jew regardless of religious commitment or lack thereof. Its goal is to educate Jews about the causes of same-sex attraction and the possibility of change from homosexuality to heterosexuality. "We believe this is achievable if the homosexual struggler lives by Torah values, heals his or her unresolved issues, and fulfills unmet emotional needs," says Rabbi Rosenberg.

"Many former homosexuals are now married with children and lead more contented and spiritual lives." JONAH is also available as a resource for parents and friends of those who struggle with homosexuality. It hopes to provide support groups, a speaker's bureau for Jewish groups, seminars for interested parties, and referrals to appropriate counselors.


He points out that the Torah strongly forbids the act of homosexuality precisely because it recognizes the capacity of anyone to commit such an act. Although the Toranic prohibition relates to actions, not thoughts, JONAH recognizes the need to work also with individuals who struggle with homosexual thoughts and impulses but do not act out their homosexual fantasies or identify with the gay lifestyle. "Jewish ethics require us to offer assistance to those who struggle with homosexuality and to understand how to help men and women with same-sex attractions. In today's society, it is important to offer solutions to problems; otherwise, one becomes part of the problem," he says.

"We must repeatedly remind ourselves that, in the Torah, it is not the person, but the act that is abhorred. Moreover, even after the act, we have the obligation to promote teshuva and not censure by the family, leaders, and community."

The spiritual leader of the Elmora Hebrew Center, Rabbi Rosenberg has smicha from Yeshiva Torah Vodaath in Brooklyn. He is a licensed social worker and psychotherapist who was trained at the Family Institute of New Jersey. He received his Master's degree in social work from the Wurzweiler School of Social Work of Yeshiva University, and is currently an advanced-degree candidate at the Contemporary Center for Advanced Psychoanalytic Studies.


Over the past 20 years, several Christian-based support groups have been formed to assist those seeking to change from homosexuality.

Although some have been formed by individual Christian ministers or by ex-homosexuals, many of the major Christian denominations sponsor groups.

Before JONAH, Jews seeking to leave homosexuality had nowhere to turn within their own religion. Some, therefore, sought refuge in Christianity, and more than a few converted. The resources for a Jew seeking help and spirituality simply were not present.

Even in Israel, the only group currently assisting those seeking to leave the gay lifestyle is a Christian-supported Jewish-Christian ("Messianic Jewish") group based in Jerusalem, directed by Izhar Vardinon. "JONAH intends to fill that void," says Rabbi Rosenberg.


He points out that even though it is well established that homosexuality exists in the Torah-observant ("orthodox") community (The World Congress of Gay and Lesbian Jews has 48 organizational members and over 30 homosexual congregations; there are underground frum gay and lesbian support groups in the religious community and on the internet), most religious, social, and medical institutions "have failed these men and women."

JONAH, he says, has broken through the religious community's "response of silence, cloaked in the pretext of modesty."

"The Orthodox community bought the mythical notion of the genetic propagandist that homosexuality is inevitable for some people. The afflicted individuals feel shunned, isolated, confused, and ashamed, with nowhere to turn for support, understanding, or assistance. Some of our brethren responded with a self-righteous or noble fire-and-brimstone reference of abomination without compassion or a helping hand or even a shoulder to cry on," he says.

While JONAH does insist that homosexuality is a treatable condition, Rabbi Rosenberg stresses that the group should in no way be seen as license for persecuting anyone. "Let it be clearly stated, without condescension, there is no room in this or any other society for witch hunts directed at homosexuals or for the denial of their fundamental freedoms simply because their nature differs from the norm," he says, adding that the "gay rights movement" has done a great service simply by bringing the issue out of the closet.


However, he continues, that does not mean that, in the name of tolerance, society should "succumb to acceptance." He maintains that accepting homosexuality as normal and healthy is to doom the afflicted individuals to a life in which "their potential for wholeness will remain dormant beneath their emotional wounds."

"The homosexual lifestyle, with all its social and cultural nuances, is also a matter of choice. It is a learned behavior which can be unlearned," he says.

For those with a proclivity towards homosexuality, choosing to abandon the gay lifestyle will probably be more difficult than simply learning to observe the Sabbath or the dietary laws, or even abstaining from premarital sex, he admits.

"However, our responsibility for outreach does not preclude us from reaching out to these individuals and to understand their struggles," says Rabbi Rosenberg.


He is especially concerned about the "depressed, despondent, and tormented souls who struggle with their homosexuality."

"What about those who have tried to explore an 'alternate lifestyle,' only to experience frustration, loneliness, and isolation? To whom do they turn? To whom do their parents turn for help, guidance, and support? To whom do they dare expose their sense of shame, failure, and humiliation? How many suicides must we cover up, how often must we turn a blind-eye before we hear the desperate calls for help? When do we act on the Biblical injunction not to stand idly by our brothers' blood?" he says.

Well-intentioned, but untrained rabbis do more harm than good when they tell homosexuals and their parents simply to accept their condition and abstain from the behavior, he says.

"They don't even know that help is available," he says.

Other rabbis tell homosexuals to extend the prohibition of yichud, being alone in the same room, to members of the same sex.

"What pain, what isolation, what damage. Especially when they need the closeness of their gender peers for non-erotic love, support, and acceptance. Learning how to achieve this can be most effective and therapeutic," says Rabbi Rosenberg.


He and JONAH dismiss the secular community's insistence that homosexuality is predetermined and, therefore, legitimate and natural.

That concept, he says, is based on a politicized 1973 vote by the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality from the Diagnostic Statistical Manual, following intense pressure from the homosexual lobby.

Four years later, 69 percent of the 2,500 psychiatrists who responded to a survey by the journal Medical Aspects of Human Sexuality disagreed with the vote and opposed removing homosexuality from the list of disorders.

"This political controversy within the psychiatric community continues today," says Rabbi Rosenberg. The formation of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), composed of more than 200 psychiatrists, psychologists, and psychotherapists, testifies to the ongoing divergence of views.

Rabbi Reuven P. Bulka, author of "One Man, One Woman, One Lifetime - An Argument for Moral Tradition", is on NARTH's advisory board.

Rabbi Bulka maintains that Jews who struggle with homosexuality have a mandate "to improve on who you are through the exercise of free will and with the help of mental-health professionals and spiritual advisors." "Despite great pressure from the gay lobby, NARTH continues to uphold the view that homosexuality is a developmental disorder and often a treatable condition," says Rabbi Rosenberg.

In fact, he says, the "misinformation that homosexuality is untreatable by the mental-health profession does incalculable harm to the homosexual struggler and to society at large." "Many ex-gays who have broken out of homosexuality say the biggest cause for their depression was the enormous pressure to accept their feelings as inborn and unchangeable. That way of thinking made them feel trapped," he says.


He cites authorities who maintain that homosexuality is almost always associated with a faulty family constellation, particularly between a distant father and son and an overly intrusive mother, whether real or simply perceived.

"Other factors may exacerbate the problem, such as poor peer group relationships and sexual molestation," he says.

In his scenario, the boy strives and longs to achieve the relationship he never experienced, but in an eroticized manner.

For a woman, he says, there is a corresponding inability to identify with what is viewed by the girl as a malevolent and malicious mother, and a father who does not respect the femininity of his wife and daughter. She seeks femininity in the body and personality of her female partner. Here, too, sexual violation may have occurred.

"Therapy can be effective in promoting awareness of the faulty family dynamics and the misdirected strivings for affection," says Rabbi Rosenberg, adding that no therapy "works" if it is imposed on the individual.


The most significant component of the homosexual's healing process may be found in a same-gender support group, he says, and this is a service JONAH hopes to provide.

"The aim of the support group is to re-establish healthy male-male or female-female bonding and to provide peer support and mentoring to rediscover their authentic gender and to better understand the expression of their legitimate love needs for attention, affection, and approval from gender peers which were unmet in their childhoods. In such a peer group, individuals learn that such needs can be satisfied without eroticism," says Rabbi Rosenberg.

To reach Rabbi Rosenberg, write to JONAH, POB 313, Jersey City, NJ 07303, or call (201) 433-3444. All inquiries, he says, will be handled "sensitively and discreetly."

Reprinted from the Root & Branch Information Services

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 7:30 PM | 29 comments

Satmar Rebbe Imprisoned While His Gangster Kids Slug It Out In Secular Court

Who will be grand rebbe's keeper?

By Chris McKenna
Times Herald-Record

New York – Stand-ins for the Cain and Abel of the Satmar Hasidim went to court yesterday to begin an unseemly tug-of-war for access to their 92-year-old father, leader of the world's largest movement of Hasidic Jews.
Children of Aron Teitelbaum, chief rabbi of Kiryas Joel's majority congregation, are demanding the court appoint guardians for Moses Teitelbaum.
They say Aron's brother, Zalman Teitelbaum, and his allies have sequestered the Satmar grand rebbe in his house in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn and prevented him from attending the weddings and bar mitzvahs of his keeper's enemies.
"What they have there is their own little prison," Steven Finkelstein, their Manhattan attorney, told state Supreme Court Justice John Leventhal in Brooklyn yesterday.
But Zalman Teitelbaum, head rabbi in Williamsburg, and his faction contend the Satmar leader is in good hands and accuse their rivals of sacrificing a holy man's dignity to advance their own quest for power.
"This is an abuse by the petitioners," said Paul Bookson, a Manhattan lawyer representing Moses Teitelbaum, the grand rebbe. "It's an effort to use this court in their ongoing strategy of litigation."
"No one had the temerity to suggest a guardian should be appointed for the pope," said Scott Mallon, yet another Manhattan lawyer, arguing on the Zalman side.
About 30 men from Brooklyn and Kiryas Joel, clad in black Hasidic garb, lined wooden benches in Leventhal's court to hear what is perhaps the most lurid of three Satmar court fights being waged by partisans of the two brothers, known as Zalis and Aronim.
"There is one commandment missing from Aron's Bible: 'Respect your father,''' Jack Kahan, a Zali from Williamsburg, said outside court.
The children of Aron Teitelbaum who are requesting guardians for the grand rebbe claim he suffers from severe dementia and has been in decline since 1997 or earlier.
They also claim that Moses Friedman, the rebbe's longtime personal secretary, and others are denying or sharply limiting access to him, depriving "spiritual uplifting" to relatives and followers who want to see him and be near him.
But the judge repeatedly scoffed at the suggestion that the case had no political motivation and no connection to Aron and Zalman fighting to succeed their father.
"If this is about politics," he said angrily, "then take all these papers you spent thousands of hours on and throw them down the toilet."
He also pressed Finkelstein several times to explain what harm the grand rebbe was suffering under his current minders.
"The grand rabbi has had his schedule greatly curtailed," Finkelstein said. "He's 92," the judge shot back. "My mother goes to sleep at 8."
But Leventhal also suggested sending a court evaluator to spend a day with the Satmar leader to see how he was being cared for. The Zalman side resisted that notion.
After two hours, Leventhal set another court appearance for Nov. 3 to deliver his decision, one that he said neither side might like.

Really nice guys!!To me, they are a pathetic group of seriously retarded people.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 10:35 AM | 44 comments

Tuesday, September 27, 2005
A Tragedy In Our Midst

A Frum Skeptic e-mailed this to me.
Republished because of importance, controversy and popularity.

Frankly I am at a loss for words. I would be interested to know how everyone feels about gay people coming out of the closet, especially people with the title Rabbi, and all people who call themselves Frum.
I was afraid that eventually our community would be hit with this tragedy.
The person did NOT seek anonymity.

Rabbi Stadtmauer was the principal of Yeshivah of Flatbush High Scool
until he announced suddenly late last year that he would resign upon
the semester's end. Nobody officially knew why and the school had to
scramble and figure out who would lead for the organization since
Rabbi Stadtmauer gave them very short time to regroup. (The
administration ended up splitting the duties of principal into an
administrative position and an educational position and restructured
the entire leadership.)

Anyway, an interested student sent Rabbi Stadtmauer an email asking
why he left and Rabbi Stadtmauer responded in a rather surprising way:

The interested student asks:

"hey rabbi staudtmaure,

its "the interested student" ur former student from class 406 ; now
207. i wanted to know how everything is now that youve left flatbush-
we miss you. i also wanted to ask u a question thats personal so u
dont have to answer but id appreciate it cuz ive been hearing rumors
that youve come out in the open to say that your gay and that your
not so religious anymore and i have nothing against the gay part if
its true but i dont understand how you could give up your religion
that easily
if you could please answer


"the interested student""

And Rabbi Stadtmauer replies:

""the interested student",

It's always nice to hear I'm missed. Thank you so much for the courage
to ask. It's fine, and not too personal. No matter I may believe or
do, I'm still the same person who was willing to answer/talk about
anything in class. I hope other students have the guts as well.

As to the rumors, they are true. I appreciate your understanding about
my coming out and I think that your question is very well placed. The
truth is that nothing was easy, nor am I certain that I have "given up
my religion" for good. When I decided to step down from the
principalship, just over a year ago, it gave me a chance to rethink my
whole life - something very few people ever do. You remember that I
always continously explore and think and question. So I continued some
personal questions I had had many many years before, that I put aside
because of what it meant to me to be a rabbi and a teacher. But they
were just that - questions - not rejections or disbelief. When I
reopened the questions, I found that I was very comfortable with the
idea that mitsvot are a crucial way to approach God, and one that -
within the careful language of my classroom - one that I did (and
would now) encourage students to explore fully. However, increasingly
I had deep doubts I could not resolve for myself about their role in
my life.

Now there were many issues I was considering - the role of women in
orthodoxy, do i trust the authority of most rabbis, etc. But I also
had to think about how the Orthodox community would accept me as a gay
man. Honestly - I think most kids I know would be okay, but most
adults would not. Given how alone I have been all my life, I just
couldn't see fighting an uphill battle just to remain lonely in the
Orthodox community.

So for now, I re-exploring my spirituality and religiousity just more
slowly, without preconditions, and with the hope of integrating my
whole life and beliefs together. I still believe in the Value and
Truth of Torah, even if I don't feel bound by halacha. And I may yet
return to it later. Either way, I still believe deeply that a person
must first know their own tradition deeply from the inside before they
can even start exploring this stuff, so I have always and still do
believe that kids should pursue talmud torah and shmirat mitsvot.

Certainly, nothing was quick or sudden. It may have sounded that way
because it was important for me to finish the year well and keep the
Yeshivah stable (imagine if this rumor had floated last year!), so
you've heard it all at once. But for me, it's been a lifetime of

If you remember, at Arista, I spoke about how a person should listen
carefully in the hope of hearing "the voice of God" in their lives. I
believe that deeply, and that's part of the path I'm following. Almost
every day I ask Hashem to guide me on my next step. Maybe most people
think that's not religious, but that's okay, and I respect them.

I don't know if that answer helps, or if its satisfying. I know I left
a lot of holes in that explanation, so feel free to ask more.

Write more if you'd like and feel free to stay in touch. Next Tuesday
I leave for 3 months to Asia (not Micronesia, oh well, just
Japan-Thailand-Bhutan-Cambodia-Vietnam-Hong Kong). I'm looking forward
to Rosh Hashanah in Tokyo and Yom Kippur in Bangkok. While I'm away,
I'll check e-mail every few days, so stay in touch but responses might
be delayed.

Alan Stadtmauer

PS There's nothing in this note that's private, so if your friends
were wondering the same things, they can read this e-mail. In any
case, once again, thanks for questioning."

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 7:35 PM | 157 comments

Monday, September 26, 2005
The Gay Agenda Making Inroads In The Orthodox Community

Ex-Yeshiva Head Outs Himself, Leaves Fold
By Jennifer Siegel-The Forward
September 23, 2005

A former principal of one of New York's most illustrious Modern Orthodox high schools has announced that he is gay and no longer an Orthodox Jew.

Rabbi Alan Stadtmauer, 42, stepped down as head of the Yeshivah of Flatbush High School in June, after serving as a teacher and administrator for more than a decade. At the time, the administration believed that Stadtmauer's desire for a career change was behind his departure. But in recent weeks, according to former students and officials at the school, the former principal confirmed that he recently had come to terms with being a gay man and has turned away from Orthodoxy.

In a September 19 letter sent to Flatbush parents, the school's president, Jack Rahmey, said that last week Stadtmauer informed a member of the administration "that he was a gay man and no longer considered himself an Orthodox Jew."

"To the best of our knowledge, Alan Stadtmauer had never previously discussed these issues with members of the faculty or with any students, and there have been no allegations of inappropriate behavior during his tenure at the Yeshivah," Rahmey wrote. "He always acted as a professional and adhered to all of the Yeshivah's standards and practices. We were not aware of his personal issues and conflicts when he resigned."

Stadtmauer, a graduate of Manhattan's Ramaz School, received rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva University's affiliated seminary. The rabbi could not be reached for comment. According to former students, he left last week for a three-month tour of Asia.

In a widely circulated e-mail signed with the rabbi's name, the author wrote, "Given how alone I have been all my life, I just couldn't see fighting an uphill battle just to remain lonely in the Orthodox community."

In recent years, the profile of gays and lesbians has risen dramatically in the Orthodox community, particularly with the release in 2001 of "Trembling Before God," a documentary featuring interviews with gay and lesbian Orthodox Jews, including Steven Greenberg, the world's first openly gay Orthodox rabbi. In New York alone, several support groups for lesbian and gay Orthodox Jews have gained steam over the last several years.

Greenberg's 2004 book, "Wrestling With God and Men: Homosexuality in the Jewish Tradition," advanced a model for integrating gays into Orthodox life through a more liberal interpretation of Halacha, or rabbinic law; other, more conservative commentators have advocated retaining gays in the Orthodox community through teaching abstinence, offering treatment designed to alter sexual preferences, or extending the kind of tacit acceptance that the community routinely grants others who are not fully observant.

In contrast, Stadtmauer has left the Orthodox world — a fact some students found more troubling than the revelation about his sexual orientation. "I don't care so much that he's gay as that he left religion," said one Flatbush senior, who was rushing down Brooklyn's bustling Avenue J on a recent weekday morning to make it in time for the start of school.

One 1997 alumnus of Flatbush, who is gay, praised Stadtmauer as "the rabbi that everybody loved." The former student said that though he had left Orthodoxy, he remains active in a traditional congregation. He described Stadtmauer's religious drift as "surprising."

"I'm not sure that he realizes — and this is the important thing — that he's not alone," the alumnus said. "Nobody who faces this issue, who's fighting the 'uphill battle,' is alone in the Orthodox community."

For their part, Orthodox leaders said that they are working to show tolerance and compassion for gays, even while maintaining Halacha.

Psychotherapist Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, executive vice president of the Orthodox Union, said that while gay and lesbians may not be suitable candidates for leadership positions — just like someone who does not keep the Sabbath or observe kashrut — they are welcome in the community and should be viewed no more harshly than other Jews who are not fully observant. Weinreb said that in some cases he supports "psychotherapeutic treatment" to help gays "reorient" themselves, but he believes that some individuals are not candidates for change.

Rabbi Dov Linzer, rabbinic dean at the liberal Orthodox Yeshivat Chovevei Torah rabbinical seminary, also argued that while homosexual sex is prohibited by the Torah, synagogues should not judge homosexuals any more harshly than those who transgress rabbinic law in other ways. At the same time, he acknowledged that unlike those struggling to keep kosher, individuals grappling with questions of sexual identity typically face "soul-wrenching" questions that can cause "a profound crisis of faith."

"It's an existential crisis," Linzer said. "Halacha demands a lot sacrifices in life, in many, many, realms but there's usually none that makes someone challenge their core identity and [wonder] if they as a person are accepted or rejected. I would say that if there is anything similar to it, it might be how some Orthodox feminists are struggling with such issues, meaning that it's not only the question of 'Is the Torah giving me an opportunity to participate as fully as I feel I should?' but 'Is the Torah biased against who I am, biased against women?' It's a similar issue here. It's not just a question, I think, of what is the Torah prohibiting and demanding of me, but is the Torah against me?"

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 8:06 PM | 42 comments

Mr. Agudas Yisroel, Moshe Sherer- All Dollars, No Sense

Cast your bread upon the waters
by Jonathan Rosenblum
Mishpacha Magazine

I'm currently in the process of finishing a biography of Rabbi Moshe Sherer, who headed Agudath Israel of America for over three decades. That biography could be described as an Orthodox version of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. By unanimous consent Rabbi Sherer was one of the most effective people in recent memory, and the impact of Agudath Israel of America during his tenure was, in large part, a function of his remarkable talents.

Those talents were many, and this is not the place for their enumeration. But the deeper I become immersed in this project the clearer it becomes how much of Rabbi Sherer's success was a function of good middos – the respect, concern, and sensitivity he showed to others, and the dignity with which he conducted himself. Even in the decades when Agudath Israel was a small, virtually penniless organization, with a handful of employees, he was making connections with literally hundreds of politicians and key bureaucrats at all levels of government – federal, state, and municipal.
The files of Agudath Israel are filled with records of timely interventions by Rabbi Sherer where a single phone call to the right person achieved results worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to a particular yeshiva.The responses of those officials rarely had anything to do with the political power of Agudath Israel's constituency, from which the bureaucrats were, in any event, largely insulated. Rabbi Sherer never spoke the language of power politics, but argued each case on the merits. Rather the bureaucrats and politicians went out of their way to help – many times even beyond the strict letter of their mandates -- because of the enormous respect that they had for Rabbi Sherer, who was often the only Orthodox Jew they knew. AARTS, the accreditation agency serving the American yeshivos, has brought tens of millions of dollars of federal funding into yeshiva coffers in the thirty years since its founding.

Yet AARTS would have never come into existence but for the close personal relationship between Rabbi Sherer and John Proffitt, the person in charge of accreditation agencies in the Department of Education. Over the seven years leading up to AARTS formal recognition by the Department of Education, Dr. Proffitt repeatedly exercised his discretion to waive various requirements or hasten the governmental review on behalf of AARTS. And each time, he gave the same reason: the desire to do a "favor" for Rabbi Sherer, as an expression of their personal closeness and mutual respect.

Rabbi Sherer emblemizes the principle that good middos pay. Unfortunately, it is not too hard to find those who also demonstrate the opposite principle: Bad middos, in the end, damage their possessor more than anyone. There are those who approach life as a jungle in which it is either kill or be kill. They devote themselves to exercising control over others, and live for the joy of breaking someone else in negotiations, whether it is in business or buying a new refrigerator.

Oh how they cherish their victories – the fifty dollars on the price here, the hundred dollars they talked someone down there. But those precious victories are usually pyrrhic. The few thousand dollars saved over a lifetime come at the cost of gaining the name "a hard person" -- someone to be avoided, whether in business or shidduchim. Often those closest to such people pay the highest price, and the angry man, as Chazal say, is left only with his anger.

Recently, I asked someone why they had gone out of their way to circulate a negative review of a project undertaken by a certain organization. In the course of the conversation, it became clear to me that if a certain phone call had been returned the critique would never have issued. How many times, I wondered, did parties who might well have ended up as business partners find themselves bitter competitors instead because of an unreturned phone call? (Rabbi Sherer, incidentally, was a fanatic about returning phone calls the same day, and if he could not do so, he would have one of his secretaries call to explain why.)

As a beginning lawyer in Chicago, the senior litigation partner in my firm gave me an invaluable piece of advice: Don't make life miserable for your opposite counsel. If he or she asks for an extension on a brief or to defer a hearing, grant it, without making them appear before the judge, unless you have some compelling reason. Someday, he explained to me, you will need a favor from that same attorney. You might think that with fifty thousand lawyers in Chicago, you are unlikely to find yourself on the opposite side again from that particular attorney, but you will. And even in the relatively short time that I practiced, I had the occasion to learn how right he was.

One of the best-selling self-help books of the 1950's was Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People. Most of Carnegie's tips are really lessons in good middos – e.g., remember people's names; everybody loves the sound of their own name. Anti-business intellectuals of the time dismissed the work as indicative of the vulgarity of America, which reduced even decent behavior to the almighty dollar sign.

But that was a misreading of Carnegie. Yes, treating other people well, learning how to listen to others, for example, would help one in life. But Carnegie never doubted that good middos were desirable for their own sake. Many famous Mashgichim encouraged their students to read the book.

If anything, the utility of good middos was only proof that Hashem has structured the world in such a way that life becomes richer and more enjoyable the closer one follows the Divine instructions. Every time we smile, or give someone a compliment, or decide that something is more important to someone else than it is to us, we create a little pool of positivity. All those who are touched by that pool are instinctively filled with the desire to create own little pools. Those pools expand outward in concentric circles, and eventually they come back to engulf us as well.

The good we do for others returns to us – certainly in the World to Come, and usually in this world as well. As the wisest of all men advised: "Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days, you will find it" (Koheles 11:1).

The Agudas Israel is a paid, professional lobbyist group, period.
Jonathon Rosenblum's article highlights Sherer's career in dollars, without any common sense.
Sherer was the consumnate politician, who was famous for his back slapping around the halls of Washington.He was a charismatic gofer for the yeshiva world.
Yes, he did deliver the goods or the gelt, and the politicians were paid dearly, by votes and donations to their political campaigns.

Rosenblum's eulogy of Sherer is typical of all eulogies where the person had not much going for them.The use of the words" good middos" says it all.That's the BUZZWORD for I got NUTTIN else to say about this guy.
Were you ever at a eulogy where they said the dead guy had "bad middos"?

To Jonathon Rosenblum I say, it sounds like you have been hoodwinked to write another fairy tale story for Art Scroll. How well did you know Moshe Sherer? Do you know that as a teenager he hung around Bedford Av., watching all the girls go by?
Do you know that he was a way below average yeshiva student?
I am certain that this will be treated with truth in your Humpty Dumpty book.
Do you know that Mike Tress did NOT trust Sherer, other then to run errands for him?
Did you ever spend time with Sherer? What qualifies you to write a biography about him, other than the fact that you are a prolific writer?
Are you prepared to perpetuate the lies about his GOOD MIDDOS, for a handsome profit?
Do you know that this baal middos NEVER did anything for anyone that he could not cash in on?
I knew Sherer, he had anything BUT good middos?
The world was his stage, and everything he did was an act.
The best thing he did for Judaism was to leave the world stage to others.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 1:09 AM | 39 comments

Friday, September 23, 2005
Why Is This Child Molester Being Kept At Rasha Gamur -Margulies's personal Piggy Bank - Tora Temima

Posted By David

I too was molested by Rabbi Yidi Kolko, both while a student in 7th and 8th grades in Yeshiva Torah V'daas and during those same summers whilst a camper in Camp Agudah.

I used to get rides to school in the mornings with Yidi whether in his old blue car or in his brand new brown car. At that time he lived on 56th Street between 14th & 15th Avenue, whilst I lived on 57th Street, between 15th and 16th Avenues. He was newly married at that time and his first child, a daughter, was also just born then.

Once we got to the Yeshiva on Ocean Parkway, which then was just off of Caton Road, he would park the car (either down the block from the Yeshiva, on the Ocean Parkway service road, or around the corner, I think it was East 5th Street, and ask me to come over and either sit beside him or sit on his lap. Sometimes he would move over to the passenger seat and would then sit me on his lap.

That's when he went fishing. He would insert his hands down the front of my pants and would begin to "search around" to say the least. At the same time he would pull me closer to himself, or would push himself forward againt myself, sometimes even pushing me into the stearing wheel, to the point that it hurt.

Unfortunately I didn't react or complain. The winters were cold and these rides saved on not having to walk all the way to 13th Avenue to wait for the bus (especially on Sunday mornings), you were able to leave your house later since you could always make the ride, and you saved a couple of cents, which was a lot in those days.

During one of those Sunday mornings whilst we were driving on Caton Avenue, whilst I was sitting in the front passenger seat - I almost always sat in the front passenger seat - we were involved in a terrible traffic accident where a car went through a red light and slammed into Yidi's car. B"H we all got out without a scratch.

In Camp Aguda it was the same, whether if he took me into the trees, or into his cabin, or even would take me out for a drive. FYI, during the summer of 1970 I had my bar mitzva in the camp.

I of course told my parents and tried on several times
to explain to them what I was going through, but they didn't want to believe me and my "stories", etc. My father at that time was a very well known and respected person in the Boro Park & Midwood communities and within the Yeshiva world. So I just shut up and let the molestation and perversion continue.

I also think that Yidi Kolko is a danger to the students, past and present in Yeshiva Tora Temimah and I feel that it is about time that the wall of silence be torn down.

Did I suffer as a result, probably. But I have made a life for myself and today am very happily married with 4 wonderful children.

Posted by David to UN-ORTHODOX JEW at 9/23/2005 01:49:51 AM

Everyone in the community is complicit with this criminal Margulies!
Lipa Margulies is an example of how a BIG crook gets away with murder (yes, murder of the soul of G-d knows how many children),while the little guy gets trampled on.
Margulies is the # 1 low-life in the Orthodox community.
He began his school with a major fraud and massive theft.He is a first class thief and a phony minuvel.His God is the almighty dollar.I know him well, HE DOES NOT HAVE A RELIGIOUS BONE IN HIS BODY!
He continues to harbor a child molester.
Scores of kids get turned away ( why they want to go there is a huge mystery) because they can not afford the tuition.
Every board member of this school or person of influence should hide themselves in shame!There is no wonder why the community is plagued with tragedies.You bring it on yourselves. Generations of Jewish people suffer because you really don't give a damn about anything that you feel doesn't effect you directly.I hope your kids and grandkids suffer the same fate as the above David, at the hands of a vicious child molester.
You are no better than the KING SCUMBAG of the Jewish community!

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 9:12 AM | 41 comments

Thursday, September 22, 2005
Parents-Support Us Or Else !

All The News That's Fit For Misfits(From The Yated-Where Else?)

Dear Editor,
I am not one to write letters to the editor, yet when I read the letter “Skewed Attitude” in which a reader decries married children’s demands on their parents, I felt I had to respond.
During my engagement, I was promised a certain amount of support from my parents that never materialized. Thus, I can speak as one who has “been there.” The situation in my case spiraled out of control when my in-laws felt that since the other side had not met their commitments, they were no longer bound by theirs. We used up all our chasuna money and any other savings we had just to cover our most basic living expenses during shana rishona. One can just imagine what kind of test this put our marriage through.

Both sets of parents claimed that they had too many other expenses and were thus not able to meet their commitments to us. We knew that to be untrue.

The most vital lesson I learned from going through that difficult time, is one which I feel is worth sharing with the readership of the Yated Ne’eman. Parents do not have an obligation to support their married children.

They have an opportunity to do so. Some parents take advantage of it, while others do not.

When parents help out or support their children financially, they are shelichim of the Ribono Shel Olam Who sends parnassa to every living being. They have the zechus of being the ones through whom the parnassa comes to their children.

Yet, the Ribono Shel Olam has many potential shelichim to send parnassa to a couple. Whatever amount of money a couple is supposed to have will come to them even if it is not through their parents.
To the lady who wrote how her father did not purchase her a house when housing in Lakewood was still cheap, I would like to say: Please do not harbor resentment against your parents. True, they passed up an opportunity to assist you, but obviously, min haShomayim it was not coming to you. Close relatives used to ask me, “Why are you still in an apartment? Surely your parents could build you a house, let alone buy an existing one?” When the Ribono Shel Olam wanted us to have a house, we got one, boruch Hashem.

Parents-don't give up this zechus!Send your kids money even if you are dead broke. Go into hock for the selfish idiots you raised!
When you get old and gray, they will return your zechus, with the zechus of having them shoving your tuchis in some nursing home.
This is the BULLS*** they are being taught with your hard earned money!

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 7:25 PM | 9 comments

Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Another Alter Kaker Gets Messages From G-D!

> > Arutz Sheva News Service
> >
> >
> >
> > Israel's leading known Kabbalistic Elder, Rabbi Yitzchak Kaduri called
> > upon worldwide Jewry Tuesday night to return to Israel due to natural
> > disasters which threaten to strike the world.
> >
> > In a class between the Mincha (afternoon) and Maariv
> > (evening) prayers at his Jerusalem yeshiva seminary, Rabbi Kaduri issued
> > the following call:
This declaration I find fitting to issue
> > for all of the Jews of the world to hear. It is incumbent upon them to
> > return to the Land of Israel due to terrible natural disasters which
> > threaten the world.
> >
> > In the future, the Holy One, Blessed be He, will bring about great
> > disasters in the countries of the world to sweeten the judgements of the
> > Land of Israel.
> >
> > I am ordering the publication of this declaration as a warning, so that
> > Jews in the countries of the world will be aware of the impending danger
> > and will come to the Land of Israel for the buliding of the Temple and
> > revelation of our righteous Mashiach (Messiah).

> >
> > Rabbi Kaduri also stated that the upcoming year would be a year of
> > and revelation" in the world. The Jewish year 5766 begins in less than
> > three weeks, with the holiday of Rosh Hashana.
> >
> > The Rabbi explained that the numerical Hebrew abbreviation for 5766,
> > taf, shin, samech, vav gives insight into the nature of the
> > upcoming year. "This will be a year of secret (or sod, from the
> > letter samech) and revelation (or v'giliu from the letter
> > vav).
> >
> > Arutz Sheva Israel National Radio show host Yehoshua Meiri first
> > publicized the declaration on his Hebrew radio show late Tuesday night.
> > Meiri typed out the words of Rabbi Kaduri's declaration and presented
> > back to the Rabbi who signed on the document.
> >
> > Associates of Rabbi Kaduri were dispatched to communicate the
> > Elder's call to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon before the latter's
> > to the United States later the same night.
> >
> > Meiri says he will publicize the signed declaration after Prime Minister
> > Sharon delivers a speech in the U.S., in which he is expected to call
> > the Jews of the Diaspora to make Aliyah (immigrate) to Israel.
> >
> > During a visit in 1990 with the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi
> > Menachem Mendel Schneerson (of blessed memory), Rabbi Kaduri was told by
> > the Rebbe that he would live to see the coming of the Mashiach.
> >
> > Earlier this Jewish year, Rabbi Kaduri predicted great tragedies in the
> > world. Just two weeks before the devastating tsunami in southeast Asia,
> > Rabbi Kaduri was quoted in the Yediot Acharonot newspaper as
> > saying:

> > "We are now in the fourth year of what could be the seven-year
> > period, according to the calculation of the Vilna Gaon. [However.] in
> > coming three years, uncertainty about the future will hang over our
> > unless we work and strive that the Mashiach be revealed.
> >
> > The Mashiach is already in Israel. Whatever people are sure will not
> > happen, is liable to happen, and whatever we are certain will happen may
> > disappoint us. But in the end, there will be peace throughout the world.
> > The world is mitmatek mehadinim (or becoming sweet from strict
> > justice).
> >
> > Great tragedies in the world are foreseen, that's the thing of the Jews
> > going to the East. But our enemies will not prevail over us in the Land
> > Israel, 'fear and trembling will fall upon them,' in the power of
> > Torah."

> >
> > Rabbi Kaduri said in the week prior to the interview, "What can save the
> > world from calamities is real repentance by Jews, who must increase acts
> > of kindness towards one another... The cry of the many poor in Israel
> > the expulsion of Jews from their homes shakes the world... It's not for
> > naught that this place was hit, where many of our compatriots went to
> > for this-worldly lusts."
> >
> > The month of Elul, which immediately preceeds the Jewish New Year is
> > traditionally a month of teshuva, or repentence by the Jewish
> > people, in anticipation of the judgments that are incurred on the Jewish
> > High Holidays of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.
> >
> > Rabbi Kaduri has told his students that the current government will be
> > last one of the "old era." He is on record as saying that Sharon will
> > the last prime minister in Israel, and that the new government will
> > already have leadership of the Messianic era.

A Frum Skeptic Comments

I can't resist commenting on this one. At risk of being the closed-minded skeptic, I tend to view Kabbalah with the same mentality that I view astrology and good luck omens. Note how the Rabbi above uses the extremely vague term "secret and revelation," which is almost certain to be applicable to any number of events that will likely transpire in the coming year.
I also view the natural disasters of this past year as a decidedly un-Divine phenomenon, one which happens every now and then as the earth releases its energy, often in ways that are immensely destructive when it occurs in densely populated areas. I can't for a moment imagine how God would deliberately devastate poor, nominally-civilized beach dwellers in a third-world Asian country (as in the tsunami), nor a mostly Black, mostly impoverished population in New Orleans in order to get the attention of groups completely unrelated to either disaster.
Naturally, however, after the recent Katrina storm and its consequences that came about as a result of poor planning by government officials (as well as extreme poverty causing most of the victims to be trapped in the city), I've seen various religious factions turning it into a prophetic event. The Muslims were first to comment that Katrina was a storm sent by Allah to punish the US for being in Iraq. Were "Allah" seeking to do so, one would think him smart enough to punish the government, not some impoverished Blacks in the deep South. From what I could observe, GW Bush didn't seem to be losing a lot of sleep over it until castigated by the media. :-)
Likewise, Christians claim it is because we aren't doing enough for Israel, or we have too much cable TV, or we haven't reinstated prohibition, etc. etc. I'm being facetious, but you know what I mean. Similarly, why destroy the poor who have little or no impact on public policy?
Now we have the Jewish faction, the Kabbalists, who dwell on the fringes perched perilously between barely rational and idiotic extremes of superstition. The God of the Hebrews would certainly find a more selective and just means to get our attention, if He exists. He would, if the time was here for all of us to go to Israel, provide a clear message along with the means to comply with His wishes. Drowning poor Blacks and Asians does not, in my estimation, signal any message to us, and if it did, I would question the justice of this God.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 8:32 PM | 39 comments

Tuesday, September 20, 2005
The Yated's Attack With The Use Of The Big Lie!

The Yated's extremism has reached a new low. The person they are attacking is Rabbi Moshe Tendler the Rosh Yeshiva Of Y.U. who has battled against the Metziza B' Peh procedure by any mohel that has oral Herpes.

This is how these low-lifes' new strategy works.

Attack R' Tendler by diminishing his credibility by his father in-law, R' Feinstein z"l, therefore any of R' Tendler's positions as it relates to Halacha would be suspect.

Shame on these Jew haters.They will resort to any tactics to demean the people who disagree with their Fundamentalism.

All this on the eve of Rosh Hashana. Reprinted from the Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & CommentThe Fallacy of Limited Horizon.

One day someone told HaRav Moshe Feinstein zt"l about a certain avreich — in fact his son-in-law — who had made a medical discovery that might prove to be a cure for cancer. R' Moshe responded that even if it was a sure cure for cancer, "is ess nisht vert di bittul Torah" (it would not be worth the bittul Torah that it caused). (Cited by HaRav Michel Shurkin in Megged Giv'os Olom, vol. I, and confirmed with Rabbi Y. Weinfeld, the source given there)How do we understand this story?

Some people have a very high opinion of the importance of a cure for cancer, since it is obviously of such great benefit to so many people. It is an accomplishment they can understand and relate to, as perhaps among the highest possible chessed services one could render. As loyal Jews, they also acknowledge the value of learning Torah which is so strongly stressed in our tradition. They recognize that learning Torah is important, but do not consider it overwhelmingly so.

If told such a story, they would be surprised — and perhaps even shocked — since they would interpret R' Moshe's statement as assessing the value of a cure for cancer as being lower than what they regard as the value of learning Torah. They would assume that they and R' Moshe share the same regard for learning Torah, and that his statement belittles the value of a cure for cancer. They would regard the statement as sort of an "ivory tower" view of the world, valuing abstract learning over accomplishment in the "real world."

In fact the chiddush here is in the other direction. As a leader of the Jewish people and as a prominent posek, R' Moshe certainly understood and recognized fully the value of a cure for cancer. He knew how many lives would be saved and how much suffering it would relieve. His constant involvement with halachic questions pertaining to treatment and the concomitant exposure to the pain and tribulation of all those involved, undoubtedly gave him a perspective on the value of such an accomplishment that was shared by very few.

Yet nonetheless, he considered the bittul Torah to be price that does not justify discovering a cure for cancer. This does not minimize or trivialize the value of such an achievement, but rather it recognizes Torah learning as something much greater still.

A true appreciation of Torah opens vistas that are simply not visible to those who are "empirical" and only believe in what they can see or feel. It does not trivialize or belittle the world of the body, but adds the world of the spirit on top of it.

It is only by properly appreciating the world of the spirit that we can properly value the world of the body. If our entire world is the material world, all human effort is trivialized.

If your scale only ranges from one to five, even those things that you place at the top will be undervalued. Humanists who revere humanity but deny G-d can never properly value human life. If the true scale, the scale of the Torah, ranges from one to a hundred, and the Torah places human life at, say, seventy-five, that is fifteen times higher than the humanists on their scale of five, even though it is considerably below the top of the Torah scale of values. (The choice of these numbers is arbitrary, and merely meant to illustrate the point. Their true magnitudes may be off in either direction.)

Perhaps this is why even such a "humanistic" mitzvah such as "Love your neighbor as yourself" is followed by the words, "Ani Hashem" (Vayikra 19:18). We must not forget the true scale, even when we focus on our fellows.

The gemora says that we should not travel with an am ho'oretz since he does not recognize that Torah is "our life and the length of our days" (Devorim 30:20). If he does not value his own life, the gemora explains, he will certainly not value the lives of others. If he does not live the Torah, if he does not form his values from the Torah, if his horizons are limited to the material world, he will not even recognize the value of his own life. If he does not internalize the scale of Torah, he will not be able to appreciate the value of his own life and the true potential that it encompasses.

If we understand the true scale of things our horizons will not be artificially limited. If we appreciate others we will appreciate ourselves, and if we appreciate ourselves we will be sure to do teshuvoh during the upcoming Days of Judgment.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 4:44 PM | 46 comments

Sunday, September 18, 2005
Rabbis Get A Message From G-D - Shvartzes Should Learn Torah To Avoid Drowning And Bush Don't F*** With Israel!

Just when I am convinced I heard it all from these shmucks, they come out with new messages from G-D.You have to wonder how crazy can these guys get?
If you ignored the title rabbi, and inserted imam, would you not be enraged?
To me a fundamentalist putz who is certain why people get killed, should be locked up in a nut house.
I don't care if he is wearing a black hat, fur hat (shtreimel)or a dish towel on his head!

Nature’s Wrath, Or God’s
Larry Cohler-Esses - Editor At Large-The Jewish Week

When Israel’s most prominent Sephardic rabbi described Hurricane Katrina as America’s punishment for supporting Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza — and condemned its mainly black victims for failing to study Torah — many Jewish leaders here were appalled.

But in Israel, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’s view linking the worst natural disaster in American history to U.S. support for the Gaza withdrawal is not unique among rabbis.

Rabbi Joseph Gerlitzky, the leader of the Lubavitch chasidic sect’s center in central Tel-Aviv, among others, gave a sermon from his pulpit soon after the hurricane voicing the same theme. A popular radio rabbi echoed him. And a noted Jerusalem kabbalist reportedly also made similar comments.

The leader of the largest Orthodox group in America, the Orthodox Union, specifically criticized Rabbi Yosef’s comments in a widely distributed e-mail.

“I do not think that any living human being, however superior his halachic expertise, can know God’s reasons for natural calamities,” wrote OU executive vice president Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, referring to Rabbi Yosef’s acknowledged authority on matters of religious law. “That God’s ways are often inscrutable is a basic and universally accepted component of our belief system.”

But the head of the OU’s rabbinic group was far more circumspect.

“There are many views regarding God’s ways and the problems of good and evil in the world,” said Rabbi Basil Herring, executive vice president of the Rabbinical Council of America.

The council put out a statement expressing its own view that, “mortal man is not privy to the ways of the Immortal One, and we do not always understand why sadness and tragedy are part of human life.”

When asked directly about the statements by the Israeli rabbis, Rabbi Herring said, “Others may have different views. We would not seek to criticize or judge them.”

Rabbi Avi Shafran, spokesman for Agudath Israel of America, the largest haredi group in the U.S., preferred not to comment on the record when asked his reaction to the Israeli rabbis’ statements.

Rabbi Shafran instead pointed to an article he had written recently expressing his own views as Aguda’s spokesman. In his piece, Rabbi Shafran suggested that the sinfulness of New Orleans residents, rather than the Gaza withdrawal, might explain the destruction and death Katrina visited on their city in particular. “

What occurs, at least to me, is that the ‘Big Easy’ received its nickname from the lifestyle it exemplified, one of leisure and (in its most literal sense) carelessness,” he wrote, reflecting on the significance of the tragedy’s main venue. “The city is probably best known — or was, at least, until now — for the unbridled partying and debauchery that yearly characterized its annual Mardi Gras celebrations.”

At the same time, he wrote, in times of catastrophe, “Jewish tradition counsels Jews to point their fingers at themselves.” God, he said, “casts the Jews as chosen” with “a responsibility not only to strive to live exemplary lives in service to the divine but also to see world events as messages.”

Despite the statements of Rabbi Gerlitzky, the Tel Aviv Lubavitch leader, Zalman Shmotkin, a spokesman for Lubavitch World Headquarters in Brooklyn, said of the Israeli’s’ comments, “Clearly no one can claim to know how or why God does what he does.”

It was in his weekly sermon last week that Rabbi Yosef, the most prominent of the Israeli rabbis involved, described the hurricane as “God’s retribution.”

“[President] Bush was behind Gush Katif,” he explained, citing one of the Gaza settlements from which Jews were forced out. “He perpetrated the expulsion. Now everyone is mad at him. This is his punishment for what he did to Gush Katif.”
As for the New Orleans residents who were forced to flee their homes or, worse, who were unable to, or who lost their lives, Rabbi Yosef said, “There was a tsunami, and there are terrible natural disasters because there isn’t enough Torah study … “Hundreds of thousands remained homeless. Tens of thousands have been killed. All of this because they have no God.”

Rabbi Gerlitzky, the Tel-Aviv Lubavitch leader, sermonized on the topic from his pulpit on the Sabbath of Sept. 3. He told the World Net Daily Web site soon after, “We don’t have prophets who can tell us exactly what are God’s ways, but when we see something so enormous as Katrina, I would say Bush and [Secretary of State Condoleezza] Rice need to make an accounting of their actions, because something was done wrong by America in a big way. There are many obvious connections between the storm and the Gaza evacuation, which come right on top of each other. No one has permission to take one inch of the Land of Israel from the Jewish people.”
In an interview with The Jewish Week, Rabbi Gerlitzky stood by his quotes but stressed he spoke to the press as an official of the Rabbinic Congress for Peace, an anti-disengagement group, not as a representative of Lubavitch.

Rabbi Lazar Brody, a popular rabbi with his own radio program in Israel, wrote on his blog even before Katrina hit New Orleans:

“Authorities in Louisiana have ordered hundreds of thousands of people to flee from their homes. … The Talmud teaches ... ‘a turn for a turn.’ My heart tells me there’s a link between the forced expulsion of 8,500 people [from Gaza] and the nearly 850,000 people who are forced to flee their homes in Louisiana. … Hashem [God] isn’t wasting much time in showing his wrath … I humbly believe the unfortunate people of Louisiana can blame Mr. Bush and Ms. Rice for their misfortune. … He who creates exiles in the Holy Land will have a hundred-fold exiles in his own land.”

And Jerusalem kabbalist Rabbi David Batzri, a prominent student of the venerated kabbalist elder, Rabbi Yitzhak Kedourie, echoed the thought. “Divine retribution is meted out according to the principle of ‘measure for measure,’” he told World Net Daily. “Just as the Jews were forced out of their homes as a result of U.S. pressure on Israel, so, too, are Americans being forced out of their homes.”

Israeli rabbis were not alone in their prophetic instinct, of course. A number of Evangelical Christian leaders also linked Katrina’s destruction to U.S. support for the disengagement. And many more linked it to what they decried as New Orleans’ decadence — albeit in much stronger terms than Rabbi Shafran.

At the same time, some Muslim leaders attributed the catastrophe to the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian-born terrorist leader who claims responsibility for scores of bombings in Iraq, made the point in a tape released on an Islamist Web site. And in South Philadelphia on Aug. 31, Black Muslim minister Louis Farrakhan opined that Katrina was divine punishment for the violence the U.S. had inflicted on Iraq.

Among the Jewish groups to condemn the remarks by Rabbi Yosef were the Anti-Defamation League and the Reform movement’s Religious Action Center. But the refusal of some Orthodox groups to criticize Rabbi Yosef’s comments may be linked to his stature.

A former chief rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Yosef is, for Sephardic Jews, without peer among living rabbis as an authority on Orthodox religious law.

“A disavowal of a great man’s comments is essentially a disavowal of the man,” said one Orthodox communal official, explaining their dilemma.

But Rabbi Alan Brill, a professor of Jewish philosophy at Yeshiva University, said the issue is wider than that. The rhetoric linking world events to biblical prophecy has “become a big part of the Orthodox community,” he said, just as it has for Evangelical Christianity.

During the last 15 years, Rabbi Brill explained, a variety of factors have made biblical prophecy and world events a major theme of Orthodox discourse, especially among religious leaders. The Chabad Lubavitch movement’s messianic worldview, inspired by its late leader, is one key factor, he said; the separate messianism of the Gush Emunim settlers’ movement in Israel is another.

For Orthodox Jews in America, said Brill, this all takes place within the broader culture’s increasing fixation on messianic end time themes centered on Israel. He cited Rev. Tim LaHaye’s best-selling “Left Behind” book series as but one example.

“We’re watching an increasing application of biblical prophecy to world events as part of people’s daily rhetoric,” he said. “That rhetoric has become a strong plurality in both the Orthodox and Christian Evangelical community — not the belief, necessarily; the rhetoric, which is used even if followers don’t exactly believe it. No one will say it’s nonsense anymore.”

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 11:29 PM | 107 comments

Saturday, September 17, 2005
No Shayla : A Deconstruction

No Shayla (Question): A Deconstruction by David Kelsey—An Un-Orthodox Jew Exclusive!

[Author’s note – An Overview, just like the heligah (holy, but here meant sardonically) Artscroll: It is my hope that his article will reach secular Jews who may have concerns about a friend or family member involved with Ultra-Orthodoxy. I therefore am translating many of the Hebrew or Yiddish words into English the first time I use them, as to allow this essay to be readable by them. I use these Hebrew and Yiddish words to illustrate I know what I am talking about to those Orthodox Jews who might care, however few they are.

Secular Jews should know, they are considered contemptible by many Orthodox Jews, and this translates into unfortunate and destructive policies. As we know from the tragedy of the Orthodox Union’s resistance to deal with abuse in the Boruch Lanner case, some of the Orthodox are sometimes more receptive to secular Jewish pressure than simply doing the right thing.

It is my hope to reveal the problems of the Baal Tshuvah movement to those who might not know where the real problems lie, but get caught up in philosophical issues because they lack the education to tackle the more pragmatic ones. Just as the problem with Boruch Lanner was not that he wanted children to keep shabbos, so too the problem with these young adult institutions is not that they want their students to keep shabbos. The following is one such problem that people should be aware of.-DK]

My argument with many of the defenders of the Baal Tshuvah (newly ultra-Orthodox) institutions has been over the contention that they should have “thought for themselves,” and my insistence that they are explicitly taught not to.

A heartfelt young man named “Yitz” who frequently comments about the articles on this blog referred me to an essay by Rabbi Ben Tzion Kokis in the Jewish Observer as a counter to my specific complaints of advocacy of socio-economic destruction by baal tshuvah institutions and their leaders. I found it, and have decided to address this essay, as the Jewish Observer is to a large degree the voice of the mainstream B’nai Torah outlook and attitudes.

And for another reason.

It has been almost fifteen years since I drove Rabbi Kokis home from Ohr Somayach, Monsey that strangely intimate night. I liked Rabbi Kokis a lot. I still do. He is uniquely empathetic to his students, a quality sorely lacking by many in similar positions. He seeks to understand the unique individual circumstances in each case, when too many others believe that one size (hat) fits all.

And still there are problems, as we shall soon see.

But first, back to the drive home.

As I turned on the car, the music blared, most likely from a modern-rock station, which I quickly shut off. I apologized, but Rabbi Kokis made it clear I didn’t owe him or anyone else an apology for obviously having listened to the radio during my last trip.

He lived only a few minutes down the street. That can be a long time, though, when in the middle of a conversation.

Like I said, it has been almost fifteen years, and I forget what we were talking about, or what I was asking him about, but what is clear from what transpired is that my perspective wasn’t one most students at the yeshiva in an advanced shiur should have.

We arrived in front of his home, and he motioned to get out, but then paused.

Rabbi Kokis then compared me to a protagonist in a James Joyce novel, Ulysses, and suggested I was about "to break out” from a similar feeling of religious oppression.

A strange line had been crossed. For students and Rabbeim in Ohr Somayach, secular references were traditionally only invoked in order to illustrate the insanity of the secular world, and the comparative superiority of the yeshiva world, or to bolster the yeshiva world’s position from a non-Orthodox Jew or gentile who concurred with its position, even if inadvertently, and sometimes, inaccurately. And even then, it was usually restricted to news stories or anecdotes. Certainly literary (a.k.a. “shtoos”) references were not sympathetically employed.

But R. Kokis knew what was happening. Perhaps he had seen it before. Perhaps he had seen many times before.

For the maskil (secularist)within me, who had been disoriented by the call to an uncompromising ultra-Orthodox lifestyle dedicated to learning Torah and Mitzvot-- and had been placated to some extent by assiduously avoiding the most severe lavoosh (garb worn such as a black hat), chumrahs (stringencies), and reading a few secular books, and occasionally practicing classical violin--was reasserting himself.

And he was no longer disoriented, but was gaining greater strength, and would not be mollified with a couple of community college courses.

And Rabbi Kokis-- and certainly no other faculty member at Dark Light-- had any answers for me except more of the same. And more of the same was provoking an increasingly resistant and unfavorable reaction.

But at least that night, he let me know that he understood.

And that meant and still means something.

It is, therefore--while still a vehement disagreement-- not meant disrespectfully or personally. At least, not to him. For Rabbi Kokis is not the worst of the B’nai Torah kiruv (recruitment of secular Jews)leaders. He is one of the best.

I am excerpting those aspects of his essay I wish to cover. For those who wish to read his essay in its entirety, go here.

Rabbi Kokis writes,

This is one of the most crucial, yet painful, stages in a baal teshuva’s development: the realization that in the world of Torah he cannot follow his own hunches in deciding what is right and what is wrong. The average baal/baalas teshuva grew up in a culture where there were no, or precious few, moral absolutes. Very often, society places pleasure and gratification as the only criteria for choices in life. Even when a sense of moral correctness is sought, the main standard of judgment is the dictates of his own conscience: are you being true to your own sense of justice and decency? Suddenly, having made a commitment to a life of Torah, things are no longer so simple. He may very likely find that compared to the past, he is having a much harder time making decisions, because he no longer can think only in terms of what he thinks is appropriate, but rather what is really right, through the eyes of the Torah.

In fact, most baal/baalas tshuvahs did not grow up in anarchy, nor were they taught nihilism, but rather, were taught a different, if admittedly less rigid, moral code. This is a tremendous exaggeration about what life is like in the secular Jewish world.

And whom is the baal tshuvah supposed to consult, now that he is understandably “having a much harder time?” If you guessed his local, Dark Light Rabbi, you guessed correctly. In case you aren’t sure that’s what’s being advocated, read the next paragraph.

Even questions which would seem to call for a purely subjective evaluation are not left up to the inclinations and preferences of the individual. Defining beauty, for instance, becomes a complex proposition when a lulav or esrog is concerned; the Torah’s requirement of “hadar – beautiful –” is not left up to one’s aesthetic instincts. On occasion, the opposite is true: the esrog which you may consider “pretty” may be barely kosher by the halacha’s standards, while the real “m’hudar” could be less than dazzling in everyday terms. The more one becomes conditioned to the world of halacha, it would seem, the less valid individual preferences become.

In other words, the baal tshuva is taught that his thinking is generally the opposite of the true Torah Jew, and can’t be trusted. On anything. He needs to ASK. On everything.

A talmid of the yeshiva had been studying in a prestigious European university, and had a few months to go before earning a Master’s degree, which would virtually guarantee him a teaching position of his choice. Having become enthusiastically involved in learning, however, he saw no point in completing his studies, since at this point he felt no desire to ever re-enter the academic world. The rebbeim of his yeshiva expressed misgivings at this course of action, and suggested that he invest the few months of study to finish his degree, and then continue learning, so that his options will be open in case the need will arise at some future date to seek a teaching position. (It is important to note that his field of study was not problematic from a halacha standpoint.)

The talmid said that he appreciated his rebbeim’s concern, but it was clear to him that he had no desire to be a college professor, so he had no reason to stop learning. His Rosh Yeshiva then suggested that they discuss the issue with Rabbi Shach, l”xz, and the bachur quickly agreed, confident that he would find total sympathy for his position, since Rabbi Shach’s stand on the primacy of learning over all else is well known. Much to the surprise of the talmid, however, the advice of Rabbi Shach was to finish his degree, and then devote himself totally to growth in Torah.

What is noteworthy is that this advice was based on a consideration of the unique issues that face baalei teshuva, and would not be applied across the board to the conventional yeshiva talmid.

This shows the resistance and contempt for secular studies and a profession like nothing else. Look how carefully Rabbi Kokis is to couch the anecdote in terms acceptable to the frum (literally religious, but usually suggesting ultra-Orthodox) community. The student need only “invest a few months” to finish a graduate degree which would “virtually guarantee him a teaching position of his choice.”

And still, it was (and is) a big shayla. Why did he think it was a bad idea? Because he had been taught it was a bad idea. And he wasn’t taught that in graduate school; he was taught that at Dark Light, or some comparable pit of miserybaal tshuvah yeshiva.

And the qualifiers are incredible. This particular field of study was “not problematic” from a halacha standpoint. Well, which ones are and which ones aren’t, might I ask? Can’t say! Consult your Dark Light professional, please. ALWAYS ASK A SHAYLA.

Let it be clear – students at these institutions are not just taught how to be observant Jews. They are taught to repent. Hence the name “tshuvah,” and to regret things that maybe they shouldn’t be ashamed of.

That in fact, they should be proud of, and should continue to pursue.

The yeshivah world rightly criticizes the chassidim for asking their Rebbes for medical advise. They should be going for a brucha, not what medicine to take or not take. And the Rebbes are considered at fault by the B’nai Torah when they don’t defer to the chassid’s doctor.

But they act the same when it comes to vocation and secular education.

Ask your yeshivishe Rabbi how to learn the Gemorrah on the esrog. Ask him a shayla on the esrog itself.

But do not go to him on vocational questions or questions regarding secular educational pursuits.

There is no shame in pursuing advanced degrees. There is no shame in thinking for yourself professionally, even though THEY WILL TELL YOU NOT TO. Don’t listen to these rabbis who tell you to ask. For when you decide you have had enough, and yank the reigns of your own life back into your own hands, they will tell you not to be angry, that you should have known better than to listen to them in the first place.

If they’re nice, they’ll reference a great gentile writer’s novel.

Most aren’t that nice.

If there are any ba’al tshuvahs out there reading this post, or friends or family of theirs, consider this: Your ancestors, who fled Eastern Europe and Russia seeking opportunity, were religious. At least some of them.

But they did not heed the admonishments of the rabbinical leaders of their time who said it was forbidden to leave Russia and Eastern Europe.

If they had listened to the Russian Rebbes, your parents would have grown up under a militantly atheist communist regime, and your own Judaism would have been nothing compared to what it is now. Your grandparents may not have even survived the purges or the gulag. If they would have stayed in Eastern Europe, they would most likely have been killed.

Your ancestors did the right thing on this issue to disregard the Rabbis and do what they felt was good for them in terms of livelihood, which was the single most important draw of the so-called “treife medina.” The Rabbis should have been here building an infrastructure, like the yeshivas which became YU did, and as did the Babylon Rabbis prior to the destruction of the 2nd Temple.

Do not listen to those who discourage vocational and educational training. Go where you need to go, do what you think would help you, even if it is considered a makom (place) of spiritual sakuna (danger) by your “as much mesiras nefesh as possible” rabbi.

For those who survived the Holocaust and Russian because of the great advice of their rabbis, let them retain their minhag (inherited tradition) if they want to.

But it is not your minhag to ask on such issues. It was never your minhag.

If you don’t do as I implore you, the price will be paid not only in socio-economic loss, not only in self-esteem, the price will be paid in part by shabbos.

Shabbos becomes emblematic of everything wrong about not pursuing your dreams because of fear of “sakuna”. It begins to feel like the world is moving, and you are not. You will hate being a guest; you will have trouble falling asleep. You will not look forward to shabbos, but will dread it.

You will hate not doing. Because you are not where you should be, and shabbos reminds you why that is.

Your frumkeit will suffer. The only question is how much.

Some FFB’s will laugh at this, and say I am being ridiculous.

But ask any weathered and grizzly baal tshuvah. He will not laugh at what I am saying.

At least on these issues, do not ask a shayla. If you think it’s a shayla, the answer is yes.

It isn’t one for you to ask a Rabbi. As in the end, it is only you who can answer it.

Let us at least agree on the following:

Baal Tshuvah institutions encourage their students to ask shaylas on everything, including vocational and educational pursuits.

The Rabbis who field such questions are no more competent to play vocational counselor than Chassidic Rebbes are to play doctor.

Neither should be allowed veto power on these students’ lives in either regard.

It is no "shayla."

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 9:41 PM | 25 comments

Thursday, September 15, 2005
A Warning To Every Orthodox Parent!

This joke was sent to me by a UOJ fan. Enjoy, or cry if you have a daughter!

A Jewish girl brings her fiancé home to meet her parents. After dinner, her mother tells her father to find out about the young man. He invites the fiancé to his study for schnapps.

"So what are your plans?" the father asks the fiancé.

"I am a Torah scholar," he replies.

"A Torah scholar," the father says. "Admirable, but what will you do to provide a nice house for my daughter to live in, as she's accustomed to?"

"I will study," the young man replies, "and God will provide for us."

"And how will you buy her a beautiful engagement ring, such as she deserves?" asks the father.

"I will concentrate on my studies," the young man replies, "God will provide for us."

"And children?" asks the father. "How will you support children?"

"Don't worry, sir, God will provide," replies the fiancé.

The conversation proceeds like this, and each time the father questions, the fiancé insists that God will provide.

Later, the mother asks, "How did it go?" The father answers, "He has no job,no money, and no plans, but the good news is he thinks I'm God."

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 11:13 AM | 6 comments

Wednesday, September 14, 2005
"Kosher" Clock & "Kosher" Lamp-A Must for Every Jewish Household-Don't Leave Shul Without One

What makes a clock Kosher??
Well, does your regular alarm clock stay on for an hour?
Is that why you don?t use it on Shabbos?

Have you tried to use a watch alarm, or Palm alarm but it?s not loud enough?

Wouldn?t you like to have a snooze alarm on Shabbos?

Do you take a nap on Shabbos afternoon and need
to ask someone to wake you for your chavrusah or for mincha?Do you know a teenager who needs help getting up for minyan on Shabbos?

Now you can take care of all these challenges with KosherClockTM

KosherClock has 5 alarms that can be pre-set on Friday for Shabbos.

Set the first alarm to go off at 8:00am.
Set the second alarm for 8:15am.
Each alarm will ring for one minute
and then shut itself off automatically.

No need to touch your KosherClock.
The effect will be just like a snooze alarm.

And to make sure you don?t accidentally touch
any of the buttons when you are still half asleep,
KosherClock has a special hard flip cover as a ?heker.?

Perhaps you?ll set the third alarm for 9:00am for your wife.

The fourth alarm can be set at 4:00 pm to
wake you for your afternoon chavrusah.

And if you tend to get carried away with your learning, set the fifth alarm to warn you that it?s time to walk to Shul for mincha.

On Shabbat you can use the standard "beep-beep" alarm.

On weekdays you can select which sound you?d like to be woken by with KosherClock.
Choose the standard ?beep ? beep?
or use the pre-recorded melody.

My favorite part of KosherClock is the
ability to record any 10 second sound for the alarm.

Imagine waking up to the sweet voice of grandchild saying,
?Wake up Zaydie, time for minyan!?

or a daughter saying, ?Wake up Ima, Good Morning, time for school!?

or your son saying, “Don't forget to count the Omer, Abba!”

And there?s a place to put your favorite photo of the child who?s speaking.

What a fabulous gift idea, for
Bar Mitzvah, Graduation, Birthday or
especially for Grandparents living in another town.

And all this for only $19.95
Including tax and shipping anywhere in North America! For yourself or to be delivered as a gift.

For $29.95 we will ship anywhere in the world.

And best of all, as one of our subscribers, we?re offering
you a 5% discount before we announce KosherClock to the public.

Order now. Please note there?s a limit of two per customer and your discount coupon is valid for one week only.

(note: Your discount will appear only when you check out)

(note: Your discount will appear only when you check out)

Hurry because we?ve only received a small quantity in our first shipment.

With warm wishes for a Shana Tovah,

P.S. Almost 40% of the days of Tishrei are KosherLamp and KosherClock days (Shabbos or Yom Tov) I?m sure you appreciate
KosherLamp more than ever. Why not order another one for yourself,

This is part of an e-mail solicitation I received.
The marketing of the word "kosher" is pathetic.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 6:33 PM | 13 comments

Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Congratulations To All Our Readers And Contributors

We had our five hundred thousandth "hit" (READ HALF MILLION), this morning!!
I thank my co-bloggers Gross, David Kelsey and AmEchad for contributing to our success.

We have made great strides in calling attention to the problems that plague our community.
Fanatical newspapers are now taking ads from our "modern" brethren.
Two yeshivas are being internally audited by the baal habatim(financial supporters).
We are the talk of the town, and crooks and potential crooks are recognizing that it is getting harder for them to hide.
A real good start!

I have for years tried to rectify many of the ills that have become cancerous, to no avail.I am in absolute awe at the power of the internet.I could never imagine that in a few short months we would have made this kind of progress.
I get roughly three hundred e-mails a week from ALL OVER THE GLOBE, Jews and non-Jews asking questions and curious about our writings.
I get many e-mails from people in the community encouraging me to continue what I'm doing. I sincerely appreciate your kind words, and will continue to respond to your comments and suggestions.

I also get alot of hate mail, including threats to my welfare and the welfare of my loved ones, which I have turned over to the authorities.
I am NOT deterred by this, just the opposite, it demonstrates how many monkey cages I have rattled.

Due to time constraints, I am encouraging my friends (if I have any left), to contribute verifiable blogs for publishing. Please e-mail them to:

My Board Of Directors are a source of strength, for which I am grateful.Thanks for the chizuk....

I have a serious day job, I am raising a most beautiful family, I learn Torah every day, am an active board member of many worthy organizations and teach Torah classes three times a week; therefore I will be gleaning the media for writings I agree with and publish them with their permission.
I will post my own writings as often as possible, probably once a week.I promise to keep posting any blog that I feel will be intellectually stimulating and definitely controversial.Please check our site as often as your time permits.

As far as my credentials; I do not intend to divulge my identity so I may keep the heat on.
I will make an exception for anyone who is "CERTAIN" I have lied about them.
This is my offer:put $100,000 in a fund at Machon L'Horaah Bais Din in Monsey, N.Y., that will be turned over to Tomchei Shabbos upon verification of my credentials.
I will show up in person with the questioned documents.

To add to my detractors' misery, I am from an internationally known Jewish family.
Books, essays, articles, doctoral thesis's have been written about us.
I will bring a truck with these writings to this meeting! I will give them to you as a gift. This is my way of saying thanks for being a fool.

Finally, I am a very proud Jew, who loves our religion. I HATE with a passion the people who have sullied it!!! I intend to chase them for every single infraction, big or small.Our ancestors were not moser nefesh for Yiddishkeit so we would have to settle for gangsters as "leaders".
Anyone in a position of trust MUST AND WILL be held accountable for their behavior and proclamations.

We must learn from the mistakes of history and prevent the abuses that have mired all the other religions, from happening to us.

If I sat by and was NOT proactive in attempting to rid Yiddishkeit of the charlatans, hucksters, false Messiahs, Lepers and downright crazy SOB's, I know I will have to answer for that when my time is up.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 2:46 PM | 47 comments

Saturday, September 10, 2005
The Vanishing American Jew (And One Rabbi Who Killed All His Students)


The "Jewish Question" for the Twenty-first
Century: Can We Survive Our Success?

THE GOOD NEWS is that American Jews--as individuals--have never been more secure, more accepted, more affluent, and less victimized by discrimination or anti-Semitism. The bad news is that American Jews--as a people--have never been in greater danger of disappearing through assimilation, intermarriage, and low birthrates. The even worse news is that our very success as individuals contributes to our vulnerability as a people. The even better news is that we can overcome this new threat to the continuity of American Jewish life and emerge with a more positive Judaism for the twenty-first century--a Judaism that is less dependent on our enemies for its continuity, and that rests more securely on the considerable, but largely untapped, strengths of our own heritage.

American Jewish life is in danger of disappearing, just as most American Jews have achieved everything we ever wanted: acceptance, influence, affluence, equality. As the result of skyrocketing rates of intermarriage and assimilation, as well as "the lowest birth rate of any religious or ethnic community in the United States," the era of enormous Jewish influence on American life may soon be coming to an end. Although Jews make up just over 2 percent of the population of the United States--approximately 5.5 million out of 262 million--many Americans mistakenly believe that we constitute a full 20 percent of the American people, because of our disproportionate visibility, influence, and accomplishments. But our numbers may soon be reduced to the point where our impact on American life will necessarily become marginalized. One Harvard study predicts that if current demographic trends continue, the American Jewish community is likely to number less than 1 million and conceivably as few as 10,000 by the time the United States celebrates its tricentennial in 2076. Other projections suggest that early in the next century, American Jewish life as we know it will be a shadow of its current, vibrant self--consisting primarily of isolated pockets of ultra-Orthodox Hasidim.

Jews have faced dangers in the past, but this time we may be unprepared to confront the newest threat to our survival as a people, because its principal cause is our own success as individuals. Our long history of victimization has prepared us to defend against those who would destroy us out of hatred; indeed, our history has forged a Jewish identity far too dependent on persecution and victimization by our enemies. But today's most serious threats come not from those who would persecute us, but from those who would, without any malice, kill us with kindness--by assimilating us, marrying us, and merging with us out of respect, admiration, and even love. The continuity of the most influential Jewish community in history is at imminent risk, unless we do something dramatic now to confront the quickly changing dangers.

This book is a call to action for all who refuse to accept our demographic demise as inevitable. It is a demand for a new Jewish state of mind capable of challenging the conventional wisdom that Judaism is more adaptive to persecution and discrimination than it is to an open, free, and welcoming society--that Jews paradoxically need enemies in order to survive, that anti-Semitism is what has kept Judaism alive. This age-old perspective on Jewish survival is illustrated by two tragic stories involving respected rabbinical leaders.

The first story takes place in 1812, when Napoleon was battling the czar for control of the Pale of Settlement (the western part of czarist Russia), where millions of Jews were forced to live in crowded poverty and under persecution and discrimination as second-class subjects. A victory for Napoleon held the promise of prosperity, first-class citizenship, freedom of movement, and an end to discrimination and persecution. A victory for the czar would keep the Jews impoverished and miserable. The great Hasidic rabbi Shneur Zalman--the founder of the Lubavitch dynasty--stood up in his synagogue on the first day of Rosh Hashanah to offer a prayer to God asking help for the leader whose victory would be good for the Jews. Everyone expected him to pray for Napoleon. But he prayed for the czar to defeat Napoleon. In explaining his counterintuitive choice, he said: "Should Bonaparte win, the wealth of the Jews will be increased and their [civic] position will be raised. At the same time their hearts will be estranged from our Heavenly Father. Should however our Czar Alexander win, the Jewish hearts will draw nearer to our Heavenly Father, though the poverty of Israel may become greater and his position lower." This remarkable story is all too typical of how so many Jewish leaders throughout our history have reasoned about Jewish survival. Without tsuris--troubles--we will cease to be Jewish. We need to be persecuted, impoverished, discriminated against, hated, and victimized in order for us to retain our Jewishness. The "chosen people" must be denied choices if Judaism is to survive. If Jews are given freedom, opportunity, and choice, they will choose to assimilate and disappear.

The story recurs, with even more tragic consequences, on the eve of the Holocaust. Another great Eastern European rabbi, Elchanan Wasserman--the dean of the Rabbinical College in Baranowitz, Poland--was invited to bring his entire student body and faculty to Yeshiva College in New York or to the Beis Medrish Letorah in Chicago, both distinguished Orthodox rabbinical colleges. He declined the invitations because "they are both places of spiritual danger, for they are run in a spirit of freethinking." The great rabbi reasoned, "What would one gain to escape physical danger in order to then confront spiritual danger?" Rabbi Wasserman, his family, his students, and their teachers remained in Poland, where they were murdered by the Nazis.

I call the approach taken by these rabbis the Tsuris Theory of Jewish Survival. Under this theory, the Jews need external troubles to stay Jewish. Nor has this fearful, negative perspective on Jewish survival been limited to ultra-Orthodox rabbis. Many Jewish leaders, both religious and secular, have argued that Jews need enemies--that without anti-Semitism, Judaism cannot survive. Theodor Herzl, the founder of political Zionism and a secular Jew, believed that "our enemies have made us one ... It is only pressure that forces us back to the parent stem." In a prediction that reflects an approach to the survival of Judaism strikingly similar to that of the founder of the Lubavitch Hasidim, Herzl warned that if our "Christian hosts were to leave us in peace ... for two generations," the Jewish people would "merge entirely into surrounding races." Albert Einstein agreed: "It may be thanks to anti-Semitism that we are able to preserve our existence as a race; that at any rate is my belief." Jean-Paul Sartre, a non-Jew, went even further, arguing that the "sole tie that binds [the Jewish people together] is the hostility and disdain of the societies which surround them." He believed that "it is the anti-Semite who makes the Jew."

If the Tsuris Theory of Jewish identity, survival, and unity is true, then Jews are doomed to live precariously on a pendulum perennially swinging in a wide arc between the extremes of persecution and assimilation. As the pendulum swings away from the Scylla of persecution, it inevitably moves toward the Charybdis of assimilation. In this reactive view, Jews have little power over their ultimate destiny. Our enemies always call the shots, either by persecuting us, in which case we fight back and remain Jewish, or by leaving us alone, in which case we assimilate. The only other alternative--the one proposed by Herzl--is for all Jews to move to Israel, where they control their own destiny. But most Jews will continue to ignore that option, certainly if our "hosts" continue to leave us in peace in our adopted homelands. In this respect, aliyah (emigration) to Israel has also been largely determined by our external enemies, since most Jews who have moved to the Jewish homeland have done so in reaction to anti-Semitism and persecution in their native countries.

Historically, therefore, there has been some descriptive truth to this pendulum view of persecution alternating with assimilation. Jews have retained their Jewish identity, at least in part, because of tsuris. Our enemies herded us into ghettos, created pales of settlement, discriminated against us, excluded us from certain livelihoods while pressing us into others. We stuck together and remained Jews, resisting as best we could the persecution by our enemies.

But there is more--much more--to Jewish identity than collective self-defense. There is something important that is worth defending. After all, until anti-Semitism changed from religious bigotry to "racial" bigotry--roughly near the end of the nineteenth century--persecuted Jews generally had the option of conversion. Unlike Hitler, our religiously inspired persecutors--the Crusaders, the Inquisitors, Martin Luther, and the pogromists--did distinguish between Jews who converted to Christianity and Jews who did not. Indeed, it was precisely their religious mission to convert the Jews, by whatever methods it took.

Many Jews did convert--some at knifepoint, others to advance themselves. The story about Professor Daniel Chwolson illustrates the latter phenomenon. Chwolson, a Russian intellectual of the nineteenth century, had converted from Judaism to Russian Orthodoxy as a young man, but he continued to fight against anti-Semitism. This led a Jewish friend to ask him why he had converted: "Out of conviction," the great man said. "What conviction?" his Jewish friend inquired. Chwolson responded: "Out of a firm conviction that it would be far better to be a professor in St. Petersburg than a Hebrew school teacher in Shklop." Yet despite the material advantages of conversion, most Jews resisted it. Clearly, those Jews--who sacrificed so much--remained Jewish not only in reaction to their enemies. More than our fabled "stiff-neckedness" was involved. There are substantive principles that Jews have been so stubborn about--that we have been willing to fight and even die for. For Jews who define their Jewishness in theological terms, it is easy to find that principle: It is God's will. For the large number of Jews who are skeptical about being God's "chosen people," the principle is more elusive, but it is palpable to most of us, though difficult to articulate. It is a disturbing reality, however, that for a great many Jews, their Jewish identity has been forged and nurtured by our external enemies who have defined us as victims of their persecution.

Now, after two millennia of persecution and victimization, we may well be moving into a new era of Jewish life during which we will not be persecuted or victimized. If this comes to pass, we will need to refocus our attention on defining the positive qualities of Jewish" life that ought to make us want to remain Jews without "help" from our enemies. We must become positively Jewish instead of merely reacting to our enemies.
If Herzl's and Sartre's entirely negative view of the reason for Jewish survival were to persist even as we enter this new era of equality and acceptance, then Judaism would not deserve to endure. If Jewish life cannot thrive in an open environment of opportunity, choice, freethinking, affluence, success, and first-class status--if we really do need tsuris, czars, pogroms, poverty, insularity, closed minds, and anti-Semitism to keep us Jewish--then Jewish life as we know it will not, and should not, survive the first half of the twenty-first century. We have been persecuted long enough. The time has come to welcome the end of our victimization without fear that it will mean the end of our existence as a people. We must no longer pray for the czar's victory out of fear that the end of our collective tsuris and the success of individual Jews will mean the failure of Judaism.

I believe that Jewish life can thrive in the next century, not despite the end of institutional anti-Semitism, the end of Jewish persecution, and the end of Jewish victimization, but because of these positive developments. The ultimate good news may be that the denouement of negative Judaism--Jewish identification based largely on circling the wagons to fend off our enemies--compels us to refocus on a more positive and enduring Jewish identification, which will be more suitable to our current situation and the one we will likely be facing in the twenty-first century, when Jews will have the unconstrained choice whether to remain Jewish or to assimilate. We may be entering a true Jewish golden age, during which we will prove, once and for all, that Jews do not need enemies to survive. To the contrary: We can thrive best in an open society where we freely choose to be Jews because of the positive virtues of our 3,500-year-old civilization.

I say we may be entering this golden age; there are no guarantees. Many Jews believe that the end is near, because increasing rates of assimilation and intermarriage are propelling us toward a demographic Armageddon. A recent apocalyptic article in a Jewish journal concluded that "Kaddish time" is fast approaching for the American Jewish community. (Kaddish is the prayer for the dead.) But reports of the death of Judaism may be premature--if we can change the way we think, and act, about Jewish survival. If we refuse to change, if we accept the current demographic trends as intractable, then Jewish life in America may indeed be doomed.

The challenge is to move the Jewish state of mind beyond its past obsession with victimization, pain, and problems and point it in a new, more positive direction, capable of thriving in an open society. For unless we do, we may become the generation that witnesses the beginning of the end of one of the most influential civilizations in the history of our planet--a unique source of so much goodness, compassion, morality, creativity, and intelligence over the past several millennia. The demise of Jewish life as we have come to know it would be a tragedy not only for the Jewish people collectively, but also for most of us individually--and for the world at large.

The thesis of this book is that the long epoch of Jewish persecution is finally coming to an end and that a new age of internal dangers to the Jewish people is on the horizon. Institutional anti-Semitism is on its last legs as governments, churches, universities, and businesses embrace Jews. No Jew today needs to convert in order to become a professor, a banker, or a corporate CEO. Although anti-Semitism persists in many quarters, today's overt anti-Semites--the skinheads, militias, Holocaust deniers, and Farrakhan followers--have become marginalized. They continue to constitute a nuisance and pose a potential threat, but they do not have a significant day-to-day impact on the lives of most Jews, as anti-Semites in previous generations did. Today's marginalized anti-Semites do not decide which jobs we can hold, which universities we can attend, which neighborhoods we can live in, which clubs we can join, or even whom we can date and marry. We no longer look up to anti-Semites as the elites in our society who determine our fate. We look down on anti-Semites as the dregs of our society who make lots of noise but little difference.

As Jews and Israel become more secure against external threats, the internal threats are beginning to grow, as graphically illustrated by the recent assassination of an Israeli prime minister by a Jew, the growing conflict between fundamentalist Jews and more acculturated Jews, the increasing trends toward intermarriage and assimilation, and the decline of Jewish literacy.

For thousands of years, Jews have been embattled. Surrounded by enemies seeking to convert us, remove us, even exterminate us, we have developed collective defense mechanisms highly adaptive to combating persecution by anti-Semites. But we have not developed effective means of defending the Jewish future against our own actions and inactions. This is our urgent new challenge--to defend the Jewish future against voluntary self-destruction--and we must face it squarely, if we are to prevent the fulfillment of Isaiah's dire prophecy "Your destroyers will come from your own ranks."

We must take control of our own destiny by changing the nature of Jewish life in fundamental ways. The survival of the Jewish people is too important--to us and to the world at large--to be left in the hands of those ultra-Orthodox rabbis who would rather face Armageddon than change the religious status quo. Just as Jews of the past changed the nature of Jewish life in order to adapt to external necessities and to survive the ravages of their external enemies, so, too, must today's Jews change the nature of Jewish life to adapt to new internal necessities and to survive the demographic challenges of intermarriage, assimilation, low birthrates, and the breakdown of neighborhoods and communities.

A hundred years ago, Theodor Herzl identified the "Jewish question" of the twentieth century as the literal survival of Jews in the face of external enemies committed to our physical annihilation--Jew-haters in every nation where Jews lived as a minority. His solution--the creation of a secular Jewish state--was to change the nature of Jewish life in dramatic and unanticipated ways. A hundred years later, the "Jewish question" of the twenty-first century is survival in the face of our internal challenges. Herzl also anticipated that this new "Jewish question" might arise if and when our Christian hosts were to leave us in peace. This is now coming to pass. The solution to this Jewish question also requires the creation of yet another Jewish state: a new Jewish state of mind!

This book continues where Chutzpah (1991) left off, in exploring the larger issue of being Jewish today. In the concluding paragraphs of that book I issued the following challenge:

We have learned--painfully and with difficulty--how to fight others. Can we develop Jewish techniques for defending against our own success?

Pogo once said: "We have [met] the enemy and he is us!" As Jews, we have not yet been given the luxury of seeing ourselves as the enemy. There are still too many external enemies who challenge the very physical survival of the Jewish people in Israel and throughout the world. But as we become stronger in the face of our external enemies, we must prepare to confront ourselves.
In confronting ourselves, we must face the reality that the generation of Jews I wrote about in Chutzpah--those of us who remember the Holocaust, the creation of Israel and the mortal threats to its survival, the movements to save Soviet, Syrian, and Ethiopian Jewry, the struggle against institutional anti-Semitism--is aging. Our children, who have no actual memory of embattled Judaism fighting for the life, liberty, and equality of endangered Jews, are now the crossroads generation that will determine what Jewish life in America and around the world will be in the coming century. It is to that younger generation of Jews, as well as to their parents, that I address this volume.

The last decade of the twentieth century has witnessed the end of state-sponsored and church-supported anti-Semitism. The fall of the Soviet Union, a nation that, since the time of Stalin, had been a major source of international anti-Semitism, had a domino effect on ending the state sponsorship of this oldest of bigotries. Other nations within the Soviet sphere of influence stopped espousing anti-Semitism as a matter of government policy. Even most Arab and Islamic countries dropped their overtly anti-Semitic policies. As a result, the United Nations has changed its tone, condemning anti-Semitism and reducing somewhat its pro-Arab and anti-Israel bias. Equally important, the Catholic church--the single institution most responsible for the persecution of Jews over the past two millennia--approved diplomatic relations with Israel, thus annulling its entrenched view that Jewish "homelessness ... was the Divine judgment against Jews" for rejecting Jesus. The American Lutheran Church explicitly rejected Martin Luther's anti-Semitic teachings.

Bill Clinton's presidency marked the end of discrimination against Jews in the upper echelons of government. For the first time in American history, the fact that an aspirant for high appointive office was a Jew became irrelevant in his or her selection. President Clinton--our first president who grew up in an age when anti-Semitism was unacceptable--selected several Jewish cabinet members, two Jewish Supreme Court justices, numerous Jewish ambassadors and other high-level executive and judicial officials. Nor, apparently, was Jewishness a bar to election to the United States Congress, which has ten Jewish senators and more than two dozen Jewish representatives, several from states with tiny Jewish populations. Though we have still not had a Jew at the top of either party's ticket, it is fair to say that in today's America, a Jew can aspire to any office, any job, and any social status.

The wealth of individual Jews grew perceptibly during this decade, with 25 percent of America's richest people being of Jewish background. (If only earned, as distinguished from inherited, wealth is counted, the percentage would be even higher.) An American Leadership study in 1971-72 found that Jews represented more than 10 percent of America's top "movers and shakers in business," a higher percentage than any other ethnic group. Jews' per capita income is nearly double that of non-Jews. Twice the percentage of Jews as non-Jews earn more than $50,000 a year. And twice the percentage of non-Jews as Jews earn less than $20,000. Jewish charitable giving has increased along with Jewish wealth. Jews are now among the largest contributors to universities, museums, hospitals, symphonies, opera, and other charities. "In 1991, the United Jewish Appeal raised more money than any other charity in America, including the Salvation Army, American Red Cross, Catholic Charities and the American Cancer Society." Yet only one-tenth of Jewish philanthropists limit their giving to Jewish charities alone, while one-fourth give only to non-Jewish causes.

A Jew today can live in any neighborhood, even those that were formerly "restricted." Jews live alongside white Anglo-Saxon Protestants in the most "exclusive" neighborhoods throughout the country--Grosse Pointe, Greenwich, Fifth Avenue, Beacon Hill. And they have been welcomed into the "best" families, including the Roosevelts, Kennedys, Cuomos, and Rockefellers. Economically, socially, and politically, we have become the new WASPs, as a perusal of the sponsor list of any major charitable or cultural event will show. Indeed, terms such as "J.A.S.P." (Jewish Anglo-Saxon Protestant) and "W.A.S.H." (White Anglo-Saxon Hebrew) have become current in some circles to denote the full social acceptance that Jews increasingly enjoy.

Of America's Nobel Prize winners in science and economics, nearly 40 percent have been Jews. Of America's 200 most influential intellectuals, half are full Jews, and 76 percent have at least one Jewish parent. Jews attend Ivy League colleges at ten times their presence in the general population. It is no wonder that so many non-Jews believe that we constitute so much higher a percentage of the American population than we actually do. Jews today are equal in virtually every way that matters. What could not have been said even at the end of the 1980s can be said today: American Jews are part of the American mainstream; we are truly victims no more.

Yet despite these enormous gains, many older Jews do not seem to be able to give up their anachronistic status as victims. A recent book on the American Jewish community notes: "[A]bout a third [of affiliated Jews in San Francisco said] that Jewish candidates could not be elected to Congress from San Francisco. Yet three out of four Congressional representatives ... were, in fact, well identified Jews at the time the poll was conducted. And they had been elected by a population that was about 95 percent non-Jewish."

Nor is this misperception limited to California. According to journalist J.J. Goldberg, "[T]he percentage of Jews who tell pollsters that anti-Semitism is a `serious problem' in America nearly doubled during the course of the 1980s, from 45 percent in 1983 to almost 85 percent in 1990." Yet by every objective assessment, the problem was less serious in 1990 than it was in 1983, and the trend has clearly been in the direction of improvement.

When I speak to older Jewish audiences, I am often accused, sometimes stridently, of minimizing anti-Semitism and am told that it is worse than ever. Social scientists call this dramatic disparity between the reality of declining anti-Semitism and the widespread belief that it is increasing a "perception gap" between what is actually happening and Jewish "sensibilities." Some of the Jews who believe this are similar in this respect to some feminists and black activists I know, who insist that the plight of women and blacks is worse than it ever was. These good and decent people, whose identities are so tied up with their victimization, are incapable of accepting the good news that their situation is improving. It is not even a matter of perceiving the glass as half full or half empty. They see the glass as broken, even though it is intact and quickly filling up. As the sociologist Marshall Sklare puts it: "American Jews respond more readily to bad news than to good news."

I am reminded of the story of the two Jews reading their newspapers over a cup of coffee in a late-nineteenth-century Viennese cafe. Kurt is reading the liberal Yiddish-language newspaper and shaking his head from side to side, uttering soft moans of "Oy vey" and "Vey is meir." Shmulie is reading the right-wing, anti-Semitic German-language tabloid and smiling. Kurt, noticing what Shmulie is reading, shouts at his friend, "Why are you reading that garbage?" Shmulie responds, "When I used to take your newspaper, all I would ever read about was Dreyfus being falsely accused, the Jews of Russia being subjected to pogroms, anti-Semitic laws being enacted all over Europe, and the grinding poverty of the Jews in the Holy Land. Now, ever since I take this paper, I read about how the Jews control the banks, the press, the arts; how Jews hold all political power behind the scenes; and how we will soon take over the world. Wouldn't you rather read such good news than such bad news?"

With some of today's older Jews, it is exactly the opposite: they refuse to read the good news, even when it is demonstrably true. They insist on focusing on the "oys" rather than the joys of Judaism, as Rabbi Moshe Waldoks put it. This is understandable, in light of the long history of persecution. Like an individual victim of a violent crime who sees his assailant around every corner, the Jewish people have been traumatized by our unrelenting victimization at the hands of Jew-haters. It is impossible for anyone who did not personally experience the Holocaust, or the other repeated assaults on Jewish life throughout our history, to comprehend what it must have been like to be victimized by unrelenting persecution based on primitive Jew-hating. We continue to see anti-Semitism even where it has ceased to exist, or we exaggerate it where it continues to exist in marginalized form. Indeed, some Jewish newspapers refuse to print, and some Jewish organizations refuse to acknowledge, the good news, lest they risk alienating their readerships or losing their membership. For example, in November of 1996 I saw a fundraising letter from a Jewish organization which claimed that "anti-Semitism ... appears to be growing more robust, more strident, more vicious--and more `respectable.'" Well-intentioned as this organization is, it seeks support by exaggerating the threats we currently face and by comparing them to those we faced during the Holocaust.

My students, my children, my friends' children--our next generation--understand our new status: they do not want to be regarded as victims. They do not feel persecuted, discriminated against, or powerless. They want to read the new good news, not the old bad news. A 1988 poll of Jewish students at Dartmouth College made the point compellingly: When asked whether they believed that their Jewishness would in any way hamper their future success, not a single student answered in the affirmative. That is the current reality, and it is different from the reality my parents faced--and even from the reality many of my generation perceived when we were in college or beginning our careers. The coming generation of Jewish adults will not remain Jews because of our enemies or because of our perceived status as victims. They crave a more positive, affirmative, contemporary, and relevant Jewish identity. Unless we move beyond victimization and toward a new Jewish state of mind, many of them will abandon Judaism as not relevant to their current concerns.

If we are to counteract this trend, we must understand the dynamics of contemporary assimilation and not confuse them with past episodes of assimilation, which were based largely on the perceived need to escape from the "burdens" of Jewish identification. Today, there are no burdens from which to escape. Being Jewish is easy, at least in relation to external burdens. Jews today assimilate not because Christianity or Islam is "better" or "easier," but because Jewish life does not have a strong enough positive appeal to offset the inertial drift toward the common denominator. Jews do not convert to Christianity; they "convert" to mainstream Americanism, which is the American "religion" closest to Judaism. They see no reason not to follow their heart in marriage, their convenience in neighborhoods, their economic opportunities in jobs, their educational advantages in schools, their conscience in philosophy, and their preferences in lifestyle. Most Jews who assimilate do not feel that they are giving up anything by abandoning a Jewishness they know little about. They associate the Judaism they are abandoning with inconvenient rituals and rules that have no meaning to them. As one young woman remembers her Jewishness: "An old man saying no."

We must recognize that many of the factors which have fueled current assimilation and intermarriage are positive developments for individual Jews: acceptance, wealth, opportunity. Most Jews do not want to impede these developments. Indeed, they want to encourage them. For that reason, we must accept the reality that many Jews will continue to marry non-Jews, but we should not regard it as inevitable that these marriages will necessarily lead to total assimilation. We can take positive steps to stem that tide--but it will take a change in attitude toward mixed marriages, and indeed toward the tribalism that has understandably characterized Jewish attitudes toward outsiders for so much of our history.

Why is this book different from other books about the Jewish future? Because its author does not have a religious or political agenda. This book is not a commercial for any particular brand of Judaism or Zionism. It does not begin with a priori assumptions about God, the survival of the Jewish people, the superiority of Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, or Reconstructionist Judaism, or the essential conservativism or liberalism of Judaism. I am neither a rabbi, a Jewish fund-raiser, a member of a Jewish studies faculty, an officer of any Jewish organization, nor an advocate for any particular Israeli party. Though I am essentially a secular Jew, I do belong to Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist congregations. Most of my family members are modern Orthodox, and a few are ultra-Orthodox. Some are completely secular. I have generally positive feelings about all Jewish denominations, as I do about the numerous Jewish political, educational, and philanthropic organizations to which I belong and contribute. I have no personal stake in any particular solution to the problem of Jewish survival. I just want American Jewish life to move from strength to strength. I love my Judaism and I feel passionately about its survival, but I do not believe in survival merely for survival's sake. Judaism should not be seen as a patient about to die a natural death, who is kept alive artificially on a respirator for as long as possible without regard to the quality of life. Our goal should be a self-sustaining Judaism that can thrive in the kind of open society in which most Jews want to spend their lives. I strongly believe that it is essential--both for Jews and for America--that the mainstream American Jewish community flourish. It would be a tragedy if the only forms of Judaism the made it past the twenty-first century were insular, ultra-Orthodox Judaism and Israeli Zionism. I hope that they, too, will continue to prosper, but I believe that a more diverse Jewish life has even more to contribute. If I have a bias, it is in favor of an eclectic, tolerant many-branched menorah that is inclusive of all who wish to safeguard and share the future of the Jewish people.

I also bring to this book a unique perspective informed by my experiences growing out of the publication of Chutzpah five years ago. Since that time, I have spoken to well over 100,000 Jews in nearly every city with a significant Jewish population, not only in this country but throughout the world. The talk is usually preceded by a social hour and followed by a question period. I estimate that I have been asked more than a thousand questions by concerned Jews. I have received more than ten thousand letters and phone calls from Jewish men, women, and children. I have also been teaching young students, many of them Jewish, for a third of a century. I have served as faculty adviser to the Harvard Jewish Law Students Association, have been an active participant in Hillel, and have spoken to Jewish student groups at many colleges and universities around the world. Over these years, I have discussed virtually every Jewish issue--from God to intermarriage to Israel to anti-Semitism to Jewish feminism--with thousands of students. These questions, letters, calls, and discussions have given me an extraordinary window into the fears, hopes, and beliefs of a wide assortment of Jews. It has been quite an education. I think I understand what is on the minds and in the souls of many Jews, of all ages, and I try to address myself to these concerns in this book. I also have a unique window into the mind of the anti-Semite, since I continue to receive hundreds of anti-Semitic letters and calls each year, some quite lengthy and revealing.

Though I care deeply about the survival of the Jewish people, I do not believe that survival is assured by any biblical imperative or divine promise. I approach the issue of Jewish survival as I would any other important empirical challenge: with an open mind ready and willing to accept any pragmatic solution, or combination of solutions, that will work. I am committed to doing whatever is in my power to help ensure the Jewish future. I know that many Jews feel the same way.

I agree neither with those theologians who believe that Jewish survival is assured because God promised it nor with those demographers who believe that Jewish disappearance is inevitable because of forces beyond our control. I believe that our future as a people is largely in our own hands, and I want to help define and defend the new Jewish state of mind.

In the first chapter of this book, I focus on what is probably the most whispered-about subject among American Jews today: intermarriage and how to cope with this growing reality. I try to bring this controversial subject out of the closet in all its dimensions. I do not moan and groan and wring my hands. I do not present a religious agenda. I explore the issue from both a demographic and a personal perspective, in an effort to understand it and deal with it instructively and realistically. My analysis and conclusions will be controversial and will, I hope, stimulate a debate within the Jewish community and beyond. My goal is to ask all the hard questions, and to provide a wide variety of responses in addition to my own. I know that many readers will disagree with me, but I hope they will not be able to ignore the challenges I pose.

In chapters 2, 3, and 4, I develop my thesis that the nature of anti-Semitism is changing in fundamental and important ways: Mainstream anti-Semitism--as traditionally practiced by churches, states, corporations, universities, and other elite institutions--is coming to an end; today's Jew-haters are largely marginalized and powerless. This change means that although anti-Semitism persists and must continue to be monitored, it has far less daily impact on the lives of American Jews than in the past. Thus we must define our Jewish identity in different and more positive ways than we did the past.

In chapters 5, 6, and 7, I explore the most frequently proposed solutions to the problem of assimilation. To those who are sure that return to religion is Judaism's only salvation, I say, Get as many to return as you can. Maybe you are right. But we cannot rely exclusively on your solution, because maybe you are wrong. Maybe not enough Jews will become religious. Maybe religion--at least as currently defined and practiced--is not the wave of the future for most young intellectuals. Maybe there is a strand of Judaism that can survive and thrive without exclusive dependence on theology and ritual. After all, the Yiddish secularism that flourished between the beginning of the Jewish Enlightenment (Haskalah) and the Second World War was an authentic Jewish culture, which was destroyed by external forces. Political Zionism, which grew largely out of that culture, remains an authentic Jewish civilization of enormous importance to the survival of Judaism. Today's influential American Jewish community is largely secular.

To those who look to Israel as Judaism's sole salvation, I say, Keep trying to get Jews from throughout the Diaspora to make aliyah. Maybe you are right. But we cannot count on Zionism and aliyah alone, because maybe you are wrong. Maybe most Jews will want to remain where they and their families have established a comfortable home. Maybe they will not come to Israel. Maybe Israel will not endure forever as a Jewish state. Maybe it will "normalize"--as Theodor Herzl put it--and become like most other states, which began as religious but became secular and multicultural over time.

To those who believe that an emphasis on Jewish ethics will be enough to transmit the essence of Judaism to our children, I say, Maybe you are right. Certainly many Jews, especially secular Jews, agree with you and hope you are right. But beyond broad generalities, it is difficult to distill from the highly diverse Jewish sources a few programmatic essences that are easily transmittable from generation to generation, without living the kind of Jewish lives that our grandparents lived.

To those who say that Jewish fund-raising, charity, and defense organizations are the answer, I say, Work on, raise money, build buildings, elect officers, bestow honors, monitor anti-Semitism, support Israel. But do not count on it to ensure the Jewish future, because maybe the next generation will not be as attracted to these institutions as the post-Holocaust generation was.

To those who say that Jewish education is the key to Jewish survival, I say, You are undoubtedly right. Whatever the essence or essences of Judaism may be, they are in large part, at least, to be discovered and rediscovered in our books, in our history, and in our approach to learning. But we cannot count on all Jews, so many of whom are busy with their successful careers, to become Jewishly educated, especially since Jewish education today is controlled almost entirely by the religious component of Jewish life and has been one of the great failures of the American Jewish community.

In the final chapter, I propose a series of steps that I believe we must take in order to safeguard the Jewish future. We must change the nature of American Jewish life in fundamental ways if we are to survive the new threats to our continuity as a people. These changes must make us more adaptive to the reality that we can no longer define ourselves--and our children--by reference to our past victimization and persecution. We must adopt a new, more positive, Jewish identity based on a 3,500-year-old tradition of education, scholarship, learning, creativity, justice, and compassion. But first we must figure out a way to make this diverse library of Jewish knowledge accessible and useful to generations of Jews who are abysmally ignorant of their remarkable tradition. The famed "Yiddisher cup" (khop)---Jewish head--is only half full: the typical Jewish college graduate is extraordinarily well educated about general subjects, but goes through life with a kindergarten understanding of Judaism. We must begin to fill the Yiddisher cup with the kind of useful Jewish knowledge that will assure both our success and our survival. To do this, we will have to loosen the monopolistic hold that rabbis now have over Jewish education, so that we can begin to compete effectively in the marketplace of ideas for the minds and hearts of our Jewish youth. Unless we begin to make use of our competitive advantage--as teachers, communicators, scholars, advocates, and strategists--we will lose our children and grandchildren to the seductive drift toward assimilation and away from Jewishness. The fundamental changes we must make will require a reordering of our priorities away from an almost exclusive focus on defending Jews against external enemies and toward new ways of defending ourselves and our children against self-destruction through assimilation. We will have to educate our children differently, allocate our charitable giving differently, select our leaders differently--even define our very Jewishness differently. Jewish life will have to become less tribal, more open, more accepting of outsiders, and less defensive.
When I describe some of the multiple roads we must take if we are to maximize our chances for survival, I think of a variation of the old story of the rabbinical judge who, after hearing a wife's complaints about her husband, says, "My daughter, you are right," and, after hearing the husband's complaints, says, "My son, you are right." When his student observes, "Rabbi, they can't both be right," he replies, "My son, you are right." Under my variation, the rabbi responds to his student, "No, you are wrong. They can both be right." To the differing and sometimes inconsistent approaches to Jewish survival, I would say, "You may all be right. Don't you dare tell each other that you are wrong. Nobody has a monopoly on the truth about the Jewish future. Everything that may work must be tried."

At the end of the last century, Theodor Herzl called for a new Jewish state. As we approach the close of this cataclysmic century, I believe we need a new Jewish state of mind if we are to define and ensure the Jewish future, not only for our sake but for the sake of all humankind.

While I agree with many of the issues written by Mr. Dershowitz, I definitely disagree with a host of his theological, social, and philosophical points of view.

The following letter was written by R. Wasserman from Toledo, Ohio, in 1938, to a young student (R. Elchonon Hertzman, from Mir and later of New York) requesting his help in escaping the Nazis. It's a famous letter written shortly before WWII:
1. "I received your letter, but unfortunately there is nothing I can do. The yeshivos in America which can bring talmidim from overseas are the yeshivah of Dr. Revel (YU) and [HTC in Chicago]. However, both are places of spiritual danger because they are run in a spirit of disloyalty to the Torah. Therefore, of what benefit would it be to escape [Europe] from physical danger to spiritual danger."
The letter is quoted in Hebrew in the excellent and inspiring Art Scroll history series book: Reb Elchonon: The Life and Ideals of Rabbi Elchonon Bunim Wasserman of Baranovich by Aharon Sorski.I do not want to give the impression that R. Wasserman was being heartless. Later on in the letter, he refers the talmid to Rabbi Shlomo Hymen at Torah Va Das (where Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetsky was Rosh Yeshiva) in Brooklyn, who will help.
Another good book: Silver Era in American Jewish Orthodoxy: Rabbi Eliezer and His Generation by Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff.
There were only two Torah sages willing to stand up to YU before WWII. R. Wasserman and R. Aharon Kotler. YU sent over the pious rabbi (R. Henkin, good friend of R. Moshe Feinstein, grandfather of the R. Henkin (Nishmat feminist leader) training these putatively Orthodox women rabbis) to R. Wasserman to bring him to YU.
Torah scholar Amitai Bin-Nun writes: "I'm ashamed to admit reading this blog, especially in its current state, but I recall this letter (not to escape Europe to go to YU) being quoted in Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff's book "Bernard Revel: Builder of American Orthodoxy", so it should be easily verifiable. The other Yeshiva, if I recall correctly, was HTC in Skokie.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 9:16 PM | 89 comments

Friday, September 09, 2005
Modern Orthodoxy

Is Modern Orthodoxy
an Endangered Species?
By Walter S. Wurzburger

Of late, there seems to be no end to articles in learned journals and the daily press lamenting the impending demise of Modern Orthodoxy Although I an fully aware that in Jewish religious circles the pendulum has swung to the right, I dismiss the prophets of doom and gloom, because I am convinced that the approach of Modern Orthodoxy will prove to be indispensable.

Actually, the shift to the extreme religious right is by no means confined to Judaism. It is well known that in Christianity as well as in Islam the more fundamentalist elements enjoy a totally unexpected resurgence, eclipsing the more liberal elements, which. had previously predominated.

This development appears to be a natural reaction to the excesses of a permissive, hedonistic culture which has undermined the moral foundation of society. Since, as it has been said, "the Jew is' like everybody else, except more so," it is readily understandable why in Jewish circles the rejection of the values of modernity has assumed extreme proportions.

This negative attitude has been reinforced by the trauma of the Holocaust, which made Jews highly suspicious of the values of Western society. After all, the horrendous outrages were perpetrated not by some primitive tribes but by one of the most "civilized" nations. It is often asked, how can one respect modern culture, if a Martin Heidegger, one of the most celebrated German philosophers, could turn into a Nazi and enthusiastically endorse Hitler's policies.

The refusal of Modern Orthodoxy to condemn all and sundry manifestations of modernity such as emphasis upon autonomy, tolerance, democracy, and human initiative in creating cultural values is widely misinterpreted as a compromise between genuine Jewish values and the "idols of the age." Since Modern Orthodoxy does not reject the values or modernity hook, line and sinker but advocates a selective approach, examining each part of the modern ethos as to its compatibility with Halakhic Judaism, it is charged with inauthenticity. Right-wing Orthodoxy argues that uncompromising authentic Judaism demands isolation from contemporary secular thought, lest one become contaminated by non-Jewish attitudes. Similarly, Modern Orthodoxy's readiness to cooperate with non-orthodox movements on issues of common concern is interpreted despite, its protestations to the contrary, as a tacit acknowledgment of the legitimacy of religious pluralism and, allegedly, demonstrates a lack of commitment to basic Orthodox tenets of faith and practice, which insist upon the binding authority of Halakhah.

What renders the position of Modern Orthodoxy even more precarious in the modern world is the perception that it condones laxity in religious observance. Unfortunately, in the popular mind, Modern Orthodoxy is seen as a "moderate" brand of religion - a compromise between the rigorous demands of strict Halakhic observance and expedient concessions to secular life-styles. Before Modern Orthodoxy can reclaim hegemony in the religious community and become a vibrant and dynamic movement, it must demonstrate its total and unconditional commitment to Halakhic norms in practice as well as in theory. No religious movement can succeed, when it is perceived as "religious tokenism," serving as a veneer to conceal a life-style preoccupied with comfort and convenience. In order to emerge as a vibrant and dynamic force, Modern Orthodoxy must demonstrate religious passion and insistence upon meticulous Halakhic observance both in matters between man and God and between man and man. In matters of religious commitment moderation is no virtue. The "extremism" of total commitment is absolutely essential to success.

I am however, convinced that the ideology of "Modern Orthodoxy" is desperately needed under contemporary conditions. In the long run, Orthodoxy cannot flourish in an atmosphere of isolation and insulation. Economic factors alone will dictate that the "Kolel" cannot be a live option for the bulk of Orthodox youth. Even now many Charedi institutions reluctantly permit their students to obtain professional training. Despite the best of intentions, there are limits to the possibility of compartmentalizion. Exposure to science is bound to affect the mentality of Charedi youth by broadening its horizons and making it far less parochial in thinking and attitudes.
What confirms my optimism for the future of Modern Orthodoxy are the developments in Israeli society. It has been noted that in Israel, far more than in America, Modern Orthodoxy is relatively popular. By the latest estimates it represents ten percent of the total Population of Israel-a considerably larger proportion than that of Modern Orthodox Jews in the American Jewish population. This is no surprise to me. Living in a Jewish state serves as a deterrent to the development of attitudes encouraging complete isolation of Jews from the surrounding culture.

A dramatic corroboration of the impact of a completely Jewish society upon. the mentality of religious Jews is provided by Yitzchak Breuer, the leading ideologist of Agudath Israel. Prior to his immigration to what was then Palestine he was a vigorous and militant advocate or secession from the non-Orthodox community. But after his Aliyah, so he recorded in his diary, he became convinced that while secession made sense in the Diaspora, this type of isolationism was untenable in the Yishuv.

I am confident that ultimately the repercussions of the resurgence of Modern Orthodoxy in Israel will be felt in America and the pendulum will swing back in a direction, which is more conducive to the ideology of Modern Orthodoxy.

Walter S. Wurzburger is an Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at Yeshiva University and Rabbi Emeritus of congregation Shaaray Tefila, Lawrence N.Y. He served as president of the Rabbinical Council of America and of the Synagogue Council of America. He is the author of Ethics of Responsibility and is a member of The Orthodox Caucus.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 12:53 AM | 10 comments

Thursday, September 08, 2005
Reinventing The Holocaust

By Naomi Ragen

The Admor of Kalive, Manchem Mendel Taub, has decided that what the ultra-Orthodox community needs is its own alternative to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Authority, established in 1953 by Israel’s Knesset. According to Moshe Fichsler, who is in charge of the Kalive museum project, haredi youth knows little about the Holocaust.

Could this be, perhaps, because their elders have never visited Yad Vashem, and don’t bring their children? Could this be because even the national moment of silence in which Holocaust victims are remembered, is not honored in the haredi world?

Of course, the haredim have an answer for all that: Yad Vashem has pictures of women without their clothes on. And standing still and remembering is a “gentile” invention.

Now, while I think it is legitimate to debate whether the dignity of the victims is violated by displaying such pictures, it is quite another to boycott the entire memorial site of the Jewish people because of it. As for standing silent and remembering, isn’t that exactly what the high priest Aaron did when he learned his two sons had died?
But I think we do an injustice to our ultra-Orthodox brethren to reduce their problem to such petty issues. In truth, the issues are much, much larger. For when I wander through the dark halls of Yad Vashem, taking in its devastating portrayal of Jewry’s unimaginable tragedy, and then I walk out into the Jerusalem sunlight, something happens to me. I am reminded that all of us born of Jewish parents or grandparents, whatever our beliefs or lifestyles, were treated equally by the Nazis and their collaborators. I am reminded that we Jews are all brothers and sisters, and that the State of Israel was founded to give Jews a home, a place that when we have to go there, it has to take us in. A place where we Jews could arm and defend ourselves from future tragedies. A place we could, as Jews, watch out and care for each other.

But this, apparently, is not the right message for ultra-Orthodox leadership. Why not becomes apparent in reading Ephraim Zuroff’s brave, well-written and most fair analysis in his book: “The Response of Orthodox Jewry in the United States to the Holocaust”.

Dr. Zuroff, an Orthodox Jew, is deeply sympathetic to the efforts of religious Jews to rescue European rabbis and yeshiva students, and he documents with care their successes and dedication. However, as a scholar, he can’t ignore the sad truth that in pursuing their goals, Orthodox leadership often ended up helping some Jews to receive double aid while others starved, all in the name of “enabling [yeshivah students] to continue their studies uninterrupted as if there were no war.”Even after August 1942, when it became clear that wide-scale extermination of European Jewry was taking place, the Vaad ha-Hatzala Rescue Committee concentrated its support for rabbis who faced no immediate threat of annihilation in Shanghai and central Russia.

Nor can Zuroff ignore the fact that many prominent European rabbis, roshei yeshivot, didn’t bother to get their students vital documentation when it was still possible, unwisely squandering opportunities to save lives.

For his scholarship and fairness, Dr. Zuroff has (predictably?) been compared to Holocaust denier David Irving by Rabbi Berel Wein, and discredited by haredi historian Dr. David Kranzler. Their criticism leaves me wondering if either has actually bothered to read the book. (In my personal experience, my harshest critics have never bothered to read mine. That way, it’s so much easier to be critical.)

Yes, the Orthodox Vaad ha-Hatzala was willing to march and protest when secular Jews were too embarrassed (they also refused to march when secular Jews wanted to). They were willing to bend American regulations if it meant saving Jewish lives. And in the end, they were even willing to join with their fellow Jews for wider goals.

But the bickering, mostly over fundraising, between the Vaad and the JDC continued almost constantly throughout the war. True, the JDC sometimes hampered the Vaad’s unusual but sometimes successful initiatives. But without JDC funding, the efforts of the Vaad would have been close to worthless.

The importance of Jewish unity and cooperation seems to be the lesson of this historical fact-gathering. Without conveying that lesson, any Holocaust memorial is worthless.

Thus, the desire of haredim to even remember and mourn separately, to deny their children the experience of sharing in the Jewish people’s collective memory, is unforgivable, as are the attempts to vilify any Orthodox Jew who breaks ranks, bravely exposing unpleasant truths that must be faced about ourselves, our communities and the spiritual leaders we so love to aggrandize into saintliness and infallibility.

The truth is, that when the chips were down, trusting the infallibility of rabbinical leaders cost people their lives. The truth is that when push came to shove, rabbis and yeshiva students worried about themselves and their own, and only very late, and very partially, did they consider the needs of the rest of Jewry.

We see that legacy today in the refusal of the haredi community to do their fair share of military service, or their fair share shouldering the financial and social burdens of the Jewish people in the land of Israel. Yes, I suppose they need a museum of their own. A place unburdened by reality, history, and the growing voices of dissent within their own ranks. But in building it, the haredim will be adopting another invention of the "gentiles" -- Disneyland.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 1:46 AM | 26 comments

Tuesday, September 06, 2005
The Jewish Food Mafia

News Flash-Mezonos Maven in Flatbush, certified kosher by the OK and the Hisachdus Harabonnim(only two agencies certified them kosher, that's the problem)was caught operating on Shabbos.This establishment is owned and run by Black Hatters.

An acquaintance of mine asked me about the kosher industry at a business gathering. Someone responded to him by saying when he got home he should look at the food and non-food products with certain symbols on the labels.

This is what he writes.

"On arriving at my residence, I immediately went to the pantry to verify that what I had just learned was actually true. Sure enough, most of the packaged and canned foods from major companies, like Proctor & Gamble and others, did have the (U), the (K) or other similar markings. The Arrowhead water bottle, the instant Folgers Coffee, the Kelloggs box, the Jiff Peanut Butter, the Pepper container, the Trader Joe's tea box and even the Glads plastic sandwich bags carton had the (U) or (K) mark on them.

We needed a little more verification so we called two major companies to asked some questions. We chose Proctor & Gamble that markets the Folgers Coffee and the Clorox Company that manufactures the Glads plastic zip lock sandwich bags. Each of the two companies, as well as most others, have 1-800 telephone numbers printed on their packages for consumers to call in case they have any questions about their products. When we asked the Proctor & Gamble representative what the (U) meant on their Folgers Coffee container, she asked us to wait until she consulted with her supervisor. She came back and informed us that the mark meant that the coffee was " certified kosher". We than asked her how and who certified the coffee to be "kosher" and whether it cost any money to do so. She refused to answer these and other questions. She suggested that we write to their Corporate Public Affairs Department. We than called the Clorox Corporation to ask what the (U) meant on the package of their Glads plastic sandwich bags and she also said that the (U) meant that the plastic bags were "kosher" but refused to answer questions concerning payments the Clorox Corporation has to make in order to be able to print the (U) on their products.

What we learned next, pretty much floored me personally. I learned that major food companies throughout America actually pay a Jewish Tax amounting to hundreds of million of dollars per year in order to receive protection. This hidden tax gets passed, of course, to all Jewish and non-Jewish consumers of the products. The scam is to coerce the companies to pay up or suffer the consequences of a Jewish boycott. Jewish consumers have learned not to buy any kitchen product that does not have the (U) the (K) and other similar markings.

Another shocker was learning who is actually behind these sophisticated "Kosher Nostra Scams." It turns out that the perpetrators of these elaborate extortion schemes are actually Rabbinical Councils that are set up, not just in the U.S. but in other western countries as well. For example, the largest payola operation in the U.S. is run by those who license the (U) symbol. The (U) symbol provides protection for many products sold in the United States. This symbol is managed by the The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations with headquarters at 333 Seventh Avenue in New York City.

The "Kosher Nostra" protection racket starts when an Orthodox Rabbi approaches a company to warn the owners that unless their product is certified as kosher, or "fit for a Jew to eat", they will face a boycott by every Jew in America. Most, if not all of the food companies, succumb to the blackmail because of fear of the Jewish dominated media and a boycott that may eventually culminate in bankruptcy. Also, the food companies know that the cost can be passed on to the consumer anyway. The food companies have kept secret from the general consumer the meaning of the (U) and the amount of money they have to pay the Jewish Rabbis.

It is estimated that the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations, which manages the (U) symbol protection racket, controls about 85% of the "Kosher Nostra " certification business. They now employ about 1200 Rabbi agents that are spread through out the U.S. Food companies must first pay an exorbitant application fee and than a large annual fee for the use of the (U) copyright symbol. Secondly, the companies must pay separate fees each time a team of Rabbis shows up to "inspect" the company's operations. Certain food companies are required to hire Rabbis full time at very lucrative salaries.

The amount of money that the non-Jewish consumer has paid the food companies to make up for the hidden Jewish Tax is unknown, but it is estimated to be in the billions since the scam first started. The Orthodox Jewish Councils as well as the food companies keep the amount of the fees very secret. The Wall Street Journal wrote about the problem many years ago, but they have stopped writing about it now.

Only public awareness concerning the "Kosher Nostra Scam" will eventually help stop this swindle of the American consumer. Public education of the scam may lead to an eventual non-Jewish boycott of all products with the (U), (K) or other Jewish protection symbols. I certainly do not need to pay extra for "kosher water", "kosher coffee" or "kosher plastic sandwich bags". "

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 9:04 PM | 66 comments

Saturday, September 03, 2005
The Seven Points To Tshuva-For The Baal Tshuva Institutions

The Seven Points to Tshuva for the Ba’al Tshuva Institutions - by David Kelsey

Some in the comments section have begged me, as a board member of the Un-Orthodox Blog, to elucidate how the Ba’alei Tsuva Houses of Horror could improve. I have agreed to do so, not out of any hopes that my recommendations will be implemented, but to illuminate to the Jewish world that it could be easily improved in important ways, and to catch Orthodox and secular eyes on how, and to then collectively ask why it isn’t like that.

If you think it is impossible that anyone would have a constructive criticism of the wonderful quiescent fundamentalist world of the Ba’alie Tsuva institutions, please stop reading now. Go here instead.

1 One year program maximum for those younger students who have not finished or (like me at the time) not even started college. – Every University overseas programs are for one year max. Modern Orthodox Jews have one (and only one) year in Israel. They all go for one year, and then they go to and finish college. There is no way to justify the horrible practice of encouraging years on end. If these yeshivas want to encourage a welfare lifestyle, let that be the choice of college graduates. This is not a good idea for young ba’alei tsuvas. Got a problem with that? Worried about their souls on campus? So set up Dark Light (Ohr Somayach ) or Fire Hazard (Aish) Houses on campus as a competitor to Chabad. They have a point with this.

2 –Athletics – This means more than having a field or basketball court around in case someone is actually inclined to do something more cardiovascular than wave his thumbs or shuckel. A responsible, more athletic student should be given responsibility to lead a game of basketball or the like everyday. These people can ensure that a loser is on hand to present a cake for mishmur and schedule a guest “vort” on something or other in the middle of the night on Thursday; so they can find surely find some willing soul to facilitate a daily sports activity. Now I know – in the prestigious yeshivas in Lithuania they didn’t play ball or jog, but these aren’t the five most prestigious yeshivas in a land twenty below zero in September. They are ba’alei tsuva yeshivas. They can no longer chase girls or do any activity they once considered normal. They need to blow off steam. Make sure they do. If someone doesn’t want to, no one is going to make them; it’s kind of like Ma’ariv. But it would be helpful if occasionally one of the junior Rabbis joined in to show this is considered a good thing.

3 – Full-Time Social Worker on the premises and the need for personal goals beyond “being frum” or “finding a shidduch” - You don’t need some shrink handing out Ritalin, but this is not an easy transition, from a secular to a religious lifestyle. Sorry if I am saying something too provocative for your kushera neshumas, but that’s the truth. If it is easy for someone from a secular background to make this transition, he is probably just a chameleon.

The social worker will be the busiest member of the faculty on campus. Trust me on that one. He must have a meeting with every student at least once every three months. No exceptions. Life and vocational goals must be discussed with the student. This is not about “haskafa”, it is about tachlis. Too little of that usually at these places.

4 – Only college educated Rabbis as faculty – I don’t care if a guy came from a lineage as chasuv as the direct descendent of the Grand Rabbi of Chelm, or if he was a heavy metal party animal who saw the Dark Light and never tires of telling his stupid journey to any new, potential recruit. If the faculty member is not college-educated, they will not be able to understand how to teach the ba’alei tsuvas. They will only be able to tell them why everything they ever learned was meaningless. THAT’S WHAT ISLAM IS FOR. College educated faculty ONLY.

5 – Language – You can babble about hashkafa and how crazy the world is out there until the seventy-two minutes have finally passed and a new horrible week has begun, but in the end, this stuff won’t stick, and the backlash will hit. The only question is how hard.

What will stick and what students will never resent long-term are any skills gained.

These include but are not limited to:

A) Hebrew. You don’t have to be an orange t-shirt wearing Zionist to understand that much of are texts were written in a language not taught in most public schools in the U.S., and not well-taught at Hebrew School. A serious understanding of the language is critical. Every student – every single one – needs to be taking a Hebrew course, not just a couple of beginners who have not yet divested themselves of their Zionist narishkeit. It should include frequent tests – not to grade only, but for the student to understand what he knows, and what he is weak on. This should include a heavy emphasis on diction and conjugation, not just vocabulary of the words for various vessels in the temple. I know it sounds treif, but it’s not. It will only help a student, and he will hate you and himself less later if you make sure he gains these skills. Watch for little protest on this particular point in the comments section, even from Shlomo.

B) Aramaic – Please see my point A about Hebrew. The Talmud’s language is difficult. Can we learn the basic language, please? No, of course not. That would be empowering, and you would see real growth, and not the kind you wear from the Hefker pile of clothing. ALWAYS BETTER TO FOCUS ON HASHKAFA.

(Note - in my research for this post, it seems that some of the ba’al tsuva yeshivas have, to my shock, begun to make some small steps towards increasing academic empowerment. I will be happy to listen on the details of exactly what has improved, and what has not on this issue. I would point out that if the Rabbis teaching were college educated and BTL’s don’t count – this would have occurred a long time ago. It wouldn’t have taken 35 years for these illiterates to begin to figure this one out.)

6- Discouragement of Stringencies – “I don’t want to say you shouldn’t do it…” No - say it, asshole. These guys aren’t sure what’s the ikur and what’s the tuffel. Teach them. Teach them not to be freaks. Otherwise most will stop on their own, and resent that you didn’t tell them that in the first place. Explain that six hour between meat and milk means into the sixth hour. Explain that you can wear your tzitzis in sometimes. Explain that you can walk between two women when you have to chas v’ shalom go to Manhattan. My former shalosh sheudas “Armegeddon is coming” Rosh Yeshiva would side with me on these issues when a couple of the other bochurim would try to insist I act more frum, and I hate him a little bit less because of it.

Just a little bit, but every little bit helps.

7 – Discourage poverty. I haven’t met very many ba’al tsuvas who enjoy a standard of living greatly reduced from the one they grew up in. I have met many ba'al tsuvas who are never the less doing just that. Try to encourage them to find ways to avoid this, or at least limit the difference. You can’t do it for them, but you can encourage them to find ways themselves. That means (once all are college graduates as per my previous demand) approving internships and graduate school as a “good idea,” and talking about it openly. As a good thing, and not something to be “pushed off” indefinitely.

Does my path to repentance sound like good ideas?

Then let’s promote it. If you’re with me.

With us.

First of all, we need to mobilize the general Jewish community to monitor what is happening at these places. Disgruntled parent or former student? Email UO or me, but also email everyone you think needs to know these proposed reforms.

Liberal Jews ask all the wrong questions on Jewish Fundamentalist institutions. The UnOrthodox Blog is here to teach you the right ones.

Cause it’s all about the right questions, right?

And we got ‘em.

Now that we have learned the right questions, it is time to pressure the anti-cult program of the UJA to more closely monitor the Ba’al Tsuva institutions.

We don’t (yet) need to demand that the Jewish Community Relations Council’s Task Force on Missionaries and Cults declares them a cult, we just need that possibility (for now) as a threat to induce improvement. Wanna be listed with Jews for Jesus and the Kabbalah Centre as predators of secular Jewry? Then keep up the bullshit!

Email them here:

With OU’s and board permission, I would like to suggest we start cataloging stories of insanity at these places.

It’s time to clean house. Or it will be cleaned for them.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 8:31 PM | 23 comments

Friday, September 02, 2005
The Most Evil And Retarded Jews


Orthodox Judaism is incompatible with and totally opposes the philosophy known as Zionism. It condemns Zionism both on the grounds of religious belief and on the grounds of the religious requirement to be compassionate and humanitarian to all mankind.

Neturei Karta is the group name of those Orthodox Jews who are prepared to express openly their religious opposition to Zionism and their sympathy and solidarity with the Palestinian cause in their struggle against the Zionist oppression.

As part of their expression of support for the Palestinian cause, representatives of Neturei Karta take part in protests, which draw attention to the Palestinian struggle, whenever and wherever they can.
THE WORLD, through the Agency of the International Court of Justice, has been examining the legality or otherwise of the physical barrier known as ‘the wall’ being erected by the Zionist State between them and the Palestinians. Our position is as follows:

The Jews were exiled some two thousand years ago by Divine decree from the land now known as Palestine, because they did not maintain the standards expected of them. From that time on we were forbidden and forsworn by our Torah not to attempt to come out of exile through our own efforts. To do so would be a rebellion against the wish of the A-lmighty and we were warned of the dire consequences of transgressing this prohibition.

Exile means that Jews must be loyal subjects of the countries in which they live and not attempt to attain political power over the indigenous populations of those countries. This stringent religious requirement applies equally both in any country in the world and in Palestine, where the indigenous population is the Palestinian people.

Added to the above is the religious humanitarian requirement to treat all individuals and peoples with compassion and consideration. To forcefully deprive a people of their homes and country is totally contrary to this requirement.

It follows therefore that it is the Palestinians, the indigenous population of Palestine, who have the right to rule in Palestine today. According to the Torah and Jewish faith, the Palestinian Arab claim to rule in Palestine is right and just. The Zionist illegitimate claim is illegal and what is more must inevitably be based on loss of life and deprivation of property.Orthodox Jewry, therefore, pass no opinion on the legality or otherwise of ‘the wall’. We do however pass an opinion of ABSOLUTE ILLEGALITY on the ZIONIST STATE known as ‘Israel’. The root cause of ‘the wall’ is the illegitimate Zionist State that has caused untold suffering to both Jews and Arabs for decades. So many people ignore the root cause of the hate that has spread and engulfed the globe today.


We want to tell the world, especially our Palestinian neighbours, that there is no hatred or animosity between Jew and Arab. We wish to live together as friends and neighbours. Let us not forget the peaceful coexistence between Jews and Arabs that existed throughout the centuries. All those memories vanished with the advent of Zionism.
The Zionist oppression of Arabs in Palestine is a tragedy for both the Palestinian and the Jewish peoples.

Opposition to Zionism and its crimes does not mean a hatred for Jews, so called ‘antisemitism’. On the contrary Zionism and its deeds are the biggest threat to Judaism and the biggest cause of ‘antisemitism’
Zionism is not Judaism - Zionists do not represent the Jews

We pray for an end to bloodshed, an end to the suffering of our Palestinian brethren and all innocent people worldwide. We are waiting for the annulment of Zionism and the peaceful dismantling of the Zionist regime, and would welcome the opportunity to dwell in peace in the holy land under a rule entirely in accordance with Palestinian aspirations.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 1:50 AM | 21 comments

Thursday, September 01, 2005
Rabbi Meir Kahane vindicated (by National Geographic)

By Shelomo Alfassa

No matter what you think of him, whether you hate him or love him, the name Meir Kahane is a name that will forever be engrained in the history of the Jewish people. But just this past week, fifteen years after his murder, he was vindicated on the world stage via American national television.

Rabbi Kahane, born in Brooklyn in 1932, was an author, political activist and a member of the Israeli Knesset. When concluding a speech in Manhattan, Rabbi Kahane was assassinated by El-Sayyid Nosair, an Egyptian and member of an Arab terrorist cell operating in New York in 1990. Nosair was one of Sheikh Omar Abd El-Rahman's men, who would later be convicted for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing; today, he is serving life in prison. The gun that was used to kill Rabbi Kahane was supplied to Nosair by Wadih El-Hage, who is a member of Al-Qaeda convicted of conspiracy to kill American citizens in the 1998 US embassy bombings.

With jihad being conducted around the world, and especially after the mass murder of September 11, 2001, some Jews have been attempting to remind the world of what Kahane was warning them, as well as noting that Kahane had been the first victim of jihad in the United States. Of course, when Jews who supported Kahane speak up, they generally don't catch the attention of the liberal media, but they repeated their cry for over a decade to recognize that the slaying of Kahane was the initial attack Islamic terrorists had brought against American citizens. Finally, their cries have been accepted as fact.

The National Geographic cable television channel has just released a new four-hour documentary called "Inside 9/11". The focus of the special is not to show devastation in New York, but to present the facts in the form of a timeline, so that people can understand what happened, who was - and is - attacking America. The documentary has received rave reviews and the cable networks consider this broadcast so important that they have made the show available for free in areas that don't carry the National Geographic channel.

This well-made production explains what many of the Jewish people have been shouting to the world. The documentary starts with the assassination of Rabbi Meir Kahane and goes on to dedicate a portion of the first hour explaining how the rabbi was targeted by an Islamic terrorist. The significance is to recognize the fact that Kahane was assassinated as an act of jihad against the West, and to show that organized Islamic terror cells have already been successful in sending an operative into the United States to successfully murder someone they saw as problematic. If they did it once, they can, and will, do it again.

Nosair (who was acquitted of Rabbi Kahane's murder, even though he shot him in front of a large crowd), was only found guilty of illegally possessing a weapon. However, a subsequent search of the murderer's apartment uncovered 47 boxes of documents in Arabic, which proved that he was part of a worldwide terrorist network. According to the National Geographic documentary, the FBI let this evidence slip through their fingers, not thinking it was important material.

At lunchtime on February 26, 1993, a truck bomb was set off under the World Trade Center. Six people were killed and more than 1,000 injured. The bomb destroyed a total of seven stories of the structure. Four terrorists, linked to Nosair, were later convicted of this attack. Members of this same group would later work with Al-Qaeda and, eight years later, bring down both towers in New York and slam a plane into the Pentagon, killing over 2,500 Americans....

from Wikipedia: Kahane believed that the Palestinians sought the genocide of the Israelis, and therefore he proposed the population transfer, and even forcible deportation, of all Arabs from Israel including the West Bank.

Better to forcibly deport Jews..... right?

You crazy rosh yeshivas who sit on your fat asses,instead of encouraging peaceful protests; there is a special place in Hell for you shitheads.

You were complicit in Kahane's death by dehumanizing him.
He did more for Judaism than any of you filthy thieves!

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 7:23 PM | 17 comments

Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Sucking Jewish Weenies- Part Two

Infectious Disease & Immunity

According to Biblical law, a male infant should be circumcised at the age of 8 days as a sign of the eternal covenant between God and the Jewish people (Genesis 17:10–14; Leviticus 12:3). According to classical rabbinical interpretation, performance of this religious ritual offers medical advantages, a view upheld by many modern medical authorities, as noted earlier.
The Babylonian Talmud (Sabbath 133b), the main rabbinical literature completed in the fifth century of the common era, states that for the sake of the infant, the mohel is obliged to perform the metzitzah" so as not to bring on risk." The nature of the risk was not specified. It specifically states that "this procedure is performed for the sake of the infant's safety and if a mohel does not perform the suction [of the wound], this is deemed dangerous and he is to be dismissed." To prevent medical complications, the Talmud permits only an experienced and responsible mohel to perform the ritual circumcision.
The Talmud (Tossefta Shabbath 15:8) was aware of potential medical problems that could arise from ritual circumcision13 and in fact provided the first description of hemophilia in the history of medicine, manifested as a familial bleeding disorder that required circumcision to be postponed.14

In the 19th century, Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis (1818–1865) established the principles of hygiene and disease transmission,15 after neonatal tuberculosis was documented after circumcision by an infected mohel.16 Since then, most rabbinical authorities modified their approach in response to these findings.

Because the Talmudic injunction to perform metzitzah did not explicitly stipulate oral suction, >160 years ago, Rabbi Moses Schreiber (Pressburg, 1762–1839), a leading rabbinical authority, ruled that metzitzah could be conducted by instrumental suction,16 a ruling quickly adopted by most rabbinical authorities.17 Consequently, the great majority of ritual circumcisions are performed today with a sterile device and not by oral suction by the mohel. However, some orthodox rabbis have felt threatened by criticism of the old religious customs and strongly resist any change in the traditional custom of oral metzitzah

The cultural process of replacing ancient customs by modern wound care has to be encouraged by a heightened awareness of this potentially life-threatening medical complication.16

On the basis of our observations, the medicolegal impact of neonatal infection by the mohel has to be redefined. Our findings provide evidence that ritual Jewish circumcision with oral metzitzah may cause oral–genital transmission of HSV infection, resulting in clinical disease including involvement of the skin, mucous membranes, and HSV encephalitis. Furthermore, oral suction may not only endanger the child but also may expose the mohel to human immunodeficiency virus or hepatitis B from infected infants. The same consideration that led the Talmudic sages once to establish the custom of the metzitzah for the sake of the infant could now be applied to persuade the mohel to use instrumental suction.

Indeed, after our first cases, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel pronounced in 2002 the legitimacy of using instrumental suction in cases in which there is a risk of contagious disease

. We support ritual circumcision but without oral metzitzah, which might endanger the newborns and is not part of the religious procedure.


Dina Averbuch, MD, diagnosed and treated patient 4.


Received for publication Nov 20, 2003; accepted Feb 18, 2004.

Reprint requests to (R.D.) Pediatric Infectious Disease Unit, Soroka University Medical Center, Beer-Sheva, 84101, Israel. E-mail:

Poland RL. The question of routine neonatal circumcision. N Engl J Med.1990; 322 :1312 –1315[ISI][Medline]
Wiswell TE. Circumcision circumspection. N Engl J Med.1997; 336 :1244 –1245[Free Full Text]
Wallerstein E. Circumcision. The uniquely American medical enigma. Urol Clin North Am.1985; 12 :123 –132[ISI][Medline]
Linshaw MA. Controversies in childhood urinary tract infections. World J Urol.1999; 17 :383 –395[CrossRef][ISI][Medline]
Roberts KB, Akintemi OB. The epidemiology and clinical presentation of urinary tract infections in children younger than 2 years of age. Pediatr Ann.1999; 28 :644 –649[ISI][Medline]
Moses S, Plummer FA, Bradley JE, Ndinya-Achola JO, Nagelkerke NJ, Ronald AR. The association between lack of male circumcision and risk for HIV infection: a review of the epidemiological data. Sex Transm Dis.1994; 21 :201 –210[ISI][Medline]
Cook LS, Koutsky LA, Holmes KK. Circumcision and sexually transmitted diseases. Am J Public Health.1994; 84 :197 –201[Abstract]
Halperin DT, Bailey RC. Male circumcision and HIV infection: 10 years and counting. Lancet.1999; 354 :1813 –1815[CrossRef][ISI][Medline]
Hammerberg O, Watts J, Chernesky M, Luchsinger I, Rawls W. An outbreak of herpes simplex virus type 1 in an intensive care nursery. Pediatr Infect Dis J.1983; 2 :290 –294[ISI]
Rubin LG, Lanzkowsky P. Cutaneous neonatal herpes simplex infection associated with ritual circumcision. Pediatr Infect Dis J.2000; 19 :266 –268[CrossRef][ISI][Medline]
Distel R, Hofer V, Bogger-Goren S, Shalit I, Garty BZ. Primary genital herpes simplex infection associated with Jewish ritual circumcision. Isr Med Assoc J.2003; 5 :893 –894[ISI][Medline]
Libman MD, Dascal A, Kramer MS, Mendelson J. Strategies for the prevention of neonatal infection with herpes simplex virus: a decision analysis. Rev Infect Dis.1991; 13 :1093 –1104[ISI][Medline]
Preuss J. Julius Preuss’ Biblical and Talmudic Medicine. Rosner F, trans-ed. New York, NY: Ktav Publishers; 1971:375
Rosner F. Hemophilia in the Talmud and rabbinic writings. Ann Intern Med.1969; 70 :833 –837[ISI][Medline]
Semmelweis I, Carter K. The etiology, concept, and prophylaxis of childbed fever. In: Wisconsin Publications in the History of Science and Medicine No. 2. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press; 1983: 263
Katz J. Controversy over the Mezizah, the unrestricted execution of the rite of circumcision. In: Law in Human Hands—Case Studies in Halakhic Flexibility. Jerusalem, Israel: Magnes Press, Hebrew University; 1998:357–402
Shields Y. The making of Metzitzah. Tradition.1972; 13 :36 –48

PEDIATRICS (ISSN 1098-4275). ©2004 by the American Academy of Pediatrics

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 7:48 PM | 24 comments

Tuesday, August 30, 2005
We The Jackasses

Cut It Off
Another disgusting religious practice

By Christopher Hitchens

I can never read the name "Michael Bloomberg" without an automatic free-association that flashes up in my mind. "Little putz," is what my internal prompter always cues to me. Obviously this and other intuitions must be prompted by whatever grand intelligence originally designed me, because here's what I read on page B5 of the New York Times on Friday, Aug. 26:

A circumcision ritual practiced by some Orthodox Jews has alarmed city health officials, who say it may have led to three cases of herpes—one of them fatal—in infants. … The practice is known as oral suction, or in Hebrew, metzitzah b'peh: after removing the foreskin of the penis, the practitioner, or mohel, sucks the blood from the wound to clean it.

The continuing scandal of this practice, which most Jews abandoned many years ago, is newly illustrated by the death of one little boy from type-1 herpes, and the infection of two others, in Staten Island and Brooklyn, after they had been subjected to this ritual by the same mohel. Let's be clear what's involved here. The Times refers to an article published last year in the journal Pediatrics that argued that metzitzah b'peh carries a serious health risk and is, for that reason alone, a violation of Jewish law. ("We suspect … that this entity is underreported for cultural reasons and that the studies described here are only the "tip of the iceberg" of the true incidence of the disease," the authors note). None of this should be hard to comprehend: If it risks the life or health of an infant, then no religious allegiance is or should be required for its condemnation. Q.E.D., as you might say.

What's Bloomberg got to do with this, you may be impatient to know by now. Well, the mayor of the great city where these children were deliberately exposed to infection and death has had a meeting with the Orthodox authorities who like to see this happening to small putzes, and he has expressed himself thus, on his own radio show, again as per the Times:

We're going to do a study, and make sure that everyone is safe and at the same time, it is not the government's business to tell people how to practice their religion.

Study? What study? Can't the fool get through an article by a Jewish authority in Pediatrics? For the Times reporter to add that Mayor Bloomberg's comment appeared to be designed not to "upset a group that can be a formidable voting bloc" was, in the circumstances, worse than superfluous.

Where to start with this? I could wish that Bloomberg were always so careful about keeping out of other peoples' business: He has made it legally impossible to have a cigarette and a cocktail at the same time, anywhere in the city. But I'll trade him his stupid prohibitionist ban if he states clearly that it is the government's business to protect children from religious fanatics. Female genital mutilation, for example, is quite rightly banned under federal law, and no religious exemption is, or ever should be, permitted. The Mormons were obliged to give up polygamy and forcible marriage before they, or the state of Utah, could be part of the United States. A Christian Scientist who denies urgent medical treatment to his or her children may well be hauled up for reckless endangerment, as may those whose churches teach redemption through violent corporal punishment. The First Amendment does indeed forbid any infringement of religious freedom, but it is not, as was once said, part of a suicide pact, let alone a child-abuse one.

Let's by all means hear from Rabbi David Niederman of the United Jewish Organization in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, who emerged from his meeting with Bloomberg to inform us that: "The Orthodox Jewish community will continue the practice that has been practiced for over 5,000 years. We do not change. And we will not change." You can preach it, rabbi, but you have no more right to practice it than a Muslim imam who preaches the duty of holy war has the right to put his teachings into effect. And Rabbi Yitzchok Fischer, the 57-year-old man who ministered to the three boys in question, is currently under a court order that forbids him from doing it again—pending an investigation by the health department. What "investigation?" If another man of that age were found to be slicing the foreskins of little boys and then sucking their penises and their blood, he would be in jail—one hopes—so fast that his feet wouldn't touch the ground. If he then told the court that God ordered him to do it, he would be offering precisely the defense that thousands of psychos have already made so familiar. Preach it rabbi. Preach it to the judge.

A few years ago I traveled to Calcutta with the brilliant photographer Sebastião Salgado, who has made the eradication of polio his signature cause. In 2001, there was a real chance that this childhood-wrecking and frequently lethal malady could go the way of smallpox. Only a few outposts, usually in very bad war zones like Afghanistan, had not been reported as "clear." (The two sides in the civil war in El Salvador observed a truce so that the vaccine could be safely distributed.) But some mullahs in Bengal spread the rumor that the vaccine led to impotence and diarrhea (a bad combo) and urged mothers to keep their children away from the nurses and physicians. Most Bengalis are too smart to listen to ravings like these, which exactly resemble the view of Dr. Timothy Dwight, one of America's founding divines, that vaccination against smallpox was an interference with the divine design. However, in northern Nigeria, where imams now hold state power in many provinces, the polio vaccine has been denounced as a plot "by the US and the UN [!]" to "sterilize Muslims." In consequence of this fatwa, the disease has returned to Nigeria this year and also spread back to several African countries that thought they had bidden farewell to it. Decades of patient and skillful work have been ruined, along with the lives of uncounted children.

Jewish babies exposed to herpes in New York, thousands of American children injured for life after the rape and torture they suffered at the hands of a compliant Catholic priesthood, prelates and mullahs outbidding each other in denial of AIDS … it's not just your mental health that is challenged by faith. Anyone who says that this evil deserves legal protection is exactly as guilty as the filthy old men who delight in inflicting it. What a pity!!!!


posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 1:27 PM | 62 comments

Monday, August 29, 2005
Baal Tshuva Blues

Ba'al Tshuva Blues
By Farshtoonkena Yid

His life was in tatters,
His ego destroyed,
His parents he hated,
Each day was a void.

A spastic at sports,
a failure at school,
and beset with a complex
about his small tool.

He then met a rabbi
with black hat and beard
who taught him to daven.
He got really weird.

He grew his beard long
and donned clothes of black,
He became a fanatic
and stopped wiping his crack.

His rabbi had told him,
(Or so he had thought)
that you can't use your hand
to wipe that bad spot.

So he hired a dog
To do the deed right
But then his rav told him
"A dog! He could bite!

"No dogs for a Jew!
to lick out your crack,
Grow your beard long
Get dressed in the sack!

"Don't look at women
Stop stroking your schlong
Don't even touch it,
That would be wrong!

"And don't go to movies,
And don't go to bars,
The beaches are ossur
And so are sports cars.

"Don't drink in one gulp
And cover your legs!
Don't work for a living.
Hashem said to beg!

"You can't go to college
and don't read any books.
Forget all you know
Ignore all the crooks."

The rav said to marry
he tried very hard
but no one would date him
except a retard.

And that's the sad story
of Ba'al Tshuva blues
The poor sad Ba'al Tshuva
That's the Ba'al Tshuva blues.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 6:47 PM | 34 comments

Saturday, August 27, 2005
The Brutal Torquemadas Of The Baal Tshuva Movement

The Brutal Torquemadas of the Baal Tsuva Movement by David Kelsey

After Israel’s victory in the Six-Day War, secular Jewry entered a phase of Jewish history unrivaled in its population’s readiness for a renewed commitment and a return to Torah Judaism at least since the bulk of the Jews of Spain (much more than the Spanish forecast of 1/3rd) defiantly walked out rather than convert to Christianity, and it is quite possibly unparalleled since the Hasmonean victory over the Hellinists.

The Reform “Berlin is our Jerusalem” Movement had been thoroughly discredited by the Holocaust and the Holy City’s recapture. Torah stories of birthrights no longer seemed like ancient tales of a strange and distant land, but a daily reality in the evening news. If anyone still thought this was merely a nationalist phenomenon, the Yom Kippur War made it crystal clear it was a religious one.

Trips to Israel increased for American Jewish youth, and many of them found themselves questioning secularism and liberal Jewish branches.

The bulk of secular Jewry was ripe for dialogue.

But the frummies squandered this opportunity, insisting they would not attempt to take the cake as a whole, but merely satisfy themselves with a few crumbs. Compared to the fallout that had been occurring since the beginning of the 19th century, this looked like a feast.

I have pondered why the frum are so cold and cruel to their secular coreligionists who seek to join their ranks. Perhaps it is because ba’alei tsuvas are considered to be b'nai nidah. Perhaps it is they suspect anyone who wants membership with their club must be disturbed. It is probably a variety of unsavory contributing factors. But it obviously comes from an angry, frightened, dark place of seething contempt – they operate kiruv the way they operate in business – shady, dishonest, and duplicitous.

Nothing illuminates the dysfunctional disaster that is the ultra-Orthodox world like the Ba’al Tsuva Movement. They take decent, secular Jews and attempt to turn them into welfare recipients.

You are not content to help people become religious. You seek to ruin lives. And I know why - because it seems unfair to you that a person can live a normal secular life and then become religious without massive suffering. You want them to suffer. You need misery. Otherwise it could be different, and that’s a scary idea for you ignorant, insular, fundamentalist penguins. Others must suffer so you are secure. So you can justify every aspect of the restrictive yeshiva education you yourself experienced and will inflict on your children.

See? It is a good thing you were brought up like you were – look how miserable they are!

Why can’t you people just get therapy? No one has to know – you wouldn’t be admitting you have a problem to anyone else but yourselves!

There are success stories. Those are the fortunate souls who enter a religious life together as a couple, secular Jews intent on growing, learning as chavrusahs on how much to take on, and continuing to attend to other aspects of their lives.

But that isn’t the preferred way, is it? That is biddie eved. Rather, you prefer to inflict the maximum disruption possible. Better a single person should “work on himself” –which means drive him as crazy as possible short of suicide or a complete mental breakdown.

Come and Hear:

Ohr Somayach, the Dark Light in Jerusalem, is such a nightmare. They feed their beginning students cookies for breakfast, a telling sign of the breakdown they need to inflict in oder to make a new person. They become weak from lack of protein, as they begin to “learn” gemorrah. They do have an ulpan, for those less “serious” students who insist on actually learning the Hebrew language of our holy texts instead of yet another mind numbing course of “hashkafa” or philosophy.

Why don’t they teach Aramaic like that as well? How about a mere half hour a day dedicated to learning the language of the Talmud, and its rules of vocabulary, grammar and conjugation? No, that would be too empowering. Too secular. This is not about education; this is about a radical change of lifestyle. Better to rely on the Rabbi for every last word. Eventually you will pick it up--or not. Who cares? It isn’t really important. It doesn’t really matter if a person is learning. What matters is to take them away from an “environment of sin.”

OCD behavior is encouraged rather than discouraged, provided it isn’t an identifiably a Chassidic “minhag.” The more you run to a Rabbi on the proper way to wipe your ass, and which hand to hold the negal vasser afterward instead of using soap and warm water, the more serious a Jew you are becoming.

One student experienced an unsettling incident in Mea Shearim when a chassid sexually accosted him. The Ohr Somaych Rabbi asked him, “were you dressed properly?” No, of course not. He had been wearing jeans. Therefore, it was his fault. You can’t blame the chassid – wearing jeans is obviously a declaration that you want to wear comfortable pants an ass pounding from a payoshead. Dark Light Rabbis will help you understand not to invite such unwanted and uncomfortable situations. You see? Wearing the proper, ben-Torah garb is more critical than it appears! Oy, the most obvious things must be spoon fed to these poor, ignorant baalei tsuvas. Who doesn’t know not to feed the bears in the safari, or wear jeans around the chassidim? Nebach, he grew up in darkness. Everything must be explained to these simpletons.

Aish Hatorah tries to reel people in using the Torah as a big ol’ crossword puzzle, with their Bible Codes. If you think the Haredi "there were no dinosaurs, G-d put the bones there as fossils" rebuttal against evolution was their best joke, you gotta check this one out. Add vowels as you please. Run sequential equations of every possible variety, backwards and forwards. Come and see--they found a reference to a 20th century event or character this way. Even references to 9/11! WOW! NOW I will filter my drinking water! Never mind that finding something after the event (of course) is the opposite of prophecy. Vat, you still don’t believe? You didn’t see the truth and beauty of the Torah lifestyle when you spent one shabbes dinner at the Hosselbernbachs? Then you must not have z’chus! Nebechal Tinuk shel nishba. Rachmanas Tzlan!

And you have the audacity to wonder why philanthropists like Michael Steinhardt have ceased funding your house of horrors?

I went up north –they didn’t try to get me to kiss mezuzahs all the time. There was more actual text based learning. But it was a grim, lonely place, with an overwhelming emphasis on asceticism. I was subjected to end-of-the-world prophecies at Shalosh Sheudas. Warnings about horrific, body destroying accidents for those outside the B’nai Torah lifestyle peppered the mussar shmoozes. It was weird and creepy, but it was still slightly less annoying than the singing and dancing with the boys that was demanded in Jerusalem. Torah Judaism as misery somehow made more sense than single sex community. One day my Rosh Yeshiva told me that the whole purpose of the mitzvot was to not enjoy life too much. Even shatnezz. I grew weary and depressed from this focus, and eventually began making plans to leave. When I told my Rosh Yeshiva at this branch of Ohr Somayach in northern Israel I was going to leave to go to college, he told me he was davening that I should reconsider. Because it really makes sense that as a child of a scientist with a post-doc I shouldn’t go to college.

Ohr Somayach Monsey was where I landed. To give credit where it is due, Rabbi Rokowsky is not as big a radical as the faculty in the Israeli branches, which is damning him with faint praise to be sure. He does allow students to attend college. But he grew up in Boro Park, he is not a Ba’al Tsuva, and his institution and its faculty reflect his lack of real understanding, empathy, or ability to give direction to those students interested in a less radical Orthodox Jewish lifestyle than the one a significant portion of his students have fled from at their previous Israeli yeshiva. At least they are trying, but it is still a disaster.

My maggid shiur railed against kosher pizza, because it is not “Jewish” food.

Is he out of his mind? My parents gave a (very) nominal nod to kashrut in the house itself, but I ate everything in my youth. EVERYTHING! Kosher is hard enough. Now I should develop the palate preference of a six year old in Poland in 1892? Because it’s not “Yiddish” enough?

I expressed my concern about my professional life. A Rabbi suggested becoming a traveling salesman. A friend of mine asked a different Rabbi the same question. He was told of a “job opportunity” delivering fish. He is also the son of a scientist.

I was to buy and trade second hand clothes out of my car, he was to deliver fish. The sky was the limit! See? Being frum doesn’t prevent a ba’al tsuva from being successful! But alas, nefalim that we are, we couldn’t hold on. We shunned our birthright – of low level jobs appropriate for a couple of eved ivris like ourselves.

What a tragedy the Jews don’t have oil. Then one rich Penguin family, probably originating from Toronto, could sponsor ten more Ba’alei Tsuva yeshivas, and have a special “joint program” for the “bochrim” to also be gas station attendants.

Want to get your professional life together? You don’t need classes, you don’t need internships. Wear blacker clothes, and SHUCKEL HARDER MOTHER F-CKER!!!!!

Have B’tachon! ;)

The b’tachon game sucks. It’s up there with Russian Roulette. It is Russian roulette, except there are more bullets than blanks in this game.

When I told them I was going to YU, they flipped. Only one Rabbi (at the very end) wished me well, and was supportive. In a last ditched effort to save my increasingly wayward neshumah, they had one guy talk to be about some kabbalah mumbo jumbo. He was more the Chassidic Rabbi. They didn’t really get that I was a Litvak, just not yeshivish, and such “spiritual” drivel wasn’t going to change my mind. There are only two paths of the Torah for these people – yeshivish OR Chassidish. The idea that neither is particularly well-suited for the vast bulk of secular Jewry is not even a possibility for these people, but that’s why the vast majority of secular Jews will never become nor stay religious.

Many are like me, and we are the ones who tried. Tried hard, and grew to hate it.

And don’t give me your line about how if a tree is bent, you have to bend it the other way in order to straighten it – that is on one midah at a time, not a whole lifestyle you fools!!! And if you bend a tree too far and too furiously, it will break – if it has a spine.

Why don’t you tell us the truth? That the only part of the Torah that matters are the Chukim? That’s why they are listed first! “Don’t steal” is really written “don’t kidnap”, so that gets rid of that unreasonable goyishe narishkeit. This isn't the King James version, you shaegetz - now sign the Pell grant application - the tuition your parents are paying doesn't nearly cover the needs of the yeshiva. Don’t lie--except in business, and everything is business one way or another.
Our mashgiach read three, (three!!) self-help books on psychology. Look at the expertise our faculty possesses! Such multi-faceted scholarship is not for free.

Much of the money set aside for college went to these places. Instead, I am still paying loans for college.

What matters to these guys is keeping the lowly ba’al tsuva away from the evils of this world: Women (unless he has a Jewish one already – then it’s okay), a job that challenges him (unless he has one already – then it’s okay), and a life of his own (never okay unless he is at least forty and has money – then it’s okay).

You are fools to think you can’t give us a straight answers and good guidance. Later, the more reasonable frummies said, “why did you listen to them?” I said I had stopped. They said well then NOW you can be religious on your own terms! So I asked, “Why didn’t you tell me that then?” Because they didn’t want to encourage me to be less religious.

Bad strategy. Very bad strategy. Now it is too late. I am wounded and bitter about the whole thing. After you burn your hand, you don’t want to hold a hot drink. The time for that was before.

Now I am secular on my own terms, instead of religious on my own terms.

Long term, those were the only two options: Religious on your own terms, or not religious on you own terms. These are the only two options for the vast majority of secular Jews.

Are you really so blind that you can’t see the paucity of the numbers of your “success stories?” Do you know how few of us stay even for a while? Do you not know how many of the ones who do eventually walk out? How many balked, sooner or later, for every story about some guy who did whatever crazy background, and is now “married and learning in Jerusalem?” All their BT stories end like this – but do you really think most stories actually do, in fact, end like that? Well, they don’t. And the few that do are not always as happy as you pretend they are.

You see what you want, or at least speak as if that’s what you see. You only see who is in the daled amos of your (illegal according to town zoning laws, but screw the goyim, right?) basement synagogue. You are like a sleazy telemarketing firm that justifies impossible sales quotas with the one guy who has a great territory and makes them. “See? If he can do it - you all can!” If everyone could make quota, they would change the commission structure yet again. Just like you do – constantly upping the ante if too many succeed.
That guy for you is the kid from a fabulously wealthy family, or the one guy who already has an ivy league law degree. He is your poster boy because he is the exception, not the rule.
Rashi says 80% of the Jews died in the plague of darkness. Therefore, the maximum amount of the secular world you will tolerate returning is just enough to make the Orthodox world 20% of the total Jewish world. Eighty percent MUST GO. And you will make sure they do.

How many of us will really make a long-term commitment to washing our hands with a cup after we piss? In the end, we return to using soap and warm water, like others of this millennium in the west. We don’t not shake hands with women in business. That is your idiocy – and you can get away with it – you dress and talk like you just left Poland. Because you never left Poland. Because life in Poland was so wonderful. If you want to ponder shaking hands in business with women over seven tsuvas, each one longer and stricter than the last, go ahead – that’s what being black hat is for – but don’t impose that stuff on people who grew up speaking English as a first language. Stop telling boys who played little league baseball that they need to wear black hats in the heat of the summer. They don’t need to. It’s bad for them to do so. Tell them not to. You would be helping everybody. I know it's scary, but try it - say it after me - "you, who grew up here in America to a secular Jewish family, have no minhag of donning a felt black hat in 100 degree weather - not even on Shabbes. The Torah does not demand that of you, and in fact, it is probably a very bad idea for you to take on such a minhag on. As your spiritual advisor, I implore you not to do so." Wasn't that easy? Yes - too easy.

We don’t know about all these mind games, that we are supposed to resist your mishagas, that we aren’t supposed to take you seriously. We enter without defenses, arms open, with our belly exposed.

But we learn eventually. And there is a price for such acquired knowledge. It is one nasty kinyan.

But you won’t change, because that would mean you would have too many normal people finding their own path. Anarchy! Hefker! And you would have less freaks striving to speak in broken, penguin English like you (cause three languages in one sentence are better than one!) - instead of the fluent English they were cursed to learn as a nebachel, tinuk shel nishbah. They struggle to be like you.

Feels good, huh? It’s all about ego, isn’t it? Your ego.

And many of you get some twisted chizuk from this, you bastards!

It could be different, but it won’t be.

I have slowly learned to forgive much of what I endured, and forgive myself (to a lesser extent) for having attempted a Penguin lifestyle, but I won’t forgive those who ruined my love of yiddishkeit. Everyone is so concerned about another’s ruchnius, but for their own gashmius. This seems ass backwards of Judaism, but what do I know.

You’re the ones with the Big Mesorah: How to ruin lives.

You had better have been right. There better be no other acceptable way, never mind a better one.

Or you better hope it’s all BS anyway.

Cause otherwise, the Din will be extracted by G-d in full.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 9:58 PM | 176 comments

Tuesday, August 23, 2005
"You Sick Jews"-The Week In Review

I promised myself that I would blog once a week, on motzei Shabbos/Sunday, but I can not keep my big mouth shut as we Jews go at each other in a way that never happened before.

I am not approaching the Gaza withdrawal from a Torah perspective, or even from a Jewish perspective, the rest of the Jewish world is doing that. I am viewing it from a perspective only with the Jewish desire to come up with a "new and brilliant" idea that never worked before, but will work now.

Sharon is a megalomaniac.
He crushes dissent and respects no opinion other than his own.
Something happens to people when they become heads of state, the state of their heads become sick.

He cleared out all of Gaza,the bastard plays tough guy with the Jews, he should be clearing out all the "Palestinians" and send them back to Jordan.There are no Palestinians you shtik drek, there are only Arab-Nazi Muslim Jew haters.
He thought his friends the Americans, his fellow ranch owner, would give him a great big YASHER KOACH.

Well, Alfred E. Newman was nowhere to be found except chopping wood and riding "another" horse friend of his, this horse was in Crawford, Texas.
This semi-retarded friend of the Jews (I did vote for him, because tumas Kerry was worse), sent out Uncle Ben's Brown "Rice" to do his dirty work.
She eloquently mumbled in ugly Jive Ebonics, that this was a good "first step."

All that" Chazer" Sharon eats, causing him to weigh about four hundred pounds, obviously effected his brain.


Please do not drop dead of a heart attack" yet", I wish you a very long life, so you and your buddy "Pollak Peresite" (Shimon Peres) can share the pain of your insanity.
The same bracha goes to Elmert Fudd!(Ehud Olmert)

I also wish a very long life to all the Charedi political partners of yours who were paid millions of dollars to keep their mouths shut, and keep the yeshiva boys away from the demonstrations. (instead of watching pornography on their cell phones)
You guys would sell your daughters to the princes of Saudi Arabia for a filthy buck.I wish you a mechutan from cousin Yishmael. Your sons in-law should learn in the "Kollel Bin-Laden."
Of course the Yated opined that davening for the settlements is a waste of time.
The settlers according to Yated" Sheker "are really not Jews, many of them are Baalei Tshuva with white and knitted yarmulkes, which makes them less than the black hat cockroaches.

Back in America, the Metziza B'Peh folks had a meeting with Mayor Bloomberg.
What a sight to see, those idiots walking the steps of city hall.

Mohel Pisher has Herpes, but because the Babooner monkeys and their fellow monks assured the Mayor that this most vital part of our religion, sucking babies weenies, has roots in our Mesorah from Sinai, the Mayor is sure to understand.

They offerred the Mayor a FREE suck from Mohel Pisher just to prove nothing would happen to him. He thanked them for the offer and said he would get back to them.

Well, Tisha B'Av has come and gone, and that reminded Porky Pig Chaim Kaminetsky, from the Chevra, of food.
So Chaim took out two pages in the Jewish TRESH, advertising his new FRESS YOURSELF TO DEATH HOTEL ,FOR NEXT PESACH.
I did not see the photo of the former chief "woman molester", I mean rabbi, of Israel , on the ad.
RABBI YISROEL MEIR LAU, the women need you at the hotel.Please, please do not let them down.Take em down but don't let em down. You filthy scumbag!

I was really happy to see an ad from Equity Partners offering the Learner Earner program.Yeshiva boys can learn mortgage banking after learning in the morning.
Of course Yated would not take their ad,the Jewish Press had it.
Yated would also NOT take an ad from The Yeshiva At IDT.
Lip-shits would also NOT take an ad from Machon L'Parnassa from Touro College.
Hey Lipshits, when you hear of families in kollel starving to death tell your Rebbes, Svei and Kaminetsky to foot the bills.
Tell Shmullik to stop going to BRITE SMILE and tell Elya to give up his Alzheimers medicine and set up a kollel fund. It's about time these heilige Yiden ate shit, instead of the kollel wives and kids.

Ok guys, get rid of your pornography, mama is coming home from the country.
Change your cell phone numbers so the hookers can't find you.
Get ready for Elul, seriously, time to repent for summer sins.
Get back to the regular, safer routine of shtupping people in business.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 2:55 PM | 62 comments

Saturday, August 20, 2005


I am about to expose the Girl’s Seminary Industry in Israel. This might shock you and cause great discomfort, so if you are faint-hearted or have a love-affair with the ones that are causing great danger to the Jewish people, DO NOT READ FURTHER.

A close friend of mine was dating a girl who attended Darchei Binah Seminary in Israel. Darchei Binah, for those not in the know, is considered the “IVY LEAGUE” of seminaries. According to the girl there was a “choshuve” man who was regularly invited by Darchei Binah and other seminaries in Israel to lecture.

This “Rabbi” got “chummy-chummy” with the naive girls and often invited them over to his house for an “inspirational” Shabbos. In middle of the night, while his wife was asleep, he would sneak into the most vulnerable of the girls’ rooms - usually the one sleeping alone - in order to engage in deviant, sexual behavior. He took advantage of these girls who considered him a GOD! He attempted to do so with this particular girl but she refused his advances which included “rubbing her shoulder and her leg.” He also used to “rub his crotch against the back of a chair while talking to the girls in class.” He was masturbating in front of them! This girl refuses to disclose his name because – get this – she says it’s lashon hara!! We’re talking about good girls!

The stories don’t end here. The deans, administrators and young “Rebbeim” of these seminaries are the most perverted, crooked, bastard individuals with an unhealthy interest in these girls. They couldn’t hack it anywhere else in the yeshiva system so they prey on the most innocent of our community –girls at a critical time in their lives, desperate for love, attention and approval from these animals The girls come to Israel – and these are some of the “best girls” for a chance to get away, socialize, learn a little and experience the beautiful and holy Land of Israel and they are TAKEN ADAVNTAGE OF!

This is an excerpt from the Darchei Binah website:

“…Prominent Torah scholars transmit the mesorah in a way which is both timeless and appropriate for the needs of our student body. Faculty members meet with students on an individual basis to provide caring guidance and insight into confronting the challenges of life…”

The basis in which they “meet” students is s little too individual! We know how you transmit the “Mesorah” you sickos!

It’s not only Darchei Binah…

Someone who I am very close with attended Ateres Bnos Yerushalayim Seminary. The head of this place, “Rabbi” Hillel Belsky is feared by these girls and is considered holy. This girl, I’ll call “Devorah” felt very uncomfortable when Belsky constantly called her into his private office and tried to get her to “open up to him.” This pervert had the chutzpah to call Devorah’s mother telling her that her daughter is refusing to open up to him and get close to him. The girl’s mother responded angrily: “Why would you want to get close to my daughter? I don’t like how that sounds. Back off! This is completely inappropriate!”

Besides for being a pervert Belsky is a thief. Two weeks after the year began he expelled a student from the seminary because she attended a concert – I know this girl personally! She is a sweet, frum, “out-of-towner” with wonderful middos. The worst part is he refused to refund any part of the tuition she paid - we’re talking $12,000!

He immediately accepted another girl in her place too, so he can’t claim he was losing money. There is a special, warm spot for you in HELL Belsky! You won’t be considered “powerful” up there (or rather down there…)

How do we stand by and allow these people to run seminaries and practically live with and brainwash (and worse) these girls all year? What kind of influence are they having? Why are men running all-girl seminaries? Let me say that again: WHY ARE MEN RUNNING ALL GIRLS SEMINARIES? Why can’t women run them? I’ll tell you why – it’s a SCAM..
These people are enterprising, perverted lunatics!!!!

Tuition for Darchei Binah and other seminaries is now $14,000 per year! One meal a day is offered to the girls with no meals on Shabbos!!!!! What a scam! The meal that is served during the day must be distributed by the girls! They are responsible to serve and clean!!! Where is the $14,000 going?
How are we allowing this?

So why are the girls going to seminary you ask? Why are their parents sending them? Because they are being recruited! The heads of these institutions visit girls’ high schools all over in order to convince them to come to their seminary. They give speeches about their “hashkafas” and why their seminary is different than all the others (meanwhile many of these seminaries are owned by the same person!) Meanwhile the girls are glazed – they eat all this talk up while dreaming of spiritual growth. These guys are laughing all the way to the bank…

And the girls are not just being screwed financially either!

Ever wonder why so many girls come back from Seminary after the year with a whole new set of problems including depression, anorexia, bulimia and other mental disorders? NOW YOU KNOW!!!

I am reminded of another incident (believe me – it’s one of many) between a girl I personally know and a one “Rabbi” Daniel Mechanic. Mechanic is quite famous in the Kiruv and “youth-at-risk” circuit. This did not take place in seminary but it serves to illustrate my point.

“Rabbi” Mechanic was in a room with the door completely closed (YICHUD!!!!! But it happens all the time) speaking with the then 17 year-old. (The girl is now 24) The girl was from a very large and choshuve family and was experiencing typical “at risk” problems and engaging in “wild behavior” (talking to boys – so wild!)

Her parents (idiots!) sent her to Mechanic so he can speak to her and behind closed doors he got way too comfortable with her and proceeded to ask some very personal questions. He asked her if she is a virgin and when she said yes, he still begged her to tell him how far she got with a guy. “I need details” he said! “C’mon you can tell me,” he coaxed. This is a sick man that gets a lot of respect. I’m sure many of you know him. Mechanic, it’ll be all over for you soon. You will slip a little and you will end up like Lanner from NCSY! Your dirty intentions will be known. It may take time but you’re going down! This goes for other “youth-at-risk” professionals too, with way too much interest in boys.

These people are getting away with it right under our noses! Stand up and do something before it happens to your beautiful daughter!

Why are you entrusting your daughters with people you don’t know? Some dirt bag disguised in a beard and payus is taking advantage of your daughter. Your daughter who you raised for the past 18 years is being wrecked by some failure who can’t keep it in his pants.

“This can’t be” you say. Sure it can! And it is happening. Who are these people that run the schools? Do you know ANYthing about them? No! Of course not. Oh they have a beard? They have a penis too and miserable wives. Would you trust someone to baby sit your infant in your own home for a few hours if you didn’t know them? Well your daughter is 6000 miles away, homesick, confused and at a sicko’s whim. Again, I’m not only talking about the “modern” seminaries. These are the frummiest of the frummiest girls. The more frum, the more they are taken advantage of. Do you know that these vile creatures call girls into their offices and berate them for not “growing enough spiritually” and convince them to come back for a second year (that’s another $10000+) until the girls are in tears?
Didn’t think so!

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 9:32 PM | 154 comments

Wednesday, August 17, 2005
The Insane Boro Park Jew And Their Double Life


posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 11:31 PM | 44 comments

Sunday, August 14, 2005
The Insane Boro Park Jew And Their Double Life

I am addressing this blog to the yeshivas, the rebbes and particularly to the rosh yeshivas that produced this human tinaf.

Let us take a good look what you guys did to Klal Yisroel over the last fifty years or so. You have transmitted your misery, and your "fake frum"behavior to generations.The proof is in the final product that you guys produced, and it aint pretty.

If you want to see the biggest , messed up , miserable Jew that walks on this planet, let's go and take a look inside the head and life of a Boro Parker.(many Flatbush guys included)

Typically, they dress in dark colors, and speak a yiddishized English.
Their kids go to Charedi yeshivas, and the boys wear payos.
They walk the walk and talk the talk.
They live for one reason only, which is to knock their neighbors eyes out with their worldly possessions.
They generally spend their summers in the Catskills.

There is a definite sub-class of Boro Parker, the guys without money.
They suffer terribly, because they are desperately trying to keep up with the Kohn's, and are in debt up to their eyeballs.
They are caught with their shiny pants down, at every turn.
They have to take the fancy cruises and vacations, but can't afford the tuitions.
They have their special "tuition suits", when they beg for a scholarship.
They drag out the suit and hat from their bar-mitzvah, and head on down to the yeshiva with their dignity in their tuchis.
Most of these guys would rather be dead.They have bitchy wives and in-laws, no matter what this putz does, it is not good enough for them.
This shmuck goes to sleep every night hoping that he does not wake up in the morning.

He has more kids then he ever wanted, but you can't be a member in this bozo club unless you have more than five kids.
This suffering idiot works his ass off every day, just to survive. His rebbe never said this was in store for him. He gives away tzedaka he doesn't have, the thieves that get the money are better off than he is.

He can't permit himself to stop and think," what the hell is going on"?, if he does, he's totally gone.
This poor slob, takes the subway to work, and pretends all is well.
He goes through the motions of being frum, but in his heart he hates every single shukle in shul, every parlor meeting for shnorrer mosdos, every single person that ever led him along this path.

This "drekfresser "has not had a bright day in his life.

He grays early, if he is not already bald.
He is overweight, and his wardrobe smells like crap.
He forces himself to get to shul, and preaches to his kids the same nonsesnse that he was fed.

Everything his rebbe or rosh yeshiva ever told him , he discovered is full of shit.
He walks around with a perpetual smile, but he is ready to kill someone at the drop of a black hat .
A typical fight with his wife winds up with her screaming at him, "shit zulsts du essen".
And that he does! Big time!

His kids bleed him to death for money he does not have.
If his kids are married, chances are he is supporting some dumb ,fat ,retarded behaima doing squat in a kollel somewhere.
He's screwed and has no idea what to do about it.

Then there are the ten percent of Boro Parkers who have money, or access to it.

They are in business stealing their brains out.
Whatever they do is crooked.
Many have done jail time, especially the guys in nursing homes, jewelry, trucking and government programs administration.

The lawyers among them, are gangsters. They don't need a license to lie and hurt people, but they went to school to get one anyway.
Many of them sport beards and payos.
They believe that they are geniuses, and they let everyone they come in contact with, know it.
They are NOT frum at all, they go to strip clubs, and watch pornography.
In the summer time( and whenever ), they are screwing around on their wives, who are in the Catskills.
They shtup their maids from South America, and many have sexually transmitted diseases. Some have contracted Aids from the zoinas they frequented.

A typical Shabbos in the mountains includes wearing the bekishes, shtreimels or if they are a bit more modern, just plain Armani black suits and hats.
They "do it "to their wives, because a mitzva is a mitzva.What other mitzva can you do in five seconds and get a little pleasure?

OK, comes motzei Shabbos, off with the black garb.Grease back those payos, curl up their beards, pull out that leather yarmulke, and let it rip.
No hotel, gambling casino or show is off limits to these chayas.

They daven in some shtibel, where the fat slob behaima at the front shtender is a bigger idiot than they can possibly imagine.This shmuck has no clue what he would do if for some reason he pissed off the "gvir".
So, he kishes tuchis like it was a bank book, a certificate of deposit, or a zoina.

People reading this must be saying that I'm nuts, a mad dog, a lunatic, and worse.
OK, let's get real.In your heart of hearts you know I am right.

If you live in Brooklyn, take a good look at the guys you interface with.
Read the newspapers. Check court records. Check out the supermarkets and see how many shaina Yiden are using food stamps.Visit some prisons, see how many guys are there that would never daven without a gartel. (F'D up SOB'S)

Speak to pediatricians that you may have as friends or family, find out how many babies are being born with drug addictions and sexually transmitted diseases.
No, not from the baalei tshuvas you miserable slobs, but from the yeshiva and chassidishe communities.
Speak to marriage therapists that you may have as friends or family, ask them what percentage of marriages are being destroyed because the yeshivishe husband is banging anything that moves.

When your home is burglarized, don't even bother going to the cops looking for your silver and jewelry, just take a stroll down Thirteenth Avenue, they will be on full display at the silver and jewelry stores, right there in the window.

On a TV talk show recently, hookers described these guys down to their filthy talis koton.(can't leave home without it).
It's not one or two guys, this is symptomatic of a tradition and a culture that failed miserably.

You know why?


Sub-consciously or consciously, they never bought the manure the fertilizer salesmen sold them.

They trudged along the scam yeshiva system that everyone seemingly bought into, only to grow old and realize they've been screwed over.

The yeshivas and the guys heading it, they have come to realize, are phony bastards.They will gouge the eyes out of your head, for a buck or less.

Who is going to teach them to fear G-d, if these guys' God is money?
They could not give a cholent bone that has been sucked dry, about you.
In matter of fact, if you don't give them money, they despise you.

They don't care if you are a cross-dresser or a tuchis shtupper ,as long as you are giving up the gelt.

When was the last time you saw a" poor guy" being honored at a dinner?

Look at some of the names on the yeshiva buildings.The biggest chazer fressers ,philanderers and thieves in the neighborhood.

Yes, there are a few good guys, even a rotten corpse produces worms.
I kid you not, if you let these yeshivas do what they have been doing, there will not be a viable Jewish community in fifty years or less.
There may be people who will dress in black, but Judaism and it's beauty can not perpetuate itself, when the so called leaders are charlatans and hucksters.


Take heed, nobody thought Sharon, the mighty warrior, would do what he is doing.
Nobody thought that the Arabs would get back Jewish land as they keep killing us.

GET RID OF THE LIKES OF MARGULIES, KOTLER, KAMINETZKY and all the other minuvalim that have mocked you.




posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 12:04 AM | 178 comments

Thursday, August 11, 2005
The Enemy Within-Part Three-Chassidism Is Not Judaism


posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 12:47 AM | 86 comments

Saturday, August 06, 2005
The Enemy Within-Part Three-Chassidism Is Not Judaism

Make no mistake, Chassidism is not part of authentic Judaism.

In matter of fact it is closer to Christianity than to Judaism.

Orthodox Jews believe that ALL of the principles of Judaism were given to Moshe at Sinai.
The written Torah and the oral Torah were dictated to Moshe by Hashem for the forty days he was at Sinai.

The roots of the Chassidic movement did not begin until the thirteenth century, when Moses De-Leon started the writings of the Zohar.
About three hundred years later, Isaac Luria(ARI) started preaching this mystic garble.
The Ari as he was known, was an enigma.
He purported to preach the thoughts of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, who lived fifteen hundred years earlier.
The problem is that there was no known link of mesorah or chain of events, going back to that time, from RSBY to him or to De-Leon.

Orthodox Jews believe that the Torah m'Sinai was transmitted from father to son, generation after generation, traceable back to Moshe.
The fact that there was no link from the Ari or De-Leon to RSBY, and therefore no link back to Sinai, would eliminate the Zohar or Kabballah from effectively being part of Judaism.

The most we can rationally say about the Zohar, that it was a" theory" of a few people, and no more.

Chassidim, have their entire canon(or myths) based entirely on the writings of the Zohar, and the rantings of an unlearned bal agalah or horse and buggy driver, known as the Baal Shem Tov or the Besht.
The Besht, being the very first Forest Ranger, hanging out with the animals in the forest and talking to the trees, set a precedent for todays rebbes who hang out in their ghettos with their animals.

Tales of the Besht are just that, buba maases, or in english fairy tales .(In Brooklyn we call it unadulterated BS).

The Vilna Gaon called the Besht a heretic and a lunatic, and considered that movement outside of Judaism.

Rabbi Aron Kotler refused to let chassidim into Lakewood. When he ultimately relented under great pressure, he forbade them to wear their shtreimels in the bais medrash.

It is difficult enough for any Jew to really comprehend Torah m'Sinai, but that is emunah; who in their right mind can possibly believe the stupidity of the chassidic nonsense which emanates from an ignoramus?

Imagine if you will, Art Scroll gedolim stories, turning into another branch of Judaism in a few hundred years.

The entire concept of the kabbalistic ten sfiros, the sum total of the sfiros representing Hashem;how far away is that from Christianity, where the Trinity is the sum total of their Divinity?

How far away is the tzaddik or rebbe, who through his holiness, is capable of representing the chassid to Hashem; to "Yushka", who through him only can you reach the Kingdom Of God?

The" coming ressurection" of the Lubavitcher Rebbe demonstrates how far afield of Judaism ALL the chassidic groups have gone.

The Gerrer Rebbe is now assurring his flock, that Moshiach will arrive in the next year or so.
He is a sick, delusional idiot who deserves a good flogging.
Hey, putz, if Moshiach is coming in the next year or so, he surely did not tell an ignoramus like you.
You behaima, stop taking whatever drugs you are on.
When he doesn't come, then what?
You make me sick, feh!

The entire concept of a Jew needing an intemediary to get heard by Hashem was and is a fraud.One should have to dump their entire head down the toilet in shame, if they believe in this apikorsus.

This dveykus garbage, where one should cleave to their rebbe, is the BIGGGEST mentally dysfunctional illness of Chassidism.
Who the hell is this rebbe that he should be cleaved to?
I will tell you who, gangsters.
The Mafia godfathers, also had their underlings cleave to them.
The same type of fear, one physical, one emotional.

How in the world does anyone buy into this?

How ill does one have to be to cleave to a putz without a job?

His ONLY job is screwing you out of your money and independence.
What in the world do you need this parasite for?
Have these scam artists so emotionally paralyzed you, that if you let go of them , you fear divine retribution?

We have watched in horror the goings on among the chassidim.
They have bastardized our faith with their hocus pocus.
Their rebbes are the greatest con artists of the group, bleeding their sheep for whatever, and having them go to jail for their thefts.

Buddhists, Hindus and Scientologists have more credibilty than these groups of peasants.

The original post war rebbes of Satmar and Klausenberg were well intentioned and learned people.
They gave their lives to the klal, and had an honest agenda.One can differ with their world view which I do with vehemence, especially Satmar, but one has to respect their drive to reestablish and rebuild the lives of the remnants of their respective communities.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel, was a brilliant and charismatic figure, who had his own agenda of note.
Unfortunately his movement went awry with sheer insanity, especially the Moshiach movement, which catapaulted his religion into something other than Judaism.
He could have stopped it, either he went crazy in his old age, or worse, he believed it.
Nevertheless, he left an unmatched legacy of chessed and kiruv, that has way surpassed any other chassidic groups.

These three rebbes were legitimate heirs of their respective chassidus, they were talmidei chachomim and sincere people.
They believed in their own brands of Judaism, although it was based on voodoo theories.
The only reason I can somehow tolerate them, is because as human beings they had integrity.
The money they raised, was for their version of what was good for Yiddishkeit.
They were self-sacrificing, and I believe well intentioned, although absolutely wrong in their distinct approaches.
They filled a need at the time, which was to restore sanity to their followers after the war.
They should have discontinued this demented ideology, and embrace Torah true Judaism.
But something weird happens to people when scores of people put them on a pedestal.
Their sense of self gets distorted, and if they become the ultimate authority without anyone to answer to, megalomania sets in.
Absolute power corrupts, absolutely.

The chassidus of today is organized crime, no more.
They,the Mafia, also had big hats, and stole whatever they could.
Every single chassidus today, is corrupt from head to toe.
Their rebbes lead and mislead their idiot followers to a life of frivolity.
Meaningless gatherings, to waiting up all night to get a bracha from the top honcho, is just another con game.
There is no meaning in dancing and swaying with the rebbe.
There is no sense in partaking from his leftover food.
There is no benefit in getting a feel good bracha from these guys.
It is ONE BIG HOAX, and the joke is on you, you demented behaimas.

The present Satmar is composed of a bunch of hoodlums with their rebbe at the helm, and is a shameful example of what went wrong with all these chassidic movements.

Satmar gave birth to the Neturai Karta, the behaimas that met with Arafat, may he drop dead again.
The first Rebbe, unfortunately, was off the wall with his hate of what he called the Medinas Yisroel.
He was the prime mover and shaker, pitting Jew against Jew.I am sure, that his soul is paying the price for this form of terrorism.
For whatever his thoughts on the secular Jews, his hate mongering was the sign of a man who was irrational and worse.
He approved and condoned the open displays of hate from his followers.

The present rebbe, a former stockbroker and a shady one to boot, inherited the job because R' Yoel had no sons.
On the merits of his right to this job, other than being a Teitelbaum, he had none.

There was another Joel Teitelbaum, who was a cousin of the rebbe.
He came over after the war, and called himself the Satmar Rebbe.
He raised money, until his cousin and other people from Satmar came, and put an end to his fraud.
He changed his name to the Kirhauser Rebbe.
He was uncovered to be a KAPO, or a Nazi collaborator, during the war.
In other words, he beat the hell out of fellow Jews and worse.

When one of his kids were doing a shidduch, and the prospective machatunim met, the machatainester fainted on the spot because she recognized him as the kapo that beat her almost to death.No, this shidduch did not take place.

He established a shul, and became a "mover and shaker" in the nursing home business.

He" moved" dead bodies from freezer to freezer, collecting their social security checks in the meanwhile.
The ones that were still alive, he" shaked" whatever money they had out of them, by stealing their mail and bank accounts.

He defrauded the government and every single investor that trusted him.
After all, he was a rebbe!
He should rot in hell!

The Spinka Rebbe was whisked away one Shabbos during davening by the police, he screamed Shabbos, Shabbos!!The people he abused in his nursing homes had nobody to scream to when he abused them, stole their social security checks, and gave them rotten food.
When the old people died, this great tzaddik, may he rot in hell, froze their bodies, to be able to keep collecting the government stipends.
He was part of the notorious Bergman family, or the "Nursing Home Mafia" as described by the New York Times.
Bernard Bergman, Israel Braunstein and Moses Braunstein went to jail.
There is another Braunstein in the news, government auditors are looking into millions of dollars of medicaid money that can not be accounted for from his nursing home.
It's in their blood, they are sick!

Damn these animals; the mitzvah of burying the dead within twenty four hours of death, goes in the garbage when there is money to be stolen. The mitzvah of "escorting the dead" to him meant, escort, "after" all the money was sucked out of the family and the social security number.

His two behaimeshe gangster mamzeirim run Spinka today. Monkeys in black garb.

Hertz Frankel, aka the" Satmar Gonniff" stole tens of millions of dollars throughout his thirty years at Satmar.
The government finally caught up with him, he plea bargained, and stayed out of jail.
Do not tell me that the Rebbe did not know where all these millions came from.

Leib Pinter, the notorious Bnai Torah fraudster, stole millions of dollars for non existent government lunch programs.
Munkascz, Vishnitz, Ger, Belz, Satmar,Skver, Bobov, and all the other midgets with fur hats and long filthy black bathrobes, had a direct hand in this and all other government frauds through Pinter and his cohorts.
Pinter went to jail.
Pinter has been indicted again for mortgage fraud.

He is the "energizer" goniff, he keeps stealing & stealing & stealing.....

When they got caught, these nice guys, rebbes, threw the front men to the dogs.

There was drug money laundering, and drug selling through Bobov.
Maher Reiss went to jail.

The Munkaczer's brother, the Dinover Rebbe, brother in-law of the Vyepoler Rebbe(Frankel's shul in Flatbush), was caught drug smuggling.

But they have pretty shuls and fancy homes.

Every single time records had to be produced, all of a sudden the files somehow got destroyed by fire.

WOW! Hashem certainly created this "nes "so these thieves can keep their businesses going.
"Viheney boar b'aish v'hasneh ukol!", these guys certainly deserved Divine intervention, as Moshe did!This time somehow, Hashem decided that the fire SHOULD destroy the phony records.
Skver,Bobov,Munkascz,Satmar,Gur....all had fire sales.



Shlomo Halberstam, the first misfit of Bobov, landed in New York after the war.He had his butt fired at the first shul that hired him, because he could not learn a blatt G'mora.

This holy genius moved to Crown Heights and ran a kindergarten.
His job was to give the kids candies.I swear this is true, I spoke to one of those" kids."

A few lunatic admirers of this Don Juan, decided to move him to Boro Park.So what that he had no clue about learning.
He made them feel good, what else matters?

He was a master at his game.So what that his father advised his kehilla in Poland not to worry about the Nazis, and assurred them that no harm would come to them.
He was a" holy" man, surely his bracha had G-D's seal of approval.
Well, you know the end of that story.

The "holy" men from Gur and Belz gave the same advice to their followers.
They would do and say anything to hold on to their little kingdoms.
Can you not see that these guys are meaningless people, who without the soap box you put them on would be wagon drivers?

The fight going on at Bobov now for the "malchus," is about money and power, it has NOTHING TO DO WITH G-D.
One guy is a bigger retard than the other.
Take away the real estate and money, they both would be driving cabs.

Years ago, Stoliner chassidim crowned a nine year old kid as their rebbe.
You tell me that these guys are normal.

The Chabad telethon sums up the present day status of that group.

The Rebbe's picture is their avoda zara.You have Christians, Asians, shvartzes, and drug addicts doing the hora around the Rebbe.

Cunin and his family have managed to accumulate one hundred fifty million dollars in real estate, and have ruined people's lives by having the secular courts confiscate any property that housed a "Chabad shul", even though they, the Cunin's, had nothing to do with it. In other words, they became the franchisers for the Chabad name.
The Kentucky Fried Chicken of chassidus, with Cunin as Colonel Sanders.

When a bais din ruled AGAINST Cunin,this shyster, who has free access to first rate attorneys, took it to secular court, AGAINST THE RULING OF THE "CHABAD" BAIS DIN.

This" holy" guy, has a direct line to the Rebbe, and I am sure that is what the Rebbe advised him to do.
Cunin hangs out every month at the kever, midst a whole community of Lubavitchers who are waiting for him to dust himself off and reveal himself.Cunin has got to know something we don't.

A historical note of interest.
None of the direct descendants of the first Lubavitcher Rebbe, R' Shneur Zalman, are frum.In matter of fact one of his sons converted to Catholicism.

The sad part about all of this, because the world today is in such upheavel, people look to other people to make them feel good.
The chances of this mental illness called chassidus to go away any time soon, is not promising.
People are spending billions of dollars on anti-depressants and other types of feel good drugs.
The guys in the black coats are their Opium.

If you will continue to rely on people for all that is wrong in your life, why not put true ehrliche Yiden at the helm.
Why settle for ignoramuses and thieves?
Do away with these purveyors of idiotic dogma and rituals.

Do not wait for the Moshiach, you be your own liberator.
There are no "seventy two virgins"waiting for you, or whatever your version of that BS is.


posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 10:18 PM | 273 comments

Saturday, July 30, 2005
The Enemy Within-Part Two-The Evolution of Right Wing Fanatacism

There are four separate catagories of movements that constitute right wing Judaism in the U.S.A.

1- Yeshivishism
3-Agudah/Lobbyism/Government Activism.
4-Boro Parkism/Flatbushism

There are overlaps in ideology or lack thereof between the above groups.
The tzad hashava(common denominator) between all of them is money and power.

This blog will focus on category one, or Yeshivishism.

I attempt to keep my blogs" kurtz and sharf"(brief/short & sharp) rather than short & sweet.

The Yeshiva" movement", as we know it today, began after World War Two.
Of course there were yeshivas around before the war, but it was not a" movement", it was a place to get your child educated.

There is a huge difference between the two.

One of the main differences is that before the war the yeshivas were institutions, run by board members and not by individuals.
Certainly the heads of the yeshivas were where the board members looked for direction, but ultimately, and sometimes after great battle, the board rendered the final decisions.

Rabbi Aron Kotler(RAK), was the first yeshiva head to turn yeshiva education into a movement.
That means he had absolute total control of everything.

Yes, he had baalei batim that supported him financially, but they had no say in anything at all other than the mundane issues of dinners, housekeeping etc.

It was his way or the highway.If you dared to condradict his philosophy,there was no tshuva, you were history.

He was on a mission to replace the lost Torah scholars of churban Europe, a very noble and what most people believed was an unrealistic task.
While an extremely worthwhile project, it was not what people are now calling that idea, an idea of "genius."

Many refugees had the same idea.To name a few; the Rebbes from Satmar,Klausenberg,Rabbi Y. Kaminetzky, Rabbi Y.Ruderman, Rabbi M. Feinstein and probably twenty to thirty other prominent refugees from churban Europe.

What made RAK's idea a bit more novel was his concept of Torah Lishma.That meant that his yeshiva was to enroll anyone that wanted to learn Torah exclusively, there was not to be any other considerations about secular education or any education that would teach one a parnassah..etc.outside the world of Torah.

The yeshiva and Hashem would provide.

Money was hard to come by, but RAK was a super salesman, he had a niche product; a salesman's dream.
He believed in his product and targeted every single Jew with a conscience and money.
He played on the Holocaust; which resulted in the demise of most of Judaism, and the death of most European Torah scholars.

To use a tired but appropriate cliche; he was in the right place at the right time.

His customer base was broad, comprised of the bright yeshiva students with a future in chinuch to the yeshiva boy who had nothing else to do but to go out and get a job.
All were welcome.
Naturally, every boy that came into the yeshiva had family and extended family that RAK approached for funds.

Slowly but surely not only did he encourage his idea of Torah lishma exclusively, but he was beggining to claim that all other ideas of learning Torah in conjunction with any other learning was against halacha.

He used outlandish and very descriptive language to make sure his ideas were well understood.

He passed on, and his ideas were used by his students as a springboard to what became Yeshivishism, or right wing fanatacism.

The primary yeshiva to promulgate this new trend was the Philadelphia yeshiva led by Elya Svei and Shmuel Kaminetzky.
Svei a noted and erudite talmud chochom was well known for his kannaus or intransigence.

There was another side of him which was generally unknown and that was his desire and goal to control the Yeshivish movement
singlehandedly,after RAK's death.
Kaminetzky, not nearly as bright but realized he would make a good front man, did just that.
They created the first Ivy League yeshiva.
They made it difficult to get in, unless a student was very bright or of course there was money in the family.

In a relatively short period of time,their campus was built with state of the art facilities, and they had no mortgage.

Svei was free to wander off to head Torah Umesorah, and ultimately almost brought the Jewish day school movement to the brink of disaster with his outrageous and outlandish nonsense.
What played in New York, did not play well in Peoria.
He did not get his way and was forced to leave.

He tried his shenanigans at the Agudah's Moetzes, and again was marginalized, until he left the organization.

His students idolized him, although it was clear to any rational observer of the Jewish scene, that he was losing it and doing way more harm than good.
His speeches were long and rambling, and his message was hard line, irrational and incoherent.

Nevertheless, He solidified RAK's ideology of Torah lishma,where it now became shameful for anyone to ever consider doing anything other than becoming a lifer(kollel for life.)

Easy for him to say, he now had a multi million dollar campus paid off completely, and a student base primarily of wealthy kids.He did not take in any Iranians or Russians until he was absolutely shamed into it.
Nice guy!

Shneur Kotler, RAK's son, took over the reins at Lakewood.
He was a simple guy, and was not a Torah scholar of stature.
There were rumblings and discontent over his automatically being named rosh yeshiva, but the antagonists were quickly dealt with by removing them from within the yeshiva.

This was the first time in the non chassidic world, that a yeshiva was turned over to a non qualified family member.All the other major yeshivas at that time, upon the death of their rosh yeshiva, picked the rosh yeshivas from the best qualified candidates.

G-D fearing Jews understood the yeshiva did NOT belong to them, they were doing Hashem's work, and therefore the yeshiva belonged to the klal and NOT their family.

An ugly and dishonest precedent was set, and the uncouthed tigers were out of their cages.

Shneur Kotler evolved into a charismatic fundraiser.

He inherited a well oiled machine, and worked real hard.

A confluence of factors caused the "movement" to grow geometrically.

The onset of the Vietnam War, the Baby Boomers and the seeds of serious financial wealth in the Orthodox community were very definite contributing factors to this astonishing growth.

By the time that Shneur Kotler passed away in the mid eighties, the cultish concept of going to Lakewood was solidified.
ANYONE could park himself in the yeshiva with no supervision, and stay as long as they felt like it.

Again, the yeshiva(or rather Shneur's wife) put at its head a way below average Kotler,her son, and for window dressing they titled other relatives with meaningless positions.

The Kotlers had their dynasty with access to millions of dollars of the public's money, as well as millions of dollars in questionable government grants.
Until today, no person can dare enter the yeshiva without filling out a government assistance form that goes directly into the Kotler coffers.

The common denominator between the greatest advocates of learning for life, are TWO FAMILY OWNED INSTITUTIONS WITH TENS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN REAL ESTATE UNDER THEIR FAMILY NAMES.

Elya Svei and Shmuel Kaminetzky have their imbecile kids running the yeshiva, while Kaminetzky is globetrotting and Svei is at home hallucinating.

The two Kotler brothers have under their direct control and legal title to approximately one hundred million dollars in real estate, in addition to millions of dollars a year in gross income from the public and the government.(in many cases bogus programs)

In summary, these two institutions, by claiming that it is forbidden to get a secular education in order to feed one's family, have no risk of going hungry themselves.
They are charlatans of the first order.

Rabbi Yaakov Kaminetzky had advised some of his best talmidim that it was in their best interests to get a college education.
Rabbi Hutner encouraged college education for individuals with no interest in earning a living in chinuch, and was himself college educated.
In addition,the two above great rosh yeshivas DID NOT PASS ALONG THEIR YESHIVAS TO THEIR FAMILY.

My point is this.

The dishonesty of preaching a philosophy that will bankrupt families and create so much misery for generations, must come to an end.

The Chofetz Chaim ran a grocery store.

It is not shameful to take care of your wife and children, it is shameful not to.
To hell with the Sharptons and Jacksons with beards and black hats.

When you start living in two room apartments and have no money for food, give us a call.

Until then, stay far away from our gullible kids.

To the idiot financial backers of these fraudulent money grubbing hucksters, stop being accomplices to the greatest crime to hit our community in recent memory.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 10:10 PM | 127 comments

Sunday, July 24, 2005
The Enemy Within


We all read this in the Haggadah on Pesach.

Some read this at home, and many Orthodox Jews in America read this in some luxury hotel.

I have an interesting question; what percentage of Jews that spend Pesach at a hotel , have their kids on some sort of scholarship program at their schools?

Back to the ranch.

The cookie cutter formula, and one size fits all program espoused by the right wing yeshivas, is similar to a doctor prescribing aspirin for cancer.

"In every generation our enemies stand up against us with the intent to destroy us."

We have enemies without, and enemies within.

The enemies "without" are easy to detect, and therefore we can identify them and to some degree be on our guard.

All Muslims hate us and want to destroy every remnant of the Jews. That's a no brainer,except for the extreme lefties/secular Jews.

Regardless of all the public niceties the Christians (Catholics..) say about us, the fact is they believe we killed their Lord.
Richard Nixon's (private) taped conversation with Billy Graham, demonstrates that they are two-faced Jew haters. They are NOT the exception,they are the rule.
I have been out in the real world long enough to know that they tolerate us, at best,for the time being.History has taught me well.Under a confluence of certain circumstances,we can become scapegoats and dog meat again.Keep a suitcase packed and ready to go.

Any help the Jewish state received from Nixon was not because he loved the Jews, it was for HIS political gain and the strategic interests of the United States.

When we scrutinize the overwhelming success of Mel Gibson's recent movie The Passion, based on the killing of their Lord, we can not ignore the fact that the success was not because of the wonderful, gory special effects.
Pope John Paul's comments ,"that it is, as it was"confirms that his contradictory statement of non"collective responsibilty"was written for him, and read by a Pope who was no more than a brain dead figurehead and representative of a billion or so people that will never forgive us for our sin.

The enemy within is harder to identify and harder to do battle with.

On the left,the enemies are well disguised.
They come in the form of the WJC(World Jewish Congress),The Simon Weisenthal Center & The Kabballah Center(extreme left).

The Kabballah Center founded by the adulterous insurance con man Philip Berg(Gruberger) is the easiest one of the three above mentioned to distance ourselves from. There is nothing Jewish about his movement other than the hijacked writings of the Ari & Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.

Berg was a philanderer and under investigation by the New York Insurance Department Fraud Division,when he took his girfriend(his present wife) to Israel,to steal the writings of his then wife's uncle, Asher Brandwein.

The charade as being a Jewish movement is pathetic, and the stroke which left him incapacitated, could not have come too soon.

Watching the recent taped interview of his wife and two sons from her, on 20/20,was real easy for me to confirm what I always knew about people, give the gullible a little hope and their brains dissolve totally. His particular group is composed of lost morons, druggies and high priced hookers.
How any normal, thinking, mildly rational person can not see through this scam is beyond belief.
Jimmy Swaggart redux!

Incidentally, Yitzhchok Adlerstein's input and insights were pathetically tepid and incoherent.
He is turning out to be another wannabee Jewish spokesman.It must be the California sun.
Well you do not speak for me or most intellectual Jews.Stick to your pollyana blogging.

The WJC led by Edgar Bronfman has cleverly put up Bronfman's gofer, Israel Singer, as the organization's front man. Singer who grew up orthodox,and wears a pope-like beany yarmulke, is nothing more than Bronfman's messenger boy.Nothing Singer does is without the instruction and at the behest of Bronfman.

Singer tainted with scandal recently of embezzling millions of dollars of public money, got Bronfman to cover this up with full restitution and more. The fact is Singer transferred millions of dollars of the public's money earmarked for the WJC, to a numbered Swiss account for his personal retirement fund.
All Bronfman's cover-up tactics to protect his lap-dog is futile.

This is Bronfman's way of saying thanks for all the years of carrying his briefcase and opening the door for him.You mean nothing to him or the Jewish world.
The WJC is Bronfman's personal piggy bank,and you, Singer, happen to be his piggy.

To Bronfman's credit,Birthright is a wonderful program instituted to assist Jewish kids explore their heritage.

The WJC otherwise has demeaned Judaism and has fraudulently represented themselves as a legitimate spokesgroup for Judaism.They are anything but.
Your kind words for the deceased Pope is another way of getting your name in the newspapers.
You are a worthless organization,composed of guys with nothing much left to do.
Hey, start shooting pool.

Nosson Sherman from Art Scroll should have his head examined for trying to assist you in covering up your embezzlement and your organization's pathetic reputation for scandal.
I guess there is money in it for him.

Anytime someone creates an organization because he needs a job,watch out!

The diminutive Marvin Hier did exactly that.
The major problem that I have with him is that he is the consumnate con man.
He created an entire religion around the Holocaust.
He has convinced thousands of wealthy Jews that the way to Heaven is through him.
Judaism begins and ends with a donation of consequence to HIS museum.
Where else can an ignoramus get a job that pays one million dollars annually plus an unlimited expense account?

Sure, they chase anti-semites, but his organization is run by charlatans and incompetents.
Abraham Cooper and Meyer May are the other two of the three stooges. The Keystone Cops of Judaism.

They have now decided that another museum is important to have in Israel.
Yad Vashem just does not cut it, so Moe,Larry & Curly have started a campaign to raise TWO HUNDRED SIXTY FIVE MILLION DOLLARS for a new CIRCUS in Israel.
The ambiance at Yad Vashem was just lacking.
Kofi Annan was really disappointed when he visited Yad Vashem,there were NOT enough baby shoes and gold teeth on display to suit him.

Midget Marvin, hoping to get an invite to the U.N.'s melave malka, decided just like that, to build another museum.
What a guy!

This guy is trouble,the public needs to monitor him big time.
A financial audit of this organization is long overdue.

In his eyes the Holocaust was an opportunity for him.
Jim Bakker,dyed hair and circumcised! ( & out of jail for now)
His Judaism is much ado about death and the wretched past, rather than focusing on life,the future of the Jews and the emotional/spiritual health of Judaism.
His obsession with death is opportunistic and profitable, and is a scam.

I will get to our enemies on the right in part two, coming soon to a computer near you.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 10:34 PM | 43 comments

Wednesday, July 20, 2005
An Open Letter To Mordecai Tendler

I have no idea whether you are guilty or innocent of the many charges against you.

I do assume innocence,although the latest developments with the RCA causes me to pause.

I do not have a horse in this race.
I do not have a kugel in this oven.
I do not have a black hat on this head.

So for starters you need to know I hope you are innocent.

I did not say I hope you are" found "innocent,because the only thing you can be" found" is guilty.
You know what the score is.Either you are guilty or innocent,there is no gray area.
I do know what this fight with the RCA represents,and that makes me a nogaih b'dovor,because whatever the outcome of this matter, all streams of Orthodox Jewry will be affected.

Trying to avoid the well known cliche,I have come up with my own.


The above is a general rule that I learned throughout my own trials and tribulations that life offers. I sense that there is something here that does not quite meet the proverbial eye.
You have waited way too long to come out swinging.These rumors have been swirling around for years.

Why pick a fight with an adversary that you can not beat? You can NOT beat them!
They will destroy whatever is left of your reputation.
I am not saying you should not be defending yourself,but this Israeli bais din gimmick sounds and feels like camouflage and subterfuge.

I know Rabbi Shmuel Fried extremely well.He is the toain or attorney for the RCA.
A few things you must know about this guy.
We speak often on business issues,especially when it comes to real estate.
He is unbeatable when his client is right,and never takes a case unless he is sure they are.


I know of your Toain Mittleman,he is out of his league.

Mordecai Tendler,

You are getting very bad advice.
Your ego will destroy you and your family.

This is my advice to you.

Give it up!

Have your respective representatives meet in private.

Let both sides come up with a pareve statement that is ambiguous.
Fried is a big mentsch,he will encourage a respectable settlement.

You are in way over your head.
Your father and all your uncles will not be able to help you.
Fried will absolutely crush you!


You are still the rabbi of your shul,if you proceed with this nonsense you will lose your job.
You will join Moshe Londinski in no man's land.

I hope you don't one day have to look at this blog,wishing that you should have listened to this anonymous blogger.

The problem is people do not listen to free advice,so send a check in my name to your local Tomchei Shabbos.



posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 12:05 AM | 36 comments

Saturday, July 16, 2005
Rosh Yeshivas ,You Are Killing Our Children & Grandchildren

Rosh Yeshivas,Menahalim &Mashgichim.

You sleep well at night because you have parnassah and your children and grandchildren will have jobs waiting for them in your respective(not respectful)institutions, regardless if they are qualified or not.

You guys read this story, and if after you read it you are able to sleep at night, then you are much worse people than I thought.

Recently, I sat next to a very respected Lakewood resident at a simcha.
He spent a total of fifteen years in the yeshiva/kollel.

Every time he went to you explaining what a diificult time he was having, you encouraged him to stay in kollel, Hashem will provide.

Eleven children later, without any financial means whatsoever and deep in debt, he was forced to look for a job.
He would not take any job, after all he was a talmud chochom, and should be a rosh yeshiva.

After two years looking for a SUITABLE job, he begrudgingly took a job in a local talmud torah.
Although considered by many as an Iluy, that was the best and only job he was able to get.
He came from a baalibatashe family, with no money or yeshiva connections.

I was introduced to his wife who i guestimate was about forty, going on sixty.

We have common friends so I assume he felt comfortable talking to me, and of course I would never divulge his identity.

He asked me if I knew of a job for his son who was twenty years old.
He told me that although he wanted his son to stay in yeshivah, he was not cut out for it.

I asked a few basic questions, like how much of a secular education did he have.
I just wanted to confirm that at the minimum, he had a high school education.

He related to me that none of his sons had gone past the eighth grade.
I asked him what kind of job was his son looking for?

Now the guy I am talking to is a real bright guy, so he knew where I was going .

He asked if his son was able to work in the real estate industry.I told him to get anywhere, he would have to get a real estate license.

This is where he came apart.

We walked outside and this grown man with eleven children started bawling.
He said his son can hardly read and he was hiring a tutor to TEACH HIS TWENTY YEAR OLD SON TO READ ENGLISH!!!!!!

Do you guys get it??
This is America in the twenty first century, and his twenty year old son can hardly read the language of the land where he lives!

I asked him to be in touch, and we exchanged phone numbers.

We did keep in touch and the story unfolded.

He, the father, was a prodigy in an IVY LEAGUE yeshiva, and was encouraged to continue learning.
Hashem would provide, and certainly he would be grabbed up by a gvir (rich guy)for his daughter, and he would live happily ever after.

If he ever decided that he would want to go into chinuch, the yeshivas would line up to grab him as well.

Well, no gvir grabbed him, and he wound up marrying a nice girl, BUT NO GELT.
His chashuvah rosh yeshiva encouraged him to marry this girl, gave him a brocho,and assured him that Hashem will provide.

Life moves along,the kids keep coming,and this guy is struggling big time.
His shalom bayis is seriously affected,and the rosh yeshiva who is consulted and asked to intercede, starts questioning his talmid's bitachon and emunah.

This idiot rosh yeshiva, a member of the Moetzes, whose yeshiva mortgage is completely paid off, is questioning his talmid's bitachon, because there is NO MONEY FOR FOOD AND NO SHALOM BAYIS!!!!!!!!

This filthy behaima, mushchas, destroyer of our future generations , puts his own son in a rosh mesifta position,who if had to look for a job without his father, would be shoveling zevel for the local sanitation department.



The BIG LIE is ,that there are no jobs waiting for anyone in kollel,unless they have very close family in the yeshiva business.

How does one have bitachon when his life is coming apart based on false notions of what Hashem will or will not do?
How do you behaimas take vulnerable kids and molest their minds the way you do?
Have you no shame?

This story has been repeated thousands of times in different variations.
These rosh yeshivas are perpetuating this fraud because this is what keeps their businesses going.If there were no customers for their fraud,there would be no business. GUESS WHAT? HASHEM DOES NOT THROW MONEY DOWN, YOU HAVE BEEN SHNORRING YOUR WHOLE LIVES AS WELL!YOU KNOW YOU ARE PATHETIC PANHANDLERS,TIN-CUP, MONKEY AND ALL.


Sure,there are SOME honest rosh yeshivas,BUT THEY ARE IN THE MINORITY OF MINORITIES.

Any rosh yeshiva that encourages a "regular guy" to stay in kollel until he is old and gray should be sent to the frontlines in Iraq with his black camouflage clothing.


Some suggestions.

All yeshivas should be subject to an audit conducted by a lay persons' vaad,who will hire frum accountants to check the books.Every single mosad gets audited,no exceptions.

All hiring of rebbes should be done by an impartial vaad of rabbonim and rosh yeshivas.

Why Not?

Why can we not get this done?

What are they hiding?

Why not hire the absolute best rebbeim for our kids?
Why should we automatically hire and pay for your kids?
Enough with hiring ZEVEL to teach and mislead our kids.
There is a pool of thousands of men to pick from,let us get the absolute best.

Enough with concealing the amounts of PUBLIC MONEY used in excesses for your personal luxuries.






Let this be a call for all well meaning TRUE ehrliche Jews to rise up against this cancer that is metasticising throughout our communities.

They are cult leaders who rule by mental intimidation.

To hell with these destroyers of meaningful life for our children.

Rise up and drive out these charlatans and purveyors of fraud from our midst!

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 10:06 PM | 39 comments

Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Jews Without Borders

No,I do not mean Jewish doctors,I am talking about ALL Jews.

We have no physical borders,and certainly we should not develop intellectual borders either.

The Charedim or extreme right wing of Judaism does NOT represent Yiddishkeit.They would have you stop thinking,questioning or engage in any conversation that could create any doubt at all to THEIR opinions.
They differ from the times of the Rishonim and the previous or last Achronim.(some would say it stopped at the Chazon Ish).All Jews were then able to engage in intelligent dialogue.

I have approximate numbers that will authenticate my claim.

There are approximately twelve million Jews worldwide.
About half of them are traditional Jews with no religious affiliation whatsoever.
The other six million are composed of one and a half million observant(all degrees and levels of Torah observance)or Orthodox,the balance represent the secular Jews.

Which means at best, Orthodoxy represents less than ten percent of all Jews alive today.

The Charedi sector according to most sociologists, represents at best a half million people.

Their Torah does not represent the majority of Orthodox Jews.

They are pure literalists.Therefore their rabbonim decide for them what they are permitted to think.
This has become extremely dangerous because their gedolim are absolutely out of touch with all reality outside their daled amos of their chadorim.

Their scientific knowledge is non existent.

Well,why should we care?
Because,like during the times of Shabsi Tzvi,more Jews left Judaism when they discovered he was a fraud, than at the time of the Crusades.
Firstly,their practice of Judaism is Rabbinic Judaism,the way the Tanaaim & Amoriim interpreted the written Torah.

How else could anyone explain all the plugtas,differences of positions, if Moshe handed them the Mesorah as G-D gave it to him?Could it be that G-D himself was not quite sure if we are to pasken like Bais Shammai or Bais Hillel?

The fact is that probably in twenty years or less,their numbers will start shrinking.
Truth be told that we don't know the real numbers,because their dress conceals their ideology,if they have any.
It's only a matter of time until the youth of today,who have access to the outside world, start thinking for themselves without being brow beaten to intellectual death.

How long will it take for the Chassidim to figure out that the Gerrer Rebbe,who predicted that Moshiach will be here in a year or two,is hallucinating and suffering from delusional visions of self grandeur?
He will be proven a Rasha gamur for behaving like a behaima.He is THE Kofer! What an absolute, authentic PUTZ! The original!

How long will it take for even the Chabad group to figure out that their guy was whacked?

Time is on our side.

The people that contribute to society at large,the people that can support themselves and their families, they are the LIGHT UNTO THE NATIONS.
The people that have supported the Charedi jibberish, will come to their senses and realize that they have been duped.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 7:20 PM | 20 comments

Sunday, July 10, 2005
The Liars & Race Baiters At Yated Ne'eman

Lip Shits and his partners in crime would have you believe that the New York Health Dept. has forbidden & outlawed a very vital part of Jewish practice,metzizah bpeh.

He is a manipulting SOB.

They outlawed Tricky Dick Fisher only!!

Tricky Dick has oral herpes,a very contagious incurable virus that once contracted can never be fully,if ever cured.

They want to keep him away from new born babies with his herpes laden mouth,so not to expose extremely vulnerable immune systems to this virus,period.

Any other mohel without a contagious infection can perform metzizah.

The facts are that the vast majority of shomer Torah & mitzvos Jews have been instructing the mohels for the last twenty or more years to do the metzizah with a tube or pipette.

When two rabbonim met with doctors recently,it was strictly about the Fisher issue,not about metzizah bpeh as a bris proceedure. Since when do we place our physical health in the hands of rabbonim who interviewed a few doctors?

The health department has an obligation to protect us from even the slightest chance of disease.

They are doing their jobs really well,since herpes can remain dormant for years without detection.

Reading the Yated you would think that the health department is trying to desecrate our Torah for no reason.

Lip Shits talks about hidden agendas.........he is nuts.He is speaking out of the wrong side of his body.

Then they do the usual,they yank out the gedolim pictures from their scrap books and post a full page ad warning us that the rishaaim are trying to take away our ability to practice our Yiddishkeit,our Torah and Mesorah.




posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 10:42 AM | 24 comments

Thursday, July 07, 2005
The Adventures Of M*a*l*k*i*e*l * K*o*t*l*e*r*

Malkiel found his crayons again!

His mommy keeps hiding his crayons to keep him and his friends out of trouble,but that cute little devil keeps finding them and scribbles his two line signature on any piece of paper given to him.

This time he scribbled his silly signature on a paper he should not have.

Sincere rabbonim,with no ulterior motives, are desperately trying to find a way to help agunos get rid of the stranglehold they find themselves in.
The Gemorrah clearly sanctions bais din to be able to force a husband to give his wife a get.
"kofen alav ad sheyomer rotzeh ani".

When Shlomo Miller sought out" gedolim" to BAN a certain bais din from this accepted practice(albeit a minority opinion),he asked cute little Malkiel to do some scribbling in the gedolims' coloring book,along with other guys who obviously do not have daughters being hijacked & blackmailed.

The problem is that cutesy Malkiel HAS TWO WIVES!


Of course she was mamish not normal poshit,not coherent mamish, mamish not well,poshit not gezunt mamish rachmono litzlan,mamish.

So Malkiel,that devil,was able to find 100 really brave guys who mamish agreed that his wife was mamish not able to think clearly nebach, was a rishanta,and did not go to the mikva,(how do they know?) and...........and they signed a document poshit freeing him to marry another lucky girl at the same time.

He became like a big time tycoon,a wife here and a wife there.

We have all kind of heterim.

A contract selling chometz to a goy!
A contract selling nursing homes for shabbos and yom tov.
A contract selling retail stores for shabbos.
A contract selling everything to a goy,so we can make more money to pay off these genius manipulators & contract writers, aka rabbis with EXPERTISE in covering checks they have written but can't pay.

Now let a woman try to free herself from some bum behaima,nooooo sireeee,this is against halacha.

I say to cutey pie Malkiel and all the other fundamentalist idiots,


posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 1:49 PM | 41 comments

Our Tfillos And Hearts Are With You

Acheinu kol bais yisroel vchol umos haolam hanesunim btzarah,Hamokom yirachem !

To all people of good will in London,our hearts,thoughts and prayers are with you!

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 1:26 PM | 3 comments

Tuesday, July 05, 2005
The War Of The Worlds

We are at war.

The Charedi Right Wingers have unleashed Aron Feldman from Baltimore,a traditional centrist,to go after rational,highly intelligent and sincere Jews who are desperately attempting to reconcile Science & Torah.

Did Neuberger give you the green light to do this?
I am going to hit him where it hurts,in Ner Yisroel's pocket,for hiring a Bozo.
I am going to stop sending checks to Ner Yisroel,and will encourage my friends to do the same ,unless he puts you in a home for the mentally handicapped.

This scares me to death.
One day a once respected rosh yeshiva wakes up crazy,Hashem returns his soul but not his brain.
Scary stuff!

This is NOT an attack at Noson Slifkin per se; this is a vulgar attempt to beat the thinking and intellectually superior Jew into submission!

For the record,you guys may win the battle,but you will definitely lose the war.

Here is why!

You have managed to pollute a large segment of the Orthodox youth with your radical nonsense,but it will not last.

Falsehoods can only be short-lived,especially when it is so blatantly being proven false daily.
How much longer do you think you can keep kids off the internet?
How much longer can you keep the kids away from cell phones with internet ability?

Remember Radio Free Europe managed to create the freedom movement in Poland,The Soviet Union,The Ukraine etc....
Their societies came tumbling down when the people discovered they were being fed a bunch of lies.

You will fail miserably to keep perpetuating the Jewish Big Lie,that every word of the Torah must be taken literally.

The sad part about this is that these so called gedolim,will not be alive to see the damage they have caused,when the collapse hits Jewry.
Were you true "Torah Giants" you would see that your words and actions will create utter destruction and havoc as the truth seeps in.

You are more afraid about this than you are about pornography on the internet.

Once This truth is out,there is no going back.Everyone will be questioning if" anything" you ever said or stood for, had any validity.

In my opinion you guys are purveyors one big Ponzi scheme.

In the blip of history,you will be ranked with Shabsi Tzvi.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 12:31 PM | 28 comments

Sunday, July 03, 2005

I attended 33 chassunas & vorts in the month of June.

The following authors and signers of the "Simcha Guidelines"were at simchas that were in direct violation of their own self serving proclamation.

I despise hypocrites!!!!

Shmuel Kaminetsky
Shmuel Berenbaum
Yaakov Perlow
Yitzchak Feigelstock
Aron Schachter
Simcha Shustal
Malkiel Kotler
Dovid Shustal
Mattisyahu Solomon
Zecharia Gelley
Shlomo Mandel

These are 12 out of the 23" gedolim" that signed this Kol Koreh.
I saw personally most of them more than once.

There were hundreds of simchas last month,if there were sightings of the other signers that were in violation,please make me aware of them.

Why do I blog?

I intend to expose the guys that make a mockery of authentic Judaism. They have created a fraudulent, over the top Yiddishkeit that our zeides' would not recognize.





posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 12:09 PM | 34 comments

Kosher Pigs

Those that follow the news know that new species of animals are being found.

A new breed of animal was recently found that should render the animal kosher once shechita is performed.
Of course there is a dispute brewing because there is no reference to this behaima in the Torah or in our Mesorah.

I say there are so many behaimas walking around that the Torah does not specifically mention.

A new species of monkey was recently found as well in the mountains of South America.

I wondered to myself how gratifying it must be to discover a new species of behaima,chaya or oif. I would love to be able to make the brocho of Oseh Maaseh Breishes upon discovering a new animal.

This last month I attended a combined total of 33 simchas,mostly unenjoyable because I was running from place to place.

And then it struck me!I looked around at a particular chassunah where there was a huge smorgasboard,and ut,a new species, Kosher Pigs!

Yes,people were grabbing food with their hands,stuffing their mouths with whatever fit in,non-stop.Before their mouths were empty,they kept loading up their plates,one plate with fish and another with meat and another with cakes.One of this new species was actually juggling four plates!

I was not quite sure if I was required to make a brocho or not.Actually I have seen this all my life and it may not require a brocho.So I decided this would be a good shaila for the Yated Poskim,and would wait for a psak before I chas v'sholom would make a bracha livatala.

Maybe I should call CNN or the Discovery channel to report this new species?What would we name them?

It is not everyday you see people that look somewhat like people, but act like animals.
At every kiddush and every simcha we attend,I guess the animal in us just comes out.

I would wager that the people in Darfur would behave with more dignity.

Larry King would definitely like to get a panel going on this topic.
He could get a Glatt Kosher caterer,a member of the Rubashkin slaughtering house with the dancing cow after it was killed,a Rav Umachsir or two or three or four or five,depending on the type of hat they wear,and of course members of the OU,KAJ,OK,KKK,and all the AK's in Brooklyn that have nothing to do that night.

Smorgasboards have become a contact sport,just watch what happens to the waiter that walks out of the kitchen with a new tray of food. A Hatzoloh ambulance can never be too close.

I know that we eat only to have enough energy to learn Torah and perform mitzvos.
We also want our kids at home to have enough energy to learn Torah and perform mitzvos,therefore after the simcha we take home anything on the table that is not nailed down.

Well,the July blues have set in,and the cows are grazing in upstate New York.

The simchas have tapered off,the husbands are left to their own devices for the week days(wipe those smiles off your faces),and the nebach wives are scrubbing the floors in their country homes,while the kids are making their own beds in camp without help from Maria.

Life's a b...,and then you die.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 12:26 AM | 5 comments

Thursday, June 30, 2005
Jewish Genius

I knew it!

I did not need any study to tell me how smart we Jews are.

All I have to do is look around at all the great ideas that Orthodox Jews created,I can easily tell that they are geniuses when it comes to making money out of nonsense.

1-Chalav Yisroel.All you have to do to get Jewish milk,is put any alta kaker on a farm that produces milk and the milk magically becomes Chalav Yisroel.
He could be 100 yards from where the cows are being milked,he can fall asleep,he can be over twelve, over 100 years old who has Alzheimers,as long as he is not a woman chas v'shalom(hard to tell nowadays),you got Jew Milk.
You can charge as much as you want for this watered down white liquid,because it magically became chalav yisroel.

2-New York water is non kosher.You need to buy filters or put a shmatta under the faucet to eliminate shratzim.I say the only shratzim in the New York water are the guys who made up this B.S.,if & when they ever shower.

3-Hats.It used to be the Shvartzes with the most hats.
No more!
You got all kinds of hats.
Weekday hats,hats you leave in the car,hats you leave in shul,hats for the rain,hats for Shabbos,hats for chasunas,hats for Yom-Tov,big fur ones,doughnut shaped fur hats,velvet hats, and kosher plastic hat covers.

4-Hilchos Nidah.

You got that right.

The rav that is the most maikel(lenient),gets the most lunch bags in his mail box and front porch.
It also became a major fundraising tool.
Anyone that leaves a check in the bag for over $100,is guaranteed to get a very lenient psak.
Who ever said that Jewish blood is cheap?

If a rabbi plays his cards right,he can build all his kids new houses on nidah money.
When rabbonnim are deeply engrossed in conversation at chasunahs,what do you think they are talking about?
You got it,they are bragging about how many bags a week they get.

If business slacks off,all they have to do is "SAY YES".No big deal, they have been used to saying yes since the night they got married.

Any rav that paskens hilchos nidah knows a sure way for him to get satisfied mispallelim is to go easy on the underwear.

When I walk into any shul and see smiling mispallelim,I know the rav is a smart guy.

In most shuls I walk into, the guys look like hell and miserable.Smarten up rabbis,start paskening hilchos nidah.

This Rav went over to a sick looking mispallel and asked him why he looked so terrible.
The mispallel said things are so very tough,the children are difficult and my wife gained an awful lot of weight.
The Rav responded-I know,size 18!

I heard that one of a rav's many children,had a very unique lunch one day when his father was in a rush and did the lunch bags!

Malcolm Forbes,the billionaire,was asked "what was the meaning of life?"
He said,"the guy with the most toys wins".
I say,the rabbi with the most lunch bags wins!

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 1:16 PM | 45 comments

Sunday, June 26, 2005
Jonestown Judaism

The Pied Piper approach to Judaism is over.

With the onset of all the great technological advances over the last hundred years,with Jews having become way more knowledgeable in the REAL halachos,the guy with the flute is fluting to a smaller and more ignorant group.

Seventy one rabbonim in Israel have formed what" they call" a Sanhedrin.

I say gezunteheit.

Anything that will wrestle control away from a few very elderly,shut off from the real world,albeit great Torah scholars,gets my vote.

There is absolutely no way" authentic" Yiddishkeit can continue to exist,if a few guys who do not have a clue what the real issues facing Klal Yisroel are,continue to call the shots.

Slowly but surely,the Kool-Aid they are passing around to their followers will cause a spiritual mass suicide.

Ten years ago,Indian hair wigs were ok,today "the REAL ehrliche should be machmir".

A virus spread by a mohel is really fiction,"the Anti-Semites and the Modern Orthodox are out to destroy our holy Torah".

"The issue of agunahs are really the woman's fault".If only they did not go out in the workplace,drive cars,or go back to school so they can support their PARASITE HUSBANDS who hang out in husband shelters(kollel),we would not have an agunah problem.

Every loser pisher today is called a GAON.Open the newspapers,or when called to give a brocho by a chasuna,every Putz is now a gaon or rosh of something,there are no longer any stam rabbonim.

I opened the newspapers this week and lo & behold",Lipa Margulies became not only a gaon,but Maran Rosh Yeshiva,and one of the greatest marbetzei Torah in the world".

Does anyone want to bestow on him the same title as Sholom Elyashiv??
What a pathetic fraud!

A little history about Margulies.

A way below average student,who worked as a registrar(tuition taker) in Tora V'daas on Wilson Street in Williamsburgh.
He gets access to the list of benefactors of Torah V'daas.
He then opens up his own yeshiva and calls it Torah V'daas of Flatbush.
For years he is soliciting and cashing checks issued to the real Tora V'daas.

Finally,he is called to a din torah, and begrudgingly he is forced to change the name to Tora T'mima,but does not return the millions of dollars he pilferred.

Bingo games out of his so called bais midrash, was another source of income to this minuvel.

He keeps a known pedophile as a rebbe,although this guy had a very long history of molesting children even as a camp counselor.

Parents of the children who testified are harassed and threatened with every conceivable ugliness,until they give up the battle.All to save his BUSINESS.

"Maran Rosh Yeshiva,Gaon".....Wow, a new low for the Jews who do not stand up against such criminal behavior.

When a yeshiva's entire foundation is established on a massive GENAIVA,are we sure we want to call this guy,MARAN ROSH YESHIVA or GAON.

Gaon of what? Are you crazy?

Yated will check a products kashrus before they accept an ad,what about checking the validity of a persons title? They perpetuate this achzarius by accepting ads of this kind!

The Sanhedrin has my vote,as long as their quest for solutions to today's complex issues are beneficial to the klal at large,and if they are comprised of authentic rabbonim,yerei Hashem, with their goal being the long term spiritual health of Klal Yisroel.

Until they start raising huge sums of your money to purchase real-estate under their family names,I say give them a chance.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 4:17 PM | 23 comments

Friday, June 24, 2005

I go into Shabbos humbled.

I had an absolutely perfect life until I started blogging.
I discovered that controversial bloggers can not handle a blogger that is more controversial than themselves.

I call that plain old blog- ego-mania.

Anyway,back to the humble part.

No one that knows me believes that I can actually be humbled,but I am sure that the kishka(GH-TAKE NOTICE)and the cholent this Shabbos will not taste the same.

I have a wonderful family,plenty of gelt and a loyal group of friends.My life is in ruins now.All for naught because of the BAN!

Oy! what to do?

Please,my dear readers,help me get through this.

If anyone out there has a similar experience to share(NOT NUTSO KAMINETSKY),please offer some comfort.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 2:00 PM | 10 comments

Thursday, June 23, 2005
Art Scroll

A brief history of the company and it's" not for profit" owners.

Meir Zlotowitz,the original art-not scroll,was writing kesubahs in pretty calligraphy.
He actually did some real nice art work,ie; wedding invitations etc.

At the same time, Nosson Sherman was a yeshiva k'tana rebbe at Margulies's bingo parlor aka Tora T'mima.
Sherman hated Margulies's guts to put it bluntly,as does everyone else who knows him.

Sherman goes back to college at night and majors in English.
He ultimately graduates college(some black hatter he turned out to be),and forms a partnership with Zlotowitz.

His mentor was for the most part R'Gedalya Schorr.

Make no mistake about it,they have done a wonderful job of disseminating some extremely important works of Judaism.

Sherman is a very bright guy and Zlotowitz is no fool.

Enter money & politics.

They are controlled by the Moetzes(Agudah)and have an inherent bias against Modern Orthodoxy.
They make loads of money(not a bad thing),and no one should confuse them with Torah Lishma proliferaters.They are businessmen first and any publication that they thought would not produce a profit,they would not publish.

In my opinion,Steinsaltz's Shas has much more depth and profundity,but Steinsaltz is a Chabadnik and a college professor,and had no chance of being endorsed by the Agudah in the U.S.A.
So called gedolim in Israel have branded him a heretic,and ordered his seforim burned.

Here is a golden rule that always prevails.

Whenever Torah becomes a business,no matter how well intentioned it starts out,money poisons the well.

Art Scroll exists partly by major contributions,which means KISHIN TUCHAS ad nauseum.

That means m'challeli shabbos get front row seats at daf yomi conventions.Get the drift?
That means stealing works from Noson Slifkin,and not paying him for it.

All l'shem Shomayim.....aha...

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 4:13 PM | 62 comments

Sunday, June 12, 2005
Deep Nose

Many people have to be wondering how I know all this stuff?

I will admit,I use a very knowledgable source,well embedded in the Charedi Right Wing community,easily recognizable,"Deep Nose".

Deep Nose and I have an agreement that I will not divulge who he is until after he passes on from a cholent overdose or when the Lubavitcher Rebbe dusts himself off and announces that the game of hide & seek is over.
Deep Nose is so deep,that I nicknamed him Brownie!

As some of us know,the hebrew word tzibbur,comprises of the letters tzaddik,beth& resh.
Tzibbur in the english language,loosely translated means community.

In every community there are Tzaddikim(tzaddik),Baininum or average guys(beth)and Rishaim or bad guys(resh).

DN and I have established a list of these guys.The tzaddikim are the people that ALL will agree have no other agenda than serving G-D the best they can.If somehow they have achieved power,money or fame that was unintended.They would have gone into the Avodas Hashem business without any worldly rewards.
There are some who are not smart at all,so I will classify them as Tzaddikim Shotim.

The beinanim or the average guy,got into the business in most cases by accident of birth.
They could be nice guys,but they are basically harmless guys who do no good or bad to Judaism. They could have been cab drivers and Judaism would have been no worse off.

Now we come to the Rishaaim or Bad Guys.

They are in it for the money,fame or power and in most cases are miserable human beings that do great damage to Judaism.

They cheat,steal and hire people that do not belong in any position of power because they are destructive and extremely dangerous in the positions that they are in.
They have accumulated in most cases,vast sums of money illegally,used your contributions to purchase real-estate in their own names,and in most cases EXTREME AM-HAARATZIM or ignoramuses.

If I had my way,I would round them up and ship them to Libya for questioning.

They are not in any particular order of holiness.I invite reader comments on who should be added to the list or who should be reclassified.

A-The Good Guys

Sholom Elyashiv
Aron Leib Shteinman
Michoel Lefkowitz
Chaim Kanievsky
Adin Steinsaltz
Novominsker Rebbe
Moshe Wolfson
Chaim Boruch Wolpin
Don Segal
Yisroel Belsky
Elya Tzvei-Shotah
Shmuel Dishon
Henoch Leibowitz
All the sons Of Gedalia Schorr
Skulener Rebbe
Yehuda Oelbaum
Yeruchim Olshin
Yisroel Neuman
Dovid Shustal
Shlomo Feivel Shustal
Simcha Shustal
Don Ungarischer-Shotah
Chaim Stein-Telz
Hershel Schachter-YU
Moshe Tendler-YU
Chaim Leib Epstein
Yosef Rosenblum
Mattisyahu Solomon-Shotah
Shmuel Berenbaum-Shotah
Manis Mandel
Pinchos Sheinberg-Shotah
Naftuli Neuberger-Baltimore
Moshe Heinneman
E.B.Wachtfogel-SHOTAH GAMUR!
Yitzchok Sheiner
Shia Fishman
Avi Shulman
Chaim Dovid Shweibel
Yisroel Dovid Taub-Moditzer Rebbe
Yaakov Hopfer-Baltimore
Aron Feldman-Baltimore
Noah Weinberg-Aish Hatorah
Mosdos Klausenberg
Hillel David
Aron Brafman
Yaakov Bender
Shlomo Miller
Dovid Pam
Levi Horowitz-Bostoner Rebbe
Yissochor Frand
Dovid Feinstein

B-The Bainunim-Average Guys

Shmuel Kaminetzky -Smiles too much.
Aron Schachter-Shotah. &" " " " " "
Dovid Cohen
Feivel Cohen
Malkiel Kotler-Shotah
Yizchok Feigelstock
Reuvain Feinstein
Binyamin Kaminetsky
Avraham Ausband
Skverer Rebbe -Shotah
Yechiel Perr-Shotah
Shmuel Bloom-Shotah
Yonason David-Shotah
Viznitzer Rebbes-Both Here & Israel-Shotim-Always wear their hats backwards.
Tosher Rebbe-Canada

C-The Rishaaim-Bad Guys

Lipa Margulies -RASHA GAMUR MEOD!
Mosdos Gur
Mosdos Belz
Mosdos Skver(the Rebbe is ignorant of the fraud)
Mosdos Satmar
Mosdos Bobov
Mosdos Muncascz
Mosdos Tosh(the Rebbe is oiver ubutul).
Present day Chabad leadership
The handlers and lackeys of many of the gedolim in Israel
Yated Ne'eman & Co.
Aron Kotler-Lakewood(he is dangerous around money & needs to be monitored closely!)
Gerrer Rebbe-getting into the Moshiach business.If the bracha & kvittel business is slow,start getting the donkeys(asses) ready for the big day!All your chassidim.

Noson Kaminetzky -no money,no real estate,just a guy who publishes fictitious and silly books,because he can't get a bus drivers job in Israel. The vast majority of his book is fiction.Good reading for the ignorant. SHOTAH GAMUR MEOD!

Shmuel Feivelson-Monsey-Rasha Gamur!(thanks to a Monsey reader)

Marvin Hier-L.A.-Museum Rabbi(thanks to a L.A. Blogger-"Bones")

Mosdos Spinka-Nursing Home Gangsters (thanks to the "feeding tube" blogger.)

Shlomo Mandel-Yeshiva of Brooklyn

Yaakov Mandel-Yeshiva of Brooklyn

Avrohom Raider-Yeshiva Of Brooklyn

Avrohom Blumenkranz-Rasha Gamur-Charging a fee for advising young couples on how to have a certain gender baby!Does not get much worse than this!

I will add or subtract people as you call names to my attention.
Right now I have to go to answer the door.Some guy that should take a job is probably going to hit me up for some scam.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 2:20 AM | 42 comments

Thursday, June 09, 2005
The Many Faces Of Evil

All of us have confronted various forms of evil,but only the intelligent ones among us know how to recognize the disguised forms of evil.

There is straightforward evil.A person murders another person,a rapist rapes someone..etc.

Evil, right?I do not believe any rational person would claim that these acts do not constitute evil.I am not talking about a religion that preaches murder and hate as part of their religion.

I am talking about the average guy in the street in the U.S.,if you asked them if murder and rape is wrong,they would say yes.

Then we can get into "gray area"evil.You can have an honest debate whether state sanctioned killing is evil(death penalty for heinous crimes).

I am a firm believer of the death penalty, for civilization to exist.
That discussion is for another day.

Let us discuss evil as it pertains to us Jews.

Certainly,I would not categorize murder of ideas in the same category as murder of humans,but in my opinion that constitutes evil in a very vile and treacherous form.

The Charedi Right is guilty of such evil.
They espouse such hate to ideas that they do not understand .

The hate manifests in the ugliest forms.Book burnings,bans and the likes of which we saw primarily by the greatest Jew haters in our history.

Book burnings and Kristalnaacht conjures up one image only,and not a pretty one.
Banning of people and books and their publishers were done to us by the VILEST ANIMALS THAT EVER CRAWLED ON THIS EARTH!!!!!!


How much hate can you bring to our people in the name of Torah?

You are a pitiful bunch of fanatics that have contributed to the steady decline in the numbers of the Jewish people.

Children raised in Orthodox homes are leaving the fold in record numbers because they can not fathom your behavior.

Baalei Tshuva have been reduced in numbers because of you.

Borderline secular Jews want to have nothing to do with a religion that alienates their own.

You are making the front pages of the world newspapers.

The world is watching....

The Jews are watching.....

The Ribono Shel Olam is watching.......

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 6:05 PM | 11 comments

Monday, June 06, 2005
The Asher Yatzer G'dolim

EXTRA,EXTRA READ ALL ABOUT IT-you can now buy a bracha from the LOOTvishe G'dolim.

This used to be a business exclusive to the chassidei "borsht" or chassidei "Besht"-either way we are into a new lunacy.

My first problem is that this may be hasogas g'vul.The right to intervene with hashem used to be a business exclusive to the guys who got their mesora from the very first Forest Ranger.

He used to run around the trees and talk to the birds.

He could not learn so he figured out a way to create a new business and a new religion.

He was the INTERVENER,because his guys could not even daven.

For three centuries the Chassidei Borsht had a great business going.

Give the rebbe as much money as you can,steal it if you have to,and he would talk directly to Hashem on your behalf.Sound familiar?The way to G-D is through an intemediary?

The handlers of the LOOTvishe G'dolim now want to expand this concept to their guys.
They spend thousands and thousands of dollars on pretty fliers advertising their business.

For $180 they will send a talmid chochom to the Kosel to daven for you!

You have so many different items on the menu.


2-40 days at the Kosel

3-Kvittel for rabbanim

4-Tefillos throughout the summer

The categories include:yeshua,parnassa,refua shleima,children,nachas,shidduch,success,there is even a box for special requests.

You can pay by check,automatic withdrawal from your bank account,toll-free number and credit card.

You guys have gone mad!


posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 5:14 PM | 32 comments

Sunday, June 05, 2005
The Morons At Yated Ne'eman

Reading the editors view at Yated Ne'eman,made me think how low we are sinking.

The metziza b'peh issue is causing all the paranoid nut cases to drop their Borsalino's and start hyperventilating all over their computers.

The Mohel Fisher has oral Herpes.He should not be putting his saliva on anyone!

Metziza B'peh is NOT part of the Milah process.Avrohom Avinu did not lick Yitzchok's wound.
There is no place in this dialogue for fools.


Firstly,our Zeides probably did not have many teeth,if at all.

Secondly,they did not brush their teeth all year 'round,why all of a sudden does this become part of a mesora?

This reminds me of the fools that were m'kabel to cut their nails AFTER going to the mikva on Friday,because that is what their rebbe did.

The nails are softer after they are immersed in water,idiots.

Metziza B'peh was used strictly because our Zeides were NOT educated in the potential problems associated with viruses.Ushmartim es nafshoseichem is min Hatorah,IT IS OSSUR TO PUT ANYONE'S LIFE AT RISK OR EVEN CAUSE A POTENTIAL ILLNESS.

Mohel Fischer and his supporters are a bunch of fanatical whackos,who are seizing on any straw to bash the ANTI-SEMITES,who happen to be many talmedei chachomim and true ehrliche yidden.



Metziza B'Peh is no more part of Yiddishkeit than black velvet yarmulkes and shtreimels!

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 12:23 PM | 3 comments

Thursday, June 02, 2005
The UNMAKING Of G'dolim

We have been witness to a huge decline in stature of our rabbonim,rebbes and the status of frum Jews in general.

G'dolim of yesteryear had an uncanny ability to deal with the major issues of our time with tremendous finesse.

Today,these pretend leaders are in no way capable of earning any sort of respect.They are intellectual weaklings who can not resist the lure of money & power.

If we were to take a look at the "Simcha Guidelines" signed by ten or more American "G'dolim", we can not fathom who they think they are talking to.

I personally have seen ALL of them attending weddings very often, that do not come close to their guidelines.

The general answer used is that there are certain exceptions that have to be made.


There is another fad created by rabbis.All of a sudden every below average guy with a story to fabricate is writing a book.

I find it interesting that the guys who could not get a job here in the U.S. teaching a high school level class,have become rosh yeshivas in Israel.

The black hat yeshivas are destroying our kids with their brainwashing ,teaching them not to chas v'shalom go to work or college.
They are feeding machines to the kollelim.

The future is bleak if we permit these trends of nonsense to fester on ideologies of stupidity.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 7:05 PM | 5 comments

Wednesday, June 01, 2005
The Kollel Fraud

We are developing a welfare state!

An entire generation of young men are being manipulated to participate in the greatest FRAUD of Right Wing Judaism called Kollel.

Would any school of higher learning permit anyone to participate in a learning project unless they were the most brilliant and accomplished students? Do not give me the Torah lishma line.The vast majority of young men entering kollel,NEVER learned seriously prior to getting married.

Because of the shame in going to WORK(a four letter word ending in k)families are being destroyed, literally.

It is not only the generation who can not and will not go earn a living,it is the parents and grandparents that are being led into the poorhouse.

A friend of mine did a study of patterns in kollel.He was a major contributor to a kollel,in a major kollel town.
He stayed in the town for a whole week.
He discovered that NEVER was there a time when more than 40% of the official kollel members showed up for shacharit.
Never was there more than 55% that showed up for the first seder.
Never was there a time where more than 48% showed up for second seder.

That means that most guys do not learn more than a few hours a day.


The baalei batim in the old country(the few that learned)got up at 4 a.m. to learn and daven.
We are creating a whole generation of parasites.

The only people that profit from this scandal are the institutions that promote this scandalous trend.How?By raising millions of dollars from the private sector and the government.
What happens with the money?

Tens of millions of dollars are used to purchase prime real-estate that are OWNED by the families of the yeshiva owners.Talk about buying real- estate with NO MONEY DOWN!
Whether it is Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn or Lakewood,the real-estate is owned and operated by these families.

They load up these privately owned institutions with their family members whether they are qualified or not,with your money!

Anyone that is interested should check out the title holders of these properties and the corporate entities(joke) that own them.

When does this stop?

When the people that give these organizations a big fat,"THAT IS ENOUGH!"
When they tell them that ONLY the most talented and brilliant students are to be admitted to kollel,at risk of losing all financial help.


posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 5:01 PM | 6 comments

Tuesday, May 24, 2005
The New Blogger Rebbe

With great sadness I announce that the freidicker(previous) Blogger Rebbe is no more.

Therefore with much humility and self-praise,I hereby announce that I AM THE NEW BLOGGER REBBE!

The previous Blogger Rebbe's blog is not cold yet,and his keyboard is not even put away,but I am in a rush to annoint myself the Blogger Rebbe.The world of blogs can not exist without a rebbe.

The previous Rebbe did not leave a tzavoah,so I hereby declare the following:
1-I made up my own tzavoah and put myself in it.

2-I made my own Hachtorah(crowning) party and invited a bunch of weirdos to sway,sing & dance.

3-Everyone at the tisch had to eat from my germs with their hands and trample on at least five people,if not ,they risk confiscation of their chandeliers.

4-All my Chassidim must take a polygraph test-If they did NOT commit a crime,they must leave my group at once.

5-All my followers must besmirch every other blogger,and claim that I am the greatest blogger that ever lived and will ever live.


posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 6:02 PM | 15 comments

Babooners Of Boro Park

Just when I think I am going to get a rest,along comes the filthiest scandal of the year committed by a whole group of people.

The Vilna Gaon said "chassidism is not Judaism",what more proof do we need than to watch these Babooners violate practically every halacha in the book?

To add insult to injury,these guys are running a contest,who can put up the LEAST qualified candidate.

We all remember when a whole bunch of these LIFNAI M'SHURAS HADINNIKERS went to jail for laundering drug money through Mosdos Baboon.

Then we all remember a whole bunch of other guys that pleaded guilty to stealing government money.
Let us not forget the fire of the financial records.

Now we watch this group of thieves & ignoramuses looking to the secular courts for their perceived justice.

It's a good thing they did not bring the judge a shtreimel and some germs from the last tisch(actually tischen,more than one tisch by more than one rebbe.)

Maybe it's not so bad,we get two comedy shows within a few blocks from each other.

I just thought of a way for them to raise some more money for the purchase of new chandeliers for every clown that attends their rebbe's tisch.They should contact Hollywood,and have a new show created based on true crimes called "NAME THAT CROOK".

I can hardly wait to see what happens when the real estate goes up for public auction,than we will get a good up front seat for the most violent movie of our time.

GOT REBBE?.........

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 12:05 AM | 8 comments

Friday, May 20, 2005
Trial By Bloggers

A rabbi has been accused of a serious immoral and illegal act.

He will be ruined for life and his family will be forever in shame.

The rabbis and the organization that dismissed him claims they can de facto destroy this man and his family without a formal hearing,where both sides of the dispute can testify,bring witnesses and conduct cross-examination.

What gives guys?
Have you lost your minds?
Would any one of you think that this was ok if this happened to you or your family members?

Why has the accused rabbi not called the organization and their rabbis' to a bais din?
These accusations have been around a long time,how come you have not taken aggressive action to defend yourself,BEFORE they dismissed you?

What in the world are you thinking?

Why not Bais Din?Can you both not find three trustworthy dayanim anywhere in the world?
Would you rather let Judaism be dragged through this muck?
Don't give me excuses of proceedural correctness.
Don't you see you are destroying the institution of bais din?

Look at your Hassidic brothers in Boro Park.They are fighting in secular court over the right to be a "Rebbe".They are a pathetic bunch.Money,power,real estate... has EVERYTHING to do with these hoodlums' Judaism.Are there no genuine religious Jews anymore?Do you want to emulate these gangsters?Many members of this group have been in jail for laundering drug money through the organization's bank accounts.

Orthodox Judaism is in a sorry state as it is.The" Right Frum"(Fil Rishus Vainig Mitzvos-an acronym in Yiddish, according to the Kotzker Rebbe)are eating away at the essence of Yiddishkeit with their ridiculous behavior and their phony proclamations.

Now,The moderate rabbis are behaving like spoiled kids.
Give the man his hearing.If he is guilty as you say he is,you will be able to prove it,and end the controversy surrounding your collective behavior.

And you,the accused,IF you are found guilty,let the wrath of G-D befall you.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 6:03 PM | 4 comments

Thursday, May 12, 2005
A Thief Who Calls Himself RABBI

Last week a person whose title is rabbi,confessed to stealing twenty million dollars of insurance premiums.

Now this abomination needed alot of time and planning to create this scam.
This was not a one shot deal.This was a hundred bucks here and two hundred bucks there.

At some point before he got caught, you would think he had plenty of time to do think about what he was doing and do teshuva.
Not this miserable human being.Why am I so upset?There are plenty of thieves walking around.
This creep woke up every day for possibly twenty years or more,went to shul,put on tefillin,wrapping himself in G-D's words and then goes off to a full time job in thievery.

He is 79 years old!Did he not believe he was shortly going to meet his Maker?Did he believe in a Creator that he was going to have to answer to?

Here is where I lose it!
He could not have believed in G-D!

All these clergymen who are in violation of the Ten Commandments,do not believe in G-D!
Therefore,any clergyman found guilty of any violation of the Aseres Hadibros,no matter how trivial they feel it may be,should be banned for life from any position in the clergy.

They can do teshuva,but they should NEVER be permitted to any position in the rabbinate.
This includes all the thieves(stealing from the government is stealing)woman molesters,child molesters,or any abuse of their positions in any way,shape or form.

Communal leaders who are writing to the judge for leniency,should be ashamed of themselves.
This" rabbi" spent millions on homes,yachts,nightclubs and gambling in Las Vegas.
He deserves to rot in jail for disgracing the rabbinate and Judaism.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 6:55 PM | 20 comments

Sunday, May 08, 2005
Importance of Awareness

I would like my readers to know about The Awareness Center.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 1:35 PM | 6 comments

Friday, May 06, 2005
The Religion Of Holocaust Museums

Alas,a new branch of Judaism is upon us,Museum Judaism.

I know ALL the answers....the money being raised would not be able to be raised without magnificent structures one of the many responses.

What exactly is the purpose of building another museum for two hundred sixty five million dollars in Jerusalem?

Do people protest in the streets for another museum?
Were foreign dignitaries not satisfied with the ambiance of Yad Vashem?

Just because the money can be raised,that does not mean we should raise it for another museum...unless someone is looking to expand his business.

Holocaust museums have been making big money,and the executives (owners)and their families are milking many hundreds of thousands of dollars a year from them. (one source tells me it could be close to a million dollars annually for one family)

These executives claim they could make these huge salaries at any large business.

These self proclaimed rabbis and moralists have decided it is ok to pay themselves these huge salaries,when as rabbis they would starve to death.

It reminds me of another "rabbi" who raised money and built an empire of's called the Kabbalah Center.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 2:14 PM | 6 comments

Thursday, May 05, 2005
Beth Din & the Judges – Part Two

We traveled to the Boro Park section of Brooklyn, N.Y. for the scheduled meeting with the Beth Din.

We were let in to a small foyer that connected to a dining room.When we entered the three rabbis were engaged in conversation that one of them obviously found amusing.

My father immediately asked where the other dayan(judge) was,since one of the rabbis was the defendant.

The man in the middle motioned us to the chairs in front of them.

Again my father asked where the third judge was.

The defendant spoke.He said that there was no reason to have a din torah,and that the matter can be settled if all were reasonable enough to reach a compromise.

He nodded to the other rabbis and said that they were here to make certain a reasonable settlement would be made.

My father spoke.
He faced the defendant and said”I am going to give you fifteen minutes to come up with the fifty thousand dollars you owe,if not the police will be called”.

He tried to respond to my father.
My father motioned to me & Zeidy to stand.

We headed for the door,when one of the men literally JUMPED to his feet and said “the money will be here in fifteen minutes”.

We went back to the table.I knew people were afraid of Dad,I did not realize how much.
Some seconds later,the defendant and one of the other men left the dining room and returned with a shopping bag of money.

The hundred dollar bills were stacked neatly in one thousand dollar bundles.
There were fifty stacks.
Dad picked up a few of the stacks at random to check them.
The money was returned to the bag.
We stood up.

My father said clearly-“all of you deserve to be in jail, and if I ever hear of anything like this again,there would be serious consequences.

Those thieves are all dead,but their shtiblach and their legacy of hypocrisy lives on by their heirs.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 10:09 AM | 0 comments

Thursday, April 28, 2005
Pesach Obscenity

I am informed that one hundred million dollars PLUS, is spent on Pesach programs by Orthodox Jews.
That is really being m'kayim "zecher yitzias Mitzrayim".

People are definitely entitled to spend their money any way they choose,but that is NOT what Chazal had in mind.
Who cares?
What rabbonim will dare say anything?

Many rabbis are guests of the various hotels(gratis) and speak about golus Mitzrayim,and of course the golus that we are in presently. The "Holocaust"is a hot topic and a powerful tear-jerker between snacks.

A former chief rabbi of Israel is peddling his nonsense at one of the hotels. He has his photo plastered on ads promoting a particular program all year around.This rabbi(I am choking on his title of rabbi)was found to be a woman molester.I try to invesigate all rumors about rabbis.I DO NOT BELIEVE anything I hear until I come to my own factual conclusion.I make the time and have plenty of money,so before I make a statement like this(or any other) I investigate the matter thoroughly.

I met with one of his victims and a son of hers face to face.The rabbinical world is silent.
What about Chometz ossur B'mashahu? This issur is Min Hatorah....not some silly rabbinical injunction.Nobody cares.

G-D help the middle income Orthodox Jew who has an eight piece band at his daughter's wedding.

The entire charedi rabbinate loses their collective minds.(They say nothing if it would be a wealthy person's daughter,maybe they will squeeze a hundred dollars out of him sometime in the future.)

There is NO HOTEL ON THIS PLANET that can possibly be kosher for Pesach,period!!!!!
Pathetic,pea-brained jewish women get to change their clothing and jewelry a few times a day.
Worthless practices of Judaism that hold these fools together,Pesach vacations and bungalow colonies.

Truthfully,Orthodoxy is becoming nothing more than a circus that Barnum & Bailey would have definitiley included in their show.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 8:22 PM | 5 comments

Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Current Events

I am going to interrupt the chronological order of my postings to underscore the HIGHLIGHTS of current day events in the orthodox world.

1-Jew against Jew on the appropriate way of performing bris milah.

2-Jew against Jew on reconciling Science & Torah.

3-Jew against Jew on the shechita issue.

4-Jew against Jew on what constitutes orthodoxy;-kippah srugah or Borsalino(black only-4 inch brim)

5-Kashrus agency against kashrus agency on the" important" issue of handsoap requiring pesach certification or not.

6-How many rabbis needed to authenticate the origin of hair for sheitels?(I will give you a hint-must be more than five.)

7-What constitutes sexual harassment for rabbis?Is there a different standard for laymen?

8-How many kashrus agencies should certify a kosher slaughtering house before we are allowed to eat their chickens?

9-What IF a rabbi who is affilliated with a particular slaughtering house permits Indian hair in sheitels,should that nullify his trusworthiness as a Rav Umachshir?

10-What if this same rabbi forbids the use of a tube to do the metziza by a bris;does that increase his" right wing" status and now cancels out his psak that permits Indian hair in sheitels-enabling us Orthodox Jews to rely on his hechsherim?

11-What if this same rabbi has praised a book that has been banned by the REAL right wing-do we let him continue to be a rosh yeshivah?

12-If a rabbi gives a lecture at Yeshiva University,do we take away his black homburg and force him to change his family name?

13-What if we discover that a rabbi's claim to fame is being a "Jewish historian";only to find out that HIS history does not really mean that it is FACTUAL?

I'm getting a headache,stay tuned.......

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 8:29 PM | 5 comments

Wednesday, March 23, 2005
Beth Din and the Judges

My grandfather had invested money with his rebbe.This rebbe acted as a broker for a conglomerate of nursing home owners who guaranteed a certain amount of return per bed.

In other words he was convinced by his rebbe that if he invested his life savings with him,he would receive a monthly income which was secured by a lien on the real estate .

In his hometown in Europe the rebbe was as close to G-D as Moshe Rabbeinu.
Zeidy was a laborer, a simple man with emuna pshuta.
So if the rebbe said something,it had much meaning that he took all his hard earned money even the emergency money from the refrigerator(wrapped in aluminum foil)and gave it to his rebbe.

Not long after, the monthly stipend stopped."HIS beds were losing money".

My father arranged for a din torah.After a year of stalling and promises,the beth din convened.
I went with my father and grandfather.

I would never forget,ever,what came next.....

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 6:58 PM | 4 comments

Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Rabbis And Money-Part Two

I grew up in an era when hasidic rebbes became rebbes by default.They came to the U.S. after the war,and were the last remnants of their families.

There were the precious few rebbes that deserved to take over where their father or grandfather left off.Two of the most notable tzaddikim were the rebbes of Satmar and Klausenberg.

The majority of the other people who became rebbes because of their name,were in fact totally undeserving of their self proclaimed titles.
One was a former Kapo or Nazi collaborator who went on to make a fortune in the nursing home business by freezing bodies after death while he continued to collect their social security checks and government allotments.

Another was arrested on shabbos,thrown into the back of a police car in handcuffs during mussaf, for cashing checks from incapacitated patients in his nursing facility.
Their dynasties live on by their families as they pretend to be holy men.

Many of them wound up in the jewelry business and moonlighted as rebbes on shabbosim.
There were many scandals by these guys that included smuggling,money laundering and racketeering that were hushed up by local politicians.

The pretense that this group were in fact one step closer to G-D than the rest of us,nauseated me even as a child.
To be continued.......

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 5:11 PM | 0 comments

Wednesday, March 09, 2005
Rabbis and Money

Somewhere along the way we met a rabbi whose primary income was writing gittin(get-jewish divorce document).
This guy was primarily the only show in town.

He had a policy-financially rape anyone in need of giving or getting a get.

There was no official GET organization at the time,so he named his price and got it.

Rich or poor,he raped you.Unfortunately a family friend needed a get,and contacted this sleaze-bag before she informed us what was going on.

He told her it would cost her $10,000 if the husband was agreeable and $25,000 if he was not.
He offerred her financial advice after she swore she was flat broke and had eight kids to feed.
"Get a second mortgage on the house",and gave her the phone number of a local banker that he knew personally.He assured her that many people did that and went on to say how important it was for her to get on with her life.

This creep dropped dead about six months later in his house while administrating a giving of a get for the bargain-basement price of $8500.How is that for Divine retribution.
To be continued....

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 7:14 PM | 2 comments

Tuesday, March 08, 2005
Growing Up Quickly

As the son of a prominent person,i got to meet all the major players of Judaism.
Prime ministers,chief rabbis,chassidic rebbes,rosh yeshivas and pulpit rabbis,were on our visit list.
Access was relatively easy.I do not know how much money was given to charity in those years,but I learned early on was ALL about giving money or the potential of getting large sums of money,that got us in any door.
It was so obvious,it really hurt.
There were a few saintly people..but they needed money to operate their businesses.
So by the time I was Bar-Mitzvah,I got the whole picture.
The guys with the money got the respect,the final say in the schools and shuls,the mizrach vant in shul and were the guests of honors at jewish functions,period!
Only a fool would not see what was so obvious.
There was no observance criteria for any one.
The presidents of many Orthodox shuls were barely Torah-observant.
Lunatics were on the mizrach vant.
Hashgochas on food were sold on the cheap.
Members of the board of directors of many yeshivas openly ate in non-kosher establishments.
Adultery scandals were hushed up.
Guests of honor at yeshiva banquets were mechalel shabbos.
All this by the time I was thirteen years old.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 5:50 PM | 1 comments

Monday, March 07, 2005
My first negative observation

My father had given me the tuition payments to give to the tuition collectors,at the time were all males at this particular yeshiva.

I observed after a period of time,if they were paid by a check,a receipt was given and the check went into a draw.

When cash was given,no receipt was given and the cash went into his shirt pocket.
I was eight years old.

I did not figure it out until years later.

That person is now the executive director of a well known yeshiva racked with financial scandal.

Torah and racketeering should not go together.

Corruption comes in all forms.

Nepotism is corruption,if the people that wind up teaching are incompetent.

Something is very wrong with this picture.

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 6:14 PM | 0 comments

Sunday, March 06, 2005 nauseum

We have lost our minds....from our leaders(whatever that means)to the regular jew in the street.

Everything has got a label,from where we do not know.

Everything has big money involved,from kashrus to Daf Yomi gatherings.

Public lectures are given by people who are ignorant on the topics they are supposed to be experts on.(of course there is an entrance fee)

Offspring of yesterday's rabbi's are cashing on on their family name.

Ignoramuses are publishing books.

Most American yeshivas are run by below average wannabee rabbis,and in the most cases are family businesses.
Lay leaders are the guys with the biggest mouths and too much free time on their hands.
Give me one truly religious and honorable Jew,and I will give you one hundred thousand who do not have a clue.

More to come.......

posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 3:37 PM | 23 comments


Anonymous said...

That was extremely heavy and long but I got a good view of your perspective. I am young naive and really am struglling with the Jewish Orth. community. What can I say... I'm confused and distraught over many if not most of the issues you brought up. you pointed out all the problems that need fixing but who's and what is arround that needs bolstering where's the voice of reason and deliberation asside from an abscure blogg on the net.? Although I here and cannot contest any of your accusations and gripes, I just don't know...

P.S. Specifically about fischer a)wasn't it found that he does not have herpes? do you have clear evidence otherwise?

Anonymous said...

never have heard of you till now-My hat goes off to you-will for sure be happy to have found you....keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Hi - I was searching for blogs about associations and found yours. Reason I was searching for associations is I have one and I'm looking for ways people run theirs.

I"YH said...

The time has come 'now' for a lesson in accountability. We learn about a great sage who called out fire,fire despite there being no fire..we are afraid of H-shem and not man. perhaps roshei yeshivas are human after all. these problems and the like, not much known to the community at large thanks to our holy Rabbis being able to quell the 'news'. We ask everyday from the Ribono Shel olam not to put us in temptations way, but, what happens if one have travelled down that path, again do the Gedoilim have the power to play H-shem, or let H-shem do what is needed and the accountables stand 'trial' to prevent and educate our bretheren so stupidly hiding behind blinkers. our communities will get healthy and better just as soon as we accept that 'problems do exist.'
No person is looking to achieve fame or other wise. This is not about justice. This is not about making the 6 O clock news. This is about if you do the crime be prepared to do the time!

Anonymous said...

All these stories about the Roshei Yeshivas & Yeshiva Administrators stealing is nothing new. Anyone ever hear of Yeshiva Eastern Parkway??

Ely said...

Dear Sirs,
How I would welcome honest untainted debate.How you besmirch people with no regard for decency and compare different situations that are not the same in the name of " truth". I find it fascinationg that the things we despise in others are perfectgly acceptable when we are the perpetrators. If you have the guts to call I would welcome the opportunity to discuss some of your comments
Have a good shabbos and may you merit to see things the way they are without the bias and malice