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July 24, 2011

Cops Or No Cops? Rabbi David Zwiebel On Reporting Child Sexual Abuse

Agudah logo red The executive vice president of Agudath Israel of America tried to explain Agudah's position – which he calls the position of the "gedolei haposkim" – on reporting child sexual abuse.

 

Here's the skinny on what Rabbi Zwiebel says is the halakhic position on reporting child sexual abuse to police or CPS:

1. We need either to have witnessed the abuse take place or have raglayim l'davar, a responsable or credible suspicion, that the abuse took place before we can call police or CPS.

2. If you did not witness the abuse taking place but only have a suspicion, however strong, that it happened, you must consult with a rabbi muvhak, a senior rabbi with expertise in this issue.

3. Rabbi Zwiebel had no list of such rabbi muvhaks and was unwilling to give any names he would recommend.

4. Rabbi Zwiebel stressed that if we witness abuse taking place, or if we have suspicions that abuse took place and a rabbi muvhak has ruled that police should be called, we must call police – even if we are not legally mandated reporters in the locality we are in.

5. But Rabbi Zwiebel also said there is no difference between the position of Rabbi Shmuel Kamentzky and Augdath Israel's position – and Rabbi Kamentzky said you must go to a rabbi to get permission to report child sexual abuse.

There's a 20 second or so gap in the first audio from the stream breaking. But Rabbi Zwiebel repeats his point later several times.

From Zev Brenner's Talkline radio show last night. Please click the gray bars to listen:

Zwiebel Talkline 7-23-11 1

Zwiebel Talkline 7-23-11 2

Here's a link to the entire show if you want to download it or listen there.

Related Posts:

Agudath Israel Of America Again Tells Mandated Reporters To Violate The Law On Child Sexual Abuse.

During The Search For Leiby Kletzky, Senior Agudah Rabbi Shmuel Kamentzky Says Rabbis Must Give You Permission On A Case By Case Basis To Report Child Sexual Abuse To Police.

Agudath Israel Of America Says You Have To Ask A Rabbi Before You Can Call The Police On A Child Molester.

Comments

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I still don't know who this zwiebel is. I always thought that he's a paid politician for the agudah since he caused Rabbi Shmuel Bloom to leave. He isn't a godel, nor has anything to do with the so-called agudah gedolim. OUR rabbanim. OUR roshei hayeshivos. OUR gedolim , are the only people and characters that WE should listen to.

There's no question. Clearly, the Agudah's answer is "no cops until the rabbi has decided." I don't understand how that's legal in the case of mandatory reporters. However you define "reasonable cause" for a mandatory reporter to report, it isn't "my rabbi told me I have reasonable cause."

It sure is odd that they're telling people to talk to certain rabbis but then won't name names. Which poskim, asides from the ones involved in the Kolko case, have "experience in these issues" ?

Is it possible he was too embarrassed to name the names of the 33 concert ban rabbis who made a mockery out of rabbinic authority? Does he mean yehuda levin y"m"s? Does he mean drek? What about his father?

OUR rabbanim. OUR roshei hayeshivos. OUR gedolim , are the only people and characters that WE should listen to.

Posted by: Askan | July 24, 2011 at 03:03 AM

blah blah blah

and they are the ones who say do not go, they are the ones who harass the victims if they go.

They are the puppet masters David Zwiebel
he is just a puppet

want to blame to real culprits

look art your "OUR rabbanim. OUR roshei hayeshivos. OUR gedolim , are the only people and characters that WE should listen to."

and you should NOT listen to them they have failed in this matteer over and over and that is putting a spin on it

really they have acting evilly and they are downright a danger to the welfare of children, Protecting the molesters and victimizing the victims

you think David Zwiebel can say whay he said without support of gedolem?

How does one obtain "Rabbi Muvhak" status? And for that matter, what is the criteria for obtaining "Gedolei Poskim" status? Is it a popularity contest? A vote? Who decides?

Anyway, this is all a bunch of BS as far as I'm concerned.

Why can't the Agudah or even Zweibel be held legally responsible for publically telling people to go against the law of the land? He is telling mandated reporters that according to his stupid version of religious law they cannot call the police until an unnamed "rabbi muvhak" makes a decision, no matter how long that may be?

All you lawyers out there - why aren't there legal ramifications for his publically calling for going against the law in the name of religion?

Rav Avi Shafran has just put something up on Cross Currents to clarify the Agudah's position. In brief:
1) If there are r'glayim l'davar, call the police.
2) Only a rabbi can tell you if there are r'glayim l'davar.
3) So always go to a rabbi first!

Rav Avi Shafran has just put something up on Cross Currents to clarify the Agudah's position. In brief:
1) If there are r'glayim l'davar, call the police.
2) Only a rabbi can tell you if there are r'glayim l'davar.
3) So always go to a rabbi first!

Posted by: Garnel Ironheart | July 24, 2011 at 05:21 AM

hey Shafran I do not need to go to a rebbie to see if I should go to an emergency room, neith should a parent need to ask a rebbie to go to e if their think their child was molested.

we can think for ourselves

ASKEN,

You are a fool. Also, your screen-name is dumb.

WHO are these people that care about what this guy says. Like really, which mother out there would be told by her son that he was touched and then not call the police because she heard someone on the radio say to go to a know-nothing rabbi first??

Those people endanger the welfare of their children and should have their kids taken away into foster care.

Have one question for Zweibel:

This is public knowledge: The guy you replaced, whose job you took, a lawyer by the name of Mordechai Avigdor, a right hand man on the PAYROLL of disgraced congressman Anthony Weiner, embezzled millions, who went around boasting that he will be able to give out jobs when Weiner becomes MAYOR OF NY.

http://www.legistorm.com/person/Morton_M_Avigdor/18346.html

Some cases are now in court, the tip of the iceberg.

Why was he let go QUIETLY as a big shot in the Agudah after 30 years and you took over his job QUIETLY, instead of exposing the Avigdor frauds?

Was he planning to spill the inhouse beans? Does he know where all of Augdah's skeletons are buried?

This is not at all sinister, really. It's all part of the Ultra-Orthodox social contract: when you sign up to be a haredi, you surrender your intellectual independence, your decision-making ability, and your common sense to rabbi-muvhaks. They, in turn (and in exchange for the heaps of fees and payments you make), make life simple by making all the complicated decisions in life for you, usually to their own profit as well.

This is why people become haredim or join cults in the first place: they want to be relieved of the burden, civic or otherwise, of actually having to make decisions. For some, it's enough to accept an ancient code that you can look up yourself as need be. For others, even the consultation of ancient codices is left to the empowered priesthood of rabbi-muvhaks and deemed beyond the capability of ordinary humans.

Ethically, the system is rather fascinating, for the individual is left with little responsibility or culpability so long as all the weighty decisions are avoided and foisted upon the rabbi-muvhaks.

As to the Chester the Molesters that now apparently fill our shuls and schools, I think the rabbi-muvhaks are really saying don't haul off to the cops with reportable incidents of Maase Sdom on the mere basis of shul or Kiddish Club gossip. Rabbis, who as part of their rabbinical education, have more than a little experience evaluating factual information, are ideally placed to assist the very simple-minded distinguish between fact and rumour, should lay decision making capabilities be deficient in this regard.

I really don't think Agudah, or really anybody except NAMBLA is interested in shielding bona fide molesters from their just their just desserts, including but not limited to hard time up the river.


At least he took a position, instead of some PC gibberish waffle.

I really don't think Agudah, or really anybody except NAMBLA is interested in shielding bona fide molesters from their just their just desserts, including but not limited to hard time up the river.


Posted by: A E ANDERSON | BROOKLYN, NY 11213 | July 24, 2011 at 08:56 AM

The problem is that Agudah rabbis have protected known molesters and in some cases, still do.

So you can "think" whatever you want, but the truth is, Agudah rabbis have and continue to protect molesters.

>Agudah rabbis have and continue to
>protect molesters.

Such as the Rabbi Kolko case.

UOJ has written in comments that Aron Levi was a student at Yeshiva Torah Vodaath where Rabbi Kolko molested children for decades.

Can anyone confirm this and/or shed light on this connection?

http://theunorthodoxjew.blogspot.com/2011/07/time-to-cry-time-to-learn-what-is.html

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...
Am I missing something here?

An 8 year old child kidnapped and slaughtered, body parts in the refrigerator with carving knives and the remainder of the child's body dumped in a suitcase thrown into a dumpster...done by a Jew with a yarmulke who went to Yeshiva Torah Vodaath, went to a wedding in New Square the night of the kidnapping and davened Mincha at his place of employment with a minyan... And did the perp walk with his yarmulke for the entire world to see....

PLEASE SPARE ME FROM THIS KIDDUSH HASHEM!!!

12:06 AM, July 19, 2011


UOJ Said This said...
"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...
Aron left a trail of crime and destruction, the police have yet to uncover it. A 35 year old guy does not became evil overnight. I urge law enforcement to investigate Aron's time as a student in Yeshiva Torah Vodaath - 425 E.9th St. Brooklyn.

12:56 PM, July 17, 2011

2:34 PM, July 22, 2011

"Raglayim ledavar" translates into circumstantial eveidence. Making that determination requires understanding the nature of abuse but has nothing to do with halakhic expertese. Therapists are trained to evaluate accusations and parents know their own children and how reliable there statements are.
If the Aguda means what it says then it should have a qualified psychologist train rabbis on recognizing abuse. It should be made clear that rabbis who do tell victims to report should be supported and not be afraid to have their names revealed. Survivors of abuse know who abused them and Aguda must publicly criticize any rabbis who tell them not to report.

Here's just one unintended consequence of stirring up hysteria over child molestation:

http://www.westword.com/2011-07-21/news/sex-allegations-lies-charles-farrar/

Read and weep.


Here's just one unintended consequence of stirring up hysteria over child molestation:

http://www.westword.com/2011-07-21/news/sex-allegations-lies-charles-farrar/

Read and weep.


Posted by: A E ANDERSON | BROOKLYN, NY 11213 | July 24, 2011 at 10:58 AM

Idiot.

You're like the haredim who want to paskin from the unusual occurrence rather than the norm.

Just like with ANY other crime, mistakes happen.

But for every wrongly accused child molesters there are 32 correctly accused child molesters.

Why don't you stop talking about issues you clearly know nothing about.

What if someones child is stabbed in the leg? Does he need permission from a Rav to go to the police? What if my fellow Jew bites a childs ear - do you need to go to a Rav first? THIS IS FUCKING INSANITY!!! IF SOMEONE MOLESTS A FELLOW JEW I AM GOING STRAIGHT TO THE POLICE!!!!! FUCK ANYONE WHO DONT LIKE IT!

There's no question. Clearly, the Agudah's answer is "no cops until the rabbi has decided."

Not quite true. If you witnessed the abuse you may, and should, go to the police without the need to consult anyone. This was point #1.

Shmarya
You too know very little about anything. You have the luxury of 'time' to allocate information that supports your agenda.
to ruin a person's life in the USA is as easy as making an allegation. The burden of proof rests on the accused. No, we live not in a society where one is innocent until proven guilt; we just say so.
No, I don't give a rat's ass what the law is. If I think there is no reasonable cause for reporting an incident I will not report it to the trigger happy authorities. However If there is sufficient evidence that support the allegations, I will be the first one to circumvent any (current) rabbinical ruling on this matter and immediately have the individual arrested.
Most people do not have the ability to set emotions aside and sort things out. Hence the need to consult someone who can. I recommend that rabbis should undergo training so they know what they're doing...
Although many times the allegations prove true, too many times it is a false alarm set off by the imagination of a troubled child.
You shun the Haredi community for not wanting to destroy complete families. I believe that that should not have any relevance to a case once it is ascertained that the truth has been told. However, before we have the facts we should proceed cautiously.

>What if someones child is stabbed in the leg?
>Does he need permission from a Rav to go to the
>police?

It would not suprise me. Rabbonim have prevented such reporting in the past:

Stolen Innocence
by Gary Rosenblatt - Editor And Publisher
The Jewish Week - Thursday, January 30, 2003 / 27 Shevat 5763
...
Jonah, who was 22 at the time, drove up to Rabbi Lanner's summer bungalow to ask him not to interfere in his relationship with his fiancée. According to Elie Hiller, Jonah and Rabbi Lanner exchanged words and then the rabbi, in a rage, grabbed a kitchen knife, lunged at Jonah, and cut him in the neck and arm, and tried to choke him.

Hiller, who worked for Rabbi Lanner at the time, says that after the incident, the rabbi called to tell him that he and Jonah had just had an argument and that he had tried to calm Jonah down. 'Then he laughed and talked to me about getting me a raise,' Elie said.

Elie wasn't amused. He quit his NCSY job, and he and his family, after contacting an attorney, sought to have the OU remove Rabbi Lanner from his job, threatening to go to the police otherwise.

Eventually they reached a compromise with the organization that would have Rabbi Lanner save face by easing him from his job as director of the New Jersey region, have no contact with staff or members of the region, and have no active participation in Shabbatonim.

But the Hillers say that though Rabbi Lanner was given a new title (seemingly a promotion, director of regions), the OU soon reneged on the agreement, denying the knifing incident had taken place and allowing the rabbi to take part in several Shabbatonim.

The last straw for the Hillers was the appointment of Rabbi Lanner at the new Teaneck congregation, despite their personal appeals to local rabbis and leaders of the congregation.
...

Posted by: 'Yechiel' | July 24, 2011 at 12:48 PM

Please.

You're fool.

About 3% of child sex abuse allegations made outside of custody battles are false.

3%.

Process that.

>Not quite true. If you witnessed the >abuse you may, and should, go to the >police without the need to consult >anyone. This was point #1.

It is not clear to me at all that Agudath Israel says that. Zeibel and Agudath statements are unclear whether a child can go to the police with allegations that he/she was abused. They seem to say that one should always have the allegations vetted by Rabbis first.

It appears from public statements by Rav Dovid Feinstein (one of the posek's Brenner named and suggested at the end of the show) that a bais din must evaluate a child's allegations before it is brought to the authorities and Rav Dovid states he knows of no bais din that has allowed abuse allegations to be forwarded to a bais din.

>If I think there is no reasonable
>cause for reporting an incident I will
>not report it to the trigger happy
>authorities.

What training and experience do you have that you can make these determinations better than the police or CPS?

From your comments, you clearly don't have any understanding as to this issue.

>forwarded to a bais din.

Should be "forwarded to the authorities."

The idea of going to the rabbis has nothing to do with protection against false accusations. That is only an excuse and a smokescreen. The real reason is that the Agudah rabbis do not think "frum" child molesters should go to prison. Zwiebel said this clearly when he stated that they prefer therapy over prison so that the molester's family does not lose its "breadwinner". Rabbi Kaminetzky also stated two weeks ago that not all molesters should be incarcerated and that they can be rehabilitated through therapy. It is obvious that they are afraid of negative publicity for their mosdos every time a child molester is arrested. This leads to loss of $$$$. The only reason they put out this vague nonsense is in response to advocates screaming about Rav Elyashiv's psak about going to the police. They found a loophole at the bottom of the psak that mentions "raglayim ladavar" and the lawyer Zwiebel is using it to create ambiguity and confusion. Don't fall for this garbage.

And I should add that if someone wanted to destroy another's reputation by falsely accusing him of molestation, he will not be going to his rabbi to get approval to go to the police. Also, the police are a lot more qualified in determining who is lying and who is telling the truth.

I guess it's different when you believe in Torah min hashamayim.

It appears that Agudath Israel's latest spin is a failure:

1) Rabbi Maryles -
Agudah - A Clarification in the Wrong Direction
http://haemtza.blogspot.com/2011/07/agudah-and-definition-of-is.html

2) Rabbi Eidensohn:
http://daattorah.blogspot.com/2011/07/aguda-attempts-to-clarify-views-on.html

Is there any sane parent out there that would take Rabbi Student's (Hirhurim) position below? I hope not.

http://torahmusings.com/2011/07/news-links-54/comment-page-4/#comments

Hirhurim on July 23, 2011 at 9:59 pm
The assumption underlying Agudah’s position is that many people are not good judges of a situation but rabbis are. Therefore you should always get a second opinion, a common sense check, before making a call to the police that could radically change someone’s life. I don’t disagree with the sentiment, as long as there is no one in immediate danger such that the delay of a few hours will make a difference. I’m not sure that every rabbi is well fit for this role but I suspect that most are. I know that I would definitely consult with others, probably both a rabbi and a psychologist whom I trust, before calling the police. I think it’s the only responsible thing to do.


Joseph Kaplan on July 23, 2011 at 10:00 pm
” I think their position is basic common sense, not to mention obvious halakhah. People gossip all the time. If your wife tells you that she heard from her friend who heard from the old lady down the block that your neighbor molests his kids, are you obligated to go to the police? There has to be some basis before you drag the police into it.”

Gil, you should know better than that. The statement is clear; in ALL cases you have to go to a rabbi first. Not only in the triple hearsay case you posit but even when your child tells you he/she has been molested, you have to go to a rabbi first, according to Agudah. I’m saddened that someone like you can try to cover up in such a misleading way that disgraceful position that brings shame on our community. We’ve seen what “leaving it to the rabbis” results in. Again, you really should know better than that.


Joseph Kaplan on July 23, 2011 at 11:47 pm
“I know that I would definitely consult with others, probably both a rabbi and a psychologist whom I trust, before calling the police.”

Let’s get specific, Gil. Your child, God forbid, tells you that a teacher in his/her school is touching him/her inappropriately. You know your child well; you believe him/her. Q.1: Do you speak to a rabbi before going to the police? Q. 2: The rabbi says it’s not serious enough or I think your child may be making it up. What do you do? Agudah’s answers to the above are (a) yes, (b) don’t call. What are you answers? It’s your kid; what is ‘the responsible thing to do”?


Hirhurim on July 24, 2011 at 12:06 am
Go with the rabbi to a psychologist and see what he thinks.

"There's no question. Clearly, the Agudah's answer is "no cops until the rabbi has decided." I don't understand how that's legal in the case of mandatory reporters. However you define "reasonable cause" for a mandatory reporter to report, it isn't "my rabbi told me I have reasonable cause."

Sure it is. A frumma yid lets the gedoylim do his thinking for him. If the gedoylim say reasonable cause then reasonable cause, otherwise no. I mean just because some idiot pediatrician thinks there might be cause, that makes it so? How many years has he spent in kollel to think he can think? First, he must go ask all the people who spent decades covering for child molesters whether he should worry about it.

http://www.nysba.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Contact_Us

ANYONE AN ATTORNEY?

PLEASE REPORT ZWEIBEL TO THE BAR ASSOCIATIONS ETHICS COMMITTEE.

GET THIS FOOL TO LOOSE HIS LAW LICENSE.

Public opportunity to question Rabbi Zwiebel or protest Agudath Israel's obscene and illegal position on reporting child abuse to the authorities:

http://caykgh.blogspot.com/2011/07/aynouncements-july-23-2011-parshas.html

Community Events

Tuesday evening, July 26 – Please join Rabbi & Mrs. Doniel Lander at a reception to benefit Project Witness
at their home, 137-25 71st Avenue. Guest Speaker will be Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, Executive Vice President of Agudath Israel of America. There will be a video presentation.

This is insanity! The only speech that Agudah should be giving is to the molesters them selves. This is how it should go - "My dear molesters. PLEASE KEEP YOUR THING in your pants! If you don't we give full permission to parents to go straight to the police where you may find yourself in jail behind bars and rotting in prison. By the way please join our daf yomi shiurim. Thank you for listening"!

I dont get it . molestation is as old asthe bible . so the agudah is trying to convince us that because the molestation issue is so new therefore we have no list of rabbis set up yet . we have hot lines hotlines and gemachs for every stupidity under the sun yet we dont have anything or any rabbis list yet to take care of child molestation . This zweibel dude should be disbared immediately . He is ruing the little bit that is left from the real yiddin . how much longer does the agudah think that they will use zweibel the be the spin meister for them . ??
we must go in front of the agudah building and make a huge protest . maybe we can get rabbi levin to help us , h e is always hungry for publicity especially when it comes to the aguda .

Posted by: steve | July 24, 2011 at 01:57 PM

At last a cogent analysis; based on logic and reason. And one can see how someone, even well meaning, will fall into this trap. Everything is based on trust. One goes to the Rabbi due to trust. Isn't he a well meaning expert? One goes to the police based in trust too. Isn't he a trained civil servant? More contact with the police will help everyone to see what professionals are like. I hope you will see a cogent solution to this, along with further evidence to support your arguments.

Jewishwhistleblower
My credentials are irrelevant. Read my entire post; not just bits. Your attack proves that YOU know very little about this matter.

>My credentials are irrelevant. Read my
>entire post; not just bits. Your
>attack proves that YOU know very
>little about this matter.

I resd your post in full. It is clear you have little understanding of scope and damage child sex predators cause. You only are focused on protecting the predators. The fact is false allegations of this sort involving a named person are extremely rare. Most of the documented cases I'm familiar with of false allegations in the Orthodox community involved payoffs to NY Judge Garson who was convicted several years ago.

Further, from my experience it is the survivors not the abusers who are made to suffer when abuse is disclosed. Usually the predators are protected by the community.

Here's an example of how Torah Vodaas dealt with its dirty laundry. It is part of the Agudath Israel abuser protection racket:

http://jeanettefriedman.com/2006/05/17/the-rot-at-the-core-of-the-system-gafni-kolko-lanner-and-more/

Jeanette Friedman writes "A few years ago, one guy, B, was kicked out of Torah Vodaas and sent to my cousin’s kehilla. I called my cousin and reamed him out and basically got the same drill…he had charata, he did teshuva, etc. etc. etc. A few weeks later I got a phone call that I was correct in telling my cousin that his congregation should not be the garbage can for Rav Pam. The question is, where is B now?"

Similar allegations are written at:
http://ottmall.com/mj_ht_arch/v57/mj_v57i65.html


There you go Yechiel. A recent example of how a predator is protected at the expense of the vulnerable in the community. The allegations don't stop the community from protecting and moving the predators around and this involved the institution that in part produced Levi Aron.

How many children must suffer before you finally realize the predators need to be reported to the police and removed from our community?

Posted by: 'Yechiel' | July 24, 2011 at 12:48 PM

Please.

You're fool.

About 3% of child sex abuse allegations made outside of custody battles are false.

3%.

Process that.

Posted by: Shmarya | July 24, 2011 at 01:06 PM

my friend is a prosecutor for sex crimes mainly child molestation in Brooklyn.

She says,

Molestation is the one crime we really make sure that we positive that a crime took place before we issue a warrant for arrest since we know that the mere accusation can ruin a person live

Yechiel you are wrong when you say areast happy authorities

and Yechiel if you really think what you say is true how could people say report a goy? what you are basically saying a goy is not issue to report falsify?

The reason remove a bread winner, what goying do not need bread winners
goyim cannot be help by therapy?

so what is it?

Do you believe your BS and just say goyim who cares if they falsify accused, jailed for no reason and their kids have no food on table

Or is it just wanting be protect one of your own at the expense of your own children.

most lily a little of both

if true the frummies are a darkness upon the nations

You guys seriously sound like a bunch of horny old men in a bar! If you need to take care of your needs, pay for it! Stop blaming it on the kids!

As an advocate for survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy since the turn of the millennium, I feel the pain of both sides of this discussion. This isn't easy, and you're struggling with what we struggled with a decade or so ago.

I can only suggest this: try to be kind to one another. If you're inclined to defend the accused, keep in mind that you may be fighting against your own sense of betrayal and disbelief. If you're on the other side, keep in mind that your opponents have also been betrayed, and have had the very core of their trust shaken.

Above all, it's the children, and the adults who had their faith destroyed as children.

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