« IDF Facing Manpower Shortage | Main | Rabbi Ovadia Yosef Has Minor Stroke, At First Refuses To Go To Hospital On Shabbat »

January 11, 2013

OU In Disarray, Report Says

OU logoThe Orthodox Union is facing a leadership crisis and confusion in its top ranks, as a former senior lay leader tries to step in and right the listing organization just as he did in the aftermath of the Rabbi Baruch Lanner child sexual abuse scandal.

 

The Jewish Week's Editor-in-Chief Gary Rosenblatt reports that OU president Simcha Katz is about to challenged by former president Harvey Blitz, in an almost unheard of leadership fight centered around what many even inside the OU perceive to be the OU's deepening leadership crisis:

…“There is chaos within our leadership,” a key [OU] staff member complained. “We are a multimillion-dollar organization with no chief professional at the helm.”

He cited as an example that the OU at first signed on to — and later withdrew its support for — a strong statement by its rabbinic group, the Rabbinical Council of America, endorsing the conviction last month of Satmar chasid Nechemya Weberman on child sexual abuse charges.

“We looked foolish,” said the staff member.

It seems [OU President Simcha] Katz agreed to sign on to the RCA letter, but after [OU Executive VP Rabbi Steven] Weil received criticism for it from segments of the Brooklyn ultra-Orthodox community, the letter was removed from the OU website.…

The story of the OU's endorsement-retraction on the Weberman verdict was broken by me on Failedmessiah.com, and I know Rosenblatt was personally made aware of my story.

But somehow – and who knows how that might be? – Rosenblatt did not cite the story's source. This is a big non-no in journalism, as our recent joint experience with the New York Times shows.

At any rate, Rosenblatt's report confirms that haredim pressured the OU to withdraw its endorsement of the RCA Weberman letter.

If Rosenblatt would have probed further, I think he would have been told that some of that pressure involved causing OU Kosher major problems – and costing it major money. OU Koser is the OU's major source of income.

Imagine a scenario where the OU suddenly did not appear on many meat and wine products, for example, because those products Satmar-controlled and Satmar-linked co-kosher supervisors forced the OU out.

Now what would that do for OU Kosher's image in the Orthodox community?

And anyway, we all know what the OU thinks about child sexual abuse because as Rosenblatt himself reported years ago, the OU tolerated and covered up the ongoing child sexual, physical and emotional abuse by Rabbi Baruch Lanner. It did this for decades.

Why?

As I was told by a senior person involved in trying to clean up the OU after the Lanner scandal broke, the OU covered for Lanner primarily because Lanner's kiruv, missionary outreach, was so good.

It was a cost-benefit analysis, he told me. Lose a couple kids each year due to Lanner's abuse, damage a few more, but gain so many new neshamot, Jewish souls, for Yiddishkeit through Lanner's missionary work with the less-than-truly Orthodox. The OU's missionary outreach won and the kids it should have protected lost.

So, compared to that, what's so bad about retracting your endorsement of a guilty verdict in a child sexual abuse case, a case in which a haredi rabbi sexually abused a girl beginning when she was 12-years-old until she was 15? A case in which the victim was demonized as a "whore" the Satmar Rebbe himself?

And if that retraction can save the OU lots of money, money that it can use for missionary outreach and Jewish education projects (not to mention paying its staffers)?

Why, it's another cost-benefit analysis! And, surprise! Just like last time, the kids lose.

Related Posts:

OU Removes Endorsement Of RCA Letter On Weberman Conviction.

The Orthodox Union Lies To The New York Times Over Weberman Conviction.

Credit Where Credit Is Due: NY Times Public Editor Says Paper Should Have Credited FailedMessiah.com, The Jewish Week, Others For Abuse Coverage.

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Imagine a scenario where the OU suddenly did not appear on many meat and wine products, for example, because those products Satmar-controlled and Satmar-linked co-kosher supervisors forced the OU out.

Now what would that do for OU Kosher's image in the Orthodox community?

Speaking purely for myself, such a result with improve the OU's image greatly. It would show they put kids before profits, a test they have failed in the past.

One reason I accept the KAJ hecksher without question was their willingness to walk away from the Rubashkin contract when the head mashgiach wouldn't let them look where they wanted to. That decision must have had financial consequences, but they did the right thing.

Posted by: Larry Lennhoff | January 11, 2013 at 12:16 PM

KAJ presided over the Rubashkin scandal. It covered for Rubashkin and endorsed as kosher the worst examples of slaughterhouse animal cruelty in a century, horrific violations of Humane Slaughter Law.

KAJ pulled out years later, after its head supervisor there left and was replaced by someone a bit more honest.

But make no mistake about it. Rabbi Gelley helped Rubashkin cover up and Rabbi Gelley presided over the abuse.

And this doesn't even begin to touch on the abuse of workers the KAJ saw in that plant but never reported to government authorities or tried in any way to stop.

You're heaping praise on people who deserve none.

I was suprised to read that Rabbi Burg left, but think he will do well in his new post. He is an extremely competent, accessible, and likeable person.

Burg has been a protege of Rabbi Weil's for a long time, both in Los Angeles and, before that, in Detroit. They go back almost 20 years.

Around L.A., rumors are flying that Weil has his eye on the yet-to-be-filled rabbinic position at Young Israel of North Beverly Hills. Just a mile or so north (which, in Beverly Hills, means wealthier) than his former congregation, Beth Jacob, it seems like an ideal post for a superstar in his late 40s.

The Kashrus Division has little to do with the rest of the organization. Genack and Elefant report to no one.

The 'lay leaders' that are on the Kashrus commision are given reports, but can do little to change policy. They can yell and scream all they want, but as long as Genack calls the shots and Elefant has the cash register AND they fund the rest of the organization (You really thought that NCSY made money??) then Steve Katz has very little power.

Funny that Steve Katz (pronounced KAY'tz)should change his name to a Hebrew one. When he dabbled in veal a few years ago, he tried to take over the market with Sam Brach and declare everyone elses shechita to be treif.

OU's and RCA's actions are vile and disgraceful, just like those of the Satmars. Shame on them. All of this does is alienate most Jews from orthodoxy.

You have to give the Lubavitcher Rebbe a"h credit when he said a community (Satmar) where individuals have free rein to commit acts of violence cannot be trusted for its kashrus. This was in response to an incident when R. Korff was ambushed by "kanayim" on the way to give a Tanya shiur in Wmsburg 1975 and suffered one half of his beard cut off- Nazi style.. For a while there was an effective boycott of Meal Mart and Golden Flow products in Crown Heights.

Long wave

Did Kaytz come from Chicago originally.

No idea where Katz is from. I do remember seeing meat tags from his shechita that were out of date by 6 months.

HArvey Blitz is considered to be very knowledgable in his position as head of the Kashru Commission. The Kashrus staffers like working with him.

One reason I accept the KAJ hecksher without question was their willingness to walk away from the Rubashkin contract

Posted by: Larry Lennhoff | January 11, 2013 at 12:16 PM

---------------------------
You and your wife did not walk away from Leib Tropper even when you knew he was extorting and abusing converts.

May be it had something to do with the work your wife was doing for the EJF.

Is there anything good left in Judaism and those that claim to follow it?

Why did berg leave the ou ?

During the Lanner disaster, the OU's then-Senior Vice President, Rabbi Pinchus "Pinky" Stopler remarked that " . . Lanner had brought literally hundreds of Jewish girls closer to the Torah, and "only" 6 had filed charges against him."

"Uncle Pinky" retired several months later.

Rabbi Burg was asked to leave as a result of his mishandling of the JSU public school club fiasco.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

----------------------

FailedMessiah.com is a reader supported website.

Thank you for your generous support!

----------------------

----------------------

----------------------

Please Scroll Down Toward The Bottom Of This Page For More Search Options And For A List Of Recent Posts

----------------------

----------------------

Recent Posts

Audio: Rabbi Eliezer Silver on Child Sexual Abuse.

Do you need help leaving an ultra-Orthodox community or navigating life outside one? Call Footsteps.

Tip Jar

Gelt Is Good!

Tip Jar
Jibbadgefinalist

Tip Jar

Gelt Is Good!

Tip Jar

Comment Rules

  • 1. No anonymous comments.

    2. Use only one name or alias and stick with that.

    3. Do not use anyone else's name or alias.

    4. Do not sockpuppet.

    5. Try to argue using facts and logic.

    6. Do not lie.

    7. No name-calling, please.

    8. Do not post entire articles or long article excerpts.

    ***Violation of these rules may lead to the violator's comments being edited or his future comments being banned.***

Rubashkin Protest Gear

  • Rubashkin_parody_1

    Buy one of these and wear it to shul. Other Rubashkin gear as well. Protest!
  • Rubashkin_label_parody_1

    Wear this amazing T-shirt to your local supermarket. Better yet, buy a dozen and bring your friends – with signs! Available here!

Older Posts Complete Archives

Search FailedMessiah

Lijit Search

----------------------

FailedMessiah.com is a reader supported website.

Thank you for your generous support!

----------------------

----------------------

----------------------

FailedMessiah.com in the Media

Tip Jar

Gelt Is Good!

Tip Jar

RSS Feed

Blog Widget by LinkWithin