For the first time ever, the IDF’s magazine for soldiers, Bamahane, published a full Passover haredi edition. 5,000 haredi soldiers and future haredi soldiers who have enlisted to serve in haredi-only units were sent the special haredi magazine by mail. There were no photos of women in the haredi version of the magazine and the Torah though included is from a prominent haredi rabbi.
The rabbi arrested is a “well-known” assistant to a “senior rabbi.” The aide allegedly, “assaulted his eldest daughter on all of the most intimate parts of her body, both by hand and orally, got into bed with her naked and got into the shower with her while she was naked when she was between the ages of 12 to 14.” Before performing some of the sexual acts on his daughter, the accused allegedly cited passages of Jewish law he claimed justified his actions, apparently to try to overcome his daughter’s resistance. He reportedly forced himself on her if she refused to comply with his wishes.
She gave other details that made Baum feel she was credible, and also revealed that her husband’s two accomplices were “your people” (Baum is Jewish), Jewish “men who wore yarmulkes,” but she gave no names. [emphasii added] Baum tried to persuade Theresa to come forward, but for several years she was afraid, telling him that “snitches wear stitches.”
Israeli doctors have found a herpes (HSV-1) infection in a 2-and-a-half-year-old boy they believe came from metzitzah b'peh (MBP), the direct mouth-to-bloody-penis sucking done by many mohels (and almost all hasidic mohels) just after cutting off the baby's foreskin and ripping off the membrane under it. If correct, these doctors may have found the cause of what many believe to be the noticeably higher number of learning disabled children in hasidic communities.
A Chabad emissary in Germany, Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal, had his son circumcised by an Israeli mohel last week. The mohel did metzitzah b'peh (MBP), the direct mouth-to-bloody-penis sucking done immediately after removing the foreskin. The was videoed with Teichtal's knowledge and posted online by a German newspaper, prompting a lawsuit against Teichtal by a child advocate.
FBI agents arrested Gershon Barkany based on a criminal complaint alleging that the Far Rockaway man defrauded investors by promising to use their money in “risk-free” deals to purchase and then immediately re-sell at a profit large real estate properties located in New York City and New Jersey. In fact, the complaint alleges that no such deals existed and the defendant defrauded victims of more than $50 million.
Rabbi Joseph di Trani (1538-1639 ), known as the Maharit [considered to be perhaps the leading Talmudist and halakhic scholar of his generation], also ruled to the effect that, "Anyone who knows of a flaw [vis-a-vis] someone's marital eligibility is not permitted to reveal it, but will leave it as if it were kosher." This points to the malicious combination of halakha and bureaucracy that is unique to the modern era [especially in haredi-controlled Israel].
The Lev Tahor hasidic cult headed by Rabbi Shlomo Halbrans is located in a small town near Montreal. Israel's Channel 10 News accompanied Aryeh Leber, an ex-Lev Tahor cult member, as he went back to Lev Tahor to search for his mother. Here is the video.
"I was 13 years old, attending sleep-away camp at Camp Dora Golding, an all-boys Orthodox camp that some of you still send your sons to. I was befriended by a 28-year-old member of the rabbinic staff. Over the course of a week he sexually abused me repeatedly. When the activity was exposed, I was summoned to the camp director’s office and forced to confront the assailant. Then I was summarily sent home, as if it were I who had committed the crime. The camp never even told my parents why I was being sent home. They were just advised to pick me up at the Greyhound terminal at New York’s Port Authority."
The CBS news magazine 48 Hours will air a 6-part reality TV series on the Brooklyn DA beginning in May. The program won't he hard-hitting investigative news. Instead, it will be reality fluff TV that largely whitewashes the real problems of what could easily turn out to be the most corrupt DA in New York City's recent history. The lead "characters" are the DA Charles Hynes himself and his thuggish and allegedly corrupt lead prosecutor Michael Vecchione.
It wouldn't be right to start Passover without taking a moment to think about those who are like what the Torah says we once were – slaves. They may be real slaves; for example, many prostitutes who were sold into the sex trade and forced to sell their bodies by pimps who beat and sometimes kill them if they resist. Or they may be slaves whose slavery is no less real, even though it is much less visible.
Following several incidents of women musicians at the Sounds of the Old City festival in Jerusalem facing discrimination from festival organizers, Jerusalem’s Mayor Nir Barkat posted a statement on his Facebook page yesterday pledging to fight against such incidents. He insisted that women's exclusion from Jerusalem's public sphere will not recur. However, the women who were ‘asked’ by festival promoters not to perform say they are not comforted by the mayor’s gesture.
A haredi man with a history of anti-Zionist vandalism – including defacing Yad Vashem, Israel's national Holocaust memorial – has petitioned Israel’s High Court of Justice to limit the sounding of what has been until now the nationwide siren on Remembrance Day, the national day of warning for Israel's war dead.
The haredi newspaper Mishpachah reported this today that the new government’s coalition agreement will cost haredi families an average of NIS 6,000 ($1,641) every month in lost government benefits. Mishpachah reportedly estimates that the overall loss to the haredi community will be NIS 2.3 billion ($629,119,000) – the average haredi family will lose NIS 71,000 ($19,421) annually, Mishpacha reportedly claims.
"It was this teaching, of restoring the sparks from the lowest realm - even those hidden in the crassest of sins - to the messianic state of Atzilut, that was the main justification of Shabatai Tzvi & his followers to transgress the Law & make permissible various prohibitions, including of the sexual nature - & even incest (by permitting the biblical "arayot"). They called this reinterpretation of the Law to transgress the Law, "The Torah of Atzilut."…[I]t is this same teaching & kabbalistic concept that Berland used to justify his acts."
Jeff Seidel, the find-you-at-the-Western-Wall-invite-you-for-Shabbat-get-you-into-haredi-BT-yeshiva-forever kiruv guy, who also runs missionary outposts he calls student centers at large Israeli universities, has always used non-Orthodox famous people as lures, and has almost always done so without their permission. But his new Passover ad might have reached a new, deceptive, low.
"…He locked me in his room …[and] pointed to the bed.…He kissed me and stuck his tongue in my mouth. He held me real tight, my whole body, close to his, and he became dreadfully excited and panted. He told me, 'Now you are in the world of nobility,' and licked my face until it was really sticky.…After that he put his hands under my blouse and felt me up brusquely.…I ran to my husband and told him excitedly that the rabbi said I was in the world of nobility. We began to fight, because my husband understood."
"…After I received confirmation on Thursday morning that Eichler was arrested, the police requested that I be on “standby” for when they would call me. I thought they would ask me to ID Eichler or something, but what came next was very unexpected. I was brought into a fairly small room with three police interrogators, one of them a translator, and was directed to sit in a seat right across from Sholom Eichler where he was sitting with shackles on his feet.…"
It was a violation of the law allegedly repeated often during the Sounds of the Old City music festival in Jerusalem last week. The government-funded festival was meant to showcase musicians, but the festival’s director is accused of forcing women musicians to get off stage, and of trying to block the performances of bands that include women muscians, all to appease haredi activists who threatened to disrupt the festival if it did not give in to their demands.
“Often and often afterwards, the beloved Aunt [Georgie] would ask me why I had never told any one how I was being treated. Children tell little more than animals, for what comes to them they accept as eternally established. Also, badly-treated children have a clear notion of what they are likely to get if they betray the secrets of the prison-house before they are clear of it.”
Steven Savitsky is a former president of the Orthodox Union. Yesterday, he interviewed his close friend, Ami Magazine's editor and publisher Rabbi Yitzchok Frankfurter, who Savitsky says he respects greatly, for his regular OU.org podcast. The title? "The Chassidish and Chareidi World: An Unsustainable Economy and the Onslaught of Self-Hating Jew-Bloggers."
The haredi-controlled scandal-plagued East Ramapo school district is reportedly suing the New York State Department of Education. The district's suit claims that the district's controversial practice of assigning haredi and Orthodox students with disabilities to private out-of-district Yiddish-speaking programs at yeshiva schools is kosher – even though in-district public school placements are available.
"Last year there were at least two serious incidents. They have no permits and fire fighting equipment. Last year a young man's hand was amputated, [when it was] trapped in the machine making holes in the matzohs.” The Fire Service also warns that many of these illegal matzoh bakeries have underage workers who are not properly trained in safety issues, and even little children are allowed in the bakeries near dangerous equipment and wood- or coal-fired ovens ovens that reach extremely high temperatures. Many of these illegal bakeries do not have fire extinguishers or first aid supplies, either.
"About 2 years ago, a major police investigation started into sexual abuse of children at Yeshivah Centre (YC). I have a son, Manny Waks (MW), who was a victim. We both cooperated fully with the police. A few months later, he went public about these matters, and has become an activist within the Jewish community. He is in very regular contact with the media. The Respondents (and other members of the YC leadership) have a very strong religious view about "mesirah" (informing on a Jew to the secular authorities). I am part of the same religious community, but have a view at the opposite end of the spectrum to theirs. My son MW is longer part of the YC community. The Respondents have been involved in an escalating campaign of "shunning" me during the last 18 months, because of my views and actions, and those of my son who they find it hard to attack except via me."
“Rabbi Herzfeld is Orthodox, but he opened his shul’s door, heart and mind. He suggested I lead the Kabbalat Shabbat at his shul and say Kaddish for my mother. My children, who aren’t comfortable with Orthodoxy after attending Orthodox public schools during a sabbatical in Jerusalem, stood with me. After the service Rabbi Herzfeld said, ‘I want you to know that I do not believe women should lead worship with men present. But one of us had to be uncomfortable. Why should it be you and not me?’ He can’t repair my broken brain, but Rabbi Herzfeld brought healing to my broken heart.”
In addition to themillions of dollars it has received, apparently illegally, through Island Child, Bnos Bais Yaakov has requested almost $1.2 million from the E-rate program for 2013 – the same program that appears to have given haredi schools that eschew the Internet and that forbid their students and students' families from having Internet access, even though the money doled out to these haredi schools was mostly earmarked for Internet access.
Mechir Lamishtaken [special deals for low income Israelis on mortgages] is one blatant illustration of the way Israeli politics has helped the haredim maintain themselves without working. The cheaper mortgage offered by the Housing Ministry…is given only to those who have been married a certain number of years, have a certain number of children and a certain number of aunts and uncles on both parents’ sides. In other words, only people whose families have been large for at least two generations meet the criteria. One can easily guess for which population the benefit is intended.
In the wintry darkness 23 years ago on a back street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, a jewelry thief fleeing a botched robbery panicked and shot a Satmar hasidic rabbi in the head. Four days later, the rabbi, Chaskel Werzberger, an Auschwitz survivor, died. A dirty cop worked closely with a Satmer fixer, the now disgraced Leib Glaz, who brought him alleged witnesses and translated for them. An unemployed printer named David Ranta was arrested and convicted on what now clearly looks like false and tumped up testimony. More than 20 years later, the Brooklyn DA now says Ranta is innocent and should be released from prison immediately.
Julio Acevedo, the driver already charged with leaving the scene of a horrific Brooklyn traffic accident that killed a pregnant hasidic woman and her husband, was charged again today, this time with three counts of second-degree manslaughter – one count for each of the dead parents and one count for the death of their premature child.
According to New York State auditors, one of New York City’s largest providers of special education services to preschoolers with disabilities, the haredi-owned Island Child Development Center in Far Rockaway, Queens, illegally diverted millions of dollars in taxpayer financing to a haredi girls’ school, haredi summer camps, and to a haredi kosher supermarket that is owned by the group’s officers and board members.
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The New York Times: "The legal conflict has revealed a deep tension within the Orthodox community that has been reported in the Jewish weekly press, and has been the almost exclusive topic of discussion on some Orthodox Jewish Web sites like failedmessiah.com and unorthodoxjew.blogspot.com in the months since Mr. Hikind brought up sexual abuse."
The New York Times: "In Postville, residents were dismayed by a report posted on a Jewish Web site, FailedMessiah.com, saying that Sholom Rubashkin held a celebration in Postville last week after he was released from detention on $1 million bail."
THE COLUMBIA JOURNALISM REVIEW: "[Jeff] Abbas passed the video to Shmarya Rosenberg, a blogger in St. Paul, Minnesota, who has provided some of the best coverage of the raid and its aftermath; a few days later, the video was referenced in The New York Times."
The Forward: Postville’s City Council initially voted to support the idea of a community benefits agreement, but later voted to withdraw support for such an agreement — a development first reported on the blog Failed Messiah.
Samuel Freedman in the Jerusalem Post: "[T]the scandal of Agriprocessors has been chronicled from Stephen Bloom's book Postville to Nathaniel Popper's investigative reports in the Forward to Julia Preston's coverage in The New York Times to the muckraking blogger FailedMessiah.com."
Religion In The News: "So authoritative has Rosenberg become that he is now regularly quoted by the Register; and his site has been referenced by the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and both the Forward and the JTA."
Tablet Magazine: “If you’re Jewish and you were married five years ago, you have not confronted the problem that exists today,” Rosenberg says. “The problem is much worse for anyone who isn’t Orthodox. As the Haredi strength grows and their control grows, that’ll become clearer.”
Religion Dispatches: "The best collection of articles I’ve found can be perused at failedmessiah.com, the blog of Shmarya Rosenberg, who, with the perspective of insider turned disillusioned outsider, has been probing the nuances and hypocrisies of the ultra-Orthodox establishment since 2004."