“This wasn’t a war against Judaism or against the rabbis. This was a battle against the monopoly of the state courts, a monopoly which they abuse and in so doing harm women, the rights of women, and do injury to the equal status of women." In response to the decision, women's rights group plans to open its own rabbinical divorce court.
During Operation Cast Lead (the 2008-2009 Gaza War), the Jewish Identity Section produced and distributed a pamphlet that encouraged cruelty to the enemy. The pamphlet also promoted overtly political views, including claiming that it is forbidden under halakha (Orthodox Jewish law) to cede “even one millimeter” of the biblical Land of Israel for any purpose –including peace.
Two haredi minors convicted of the kidnapping and gruesome murder. But the 31-year-old ringleader was inexplicably given last minute psychiatric exam that found him not responsible for his actions at the time of the crimes, which were committed almost 18 months ago. "It's all a lie. I'm afraid that the court will eventually get them [all] off the hook. I want [to see] justice in the court. Where's justice? The judges must not accept this,” the murdered boy’s father, said after today’s court session.
"There will be no cooperation with supervisors from the Ministry of Education, but only with supervisors from within the haredi [school] system that [each individual] institution belongs to. There will be no response to the letters and instructions of the Ministry of Education that harm the independence of the institution[s]. There will be no enrollment of students who do not meet the terms of the institution from a spiritual perspective [i.e., Sefardi girls], and no involvement of the authorities on this matter will be permitted."
The Hotline for Refugees and Migrants and a group of other NGOs filed a petition with Israel’s High Court of Justice today asking it to firmly strike down the government’s policy of indefinitely imprisoning African asylum seekers unless they agree to accept so-called “self-deportation” to an unnamed African country that is not their homeland.
In a petition filed with the Israel’s High Court of Justice today, a group of feminist activists argues that the government-funded and appointed Chief Rabbi of the Kotel (Western Wall) Shmuel Rabinowitz’s refusal to allow them to use publicly owned Torah scrolls or bring their own privately owned scroll to the holy site violates their legal right to equal treatment in the public sphere.
Chabad’s Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Aronow stole millions of dollars from donations earmarked for Chabad’s Children of Chernobyl charity, a subsidiary of the Chabad Youth (Tzach) nonprofit Aronow headed. Chabad Youth serves as the central Chabad-Lubavitch organization in Israel, and (at least on paper) hundreds of Chabad emissaries in Israel work at its largess. Aronow also received almost $2 million in salary he failed to declare as income and used fraud to get large amounts of money from the Education Ministry – money Aronow then stole.
Extremist neo-Kahainist Chabad Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh is slated to be the major speaker at a Yud Tet Kislev (19th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev) event Wednesday in Tel Aviv at the Charles Bronfman Auditorium (Hechal Hatarbut), a city-owned venue and is managed by a city-owned corporation, sparking outrage.
Breslov Shuvu Banim hasidic sect leader Rabbi Eliezer Berland, who is wanted by police in Israel for a string of alleged sex assaults against female followers (at least one of whom was a minor at the time she was allegedly assaulted) is raising money for a new Talmud Torah school for the children of followers who have fled Israel with him.
New archaeological research suggests betrayals of trust are the missing link in understanding the rapid spread of our own species around the world. As commitments to others became more essential to survival, and human groups ever more motivated to identify and punish those who cheat, the ‘dark’ side of human nature also developed. Moral disputes motivated by broken trust and a sense of betrayal became more frequent and motivated early humans to put distance between them and their rivals.
William E. Rapfogel, who stole millions of dollars from the Jewish poor, is now on work release, the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision confirmed today. Rapfogel served just over one year of a 3-1/3 to 10 year sentence and could be paroled in November 2017. Until then, he'll be able to go home for extended weekend stays and will spend much of each day free in Manhattan.
A new study shows that the number of infant deaths and injuries attributed to crib bumpers (like those shown in the photo to the right) has spiked significantly in recent years. The findings stem from an analysis by a professor emeritus at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and two former researchers with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The study authors recommend that sale of the items be banned.
Sleazy hasidic PR flack Yossi Gestetner's OJPAC has released a new video smearing NY State Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski for using "a Yeshiva building outside his district as a negative backdrop in a media appearance." But there's much Gestetner and his equally sleazy counterparts won't tell you. But FailedMessiah.com will.
Chabad's Yeshivah Center in Melbourne, Australia is offering a "scheme [which] will offer redress in the form of a direct personal response to the victims of abuse from Yeshivah, access to counselling and psychological care, and a monetary payment to recognise that sexual abuse should not have occurred. Receiving support under the scheme will not prejudice the individual’s rights to pursue any further legal action.…"
“Students and parents should not have to resort to a lawsuit in order to receive a quality education in New York. All schools, regardless of whether they are public or private, must uphold our State’s strong tradition of providing a quality education that includes courses in math, science, English, history and civics. This legislation will provide parents and students a method for their concerns to be heard, a process to determine whether the complaint is substantiated and a host of remedies to ensure educational standards are being met in the classroom."
A male Likud member of Knesset, Oren Hazan, who is also the Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, repeatedly denigrated and insulted a wheelchair-bound female member of Knesset from the rival Yesh Atid Party strictly on the basis of her disability, and despite doing so loudly in an open Knesset session, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud Party subordinates did not suspend him.
The centrist Yesh Atid Party, the primary force behind the original haredi draft bill passed during the last government, will join with the Union of Israeli [University] Students to file a High Court of Justice petition today to try to save that law from being gutted by the current government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Did an hasidic unlicensed mental health therapist – who, I'm told, specialized in telling the women she "treated" that the solution to their mental health issues was to become more religious and more hasidic – play a role in the suicide deaths of two sisters from the Belz hasidic community of Brooklyn?
“The Jewish tradition teaches that we must love the stranger, because we were strangers. The geopolitics are incredibly complex, but the fundamental spiritual teaching is simple: we must provide love and care for those fleeing persecution. Also, I’d like to think that a smiling rabbi being the first Western face a refugee fleeing ISIS sees is one of ISIS’s worst nightmares.”
The results help show why so-called conversion therapy (also known as reparative therapy), like that offered by JONAH and backed by haredi and Modern Orthodox rabbis, is dangerous. The results also establish a group of people that are, in effect, bona fide heterosexuals. Then there's another group that is not a continuum but an assemblage, a variety of people united in their same-sex sexual orientation but who may reflect diverse sexual identities. Discrimination and bigotry shown to people with same-sex attraction is thought be a significant cause of the much higher rate of depression and related disorders found among same-sex people.
"…Because of the Rabbinate’s monopoly over burial practices in Israel, there is no way May can be buried in Jerusalem as a woman. In her will, May wrote "Judaism does not recognize me as the woman that I am. Religious burial would be an insult to my life, my legacy and my values.” She directed in her will that her body be cremated, and that her ashes be buried beneath a kurrajong tree, known for having both male and female flowers, to be planted in her memory. Lacking other options, this is the only way May saw to preserve her identity. [But] last week, May’s estranged mother filed papers in court demanding an ultra-Orthodox burial that would dress May in male shrouds and refer to her with her male birth name.…"
A source in Jerusalem’s city government said Cinema City’s owners were pressured by the city to tell the High Court Cinema City would close on Shabbat of its own volition. In return, it was offered backroom financial inducements by the city – and likely backed by the Finance Ministry, as well. The source noted the ongoing security situation in the capital was hurting Cinema City financially, and its owners were told the municipality and the Finance Ministry would find ways to help Cinema City financially in exchange for it agreeing to close on Shabbat. But those inducements, that pressure, and the resulting deal were all made behind closed doors and with no transparency.
One of those arrested is the daughter of a hasidic rebbe, and the crimes she and the other suspects allegedly committed appear to lead directly back to the top leadership of at least one hasidic court. Several haredi moneychangers who run what are essentially private unlicensed banks, are reportedly involved in the alleged fraud, and some haredi politicians are rumored to be involved, as well.
10 to 15 managers of haredi yeshivas and schools and haredi money changers were arrested today on suspicion of fraud, money laundering and tax evasion. One of those arrested is the sister of a hasidic rebbe and the crimes apparently can be directly traced back to several hasidic courts. Haredi Politicians are also thought to be suspects.
“The school does not sufficiently promote diversity and wider faiths. There were few displays of pupils’ work. Cultural development is not broad and diverse. Pupils reported to inspectors that they had studied Ramadan. They did not have an understanding of this subject,” the newest OFSTED report says, adding that students still spend the “majority” of their time studying religious texts and have little exposure to English literacy and math.
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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."