"…I believe the time has come where serious consideration needs to be given by the broader Jewish community and government as to whether it is appropriate for [Chabad] Yeshivah to continue under its current administration and in its current form. It is easy to forget amid all this chaos that victims are still hurting and seeking justice by way of holding to account those trustees who remain in power, and that the safety of children within the school is paramount. I concur with another [Chabad] Yeshivah victim who recently said publicly that he does not believe that safety can be guaranteed in the environment that currently exists. I would urge the community to give serious consideration to forcing the trustees to hand the [Chabad] Yeshivah Centre over to capable and independent trustees who can administer the Centre professionally until such time as the community has developed the appropriate structures to have it back. Ultimately it’s the safety and wellbeing of our children – past and present – that we are dealing with. And this must always come first."
Did you believe Chabad's frequent claims to the press that each official Chabad center is a truly independent franchise? A new letter written to Chabad trustees in Melbourne, Australia by Chabad's organizational head Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky and the 1973 memo from his predecessor included with it should dispel that notion. But perhaps more importantly, the new Krinsky letter refers to the ongoing Chabad child sex abuse scandal in Melbourne this way: "We also acknowledge the severe difficulties you [Chabad trustees] have been going through for over a year and the aggravation and turmoil that have engulfed the entire Chabad community of Melbourne." There is not one word of consolation for the victims of the child sex abuse and not one word or regret for how the original complaints of child sex abuse were handled.
When the Williamsburg Satmar Rebbe Zalman Leib Teitelbaum left Brooklyn to visit Israel whose statehood he does not acknowledge, he was escorted by a large motorcade with flashing emergency lights and sirens. These cars drove erratically and unsafely and broke the speed limit as they tried to keep up with the rebbe's car. All of this is illegal. But in New York City, legality is a very porous thing.
"So long as we are in the position of power and influence, we can never give recognition to the Reform [a catch-all phrase that in haredi parlance means all of the non-Orthodox Jewish movements]. Although they are Jews, they will not get any recognition. In Judaism there is only one stream – the religious path of Moses and Israel."
"Any possibility that women and men will be able to pray at the Kotel in a manner that does not suit the haredi interpretation has been erased. What will happen for example when an Orthodox woman wants to recite the Mourner’s Kaddish for her dear ones in the women’s section? According to a large number of halakhic authorities (on religious law) this is permitted, but the Chief Rabbinate, which by government decision will be the determining body, rejects it.…"
"Today history was made. The Israeli government has agreed to give unprecedented recognition to Reform and Conservative Judaism at one of Judaism’s holiest places, the Western Wall. For decades, Israel has given full religious authority at the Kotel to Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox Judaism. That is about to change. The Reform Movement, the Conservative Movement, Women of the Wall, and the Jewish Federations negotiated a deal that was just publicly announced and approved.…"
Israel’s Sefardi haredi Shas Party-controlled Ministry of Religious Services will not give any funding or support for the new proposed egalitarian prayer area to be located south the traditional Kotel (Western Wall) near Robinson’s Arch no matter what the government decides about the egalitarian prayer area’s future.
“The police were sent in an attempt to arrest Rabbi Berland on Shabbat [sabbath] night. This is a very serious crime. [Jewish law] speaks extensively on the rodef, a person who goes and tries to imprison his fellow in the hands of non-Jews. There is a commandment to stop him at all costs. And the law refers to a simple Jew…whereas we are dealing with a great Rabbi, a great Torah Sage [Berland].”
This deal, if it goes through, affects the status of the central national holy place of the Jewish people and will make it officially, for the first time – and, God forbid, perhaps irrevocably – the sole preserve of haredim who will be able to banish anyone or any Jewish group which does not follow haredi understanding of halakha (Orthodox Jewish law) and custom. What has until now been a de facto usurpation by haredim, done without any national deliberation at all and without consent, would become official government policy. This is what is at stake here for all of us.
Rabbi Nochum Eisenstein, who was the late supreme haredi leader Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv's point man on conversion to Judaism, says Elyashiv did not want most cases of child sex abuse to be reported to police – even though Elyashiv ruled in writing that credible suspicions of child sex abuse ("raglayim l'davar") must in fact be reported to police.
What the Geonim permitted the far lesser rabbis of Chabad and Australia's version of Edah Haredit have banned. But don't worry. Even though ben pakuah meat would have dropped the price of kosher meat dramatically, these rabbis have your best interests at heart. And you can be assured of that because they they say so.
Using as his pretext the British government’s closure of a noncompliant illegal haredi school in London, Talmud Torah Tashbar, Rabbi Eli Riss, the chief rabbi of the Jewish Autonomous Oblast of Russia – better known to many Jews as "Birobidzhan” – which is located due north of North Korea, issued a public statement Tuesday calling on Diaspora haredim to leave their home countries and move to his community.
A small group of haredim staged a protest in Jerusalem's Shabbat Square yesterday afternoon to protest the arrest of two haredi yeshiva students who dodged the draft. The protesting haredim blocked the street and caused buses to have to disembark their passengers as police tried to clear the intersection. Seven arrests were made.
The Belz hasidic movement has a relatively new community near Lakewood, New Jersey and it has banned all women in it from driving. It also mandates that men cannot walk in public outside their homes without wearing a frock coat and a hat, and has all sorts of rules people who live in the community must follow. Is this legal? If it is in any way linked to housing sales or rental, it likely isn't. When Belz tried a similar women's driving ban last year in London, England linked to its schools there, the British government almost closed the schools, and the Belz driving ban made international headlines.
According to a new report in Israel's Channel 10 News website, the haredi version of the Arab Spring is already in bloom as children of BTs leave the haredi community in large numbers while born and bred haredim, finally able to get uncensored news on the Internet from places like News 10 (and Behadrei Haredim, FailedMessiah.com, etc.), move closer and closer to open rebellion against rabbinic leaders.
In a 2010 letter to PETA, Agri Star's owner, Hershey Friedman, says it can't install 24/6 video monitoring of the animal handling areas of the plant and its grounds or of the slaughter floor area because the Postville plant's rabbis thought having cameras looking over their shoulders would hinder their jobs.
OJPAC, a haredi lobby group closely associated with haredi PR flack Yossi Gestetner, is fighting against demands made by Rockland County, New York firefighters to shut down many haredi yeshivas in the county which are operating illegally and are often so code and permit noncompliant they are demonstrably unsafe. But OJPAC has a bit of a secret. It's official office is located in a property that appears to be owned and by Hamodia publisher Ruth Lichtenstein's and husband and son, Nahman (Nachman) and Yechiel Lichtenstein, who are notorious landlords and property owners. Their large Philadelphia warehouse property burned four years ago due to their neglect and their failure to comply with the city's code and its enforcement orders. That fire killed two firemen.
The third time was not a charm for South African police, who reportedly tried – and failed – to arrest Breslov hasidic Rabbi Eliezer Berland on Shabbat. But what really upset Berland and his followers is that the police had the help of Hebrew-speaking Jews who violated Shabbat in a bid to arrest him.
Israel’s Zionist Orthodox-controlled Education Ministry has withheld millions of dollars in funding for organizations promoting Jewish pluralism, despite the fact that funding was allocated and earmarked in the state budget. Instead, the ministry appears to have given the money to Zionist Orthodox and haredi groups.
“We are deeply uncomfortable about the [professed] link between poor English language skills and extremism, which does not appear to have any evidence base. Conflating these two issues stigmatizes parts of society in a way that can only increase the feelings of unease and marginalization of the targeted groups.…Schools should not be used as a tool for social engineering,” Friedman of the haredi Interlink organization continued. “We do not accept that independent faith schools should be branded inadequate because children have a simple and conservative understanding of family life.…"
A Bronx nursing home and assisted living facility serves an almost exclusively non-Jewish population. Even so, the nonprofit has sent more than $20 million dollars to hasidic and Orthodox charities, mostly yeshivas and other institutions owned by the Belz, Skvere and Sanz hasidic dynasties, many located in Israel. Some money even went to Aish HaTorah to convert non-Orthodox Jews to Orthodoxy. Sitting on the board of this Bronx nonprofit are some of the most powerful men in the haredi community, men who sit on the board of Agudath Israel of America and the Orthodox Union. One of them, Abraham Biderman, is the new head of the scandal-plagued Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, the Jewish community's NYC anti-poverty arm that was looted of millions of dollars by its former CEO William E. Rapfogel, who like Biderman is an Orthodox Jew.
Outside the home of #2 Ashkenazi haredi non-hasidic rabbinic leader Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky is a new ATM-like device that allows users to deposit money for a charity Kanievsky supports and, through the use of computerized technology, give Kanievsky's aides the donor's name, Hebrew name, and other religiously pertinent information the charity promises Kanievsky will use when he gives the donor a remote blessing.
“Granting the subsidy to couples in which the father learns in yeshiva full time does an injury to all other couples who need to prove that they are working or studying in order to gain employment in the future. This discrimination is expressed in acceptance committees for child day care in which preference is given to the children of yeshiva students since the families of yeshiva students will always be poorer than families where both parents work."
Chabad in Melbourne, Australia has released what it says will be its new organizational structure and the methods of electing or appointing the people who will be the lay leaders of Chabad institutions there. A close look seems to show that the disgraced old guard will still easily be able to control everything behind a razor thin veneer of very limited democracy.
Parents of public school children in East Ramapo Central School District have filed a petition in State Supreme Court in Albany, asking the court to direct the New York State Board of Regents and the State Education Department (SED) to take concrete remedial action to safeguard their children’s right to a sound basic education as guaranteed by the New York State Constitution.
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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."