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.
As the Gaza Jewish settlement bloc of Gush Katif was about to be forcibly evacuated by Israel just over a decade ago, settlement leaders, teachers and rabbis were allegedly doing something other than simply fighting the evacuation – they were allegedly actively covering up a string of child sex abuse complaints and harassing the alleged victims.
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.
"…[H]igh prices are not a given. There are many things that can improve the affordability of Jewish living. First, there needs to be greater cost transparency.…[I]ncredibly, the London Board of Shechita cannot provide any data or explanation as to why the price of kosher meat has [so dramatically] risen over time.…"
"Unethical behavior among Jewish leaders has reached crisis levels in the American Jewish community. It seems hardly a week passes without news of yet another scandal involving rabbis, Jewish organizational professionals, or other individuals in leadership positions. These disturbing developments make a mockery of Jewish values, shatter the trust that we have placed in our community’s leaders, and alienate young people from Judaism.…"
Internal documents distributed by the IDF’s Zionist Orthodox-controlled Chief Rabbinate and the Manpower Department to various IDF units show the IDF’s Jewish Awareness section, which was under the direct control of the rabbis, forced secular Jewish combat soldiers to have monthly “conversations” with IDF rabbis “on the subject of acquaintance with and connection to Jewish heritage, tradition and sources, strengthening the fighting spirit, mission and motivation to serve."
"…I am the woman [Marc] Gafni molested when she was 13 years old. This is the first time I am telling my story in my own name. If …[abused] children are lucky, someone will notice there is something wrong. But too often, the police are not involved, and these children are unlikely to be protected. I wasn’t.…"
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot has moved the IDF’s controversial Jewish Identity Section from the direct control of the IDF’s Chief Rabbinate to the Manpower Directorate in order to "preserve the IDF as a national army in a democratic state” after Zionist Orthodox IDF rabbis repeatedly abused the section to use it to teach highly sectarian religio-political theology.
"…The first inclination of many observers is to label young people who seek out nativist causes like ISIS or the Hilltop Youth as “crazy,” “lunatics,” or “hormone-laden kids.” But behind this perceived lunacy is a certain philosophy, or a general tendency, that we can trace back to leaders who either taught fundamentalist and nativist philosophies or whose teachings have been interpreted to support violence and terror. One such leader affiliates with the Chabad movement in Israel. His name is Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh, and many Hilltop Youth attended the yeshiva Od Yosef Chai [which he founded and] where he serves as president…”
Lincoln Square Synagogue, the iconic Modern Orthodox Upper West Side congregation founded decades ago by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, allegedly told Joseph Allaham, the owner of Prime Grill and several other high-end kosher eateries in the city, that if he doesn’t withdraw his $1.8 million civil suit against Lincoln Square Synagogue, it will make sure that all of those eateries and their related catering operations lose their Orthodox Union OU Kosher supervision.
“This is a person’s life, we’re talking about very serious matters,” Ben-Or said after first describing the situation many people have found themselves in through no fault of their own: waiting for extended periods of time for the Chief Rabbinate to decide if they are Jewish enough to marry in Israel without the Chief Rabbinate even answering questions regarding the inordinate delays.“It is a right to start a family. I am ashamed that in a functioning state this information cannot be provided. It is an unprecedented scandal. It is not Jewish, and [is] inhumane.”
Based on recent reporting about ex-rabbi Marc Gafni and the people who still support him despite his history of predatory behavior, the founder of the Center for Jewish Feminism, writes about how guys like Gafni, especially rabbis still in the Orthodox community who are like Gafni, get and maintain community support despite allegations of sexual abuse.
Over the last three years, police have opened a total of 1,562 investigations into right-wing price-tag hate crime attacks. But only 287 indictments – under 18% – have been filed in those cases. Almost 40% of those cases – 566 – were closed because police supposedly could not solve them. 275 others were closed due to “insufficient evidence.” And most tellingly, 105 of these Jewish hate crime cases were closed because of a lack of “public interest.” That supposed lack of interest is determined by police and prosecutors and is not subject to any reliable third party review.
An 18-year-old Jewish alleged extremist from Ma’aleh Adumim, a moderate West Bank Jewish settlement just outside Jerusalem, was released to house arrest from from administrative detention, where he was held by the Shin Bet in connection with a church hate crime arson. Two minors confessed to the crime several days ago.
Sources in Israel’s treasury reportedly estimate inflated costs from the official state chief rabbinate’s kosher supervision monopoly costs Israel 300 million shekels (just under $77 million) per year alone. The chief rabbinate's kosher supervision of fresh produce adds about 1 billion shekels ($255 million) per year to that figure.
Chabad-Lubavitch hasidim regularly visit secular elementary schools and hand out fliers on the importance of observing Shabbat. A parent fought against this and the Education Ministry told her in response that no promotional literature should be distributed without its approval. But that is reportedly the Education Ministry's standard response to parental complaints about Chabad-Lubavitch activity in schools, and there is no evidence the Education Ministry has done anything to stop these visits from recurring.
One of Rabbi Barry Freundel's self-made voyeurism videos was unlike the other 51. Rather than being taken in the mikvah (women's ritual bath), it had the backdrop of an apartment. Who was this woman? Whose apartment was this? And how did Freundel have the access to secretly video record her naked in her most private intimate moments?
The five were also indicted for the hate crime attempted arson of a Palestinian taxi in the West Bank village of Yasuf, setting fire to a grain silo in the West Bank village of Akraba, two instances of tire-slashing in the Jerusalem Arab neighborhood of Beit Safafa, an assault on a Palestinian shepherd near the West Bank settlement of Kochav Hashahar, and even more acts of violence against Palestinians.
After the arson-murders, Ben-Uliel and his wife and 1-year-old daughter reportedly moved to Jerusalem and became, so they told friends, followers of Rabbi Eliezer Berland’s Breslov hasidic movement, Shuvu Banim. Berland has been on a more than two-year flight from justice, running from country to country to avoid deportation and extradition to Israel, where he is wanted for questioning in the rapes and sexual abuse of several young female followers, most of whom were married at the time of their alleged assault, and at least one of whom was a minor at the time the alleged sex assault took place.
The soldier is seen on a video from the wedding celebrating the arson-murder of a West Bank Palestinian baby and the baby’s sleeping parents. Revelers danced to Dov Shurin’s racist song Zochreini Na and waved machine guns, knives and a mock Molotov cocktail in the air which they lit and used to burn a photo of the murdered baby – but not before they took their turns stabbing and slashing the photo with their knives.
Hamas in Gaza banned New Year celebrations because "celebrating the new year contradicts the instructions of Islamic religion. It's a Western custom that we don't accept in Gaza." A similar line of reasoning was used this week by a leading moderate Zionist Orthodox rabbi to do almost exactly the same thing.
“I can tell you from my own experience that the fire of Eros is a real thing. In recent years I have myself developed a capacity to experience and channel this energy in a series of tantric relationships. I have no doubt that it is real, that it has been experienced and described by many great poets and mystics, and that Marc himself is a powerful receiver and transmitter of it. I also have no trouble believing that in his early life he had little understanding or control over this powerful gift … Anyone who has gifts of this kind needs to learn to handle them responsibly and ethically. This can take some time, and even in the best of circumstances, people can get burned.”
Israel's kosher fraud law gives the Chief Rabbinate a monopoly over kosher food supervision in the country, but only allows the Chief Rabbinate to supervise food – not ideology or religious tolerance. But for years until it was brought to the attention of the High Court of Justice, in practice the Chief Rabbinate threatened to yank the kosher supervision from any hotel or restaurant that had a Christmas tree displayed for non-Jewish guests or hosted Christmas parties for them. But even though the Chief Rabbinate promised the High Court of Justice it would stop doing this, a new investigation reportedly shows that the haredi controlled Chief Rabbinate now uses its local affiliates around the country to continue the illegal bans.
The Hilltop Youth aren't just teenage boys with large knitted kippot (skullcaps) and extremely long peyos (sidecurls), they're also those youths' sisters and girlfriends. One of them is the bride at whose wedding the Hilltop Youth danced their notorious dance celebrating the arson-murders of a palestinian baby and his sleeping parents. Here is a profile of those female wannabe terrorists.
Israel's Zionist Orthodox Jews overwhelmingly believe the Douma (Duma) arson-murders of a Palestinian baby and his sleeping parents is being misused to attack the Zionist Orthodox community, and more than a third believe the arson-murders was carried out by Palestinians, not Zionist Orthodox Hilltop Youth settlers.
Dov Shurin singing the racist pro-Jewish-terrorist song he composed, Zochreini Na, in Chabad's main synagogue at 770 Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, New York on March 21, 2012. Note that Shurin sings the biblical verse his music was composed to with one word changed. The biblical verse talks about killing Philistines, but Shurin sings about killing Palestinians. Zochreini Na is the song that the Hilltop Youth were dancing to as at a wedding they celebrated, with machine guns and knives waved in the air, the arson-murders of a Palestinian baby and his parents in a Jewish terror attack in the West Bank Palestinian village of Douma (Duma).
Of the three alleged Jewish terrorists detained by the Shin Bet in connection with the Douma arson-murders, two of them are sons of mainstream Zionist Orthodox rabbis who are respected in the Zionist Orthodox community. One of the rabbis leads a pre-military Zionist Orthodox Yeshiva course. The other heads a widely known Zionist Orthodox organization.
"…Since the 'wedding of hate' was broadcast, pundits have been labelling the dancers 'JudeoDaesh' [Judeo-ISIS] and apologists have been explaining how they’re basically poor deluded dropouts who found a home on the hilltops and have been radicalized by seeing their friends murdered in Palestinian terror attacks. Both approaches are disingenuous. This is not a freak mutation of Judaism or a symptom of a sociological problem. And while they are a minority on the fringes of both the political and religious spectra, they are still a part of mainstream Israeli society, a natural outcropping of our failure to recognize how the occupation of another nation has ultimately eaten away at out moral values. It’s much too easy to be shocked at these vile creatures from another world. [But] they’re not that far away.…"
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu quickly designated the fire as a terrorist attack, making the church ineligible to draw on insurance but paving the way for government compensation. Two months later, the Israeli Tax Authority declared that the violent event did not qualify as terrorism, and therefore could not receive government funding.
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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."