Sunday, May 04, 2008

The ignominies and obloquies by DA Charles Hynes discredits and shames the judicial system!

Hynes likes the ladies. Justice for the victims of Rabbinical abuse is not on his agenda!

DA Struggles To Explain Kolko Plea Deal

Contradictions riddle Hynes’ account of how yeshiva teacher skirted child sexual abuse charges

by Hella Winston and Larry Cohler-Esses

It’s the case they can’t keep straight.

Brooklyn District Attorney Charles J. Hynes’ shifting explanations of a widely criticized plea deal earlier this month for alleged child sex molester Rabbi Yehuda Kolko took several dizzying turns this week.

Contrary to earlier statements from Hynes’ office, Sex Bureau Chief Rhonnie Jaus disclosed Tuesday that parents from two families whose children Rabbi Kolko allegedly molested had been willing to let their children testify. Hynes’ spokespersons had earlier said otherwise.

But Jaus stressed that in the end, both families had signed affidavits agreeing to the deal after Rabbi Kolko had offered to plead guilty to a non-sex-related misdemeanor and receive a sentence of three years’ probation.

“These were very small children,” said Jaus. “Both parents were trying to be good parents.

[But] nobody was rushing in to have their child in a courtroom. We felt the plea was in the best interest of the case.”

Jaus said that both families had consented to the agreement “verbally and in writing,” and that at one family’s insistence, she had spoken with their attorneys in a related civil case as well. Hynes said that without their consent, he would not have allowed Rabbi Kolko to plead his charges radically downward.

But in a letter to Jaus obtained by The Jewish Week, one father indicated he had been pressured into signing his consent statement.

The letter, dated one day after the father signed the affidavit, said, “I understand what the district attorney wants from me and I will sign the letter,” referring to the consent affidavit.

But the father added, “I feel justice was not served because I see the damage Kolko caused to our son.” The Jewish Week is withholding the name of the family because of the alleged victim’s age.

This father emphasized, “My son was ready to go to trial and we feel he would have done an excellent job and I am sorry to hear that [the case against] Joel Kolko will not proceed further.”

“That’s a letter just telling the judge about how one kid suffered,” said Jaus. She voiced distress that The Jewish Week had obtained the letter from court case files, saying, “I’m not sure how you got those files. They’re not supposed to be publicly available.”

Looking For A Way Out?

In an interview, the father, asked if he had felt pressured to “sign or else” made a motion of his fingers across his neck.

“I believe they were looking for angles out,” he said.

The father added that the prosecutors had led him to believe they had plans to pursue Rabbi Kolko by some other routes, with heavier penalties for him down the road. Alternatively, he said, he thought they hoped to use Rabbi Kolko to prosecute the administrators of the school he taught at, Yeshiva Torah Temimah in Flatbush, on charges of knowingly allowing him to molest children.

“If there’s no deal involved, and this is what they gave him, shame on them!” he said.

The new disclosures are the latest in a series of often contradictory explanations Hynes’ office has offered over the last two weeks for the Kolko plea deal, which has attracted censure both in Brooklyn’s Orthodox community and from legal experts. A series of previous actions perceived by some as lenient towards prominent Orthodox institutions or individuals accused of wrongdoing have led to criticism — dismissed by Hynes — of his close relationship with the community’s leadership.

Rabbi Kolko, 62, a teacher at Torah Temimah for about four decades, faced felony charges of touching two first-graders in their sexual areas and of forcing an adult former student to touch him during a visit to the school. Under the plea agreement, Rabbi Kolko, made no admission of sexual wrongdoing. He will not have to register as a sex offender and pleaded guilty only to a misdemeanor.

Outside the case, others — many of them now beyond the legal statute of limitations — have given accounts of being molested by Rabbi Kolko as long as nearly four decades ago. Five former students have filed a civil suit against Torah Temimah, alleging school administrators knew about Rabbi Kolko’s molestation of themselves and other students over many years but sought to conceal it and intimidate students who spoke out.

A Hynes spokesperson said right after the plea deal was reached that Hynes had agreed to it because the families of the two children alleging the rabbi had molested them would not let their sons testify. Hynes has since offered a series of revised accounts. In the first revision, soon after, Hynes said through a spokesman that one of the families had, in fact, agreed to let their son testify, but only via closed-circuit TV, and the other not at all.

Since then, Hynes or his aides have put out further, often inconsistent, accounts:

- Last week, via a spokesman, Hynes acknowledged he had applied for judicial permission for one of the alleged child victims to testify via closed circuit TV — but had withdrawn this motion before the judge could rule on it. Spokesman Jerry Schmetterer said his boss did so because “the bureau chief of the sex crimes unit did not have confidence the approval would be obtained and therefore made the decision to settle on the reduced charges.”

- In an interview Tuesday, Hynes said that “the victim’s family wanted the case resolved the way it was” — and denied that he had ever applied to the court for permission to use a camera for one of the children.

- He called back shortly afterward and said he had misspoken — that, in fact, he had applied to the court for CCTV testimony but withdrew the motion because such judicial permission “has never been granted in the history of the world.” Hynes emphasized that families for both of the alleged child victims had signed affidavits consenting to the plea deal.

- Jaus, the Sex Crimes bureau chief, told The Jewish Week Tuesday that the same father willing to allow his son to testify in open court for the original sexual molestation charges was “adamant” that he did not want Rabbi Kolko to be sentenced to prison. Yet the trial at which he was willing to testify, if it had taken place and led to a conviction, would almost certainly have meant a jail sentence for Rabbi Kolko.

Avoiding A Court Appearance

Nevertheless, Jaus appeared to offer the most coherent account of what happened. One family, she said, was prepared to let their 10-year-old son testify against Rabbi Kolko only via CCTV, under a law that allows minors in sexual abuse trials who are judged “vulnerable” by the court to do so in a quiet, separate room, out of the presence of prosecutors, defense attorneys, the accused molester and courtroom onlookers. The provision is intended to minimize “mental or emotional harm” to such children from the testifying experience.

The court scheduled a hearing on Jaus’ motion for March 31. But she withdrew her motion before this could take place because Rabbi Kolko’s attorney offered to plead guilty to the reduced charges.

In deciding to accept the offer, Jaus said, the wish of one family not to see Rabbi Kolko do prison time was a factor, along with the rabbi’s advanced age, poor health and lack of a prior record.

Another factor, she said, was deep uncertainty over whether the judge would grant her motion to allow testimony via CCTV for the other child, as his family required.

“It’s an extraordinary step to have it granted,” she said. “In my experience, we have not had it granted in my bureau. I think it was used once before I came.”

This was a revelation to the boy’s father, who stated vehemently that prosecutor Marc Fliedner told him in a late March phone call that the court had, in fact, approved the CCTV motion. “He said, ‘We got it,’” the father insisted. “He said, ‘Great news; the judge granted it.’”

Jaus stressed that only a hearing had been granted for late March. A message left for Fliedner was not returned.

The State Division of Criminal Justice Services, which provides media equipment for such cases, reports that courts statewide have employed their cameras 17 times since 1998 for children judged vulnerable. Legal scholars say judges are often reluctant to grant this motion out of concern that it undermines the constitutional right of a defendant to confront his accuser.

Still, case law has found this alternative acceptable when judged necessary. And if any case might be seen to meet the bar, it could well be this one.

As Dr. Simcha Y. Cohen, a psychologist and rabbi counseling the alleged victim, noted in an affidavit in support of the motion, “Within the Orthodox community ... confrontation or challenge of rabbinic leaders is strongly discouraged. This dynamic comes more intensely into play when the rabbinical leader is a teacher in a yeshiva setting, and the member who is being required to communicate such confrontations is a child.”

Jaus nevertheless defended her decision to abandon this effort once Rabbi Kolko’s lawyer put the plea bargain opportunity before her.

“I thought it was an opportunity for the children to be spared having to testify in court,” she said. “Getting approval for CCTV was iffy.” And even if it came, she said, “The case rested solely on the two kids. There was no other corroborating evidence. It’s their words standing alone.”

Professor Marci Hamilton of Yeshiva University, an expert in child abuse cases, voiced dismay at this assessment. “If you have just one child, you have a tough case,” she said. “But if you have two, you have corroboration.

“This has all the earmarks of the usual prosecutors’ deference to religious groups,” she said. “I think it’s hard to explain.”

But Jaus said that thanks to TV shows like “CSI,” “Many people expect to see corroborating evidence such as medical evidence, fingerprints. DNA. We just had the word of these children.”

Asked about the possibility her deal could now allow Rabbi Kolko, in the absence of a sex charge conviction, to go back to working with children, she replied, “He’s now pleaded guilty to two counts of endangering the welfare of a child; two counts with two separate children. I’d imagine most schools would not want someone who’s been convicted of something like that.”


Yehuda Kolko said...

If someone is in very poor health condition; then they don't deserve to go to jail.

kosher shaver said...

is it true that Hraav Chaim kanievsky shlita assered any shaving machine?

Is KosherShavers mail-in service really free? TOP
YES! There is absolutely no catch. We are doing this public service in order to be Mezakeh the Rabbim. Please spread the word!

Does removing the lifts damage or decrease my shaver’s effectiveness? TOP
NO. The shaver will continue to be effective after removal of the lifters.

Where / which part(s) of my shaver should I mail KosherShaver? TOP
This service is only available for the popular Norelco Lift and Cut shavers. Please only send us the actual 3....

Chinese government said...

May 2, 2008

Concern over China's 'kosher' Olympics

The Chinese government has authorized the establishment of a kosher kitchen at this summer's Olympic Games, evidently in the hope of attracting Jewish tourists to the event.

It is a question of whether to grant "kosher certification" to a regime that is enabling genocide in Sudan.

The Chinese government's oppressive policies have been graphically demonstrated in recent weeks by its mistreatment of the people of Tibet, not to mention friendship with Hamas and provision of advanced missile technology to Syria and Iran.

Beijing is the largest foreign purchaser of Sudanese oil, the largest foreign investor in Sudan and Sudan's largest trading partner. China also provides arms to Sudan (in violation of the U.N.'s arms embargo). According to the Save Darfur Coalition, Chinese weapons and trucks have been used by the genocidal militias. China is the chief enabler of the genocide.

The world community remembers all too well how Nazi Germany sought to attract visitors to the 1936 Olympics in order to distract attention from its persecution of the Jews. Hitler's propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, called the 1936 games "a victory for the German cause."

The Chinese government is hoping for a propaganda victory of its own.

Jews should not be party to the whitewashing of such a regime, kosher kitchen or no kosher kitchen.

Enablers of genocide are not kosher. World Jewry and the world community should be extra strict to avoid standing idly by while another person's blood is spilled.

Rabbi Justin Schwartz

Spring Valley

The writer is a Jewish educator and chaplain of the Spring Valley Fire Department.

Charles Hynes on Fed Case said...

triple homicide said...

Charles Hynes talks about his book.

posek belsky said...

I highly recommend Coconut Lime Shrimp to all the Agudah fressers.

Cooking on deadline: Recipe for Coconut Lime Shrimp

Aside from overcooking, it's hard to go wrong with shrimp.

Whether you broil, grill, stir-or deep-fry them, the briny, fresh taste of shrimp makes a savoury spring or summer meal that cooks quickly and pairs well with crisp salads and easy-to-drink sweet white wines. Take a simple approach, tossing the shrimp with just olive oil, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Or reach for complex flavours, dousing them in a blend of melted ghee and curry powder.

This recipe for shrimp marinated in coconut milk and lime juice has a tropical taste. But if you'd rather skip the coconut milk, follow the recipe using just the lime juice and a bit of tequila for a margarita-inspired dish.

Very large shrimp are the easiest to grill. And high-quality specimens can taste almost like lobster. But these can be pricey. Smaller shrimp can be substituted, but you may need to reduce the cooking time.

Smaller shrimp are easiest to grill when skewered. Bamboo skewers are inexpensive. Just soak them in water for about 30 minutes before they go on the grill (this prevents them from burning).

Just remember, whatever your cooking technique, shrimp cook very quickly. As soon as the meat is solid white or the shells are pink, they are done. Large shrimp need 1 to 2 minutes per side. Smaller can take less than a minute.


Start to finish: 30 minutes

Servings: 4

3 limes

900 g (2 lbs) raw shrimp, peeled, tail on

425 ml (14-oz) can full-fat coconut milk

15 ml (1 tbsp) kosher salt

2 ml ( 1/2 tsp) freshly ground black pepper

75 ml (1/3 cup) unsweetened coconut flakes

Use a fine grater or zester to remove and reserve the zest of 1 lime. Juice all the limes (about 25 ml or 1/8 cup juice).

Place the shrimp in a large, zip-close plastic bag. Add the coconut milk and three-quarters of the lime juice, then seal the bag and gently shake to coat the shrimp. Refrigerate 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a food processor combine the lime zest, kosher salt and black pepper. Pulse until the zest, salt and pepper are well blended. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

In a small, dry skillet over medium-low heat, lightly toast the coconut flakes. As soon as the coconut begins to brown, remove it from the heat. Set aside.

Generously coat a grill grate with cooking spray and preheat on medium-high. Alternatively, set a grill pan over medium-high heat and coat with cooking spray just before you are ready to cook.

Remove the shrimp from the marinade, discarding the marinade. Place the shrimp on the grill or grill pan and cook about 1 to 2 minutes per side, or until the exteriors are pink and the centers are opaque white.

While the shrimp are still on the grill, drizzle them with them remaining lime juice.

Transfer the shrimp to serving plates, then lightly sprinkle them with the salt-lime zest mixture, then with a bit of toasted coconut.

Nutrition information per serving: 330 calories; 92 calories from fat; 10 g fat (6 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 388 mg cholesterol; 4 g carbohydrate; 52 g protein; 1 g fibre; 672 mg sodium.

fatso margo said...

I would like to offer the job of assistant principal at YTT in Lakewood to yudi kolko. He is not guilty of any sex crimes.

Yona Weinberg said...

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- A teacher's assistant at a Flatbush Jewish
school has been arrested on sex abuse charges.
Yona Weinberg, 29, is accused of touching the private parts of two
boys, ages 13 and 14, on more than one occasion while working with them at
the school.
Weinberg, who is not a Rabbi, was also charged with endangering the
welfare of a child.

Teacher arrested at a Brooklyn synagogue said...

Teacher arrested at a Brooklyn synagogue
Monday, May 05, 2008 | 8:35 AM
Charged with endangering the welfare of a child and sexual abuse
Eyewitness News

FLATBUSH (WABC) -- A teacher is under arrest in Brooklyn-- accused of sexually abusing students at a synagogue school.

Eyewitness News reporter Lisa Colagrossi has more on the story.

The boys involved are ages 13 and 14. It was yesterday that they went to police and made these accusations.

The boys say the abuse happened a short time ago. They say, their teacher, Yona Weinberg touched their private parts on several occasions while assisting them with their religious studies.
Story continues below

However, Weinberg is not a rabbi. He was charged with sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child.

He is 29-years-old and he was picked up at his home. Weinberg remains in police custody this morning.

Anonymous said...


5/5/08 12:24 PM EDT
Rediculous! Yona Weinberg is NO WAY a paid employee at the synagogue. THAT IS FALSE. He is a practicing Social Worker at the Interborough clinic and Jewish Board of Family and Children Services. He tutors boys how to read from the Torah as a side job independently. There is no way he could have been molesting children without anyone in the synagogue knowing! There are always other people there studying. The synagogue is one large room. It is only opened during prayer services and the Jewish Sabbath. Otherwise it is c...

rabbi efrayim byrks said...

Man Charged in Sex Abuse of 3-Year-Old

By Matt Zapotosky
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, May 4, 2008; SM04

Police arrested a Leonardtown man who is suspected of molesting a 3-year-old girl on four occasions since November.

Christopher Michael Holland, 31, was charged Thursday with four counts of child sexual molestation and four counts of sexual abuse of a child. In St. Mary's County District Court on Friday, he was ordered held without bail pending his next court appearance May 29.

Detectives from the St. Mary's Bureau of Criminal Investigations found Holland sitting in his car March 29 watching animated child pornography on his laptop computer, according to charging documents filed in court by police. After scanning the computer, detectives found pictures of young nude girls, including one photograph of Holland and the 3-year-old who is alleged to have been the victim in the incidents for which he was charged, according to the police statement.

Holland later admitted to a detective that he molested the girl four times, according to charging documents. He also stated his sexual preference for girls "between the ages of four and ten years old," according to the police statement.

The FBI assisted detectives from St. Mary's in the investigation because the case involved animated child pornography, law enforcement officials said. No federal charges have been filed in connection with the case.

Richard Wolf, a spokesman for the FBI in Baltimore, said sometimes a long time gap exists between local and federal charges, especially when it is necessary for federal officials to review electronic materials. But he said the FBI does not hesitate to get involved in child abuse cases because federal charges can be more severe.

"Sometimes, it just takes a long time to go through all this stuff," Wolf said.

rabbi Leib Tropper said...

Only I can be in charge of conversions.

Chief Rabbi: Decision to Overturn Conversions Won't Stand
1 Iyar 5768, 06 May 08 03:22
by Hillel Fendel

( Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar has assured government ministers that the recent Chief Rabbinical High Court decision to overturn recent conversions to Judaism will have no effect. His basis for such a sweeping statement is unclear.

A leading religious-Zionist rabbi bitterly castigated the High Court's ruling, and said he would work immediately to form an alternative to the Chief Rabbinate's conversion courts if it is not overturned (see below).

It was reported late last week that the Rabbinate's High Court had overturned a specific conversion of a woman who apparently never lived a religious Jewish lifestyle, as required by Jewish Law. In addition, the Court ruled all the conversions performed in the last several years by Rabbi Chaim Druckman, the head of the Conversion Administration, were hereby null and void. The number of people directed affected by this decision is unknown, but could be in the thousands.

At the heart of the matter is a halakhic [Jewish legal] dispute that has largely been drawn along hareidi-religious and national-religious lines. Both disagree with the minority Halakhic opinion that a convert need not affirm his intention to observe the Torah's commandments; they rather demand that the prospective convert display sincere intention to observe a religious lifestyle. They disagree, however, as to how to implement this requirement.

One school says that if a convert appears to be sincere in his desire to be a religious Jew when he appears before the rabbinical court, the judges may suffice with this and allow the conversion. In addition, they need not check up later on his "progress."

The more hareidi school of thought is that if a convert is later seen to be living a non-religious lifestyle, this renders the conversion invalid almost automatically.

Judges Revoke Hundreds of Conversions, or More
The three judges of the High Rabbinical Court, representing the second approach, abruptly revoked the Jewishness of the woman in question in the specifica case at hand. In addition, they found irregularities in the way Rabbi Druckman - who represented the more lenient approach - carried out his court's conversions, and blanketly revoked all of them.

Rabbi Druckman has a sterling reputation among his many thousands of students, and regularly remains awake until after 1 in the morning in order to meet with and help the many people who need him. For decades, he maintained a harrowing schedule as the founder and head of the Yeshivat Or Etzion institutions (including a military yeshiva high school), father to nine children, head of the nationwide Yeshivot Bnei Akiva umbrella organization, teacher in Yeshivat Merkaz HaRav, Knesset Member, advisor and helper to uncounted people who turned to him at all hours of the day, and more.

Rabbi Amar: No Need to Worry
Rabbi Amar - who, as the Sephardic Chief Rabbi, has ultimate authority for the courts under him - was angered at the decision. He tried to control the damage on Monday by assuring Absorption Minister Yaakov Edry that new immigrants who had converted under Rabbi Druckman would not be affected by the ruling. Rabbi Amar said that the issue never should have been judged in that forum, and that he would make sure to have it officially overturned.

Edry had said that the ruling had dealt a death blow to the entire system of conversion in Israel, as well as to the motivation of Israeli non-Jews - mostly Russian immigrants - to begin the conversion process.

Rabbi Amar and Minister Edry agreed that the issue of conversion is a matter of top national priority, and that all those involved must contribute to the national effort towards the full integration of new immigrants into the Jewish nation and Israeli society.

Orlev: Sharply Against Ruling
Rabbi Amar also met with MK Zevulun Orlev, the head of the National Religious Party, who had taken a sharp stance against the Chief Rabbinate's decision. Orlev expressed satisfaction with Rabbi Amar's promise to overturn the ruling, but said, "He must not only say it, but must do it... The goal is that the [conversion] courts must be convert-friendly, ruling in keeping with a national and Zionist approach."

A leading Conversion Authority figure told Arutz-7 that he does not believe the ruling will be able to withstand a Supreme Court appeal, "as the High Rabbinical Court probably does not have ultimate authority over the Conversion Courts in the Chief Rabbinate." This is likely to be put to the test, as an appeal to the Supreme Court is likely.

Rabbi Cherlow's Attack
Rabbi Yuval Cherlow, a leading figure in the religious-Zionist camp - he heads the Hesder Yeshiva in Petach Tikvah and is a founding member of the Tzohar Rabbis Organization - wrote a scathing attack against the High Court's decision. He called it a "desecration of G-d's Name," and more.

The rabbi concluded by writing that the ruling it was not overturned, he would work to create an alternative conversion court system - a surprising call coming from a leader of the camp that has traditionally supported the Chief Rabbinate.

Rabbi Cherlow wrote that the ruling:
* stands in total opposition to Jewish Law,
* embarrasses and shames a great Rabbi [Rabbi Druckman],
* violates the Torah's commands not to cause sorrow to converts,
* and deals a terrible blow to the efforts against intermarriage.

The rabbi wrote that the ruling also:
* leads to intervention by the secular Supreme Court in Jewish Law,
* is an unfair Halakhic intervention in an "ugly struggle against the religious-Zionist rabbinic world,"
* will lead to continued erosion of the status of rabbinical courts in the State of Israel,
* as well as to a deepening of the rift in the rabbinic world.

Rabbi Cherlow left his most hard-hitting claim for last:
** "It is the worst case of desecration of G-d's Name."

"If the ruling is not overturned," he concluded, "a genuine conversion authority will be immediately established that will operate according to Jewish Law and not according to politics, and will deal with one of the supreme missions in the Nation of Israel in a manner that is in keeping with the Torah and not via ugly manipulations. We can no longer evade this responsibility..."

Pearl Kaufman from Be'er Hagolus said...

I don't consider Ethiopians as Jewish. First of all they are black. Second they cannot ever become Rabbis.

Director from hell ---

Pearl Kaufman

Ethiopian rabbi joins Knesset

Published: 05/05/2008

For the first time, a fervently Orthodox rabbi of Ethiopian descent joined the Knesset.

Rabbi Mazor Bayana was sworn in Monday as a new Shas Party lawmaker. He replaces Rabbi Shlomo Benizri, who was forced to step down after being convicted of bribery.

Bayana, who like all Shas leaders is fervently Orthodox, is the third Ethiopian Jew to serve in the Israeli parliament. The other two were secular members of the center-left Labor and centrist Kadima parties.

Rabbi Harold Kushner said...

Although he was raised in a family of staunch atheists, Douglas Todd has gone on to become one of the most decorated spirituality and ethics writers in North America. He has received more than 60 journalistic and educational honours, many of them international. With this blog, readers are invited to adventure with Todd in exploring the ideas and movements shaking up the world of spirituality and philosophy. You're invited to post a message on this blog or contact Douglas Todd directly.
Famous rabbi says God's power is limited

The last few blog postings have been filled with denunciations, from Christians and atheists who believe they have the absolute truth. Here's a change of pace from a noted U.S. rabbi, Harold Kushner, who has a persuasive understanding of God, who maintains we're co-creators with the divine power.

By Douglas Todd

The state of Israel. Military security. The Holocaust. Iranian threat. U.S. foreign policy. Palestinian tension. The "Jewish vote." Anti-Semitism. Intermarriage.

In the minds of many, Jewishness now tends to conjure up images of global conflict and collective insecurity.


Petah Tikva Rabbinical Court said...,7340,L-3539574,00.html

Rabbinical court ordered to rehire female worker

Two years after dismissing newly-hired female secretary because of her gender, Petah Tikva Rabbinical Court forced by justice minister to take worker back

Tova Tzimuki
Published: 05.05.08, 08:13 / Israel Jewish Scene

The Petah Tikva Rabbinical Court has recently been ordered to rehire a woman who was supposed to begin work at the court as a secretary but was sent away by the halachic rulers because of her gender.

Two years ago, the woman arrived at her new place of work and planned to assume the secretarial position she was hired for.

However, upon her arrival at the court, the rulers informed her that she was not welcome there, demanded that she leave the place immediately and stressed that if she chose to stay she would be considered a "transgressor" and a curse would be cast on her.

The rulers also went on strike for several of hours, until the humiliated woman consented to leave, in tears.

The affair recently became known to Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann, who decided to intervene. He ordered that the worker should be returned to work on Monday, and instructed the director-general of the rabbinical courts, Rabbi Eliyahu Ben-Dahan, to escort the woman during her first day at work in order to make sure she was being greeted appropriately.

Friedmann also sent a harsh letter to the Petah Tikva court's presiding judge, Rabbi Baruch Shimon Salomon, stressing that the rabbinical court was obligated to follow the laws of the State of Israel, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Law that prohibits discrimination based on gender.

The minister warned that should the court fail to accept the worker, sanctions would be taken against it.

Rabbi Avi Shafran the putz said...

Newsweek didn't even consider me and that's not fair. Plus this Rabbi is not even orthodox.

Newsweek calls Dallas rabbi one of the best in his field

07:39 AM CDT on Wednesday, April 30, 2008

By SAM HODGES / The Dallas Morning News

Rabbi David Stern of Temple Emanu-El in Dallas has been recognized by Newsweek as one of the best in his field.

He placed 26th on the magazine's list of 50 most influential American rabbis. He finished 7th on a second Newsweek list of the country's 25 top "pulpit rabbis."

Rabbi Stern has been senior rabbi at Temple Emanu-El since 1996. It has 2,600 member families, making it one of the nation's largest Reform congregations.

"He has not only built a congregation, but he's out there on a lot of issues, everything from Darfur and other human-rights issues to interfaith issues in the Dallas area," said Jay Sanderson, CEO of JTN Productions, who helped prepare the lists for Newsweek.

Rabbi Stern said by phone that he was honored to be grouped with "some of the great leaders and teachers," but doesn't really believe in ranking rabbis.

"What we do isn't quantifiable," he said. "The most important work we do is with people and communities, trying to bring a sense of sanctity to lives.

"I'm just grateful my name on the lists is associated with Temple Emanu-El, which is my spiritual home and the focus of my work."

WebYeshiva said...

“I’ve been teaching Torah all my life and the audience has always been a live audience,” explained Rabbi Chaim Brovender, the Rosh Yeshiva [yeshiva dean] of “It occurred to me that there has to be a way to reach people who can't come to the yeshiva, who can’t come to the shiur [class] where it is given. What we have developed is the ability to teach a real class - with preparation, homework and interaction – over the Internet. As you see it is happening. You can ask questions, you see the page of Talmud being studied. And aside from the initial difficulties of launching any web-based project, it is working very well. There are real students all week long, from 5 in the morning onward.”

Rabbi Aaron Shlechter sucks said...



I heard the OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY from a very reliable source! As follows: boy attempted suicide numerous times over the last 3 years. VERY DEDCATED PARENTS spent all their energy and resources to rehabilitate child. As a last attempt and under the auspices of R. shechter and other Rabonnim and professionals parents scrapped together all their resources $33,000 TO PREVENT THEIR SON FROM TAKING HIS OWN LIFE.


Assuming that is the case when the parents knew he was being abused why did they not have him removed. When the boys was living very well in Teaxas for many months why did the family in texas not do anything.

Additionally the only way you can give the benifit of the doubt on the parents is by saying they made a mistake and didn't know what kind of place Tranquilty Bay was. The problem with that theory is that might only explain why they sent him there in the first place. How do you explain the parents fighting to keep him there after hearing about all the abuse that goes on there. I don't care how bad a child is. No normal yidishe parents would knowingly subject their child to such horrible, life-scarring, abuse.

Rabbi molester Yehuda Nussbaum said...

Gevalt. I couldn't believe it when I turned on 1010wins in my car and heard about Yona Weinberg. I believe his ploy of feeling up the two brothers he was giving "bar mitzva lessons" to, is the same technique that I use. Shlomele Mandel continues to send kids to me for "tutoring" and bar "mitzva lessons" so I have my opportunities to sneak a feel inside the privates. I am the "resource room rabbi" at YOB so my opportunities of molesting boys is at an alltime high.

Anonymous said...

Nussbaum from yob checks shatnez in his basement. Parents send their kids to have their garments checked where they are many times left alone with this child abuser.

chabad said...

On State Dept. Missions, Nuclear Scientist Checks in With Chabad

SANTA FE, NM -- (May 5, 2008)
R. C. Berman
His travels are related to preoccupying concerns of international political leaders, but this nuclear scientist says that it's his encounters with Chabad around the world that inspire him in his travels.

USY convention to include teens from ex-USCJ shuls said...

Moses, ECRUSY’s president and a student at Montreal’s Dawson College, said he still worries about a potential loss of members from Adath Israel Congregation, Beth Emeth Bais Yehuda Synagogue, and Beth Tzedec Congregation – the three large Toronto shuls that decided this spring to cut ties with the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism and allocate the money they would have spent on USCJ dues to more local programming.

Med student faces his own battle with cancer said...

Med student faces his own battle with cancer
By SHERI SHEFA, Staff Reporter
Thursday, 08 May 2008
TORONTO —Marc Ginsburg, 33, has wanted to become a doctor since he was 10 years old.
After getting a master’s degree as a nurse practitioner from the University of Toronto and completing two out of four years of medical school abroad, Ginsburg was shocked to find himself at the other end of the stethoscope.

From left, Marc Ginsburg, with his son Yosi, wife Gillian and daughter Miriam.

While studying for an exam last summer, he fell ill and discovered that he had cancer.

Ginsburg began his career in health care at Mount Sinai Hospital in cardiology, where he became one of the charge nurses and worked in the Intensive Care Unit.

He was working to obtain his master’s degree at the University of Toronto to become a nurse practitioner when he was accepted to medical school abroad.

“At that point, I had applied to medical school six years in a row. I didn’t get accepted anywhere in Canada for those six years. And I applied everywhere. I always said seven years would be my cut off, so thank God,” said Ginsburg, who is Orthodox.

With his wife, Gillian, six months pregnant, Ginsburg travelled to Bulgaria for his first year at the Medical University of Varna.

And with a newborn son, the Ginsburg family transferred to the University of Sint Eustatius School of Medicine in the Caribbean for his second year. At both schools, Ginsburg was at the top of his class.

In August 2007, he returned to Toronto and began to prepare for the United States Medical Licensing Exams, of which there are three.

“So I’m studying for the step one exam, and after about 21/2 to three weeks of studying… I had a weird chest discomfort, a little difficulty swallowing… I thought it was school-related stress getting close to the end, and I didn’t fit the age group for anything sinister,” he said.

“I don’t drink, don’t smoke, I’m generally a very healthy person and a very active person. My nails turned white, I was short of breath,” he said, adding that it all seemed to happen at once.

He said he went to see a friend who is a family physician. His blood was drawn, and it was discovered that Ginsburg’s hemoglobin, the protein molecule in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs, was extremely low.

“I got myself to North York General, they gave me two transfusions of blood and then they did more testing.”

Doctors discovered that he had a tumour on the lower end of his esophagus where it meets with the stomach – the gastroesophageal junction. Ginsburg was diagnosed with adenocarsinoma.

“Something like less than 1.6 or 2 in a million people get what I get at this age. A cancer like this usually hits people in their 60s and over, and they are generally smokers, drinkers, obese…”

He said that while he sought specialists to join his treatment team, he met some resistance and pessimism.

He said a specialist at Princess Margaret Hospital, “basically wanted to put nails in a wooden box, so to speak.”

But his oncologist at North York General Hospital was eager to start him on an 84-day chemotherapy cycle.

“I was diagnosed right before Rosh Hashanah… On Erev Yom Kippur, I started chemo at North York General.”

He said that same day, his wife, who was nine months pregnant with their second child, had gone into labour at Mount Sinai Hopital.

“I heard Miriam being born over the phone… It was just unbelievable.”

After Ginsburg completed his 84-day cycle, his oncologist decided to extend his chemotherapy to 27 weeks because he was responding so well.

During his second-last CT scan, two of the radiologists who were friends with Ginsburg, said they were shocked by the result.

“In terms of how things looked and how things are now, it is nothing short of miraculous. The metastases, the lymph nodes that were effected have calcified and shrunken down. Our two friends who are radiologists at North York looked at it and said, ‘If we didn’t know where the primary tumour site was, we wouldn’t even know where to begin to look.’”

It’s been six weeks since the treatment ended, and since then, Ginsburg and his wife, who is an engineer, have been doing their own research into therapeutic treatments.

“With my background, I’ve been drawing on the biochemistry and immunology associated with supplements and putting myself on a regiment as well.”

He said he also consulted with the naturopathic college across the street from the hospital to get confirmation that he is doing the right thing.

“On the Jewish side of things, we do our usual – pray three times a day, tfillin, mitzvot, we’ve visited many different rabbis. Gill’s cousin is Rabbi Ya’acov Hillel, who is one of the foremost authorities on Kabbalah in the world, and he does the legitimate, legitimate stuff,” Ginsburg said.

“He said, ‘Just pray, have your faith, keep your emunah and do what you have to do.’”

Ginsburg, who is shomer Shabbat and shomer Mitzvot, said the rabbis he met with instructed him to be even more observant than he already was, light a candle everyday in honour of a late rabbi, and give tzedekah every day in an amount equivalent to the gematriah of his Hebrew name.

“All of these rabbinical discussions happened right before I started doing chemotherapy,” he said.

He recalled being encouraged to change his Hebrew name to Chaim.

He said that Rabbi Hillel had organized two minyanim in his honour in Israel, and just as the rabbi called to inform his wife that his name had been changed to Chaim, Ginsburg was on his way home after having just purchased a complete set of the Talmud.

“People will go a whole lifetime and not get a fraction of these messages,” he said.

Now that he is in remission, his latest battle involves being accepted for a transfer into a Canadian medical school that is close enough to home.

“My followup is here in Toronto, my treatment is here in Toronto. Any other treatment that is going to be done, will be done at [Princess Margaret Hospital].”

Despite being rejected by schools including U of T, where he obtained his master’s degree as a nurse practitioner, he is still waiting to hear from others.

“They say because you went to school outside of Canada, we can’t really account for the weight of your education and what is the comparability to that to your peers,” he said.

“What they’re failing to see is that I’m a nurse practitioner from the school of graduate studies from the faculty of nursing and I was trained by their physicians and even one of the former deans has come to my support… I’m just trying to catch a break, you know?”

He said he was even willing to be accepted on a probationary basis or even go back a year.

Ginsburg has met obstacle after obstacle, yet he refuses to give up on his dream.

“You don’t cave in and lose your faith. That’s what being Jewish is all about. That’s what being human is all about. That is the triumph of the human spirit… I want to be a doctor more than anything.”

Ginsburg, frustrated, said that if it all went as planned, he’d be applying for his residency, rather than fighting to be accepted by a Canadian medical school.

“But there’s a blessing in everything,” his wife said. “Now you get to spend more time with the kids.”

“That I wouldn’t change for anything,” he said.

sholom rubashkins said...

The Jerusalem Post Internet Edition

Ask the Rabbi: Compassion for creatures
Shlomo Brody , THE JERUSALEM POST May. 1, 2008

Q What is the kashrut status of meat from animals that are treated harshly, like foie gras?

- Ben K, Dallas, Texas

A The controversial balance of benefiting from animals while treating them humanely arises in many areas of life. After returning recently from an enjoyable trip with my family to the zoo, which advocates animal preservation and protection, I found on the animal rights group PETA Web site, "Never patronize zoos," since these creatures belong in the wild, not "locked up in captivity."

Through many different mitzvot, Jewish law clearly condemns cruelty to animals. The Torah, for example, forbids muzzling an ox while it works so that it can eat freely (Deuteronomy 25:4), while the Seven Noahide Laws prohibit eating a limb severed from a living animal. The rabbis further decreed that a person must provide food to his animal before he partakes in his own meal (Brachot 41a).

Many commentators cite the obligation to remove an overloading burden from a donkey and the supplementary requirement to assist a fallen animal (Exodus 23:5, Deuteronomy 22:4) as prohibiting pain to animals, tza'ar ba'alei haim (Bava Metzia 32b). A major dispute exists whether this law ensures the welfare of the animal, or guides the moral development of humans. While these commandments protect the creature's health, they might primarily stem from a concern for the financial welfare of their owners. Rabbi Moses Sofer (Hungary, 19th century) alternatively suggested that preventing tza'ar ba'alei haim emulates divine conduct. Following the argument that these mitzvot build good character, he cited the verse, "His mercies are over all His works" (Psalms 145:9), as obligating compassion to all creatures.

Nonetheless, as evidenced by the laws regulating slaughter, the Torah clearly allows for harming animals for legitimate human needs, such as food. Permissible consumption of animals seemingly exemplifies human dominion over other creatures, as it states, "And the fear of you... shall be upon every beast of the earth... Into your hand they are delivered" (Genesis 9:2). Based on this principle, R. Israel Isserlein (Germany, 15th century) allowed plucking feathers from live chickens, ruling that Halacha allows tza'ar ba'alei haim if it benefits humans. Rabbi Moshe Isserles approved this opinion, applying it to financial gain as well (EH 5:14).

One strong opponent was Rabbi Yitzhak Bamburger (Wurzburg, Germany, 19th century), who permitted tza'ar ba'alei haim only to advance human health conditions, as with medical experimentation (Yad Halevi, YD 196). A middle position was taken by Bamburger's German colleague, R. Ya'acov Etlinger, who ordained painful actions only in cases of "great benefit" with "minimal pain," although these terms remain difficult to define.

While the majority of decisors followed Isserlein and Isserles, one should note that they urged people to refrain from plucking feathers since it leads to cruelty. Moreover, the vast majority of poskim forbid activities like cockfighting in which the intended benefit stems directly from the animal's pain (Igrot Moshe EH 4:92). The financial benefit of operating such competitions cannot justify sadistic activity in which the desired goal includes hurting animals.

Meat producers generate foie gras by fattening the liver of a duck or goose through gavage, a process of force-feeding animals before slaughtering. While this process originated in ancient Egypt, it was particularly popular historically among certain Eastern European Jews, who used it as a rare source for fat (schmaltz). Many Jews, however, refused to consume this food for fear of inhumane treatment, or because they thought the overstuffed animals became so incapacitated that they were no longer kosher.

Today, foie gras is industrially produced by restraining birds while food is poured down their throats held open by a metal pipe, a process repeated over a period of several days or weeks. Some decisors, such as Rabbi Yosef Elyashiv, allow producing foie gras, contending that the force-feeding ultimately provides sustenance to humans, as it did in previous generations. A number of leading rabbis, including Rabbi Ovadia Yosef (Yabia Omer YD 9:3), banned the practice because the process of production causes unacceptable pain, especially in an age when meat is readily available through more delicate means. They further contended that gavage might fatally wound the esophagus, raising questions about the kashrut of the animal.

Rabbi Moshe Feinstein separately prohibited producing veal, since the animals are fattened up through severe limitations on their movements (Igrot Moshe EH 4:92). This ruling has received less attention, although it was endorsed by the Masorti movement's Rabbi David Golinkin. In contrast, the prohibition of foie gras has gained much support from both Orthodox and non-Orthodox followers, including the Israeli High Court of Justice, which cited tza'ar ba'alei haim in its 2003 ban of foie gras production, a position I personally support.

The writer, editor of, teaches in Yeshivat Hakotel and is pursuing a doctorate in Jewish philosophy at the Hebrew University.

Help find this man in child sex abuse images said...

By Gregers Moller

INTERPOL is requesting the public's assistance to identify this man, assumed to be a Scandinavian, pictured in a series of child sexual abuse images posted on the Internet. The man has been found in about 100 images in a series of around 800, which are believed to have been taken in Southeast Asia. They depict the sexual abuse of at least three boys aged between six and 10 years old.
The first pictures of the man were originally discovered by police in Norway in March 2006. The photos were retrieved from the computer of a convicted paedophile, and are from a series involving at least three boys aged approximately six to 10 years old. They are believed to have been taken in Southeast Asia in 2000 and 2001.
The images were sent to the INTERPOL General Secretariat in March 2006 by Norwegian police, who discovered a number of abusive images featuring an unknown man while examining the home computer of a man they arrested in connection with the sexual abuse of children in Southeast Asia.
“The law enforcement community around the world has done all it can to find this man who clearly presents a danger to young children, and we are now asking the public to help identify this predator and protect other potential victims from abuse,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble.
INTERPOL’s child exploitation unit circulated the images to its global network of experts and potential matches received from around the world were then entered into INTERPOL’s Child Abuse Image Database (ICAID).
A digital comparison of the pictures received and those already stored in ICAID has so far identified 800 images in this series all featuring the same victims and locations.
Anyone with information about this man’s identity and current location should contact their local police or the INTERPOL General Secretariat. Members of the public should not take any direct action themselves.
Created 2008-05-06

Original news source:

israel belsky said...

Man admits to child sex abuse, bestiality

Daryl Slade
Calgary Herald

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The Crown is looking at having a former city man declared a long-term offender or dangerous offender after he admitted to sexually abusing an eight-year-old girl, bestiality and possessing child pornography.

Gary Wayne Todd, 53, who entered the courtroom in a wheelchair, pleaded guilty through defence lawyer Mark Gottlieb on Monday to charges relating to all three sets of allegations.

A video of the man having sex with a female dog was found along with child pornography in his home in Valleyview last year after the sexual touching was reported to police.

Crown prosecutor Diane Hollinshead said the sexual assault occurred in Calgary, but the video and about 600 stories and images of very young children were found in the man's home in Valleyview.

"They depict or advocate sex or sexual activity with young children," Hollinshead told provincial court Judge Marlene Graham.

Most of the pornographic images, said the prosecutor, were traced or hand-drawn by Todd.

Hollinshead said outside court the bestiality charge is rare, although she has one other such case currently in her files.

The lawyers said a detailed agreed statement of facts would be read in court when Todd is back on May 23.


Yeshiva of Brooklyn said...

Just because the pope is apologizing doesn't mean we should!

Pressure grows for Pope to apologise to abuse victims

May 8, 2008

THE Sydney bishop who helped write the Catholic Church's sex abuse policy in Australia has added his support for calls for Pope Benedict XVI to make a public apology to the Australian victims of sex abuse.

But Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, himself a victim of abuse, , said it was more important that the world leader of 1 billion Catholics act on his promise, made first in the United States, to investigate the causes of abuse.

The Bishop of Maitland-Newcastle, Michael Malone, was reported to have raised in private the desire for an apology with his fellow Australian bishops.

"I hope the Australian bishops will quietly ask the Pope to to say something on the issue of abuse when he comes to Sydney," Bishop Robinson said.

"It would be wrong to ask that this issue were to push World Youth Day to the sidelines; nevertheless there would be many opportunities and I certainly hope he raises the issue. It was young people who were abused so it's not irrelevant to World Youth Day. From what I hear the things the Pope said in the United States and especially his meeting with victims did help."

Avrohm Mondrowitz said...

Ex-patient sues doctor over sex abuse

Richard Cuthbertson
Calgary Herald

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

A city psychiatrist barred from practising medicine is facing a lawsuit from a former patient accusing him of "professional negligence and sexual abuse."

On Monday, the Alberta College of Physicians and Surgeons announced it had revoked Jeremy Roberts' licence to practise. A hearing found he'd had an inappropriate relationship with a patient that included sexual activity. The woman was not identified.

The patient's $250,000 lawsuit was launched independently from the college's investigation into Roberts' conduct.

The statement of claim says the woman went to see Roberts for treatment of anxiety, marital stress and postpartum depression.

The woman had two young children and was still married when she first visited Roberts in January 2003.

Ten months later, the woman alleges in the statement of claim, she and Roberts had sex in his office. They married in July 2005.

It was only when the woman was hospitalized for harming herself, the statement of claim says, that she revealed the secret relationship.

The woman makes allegations of negligence, breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract against Roberts.

None of the accusations have been proven in court.

The woman accuses Roberts of getting involved in an intimate relationship when he should have known she "was inherently incapable of properly consenting to the sexual involvement."

The woman is claiming a series of injuries, including intense shame and guilt and an eating disorder.

In a statement of defence, Roberts denies he was the cause of his wife's troubles.

In late summer of 2003, the woman disclosed she had feelings for him and alleges he told her the same, according to the statement of claim.

But in the statement of defence, Roberts says he encouraged the patient to stay with her husband.

It also says the psychiatrist was "lonely, isolated, vulnerable and depressed following the breakup of his first marriage in 2001."

Roberts says he no longer considered her a patient in late 2003.

The statement of defence does not address when the two started their sexual relationship.

The statement of defence denies the woman came to any harm -- and says if she did, it was due to her pre-existing condition, and not because of Roberts.

"Dr. Roberts' treatment of the plaintiff was timely, skillful, competent, careful and appropriate," the statement of defence says.

"Dr. Roberts accurately diagnosed the plaintiff's conditions and provided a timely and appropriate treatment plan for them."

The woman, according to her claim for damages, said she had to keep the relationship secret. That meant she could not seek other treatment, the claim says.

Roberts became erratic during their marriage, says the claim, which accuses him of abusing the stimulant Dexidrine.

The woman began suffering "suicidal ideations," and cut herself. She was hospitalized for two months in November 2005.

"Despite the terror, shame and guilt she experienced, and the belief that she may drive (Roberts) to commit suicide, she disclosed her relationship with (Roberts) and sought medical help," the claim says.

The statement of defence, however, says it was Roberts who disclosed the relationship.

Although his licence has been revoked in Alberta, Roberts is still licensed to work in Ontario.

On Monday, a spokeswoman with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario said it will look at the facts of the case before determining if any action will be taken in its jurisdiction.

But one group wants disciplinary actions to be more swiftly adopted by other colleges.

The president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women said she doesn't believe medical bodies are doing enough to protect patient safety.

"It's our recommendation that there be mechanisms within each of the jurisdictions which would enable them to accept this kind of disciplinary action on the face of it without having to launch their own investigation," Leslie MacLeod said.

In November 2005, Newfoundland psychiatrist James Hanley was suspended in that province pending an investigation into allegations he'd had sex with a patient.

But despite that suspension, Hanley worked for 15 months in New Brunswick.

A spokeswoman with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta said every professional body in North America is notified of any disciplinary action against any physician.

Kelly Eby said the Alberta College has the power to suspend a physician who holds a licence in this province but is facing disciplinary action in another jurisdiction.

abuse victim said...

Blue ribbon memorial brings attention to 1,266 abused children

By Josh Hayes /

Wed, May 07 2008

— A society is judged by how it treats its weakest rather than its strongest.
That's what Tony Craighead, district attorney general, stated at the Cumberland County Blue Ribbon Memorial Ceremony.
The ceremony, held April 29, brought awareness to the 1,266 children in the county who were victimized through child abuse or neglect.
Crossville Mayor J.H. Graham III and Cumberland County Mayor Brock Hill issued proclamations declaring April as Child Abuse Prevention Month.
"Children are a unique pleasure and a joy," said Graham. "Because of their special nature, we must do everything we can to protect them from harm."
Hill referred to child abuse as a "serious and growing problem" in our nation.
Greg Byram, an adult survivor of childhood abuse, acted as the guest speaker for the evening.
He noted 1,266 children equate to roughly the amount of students at CCHS.
"You can think every child you see could be a victim of child abuse," Byram said. "We need to give the children a voice and say, 'Not on our watch!'"
After briefly mentioning his football credentials and 10 years spent in the Marine Corps, Byram said his greatest accomplishment was surviving child abuse.
Byram noted the types of treatment he had been through after his parents separated and he was with his mother and her boyfriend. He listed such acts as being burned with cigarettes, being abandoned for hours and being beaten with pots, pans and other objects.
He described a memory of having boiling water poured on him before waking up in a police station after being left in the corner of a women's restroom. Eventually, Byram would live with his grandparents.
"I thank God for sparing my life," he said. "I've been blessed with another set of parents. And I've learned the beaten don't have to beat."
The audience gave Byram a standing ovation for his words of testimony.
Cumberland County Sheriff Butch Burgess followed by saying research shows abused children suffer more from post-tramautic syndrome than soldiers who have been at war.
"[Child abuse] can't be fixed in Washington. It can't be fixed in Nashville. It must be fixed here," Burgess stated.
First United Methodist Church "His Kids Singers" and "His Kids Ringers" provided the opening music. Fairfield Glade First Baptist Church Children's "Praise Crew" performed the closing music.
Joe Neal, Exchange Club/Stephens Center Family Services coordinator and West Avenue Church of Christ minister, offered the opening prayer.
The Blue Ribbon Memorial Tree project and ceremony were conducted by the following: The Exchange Club/Holland J. Stephens Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse; TennderCare (Cumberland County Health Department); The Lake Tansi Exchange Club; The Crossville Exchange Club; Cumberland Mountain Mental Health Center; LBJ&C Head Start-Crossville; Cumberland Children's Center/House of Hope Avalon Center; the Upper Cumberland Child Advocacy Center; and United Fund.
Those presenting the ceremony thanked to the following supporters: SignSmith; Pugh's Florist; A-Z Printing; city of Crossville; PEG Broadcasting 102.5; Greg and Sherri Byram; Crossville/Cumberland County Youth Center (Kirby Pride); the Crossville Chronicle; and Home Decor.

Arab terrorism said...

Israel mourns its fallen soldiers

Published: 05/07/2008

Israelis honored their 22,437 compatriots who died in defense of the Jewish state.

Israel came to a halt Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning as sirens sounded across the nation to mark Memorial Day.

As on every year, entertainment venues shut down and radio and television broadcasters aired solemn programs out of respect for Israel's 22,437 fallen -- a figure that includes those killed while serving in the armed forces and in the pre-state Jewish underground. Another 1,634 Israelis were killed in terrorist attacks.

"Year after year we promise and pray that this will be the final victim, and then we return and with heavy hearts engrave another name on the monuments of the slain," Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in a speech. "And the stone absorbs the names of the fallen in silence; another name and another life cut off in its prime, but the sharp pain must be borne and it flays the heart every time we remember the image of those who will not return."

"However, this year, as well, when courageous military actions were required in the various sectors against the increasing terror which cruelly strikes its victims, this year as well we nurture in our hearts the hope for a different tomorrow, a tomorrow which will bring a chance, a tomorrow which possibly will bring peace," he said.

Memorial Day ends at nightfall Wednesday and is followed immediately by the jubilation of Israel's 60th Independence Day.

avi shafran said...

"There are a lot of bad things about China, but we don't think targeting a superpower as an enemy of human rights is what a group of rabbis ought to be doing," Rabbi Avi Shafran of Agudath Israel said. "Anytime a superpower is challenged by a country or an ethnic group and painted with a broad brush, it always carries the potential for negative repercussions, political, re: Israel, or economic, vis-à-vis business."

Hillary Clinton said...

Don't you dare think I'm finished yet. I fall down and get right back up. I'm a tough lady. At least I don't have a pastor who is a racist and a bigot!
The New York Times

May 8, 2008
Support for Clinton Wanes as Obama Sees Finish Line

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton struck a publicly defiant posture on Wednesday about continuing her presidential bid despite waning support from Democratic officials and donors. Some of her advisers acknowledged privately that they remained unsure about the future of her candidacy.

With the political world trained on Mrs. Clinton’s financial and electoral viability, Senator Barack Obama moved closer to becoming the first African-American presidential nominee of a major party. Mr. Obama spent the day at home in Chicago, after increasing his delegate lead in Tuesday’s primaries — a result that led David Plouffe, a top Obama aide, to say on Wednesday, “We can see the finish line here.”

After a decisive loss in North Carolina and a disappointingly narrow victory in Indiana on Tuesday night, Mrs. Clinton told advisers that she wanted to start campaigning for next Tuesday’s primary in West Virginia, advisers said. At 3 a.m. Wednesday, aides added a noon event there. She was also eager to get away from Beltway buzzards circling her candidacy and feeding off fresh tidbits like the revelation that she had lent her campaign $6 million to keep it afloat, aides said.

In West Virginia on Wednesday afternoon, Mrs. Clinton said...

Barack Obama said...

My opponent think she can tell fairy tales and still expect the American people to make her the presidential nominee. Currently, I hold more delegates, and frankly her time is running out. It's Obama time!

Obama surges, Clinton hangs in
May 8, 2008 7:29 AM

Barack Obama moved into a commanding lead in the Democratic presidential race on Wednesday, but Hillary Clinton said she would keep fighting after loaning her struggling campaign $6.4 million over the last month to stay alive.

Obama's big win in North Carolina and Clinton's slim victory in Indiana widened his edge in their battle for the right to face Republican John McCain in the November presidential election with just six contests remaining.

The results left the cash-strapped Clinton campaign with few opportunities to change the course of the race or halt Obama's march to the nomination, but the New York senator said she would keep running.

"I'm staying in this race until there is a nominee," Clinton told reporters after a quickly scheduled campaign rally in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. the state holds the next contest, on Tuesday.

Clinton loaned her campaign $6.4 million in the past month to try to keep pace with Obama, putting in $5 million on April 11 and $1.4 million over the past week, aides said. It was the second time she has dipped into her personal fortune to fund her White House bid.

John McCain said...

I'll take out Obama or Hillary in a landslide. They're both inexperienced and incompetent and it clearly shows!

McCain: Obama's wrong on judges
Buzz up!
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While Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton battle for votes in North Carolina and Indiana today, presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain will be taking them (particularly Obama) to task on the issue of what kinds of judges should be appointed to the Supreme Court and other federal benches.

McCain will be speaking this morning at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., and according to excerpts provided by his campaign he will make the case that the courts need judges who won't be "activists" and that Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito are the kinds of jurists he would look for.

And of Obama, McCain plans to say:

Senator Obama in particular likes to talk up his background as a lecturer on law, and also as someone who can work across the aisle to get things done. But when Judge Roberts was nominated, it seemed to bring out more the lecturer in Sen. Obama than it did the guy who can get things done. He went right along with the partisan crowd, and was among the 22 senators to vote against this highly qualified nominee.

And just where did John Roberts fall short, by the Senator's measure? Well, a justice of the court, as Senator Obama explained it -– and I quote -– should share "one's deepest values, one's core concerns, one's broader perspectives on how the world works, and the depth and breadth of one's empathy."

These vague words attempt to justify judicial activism -– come to think of it, they sound like an activist judge wrote them. And whatever they mean exactly, somehow Sen. Obama's standards proved too lofty a standard for a nominee who was brilliant, fair-minded, and learned in the law, a nominee of clear rectitude who had proved more than the equal of any lawyer on the Judiciary Committee, and who today is respected by all as the Chief Justice of the United States.

Somehow, by Sen. Obama's standard, even Judge Roberts didn't measure up. And neither did Justice Samuel Alito. Apparently, nobody quite fits the bill except for an elite group of activist judges, lawyers, and law professors who think they know wisdom when they see it –- and they see it only in each other.

I have my own standards of judicial ability, experience, philosophy, and temperament. And Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito meet those standards in every respect. They would serve as the model for my own nominees if that responsibility falls to me.

Update at 11:45 a.m. ET: USA TODAY's David Jackson reports that McCain's speech has renewed debate over President Bush's Supreme Court choices.

Update at 10:15 a.m. ET: We've posted a copy of McCain's speech, "as prepared for delivery," here.

jimmy adolf carter said...

Speaking as a former president - I would support any candidate who would fly to Syria to meet with Hamas.

Al Sharpton said...

Who does EM think should be the next president of the united states of America?

Here's what I think.

Obama is not an African American who can be trusted. Hillary is too flaky. McCain? That old man won't finish his term due to old age. Besides, he's pro-war, and on top of all that he's also a redneck!

I believe I have what it takes to be a leader and a future president someday. (BTW you know I always loved the Jews and meant no disrespect or any harm to you people)

exposemolesters said...


I'll get back to you on that!

anger managment said...

McCain jokes about reputation for temper

By Libby Quaid

9:30 a.m. May 7, 2008

ROCHESTER, Mich. – Republican John McCain pretended to snarl when asked about his temper Wednesday in Michigan.

“How dare you ask that question!” McCain said, chuckling. His questioner persisted, reading a comment by a fellow Republican, Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran, that the idea of McCain as the GOP presidential nominee sent a chill down his spine.

“I'm all too familiar with the quote,” said McCain, who has since smoothed things over with his colleague.

McCain, whose temper has earned him the nickname “Senator Hothead” by more than one publication, said he does get angry – about corruption and runaway spending in Washington. “You know something, the American people are angry, too, and they're not going to take it anymore,” he said.

If he really had a temper problem, McCain said, he would not have been able to work with fellow senators such as Ted Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat; Russ Feingold, a Wisconsin Democrat; and his friend Joe Lieberman, the 2000 Democratic vice presidential nominee who now is an Independent.

“Let me tell you, I've worked across the aisle more than any other senator I know,” McCain said.

McCain was on a campaign swing through Michigan, a general election battleground. The Arizona senator delivered a speech about human rights, followed by a town hall-style meeting.

Besides his temper, McCain also talked about the economy in the hard-hit automotive state, repeating his claim during the January primary that some of the state's lost jobs are never coming back. But he held out the promise of new jobs for Michigan.

“Of course the old kinds of doing business is not coming back,” McCain said. “But the new innovation and new technology and green technology that will both eliminate our dependence on foreign oil as well as greenhouse gas emissions is right here in the state of Michigan.

“But we've got to retrain and educate workers to take advantage of that opportunity,” McCain said.

McCain headed to New York Wednesday afternoon for fundraising and television appearances, including Comedy Central's “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”

daily news said...

Tutor faces sex rap in abuse of 2 teens

By Oren Yaniv and Alison Gendar

Tuesday, May 6th 2008, 4:00 AM

A respected Hasidic counselor has been accused of sexually molesting two teenage boys he was tutoring, police said.

Yona Weinberg, 29, of Brooklyn was arrested Sunday evening on charges of sex abuse and endangering the welfare of a child, authorities said.

The father of four is accused of molesting two brothers, ages 14 and 13, while tutoring them at the Khal Beth Abraham temple on E. 17th St. in Flatbush. Weinberg is not affiliated with the temple.

The events allegedly occurred Feb. 20, but the teens' father reported them to police Sunday.

Weinberg's neighbors said they did not believe the charges.

"He's a plain guy, so straight. He's loved by everybody," said a friend, who declined to give his name.

Weinberg was facing arraignment on the charges in Brooklyn Criminal Court last night.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said...

My days as prime minister is coming to a close. It seems the corruption is catching up to me.

PM's future in doubt as Israel turns 60

20 hours ago

JERUSALEM (AFP) — Torn by a political crisis that cast doubts over the future of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Israel on Wednesday commemorated its fallen soldiers on the eve of its 60th anniversary.

Olmert, who is fighting off calls to step down over fresh corruption allegations, marked Remembrance Day with a call to fight for the survival of the Jewish state -- a nation shaped by conflict.

"We remember our children who fought and gave their lives so Israel can live," Olmert said in a radio broadcast.

"We commit ourselves to keep their memory alive, to fight for the survival of the state and to work for a better future," he said.

"We reach our hand out for peace, but we are also ready to use our weapons," said Olmert, commemorating the 22,437 soldiers killed in action and the 1,634 civilians who have died in militant attacks since May 1948.

The sombre commemoration was to turn into a joyous celebration at sunset, when Israel kicks off its birthday bash to mark its creation in 1948.

As Israelis stocked up for picnics and barbecues, the political establishment braced for a potential shakeup amid calls for Olmert to resign or at least step aside pending the outcome of the latest investigation.

Judicial authorities slapped a gag order over the case but allowed publication of the fact that the state prosecutor's office wants to depose a foreign national who is the key witness in allegations against Olmert.

Anti-fraud investigators questioned Olmert for an hour on Friday at his official residence in Jerusalem.

The premier is already the subject of three police inquiries into suspected corruption involving potential conflicts of interest, fraudulent property transactions and abuse of power in connection with political appointments.

Olmert has denied any wrongdoing and insisted he will continue his duties as premier, but in a rare step he has cancelled all interviews he traditionally grants local media ahead of Israel's anniversary celebrations.

Olmert dismisses any suggestion that he may be on the ropes, and hit back at what he called a "hysterical" campaign against him.

But his coalition partners are getting edgy.

Defence Minister Ehud Barak warned on Tuesday that his Labour party "must take into account the fact that in our current political situation the next elections could be called unexpectedly, and we have to be prepared."

Meanwhile, security forces were on high alert amid concerns Palestinian militants could launch attacks during the celebrations, and authorities imposed a security lockdown on the West Bank until midnight (2100 GMT) on Thursday.

The Palestinians mark the anniversary of Israel's creation by remembering the 700,000 or so of their fellow citizens who fled or were forced from their homes as the Jewish state was created and who, with their descendants, now form a UN-registered refugee population of more than 4.4 million.

Abu Ayyab al-Masri said...

DUBAI (Reuters) - The leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, has been arrested, the Arabic television station al-Arabiya reported on Friday, quoting the Iraqi Defense Ministry.

Arabiya said Muhajir had been detained in a joint Iraqi-U.S. operation in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. The U.S. military said it had no information on the reports at this stage.

Al Qaeda in Iraq was headed by the Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi until he was killed in a U.S. air strike in June 2006.

His successor, Muhajir, an Egyptian also known as Abu Ayyab al-Masri, was Zarqawi's close associate, and has a U.S. bounty of $5 million on his head.

In October 2006, the al Qaeda-led Mujahideen Shura Council said it had set up the Islamic State of Iraq, an umbrella group of Sunni militant affiliates and tribal leaders led by Abu Omar al-Baghdadi. In April 2007 it named a 10-man "cabinet," including Muhajir as its war minister.

Iraq's Interior Ministry said last May that Masri had been killed, but soon afterwards al Qaeda released an audio tape purportedly from him.

In an hour-long audio tape issued last month, Muhajir called for renewed attacks on American troops.

He urged militants from the Sunni Islamist group to "celebrate" the recent announcement that the number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq had passed 4,000.

"We must celebrate this event in our special way, and make the defeated Bush join us in this celebration," he said.

He called on al Qaeda fighters to provide "a head of an American as a present to the trickster Bush" in a month-long campaign that he called the "Attack of Righteousness."

Al Qaeda in Iraq shares a name and ideology if not organizational ties with Osama bin Laden's network, which was blamed for the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

(Reporting by Inal Ersan; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

Anonymous said...

Poll: Rabbi Kook most influential Jewish leader

Thousands of Israelis surveyed rank Zionist-religious leader as most influential in sculpting Jewish State's identity. Cultural representatives chosen as best role models

Published: 05.08.08, 11:22 / Israel Jewish Scene

In a survey conducted by Ynet and Gesher Society in honor of Israel's 60th Independence Day, Abraham Isaac Kook was chosen to be the largest contributor to the shaping and building of the State of Israel. The Zionist-religious leader was awarded first place in the survey, which asked thousands to rank Jewish leaders according to their contribution to the State.

In second place was Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, who also gave the State's founding speech. Chabad Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, also known as Rabbi MiLubavitch, came in third, and Binyamin Ze'ev Herzl, founder of Zionism, was ranked fourth.

Other leaders ranked among the top 10 were Prof. Yeshayahu Leibowitz, Rabbi Elazar Menachem Man Shach, Shulamit Aloni, Hayyim Nahman Bialik, and Hannah Senensh.

Rabbi Kook (1865–1935) was born in Latvia, and served as the first Ashkenazi chief rabbi in Israel, before the Jewish State was established. He also wrote many books on halacha and poetry – which are generally viewed as extremely thoughtful and profound. Rabbi Kook also established the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva, still active today.

In his many writings, Rabbi Kook determined that the State of Israel (not yet established during his time) has religious significance, and supported the ideology of the establishment of the Jewish State.

A telephone survey was also conducted, among the adult Jewish Hebrew-speaking population of Israel. Those polled were asked to rate social groups that have influenced the Jewish nature of the State. 24% chose military personalities, 21% chose rabbis, 20% chose statesmen, and 16% chose cultural and philosophic personas.

However, when asked to choose a role model for their children, cultural and philosophic personas ranked first place, while military men came in second.

Wayne Nelson Corliss said...

Pedophile suspect found in N.J.; played Santa, painted faces


NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — An actor who played Santa Claus and painted children's faces was arrested on child sex charges early Thursday after an international manhunt, just the second time Interpol sought the public's help to find a suspected pedophile.

Wayne Nelson Corliss, 58, was arrested Thursday morning in his Union City apartment. He is suspected of sexually abusing at least three boys from Southeast Asia thought to have been 6 to 10 years old, according to the international police agency.

Corliss is charged with producing child pornography and could face 10 to 20 years in federal prison if convicted, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Newark. He was to appear in court Thursday afternoon.

Colleagues know Corliss, who acted under the stage name Casey Wayne, as a witty man who liked to write and eschewed 9-to-5 jobs in favor of acting and entertainment gigs — including painting faces and playing Santa Claus at parties, said Raven Squire, the superintendent of the Union City apartment building where Corliss has lived for more than a decade.

"He's a very amiable man, a great sense of wittiness," Squire said. "He seemed very stable, always paid his rent."

Corliss' arrest came two days after Interpol took the rare step of asking for the public's help. Two years of investigation had failed to determine the identity, whereabouts or even the nationality of a man shown engaged in sex with children in images associated with a Canadian child pornography investigation in 2005.

Interpol's secretary general, Ronald Noble, said 460 leads flooded in within the first 24 hours after the agency launched its public appeal Tuesday. Three of those leads, e-mailed to Interpol from people in the United States who thought they recognized the man but who requested anonymity, were particularly strong, and all referred to the suspect by the name Casey Wayne, Noble said.

The leads also came with photographs of the man and other details about him, including a resume for Corliss that described him "an acclaimed portrayer of Santa Claus every winter holiday season," who played at parties for New York banks and others, Noble said.

"That brought him into contact with children on a regular basis," Noble said.

In one of the e-mails, an informant wrote: "I think I know this man ... He is a good man and I am shocked!" said Noble.

It was only the second time that Interpol had launched such a public manhunt for a suspected pedophile. The first time, in October, led to the quick arrest by police in Thailand of Christopher Paul Neil, a 32-year-old Canadian. Neil went on trial in March, accused of sexually abusing a 9-year-old boy.

Interpol said Wednesday that its appeal this time produced more than 200 leads — potential names, locations and photos of the suspect — in the first 24 hours.

Photos seized by police in Norway in 2006 showed the abuse, the international police agency said. The man did not appear to make any effort to hide his identity in the photos seized from the computer of a man later convicted of child sex offenses, officials said.

Photos released by Interpol showed a gray-haired white man wearing glasses or lying on a checkered mattress or blanket in a yellow plaid shirt.

A computerized Interpol database of child abuse images played a part in the manhunt. The first photos seized in Norway and others received in the two years since were run through the database of more than 520,000 images.

In all, the database and police investigations helped turn up a total of around 800 images, including nearly 100 of the man himself and others of his suspected victims or places where he is thought to have committed his alleged crimes, Interpol said.

Associated Press writers John Leicester and Angela Doland in Paris, Beth DeFalco in Trenton, N.J., Geoff Mulvihill in Mount Laurel, N.J., and videographer Ted Shafrey in Union City, N.J., contributed to this report.

Cedar Rapids Police Department said...

Article published: May 7, 2008
Sex crimes investigator gets national award

CEDAR RAPIDS — In the eight months it took to prove James Bentley took sexually explicit pictures of 10-year-old Jetseta Gage and her baby sister, it was all Charity Hansel could think about.

The sex crimes investigator had no pictures to show a jury — none was ever recovered. Her main witness was dead. So in September 2006, Hansel, a member of the Cedar Rapids Police Department since July 1992, started making hundreds of phone calls and conducting dozens of interviews to find people who saw the pictures. They, she said, were the only key to a conviction.

Hansel said she couldn't remember another case that so fully consumed her life.

"Sexual abuse of children is horrific enough, but disposing of the victims is even worse," she said. "I thought that if James Bentley were to walk free for his involvement in her death, what kind of message would that send to sex offenders?

"We needed to stop him, and we needed to protect other children from the same kind of torture."

Now Hansel and former Cedar Rapids Postal Inspector Troy Raper, who also worked on the case, are receiving a national honor for their extraordinary dedication to the case, which resulted in a 100-year prison term for Bentley.

The two are among 15 law enforcement officials across the nation chosen for recognition at the 13th Annual National Missing and Exploited Children Awards in Washington, D.C., today. The awards are sponsored by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, a non-profit that works in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

"It's good to know that our work made a difference," Hansel said.

The award is the most prestigious of her career. She was previously commended by the Police Department for her work on solving Gage's kidnapping and murder in 2005, and was chosen as the 2007 Cedar Rapids Officer of the Year.

Since the case ended, Raper has been promoted and is now a postal inspector in Kansas City.

Sen. John McCain said...

Published: 05.08.2008

McCain adds sex abuse to priority-issues list
ROCHESTER, Mich. — Sen. John McCain appealed to religious conservatives on Wednesday with pledges to prosecute sex traffickers, fight Internet child pornography and make religious freedom a priority in American diplomacy.
In a speech followed by tough questions from the audience about the war in Iraq and his temper, McCain said those issues, particularly the fight against sex trafficking, would be important in his White House.
"Most of the victims of human trafficking in the United States and in most other places in the world are the most vulnerable among us, destitute women and children who are sold into bondage as sex slaves," McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, told a crowd at Oakland University here.
Later he added, "We must view this evil form of 21st-century slavery every bit as important as drug trafficking."
Human trafficking, the transport of victims under false pretenses from one nation to another for forced labor or prostitution, has become an important issue to the Christian right.
The CIA estimates that as many as 800,000 people around the world, including 200,000 in the United States, are enslaved each year.
In part because of the concerns of the right, President Bush has devoted more money and attention to the issue than his predecessors did.
After his speech, McCain was hit with tough questions, including a query about whether his temper — he acknowledged he gets angry — would pose a problem in the White House.
GOP targets Obama
The Republicans Party has greatly stepped up its criticisms of Sen. Barack Obama in recent weeks and is practically ignoring Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.
For weeks, McCain has directed his most pointed barbs at Obama.
The Republican National Committee features an anti-Obama advertisement on its Web site's home page, which has no mention of Clinton.
And at least one independent group that had prepared advertisements attacking Clinton is compiling material to produce new ones attacking Obama.
Officials in the McCain campaign and at the Republican National Committee say they have not counted Clinton out, but some Republicans say the outcome is clear.
Some of the issues Republicans are beginning to raise paint a picture of what the fall election strategy against Obama might look like.
Some are familiar, using Obama's support for withdrawing the troops from Iraq to portray him as weak on national security and his opposition to suspending the federal gas tax this summer to show him as a tax-and-spend Democrat.
The Republican Party home page features an advertisement called "Barack Obama's Gas Tax Hypocrisy," noting that although he now opposes suspending the gas tax, he once supported a similar measure when he was an Illinois lawmaker.

Stefan Colmer said...

May 7, 2008

Child sex abuse Bill passed in the House of Representatives

Local man fought for Bill's progression

The Leaf-Chronicle

House Bill 2646, which changes the definition of sex offenses passed Tuesday in the House of Representatives.

Raphael Porter, a Clarksville man, whose daughter was raped three years ago, was elated that one of the three bills he and Clarksville Rep. Joe Pitts have worked through Senate and up to the House of Representatives passed with a unanimous vote.

This is the first Bill of three that Porter purposed that has passed through the House of Representatives and will a law with Governor Phil Bredesen's signature.

The Bill will make Tennessee Standardized Treatment Program for sex offenders mandatory for anyone convicted of any of the seven new sex offenses, Rep. Joe Pitts said.

Sexual battery by an authority figure, solicitation of a minor, aggravated rape of a child, statutory rape by an authority figure, sexual exploitation of a minor, aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor and especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor are all included in the definition of sex offenses.

exposemolesters said...

"Who does EM think should be the next president of the united states of America?"

Definitely not you, Mr. Sharpton. I do agree with you on Hillary and Obama. Both will fail in their bid for the presidency. That leaves John McCain. He will become the next president. He's not my ideal choice, but he's better than the alternatives.

charles hynes in the news said...

Crown Hts. Strife Revives Black-Jewish Coalition
Dormant group convenes hastily arranged meetings in wake of spate of violent incidents.
Communtiy leaders say they had grown complacent about the state of black-Jewish relation in Crown Heights. michael datikash

by Adam Dickter
Assistant Managing Editor

In an effort to head off tensions that have been building in Crown Heights, a dormant black-Jewish community group has quickly convened three meetings in the wake of a spate of violent incidents.

Forged in the fires of the 1991 Crown Heights riots, Project Care is an ad hoc group of community leaders that has met for more than 15 years to keep open lines of communication.

“The original goal was to provide a rapid response to incidents in the neighborhood, engage in a dialogue and move the community forward,” said Letitia James, a founding member of the coalition who is now a city councilwoman representing Crown Heights.

Members apparently had grown complacent as relations between the neighborhood’s chasidic enclave and the far-larger African-American and

Caribbean-American communities enjoyed generally good relations.

While that’s still the case, recent months have seen a spate of attacks by blacks on Jews, some with anti-Semitic overtones. And when a 20-year-old black man told police he was assaulted on April 14 by chasidic men suspected of belonging to a controversial civilian patrol group, the reaction by police and the district attorney has many in the Jewish community complaining of disparity in law enforcement and a rush to judgment against the patrol group.

“There has to be one set of rules for everybody,” said Chanina Sperlin, vice president of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council.

Evidently fearing a backlash, Project Care is back in business, meeting twice since the incident, with a third meeting planned for next week — three times as many meetings as it held in at least a year.

“We’ve been dormant,” said James, who got involved with Project Care as an aide to Al Vann, who was then a state assemblyman.

Amy Ellenbogen, director of the Crown Heights Mediation Center and a Project Care participant, said the group fell silent because, “What happens in the community is that everybody has their own priorities. We are all running our own organizations. From time to time you have to focus inward.”

But she said the member organizations, including her own, “have been consistently doing inter-group work” individually.

Richard Green of the Crown Heights Youth Collective said that while Project Care “as a big group hasn’t met in a while,” participants such as himself and Robert Matthews, chairman of Community Board 8, have been in regular contact.

“We have been doing the work in small settings,” said Green. “There is definitely a sense now that the weather is changing and there are people back out on the street, we want to include all members of the community in dialogue.”

The revitalized Project Care, which is funded by private donations, community groups and city grants, includes about an equal number of African Americans and Jews: members of the community boards and precinct councils, religious and lay leaders, some two dozen in all.

“It’s not just a politically correct meeting,” said Devorah Halberstam of the recent series of meetings. Halberstam is director of the foundation for government services at the Jewish Children’s Museum in Crown Heights who was invited to join Project Care. “Whoever is sitting in wants to see positive action. People are recognizing that there is a need to make changes.”

Halberstam and James both said members had agreed not to discuss Project Care’s specific goals and meeting topics to outsiders and the media.

Project Care isn’t the only group coming out of retirement. Mothers to Mothers, a black-Jewish dialogue group formed a year after the riots that disbanded after about a decade of meetings, will also reconvene.

Henna White, a Jewish liaison working for District Attorney Charles J. Hynes, who administered the mothers’ group, said the group members had decided several years ago they had accomplished their mission of opening channels.

“When it had been quiet for a while I decided we would stop,” said White. “But I said to the women, if it was needed again we would be back. Not that 16 women can change the world, but what mattered was that it existed — chasidic and African Americans sitting twice a month and talking about issues that we were concerned about.”

The groups’ re-emergence suggest the extent of concern among Crown Heights community leaders and elected officials that the hard-won peace and mutual tolerance that has marked the neighborhood in nearly 17 years since the riots may be rattled by sporadic incidents of violence, including the reported harassment and stabbing of a Jewish man on Tuesday night.

In the first five months of 2008, there were four incidents investigated as hate crimes by the police department: three anti-Semitic and one anti-black. That’s fewer than the seven incidents recorded during the same period of 2007, which included an equal number of anti-Semitic incidents. But tension is building as the summer draws near.

Community leaders and inter-group specialists insist the recent crimes are not a symptom of rising tensions as the chasidic enclave gradually expands into new segments of the neighborhood.

“I’m not concerned that we’re sitting on a powder keg,” said state Sen. Eric Adams, who represents Crown Heights. “Cooler heads are prevailing.”

An estimated 12,000-15,000 chasidic Jews live among approximately 135,000 African Americans in Crown Heights.

Adams said both groups are equally apt to complain about disparate treatment.

“It’s amazing,” said Adams, who is a retired police captain. “If you sit in a room of African Americans, they will say the police are unfairly targeting them and the [chasidic community will say the same thing]. If you were to close your eyes in the two rooms, you wouldn’t know which room you’re in because they’re both saying the same thing.”

Last week Jewish leaders wondered aloud why Hynes convened a rare investigative grand jury to probe the April 14 assault on Andrew Charles, 20, on Carroll Street while numerous recent attacks on Jews did not garner the same treatment, and questions were raised about the police response. Charles’ father is an NYPD detective.

Hynes told The Jewish Week he was acting in part to rein in a civilian patrol group he described as “renegades” prone to vigilante behavior.

The Shmira Patrol group is involved in an ongoing feud with members of the larger Shomrim Patrol, from which it broke off about 10 years ago. After Hynes likened the group to urban street gangs (a remark he later moderated in a letter to The Jewish Week), one Crown Heights blog criticized the DA for “chutzpah,” while another said he “got it right on! G-d bless you!,” accusing the Shmira members of criminal behavior.

But this week, chasidic community leaders said, a former Shmira member was credited with interrupting the attempted rape of a black woman he heard screaming in his apartment building hallway and scaring off her knife-wielding attacker, while summoning police.

“A detective called me the next day to confirm the details,” said Leonid Yavich in a statement distributed by the Crown Heights JCC. “He was very emotional when he told me that I literally saved the girl’s life.”

Bob Kaplan, director of inter-group relations for the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, said Project Care participants were proactively making a difference in the effort to cool down attitudes.

“They have told me that things are pretty calm,” said Kaplan. “What typically happens at these meetings is that people look for unique and important ways to work together. The primary focus is youth and also quality-of -life issues.”

Kaplan added that Project CARE was seeking to expand participation. “The steering committee is looking to make itself more inclusive and make sure they represent the full breadth of the community.”

chaim said...

Hynes keeps getting awards. I'd like for him to explain why he deserves them. The Jewish Week article did a fantastic job showing that this DA makes inconsistent and contradictory remarks.

By Ryan Thompson
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
JAY STREET — The Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office is one of the biggest and busiest prosecutorial offices in the world. And its chief attorney, DA Charles J. Hynes, seems to have been extra busy these last couple weeks.

In addition to the normal array of murder, assault and other felony cases that his office handles each and every day, Hynes seems to have been all over the borough of Brooklyn recently — making speeches, giving lectures, accepting and presenting awards, reading essays and signing books. Early yesterday morning, the Brooklyn DA presented 22 men and women with the Law Enforcement Appreciation Awards at Brooklyn Law School. (See photo 2.) The honorees from the NYPD, FDNY, District Attorney’s Office and criminal courts included slain New York police officer Russell Timoshenko who was shot and killed last summer during a traffic stop in Crown Heights.

Santa Claus said...

Neighbors and colleagues know Corliss, who acted under the stage name Casey Wayne, as a witty man who liked to write and eschewed 9-to-5 jobs in favor of acting and entertainment gigs — including painting faces and playing Santa Claus at parties.

Judy Stone, a neighbor who worked with him as an entertainer at corporate parties, art fairs and bar mitzvahs, said he did a wonderful job.

"He's the best Santa Claus anyone has ever seen," Stone said. "I've never seen him act in a way that was creepy or predatory toward children."

NEWARK, N.J. — A rare international alert seeking a man shown in dozens of raw child porn images quickly led to the arrest of a small-time actor, who painted faces at children's parties and performed as "the best Santa Claus anyone has ever seen."

Wayne Nelson Corliss told authorities he had sex with three boys in Thailand six years ago, an experience he described as "euphoria," a prosecutor said Thursday at Corliss' first court appearance.

The arrest of the bespectacled, gray-haired 58-year-old at his Union City apartment late Wednesday capped a two-day global manhunt, just the second time Interpol has sought the public's help in tracking down a suspected pedophile. He is believed to have sexually abused at least three boys thought to have been 6 to 10 years old, according to the international police agency.

Corliss is charged with producing child pornography and could face 10 to 20 years in federal prison if convicted, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Newark.

article can be read at --

Child rapist sentenced to 252 years behind bars said...

Child rapist sentenced to 252 years behind bars

Posted: May 8, 2008 02:52 PM

Updated: May 8, 2008 08:07 PM

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - A man who raped and molesting a nine year-old girl will spend the rest of his life in prison. A Las Cruces judge sentenced Luis Cortina, 43, to 252 years behind bars Thursday morning. It is the maximum penalty for the crimes. Cortina would have to serve 214 years before he would even be eligible for patrol.

Cortina repeated abused the girl, who was a family member, for nine months in an east Las Cruces mobile home.

During Thursday's hearing Cortina's victim took the stand hoping to encourage Judge Douglas Driggers to give him a tough sentence.

"I wish that this never ever happened he ruined everything in my life," she said. "I can't have no happiness in my life...I think he should pay all the time that he has because he hurt me and my family."

After denying the abuse for 15 minutes, Cortina begged the judge to have mercy on him.

"I do not deserve this, I do not deserve this your honor," he said.

This is the second trial for Cortina. His first trial on these charges ended in a hung jury back in March 2007. He was convicted in February of 2008.

wikipedia said...

Orthodox Union

The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (UOJCA), more popularly known as the Orthodox Union, or OU, is one of the oldest Orthodox Jewish organizations in the United States. It is best known for its kosher supervision service, with the circled-U symbol found on the labels of many commercial and consumer food products.

The OU supports a network of synagogues, youth programs, Jewish and Religious Zionist advocacy, programs for the disabled, localized religious study programs, and some international units with locations in Israel and Ukraine.

It is one of the largest Orthodox Jewish organizations in the United States. Its synagogues, and the rabbis who lead them, are usually identified among the stream of Judaism referred to as Modern Orthodox.

This organization should not be confused with the Union of Orthodox Rabbis, a distinct Haredi rabbinical group with a similar name that was founded a few years after the OU.

[edit] History

The OU was founded in 1898, and serves about 1,000 synagogues and congregations of varying sizes. The need for a national Jewish Orthodox rabbinical organization in the early twentieth century was recognized by a number of groups. The Union of Orthodox Rabbis was the most powerful rabbinical body at that time and many of its members saw the great value in establishing the early Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America.

Originally, the OU was formed by leaders of the Jewish Theological Seminary, which later became the predominant agency representing the Conservative stream of Judaism, with the charter coming from its headquarters in New York City, where it had been located since 1886. Cracks between the OU and JTS first formed in 1902, with the founding of the stricter Orthodox group, Agudah Harobonim - exactly 100 days after Solomon Schechter arrived from Great Britain to head JTS. The Agudah refused to recognize the rabbinical credentials (Semicha) of those ordained at JTS, thus fragmenting Orthodox Judaism from Conservative Judaism. (See American Judaism by Jonathan Sarna.) However,the OU was still officially connected to JTS until the 1950's. The break between Orthodox Judaism and Conservative Judaism became whole with the "Sabbath decision of 1949". This groundbreaking decision, allowing both congregants and rabbis to drive to synagogue (shul) on the sabbath if they lived too far to walk, severed the otherwise rather homogeneous group into what would become two distinct groups. However, even after the formal organizational division, individually, many Jews in the 1950's continued to identify themselves as orthodox even while driving on the sabbath, and many Jews were members of synagogues of both Conservative and Orthodox persuasions.

Some Orthodox rabbis viewed the nascent OU as insufficiently Orthodox, and thus did not participate in it, instead setting up their own more stringent rabbinical organizations. However, the idea for a national Orthodox congregational body took hold, and soon developed into the OU that exists today. The OU grew slowly until the 1950s, when it then began increasing the number of affiliated congregations including both small and large memberships. Also, in the 1950s, cheese production came under increased kosher scrutiny as a result of the use of using animal rennet enzymes to make the cheese (creating multiple kosher concerns; mixing milk and meat products as well as using rennet from a non-kosher animal) which was the impetus for the OU to establish a kashrut division focusing on this issue. This increased revenue for the OU, but also became a defining line in orthodox Jewish observance that was not something Jews in American previously considered.

Most synagogues affiliated with the Orthodox Union were under the leadership of rabbis trained by Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik and alumni from Yeshiva University's Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. These rabbis were ideologically Modern Orthodox. Since the late 1970s, however, the OU's general philosophy and levels of observance have tended to shift towards stricter interpretations and halachic practices which is evidenced through a general trend towards a more structured influence of Haredi Judaism in the Orthodox world.

The OU plays a significant role in supervising kosher foods. When a company elects to produce a kosher product, rabbis hired by the OU are dispatched to inspect the production line to ensure that the product complies with halacha (Jewish law). As the laws of Kashrus are quite complicated, Jews keeping strictly kosher will only use products that have rabbinical supervision. Once the product's ingredients and production are deemed to be kosher, the company may use the OU symbol, allowing Jews keeping kosher to find it. Led by the current CEO, Menachem Genack, it is the best-known hechsher (kosher supervision agency) in the world and among the most widely accepted. {[fact}} 275,000 products from over 2,400 manufacturers, produced in nearly 6,000 plants in 77 countries.[citation needed] [1] For its food supervision arm the OU has hired mostly Haredi and even Hasidic rabbis known as mashgichim (kosher food supervisors).[citation needed] Although there is considerable cost involved in kosher production, companies producing kosher foods consider the potential financial benefit from an increased demand for their products by kosher consumers in addition to those who are already using their products. (There are a variety of other kashrut supervision and certfying organizations not affiliated with the Orthodox Union.)

In 2005, the Orthodox Union faced controversy because of an undercover video that purportedly documented animals at a kosher slaughterhouse in Iowa being shocked in the face with electric prods and slaughtered in an extremely cruel manner. The investigation was the subject of multiple stories in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and all of the Jewish media. In 2006, the OU’s defense of what the President of the Conservative Movement and the USDA called "egregious violations" of Federal law, were the subject of a video narrated by novelist Jonathan Safran Foer and Rabbis Irving Greenberg and David Wolpe.

[edit] Synagogue affiliation

The OU requires that all member synagogues follow Orthodox Jewish interpretations of Jewish law and tradition. Men and women are seated separately, and nearly always are separated by a mechitza, a physical divider between the men's and women's section of the synagogue. OU synagogues follow Religious Zionism, meaning that they support the existence of the State of Israel. The laws of Shabbat (the Sabbath) and Kashrut are stressed. Members of OU synagogues have a diverse political background, and are not necessarily members of any one political party. Orthodox Jews are somewhat more politically conservative than non-observant Jews. They daven exclusively in Hebrew, using the same traditional text of the siddur (prayer book) that has been used in Ashkenazi Jewish communities for the last few centuries. Until recently the most common prayerbook used in OU synagogues have been Ha-Siddur Ha-Shalem edited by Philip Birnbaum. In recent years the most common siddur has been the RCA edition of the Artscroll siddur, a prayerbook that is identical to the regular Artscroll siddur, but for the addition of a new preface, and prayers for the State of Israel and the Israel Defense Forces. Until recently the most common Hebrew-English Humash used has been the Pentateuch and Haftarahs, edited by Rabbi Joseph H. Hertz; in recent years this has been supplanted by The Chumash: The Stone Edition, also known as the Artscroll Chumash.

[edit] National Conference of Synagogue Youth

Main article: National Conference of Synagogue Youth

The official youth program of the OU is the National Conference of Synagogue Youth known as NCSY. It sponsors the Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists. NCSY, was founded by Rabbi Pinchas Stolper in the 1950s and was originally created to reach out to young non-orthodox Jews, has now expanded its reach to include many already religious mostly Modern Orthodox children from Jewish day schools and who otherwise do not associate with members of the opposite sex to become friends. In New Jersey, over 80% of the youth groups members are Modern Orthodox children. In Florida this resulted in two official regions: one for Jewish public school students and one for Jewish day school students. In recent years, NCSY has faced a challenge recruiting public school youth because of a variety of scandals and because some advisors are perceived as being too Orthodox. Often the adviser population, taken mostly from Yeshiva University students who have spent at least one year studying in Israel, is far more serious than the Modern Orthodox youth they seek to attarct that may cause some attendees to feel disenchanted by the group. However, many marriages have resulted from the social interaction. NCSY boasts that 95% of their members marry Jews.

[edit] Alliance with the Rabbinical Council of America

Main article: Rabbinical Council of America

For many years the OU, along with its related rabbinic arm, the Rabbinical Council of America, worked with the larger Jewish community in the Synagogue Council of America. In this group Orthodox, Conservative and Reform groups worked together on many issues of joint concern. The group became defunct in 1994, mainly over the objections of the Orthodox groups to Reform Judaism's official acceptance of patrilineal descent as an option for defining Jewishness. (See Who is a Jew.)

mistress said...

Rabbi ex-mistress lawsuit fails

A court threw out a lawsuit against a New York rabbi by his former mistress for reneging on his written agreement to pay her at least £62,000 if their relationship ended.

The panel said the contract could not be enforced - because it "facilitated adultery."

Rabbi Joel Goor, 75, was still married when he signed the cohabitation contract with Janet Pizzo, 50, who said they had a seven-year affair.

Muslim said...,0,898118.story
Testimony: Cleric's disclosure could bring his deportation


Associated Press Writer

May 9, 2008


A voluntary disclosure from a respected Muslim religious leader is being used by immigration authorities seeking to deport him, according to testimony at his deportation trial Friday from a federal agent.

Mohammad Qatanani is the imam of a Paterson mosque, the Islamic Center of Passaic County. Immigration officials assert he should be deported, claiming he did not disclose a 1993 conviction in Israel on his application for permanent U.S. residency.

The imam's lawyers dispute the authenticity and contents of Israeli documents that U.S. officials obtained.

The Israeli military said it charged and convicted Qatanani with being a member of the militant Hamas organization.

Qatanani, 44, also contends that he was detained, not arrested, by Israeli authorities, and wasn't aware of any conviction. He says he was subjected to physical and mental abuse while in detention.

An agent for Immigration and Customs Enforcement testified Friday that she started deportation proceedings based on information voluntarily provided by Qatanani during a meeting that he had initiated in 2005.

Qatanani's supporters said the imam had reached out to federal officials that year to determine why his 1999 application for permanent U.S. residency had been delayed.

The ICE agent, Heather Philpott, testified that during the 2005 meeting Qatanani admitted he had been arrested and convicted by Israeli authorities, and that he had been advised by an attorney at the time to plead guilty to being a member of Hamas and sign an affidavit to that effect.

Qatanani's lawyers and supporters dispute those claims. Outside the cramped immigration courtroom at the Rodino Federal Building, Islamic Center president Nabil Abbassi said he acted as Qatanani's Arabic translator at the 2005 meeting.

"The man (Qatanani) admitted to a detention, not an arrest," Abbassi said. "He said 'detained,' it was in English, they went over things point by point."

Qatanani's lawyer, Claudia Slovinsky, said, "People who are trying to hide things don't ask for meetings."

The Israeli incident happened when Qatanani, a Palestinian, lived in Jordan and was traveling in Israel to see his family on the West Bank, where he was born, Slovinsky said. That area was under Jordanian control when he was born.

Philpott testified immigration officials were not aware of the 1993 Israeli incident until the 2005 meeting.

She said that when she received Qatanani's residency application in 2002 it flagged him as the "possible subject" of a terrorism investigation.

She referred the matter to the FBI, which determined Qatanani had no criminal record in the United States, Philpott said.

Philpott said U.S. authorities contacted Israeli authorities immediately after the 2005 meeting to verify Qatanani's story, received a response, and denied his residency application as a result.

Immigration Judge Alberto J. Riefkohl also heard testimony from several Qatanani supporters in law enforcement, mosque members and other Muslims, and religious leaders of various faiths. All testified to Qatanani's message of peace, reconciliation and interfaith outreach.

Sheriffs from two New Jersey counties as well as Charles McKenna, a senior federal prosecutor in New Jersey, testified that Qatanani played a vital role in "building bridges" between law enforcement and Muslim-Americans following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Several Catholic priests and a Jewish rabbi became emotional on the stand when describing how much Qatanani had done for interfaith understanding.

Members of the Paterson mosque spoke of how Qatanani had taken a small, insular congregation and transformed it into a vital community center open to Muslims of all backgrounds as well as others in the community.

Outside the federal building, hundreds of supporters chanted and prayed. Supporters honked horns as they traveled down Broad Street.

During a break, Qatanani said he was deeply grateful for those who testified for him.

"I would like to say thank you to them," he said. "It is a very beautiful message of brotherhood and sisterhood _ thank you very much."

Anti-Semitism said...

Anti-Semitism Accusations Flying Around Hamptons
Many Year-Round Residents Say They Are Worried Exclusive Area Turning Into Orthodox Jewish Enclave
Jennifer McLogan
WESTHAMPTON BEACH, N.Y. (CBS) ― There are rumblings of anti-Semitism on Long Island.

Some who summer in the exclusive Hamptons have lodged complaints, fearing the beachfront community is attracting an enclave of Orthodox Jews.

The Hamptons may be involved in a Holy War over a strip of plastic attached to power poles in a one square mile perimeter around the Orthodox Hampton Synagogue in tony Westhampton Beach.

"The building of the "eruv" is really about some young mothers in my congregation who want to wheel their babies to synagogue on Saturday," Rabbi Marc Schneier said.

Schneier explains that "eruv" is a symbolic boundary that allows Jews who observe traditional rules concerning Shabbat to carry certain items outside the walls of their own property that would otherwise be forbidden.

But a disturbing email was circulated and complaints came into the village with "worries" the rabbi was trying to "turn" wealthy Westhampton beach into an Orthodox enclave.

Reaction was all over the map, with many speaking their minds.

"They walk in the street, which you're not supposed to, cross anyplace," one year-round resident told CBS 2 HD. "It's just not right."

"The stores will all have to change to conform with Shabbat," another said.

"The Orthodox, I'm not sure, that's a little bit more strict," said another.

Think this is a touchy issue? Perhaps.

"With residents' businesses, a personal issue, a religious issue, so it's got legs," one man said.

"The tapestry of America should have the threads of all people," added another woman.

Congregation members say anti-Semitism hurts.

"Horrific and vulgar comments for people to make, but it is coming from ignorance," Schneier said.

Rabbi Schneier says he is overwhelmed with tremendous support from the mayor and others and feels confident that the "eruv" will be approved at the board meeting May 28.

With a conservative congregation and reform membership, the Orthodox Hampton Synagogue has 1,000 congregants on Saturday mornings during the "summer season."

Rabbinic ruthlessness said...

On Tuesday, the Rabbinical Council of America issued a statement taking issue with — blasting, actually — a decision by Israel’s Rabbinic Court of Appeals endangering hundreds (possibly even thousands) of conversions performed by the Israeli Conversion Authority, headed by Rabbi Chaim Druckman. (See page 34.)

Citing the teaching from Leviticus 19:33, "You shall not oppress the convert in your land," the RCA, saying that it was "appalled," called the decision, and the tone in which it was rendered, "entirely beyond the pale of acceptable halachic practice." The decision has been widely criticized in Israel as well.

It’s not surprising that Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar is scrambling to dissociate himself from the decision and to reassure members of the Israeli cabinet that the ruling will not stand. Not only does it have tremendous implications for the converts themselves, but — in the words of one Orthodox Israeli rabbi — it "embarrasses and shames a great Rabbi [Druckman], violates the Torah’s commands not to cause sorrow to converts, 
and deals a terrible blow to the efforts against intermarriage." In addition, those who oppose the decision have noted that it will likely lead to continued erosion of the status of rabbinical courts in the State of Israel as well as to a deepening rift in the rabbinic world.

The conversion flap began when the rabbinic high court overturned the conversion of a specific woman who apparently never lived a religious Jewish lifestyle. From there, they used the opportunity to call into question all the conversions performed in the last several years by Druckman, whom they perceive as too lenient, accepting potential converts’ avowed intention to observe Jewish law without subsequent enforcement.

This is a shanda. Rather than welcoming the convert, as we are commanded in Jewish tradition, it demeans converts as a class, incidentally implying that all those (Jews by birth and Jews by choice) who are not religiously observant are not worthy of being Jewish.

Small wonder the Israeli government is upset. With aliyah at a low level and Israel struggling to portray itself as a modern country, the ruling can only be considered counterproductive (not to mention mean-spirited). Absorption Minister Yaakov Edry also complained that the ruling deals a "death blow" to the entire system of conversion in Israel as well as to the motivation of Israeli non-Jews — mostly Russian immigrants — to begin the conversion process.

For the sake of the converts, the Jewish people, and the rabbinate itself, we hope that this ill-considered decision will itself be nullified.

Debka said...

DEBKAfile - We start where the media stop

Exclusive: Lebanese army chief defies government as Syria steps in to back Hizballah’s conquest of Beirut districts

May 9, 2008, 6:19 PM (GMT+02:00)

At least 11 people were killed Friday, May 9, Day 3 of fierce clashes between Hizballah and pro-government forces, the worst since the 1975-90 civil war. At noon, Syrian Social Nationalist Party’s units entered Beirut to support Hizballah’s advancing occupation of Sunni West Beirut districts.

DEBKAfile’s Middle East sources report that Thursday night, army chief Gen. Michel Suleiman refused to obey prime minister Fouad Siniora’s order to declare a state of emergency for the crisis created by Hizballah’s declaration of war against the government. The general warned that if the government enacted an emergency, he would order the troops to return to barracks.

The SSNP is a Greek Orthodox arm of Syrian military intelligence.

Hizballah and fellow Shiite Amal fighters were thus able to seize control of most of pr-government Sunni West Beirut in clashes that have spread to other parts of the Lebanon while the government was left unprotected.

The urban warfare shut down Lebanon's port and all but closed the international airport, with burning barricades on major highways in Beirut.

The army has only interfered in extreme situations. Friday, soldiers rescued the anti-Syrian majority leader Saad Hariri and allied Druze leader Walid Jumblatt when their mansions were surrounded and attacked by Shiite forces, but they did not make the assailants move out. The Lebanese army, half of whose members are Shiites, thus permitted Hizballah and Amal clinch their control of the Sunni neighborhoods.

The Lebanese army also took over the pro-government Future TV station and newspaper owned by Hariri after they were blown up. The army agreed to keep the station off the air.

DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the United States, France and Israel are watching passively as Lebanon falls to Iran’s surrogate terrorist group Hizballah. Since the 2006 Lebanon war, prime minister Ehud Olmert has insisted improbably that the conflict had left Hizballah seriously weakened.

Hizballah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah warned Thursday night that the only way to stop the violence was for the “black gang” ruling the government to withdraw its decisions to close his military telecommunications network and restore Hizballah loyalists to key positions at Beirut international airport.

Safed's Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu said...

Rabbi: Israel needs religious PM

Safed's chief rabbi: Turns out that Olmert is more corrupt than we thought, PM with values needed

Efrat Weiss
Published: 05.10.08, 21:46 / Israel Jewish Scene

The State of Israel needs a kippa-wearing prime minister, Safed's Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu wrote in an article titled "A religious prime minister – it's possible" distributed at synagogues over the weekend.

Rabbi Eliyahu's article also addressed the latest investigation against the prime minister, noting that "it turns out that Olmert is more corrupt than we thought."

"So what shall we do? Elect another prime minister without faith? Another one without credibility? Another one without values?…when will we wake up and realize that we need a prime minister with a kippa?"

"We need a prime minister who acts based on genuine faith and values. We've had enough of prime ministers who bought us by just saying 'God willing' and sold out the Sinai…we certainly don't need a prime minister who establishes and then razes communities with the same determination and sensitivity," Eliyahu wrote.

"The last prime ministers proved that even if they have good intentions, they are able to sell off the country and Jerusalem in one deal, and they are able to put all of us in existential danger," he wrote.

'We must wake up'

Turning his attention to the prime minister's diplomatic moves, Eliyahu wrote: "Listen carefully, Olmert is talking about withdrawal from the Golan Heights and he can sign on it without batting an eyelash. If it saves him from the latest investigation, why not?"

"We must wake up. Not next time, this time! We need to define the

lipa margulies said...,0,5674244.story
Western NY school bus driver faces sex abuse charge

May 9, 2008


A bus driver for a western New York school district is accused of sexually abusing a child on his bus route.

State police and officials with the Warsaw Central School District in Wyoming County say 64-year-old Alan Hamann of Gainesville was arrested at his home Wednesday and charged with sex abuse and endangering the welfare of a child.

Authorities say Hamann had inappropriate sexual contact with a child less than 11 years old. No other details are being released.

Hamann is employed by the First Student Bus Co. of Attica, which provides bus services for schools in Warsaw, a rural district 38 miles east of Buffalo.

The investigation began last week when the parents of another child on Hamann's bus route reported that Hamann had struck the child on the head.

The Associated Press
Judge: Jury may consider awarding plaintiff damages

May 10, 2008

BURLINGTON, Vt. --A judge says a jury can consider awarding punitive and compensatory damages to a former altar boy suing the state's Roman Catholic diocese over sexual abuse he says he suffered at the hands of a priest.

Although the diocese had not yet presented its case, Judge Matthew Katz said Thursday that evidence showed that Rev. Edward Paquette was a known child sexual abuser before he was hired by the Diocese and was not properly supervised.

"Plaintiff here has presented evidence that this errant priest had an almost 10-year history of molesting young boys, in his role as priest," Katz wrote in his order. "This diocese had notice of that problem."

A 40-year-old man from Lakewood, Colo., who served as an altar boy at Christ the King Church in Burlington in the 1970s, filed suit in 2005 alleging negligent supervision of Paquette by the Diocese.

The Associated Press does not identify sexual abuse victims without their consent.

The diocese doesn't dispute the abuse allegations in the Colorado man's case, but contends that the suit was filed too late under Vermont's statute of limitations.

On Friday, a nun who served as principal of St. Michael's School in Montpelier testified that she saw Paquette grope a boy at the school in mid-1970s.

"I saw a student going up the stairs, and I saw Father Paquette behind him," Sister Mary Crosby said. "He put his hand up under his legs."

Paquette was transferred a short time later to Christ to the King Church in Burlington, where her nephew was an altar boy, she said. She said she warned her brother and sister-in-law about Paquette.

"I was concerned about what I had seen," Crosby said. "I had an uneasy feeling."

The diocese will present its case on Monday, with closing arguments expected in the afternoon.


Information from: The Burlington Free Press,

Richard Dawkins said...

Richard Dawkins Compares Rabbi to Hitler, Then Refuses to Apologize

Richard Dawkins just can’t seem to keep his foot out of his mouth. He has spent the last several weeks trying to recover from his embarrassing interview in the film Expelled where he concedes that intelligent design is a scientific hypothesis after all—so long as you limit the intelligence being studied to space aliens. Now, after denouncing Expelled as “wicked, evil” and an “outrage” for pointing out that Darwinism was one of the intellectual influences on Nazism, Dawkins has compared a popular Rabbi who dares to criticize him to Hitler! And he did it no less on World Holocaust Remembrance Day. No, I’m not joking. As I’ve said before, it’s getting really hard to parody the Darwinists. They do it so well themselves.

Dawkins’ latest target for invective is Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, one of America’s most popular rabbis. Rabbi Boteach is skeptical of Darwinian evolution, and he’s a critic of Dawkins’ effort to misuse science to disprove theism. In a speech last year at a conference where he appeared after Dawkins, Rabbi Boteach picked apart Dawkins’ misuse of science. That was too much for poor Prof. Dawkins, who a few days ago denounced the Rabbi’s comments as “a shrieking rant, delivered with an intemperate stridency of which Hitler himself might have been proud.” But the only ranting going on here is by Dawkins, who apparently has never listened to a recording of a speech by the real Hitler. Had he done so, he might have refrained from making such an over-the-top (not to mention tasteless) comparison. (Judge for yourself whether Rabbi Boteach’s speech reminds you of Hitler by watching it here.)

But there’s more. When Boteach criticized Dawkins for his rhetorical overreach, what did Dawkins do? Apologize? Of course not! Dawkins dug himself an even deeper hole. On May 8, he publicly responded to Boteach that he “did not say you think like Hitler, or hold the same opinions as Hitler, or do terrible things to people like Hitler. Obviously and most emphatically you don't.” Although this wasn’t exactly an apology, at least it was civil. But Dawkins couldn’t help himself, and so he started up again:

I said you shriek like Hitler. That is the only point of resemblance, and it is true. You shriek and yell and rant like Hitler… throughout your speeches you periodically rise to climaxes of shrieking rant, and that is just like Hitler. Incidentally, Dinesh D'Souza yells and shrieks in just the same way. I suppose it impresses some people, although it is hard to believe.

…when you turn to the subject of evolution, you don't know what you are talking about, so you yell and shriek to make up for it. Maybe yelling and shrieking works with an ignorant audience. It apparently worked for Hitler, but that is not a happy precedent. You should know better. Go and read some books about evolution, learn something about biology, and you'll then find that you can talk about it in a calm and civilised voice. You'll find that you won't need to yell and shriek like a madman, and you'll be all the more persuasive for it.

Where is the Anti-Defamation League when you need it?

Baruch said...

I'm an admirer of yours. Keep up the great work!

Avi Shafran said...

What is wrong with Rabbi Arnold Jacob Wolf? A Reform Rabbi urging Jews to vote for an anti-Semite? I knew Orthodox Jews were smarter.

Obama`s Rabbinical Neighbor
Filed under Judaism, Jewish diaspora, Opinion Editorials, USA foreign policy, US elections, War and Peace - on Sunday, May 11, 2008 - By: Ragen, Naomi
Rabbi Arnold Jacob Wolf is a good friend and neighbor of Barak Obama, and he has written a letter urging all of us Jews to vote for him.

Rabbi Arnold Jacob Wolf is also a Reform rabbi who was one of the earliest Jewish advocates for "dialogue" with the PLO (he himself met with the PLO back in the 1970's) and was a founding member of Breira, a short-lived organization whose only purpose was to urge Israel to give into Arab pressure and give up land for peace. We all know how that worked out.

Rabbi Wolf is also a member of the Rabbinic Cabinet of Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, the Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace whose entire mission "is to educate and mobilize American Jews in support of a negotiated two-state resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." I urge you to check out their truly sickening agenda

Rabbi Wolf thinks Obama would be good for Israel, and that he is a friend of the Jews. In fact, if he has any criticism of Obama at all, it's that he's not radical enough in demanding Israel make "painful concessions."

Rabbi Wolf: "Many people remain concerned that Obama isn't committed to Israel. Some want him to fall in line behind the intransigent, conservative thinking that has silenced Jewish debate on Israeli policy and enabled the Bush Administration's criminal neglect of the diplomatic process. For my part, I've sometimes found Obama too cautious on Israel. He, like all our politicians, knows he mustn't stray too far from the conventional line, and that can be disappointing. But unlike anyone else on the stump, Obama has also made it clear that he'll broaden the dialogue. He knows what peace entails."

Yes, we all know what people like Rabbi Wolf thinks "peace" entails. When put into practice, it put Israel into an Orwellian hell, in which daily bombings became 'sacrifices" for peace. In which people sitting down to Passover seders got real blood, and real tears, not the symbols. But of course, Rabbi Wolf was in Chicago pontificating on what was good for us Jews actually living in Israel when all hell broke loose when his ideas were put into practice. He's still pontificating with more of his"good" ideas for us.

"Obama's strong positions on poverty and the climate, his early and consistent opposition to the Iraq War, his commitment to ending the Darfur genocide - all these speak directly to Jewish concerns," writes Rabbi Wolf.

Well, dear Rabbi, as a Jew in Israel, where only last month eight young boys where slaughtered in the library of a yeshiva by a Palestinian mass murderer, my deepest concerns are not global warming. As for the Iraq war, didn't that rid us of Saddam Hussein and his Haifa 1, 2,3 long-range missiles? And when you can take time off from wringing your hands over Darfur, where the slaughter of innocents by Muslim fanatics continues its toll, why not worry about your brothers and sisters in Sderot, who are victim to the same Muslim barbarism?

Rabbi Wolf is also not concerned with Mr. Obama's longstanding friendship with Rev. Wright:

"If we're sidetracked by Wright's words, we'll be working against these interests. After all, a preacher speaks to a congregation, not for the congregation."

That's true, Rabbi Wolf. You certainly don't speak for me - and most Jews. And I'm happy to say I'm not a member of your congregation.

The opinions and views articulated by the author do not necessarily reflect those of Israel e News.

Agudath Yisroel Of America said...

This so called "Rabbi" who loves our enemies is a sick lady. We felt we had to make a statement that we are against this.

U.S. peace activists visit Tehran Times, MNA
Tehran Times Political Desk

TEHRAN, May. 10 (MNA) -- Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, one of the first ten women rabbis in the history of Judaism, on Saturday visited the headquarters of Tehran Times newspaper and Mehr News Agency, heading a delegation of 21 peace activists.

The delegation includes people of Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Christian, and Indigenous spiritual commitments from 11 different U.S. states.

The group arrived in Tehran on May 1 and will return home on Monday.

The Fellowship of Reconciliation delegation has so far visited Shiraz and Isfahan cities, and has met many Iranians, including members of the Jewish community, outgoing Jewish MP Morris Motamed, and the future Jewish MP Siamak Mursadeq.

“This is a time for finding common ground between our two nations, not threats. When our elected leaders choose belligerent rhetoric over dialogue, it is up to us as everyday Americans to serve as civilian diplomats,” FOR Peace and Community website quoted Rabbi Gottlieb as saying on April 28.


Monroe said...

Rabbi, opponents battle at hearing in Monroe
By John Sullivan
May 09, 2008 6:00 AM

Monroe — Operating a business out of an illegally built three-car garage should have no bearing on the Zoning Board of Appeals’ consideration of whether the garage should stay or go, said attorneys for Herman Wagschal, the rabbi fighting to keep the matzo bakery.
The convoluted logic came from Wagschal’s Rockland County attorneys at Feerik Lynch MacCartney just before the public hearing on the case closed last night. The case pits neighbor upon neighbor in a primarily Hasidic section of town.
Wagschal, of 16 Lanzut Court, built a garage extension onto his McMansion-synagogue without permits, and in defiance of stop-work orders by the town. His attorneys say that shouldn’t matter, because the rabbi needed the garage for religious reasons – an extra entrance for his female congregants, as well as space to bake matzos to his religious specifications.
The rabbi is asking for a variance to keep the garage, which exceeds the town’s setback requirements.
Wagschal’s neighbor Eli Neuhauser claims the rabbi has been lying to the town. Last month his attorney gave the ZBA copies of Yiddish and Hebrew ads offering Wagschal’s matzos to anyone who would pay for them. Jonas Hoffman, a Hasidic member of the Zoning Board, prepared a translation of those ads. Board Chairman Scott Braghirol read the translation.
Hoffman, who visited Wagschal’s home, said it was his belief the rabbi’s son is attempting to start a matzo business but that he would likely move the business out of the home once it took off. Wagschal’s attorney Dennis Lynch considered Hoffman’s statement proof his client had done no wrong.
Braghirol disagreed.
“The point is he’s selling matzos,” the chairman said.
Lynch said the ZBA could offer a variance with conditions preventing a business.
“How about removing all the matzo baking equipment?” Braghirol suggested.
“It’s a religious need,” Lynch seethed.
Neuhauser presented photos of more 18 wheelers at Wagschal’s home and gave evidence that Wagschal was selling matzos all over the country.
With the public hearing now over, the board has up to three months to make a final decision.

Poll: Most Jewish voters want Obama to win said...

WASHINGTON - A new Gallup survey found that 61% of Jewish voters prefer Obama to McCain, who got 32% of the Jewish support.

That number is far greater than the rate found for the general population, who only preferred Obama to McCain 45-43, according to the poll. Obama also still trails Clinton in Jewish support, according to the survey, with Clinton winning against Obama in the Jewish community 50%-43%.

Though the results showed Obama is favored by the Jewish community, the Republican Jewish Coalition pounced on them to attack Obama.

"In 2004, John Kerry received 75% of the Jewish vote and George W. Bush received 25%. The recent polling numbers demonstrate Obama's weakness among Jewish voters. This data comes on the heels of the exit poll data from the Democratic primary in Pennsylvania. Hillary Clinton beat Obama among Jewish voters 62%-38%," said RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks.

But the Obama campaign dismissed his comments, with one adviser calling it, "a desperate attempt to squeeze one drop of lemonade out of a mountain of lemons."

Both candidates released statements honoring Israel's 60th birthday. While Clinton, down in delegates and running out of opportunities to pull off a come-from-behind victory, campaigned in upcoming primary states Thursday, Obama was expected to make remarks at the Israel's Washington embassy Independence Day celebration. US Vice President Dick Cheney was the scheduled keynote speaker.

Ahead of the embassy event, The Israel Project presented poll findings showing record support for Israel, with 71% of those surveyed saying America should support Israel in contrast to only 8% for Palestinians, with 14% saying they were uncertain. That's an overwhelming leap from 2002, when just 24% agreed with that sentiment. Though only 2% thought America should support the Palestinian side of the conflict, back then 68% of respondents said neither should be supported or that they didn't know which side to back.

Americans supporters of McCain back Israel in higher numbers than those supporting either of his two Democratic competitors, Obama and Clinton, whose supporters back Israel by similar amounts, according to the survey.

While 78% of McCain voters said they favored Israel as opposed to only 4% who chose the Palestinians, those who backed Obama for president favored Israel over the Palestinians 46%-14%. When matched up with Clinton, McCain voters backed Israel versus the Palestinians 77%-6%, while Clinton's voters broke down 48%-12%.

The numbers are reflective of the stronger support of Republicans generally for Israel found by the poll, which prominent pollsters Stanley Greenberg, a Democrat, and Neil Newhouse, a Republican, conducted of 800 voters in March on behalf of The Israel Project, a pro-Israel advocacy organization.

Greenberg attributed the greater amount of Republican support for Israel to the influence of the years of US President George W. Bush's strong backing of the Jewish state, the growing pool of religious conservatives who are increasingly attentive to Israel's centrality in their religion, and the sense of a shared security threat from Islamic terrorism.

The pollsters added that while support for Israel between adherents of the two parties had once been relatively even, it wasn't that Democratic numbers came down over the years but that Republican numbers have gone up.

The version of the poll that was released did not show the breakdown in intensity of support between respondents belonging to the two parties.

While Republicans and Democrats both overwhelmingly favored Israel's use of checkpoints (Republicans at 87% and Democrats at 72%), on the topic of Jerusalem, Republicans wanted the city to remain united by 72%-18%, while Democrats split 47%-30%.

A similarly sharp distinction arose concerning Israel's obligation to provide Gaza with humanitarian services despite the territory being controlled by an entity, Hamas, that wants to destroy Israel. Forty-eight percent of Democrats thought Israel was obliged to provide this assistance and 37% said it was not, almost the opposite of Republicans, of whom only 34% felt Israel was obliged to provide help and 58% felt it was not.

When it came to the candidates, McCain's supporters placed the issue of terrorism much higher on their list of priorities than Democratic voters did. Thirty-eight percent of his backers named it as one of the two top challenges America faces, while only 6% and 5% of Obama and Clinton supporters, respectively, did.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said...

Canada's backing of Israel unshakeable, Harper says


From Friday's Globe and Mail

May 9, 2008 at 4:31 AM EDT

OTTAWA, MONTREAL — Prime Minister Stephen Harper used the 60th anniversary of Israel's founding yesterday to defend it against regimes who hate the Jewish people and their state.

In some of his firmest language yet, the Prime Minister said Canada's support for Israel is unshakeable as Israel continues to face intimidation from other nations.

"Unfortunately, Israel at 60 remains a country under threat - threatened by those groups and regimes who deny to this day its right to exist," Mr. Harper said in a prepared text to be delivered at a Toronto celebration marking the anniversary.

"And why? Make no mistake, look beyond the thinly veiled rationalizations: Because they hate Israel, just as they hate the Jewish people...

Pearl Kaufman said...

I'm a Jewish Cuban. That's why when I make racist remarks about others, people are puzzled. Not to mention that I'm the bitchiest woman you'll ever meet.

Director from hell,



You wouldn't think there are many Jews in Cuba, and you'd be right -- maybe 1,500, by one estimate.

But, Cox News Service reports, the small community is making a comeback, especially in the post-Fidel era. The story is after the jump.


Cox News Service
HAVANA, Cuba - The synagogue has been proudly and lovingly restored. Services that for the past 40 years attracted only a handful are now brimming with new members. The youth group is popular and active and the Sunday school for children attracts dozens each week.
But best of all for Adela Dworin, curious Cubans have started returning to the Jewish library here in numbers. Many are descendants of Jewish families who have suddenly come alive to their history, intent on learning more about their religious traditions.
After languishing - like all organized faiths - following Cuba's 1959 Revolution and Fidel Castro's adoption of a communist government that discouraged religious practices, Cuba's tiny Jewish community is thriving again.
Daniel Motela, 28, leads a 200-member Jewish youth organization. "Many of them come and enjoy the group activities," he said. "But I think most come to continue their family traditions and learn more about the Jewish faith."
Cuba now boasts three synagogues and a community center, along with small pockets of followers around the island. Several dozen Cubans with Jewish roots have converted, including adult men who agreed to the Jewish circumcision ceremony. The Sunday school now routinely draws 60 children each week.
The community still lacks a full-time rabbi, but is supported by rabbis from other Spanish-speaking countries who visit frequently.
Although still tiny in number on an island with a population of 11 million and deep Catholic roots, Cuba's Jewish community's rebirth seems to have assured Jewish traditions will live on here.
"At one point we were down to about 800 Jews in Cuba but now it's back to about 1,500," said Dworin, a cheerful, intelligent woman who speaks perfect English and serves as president of Cuba's Jewish Community. "Now we are celebrating all the holidays."
The community's revival can be traced to the 1990s, when Castro eased the official line discouraging religious worship. The change came amid Cuba's crisis sparked by the collapse of the Soviet Union and the island's loss of billions in annual subsidies from its long-time communist patron.
Castro met with leaders of all the island's faiths, reversing a long-standing prohibition on Communist Party members joining churches. The religious re-awakening culminated in the 1998 visit by Catholic Pope John Paul II, but Dworin recalls with pride that the Cuban leader did not ignore the Jews.
At a meeting with religious leaders, "I shook hands with (Castro) and I asked if he could visit the synagogue," Dworin said. "We didn't tell our people we might be having a special visitor, so they were astonished when he came. He gave a speech and was very kind. It was a big honor."
Dworin, in her 60s, always remained active as a Jew, but recalls the long years when the community's numbers dwindled. At times not even enough male members attended services to create a quorum. It was a challenging reversal after what had been an amiable, if brief, history of Jews in Cuba.
The community traces its roots back to 1906 when the first Jews arrived in Cuba, many from the U.S., who came to grow sugar and tobacco. Their numbers swelled in the 1930s as anti-Semitism flared in Europe in the lead-up to World War II, and continued growing as the war broke out and Hitler's Nazi Germany began the systematic extermination of 6 million Jews in the Holocaust.
"My father came to Cuba in 1920 from a town that is now in Belarus," Dworin said. "Like most Jews, he wanted to go to the U.S., but there were quotas and it was almost impossible to get a visa. He didn't even know where Cuba was."
Most of the European immigrants were poor, and many found work in Cuba as peddlers, selling items door-to-door in the streets of Havana. Over the years, many prospered, with Dworin's father first opening a clothing store and eventually a clothing factory.
As Cuba's Jews gained success, they encouraged their children to become professionals, doctors and lawyers with skills that would support them no matter the vagaries of economics or politics.
Dworin herself studied law, but eventually became a librarian overseeing the Jewish community's books and historical treasures.
Most of Cuba's Jews supported Castro's Revolution, she said, hoping it would bring an end to the widespread corruption that beset the island under dictator Fulgencio Batista in the 1950s. But when Castro's government adopted communist ideals and began confiscating private businesses and properties, most Jews fled, many to the U.S.
"But they didn't leave because of anti-Semitism," Dworin said. "In Cuba the behavior of the people toward the Jews was always very nice. There was never any persecution. I decided to stay because I always felt like a Cuban, proud of being born here, very Cuban and very Jewish."
The long years that followed were difficult, but Dworin remained optimistic. When Castro met with religious leaders in the 1990s and reversed the state's discouragement of organized religion, Dworin and others, including Dr. Jose Miller, began seeking out Cubans with Jewish roots.
Most of the island's Jews by then had married outside the faith, stopped attending services and lost touch with Jewish traditions. With the help of American and international Jewish support groups, the small number of faithful in Cuba began rebuilding their membership and refurbishing their facilities.
"I cried a lot when we re-opened the big sanctuary in 2000," Dworin said, noting that the extensive remodeling job was supported by American Jewish groups. "For so long we used the small chapel, but we grew so much we no longer had enough room for services there."

Mike Williams' e-mail address is

exposemolesters said...

Worth a read!

Animal rights activists reveal their own (kosher) identity
By Marissa Brostoff, The Forward

When AgriProcessors, America's largest kosher slaughterhouse, was caught on tape conducting what a federal agency later called "acts of inhumane slaughter," officials at the plant knew they had been infiltrated by undercover investigators. What the company didn't know was that two of those infiltrators were a married couple who keep kosher themselves.

Meet Hannah and Philip Schein, undercover investigators for the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Now, for the first time, they are going public with their identities.

Since 2002, the Scheins have taken on about 20 undercover cases, as well as others they have conducted publicly. The targets of their stings have run the gamut from an egg farm managed by Trappist monks, to a Canadian bear-baiting operation that has supplied fur to the British Royal Guards, to songstress Beyoncé Knowles, once an enthusiastic wearer of fur.

But thanks to their background and their knowledge of the laws of kashrut, Hannah, 33, and Philip, 43, have come to specialize in investigating kosher slaughterhouses. Indeed, PETA had not investigated kosher operations until the Scheins came on board; since then, the group has been involved in about eight such cases. Philip in particular has been credited with becoming an expert on kosher slaughter.

"If it weren't for Philip and his interest and pursuit of this issue, I'm not sure that we would have been able to do those investigations," said Daphna Nachminovitch, PETA's vice president of cruelty investigations. "They were Philip's brainchild."

The Scheins' - and PETA's - first investigation of a kosher slaughterhouse took place in 2004, when the organization obtained footage of cows walking around with their throats cut at AgriProcessors' plant in Postville, Iowa. Hannah had trained the investigators who went undercover for the exposé, and Philip analyzed the video footage that PETA subsequently received.

Under pressure from rabbis as well as animal rights groups and government agencies, the company promised to change its slaughtering procedures, though AgriProcessors has been the subject of several more of the Scheins' investigations.

An AgriProcessors representative declined to comment for this article. But Norman Schlaff, the owner of the Musicon Farm in Gosha, N.Y., was willing to discuss his experience with the Scheins, who paid an undercover visit to his kosher deer slaughterhouse last year.

Schlaff said that two young people who appeared to be a Modern Orthodox couple toured the farm and, like many of his visitors who wish to ensure that their meat is kosher, took videos and photographs of the slaughtering process.

"The next day, PETA called and said, 'Go on the Internet,'" Schlaff said.

He found a page on the group's Web site that accused slaughterers at the farm of sitting on the deer to hold them down while their throats are slit, an allegation that Schlaff denies. "It was really very disturbing," Schlaff said of the unwelcome attention he received after the PETA article. "I got thousands of e-mails, including some death threats from people saying, 'We're going to do to you what you do to the deer.'"

The Scheins maintain that they want only for kosher slaughter to live up to what they consider its original purpose: to minimize the suffering of the animals. Orthodox Jewish standards of kashrut have "gotten so focused on the letter of the law that they've lost sight of the fact that [kashrut] is about reducing suffering," Hannah said.

But according to Rabbi Menachem Genack, head of the Orthodox Union's kashrut division, liberal Jews such as the Scheins are using the term "kosher" as a "generic phrase" to denote practices they consider morally acceptable, thus missing the "fundamental issue" of kashrut: obedience to Jewish law.

Hannah and Philip are currently working (openly) on a project to reform what they say are animal abuses committed in ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods in the course of observing the pre-Yom Kippur absolution ritual known as kapparot.

The kapparot crackdown may cause a stir in such Orthodox enclaves as Brooklyn's Boro Park, but it probably will not get as much attention on celebrity gossip blogs as Hannah's encounter last year with Beyoncé. After PETA won a dinner with the singer in an auction, Hannah and a second PETA employee, armed with a hidden camera, sat down with her and accused the star of being complicit in the abuse of animals by using fur in her wardrobe and in her clothing line, House of Dereon.

"I can't tell you how quickly they escorted us out of there,? Hannah said. She added that Beyonce has not been seen in fur since.

Though a glimpse at the Scheins' career makes them sound like Erin Brockovich-style crusaders, their partnership started out far more innocuously. Hannah and Philip met at a 1998 orientation for new professionals in the Jewish campus organization Hillel. They married a year later in New Jersey, right after Hillel's 1999 conference ended.

In 2002, Hannah took a job in PETA's investigations department, and the Scheins moved from upstate New York, where both had been working on graduate degrees, to a town near Norfolk, Virginia, where PETA is headquartered. Shortly thereafter, Philip, a longtime vegan and animal rights advocate, joined Hannah at the organization.

The Scheins have decided to go public as part of a publicity bid for PETA. Despite the sensitive nature of their undercover work, they say they are not worried about the media attention.

Their confidence in their ability to carry on undercover investigations - and to have carried out so many in the first place appears to be rooted in the techniques they use when they go undercover, which they will not divulge.

"We're still active investigators, so we don't really share our methods," Hannah said.

But she added, "Everything we do is legal."

Fraud Belsky said...

Water doesn't really need a hechsher, but we thought this was another way to build up business for the OU.


Kosher water makes a splash in the market

WEB EXTRA: VideoJew tests the water

By Jay Firestone, Contributing Writer

Whether you're drinking filtered, spring or mineral water, purity has long been considered a desired element in bottled water. But when it comes to purity, only one word can truly capture it all -- kosher.

And with a certification from the Orthodox Union, Mizmor Kosher Water is capitalizing on the importance of purity and kashrut in the marketplace.

"In order to be sold on the kosher shelf in the supermarket, you must have a kosher certification," said Shoshana Teri, Mizmor CEO and president, adding that an OU mashgiach (inspector) ensures that the bottling facilities are kept clean and void of any nonkosher elements.

Though Mizmor, which is spring water, is marketed to a specifically Jewish consumer, having kosher certification is nothing new to the bottled water industry. Most bottled water is kosher, including such popular labels as Crystal Geyser, Arrowhead and Fiji.

VideoJew Jay Firestone tests the water

So what makes Mizmor specifically tailored for Jews?

The company advertises its halachic mindset by donating 10 percent of its net operating profit to underprivileged children.

"You get to quench your thirsty soul with Mizmor Kosher Water, and at the same time, you are an instant participant in raising money for children in need," Teri said.

Mizmor donates to several organizations, including Mamash Yeshiva in Israel and the Mizmor Family Foundation in B'nai Berak, while also being heavily involved with the Jewish National Fund. Mizmor has recently filed an application to help support St. Jude's Hospital.

In the coming weeks, Mizmor will continue to donate truckloads of water to various events and organizations, among them the May 18 Israel@60 festival at Woodley Park in Van Nuys.

Teri was inspired to work with water when her father was ill in 2000. During a lunch outing, Teri's father asked for a bottle of water, and as he turned to her, he said, "My daughter, do water."

Originally, Teri wanted to call her product "Kosher Water," but her lawyer advised that it was too generic. Turning to God for divine inspiration, she opened up a siddur and chose the first word she found -- Mizmor -- which in Hebrew translates to "psalm."

Since the company's launch in April 2007, Mizmor has sold close to 50,000 bottles and has set up its headquarters on Robertson Boulevard, just a few doors north of the Kabbalah Centre.

The water is bottled by Niagara in Irvine, Nature's Way in Pennsylvania, Silver Springs in Florida and Nirvana in upstate New York. The bottled water is distributed to Jewish communities throughout the United States. Locally, Mizmor can be found at many kosher markets, plus several Ralphs locations.

"The word 'kosher' is purity, [and] our educational project is about underprivileged children who are so pure," said Teri, adding that "nothing would make us happier than to give more of Mizmor." The company slogan, "The More the Mizmor," is a trademark for that generosity.

Lieb Pinter said...

American Banker

January 11, 2005 Tuesday

Pg. 11 Vol. 170 No. 7

Fannie Accuses a Servicer Of Pocketing Prepayments

Jody Shenn

This month Fannie Mae will compensate mortgage-backed securityholders for prepayments that a servicer allegedly collected but failed to pass on to the bondholders.

Fannie said in a press release last week that the servicer never informed it that borrowers had paid off 234 mortgages in 169 pools. The principal payments will be made Jan. 25.

Though Fannie did not identify the servicer in the press release, it filed a lawsuit Nov. 16 against Olympia Mortgage Corp. of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Lieb Pinter, an Olympia principal and managing director, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

The suit, in which Fannie asked the court to appoint a receiver for Olympia, said that it retained at least $44 million owed to investors from 260 loans.

To cover up the payoffs, the suit said, Olympia continued to fund a trust with enough money to cover the monthly payments for the loans, which borrowers had actually refinanced. (It is unclear whether Olympia originated the refis.)

In the suit, Fannie called the case "a variation on the typical Ponzi scheme."

Alfred King, a Fannie spokesman, said Friday that it was still trying to determine the amount involved in the alleged fraud, which he confirmed was the reason for the planned payments. He said it was rare, but not unheard of, for Fannie to pay when a servicer fails to remit payments from borrowers.

Last month a different type of fraud burned Fannie. It agreed to pay $7.5 million to the government because First Beneficial Mortgage Corp. of Charlotte had repurchased phony loans from it by selling them to the Government National Mortgage Association. Fannie allegedly failed to warn the agency, known as Ginnie Mae, that the notes were never insured by the Federal Housing Administration, as First Beneficial had claimed.

But in its suit against Olympia, Fannie said it informed the appropriate authorities when it discovered the alleged fraud, and it learned that the Justice Department, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the New York State Banking Department have launched probes.

The incident serves as a reminder of a market function of Fannie and Freddie Mac that they have pointed out when they have come under attack in Washington: guaranteeing payment of principal and interest to investors, regardless of default (or, in this case, alleged fraud).

Cenlar FSB, an Ewing, N.J., subservicing specialist, has taken over the remaining loans from Olympia, Mr. King said. Fannie dropped Olympia from its approved servicer list Oct. 19 and had the servicing transferred to Cenlar shortly afterward, he said.

Mr. King would not say how many loans were involved. In a Jan. 1 disclosure on Fannie's mortgage bonds, Cenlar was listed as an "interim" servicer on at least some of the Olympia loans.

Olympia, which faces state and federal investigations, did not return phone calls.

A Freddie spokesman would not say whether it had ever purchased loans from Olympia, approved it as a servicer, or had an experience similar to Fannie's. "We've never made public who officially are our sellers and who are our servicers," he said.

According to Fannie's suit, Olympia has begun liquidating its operations. In late October the New York State Banking Department temporarily suspended Olympia's mortgage banking license and said the lender was under investigation. On Friday, a spokesman for the department said Olympia had voluntarily surrendered the license permanently in November.

Around the same time the California Department of Corporations said that New York regulators had found that Olympia diverted payments and proceeds on at least 270 loans worth $35 million. California ordered Olympia to establish separate trust accounts for borrowers in the state and to stop lending and servicing there.

Connecticut officials later fined Olympia as much as $200,000 for not disclosing the other regulators' actions, and the state declined to renew its mortgage banking and brokering licenses.

A Federal Bureau of Investigation spokesman in New York confirmed Friday that it has been conducting an investigation in partnership with HUD and the New York regulators for several months.

Fannie, which had been working with Olympia since 1988, said in the suit that some borrowers continued to send payments to Olympia after the servicing work was transferred to Cenlar. The borrower confusion is one reason Fannie asked the court to appoint a receiver.

The alleged scam by Olympia Mortgage is a variation on one more frequently run by fraudulent closing agents. In that one, the agent takes proceeds from a new loan at the closing table, as typical, but never uses the funds to pay off an existing mortgage. Even an originator that sells such a second loan can end up liable under its representations and warranties, because it is not in the first lien position and is ineligible for title insurance.

Bob Simpson, the president and chief executive of Investors Mortgage Asset Recovery Co., said when a servicer gets a loan payoff from a closing agent and allows the new lien to be recorded, it would appear the new lender should be in the correct lien position. (His Irvine, Calif., company litigates small fraud cases for mortgage insurers and lenders.) Such a fraud is bold, because "you leave such a paper trail," he said. "There's no real denying the fraud" after the fact.

Mr. Simpson contrasted that alleged fraud to a bigger one in which dozens of homes in the Poconos were sold at prices that were allegedly inflated through collusion between builders, mortgage brokers, appraisers, and other settlement agents. In that case, each home had a "willing buyer," so it is hard to prove the prices were too high, he said.

After four years of local and federal investigations, the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office announced the first criminal charges in that case last week.

Copyright 2005 Thomson Media Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Anonymous said...

An Account of Events

On the morning of Tuesday, September 21st, 2004, (the sixth of Tishrei) I received a phone call from a Rabbi Michoel Lyons in Bnei Brak who said that he was acting on behalf of several askanim (people who busy themselves with communal affairs). He did not disclose their identities, but I later learned that they included Rabbi Leib Pinter, Rabbi Osher Kalmanowitz, Rabbi Yaakov Kalmanowitz, and Rabbi Naftoli Elzas, amongst others. Rabbi Lyons very politely informed me that he would be faxing me some letters from four Gedolim - Rav Elya Weintraub, Rav Michel Lefkowitz, Rav Yitzchak Shiner and Rav Elya Ber Wachtfogel, stating that I must retract three of my books - The Science of Torah, Mysterious Creatures, and The Camel, The Hare And The Hyrax. He added that I would have until the end of the day in which to agree to withdraw my books and publicly apologize. If I refused, he said, I would face public scandal and humiliation, with the letters being publicized and names of other Gedolei Torah being added. I received the four letters, which spoke sweepingly of the books being full of utter heresy, with Rav Lefkowitz adding that the Gedolei Torah who wrote haskamos for my books had since withdrawn them.

I was astonished and shaken at all this. I had been warned a few days earlier by Rabbi Sholom Kamenetzky that there were "zealots stirring up a hornet's nest," taht he was under pressure to recant his support for me, and that I should begin to marshal sources in support of my views, but I did not imagine that this is what would happen. First of all, as far as I was aware, none of these three books even contained any significant novel points - they are simply based on the writings of Rambam, Rabbeinu Avraham ben HaRambam, Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch, Rav Dessler, etc. They were not, of course, the mainstream Torah viewpoints which are usually presented in the ultra-Orthodox community, but they were nevertheless fully "kosher" views which were necessary for the intended audience of my books - people who have been dissatisfied with normative approaches, and many of whom experience crises of faith.

Furthermore, everything I wrote was carefully checked by many distinguished Torah scholars, who approved it all, and some of whom wrote haskamos. Yet the letter from Rav Lefkowitz stated that the haskamos had been withdrawn. I contacted all the rabbonim who had written haskamos - Rav Yisroel Belsky, Rav Aryeh Carmell, Rav Yitzchok Adlerstein, Rav Mordechai Kornfeld, Rav Aharon Lopiansky, Rav Chaim Malinowitz, Rav Shmuel Kamenetzky, and Rav Sholom Kamenetzky. None of them had withdrawn their haskamos, and only one of them, Rav Sholom Kamenetzky, knew that there was any controversy going on. (He had been instructed by Rav Weintraub, who is his rebbe, to revoke his haskamah, but he had not done so and still has not done so.)

Of course, it is always possible that my books contain some errors, which I am always more than eager to correct when they are pointed out to me (and which is why I submitted my books for rabbinic approval in the first place). But a few errors here and there would surely not disqualify three books as being "full of utter heresy." I also found it inconceivable that anyone, especially Gedolim, could be willing to publicly condemn me in such strong terms without meeting me first to discuss the matter fully - to explain their objections in detail, to hear my explanations and Torah sources, and to work out constructive ways of resolving any remaining differences of opinion. I therefore immediately began to contact the four signatories to arrange meetings. (I had not heard of any of them previously, but I discovered that they were rabbinic authorities of considerable stature.)

In the morning I called Rav Weintraub's home and spoke to his wife. She said that Rav Weintraub is not willing to meet with me and that he says I must speak to Rav Wachtfogel. I asked if I could send a fax to Rav Weintraub, and in the background I heard him instruct her not to receive it.

I then called Rav Shiner and asked to meet with him. He agreed and we made arrangements to meet at 7:45 pm.

Subsequently, Rabbi Lyons called me back and said that he had heard that I was trying to arrange meetings with these Rabbonim. I explained my position (as I had worked it out in consultation with my own rabbonim), that it would be inconceivable to publicly condemn someone without meeting them first, and that I was fully willing to meet with all the Rabbonim at their convenience to discuss the matter, and if they showed me anything that I wrote which was wrong or mistaken, I would gladly retract it. After the phone call, I faxed this to Rabbi Lyons as my official response to the ultimatum:

I have been told that the letters from Gedolei Torah concerning my books will be made public. But it is inconceivable that anyone, especially Gedolim, would condemn someone without meeting and talking with them. I am ready to meet with these Gedolim at their convenience and to hear what their objections are, and to discuss the matter fully. I am certainly willing to retract from anything in which I am proven wrong or mistaken, and kal v'chomer if I am proven to have written something that goes against the fundamentals of emunah, chas v'shalom. Surely to condemn someone without meeting them goes against both the spirit and the letter of Torah and Shulchan Aruch, and would be an unbelievable chilul Hashem befarhesya, and will be widely recognized as such. I spoke with my Rav, Rav Chaim Malinowitz shlita, and he fully concurs with the above. I therefore assume that the Gedolei Torah would wish to discuss the matter with me first, and I repeat my readiness to meet with them, together with my rebbe'im, whenever they want. I am independently making every effort to contact all of the Gedolim signed on the letters.
Sincerely, Nosson Slifkin

During the call, Rabbi Lyons told me that none of them would be willing to meet me. I replied that this was incorrect, as Rav Weintraub's wife conveyed a message from him that I should speak with Rav Wachtfogel. Rabbi Lyons replied that this information was superseded by a later statement that nobody, not even Rav Wachtfogel, would meet with me. I countered that this could not be true, as I had already arranged to meet with one of the signatories that evening. Rabbi Lyons was very eager to find out who this was, but I refused to tell him. However, since his team was in touch with all these people, it wasn't too difficult for him to find out who I had arranged to meet.

A short while later, Rav Shiner called me to cancel his meeting with me. He said that I would just try to argue and defend myself. He also said that he was concerned that I might use his words against him. He added that he is not a gadol and is not really the leader of this, and I should meet with Rav Elya Weintraub. I said that Rav Elya is not willing to meet with me. He said, "He will if you come in remorse and willing to retract everything, not if you are going to argue." Rav Shiner added that I had done "a terrible thing." Despite my protests, he refused to meet with me.

Meanwhile, I had been trying all day to arrange a meeting with Rav Lefkowitz, via one of his assistants. Eventually his assistant called me to say that Rav Lefkowitz would not meet me because he wasn't actually familiar with any of my material (he does not read English) and was simply relying on Rav Weintraub for everything. The assistant explained that for me to meet Rav Lefkowitz would give the misleading impression that Rav Lefkowitz was actually conversant with the subject of the condemnation. He said that it was Rav Lefkowitz's way to place complete trust in Rav Weintraub. The assistant added that Rav Lefkowitz would investigate my statement that the Gedolei Torah who wrote haskamos for my books had in fact not retracted them, and that this sentence would be removed if it turned out to be innaccurate. (In fact the sentence stayed in even though it was not true.)

The only person left to contact was Rav Wachtfogel. Although Rabbi Lyons had made it clear that Rav Wachtfogel would be unwilling to speak with me, I did not want to take his word for it and I made efforts to contact him. I managed to leave a message with his wife that I wanted to meet with him to discuss the matter, but she refused to take my phone number, saying that "the Rosh Yeshivah does not return phone calls." Despite many further attempts, I was unable to reach him. There was no further contact between myself and Rabbi Lyons or any of the Rabbonim.

Three days later, on erev Yom Kippur, posters with the letters from Rav Weintraub, Rav Lefkowitz and Rav Shiner were placed in several shuls in my home neighborhood of Ramat Bet Shemesh. (Such posters are traditionally put up on erev Shabbos/ Yom Tov as if they remain unnoticed until Shabbos/ Yom Tov begins, it is impossible to then remove them.)

When these posters were publicized, I received a number of phone calls expressing support from various well-known rabbis. One was Rabbi Aharon Feldman, Rosh Yeshivah of Ner Israel in Baltimore. He said, "Nosson, I heard you're having a lot of agmas nefesh and I'm just calling you to be mechazek you. You're a wonderful person, and you're being mezakeh the rabbim, and you're just trying to be mevakesh the emes, and it's obvious to anyone who reads your sefarim properly that that's what you're trying to do. You are working totally leShem Shamayim, and so are these people. It'll all die down eventually, but don't fight it as that will just prolong it."

Shortly after Yom Kippur, I was shown a letter of condemnation that Rav Moshe Shapiro had written to one Rav who had written a haskamah to one of my books, and which was now being circulated. I was stunned, as I had known Rav Moshe Shapiro several years previously and had a minor but positive relationship with him. I already knew that he took a rejectionist approach towards science, because a few months previously he had told one of his talmidim that scientists are entirely wrong about the universe being billions of years old and dinosaurs living long before people. But since he knew me to be a sincere person who was working l'shem Shamayim, and had given me his blessing for my previous (non-science related) works, it was shocking to me that he would write such a disparaging letter and circulate it without even talking to me first. Several of my colleagues subsequently met with Rav Shapiro on my behalf to try to get a clearer picture as to his precise position, but conflicting reports resulted.

Over the next few months, attempts were made to gather signatures from leading Rabbonim for another condemnation of my books. Rabbi Reuven Schmelzer, a disciple of both Rav Moshe Shapiro and Rav Elya Ber Wachtfogel, attempted, as their emissary, to gather these signatures. At the time, various reports reached me that he was not being successful. A close friend of Rav Mattisyahu Solomon relayed to me that he would definitely not sign. One of the closest people to Rav Elyashiv sent an assurance that he would not sign. My supporters and myself assumed that it had all died down, and were completely taken by surprise when the second letter of condemnation appeared, signed by Rav Elyashiv, Rav Mattisyahu Solomon and numerous others.

At this point I spoke again by phone with Rabbi Aharon Feldman of Ner Israel. He said that the ban is a terrible chillul Hashem. He added that doesn't understand how these people could take the responsibility to do this, and how they will justify it to Hashem. I complained that no-one was standing up for me. Rabbi Feldman replied that the four leading Torah leaders of the US stood up for me by not signing. He said that it's so clear that I am just trying to find pshat in these topics and using intellectual honesty, just like we approach any sugya.

Meanwhile, in the previous months I had managed to build up a picture of who was ultimately engineering the ban. It appears that the primary person was Rabbi Yaakov Kalmanowitz. He was someone strongly opposed to "secular thinking" - recordings of him on this topic can be downloaded here (Part One and Part Two). But I was also reliably informed that his primary opposition to my works was not so much due to what they stated. Rather, it was because one of them bore the endorsement of Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetzky, Rosh Yeshivah of Philadelphia Yeshivah, someone that Kalmanowitz considered "not fit for Torah leadership." His campaign against my books was ultimately aimed at undermining Rabbi Kamenetzky's reputation.

Also involved in the campaign was Yaakov Kalmanowitz's brother, Rabbi Osher Kalmanowitz of the Mir Yeshivah in New York. He did not want to openly involve himself, and so he recruited his friend Rabbi Leib Tropper of Yeshivas Kol Yaakov in Monsey. Rabbi Tropper created a story that was told to the Rabbis were were approached to condemn the books. The story involved two students in his yeshivah, described as "angelic," who allegedly dropped out of yeshivah and left Orthodoxy after reading my books and concluding that "if the Sages could have been wrong about science, then they could have been wrong about everything." Rabbi Elya Wachtfogel, the primary rabbinic authority behind this ban, presented this story as grounds for his campaign. I myself was shaken when I heard about this story, but my mentors were skeptical and advised my to investigate it. The investigation showed that one of them was barely observant to begin with, and dropped out of yeshivah before my book on the Sages' knowledge of science was published. When I discovered the identity of the other student and wrote to ask him if it was true that my books caused him to drop out, he wrote this reply.

I was also tipped off that a close friend of Rabbi Osher Kalmanowitz was also involved in the campaign: Rabbi Leib Pinter. It seems that he may have been the original person to have launched the campaign. However, Rabbi Pinter subsequently became the subject of a legal investigation and was unable to be further involved in the campaign against my work.

(To be continued)

newsday said...,0,2745742.story
2 charged with looting millions in mortgage scams


7:39 PM EDT, May 8, 2008

Two Brooklyn men were arrested Thursday on federal charges that they used their defunct mortgage company to pull a series of ripoffs, including $44 million involving over 250 home loans funded by Fannie Mae, the federally sponsored pool of home mortgages, officials said.

Charged with conspiracy, wire and mail fraud in a four-count indictment unsealed in Brooklyn federal court were Leib Pinter,64, and Barry Goldstein, 59. Both men were identified in the indictment as principles of Olympia Mortgage Corp., which was on Coney Island Avenue until it closed in late 2004.

The charges are the first brought by a new mortgage fraud unit in the Eastern District U.S. Attorney's office in Brooklyn.

Pinter was accused of misappropriating $44 million disbursed by Fannie Mae to refinance some 257 original home mortgages. The indictment charged that instead of using the funds to pay off the original loans owned by Fannie Mae, Pinter stole the money, leaving tens of millions of dollars in unpaid mortgages that had been refinanced through Olympia.

In a second scheme, Goldstein was accused of falsifying bad loan repayment histories to fool Credit Suisse First Boston, the investment banking firm, into repurchasing what were actually non-performing mortgages.

Brooklyn prosecutors said that Credit Suisse purchased 12 loans with false payment histories. Investigators didn't put a dollar amount on those loans. Both Pinter and Goldstein pleaded not guilty. Magistrate-judge Joan Azrack released Pinter on an $800,000 bond secured by his home while Goldstein was released on a $350,000 bond, also secured by his residence.

Rabbi Shlomo Aviner said...

Rabbi calls to abolish army service for women

Prominent Zionist-religious leader Rabbi Shlomo Aviner rules girls must not enlist in IDF, move that he claims goes against Torah laws. In wartime, women's duty is to support their men, he writes

Kobi Nahshoni
Published: 05.12.08, 08:35 / Israel Jewish Scene

Prominent Zionist-religious leader, Rabbi Shlomo Aviner called on young religious women not to enlist in the army, a move he defined as a violation of Torah laws.

Modesty First?
Rabbi Aviner: Women must not wear pants even when alone / Ynet
One of Religious Zionism's most prominent leaders defines trousers as a 'self-prohibition,' says women 'must dress modestly also when alone and in the dark'
Full Story

In an open letter published in the Mayyaney Hayeshua movement's pamphlet this weekend, Aviner ruled that army service is forbidden for all women, and urged his female readers to act for its annulment.

"Never enlist in the army…ever," Aviner wrote, quoting a list of leading chief rabbis and religious leaders who have prohibited such service in the past. "It is forbidden! Forbidden like kashrut! Forbidden like Shabbat! And especially forbidden like modesty!"

The rabbi stressed that while contributing to the State is indeed important, one must not do so by serving in the army. The women's duty during war, he wrote, was to support the men who go to battle. Enlistment, on the other hand, is a desecration of God's name.

Instead of dedicating themselves to the challenges of military duty, Aviner offered girls to fight for abolishing "this negative phenomenon."

"We need you to function as a pure and clean woman… and not to undermine your mental foundation… remember: Army service for women, in any shape or form – is forbidden! Forbidden! Resist the temptation!" he conclude,7340,L-3542112,00.html

Rabbi Jack L. Sparks said...

May 12, 2008

Rabbi arrested for improper relationship with teen

The News Journal

A rabbi who heads a nonprofit religious school in Talleyville was arrested by Newark police Monday on a child endangerment charge for allegedly fostering an inappropriate relationship with a teenage boy.

Rabbi Jack L. Sparks, 53, head of school at Albert Einstein Academy at 101 Garden of Eden Road, was released on unsecured bail on the misdemeanor charge, stemming from a relationship developed since February 2007 with a now 15-year-old boy, police said in court records.

Police said Sparks took the boy on a shopping trip to the Fairfield News and Tobacco store on New London Road in Newark and encouraged the boy to pick out a magazine in the “back room” where pornographic magazines are kept. The boy declined, picking out a gaming magazine instead, Newark police spokesman Lt. Brian Henry said.

According to court records, the victim’s mother reported the “possible inappropriate relationship” to police April 26.

“The teen was smart enough to put an end to it,” Henry said. “[Sparks] didn’t get a chance to follow through.”

The boy, who is not a student at the school, met Sparks in February 2007.

The teen and rabbi developed a friendship over time, talking at the school two or three times a week over the next few months.

When the boy was hospitalized in June, 2007, the rabbi visited him there and noticed the victim using a computer. The two then started to exchange e-mails and talk online in the hospital and after the boy returned home. In September, the rabbi bought the boy a computer for his room.

The victim’s mother viewed Sparks as a role model and mentor for her son, police said in court records, and the two had regular lunch dates. Sparks also would take the boy to Game Stop.

“Sparks told the boy he loved him,” police said in court records.

The online conversations turned sexual, including talk of girls’ body parts, pornography and masturbation, Henry said.

Sparks, who has headed the school since 2005, was released on $2,000 unsecured bail. He could not be reached for comment Monday.

Larry Hamermesh, a Board of Trustees member, called the rabbi’s arrest “regrettable regardless of the outcome.”

“He was placed on paid administrative leave last Monday pending the outcome of a school investigation,” Hamermesh said.

Contact Terri Sanginiti at 324-2771 or

Newark Police said...

Head of Del. School Charged With Encouraging Boy to Buy Porn


NEWARK, Del. (AP)- Newark Police have arrested the head of a Wilmington school for allegedly encouraging a teenage boy to buy porn.

Police say Rabbi Jack Sparks of Albert Einstein Academy took the 15-year-old to a store with a room with merchandise for adults. Police say Sparks offered to buy the boy a pornographic magazine so he could "have a good time."

Police say the boy declined and told his parents, who notified police.

Detectives learned Sparks got to know the boy because 1 of the teen's relatives is a student at the academy.

Police say Sparks had been taking the boy out to eat and shop. Eventually, police said he bought the boy a computer where he was having sexual conversations with him during online chats.

demographic studies said...

U.S. think-tank aims to infuse Jewish life with dashes of color
By Rebecca Spence, The Forward Correspondent
Tags: The Forward, Jewish Americans

SAN FRANSISCO - Go to almost any Jewish conference and you'll likely find the ethnic makeup to be largely, and unsurprisingly, white.

But at a recent plenum in San Francisco, a group championing ethnic diversity in Jewish life turned that situation on its head, as scores of black, Latino and Asian Jews from around the world came together to grapple with the challenges they face gaining acceptance in the mainstream Jewish world.

The group of 80 Jewish leaders from 31 different countries - including Uganda, South Africa and Portugal - who gathered the first weekend this month for the Be'Chol Lashon International Think Tank had one clear message for the Jewish community: Open your doors to diversity. The sixth annual event, organized by Be'Chol Lashon - a Bay Area initiative dedicated to fostering diversity in Jewish life - and fittingly held at the Hotel Kabuki in the heart of San Francisco's Japantown, centered this year on questions of conversion and whether Judaism might take a more proactive role in gaining adherents.

More at:

Kabbalah museum said...

Kabbalah museum to open in Jerusalem

A museum devoted exclusively to kabbalah will open in Jerusalem.

The Jerusalem Kabbalah Museum -- the only musem devoted exclusively to Judaism's mystical tradition, according to its founder -- is scheduled to open June 25.

It will display artifacts such as amulets, garments and historical manuscripts; provide education, including personal kabbalah training; and offer tours of Israel focusing on sites of kabbalistic interest.

Founding director Rabbi Chaim Dalfin, the author of "Soul Journeys" -- a book about kabbalah -- says the museum is targeted both to Jews and non-Jews.

While “kabbalah ma’asit,” or practical kabbalah involving incantations, is esoteric knowledge that Dalfin says institutions “should stay away from,” he says the new museum will present “teachings that are open to anyone.”

Orthodox Union said...

Welcome to our club!

Published: 05/06/2008

The rabbi of the largest U.S. Orthodox synagogue outside the New York area was named to lead the Orthodox Union.

Rabbi Steven Weil, 42, of Beth Jacob Congregation in Beverly Hills, Calif., will succeed Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb as the umbrella organization's executive vice president on July 1, 2009.

In a news released, the O.U. called Weil a "charismatic, sought-after orator and skilled fund-raiser." Weil is a graduate of the rabbinical seminary at Yeshiva University and received a master's degree in business from New York University.

His Beverly Hills congregation has 750 member families, according to its Web site.

Weinreb will transition to a new position, executive vice president emeritus, according to the release.

The Orthodox Union is the largest Orthodox umbrella organization in the United States.

Pope Benedict XVI said...

Attorney wants pope to testify on clergy sex abuse


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI should be questioned soon about clergy sex abuse in the Catholic church because he is the most knowledgeable person on the topic and his advanced age makes future testimony unlikely, an attorney said Monday.

Many similar lawsuits have named the pope, the Vatican and other high-ranking church officials as defendants but have failed.

This request comes as part of a lawsuit by three men claiming top church officials should have warned about sexual abuse by priests in the Archdiocese of Louisville. A federal judge last year let those claims stand while dismissing other aspects of the lawsuit. It's now pending before the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.

Attorney William McMurry said Pope Benedict XVI has an unparalleled knowledge of the scope of sex abuse complaints because before becoming pope, he led Vatican offices that were directly involved with the investigation of sexual abuse by clerics.

"The pope has certain knowledge relevant to this case," said McMurry, who on Monday filed the motion seeking a court order for the pope's testimony.

The attorney also noted that the pope is 81 years old and may not be available or able to testify later in a case expected to reach the Supreme Court.

Jeffrey Lena, the Berkeley, Calif.-based attorney for the Vatican, had little to say about the motion.

"It's novel," Lena said. "It's not appropriate."

Along with the accusations against the Vatican, the lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of the U.S. Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act, which generally gives immunity to foreign countries from most lawsuits.

McMurry said the law violates the plaintiff's rights to a trial on the merits of the case. McMurry also claims that the law doesn't apply to the Holy See because of its dual role as a religious institution and country.

The Bush administration defended the law, saying the U.S. government has recognized the Vatican as a country since 1984 and that the president alone, not the court system, may recognize a country.

fed up said...

The Pope may or may not have meant it sincerely when he apologized to sex abuse victims when he visited America in April. Nonetheless, he has done at the very minimum what no Rabbi or Yeshiva has ever done - and that's saying he's sorry for the pain and suffering they incurred at the hands of the catholic church and its clergy.

Shame on the rabbonim and gudas chazerim for doing less than the goyim. In fact, the Pope has outdid the yidden. The gentiles look at Jews and say - How can they be the chosen people when they act worse than we do?

surfing rabbi said...

Surfing rabbi inspires urban youth to cast off stereotypes

By Tim Bueler

LOS ANGELES-Whether out in the curl with the other surfer dudes at Malibu, or teaching at his surfing camps in Hawaii and Mexico, Rabbi Nachum Shifren doesn't fit the stereotype of an orthodox Jew. Nor, after they've taken his courses, can the young inner city kids he reaches out to, continue to fit their own stereotypes.

The rabbi's passion is to bring kids a taste of success-to give them a chance to earn real self-esteem through a lasting connection with the great outdoors. He helps kids break the innercity trap of the street culture that spawns gangs, indolence and crime-and cuts down kids before they have any chance to grow and prosper.

He is concerned that 50 percent of Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) students do not graduate, that there are drugs in the schools, and that violence has become so common that in general, the no one cares.

"The administrators act like they don't notice," said the rabbi, reflecting on his time teaching at Dorsey High. "Some students burned down my classroom, and I was the only one who was punished!"

Kids are getting the wrong lessons in school and on the street, he said. They are not developing good study skills, and they are erroneously associating their self-worth with gangs and inner city lawlessness. Rabbi Shifren takes the kids out of the "hood" and uses the power of the ocean and the joy of surfing to guide each individual's contemplation about his place in the universe. He teaches the basics of cutting out excessive junk foods and getting plenty of good exercise, fresh air and sunlight.

The rabbi is an expert, with over 40 years of surfing and teaching, including ocean life-guarding, and using the ocean and surfing as a metaphor, he instills self-reliance, personal responsibility and an appreciation for life and nature.

He introduces his young students, some of whom have never had any ocean experience, to entirely new concepts. He explains the Surf and Soul holistic concept of incorporating the new knowledge they gain in surfing to their own physical fitness, nutrition and positive thinking. When they "get it," they incorporate these lessons into their personal lives, changing themselves, their relationships, and, he hopes, their neighborhoods and the world, for the better.

"In short," he said, "I show the kids ways to build REAL self-esteem, which they earn, instead of the false 'conferred' self esteem they have draped on them in schools-and they know the difference! Out here, they see the value of hard work, study, discipline, and never giving up."

Rabbi Shifren is a popular guest speaker, and has presented his philosophies around the world, on radio, television and in newspaper and magazine interviews. He is an engaging, thought-provoking speaker, and his book, "Kill Your Teacher," is considered essential reading by anyone concerned with today's state of education in America.

Jackie Mason said...

A Rabbi stand-up comedian? Holy cow!

Rabbi is a laughing matter
Tue May 13, 2008, 08:55 AM EDT
Canton -

Canton - Rabbi Bob Alper, the only stand-up comedian who is also a practicing ordained rabbi, will perform his award-winning stand-up show on Sunday, June 8, 7:30 p.m., at Temple Beth Abraham, 1301 Washington Street, Canton.

The rabbi-comedian has been seen on The Today Show, Good Morning America, Showtime, the BBC, CNN, and Extra. Performing across North America and England, Rabbi Alper played to an SRO crowd at the prestigious Montreal Comedy Festival, New York’s famed Chautauqua Institution and the Hollywood IMPROV. He has also done more than 100 shows with his Arab and Muslim comedy partners.

Having served congregations for 14 years after earning a doctorate from Princeton Theological Seminary, Rabbi Alper was well prepared for a twenty-year comedy career with unique material presented in a way that’s intelligent, sophisticated, and 100 percent clean.

Rabbi Alper’s performance is sponsored in conjunction with Shavuot, followed by an oneg and study through the night. Admission is free.

For more information, contact Temple Beth Abraham (781) 828-5250,

Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb said...

OU head pleads for Jewish unity
By FRANCES KRAFT, Staff Reporter
Thursday, 15 May 2008
TORONTO — Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb delivered a pointed message about Jewish unity to a sanctuary full of people gathered for Mizrachi Canada’s annual Yom Hazikaron/Yom Ha’atzmaut program last week at Beth Avraham Yoseph of Toronto Congregation in Thornhill.

The executive vice-president of the Orthodox Union, who has a PhD in psychology, said that just as Jews transition from the darkness of Yom Hazikaron, the memorial day for fallen soldiers, to the light of Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day, we must transition from “a darkness within us… that is eating away at the soul of the Jewish people.”

Discord, despair and cynicism – which he described as “three monsters” – are “crippling us as a nation, as local communities, and as individual Jews,” said Rabbi Weinreb.

He referred to gaps between religious and secular Jews, right-wing and left-wing Jews, chassidim of differing factions, and those who wear one colour kippah and those who wear a different one.

“It is a poison that eats away at us body and soul.”

Rabbi Weinreb believes the Jewish community has become pessimistic. “Where is a prophet today who gives a hopeful message for the Jewish future?” he asked.

Cynicism, Rabbi Weinreb said, is at the core of the difficulties. “When we see the accomplishments of others, particularly of a different shade of religiosity than ours, we say, ‘So what? I’m not impressed.’

“Yom Ha’atzmaut, particularly this 60th [one], gives us the opportunity to grab these three monsters, to slay these three dragons, and to transform the discord into unity and harmony, the despair into hope, and the cynicism into idealism and dreaming again.”

Rabbi Weinreb said that Ahavat Yisrael – love of one’s fellow Jew – is commonly espoused but rarely practised, “especially when the going is tough, or when the person is different.

“Harmony – at least, tolerance – is a goal we must achieve.”

He urged people to see the beauty of others’ accomplishments “even if we don’t understand that beauty,” and to not forget “the dreams of our grandmothers… the pushkes that helped build the land of Israel.

“Let us not become cynical, no matter who are our leaders,” he said. “We must continue to dream. We must reverse discord with unity, despair with hope and cynicism with dreams of the future.”

The event, which was followed by celebratory dancing in the synagogue’s social hall, also included prayers, a medley of Israeli music, and remarks from Amir Gissin, Israel’s consul general in Toronto; Solly Sacks, director of World Mizrachi; and Rabbi Baruch Taub, spiritual leader of the synagogue.

exposemolesters said...

Fed up --

Good points! These loser twerps of Haredi society won't and don't want to do any any apologizing to the victims they created. G-D forbid they should admit to any wrongdoings on their part! Better to have hundreds of abused kids walking around than to admit and act on the problem!

I dare any creep like Margo of ytt and Mandel of yob to do what the Pope did. Apologize for the sex abuse scandals in their respective yeshivas. Say they're sorry to the victims!

olmert is a killer said...

Rightist rabbis urge Bush not to meet Olmert during Israel visit
By Nadav Shragai, Haaretz Correspondent

Right-wing rabbis across the nation on Monday urged U.S. President George W. Bush, who is scheduled to arrive in Israel this week, not to meet with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in light of the criminal allegations against him currently being investigated.

"It is beneath the honor of a president to hold talks with a man suspected of criminal behavior, who is willing to sell his homeland to save himself from the law," wrote the rabbis, who include chairman of the Yesha rabbinical council and chief rabbi of Kiryat Arba, Rabbi Dov Lior, Rabbi Yaakov Yosef - the son of Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, Rabbi Meir Mazuz, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, Rabbi David Druckman and others.

"We demand of the honorable president to cease applying pressure on the state to hand over territories to the Arabs. We ask the president not to meet Mr. Olmert on these issues, especially not at this time," they wrote.


chanina said...

I agree that the pope has done more than the yidden in stretching his hand out and reaching to thousands of sex abuse victims.

Having said that, the pope is not some innocent holy god - who had no idea that the pedophile bug would invade his holiness. Pope Benedict XVI was involved in the catholic church sex abuse cover-up until now, though, at least he has moved in the right direction and shown some humility.

Better late than never! Which is something we cannot say about the mental dwarfs in the black hats and long coats. One thousand mikvah dippings in a row won't be able to clean their sins.

Which goes to show you how low the moetzos have sunken to. They can't even get to first base, because they refuse to recognize that they have a huge problem on their hands that puts the lives of children at risk everyday.

They want to control the rules. For example. They want a rabbi to make a determination on the status of an accused rabbi sex offender.

They don't want the authorities who are professionals and adequately trained in investigating such charges, to be called.

Who is going to enforce the self governed, self reliant, Torah Umesora guidelines? Belsky? Shafran? Zweibel? Tendler? Byrks? A. Shechter? Perlow? Margulies? S. Mandel? D. Mandel? Hopfer? Heinemann? A. Twersky?

Do you trust that if any of them witnessed your child getting molested by another jew; that they would call the police on that person?

There are idiots out there who would not report it to the police. I spoke to one of them and couldn't believe what i was hearing. Could you imagine that? It's a frum-disorder that affects many. These psychos are out there in bunches.

These guys are an absolute joke.

Father John Benedict Corrigan said...

Priest jailed for child sex abuse

A Catholic priest has been jailed for four years after admitting a string of sex attacks on young children.

Father John Benedict Corrigan, 71, was extradited from Ireland to the UK to face charges for sexually abusing three boys and a girl in Durham and Tyneside.

He pleaded guilty to seven counts of indecent assault on boys aged between eight and 13, between 1967 and 1972.

Some of the offences occurred when Fr "Ben" of Westport, Mayo, worked at St Wilfrid's Church in Gateshead.

He admitted the attacks against the boys shortly after he was extradited last year and the publicity led to a fourth female victim coming forward.

He later admitted two indecent assaults on the 15-year-old girl, nearly 40 years ago, at Newcastle Crown Court.

Speaking after the hearing, Father Dennis Tindall, the safeguarding co-ordinator for the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, said: "I think justice has been done for the people whose lives have been harmed by Father Corrigan.

"I have worked with the victims for a number of years and I know they have suffered greatly.

"For the members of the families who were here today they will feel they can move on."

Fr Tindall said that when allegations are made against members of the Catholic Church, procedures are now in place to investigate them fully.

Story from BBC NEWS:

exposemolesters said...

Before you send your kids off to sleep away camp this summer - talk to them about "good touch" and "bad touch" etc.

Boy Scout Sex Abuse Scandal Hits Home

Story Published: May 13, 2008 at 8:10 PM PDT
By Chelsea Kopta
KENNEWICK -- The case made headlines in Idaho: a camp director accused of sexually abusing boy scout staffers.

Now, reports link that camp scandal to several scouts in our area.

Recently, a grand jury indicted Timothy Kellis on a dozen counts of sex crimes, 10 counts of lewd conduct and two counts of sexual abuse with a child.

He pleaded not guilty to all of them late Monday.

Amidst the mountain biking, camp fires, and canoeing at Camp Grizzly last summer, it took time for investigators to find out about, accusations of sexual misconduct.

"You want them to mostly worry about canoeing and shooting a rifle safely and handy crafts and learning how to swim and those types of things, which 99.9 percent do," Boy Scout Executive Council Mark Griffin said.

Camp Grizzly is a Boy Scout summer camp northeast of Moscow, Idaho.

Leaders said, our local boy scouts often ship off there for the summer since the local council doesn't have a summer camp of its own.

But Blue Mountain Executive, Mark Griffin, got the call last month that grizzly has ties far closer to home.

"Saying that there's a possibility some of our scouts were affected," he said. "You worry about these things happening and it's an enormous amount of stress to worry about and you hope it never happens."

Kellis was a 38-year-old shooting sports director at the camp, and a high school band director from Tumwater, washington. According to reports, Kellis did not have a criminal record.

When investigators issued a warrant he turned himself in.

"That's the challenge of being in those roles: you want to be there and help every kid, help every scout have a successful time, and you can't do it," Griffin said.

So far, four boy scout staffers have come forward, saying they were assaulted.

The alleged victims are all 18 and under.

Court documents report Kellis sometimes approached the boys in their tents where he fondled them and performed sex acts.

"Obviously concern for the kids, and concerns for the family and the people involved," Griffin said.

Those leaders told Action News, once they heard about the case, Boy Scout council sent letters home to all families whose kids or staffers were at Camp Grizzly.

Then the leaders went to work raising awareness about predators and security within the Boy Scouts.

As a matter of policy, they don't allow a troop leader or counselor to be alone with a boy scout.

Plus, Blue Mountain council said they already have two checks in place to prevent wrongdoing.

There's a national Boy Scout application database that checks for criminal backgrounds, as well as local training that every potential hire goes through.

It offers face to face contact to weed out anyone that doesn't suit the scouts.

If there are any red flags, the council said, you're out.

Griffin claimed, in six years, the council only had to eliminate two potential hires, and both of those people were from out of state.

Police and prosecutors are still investigating and encouraging any more possible victims to come forward.

Kellis was still in the county jail Tuesday on $100,000 bail.

His trial date is set for September 15.

Find this article at:

rabbi yisroel belsky said...

This is sheker. I do not bedavcah think someone would have the teiveh to do such a zach. It's mamash not shyech and it's usser to believe such allegations against another yid.

Toddler sex abuse couple can appeal
A SOUTH Derbyshire couple who were found guilty of the horrific sexual and physical abuse of a toddler have today been granted leave to appeal the jury's verdicts.

The girl was left with serious head and sexual injuries after being subjected to what prosecutors said was abuse by the pair, formerly of Midway, who cannot be named.

The man was jailed for nine years and the woman given a 12-month suspended jail term after being found guilty of a string of offences at Derby Crown Court in May last year.

The man was found guilty of two counts of assault by penetration, while the woman, from South Derbyshire, was convicted of child cruelty and an assault which was said to have caused the child serious head injuries.

The case arose out of injuries caused to the young girl in 2005. She was taken to hospital, where doctors found serious genital, anal and internal and external head injuries.

It was the prosecution case that one, the other, or both of them were responsible for the injuries, or, alternatively, was criminally responsible for failing to seek medical attention for the girl.

At their trial, both denied responsibility for the child's injuries. Now, through their legal teams, the pair have launched challenges to the jury's verdicts at the Criminal Appeal Court in London.

Widespread Worker Abuses Alleged At AgriProcessors said...

BREAKING NEWS! The Jewish Week reports.

Widespread Worker Abuses Alleged At AgriProcessors
Federal affadavit could open door to indictment against top kosher meat supplier.

AgriProcessors’ kosher meat plant in Postville, Iowa.

by Debra Nussbaum Cohen
Staff Writer

Two legal experts suggested this week that the federal government could be laying the groundwork for possible indictments against the owners of the country’s largest kosher meat manufacturer.

The comments come in the wake of Monday’s raid on AgriProcessors’ slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa, when federal authorities entered the plant and arrested 390 workers — more than a third of the company’s workforce — on illegal immigration charges. On Tuesday, 29 workers were charged with crimes including identity theft and using false social security numbers, according to a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office.

“It’s clear [from the affadavit’s allegations] that the government is thinking of an up-the-ladder chain of getting either the whole corporation or some senior managers,” said Marc Stern, general counsel to the

American Jewish Congress, who reviewed the affadavit. “There are clearly some supervisors who are at great risk with being charged with harboring aliens in systematic fashion. There’s also a tantalizing thing in there about different-colored paychecks that suggests a slush fund for paying illegals.”

“Whoever from the corporation is involved with that is at great risk,” Stern continued. “They [the government] lay the groundwork for such a charge. But whether they can prove it beyond a supervisory level or will even attempt it is too early to say.”

The affidavit filed by a senior special agent of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement department lists dozens of pages of allegations against the company’s owners and supervisors. The document portrays them as exploiters of a vulnerable illegal immigrant work force, and it could be seen as setting the owners and supervisors up for possible indictment.

Allegations include that company owners and supervisors physically abused and exploited workers; knowingly hired workers without legal documentation; altered work records; paid some off the books; and paid them below minimum wage (starting workers at $5 an hour).

In addition, the affadavit alleges that company owners and supervisors fraudulently and forcibly sold them used cars and trucks, threatening that they would be fired if they didn’t buy the vehicles.

“Our company takes the immigration laws seriously,” AgriProcessors said in a statement, adding that it cooperated with the government “in the enforcement action” and will continue to operate during the investigation. It also assured consumers that it is continuing to supply glatt kosher meats and poultry.

AgriProcessors produces about 60 percent of the kosher meat and 40 percent of the kosher poultry in the U.S market.

Washington attorney Nathan Lewin, who has represented AgriProcessors and its owners, the Rubashkin family, in the past, conveyed surprise this week at the breadth of the affadavit’s allegations.

The “fact is there was a lot of material in there that did not seem to be relevant [to the immigration charges]. It has all sorts of allegations [against the owners and supervisors], all sorts of information gleaned from all sorts of places,” he said.

“Whether or not charges are brought against the Rubashkins, that remains to be seen,” Lewin said. He said he does not yet know if he is representing AgriProcessors in this current matter.

He added that he did not believe the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Rubashkins were in talks at the present time.

The affidavit also alleges that an informant saw evidence of methamphetamines being manufactured at the plant.

In the wake of Monday’s raid, the country’s leading kosher supervising agency, the Orthodox Union, expressed concern about the situation.

“The different issues, like immigration, we don’t have expertise or authority in that area but will follow the authorities’ lead,” said Rabbi Menachem Genack, the OU’s kashrut administrator. The OU is one of the two current kosher certifiers of AgriProcessors products, and the most widely accepted.

“We’ll see where this leads in terms of determinations the government makes,” Rabbi Genack said. “If they find that the company is culpable we will respond. In terms of some of the claims, like drug use, they [the Rubashkins’] say that it’s not true, but I will wait to see what the determination is. If workers there make drugs, whatever it is, and without sanction of management, then it wouldn’t affect us. But if it was with the knowledge of the company then it would affect us,” he said.

If the government concludes that the company’s owners were culpable, “It certainly would be something we would be concerned about,” he said.

The federal investigation dates back to last November, and involved sending in undercover workers who recorded conversations about buying false employment documents.

Beyond the challenge of finding new (and legal) workers to replace those arrested this week, the incident and other related investigations could mean major problems for AgriProcessors’ owners, Brooklyn-based Aaron Rubashkin and his son, Rabbi Sholom Rubashkin, who runs the Iowa plant.

Officials at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement department and the U.S. Attorney’s office said that they could make no comment as to whether the Rubashkins will be charged.

Sholom Rubashkin did not return a message left on his cell phone.

At the same time, the U.S Department of Labor and Iowa Department of Labor are investigating AgriProcessors practices. In March, the Iowa Division of Labor Services levied $182,000 in fines against AgriProcessors for 39 health and safety violations.

There are troubles for the company even beyond the realm of the government. One of the company’s three kosher supervising agencies recently terminated its relationship with the meat maker.

K’hal Adath Jeshurun, based in Washington Heights, ended its supervision of all AgriProcessor products effective April 15. Rabbi Moshe Edelstein, KAJ’s kashrut administrator, would not say why the step was taken. A letter KAJ officials sent to Aaron Rubashkin in December, however, made it clear that the AgriProcessor owner had appealed the supervising agency’s original decision to terminate the relationship, a conclusion it upheld.

These are far from the first problems AgriProcessors has faced over the past few years.

Aaron Rubashkin bought the Postville plant in 1987 and brought in people local Iowans had never before seen — Lubavitch chasidim, along with an influx of Hispanic workers.

There were tensions between the locals and their new neighbors. Then the vegetarian group PETA: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals took aim at AgriProcessor’s practices.

PETA sent an undercover worker to the Postville plant in 2004 who videotaped what the organization describes as inhumane treatment of still-sentient cows during their slaughter.

PETA did the same at the Rubashkins’ Gordon, Neb., plant in May 2007. AgriProcessors eventually changed the way it slaughters cows in response to the criticism.

The United Food & Commercial Workers International Union has been trying to organize factory floor laborers at AgriProcessors as well, with an aggressive campaign that includes a Web site and an automated phone call campaign to people they identified as leaders in the Jewish community, warning them against AgriProcessors’ meats.

But despite the crises, AgriProcessors’ business has recently been on the upswing, said Menachem Lubinsky, editor of, who also has a public relations firm and is representing the Rubashkins.

(Lubinsky said Agriprocessors is not the only slaughterhouse to have been recently raided by immigration authorities. “It’s not an aberration for I.C.E., they do this all over at meat plants.”)

AgriProcessors kosher meat brands are: Aaron’s Best, Aaron’s Choice, Rubashkin’s, European Glatt, Supreme Kosher, David’s, and Shor Habor. Two-thirds of their product is non-kosher (since kosher meat can come only from part of an animal), and is sold through retailers including Wal-Mart, Trader Joe’s and Pathmark.

While no one knows for sure what the privately held company earns, a Dunn & Bradstreet report pegs Rubashkin Industries’ annual income at $84.9 million. Family members’ business interests are diversified beyond meat, and into real estate and other ventures. Sales of kosher beef and poultry in America are about $300 million annually, according to industry sources.

What remains unknown is the impact of this week’s raids on AgriProcessors’ short-term business. The company released a statement this week stating, “there will be no shortage in the supply of glatt kosher meats and poultry.”

According to Lubinsky, “They have a lot of different resources at their disposal.”

In addition to the Iowa and Nebraska plants, the company also owns slaughterhouses in Uruguay and Argentina.

“As a company, they have more than the usual number of resources to tap into. It’s not as if even if this plant shuts down they’re out of business. The company thinks it will be able to maintain the level of production and supply. I don’t know how, but that’s what they say,” said Lubinsky.

But it is having an impact. While AgriProcessor was up and running, though at reduced production, on Tuesday, the Midwestern cattle markets were down “because AgriProcessor wasn’t buying,” said Bob Teig, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The plant had halted operation on Monday after the federal raid.

Local distributors and retailers predicted that prices for kosher meat will rise even more as a result of the AgriProcessor problems.

AgriProcessors’ problems could be a boon for one new group, feeding demand for a “Heksher Tzedek,” or “Just Stamp of Approval.”

The nascent Heksher Tzedek Commission, which is affiliated with the Conservative movement, intends to ensure that companies to which it awards its approval meet a range of ethical, as well as ritual, standards.

“This underscores the need for it,” said Rabbi Morris Allen, a Conservative rabbi in Minnesota who is director of the Heksher Tzedek Commission. “The fact that the Jewish community has seemingly allowed kosher food to be produced in a way that potentially exploited laborers, this is the reason we need to be reassured that when we buy kosher food, it’s with the best values being employed, both in ritual and ethical aspects of Jewish law.”

His group issued a statement this week saying they “condemn the corrupt practices of AgriProcessors which resulted in a raid by government agents. The actions of this company have brought shame upon the entire Jewish community.”

Anonymous said...

does anyone have more information on this case?

Jewish School Teacher Assistant Charged with Sex Abuse

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- A teacher's assistant at a Flatbush Jewish school has been arrested on sex abuse charges.

1010 WINS AUDIO: Al Jones Reports

Yona Weinberg, 29, is accused of touching the private parts of two boys, ages 13 and 14, on more than one occasion while working with them at the school.

Weinberg, who is not a Rabbi, was also charged with endangering the welfare of a child.

Akiba Hebrew Academy said...

The controversy dates back to March 2007, when Akiba Hebrew Academy announced that it had accepted a $5 million gift and would be changing its name. The gift came from Leonard Barrack, a prominent Philadelphia securities lawyer and the newly elected board chair of the Philadelphia federation. (A onetime finance chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Barrack is, ironically enough, supporting Hillary Clinton.) At Barrack’s request, Akiba renamed itself the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy in honor of his older brother, who died in a plane crash at age 27.

The name change raised hackles among alumni, not least because the school had juggled donations and money previously. In late 1998, Ruth and Raymond Perelman, parents of billionaire financier Ronald Perelman, offered to donate $2 million to the school if it would substitute the Perelman name for that of first-century sage Rabbi Akiba. Alumni and students protested the proposed name change in advance of the school board’s vote, and the name change failed to pass. In the case of Barrack’s gift, the board members announced it after they had voted to accept. (Full disclosure: Jane Eisner, who was nominated this week to become the next editor of this newspaper, is a member of the school’s board.)

In response, aggrieved Akiba alumni, particularly from the class of 1971, organized to protest the name change and to urge the board to reconsider. As part of that push, a number of alumni submitted their arguments to the Exponent this month in the form of a letter to the editor and a full-page advertisement. Both charged that the school had allowed federation politics, and Barrack’s stature, to influence the board’s decision.

The United Nations said...

U.N. opens inquiry into peacekeeper sex abuse charges
Thu May 15, 2008 6:29am IST

By Joe Bavier

KINSHASA (Reuters) - The United Nations is investigating allegations that its peacekeepers in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo committed sexual abuses, which aid workers said involved paying children for sex.

The spokesman for the U.N. Mission in Congo (MONUC), Kemal Saiki, said on Wednesday that an investigation had been launched by the U.N. Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) but declined to give further details.

Aid workers, who asked not to be identified, said the inquiry was focusing on Indian U.N. peacekeepers accused of paying for sex with underage girls in Congo's violence-torn east.

"There are allegations and independent services are working on them," Saiki said.

He said the alleged incidents took place in North Kivu province, where U.N. troops have been policing a shaky ceasefire between rival rebel and militia factions and government troops.

The allegations have surfaced at a time when the U.N. mission is under heavy scrutiny after a recent report by Human Rights Watch accused it of covering up allegations of Pakistani and Indian troops' involvement in alleged arms and gold smuggling in eastern Congo.

MONUC Chief Alan Doss has strongly rejected the allegations and warned they could hamper peacekeeping operations in Congo and worldwide by prompting some countries to withdraw their troops.

The United Nations has consistently said OIOS inquiries have failed to turn up evidence of widespread abuse, although they have found evidence of less serious misdemeanours by individuals which has been turned over to Indian and Pakistani authorities.

The vast majority of MONUC's nearly 18,000-strong force is based in Congo's east, which has remained a violent patchwork of rebel fiefdoms and militia-controlled areas despite the official end of a 1998-2003 war.

Since its deployment in 2000, the peacekeeping force has been embroiled in a number of sex and smuggling scandals.

More than 100 U.N. peacekeepers and personnel have been killed attempting to bring peace to the vast, mineral-rich central African nation.

Experts estimate Congo's 1998-2003 war and the humanitarian catastrophe it spawned have killed 5.4 million people, mostly from hunger and disease linked to the violence. That would make it the deadliest conflict since World War Two.

exposemolesters said...

10% of sex abuse cases at camp are boys, says official
published: Wednesday | May 14, 2008

Petrina Francis, Staff Reporter

TEN PER cent of the sexual abuse cases that are seen at the Child Abuse Mitigation Project (CAMP Bustamante) since 2004 are boys, some as young as four years old, according to Rose Robinson-Hall, project coordinator.

Using a hospital-based model, children admitted to Bustamante Hospital for Children who appear to be victims of violence are identified, referred and treated at CAMP Bustamante.

Robinson-Hall said since its inception in 2004, CAMP Bustamante has seen 1,300 cases of children affected by violence and abuse. One third of the cases, she said, were sexual abuse matters.

Denying the matter

"Parents have a difficult time dealing with it (the abuse of their sons) and are retreating in denial and, therefore, the boys are not getting the services," Robinson-Hall told The Gleaner yesterday.

She also noted that some girls who have been abused were also not getting the services they needed.

The project coordinator said close to 90 per cent of the perpetrators were known to the abused child.

Robinson-Hall told The Gleaner that when children are hurt by violence, it affects their mental health and could lead to juvenile delinquency and hostility.


"If you are able to intervene at an early stage, you stand a very good chance of avoiding some of the negative consequences," she said.

Robinson-Hall noted that cases that come to CAMP Bustamante are reported to the Children's Registry - the agency responsible for hearing cases of child abuse and children in need of care and protection.

The project coordinator said cases that are seen at Camp Busta-mante would not have been picked up by the Child Development Agency (CDA). She said not all cases needed intervention by the CDA.

Programme replication

Robinson-Hall also pointed out that most of the cases emanate from high-risk inner-city communities.

Meanwhile, Children's Advocate Mary Clarke told The Gleaner last week that the CAMP Bustamante project was a tested and proven model and should be replicated in other public hospitals across the island.

Robinson-Hall said she was in agreement with this suggestion, noting that a replication would allow for the systematisation of services for children.

She noted that some hospitals only had one social worker and that that employee was often swamped with work, not being able to fully attend to abused children's needs.

A project like CAMP Bustamante, which hires social workers and provides counselling, would provide adequate service for children, Robinson-Hall added.

Make the call

If you believe a child has been sexually abused, call:

The Child Development Agency HQ (948-7206)

Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (926-7318).

Barry Bonds said...

Barry Bonds: one lie at a time

May 15, 2008
Barry Bonds.

Barry Bonds.

HOME run record holder Barry Bonds, 43, was charged with 14 counts of lying to a grand jury and one count of obstruction of justice in a new indictment related to the BALCO doping investigation.

The earlier indictment was reworked so that each charge alleged only one lie rather than combining several into single counts.

Bonds told the grand jury in 2003 that his personal trainer, Greg Anderson, never supplied him with steroids and human growth hormone.

gonnif leib pinter said...

Two Former Olympia Mortgage Principals Indicted for Fraud

By James Comtois
James Comtois

Two former principals of a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based mortgage lender have been indicted with fraud charges related to a mortgage scheme, according to Benton J. Campbell, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Mark J. Mershon, assistant director-in-charge of the FBI, New York Field Division.

Leib Pinter and Barry Goldstein, two former principals of Olympia Mortgage Corp., were indicted with conspiracy, wire fraud and bank fraud. The defendants initially appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joan M. Azrack at the U.S. Courthouse in Brooklyn. The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Nina Gershon.

The indictment charges two fraudulent schemes. In the first, Mr. Pinter is charged with fraud in connection with the theft of $44 million of payoff proceeds for refinanced mortgage loans funded by Fannie Mae, a federally chartered mortgage lending company, and serviced by Olympia. In the second, Goldstein is charged with fraud in connection with Olympia's sale of a portfolio of nonperforming mortgage loans to Credit Suisse First Boston using falsified loan histories.

According to the indictment, Olympia originated and serviced mortgage loans owned by Fannie Mae, and some of those loans were refinanced through Olympia. When Olympia refinanced a Fannie Mae mortgage loan, Fannie Mae wired the money to an Olympia account. Olympia was then required to pay off the underlying mortgage loan by remitting the outstanding balance to Fannie Mae.

Instead, Mr. Pinter allegedly misappropriated the proceeds of the refinanced mortgage loan for the benefit of Olympia. When the fraudulent scheme was revealed, Fannie Mae held nearly $44 million in unpaid, but refinanced, underlying mortgage loans from Olympia.

The indictment alleges that Olympia also sold loans to investors, including CSFB, now doing business as Credit Suisse. Prior to purchasing a loan, CSFB required Olympia to produce, among other things, a loan history detailing what payments homeowners made and whether those payments were made on time. Olympia owned several loans for which payments had not been made in a timely manner.

In an effort to induce CSFB to purchase these nonperforming loans, Mr. Goldstein allegedly directed Olympia employees to alter delinquent loan histories to reflect that all payments were made in a timely manner. CSFB purchased 12 loans whose histories had been fraudulently altered in this manner.

If convicted of either the conspiracy to commit wire fraud or wire fraud counts, Mr. Pinter faces a maximum prison sentence of 30 years. If convicted of either the conspiracy to commit bank fraud or bank fraud counts, Mr. Goldstein faces a maximum prison sentence of 30 years.

Assistant U.S. attorneys Jonathan E. Green and Daniel A. Spector are prosecuting the government’s case.

Physical activity may reduce risk of breast cancer by 23 per cent said...

Physical activity may reduce risk of breast cancer by 23 per cent
New research shows that women 12 to 35 who ran three hours or walked 13 hours a week reduced their risk of breast cancer by 23 per cent


From Wednesday's Globe and Mail

May 14, 2008 at 3:07 AM EDT

Here's one more reason for women to stick with their walking, jogging or gym routine: Physical activity will greatly reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Two new studies this week show that women between the ages of 12 and 35 who exercise regularly are 23 per cent less likely to get breast cancer before menopause, and post-menopausal women benefit even more from physical activity.

At a time when there aren't many preventive strategies for breast cancer, this is one way women can take charge, the researchers say.

"You don't have to be a marathon runner to get the risk-reducing benefits of exercise," said Graham Colditz, one of the authors of the study that looked at young women and cancer, and a professor in the department of surgery at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo.
Recreational activity beats out household chores and work-related tasks when it comes to reducing breast cancer risk, researchers found.
Enlarge Image

Recreational activity beats out household chores and work-related tasks when it comes to reducing breast cancer risk, researchers found. (Seth Wenig/Associated Press)
The Globe and Mail

Dr. Colditz's study, published yesterdayin the U.S.-based Journal of the National Cancer Institute, is the largest analysis to date of the effects of exercise on pre-menopausal breast cancer. Researchers from Washington University and Harvard University evaluated nearly 65,000 women who filled out questionnaires on their level of physical activity at various periods of their lives, starting from age 12. The researchers followed up over six years and found that 550 women had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Women whose activity was equivalent to 3.25 hours a week of running or 13 hours a week of walking had a 23 per cent reduced risk of the disease, compared with those who had been less active, the study found.

The researchers concluded that the benefits of exercise were not linked to a particular sport or the intensity of a workout, but rather to the total activity.

"I think the study clearly supports our encouraging girls and young women to be physically active to lower their risk of breast cancer and to sustain that activity on through the pre-menopausal years," Dr. Colditz said.

He explained that the risk of cancer is lower probably because active women are exposed to less estrogen. If girls are more active during adolescence, they are likely to begin menstruating later and, as a result, have a lower level of estrogen in their bodies.

Other studies have shown that the more estrogen some women are exposed to, the greater their breast-cancer risk.

A quarter of all cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in women before menopause. Previous studies that looked at the influence of exercise on breast-cancer risk during this period produced conflicting results.

But studies on breast-cancer risk post-menopause have reached the same conclusion: Physical activity reduces the risk of the disease.

The second study, published earlier this week in the online edition of the British Journal of Sports Medicine, said that women who were physically active throughout their lives had the lowest risk of breast cancer.

And because most cases of breast cancer arise in post-menopausal women, females in this group who exercised had their risk reduced even more than pre-menopausal women.

"It's never too late to start," said Christine Friedenreich, one of the study's authors and a research scientist at the Alberta Cancer Board.

Dr. Friedenreich and her colleagues reviewed 62 studies that looked at the impact of physical activity on breast-cancer risk. They found that physically active women had a 25 per cent reduced risk of developing the disease compared with women who were the least active, findings that were consistent with Dr. Colditz's results.

All types of activity, including household chores and work-related tasks, reduced the risk, but recreational activity had the greatest impact, the study found.

Women with a body mass index (an approximation of body fat) under 22 benefited the most. But even women with a higher BMI, one above 25 (which is considered to be overweight), saw benefits from being physically active. The researchers did not see much of an impact among obese women (a BMI over 30).

Dr. Friedenreich said women generally gain weight after menopause, and that is a risk factor for breast cancer. Being physically active not only controls the weight gain, but brings that risk down, she said.

The research paper also looked at studies of different racial groups, and found that black, Asian and Hispanic women had stronger risk reductions if they were physically active compared to their counterparts who were more sedentary.

Physical activity not only reduces the threat of breast cancer, but also helps in the prevention of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and improves mental health, she added.

"We've now got very strong evidence that physical activity reduces the risk of breast cancer. Because there are very few modifiable lifestyle risk factors for breast cancer, this is one where women actually have control. That's actually a very strong and empowering message that you can give to women," Dr. Friedenreich said.

shlomo mandel said...

What is this in the sidebar about me having crocodile tears? Are you referring to when I fake my cries at the bima during tehilim time?

Rabbi Avi Shafran said...

Am I the only one who thinks she's not qualified to become the first black female rabbi, based on her gender, skin color, and alliance? She is female, black, and a reformeister.

Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu letter said...


Thursday, May 15, 2008
From hospital bed, Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu letter hand-delivered to President at Knesset

From hospital bed, Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu letter hand-delivered to
President at Knesset
Justice4JP Release - May 14, 2008

Hospitalized again this week following heart surgery and a series of
intensive medical procedures, Jonathan Pollard's rabbi, the former Chief
Rabbi of Israel, Ha Rav Mordechai Eliyahu nevertheless made a super-human
effort to have a letter hand-delivered to President Bush today at the
Knesset. Fortunately, the letter was been prepared prior to his

In his letter, the former Chief Rabbi of Israel offers to be Jonathan
Pollard's guarantor, and to accept him into his custody. The Rabbi points
out that Pollard has been punished very harshly and that his survival after
22 years in prison is a miracle. He urges Mr. Bush to release Jonathan for
the good of America, for the good of Israel, and for the good of the entire
world. He assures Mr. Bush that both he and America will be blessed for
rectifying this travesty of justice. The text of Rabbi Eliyahu's letter to
President Bush follows below

April 17, 2008 B"H

The Honorable President George W. Bush
President of the United States
The White House
Washington D.C.

Dear Mr. President:

Peace and blessings upon you from Jerusalem!

I am turning to you both as a president as a man - as an honest man renown
for helping and assisting others; and as a president who has virtually
unlimited authority to act on behalf of the general public, and on behalf of
the individual citizen.

My concern is Jonathan Pollard (May G-d protect him).

Jonathan Pollard has languished in American prisons for 22 years. He has
been punished beyond measure and his survival is a miracle. His continued
incarceration is a travesty of justice that is a blot upon America's
reputation as a G-d-fearing nation. According to our sages, whoever shows
mercy to G-d's creations, G-d shall be merciful to him. I urge you to
release Jonathan Pollard and to send him home to Jerusalem. By correcting
this long-standing injustice, you will bring blessing upon the American
people and her armed troops which are fighting so valiantly under
life-threatening circumstances.

I would like to point out that I am willing to act as Jonathan Pollard's
guarantor, to take him into my custody and to accept full responsibility for
him. I have visited Jonathan in prison on numerous occasions. He is a
dignified man, a man of noble sensitivities who is deserving of special

Mr. President, do this good deed and I believe that in doing good for
Jonathan Pollard, you will be doing good for the American nation, and good
for the nation of Israel, as well as good for the entire world.

It is within the power of one who rules to raise himself up and transcend
the common fray. It is written in Psalms 130:4, "Forgiveness belongs to you
that you may be feared." Our sages interpret this verse to mean that The
Holy One, Blessed be He, forgives, and He is feared all the more so. Mr.
President, G-d raised you up and made you president of a great country. It
is incumbent upon you to emulate what is pleasing to G-d, and to be as He
is - forgiving and merciful; to do what is just and right. Please release
Jonathan Pollard at once.

My blessing is that G-d should lead you on the right and good path that you
should act righteously and succeed, both personally and publicly. G-d is
with you. Do and succeed!

With blessings and affection
Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu
Former Chief Rabbi of Israel

Contact Us

POB 982 Kfar Sava
Tel 972-9-7604719
Fax 972-3-7255730

Rabbi Samuel Silver a'h said...

Rabbi Samuel Silver dies at 95; worked for social justice
Published May 15th, 2008

By Dale M. King

Attorney Barry Silver recalls his father, Rabbi Samuel Silver, as a person who “translated religious belief into action.”

“He felt people were incomplete if they left a service and were the same as they were before.”

Rabbi Silver, 95, one of the oldest rabbis who still maintained a congregation, died in his sleep Sunday. The funeral was held Monday at Temple Sinai in Delray Beach. One of the speakers was the Rev. Avis Hill, pastor of Westgate Tabernacle Church, which provides a homeless shelter in West Palm Beach.

A tribute to the late rabbi will be held June 8, tentatively from 2-4 p.m. at a location to be announced.

Rabbi Silver founded Congregation L’Dor Va-Dor 10 years ago. His son, Barry, who is also a rabbi, said the synagogue, meets in rented space in a building in Lake Worth.

“We were probably the only father-son rabbis,” said Barry Silver. “My mom is a pianist and provides the music.”

Barry Silver said the congregation will continue, and is conducting a fundraising effort to acquire its own building.

Before founding L’Dor Va-Dor, Rabbi Silver created Temple Sinai in Delray Beach. About 50 years ago, he founded another Temple Sinai in Stamford, Conn.

He was also a former National Chaplain of Jewish War Veterans and an occasional newspaper columnist and radio show host in Florida and Connecticut. He was also a president of the Delray Beach Clergy Association.

Samuel Silver is survived by five sons, 14 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren with another on the way.

Those wishing to make a donation in Rabbi Silver's memory are asked to give to Congregation L'Dor Va-Dor, 7400 Lake Worth Road, Lake Worth, Fla., 33467, or give to a favorite charity.
Dale M. King can be reached at 561-549-0832 or at

Yona Metzger said...

We had a great weekend around here, and I hope you did, too. After all, what more can you ask for? As Thursday dawns on our weekly routines we hear it more often. It’s either “Have a good Shabbos,” “Have a great weekend,” or very often both.

But last week, here in the Five Towns/Far Rockaway vicinity, it was much more than that—it was a greatness weekend. The community was dotted with some of our most outstanding Torah luminaries and leaders, who arrived independently to share their vast scholarship and life experience with various segments of our local population.

For an observer attempting to taste a bit of all that this weekend of greatness had to offer, it started with a news conference on a rainy Friday morning at the Young Israel of Hewlett. Israel’s Ashkenazic chief rabbi, Yona Metzger, was the guest there. Not too far across town, the Young Israel of Woodmere was playing host to former chief rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau. Both were here as the two shuls dedicated this past Shabbos to celebrating Israel’s 60th anniversary.

Back in Lawrence, Rav Chaim Pinchos Scheinberg, the 97-year-old head of Yeshiva Torah Ore, appeared at several locations and held listeners spellbound with his divrei Torah and stories of Jewish life from another time. Across the way in Far Rockaway, the OU’s Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Weinrib was the scholar-in-residence at Congregation Knesseth Israel. On Sunday morning, the annual breakfast for Kollel Shomrei Hachomos was held. The event featured the presence and remarks by the Satmar Rebbe, Rav Zalman Leib Teitlebaum, and Rabbi Yisroel Reisman of Brooklyn...

South Florida Business Journal said...

Thursday, May 15, 2008
Menorah Gardens to be rededicated
South Florida Business Journal

Menorah Gardens cemetery will be rededicated Sunday, after five years of state supervision and two class action lawsuits alleging grave desecration.

Court-appointed examiner Richard O. Baldwin has declared that the remediation efforts at the West Palm Beach cemetery are satisfactory and management can be released to Palm Beach Gardens-based SCI Funeral Services of Florida.

A class action suit filed in 2001 and settled for $100 million in 2003 that claimed Menorah Gardens and SCI desecrated cemetery sites, misplaced bodies, oversold plots and removed bodies from burial sites at the Menorah Gardens cemetery locations in West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale.

A similar, separate suit, representing 72 families of people buried at the West Palm Beach location, was settled in 2004.

Rabbi Maurice Lamm, an expert on Jewish burial law and a member of the court-appointed blue ribbon panel overseeing the examiner's work, will deliver the rededication address. Rabbi Leonard Zucker, president of the Board of Rabbis of West Palm Beach, will preside.

"This is a welcome day for all of us who have been deeply involved in this process and I am glad that we can finally bring an end to this trying time and usher in a new era of Menorah Gardens in Palm Beach," Lamm said in a news release. "The legal system in Florida worked masterfully; the morality system in Florida was flouted egregiously. I am pleased that SCI has improved the cemetery so well."

Under state supervision and a blue ribbon panel, SCI is spending millions of dollars to fix existing problems and to reorganize its cemeteries to ensure that all graves are marked properly, attorneys who filed the class action suit said.

Rabbi Moses Weissmandel said...

Slaughterhouse launches own investigation

Published: 05/15/2008

The U.S. kosher slaughterhouse raided by federal immigration agents has launched its own investigation.

Agriprocessors, the largest kosher meat producer in the country, announced Thursday that it was conducting a probe into the circumstances leading to Monday's raid. The company, located in Postville, Iowa, also said it was taking steps to improve compliance with federal immigration standards.

Agriprocessors was the target of what is being called the largest workplace raid in U.S. history, when federal agents surrounded its plant and took away 390 workers on immigration violations. A smaller number are being charged with criminal offenses as well, including identity fraud and using fake Social Security numbers.

"We are working with experts in immigration compliance to help us bolster our compliance efforts to employ only properly documented employees," said Chaim Abrahams, a company representative, in a statement.

Rabbi Moses Weissmandel, the top supervising rabbi at Agriprocessors, told JTA Thursday that the government allegations were categorically false. He was addressing claims in an affidavit that the drug methamphetamine was being produced at the site and that rabbinic supervisors had abused plant workers, the bulk of whom are Mexican and Guatemalan.

"I categorically say it's false, it's not true, it's a lie," he said.

Weissmandel did not address claims that the workers were illegal.

"That's not my department," he said.

jpost said...

The Jerusalem Post Internet Edition

World of the Sages: Amen, brother!
Levi Cooper , THE JERUSALEM POST May. 15, 2008

From widespread practice, we are familiar with the practice of responding "amen" after hearing another Jew recite a blessing (M. Brachot 8:8). Our sages discuss the value of the responsive "amen" vis-à-vis the original blessing (B. Brachot 53b; B. Nazir 66a-b).

According to one sage, the one who answers amen is greater than the one who precipitated the response by reciting the blessing. One commentator explained that this is part of a broader principle that credit for an entire mitzva is bestowed upon the one who completes the act (Rosh, 13th-14th centuries, Germany-Spain).

Illustrating this point, another sage offered a parable from the battlefield. Beginning with the exclamation "By Heaven it is so!" this sage explained: In a skirmish, the common soldiers go first to engage the enemy in battle. Later the mighty warriors join the fight to seal the victory. Moreover, the triumph is credited to those who conclude the battle (Tosafot, 12th-14th centuries, France-Germany). Unpacking the parable, we can say that the reciter of the blessing begins proceedings, but the responder seals the act by pronouncing amen. Furthermore, the greatest credit is reserved for the one who responds with the final word.

This, however, is not the final word on the issue. Other sages did not subscribe to this approach; they declared that responding amen - though a worthy act - is not greater than the recitation of the original benediction. According to this approach, it is better to be a reciter than a responder.

Following this line, two sages are recorded as instructing their sons to grab - or at least adroitly try to gain (Rashi, 11th century, France) - the cup at the end of the meal and recite the Grace After Meals on behalf of all present. This is preferable to allowing someone else to recite the Grace and merely listening attentively and responding amen at the conclusion of each blessing. The Talmud further states that the heavenly emissaries hasten to bestow reward on the reciter before the respondent. To be sure, both the blessing reciter and the amen responder receive reward, yet the reciter is given preference and therefore one should hasten to be the reciter rather than the respondent.

The codifiers adopted the approach that one should aspire and deftly position oneself to be honored with leading the Grace After Meals and recite the blessing over the wine at the conclusion of the Grace (Shulhan Aruch OH 201:4). This preference appears not to be limited to the original discussion of blessings associated with the Grace After Meals; with regard to any blessing it is preferable to be the reciter rather than the respondent (Rosh; Rabbi Avraham Abele Gombiner, 17th century, Poland).

Commenting on this talmudic passage, the Munkatcher Rebbe, Rabbi Haim Elazar Shapiro (1871-1937), offered an entirely different explanation of the issue at hand. The Munkatcher Rebbe noted that the two sages who advocated snatching the cup to recite the blessings were both talking to their sons. Thus the talmudic text presents a lesson specific to a parent educating a child, or more broadly to educating the next generation and passing on the tradition. The focus of the directive of these fathers was not the seizing of the cup, but the recitation of the blessing: They were exhorting their sons to demonstratively take the cup and loudly pronounce the benediction. The Munkatcher Rebbe contrasted the value of a quiet recitation of a blessing with blessing publicly recited.

People who privately serve the Almighty, away from the public eye have the opportunity to act out of pure motives. Such people are not liable to perform to satisfy societal pressures and their deeds can truly be for God alone. Conversely, people who choose the other path, whose conduct is seen by all, may be subject to acting out of peer-pressure. Yet these people gain another advantage: Children and students see the conduct and can mimic the example. Future generations, acting upon what they saw, will also serve the Almighty publicly and in turn their disciples will learn. Thus the chain of tradition is continued from generation to generation.

These two approaches can be read into the biblical verse: The concealed matters belong to God our Lord, whereas the revealed matters are for us and for our children for ever, that we may fulfill all the words of this Torah (Deuteronomy 29:28). Those who are concealed in their service of the Almighty act for God alone; those whose service is revealed to all bequeath their conduct to others and to future generations, ensuring the continuation of the tradition.

How then should we understand the opinion that seems to advocate a silent posture, waiting patiently for the opportunity to respond amen? Here the Munkatcher Rebbe creatively explained the unusual exclamation "By heaven it is so!" Sitting quietly and responding with a heartfelt amen is indeed a path that is treasured by heaven. Alas, Torah is not in heaven and for this world it is preferable to expressively declare the Almighty's blessings.

A final word on the one who recites the blessing and the one who responds amen: The biblical verses which deal with blessing the Almighty relate to both the reciter and the respondent. Thus the verse says (Nehemiah 9:5): The Levites... said, "Arise, bless God your Lord... [referring to the recitation of the blessing] and let them bless Your glorious name which is exalted upon every blessing and praise" - indicating that for each blessing there should be a praise rejoinder, that is, the amen response (B. Brachot 63a; B. Ta'anit 16b).

Another verse that is also quoted in this context also mentions both parties (Psalms 34:4): Declare the greatness of God with me - denoting the reciter of the blessing - and let us exalt His name together - adding the respondent to the picture.

The texts used when discussing blessings refer to both the recitation and the response. A blessing is not merely a private obligation incumbent on the individual, rather it is a joint venture, a partnership whose goal is the communal recognition of the Almighty.

The writer is on the faculty of Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies and is a rabbi in Tzur Hadassah.
Click Here!

This article can also be read at /servlet/Satellite?cid=1210668644835&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Anonymous said...

Iowa immigration raid is one of biggest of its kind

Nearly 400 people were arrested Monday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in a raid on a meat-packing plant in Iowa. The raid was apparently one of the biggest of its kind and came after months of planning, according to this release from Immigration and Customs enforcement.

Of the 390 detainees, 290 were Guatemalans and 93 were Mexicans, as well as a handful of Israelis and Ukrainians, officials said in this report.

Associated Press reports below that more than 40 of the detainees were later released, mostly because they have children to look after.

In the second video, from, you can watch the families of the detainees in Iowa protesting for their release.

Updates here from the Des Moines Register.

-- Deborah Bonello in Mexico City

Feds: Drugs made at kosher meat plant said...

Feds: Drugs made at kosher meat plant

Federal authorities charged that a methamphetamine laboratory was operating at the nation's largest kosher slaughterhouse and that employees carried weapons to work.

The charges were among the most explosive details to emerge following the massive raid Monday at Agriprocessors in Postville, Iowa.

In a 60-page application for a search warrant, federal agents revealed details of their six-month probe of Agriprocessors. The investigation involved 12 federal agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the departments of labor and agriculture.

According to the application, a former plant supervisor told investigators that some 80 percent of the workforce was illegal. They included rabbis responsible for kosher supervision, who the source believed entered the United States from Canada without proper immigration documents. The source did not provide evidence for his suspicion about the rabbis.

The source also claimed to have confronted a human resources manager with Social Security cards from three employees that had the same number. The manager laughed when the matter was raised, the source said.

At least 300 people were arrested Monday during the raid, for which federal authorities had rented an expansive fairground nearby to serve as a processing center for detainees.

The search warrant application said that 697 plant employees were believed to have violated federal laws.

Agriprocessors officials did not return calls from JTA seeking comment.

Agriprocessors said...

According to an affidavit, "approximately 76% of the 968 employees of Agriprocessors were using false or fraudulent Social Security numbers in connection with their employment."

Chuck Larson, a truck driver for Agriprocessors, was in the plant when the agents arrived. "There had to be 100 of them," he said of the agents.

Livingston County father faces sentence in sex abuse of son said...

Livingston County father faces sentence in sex abuse of son

Associated Press
3:36 PM CDT, May 15, 2008

HOWELL, Mich. - A Livingston County father will be sentenced June 19 on charges that he sexually assaulted his 12-year-old son.

WHMI-FM in Howell says the Tyrone Township man was charged two years ago with 14 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

He was arrested after his son passed a note during dinner to a neighbor saying he was being physically and sexually abused.

The father had pleaded guilty Wednesday in exchange for prosecutors requesting no more than 15 years on his minimum prison sentence.

Brian Phelps said...

Olympic diver jailed over sex abuse

A former Olympic diving star has been jailed for nine years after he sexually abused schoolgirls as young as six.

Brian Phelps took the bronze medal in the 1960 Rome Olympics when he was aged 16 and then gold in the 1962 and 1966 Commonwealth Games.

The 64-year-old went on to work as a gymnastics and trampoline instructor at a club in Poole, Dorset, which he founded with his wife, Monica.

But, Bournemouth Crown Court heard he abused three girls, aged six to 15, while giving them one-to-one tuition at the club over around eight years in the '70s and '80s.

The attacks came to light last year after one victim complained to police and two other girls then came forward.

Phelps, who retired to live in Le Val Besnot, France, pleaded guilty to 42 counts of indecent assault and gross indecency against the girls.

Judge Samuel Wiggs jailed him for nine years and said: "What you did to those three young girls from the age as young as six is almost as terrible and horrible sexually as one can imagine short of rape and full sexual intercourse.

"You subjected them all to detailed and degrading sexual conduct and I have read the statements of all three of them as to the effect which that has had on them through the many years of their lives since these offences were committed over approximately eight years in the 1970s and '80s."

He told him he would serve two-thirds of the sentence before being considered for release and placed him on the Sex Offenders' Register for life.

Phelps was also disqualified from working with children indefinitely.

Avrohm Mondrowitz said...

Sylacauga man gets 2 life terms for rape, sex abuse of child
May 15, 2008 16:12 EDT

TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) -- A circuit judge has sentenced a Sylacauga man to two consecutive life sentences plus 99 years in prison for sodomy, rape and sex abuse of a child.

A jury convicted 46-year-old John Steven Absher in April. Authorities said the 3-year-old victim suffered serious physical injuries in the assault and required reconstructive surgery.

The child's mother had left her with Absher for a few hours in December 2006 when the assault occurred.


Information from: The Daily Home - Talladega,

Anthony C. Sapienza said...

Sex abuse case against Warrensburg restaurateur appears headed to trial

Thursday, May 15, 2008

QUEENSBURY — The Warrensburg restaurant proprietor who has been accused of sexually abusing three young women is to stand trial next month.

Anthony C. Sapienza, 43, has been offered a plea deal that would send him to state prison for five years. In return, he would be required to plead guilty to three felony charges.

Sapienza has not agreed to plead guilty, and the case is scheduled for trial beginning June 2, said Warren County Assistant District Attorney Kevin Donlon.

A pre-trial hearing is set for May 31, and lawyers in the case have a closed-door conference set for next week.

Sapienza’s case was on the Warren County Court calendar Wednesday after his lawyer, Joseph Brennan, made a motion asking to be removed from the case because his retainer fee had not been paid. Brennan withdrew the request this week, though, and remains Sapienza’s lawyer.

Sapienza is the proprietor of Sapienza’s Pizzeria and Restaurant on Route 9 in Warrensburg, the second restaurant he has run in town over the years.

At least one of the alleged victims worked at his restaurant, which closed after his arrest last fall. It was unclear Thursday if it has re-opened.

Sapienza faces a 19-count indictment that accuses him of having sex with a 16-year-old girl who was too young to legally consent. He also is accused of improper sexual contact with another 16-year-old and a 19-year-old.

A state trooper interrupted one of the alleged encounters in a car parked at a Northway rest area one night in December, officials said.

Eight of the charges are felonies, including counts of first-degree sexual abuse, second-degree rape and second-degree criminal sexual act. Each count is punishable by up to seven years in state prison.

The charges of first-degree sexual abuse are brought in connection with the 19-year-old’s accusation that Sapienza forcibly fondled her at her workplace, an incident that prosecutors allege was videotaped by a surveillance camera.

Sapienza has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges, some of which date back to 2004.

Brennan could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Menachem Lubinsky said...

Raid on Kosher Slaughterhouse Sparks Fears of Meat Shortage
Immigration Bust Leaves Plant With Skeleton Staff
By Marissa Brostoff
Thu. May 15, 2008

In a development with potential repercussions for consumers of kosher meat worldwide, the country’s largest kosher slaughterhouse greatly curtailed production this past week after a raid by federal agents led to the arrest of hundreds of undocumented workers.

On May 12, The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement stormed the AgriProcessors meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa, detaining nearly 400 of the slaughterhouse’s 968 employees and prompting others to go into hiding. According to The Des Moines Register, 154 of those arrested in the raid have been charged with criminal offenses relating to identity theft. Most of those taken into custody come from Guatemala or Mexico; a few are from Eastern Europe or Israel.

Though the plant reopened on May 13, it is operating with a skeleton crew. According to Rabbi Menachem Weissmandl, the head rabbi at AgriProcessors, as of May 14 it was producing perhaps 40% of its usual daily output.

Because of increases in the prices of corn, which is used to feed cattle, the price of meat in general is already high. Kosher meat prices, which always skew higher than nonkosher prices, are likely to climb even higher if production at AgriProcessors continues at diminished levels.

“Should they not get the plant up and running, it will have an enormous impact on the consumer,” said Menachem Lubinsky, head of the kosher industry consulting and marketing firm Lubicom. “There’s been a little bit of hoarding going on,” he added.

Mass arrests of suspected undocumented workers at slaughterhouses have been common in recent years and have temporarily shut down or drastically slowed production at major nonkosher plants. But the raid on AgriProcessors may have an unusually severe ripple effect for consumers, as the company produces an enormous share of the kosher meat on the market.

Rabbi Seth Mandel, the Orthodox Union’s head of kosher slaughter, estimated that AgriProcessors produces around 55% of glatt kosher beef sold in the United States and that the plant in Postvillle produces 85% of AgriProcessors beef. The company also produces the greatest share of glatt kosher poultry on the market.

According to Mandel, the impact of a production crisis at AgriProcessors would be most acutely felt in regions that have relatively small numbers of people who keep

kosher. In those areas, AgriProcessors meat — sold under brand names including Aaron’s Best, Supreme Kosher and Rubashkin — is usually the only kosher meat available.

To fill the void in labor, AgriProcessors is busing in workers from a smaller plant that it runs in Gordon, Neb., according to a spokesman for the United Food and Commercial Workers, which is the union that represents slaughterhouse workers. And, Weissmandl said, 15 or 20 yeshiva students have flown out to Iowa from Brooklyn to help out with the slaughter.

Sources say that the company is also trying to attract documented workers by offering wages higher than what the undocumented employees had received.

But replacing a work force of hundreds could take months, experts on slaughterhouse labor say.

“There is no channel to provide legal labor for these kinds of operations,” said Lourdes Gouveia, a professor of sociology at the University of Nebraska who studies immigrant labor in the meatpacking industry.

Because wages are generally so low and conditions in the plants so difficult, meatpacking companies that have been raided by immigration enforcement agencies often hire undocumented workers all over again. In other cases, slaughterhouses have recruited workers from inner-city slums, or refugees who are in the United States legally but lack work permits.

According to Lubinsky, who has consulted for AgriProcessors, the company maintains that the raid will not significantly affect its output. (AgriProcessors representatives declined to comment.)

Gouveia was skeptical. “It took Swift about a year to recover,” she said, referring to the Colorado slaughterhouse Swift & Co, which was raided by ICE in 2006.

The raid on AgriProcessors hit the company especially hard, sources say, as management was the last to see it coming. Weeks ago, ICE leased a fairground in the town of Waterloo, near Postville, as a temporary detention center for the workers whom the agency planned to arrest. But while some union representatives — and possibly some workers — suspected that a raid was in the works, AgriProcessors was apparently in the dark.

That AgriProcessors likely employs undocumented workers is no secret, both because the practice is so common among slaughterhouses nationwide and because the company has been the target of frequent media attention due to accusations of labor and animal-rights abuses. Indeed, lawyers for the company tried, unsuccessfully, to persuade a federal appeals court last year that workers in its Brooklyn distribution center did not have the right to unionize, because many of them were illegal aliens.

“The big issue wasn’t whether this would happen, but when it would happen,” said Stephen Bloom, a professor of journalism at the University of Iowa who in 2001 published a book about the impact that AgriProcessors had on the once homogenously white and Christian town of Postville. “It was the worst-kept secret in Iowa.”

Among the allegations in an affidavit released by ICE was that some AgriProcessors workers bought and sold weapons at work.
The affidavit also included allegations from sources at the plant that employees were running a methamphetamine lab on AgriProcessors premises, that a supervisor struck an employee with a meat hook and that undocumented workers were receiving significantly less than minimum wage.

Since the raid, the small town’s immigrant infrastructure, like the slaughterhouse, has been operating on the brink of collapse. Over half the children in a Postville school were absent the day after the raid, the editor of the town’s newspaper told the Forward, and Mexican and Guatemalan restaurants have closed down. Families of those arrested, and others afraid they might be detained, have taken refuge in the town’s Catholic church, according to The Des Moines Register.

For Jewish activists who advocate tying ethics standards to the requirements of kashrut, the latest incident at AgriProcessors is more fuel for the fire.

“For too long, we’ve ignored that production of kosher food has taken place in a world where we’re concerned about the ritual aspects of food preparation and not the ethical considerations,” said Rabbi Morris Allen, director of the Hechsher Tzedek Commission, which is affiliated with the Conservative movement.

Other kosher consumers simply wish for less controversy mixed in with their meat.

“I think the general sense is that they wish Rubashkin would do what it has to so that it does not wind up in the news all the time,” Mandel said.

federal class-action lawsuit said...,0,5106281.story
Federal class-action lawsuit filed in immigration raid


Associated Press Writer

11:13 AM CDT, May 16, 2008


Attorneys have filed a federal lawsuit requesting class-action status on behalf of an unspecified number of immigrant workers arrested this week during a raid at a meatpacking plant in Postville.

The lawsuit names the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Division and several government officials including Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. It was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of an estimated 147 detained immigrant workers and names three of the petitioners: Antonin Trinidad Candido, Roman Trinidad Candido and Maria del Refugio Masias.

The U.S. attorney's office said Monday's raid at the Agriprocessors Inc. meatpacking plant was the largest single Immigration raid in U.S. history, resulting in nearly 400 arrests. A spokesman for the office said he couldn't comment on pending litigation.

The lawsuit alleges that government agencies and officials violated the immigrant workers' constitutional rights. Those rights include the right to due process, which includes protections from arbitrary prolonged and indefinite detention. The suit also states that their rights to consult with counsel have been violated, among other claims.

Most of the immigrant workers are being held at local jails. In the suit, lawyers are trying to prevent the workers from being transferred out of the state, which has happened with immigrants who have been arrested in similar raids.

The lawsuit claimed that such transfers "would interfere with and effectively destroy the ongoing relationship between detainees and their attorneys." It said the transfers would also deprive the detainees of their rights to present witnesses and evidence and of their right to pursue legal action against Agriprocessors for violating federal laws.

The lawsuit claims that a senior Immigration official said the raid was undertaken, in part, because there was evidence that the company violated federal wage and labor laws and undertook criminal enterprises that violated racketeering laws.

One attorney has interviewed detainees and, according to the lawsuit, learned that Agriprocessors obtained false identification for immigrant workers, improperly withheld money from employees' paychecks for "Immigration fees," did not allow workers to use the restroom during 10-hour shifts, physically abused workers and didn't compensate them for overtime work.

It claimed that as victims of alleged crimes, the immigrant workers would be eligible for certain visas that would let them gain legal status. It said if they are transferred from Iowa, they would be deprived of their rights under the Crime Victims' Rights Act.

"As victims they would need to participate in the investigations of the alleged crimes and may be needed to testify as to personal experiences," the lawsuit said.

It also claimed that some of the detained workers have spouses and children that are U.S. citizens, and could be eligible for Immigration relief because of their family ties.

The lawsuit noted that a number of immigrant workers' children have been stranded with baby sitters and other caretakers as a result of the raid, and that transferring the parents of the children would hamper the process of lawyers and advocates who are working to help those children.

It said Maria del Refugio Masias, one of the petitioners who is the mother of two young children, and her husband, were both detained and have not been told the whereabouts of their children. Transferring them and other detained workers with children out the state would cause undo hardship for the families, the lawsuit said.

Telephone messages left for those who filed the lawsuit, the Peck Law Firm and the Dornan & Lustgarten firm, both of Omaha, Neb., weren't immediately returned.

Kosher Village said...

More Free Food -- Now From Kosher Village Falafel

koshervillage.JPGToday was all about the free iced coffee (and free chicken sandwiches, apparently). Tomorrow, it's free falafel. The East Village eatery formerly known as Chickpea held a contest to find a new name for its Glatt Kosher re-opening. They received hundreds of entries from crafty wordsmiths all vying for the $3000 prize. Only one winner was selected,

Adi Libson, a NYU student, despite the fact that 21 other entrants submitted the same name -- Kosher Village. According to the owners, "Kosher Village was the entry that most captured our spirit. It perfectly ties together the comradery of the neighborhood and the menu’s Mediterranean cuisine." Seems a little dull, given some of the other submissions (So Glatt I Could Plotz, St. Mark's Kosher Cousin, Falafel Mafia -- just a few examples) .

Additionally, all entrants were spammed by the restaurant a few weeks back, when they sent out multiple emails with every single entrant's email address in the to: field. Apologies ensued: "We send along a gracious THANK YOU to all those who entered. We also extend a most sincere apology to all of those who received our email mis-step more than once. Our expertise is with cumin, not desktop apps. We hope you enjoy our falafel more than the “spam”, which yes, we realize is not Kosher."

Kosher Village will be giving out free regular falafels from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. following the 2:00 p.m. award presentation to the winner. 23 3rd Avenue at St. Marks Place.

study of Orthodoxy said...

An intimate glimpse into a haredi family’s life

One aspect of Israeli society that has been neglected on the Israeli screen these past 60 years is any kind of study of Orthodoxy. The first to try to tackle the subject in a feature narrative was Benjamin Hayeem in his raucous 1976 "The Black Banana," followed more than two decades later by Amos Gitai’s "Kadosh." Both films showed a great deal of anger toward traditional Judaism and disdain for religious practice. While Hayeem’s portrait was unsympathetic, Gitai did provide some insight into the intricacies of Jewish practice with his study of a rabbi’s son who is forced to divorce his wife of over a decade because she is unable to bear him a child. Over the last dozen years, there have been more than 100 short features on Jewish and specifically religious issues produced by students in Israel’s myriad film schools, most notably the Maale School in Jerusalem. This, it is hoped, will help bring more films on Jewish issues to the Israeli screen. Joseph Cedar, a traditional Jew, struggled with important issues like the incendiary power of the yeshiva rabbi as well as the difficult position of the widow in the religious community in his films "Time of Favor" (2000) and "Campfire" (2004). Then there was Giddi Dar’s popular "Ushpizin" (2004), written by Shuli Rand, that literally brought us into the homes and sukkot of a religious community in Jerusalem. There have since been a few less notable examples. Now comes David Volach’s "My Father My Lord," which opens today at New York’s Lincoln Plaza and Cinema Village and which won the Best Film prize at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival.

sordid story of brutal betrayal, of sin, sex and murder said...

May 16, 2008

Charismatic clergyman disgraced by dark secrets.

Courier-Post Staff

It's a sordid story of brutal betrayal, of sin, sex and murder.

And at the center stands Rabbi Fred J. Neulander -- once among the most respected clergymen in South Jersey and now an inmate serving a life sentence for his wife's murder in November 1994.

Published Date: Sunday, October 22, 2006 (along with timeline).

The rabbi's saga, which drew national attention with two dramatic trials, will return to court Monday. A public defender is asking an appellate panel to allow a third trial.

A 110-page brief prepared for that appeal makes a legal argument to reverse Neulander's 2002 conviction. But it also details the sensational events that unfolded before and after Carol Neulander, 52, was fatally bludgeoned while alone in her Cherry Hill home.

Authorities say the rabbi, now 65, paid two men to kill his wife so he could continue an affair with Elaine Soncini, at that time a well-known radio personality.

Neulander contends his wife, a businesswoman who often carried large sums of money, died in a robbery.

The crime shocked a community that knew Carol Neulander, a mother of three, as the founder of a successful bakery, as a volunteer who helped children from troubled families, and as the partner of a prominent spiritual leader.

But within hours of the slaying, investigators found a dark side to the rabbi's polished image.

The Neulanders' older son, Matthew, then 21 and living at home, told police his parents argued bitterly two days before the murder. During that fight, Carol Neulander took suitcases from the basement and gave them to her husband.

But the rabbi assured police his marriage was "good, great." He did not mention the fight -- or his two-year affair with Soncini, which included trysts in his locked office at

Congregation M'kor Shalom in Cherry Hill.

Matthew Neulander, now a doctor, responded to the murder scene as a Cherry Hill paramedic, but

was kept outside the house with his father. He said the rabbi showed little emotion.

The son also noted he had checked his father's clothing for blood stains, but had found none.

Years later, prosecutors would hammer at the rabbi's appearance as a sign of guilt.

They noted Fred Neulander called 9-1-1 after returning home from M'kor Shalom on that night, but never touched his mortally injured wife of 29 years.

Another clue came from the Neulanders' daughter, Rebecca, then a 24-year-old Philadelphia


"The bathroom guy'

The daughter said that, about a week earlier, she was on the phone with her mother when a

deliveryman came to the family home. The mother let him in to use the bathroom, telling

Rebecca the rabbi had said to expect a delivery.

The man left an empty envelope.

On the night of the slaying, the women were on the phone again when Carol Neulander said that

"the bathroom guy" was back. Rebecca heard her mother refer to a second man outside, invite

the "bathroom guy" inside and remark, "He'll be home soon."

Then, Carol Neulander ended the call.

Moments later, she lay dead in a pool of blood in her living room, beaten with a metal pipe.

Her last words, a hitman disclosed years later, were, "Why? Why?"

The rabbi initially denied knowing about the envelope and insisted he never said to expect a


Many in the community stood by Neulander. Among his most vocal supporters was Leonard Jenoff

of Collingswood, the rabbi's frequent companion and a private detective who vowed to find the


But the public's view was shaken in February 1995, when the Courier-Post reported the rabbi

was a suspect. Neulander resigned from M'kor Shalom, the temple he founded in 1974, asserting

his innocence but admitting unspecified "indiscretions."

Investigators had learned about his affair with Soncini -- a romance that began days after

Neulander spoke at the funeral for Soncini's husband and radio co-host, Ken Garland.

A break in the case

Despite these early developments, Neulander wasn't arrested until Sept. 10, 1998. He was

charged with conspiracy to murder and being an accessory to murder and was freed that night on

$400,000 bond.

But as the June 2000 trial date approached, authorities still had not identified the killers.

Then came a stunning development.

On April 28, 2000, Jenoff, the rabbi's longtime defender, confessed to taking part in the

murder. Jenoff said he and a former roommate, Paul Daniels of Pennsauken, killed the rabbi's

wife for $30,000.

And Jenoff explained his ruse as the "bathroom guy." Because the murder was meant to look like

a robbery, he had entered the house to look, unsuccessfully, for her purse.

The hitmen agreed to testify against Neulander. Each pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter

and received a 23-year sentence.

The rabbi, now facing a possible death penalty, was charged with capital murder, felony murder

and conspiracy. He was ordered held without bail in June 2000; his trial was delayed until

October 2001.

Jenoff said he wanted to ensure that the rabbi would be convicted. But he and Daniels, who met

at a group home for substance abusers, were flawed witnesses. Jenoff had a history of lying.

Daniels, the brief notes, was "mentally impaired and chemically addicted."

But Neulander came off poorly under withering cross-examination. He admitted to repeated lies

and said he could not remember many events.

The monthlong trial ended in a hung jury.

A second trial, which began in October 2002, was moved to Freehold, Monmouth County, due to

concerns over intense publicity in South Jersey.

A jury, which heard damaging testimony from Rebecca and Matthew Neulander, convicted the rabbi

on all counts. The Neulanders' third child, Benjamin, a college student in Michigan at the

time of the crime, pleaded for his father's life in the trial's penalty phase.

Jurors chose a life sentence for Neulander. Barring a successful appeal and acquittal, he is

to remain jailed until at least June 2030.

Reach Jim Walsh at (856) 486-2646 or

ARABIST said...

Dr. Aref Assaf
Legally Insulted, a government ploy to corner a Rabbi who has come to the aid of a Muslim friend
May 17, 2008 03:08 PM
One misstep by the government lawyers has so immensely troubled me. The serious misstep unfolded on Friday, May 10, 2008, the second day of the Imam Mohammad Qatanani's immigration trial. While cross examining Rabbi David Senter, who was testifying as to his knowledge of and friendship with Imam Qatanani, the prosecutor read a supposed statement concerning hypocrites, believers,
and disbelievers. The government lawyers then asked the Rabbi if he found it discomforting that such a statement was coming from the Imam and is based on his Muslim religion. The exchange immediately caused the Imam’s attorney to object to such tactics without the proper context and to establish the fact that the matter before the court was the Imam’s residency status and not the religion of Islam.

The presiding judge acknowledged the Imam's lawyer's objection but let the Rabbi answer the question. It was a dramatic response coming from Rabbi, his voice sobbing yet intently escalating. He said that in every religion, one can easily find disagreeable words or statements, including the Jewish and Christian scriptures. Notwithstanding, such passages should never be used by anyone to condemn the followers of that faith. The Rabbi’s statement was indeed a proud moment, a triumphant rebuttal to those who seek to cause sectarian friction and disunity.

Reliance on out-of-context quotations to castigate our faith has been a strategy of so many right wing pundits and Islamophobic experts. It is simply inconceivable that our government would condone or utilize such specious tactics. Our gripe is not with using a relevant specific statement or Koranic verse but with the very idea of so irreverently diverting legal proceedings into religious bashing and xenophobic incitement.

A careful examination of the sermon provides little clue as to the government intentions. One could easily deduce that the government, to use their words. , was simply on "a fishing expedition" to debase the public support the Imam has received from so many interfaith leaders. Notably, all Friday sermons are available on the mosque's website. The link to the specific sermon is here. (Start time is 2:15). See transcripts below. Here is the entire Sermon in Arabic)

Jewish Journal said...


Orthodox establishment holds Israel hostage, prominent rabbi says

Q&A with Rabbi Benjamin Lau

By Amy Klein, Religion Editor

When a rabbinical judge in Israel recently annulled the conversion of a woman who after 15 years was no longer observant, it caused an outcry among Jews-by-choice who worried their conversions would also be annulled.

In response, Rabbi Benjamin Lau, nephew of Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, the former chief rabbi of Israel, wrote an opinion piece in the newspaper, Ha'aretz.

The article, timed for Israel's 60th anniversary, strongly criticized the decision, saying: "The Israeli political system is holding all the Jewish citizens of this country hostage to the religious institutions controlled by the Lithuanian (non-Chasidic) ultra-Orthodox, which is doing everything in its power to keep the light of the Torah away from Israeli Jews."

He called for the Religious Zionist camp to wrest control of the religious courts and services in order to better serve the entire State of Israel.

Lau, 47, visited Los Angeles last weekend and spoke to the congregations of B'nai David-Judea and Young Israel of Century City. He was one of a several rabbis from Tzohar, a group that wants to connect rabbis to all the Jews of Israel, and who are visiting the United States to forge a connection between the Israeli religious and the American Modern Orthodox movement.

While he was here, Lau spoke to The Journal about the conversion case, about breaking the monopoly on religious services and about what Israel can learn from the Diaspora.

Jewish Journal: What do you think the ramifications will be of the Ashkelon rabbinical court trying to annul Rabbi Haim Druckman's conversion?
Rabbi Benjamin Lau: First you have to understand the context: Nearly 30 years ago, the Israeli Rabbinate gave Rav Druckman and Rav Zefanya Drori the mandate to create special courts for conversion. Since then, thousands of people were converted to Judaism by these religious courts, and now this judge wanted to annul one of these conversions [which were sanctioned by the Rabbinate]. It started with one rabbi -- Rabbi Atia -- who wrote a few words dealing with the convert in his psak din [ruling], but the majority of it was terrible words about [Religious Zionist] Rav Druckman.

JJ: Why this campaign against Druckman and other judges, calling them 'blasphemers' and 'evildoers'?
BL: It was an assault against him personally and against the Religious Zionists. I got phone calls from people who've converted in the last 10 years who were shocked because they didn't know their status -- they thought the ruling would cancel their conversion. You are talking about 1,000 families with kids. So the Chief Rabbinate went to the public and said this ruling is meaningless, and it's not going to affect anything.

JJ: Can one 'undo' a conversion?
BL: It's a machloket [rabbinic dispute]. It has happened in some very specific cases but not on a large scale.

JJ: But what does this mean for the future of conversions?
BL: There is a phrase, "From the bitter comes the sweet." We now understand that many, many rabbis feel that we need to take control of the Rabbinate and keep it from the minority of those who try and kick it to the corner. It's not just the Religious Zionists -- I think the majority of rabbis in Israel feel the needs of Israelis are so strong that we cannot play a game with the religious courts with those whose outlook is so narrow.

JJ: You are talking about the Lithuanians, a sector of the ultra-Orthodox. What is the difference between them and other ultra-Orthodox and Religious Zionists like yourself?
BL: If we talk about all the religious people in Israel, 50 percent are what we call mesorat- traditional, who keep some mitzvot and make Kiddush, but maybe will drive on Shabbat, but have a connection to the religion. About another 25 percent are Religious Zionists, knitted kippah- wearing Jews. The remaining 25 percent of the religious are the Charedim [ultra-Orthodox], who live in a closed society, a ghetto. Inside there are two different groups. About half are Litvaks [Lithuanians] and half the Chasidim. The Litvaks try to make the whole country live according to their hashkafa [way of life].

JJ: How did this happen? Was it political?
BL: Yes. The secular parties didn't understand what they paid to the haredim when they gave them the option to lead the Rabbinate. They really destroyed the place.

JJ: You say they are hijacking the courts now.
BL: They are trying to do just that -- not just with conversions. In the beginning of the year, we had a big argument about shmita [letting Israeli soil lie fallow in the seventh year, when the Israeli Rabbinate typically creates a loophole to allow farmers to work and sell produce in Israel]. The Litvak are trying to keep the whole country according to their hashkafa -- they don't care about the needs of the farmer; they tried to bring in foreign imports.

It took a month, and, thank God, we succeeded -- the high court stopped the Lithuanians. We cannot let a minority take the country. The Chief Rabbinate serves the State of Israel. If you work officially under the flag of Israel, you cannot be against it [as many ultra-Orthodox do not support the State of Israel]. Everyone who serves the State of Israel office should be a creative partner to the needs of the state. One of the needs of the state is to take care of all the people.

JJ: Many Israelis have been complaining for a long time about the religious hijacking of life-cycle services, such as marriage, divorce, brit milah, conversions, etc. How would the Religious Zionists differ from the Lithuanians?
BL: The secular know that Religious Zionists are partners with them all the way. It starts by serving in the army [with them] and continues to learning at universities to working around the country in every industry. The secular and Religious Zionists are together -- this is a fact. Now we need to find a way to help people, whether it's with kashrut, conversion, divorce, the economy -- thank God we have enough problems to deal with. But if you start from the belief that you are partners, then it's a question of will. We say we want to build the society in Israel with all our heart, and we will find a way to succeed.

JJ: Are you aligned with Conservative and Reform groups in Israel, which are increasingly appealing to many who are turned off by the ultra-Orthodox?
BL: I must tell you as an Israeli rabbi, it's not an issue. We live according to halacha [Jewish law]. You have a religious court; you have the whole process of kiyum mitzvot -- one who wants to convert must fulfill all the mitzvot.

This is the only way that I know. I'm in this business 13 years, and the question of Reform and Conservative is a big issue in America and Europe but not in Israel. A few Israelis go for it, but if you look at the big picture, the majority of people are not connected to the Reform and Conservative -- it seems strange to them. They say, 'The shul I don't go to is Orthodox.'

JJ: How will a changed Rabbinate deal with non-Orthodox conversions and marriages from the Diaspora and the question of who is a Jew?
BL: They would have to go to a religious court and reconvert according to Orthodox halacha.

JJ: So how is that different from the Lithuanians?
BL: We follow halacha, but we connect with a big smile. We have a feeling of solidarity with them. The difference is if you feel part of the problem or it's not your problem. We feel that it's our problem. But according to law. We'll find a way. If you have good will, people find a way.

JJ: What does your uncle, Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, the former chief rabbi of Israel, think of your stance against the Lithuanians?
BL: I think about my uncle and his responsibility to all of klal Yisrael-the people of Israel, he serves all the people around the world. He grew up in the Litvak world -- he was close to Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, the leader of the Litvak a generation ago. It was a completely different world then. So this pains him much more than it pains me. He supports me privately. He knows I should be very careful -- the game in the Rabbinate world is very difficult. He knows that my voice is very important, but he's afraid that some very powerful people in the Litvak world will try to stop me.

JJ: Are you afraid?
BL: Afraid? Of what? I am not afraid. Because maybe I'm too young. I'm just a rabbi. What can they do to me?

JJ: You are part of Tzohar, a group whose 'primary goal is to empower rabbis and educators to communicate with those for whom religion is a peripheral but still necessary part of their lives,' according to their literature. How is Tzohar going to change the way things work in Israel?
BL: Tzohar, named after the window in Noah's Ark, was created to stay in touch with the rest of the world; it was started by friends from Mercaz Harav [the Religious Zionist yeshiva in Jerusalem where eight students were killed last month by a terrorist] after [Yitzhak] Rabin's murder, when the feeling in Israel was that the wall between secular and religious groups was too high.

They started with one project -- to make chuppahs for secular couples. The regular system was that if you wanted to get married, you went to the office of the Rabbinate and opened a case file, and if you didn't have a rabbi [which most secular don't], they sent one of the rabbis without any connection to the couple, and sometimes the rabbis asked for money. It was a bad experience for many people. Tzohar started doing weddings by a voluntary system, and we now do 40 percent of secular weddings. The rabbis meet with them, learn with them and even stay in touch with them after the chuppah. This is a completely different experience.

JJ: What else is Tzohar doing?
BL: Then they decided to continue with how to build a community. I learned the idea of community outside of Israel. I lived in London as a shaliach [emissary]. In the Diaspora, everyone has a place that you have a rabbi; you can go and touch him, and we are trying to bring the community idea to Israel. It's unbelievable how late the idea of community [is in coming to] Israel.

JJ: Why do people in Israel need a community? Isn't Israel itself a community?
BL: We are talking about the cities. Settlements are communities. Kibbutzim are communities. Small towns are communities. But in the big cities, there are community rabbis, but most people are not in touch with them.

The idea of community is to break the walls between the sections -- if the regular synagogues serve the religious people, a secular person will never ever come into a synagogue. The idea of a community is to move a synagogue to the community that serves all the needs of the people around you. If you interview me in 20 years, the idea of community will have spread around the country. The idea of community, being part of other people -- this is something that has just begun.
© 2006

California Supreme Court said...

May 16, 2008
For Immediate Release


Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America - the nation's largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization - expressed its opposition to the decision of the California State Supreme Court to overturn two laws defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The UOJCA had joined with other traditional groups in filing a legal brief in this case.

Nathan J. Diament, director of public policy for the UOJCA stated:

The Jewish tradition has always recognized the sanctity and special nature of the institution of marriage, and that only the relationship between a man and a woman can be considered marriage. Moreover, Judaism teaches that the institution of marriage is central to the formation of a healthy society and the raising of children.

We call on the California Supreme Court to issue a stay on the implementation of the ruling, until the voters of California can decide the issue for themselves in a referendum this coming November

Orthodox Union President Stephen Savitsky said...

For the American orthodoxy, the diaspora grows
Rebecca Rosen Lum
Contra Costa Times
Article Launched: 05/16/2008

Americans may forever link Orthodox Judaism with New York, but the head of the Orthodox Union is on a mission to draw many Jewish city dwellers to other cities — including Oakland.

Its attractions: natural beauty, jobs for the educated, a supportive community and a vibrant congregational life.

A large percentage of the nation's nearly 6 million Jews live in New York and its environs, but many younger people are priced out of the New York real estate market. Others seek other kinds of Jewish life, Orthodox Union President Stephen Savitsky said.

When Savitsky invited Orthodox rabbis to showcase their cities at an Emerging Jewish Communities conference in New York, nearly 700 people turned out.

"I knew I was onto something," he said.

Unlike some of the other communities in the proposed domestic diaspora, Oakland did not offer lower housing costs. But it presents room to grow — "and you can't beat the weather," Savitsky said.

"If you're a Jewish person, you want to go someplace that's authentic," he said. "If you teach people Torah, they have an appreciation of what being Jewish is all about. You can't be an opera fan unless you go to the opera."

Oakland might seem a stretch for wandering Orthodoxy. Of the 400,000 and 650,000 Jews in the Bay Area, more than 80 percent affiliate with no religious institution.

Oakland's Rabbi Judah Dardik hesitated before deciding to make a pitch at the conference —
Click Here!
partly because it aimed to steer families toward communities with a lower cost of living, "which we're not."

In addition, "if they're looking for 15 Hebrew schools to choose from and dozens of kosher restaurants, they won't find that here," he said.

On the other hand, his Park Boulevard Congregation Beth Jacob is a happy home for those who "choose actively, passionately, their Judaism every day, (in a way that is) dynamic and growing," he said.

All branches of Orthodox Judaism hold that the Torah — the first five books of the Old Testament — and subsequent oral commentaries are divine law. They follow Jewish law, or halacha, observe the sabbath and keep kosher.

"When people think of New York as an Orthodox center, they imagine a life that's more closed and insular," he said. "I don't know if that's true. But in any case, here we are intimately involved with other kids of synagogues and organizations and the world at large. Our members are involved in social justice, humanity. It all flows from careful thought that leads to passionate action and respect for other people."

Alternatives for those leaving New York include Columbus, Charleston, and Memphis — home to 11,000 Jews in a vibrant, if diminutive, community, Savitsky said.

When Rabbi Ari Sytner relocated from New York to Charleston, surprises greeted him.

"Being part of a smaller community has so many advantages," he said in an online conversation with Savitsky. "Everyone plays a role, everyone is important. It gives everyone a greater sense of belonging."

Charleston offers a law school, a medical school and a brisk professional job market as well as Jewish amenities, such as a mikvah bath and a Jewish day school. Buyers can get into a home in the historic city for as little as $150,000, he said.

Out West, Jews don't embrace a life of Torah because it is expected, but because they choose it, Dardik said. "It's tremendous fun," he said.

Rebecca Rosen Lum covers religion. Reach her at 925-977-8506 or

a yid who cares said...

Hey, you're doing a terrific job EM. I stumbled upon this article. I think it has a lot in common with your hashkafah.

The Jewish Standard -
For shame
Lois Goldrich

By Lois Goldrich
Published on 05/16/2008

Monday’s raid at the Agriprocessors plant in Postville, Iowa — the country’s largest kosher slaughterhouse — will have tremendous implications for kosher consumers all over the country. But the questions raised by the raid should go far beyond, "Where will we get our meat?" We must also ask ourselves what it means to be kosher and how a company that continues to violate both Jewish and civil law has been allowed to call itself a kosher facility.
For shame

Monday’s raid at the Agriprocessors plant in Postville, Iowa — the country’s largest kosher slaughterhouse — will have tremendous implications for kosher consumers all over the country. But the questions raised by the raid should go far beyond, "Where will we get our meat?" We must also ask ourselves what it means to be kosher and how a company that continues to violate both Jewish and civil law has been allowed to call itself a kosher facility.

Agriprocessors has continually demonstrated contempt for the laws of this country. Not only has it been cited repeatedly for unfair labor practices, but it now emerges that many of its allegedly abused employees are illegal immigrants, lacking the standing to complain to outside authorities. In addition, the factory has a long record of both health and safety violations, for which it has paid thousands of dollars in fines. (As regards the recent accusation that the plant was being used for narcotics production, let us hope that this proves to be groundless.)

The plant has also violated Jewish law. Controversial slaughter practices have turned the idea of kashrut, and the humane treatment of animals, on its head. Nor have employees been treated humanely, in direct violation of Jewish teachings. Forcing employees to work 12-hour shifts while denying them a fair wage flies in the face of the ethical treatment required by our sacred texts, while reports of physical mistreatment and verbal abuse of workers are truly shocking.

We commend the Conservative movement’s Hekhsher Tzedek Commission for keeping in the public eye the misdeeds of the company and insisting that kashrut is more than just a ritual matter. We also agree with its statement that Agriprocessors has brought shame upon the entire Jewish community.

We urge the Orthodox Union — which says it is awaiting the outcome of the federal investigation — to take strong and immediate action, withdrawing its certification from the plant until the company’s numerous violations have been sorted out and remedied. It is crucial that, as a community, we publicly affirm the need for kosher slaughter to be conducted in such a way that animals, and humans, are accorded respect.

Stephen G. Bloom said...

Behind the Postville slaughterhouse raid
COMMENTARY | May 18, 2008

A federal immigration raid at a kosher meatpacking plant in northeast Iowa on May 12 was the largest such operation in U.S. history, with nearly 400 people arrested.

The following Q and A with Stephen G. Bloom first appeared in the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Bloom is the author of "Postville: A Clash of Cultures in Heartland America," and of an earlier report on Postville that ran in NiemanWatchdog.

Q: For five years in the 1990s, you researched the Agriprocessors plant in Postville and told the complicated story of how the success of this kosher slaughterhouse transformed a small Iowa town. How do the events of the past week fit into that story?

A: The Postville saga continues. In the late 1990s while researching the book, I quickly learned there were many undocumented workers at Agriprocessors. I learned of guns being bought and sold on the kill floor. Drugs were not uncommon, either. The sanitary conditions were appalling. All four of these same issues were alleged in the government's affidavit, which resulted in Monday's raid. An additional element I learned while researching the book was that female workers said they often were victims of sexual harassment.

The central reason for Monday's raid, though – that undocumented workers were being employed at Agriprocessors – has been one of the worst kept secrets in Iowa for years.

Q: How do the conditions at the Agriprocessors plant compare to slaughterhouses in other rural communities?

A: I only researched Agriprocessors, so I can't tell you how the plant compares to other slaughterhouses. I can tell you, though, that anyone who knocked on Agriprocessors' employment window with a minimum of documentation (which could be bought on the local black market) would be on the kill floor within 24 hours.

Something else that's important to note is that today's hiring of undocumented workers is the inevitable conclusion of the historic decision to move slaughterhouses from big cities to small rural communities.

Q: What do you mean by "inevitable"?

A: Let's look at the raid with some historic perspective. Agriprocessors started in 1987 in a defunct slaughterhouse. Before Aaron Rubashkin bought the plant, the only animals inside were the squirrels and raccoons that had made it their home.

Postville had a population of about 1,400 back then. As the slaughterhouse started to flourish, almost a thousand workers eventually were hired. No way could Agriprocessors pull all of its labor force from Postville. The locals didn't want to do such backbreaking work for minimum wage and few, if any, benefits.

Q: But why was it "inevitable" to turn to undocumented workers?

A: Forty years ago, many slaughterhouses were located in or near cities like Chicago, Fort Worth, Omaha, where there was abundant labor. At about that time, someone made the observation that it made great economic sense to move slaughterhouses closer to the corn-fed, rich Midwestern beef – fewer unions, cheaper land, less transportation costs, less government oversight. The very essence of rural America is sparse population, so the decision completely changed the economics of meat slaughtering. There's another issue, too, and that's how the meat-slaughtering shifted from requiring high-paid, highly skilled butchers to what it's become – a mechanized disassembly line that calls for unskilled workers.

The Hasidim, at first, hired a few locals. But the majority of people who took jobs were Eastern Europeans. This was in the wake of the fall of the Soviet Union, so there were Russians and Ukrainians looking for opportunities. They were refugees. Some came to America legally; some came illegally.

But those who worked at the slaughterhouse didn't work one day longer than they had to. That's the American Dream: Coming and taking the lowest job on the economic ladder, and then working your way up.

It was only after the Eastern European labor market dried up that there was a shift to hiring Latinos. There was no shortage of Mexicans and Central Americans who would gladly work in the slaughterhouse.

Q: After having personally witnessed incidents of labor abuse and unsanitary conditions in the Postville plant, are you surprised that it took the government so long to respond?

A: Yes and no. Everyone knew what was happening in the plant. PETA had been in the slaughterhouse and produced a video documenting abuses. The U.S. Department of Labor had fined the company for repeated workplace safety issues. The EPA was involved because the company had discharged pollutants. The USDA mandated recalls because of unsanitary conditions.

We need to consider the owners' possible viewpoint here – that perhaps hiring undocumented workers is simply the cost of doing business for slaughterhouses in rural America. It's akin to driving 90 mph on the Interstate because you want to get somewhere fast. You could drive 90 mph for three weeks without any problem, and then one day a trooper stops you. For three weeks you've had the benefit of arriving where you needed to go much faster. Maybe the cost of the ticket was worth it.

Q: How are the labor and health issues complicated by the overt religious identity of the owners of the company?

A: Agriprocessors is a privately run company. In a matter of 10 years, it went from a start-up meat-packing plant to the largest kosher slaughterhouse in the world.

I think it's a fallacy to believe that, because the slaughterhouse is being run by Hasidic Jews who view piety as a premiere ethic, the owners' religious values somehow change their business practices. I think the owners likely compartmentalize their business decisions from their own personal and religious ethics.

Q: Do the events of this week make you want to write a sequel to "Postville"?

A: No. It was a painful process to report and write this book. When the book came out, I was assailed by many conservative and Orthodox Jews as a turncoat. The Hasidim publicly urged me to convert to Lutheranism.

They said I was a disgrace to Jews worldwide.

But the book has held up. The facts exposed were shocking then and they're shocking today. So there's a continuum – what began in 1995 extends to 2008.

Q: So the saga doesn't stop?

A: I've been told that the slaughterhouse owners are almost doubling wages to anyone documented who will work at Agriprocessors today. But I think that is short-term. The nature of the problem isn't going away. Few U.S. workers want to work in a slaughterhouse for even these moderately higher wages. It's one of the most dangerous jobs in America.

One final point worth making: While the arrested Agriprocessors workers broke the law by buying Social Security cards and by entering the United States illegally, they came to the U.S. for all the right reasons. They took jobs that Americans wouldn't take. They wouldn't have come to Postville unless jobs were readily available. These workers made the slaughterhouse hum. Now they're the ones suffering the most.

[And click here for a Washington Post article on the Postville slaughterhouse and raid, written as part of a Post series, “The Immigration Debate.”]
Stephen G. Bloom, a journalism teacher at the University of Iowa, is the author of "Postville: A Clash of Cultures in Heartland America," and "Inside the Writer's Mind: Writing Narrative Journalism." He is also co-creator of two oral history projects: The Iowa Journalists Oral History Project, the world’s first video-streaming archive of journalists; and The Oxford Project, which spans two decades in the lives of residents of a rural Iowa town.

London haredim said...

London haredim targeted by graffiti
Jonny Paul - London , THE JERUSALEM POST May. 17, 2008

The British capital's ultra-Orthodox community was the brunt of anti-Semitic graffiti last week, with 40 incidents over three days. Slogans such as "Jihad to Israel" and "Jihad to Tel Aviv" were removed by the local council.

Vandals sprayed shops, pavements and walls near four synagogues in the Clapton Common and Stamford Hill area of northeast London.

"Hackney is a tolerant place and we've never seen anything like this before" said Jules Pipe, the mayor of Hackney Borough. "Our graffiti removal teams are working with the police to remove it as quickly as possible to minimize any further distress."

David Greenwald from the Belz Bet Hamedrash Synagogue in Clapton Common told the Evening Standard newspaper on Thursday that the close-knit community was shocked.

"This morning I went to synagogue to pray and saw the writing all over everywhere - walls, shops, traffic lights," he said. "Everyone feels scared. Here we do not have any problem with Arabs, there has never been anything like this before, but now we are worried."

Another community member said: "It makes us feel that we are in exile. It could be kids doing it, but even so, it shows something."

The other synagogues targeted belonged to the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, Atereth Zvi Beit Hamidrash and Satmar Beit Hamidrash. On Thursday additional racist graffiti appeared in Bethnal Green and Limehouse areas of east London.

"Obviously the timing of this graffiti suggests that its deliberately tied to Yom Ha'atzma'ut but these are slogans that are sadly quite familiar and have appeared on leaflets in previous years distributed by Islamist groups in the UK," said Mark Gardner, communications director of the Community Security Trust, which provides security, training and advice for the protection of British Jews and represents them to police, government and media on anti-Semitism and security issues.

"We are already on a relatively high state of alert due to pronouncements by pro-al-Qaida supporters relating to attacks on Jews. This adds to the picture of threat," Gardner said.


Pope speaks of duty to convert others to the faith

VATICAN CITY (AFP) — The Roman Catholic Church has the inalienable right and duty to convert any person to Christianity, Pope Benedict XVI said Saturday.

Evangelism is a central mission of the Church, the pope told a Vatican body that encourages Catholic missionary activity.

The appeal for the conversion of "all nations," attributed to Jesus Christ in the Gospels, remains "an obligatory mandate for the entire Church and for every believer in Christ," the pontiff said.

"This apostolic commitment is both a duty and an inalienable right, the very expression of religious freedom with its moral, social and political dimensions," he said.

Like his predecessors, Pope Benedict is keen to promote missionary zeal among Catholics, most of whom live in a world of religious pluralism and other proselytising faiths such as Islam.

The pope's message was also addressed to the faithful in countries where religious activity is strictly controlled by the state or even relegated to the private realm.

In December, the Vatican published a doctrinal note reaffirming the mission of all the faithful to seek to convert non-Catholics including members of other Christian denominations, while avoiding placing undue pressure on them.

The note highlighted the need for respect and a spirit of cooperation in dialogue with other Christians, and rejected past accusations of proselytising that have been levelled against it by the Russian Orthodox Church.

Relations between the Orthodox Church and the Holy See have been thorny, with the Moscow Patriarchate accusing the Vatican of proselytising in traditionally Orthodox lands following the breakup of the Soviet Union.

Tensions were further aggravated in 2002, after the Vatican established four permanent dioceses in Russia.

Read article at:

The Orthodox Union and Agudath Israel said...

OU, Agudath Israel reject Beijing boycott
Matthew Wagner , THE JERUSALEM POST May. 4, 2008

The Orthodox Union and Agudath Israel, the two largest Orthodox organizations in the US, rejected a call last week by more liberal-minded Jewish leaders to boycott the Beijing 2008 Olympics.

In separate statements, the OU and Agudath Israel, who represent more conservative political and religious views within American Orthodoxy, expressed concern that a Jewish-led boycott against China would do more harm than good.

China's human rights violations are well documented. The Chinese provide essential aid to Sudan, where government-allied militias have murdered hundreds of thousands of civilians in the civil war in the Darfur region.

The country has also cracked down viciously on independence movements in Tibet, and has been involved in involuntary organ harvesting among political and religious dissidents and criminals. It has also cultivated ties with Hamas.

However, China has extensive business connections with Israel, and it has given some backing to US and Israeli efforts to isolate Teheran to try to force the Iranians to discontinue the development of nuclear weapons.

And even the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the exiled Tibetan government, recently told NBC he was in favor of moving ahead with the Beijing Olympics.

As a result of China's mixed record as both friend and foe, the Orthodox Union and Agudath Israel are concerned that a Jewish-identified sanction could backfire.

"We at Agudath Israel of America understand the motivation behind the effort," read one statement. "We, too, are deeply concerned about reports of human rights violations in China. We believe, however, that it is presumptuous, and perhaps even counterproductive, for a group of private citizens to urge a boycott of the Beijing Olympics - and to direct their appeal specifically at members of the Jewish community."

The OU issued a similar statement: "Jewish law indeed teaches that the preservation and saving of human lives is of paramount value. But Jewish law cautions that we must act with exceptional care lest we cause more harm than good. The leadership of the Orthodox Union believes such exceptional care is demanded in these circumstances with regard to relations with the Chinese government."

The OU and Agudath Israel were responding to an appeal issued by 185 Jewish leaders - mostly rabbis - who called on Jews not to attend the Beijing Olympics as tourists.

The appeal, narrowly directed at only potential Jewish tourists, was carefully worded to avoid harming the interests of athletes or Israel. It is limited to tourism surrounding the Olympics and does not target all business and diplomatic dealings with China.

The appeal coincided with Holocaust Remembrance Day, and drew parallels between China's attempts to use the Olympics ceremonies to cover up human rights abuses and Nazi Germany's attempts to do the same at the Munich 1936 Olympics.

These parallels were rejected by the OU and Agudath Israel, as well as the Anti-Defamation League, as "inappropriate".

"We believe that these comparisons are inappropriate," read an ADL press release. "China is a complicated society that is changing and opening up in many ways, and one simply cannot equate the Beijing Olympics with those games in Nazi Germany on the eve of the Holocaust."

Two more liberal-leaning Orthodox rabbis, Haskel Lookstein, head of Manhattan's Kehilath Jeshurun synagogue, and Irving "Yitz" Greenberg, the former chairman of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum Council, were instrumental in organizing the appeal.

Greenberg and Lookstein recruited other Orthodox leaders, including Rabbi Norman Lamm, the chancellor of Yeshiva University; Rabbi Dov Linzer, the dean of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, a rabbinical school in New York City; and David Bernstein, the dean of the Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies in Jerusalem.

"I don't think people should spend their discretionary time or funds in support of an activity which serves to give legitimacy to a government which is doing some terrible things," Lookstein said.

Rabbi Shimon bar Yohai said...

Lag b'Omer unity shattered by battle for grave of Kabbalah rabbi bar Yohai
By Nathan Jeffay, The Forward

In Israel's answer to the Woodstock Festival, nearly half a million people will gather on a Galilee mountaintop on May 22, where they will pitch tents and engage in 24 hours of feasting, singing and ecstatic dancing.

They will be taking part in the annual celebrations held on the yahrzeit of second-century sage Rabbi Shimon bar Yohai at his burial place on Mount Meron, near the northern Israeli city of Safed. The yahrzeit coincides with the minor festival of Lag b'Omer.

The celebrations are widely viewed as a resounding display of Jewish unity.

"All shades of the rainbow come. There are Ashkenazim and Sephardim, Hasidim and knitted kippah-wearers, religious and secular," said Shlomo Shalvash, head of the Sephardic trust for the upkeep of the site.

What makes bar Yohai such a crowd pleaser is the fact that he did not merely rule on matters of Jewish law. He is believed to have left the answers to life, the universe and everything, making him a figure of fascination for all these people, as well as stars like Madonna. Bar Yohai is the purported author of the Zohar, the central text of Kabbalah. But there is one mystery for which he left no answer: Just who owns his grave and the surrounding area? As revelers link arms and dance together, organizers will be locked in a bitter, ongoing behind-the scenes feud. Shalvash's Sephardic trust and a rival Ashkenazic one both claim full ownership of the site.....

exposemolesters said...

Sunday, May 18, 2008 by Staff Writer

Bush's biblical references rile Palestinians

When US President George W. Bush punctuated his speech before the Israeli Knesset on Friday with biblical rhetoric reaffirming the Jewish people's right to the Land of Israel, the Palestinian Arabs betrayed the fact that they have no tolerance for Jewish sovereignty in the region at all, even if they speak of coexistence in front of international media.

In his address to Israeli lawmakers, Bush spoke of the "promise of God" for a "homeland for the chosen people," and said the "bonds of the Book" between Jews and Christians meant that America would always stand by Israel's side.

Bush also described Israel's and the United States' battle against Hamas, Hizballah, Al Qaeda and Iran as a "battle of good against evil."

Average Palestinians across Judea and Samaria (the so-called "West Bank") were reportedly "shocked" by the president's words, while Palestinian officials said that Bush had effectively removed himself as an unbiased mediator in the peace process.

Whether in response to the Arab frustration, or because his words in Jerusalem were merely a show for Israeli consumption, Bush was far more conciliatory toward the Palestinians when he met with their leader, Mahmoud Abbas, in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt on Sunday.

Speaking to gathered leaders at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East, Bush spoke of the Palestinians receiving the sovereign state they have long deserved, even if it is on the biblical lands he earlier acknowledged belong to the Jews.

Bush was later shown walking hand-in-hand with Abbas, whom the president reassured of his commitment to help establish a sovereign Palestinian state by the end of this year.

Israel, meanwhile, followed up the Bush visit by firmly reminding Abbas and his regime that there will be no final status peace deal leading to the creation of a Palestinian state if they continue to insist on the "right" to flood sovereign Israel with millions of Arabs who claim to be the descendants of Palestinian refugees.

The Daily News said...

Jewish teen on mend as parents want hate crime charges


Sunday, May 18th 2008

Alon Sherman

A Jewish teen whose vicious beating on a Crown Heights street prompted demonstrations outside a police precinct stationhouse was recovering at home Saturday.

His mouth wired shut from the pummeling he allegedly suffered at the hands of two black teens early Friday, 16-year-old Alon Sherman could only shrug when asked if he believes the assault was a bias crime.

His mother felt certain that the beating - which occurred as Alon rode his bicycle to buy formula for his baby brother - was more than a robbery. "You can steal a bike anywhere, but why isn't it happening anywhere else?" asked Iris Sherman. "It wasn't just about a bike."

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly stopped short of classifying the assault as a hate crime. "It's too early to label it as a bias crime," Kelly said.

Alon does not remember the attack, which fractured his jaw and gave him a concussion. No arrests have been made, but a witness told cops that he saw two black teens stealing Alon's bike.

As Alon sipped punch from a straw, his parents expressed sadness about the brutality of the crime, which they said made their younger children too frightened to sleep alone. "Hate is a term Hitler used to destroy a person's dignity, and that is what they did," said Alon's father, Howard Sherman.

About 200 members of the area's Orthodox Jewish community protested outside the 71st Precinct stationhouse on Friday, insisting the attack was racially motivated. They observed the Sabbath Saturday and did not demonstrate again.

Hynes is a hypocrite said...

Cops hunt Hasidic EMT in Brooklyn attack on black college student


Friday, May 16th 2008, 10:27 AM
Police have declared Yitzhak Shuchat a 'person of interest' in a suspected bias attack in Crown Heights, in which an unarmed black man was assaulted last month.

Police have declared Yitzhak Shuchat a 'person of interest' in a suspected bias attack in Crown Heights, in which an unarmed black man was assaulted last month.

The NYPD launched a manhunt Friday for a member of a Hasidic anti-crime patrol believed to have beaten a black Crown Heights college student with a nightstick.

Police released a photo of Yitzhak Shuchat, calling the 25-year-old emergency medical technician a "person of interest" in the high-profile assault.

Shuchat is a member of the Crown Heights Shmira neighborhood patrol and a former NYPD auxiliary police officer, police sources said.

The victim, 20-year-old Andrew Charles, the son of a Brooklyn police officer, was attacked April 14 in an incident first detailed by Daily News columnist Errol Louis.

As Charles walked along Albany Ave., a white man on a bicycle sprayed him with Mace, police said.

A second man emerged from a GMC Envoy and smashed Charles in the back and arm with a nightstick, police said. An adviser to the Charles family said both attackers wore yarmulkes.

Police sources said a Shmira patrol went out that night in response to reports that black youths threw rocks at people's homes and grabbed the first black teen they saw.

Shuchat's mother, Rachel, disputed that claim.

"My son, he goes out to protect people. He doesn't go out to beat people," she said.

Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes convened a grand jury to investigate the assault - and to squeeze members of Shmira to tell what they saw that night.

Police sources said Shuchat had been a volunteer auxiliary police officer in Brooklyn's 77th Precinct as a teenager, but was dismissed for undisclosed reasons more than five years ago. Charles' father works in Brooklyn's 70th Precinct.

Shuchat, identified by the victim from a photo array, has not been seen in the neighborhood for several weeks. Police fear he may try to leave the country.

Shuchat's uncle, Daniel Goldstein, said police showed up at his Long Island home Thursday hunting for his nephew.

"They are looking for a scapegoat because this was a police officer's son," he said. "The kid doesn't even have a broken arm! Does that warrant all this? They are treating my nephew like a murderer."

Rabbi Yisroel Belsky and Rabbi Hershel Schachter said...

From the Jewish Press

OU Webcast On Keeping A Kosher Kitchen

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The complexities of keeping a kosher kitchen will be the topic of discussion when OU Kosher’s halachic advisors (poskim), Rabbi Yisroel Belsky and Rabbi Hershel Schachter, explore questions, issues and concerns from viewers on an OU webcast, “Kosher Home, Sweet Home,” to be held Thursday, May 29, at 2:00 p.m. on, and

Specific areas of concern are expected to include separation of dairy and meat, multiple uses of kitchen equipment for dairy and pareve, kosherization of kitchen utensils, need for separate sinks and more.

The webcast is part of OU Kosher’s educational outreach to the community, which includes the OU Kosher Coming to Schools and Communities programs and the Kosher Tidbits postings, now numbering close to 110 on OU Radio.

Audience members are encouraged to send in questions. Before the webcast, they should be directed to Rabbi Eliyahu Safran at, fax: 212-613-0775, and during the webcast to Rabbi Eliyahu W. Ferrell at, fax: 212-613-0701.

DEBKAfile’s said...

DEBKAfile - We start where the media stop

Exclusive: Olmert and Barak finally opt for truce rather than military operation in Gaza

May 18, 2008

DEBKAfile’s military and Middle East sources report that Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak will inform Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak at their meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh Monday, May 19, that the kidnapped Israel soldier Gilead Shalit must be included in the ceasefire deal.

Israel and Hamas have been using Egypt’s good office to negotiate a ceasefire.

Without consulting the security cabinet, our military sources reveal that Olmert and Barak have finally come down in favor of a truce with Hamas instead of a substantial military operation to eliminate the Palestinian fundamentalists’ war machine and wipe out the missiles plaguing their Israeli neighbors.

Hamas quickly countered by raising its price for the soldier it snatched two years ago, namely more jailed terrorists “with blood on their hands.” Israel has offered 72 of these hardened murderers and held back on the 280 terrorists on Hamas’ list. But after relenting on Hamas’ truce terms, Olmert and Barak are expected to reach a compromise on this issue as well.

Olmert’s statement at the Sunday, May 18, government session in Jerusalem that the Gaza situation cannot go on and Israel “is very close to the point of a decision” on this issue is seen by inside sources as an attempt to mislead the go down more smoothly if Gilead Shalit were part of the deal.

What is really close at hand, according to DEBKAfile’s military sources, is the deal for a ceasefire. Two key questions are still outstanding:

1. The number of jailed Palestinian murderers Israel is willing to trade for Shalit.

2. How and when Israel will lift its blockade on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. This will entail throwing open all the enclave’s border crossings as part of the reciprocal ceasefire package.

The Barak-Mubarak interview Monday has a good chance of settling both these questions. Mubarak, who wants closure on the Gaza question, knows that in these matters, the Israeli defense minister is the man to do business with.

Israel’s Missed Boat in Lebanon said...

DEBKAfile - We start where the media stop

Israel’s Missed Boat in Lebanon

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report

May 18, 2008

Hizballah special forces in Beirut

Sunday night, May 11, the Israeli army was poised to strike Hizballah. The Shiite militia was winding up its takeover of West Beirut and battling pro-government forces in the North. When he opened the regular cabinet meeting Sunday, May 11, prime minister Ehud Olmert had already received the go-ahead from Washington for a military strike to halt the Hizballah advance. The message said that President George W. Bush would not call off his visit to Israel to attend its 60th anniversary celebrations and would arrive as planned Wednesday, May 14 - even if the Israeli army was still fighting in Lebanon and Hizballah struck back against Tel Aviv and Ben-Gurion airport.

American intelligence estimated that Hizballah was capable of retaliating against northern Israel at the rate of 600 missiles a day.

Olmert, defense minister Ehud Barak and foreign minister Tzipi Lvini, the only ministers in the picture, decided not to intervene in Lebanon’s civil conflict. Iran’s surrogate army consequently waltzed unchecked to its second victory in two years over the United States and Israel.

DEBKAfile’s US and military sources disclose the arguments Washington marshaled to persuade Israel to go ahead: Hizballah, after its electronic trackers had learned from the Israel army’s communication and telephone networks that not a single troop or tank was on the move, took the calculated risk of transferring more than 5,000 armed men from the South to secure the capture of West Beirut.

This presented a rare moment to take Hizballah by surprise, Washington maintained. The plan outlined in Washington was for the Israeli Air force to bombard Hizballah’s positions in the South, the West and southern Beirut. This would give the pro-government Christian, Sunni and Druze forces the opening for a counter-attack. Israeli tanks would simultaneously drive into the South and head towards Beirut in two columns.

1. The western column would take the Tyre-Sidon-Damour-Beirut coastal highway.

2. The eastern column would press north through Nabatiya, Jezzine, Ain Zchalta and Alei.

Sunday night, Olmert called Lebanese prime minister Fouad Siniora and his allies, the Sunni majority leader Saad Hariri, head of the mainline Druze party Walid Jumblatt and Christian Phalanges chief Samir Geagea and informed them there would be no Israeli strike against Hizballah. Jerusalem would not come to their aid.

According to American sources, the pro-Western front in Beirut collapsed then and there, leaving Hizballah a free path to victory. The recriminations from Washington sharpened day by day and peaked with President Bush’s arrival in Israel.

Our sources report that, behind the protestations of undying American friendship and camaraderie shown in public by the US president, prime minister and Shimon Peres, Bush and his senior aides bitterly reprimanded Israel for its passivity in taking up the military challenge and crushing an avowed enemy in Lebanon.

While the president was busy with ceremonies and speeches, secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and national security adviser Stephen Hadley took Israeli officials to task. Hadley in particular bluntly blamed Israel for the downfall of the pro-Western government bloc in Beirut and its surrender to the pro-Iranian, Pro-Syrian Hizballah. If Israeli forces had struck Hizballah gunmen wile on the move, he said, Hassan Nasrallah would not have seized Beirut and brought the pro-government militias to their knees.

One US official said straight out to Olmert and Barak: For two years, you didn’t raise a finger when Hizballah took delivery of quantities of weapons, including missiles, from Iran and Syria. You did not interfere with Hizballah’s military buildup in southern Lebanon then or its capture of Beirut now.

IDF generals who were present at these conversations reported they have never seen American officials so angry or outspoken. Israel’s original blunder, they said, was its intelligence misreading of Hizballah’s first belligerent moves on May 4. At that point, Israel’s government military heads decided not to interfere, after judging those moves to be unthreatening.

The Americans similarly criticizes Israel for letting Hamas get away with its daily rocket and missile attacks on Israel civilians year after year. A blow to Hizballah would have deterred Hamas from exercising blackmail tactics for a ceasefire. In Sharm el-Sheikh Sunday, May 18, President Bush called on Middle East countries to confront Hamas and isolate terror-sponsors Iran and Syria.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge said...

Common sense in an uncommon degree is what the world calls wisdom.

Confucius said...

By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.

Elbert Hubbard said...

Every man is a damn fool for at least five minutes every day; wisdom consists in not exceeding the limit.

Jews Against Zionism said...

True Torah Jews: Zionist 'Rabbis' Falsify Torah

BROOKLYN, N.Y., May 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Jewish religion teaches that Jews are in exile by Divine Decree and may emerge from exile solely via Divine redemption. All human efforts to alter a metaphysical reality are doomed to end in failure and bloodshed. History has clearly borne out this teaching.

Zionism, by advocating a political and military end to the Jewish exile, denies the very essence of our Diaspora existence. The religious Zionists have taken the Torah, a book of Divine law which teaches justice, peace and piety, and transformed it into a vehicle for their political goals, a source for their claims to a piece of land. These claims took their latest form this week, when, to our sorrow, the Zionist falsification was brought to the world's eyes by the media.

In conjunction with President Bush's visit to the State of Israel, several rabbis of the extremist Zionist settler community penned a letter to the President, asking him to stop "putting pressure on the Israeli leadership" to make land concessions to the Palestinian Authority.

The letter read in part:

"In the name of the people of Israel, the Land of Israel, the Torah of Israel and the G-d of Israel, we demand that his honor the president cease the pressure on the State to hand lands to the Arabs... Honorable President, you must not be remembered in history as Nebuchadnezzar and Titus who destroyed Jerusalem. You must surely remember that America does not benefit from causing damage, Heaven forbid, to the Jewish people and its land. If you help the wholeness of our holy land, we promise you and your country endless blessings."

Signed: Rabbis Dov Lior, David Druckman, Yaakov Yosef, Shmuel Eliyahu and Shalom Dov Wolpe.

Jews Against Zionism condemns this latest act of chutzpah and ingratitude. The writers of this letter call themselves rabbis and speak in the name of the Jewish religion, but the world must not allow itself to be fooled. They are radical politicians and militants advancing their own agenda, for which they are distorting the Holy Torah and jeopardizing Jews everywhere.

"It is a pity that these men wear yarmulkes and black hats, for it not Judaism that drives them but a foreign ideology," said Rabbi Hersh Lowenthal. "They claim to represent the Torah of Israel and the G-d of Israel, but actually their ideology is to flaunt G-d's decree of exile and take over the Holy Land at a time when the Torah forbids us to have it."

For these extremists, the age-old Jewish tradition of speaking respectfully to gentile leaders is gone, to be replaced by a new standard of belligerent claims and dark threats. According to them, America has been punished in the past and may be punished again for not complying with the wishes of a small group of ultra-Zionist fanatics.

We look forward to the Messianic Era, when Jerusalem will be "a house of prayer for all nations" (Isaiah 56:7)

Additional information concerning the position of True Torah Jews may be found at


True Torah Jews is dedicated to informing the world and in particular the American public and politicians that all Jews do not support the ideology of the Zionist state called "Israel" which is diametrically opposite to the teachings of traditional Judaism. We are concerned that the widespread misconception that all Jews support the Zionist state and its actions endangers Jews worldwide.

Osama bin Laden said...

Bin Laden urges Muslims to fight Gaza closure
Sun 18 May 2008, 21:10 GMT
[-] Text [+]

By Firouz Sedarat

DUBAI (Reuters) - Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has urged Muslims to break the Israeli-led blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and fight Arab governments that deal with the Jewish state, according to an audio recording.

"The duty to break this blockade falls upon our brothers in (Egypt) as they are the only ones that are on the border," bin Laden said in the recording posted on Islamist websites on Sunday.

Anonymous said...

Return to Crown Heights
May 19th, 2008

Two recent attacks on young men in Crown Heights have prompted hears of renewed racial tensions in the Brooklyn neighborhood. Last month Andrew Charles, a 20-year-old black college student, was beaten by two men, both apparently Jewish in the area. Then last week, two men, both reportedly black, jumped and assaulted Alon Sherman, a Jewish teen, stealing his bicycle.

Even in lower crime New York, street attacks like these remain sadly common but the racial dimensions of these assaults, the reaction of some in the community and the history of the neighborhood, which was racked by riots in 1991, quickly ratcheted things up.

On Friday, Jewish protesters took to the streets, assailing the police for not doing more to protect them and demanding that Sherman’s assault be classified as a bias crime. “Jewish blood is not cheap and we are making that statement,” one demonstrator told the Post.

Over the weekend, the police released a photo of a man wanted in connection with Charles’ beating. According to the News, residents have linked the man to a Jewish community crime patrol. Meanwhile witnesses have been slow to come forward, with some observers charging that Jews in the neighborhood are reluctant to “snitch” on other Jews.

“Somehow, race relations in Crown Heights, Brooklyn have taken a huge hop, skip, and a jump back to the 1980s, when tensions between African Americans and the Jewish community kept the city on tenterhooks,” wrote Gothamist.

Others said the community can and should band together. “I can say after 25 years that the news media provides a very distorted picture of the neighborhood I live in,” wrote the blogger Magdeburger Joe. “The overwhelming majority of Crown Heights residents strive for peaceful coexistence. Those who attack physically attack innocent citizens should be removed from the streets. Those who incite them for political reasons should be removed from office.”

In a written statement, the City Council member from the area, Letitia James, issued a statement calling on residents to “come together as one cohesive American family.”

Daily News columnist Errol Louis, who lives in the neighborhood, wrote that crime is the common enemy of all of its residents. Despite that, he said, “many of my neighbors, black and Jewish alike, [seem] stuck in the dead end of ghetto mentality, in which the whole outside world — including the neighboring ghetto - is seen as part of a vast, malevolent conspiracy against one’s community.”

Instead of blaming the other group, Louis continued, “Black leaders must be willing to speak out early and often about incidents like one that happened last week, when a group of black grade-school delinquents flung rocks at a school bus carrying Jewish kids. And — equally important — Jewish community leaders must loudly condemn everyday violence in the neighborhood, most of it involving black victims and perpetrators.”

Aaron Twerski said...

John Brownell is an honorable Alzheimer's sex offender.

Man with Alzheimers sentenced for sex abuse of young relative

An elderly Hunterdon County man this morning received a four-year suspended state prison sentence for sexually assaulting female relative when she was 8 years old.

John Brownell, 75, now suffering from Alzheimer's disease, dementia and poor hearing, offered a quiet and brief apology as he stood before Superior Court Judge Paul Armstrong in Somerset County, where the case had been transferred due to a conflict with a previous judge.

The incidents occurred in February 2005, while he was baby-sitting the child at his home in Readington Township. Under a plea deal, Hunterdon County Assistant Prosecutor Dawn Solari agreed to dismiss the charge of second-degree sexual assault. Brownell instead pleaded guilty to second-degree endangering the welfare of a child and was sentenced as a third-degree offender.

The retired gas service technician will have to register under Megan's Law and will be under parole supervision for the rest of his life, Armstrong said. He also must pay $300 in restitution for the out-of-pocket expenses the family incurred for the child's counseling.

Seated between her parents, the youngster, now 11, wiped tears from her eyes during the sentencing this morning in Somerville.

Defense attorney Thomas Pavics of Flemington said the sentence imposed is the best result for this case. "I do know from talking to him that he is sorry," Pavics said in court. "If he could take it back, he would."

Lepoid Margulies: Get the cash ready said...

Settlement Reached In Sex Abuse Suit Against Closed Tampa School

By VALERIE KALFRIN | The Tampa Tribune

Published: May 19, 2008

TAMPA A civil lawsuit seeking $5 million after alleging sexual abuse at a now-closed Catholic school has been settled for an undisclosed amount, attorneys involved in the case said Monday.

The Eastern U.S. Province of the Salesian Society, the religious order that operated the defunct Mary Help of Christians School in Tampa, reached the settlement on Friday with S.A., a former student of the school.

Adam Horowitz, a Miami lawyer representing S.A., a former student at Mary Help of Christians School in Tampa, said he could not discuss the settlement amount, "but our client is very pleased."

Richard Beran, a New Jersey lawyer representing the Salesian Society and the Salesian Society of Florida, released a prepared statement Monday from the religious order's provincial office in New Rochelle, N.Y.

"The Salesians express our deep sorrow at past failures in this regard. We acknowledge the grave sinfulness and criminality of sexual abuse of the young. We repent of the terrible harm caused to young people and their families by any of our members," the statement said.

The Salesians have obtained accreditation over the years from Praesidium Inc., an abuse risk-management company in Arlington, Texas, "for achieving the highest standard in child abuse prevention," the statement said.

In the original complaint, filed in 2005, the plaintiff accused his dormitory supervisor of fondling him, performing oral sex on him and otherwise molesting him when he was a seventh-grader and altar boy.

S.A. is in his 30s and lives in Texas with his wife and one child, Horowitz said.

In a deposition taken in 2007, the dormitory supervisor, Jorge Acosta, denied abusing S.A. but admitted to sexual contact with three other boys. The boys were about 14 years old, and the contact included fondling and "an extended period of French kissing goodnight," according to court papers.

Acosta left the school and the clergy in 1983 and became an actor and drama coach.

After the admissions in the deposition became public, Acosta was fired as artistic director of the Galaxy Center for the Arts in St. Petersburg.

Attempts to reach Acosta on Monday were unsuccessful.

Prosecutors did not pursue criminal charges against Acosta after the admissions in the deposition became public because the statute of limitations on the offenses had expired. The criminal charge would have been lewd and lascivious molestation, a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. That charge must be pursued within three years of the offense or three years after the accuser reaches 18.

Reporter Valerie Kalfrin can be reached at (813) 259-7800 or

Find this article at:

incest said...

Man jailed for abusing daughters

A 49-year-old man from Derry who sexually abused his two daughters when they were six and five has been jailed for 12 years.

The man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his daughters, carried out the attacks over a seven-year period starting in 1996.

Londonderry Crown Court heard he had been jailed for 15 months in 2005 for indecently assualting his niece.

He has now been placed on the sex offenders register indefinitely.

When he is released, he will undergo a probation period which will be determined by the Secretary of State.

Shlomo Mandel harbors a sex predator said...

While the Catholic Church is taking steps to combat abuse, Shlomo 'the beast' Mandel continues to cover-up sexual abuse at Yeshiva of Brooklyn. Molester Nussbaum is protected by his buddy. The victims - they're bruised and battered for life. This is an an outrage!
South Florida
Diocese of Palm Beach offering training to stop sex abuse
Representative visits parishes to teach parents, kids


South Florida Sun-Sentinel

May 19, 2008


When a student at St. John the Evangelist Church did not want to shake Kit Johansen's hand, Johansen wasn't offended, she was impressed.

Johansen, who runs the Diocese of Palm Beach's Office of Serving Children, was talking to St. John students and parents last week about appropriate and inappropriate touching by adults. Johansen put out her hand to introduce herself, but the girl declined to respond in kind.

"She is being honest about the fact that she is uncomfortable," Johansen said. "We need to trust those instincts."

Johansen is traveling around the five-county diocese's parishes to educate parents and children about who is allowed to touch them and how they should react if adults contact them in an undesired way. The diocese wants Catholic parents to know its priests and educators are as interested in children's safety as they are, Johansen said.

Johansen's office, created six years ago in response to national and local priest molestation scandals, has been organizing meetings with parents, training educators to begin parish safety programs for children, creating an Internet safety campaign and talking to church administrators about their security policies. After many years of being asked what her office has accomplished since its creation, Johansen said it was time to raise the profile.

Dioceses nationwide have created similar offices to set rules on appropriate contact with children and improve church security policies. The mandate came from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2002, after Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston admitted he shuffled the Rev. John Geoghan from parish to parish after he knew Geoghan had been accused of molesting children.

The Diocese of Palm Beach had its own share of scandals at that time.

Bishop Anthony J. O'Connell left in February 2002 after a former student disclosed abuse by him. The bishop before him, J. Keith Symons, resigned in 1998 after admitting he had molested five altar boys earlier in his career.

In their 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, the bishops required that every diocese in the country create review boards to help bishops assess sexual abuse allegations and start programs for the safety of young parishioners. In the Diocese of Palm Beach, programs include fingerprinting every employee and volunteer in its 53 parishes and missions and requiring them to attend child-protection workshops.

But David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said these efforts have little effect on top officials of the church, whom he believes are most responsible for cover-ups.

"We have a lot of skepticism about these highly touted reforms," Clohessy said. "The people getting this training are not the problem. You have to monitor the actions of the hierarchy. It's like having speed limits with no cops."

Teresa Kettelkamp, executive director of the bishops' Office of Child and Youth Protection in Washington, D.C., said the priests and bishops are taking the same training as the laity. Almost all the 195 dioceses in the country offered the seminars, she said. About 5.6 million of 5.8 million children who participate in church schools and programs also have been through the workshops, she said.

Johansen's workshops offer some unorthodox suggestions about how children should handle high-pressure safety situations. In addition to recommending that children tell people who touch them to stop, Johansen said they should make lists of people who make them feel safe and people who make them uncomfortable and show the lists to their parents.

They also should feel free to have their parents take the rap if they want to get their peers to stop pressuring them.

"Blame your mother," Johansen said. "Your parents will come and get you out of any situation."

Parent Lisa Goodman, who attended the St. John the Evangelist workshop, said she is thrilled the church is taking an active role in preventing abuse. She said she sought more information about how to detect whether her children have been touched improperly. She said people have wanted to hold her triplets, who are now in first grade, since they were babies.

"They get so much attention," Goodman said. "We've had small conversations about what is improper, but I was looking for signs that it may have happened if they haven't told you."

Johansen said she leaves details to the parents.

"We're not here to do your job," which is to have frank conversations with children about permissible behaviors, she told the parents. "You can't keep them in a cocoon. You have to give them the skills so they know how to operate in the world."

Lois Solomon can be reached at or 561-243-6536.

exposemolesters said...

Praised be those boys and their families who reported this to the police. Because of their courage, they have saved others from being abused.

yevarechecha hashem veyishmarechah!


Religious tutor charged with abusing four boys

BROOKLYN – The Kings County District Attorney’s office announced the indictment of Yona Weinberg, 29, a Flatbush Bar Mitzvah tutor and licensed social worker charged with sexual abusing four male students, one of which was a client.

The indictment charges Weinberg with Course of Sexual Conduct Against a Child in the Second Degree, nine counts of Sexual Abuse in the Second Degree, Attempted Sexual Abuse in the Second Degree, and six counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child. If convicted, he faces up to seven years in prison.

The victims range in age from 12 to 14 and some were Weinberg’s students, from the Khal Beth Abraham synagogue, where Weinberg gave Bar Mitzvah lessons. Other victims include clients from Weinberg’s work as a licensed social worker for the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services.

Initially only two victims reported abuse, but the investigation revealed two additional victims.

Odds And Ends said...

May 19, 2008
Odds And Ends

Hillary Clinton insisted the Democratic presidential contest is "nowhere near over;" and her campaign provided a memo from Karl Rove as proof.

West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd endorsed Barack Obama even though Clinton won his state's primary by a wide margin.

Warren Buffet, who had provided fundraising support to both Clinton and Obama, has decided to go with Obama.

Clinton's former campaign manager, Patti Solis Doyle, has discussed working for Obama with his top strategist, David Axelrod.

Geraldine Ferraro thinks Obama is "terribly sexist" and might not vote for him.

Adam Nagourney reflects on Clinton's bad luck.

Here's an invite to a senior prom (but not the traditional kind) made possible by "a grant" from Councilman Vincent Gentile and Assemblyman Peter Abbate.


The NRCC's Ken Spain thinks Rep. Mike Arcuri is vulnerable - really, really vulnerable.

Gotham Gazette has a new on-line game, The Budget Maze, that requires players to navigate the "complicated and sometimes downright arcane" process through which the city budget is finalized.

The White House is mad at NBC News.

The US Supreme Court upheld a 2003 federal law aimed at child pornography.

President Bush called Sen. Ted Kennedy, who's still in the hospital, but missed him and got his wife, Vicki.

US Sen. Charles Schumer released some damning statistics on overcrowded federal prisons in New York.

Kings County DA Charles Hynes indicted a Flatbush bar mitzvah tutor and licensed social worker for alleged abuse of four male students.

Obama and John McCain mixed it up over Iran and lobbyists.

Gov. David Paterson introduced gun control legislation in response to the one-year anniversary of the Virginia Tech shooting.

Hookers told "Playboy" they don't consider Eliot Spitzer all that hot.

RACC likes Assemblyman Greg Ball.

Supporters of Democratic congressional candidate and veteran Jon Powers (26th CD) are screening the Iraq War documentary "Gunner Palace" to benefit his campaign.

An Albany lobbyist forwarded this Onion spoof that suggests cutting out "the middle man" (ie: elected officials) and sending money directly to voters.

A blogging public school parent has some fun at Mayor Bloomberg's expense.

Ben is psyched that Gatemouth and Rock Hackshaw are going to Denver.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's primary opponents are really enjoying running against him (so far).

The Siena poll also found New Yorkers would prefer Democratic control of the state Senate: 48-39.

exposemolesters said...

What is going on here? Have the "frum" gone totally mad? the agudas chamorim establishments are issuing psak dins against the internet and cell phones that have access to the web etc. warning of its dangers of being metameh the nefesh. In the process they are promoting the "kosher phone."

Far be me to bring this up, but don't these dreks of charediville have anything better what to do with their time - rather than issuing stringencies piled up upon more chumras that not too many of their own followers will even follow? Is aaron schechter that fundamentally stupid and inept? Does he think people even hold any respect for him after his latest gaffe? Trivia question: What's more important - television and cell phone/internet bans, or preventing child sexual abuse? Same question for matty solomon, the novminker tush, and all the other dwarfs and midgets who are a disgrace and a fraud to their own fellow Jews. Do you mikvah dipping dush buckets ever think about the rivers of Jewish blood that you have on your hands???

Wild animals (the ones you see in the zoo and in the jungles) have a valid excuse
When they kill a human being.
most would agree that the animal is not to blame, after all we can't blame the animistic nature of a beast.

However, when human beings murder other humans and become the nefesh habehaima, that's pure evil and wickedness. This is something that the ribono shel oalm put in the ten commandments for humans not to murder.

What excuse could the murderers have for what they did? None! oh they'll try to come up with some feeble attempts!

We didn't know.. We thought it couldn't happen... Kids just make up stories that they were abused... We wish we could apologize but our lawyers won't let us... Blah.. Blah.. Blah.. It would be a chilul hashem to report it... what about the parnassa of the abuser... Blah.. Blah.. Blah.. Loshn harah.. rechilus... motzey shem ra.... did tshuvah... The offending mechanech's children won't be able to find a shidduch... there were no aidim... Rabbis have a chezkas kashrus... Blah.. Blah.. Blah......

We'll keep the pressure up on these donkeys of putzworld society for as long as it takes - until they either - drop dead on the streets, or they get thrown in prison!

Understanding Child Sexual Abuse
Education, Prevention, and Recovery

What are the Effects of Child Sexual Abuse?
pull quote Children and adolescents who have been sexually abused can suffer a range of psychological and behavioral problems, from mild to severe, in both the short and long term. These problems typically include depression, anxiety, guilt, fear, sexual dysfunction, withdrawal, and acting out. Depending on the severity of the incident, victims of sexual abuse may also develop fear and anxiety regarding the opposite sex or sexual issues and may display inappropriate sexual behavior. However, the strongest indication that a child has been sexually abused is inappropriate sexual knowledge, sexual interest, and sexual acting out by that child.

The initial or short-term effects of abuse usually occur within 2 years of the termination of the abuse. These effects vary depending upon the circumstances of the abuse and the child's developmental stage but may include regressive behaviors (such as a return to thumb-sucking or bed-wetting), sleep disturbances, eating problems, behavior and/or performance problems at school, and nonparticipation in school and social activities.

But the negative effects of child sexual abuse can affect the victim for many years and into adulthood. Adults who were sexually abused as children commonly experience depression. Additionally, high levels of anxiety in these adults can result in self-destructive behaviors, such as alcoholism or drug abuse, anxiety attacks, situation-specific anxiety disorders, and insomnia. Many victims also encounter problems in their adult relationships and in their adult sexual functioning.

Revictimization is also a common phenomenon among people abused as children. Research has shown that child sexual abuse victims are more likely to be the victims of rape or to be involved in physically abusive relationships as adults are.

In short, the ill effects of child sexual abuse are wide ranging. There is no one set of symptoms or outcomes that victims experience. Some children even report little or no psychological distress from the abuse, but these children may be either afraid to express their true emotions or may be denying their feelings as a coping mechanism. Other children may have what is called "sleeper effects." They may experience no harm in the short run, but suffer serious problems later in life.

exposemolesters said...

Like scar tissue, the effects of sexual abuse never go away

By Kathleen Megan

February 23, 1997 - Hartford Courant
Copyright the Hartford Courant, reprinted with permission

The single most hurtful comment that relatives frequently make to older victims of childhood sexual abuse is: "Gee, it happened such a long time ago, just get over it."

"We all wish it could be that easy, but it's not," said David Clohessy, president of the Chicago-based Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests.

Like scar tissue, the effects of sexual abuse never go away, experts say, continuing to influence victims in various ways, such as by contributing to drug and alcohol abuse, low self-esteem, divorce and distrust.

And, when a priest sexually abuses a child, the effects can be particularly devastating. "The most trusted person imaginable suddenly does something that feels terribly wrong and creepy," said Clohessy, who as an adolescent was sexually abused by a priest. "It's a shocking kind of shattering experience."

Leslie Lothstein, who is director of psychology at the Institute of Living in Hartford and has treated victims of sexual abuse by members of the clergy, said that sexual abuse by a Catholic priest has its own "unique dynamic," because Catholics see their priests as having a direct link to God -- as possessing God-like powers.

A devout Catholic who is sexually abused by a priest thus may experience a kind of betrayal that can be especially intense.

"Many of the patients I've seen in therapy who became sexually involved [with a priest] talked about 'soul murder,' " said Lothstein. "They felt as if something had been taken deeply inside of them in which the body wasn't hurt as much as the soul.

"You will hear them say, it was like having sex with Jesus." Laurie Pearlman, a psychologist at the Traumatic Stress Institute in South Windsor, said such abuse is not only "a betrayal by a parent figure," but a robbery of "the spiritual security that another child might be able to find in a belief in God."

Lothstein said he considers it a "miracle" that former members of the Legionaries of Christ were willing to go public with allegations of sexual abuse, particularly considering the power and influence of Catholicism in Mexico. "It's not only religious, but political," Lothstein said, comparing it with the power of the Islamic religion in Muslim nations.

"These men have enormous courage. Their names will be known in Mexico. Many won't believe them. They won't accept the idea."

Abuse of children

Sexual abuse can forever alter a young child's view of the world.

"To be used as an object to satisfy someone else's need is a profound violation of the self," said Pearlman. "It's not an act that is over and done with."

It will color all of a child's relationships, Pearlman said. A child is left asking, "Whom can I trust? Can I trust myself? Am I a worthy person or just an object to be used by others? Am I valuable? Can I control what happens to me?"

It's as if, Clohessy said, a force as fundamental as "gravity stopped all of a sudden" and the victim is left worrying forever about when "gravity is going to stop again."

Without any answers or an adult to help, a child may store the experience away as a secret, becoming "withdrawn, depressed or acting out, causing trouble at home or school," said Pearlman.

A child is likely to be left with strong feelings of anger, fear, shame, hurt and disappointment.

A boy's experience often involves a man as perpetrator, raising questions about homosexuality. Pearlman said boys are more likely to react with feelings of humiliation that may result in their becoming bullies.

Girls are more likely to act out against themselves, she said, perhaps winding up with mental health problems.

As they grow up, such children may abuse alcohol or other drugs as "a way of numbing out their feelings," said Pearlman. Or they may injure themselves.

It is also very common for such children to be sexually abused again, perhaps because they have not "really been helped to learn to recognize safe relations," said Pearlman.

In severe cases, victims may sacrifice their cognitive abilities in order to conceal and continue the secret of what happened to them. Such people may have disordered feelings, losing track of time and days.

A long-kept secret

Often children will keep abuse a secret because they don't have the language to describe it, or they don't think anyone will believe them. This was especially true until recent years, when childhood sexual abuse has become more openly discussed.

Childhood victims are also often frightened into keeping the secret by the perpetrator, who may have threatened to harm the child or those dear to him if he tells anyone about what happened.

If the perpetrator is a priest, there are further difficulties in telling anyone. Lothstein said, "Most of the people I know who talk about early parochial education" say that if a nun or priest punished them, their parents believed the child deserved it. Most children realized that if they ever accused a priest of something so heinous as sexual abuse, their parents would not believe them or would blame them.

Many children do believe they are somehow at least partially to blame for the abuse and, because of the shame, will not come forward.

A victim may also be less likely to divulge what happened if he or she has had trouble with grades, behavior problems or other difficulties -- some of which are likely attributable to the abuse. They fear they will not be believed because of their checkered pasts.

Survivors of trauma frequently require a lot of time to come to understand what happened to them and to be able to communicate it. Many survivors of the Holocaust, Lothstein said, "spent 10 years without ever saying what happened to them... . The information must come out slowly and be paced.

Otherwise they can be overwhelmed by it."

Going public

A decision to tell people about sexual abuse or to confront a perpetrator can be healing, experts say. However, coming to terms with what happened long ago can be threatening, because it may result in the rearranging of one's entire worldview.

A reconsideration of one's career, marriage and family are all likely to occur. In some cases, divorce results as a spouse can't live with a partner's pain and becomes frustrated at not being able to do anything about it.

"The stakes are so high," said Clohessy. "You are taking on your church, your family, making your family vulnerable, taking the most shameful secret and putting it out there for everyone to see."

On the other hand, going public or confronting a perpetrator can for the first time imbue the victim with power.

But in the short term, said Clohessy, who did eventually confront the priest who abused him, such disclosure "brings up all the terrible feelings that we've worked for years and years to suppress. Most survivors will say in their heads, 'Yes, I know I'm doing the right thing,' but inside they are torn apart."

Victims of sexual abuse may hope that "wishing or drinking or praying" will make the pain go away, but "none of those things works. Two things really help," he said. "Going to therapy and telling somebody."

exposemolesters said...

Vol. 5, No. 2
June 2000

The Effects of Sexual Abuse

Volumes have been written on the topic of sexual abuse, analyzing it from every angle. When one reads what has been written, perhaps the most striking thing about it is the power to disrupt lives: a single abusive act disrupts not just the life of a child, but dozens of lives. If we are to reduce and repair the damage done by sexual abuse, we must truly understand how sexual abuse effects children and birth, foster, and adoptive families.
The Survivor

The impact of sexual abuse on children can be devastating and long-lasting. Because children are victimized by someone they should be able to trust and depend on, they may not realize that the abuse is wrong and not their fault. According to Faulkner (1996), sexually-abused children report feeling that something is wrong with them, that the abuse is their own fault, and that they should blame themselves for the abuse. Many children encounter disbelief or dismissal of their claims because adults do not wish to acknowledge that abuse is occurring. Consequently, victims may feel inadequate, embarrassed, isolated, guilty, shameful, and powerless (Faulkner, 1996). For these reasons, many people suppress what they perceive as a shameful secret until later in life.

Even after much time has passed, the effects of sexual abuse are powerful. Finkelhor and Browne (1986) found the long-term effects of maltreatment to include poor self-esteem, difficulty trusting others, anxiety, feelings of isolation and stigma, depression, self-destructive tendencies, sexual maladjustment, and substance abuse.

In 1998, Hughes and colleagues published the results of a study of 18 adult women who reported sexual abuse prior to age 12. These women revealed that they suffered from low rates of secondary school completion, long-term mistrust of others, illness, depression, dissociation, sleep problems, self-injury and self-mutilation, eating disorders, agoraphobia, and painful memories (Hughes, et al., 1998). These findings affirm what other researchers have found: a clear link between a history of child sexual abuse and higher rates in adult life of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, eating disorders, and post traumatic stress disorder (Mullen & Fleming, 1998).

The negative effects of incest, the most common form of sexual abuse, can be compounded by the reactions of parents, siblings, and other important people in the child's life. For example, siblings of the survivor may blame the abused child, not the abuser, either because they believe the perpetrator's denials or simply because of what reporting the abuser has done to the family. And when a child wonders if her mother knew about the abuse but did nothing to stop it, she can lose trust in both parents, not just one (Sheinberg & Fraenkel, 1998).
The Survivor's Family

When a child is reported to have been sexually abused by a family member, the whole family is affected. Often family members feel they must choose whom to side with and whom to blame. Meanwhile the family is flooded with shame and invaded by police and social workers.

While this is necessary for the safety of children, social workers must do what they can to support the bonds among all family members, particularly between siblings an between a nonoffending parent and the children.

This can be a challenge. Societal norms and expectations about the responsibility mothers bear for what happens inside their homes influence us tremendously. The degree to which our cultural values may lead us to blame nonoffending mothers "is exemplified" by the findings of Dietz and Craft (1980), who reported that most social workers believed that mothers are as responsible for the sexual abuse as the offender, despite the fact that 78 percent of the mothers in their study were being physically abused by the same offender who abused the child" (Massat & Lundy, 1998).

Yet emerging research indicates that we need to support mothers more, if only for the children's sake (Corcoran, 1998). Some research has shown that a child's ability to recover from sexual abuse may be influenced by the support she receives from the nonoffending parent. Adams-Tucker (1982) and others suggest that a parent's failure to believe and support a child who reports abuse may compound a child's feelings of betrayal and isolation. Conversely, evidence is growing that maternal support is critical for a child's recovery for both the short and long term (Corcoran, 1998).

Nonoffending parents need support. Often they are in a state of shock, because their child has been sexually abused, and strained by their efforts to decide whether to report the abuse.

And as soon as they make it known what their spouses or significant others have done, the relationship between these mothers and the rest of the world changes. In their 1998 article, Massat and Lundy explored the "costs" of reporting sexual abuse for 104 nonoffending parents. They found these parents faced many issues as a direct result of reporting incest, including problems with family members (54%), a decline in income (55%), difficulty with their job (26%) or having to find a new job (26%), and having to find a new place to live (50%).

These mothers may lack the emotional resources and support systems needed to deal with these challenges. Indeed, to protect the child's privacy, mothers may decide not to rely on the support networks they do have, let alone reach out to establish new ones (Corcoran, 1998). All of this underscores the importance of understanding each family's needs and connecting them to formal and informal supports and concrete services whenever possible.
The Offender

The fathers, uncles, and other family members who sexually abuse children are affected by the abuse, too. Most of them live double lives: one as an upstanding family man, one as an obsessed, self-loathing sex offender.

Regardless of how we feel about them, incest perpetrators are still very important to the families they have betrayed. In psychological terms they are still "central attachments" for the family. As such, the family is certain to have contradictory, confused feelings about these men.

To help children and their families heal and prevent future maltreatment, it is important that social workers try to ensure that offenders receive treatment from experienced, trained therapists.

An important part of many treatment programs for sexual offenders are "apology sessions." In this phase of treatment the offender writes a letter to his victim and then, in the presence of the therapist, the child, and the rest of the family he reads it aloud, assuring the child that the abuse was entirely his fault and that he is sorry for what he has done (Wylie, 1998). This clarification from the person who has harmed them can be helpful to children struggling to come to terms with sexual abuse and the relationships it has damaged.
Foster & Adoptive Parents

Foster and adoptive parents are also affected when a child is sexually abused. Down the line they must care for children in emotional turmoil because of the abuse and the disruption of their families. To do this effectively, parents must learn everything they can about the short and long term effects of sexual abuse.

A particular challenge for many families is learning how to cope with children's sexualized language and behavior. Parenting children who have been sexually abused requires knowledge about setting boundaries (e.g., about touching) and special understanding when it comes to certain behaviors, such as a child's need to masturbate.

To succeed in establishing a solid foundation with a child who has been sexually abused, foster and adoptive parents must help the child reconcile her past and present lives. As Fahlberg (1991) explains, "The success of a new relationship isn't dependent upon the memory of an earlier one fading; rather, the new one is likely to prosper when the two relationships are kept clear and distinct." Helping a child build a life book is one way for foster and adoptive parents to help a child make sense of her past.

Therefore foster and adoptive parents must support birth parent-child ties. To make this possible, they may want to adopt the policy of Brenda Crider, a North Carolina foster parent. "I never run parents down to their kids," she says. "When these kids know you accept their parents, regardless of what they've done, the kids are easier to deal with. This makes sense. Kids are looking for approval, and if you disapprove of their parents then they think you disapprove of them, too" (Crider, 1998).

chanina said...

It's obvious that "frumkeit" has become a mental disorder that affects many.

yisroel belsky said...

With shabbos toothbrushes and toothpastes that i approved, i see no reason why every yid can't have shiny clean teeth every single day.

yisroel belsky said...

Another item that i recommend to you is the "bug checker", to make sure that chalila vechas you don't digest any bugs. That's why we we now sell "kosher water" bearing a hechsher symbol approved by the orthodox union under my guardianship.

The Bug Checker operates by an electric switch and therefore should not be used on Shabbos. There are issues of borer (selecting bad from good) that arise in removing bugs on Shabbos as well as the problem that you are probably going to kill any bugs in the process of removing them. That being said, if you find a bug on a piece of lettuce on Shabbos, tear off a piece of the good vegetable along with the bug when setting it aside.

When developing the Bug Checker, we showed the first prototype to Rabbi L. Steinberg who is responsible for this area of Kashrus within the OU until he was satisfied it was bright enough for home use. The Bug Checker works well with regular lettuce and most dark leaved vegetables like spinach and herbs like basil. It is not bright enough to use with Nori (used to make sushi). If you make your own sushi, we strongly recommend you only use pre-checked, packaged Nori with a reliable hechsher. Also we do not recommend using the Bug Checker with dark red cabbage.

We did receive a written approbation from HaRav Y. Belsky of New York below:

German Afghan jailed for stabbing rabbi said...

FRANKFURT: A 23 year-old German man of Afghan origin was jailed for three and half a years on Tuesday for attacking a rabbi with a knife in Frankfurt last year, a court spokesman told AFP.

The man stabbed rabbi Zalman Gurevitch in the stomach last September shouting “Bloody Jew, I’m going to kill you,” witnesses said. He received emergency surgery but his injuries were not life-threatening. The accused conceded hurling the racial insult at the rabbi. But a charge of attempted murder was dropped during the trial after the state and the defence agreed that it could not be proven that he had uttered the threat to kill his victim. afp

Rav Mordechai Tzemach ben [son of] Mazal Tov said...

Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu in Critical Condition
16 Iyar 5768, 21 May 08 06:34
by Nissan Ratzlav-Katz

( Former Sephardic Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu was rushed, once again, to the intensive care unit of Jerusalem's Shaarei Zedek Medical Center on Tuesday, just before noon. The rabbi's condition was described as "critical."

Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the rabbi's son and the Chief Rabbi of Tzfat, told Arutz Sheva Radio that his father is currently on a respirator and in an induced coma. "We passed through the first stage," Rabbi Shmuel said, "and now they are helping him recuperate step by step."

Following emergency surgery and an extended hospitalization last month, Rabbi Eliyahu has been reporting to the hospital every morning for follow-up health checks. On Tuesday, the rabbi suffered a medical deterioration, and hospital staff had to revive him when he suddenly stopped breathing.

Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu said that his father was "spared by a miracle" in that the medical emergency happened when the rabbi was at the hospital and undergoing a check up, rather than at home.

Rabbi Eliyahu's personal assistant, Rabbi Shmuel Zaafarani, asked the public to pray for a complete and speedy recovery for the rabbi, Rav Mordechai Tzemach ben [son of] Mazal Tov. Among other spiritual measures, Rabbi Zaafarani suggested reading the Book of Psalms individually or as a group, as well as reading the sections of Psalms 119 that correspond to the letters of Rabbi Eliyahu's name.

A large public gathering has been called for 5:00 pm Tuesday evening at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City, in order to pray for the rabbi's speedy recovery.

Jonathan Pollard Calls for 'Heartfelt Pleas'
From his jail cell in Butner, North Carolina, imprisoned American Jew and Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard dispatched an urgent message calling for prayers on behalf of Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, whom he regards as his spiritual guide.

Pollard wrote to Rabbi Pesach Lerner of the National Council of Young Israel, "The Rav needs an abundance of teffilot (prayers). We must storm the Heavens with our heartfelt pleas for mercy for Am Yisrael in the form of a a complete and speedy recovery for our beloved Rav, who has always been the Rav to all the People of Israel, without exception.

"...[Do] whatever you can to encourage people to daven [pray] as they have never davened before, with all of their hearts and with tears, for a swift and speedy Refuah Shleimah (complete healing and recovery)...." %ad%

The Rabbi Suffered a Heart Attack in April
Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu is considered one of the leading rabbinic figures of the religious-Zionist public in Israel. A noted kabbalist and scholar, Rabbi Eliyahu gives Torah lectures at the Heichal Yaakov synagogue in his Jerusalem neighborhood of Kiryat Moshe. He served as Chief Rabbi of the State of Israel, alongside his Ashkenazic colleague, the late Rabbi Avraham Shapira, from 1983 to 1993.

In late April, on the last day of Passover, Rabbi Eliyahu was rushed to Shaarei Zedek hospital after suffering a heart attack. He underwent a six-hour surgery, including a successful bypass operation. Before the incident, the rabbi had delivered his regular sermon during Friday night services in his synagogue and showed no signs of weakness. He was released from the hospital on May 11, after doctors decided his condition had sufficiently improved.

Several months ago, Rabbi Eliyahu underwent cataract surgery in both eyes and refrained from leaving his home until April, when he renewed his public appearances at his synagogue and at various functions.

Mohammed Al Asi said...

On Monday afternoon, Imam Mohammed Al Asi spoke of unity, saying, “It should be common ground that all people of all faiths, particularly the people of the Jewish faith, because Zionist Israel purports to speak on behalf of the people of the Jewish faith, we … should unite Jews and Muslims and Christians together against a hateful and an expansionist militant nation state as is the case with … Israel.”

Afterwards, when asked if he still holds his viewpoint from October 2001 that the Jews were responsible for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Al Asi replied, “Yeah, I think they were involved. Those attacks took place, and then there were five Israeli individuals who were filming the attacks. … They had to have known something was happening to be there at that time, at that location.”

It was the repeated invitations by the MSU to Al Asi and Malik Ali that led Isaac Yerushalmi, president of AFI, to criticize MSU.

“I’m all for ending Palestinian suffering. But sometimes it seems like [the speakers are] more anti-Semitic than pro-Palestinian. I’m not [going to] say that MSU’s anti-Semitic, but there are anti-Semitic members,” Yerushalmi said. According to Yerushalmi, although MSU draws a distinction between Jews and Zionists in hopes to separate Judaism from Zionistic politics, “the majority of Jews that identify themselves as Jews are Zionists.”

Nida Chowdhry, the public relations officer of MSU and a third-year English and film and media studies double-major, wanted to clarify that MSU does not endorse any one message or speaker. “We … invite speakers who show the plethora of ideas and possible solutions,” Chowdhry said.

Tuesday night featured Craig and Cindy Corrie, the parents of Rachel Corrie, who was killed by an Israel Defense Forces bulldozer. Rachel was celebrated for her nonviolent protest in Gaza.

avi shafran said...

Now wait a minute! What kind of hate are we dealing with here? I for one think blogs are full of pornography.

Tracking Hate 2.0 on the Web

By Brad Stone

The Internet is seeing a stark rise in the number of hate and terror sites and Web postings, according to a Congressional briefing last week entitled “Hate in the Information Age.”

At the briefing, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, an associate dean at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human rights group based in Los Angeles, presented the organization’s annual study of online terror and hate. He said the group had identified some 8,000 problematic sites in the last 12 months, a 30 percent spike over last year.

Rabbi Dovid Wadler said...

Rabbi Dovid Wadler came to South River’s Moshe Aaron Yeshiva High School 15 years ago to fulfill a dream of developing a new school from the ground up.

As he prepares to leave to fulfill another dream by making aliya to Israel, he looks back with satisfaction on the thriving institution he leaves behind.

What began with 14 female students housed in the Hillel office at Rutgers University now includes 160 boys and girls studying at a former public school purchased in 1999.

“It’s been fabulous what we started in this community,” said Wadler as he sat in his office on May 8 amid family and school photos, papers, books, and a sign proclaiming “Wadler’s Hotel.”

The school was filled with reminders that it was Israel’s 60th birthday. Wadler said he and his wife, Frieda — a special education teacher at Magen David Yeshiva in Brooklyn — had always wanted to move to Israel, where they will join two of their four children and some of their nine grandchildren.

“We wanted to do it before we retire so we could be productive, active members of society,” he said.

However, it is with sadness that he leaves MAYHS and the students and staff.

“We have students who have made aliya,” said Wadler. “We have graduates who have served in the Israeli army. We even have students who have married each other. They are true MAYHS couples.”

Wadler is a resident of the Flatbush section of Brooklyn and former associate principal at the Yeshivah of Flatbush.

In 1993, he came to what was then known as the Yeshiva High School of Central New Jersey as its founding principal. The school moved to the Highland Park Conservative Temple before purchasing its South River home.

The student body is drawn from an area stretching from Philadelphia and Cherry Hill to Manalapan, Elizabeth, and Staten Island.

The school offers a full range of secular and Judaic studies, including advanced placement courses, and boasts a 100 percent college placement record.

MAYHS is a constituent agency of the Jewish Federation of Greater Middlesex County.

“This is a special school with an excellent curriculum, professional teachers,” said Wadler. “There is a supportive environment. We care about the kids. We don’t just teach them. We help them grow. We know every student by name and his or her strengths and weaknesses. Even after they graduate we continue to be close to them. We have programs for them. We attend their weddings.”

Those that have been involved with the school, some since its inception, believe it is Wadler’s guidance that is largely responsible for making the school what it is today.

Bernie Leff, a MAYHS board member who served as president for 12 years, said Wadler was instrumental in developing the school’s curriculum, hiring the faculty, recruiting students, raising money, and articulating the school’s mission.

“He’s been our first and only principal and basically he took an empty classroom with nothing in it but air and created a whole educational process,” he added. “It was him that built the school. We are sad to see him go but we are happy he is going to do something he has always wanted to do, which is also important.”

Wadler’s successor, Rabbi Dovid Komet, is a longtime math and Talmud teacher at the yeshiva. (See sidebar)

Leff put a positive spin on Wadler’s departure.

“Change is sometimes healthy,” he said. “We certainly will carry on with a lot of the things he did. We consider him to have been highly successful and to have accomplished a great deal.”

Wadler was honored for those accomplishments by the community May 18 at a dinner at Congregation Ahavas Achim in Highland Park. The guest speaker was Gary Rosenblatt, editor and publisher of The Jewish Week in New York City. It was also announced that a Rabbi Dovid Wadler Scholarship Fund will be established to aid a MAYHS student each year.

Staff and students alike had many fond memories of Wadler.

“I believe he may be the greatest principal ever,” said Talmud teacher Rabbi Buddy Berkowitz, who has been with the school from its beginning. “From the first moment he was a wonderful, amazing principal and friend. We are all close to him and he will be truly missed.”

Rabbi Avraham Krawiec, a Talmud teacher and school attendance coordinator, cited Wadler’s “open-door policy” toward students, who would share happy news and seek advice in times of crisis.

Senior Rachel Gross of Aberdeen said Wadler’s lessons have extended far beyond the classroom.

“Through his examples we have learned kindness, patience, respect among other midot (values),” she said. “Although we will miss him greatly, we at MAYHS are so happy for him. He is the heart of MAYHS and we will never forget him.”

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It is unfortunate that it has come to this. It is a big darn shame it has come to this. It is very hurtful that it has come to this. But yet, IT HAS COME TO THIS. It has come at the price of a GREAT CHILUL HASHEM. It has come to Hashem having to allow his holy name to be DESECRATED so that his CHILDREN remain SAFE. Shame on all those responsible for enabling and permitting Hashem's name to be desecrated! When you save children you save the future. You save the future you save generations. You save generations you save lives. You save lives you have saved the world!!!!!!!