The film below actually happened in 2007, however they met with Ahmadinejad this year as well.
Friday, September 28, 2012
The National Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called two published wire photos of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “ugly, disgusting, and offensive.”
The photos, published within moments of each other by The Associated Press and Reuters, show Netanyahu addressing the United Nations and raising his left arm in a gesture reminiscent of Adolf Hilter’s infamous Nazi salute.
“I can’t believe it, if it in fact happened,” ADL National Director Abraham Foxman told The Daily Caller. “I think it is ugly, disgusting, offensive. Strong words to follow.”
The wire photos from The Associated Press and Reuters are in stark contrast with photos of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad this week. In recent days, Ahmadinejad has frequently been pictured by both news wires flashing a “victory” sign.
Foxman described Netanyahu’s speech overall as effective and a “unique history lesson.”
“All these terms — nuclear bombs, fissionable, centrifuges, red lines — it doesn’t mean anything to most people. He brought it down to a reality,” said Foxman.
Netanyahu used a visual aid a bomb to represent how close Iran is to stockpiling enough highly enriched uranium to construct a nuclear weapon.
“He communicated the message of what a red line is. He delivered a message to a lot of people who either did not pay attention before, or did not understand,” Foxman continued. “I applaud him.”
“There’s talk, talk, talk and nobody really remembers what anybody says. They will remember the picture. They will remember the graphic.”
The Weekly Standard first notedthe AP and Reuters photos on its blog Thursday afternoon. “Of the hundreds of professional photos taken at this speech,” the right-leaning magazine noted, “the AP and Reuters decided to push these onto the wire.”
Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2012/09/27/anti-defamation-league-leader-ap-reuters-wire-photos-of-netanyahu-offensive/#ixzz27mnEIIFX
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Henry Kissinger the former Secretary of State in the United States and current spokesperson on the state of the world, had some dark words for the state of Israel.
Middle East horror, Democratic Party dissing Jerusalem, Washington anti-Israel mentality, Obama busy raising reelection funds with no time for beleaguered Netanyahu, the attitude in the Oval Office toward the Red Line and the vow of Iran to destroy our only friend in that part of the world, is just the latest reasons behind his prediction.
"In 10 years, no more Israel, I repeat: In 10 years, no more Israel," Henry Kissinger said according to a report in the New York Post.
Henry Kissinger is a German-born American author, political scientist, diplomat and businessman.
A winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, he served as national security adviser while later as Secretary of State in the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. After his term, his opinion was still sought by many presidents and many world leaders.
Kissinger remains an influential figure public. He is the founder and chairman of Kissinger Associates, an international consulting firm.
Monday, September 24, 2012
When Iranian President Ahmadinejad ascended the podium to speak on the rule of law at the UN today, Israeli UN envoy Ron Prosor rose from his seat and walked out while the US envoy remained. Ahmadinejad alluded to what he sees as Israel's illegitimate nuclear arsenal, and bore down on those who have revolted at Holocaust revisionism. Throughout all of this, the U.S. envoy remained seated.
Raw video from the UN confirms that U.S. representatives attended the entire speech.
Sunday, September 23, 2012
The love letters, school papers and dramatic works of college-age Joseph Goebbels reveal a romantic young man beginning to show signs of anti-Semitism and egotistical and controlling behavior, according to a Connecticut auction house selling the pre-war writings of Adolf Hitler’s propaganda chief.
Alexander Historical Auctions plans to sell the collection on Sept. 27 in Stamford, saying it may prove invaluable in providing historical and psychological insights.
“It sums up the formative years of the number two man in the Third Reich, who was responsible for motivating the masses in Germany to back Hitler,” said Bill Panagopulos, the company’s president. “In my opinion, it shows how this rather simple, shy and love-struck college student really just became radicalized.”
The thousands of pages include Goebbels’ college dissertation, report cards, dozens of poems, school essays and letters from relatives, friends and girlfriends.
“You really get a feel for what’s going on in his head,” Panagopulos said. “There’s a lot of information if somebody wants to dig into the mind of this man who grew into a lunatic.”
In an early sign of his ego, Goebbels would sign some of his materials with numerous signatures. Toward the later years of the collection, Goebbels is starting to show anti-Semitic tendencies, Panagopulos said. He added that the auction house has only translated about 10 percent of the papers and has had a tough time with Goebbels’ handwriting.
The sale sparked concerns by a leader of a Holocaust survivors group who criticized the auction house’s sale last year of the journals written by Nazi death camp doctor Josef Mengele.
“Alexander Auction House is making a business out of selling Nazi artifacts and memorabilia,” said Menachem Rosensaft, vice president of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants. “They clearly have the legal right to profit here from such materials. I leave it to others to determine the morality of it all.”
Rosensaft said such materials belong in an archive for historians to study. He expressed concerns that at an auction, the materials could wind up in the wrong hands and be used as a shrine to the Nazi leader.
Panagopulos said museums often depend on donations made by people buying items at auction. He said neo-Nazis don’t collect the material.
Addressing another concern of Rosensaft’s, that there is a cottage industry of creating fake Nazi memorabilia, Panagopulos said most of the Goebbels documents up for sale have been available to experts, scholars and researchers for years and no one has questioned their authenticity. He called their provenance “ironclad.”
He said his own morals should not be questioned, noting that his father’s hometown in Greece was largely wiped out in an act of German retribution.
The collection, which spans the period from Goebbels’ childhood to shortly before he joined the Nazi party in 1924, is expected to sell for more than $200,000, Panagopulos said. It includes more than 100 letters written between Goebbels and Anka Stalherm, the first great love of his life, and show his desire to control others, he said. Letters from other girlfriends include a pair of sisters he seduced at the same time.
In a letter to his teacher after his sister died, he thanks his teacher for condolences but adds that his loss is minor compared to losses suffered by “our fatherland.”
Goebbels and his wife killed their six children with cyanide before killing themselves the day after Hitler’s suicide.
Panagopulos said the sale is on behalf of a Swiss company and would not benefit any relatives of Goebbels, but he said his auction house does not identify consignors. He said the company received the materials from a man who obtained them from an earlier owner who won the rights to the writings in a 1950s court case with Goebbels’ sister.
The auction house last year said it sold the journals written by Mengele, drawing criticism from Rosensaft who said the business was profiting off the sale of materials by one of the worst mass murderers in history. Alexander officials said the Jewish buyer wanted to remain anonymous and is building a collection for a museum.
Panagopulos said at the time his profit would be $15,000 to $20,000 and that he would make a donation to a war memorial. He said Mengele’s journals have historical value and that many auction houses deal with Nazi-related items and the buyers are reputable.
Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, who ranks in some estimations among the top five most influential rabbinic authorities, issued a public notice on Sunday saying that anyone who owns an Apple iPhone should burn it.
In the pronouncement, published on the front page of Yated Neeman - the most influential haredi newspaper - as well as several other ultra-Orthodox dailies, Rabbi Kanievsky said that it is completely forbidden to own an iPhone, comparing the device to weapons of war in its potential to cause harm.
Rabbi Kanievsy’s public announcement is part of a general offensive being waged by many ultra-Orthodox rabbis at the moment, who frequently denounce smart phones and the Internet because of the ready access they provide to pornography, as well as sources of information beyond the strict confines of the ultra-Orthodox world.
Many members of the ultra-Orthodox community have “kosher” cell phones that have no Internet connection and cannot send or receive text messages.
No matter how bad president Obama is for the state of Israel, Jews in the U.S. just don’t seem to care.
More than two thirds or 69 percent of Jewish voters in Florida say they will vote for President Obama over Governor Romney, who will win 25 percent of the Jewish vote in the state, according to a new American Jewish Committee or AJC survey.
Obama won 76 percent of the Jewish vote in Florida in 2008. Jews comprise about four percent of voters in Florida, which is widely regarded as a key state in the 2012 elections.
The AJC survey explored Jewish attitudes toward the election of candidates for vice president, U.S. relations and Israel, Iran's nuclear program, and other important issues of concern to vote for president.
The telephone poll of 254 registered voters of Florida Jews was conducted between September 7 and 9 by QEV Analytics, a research organization of public opinion. It is the first in a series of opinion polls AJC conducted this month. Ohio is the other key state where Jewish voters are being surveyed, and a full national survey is underway. AJC last national survey of American Jews was conducted in March 2012.
"Florida is a key state for both parties. Both parties are spending a lot of time and attention, and where recent history is a reminder that the margin of victory can be very narrow, the Jewish vote is more important, said Executive Director of AJC David Harris. "This study, the first of three Jewish political landscape in accumulation to the November 6 elections, will certainly be of interest to all those who follow the elections this year."
There is an overwhelming concern among Jewish voters on Iran's nuclear program. Most support military action of the United States or Israel if diplomacy and sanctions fail to stop Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Thursday, September 20, 2012
This article will soon be featured in a Jewish online news site. The only names that have been changed in this article are the names of my classmates.
This post may be shared in its entirety .
My name is Shlomo Silber and I am a frum Jew living in Queens. I have a wonderful wife, two beautiful children and, God-willing, another one on the way. I love my job and the community I live in. Recently I have been going through the dilemma of trying to find a school for my older son and I find I am stuck with the hardest decision of my life. When I think of my yeshiva experience, my heart tightens in my chest as I recall those terrible memories.
I went to a couple of people and told them that I wanted to write an article, using my name, in which I would graphically state what was done to me with the hope that maybe it will raise awareness in our community and give strength to those suffering to open up, come forward and get help. I thought I would be supported and encouraged. I thought people would feel that it is a very brave and admirable thing that I am doing by sharing my pain and experiences. Yet the response I got was shocking. I was told they will ruin my business; they will threaten my family, or just get ready for the lawsuits. This was very disturbing to me considering I am just trying to spread a message of awareness to our community. What has become of us if we have this code of silence? And if that silence is broken, will the one who speaks be muzzled with whatever it takes?
I have been meaning to write this article for a long time but have always pushed it off. Yet with recent events leading up to the Asifa and hearing the outcry of so many children who are now adults who have been abused physically, emotionally and sexually, having seen exposes on TV of entire communities protecting people who hurt children, I thought it is time for me to stand up and speak out and if there will be repercussions then so be it. Someone has to support those downtrodden and abused souls who are just looking for closure and validation for what has happened to them so they can begin to heal. Minimizing this issue is like telling a Holocaust survivor that the Holocaust never happened or that they should, “Just get over it”. I know this is an extreme statement but unfortunately, it’s true. I get emotional just writing this, thinking back to the days when I was a scared, defenseless child who had no one to turn to. I am writing these events not so that I can defame the frum community, but so that we can rise as a community to protect our children. I also would like to shed light on what I feel are misguided solutions to these problems. It is very important to regulate our schools and to bring those responsible for the abuse to justice. But I would like to add one element- How do we as parents respond to the needs of our children, especially while they are dealing with emotional trauma? Most of the articles I have read are based on bringing the abusers to justice. I think this is very important and must be done, but ultimately we are the ones responsible for taking care of our children. We must make sure they are safe, always, and we must also show them that we trust them and will be there for them if something goes wrong. It is extremely important that our children feel they can trust their parents and that they won’t be punished if they open up with an issue they are having even if they are in the wrong.
It’s time for me to let you know what it was like growing up as a child in a “frum” household attending Bais Mikroh of Monsey. As I close my eyes I recall the feelings of shame, uncertainty, and terror of my surroundings. I remember walking down the halls of my new school, nervous about starting with a rebbe instead of a morah and meeting so many new kids. I will never forget my first grade substitute, Rabbi Rosengarten, who would snap his belt in our faces and say, "I'll give you an injection for your infection". One day with Rabbi Rosengarten I spoke out in class and he hit me with his belt. Later on that day I went home and told my parents about what had happened and they decided to come down the next day and talk to him. Afterwards, Rabbi Rosengarten came back to class, reached into his desk drawer and took out a marker. On the board he drew a straight line bent over at the top half and said, “If a tree is bent over to one side and you want to straighten it out, it’s not enough to just bend it straight because then it will just bend right back. In order to get it straight, you would have to bend it all the way to the left and then it will come back to the middle. So too, if a boy is laughing in class, it is not enough to make him stop laughing because he will just start laughing again. But if you make him cry then he will not laugh again”.
In second grade Rabbi Braun would hold our fingers together with one hand and hit the tips of our fingers with a piece of wood he kept in his desk solely for this purpose. One day I said something he considered chutzpahdik and was told to come to the front of the class to receive my punishment. Knowing what was coming I didn't go up, and so he started coming over to my seat. I tried to hide under my desk as he came nearer. Suddenly, I felt a stinging pain on my backside and my head jerked up slamming into the bottom of the desk where an exposed piece of metal cut into my head. When Rabbi Braun saw that blood was dripping down my face, he picked me up, ran me to the bathroom and held my head under the faucet. He then brought me back to class with no apology and continued teaching while I held a paper towel to my head. This time, I knew better than to tell my parents. About a week later at home, I bent over to pick something up and my yarmulke fell off. My mother gasped “What is that gash on your head?” I replied that I was playing at recess, fell on the wood chips, and cut my head. She said it looked like I should have gotten stitches; I shrugged and went on with my day.
The next year was no better. I had Rabbi Lamb and he would always make me sit on his lap while he tickled me. It seemed that when I was good I would get tickled, and if I was bad I would also get tickled, unless I was really bad. Then he would grab hold of both sides of my cheeks between his thumb and index finger and violently shake my head back and forth. I was not alone in this treatment. I recall many kids in my class getting the tickles and head shakes on a daily basis. By this point in my life I was far behind my peers academically and was struggling just to read Hebrew. I would spend most of my days in class daydreaming about being in another place. I was creative and had a strong imagination and yet there was no place for me. Not only was I ridiculed and hit by my Rebbeim but I was made fun of by my classmates for not being able to read Hebrew. No one ever stepped in to protect me. In class, whenever I was not daydreaming, I was praying that I would not be called on to read the next posuk.
Rabbi Lamb knew that I was struggling and so he called my parents. He told them about a friend that was a great Rebbe and was willing to tutor me at night for free. My parents thanked him and set up an appointment. His friend’s name was Rabbi Shafer. I remember my father bringing me to an empty Shul where Rabbi Shafer sat alone under a single dim light and smiled at me as I walked toward him. He told my father to pick me up in an hour. He sat me down, then he got up and locked the front door. He sat back down next to me, put his arm around me, and asked me to read from the Chumash for him. I began to read as he leaned over me. I was a little scared and read nervously for him. My father had gone home and told my mother that it was weird because there was nobody else in the Shul with him. My mother must have had a premonition and told my father to run back and get me. When my father came back to the Shul and the front door was locked he began to pound on the door. I remember being startled as Rabbi Shafer got up to see what the banging was about. My father came in and said we had to leave. I was too scared to ever go back, so my parents canceled my tutoring.
I was very excited to start fourth grade. Rabbi Halpert was a new rebbe and all the kids loved him. Rabbi Singer was the rebbe of the other class and we all knew him as the rebbe who smoked during recess. Rabbi Singer was our substitute rebbe when Rabbi Halpert didn’t come. That year baseball cards were the coolest thing and we would trade them at recess. I brought all of mine in an empty baby wipe container to show all the kids in class. Rabbi Singer came in and caught us trading cards and confiscated them. He told me they were “Goyish” and he was giving them to Rabbi Bodenheimer the principal.
In the middle of that year I got into a fight at school. They called my parents to come pick me up. I cried to my parents that it wasn’t my fault. My father said I was being Chutzpadik and hit me so hard it left a bruise below my eye. The next day I told the kids in my class that I had gotten into a fight with Goyim on my block and played myself up as a tough guy. As I came in from recess, Rabbi Halpert stopped me before I entered the classroom. He asked me “How did you get that bruise?” I started to blush and lowered my head. He asked me, “Did your father do this to you”? I mumbled yes. He replied “Good. A father only hits because he loves you. It must mean he really loves you”.
By the time I was ten, I knew that I would run as far away as I could from this lifestyle. I looked up to some of my friend’s brothers who were "off the derech" and would daydream about being like them some day. I would fantasize about having friends and actually being accepted by someone. I remember pleading with my parents to switch me out of my Yeshiva, but my mother would tell me that no yeshiva would ever accept me. I was a disaster at home; I was a disaster at school. The only positive recognition I ever got was when I acted out as the class clown. It came with a heavy price but to me it was worth it- it was the only time I felt like I actually existed.
In fifth grade, Rabbi Litmanowitz would tell me that a Goy could read better than me. That stung me worse than any smack I ever got.
That year my yeshiva hosted a Bar Mitzvah for a kid who lived in my neighborhood and I was invited. At the Bar Mitzvah I went upstairs with a couple of other kids to hang out in my classroom during the speeches. One of the kids, who happened to be the son of the Rabbi of the Shul I went to on Shabbos, took a marker and wrote a curse word on my Rebbi’s desk. The next day I was taken out of class by Rabbi Litmanowitz and my principle, Rabbi Bodenheimer. Rabbi Bodenheimer asked if I knew anything about what was written on Rabbi Litmanowitz’s desk. At first, I said no. Rabbi Bodenheimer called me a liar. After being interrogated for a while I figured, what have I got to lose? The kid was not even in my Yeshiva so what could even happen to him? I told them it was Rabbi Shweitzer’s son. I remember Rabbi Bodenheimer towering over me as he made an astonished face and asked, “Rabbi Shweitzer’s son?” I nodded my head yes. He told me to go to his office and wait for him while he talked to my rebbe. As I walked down the hall, I felt relieved that I actually wasn't the one in trouble this time. I waited for a couple of minutes outside his office. Rabbi Bodenheimer eventually came and motioned me to follow him into his office. I followed him in and instead of going to sit behind his desk, he closed the door and told me to take off my glasses. The second I removed my glasses, he slapped me hard across the face and told me what a liar I was and asked me how could I make up such horrible lies about a Tzadick’s son. I was suspended for a week for a crime I did not commit.
I was so broken and damaged by this point. I would come home after being in trouble and getting abused the entire day at school only to get screamed at and smacked by my parents. I would go up to my room take out my imitation Swiss army knife, carve symbols into my window sill, and curse up at God, my parents and my rabbeim. When I would get into an argument with my parents on Shabbos I would run up to my room and switch the lights on and off repeatedly thinking I was punishing God for giving me this horrible life.
In the middle of my fifth grade year I found out there was a "special" class and where kids went to 7/11 in their Rebbe’s car to get Slurpees. I went to Rabbi Bodenheimer and asked him if I could be put in the special class. He said to me, "Are you going to behave?" and I swore that I would.
Rabbi Menlowitz’s class was in a small room all the way at the end of the hall where the "computer room" was supposed to be. There were three other kids in the class and we would be told stories from the Parsha and then we would go in Rabbi Mendlowitz’s red Maxima to 7/11. We would get Slurpees and then go with him on whatever errands he had to run. We went shopping; we stopped by the occasional garage sale. Looking back I am shocked that no one's parents (least of all mine) were paying attention enough to take issue with the fact that we spent the day in school picking up our rebbi's dry cleaning. Even in this class, I was not safe. I remember there were days where when Rabbi Mendlowitz would come to class in a bad mood and if I talked Chutzpadik I would get a smack across the face and would not be able to go to 7/11 that day.
I wound up getting suspended a couple of weeks out of every year. It came to the point where as long as I didn't bother anybody in class or cause trouble I was completely ignored. My parents were concerned and took me to see a therapist. I was diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed Ritalin. I remember the first day on the medication I paid so much attention in class my rebbe called my parents to tell them how good I was that day. I felt so terrible; I felt that the only way I could be good was if I took medicine that forced me to behave. I felt like I was crazy. Nobody ever asked me what was bothering me. Instead they just started medicating me so I could be handled. I started to pretend to take my pills and then just quit even pretending to take them. This sparked a feeling in me that I would suffer all throughout childhood and into adulthood. I was the “special kid" in the class, I was retarded. One Shabbos afternoon, my father was trying to learn with me. I was struggling to get the words out when he blurted out in frustration "Your sister reads better than you". He was referring to my younger sister, who was mentally disabled.
I was always labeled as a liar and a manipulator in school and at home. Even when I was telling the truth I was a “Shokran." Eventually I gave up trying to argue and defend myself. It was no use and if anything would get me into more trouble.
There was a kid in my class named Aryeh Krauss whose mother was diagnosed with cancer. I remember how my whole school would say tehillem for her. I became friends with Aryeh. One afternoon we decided to cut class together and hang out in the back of the school behind the fence. Once things quieted down and all the classes were in session, we jumped back over the fence that separated us from the house next door. We were on the swings when we decided to play a game by tying my left shoe lace to his right shoe lace and swinging together. We were laughing and swinging when the side emergency exit door opened and Rabbi Bodenheimer came through it and screamed “Get to my office now!” We had no chance to run and hide because our shoes were tied together. When we got off the swings Aryeh just took his right shoe off and walked in his sock. I walked over to the Rabbi’s office with my friend’s shoe still tied to mine. Rabbi Bodenheimer took Aryeh into his office first while I waited in the corridor. After a couple of minutes Aryeh came out and walked back to class without asking me for his shoe. Rabbi Bodenheimer signaled me to come in to his office. By this point I knew what was coming. Standing before him as he towered over me, he looked eight feet tall. He began to scream at me and tell me how Aryeh’s mother has "yenah machlah" (Cancer) and that by corrupting Aryeh I am making his mother sicker. He then told me in disgust to bend down and untie my shoe. I got down on one knee and began to untie the laces. The next thing I knew I was being struck from every side as Rabbi Bodenheimer smacked me with both hands and kicked me. I left his office that day a boy who was evil, retarded, and committing murder.
I was one of the older kids in my class and started putting on Teffilin at the end of 7th grade. I had been left back in pre-1A and was embarrassed by the public reminder that I was older than everybody else yet they all seemed smarter than me and could learn better. It’s such a shame that so many moments and milestones that I should have enjoyed and been proud of in my life I spent feeling embarrassed and ashamed. One day at Mincha I was talking to a kid next to me. Rabbi Gobbiof the eighth grade rebbe who was also in charge of davening decorum saw me talking and clopped on the Bimah telling the whole Yeshiva to stop davening. He called me up to the Bimah. Standing up there he screamed at me in front of the entire school. He said, “A bochur who puts on teffilin but has no respect for the keddusha of davening!” Then he looked at the rest of the Yeshiva who were now all staring at me and said loudly "BOCHORIM, THIS IS A PERAH ADAM!" I walked back to my seat smiling like I was proud of what had happened but inside I was dying. It wasn't soon after that I started day dreaming about taking my own life.
On the first day of eighth grade I was assigned to a desk in the corner of the room and was allowed to play video games as long as the sound was off and I didn't disturb any of the kids in my class. I don't remember what day it was exactly that I stopped caring and really started looking for the trouble I had been accused of making for all my years of elementary school. Maybe I'd lost my innocence the first time I'd been struck by a teacher when I was small and helpless; maybe it was the twentieth time. Maybe it was during those endless hours of playing Tetris in the corner in eighth grade while the sounds of my class learning and growing together around me danced tauntingly on the edge of my awareness. It doesn't really matter. In March of that year, I was thrown out of Bais Mikroh for good for a fight I got into. The kid's name was Menachem Garfinkel and I slammed his head into a cinder block wall, then threw his desk out of a second story window. I spent the end of my eighth grade year sitting in my house fantasizing about becoming a "Bum".
My parents told me that I would be going to Adelphia for high school and that I had to promise not to make trouble. I lied to them without batting an eyelash. I knew that I had one destiny and that was to be the biggest "Bum" Monsey had ever seen. I started smoking cigarettes and drinking whenever I could get my hands on alcohol. There were some older kids who would go into Lakewood and shoplift. I would go with them and steal things that I didn't need, just giving the items away when I got back to the dorm. I was finally making friends. On the first night of Chanukah of my ninth grade year I was woken in the middle of the night by a couple of the cool tenth graders. They told me they were going to the Wawa on Rt. 9 to shoplift and they wanted me to join them.
For the record, two o'clock in the morning is not a good time for a couple of teenagers to walk in to an empty convenience store, not buy anything, and leave with their pockets so full that candy bars fall out of them at the door.
This was the first of my many arrests. All I could remember was sitting in the back seat of the police car and feeling that I had finally accomplished something. I was officially a "Bum" and it was the first time I felt accepted as a part of something. That night I was told to pack my bags and that was the last day I was ever in school.
To put it mildly, my parents did not react well to my early departure from high school. They screamed, they yelled, they threatened, they threw things and they hit me. I was fourteen years old and would soon be smoking marijuana, snorting cocaine and popping any combination of pills and alcohol I could get my hands on. I was thrown out of my house at fifteen. In the beginning, I would get calls from my parent’s friends and even a local Rav. I was told to get a haircut and to recognize how much I was making my parents suffer. My older brother’s friend once told me to continue to do what I was doing but to be more secretive about it so I don't embarrass everybody who knows me.
By sixteen, I had racked up five arrests. I became a drug mule for a “frum” drug dealer. I was sent to Amsterdam and brought back four hundred thousand dollars worth of ecstasy taped to my body with duct tape. When I got back the first time the drug dealer gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek and told me that I did a "Great job" and that I'm part of his "Family". He handed me eight thousand dollars cash saying, “Don’t worry; I already took out maaser.” He had also bought me a Tehillem for the trip and told me to read it the whole way back on the plane. He put me up in an apartment in New York City with his other "Family members," other kids who acted as his mules, and he kept us happy with a constant supply of drugs. A few months later the drug dealer got arrested and my world crumbled around me.
Somehow I wound up at a Kiruv Yeshivah and became "Shtark". I got a haircut, grew payos, and started learning three sedarim a day (even though I still had trouble reading Hebrew and had only been keeping Shabbos for about three weeks). I lived this way for a while but still felt a major void in my life no matter how frum I was or how much chessed I did. I knew God wanted to kill me for the sins I had done my whole life and I could not possibly learn enough to stave off his certain and imminent judgement. I would say tehillim the entire time I ever went anywhere in a car because I was sure that otherwise the car I was in would certainly get into an accident and I would die. A friend who had been in therapy was able to see that I was struggling and convinced me to go to therapy as well. When I discussed this with my Rosh Ha-yeshiva, he responded to the idea with opposition. Thankfully I had one rebbi who supported me and helped me make this brave decision and face the demons of my past. After many years of therapy, sorting through my life and facing the past, I have come to realize a lot of things about my life, about my childhood, and about the people who raised me. Most of all I realized that I am a person of self-worth and that I genuinely want to do good. This is what gives me the strength and courage to write to you about what I have experienced.
Unfortunately my story is not unique. Even from the relatively small group of friends and acquaintances I grew up with in Monsey there are many whose lives are still in shambles. It is our responsibility as parents to stand up for our children and listen to what they have to say. You may think that the Rabbis are to blame for my suffering. That is incorrect. Yes, they were terribly wrong in what they did and have no business being mechanchim, yet it all begins at home. I was compelled to write this article because I read so many articles with similar stories to mine and all the blame is placed on teachers, rabbeyim, gedolim, alcohol at kiddushim, and of course the latest one, the Internet. These things are certainly a danger to children, but that danger is exponentially greater to a child who is vulnerable due to a lack of self-worth- which is cultivated in the home. If I would have had the proper tools and felt safe at home, I would have come to my parents at the first sign of trouble. They would have protected me properly and helped me cope with what I was going through. This didn’t happen and the snowball effect of my situation brought me to some truly terrifying places. No school will ever be perfect and there will always be sickos out there looking to hurt our children physically, emotionally and sexually, no matter what community we are in. The only way to protect ourselves is from within. We must face our own demons and work on ourselves. Only then can we pass feelings of self-worth onto our children. My parents each have their issues and only started sorting them out when things started to go very wrong. They have come a long way and are great grandparents to my children but unfortunately, much damage has been done that could have been avoided. We are still slowly putting the pieces back together.
We need to educate our teachers, parents and community leaders about the warning signs of abuse of every form. We need to educate our children about sex (in the proper way for their age) and that their body is theirs and no one can abuse it ever, and if someone does they must know to come to you, the parent. They need to know that they will be listened to, believed, and that they will not get into trouble no matter what the circumstances are. Our children need to feel safe and protected.
After going through all this and sorting out all my issues (or at least the ones I have gotten to so far), I can’t imagine what would have happened had I not gotten help. I am really thankful to all those that have helped me realize the good within myself. I never knew what real happiness was until, through therapy, I started dealing with my real, internal issues. I think that it is important to get rid of the stigma that we don’t need help and all we have to do is not speak Loshon Hara, learn, daven and give Tzedaka. These are important things but we also have to appreciate the absolute necessity of dealing with the specific issues that we are having trouble with. Sometimes these issues can only be resolved with the help of professionals. Judaism is a beautiful way of life for some, but it is a daunting task for others; one filled with guilt and shame due to their upbringing. We have to stop pretending that we are a perfect people and that nothing is wrong with us or our communities. The only way that we will ever progress is if each and every one of us looks in the mirror and decides to confront the person staring back at them; to love the imperfections, accept the uncertainty, and accept the responsibility to make that person better. We must not judge one another. We should have nothing but respect for any person who admits to having demons and that they are working on accepting themselves for who they are right now and are striving to grow, on whatever level.
Trying to cover up the issues in our community and in ourselves is just foolish and will only backfire. I hope this article helps us come together and start taking the steps we need to accept ourselves, one another, and to start healing as individuals and as a people.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Just days after the New York City Department of Health voted to require parents to sign a consent form notifying them of the risks of metzitzah b’peh during a circumcision, Rabbi Moshe David Tendler of Monsey, an internationally renowned expert on Jewish law and medical ethics, is urging Rockland officials to do the same, unless Rockland rabbis who endorse metzitzah b’peh tell their followers to stop the practice.
“They should use the carrot-and-stick approach,” Rabbi Tendler told The Journal News (http://lohud.us/RuiNl7). “If you don’t stop, we will do what New York City did and pass a law.”
Rabbi Tendler, who holds a degree in microbiology, maintains that oral suction of the incision is not required by halacha in the performance of a circumcision. “It’s a hoax perpetuated by some of the rabbis. It’s a prefabricated lie. . . they don’t appreciate the fact that this exposes the child to danger, danger that the child is being exposed to for no reason.”
Agudath Israel spokesman Rabbi Avi Shafran countered Rabbi Tendler’s remarks saying, “There are many rabbis who consider metzitzah b’peh to be unnecessary. But (there are) many rabbis, including in Rockland County, I assure you, who feel quite strongly otherwise. ” Rabbi Shafran added that this issue is “a fundamental First Amendment issue, not one that Rabbi Tendler’s point of view on the particular practice here can be allowed to obscure.”
Agudath Israel has said it plans to sue the City of New York over its ruling on metzitzah b’peh.
According to a study by Hebrew University’s Professor Sergio DellaPergola, the global Jewish population reached 13.75 million in the past year, with an increase of 88,000 people.
Israel’s Maariv newspaper published excerpts of the study last week, reporting that one out of every 514 people in the world is Jewish, less than 0.2 percent of mankind.
About 43% of the world’s Jewish community lives in Israel, making Israel the country with the largest Jewish population. The Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics reported on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, 5773, that the total population of Israel in 2012 grew to nearly 8 million. About 73% of the population is native born.
The Israeli Jewish population stands at 5,978,600, up 1.8%; the Arab population numbers at 1,636,600, up 2.4%; and the rest of the population including Christians and non-Jews reached 318,000 people, up 1.3%. Israel’s Jewish population makes up 75% of the state’s total people.
In all, the Jewish state’s population increased by 96,300 people in 2012, a growth rate that did not diverge from the average rate in the past eight years.
Part of Israel’s population increase comes in part of the new immigrants that have arrived to the country. In 2011, Israel welcomed 16,892 new immigrants as citizens, with the largest populations coming from Russia (3,678), followed by Ethiopia (2,666), United States (2,363), Ukraine (2,051) and France (1,775).
Israel’s population is relatively young compared to populations in other western countries, with 28% of the population aged 0-14. Israel’s life expectancy is one of the highest of the international Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) 34 member states, with Jewish males’ life expectancy 4.2 years higher than their Arab counterparts.
The Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics also found that 40% of Israel’s population lives in the center of
the country, with Tel Aviv as Israel’s densest region, while 17 % lives in the north, 14% in the south,
12% in Jerusalem and Haifa, and 4% in Judea and Samaria.
Over 47,885 couples married in Israel in the past year, of which 75% were Jewish and 21% Muslim. In 2011, there were 166, 296 babies born in Israel.
The world’s principal religious populations divide as follows according to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in 2012: Christians at 33% or 2.1 billion, Muslims at 24% or 1.65 billion, Hindus at 14% or 900 million, and Buddhists at 6% or 350 million. At least one billion people in the world do not ascribe to any religion at all.
- A 1-year-old Monsey, NY boy drowned to death in a toilet authorities said.
The body of little Mendi Altman was found by his 13-year-old brother at an aunt’s 11th Ave. home in Borough Park late Monday night.
Police sources said the accident happened after everyone had gone to sleep for the night.
The NY Daily News writes, that “(All the kids) were checked on,” said one source. “Later, one of the siblings goes to use the bathroom ... and finds the child unresponsive in the toilet bowl.”
According to to the Wall Street Journal, On Tuesday, a spokeswoman for the New York City Medical Examiner said the child had died from drowning and ruled the death an accident.
The tragic tot’s family was visiting his mother’s sister from Monsey and her family for the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah.
Mendi was one of seven siblings.
No criminality is suspected. New York Police say the tragedy was a terrible accident.
Saturday, September 15, 2012
An armada of US and British naval power is massing in the Persian Gulf in the belief that Israel is considering a pre-emptive strike against Iran
Battleships, aircraft carriers, minesweepers and submarines from 25 nations are converging on the strategically important Strait of Hormuz in an unprecedented show of force as Israel and Iran move towards the brink of war.
Western leaders are convinced that Iran will retaliate to any attack by attempting to mine or blockade the shipping lane through which passes around 18 million barrels of oil every day, approximately 35 per cent of the world’s petroleum traded by sea.
A blockade would have a catastrophic effect on the fragile economies of Britain, Europe the United States and Japan, all of which rely heavily on oil and gas supplies from the Gulf.
The Strait of Hormuz is one of the world’s most congested international waterways. It is only 21 miles wide at its narrowest point and is bordered by the Iranian coast to the north and the United Arab Emirates to the south.
In preparation for any pre-emptive or retaliatory action by Iran, warships from more than 25 countries, including the United States, Britain, France, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, will today begin an annual 12-day exercise.
The war games are the largest ever undertaken in the region.
They will practise tactics in how to breach an Iranian blockade of the strait and the force will also undertake counter-mining drills.
The multi-national naval force in the Gulf includes three US Nimitz class carrier groups, each of which has more aircraft than the entire complement of the Iranian air force.
The carriers are supported by at least 12 battleships, including ballistic missile cruisers, frigates, destroyers and assault ships carrying thousand of US Marines and special forces.
The British component consists of four British minesweepers and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Cardigan Bay, a logistics vessel. HMS Diamond, a brand-new £1billion Type 45 destroyer, one of the most powerful ships in the British fleet, will also be operating in the region.
In addition, commanders will also simulate destroying Iranian combat jets, ships and coastal missile batteries.
In the event of war, the main threat to the multi-national force will come from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps navy, which is expected to adopt an “access-denial” strategy in the wake of an attack, by directly targeting US warships, attacking merchant shipping and mining vital maritime chokepoints in the Persian Gulf.
Defence sources say that although Iran’s capability may not be technologically sophisticated, it could deliver a series of lethal blows against British and US ships using mini-subs, fast attack boats, mines and shore-based anti-ship missile batteries.
Next month, Iran will stage massive military manoeuvres of its own, to show that it is prepared to defend its nuclear installations against the threat of aerial bombardment.
The exercise is being showcased as the biggest air defence war game in the Islamic Republic’s history, and will be its most visible response yet to the prospect of an Israeli military strike.
Using surface-to-air missiles, unmanned drones and state-of-the-art radar, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and air force will combine to test the defences of 3,600 sensitive locations throughout the country, including oil refineries and uranium enrichment facilities.
Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili, commander of the Khatam al-Anbiya air defence base, told a conference this month that the manoeuvres would “identify vulnerabilities, try out new tactics and practise old ones”.
At the same time as the Western manoeuvres in the Gulf, the British Response Task Forces Group — which includes the carrier HMS Illustrious, equipped with Apache attack helicopters, along with the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle - will be conducting a naval exercise in the eastern Mediterranean. The task force could easily be diverted to the Gulf region via the Suez Canal within a week of being ordered to do so.
The main naval exercise comes as President Barack Obama is scheduled to meet Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, today to discuss the Iranian crisis.
Many within the Obama administration believe that Israel will launch a pre-emptive strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities before the US presidential elections, an act which would signal the failure of one of Washington’s key foreign policy objectives.
Both Downing Street and Washington hope that the show of force will demonstrate to Iran that Nato and the West will not allow President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian leader, to develop a nuclear armoury or close Hormuz.
Sir John Sawers, the head of MI6, the Secret Intelligence Service, reportedly met the Israeli prime minister and Ehud Barak, his defence secretary, two weeks ago in an attempt to avert military action against Iran.
But just last week Mr Netanyahu signalled that time for a negotiated settlement was running out when he said: “The world tells Israel 'Wait, there’s still time.’ And I say, 'Wait for what? Wait until when?’
“Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel.”
The crisis hinges on Iran’s nuclear enrichment programme, which Israel believes is designed to build an atomic weapon. Tehran has long argued that the programme is for civil use only and says it has no plans to an build a nuclear bomb, but that claim has been disputed by the West, with even the head of MI6 stating that the Islamic Republic is on course to develop atomic weapons by 2014.
The Strait of Hormuz has long been disputed territory, with the Iranians claiming control of the region and the entire Persian Gulf.
Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps recently boasted that “any plots of enemies” would be foiled and a heavy price exacted, adding: “We determine the rules of military conflict in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.”
But Leon Panetta, the US defence secretary, warned that Iranian attempts to exercise control over the Strait of Hormuz could be met with force.
He said: “The Iranians need to understand that the United States and the international community are going to hold them directly responsible for any disruption of shipping in that region — by Iran or, for that matter, by its surrogates.”
Mr Panetta said that the United States was “fully prepared for all contingencies” and added: “We’ve invested in capabilities to ensure that the Iranian attempt to close down shipping in the Gulf is something that we are going to be able to defeat if they make that decision.”
That announcement was supported by Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, who added: “We are determined to work as part of the international community effort to ensure freedom of passage in the international waters of the Strait of Hormuz.”
One defence source told The Sunday Telegraph last night: “If it came to war, there would be carnage. The Iranian casualties would be huge but they would be able to inflict severe blows against the US and British.
“The Iranian Republican Guard are well versed in asymmetrical warfare and would use swarm attacks to sink or seriously damage ships. This is a conflict nobody wants, but the rhetoric from Israel is unrelenting.”