Sunday, June 30, 2013

Lady gets molested in Monsey Days Inn Hotel,

Police arrested a maintenance worker at an upstate New York hotel for allegedly using his master key to gain access to a guest's room and sexually assaulting her as she slept.

Authorities say 38-year-old Hector Ixcopal, who worked at the Days Inn on Route 59 in Nanuet and lives in a room there, allegedly entered the room of a guest shortly before 1:30 a.m. Friday and began sexually assaulting the woman sleeping inside. 
At some point, the woman woke up and other hotel guests came to her aid; they restrained the hotel worker until police arrived, authorities said.
"They wind up finding Mr. Ixcopal, and they restrained him until police arrived," said Clarkstown Police Sgt. JoAnne Fratianni.
Asked about the bruises on Ixcopal's face, seen in his mugshot, Fratianni said, "Well, the report is that while they were restraining him, he fell to the ground and sustained an orbital injury."
Police say the victim recognized her attacker because she had encountered him in the hotel hours before the attack. She was treated at the hospital and released.
"I'm shocked," said hotel manager Tom Patel. "I'm shocked and I'm upset and I'm mad, too. If he has done this, then he's done." 
Ixcopal was charged with first-degree criminal sexual act, first-degree sexual abuse and second-degree burglary, all felony charges. 
Information on an attorney for him wasn't immediately available. 

The "Aroni" Satmar will have better Matzos this Pesach than the "Zaloni" Satmar! and that's that!

Dusiznies is advising the Zalonies to find a better "Marror" we suggest "Wasabi"! That will teach them not to mess with the Zalonies!

The ongoing battle for religious one-upmanship between warring factions of New York’s Satmar has plunked a contingency of ultra-Orthodox rabbis in the arid town of Yuma, Arizona, where, for seven weeks, they have painstakingly overseen the harvesting of wheat which they hope will allow them to lay claim to New York’s best matzoh.

A NEW YORK TIMES ( ) article profiling the harvest reveals an operation that intricately weaves together strict ultra-Orthodox religious guidelines, modern technology and the science of farming, and if all goes well, the cooperation of Mother Nature.
On a farm owned by a Christian farmer Mr. Tim Dunn, , just five miles from the Mexican border, the Satmar Rebbe, Reb Aaron Teitelbaum, traveled to Yuma, last Monday to give his blessings to the newly harvested wheat, specifically planted in the extremely arid western climate which rarely sees rain in the springtime.
Two rabbis spent seven weeks camped out in trailers abutting the wheat fields, overseeing the forty acres of wheat growing in the southwest corner of Arizona, known for its low humidity and listed by Guinness World Records as the sunniest place on the planet, in order to be able to give assurance that the wheat had not come into contact with moisture of any form, including rain, once it had matured. Despite scorching temperatures, workers were not allowed to carry water in the wheat fields and the unpaved roads could not be washed down in order to ensure that the wheat stayed completely dry.

The decision by Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum on Yuma began five years ago after an exhaustive scientific search of national weather patterns revealed Yuma to be one of the most arid spots in the U.S. during the wheat harvesting season, and with his brother Rabbi Zalman still using wheat harvested on the East Coast, it seemed a natural fit that the dry southern Arizona climate would allow him a “leg up” in claiming that his matzoh adheres to a more rigorous religious standard.
Despite the temperatures estimated to be at 108 degrees, Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum the Satmar Rebbe was on site at the wheat fields on Monday, June 24th, giving his blessing to the wheat as the harvest began.  The grain will be transported by train to Elizabeth, New Jersey after being cleaned and packed into sealed containers and once it arrives in New Jersey the grain will be sent to matza bakeries in both Brooklyn and Kiryas Joel, with baking set to begin five months before Pesach. 
Rabbi Eli Hershkowitz, manager of the Rutledge Street Satmar Central Matzoh Bakery, estimates that Brooklyn bakeries will produce 80,000 to 100,000 pounds of matza using the Yuma wheat.
Professor Samuel Heilman, a sociology professor at Queens college whose research focuses on Orthodox Judasim described the decision to use wheat grown in the dry heat of the west, instead of the rainy East Coast climate as a form of one-upmanship between the two rival Satmar factions.
“One is always looking to be more authoritative than the other and one of the ways they’re making this happen is over matza,” explained Professor Heilman.  “Our matza is more kosher than yours, we’re more scrupulous and careful over matza baking than you are.”

"Goyim" protest in "Rockland Kosher Supermarket" they wont let Chassidim take over Monsey & Spring Valley, Video

A group of non-Jewish Rockland County residents staged a peaceful “stop and shop” demonstration Friday afternoon aimed at protesting “de facto segregation” by entering single file into Rockland Kosher Supermarket off Route 306 and purchasing one item apiece. ( reports that the protest was the first event staged by a new group called “Wake Up Rockland,” organized by Rev. Weldon McWilliams IV of the First Baptist Church in Spring Valley, and whose intent is to let the Hasidic community know that “we are here, and we are not going anywhere.”
In recognizing the growing divide within the community over major issues—-most notably the ongoing case of the Hasidic-run East Ramapo school board—-Rev. Williams said the act of patronizing the local kosher market was symbolic of promoting the ideal that both communities can co-exist peacefully.
Sources say the reaction of store employees and Hasidic shoppers inside the market—-many of whom were busy preparing for Shabbat—-ran anywhere from confusion to curiosity to contempt.
The Hasidic owner of the store ordered reporters off the property and said, “I don’t need them here,” when asked about the local patrons.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Monsey Preserve Ramapo attacks Mike Koplen, tries to split Jewish vote in Ramapo

Preserve Ramapo,  is getting an early jump on the election for Ramapo Town Supervisor by attacking Republican nominee Michael A. Koplen on the subject of the proposed New Square slaughterhouse.  

 For years, Preserve Ramapo, a grass roots organization in Ramapo which many consider to be anti semitic, has harshly criticized the current Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence, a controversial politician who is now under the cloud of an FBI investigation. 

 PR has now turned their guns against Mike Koplen by deliberately misquoting him and trying to tie him to the proposed New Square slaughterhouse.   PR is hoping to split the Jewish vote in November, paving way for a Preserve Ramapo victory at the polls.   

On June 17, 2013,  The Rockland Journal News ran an article about the slaughterhouse in which Koplen was quoted as saying that if  he "wants to take a rational , not an emotional approach" to the slaughterhouse proposal.  He stated that many studies are needed.  If the slaughterhouse could be constructed in such a way that it did not have any negative impact on neighbors, then  no one would have a problem with it, but that if it did impact residents by causing odors or other problems, then it would not be welcome, even by the residents of New Square.   

Preserve Ramapo's Chairman Robert I. Rhodes, immediatley attacked Koplen on the comments page ( on, seeking to tie Koplen to the slaughterhouse. 

 Preserve Ramapo then attacked Koplen in an article  on their website on June 18 featuring a picture of chicken hanging upside down over walls soaked in blood,  which clearly misquotes Koplen.  In the story headline, PR claims  that Koplen said the slaughtherhouse is "workable", something Koplen never said, and then sarcastically attacks him   in the article      
PR made sure this false story was repeated several times in different forums on the internet including social media such as  Facebook.

PR strategy is clearly to try to split the Jewish vote in the upcoming election, paving a way for a Preserve Ramapo victory at the polls. 

 A PR Town Supervisor, which would be a disaster for all Orthodox Jews in Ramapo.   Preserve Ramapo candidates have lost to St. Lawrence in each and every election.  They represent the old guard of Ramapo which has always sought to prevent Orthodox Jews from having shuls and schools.  

  With St.Lawrence badly damaged by corruption allegations, Koplen,   is seen as a very attractive alternative to both the current Supervisor, who won't be able to help anyone if he is behind bars, and the anti semtiic Preserve Ramapo.  So PR is  turning its guns on Koplen.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Slifkin talks about "fake" apology letter of Jonathan Rosenblum of the Yated, to R" Dov Lipman

Rabbi Slifkin
 by Rabbi Slifkin,
During the controversial controversy over my books, a certain former friend, whom we shall call Mr. X, in conjunction with a certain rabbi, was urging me to issue a public retraction/ apology for my books. It's not that Mr. X thought that my books were actually heretical; indeed, Mr. X himself believed that the world is billions of years old, and he did not believe in Chazal's descriptions of spontaneous generation. But Mr. X urged me to issue a partial apology, for errors in "tone" or "expression," as a tactical move, in order to defuse the controversy, and prevent damage to myself and others.
A rav that I was consulting didn't agree. He told me that there's no point issuing a partial apology - my opponents would be satisfied with nothing less than a complete capitulation, that my books are utter heresy. And a complete capitulation, while serving the interests of many rabbis/ charedi apologists associated with me or my books, would not be beneficial to me or to the people who so strongly identify with the rationalist approach. He told me that the people pushing me to apologize were looking out for their own best interests, not mine. I'd be compromising my integrity for no benefit to the people that count. And if I have to suffer the results, so be it.
I didn't apologize. In retrospect, I believe that the rav was completely correct, and I'm glad that I listened to him. But Mr. X was furious with me for not following his advice. In a public lecture that he later gave about the ban on my books, he criticized me as "a person who is not willing to listen to anyone."
(Of course, there are times when one should apologize even if one does not feel sorry - such as for shalom bayis. I am not referring to such cases.)
I was reminded of this when thinking about certain recent "apologies" that are not genuine apologies at all; instead they are just tactical moves to deflect opposition. This alone is disturbing enough; what makes it sadder is that some naive people seize upon these as examples of the moral greatness of the person issuing the apology. Whereas in fact, it doesn't demonstrate any moral greatness - just political wiliness.
How can one tell if an apology is sincere or merely a ploy? It's not always possible, of course. But sometimes there are clues that give it away.
First was Rabbi Avi Shafran's apology for his infamous article in which he said that Bernie Madoff is more worthy of respect than Captain Sully (because Sully was just doing his job, whereas Madoff went beyond expectations in apologizing). When there was uproar at this dangerously insane article, and many people calling for Rabbi Shafran to be fired from Agudas Yisrael, he issued an apology, but it seemed rather tepid. He spoke about having used an "unsuitable example" instead of admitting that the core idea was wrong. My suspicions about the insincere nature of the apology were confirmed when, in a personal email to me, he told me with pride about all the positive comments he had gotten on the article and about how he would love to discuss it one day.
Second was Leib Tropper's apology for having used his position at the top of a geirus organization to take advantage of female converts for the benefit of himself and others. His apology was carefully worded to not even be an explicit admission of guilt, despite the fact that audio and video recordings of his activities were freely available on YouTube. And I recently discovered that his devoted disciples still believe, presumably with his encouragement, that he never did anything, and that the recordings were elaborate fakes engineered by powerful adversaries.
But now we have perhaps the ultimate example of an insincere apology that is just a tactical maneuver. I'm referring, of course, to Jonathan Rosenblum's apology for slandering Rabbi Dov Lipman, as discussed in a previous post. Rosenblum, I'm told, received a tremendous amount of heat, with several people publicly responding and pointing out that his accusations were based on gross factual inaccuracies.
Rosenblum's apology starts out great. He goes into full details about his factual errors. He admits that "he had no business to make any assumptions, and certainly not to publish them, without clarifying the situation." He apologies to Rabbi Lipman and Mrs. Wolfson "for wrongly characterizing their actions as provocative, and for not having done adequate research."
Of course, one can ask, as did Rabbi Shaya Karlinsky, "I think it is important to examine how Jonathan Rosenblum, who 'had no business to make any assumptions, and certainly not to publish them, without clarifying the situation' did exactly that." A neighbor of mine, Menachem Lipkin, pointed out that, to make matters worse, he had already given Rosenblum the correct information a long time ago:
Rosenblum talks about the “assumptions” he made and how they were wrong. However, he and I had an ongoing email/phone exchange during the the Fall of 2011 when all this was going on. I gave him great detail of what was going on. I sent him a highlighted a map of the area showing him all the relevant buildings, “zones”, etc. I urged him to come down and I’d give him a tour of the area. I also urged him speak directly with Rabbi Lipman (who was not yet the “evil” man the Chareidi media has made him out to be). He did neither. Even articles he wrote at the time had factual errors which I pointed out to him.
Rosenblum makes an interesting statement: "For a Torah Jew, 'We regret the error' is insufficient." I'd expect that to mean that for a Torah Jew, it's not enough simply to issue an apology. There must be genuine contrition, a sincere effort to make amends with the victim, introspection as to how one did such a thing, and a change in one's ways.
Unfortunately, it seems that I misunderstood him. After a brief diversion to criticizing Yesh Atid, Rosenblum returns to yet another all-out attack on Dov Lipman. And to quote Menachem Lipkin:
Even if one accepts his "apology", he can barely get through the article before repeating the very transgression he so narrowly apologized for in the first place!
From JR’s “rebuttal” section:
“SADLY, RABBI LIPMAN has done little himself to provide secular Israelis in his party or beyond with a greater appreciation of the joy, the intellectual stimulation, or the cosmic power of Torah learning.”
From an assistant in Dov Lipman’s office:
1) E-mail Dov received from someone chiloni “True Story: I met on Friday afternoon with two successful young Israeli entrepreneurs — both secular IDC graduates and IDF special forces veterans. The issue of them having a meeting on Saturday (as they were leaving NYC Sunday morning) came up — and one said that he would not meet on Shabbat. He explained that he usually would have done so, as religion to him was personified by the haredi who did not share his values and with whom he did not identify at all. Then, he explained, Yesh Atid came along, with the Rabbi Dov Lipman — and showed him that he could embrace Judaism…that it was now owned and controlled by those with whom he disagreed so profoundly.”
2) Yesh Atid started the weekly Bet Midrash for MK’s – the first in the history of the Knesset. Every Tuesday at 3:00p.m. religious and secular MK’s study a section of Torah together and Dov is a regular contributor.
3) After a speech in a Jerusalem bar a girl raised her hand and said to Dov – “I just want you to know that you make me want to be more Jewish.”
4) Dov speaks a few times a week to secular students visiting the Knesset and each time he emphasizes the value of Torah study and he emphasizes the message of secular people respecting religious and vice versa.
5) After speaking in a bar in Tel Aviv, the young college students said that they never met someone chareidi who respected them and Dov explained that most chareidim would not force their ways on them. The outgrowth of that event was a Knesset taskforce for dialogue between chareidim and chilonim which Dov chairs.
Furthermore, if Rosenblum genuinely regrets having been motzi shem ra on Dov Lipman, then why on earth does his apology only appear on Cross-Currents, and not in Yated, where the original motzi shem ra appeared? In a heated email exchange that I had with Rosenblum last week, I asked him that question twice, and he did not respond. I also posted this question on Cross-Currents, but my comment was rejected. Since at least last Sunday, Rosenblum was aware that his accusations against Dov Lipman were false - plenty of time to put a retraction in the Yated, if he was genuinely sorry.

All of the above confirms a rule that I posted about a long time ago, which is neatly revealed in a statement that Rosenblum makes immediately following his expression of moral regret:
THAT HALACHIC AND JOURNALISTIC failure was a double patch in panim [smack in the face], resulting not only in a loss of credibility but serving to distract attention from the very real issues that divide me and Rabbi Lipman, who is now an MK in Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party.
Whenever someone gives two reasons for something, it's always the second reason that is the real reason. The first reason is given because it sounds better.

Rosenblum's expression of regret for a moral failure, a sin of bein adam l'chavero, was only urgently issued to Cross-Currents readers, not Yated readers. It was followed by exactly the same sin of motzi shem ra all over again. Because it wasn't a sincere apology at all - just a tactical maneuver, in order to enable Rosenblum to repair and reinforce his attack on Yesh Atid, and Dov Lipman.
Oh, and to return the story that I opened this post with. The real name of Mr. X who was urging me to apologize for my books, as a tactical move? I'm sure you can guess.

Monsey Teen Missing! UPDATE, FOUND!

Binyomin was found in great condition, no further info!

IF YOU HAVE INFORMATION ABOUT BINYOMIN HOUTEN CALL Ramapo Police Department at 845-357-2400 BINYOMIN HOUTEN Missing From: (POMONA, NY) Date Missing: (JUNE 26, 2013)
Age: (19)
Sex: (MALE)
Height: (5 Feet and 9 Inches)
Weight: (140 LBS)
Build: (Thin)
Eyes: (BROWN)
Race: (Caucasian)

Chassidic Perverts celebrate on Shiva Asar B'Tamuz, while the rest of Jewry mourns

by Frum Follies
Yesterday was a great day for 21-year-old, Hasidic pervert Menachem Deutsch. Two years ago it looked like he was going to spend a lot of time upstate. As reported in the Friday June 24th, 2011 New York Post headline, this “Brooklyn Sicko Lured Young Boys into Shul, Then Molested Them.”
The first victim, who turned 12 on Wednesday [June 22], was walking home from school at around 4 p.m. when he was approached by an unidentified man at Simcha Hall, a… shul [that] serves members of the Belz sect… [one of the largest Hasidic groups in Borough Park].
The man…pushed the boy into the bathroom of Simcha Hall, offered him money, and then pulled down the victim’s pants and molested him… The man then told the boy to leave.
Less than an hour later, another boy was walking by the synagogue when the same man accosted him, took him to the basement, and molested him there.
As soon as sources in Belz were asked about the incident, they immediately thought of Menachem Deutsch (מנחם מענדל דייטש). He was well known for this sort of thing. For a change, the families of the victims promptly reported the crime. By Sunday, June 26, he surrendered accompanied by “his rabbi and lawyer.” Apparently the Belz dayan (rabbinical judge) ordered cooperation with the police and they promptly turned over surveilance videotapes.
In the secular world this might just be a blip on the crime blotter. In Hasidic Boro Park, where predators are usually protected, this was big news, especially since Deutsch came from a prominent family and was married to the oldest granddaughter of the Moskowitz family of the venerated Shotzer Rebbe.
Activists were ecstatic. At last, all parties in the Hasidic community were behaving like responsible citizens.
When he showed up in court on Friday July 1st, a dispirited Deutsch did not have the usual Hasidic mob of boosters. He was accompanied by just one supporter, Ari Deutsch, his uncle. On the other side of the aisle were a slew of anti-abuse activists. His attorney, Israel (Izzy) Fried, requested an adjournment to consider a plea bargain under “discussion.”
This is par for course with Izzy Fried who specializes in defending orthodox sex offenders and usually negotiates plea bargains at the going rate. I am not sure about the going rate for this case but these were serious charges. They included a C Felony of Luring a Child to Commit a Crime (PL120.70.00), two D Felonies of Sexual Abuse with Forcible Contact (130.65.01), and 6 misdemeanors.
Jump forward about two years to May 30th; Deutsch had a new attorney of record, Arthur (Artie) Aidala. I immediately knew this was bad news for justice.
Aidala specializes in trying to intimidate DA staff by dropping hints about his special connection to District Attorney, Charles J Hynes. Aidala is President of the Charles J Hynes Association and is reputed to be a bundler for his campaign. I suppose that makes him a very good friend of Joe Hynes. I am guessing the defendant was directed to Aidala by the Munkatcher Rebbe who is the community’s ultimate shadchan (matchmaker) between criminals and lawyers. He also brokers campaign contributions to candidates.
As of June 20th, the ADA on the case, Linda Weinman told the court she wanted to go to trial unless the defendant accepted a plea bargain of 3 years. Aidala smirked and took a pass on the offer. Artie had a good reason to smirk. According to the word on the street, Artie was working with Joe and even arranged a direct meeting between Hynes and the victims . It is also rumored that Artie had a hand in arranging a meeting between Hynes and a representative of the victim of Aidala’s other well known Hasidic perv, Baruch Mordechai Lebovits.
To make a long story short, yesterday, Judge A. M Donelly approved a 6-month plea bargain for Deutsch (plus ten years probation). This was possible because the DA allowed a plea to one lesser D felony and one misdemanor to also cover two more serious C Felonies and five other misdemeanors. The Judge was amazed and annoyed. But the deal was done. But the judge was not too annoyed to also agree to continue bail until a final sentencing date three months from now, on September 30th, after Sukkoth. It was very considerate of the Judge to leave him around kids during the unstructured summer month and while kids are out school during the fall holidays. This way he won’t have to wait until kids get out of school at 4:00 pm.
The Office of the DA claims the family agreed to the plea deal in order to spare the victims the trauma of testifying. This is the standard line of DAs dependent on Haredi votes when they cut sweetheart deals. But the sequence is strange. Normally it takes a while to get victims ready to testify. It is very unusual for them to be willing to testify from early on and then suddenly change their mind in the run-up to a trial.
I am willing to believe the kids were dreading testifying after they met with Hynes. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall as Hynes empathized with their terror at being tormented on the stand by his buddy, Arthur Aidala.
However it is worth noting that the Office of the DA is talking about the trauma of testifying, not claiming they were unable to testify. Most victims find testifying difficult but therapeutic, particularly children who feel empowered. Carried to the extreme, the DA’s office is claiming all victims would be better off not testifying and the office would be inclined to spare all of them that difficulty.
After sunset last night, observant Jews completed the day-long fast which initiates the three weeks of mourning for the destruction of the first Temple in Jerusalem. But it was party time for Deutsch’s friends who organized a celebration. I will bet Aidala was invited along with the Munkatcher Rebbe who is famous for dancing with ex-cons, acquitted criminals, and perverts who get off lightly.
If Hynes was an honest man he would have attended as the guest of honor. But he prefers letting the campaign contributions roll in through Artie, and the votes through Niederman, Moshe (Gabbai) Friedman, the Munkatcher Rebbe and Ben Barber.
This case may not get any attention in the secular or Jewish media. But Hasidic parents of young children are reeling. They finally had a major Hasidic group fully supporting the prosecution of one of its own. They had two witnesses. The evidence was solid and included videotapes. Yet, Menachem Deutsch got off with 6 months for three felonies and six misdemeanors. As one Hasid told me last night, “If we can’t win Deutsch it is time to give up.” I don’t agree, but I can’t fault his sentiment.
I do fault a District Attorney who only meets with victims when they have agreed to sweetheart plea deals for defendants such as Meir Dascalowitz and Menachem Deutsch. Hynes did meet with Weberman’s victim, but only after sentencing. I suppose we should be grateful that he didn’t meet her beforehand to give his blessing to a lousy plea bargain. But then of course, Arthur Aidala wasn’t representing Weberman

RCA answers "Crazy" Hamodia's Editorial supporting Satmar's Anti-Israel rally at Foley Square

Dear Fellow Jews,
We are grateful to the editors of Hamodia for giving us an opportunity to explain ourselves, and answer the charges presented in a recent op-ed, “The Hypocrisy of the RCA.”
First, we would like to introduce ourselves. We fear that much as you misunderstood our motives in the RCA statement about the Foley Square rally, you are just as mistaken about who we are.
You might think we are a group of “modern Rabbis” who inhabit a Jewish universe far from the ethereal precincts of the authentic Torah community. The truth is very different. Our members include Rabbis on the left, in the center, and quite a few whose chinuch was entirely in Lithuanian-style yeshivah circles, and whose children and grandchildren identify completely with the chareidi world. Many of us who are not part of that world have very close, positive contact with it.
Don’t get us wrong. We’re not arguing that you should accept us because we are almost chareidi. We are a complete mix. Maybe that is what makes us so different and so inscrutable to you. Other parts of the Torah world aim for more uniformity, in many different ways. There are advantages to that — but also drawbacks. This is not the time or place to explore the pros and cons of diversity. Suffice it to say, however, that almost always, there are issues that are hotly contested among our members, with groups who think that those on the other side are way out of bounds. What might make us unique is that we all still manage to talk to each other, even when we think the others are dead wrong. There are dangers in that — but there is strength as well, and a model of civility and respect that might bring some benefit to other parts of the Torah world.
There is another difference between us, for all our collective differences, and you. We differ in the arenas of our avodas Hashem. You have chosen to keep that avodah strictly within the confines of the Torah community. You try to distinguish yourselves in Torah, tefillah, and raising children loyal to Hashem and His Torah. We work at this as well — and we have much to learn from you about those goals. But we also understand our avodah to include reaching out much further from the centers of the frum population and topics of frum concern. Therefore, we are involved — by choice — with other parts of the Jewish community, with non-Jewish communities, with building and supporting a wider variety of community institutions, with political involvement beyond aid to day schools. This is neither good nor bad. It is just different. The two types of avodah go back to the different derachim of Yehudah and Yosef. Even back then, the suspicion that some of the shevatim had for an avodas chutz led to friction and terrible consequences.
Here is where we might disagree. Because we are involved more with the larger world, we think we understand it better — or at least differently. And this is why we had to respond to the lower Manhattan rally.
The Hamodia op-ed argued that the RCA has protested positions of the Israeli government in the past, and it is therefore hypocritical to argue that this rally served “to aid the many enemies who stand ready to destroy, G-d forbid, the Jewish State.” We say that it is not hypocritical at all. There is simply no comparison between protesting the expulsion of Jews from Gaza, and the nature of the recent protest organized and led by Satmar.
Consider this mashal. Democrats and Republicans argue vociferously about policies, and credit each other with bringing about the demise of the American way. Neither of those parties, however, would argue that the United States is an illegitimate entity, and has no right to exist. When we protested the expulsion, we addressed our deep concerns to a government we recognize — as do most readers of Hamodia, whether they will admit it in public or not. Satmar does not believe that the State is legal or legitimate. You may not know this, but the delegitimizing of Israel is the chief weapon of the Palestinians today. They know they cannot win on the battlefield. They work assiduously for boycotts, sanctions, rejection of Israel in a way that no other country is rejected. If they succeed, the State — the Jewish yishuv, if you will — will not remain viable b’derech hateva.
Review the pictures of the rally, especially the signs speaking of a war on religion, and the lack of freedom of religion in Israel. Can you understand what a victory this is to millions and millions of deep-seated haters of Jews who wish to counter the support for Israel that she asks for as the Middle East’s only democracy? Satmar knows that its sons will never be drafted, and they don’t take money from the “illegal Zionist entity.” What were they protesting, other than the existence of the State itself? We cannot understand — and will not accept — acting in concert with them. We believe that the Gedolei Torah who said to stay away from the rally did not just differ with the organizers about which methods will be effective in countering the proposed measures. It is our understanding that some or all of them understood the terrible effect this could have, consciously or otherwise, on non-Jewish Americans whose favorable image of Israel is under constant attack. Satmar wanted to co-opt the anger and frustration of the Torah community over the Lapid proposals for its own cynical agenda. They wanted to maximize the impact of anti-Israel feeling; our job was to minimize it. Hence, we asserted that those who attended the rally are a small but vocal minority that should not take away from the image Americans have for strong support of Israel. If Americans sense that Jews are not supportive of their own state, they ask themselves why they should be supportive. If any members of Congress were negatively impressed by the rally, organizers will have Jewish blood, G-d forbid, on their hands.
We had one purpose, and only one purpose in our statement: to counter the image of Israel that the rally placed before the American public. We did not comment on the Lapid measures. One reason is that our members are split on how to react to them. We have some members who have been working hard to counter these measures, some of them taking their concerns straight to the Israeli government. We also, however, have members who refuse to label demands for chareidi participation in all parts of the life of the nation and insistence upon the teaching of basic educational skills in schools as a “gezeiras shmad.” Because different points of view are represented among our membership, we sometimes have to stay away from certain issues — just as Agudah does to maintain its fragile alliance between Litvishe and chassidishe elements.
“The most disturbing part” of our statement, the op-ed claimed, is that you think we ascribe our errant positions to the Satmar Rebbe, zt”l. Consider this story, and think again. In 1972, Senators Humphrey and McGovern were vying for the Democratic presidential nomination. McGovern opposed the sale of Phantom jets to Israel; Humphrey, a real friend of the Jewish people, was in favor. Humphrey went to the Satmar Rebbe looking for support. He had previously been told that the Rebbe’s position on Israel was not that which Humphrey encountered in other Jews. No sooner had they all sat down, than the first thing Reb Yoelish said was, “Thank you for helping to protect our brothers in Eretz Yisrael.” Humphrey turned to the others and said, “I thought he was against Israel!” The Rebbe understood what was happening, and explained, “We have a bit of a squabble within the family. But we don’t want to see anyone in the family get hurt.”
Neither do we.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Chassidishe Sickos protest new restaurant in Williamsburg

In the above video, someone is actually mocking those bastards!
In the one below, see them protesting.Especially the one with the "long nose"!

Neturei Karta guy gets beaten by ..guess who? An arab!

I guess, Arabs hate Neturei karta guys too!

Rabbi Yosef Antebi, 50, was assaulted in an apparent hate attack in Amsterdam, Channel 2 News reported. The rav, who is affiliated with Neturei Karta, was attacked by a man “who looked Muslim” a friend of the rav reports. The assault took place on Sunday, 15 Tammuz 5773.
The rabbi was walking on a street when a vehicle stopped at his side and “a Muslim appearing man” got out and after shouting his anti-Semitic slurs he spat at him and then he began punching and beating the rabbi. The report adds the rabbi asked a passerby to assist him but his plea was ignored. At one point the rabbi began coughing up blood.
The rabbi was hospitalized for his injuries. While his injuries are not life threatening, he does appear to have sustained fractured ribs and internal bleeding. Foreign Ministry officials in Israel told Channel 2 they are not aware of the incident.
The report states the rabbi had a cellular phone with a camera and it appears he did photograph his attacker, giving those pictures to police.

Cantor Moshe Shulhof dies.

Cantor Moshe Schulhoff died prematurely. He was reportedly sick for many years.
No further news at this time.


from Sandy Eller on VIN

The world of chazanus is remembering Chazan Moshe Schulhoff, who succumbed to cancer after an illness of several years at the age of 64.  Schulhoff died in his Aventura, Florida home on Sunday night and is survived by his wife Ruchama and three children.
“A dark cloud has descended on the world of chazanus as we mourn the passing of one of the greatest cantors of our generation,” Cantor Benny Rogosnitzky of the Park East Synagogue told VIN News.
Schulhoff, who was born in New York City, began his musical career at age 6, singing in a choir at selichos services for an audience of 2000.  According to a 2001 interview in the Sun Sentinel, it was that very first performance that inspired Schulhoff to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather who had been a cantor in Austria.

“The service starts after midnight and when my solo came I was sleeping,” Schulhoff explained.  “But I jumped up and they stood me on a chair and I sang.  When the service was over, everyone hugged and kissed me.  I decided this was pretty good. I wanted to be a cantor.”
After studying both chazanus and opera in conservatories in New York and Montreal, Schulhoff took his first cantorial position in New York at age 18,  followed by a lengthy career as a chazan in Los Angeles, Montreal and Miami.  Schulhoff graduated Brooklyn College with a degree in psychology and like his father, was an ordained rabbi.
In addition to his considerable talents as a chazan, having performed with the Israeli Philharmonic, the Jerusalem Symphony, the Romanian State Philharmonic and countless other prominent orchestras, Schulhoff was recalled fondly by his peers for his humanity.
“Moshe was not only an outstanding vocal talent; he was a mensch, a Ben Torah, and a warm and giving human being,” said Rogosnitzky.. “Many of the young chazzanim today owe their knowledge and success to his tutelage and guidance. He will forever remain in our hearts, and his contribution to the world of chazanus is immeasurable.”
Cantor Netanel Hershtik of The Hampton Synagogue recalled Schulhoff as “an exceptional cantor, one of the most important and celebrated in our generation,” and credits Schulhoff for motivating him to pursue his own career in chazanus.
“I knew him since my childhood when he was occasionally invited to spend a Shabbat meal with us,” said Hershtik.  “He was always a very warm and friendly man who always had a good joke or a nice comment about my singing, which is not typical behavior for colleagues.  In one of those Shabbat table experience, I remember vividly how after we finished zemirot, he singled me out in front of everyone and told me that I had a very special voice and that I should develop it and become a cantor.  At that time I was maybe 20 or 21 and had no plans of becoming a cantor.  He was the first ‘major league’ cantor to identify my talent and encourage me to develop a career in chazanut.”
“In my first year as a chazan, I remember how gracious and eager he was to teach and talk about anything and everything, despite our difference in age and stage,” added Chazan Yanky Lemmer.  “I even stayed in his house when I had work in Florida.”
Schulhoff, who sang in seven languages, took part in a 1988 series of concerts organized by the American Society for the Advancement of Cantorial Art, where he brought Jewish music to the former Soviet Union, Romania and Poland, earning a gold medal and the designation of “Master Cantor” from the Society.  He has several albums to his credit and also sang in the Capitol Rotunda for members of the House and the Senate.  Schulhoff, who had a love of 18th and 19th century antiques, favored a traditional approach to chazanus and once said that he hoped to be most remembered for keeping the art of chazanus alive for the next generation.
Recalling the last time he shared the stage with Schulhoff, Hershtik said that despite his illness, Schulhoff’s performance was outstanding.
“It was a year ago in Toronto at the Toronto Center for the Arts at a concert called ‘The World’s Greatest Cantors in Concert’,” said Hershtik.  “He shone that night despite his illness and treatments. He stole the show and his rendition of Malavsky’s Av Harachamim that night was pointed out by many as the best piece performed that night. I was so happy for him. He really deserved to feel that kind of success. He did not give up, stood to the challenge and gave a memorable performances in one of the most important Cantorial concerts of late.”
In perhaps his last performance, Schulhoff performed at Congregation Anshe Sholom in New Rochelle, on March 10th, 2013.
“He was extremely weak yet amazingly strong at heart,” reported Lemmer who also sang at that event.  “He sang Rosenblatt’s Tal and added his own composition for the final two verses.  Those were sung with such gusto and emotion, wrought with feeling, as if he knew it would be his final mark.  To me, one of the most outstanding things about him was his diverse compositional powers.  From a haunting atonal Keil Molei at a concentration camp, to the most flourishing melodic structures, he mastered them all.”
Schulhoff’s levaya took place today in Borough Park, and among those in attendance were some of the most prominent cantors of our generation including Joseph Malovany, Yitzchak Meir Helfgot, Benzion Miller, Benny Rogosnitzky, Netanel Hershtik,  Yanky Lemmer and Daniel Gildar, followed by burial at Wellwood Cemetery on Long Island.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Rabbi Stav tells off Arye Deri "I won't take criticism from convicted criminals"

Candidate for the chief rabbinate Rabbi David Stav said on Thursday that while he respected Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef he would not take criticism from convicted criminals.
Stav made the remark, seemingly a reference to the past conviction for bribery of Shas chairman Arye Deri, at the President’s Conference during a live conversation with veteran reporter Ilana Dayan.
Asked about how he felt after Yosef, the spiritual leader of the Shas movement, fiercely denounced Stav last week, the rabbi said that he greatly respected Yosef and his rulings in Jewish law and had based many of his own opinions on those of Yosef himself.
“I don’t need to take criticism from people in people in Shas who are convicted criminals and who are not aware of the works and rulings of their own rabbi,” Stav said acerbically, in reference to the increasingly strict interpretation of Jewish law in the haredi community despite the relatively lenient rulings Yosef has issued in the past on several important issues.
Referring to the political challenge of getting elected by the 150-member electoral committee, many of whom are loyal to haredi parties, Stav said that he was still optimistic that he could get the requisite number of votes.
He added that although Likud has still not publicly backed him, along with reports that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu favors Rabbi David Lau for the position, Stav noted that there “many Likud MKs who do or will support me either publicly or privately for chief rabbi.”
Asked why the prime minister was not endorsing him, Stav said that it was a question for the prime minister himself.
During the discussion, Stav was challenged as to exactly how he will bring change to the chief rabbinate if he remained committed to an Orthodox interpretation of Jewish law.
Stav replied that he hoped to turn the chief rabbinate into a body that could inspire people to be proud of their heritage and to want to uphold it, but said that damage had been inflicted to the institution and to the image of religion in Israel over the past two decades.
The elections for both the positions of chief rabbi have now been scheduled for the week of July 24.

Content is provided courtesy of the Jerusalem Post

Jewish guy screams "Allahu Akbar" at the Kosel, guard kills him

Israeli emergency personnel take a body from the scene of a shooting at the plaza of the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray, in Jerusalem's old city, Friday, June 21, 2013. Israeli police say a guard has shot a Jewish man dead at the key Jerusalem holy site. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld says a private security guard at the Western Wall "fired a number of shots" at a man who appeared suspicious. The guard told police the man, an Israeli, had his hands in his pockets and shouted in Arabic just before the guard opened fire, Rosenfeld said. The man, in his 40s, died at the scene. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

Jerusalem - A private security guard shot and killed a Jewish man at a key Jerusalem holy site Friday, Israeli police said, after the man reportedly shouted in Arabic.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the guard “fired a number of shots” at the man, a 46-year-old Israeli, who appeared suspicious. The guard told police the man shouted “Allahu Akbar” — “God is great!” in Arabic — and had his hands in his pockets. Arab militants often shout that phrase before carrying out an attack.
The guard said he opened fire because he suspected the man had a weapon in his pocket and thought he may be about to launch an attack, the police spokesman said. When asked if a weapon was found on the man’s body, Rosenfeld said he had no more details.
Police identified the man as an Israeli Jew but did not release his name.
Rosenfeld told The Associated Press that the guard was questioned after the shooting, and he was scheduled to appear in court later Friday to determine whether he will remain in police custody.
Israel Radio reported the guard was 25 years old and that he worked as a security guard for more than a year.
The incident at the Western Wall highlighted smoldering tensions in the area. The site is an outside wall of a disputed hilltop compound that has been a flashpoint for clashes between Israelis and Palestinians, although in recent years that violence has been relatively muted.
The hilltop is one of the region’s most sensitive sites. It is revered by Jews as the Temple Mount, where the two biblical Jewish Temples stood. The Western Wall, a remnant of Temple compound, is the holiest site where Jews can pray. Muslims call the compound the Haram as-Sharif, or Noble Sanctuary, marking the place where they believe the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven.
A border police officer stands guard as ultra-Orthodox Jewish men look at the scene of a shooting at the plaza of the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray, in Jerusalem's old city, Friday, June 21, 2013. Israeli police say a guard has shot a Jewish man dead at the key Jerusalem holy site. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld says a private security guard at the Western Wall "fired a number of shots" at a man who appeared suspicious. The guard told police the man, an Israeli, had his hands in his pockets and shouted in Arabic just before the guard opened fire, Rosenfeld said. The man, in his 40s, died at the scene. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)A border police officer stands guard as ultra-Orthodox Jewish men look at the scene of a shooting at the plaza of the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray, in Jerusalem's old city, Friday, June 21, 2013. Israeli police say a guard has shot a Jewish man dead at the key Jerusalem holy site. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld says a private security guard at the Western Wall "fired a number of shots" at a man who appeared suspicious. The guard told police the man, an Israeli, had his hands in his pockets and shouted in Arabic just before the guard opened fire, Rosenfeld said. The man, in his 40s, died at the scene. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
Israeli media said the man was a regular visitor to the holy site, describing him as an “eccentric” who was known to act strangely.
“I don’t understand why he was shot. Everyone here knows him and his behavior. He has often acted nervously. What happened here isn’t normal,” David Dahan, who was at the site at the time of the shooting, told the Israeli news site YNet.
The incident unfolded at the rear of the large plaza in front of the Western W

Self-righteous Yated reporter Jonathan Rosenblum apologizes to MK Dov Lipman and then proceeds to bash him in the same apology

Yated "stooge" Jonathan Rosenblum

Rosenblum does not apologize so much for his evil statements about a fellow Jew as much as he apologizes for using the wrong video clip. Whoever showed him the video clip obviously did not fully explain the situation to him.
Rosemblum's real error was accepting Lashon Horah and then spreading Lashon Horah.

Here guys, read this sick apology from the "groiser chucham" Rosenblum!

 I erred. Big time.
Two years ago, the confrontation between parents and students in the national religious Orot girls school in Ramat Beit Shemesh and a small subgroup of the “Yerushalmi” community living nearby received saturation coverage in the Israeli media. Grabbing the most attention was a wrenching 13-minute video shown by Channel 2 anchor Yair Lapid, which focused on the trauma suffered by a young student in the school, as a result of being spit and screamed at by those protesting the school.
The confrontation at Orot brought Rabbi Dov Lipman, a relatively recent American immigrant, to public attention for the first time, and helped launch Yair Lapid’s political career. Lapid announced his entry into politics shortly after the video aired. Though Lapid referred to those menacing the girls as “chareidi extremists,” he intoned ominously at the end of his introduction, “Is this what we can expect in the rest of the country?”
As if to bring the point home, the video concluded with an interview with a self-diagnosed “healthy man” (who by his appearance and dress appeared not to be from the “Yerushalmi” community, but a relatively recent ba’al teshuva), who was asked what would be the end of the turmoil. His answer, sure to send shivers down the spine of all secular viewers: “The state will finally be chareidi – a chareidi state, whether you want it or not.”
Throughout the dispute, I was highly critical of those I labeled the “crazies.” In one column I offered them as an example of ideological dementia: “How could a grown man shout the most vile names at seven-year-old girls or chase them down the street if a demented ideology had not rendered him oblivious to what he was doing?”
But there was another clip from that period that appeared to me to involve an effort to provoke the “Yerushalmi” subgroup – admittedly not hard to do. That clip shows Dov Lipman together with a woman walking a small dog. As they approach a group of “Yerushalmis,” Lipman thrusts his hands in the air several times, to the accompaniment of the men shouting “Lipman, Lipman.” Many of the men turned their backs or put their round hats over their faces to avoid looking at a woman whose long skirt and t-shirt were not according to the standards of Meah Shearim.
I surmised that the men, who were milling around doing nothing, were in front of a shul at which they had just davened, in a neighborhood close to their homes. I was wrong. Apparently, Rabbi Lipman and Mrs. Wolfson were on their way to accompany the Orot school girls.
I had no business to make any assumptions, and certainly not to publish them, without clarifying the situation. For a Torah Jew, “We regret the error” is insufficient.
I apologize to Rabbi Lipman and Mrs. Wolfson for wrongly characterizing their actions as provocative, and for not having done adequate research.
THAT HALACHIC AND JOURNALISTIC failure was a double patch in panim [smack in the face], resulting not only in a loss of credibility but serving to distract attention from the very real issues that divide me and Rabbi Lipman, who is now an MK in Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party. The first rule of debate is to stick to your strongest points, and never allow your opponent to distract attention by focusing on weaker arguments or ones carried beyond the available evidence.
My oped in last week’s American Yated Ne’eman had absolutely nothing to do with the events in Ramat Beit Shemesh, and they should have been omitted. In that piece, I questioned the decision of the Rabbinical Council of America to invite MK Lipman to be its keynote speaker at its annual convention.
I argued that it was odd for the largest organization of Orthodox rabbis in America – one currently involved in an effort to draw the lines of Orthodoxy – to invite someone who ran for the Knesset on a platform favoring homosexual marriage (though not favoring it himself), and who has advocated positions on geirus [conversion] widely divergent from the RCA’s own standards for geirus, and whose position on the Women of the Wall is outside the Orthodox mainstream.
But most importantly, I argued that the approach of Yesh Atid has dramatically set back internally generated changes in the Israeli chareidi community. That result was fully predictable; indeed I and every other thoughtful observer did predict it. Rabbi Lipman responded to my piece at the Times of Israel, not only rightly taking me to task for my incorrect extrapolation from the film clip, but also attempting to answer my four points. (After I wrote the piece in Yated Ne’eman, but before it was published, the RCA generously extended me an invitation to speak the day after Rabbi Lipman at its convention.)
NOW LET US RETURN to above issues. Rabbi Lipman does not deny he was elected to the Knesset on list of a party committed to legalizing homosexual marriage. According to the Midrash, the Dor Hamabul [Generation of the Flood] was destroyed for instituting formal marriage contracts for such marriages.
Party affiliation means a great deal more in Israel’s proportional representation system than in America. In Israel, one is elected to the Knesset as a member of a party list, not as an individual, and subject to party discipline on Knesset votes. I wonder whether Dov Lipman consulted any Torah authority on whether affiliation with the Yesh Atid list is permitted.
HE ALSO ADMITS that he advocates accepting geirim without kabolos mitzvos on the basis of a few symbolic mitzvos, like lighting Shabbos candles or fasting on Yom Kippur, but only in the case of zera Yisrael – e.g., those with a Jewish father or grandfather. That position, he writes, is based on halachic precedent, including Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef. I am not aware of any written psak like that of Rav Ovadiah’s (though the Sephardi approach to kabalat ol mitzvoth may be more lenient in certain instances). Certainly Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar, one of Rav Ovadiah’s chief disciples, has never advocated such a position during his ten years as Chief Rabbi. Zera Yisrael is relevant in halacha with respect to whether the normal strictures against drawing a gentile close to Torah, apply to someone with a Jewish parent or grandparent; Rav Elyashiv held that they do not.
Most relevant for our discussion, however, is that the RCA itself insists on kabolos ol mitzvos, and does not recognize a dual standard system of geiros. That was the position of Rabbi Joseph Ber Soloveitchik, the long-time head of the RCA’s Halacha Commission, who considered it axiomatic that there can be no geirus without kabolos ol mitzvos (See his “Kol Dodi Dofeik.”)
WITH RESPECT TO WOMEN OF THE WALL, Rabbi Lipman opines that the issue is not worth the fuss. For one thing, in the past, men and women stood near one another in private supplication (such private tefillos are still the most common form of prayer at the Kosel today), so the Kosel doesn’t have the din of a Beis Knesses. Therefore women wearing tallis and tefillin is no problem. As I pointed out in my original article, the lack of a mechitzah in old photographs was by order of the British Mandatory authorities, not because of the custom of the place.
Anyhow, Lipman writes, “small groups have been going once a month for Rosh Chodesh davening for more than twenty years, and it only became an issue when the chareidi leadership decided to make it illegal and have them arrested.” That doesn’t happen to be the story that Women of the Wall themselves tell. From the first international feminist conference, which gave rise to Women of the Wall, there has been confrontation and clash, according to the 2002 anthology Women of the Wall, edited by two of the groups founders.
Already in 1997, Hillel Halkin (who is not Orthodox), writing in the Forward, pointed out that nothing in Reform or Conservative “halacha” requires women to pray in tallis and tefillin. (He might have added that the Reform movement specifically denies any special kedushah attached to the Kosel or any desire for a return of the Temple or the sacrifices.) Therefore, asked Halkin, “Were they to come to the Wall without prayer shawls as a simple gesture of respect for the traditions of the place, against what sacred principles of their faith would they be sinning? Are there no other places to practice Jewish feminism in the world, in Israel, or even in Jerusalem that they must do it at the one site where it infuriates large numbers of other Jews?”
Contrary to Rabbi Lipman, I believe there is something important at stake: the Kosel’s power as the most enduring symbol of Jewish continuity. If it becomes a veritable Hyde Park Speaker’s Corner of whatever is new in rites performed by Jews – a goal specifically proclaimed by some of the founders – that power is lost.
True, some women may really want to daven at the Kosel in tallis and tefillin, but, as Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik long ago warned, the emphasis on the subjective religious experience is essentially pagan.
WoW is heavily funded by the New Israel Fund, which has its tentacles all over the Yesh Atid agenda. The NIF’s 2011 IRS filing lists the following objectives – foster diverse expressions of Jewish identity and practice, promote legislation that mitigates control of the Rabbinate, advocate for equal allocation of resources to non-orthodox Jewish services and education, and strengthen liberal elements within orthodoxy to achieve those objects.” Somehow I doubt that the RCA identifies with too many of those goals.
IN MY MIND, the primary issue raised in my first piece was the way Yesh Atid has reinforced the most retrograde elements in the chareidi community and slowed the process of chareidi economic and military integration. Married chareidi men have already become more reluctant to enter the IDF programs training programs tailored to their special needs.
Yesh Atid has aided and abetted these elements by allowing them to portray the battle as one over preservation of the chareidi life and Torah learning. When Yair Lapid promises, “Israel will end up breaking the chareidi ghetto walls” or gloats, “This is a historic opportunity not to fight with the chareidim, but to bring them into our worldview … to change the culture of the country and redirect the ship,” chareidim hear a call to Kulturkampf from an earlier era. When Education Minister Rabbi Shai Piron says, “Parasites won’t receive any sort of hechsher,” chareidim hear a hatred for them qua chareidim, and brace themselves to resist the onslaught.
When funding to chareidi schools, but not national religious schools, is cut 25%, even before consideration of the core curriculum, or stipends for foreign students in chareidi yeshiva gedolos are slashed, but not stipends for foreign students in national religious yeshivos, chareidim feel themselves under siege. Similarly, when crucial social benefits – such as subsidized pre-school and kindergarten education – are contingent on both parents working (and no one learning in kollel), chareidim sense a frontal attack on the viability of kollel learning.
Perhaps nothing did more to convince the chareidi world that Yesh Atid has declared war, than the insistence — over the fierce objections of Defense Minister and former Chief of Staff “Boogie” Ya’alon — on criminalization of non-service. Lipman lamely argues that this step was necessitated by expert legal advice that the legislation prepared by the Yesh Atid-controlled Peri Committee would be infirm on equal protection grounds without it. But the law is subject to a much more glaring equal protection challenge anyway because it does not impose equal burdens on Arab citizens.
One does not threaten to bring down the government, as Lapid did, over a legal advisor’s opinion – certainly not at a time of high national danger. Criminalization was a bone thrown to Yesh Atid’s anti-chareidi constituents – a way for Lapid to show that he is sticking it to the chareidim. True, as Lipman suggests, it’s a bluff, not scheduled to go into effect until 2017, long after the current government is history. But it allows Lapid to run as the slayer of the chareidim. That instinct for chareidi-baiting provides little basis for fostering trust.
SADLY, RABBI LIPMAN has done little himself to provide secular Israelis in his party or beyond with a greater appreciation of the joy, the intellectual stimulation, or the cosmic power of Torah learning.
In his Times of Israel response, he quotes his post on Facebook during the Pesach bein hazemanim: “I want to share a thought I had this morning as I jogged through the streets of Beit Shemesh. I saw three street cleaners working – all over age 70. Why aren’t yeshiva students, who are on their month long vacation during Nissan, volunteering to provide these older men with some vacation or to at least make their jobs a bit easier? Just a thought.”
To whom was this brilliant insight directed? To all the chareidi yeshiva bochurim who have “friended” him on Facebook? Or was it directed to the secular community to feed their stereotypes of selfish bochurim concerned only with their own learning and contributing nothing to society? Had Lipman really been concerned about the street sweepers he would have started knocking on his neighbors’ doors, not posting on Facebook.
Do Israeli chareidim really need such instruction in chesed [kindness]? Almost every major volunteer organization in the country – Yad Sarah, Ezer M’Tzion, Ezra L’Marpeh, and countless organizations providing for cancer victims and their families – were founded by products of chareidi yeshivos and serve the entire population. Yad Sarah alone saves the Israeli government 1.4 billion shekels in hospitalization costs a year.
Is the following description of the learning in chareidi yeshivos meant l’hagdil Torah u’l’ha’adiro: “They’ll open up a Talmud and they’ll read a line in the Talmud. And then they’ll read Rashi and then they will read the Tosfot, and then they will read the Rishonim and then the Aharonim on it, and they’ll spend a day analyzing that line of the Talmud and all the commentaries, and that’s it.”
Nor apparently, does Lipman see Talmud learning as offering much refinement of middos: “Maybe, all of a sudden in the middle of the page, you’ll have a statement that relates to what you are learning about being a nice, good person. But that’s not the focus of it.”
I’m not sure how much time Lipman has spent in the great Israeli yeshivos, but he’d like the secular public to know that there is little to show for the miraculous growth in lomdei Torah: “[I]f we saw tens of thousands of the most brilliant scholars who mastered every possible classic text and were writing great works of new thought and ideas, I’d still make my case, but it’d be harder for me. But we don’t see that. You don’t see the results.”
Lipman told the Times of Israel: “I want to be the one to write the test of the 18-year-old . . . to decide which 18-year-olds can study Torah day and night. I want to write that test. It’ll be less than 400 . . . so skilled and so steeped in learning and [who] so love learning.”
What is the point of all this pandering to the secular public other than to assure them that there is no dedication, no mesirus nefesh, no intense intellectual effort, no shviros hamiddos in the tents of Torah?
In an important letter, the Chazon Ish famously observed that the division of the Torah into two separate parts – one having to do with issur ve’heter and the other to do with guidance in other areas of life – with the determination of the chachmei hador binding only in the first section, is the ancient system of German Reform that led to the near total assimilation of German Jewry.
Here is Rabbi Lipman in response to a question as to whether he sought rabbinical guidance before agreeing to run on the Yesh Atid list: “Halacha is: Is this pot kosher or not kosher. If you don’t know the halacha yourself, you ask the rabbi for that.” Anything else, it seems, is beyond the realm of Torah scholars; their decades long immersion in Torah offers them no more insight than the next guy.
But, in the end, Rabbi Lipman is not the issue, apart from his efforts to kasher Yesh Atid for American Orthodoxy, and hopefully we can now proceed to the real discussion.