Friday, August 23, 2019

It's This Time Of Year Again --- Preparations For The Agudah Coverup Convention 2019 Are Underway

Sunday, November 07, 2010 - The UOJ Classics

"Don't Ask Don't Tell" - Theme of Agudah Convention 2010!

By a contributing editor to NACGMBLAA ( National Association of Circumcized Girly Man Boy Losers At Agudah)

As advertised in the Yated Ne’eman this year’s convention will focus on major issues that are pressing in Klal Yisroel regarding our children. We have publicized the questions that will be addressed, but have not yet given any kind of glimpse at the answers that our Gedolim have “divined”. The following are the questions advertised, with a sneak peek at the solutions that the convention will provide us, based on inside knowledge from someone who was at the last meeting of the Moetzes:

1. How can parents and mechanchim work together to help our youth confront unprecedented challenges?

a) Challenge number one: Internet, cell phones, text messages, CDs, DVDs and MBDs. These are horrors that our parents never had to face. Agudas Yisroel is proud to announce a new campaign: Rabbi Gedalia Weinberger, Shlita and Rabbi Abe Biderman, Shlita have teamed up under the leadership of Moreinu Harav Avraham Chaim Levine, Shlita to invest new resources into providing schools and homes with metal detectors to keep out these challenging infiltrations of modern technology.

b) Another big challenge that parents and mechanchim face is the continued struggle to silence the children who claim they are molested. Those who come up with the exaggerated “tawdry tales” of being sexually abused without even at least being penetrated! In the words of Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz, Shlita of Aguda’s Project YES: “Lma’an Hashem!” We have warned them that they won’t get shidduchim, we warned their parents that all their other children will be thrown out of yeshivas, and we have told them that they are breaking the issur of mesirah, the worst sin of all, if they go to the cops. But still there are those cowardly and weak children who cannot withstand the challenge of keeping their mouths shut and have fallen victim to the temptation to cry out for help. Moreinu Harav Matisyahu Salmon, Shlita and Moreinu Harav Malkiel Kotler, Shlita will explain to us how their community in Lakewood even had a family’s house burned down for daring to talk about their son who died after being molested, just to “send them a message,” and how they ran a family out of town to Detroit for daring to go to the police. But it is not enough. We must use the same devious methods as the molesters themselves to “groom” the families into trusting us. Moreinu Harav Shmuel Kaminetsky, Shlita will explain how he has personally covered up for Yudi Kolko, Moshe Eisemann, Chaim Abrahamson, Shmuel Levitt, Yossef Ahron Kolko and many, many others, while telling victims that they have a mitzvah to reveal their molesters. This trick lets us know who the loudmouths are so they too can be run out of town.

c) The biggest challenge is really for us, the parents and mechanchim. Mishpacha Magazine recently described the newest problem we face: Kids who look the part of good yeshiva boys and bais yaakov girls, but who use drugs, go on the Internet on Shabbos and ignore halacha totally. This is sooooo confusing. We yearn for the days of old, when the off-the-derech boy would grow his hair long, and the off-the-derech girls would dress not tznius, and they would both get tattoos and body piercings. How are we supposed to know which kids to disown? We have no choice but to utilize crime prevention techniques, like giving our children polygraphs and forensic evaluations, to screen out the dangerous ones and protect the innocent.

2. How can we ensure the fiscal viability of our embattled yeshivos?

Some may think that this question is kefirah because only Hashem can make such assurances. Nonsense. It is up to our Gedolim, Shli”ta to divine His will and to keep our sinking enterprise alive by any means necessary. So:

a) We will hear from Nat Lewin, Shlita and Pinny Lipshutz, Shlita about gathering gantz Klal Yisroel together --- they cannot stop us from doing what we need to do to support our family businesses – the yeshivas. We will defend even violent criminals like convicted cop-killer Martin Grossman Z”TL for the same reason. If the government were to think we are weak, they could come after our yeshivas and put an end to money laundering, tax evasion and fraudulent government grants. This, we cannot afford.

b) It’s the tuition stupid! We must sock it to the parents continuing to instruct them to have more children than they can afford so we can hit them up for more tuition and line our pockets with their hard earned money.

c) For those who are getting tired of supporting yeshivos, Agudah has decided to offer an incentive that no self-respecting follower of Daas Torah could refuse. For every financial supporter of our yeshivas we will now have personalized letters of guarantee from the Gedolim of Eretz Yisroel that they will win the lottery, that their children will also win the lottery, and that they will do shidduchim with other people who will also win the lottery.

3. Is educational elitism “pushing” some of our children through the cracks?

The short answer is yes, it is. B”H our yeshivas and bais yaakovs have inculcated an attitude of disdain for anyone who is in any way religiously inferior, and by promoting a kollel lifestyle that cannot possibly work for most people, and educational standards that few can even think about achieving. But we can do better. There are still “undesirable” kids left in our schools. There are high school bais yaakov girls who are willing to marry a so called “working boy”. B’avonoseinu Harabbim, there are schools in Lakewood "ir hakodesh" that have started introducing secular education on the high school level for the purpose of creating adults who can function in the so-called “real world,” not having to resort to a life of dependence on government programs and “genaivishe shtick.” This is unacceptable. Moreinu Harav Ahron Feldman, Shlita will inspire the olam with his brilliant analysis of how the chinuch in Eretz Yisroel which does not allow such “bittul zman” must be instituted here, if we are to survive. Our schools must “push” ALL "deviant" children through the cracks so we can succeed in our mission as an Am Hatorah led by Daas Torah divined by Gedolei Torah, and financed by people who are Machshiv Torah.

4. How can we better help our youth forge a meaningful connection with their Yiddishkeit?

First of all, just because some Baalei Teshuvah have started using this term “meaningful” when for thousands of years we used to wish each other simply an “easy fast” before Yom Kippur, does not in any way mean that this concept is a kosher one. In fact, it is quite “New Age,” and Shlomo Carlebachy. “Meaningfulness” is not an authentic Daas Torah word or expression. Rabbi Avi Shafran, Shlita will lecture on the dangers of allowing children to question what they are taught, to think critically, or to, chas v’shalom, express even the slightest amount of individuality, and why we must brainwash them into conforming into mindless robots. Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zweibel, Shlita will address the radical departure from our Mesorah “presumptuously promoted” in books like Rabbi Slifkin’s, and “The Making of a Gadol”. A panel discussion about finding the true meaning of Yiddishkeit for Jewish girls and women will be co-chaired by Rabbi Leib Tropper, Shlita and Rabbi Mordechai Tendler, Shlita.

5. Are we doing enough to protect our children from outside influences and dangerous people?

This is complicated. Some think that by dangerous people we mean people like our very own Moreinu Harav Ahron Shechter, Shlita, who tells parents to send their “bad” kids to abusive “boot camps” in Jamaica, Moreinu Harav Moshe Eisemann, Shlita, who enjoys massaging the behinds of young bochurim, and Moreinu Harav Lipa Margulies, Shlita who allows predator pedophiles access to children in the classrooms of his yeshiva. But no, these are the “good guys!”

We are referring to the real dangerous individuals. We have already banned Lipa Shmeltzer, because his concerts can lead to mixed seating, mixed dancing and eventually getting married and sending your kids to modern orthodox schools, rachmana litzlan. But we need to do more to protect our kids from bloggers like UOJ, and child advocates like Rabbi Nochum Rosenberg and Dr. Asher Lipner and Mark Mayer Appel who fill their heads with ideas that are very, very dangerous for us, because they show them how hypocritical and immoral we are. And to this we must regretfully say that the answer is no, we are not doing enough. With Hashem’s help, we “outed” UOJ, really showing him who is boss, and Moreinu the Novominsker Rebbe, Shlita has publicly denounced the advocates. But there is much more to be done to protect our children from these people who are so dangerous to the Agudah. On a scale of 1 to 10, we are only at a one, or at most, a one and a half.

In addition to the important message included in these presentations, we will also, I”YH, be showing via a live video hook-up a special presentation from Eretz Yisroel. Rabbi Dr. Avraham Mondrowitz, Shlita will give a drasha, on how best to give love to children. We will also feature at the convention Rabbi Yudi Kolko, Shlita on how to get the most out of the rebbe - talmid relationship, and Rabbi Weingarten, Shlita another former rebbe at Yeshiva Torah Temima, on how fathers can instill real kibbud av in your daughters and get them to fulfill all of your earthly desires. Moreinu Harav Reuvain (EJF) Feinstein, Shlita will introduce his nephews, Rabbi Ahron and Mordecai Tendler Shlita, who will speak on “Chinuch Habanos: Preparing teen-age girls for marriage – a hands-on approach.” The Tendlers will introduce their uncle Rabbi Sholom Tendler, Vice President of the RCC of California - "When Sleeping With The Women You Give Counsel To - Actually Helps Their Marriage"! He will demonstrate via videos the technique that he uses, and the various mitzvas involved! A video you do not want to miss!

Finally, we want to remind you of our catchy theme for our convention: “For the sake of our precious vulnerable youth, our beautiful and sweet children, our seductive Lolitas, our innocent young boys... 
Don't Ask Don't Tell!




Thursday, August 22, 2019

Who exactly is Wayne Allyn Root and why are he and Trump so fond of each other? Here are some answers.

Who is Wayne Allyn Root, the evangelical Christian Trump quoted to validate his comments on Jews?

WASHINGTON (JTA) — On Wednesday morning, President Donald Trump quoted a conservative talk show host named Wayne Allyn Root to defend comments he had made the day before that angered many in the Jewish community: that Jews who vote for Democrats show “a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.”

“Thank you to Wayne Allyn Root for the very nice words,” Trump said before quoting something Root has said previously about the president.

“President Trump is the greatest President for Jews and for Israel in the history of the world, not just America, he is the best President for Israel in the history of the world … and the Jewish people in Israel love him … like he’s the King of Israel. They love him like he is the second coming of God,” the quote said.

It’s not the only Jewish thing Root has said about Trump. Just two weeks after Trump was elected, Root sought to reassure Jewish Americans, who had voted overwhelmingly for his rival, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, about the president-elect’s bona fides.

“I believe Donald Trump should be called ‘America’s first Jewish president,'” he wrote on the Fox News website. “I should know. I’m an Ivy League-educated Jewish kid from New York.”

Maybe, in the sense that Saul was a Jewish kid from Tarsus — Root is an evangelical Christian, something he did not mention in his Fox column.

Root, speaking Tuesday evening on his talk show on Newsmax, also a conservative news site, was a little more candid about where he was faith-wise.
Who exactly is Wayne Allyn Root and why are he and Trump so fond of each other? Here are some answers.

He says he’s Jewish and has interesting ideas about Jewish identity.

He told The Jewish Telegraphic Agency that all four grandparents are Jewish and that his DNA shows him “99.5” percent European Jewish.
Root, who lives in Las Vegas, says he founded the Republican Jewish Coalition chapter in Nevada.

Matt Brooks, the RJC’s executive director, confirmed that Root was involved in the group but says he has not been for more than a decade. (Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate who is a major funder of the RJC and Republican candidates along with Jewish causes, hired Root to write a column for the Las Vegas Review-Journal after buying the newspaper in 2015 — a move that raised eyebrows among fans of the paper’s hard news tradition.)

Root told JTA he “took Jesus Christ as a savior” about 30 years ago, but he still considers himself Jewish.

Notably, several other Trump defenders are Jews turned Christian, including Trump’s lawyer, Jay Sekulow, and the right-wing activist and lawyer Larry Klayman.

The lessons Root takes away from being born Jewish comport with hoary Jewish stereotypes — some flattering, others less so.

“I am a Jew and you can’t take away from a person being a Jew,” he said, noting that Islamist extremists and white supremacists would target him as Jewish. “I’ve got Jewish blood and passion and zeal.”

“Jesus Christ was a Jew, and the CEO of the Christian religion,” Root said, adding that he, too, was born Jewish and was a CEO.

Root, who calls himself a “capitalist evangelist” told Daniel Davis, a syndicated radio host, that his Jewish background informed his philosophy. Jews were “relentless,” he said.

“They like to hammer down the door till they get what they want,” he said.

In the Fox column, Root said Trump “is your typical Jewish parent.”

“Donald’s children are all Ivy League graduates — just like my daughter who recently graduated magna cum laude from Harvard,” he said, adding that “Donald is handing his business over to his children. That is the goal of every Jewish businessman in history.”

Elsewhere in the column: “Donald is a big success in Hollywood as a TV producer. He joins an exclusive club that is predominantly Jewish.”

Add forthrightness to the list of traits Root finds Jewish.

“He says whatever is on his mind, even if it offends,” he wrote in the column. “All of those are traits I’ve seen in my Jewish friends, relatives and business partners for my entire life.”

He can be emphatically evangelical.

A few months before the 2016 election, writing on another conservative website, Townhall, Root used a more Christian pitch in addressing coreligionists who were put off by Trump’s brashness and viciousness.

“Let me repeat my message to Christians: ‘YOU’RE MISSING THE BOAT,'” Root said. “God is about miracles. We don’t need a ‘nice guy’ or a ‘gentleman’ right now. It’s the fourth quarter and we’re losing 14-0. We need a miracle. I believe Trump is our miracle.”

He’s been on the Trump train longer than most.

Root, the Libertarian Party’s vice presidential nominee in 2008, announced his support for the businessman and reality star almost as soon as Trump announced he was running in June 2015. He emceed one of the candidate’s first rallies, in Las Vegas. Trump, unsurprisingly, praised Root’s book “Angry White Male: How the Donald Trump Phenomenon is Changing America” published that year.
Root, who ran a sports gambling business, told JTA that the Republican Party has not done enough to shake Jewish voters out of their adherence to Democrats.

“I’m one of the best salesmen in America, and I believe I can sell conservatism to Jews,” he said.
Root went on to say that he would soon announce that he will head a “major Jewish organization” and planned to set up a Jews for Trump political action committee.

He’s called a conspiracy theorist — he says he asks questions.
Liberal outlets have long singled out Root for peddling conspiracy theories, including that the 2017 shooting massacre in Las Vegas that killed 58 concertgoers was the work of Islamist extremists. No motive has been ascribed for the attack, which was carried out by a white non-Muslim man named Stephen Paddock.

Root has also questioned whether white supremacists were behind the deadly violence at a neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, and whether there is more to the 2016 murder of Seth Rich, a Jewish Democratic Party staffer. (Police believe Rich was killed in a robbery gone bad; conspiracy theorists believe Hillary Clinton was behind the killing.)

Root told JTA that conspiracy theories proliferate on the right and the left, and that he does not necessarily endorse the theories — he asks questions. That, he said, was a very American thing to do, and that pluralities of Americans do not buy into the accepted narratives behind the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 or the suicide of disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein this month.
“I question everything coming out of the mouths of government officials,” he said. “They’re egomaniacs who lie about everything to protect themselves.”


Wednesday, August 21, 2019

The religious Jews in New York were super Jewish. They were intense about a dozen things I’d never heard of — which kinds of kosher foods were not kosher enough and the exact measurements of long skirts, for example. Many of them had never met a Jewish family unlike their own. They couldn’t imagine the encounters I had while walking on the street, and I could never understand why they were always running somewhere...

Should we have laughed at this joke about New York Jews?

CLEVELAND (JTA) — My husband and I don’t go out often, but somehow we found ourselves on a date at a super small, local comedy event. My husband wears a kippah and woolen tzitzit. I wear a wig, my skirts reach below my knees, and my neckline and sleeves conform to the conventional laws of modesty. Let’s just say we look pretty Jewish.

The headliner spotted us in the crowd, took one look and said something surprising. 

“Look at that couple over there. Y’all know they have their life together,” he said. “Like they’ve got a 401 (k), they know what they’re doing tomorrow night. They’ve got it together.” 

It was cute, especially since we often joke that we have no idea what we’re doing with our lives. But when the comic came back around, he looked at my husband and said, “Oh sir, I just noticed the skullcap — are you by chance a member of the tribe?” 

My husband nodded. The headliner looked into the audience and said, “Nah y’all, they’re all right — these are Ohio Jews, not New York Jews. They’re not in real estate or whatever.” 

We all laughed. He then went on to tell us that he had lived in a predominantly Jewish area, adding it was the safest he ever felt in his life because so many kids and families were always on the street. 

Here’s how he finished the bit: “One thing the Jews know how to do right is dress their sons. Those boys look dope with those hats and suits, and they’ll be like 20 years old or something.” 

Following his set, the comic walked over to see if we were fine. We were. We really were. It was over and we went home. I fell asleep on the car ride back. (It was 9:15, after all.)

Comedians use stereotypes to get responses. The audience laughed, and I doubt anyone considered whether the exchange was anti-Semitic.

A few days later I remembered the incident and asked my husband if he thought it was anti-Semitic. We both agreed that it didn’t bother us. We had lived in New York and understood there are differences between Jewish communities that must be obvious to outside groups: Anecdotally, Jews outside of New York are less likely to be engaged in real estate. Visibly Jewish people in Ohio are generally less politically active and many have less accumulated wealth than Jews in New York.

I’m still thinking about it, though. Because while Jewish communities might internally call out differences among ourselves, it can sometimes border on bigotry when other communities join in. 

When I swap the word “Jews” with any other group, the comedian’s statement sounds pretty bad. But when I consider the fact that Jewish communities in different areas have marked differences, it’s difficult for me to say for certain that the statement was hate-filled — though it’s definitely on a fence somewhere.

At the most basic level, it’s obvious that any statement that broadly paints a group of people as “bad” is, at the very least, prejudicial. The added layer of mentioning the real estate industry seems especially cringe-worthy. 

But I understand what he meant. I grew up Orthodox and outside of New York. I knew from a young age that we Pittsburgh Jews were not like New York Jews. The religious Jews in New York were super Jewish. They were intense about a dozen things I’d never heard of — which kinds of kosher foods were not kosher enough and the exact measurements of long skirts, for example. Many of them had never met a Jewish family unlike their own. They couldn’t imagine the encounters I had while walking on the street, and I could never understand why they were always running somewhere. 

Then I moved to New York and so much became clear. The lifestyle is expensive, the needs are great and the opportunities can be overwhelming. There are millions of people! Running, competing, creating standards — these are the ways individuals and communities balance it all.

But beyond the individual differences are institutional ones. New York also is the home of massive Jewish institutions that carry significant political and social clout. Orthodox Jews in New York are very visible in a way that Ohio Jews simply are not: We don’t have elected officials with payot. There are no minyanim at City Hall. And we have fewer visibly Jewish folks on the cover of local newspapers, for better or for worse. 

Not two months ago, I wrote about the way that Orthodox Jewish magazines covered rent control policy and the connections they made — to the world — between “Orthodox Jews” and “the real estate industry.” No such piece would be written in Ohio, let alone by an Orthodox Jewish media outlet. If a non-Jew were to point that out, would that be anti-Semitic?

Here in Ohio, where many Jews live in some of the most segregated regions in the country, most visibly Jewish folks live clustered in suburban areas. If someone in a New York City comedy club were to look at the kippah-wearing guy in the audience and note, “nah, these Jews aren’t awful — these are New York Jews, they’re one of us, not like those Ohio Jews who live out in the suburbs,” would that be anti-Semitic? Or is it simply hometown pride?

Some have told me that the statement was anti-Semitic, or at the very least it had anti-Semitic undertones. 

That might be true. But let’s say it’s inappropriate for an outsider to joke about Jewish communities and their practices. Are non-Jews allowed to highlight practices that might appear to be sketchy or illegal in more serious contexts? 

Jews within the Orthodox community are strongly discouraged from criticizing our own. So who is allowed to comment on the practices of the visible Jew? Who is allowed to highlight our similarities and differences across geographic, class-based and gender lines? How do we ensure our community stays in check? 

Perhaps we need folks from the outside to remind us that we don’t live in an insular world of our own, even when we attempt to maintain very closed communities. The basement comedian might not be the right person to call us out, but if not him, then who is?

is a PhD candidate in Urban Studies and Public Affairs at Cleveland State University. She is also a writer for Cleveland Scene where she writes about metropolitan and urban governance. Her work has appeared in CityLab and the Forward. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

"That the Jews in Israel, mostly white, and the Palestinians are browner, so they must be innocent and correct, and the Jews must be wrong,"

Bill Maher called the anti-Israel boycott movement 'A bulls--- purity test' after Israel barred supporters Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from visiting

Bill Maher criticized the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel on his show Friday night, following Israel's ban on permitting Democratic representatives Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar from visiting the country. 

"It's a bulls--- purity test by people who want to appear woke but actually slept through history class," Maher said on HBO's "Real Time."

Following pressure from President Donald Trump, Israel on Thursday banned reps. Omar and Tlaib, both of whom are vocal supporters of the BDS movement, from visiting the country. Tlaib asked Israel to allow her to visit her 90-year-old grandmother living in the West Bank, promising to "respect any restrictions and will not promote any boycotts against Israel." But when Israel accepted her offer, she rejected it

The BDS campaign seeks to further isolate Israel from the international community under the charge that Israel's treatment of Palestinians is akin to apartheid. It's supported by a minority of Democratic lawmakers — the House of Representatives in July passed a measure to condemn it by a vote of 398 to 117. But Trump has sought to make it a wedge issue as part of his political strategy to erode bipartisan support for Israel, and to make Tlaib, Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Ayana Pressley — four Democratic representatives on the left — the face of the Democratic party

Maher, who has a history of inflammatory comments about Muslims, suggested that the occupation of Palestinian territory arose from violent uprisings, referring to the history of Palestinian suicide bombings and intifadas — organized grassroots violent attacks on Israelis

"It's predicated on this notion, I think — it's very shallow thinking — that the Jews in Israel, mostly white, and the Palestinians are browner, so they must be innocent and correct, and the Jews must be wrong," he said. "As if the occupation came right out of the blue, that this completely peaceful people found themselves occupied." 

The current conflict between Jewish and Arab populations in the region dates back to as early as the 1920s, when large groups of Jews migrated to the area in reaction to worldwide anti-Semitism.
Maher also criticized Omar's history of antisemitic comments, for which she's apologized

"She apologized for it, but it's out there: Jews control the world, control the money," he said, adding of the lawmakers: "I can see why they don't get a hero's welcome." 

Tlaib's grandmother, Muftia Tlaib, criticized Trump after he pressured Israel to bar her granddaughter from visiting. 

"Trump tells me I should be happy Rashida is not coming," the elder Tlaib said. "May God ruin him." 

Monday, August 19, 2019

Our kids are not O.K.!

We Have Ruined Childhood

For youngsters these days, an hour of free play is like a drop of water in the desert. Of course they’re miserable. 

According to the psychologist Peter Gray, children today are more depressed than they were during the Great Depression and more anxious than they were at the height of the Cold War. A 2019 study published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology found that between 2009 and 2017, rates of depression rose by more than 60 percent among those ages 14 to 17, and 47 percent among those ages 12 to 13. This isn’t just a matter of increased diagnoses. The number of children and teenagers who were seen in emergency rooms with suicidal thoughts or having attempted suicide doubled between 2007 and 2015.
To put it simply, our kids are not O.K. 

For a long time, as a mother and as a writer, I searched for a single culprit. Was it the screens? The food? The lack of fresh air and free time, the rise of the overscheduled, overprotected child, the overarching culture of anxiety and fear?

Those things might all contribute. But I’ve come to believe that the problems with children’s mental and emotional health are caused not by any single change in kids’ environment but by a fundamental shift in the way we view children and child-rearing, and the way this shift has transformed our schools, our neighborhoods and our relationships to one another and our communities.

The work of raising children, once seen as socially necessary labor benefiting the common good, is an isolated endeavor for all but the most well-off parents. Parents are entirely on their own when it comes to their offspring’s well-being. Many have had to prioritize physical safety and adult supervision over healthy emotional and social development. 

No longer able to rely on communal structures for child care or allow children time alone, parents who need to work are forced to warehouse their youngsters for long stretches of time. School days are longer and more regimented. Kindergarten, which used to be focused on play, is now an academic training ground for the first grade. Young children are assigned homework even though numerous studies have found it harmful. STEM, standardized testing and active-shooter drills have largely replaced recess, leisurely lunches, art and music.

The role of school stress in mental distress is backed up by data on the timing of child suicide. “The suicide rate for children is twice what it is for children during months when school is in session than when it’s not in session,” according to Dr. Gray. “That’s true for suicide completion, suicide attempts and suicidal ideation, whereas for adults, it’s higher in the summer.” But the problems with kids’ mental and emotional health are not only caused by what goes on in the classroom. They also reflect what’s happening in our communities. The scarcity of resources of every kind, including but not limited to access to mental health services, health care, affordable housing and higher education, means that many parents are working longer and harder than ever. At the same time that more is demanded of parents, childhood free time and self-directed activities have become taboo.

And so for many children, when the school day is over, it hardly matters; the hours outside school are more like school than ever. Children spend afternoons, weekends and summers in aftercare and camps while their parents work. The areas where children once congregated for unstructured, unsupervised play are now often off limits. And so those who can afford it drive their children from one structured activity to another. Those who can’t keep them inside. Free play and childhood independence have become relics, insurance risks, at times criminal offenses.

Tali Raviv, the associate director of the Center for Childhood Resilience, says many children today are suffering a social-skills deficit. She told me kids today “have fewer opportunities to practice social-emotional skills, whether it’s because they live in a violent community where they can’t go outside, or whether it’s because there’s overprotection of kids and they don’t get the independence to walk down to the corner store.” They don’t learn “how to start a friendship, how to start a relationship, what to do when someone’s bothering you, how to solve a problem.”

Many parents and pediatricians speculate about the role that screen time and social media might play in this social deficit. But it’s important to acknowledge that simply taking away or limiting screens is not enough. Children turn to screens because opportunities for real-life human interaction have vanished; the public places and spaces where kids used to learn to be people have been decimated or deemed too dangerous for those under 18.

And so for many Americans, the nuclear family has become a lonely institution — and childhood, one long unpaid internship meant to secure a spot in a dwindling middle class.

Something has to change, says Denise Pope, a co-founder of Challenge Success, an organization based in Palo Alto, Calif., that helps schools make research-backed changes to improve children’s mental health. Kids need recess. They need longer lunches. They need free play, family time, meal time. They need less homework, fewer tests, a greater emphasis on social-emotional learning.

Challenge Success also works with parents, encouraging them to get together with their neighbors and organize things like extracurricular-free days when kids can simply play, and teaching them how not to intervene in normal peer conflict so that children can build problem-solving skills themselves. A similar organization, Let Grow, helps schools set up unstructured free play before and after the school day. 

Dr. Gray told me it’s no surprise that the program, which he consults for, has been well received. “Children are willing to get up an hour early to have free play, one hour a week,” he said. “It’s like a drop of water if you’ve been in the desert.”

These groups are doing important work, but if that kind of desperation is any indication, we shouldn’t be surprised that so many kids are so unhappy. Investing in a segment of the population means finding a way to make them both safe and free. When it comes to kids, we too often fall short. It’s no wonder so many are succumbing to despair. In many ways, America has given up on childhood, and on children.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Where, though, are the boundaries? At what point does charisma become dangerous? In a community (and a wider world) where an elusive quality called “spirituality” is constantly sought as representing the “authentic” in the religious quest, how can the individual, or the community, or the responsible leader, distinguish the teacher with integrity from the predator?

Charisma: A Note on the Dangerous Outer Boundary of Spirituality

For the past several years, I have contributed postings to a number of websites on the subject of the dangerously charismatic teacher in schools. The material was based on my book on Jewish school management that was published at the beginning of 2010. The section on the charismatic teacher was entitled “The Pied Piper.”’[i]

Tragically, between the time that the section was originally written (in 2007) and the time the book was published, a former Jewish Studies teacher at our school was arrested on very serious charges of sexual molestation and assault. His alleged offenses were committed in Israel. Following his arrest, an investigation in Toronto unearthed many issues of concern. He had exemplified many of the good and many of the bad characteristics of the charismatic teacher, especially one active in the religious life of the school. While in Toronto (as a shaliah) he had been immensely popular; had been idolized by students and by some staff; was a talented musician, much in demand locally as a singer at weddings and other community celebrations; and was also used by NCSY as a youth leader and resource. Many former students testified to the profound religious influence he had on their lives. Others—as it emerged—had far darker, tragic, and damaging memories.

The whole episode and its aftermath caused me many hours of reflection, and made me reconsider fundamentally many other encounters throughout my life with charismatic rabbis and teachers—in both personal and professional capacities.

 I concluded that although many good teachers and rabbis have elements of charisma in their personalities and style, the overtly charismatic personality almost always masks far more sinister agendas, and must be treated and managed with the utmost caution. 

The tipping point is where the personality of the teacher/rabbi is more important than the content of his message or teaching. Sadly, most readers of this article will be familiar with examples from within our own community, let alone examples from other educational and religious communities.

Where, though, are the boundaries? At what point does charisma become dangerous? In a community (and a wider world) where an elusive quality called “spirituality” is constantly sought as representing the “authentic” in the religious quest, how can the individual, or the community, or the responsible leader, distinguish the teacher with integrity from the predator?

It can be difficult; but there are some obvious danger signs. They may be present in different combinations, and seem to have some degree of overlap with recognized patterns of cult behavior, although they are rarely so blatant. They may include, but are not limited to:

The personality of the rabbi/teacher becomes the most important part of his presence, rather than the content of what he is teaching. When people go to a shiur, or a workshop, or a lesson, to see what “X” is doing or saying—rather than what “X” is teaching—a personality cult is in the making. The same applies when their conversation is about X’s latest action, or remark, or appearance—rather than X’s “Torah.” A truly spiritual personality, in a Jewish context, is concerned to bring people to God, not to himself (more rarely—herself).

Extreme emotional or pseudo-intellectual manipulations are being used to demonstrate that X, and only X, has “the answer.” A spiritually and intellectually honest teacher will rarely deal in absolutes. The teachings and views of others—particularly rivals for the charismatic teacher’s popularity—are openly disparaged or undermined.

In an institutional or community setting, the followers of the charismatic rabbi/teacher become a group within a group. They do not mix with others, and see themselves as an elite.

Individuals or small groups regard themselves as favored protégés of the teacher. When they no longer uncritically accept the teacher’s philosophy or Torah, they are quickly dropped; disillusion—often accompanied by feelings of betrayal—sets in.

Counseling, advice and guidance are being given on deeply personal, perhaps intimate matters, far beyond the training and competence of the rabbi/teacher. The personalities we are describing will often invite such disclosures.

There is one clear sign that should immediately raise red flags:

The rabbi/teacher teaches, or shows by behavior, that he or she is exempt from the rules that apply to others. Mesmerized followers accept that “it”—whatever “it” is—is permissible or not problematic because the rabbi/teacher has special reasons, or a special argument, or special circumstances, or special authority, to justify the behavior. Often, there is an accompanying condition: Don’t tell anyone about this, because no one else can understand.

This is most obvious in a sexual context, but any and every such instance is suspect. Are meetings and encounters taking place at times, places, and in circumstances that violate accepted norms and practices? Are improper communications passed between individuals? Are money, gifts, favors, special treatment being exchanged?

The sad list goes on. Unfortunately, in our community context, too many people who should know better willfully ignore such danger signs, arguing that the ends justify the means. The word “kiruv” frequently figures in such discussions. It takes a great deal of courage, and a great deal of conviction, to stand up against this type of activity.

We live in a time of extremes. Some of the religious leaders of our age have embarked on a battle against the world we live in. The argument that to be a loyal Jew (a “Torah Jew”) involves rejection of science and culture has to involve an emotional, not an intellectual position, and ipso facto it has to involve rejection—usually vehement rejection—of others. Parallel or analogous political positions and beliefs will generate similar behaviors. They all encourage extreme personalities. Tolerating, let alone encouraging, extreme personalities makes the group vulnerable to unhealthy influence and behavior.

We need charisma—it has an honorable history in leadership, certainly including models of Jewish leadership—but we need it to be combined with uncompromising, uncompromised, and comprehensive integrity. That integrity has to be religious, emotional, behavioral, and intellectual.

But it is very difficult to be a charismatic moderate!

[i]The character of the Pied Piper remains a seductive and sinister figure in folklore. According to legend, in 1284 130 children mysteriously disappeared from the medieval German city of Hamelin (Hameln). A man dressed in colorful (“pied”) clothing, and playing a pipe mesmerized the city’s children with his music. Bewitched, and entirely under his control, they blindly followed him out of the city to an unknown destination, and were never seen again. (Also by playing his pipe, he had lured the rats that plagued the city to their deaths by drowning in the local river. The town council refused to pay him for his services. In an act of revenge, he worked his magic on the children.) The poet Robert Browning (1812–1889) immortalized the story in verse (“The Pied Piper of Hamelin”).

Paul Shaviv had been the Director of Education at TanenbaumCHAT, the community high school of the Toronto Jewish community, since 1998. The school is the largest Jewish high school in the Diaspora, with almost 1,500 students (G9-G12) on two campuses. He subsequently served at Ramaz High School in New York, and currently is a highly regarded education consultant. He is originally from the UK, and was educated at Cambridge and Oxford Universities. In 2010 he published The Jewish High School: A Complete Management Guide. This article appears in issue 9 of Conversations, the journal of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals.


Thursday, August 15, 2019

For God, For Country, For freedom from abuse from the Church, Yeshivas, summer camps, Jeffrey Epstein, the Boy Scouts, donkeys, camels and goats ---- Moshiach NOW!

NY Courts Flooded With New Child Rape Cases Filed Today

Today was the first day to file molestation cases against your Priest, Rabbi, or Scout Master under New York’s Child Victim’s Act which has NO statute of limitations for a one year period
Agudath Israel and the Catholic Church for many years were the biggest lobbyists in the New York legislature trying to stop the State of New York from passing laws to extend the statute of limitations in child rape cases. This year New York passed a law that gives victims one year to file any lawsuit for molestation, with no limitation. After the one year window closes a victim can sue until he reaches the age of 55. The Catholic Church dropped opposition to these new laws when it was clear they would pass. 

 Agudath Israel, on the other hand, has engaged in fear mongering, publicly stating that Jewish day schools will face bankruptcy and close down if victims come forward and sue. Schools that harbor pedophiles should be shut down. Had the Catholic Church and Agudath reported pedophiles to the police, rather than protected them for all these years, there wouldn’t be rampant abuse and molestation in the Catholic, Jewish day schools and summer camps. 

Today the New York courts were swamped with new molestation filings under the Child Victim’s Act. Most of the cases were brought against the Catholic Church, the Archdiocese, the Boy Scouts and Jeffrey Epstein. I haven’t seen any new cases filed against Jewish institutions or Rabbis. If you have been molested by your rabbi thirty years ago I would suggest you contact Nahid A. Shaikh, of the giant powerhouse law firm of Robins Kaplan. Shaikh is an associate there and has been filing most of the cases against the Archdiocese. Shaikh graduated top in her class at Cordozo Law School, of Yeshiva University, and made Magna Cum Laude, and the Order of the Coif, whatever that is. According to Webster’s Dictionary a coif is a yarmulke for women. Shaikh is a common name in India. I don’t think Nahid is a Jewess, but you never know.

Nahid alleged in every one of her lawsuits, possibly hundreds, the following: “The hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church and, by implication these Defendants, have been aware of the serious problem of clergy sexual abuse of children since at least the 1800s.” You can read one of the many child abuse complaints she filed in New York County court today:

A woman named Jennifer Araoz filed a case against Jeffrey Epstein today, in which she alleged she was raped by him as a high school student when she was 14. She alleged that Epstein had a room filled with stuffed animals which he claimed he shot. She stated that Epstein had a room modeled after a room in the White House which he called “the Blue Room.” She also said that his bathroom had a pair of fake boobs on the wall so that he could look at them or play with them while he was in his bathtub. You can read her complaint below:

For God, For Country, For freedom from abuse from the Church, Yeshivas, summer camps, Jeffrey Epstein, the Boy Scouts,  donkeys, camels and goats --- Moshiach NOW! 


Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Looks like another child-rapist slipped through Mattisyahu Salomon's fingers! That makes at least 2 --- Right Matt?


West Bank man indicted in sexual abuse of 45 underage girls

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A West Bank man was arrested and indicted in the sexual abuse of 45 underage girls.

Uriah Assis, 26, of the haredi Orthodox Emmanuel settlement was indicted Sunday in Tel Aviv District Court. He allegedly used pseudonyms – including a swimming coach, a wealthy businessman and a woman — and contacted the girls on the internet over the last four years, the Kan public broadcaster reported.

The charges against Assis include rape or sodomy of a minor, indecent assault, sexual harassment, making threats, obstruction of justice and the possession and production of child pornography.

He is alleged to have asked the girls to send him nude or semi-nude photos, which he then threatened to post online if they went to the authorities. In some cases he asked them to sodomize themselves. He also met several of the girls in person, forcing himself on them, Ynet reported.

Assis’ attorney claimed that he suffered from schizophrenia. A psychiatric examination found that he was faking the mental illness and is fit to stand trial, The Times of Israel reported.
The prosecutor’s office asked that Assis remain in jail until trial.

Malka Leifer, who is accused of molesting several girls while the principal of a haredi Orthodox girls’ school in Australia, lived in Emmanuel for several years, feigning mental illness to prevent being extradited to Australia to stand trial. She has been in prison for over a year but has yet to be extradited.


Tuesday, August 13, 2019

“Where I come from, it’s really stuffed under the rug, though it’s starting to change,” she said matter-of-factly. Her wide, blue eyes stared straight ahead. She cited the case of another young woman in her community who accused her father of molesting her. “The whole community shut her up; they told her to leave in silence, so she left for Israel”


Orthodox Survivor Of Sex Abuse Exposes Traumas In New Film

You wouldn’t believe she’s only 20.

With no film schooling or experience, Baltimore native Miryam Rabinowitz has thrown herself into a film project that tells the story of sexual abuse — or rather, its lonely, complex aftermath.

“Still Feeling” tells the story of Yuval Goldenberg, a young woman who was abused during her childhood in an Israeli national religious community. Goldenberg, no longer Orthodox, is a singer and composer now. With an earthy voice, standing rather awkwardly, eyes half-closed, she lets song tell her pain.

Rabinowitz is a survivor of sexual abuse herself — and a graduate of the ultra-Orthodox Bais Yaakov girls school system.

“Most people around me don’t acknowledge the fact that I was abused at all,” she told me in an interview. “I have close friends who don’t acknowledge it. My film trailer was the first time I said it publicly. I’m making this documentary for my friends and family to be able to say, ‘This is for you to know how to talk about it with me.’

“I know it’s hard for people to process. When someone says they were raped by a family member, you’ll never be able to understand what that feels like, but you do understand that basic feeling of shame and suffering. It’s by empathy — through art and music — that we can come to understand another’s pain, rather than through intellectual understanding.”

In her forthcoming film, shot mostly in Tel Aviv, Rabinowitz shows Goldenberg talking about her music and her dissociation, as she bounces between her Orthodox family and her artist friends, many of whom are also survivors of abuse.

“Don’t assume that people are normal and happy,” Rabinowitz said. “My friend and I went along the same path. We wore the same school uniform. I went home and I was abused. She went home and she wasn’t. We lived parallel lives, except mine was covered in soot. I looked the same, but I may not have acted the same. Understand that I was in an upside-down world.”

Her film, now in postproduction, is a window into this world of childhood trauma.

“Where I come from, it’s really stuffed under the rug, though it’s starting to change,” she said matter-of-factly. Her wide, blue eyes stared straight ahead. She cited the case of another young woman in her community who accused her father of molesting her. “The whole community shut her up; they told her to leave in silence, so she left for Israel,” Rabinowitz said. “People say, ‘She’s crazy’; no one believed her. Yeah, she’s crazy. If your father is lying on top of you every night, suffocating you and raping you, of course you’re crazy. When you survive abuse, there’s always someone else in your head. You see it in Yuval.”

Rabinowitz didn’t go into too much detail about her own story, but years of abuse, and her subsequent turn to substance abuse, landed her in Retorno, an Israeli religious drug rehab center.

When she returned to the States, “straightened out” and “frum again,” her past as a vulnerable young woman continued to haunt her. When she was 18, a community member drove her home from an event and said he had to stop at his house to “get something,” inviting her in.

“I was 18 years old, and he was 70 years old, a very prominent person in the community,” she said. “He brought me to his house, and he did something to me.” After pausing, she continued, “When he drove me home, he said, ‘Wow, the things you make me do…. ’ I told a domestic abuse organization about what happened, and they told me, ‘If you go to the police, you have nothing on him; no one will believe you, and he will bury you.’”

That was the moment that she realized something needs to change. “I would be speaking to religious kids from different communities, from around the world, and everyone had a story, everyone knows someone who is affected by this,” she said. “We need everyone to finally be open and connect all those stories to make a difference.”

She rattles off harrowing story after story, name after name, with unnerving poise.

“My focus is not on the perpetrators. So instead I’ve turned to film to tell my story. My goal is to use Yuval’s story to de-stigmatize the issue of child sexual abuse. I hope to motivate people who have not experienced this trauma to take action to help victims.”

This story "Orthodox Survivor Of Sex Abuse Exposes Traumas In New Film" was written by Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt.


Monday, August 12, 2019

"These Jewish, false "profits", anti-Christian, anti-God… Listen, she is a witch, she is a jezebel, she is a God-hating whore of Zionism. I hope that God breaks her teeth out and she dies. She is a wicked person and she is, like, the perfect representation of religious Judaism."


Florida Pastor Calls On God To Kill Comedian Sarah Silverman For Being ‘A Witch’

Incitement to violence: Florida Pastor Adam Fannin calls on God to kill comedian Sarah Silverman because she is “a witch,” and “a Jezebel.”
Law and Crime reports:
Sarah Silverman on Thursday Tweeted a video clip of a Florida pastor delivering a vitriolic diatribe against the comedian to his congregation. In it, the pastor says he prays for her “untimely death” and adds that Silverman’s premature death would be the work of God. Silverman included a caption with the clip which read, “If I get murdered, start here,” and later wrote that the pastor “is going to get [her] killed.”
Silverman tweeted the following:
This is Adam Fannin of the Stedfast Baptist Church in Florida and he is going to get me killed.
Silverman should be alarmed. Fannin delivered a wildly anti-Semitic sermon in which he raged against the comedian for something she said in her comedy special “Jesus is Magic.”
In his sermon the raging baptist pastor declared:
These Jewish, false "profits", anti-Christian, anti-God… They’re willing to put Jesus to death again! Have you heard of this comedian Sarah Silverman? You guys know what I’m talking about? She brags about it! ‘I’d do it again!’ Listen, she is a witch, she is a jezebel, she is a God-hating whore of Zionism. I hope that God breaks her teeth out and she dies. She is a wicked person and she is, like, the perfect representation of religious Judaism.
Pastor Fannin continued:
I pray that God would give her an untimely death, and it would be evident that it’s at the hand of God. It would be obvious that God would judge her. I pray for the day.
Watch the video  Friendly Atheist:
Concerning Pastor Fannin, Newsweek reports:
Adam Fannin, formerly of the literalist Stedfast Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida, is the preacher in the disturbing video.
He is now part of the Law of Liberty Baptist Church, also in Jacksonville, following a recent scandal involving Stedfast that saw its leader admit to using sex workers.
Bottom line: Florida Pastor Adam Fannin calls on God to kill comedian Sarah Silverman because she is “a witch,” and “a Jezebel.”

Florida Pastor Calls On God To Kill Comedian Sarah Silverman For Being ‘A Witch’  (Image via Twitter)
Florida Pastor Calls On God To Kill Comedian Sarah Silverman For Being ‘A Witch’ (Image via Twitter)