Monday, December 08, 2008

From Main St. To Saddle River Road - Monsey, New York 10952

Beth Medrash Elyon
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Beth Medrash Elyon is a yeshiva in Spring Valley, New York. It was considered one of the elite yeshivas during the 1950s and 1960s. It closed sometime during the 1960s due to disagreements among the leaders of the yeshiva. Its Roshei Yeshiva have included Rabbis Reuven Grozovsky, Gedalia Schorr, and Yaacov Kamenetsky. Among its graduates are Rabbis Yisroel Belsky, J.D. Bleich, Yosef Goldman, Nosson Scherman, Moshe Leib Rabinovich (current Munkatcher Rebbe), Lipa Margolis, and Professor Aaron Twerski. The two brothers, Rabbis Dovid Shustel and Shlomo Feivel Shustel studied there as well. Their father Rabbi Simcha Shustel was the Rosh Kollel.

The yeshiva reopened in the recent years. It is currently headed by R' Don Ungarisher, who is the son-in-law of R' Reuven Grozovsky.


I'm sitting on a very humble couch, in a very humble living room, in a very, very humble house in Monsey, New York. My cousin Rabbi Menachem is speaking passionately with my father z"l, sitting to my right.

I'm very young - I'm hearing words that I never heard before in conjunction with rabbis and Orthodox Jews. NEVER!

"Forged deeds, forged signatures, fraudulent notary seals, grand theft, embezzlement, defrauding Yeshiva Torah Vodaath of millions of dollars." New homes - being built on land owned by Torah Vodaath - but the new legal entity with all the official looking title documents and seals, called Batei Elyon Inc., had as officers, people by the names of George Schorr and Louis Septimus. These homes were built on Saddle River Road right behind Bais Medrash Elyon, on parcels still owned by Yeshiva Torah Vodaath - Brooklyn, N.Y., a non-profit corporation --- the holy of holiest of all yeshivas, (even though they had scumbags passing through like Aron Twerski, Yisroel Belsky and Lipa Margulies)--- once upon a time! Rabbi Menachem is gesturing, hands flailing in the air, and brings, what seemed like 50 pounds of legal documents to the couch. I'm feeling very ill, sensitive stomachs run in my family. I barely made it to the bathroom --- I puked my guts out all over the place!

In the early 1940's --- Rabbi Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz ztvk"l, had a vision of building a Torah community in a town nobody ever heard of --- Monsey. He had already picked out the local grocer to-be - Mr. Stern - to house a kosher market for the "soon to be thriving" Torah community. The principal and the first rabbi of the new Torah community was selected; Yeshiva of Spring Valley and Congregation Bais Yisroel were on the drawing board to be headed by Rabbi Dov Greenbaum z"l - a son in-law of RSFM.

So he convinced anybody and everybody that had a dollar to their name, and had a Jewish name - to fund the purchase of this huge tract of land - acres and acres of farmland with a few farmhouses, from Main St. to Saddle River Road - on behalf of Yeshiva Torah Vodaath.

Mr. Moshe Fensterheim a"h - told me that RSFM was a man with no shame - he asked R' Moshe, a talmid, for maaser money (to tithe) from his wedding gifts. One can only imagine the amount of wedding money R' Moshe received.


They laughed and scoffed "what did he know about building communities?" - he beat them up --- badly! So badly --- their grandchildren and great-grandchildren are devout Orthodox Jews. How's that for revenge?

The transaction happened -- a post-graduate yeshiva and a kollel was established --- Aish Dos and Bais Medrash Elyon. The first out of town Orthodox training ground for future rebbes in yeshivas, and the first kollel of its kind on American soil. Now RSFM was ready to implement yet another "crazy idea" --- an organization that was going to create a yeshiva day school movement, providing authentic chinuch to Jewish children in every major American city --- Torah Umesorah.

Back to the humble couch in Monsey.....

(To be continued... not necessarily in consecutive posts)


Louis Septimus said...


Anatomy of a slander
by Jonathan Rosenblum
The Jewish Observer
August 2005

Moreover, between 1939 and 1941, the same years the Vaad was involved in the rescue of roshei yeshiva and yeshiva students, Zeirei Agudath Israel was busy almost around the clock procuring visas for Jews in Europe. Again, Zeirei’s services were available to all Jews. In that period, Zeirei’s visa office provided advice and assistance to 7,500 people. Between 50 and 60 cables reached the office per day. Unpaid young volunteers laboriously filled out visa forms that were four feet long and had to be filled out manually in sextuplet. Louis Septimus and other Zeirei members gathered hundreds of affidavits of financial support from clients, friends, and even complete strangers. Mike Tress, the head of Zeirei, traveled to Washington, D.C. weekly to argue appeals of those whose visa requests had been turned down. He succeeded in reversing the consular decisions in about 25% of the cases.

Most important, the Vaad’s efforts to procure visas for the leading European rabbis were not at the expense of efforts to save other Jews. The Vaad sought to bring those rabbis and roshei yeshiva into the United States on Special Emergency Visitors Visas, an initiative pioneered by the Jewish Labor Committee. Since these visas were above quota, and reserved only for persons of exceptional distinction, they did not take away from visas available to other Jews.

Moreover, only a very small percentage of the Special Emergency Visitors Visas went to roshei yeshiva. Eventually, 2,000 artists and intellectuals entered the country on such visas compared to no more than 40 Torah scholars. Why, one wonders, does Zuroff only condemn Orthodox particularism when every Jewish group was availing itself of the program in the same way and trying to save those most closely affiliated with it?

No faction was more guilty of particularism than the Zionists. With nearly 70,000 Palestine certificates in its control, the Jewish Agency did not issue a single one to the 3,000 Torah scholars stranded in Vilna.

Torah Vodaas in 1918 said...


RABBINICAL SEMINARY (1918). 425 E. 9 St., Brooklyn, N.Y., 11218. Chmn. of Bd. Louis Septimus; Sec. Earl H. Spero. Offers Hebrew and secular education from elementary
level through rabbinical ordination and post-graduate work; maintains a teachers institute, religious-functionaries department,
and community-service bureau; maintains a dormitory and a nonprofit summer-camp program for boys. Chronicle; Mesivta Vanguard; Thought of the Week; Torah Vodaath News.

ALUMNI ASSOCIATION (1941) 425 E. 9 St., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11218. Pres. Yitchak Feldman; Chmn. of Bd. Daniel Sukenik. Promotes social and cultural ties between the alumni and the school; supports the school through fund raising; offers vocational guidance to students; operates Camp Torah Vodaath; and sponsors research fellowship ?rogram for boys. Alumni News; Annual ournal; Hamesivta Torah Periodical.

BETH MEDROSH EL YON (ACADEMY OF HIGHER LEARNING AND REASEARCH) (1943). 73 Main St., Monsey, N.Y. 10952. Pres. Harry Harris; Chmn. of Bd. Meyer A. Shatz. Provides postgraduate courses and research work in higher Jewish studies;
offers scholarships and fellowships. Annual Journal.

Historical Bus Driver record said...

Did Margo drive a bus for BME up in Monsey too or just for YTV in Brooklyn?

whatisthedeal said...

Saw this on Tzig-

" is rabbi cunin meant to be taken literally?
http://hamercaz.com/hamercaz/site/mfile.php?id=3815 "

" Tzig
I just watched the Cunin video!
Man, I'm not feeling very happy with this.....
Cunin speaking in some shul before the dreadful news that Rabbi Holtzberg and the rest had been murdered says that now that the kid was saved everybody else would be saved and..... "We''ll show them all that its the Rebbe who runs the world"
Be honest, are you not troubled by this kind of shprach?
I see now that some of the "slip of tongues" and strange (to my ears at least)language used by the maspidim, is common fare in Lubavitch.
Please tell me I'm wrong."

Ezra Merkin said...


December 6, 2008

Chrysler’s Friends in High Places

In early November, as America’s automakers grasped for a lifeline from Washington, the Treasury secretary, Henry M. Paulson Jr., placed a call to his predecessor, John W. Snow. The topic: Chrysler L.L.C.

Chrysler is the smallest of the Big Three automakers, but it stands apart from its peers in another crucial respect. While General Motors and the Ford Motor Company are public corporations, Chrysler is controlled by one of the world’s richest and most secretive private investment companies.

That investment company is Mr. Snow’s employer, Cerberus Capital Management, which has used its wealth and deep connections in Washington to shape the debate over the foundering automakers to its advantage.

In recent weeks, Mr. Snow has personally lobbied Mr. Paulson and others for a federal rescue that would salvage Cerberus’s investments in Detroit. Cerberus has also deployed a corps of lobbyists and former government officials to secure a bailout and protect its interests.

Whether its efforts will work is unclear. But if they fail Cerberus and its partners could lose their daring bets on Detroit. Without a bailout Cerberus could lose about $2 billion and suffer a stinging blow to its reputation. With one it might eventually profit from its troubled deals.

Last year, Cerberus and about 100 co-investors bought 80.1 percent of Chrysler for $7.4 billion from the German carmaker Daimler. It also bought a controlling stake in GMAC, the finance arm of General Motors. Since then Chrysler has eliminated more than 30,000 jobs and struggled to keep itself afloat while its sales have plummeted. Cerberus is pressing to have Chrysler merge with G.M., but G.M. has said a tie-up is off the table. Chrysler is asking the government for $7 billion to get through the next few months.

Cerberus, named after the mythical three-headed dog that guards the gates of Hades, has a fierce reputation on Wall Street. Many bankers and investors are reluctant to talk openly about the company, which is renowned, even feared, for its hard-nosed deal-making.

But Cerberus is also pursuing its interests aggressively in Washington, where some lawmakers have questioned why the government should assist the privately owned Chrysler. In addition to Mr. Snow, the firm’s chairman, Cerberus’s Washington hands include Dan Quayle, the former vice president, and Billy J. Cooper, who has worked as partner at the lobbying firm Patton Boggs.

The firm has also hired Arnold I. Havens, a former general counsel of the Treasury Department; John B. Breaux, a former senator from Louisiana; David Hobbs, former assistant to President Bush for legislative affairs; and Christopher A. Smith, former chief of staff in the Treasury. So far this year, Cerberus has spent nearly $2 million on lobbying, while Chrysler has spent $5 million, according to Senate records. Ford has spent more than $5 million and G.M. $10 million.

Mark A. Neporent, the chief operating officer of Cerberus, said his company was focused on doing what was best for Chrysler and its employees, as well as for its own investors. Cerberus has pledged to forgo any fees that it might have collected on its Chrysler and GMAC investments if Chrysler receives money from the government, he said.

“We’re not in this for the money,” Mr. Neporent said in an interview earlier this week.

Such magnanimity would be a departure for Cerberus, which has a history of extracting profits quickly from its investments. The firm was co-founded in 1992 by Stephen A. Feinberg, a former trader at Drexel Burnham Lambert, the now defunct junk-bond powerhouse.

Mr. Feinberg has made a lot of money for himself and his investors. Between 2002 and 2007, as an unprecedented wave of buyouts tore through corporate America, Cerberus pulled money out of its portfolio companies more quickly than its peers in the buyout business, according to a study by Moody’s Investors Service.

“These guys are very financially astute, and they will do whatever the market will bear,” said John Rogers, a senior vice president at Moody’s who worked on the report.

Cerberus has not extracted dividends from Chrysler or GMAC, according to a Cerberus executive. But after Cerberus acquired Chrysler, it quickly split the car company from its finance unit, Chrysler Financial, with the hope of combining Chrysler Financial and GMAC.

Until recently Cerberus was rarely mentioned in Congress or by Chrysler in connection with efforts to stabilize the auto industry. But some lawmakers have begun voicing concern that bailing out Chrysler would amount to bailing out Cerberus. On Friday, Representative Maxine Waters, a California Democrat, pointed to Cerberus’s riches. “It seems to me that Cerberus is doing pretty well,” she said.

In an interview, Representative Elijah E. Cummings, a Democrat from Maryland, said he thought Cerberus should put more of its own money into Chrysler before asking for taxpayers’ help.

“I’m not saying they have to get all the money from Cerberus, but at least show a good faith effort,” Mr. Cummings said. “Chrysler should come back to Congress and say, ‘This is what we’ve asked Cerberus for, and this was their response.’ I think the public is due that.”

Of course, the public shareholders of Ford and General Motors would benefit from an industry rescue too. But it was not supposed to work out this way for Chrysler. When Cerberus bought the company, Mr. Snow, and indeed many in the auto industry, hailed Cerberus as a savior. In the summer of 2007, for instance, Mr. Snow referred to the government rescue of Chrysler in 1979 and suggested that this time, private equity would save Chrysler.

“Over 25 years ago, when Chrysler faced bankruptcy, it turned to the United States government for assistance,” Mr. Snow said at a National Press Club gathering in July 2007. “Today, Chrysler again faces new financial challenges. But it is private investment stepping in to inject much needed support.”

But last week Mr. Snow flew back to Washington to argue for a second rescue for Chrysler. Among those he met with was Robert F. Bennett, a Republican senator from Utah, according to a spokesman for the senator.

At a Senate hearing on Thursday, Mr. Bennett suggested that the government might help the automakers and require that Chrysler merge with G.M. — the outcome that Cerberus, though not Chrysler, favors, according to people familiar with the investment firm’s thinking.

“They are very, very well-connected,” said Harry Cendrowski, a consultant and co-author of the book “Private Equity: History, Governance and Operations.” Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee can attest to that. Last year, he was on vacation when his phone began ringing. It was Mr. Snow, and then Mr. Quayle, both calling on behalf of Cerberus. They wanted the senator to know that Cerberus opposed new fuel efficiency standards, Mr. Corker recalled. Days later, Mr. Feinberg visited Mr. Corker’s Washington office. Mr. Corker told Cerberus he was unmoved.

“I really did feel badly for these guys,” Mr. Corker, a Republican, said. But others point out that Chrysler landed on Cerberus’s lap practically free. The price it and its co-investors paid for their stake was roughly equal to the book value of Chrysler Financial. The car operation was just icing.

Mr. Snow and Mr. Feinberg declined to comment for this article. Cerberus does not have much of its own money riding on Chrysler and GMAC. The two investments amount to about 7 percent of its assets under management, and this past July Cerberus and its co-investors lent $2 billion to Chrysler. But its reputation is at stake, and it is eager to keep Chrysler and GMAC out of bankruptcy.

“They made a very big bet on a sector that had a lot of risk in it,” said David Bullock, managing director at Advent Capital Management. Advent, a hedge fund that owns GMAC bonds, wrote a letter this fall encouraging GMAC to become a bank holding company, which would enable it to tap federal money.

“They thought they could change the world,” Mr. Bullock said. “and they didn’t.”

Where is Belsky stranded? said...

The meat spoils when this happens but is probably later salvaged to be sold to unsuspecting buyers.


In other action, some Agriprocessors trucks have also been repossessed.

Other drivers have been stranded on the road when company credit cards are refused for purchases of fuel.

British Agudah Fresser said...


Rabbi Gershon Finesilver, who attended the event on behalf of the London Beit Din (LBD), called the event "amazing." It was the London-based rabbi's first time staffing a Kosherfest booth and he likened the event (and the concomitant sampling) to "a very large Kiddush. You're nibbling all day."

steve said...


Monday, 12/8, 12 p.m.: Bais Faiga Girls Elementary School of Lakewood is closed today, as we reported here on Matzav.com. Hundreds of girls are home, requiring many parents to take off from work or fathers to stay home from yeshiva or kollel. A number of day camps have been arranged (see here) to keep the girls occupied during their day off. The usually busy block of Courtney Road between Madison and Clifton Avenues, and the busy area around Bais Faiga’s Gratter Building on Park Avenue South are both empty, with no buses or students in sight.

Arthur said...

Yossi Klein Halevi, The New Republic Published: Thursday, December 04, 2008

Jerusalem, Israel
Gavriel and Rivkie Holtzberg, the young Israeli couple who ran the Chabad House in Mumbai and were murdered there by jihadists, died bound and helpless, like those Jewish martyrs disparaged for their quietism by the Zionist ethos. Ultra-Orthodox Jews, the Holtzbergs never served in the Israeli army--yet when they were buried on Tuesday, Israeli society mourned as though they were fallen soldiers. When their coffins arrived at Ben-Gurion Airport, they were draped in the national flag. Israeli leaders, including President Shimon Peres, who doesn't usually attend the funerals of terror victims, came to the Holtzbergs' funeral. When I came into work that morning, I found the young woman in the room beside mine weeping.

The devastating scene of the Holtzbergs' surviving two-year-old son, Moishe, calling out for his mother during a memorial service, was repeatedly shown on TV. But Israelis weren't only mourning the destruction of the Holtzberg family; they were mourning the loss of national heroes. Newspaper accounts recalled how Gavriel bribed prison guards in India to smuggle in wine for Shabbat to an Israeli inmate held on drug charges. Even after they lost a child to Tay-Sachs disease, the Holtzbergs insisted on remaining at their post--to continue, as Gavriel explained, "to do mitzvas," fulfill the commandment to help their fellow Jews.

In embracing the Holtzbergs, Israelis were restoring to the national ethos the old concept of kiddush hashem, religious martrydom--confirming a process that began with the 1973 Yom Kippur War. The iconic image of that war was a photograph of a religious soldier being led into Egyptian activity as he carried a Torah scroll. That image was so jarring precisely because it cast an Israeli soldier in the role of a pre-Zionist model of heroism. Since then, all our wars have ended inconclusively, expressions of the limitations of power. The more nuanced Israeli attitudes toward heroism are reflected in Jerusalem's renovated Yad Vashem Holocaust museum, which now not only extols the secular heroes, like partisans and ghetto fighters, but also those who responded to dehumanization by maintaining their religious dignity, running underground schools and prayer groups.

Since the Mumbai massacre, there have been calls here for the Israeli government to subsidize security at Chabad houses across the globe, seen by Israelis as extensions of home. "Our Chabad," summed up one headline on an Israeli news web site. The warmth with which so many Israelis have responded to Chabad proves--along with the growing popularity of prayer lyrics in Israeli rock music and of informal "secular" prayer groups spreading in Tel Aviv and elsewhere--that large parts of Israeli society may be entering a post-secular phase.

Still, it is doubtful the country would have reacted with the same emotional intensity had the Holtzbergs been ordinary ultra-Orthodox Jews rather than Chabadniks. Mainstream Israelis resent ultra-Orthodox Jews for separating from the state and its obligations even as they demand that it subsidize their separatism. Chabad neither separates nor demands, but gives. Israelis encounter Chabad's embrace most often abroad. When our young people just out of the army travel the most remote corners of the world (because military service doesn't provide enough dangers and thrills), they invariably encounter a Chabad house.

Israelis also love Chabadniks for their courage: Rivkie and Gavriel weren't yet buried when Rivkie's father announced his intention of taking over their work in the Mumbai Chabad house. Though few Chabadniks are drafted into the army, they don't avoid danger zones: Chabad activists rush to the front lines during war, providing religious services and dancing with soldiers to raise morale. One friend told me about her sister who was serving in a border post so sensitive that a visitor required special permission from the general in command of the front: "And then who shows up on Hanukah with jelly donuts? Chabadniks."

Contrast Chabad's embrace of the Israeli ethos with ultra-Orthodox anti-Zionists--one of whom, Leibish Teitelbaum, a member of the Satmar hasidic sect, was killed in Mumbai. Teitelbaum's family demanded that his coffin not be draped in the Israeli flag, even though his body had been retrieved and flown home by the Israeli government--a reminder that Jewish anti-Zionism is less an ideology than a character flaw, a lack of capacity for gratitude. Chabad defines itself by its love for every Jew; the anti-Zionists define themselves by the Jews they despise.

Israeli society reciprocated the Teitelbaums' contempt, barely noting that other funeral. Watching the mutual estrangement that even a common Jewish death couldn't heal, it felt like one of those moments in Jewish history when schismatic sects evolve into separate faiths.

Israelis know Chabad's flaws--the cars mounted with the late Rebbe's photograph and the words "Welcome King Messiah," the replicas built around Israel of the Rebbe's house in Brooklyn, complete with red bricks chipped in all the original places. And also Chabad's hardline politics: There was no territorial compromise, including Israel's withdrawal from Sinai in 1982, that Chabad didn't vehemently oppose. But many Israelis overlook the messianic looniness and the political rigidity because they crave a connection with a form of traditional Judaism that loves them unconditionally. And though it's rare in Israel's grudging public discourse to express gratitude, this week at least, Israelis offered Chabad that same unconditional love in return.

Yossi Klein Halevi is a contributing editor at The New Republic and a senior fellow at the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies of the Shalem Center in Jerusalem.

Anonymous said...

Hey Steve, this has nothing to do with not paying on time.

There is a machlokes in the school. The fundraiser is involved and went on strike. All the teachers were told at the beginning of the year that they will not get paid until the machlokes is resolved. The teachers chose to remain and teach. Kudos to them.

Machlokes is bad, and it's sad. But that is not the issue right now. Sadly, it seems that the machlokes is reality right now.

They all know they will get paid when this machlokes is resolved. The strike that was called today is part of the machlokes. It's a pressure tactic being used by one side against the other side IN THE MACHLOKES.

Before this machlokes, teachers at Bais Faiga were paid on time for many years already.

Steve, get your facts straight.

Bais Faiga reject said...

i will also add my two cents on Bais Faiga.

The "owner" has the money if he wanted to pay. Dirty politics is playing a role, and the teachers are the pawns in this endless game.

The BMG Roshei Yeshiva should be commended for standing up for what is right, and trying to get rid of the "boss" of Bais Faiga, who didn't let my daughter in because I work. If only the Roshei Yeshiva Shlita would have had their way and had thrown this idiot out before, many working parents would feel at home in Lakewood.

But of course, why would "the boss" listen to the Roshei Yeshiva. Chas Vesholom to let in working parents!!

So finally the Roshei Yeshiva and R' Matisyahu told the teachers to strike. Thank you. Maybe something good will come out of this.

Tell "the boss" to pay the millions he has in his bank account to the teachers, and then to skip town.

Arthur said...

Rabbi David Leibtag
To Find Meaning in Tragedy

By Rabbi David Leibtag - Head of School- Hebrew Academy of Five Towns & Rockaway

It has been a just a few days since we received the horrific and tragic reports from the Mumbai massacre. Last Friday, as Jewish communities from Jerusalem to New York prepared to light candles to usher in the Shabbat, news reports confirmed the dark reality that a young Rabbi and Rebbitzen were among the nearly 200 innocent people murdered by the Islamic militant terrorists. Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, Hy"d, the shlichim of the Chabad House, were among six Israeli citizens killed at that Jewish community center during the city's three-day terror siege.

It is always difficult and perplexing to find meaning in tragedy. While much has and will be written about these kedoshim (those who are murdered because they are Jewish), my thoughts are with the lone survivor of the massacre. The survivor is the young couple's son Moshe, who miraculously escaped the carnage in the arms of a brave nanny. Perhaps because I am an educator, I was particularly moved by the innocence of this child and his unimaginable situation. At a memorial service in India, the tears of baby Moshe and his cries of "Mommy, mommy, mommy!" penetrated my heart. What will he remember? How will he overcome? What images will remain? What will be his lasting memories of his parents?

As I continued to ponder these enigmatic questions, I began to speculate how all children would respond to the same questions. Then I wondered how often parents reflect on what memories and life lessons they want to leave for their children. What is the genuine inheritance we want to bequeath to our boys and girls? Ask yourself the unthinkable question: What life lessons would you leave to your children tomorrow if you were to suddenly leave this earth today? It is not an easy question and its contemplation may make you feel uncomfortable. Nevertheless, it is a question that requires an answer. It is my belief that parents must transmit three vital messages to insure that their children will live a meaningful Jewish life. These messages should be the legacy of every Jewish Parent.

The first lesson to teach our children is that they share a common bond of history and destiny. We belong to a People who have been entrusted with a sacred tradition. And as a parent, you have to communicate and say: "my child, you must always remember that you are an essential part of that tradition. Never forget that you are a Jew." The second lesson is to transmit by personal example that they have a responsibility as Jews to bring goodness into the World. This is achieved by actively promoting tzedek and mishpat (righteousness and justice). And as a parent, you have to declare: "my child, you are here to help others, to prevent harm and to preserve the dignity of all people." The final lesson to impart to our children is our unconditional love we have for them. This love transcends time and space. Even in our absence there is an eternal bond between parents and children that is intimately coupled with the love of G-d. And as a parent, you have to express: "my child, my love is forever, you will never be alone." In sum, children need to understand that they belong, they have purpose, and they are loved. It is axiomatic that these messages are not learned from a textbook, but rather are absorbed experientially.

Baby Moshe only knew his parents for two years. However, I am certain that his parents ingrained in his soul these axioms of Jewish life because they were Lubavitch Shlichim. During my three decades in Jewish Education, I have had the privilege and good fortune to have collaborated with many Chabad families. They all share a common mission which can be encapsulated in these three messages. Their openness to Jews of varied backgrounds and levels of observance speaks to their active belief in a shared history and destiny. Their untiring efforts to provide food and shelter to the needy and religious guidance to the spiritually lost helps each individual find dignity and purpose. And their advocacy for moral and ethical causes attests to their commitment to tzedek and mishpat. The innumerable numbers of guests who find a home in the countless Chabad Centers throughout the world is evidence of their total acceptance and affection for all Jews. The warmth and sincerity they exhibit is legendary and truly demonstrates a profound sense of love and caring. This is what motivated Rabbi and Rebbitzen Holtzberg, Hyd, to relocate to India and establish a Chabad House in Mumbai. And it is in this environment that they raised baby Moshe. The most significant memories that will remain with baby Moshe will be the images of his loving parents welcoming guests with a warm smile, a hug and a kiss. He will remember the singing, dancing and complete joy that permeated his home. These memories will serve as the foundation for his life. They will guide him as he grows, matures and begins building his own family.

It is instructive to note that in the beginning of this week's Parshat Vayeitzei, Hashem communicates to Yaakov a similar three part message in the famous dream with the imagery of the ladder and malachim (see Beraisheet 14:13-15). G-d begins by reminding Yaakov of his historical roots and the destiny of his progeny. He continues by foretelling that Yaakov's descendents will bring blessing upon all the families of the earth. The commentaries clarify that this will come about through the performance of mitzvoth. And finally, Hashem promises Yaakov that "I will be with you and guard you wherever you go." These three messages set the foundation for Yaakov Avinu to raise a family that would become Am Yisrael. These are the foundation stones upon which Rabbi Gavrial and Rivka Holtzberg raised a family and established a Chabad House. And these will serve as the foundation stones for building baby Moshe's life.

It will be up to historians to determine if the massacre of Mumbai is a transformational event in world history. But from a Jewish perspective every event in our lives has the potential to be transformational. As a People we place our trust in Hashem who will lead us "mafailah l'orah" - "from darkness to light." We will recover from this horrific tragedy and transform our lives and lives of our children if we remember baby Moshe.

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...

R' Arthur,

Bikvodcha --- when there are Chabadniks at the top of the movement like S.B. Cunin in L.A. - mouthing "the Rebbe controls the world"... the movement with many wonderful people, have a serious problem IMO.

Malach HaMovies said...

Didn't reb yakov z'l live on saddle river road ? Another question ? Did reb yakov's move to monsey have anything to do with all of this history ?

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...

R' Malach,

I will eventually, slowly get to the history you have asked for.

R' Yaakov ztvk"l did live on Saddle River Road by coincidence, and not on YTV property.

Yes, R' Yaakov retired very early - he did not have the koach to fight the rishus -- although he tried for some 15 years.

Arthur said...

Words Do Matter
Filed by Yaakov Menken
You may have read it here first, but the NY Times’ nonsensical, even demented speculation that the Mumbai Chabad house might have been “an accidental hostage scene” has cascaded through the hands of many media critics. Mark Steyn, in particular, so precisely echoed my own sentiments on the matter that I could almost wonder if he’s now reading Cross-Currents:

Hmm. Greater Bombay forms one of the world’s five biggest cities. It has a population of nearly 20 million. But only one Jewish center, located in a building that gives no external clue as to the bounty waiting therein. An “accidental hostage scene” that one of the “practitioners” just happened to stumble upon? “I must be the luckiest jihadist in town. What are the odds?”

Those critics found many additional examples scattered throughout the international media of what Andrew McCarthy calls Willful Blindness, “the refusal among academics and political leaders to confront fundamentalist Islamic tenets, the 800-pound gorilla that is somehow always in the middle of the room when terror strikes.” Caroline Glick goes a step further, calling it “The jihadist-multicultural alliance.” [Thanks to Scott Johnson of Power Line for these sources.]

Again and again, the media bent over backwards to avoid labeling the perpetrators of the Mumbai massacre “Islamic” “terrorists,” to avoid identifying their preferred victims as “Jews,” and to avoid placing the blame where it belonged: upon the murderers and their Islamic clerics, rather than their innocent victims. Tom Gross provided a litany of examples in the National Review:

Why are so many prominent Western media reluctant to call the perpetrators terrorists? Why did Jon Snow, one of Britain’s most respected TV journalists, use the word practitioners when referring to the Mumbai terrorists? Was he perhaps confusing them with doctors? Why did Reuters describe the motivation of the terrorists, which it preferred to call gunmen, as unknown?… Why did Britain’s highly regarded Channel 4 News state that the militants showed a wanton disregard for race or creed when exactly the opposite was true?

What are we to think when even such a renowned publication as the Times of London feels the need to refer to terrorists as “militants”, rather than calling them by their right name? “Militant”, after all, can be a neutral term in many contexts, and a favorable one in others. What is the motivation of journalists in trying to mangle language? Do they somehow wish to express sympathy for these murderers, or perhaps make their crimes seem almost acceptable? How are we going to effectively confront terrorists when we can’t even identify them as such?…

For most of the Mumbai siege, the BBC went out of its way to avoid reporting that the Jewish community center was one of the seven targets. At one point viewers were told that “an office building” had been targeted (referring to the Jewish center as such).

Has the New York Times learned anything since the Holocaust when, even after the war ended in the spring of 1945, the paper infamously refused to report that the Hungarians, Czechs, Slovaks, Germans and so on killed in the camps had been Jews, and killed as Jews?

Dozens of eyewitness accounts by local Indians said the gunmen shouted “Allah Akbar” from the Jewish center. It is housed in a non-descript block and is not obviously marked from the outside as a Jewish center. It is the one Jewish building in a densely crowded city of millions. And the Times, the self-proclaimed paper of record, wants to let readers think it might have been “an accidental target”?

Gross’ last example should remind us that the NY Times was no better during the war itself, when its ability to reach the American people could have made a difference. Instead, the NY Times and other media deliberately failed to report the extent of the Nazi Holocaust, in a conspiracy of silence that abetted the Holocaust. Public outcry might otherwise have ensured that the train routes to the death camps were actually bombed, something FDR (who was held in the highest esteem by the then-dominant Reform Jewish leaders in the US) could not manage to do, although bombs were dropped on other targets five miles away.

The Times was not satisfied to speculate about the attack on Mumbai’s Chabad house while the battle was ongoing, and one could attempt to say that it was simply reporting the fact that “it is not known” if it was “an accidental target” in much the same way that it could not have been proven at the time that the attackers were not from Finland. No, the Times repeated this same line a day later, in its article announcing the death of Rabbi and Mrs. Holtzberg, when Indian doctors were already on record decrying the barbaric torture specifically visited upon the Jewish victims before they were murdered. Whether it was “willful blindness,” “the jihadist-multicultural alliance,” or plain old anti-Semitism, what it was not, by any stretch of the imagination, was unbiased reporting or an innocent slip.

The Times called the Chabad house an “unlikely” target, whether or not it was chosen or accidental. Words matter, and the distortion of language can and will affect our ability to confront evil. If we don’t call them terrorists, we’re not going to fight them as terrorists. If we don’t recognize that Jewish targets are anything but coincidental, we will fail to understand why “disproportionate” protection is warranted.

It’s wonderful to talk about being race-blind, but the Secret Service isn’t quite so blind (or foolish) as to fail to acknowledge that the President-elect they call “Renegade” is being targeted by a really nasty cadre of people who would be all too happy to ignite a race war in this country. Similarly, it is blind and/or suicidal to ignore the affiliation of these terrorists with radical Islam, and blind and/or anti-Semitic to ignore the likelihood that Jewish institutions will be their targets.

Arthur said...

To Reb UOJ
"-- when there are Chabadniks at the top of the movement like S.B. Cunin in L.A. - mouthing "the Rebbe controls the world"
I went to yeshiva with this guy.There is no doubt that he has done terrific work in California but er iz alemol ceven ah rainer tzudraiter meshgene.He's ticked of quite a lot of people in Chabad with his shoot from the hip verbosity.

Anonymous said...

To commenter Torah Vodaath 1918, you've got the wrong dates all over the place.

Anonymous said...

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court has turned down an emergency appeal from a New Jersey man who says President-elect Barack Obama is ineligible to be president because he was a British subject at birth. The court did not comment on its order Monday rejecting the call by Leo Donofrio of East Brunswick, N.J., to intervene in the presidential election.

Donofrio says that since Obama had dual nationality at birth — his mother was American and his Kenyan father at the time was a British subject — he cannot possibly be a "natural born citizen," one of the requirements the Constitution lists for eligibility to be president.

Donofrio also contends that two other candidates, Republican John McCain and Socialist Workers candidate Roger Calero, also are not natural-born citizens and thus ineligible to be president.

At least one other appeal over Obama's citizenship remains at the court. Philip J. Berg of Lafayette Hill, Pa., argues that Obama was born in Kenya, not Hawaii as Obama says and Hawaii officials have confirmed.

Berg says Obama also may be a citizen of Indonesia, where he lived as a boy. Federal courts in Pennsylvania have dismissed Berg's lawsuit. Federal courts in Ohio and Washington state have rejected similar lawsuits.

Allegations raised on the Internet say the birth certificate, showing that Obama was born in Hawaii on Aug. 4, 1961, is a fake.

But Hawaii Health Department Director Dr. Chiyome Fukino and the state's registrar of vital statistics, Alvin Onaka, say they checked health department records and have determined there's no doubt Obama was born in Hawaii.

The nonpartisan Web site Factcheck.org examined the original document and said it does have a raised seal and the usual evidence of a genuine document.

In addition, Factcheck.org reproduced an announcement of Obama's birth, including his parents' address in Honolulu, that was published in the Honolulu Advertiser on Aug. 13, 1961.

(This version CORRECTS that Hawaii officials, not secretary of state, confirmed Obama birth certificate.)

steve said...

Hey Steve, this has nothing to do with not paying on time

That makes it even worse. What right do they have to withhold their hard earned measly pay? It's against the Torah and against every law in the book. Meanwhile, I know for a fact that teachers in Brooklyn haven't been paid for months. Some have not been paid for March yet.

Rabbi Simcha Klor said...

"It's against the Torah and against every law in the book. Meanwhile, I know for a fact that teachers in Brooklyn haven't been paid for months. Some have not been paid for March yet."

Hey Steve:

You think I care what the Torah says? There are teachers and Rabbeim who I haven't paid for many months, even years. Just ask Yeshiva Ruach Chaim and Yeshiva of Kings Bay. I'm a ganav and proud of it.

browser said...

how is it possible that a great tzadik like RSFM z"l has a grandson like you?

brooklyn refugee said...

Yesterday at the Israel High Court. Mondrowitz appeal. Looks like he's going win his appeal and get off. No extradition. Have to wait for the ruling, but the hearing did not favor the prosecution

Arthur said...

Media Ignore Militants' Muslim Identity - Mark Steyn
In the assault on Bombay, much of the media abandoned offending formulations - "Islamic terrorists," "Muslim extremists" - and found it easier to call the perpetrators "militants" or "gunmen" or "teenage gunmen." The veteran British TV anchor Jon Snow opted for the more cryptic "practitioners." At the Habad House, the murdered Jews were described in almost all the Western media as "ultra-Orthodox," "ultra" in this instance being less a term of theological precision than a generalized code for "strange, weird people, nothing against them personally, but they probably shouldn't have been over there in the first place." Are they stranger or weirder than their killers?
The New York Times was being silly in suggesting this was just an "accidental" hostage opportunity - and not just because, when Muslim terrorists capture Jews it's not a hostage situation, it's a mass murder-in-waiting. The sole surviving "militant" revealed that the Jewish center had been targeted a year in advance. (Washington Times)

Anonymous said...

Rav UOJ,
I think a lot of the comments to this latest post are missing the point...the post. I'm too young to remember any of this, but I am intrigued by part 1 of this story. I am also saddened to see the "f" word...as in "fraud" come up in such a holy undertaking by RSFM. It sounds like if there were more like him, the state of Judaism would be much different today. Very sad.

...and to you Browser...you just don't get it. UOJ continues RSFM's holy work...different time, different way...one day it will all be clear.

Vos Zogt Boog? said...

In the running for Hillary Clinton's Senate seat:

Caroline Kennedy
Carolyn Baloney
Openly gay commi Randi Weingarten
Andrew Cuomo
Fran Drescher

Marc Dreier said...


A Park Avenue lawyer who repped Michael Strahan, Jon Bon Jovi and Jay Leno was busted Monday for a "brazen fraud" that swindled two top hedge funds of $100 million.

Marc Dreier, 58, appeared in Manhattan Federal Court wearing a long-sleeved gray sweatshirt, jeans and a weary, confused look. He glanced back at family members but failed to acknowledge them.

Dreier's arrest on wire and securities fraud charges was the latest in a series of bizarre episodes in the life of the Yale grad and Harvard Law School alum who ran the 250-member firm Dreier LLP.

He was busted in Toronto last week on impersonation charges in another multimillion-dollar deal.

"This is a very complicated matter, and the facts are beyond reach of a sound bite," said his lawyer, Gerald Shargel.

Shargel asked Magistrate Judge Douglas Eaton to move his client to a federal lockup in Brooklyn from a special housing unit in Manhattan that has held terrorists and other high-profile clients.

On Thursday, Eaton will consider a request to release Dreier on bail ahead of trial.

Also yesterday, the Securities and Exchange Commission accused Dreier of scheming to raise some $113 million from the sale of bogus promissory notes.

"Our complaint alleges a stunning, brazen fraud that targeted some very sophisticated institutional investors," said Linda Chatman Thomsen, director of the SEC's Division of Enforcement.

"Investors big and small should take heed, especially in these difficult economic times, that con artists are out there and may go to elaborate lengths to commit fraud."

A cooperating witness taped Dreier saying he knew the financial statements he gave to hedge funds were phony, prosecutors charged in a criminal complaint.

Dreier's 12-year-old firm canceled a holiday party scheduled for last week at the WaldorfAstoria.

In the Toronto case, Dreier went to a meeting between the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan and Fortress Credit Opportunities, allegedly handing out a business card belonging to lawyer Michael Padfield.

Archie Bunker said...

Yes we can!

Find a Chicago politician who isn't dirty and who isn't connected to Obama.


Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois was arrested by federal authorities on Tuesday morning and charged with corruption, including an allegation that he conspired to profit from his authority to appoint President-elect Barack Obama’s successor in the United States Senate, prosecutors said.

As Mr. Blagojevich, a Democrat, mulled the Senate appointment, prosecutors say, he discussed gaining “a substantial salary” at a nonprofit foundation or organization connected to labor unions, placing his wife on corporate boards where she might earn as much as $150,000 a year and trying to gain promises of campaign money, or even a cabinet post or ambassadorship, for himself.

A 76-page affidavit from the United States Attorney’s office in the Northern District of Illinois says Mr. Blagojevich (pronounced bluh-GOY-uh-vich) was heard on wiretaps over the last month planning to “sell or trade Illinois’ United States Senate seat vacated by Pres-elect Barack Obama for financial and personal benefits for himself and his wife.”

The charges are part of a five-year investigation into public corruption and allegations of “pay to play” deals in the clubby world of Illinois politics. Federal authorities said Mr. Blagojevich’s chief of staff, John Harris, was also indicted on Tuesday. Both men are expected to appear in federal court for the first time later Tuesday.

Mr. Blagojevich, a Democrat in his second term who came into office in 2002, portrayed himself as a reformer after the one-term of the former governor, George Ryan, who was convicted of racketeering and fraud in 2006.

For more than a year, members of Mr. Blagojevich’s administration have been under investigation. But few here have imagined that the decision on replacing Mr. Obama might have resulted in criminal charges.

In addition to the charges related to Mr. Obama’s Senate seat, Mr. Blagojevich is accused of crimes related to past behavior. As part of the charges, he is accused, prosecutors say, of working to gain benefits for himself, his family and his campaign fund in exchange for appointments to state boards and commissions.

Under Illinois law, Mr. Blagojevich has sole authority to fill the seat being vacated by Mr. Obama, who was elected to the Senate in 2004.

According to the indictment, while talking on the telephone about the Senate seat replacement with his chief of staff and an adviser, Mr. Blagojevich said he needed to consider his family and their financial struggles. “I want to make money,” he said, according to prosecutors. He then added, they allege, that he wanted to make $250,000 to $300,000 a year.

In a release, Patrick Fitzgerald, the prosecutor, said Mr. Blagojevich “put a for sale sign on the naming of a United States Senator.”

Mr. Blagojevich even contemplated stepping into the Senate himself, prosecutors said.

“I’m going to keep this Senate option for me a real possibility, you know, and therefore I can drive a hard bargain,” Mr. Blagojevich said in a recorded conversation with an adviser, according to the affidavit. “You hear what I’m saying. And if I don’t get what I want and I’m not satisfied with it, then I’ll just take the Senate seat myself.”

According to the affidavit from prosecutors, Mr. Blagojevich told an adviser last week that he might “get some (money) upfront, maybe” from one of the candidates hoping to replace Mr. Obama. That person was identified only as “Candidate 5.”

In an earlier recorded conversation, prosecutors say, Mr. Blagojevich said he was approached by an associate of “Candidate 5” with an offer of $500,000 in exchange for the Senate seat.

The authorities also say Mr. Blagojevich threatened to withhold state assistance from the Tribune Company, the publisher of the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times, which filed for bankruptcy on Monday. According to the authorities, Mr. Blagojevich wanted members of the Tribune’s editorial board, who had criticized him, to be fired before he extended any state assistance.

An official at the governor’s office had no immediate comment on Tuesday. A telephone message left at Mr. Obama’s transition office was not immediately returned.

Anonymous said...

Dear Steve,

Of course not paying the teachers in Bais Faiga is terrible, and the fact that the "boss" has the money makes it even worse. However, your original post claims that this is a "yeshiva world problem", and I'd like to set your facts straight.

The person wittholding the money is not a yeshiva man, he is a bandit. The reps of the yeshiva worls, in this case the Roshei Yeshiva of BMG, have been trying for years to oust this man, unsuccessfully. They would love nothing more than seeing this man out of Bais Faiga. But alas, they don't have the power to fight this man, who is very powerful and very protected by his rich buddies.

In fact, my info tells me that R' Matisyahu is trying to raise the funds from outside sources to pay the teachers.

As far as other schools are concerned, yes the economy is in the gutter, and Mosdos suffer the most. How about donating some $ to help pay the teachers?!

If you want to bash the Yeshiva world, no problem, there's alot of bashing to do. To use the example of Bais Faiga not paying their teachers is simply twisting the facts. The yeshiva world, represented in this case by R' Malkiel and co are the victims in this sad story.

Lakewooder said...


One of the reasons the Roshei Yeshiva of BMG want "the boss" out is because this "boss" will not accept children of a working father. The Roshei Yeshiva want ALL children accepted.

You gotta give credit where credit is due

Anonymous said...

LandAmerica Financial Group Inc., the third-largest U.S. title insurer, filed for bankruptcy after facing four straight quarterly losses due to the decline in housing sales.

Moetzes Resign! said...


Two board members of General Growth Properties Inc. marched into CEO John Bucksbaum's office to deliver a blunt message: It was time for him to resign.

An internal investigation showed that Mr. Bucksbaum's family trust had violated company policy by making private loans to two company officers and failing to inform the board. The departure of Mr. Bucksbaum -- whose father and uncle founded the giant mall owner 54 years ago -- would mark an end to the family's management control of the company.

Yet the harm to the legacy and the fortune of the Bucksbaum family -- one of the richest and oldest real-estate dynasties in America -- had already been done. Aside from the loans, made to prevent a massive stock selloff by executives, Mr. Bucksbaum and his deputies in recent years loaded the company with debts totaling more than $27 billion. General Growth's stock has plunged more than 97% in the past year, dragging down the Bucksbaum family fortunes with it. The Bucksbaums' 25% ownership stake, worth $3.2 billion just six months ago, is now worth $116 million.

The family could lose General Growth altogether, along with three generations of hard work that began with a grocery store in Iowa. If the company can't negotiate new terms with lenders by midnight Friday, and those banks declare the company in default, General Growth has told investors it could file for Chapter 11 -- creating one of the largest bankruptcies ever in real estate.

Arthur said...

Good-bye, Norma in jeans

If in today's global village we are all linked by six degrees of separation, in the hothouse of contemporary Israel people are even more intimately connected. The entire country boarded an emotional roller coaster when news broke November 27 of multiple terrorist attacks in Mumbai including the city's Chabad House - a well-known oasis for Israeli backpackers and businessmen in India.

The next day, Thursday, my colleagues and I on a trip to Jaffa were glued to our cell phones for breaking news. That Friday we got a respite for Shabbat.

But the news only got grimmer following the weekend. We soon learned with certainty that six people had been murdered at the Lubavitch center, along with 168 others killed during the deadly three-day rampage.

The bodies of the Chabad House's saintly staff, Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, were identified, along with those of Yocheved Orpaz, Ben Tzion Chroman and Rabbi Leibish Teitelbaum. All were Israelis or Jews living here.

The identity of the sixth shattered corpse remained unknown.

ON MONDAY I picked up a copy of Haaretz to see a blurry passport picture on Page 1 with the headline "6th victim at Chabad House identified." The fuzzy photo showed a short-haired brunette with a slightly familiar countenance. Reading the article, I had a sickening feeling of recognition. I quickly realized it was my friend Norma Schvarzblatt-Rabinowitz, 50, a multitalented artist and multilingual bon vivant from Mexico City who I had met on vacation in January in Sinai - and who had accepted my invitation to join my wife and I at our Shabbat table in Jerusalem.

Norma, a vivacious peroxide blonde in blue jeans, had confided in us about her difficult divorce. She wanted to reconnect with her two adult children living in Israel, she said. I encouraged her to consider making Israel her home, an aliya spiel I invariably give my overseas Jewish guests.

Norma said she first wanted to travel to India, partly to be with Irene Young, a fellow global traveler she had met at our Sinai campsite.

The two trekked through India, even as Norma considered what I had told her about Israel being a welcoming place to repair her life and reconnect her family. Settling at Mumbai's open-door Chabad House, she opened an immigration file with the Jewish Agency office there.

ON DECEMBER 1 she was scheduled to fly home to Israel on a one-way ticket. The travel arrangements would allow her to be with her son Manuel, studying at a Bnei Brak yeshiva, on his 19th birthday. Instead she was buried the following day at Jerusalem's Har Hamenuhot cemetery.

One day short of becoming a citizen, Norma's funeral costs were paid for by the State of Israel from its Fund for Victims of Terror. The fund, set up in 2000, has provided support to thousands of victims of terror attacks and their families totaling more than NIS 100 million.

Even in death Norma has joined the quarreling family of Israelis. To the outrage of her daughter Jean Goldy, 24, the National Insurance Institute denied her and her brother the benefits allocated to relatives of Israeli terror victims since technically Norma never landed - alive - in Israel to complete her immigration process.

Norma was a woman of great faith, recalled her brother Moshe, who came to her funeral from his home in Lakewood, New Jersey. "She would tell me how she sees God every step of her life. 'God is always guiding me,' she used to say. 'God opens the door wherever I go and stays with me.'"

The writer is a Jerusalem-based journalist and friend of Norma.

They were all religious people, so I guess not.

R' Larry Craig said...

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- Idaho Sen. Larry Craig has lost his latest attempt to withdraw his guilty plea in a Minneapolis airport men's room sex sting.

A three-judge panel of the Minnesota Court of Appeals on Tuesday rejected the Republican's bid to toss out his disorderly conduct conviction.

Archie Bunker said...


Corruption in the Blagojevich administration has been the focus of a federal investigation involving an alleged $7 million scheme aimed at squeezing kickbacks out of companies seeking business from the state. Federal prosecutors have acknowledged they're also investigating "serious allegations of endemic hiring fraud" under Mr. Blagojevich.

Political fundraiser Antoin "Tony" Rezko who raised money for the campaigns of both Messrs. Blagojevich and Obama is awaiting sentencing after being convicted of fraud and other charges. Mr. Blagojevich's chief fundraiser, Christopher G. Kelly, is due to stand trial early next year on charges of obstructing the Internal Revenue Service.

Mr. Blagojevich took the chief executive's office in 2003 as a reformer promising to clean up former Gov. George Ryan's mess.

Mr. Ryan, a Republican, is serving a 6-year prison sentence after being convicted on racketeering and fraud charges. A decade-long investigation began with the sale of driver's licenses for bribes and led to the conviction of dozens of people who worked for Mr. Ryan when he was secretary of state and governor.

Mr. Blagojevich has garnered headlines in recent days for publicly supporting furloughed workers who have occupied a Chicago factory after losing their jobs. The governor said the state would cease doing business with Bank of America Corp. until it reinstated financing for the factory owner. The bank has disputed any responsibility for the workers' job losses.


Obama: Workers staging sit-in 'absolutely right'

Hey Obama, that's what's called MARXISM.

Have you ever heard that there is a judicial system and that the United States is a Westernized nation where comrade workers don't take over factories?

Arthur said...



Anyone-using Internet mail such as Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL and so on.

This information arrived this morning, direct from both Microsoft and Norton.

Please send it to everybody you know who has access to the Internet.

You may receive an apparently harmless e-mail titled 'Mail Server Report'

If you open either file, a message will appear on your screen saying:
'It is too late now, your life is no longer beautiful.'

Subsequently, you will LOSE EVERYTHING IN YOUR PC, and the person who sent it to you will gain access to your name, e-mail and passwords.

This is a new virus which started to circulate on Saturday afternoon.

AOL has already confirmed the severity, and the anti virus software's are not capable of destroying

The virus has been created by a hacker who calls himself 'life owner'.




Arthur said...

I found this comment on another site.I know that it does not excuse Cunin's statement nor the fringe elements in Chabad,but hey we have a severe leadership crisis in all sectors of the so called "Torah observant" community.Just read your own blog.

"Finding fault with others is so much easier than self improvement.On the other hand, we can’t ignore and simply paper over real fundamental differences of hashkafa among various groups. If I have a choice, I would prefer the Jews who reach out to the ones who exclude. Maybe the differences that are important are not those of ideology but those of midos and menchlichkeit.
I know that Chabad is there for me or my children, whether it be in Mid Town Manhattan where my son tells me he is often the 10th man Shabbos morning or in Mumbai, where another son ate often in the Holzman’s home on business trips to buy diamonds. These people really love me.
How can I explain those Jews who exclude 3 year old girls whose fathers are American Kollel yungeleit from their Bais Yaakov. How can these people be called religious, what religion is it? Who is closer to Hashem, one who believes that he knows the name of the Mashiach or one whose midos ro os keep the Mashiach from coming?"

Another comment
"We in Chabad have been deeply touched by the outpouring from the diverse parts of the Frum community. The support, care, compassion has been deeply appreciated. One of those strong expressions has been the remarkable editorial by Yated in the US. Clearly from that perspective of difference in viewpoints that has existed for so long it is a beautiful act of common destiny. In some ways due to these differences an act of journalistic courage. You can read it here: http://rabbipinchoslipschutz.blogspot.com/

Sadly Yated in Israel, a totally different paper than the US one, has not left the shackles of Maklokes that it has championed against Lubavitch. However it seems looking at the frum media as a whole, and the outpouring of true concern from the all, they are but a small minority. Shira may see Israel Yated as a glass half full, I see it as an unwillingness to fill the glass. The could not ignore the reality of the killing of two kedoshim but they fail to have the integrity to recognize them for who they are.

The good that has come, and hopefully will continue to come from this great tragedy is a kiruv levoves that can strengthen the bonds between Yidden. And as Rabbi Pinchus Lipshultz wrote in the US Yated, we are all Shevatim of Am Yisroel.

Comment by Dovid Eliezri"

Bungalow Yenta said...

"Two board members of General Growth Properties Inc. marched into CEO John Bucksbaum's office to deliver a blunt message: It was time for him to resign."

Is UOJ on the board of General Growth Properties?

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...

R' Arthur,

No disagreement here! The point I attempted to make is that people in leadership position are held to a higher standard because of their position! (Moshe Rabbeinu not entering Eretz Yisroel because of some "silly" hitting of the rock instead of talking to the rock.)

So, I dont "go crazy" necessarily, when Joe average citizen commits a crime or says something stupid.

Cunin is perhaps the most influential Chabad leader other than Krinsky --- I've been to private gatherings where he unabashedly calls the Rebbe - Melech Hamoshiach --- and "any moment - the Rebbe is going to reveal himself"...

Now that's where the problem is regarding Chabad being able to consider themselves part of mainstream Judaism!

For the record said...

Dovid Eliezrie (cited by Arthur) is the Avi Shafran of Lubavitch, a spinmeister & baloney artist.

He was one of whiskered cows on Pesach Lerner's paid junket to Postville and wrote the op-ed in the Jerusalem Post defending his good friends the Rubashkins, titled "Everything is kosher in Iowa"

Arthur said...

For the record said
"Dovid Eliezrie (cited by Arthur) is the Avi Shafran of Lubavitch, a spinmeister & baloney artist."
I don't know the man personally so I can't comment on your above statement.Even if true, it does not subtract from the validity of his statement.
You said "I've been to private gatherings where he unabashedly calls the Rebbe - Melech Hamoshiach --- and "any moment - the Rebbe is going to reveal himself"...
As mentioned to you on a previous post Cunin is ,what my uncle would sometimes say in his own inimitable way,"ah hoiler idyot" and nobody in Lubavitch will deny it.He has made remarks that are much worse then the above.In any case I would venture to say that he made this statement before the Rebbes ptirah.

Boog's "Louima File" said...

USA Today - 36 minutes ago

NEW YORK (AP) - Three police officers were charged with felonies Tuesday for their role in an attack on a tattoo parlor worker who authorities say was sodomized with a baton in a subway station.

UOJ must have flushed him out said...

The FBI also arrested the mayor of Birmingham, Alabama last week because of some fraud with the city sewer bonds.

Gerald Shargel said...


A prominent New York lawyer with impeccable credentials and a 250-lawyer firm bearing his name has been charged with conducting a $100 million fraud.

Marc Dreier, who lives in a lavish Manhattan apartment, owns a beach house in South Hampton, N.Y., and an impressive modern art collection, was charged with stealing $113 million since October, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

Prosecutors say Dreier brazenly forged documents and talked his way into hedge fund and pension fund offices, where he sold promissory notes of no value, but backed with forged financial statements.

Dreier was arrested in Canada on minor charges -- an arrest that caused a furious ripple through the conglomerate of law firms that bear his name. U.S. authorities then arrested him as he returned from Canada Sunday night.

In all but an instant, the law firm was unable to meet its payroll obligations or its rent. The company's holiday party at the Waldorf-Astoria was canceled and many attorneys quickly abandoned their jobs.

The lawyers have apparently manned the lifeboats, Dreier's lawyer Gerald Shargel said after Dreier's arraignment.

When asked who would run the company, I don't think there is any law firm to run, Shargel said.

Maimonides Hospital Horror Show said...


December 8, 2008

Weak Oversight Lets Bad Hospitals Stay Open


The need for change is acute in New York, which has among the most dysfunctional and expensive health-care systems in the nation.

Say it ain't so Arthur said...

You mention the Rebbe's "Ptirah"? I thought he was "nistalek" to be brought back when we send enough letters to the Oyhel and when we listen to the answers he sends us through his "wuigie board" (sp.) called the "Igros". Is he really gone, Arthur? Did somebody bother to tell Cunin? Or the other "meshugayim" that make up mainstream Chabad?

Arthur said...

"Say it ain't so Arthur said."
Whats the procedure.Am I obligated to a answer a basket case like this?

Arthur said...

On second thought I'll let him rant.So much for "Achdus"

steve said...

How about donating some $ to help pay the teachers?!

This is the same mentality that the frauds that run some of our yeshivos have. The teachers salaries are last on the totem pole. Making payroll is now optional. Would this be acceptable in any public school or any other industry? The teachers' pay must come first! The tuition money must be earmarked for the teachers in its entirety. If it's not enough money, then take out a loan. Take out a second and third mortgage on the building if you have to. Still not enough money? Then shut down! This is not Postville!

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...

You know what I'm amazed at?

Chabad is brilliant tactically with their PR everywhere; foreign governments, our government, politicians etc., they are abject failures with frummer Yiden.

And this goes to the heart of the problem in my opinion; they could not care less what "we" think.

And they'll back their successes with "numbers" --- but to intelligent Jews, numbers don't count --- that's exactly the core of the schism that traditional Orthodox Judaism has with Chabad.

Agree R' Arthur?

Say it ain't so Arthur said...

I apologize. I did not mean to sew seeds of discord. I would respectfully ask though that if there really are "moderates" in Chabad who still believe in the mainstream Judaism that the rest of us do, if they could quiet down the ones who preach apikorsus and craziness. It is quite embarrassing to the rest of Orthodoxy that nobody from Luvabitch clarifies publicly that the Rebbe is out of the running to be the Moshiach.

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...


All the yeshiva "owners" do the same. First their families get paid --- then the Swiss bank account, then the Belsky-style mattress --- and then??? If there's any crumbs left over, the teachers get paid.

So they scream NO GELT! DINNERS! FUNDRAISERS! While these same ganavim are sleeping on their mattresses that are stuffed and bumpy!

Eem Ayn Kemach... said...


How can you expect yeshivas these days to pay the honest teachers. They need to spend thousands on lawyers' fees to defend themselves for the ones who molest kids that they have always refused to remove?

Arthur said...

No Reb UOJ
Here's where I respectfully disagree.The way I look at it is that we're damned if we do and we're damned if we don't.If we get to close with the frum world we're accused of "proselytizing" ,that we're trying to "chap neshomes" from amongst frumme Yidden,that we have ulterior motives when we relate to others.I know this from personal experiences in my workplace and other areas.
If we work to be mekarev those that are not yet Torah observant the complaint is "how come we don't relate to frumme Yidden".After a while one develops a "circle the wagons" reaction and some say "ich feif of de (frum) velt".I don't agree with this type of attitude but I can see where it's coming from.

Zero Tolerance said...

Friday March 9, 2001

O.U. implements limited steps to end sex harassment fracas

Jewish Telegraphic Agency

NEW YORK -- The Orthodox Union has decided not to discipline any of its staff for failing to stop a high-ranking professional accused last summer of harassing and molesting scores of teenagers in its youth group.

But the organization will bar from its youth commission certain board members who -- while they may not have known the full extent of Rabbi Baruch Lanner's alleged misdeeds -- failed to act upon "red flags."

With these decisions, as well as plans to revamp the organization and implement new safeguards against sexual abuse, the O.U. hopes to lay to rest the controversy that has swirled around it since the accusations against Lanner surfaced publicly last summer.

However, some grassroots activists say the O.U. leadership still has not assumed enough responsibility for Lanner's alleged abuses.

The recent decisions come more than two months after an outside report found Lanner, the charismatic former director of regions for the O.U.'s National Conference of Synagogue Youth, guilty of several kinds of abuse.

An executive summary of the report was released in December. The summary also asserted that "certain members of the O.U. and NCSY leadership share responsibility for Lanner's misconduct."

The report called on the O.U. to hold "individuals who failed to take action against Lanner responsible for their conduct," but did not specify how.

The recent decisions -- taken on the recommendations of 13 executive committee members assigned to act on the report -- follow a "leadership review."

While no one is being fired, three key staff changes have been made since the misconduct allegations surfaced publicly last summer.

Lanner denied most of the charges against him but resigned in July. The O.U.'s executive vice president, Rabbi Raphael Butler -- who many people say was negligent in supervising Lanner -- resigned in late January.

Butler's resignation officially was voluntary, but insiders say key leaders within the O.U. and the Rabbinical Council of America, a group of Orthodox rabbis, pressured him to quit.

Butler will remain with the O.U. part time until late April, and is receiving a severance package. A search committee is being formed to find a replacement.

Rabbi Pinchas Stolper, the O.U.'s senior executive, retired at the end of December. Stolper preceded Butler as the organization's executive vice president and supervised Lanner until 1994.

The committee assigned to make recommendations from the December report "looked at the professional staff and what the report said, and decided there was no need to terminate anyone still working there," said Harvey Blitz, the O.U.'s president.

Blitz, cited in the report as someone who failed to act upon "red flags," was careful to note that the committee did not "reach any conclusion" about whether Stolper or Butler should have been disciplined had they not retired.

He also emphasized that the decision to bar approximately half a dozen unnamed lay leaders from serving on the youth commission does not mean the O.U. considers them guilty of anything.

Rather, Blitz said, the O.U. wants to bring fresh faces to the youth commission to regain parents' trust.

Murray Sragow, a parent active in the New Jersey region of NCSY and coordinator of an e-mail list for people concerned about the Lanner affair, said he remains disappointed that O.U. leaders have not taken greater responsibility for tolerating or not noticing Lanner's conduct.

O.U. officials appeared at a recent meeting for New Jersey parents and expressed their sorrow for the pain allegedly caused by Lanner. Still, it sounded "like they were talking about some earthquake that happened in India," Sragow said.

Sragow said he would like the O.U. to admit publicly that Lanner's behavior was recognized -- at least on some level -- yet tolerated. He also would like Blitz, who for much of Lanner's tenure was the volunteer overseeing NCSY, to admit that he was not sufficiently vigilant.

Blitz said he "could have performed better" in overseeing NCSY, but is not prepared to assume complete guilt for the Lanner affair.

The O.U. now has a "zero tolerance" policy for abuse, and is taking several steps to prevent it in the future, Blitz said.

steve said...

Ahavah Gayle once mentioned here that the yeshivos that are behind consistenly 3-4 months in payroll know in the back of their minds that they will never "catch up" and that the teachers should write off the money as a bad debt. This is pure geizel and should not be tolerated. Where is the outrage? Deficits, recession, parents not paying tuition, blah, blah, blah...It's out and out thievery.

Anonymous said...

Are you saying that Mr. Septimus or George (Gedalia?) Schorr stole money from Bais Midrash Elyon, This is very serious and deserves some elaboration and hopefully proof.

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...

Above Anon:

I'm curious as to what I said that would leave you to believe that Louie Septimus and Gedalya Schorr stole land from Torah Vodaath, with forged documents and fraudulent filings of phony deeds, and build homes on it for their own personal profit?

Puzzling how people can interpret my words to imply such horrors!

Arthur said...

Blaming Palestine for the Massacre in Mumbai Is Preposterous - Howard Jacobson
How does the BBC always manage to have the appropriately sanctimonious speaker on hand to remind us that, whatever the calamity in whatever part of the world, we in the West in general, and Israel in particular, are responsible. This time it was Caroline Lucas, leader of the Green Party, who said after the Mumbai attacks: "If we are to defeat extremism we have to go to the root causes of it - we have to look in particular at countries like Palestine."
To argue that Palestine fueled the massacre at Mumbai, that the Hindu waiter shot in the forehead after serving water to a terrorist was paying for the inequities of Gaza, that he wasn't already, in the eyes of that terrorist, expendable enough as an unbeliever, as one who had stolen Kashmir, or simply as a spot of target practice en route to a mad and misguided martyrdom, is not only preposterous, it is irresponsible. The Habad Center in Mumbai was a Jewish organization, not an Israeli one. Its occupants were tortured and killed for being Jews, not for being complicit in the "strangulation" of Gaza. (Independent-UK)

Anonymous said...

UOJ Said...

"Forged deeds, forged signatures, fraudulent notary seals, grand theft, embezzlement, defrauding Yeshiva Torah Vodaath of millions of dollars." New homes - being built on land owned by Torah Vodaath - but the new legal entity with all the official looking title documents and seals, called Batei Elyon Inc., had as officers, people by the names of George Schorr and Louis Septimus. These homes were built on Saddle River Road right behind Bais Medrash Elyon, on parcels still owned by Yeshiva Torah Vodaath

Let's review, what did UOJ actually say? He said there was lots of fraud, some embezzlement, some grand theft, and perhaps a smidgen of forgery. Then he said that the officers of the corporation were guys named Louis and George.

I don't see how people could possibly interpret that into Louis and George stealing money from Bais Medrash Elyon. Louis and George were only officers of the corporation...what would they know about what other people below might be doing? They were probably only involved with the high level decisions. Right UOJ?

Oh yeh! he also said that some little kid there and his family have sensitive stomachs and they puke when others try to mix Torah values with forgery, fraud, theft, and embezzlement. Think back to when you were a kid and watched Star Trek...matter and anti matter cannot exist in the same place at the same time. If they do there is a huge explosion that can actually rupture the universe. See what I mean?

Arthur said...

Wanting to get more information on Lanner I folowed your source formation to Jewcy.com
Bemchilas kvodcha I am not a prude relatively speaking but this site mkes Shmarya look like the Godol hador.The shmutz and denigration of anything that smacks with frumkiet was appalling.
I'm not telling you how to run your blog site but I am puzzeled and disturbed that you use this pornographic site as a source for your information .

Making a Lechaim for Rubashkin in case he makes bail said...


Man With Champagne Glass Allegedly Goes On Battering Ram And Urination Rampage At Local Car Dealership

Tuesday December 9, 2008
CityNews.ca Staff

Cops in Halton Region are dealing with a strange case at an auto dealership that has a lot more questions than answers. Among them: why would anyone do this?

It started at the Roseland Volkswagen lot at 888 Guelph Line in Burlington around 11:30pm Monday, long after the business had closed for the day.

Authorities allege a man driving a 2007 Mazda pickup truck zoomed into the parking lot and used his vehicle as a battering ram to purposely try and destroy five cars that were parked there.

After that, he put the truck back into drive and headed straight for the front entrance, letting the car burst through it and coming to a rest inside, as shattered glass littered the ground all around him.

But it didn't end there, and incredibly got even more bizarre. Cops say the suspect then emeged from his wrecked car, headed over to other parked vehicles and began urinating on them.

After he was done, they say he returned to his truck, grabbed a bottle of champagne and a glass he'd brought with him and got up on the roof of his Mazda, where he allegedly committed an indecent act.

When people in the area noticed what was going on, they confronted him and cops say the man then began throwing things at the witnesses.

At this point in the rampage, cops arrived and arrested him without incident. It's not clear what the motive for his bizarre actions might be or why a guy in a Mazda would be so angry at a place that sells Volkswagens.

Halton Police tell CityNews.ca there's absolutely no evidence that the man had any ties to the dealership or that he had a grudge against anyone there. He hadn't been drinking, despite the presence of the champagne, he wasn't on drugs and there's no evidence of any mental health issues.

In fact, he never explained his alleged actions at all.

The good news is, despite the extensive property damage, no one was hurt.

If you know anything about what might have sparked this strange attack, call Halton Police at (905) 825-4777 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

OU Hypocrisy said...

When you ask the OU if products with meat ingredients are sourced from Rubashkin, the arrogant answer you get is it doesn't matter because WE are machshir and WE are telling you it's good, no matter where it comes from.


It is important to keep in mind that as a guest at a kosher affair you should never hesitate to question the mashgiach. It is your right to know the standards of the kashrut organization and to feel confident that the mashgiach is doing everything necessary to adhere to the highest kashrut standards.

Archie Bunker said...


Anonymous said...

OU looking at a massive case of sexual and age discrimination filed as a class action by 18 employeess

more to come soon

Found One Of Margo's Bankers said...


"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...

David Kelsey wrote a great piece that happened to be on Jewcy!

Nothing more!


ABC News has a law enforcement source telling them that Jesse Jackson, Jr. is "Senate Candidate Five," the one who was -- according to Blagojevich -- willing to supply campaign cash in exchange for the Senate seat.

(This, incidentally, doesn't strike me as all that unusual in politics, or as obviously criminal as other things in the complaint -- though the crudeness with which Blagojevich discussed it was.)

ABC reports:

Jackson Jr. said "I don't know" when asked if he was Candidate #5, but said he was told "I am not a target of this investigation."

Jackson Jr. said he agreed to talk with federal investigators "as quickly as possible" after he consults with a lawyer.

The Congressman, a son of the famed civil rights leader, denied that anyone had been authorized to make payments or promises to the Governor on his behalf.

"It is impossible for someone on my behalf to have a conversation that would suggest any type of quid pro quo or any payments or offers," Jackson Jr. told ABC News. "An impossiblity to an absolute certainty."

Anonymous said...

From ClusterStock, Dec. 10, 2008:

After all the money AIG's had shoveled at it, why does it need another $10 billion? Because, as the Wall Street Journal reports, the money its gotten from the government are supposed to pay off its bad CDS bets -- essentially, the money went to retiring the underlying CDO --- but it's also stuck $10 billion on what were just bad bets, not necessarily designed to help clients manage risk.

The $10 billion in other IOUs stems from market wagers that weren't contracts to protect securities held by banks or other investors against default. Rather, they are from AIG's exposures to speculative investments, which were essentially bets on the performance of bundles of derivatives linked to subprime mortgages, commercial real-estate bonds and corporate bonds.

These bets aren't covered by the pool to buy troubled securities, and many of these bets have lost value during the past few weeks, triggering more collateral calls from its counterparties. Some of AIG's speculative bets were tied to a group of collateralized debt obligations named "Abacus," created by Goldman Sachs.

Anonymous said...

any newz on the mondrowitz hearing?

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...

Mondrowitz's final appeal was held Monday in the Supreme Court of Israel.

The Court can rule at any time --- I am told it could be 30-60 days before we'll see a ruling.

While I would like to be hopeful that he will be extradited --- and the present DOJ has requested his extradition in no uncertain terms --- I believe there's a deliberate stall tactic going on here until AG Mukasey departs Washington.

I hope I'm wrong!

How Many Kollelnikers? said...

Charity: One in five Israelis on food aid has considered suicide

By Ruth Sinai, Haaretz correspondent and Haaretz Service

One in five Israelis living on food aid has considered suicide due to economic hardship, according to an "alternative" poverty report published Tuesday.

The report, released by the charity Latet, came after one published by the National Insurance Institute indicated that poverty had actually declined in Israel for the first time in ten years.

The charity reported that poverty-stricken Israelis cannot afford to buy the minimal amount of food purchases necessary for a healthy diet.

Latet, which distributes food to more than 100 charity groups serving needy Israelis, also stated that 80 percent of Israelis living on support provided by aid groups are below the hunger line.

"There is certain numbness, an impervious wall and a lack of understanding of the need to assist families, individuals and weaker socioeconomic classes," said Welfare Minister MK Isaac Hertzog, speaking in response to the report.

Latet Executive Director Eran Weintraub said the report shows that Israel's poor have become poorer.

He also said that the ability of aid organizations to support them has weakened as a result of the decreasing donations, the rising price of food, the erosion of the public's interest and the government's failure to combat poverty.

Seven percent of the people who participated in the survey admitted they fear dying of hunger. Furthermore, 44 percent stated they cannot imagine breaking out of the cycle of poverty, and believe that their children will also grow up to be poor.

According to the report, the number of parents who have been forced to send their children to a boarding school due to their economic situation has leaped by 33 percent in comparison to the 2007 report.

LVF said...

uoj, is it possible for the new AG in the obama administration to stop an extradition requested by the previous AG?

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...


Mr. Mukasey's DOJ made it a very important issue with the Israeli government, Mr. Holder could probably not care less - unless Marc Rich, Pinky Green or Ger sends Holder a package mit greener zachen.

Capitol Hill Yenta said...

This might be a long shot but some Senators plan on giving Eric Holder a tough time in the confirmation hearings about Rich and other escapades.


Sen. Johnny Isakson, Republican of Georgia, has been very active passing with anti-molester bills. If he were to question Holder about where he stands on these issues, it would make the putz think twice before letting Mondrowitz or anyone else off the hook. Holder wouldn't want the TV news networks replaying clips of the confirmation hearings.

Ahavah Gayle said...


What I have consistently said is that the system as it now stands cannot be salvaged. Schools like Bais Faiga that actually turn away kids because their fathers work and support their families are the norm in many communities. Nor will there ever be enough donations to make up the back pay, and loans are simply unavailable in this credit climate.

The only option is to sell the buildings and property and switch to a homeschool co-op type of system. Since the fat cats skimming the system and raking in the cash off of it will never do this (since co-ops have parent meetings to decide which textbooks to use, etc). Without the buildings and property expenses the "tuition" would be much, much lower - allowing those teaching to receive a stipend - but most school systems are now so far in debt that it is simply unlikely even selling all the property would pay all the back salary owed.

If you can figure out how to squeeze enough money to pay back everything owed the teachers, go for it. I don't see how their assets can cover their debts. It is better, in this circumstances, to STOP making things worse. That means teachers need to stop working for people that don't pay them. It is harmful to the teacher's family budget to count on receiving pay they will never receive. It has to stop somewhere. That somewhere needs to be sooner than later.

Avi Shafran is No Dubno Maggid said...


Regardless of the claims against Agriprocessors, some rabbis continue to maintain that kosher certification has nothing to do with a company's labor practices. Rabbi Avi Shafran, spokesman for the ultra-Orthodox Agudath Israel of America, compared workplace ethics and kosher laws to the relationship between personal hygiene and poetry.

"A great poet might opt to not shower," Shafran said, "but that bad habit doesn't necessarily affect the quality of his writing."

For now, most seem to cling to a middle ground, represented by Rabbi Menachem Genack, head of kosher supervision for the Orthodox Union, and Rabbi Basil Herring, head of the orthodox Rabbinical Council of America.

While agreeing that dietary laws do not technically include labor principles, and that government agencies are better equipped to investigate companies than a system proposed by the Conservative movement, they concluded that kosher certifying agencies should include some workplace stipulations in their contracts -- if only to reclaim the perception that their food adheres to a higher standard.

(Thank you Rabbi Genack for being moydeh it's all a game)

Look what Rubashkin tood oif said...

The article doesn't mention the judge's concern that 2 Rubashkin managers are already hiding in Israel and that Mondrowitz is trying to worm out of being extradited.


In a legal argument called “astounding and very troublesome,” a federal prosecutor has argued that Israel’s Law of Return makes American Jews a flight risk and therefore ineligible for bail.
The claim, believed to be unprecedented, came in the bank fraud case of Sholom Rubashkin, the former Jewish head of the embattled Iowa kosher slaughterhouse, Agriprocessors, Inc.
And the federal judge in the case, Magistrate Jon Stuart Scoles, cited the Law of Return in his Nov. 20 decision denying Rubashkin bail.
“Under Israel’s Law of Return, any Jew and members of his family who have expressed their desire to settle in Israel will be granted citizenship,” the judge wrote, adding that the government had claimed that at least one other Agriprocessors’ defendant had already
fled to Israel.
Rubashkin’s lawyers wrote in their appeal filed last Friday: “It is ironic that a law designed to provide refuge to persecuted Jews has now become the basis for detaining a Jew who might otherwise have been released pending trial.”
Deborah Lauter, director of the civil rights office of the Anti-Defamation League, said the prosecution’s “referencing the Law of Return is highly unusual.”
Marc Stern, acting co-executive director of the American Jewish Congress, called the move “very troublesome.”
“All Jews are suspect because of the Law of Return?” he asked. “It’s a very astounding and troubling argument. It’s different from saying he might run to Israel — whether or not there is a Law of Return.”
Stern said the government’s argument is “probably impermissible, but it’s hard to say without being more closely involved. ... I think it’s an argument that’s too aggressive and I think they need to justify it by evidence that I can’t imagine them producing.”
In last Friday’s legal papers, defense attorneys for Rubashkin asked Scoles to reconsider his decision. And, in order to preserve their right to appeal, they also filed papers with federal District Court Judge Linda Reade in the event Scoles does not grant Rubashkin bail.
Defense attorneys F. Montgomery Brown and Guy Cook argued in their papers that the U.S. has an extradition treaty with Israel and that therefore “the Law of Return should have played no role whatsoever in the analysis.”
They noted that when they argued that position in court, the office of U.S. Attorney Matt M. Dummermuth countered by insisting that the extradition process “could take years.” And the prosecutor also introduced a copy of the Law of Return.
The defense attorneys said their research “has not uncovered a single instance involving a Jewish criminal defendant where the prosecution invoked the Law of Return in support of detention.”
And they quoted an attorney with years of experience in the Brooklyn and Manhattan federal district courts as saying he too could “recall no instance where the prosecutor invoked the Law of Return in arguing that an American Jew is a bail risk.”
Bob Teig, a spokesman for Dummermuth’s office, said the defense papers were filed last Friday and that “we have had no chance to file a response.”
Asked if the defense’s characterization of the government’s argument was correct, he replied: “The judge’s order speaks for itself.”
Laura Sweeney, a Justice Department spokesperson, said when asked about the prosecutor’s argument, “This is an ongoing matter and therefore the department declines comment.”
In their request to deny bail after his second arrest in November — he had been arrested in October on charges alleging that he hired illegal workers for his plant — prosecutors noted that Rubashkin had $20,000 in his home, much of it in a travel bag that also contained his birth certificate and his children’s passports; he has 10 children. He and his wife surrendered their passports after Rubashkin’s first arrest.
One of Rubashkin’s lawyers, Baruch Weiss of New York, acknowledged the cash was in the house but said that much of it was in one-dollar bills that had been collected for charity. And he said the rest was used to pay expense. He noted that a $1,700 car bill had recently been paid in cash.
Rubaskin’s Iowa defense team contended in their papers that in “the prosecutors’ view, anyone subject to the Law of Return is an increased flight risk. Consequently, under that view, ‘every Jew’ is to be viewed for bail purposes as a greater risk of flight than a non-Jew. That means that 5.3 million Americans would be viewed as heightened bail risks simply because they are Jews.”
They pointed out that would include Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Homeland Security head Michael Chertoff and two U.S. Supreme Court Justices, Steven Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
In their papers, the defense lawyers said the extradition treaty the U.S. has with Israel “has always been workable,” and that after recent amendments it is “now better than workable.”
“It applies to everyone, Jews and non-Jews,” they said. “It even applies to Israelis. This treaty will ensure that Rubashkin — even if he were to become a citizen of Israel under the Law of Return — will be returned to the United States, tried in the United States and if convicted, that he will serve any sentence in the United States. Were he to flee to Israel, he would be detained pending extradition. Because of this treaty, the Law of Return is irrelevant.”
In addition, the defense lawyers said that by denying Rubashkin bail, the court was denying him the constitutional right to equal protection.
“Jews are a protected class for Equal Protection purposes,” they wrote. “Thus, singling Jews out in any way when determining bail is unconstitutional...
“The government has failed to demonstrate a compelling government interest in a rule that implicates all Jews, and has failed to demonstrate that its interest here cannot be met with a more narrowly tailored approach. ... The government introduced no evidence that Jews are more likely to flee because of the Law of Return than non-Jews.”
The defense lawyers concluded that “rather than locking Jews up with greater frequency, the United States could rely on a general array of bail conditions, and then utilize the valid, streamlined, regularly-invoked extradition treaty with Israel in those few cases where the defendant actually flees. Certainly it is better to have the government on rare occasions be forced to resort to this streamlined extradition than to brand over 5 million Americans a bail risks. ... Otherwise, the government slurs Americans because of a law passed by a foreign country over which these Americans have no control and which they may have no desire to invoke.”

Chaim Dovid Zweibel said...

I'm not sure I like Shafran's shita on hygiene.

It's bad enough that he stinks up 42 Broadway because he thinks the Right Guard deodorant label is instructing him to not apply it on the left armpit.

Sholom Rubashkin said...

Ich gloib nisht that Shafran would make such an insensitive comment.

There are people in jail who can't shower in case they drop the soap.

steve said...


You are one of the few that have a clear vision of what's going on in the yeshivah system. The only way to get the teachers paid up to date and to stop this illegal and amoral custom of not making payroll, is for the teachers to go on a wildcat strike. The same way that the bais yaakovs in Lakewood were shut down until all the students were accepted, all yeshivos that are delinquent must be shut down until financing is in place to cover all back pay. A list of deadbeat yeshivos should be made public just like the deadbeat dad lists.

3 Stooges Watch said...


I thought it was funny, if a little exaggerated, when UOJ started making the comparison. But seriously.

How the heck does the Agudah let Shafran be their face to the world when he talks like such a blithering idiot?!

Far Rotaway said...

Shmuel "Boom Boom" Bloom may be retiring as executive vp but he is staying on as vice chairman of the Agudah "World" division.

He will also be living half the year in Israel and will be a rosh kollel at Ohr Sameach there.

steve said...

"A great poet might opt to not shower," Shafran said, "but that bad habit doesn't necessarily affect the quality of his writing."

"Brilliant" analogy from the wise man of Chelem. In other words, one can defraud banks, abuse workers, abuse animals, commit identity theft and violate every safety and health code in the book, and still be considered trustworthy when it comes to kashrus. After all, MMW and the OU say he's trustworthy, and so does Avi and the Agudah. It's amazing that this chamor still gets attention and is asked for his opinion on anything. His stupidity is only superceded by his evilness.

Hob Rachmanus said...

Reading an Avi Shafran comment is like driving by a car wreck. It is mamash painful, but you can't help looking.

Is there any way to get him to move on to bigger and better career moves?

By the way, when it comes to sexual abuse, he is clearly one of the biggest deniers in our community. Someone who was not effected by it personally could not have such a strong defensive reaction.

Just a theory, that I've discussed with others. Avi was a close Talmid of Reb Mattis Weinberg, and followed him from Baltimore to California to help him start his Yeshivah/Diocese, where Mattis molested enough people to have to run away to Israel to avoid arrest. (Notice the man has not stepped foot back in California for over 25 years for fear of arrest, and has only come back to America once for his grandfather's levaya.)

Alternatively, Avi also spent time learning in Ner Yisroel while Rabbi Moshe (ass - man) Eiseman was the Mashgiach.

If Avi was molested by one of these "Gedolim" then he would have been traumatized and would need to deny it strongly, thereby creating a need for him to deny it even exists in our community.

Zweibel, on the other hand, can try to tell us that he was "unaware" until now how wide spread it was. He, apparently thought that the Yetzer Harah only was to be found in Roshei Yeshivah, Mashgichim and some Rabbis. He was shocked to hear that the average joe, might also be a molester. Apparently he must have reasoned that "kol hagadol m'chaveiro..." What an idiot!

Naftoli "Zukes" Cukier from Lakewood said...

I was verrry, verrry insulted after rrreading the Shmuel Bloom interrrview in the Jewish Starrr. He took all the crrredit forrr the Agudah's Vaad Lehatzolas Nidchei Yisrrroel.

How could he not mention me?

No wonderrr no one is machshiv me when I collect money for da Rrrussians.

Shafran akshening zich said...

A craw is literally an animal's stomach but in the idiom context Shafran is using, his tone becomes combative as it means resentment.

Zeitgeist has many more meanings. It can also be translated as winning is all that matters. Maybe Shafran was accusing Rubashkin critics of playing dirty. The word was invented 100s of years ago by German galach Johann Gottfried von Herder. In another possible insult from Shafran, zeitgeist is often associated with German philosopher Hegel who influenced Karl Marx.


In a more pointed comment, Rabbi Avi Shafran, who has defended the prerogative of the Orthodox rabbinate against what he sees as well-meaning but misguided efforts to add social-justice protections to the criteria for the production of kosher food, said, “Lapses of business ethics, animal rights issues, worker rights matters — all of these have no effect whatsoever on the kosher value.”

“There is nothing in Jewish law that conflates the status of kosher food with the way the food is produced,” Rabbi Shafran said in a phone interview Wednesday. “What sticks in our craw,” he said, referring to the proposed seal, “is that it is following the zeitgeist rather than following the law. It falsifies the integrity of Jewish law.”

To be clear, he said, “Ethics is vitally important in Judaism.” Unethical acts, like illegal acts, should be punished according to the laws that apply. But the rules of what defines food as kosher were written in the Torah by divine agency and cannot be changed, he said.

Shlomit Cohen, 21, a senior at the university’s Stern College for Women and president of the Social Justice Society, a student group representative of a new wave of social activism among young Orthodox Jews, said she appreciated Rabbi Shafran’s point of view and “his desire to retain respect for the authority of legal tradition.”

“But this is more than a technical legal issue,” she said. “Change is needed, and if it is not coming from the leadership we have, it will have to come from others.”

R' Dovid Leonhardt said...


Economic Scene
$73 an Hour: Adding It Up

For decades, my grandparents bought American and only American. In their apartment, they still have a framed photo of the 1933 Oldsmobile that my grandfather’s family drove when he was a teenager. In the photo, his father stands proudly on the car’s running board.

By the 1970s, though, my grandfather became so sick of the problems with his American cars that he vowed never to buy another one. He hasn’t.

We wuz robbed said...


I think this article is proof enough that kosher food vendors are ganovim if they don't lower prices.

UOJ should go live said...


Check out this business model.

Get rid of FDIC head Sheila Bair said...


In an effort to impress Obama so that he lets her keep her job, she's trying to blow as many taxpayer dollars as she can to bail out shmucks who don't pay their mortgages - even though half of the idiots who get reworked mortgages still default because they can't or won't make ANY payments.

R' Thomas Friedman sings a lullaby to Ronnie said...


December 10, 2008

While Detroit Slept


As I think about our bailing out Detroit, I can’t help but reflect on what, in my view, is the most important rule of business in today’s integrated and digitized global market, where knowledge and innovation tools are so widely distributed. It’s this: Whatever can be done, will be done. The only question is will it be done by you or to you. Just don’t think it won’t be done. If you have an idea in Detroit or Tennessee, promise me that you’ll pursue it, because someone in Denmark or Tel Aviv will do so a second later.

Why do I bring this up? Because someone in the mobility business in Denmark and Tel Aviv is already developing a real-world alternative to Detroit’s business model. I don’t know if this alternative to gasoline-powered cars will work, but I do know that it can be done — and Detroit isn’t doing it. And therefore it will be done, and eventually, I bet, it will be done profitably.

And when it is, our bailout of Detroit will be remembered as the equivalent of pouring billions of dollars of taxpayer money into the mail-order-catalogue business on the eve of the birth of eBay. It will be remembered as pouring billions of dollars into the CD music business on the eve of the birth of the iPod and iTunes. It will be remembered as pouring billions of dollars into a book-store chain on the eve of the birth of Amazon.com and the Kindle. It will be remembered as pouring billions of dollars into improving typewriters on the eve of the birth of the PC and the Internet.

What business model am I talking about? It is Shai Agassi’s electric car network company, called Better Place. Just last week, the company, based in Palo Alto, Calif., announced a partnership with the state of Hawaii to road test its business plan there after already inking similar deals with Israel, Australia, the San Francisco Bay area and, yes, Denmark.

The Better Place electric car charging system involves generating electrons from as much renewable energy — such as wind and solar — as possible and then feeding those clean electrons into a national electric car charging infrastructure. This consists of electricity charging spots with plug-in outlets — the first pilots were opened in Israel this week — plus battery-exchange stations all over the respective country. The whole system is then coordinated by a service control center that integrates and does the billing.

Under the Better Place model, consumers can either buy or lease an electric car from the French automaker Renault or Japanese companies like Nissan (General Motors snubbed Agassi) and then buy miles on their electric car batteries from Better Place the way you now buy an Apple cellphone and the minutes from AT&T. That way Better Place, or any car company that partners with it, benefits from each mile you drive. G.M. sells cars. Better Place is selling mobility miles.

The first Renault and Nissan electric cars are scheduled to hit Denmark and Israel in 2011, when the whole system should be up and running. On Tuesday, Japan’s Ministry of Environment invited Better Place to join the first government-led electric car project along with Honda, Mitsubishi and Subaru. Better Place was the only foreign company invited to participate, working with Japan’s leading auto companies, to build a battery swap station for electric cars in Yokohama, the Detroit of Japan.

What I find exciting about Better Place is that it is building a car company off the new industrial platform of the 21st century, not the one from the 20th — the exact same way that Steve Jobs did to overturn the music business. What did Apple understand first? One, that today’s technology platform would allow anyone with a computer to record music. Two, that the Internet and MP3 players would allow anyone to transfer music in digital form to anyone else. You wouldn’t need CDs or record companies anymore. Apple simply took all those innovations and integrated them into a single music-generating, purchasing and listening system that completely disrupted the music business.

What Agassi, the founder of Better Place, is saying is that there is a new way to generate mobility, not just music, using the same platform. It just takes the right kind of auto battery — the iPod in this story — and the right kind of national plug-in network — the iTunes store — to make the business model work for electric cars at six cents a mile. The average American is paying today around 12 cents a mile for gasoline transportation, which also adds to global warming and strengthens petro-dictators.

Do not expect this innovation to come out of Detroit. Remember, in 1908, the Ford Model-T got better mileage — 25 miles per gallon — than many Ford, G.M. and Chrysler models made in 2008. But don’t be surprised when it comes out of somewhere else. It can be done. It will be done. If we miss the chance to win the race for Car 2.0 because we keep mindlessly bailing out Car 1.0, there will be no one to blame more than Detroit’s new shareholders: we the taxpayers.

They figured it worked for Belsky said...


In the market equivalent of shoveling cash under the mattress, hordes of buyers were so eager on Tuesday to park money in the world’s safest investment, United States government debt, that they agreed to accept a zero percent rate of return.

Ben Brafman said...


I see that Putz Thief Marc Dreier is being represented by Eddie Greenspan. He's like me. He charges big bucks and defends all the rich lowlives in Canada.

Leopold Margulies said...

I lent my shovel to that oisnutzer Belsky and he never returned it.

Anonymous said...

Last week, Credit Suisse issued a report forecasting 8.1 million foreclosures by the end of 2012, accounting for 16% of all U.S. mortgages.

Maybe the Putz will do us a favor said...

All 50 members of the Senate Democratic caucus signed a letter urging Blagojevich to quit immediately and allow his successor to appoint Obama's replacement. If the seat goes unfilled, they fear, it could prove difficult to produce 60 votes to prevent a filibuster on Obama's economic rescue package.

Arthur said...

What can one do but cry ,ad mosai????