Thursday, February 13, 2014

Religion: The slippery-slope argument

A long-time UOJ reader sent this in:

I have noticed a trend in several atheistic books and documentaries, notably Root of all Evil and Religulous, where religion is portrayed as being dangerous because every practitioner of religion is part of the entire body that has at the extreme end a violent tendency. This is a slippery-slope argument, and I have come to be generally very skeptical of such arguments applied to other subject matters. Violent video games do not lead to violent behavior, gay marriage does not lead to the breakdown of the family, and universal health care does not lead to socialism. I would submit that religious behavior does not lead necessarily to violence.

There are many instances that can be cited where religious people performed violent acts in the name of religion. The crusades, witch hunts, 9/11, jihads, ethnic cleansing, etc. However, we could also point to the destructive behavior of Stalin, who was not religious, as an example where violence came from a non-religious source. When reviewed carefully, I think that the majority of violent acts can be traced to a non-religious source, but often have religion as a front. It is an easy way to cover bigoted behavior and backwards ideals. Racism, homophobia, and chauvinism can easily exist outside of religion, but if you say "gay people shouldn't marry because it makes me uncomfortable and scared," you have no argument. If you say "gay people shouldn't marry because my religion is against it," you are able to accomplish what you want.

I am contending that religion acts as a smokescreen for what people think, or perhaps as a capsule that allows a large number of ideas to be transmitted in a short period of time. I do not, however, think that religion is always bad. While many bad ideas are transmitted, I don't see how it is any different than patriotism or clannish ideas. There are many good aspects to religion. While there are awful acts that have happened in the name of god, there are also humanitarian acts that would not have happened if the believers had not believed. In many places, the church serves as a community center that allows people in an area to stay connected. In rural areas, the only source of entertainment is often the church. Activities like Vacation Bible School allow kids to use their imaginations and envision that they are in a far away place that they may never get to visit in reality.

To say that a person is enabling violence by being part of a religion that has fundamentalist extremists is small minded. This slippery-slope argument has no merit. Religion attracts a large number of people of varying levels of intelligence. If someone uses religion to cover for xenophobia or nationalism and bring a group together in a violent way, this does not equate to religion being the source of violence.

And to clarify, I am not a very religious person. I just don't think it is right for skeptical people to be advocating such a ridiculous argument. I wouldn't mind if religion disappeared, but I would like to be arguing from a reason that makes sense.

The Counter-Argument:

The argument is more like this-- if you believe that faith is the key to salvation, then you are willing to do anything that anyone can convince you god wants you to do in order to earn that salvation.

There is no way to tell a real god's directive from a fake one-- all religions think they have "the divine truth"--the infallible leader-- the right interpretation of the write text or teachings.

Atheism is just a lack of belief in gods. It is the same as a lack of belief in Scientology or a lack of belief in demons or reincarnation or astrology. People who lack these beliefs might have beliefs that influence them, but people are not driven by the myriad of superstitions they do not believe in.

Atheists cannot be made to do things they normally wouldn't do to "prove their faith" to a supposed "divine entity". Doing what you wouldn't normally do is truly the only way you can "prove" you have faith, right? They might be coerced into doing bad things -- but nothing motivates quite like the belief that your eternity depends on you doing so.

If religion was show to positively affect morality or to keep people from doing cruel things, then perhaps it would be "dangerous" not to have it -- but this has not been demonstrated to be the case... and secular democracies are repeatedly shown to be healthier and more functional than their religious counterparts.

Religion tends to encourage a kind of primitive magical thinking, where liars are seen as holders of "higher truths" and science is denigrated as not being privy to such due to "arrogance".

And if faith is good and the "key to salvation", then extreme faith is better -- an insurance policy! It's too bad that people don't agree on what god wants. Plus, to see faith as something good or a "gift", you must find fault with those who lack it -- even if you have to make stuff up to confirm your biases. The faithful must ever be spinning so that they don't realize that their faith is as questionable as all those other faiths they dismiss.

Either there are divine truths or there are not.

 Those who imagine themselves having them have quite the vested interest in keeping this delusion alive -- and it requires a society-wide deference towards faith. If all faiths were as private as they wished Scientologists to be, then I don't think anyone would care what magical things people believe in.


Anonymous said...

Did not Josef Stalin have as his youthful ambition to be a Russian Orthodox priest?

Chaim said...

In essence, the first argument is stating that there is no and shouldn't be any all or none attitutes when it comes to religion.

I think thaat even more so, one who believes that religion is a bad thing because it is the root of all evil has the most fundamentalist view of the religion, because HE believes there is no safe medium in which there is all to be gained and none to be lost.This belief is common among people who have been turned off by religion and view religion with a false, polarized view in which it is really unfair and intellectually and factually dishonest to do so.
On the other hand, religion is the best enabler, or Hecha Timtza (as we say in yeshiva), towards the power grabbing and feeding off of the masses that we see today, eg Skver. Doctrines spring up under false pretenses, such as Da'as Torah,in which the individual power and resources are inherently stolen in the name of religion, with the alternative being hell and damnation, which wouldnt even be applicable in a non religious setting.
In short, a happy medium is the only safe way to go, just as everything else in life.

Ahavah Gayle said...

I think you could make the argument that while atheists can and sometimes do work to make the world in general a better place, there is no obligation for them to do so. On the other hand, the religious person (of almost any religion I can think of) does have such an obligation, whether they choose to act on it or not. In the end, that is the fundamental difference between atheism and religion. Religious persons have obligations to God and to the world around them that atheists do not (indeed, cannot, since who could possibly require it of them?).

If an atheist claims to follow a philosophy or a charismatic atheistic teacher that exhorts them to improve the world, one must then ask what do they mean by "improve." To an atheist, human lives have no intrinsic value over that of ants or stray cats. So it's perfectly rational to an atheist to "improve" the world by forcing women to have abortions and murdering babies born alive over a certain quote - as they do in China, for example.

It's perfectly rational to an atheist to "improve" the world by releasing a vaccine or virus that would kill billions, since science supposedly "proves" there are about 5 billion too many people on the planet.

It's perfectly rational to an atheist to "improve" the world by rationing healthcare to the wealthiest, fittest, or most politically connected - the "better" class of people - again, because the world has too many people anyway.

I could go on but you get the idea - "better" based on some atheist's interpretation of science is not anything a religious person would consider "better." They are two diametrically opposed worldviews - one believes that human beings are created in God's image and should be treated fairly and equally. In the atheists animal-farm world, some are more equal than others, because there is no God who made everyone equal. It's a dog-eat-dog world, except for the top dogs (and even then when the going gets rough).

In their world, the needs of the few - the "elite" - outweigh the needs of the many. No matter how badly practiced by believers, most religions reject this view and try and help the downtrodden, the poor, the sick, the elderly and the unemployed to have a better life. They try and "save" the "unsaved," however they understand those terms.

To an atheist, that's a waste of scarce resources.

Skver Mafia 10 said...

Lower Hudson Valley LOHUD.com:

"New Square arson victim to file lawsuit tomorrow challenging grand rebbe's power

Jun 12, 2011

The lawyer for Aron Rottenberg, the New Square man seriously burned in an arson attack on his home, said this afternoon that he will file a lawsuit tomorrow contending that New Square's grand rebbe is responsible for a campaign of intimidation against Rottenberg that sparked the attack.

Lawyer Michael Sussman said that Rottenberg is committed to breaking Grand Rebbe David Twersky's hold on power over everything that happens in the ultra-insular Hasidic village.

"That control, if it is going to be exerted as it has been, has to end," Sussman said.

Rottenberg, 43, who suffered third-degree burns over half his body during the May 22 attack, will have a major procedure tomorrow at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla to remove wrappings that cover most of his body, Sussman said.

Rottenberg hopes to return home to New Square by the end of the week, Sussman said, in part to take a stand against those who tried to intimidate him for praying at a nursing home instead of the village's main synagogue, as required by Twersky.

"He will continue to fight," Sussman said.

The 70-year-old Twersky has headed the Skver Hasidic sect that runs New Square since 1968. He is regarded by his followers as a mystical figure with a close connection to God.

The case has fascinated many in the outside world who know little about New Square or its way of life, which prizes conformity and spurns most expressions of individualism.

Many residents of New Square, while condemning violence, have blamed Rottenberg for instigating trouble. Some have complained of "terrorism" directed at mild dissenters, saying that a group of a dozen or two young men sometimes resort to violence to defend the grand rebbe's wishes.

Rottenberg was injured after encountering a man approaching his home at 4 a.m. with an incendiary device.

The suspect in the case, Shaul Spitzer, 18, had lived in Twersky's home for more than a year, serving as an aide.

Rottenberg underwent his second skin-graft surgery on Tuesday -- the replacing of charred skin with healthy skin from elsewhere on his body. He has also lost much of the use of his right arm and may not be able to return to his career as a plumber."

Skver Mafia 11 said...

"New Square arson victim to file lawsuit tomorrow challenging grand rebbe's power

At issue is to what degree Spitzer was inspired, or even encouraged, by New Square leaders who are intensely devoted to Twersky or even by Twersky himself. Twersky rarely speaks publically and did not condemn the violent attack on Rottenberg until four days later, doing so in a talk to students.

Spitzer was charged with second-degree attempted murder, first-degree attempted arson and first-degree assault. He was released on $300,000 bail, but is being treated in a New York City hospital for burns suffered during the arson attack.

Police said on June 3 that the FBI had joined the investigation, looking into not only the arson attack but events that may have led up to it.

Rottenberg and his family faced a pattern of harassment -- noted in police reports -- since last September, when he began to pray at a nearby nursing home rather than in New Square's main synagogue.

From the start, community leaders told Rottenberg that his decision was unacceptable. A letter distributed in November by New Square's leadership and rabbinical court said that it was a severe violation not to worship at the main synagogue.

Over the ensuing months, their home and cars were vandalized, Rottenberg's daughter was expelled from school and the family received various threats.

Rottenberg, a father of four, even told The Journal News in November that he feared for his safety.

His family hired Sussman, a prominent and often blunt civil rights lawyer, days after the arson attack. Sussman began immediately pressing for a federal investigation, saying that local police and politicians were too close to and fearful of New Square's leaders to conduct a fair investigation of their own.

Rottenberg has not been shy about denouncing his community for ignoring the dangerous harassment directed at him and his family. At least two videos of him discussing his anger from his hospital bed have been shared with FailedMessiah, a blog that documents controversy in Orthodox communities.

In a video posted Tuesday, Rottenberg called the harassment he faced and the silence of community leaders a desecration of God's name."

Skver Mafia 12 said...

"New Square arson victim to file lawsuit tomorrow challenging grand rebbe's power

Twersky, like grand rebbes of other Hasidic enclaves, has authority over all significant ways of life in his community. Many Hasidic Jews see their grand rebbe as having a direct channel to God and as serving as an intermediary for them with God. So his word is rarely questioned.

Hasidic communities also disdain any form of dissent, which is seen as a threat to the community's unity.

"As a matter of principle, Hasidim believe themselves bound to an obligation of absolute obedience to the rebbe in every aspect of life," said Nomi Stolzenberg, a University of Southern California law professor who is co-authoring a book about the Kiryas Joel Hasidic community in Orange County. "Out of that model of leadership came the kind of enclave we see in New Square."

New Square is a fast-growing and exceedingly young community. Its population grew by 50 percent to 6,944 people between 2000 and 2010. The median age of its residents is only 13 -- at least 10 years younger than any non-Hasidic community in the state -- thanks to many young couples having 5-10 children.

New Square is located in the East Ramapo School district, but all children attend private schools and yeshivas.

Twersky's father, Rabbi Yaakov Yosef Twersky, founded New Square in 1954 with a few dozen families, including many Holocaust survivors. The enclave was incorporated as a village in 1961."

One Year Since Troppers Fall 36 said...

Tablet Magazine:

"Converted: When Shannon Orand asked Rabbi Leib Tropper to help her study to become a Jew, he asked for sexual favors in return, she says

By Marissa Brostoff | Jan 14, 2010

A man believed to be Rabbi Leib Tropper—until recently chief of Eternal Jewish Family, a powerful group that has attempted to use millions of dollars in donations and the support of famous rabbis to control the process of conversion to Judaism throughout the world—is heard on several recorded telephone conversations doing a number of embarrassing things that run contrary to even a loose interpretation of traditional Jewish modesty and morality. The man on the recordings, who has a Yiddish accent and has been identified as Tropper by Shannon Orand, who says she recorded the tapes, is heard masturbating during phone sex, pining for someone whose breasts he hopes to “shqueeze,” and invoking Judaic teachings to justify his lust. Orand, on the other end of the conversations, responds with incredulity bordering on bafflement, like a grown-up Alice chatting with the Mad Hatter at a particularly sordid tea party.

In one exchange, the man refers to an unnamed third party who’s caught a flight on Saturday night—“motzei Shabbos”—but wasn’t quite sure he “brought the money with him.” “How does somebody travel with $3,700 and they’re not sure they have it?” Orand, who is from Houston, wonders aloud. As her Talmudic interlocutor pontificates further on the whereabouts of the money he is sending her, she makes an observation. “Maybe money is not that important to so many people,” she says, “but if I had $3,700 anywhere, in a drawer, in a pocket, in a suitcase—I’d know exactly where it is.”

How did a young single mother—who wasn’t even officially Jewish until a few weeks ago—get mixed up with a powerful ultra-Orthodox rabbi and his wealthy and influential associates? The short answer, according to Orand, is that she was in the process of converting to Judaism, and Tropper was her supervising rabbi and took gross liberties with his position. But, of course, the long answer is much more interesting.

Orand, 32, grew up in the town of Humble, Texas, a suburb of Houston, where her father was a police officer and a preacher in the evangelical congregation Assemblies of God. As Orand wrote on a Chabad discussion board, she joined her father in missionary work as a young girl and later joined his ministry. Her mother was part of the Messianic Jewish movement—Jews for Jesus is the best-known Messaniac group—and Orand became involved with Messianic synagogues as well.

Orand became pregnant with her first child while still a student in college; she later married Charles Brady Orand, 12 years her senior, who fathered her second child. She went into public relations, representing first a youth orchestra and then the real estate firm Grubb & Ellis. In 2003, when her daughter was 6 and her son was 2, her husband, a then-semi-employed technology consultant known as Brady, declared bankruptcy.

In 2006, the couple divorced after a lengthy court battle. According to Brady’s lawyer, Michael Tracton, Orand also accused Brady in court of having molested her daughter and, in 2007, Brady wound up on probation and on the Texas sex offender registry. Tracton confirmed that Orand made the accusation but says his client maintained his innocence and only agreed to be labeled a sex offender as part of a plea bargain. That same year, according to Tracton, Orand and her husband wound up back in court over visitation rights to their son. Just a few weeks ago, according to an interview with Orand on the counter-missionary website Jewish Israel, the case was decided in Brady’s favor."

One Year Since Troppers Fall 37 said...

"Converted: When Shannon Orand asked Rabbi Leib Tropper to help her study to become a Jew, he asked for sexual favors in return, she says

As her marriage fell apart, Orand appears to have looked for a new source of faith and stability in her life. In a 2007 post on what is presented online as Orand’s personal MySpace page—one asserted to be such by two of her friends—Orand came “out of the closet,” as it is phrased there, about the faith that had been sustaining her during a difficult time. “I posted a blog quite a while back about my re-dedicating my life to G-d,” she wrote. “This re-dedication has included a lot of study, prayer, and intense research of scripture. What I discovered in my research turned my world upside down.” In an email to Tablet Magazine, Orand did not confirm or deny whether this is, in fact, her own MySpace page.

In October of 2005, the MySpace post continued, she had spent a month in Israel, hoping that when she returned she would be able “to prove one way or another that Jesus was/is in fact the Jewish Messiah”—ordering a Prophecy Edition bible, a popular Messianic version of the scriptures, and going “to work memorizing how Jesus fulfilled each and every one of the prophecies in the Tanakh (Jewish scriptures)…. surely re-affirming my faith, right?”

Instead, according to the post, she determined that she had been lied to in the religious education she received in her father’s house. “What I found when I looked deeper than the one verse references that Jews for Jesus and other missionary sites show is that EVERY ONE of those verses have either been deceptively translated or taken COMPLETELY out of context. When I started to discover this, I think I went through all of the stages of grief, and probably still am. This revelation is huge!”

After this ecstatic missive about the rejection of Christianity, she announces she was being tutored in her new faith by a group called Outreach Judaism, a group that tries to counter the work of Christian missionaries, and that she had decided to become an Orthodox Jew: “Initially, I looked into conversion, but through looking into my family discovered that I am already Jewish! I’ve written enough, so I’ll explain this part later.”

The reasons why Orand initially thought she would not have to convert, and why she subsequently changed her mind, remain unclear, as does the question of how Leib Tropper, who lives in the ultra-Orthodox enclave of Monsey, New York, became her supervising rabbi, as she contends. Orand is quite naturally reticent in her dealings with the press. “Publicity is the last thing I ever wanted. I’m simply a nobody in Houston, TX, who made a connection to a powerful Rabbi for help,” she wrote in an email to Tablet Magazine. “My only goal for the past 4 years has been to join the Jewish people, marry, and raise my children in a safe Jewish home.”

In one of the recorded conversations, the man Orand says is Tropper speaks of another man in her life. “You are heartbroken, you are destroyed, and even now you wish that he were different and you could go ahead with your relationship with him, married, not married, whatever will be,” he says in the recording. “You didn’t think about the question of whether you can marry him—he told you from the beginning that he can’t marry you because he is a Kohen.” If Orand hoped to marry a Jewish man and if, as she said in her interview with Jewish Israel, she hoped to make aliyah, then she would have needed a strictly Orthodox conversion recognized by the Israeli government—which is the specialty of Tropper’s Eternal Jewish Family organization."

One Year Since Troppers Fall 38 said...

"Converted: When Shannon Orand asked Rabbi Leib Tropper to help her study to become a Jew, he asked for sexual favors in return, she says

A month after Orand came out as a prospective Jew, she told friends on MySpace that her job at Grubb & Ellis would most likely be ending, and that she was looking for new employment. By the end of the 2007, she was doing PR for Tovia Singer, the Monsey-based anti-missionary impresario behind Outreach Judaism as well as “The Tovia Singer Show,” a syndicated, politically conservative radio program. Orand starting attending classes at an Orthodox synagogue and volunteering with Bridge Houston, a hard-line local Zionist and anti-defamation organization, where, according to one of the group’s leaders, Ira Bleiweiss, she spearheaded a campaign against Messianic missionaries in the area, showing up in front of the Jewish Community Center, where a Messianic group evangelized each week, and taking them on, biblical verse for biblical verse.

“If there’s somebody protesting on behalf of the Jewish people around here, it’s probably because of her,” another friend from the Jewish community, Jason Levinson, said of Orand. “She very quickly has shown herself to be a hugely valuable part of our community. I see her as an up-and-coming young Jewish leader.”

Shannon Orand had transformed herself from a preacher’s daughter into an Orthodox Jew—keeping kosher, dressing according to Orthodox standards of modesty, and even sending her children to an Orthodox day school. In her online writings, she comes across as a well-spoken woman with standard Orthodox religious and political views, with special fluency in the halachic codes that govern responding to missionaries. When a commenter on Jewish Israel identified only as “Ellen” asked whether it was permissible to burn missionary materials, Oraand responded firmly. “Since my heart is so tangled up emotionally with this issue,” she said, “I have to be careful to rely only on Torah & Halacha on this….If you are a Jew, you are obligated to burn the idolatrous material.”

Her new beliefs and commitments, not surprisingly, have strained or ended many relationships from her Messianic days. One of Orand’s online acquaintances, a Jewish-turned-Messianic rapper named Aviad Cohen, suggested to Tablet that Orand’s horrific conversion experience may have been some kind of message from above. “People choose their own path instead of the path that God lays out for them and then, sometimes things like this happen,” he said.

Orand’s most significant falling-out, though, has been with the person who got her involved with the Messianic movement to begin with. “My mother, who is a devout evangelical/messianic and was never supportive of my conversion efforts, has told me that I’m going to hell and taking her grandchildren with me,” Orand said in her interview with Jewish Israel. Orand’s father, though, has taken a different path: following in his daughter’s footsteps, Orand told the website, he has left the church, and now considers himself a righteous gentile observer of the Laws of Noah, or a Noahide.

“I’ve never known Shannon as anything other than Jewish and as an observant Jew,” said Bleiweiss, who’s known her for two years. “She just has a piece of paper now, but it’s the same Shannon”."

One Year Since Troppers Fall 39 said...

"Converted: When Shannon Orand asked Rabbi Leib Tropper to help her study to become a Jew, he asked for sexual favors in return, she says

Orand has addressed the question of why she stayed in what she says was an exploitative relationship with Tropper once it began. “I have been immersed in an ongoing legal battle involving my children and my ex-husband who sexually molested my daughter, pleaded guilty, and is a registered sex offender,” she told Jewish Israel. “Leib Tropper was taking care of the tremendous legal expenses I was incurring—which put me in a terribly difficult situation.” Later she told Tablet: “My dealings with Tropper and the decisions I made throughout this ordeal, had everything to do with protecting my children from my ex-husband, a convicted child molester who raped my daughter.” Leib Tropper refused to speak to Tablet Magazine, either to deny or confirm any of the details of Orand or others’ accounts.

Orand has said that she taped her conversations with Tropper in order to report him to the religious authorities, and that she never intended for them to go to the press. The sex tapes became public amid a legal dispute between the two major supporters of Tropper’s organization, Thomas Kaplan and his now-estranged nephew, Guma Aguiar. Aguiar—who, in addition to the falling-out with this uncle, is also now battling in court with Tropper—has acknowledged that he was one of the people responsible for publicizing the sex tapes. In an email to Tablet, Orand said she had no direct connection to Aguiar. “I want no part of that vicious war and hope that the 2 can set aside their arguments and focus their energy and money into causes that will bring peace in their own lives, and in the Jewish world,” she wrote. “Who know[s]? Perhaps peace between those two could be enough to bring about the final redemption.”

On January 3, 2010, two weeks after Leib Tropper stepped down from his post at Eternal Jewish Family and after Orand had lost her custody battle, she immersed herself in a mikvah in Jerusalem, and her conversion to Judaism was certified by four ultra-Orthodox rabbis who welcomed her into the Jewish people. “I feel like I came out of Egypt,” she told Jewish Israel a few days later.

Yet speculation about her relationship with Tropper—which, Orand maintained in her email to Tablet, never actually involved direct physical contact—have continued on ultra-Orthodox blogs, with some bloggers suggesting that the exploitation that Orand suffered at Tropper’s hands has rendered her unworthy of conversion.

“Everyone in that video [released along with the audio tapes] is tainted and questionable now, especially the women who converted,” said a commenter on the blog Daas Torah. “Its horrible to say that but everyone’s thinking it now.” The Jerusalem yeshiva bocher who runs the blog HaMekubal came to an even stranger conclusion. “If the tapes were true, there was no halachic standing for a B’’D””—a beit din, or religious court—“to be able to move forward with a conversion,” he wrote in a post that argued sarcastically that Orand’s conversion proves Tropper is owed an apology.

For those in the ultra-Orthodox world who believe that the conversion process is not strict enough, Shannon Orand is either a whore or a liar, and Tropper’s sins, real or not, are proof of the need for increased vigilance in the face of those would seek to dilute the divine essence that inhabits the Jewish people. For everyone else, the case of Shannon Orand is shocking proof of the depravity of a rabbinical establishment that gladly accepted Leib Tropper as the ultimate authority on who can rightly be called a Jew, and which still refuses to denounce his sins against the faith that they claim to uphold."

Margo gets results said...

ALBANY — Roughly 40 percent of the allegations of sexual and physical abuse of the developmentally disabled at group homes and institutions in New York in recent months were not reported to law enforcement authorities, a senior state official said on Monday.

New Square Reenactment all in the Twersky Family said...


"New Square Reenactment, all in the Twersky Family

by Ben Atlas on 06.1.2011

I will descend to comment about this crap.

There are two most annoying and virtually ubiquitous reactions. Firstly “this was what the Nazis did”. And the second is the lament about the “degraded state of the orthodoxy, how things have changed”, etc. Just wait a freaking minute…

Violence, intimidation, abuse of power and even murder were always part of the hassidic culture, especially in Ukraine (if you are illiterate to read some Der Nister, read some Gotlober).

The Ruzhiner Rebbe had to escape to Romania because of his alleged role in the Ushatz murders, Boruch of Medzhibozh was known for his violent feudal rule and the Skverer Rebbes will go down in history for one thing only – beatings and violence against the small hassidic sects and especially the sustained intimidation and the abuse of the Breslevers.

Except in the old country the police was on the take and no free press or human rights violations available.

They swept the deaths under the Ukrainian carpet.

The burning that just occurred is a poor reenactment.

The Twersky family, the Talners and the Skverer Rebbes were known for this very thing.

And then there is the universal theme. Old men play with fire of the unrestrained sexual energy of the youth to ignite the violence.

This is how after Ramash’s [Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the 7th Lubavitcher Rebbe] verbal frenzy a c.18 year old went upstairs in the 770 to punch repeatedly the 90 year old daughter of the Rayatz [Rayatz=Rav Yosef Yitzchok Shneersohn, the 6th Lubavitcher Rebbe].

This exact theme played out now under the New Square dictatorship, where they are all about the “tradition”."

The Skverer a liar or a fool said...


"The Skverer, a liar or a fool?

by Ben Atlas on 06.3.2011

On the subject of my post New Square Reenactment, all in the Twersky Family.

To echo the famous question of Yeshayahu Leibovitch about the Lubavitcher Rebbe ["The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Psychopath or Charlatan?"], the Skverer Rebbe is he a liar or is he ignorant about the history of Skver when he says things like “violence is not our way, etc”.

I thought about this and my conclusion is that he must be ignorant.

In a mafia they keep the kids away from the bodies, they don’t tell them “everything”.

I am pretty certain he has no idea that his very sect was known for beatings and violence in Ukraine.

Meanwhile my friend Shulem Deen writes about this in Forward – What Is Really Happening in New Square? No one is as qualified to speak on the subject as Shulem."

The Lubavitcher Rebbe Psychopath or Charlatan said...


"The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Psychopath or Charlatan?

by Ben Atlas on 10.30.2010

Yeshayahu Leibovitch posed his famous question: ישעיהו ליבוביץ - הרבי מליובאוויטש

Notice the picture of Isaiah Berlin there. And the closely related dilemma: מתי המשיח יבוא? - ישעיהו ליבוביץ

Whatever the motivation or a condition, the bottom line is that after all the tzores in the last century we got ourselves a person who captured and continues to capture the imagination of many, who modeled himself after the twin villains from Moscow and Berlin. In the spiritual sense the abused is compelled to perpetuate the crime. And it is only our luck that the apparatchiks don’t have the real power or for sure they would build a secret police, inquisition, the works. Does anyone have any doubt that Benzi Shemtov or his numerous ilk, given the power, would put the worst KGB tortures to shame? And the other sign of powerlessness is that these commissars can’t do no good, but they can still do the damage. Yeshayahu Leibovitch on somewhat related subject על המושג "לאומיות דתית"- ישעיהו ליבוביץ

Let me explain the last Leibovitch’s clip. When Yeshayahu Leibovitch defines a religion he understands that by definition its functions in the opposition to power. Karl Marx’s vision of socialism was in fact a pure opposition to power. If a religion is colluding with power or uses nationalism as a metaphor for the God given power, than it morphs into nazional socialism, Nazism for short, or the original Soviet version. For whatever reason Mendel Schneerson decided to go into this market. And today his emissaries worship exclusively power and money (that’s why they like to be photographed with the political leaders and the oligarchs). In addition they don’t preach the religion but they traffic in the jewish nostalgia, an identity variant of the Jewish nationalism. As far Yeshayahu Leibovitch is concerned this is no longer a religion. But it also illustrates why Mendel Schneerson had to imitate both totalitarian leaders who were the purest expression of this craft available to him during his formative years. In fact the 20th century was about the redefining of religions as nationalism. This form of nationalism swept even the muslim world, including all major Arab powers besides the oil kingdom, Saddam Hussein in Iraq, Abdel Nasser in Egypt, Hafez al-Assad in Syria were all part of the creed."

10 Similarities between a Chabad House and a Las Vegas Casino said...


"10 Similarities between a Chabad House and a Las Vegas Casino

by Ben Atlas on 04.14.2009

[Photo: The Dreidel in front of 770 Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn]

1. I was walking through a pedestrian bridge between a parking garage and a building in Boston, there was a carded access from the garage into the building, while exiting the building was wide open. My friend remarked that it was just the opposite of a Las Vegas casino – “In casinos they lure you in through a grand entry but make finding an exit intentionally difficult. They want you spend more time and money inside”. I thought this was similar to a Chabad House – every entry is wide open but if you ever get to the point where you confuse the house with a home your exit will be difficult.

2. Las Vegas casinos and Chabad Houses offer free food and provide free lodging for the customers, to make sure they pay in gambling or donations while hoping for a supernatural event.

3. Both Chabad Houses and Las Vegas casinos were founded by the New Yorkers, Menachem Schneerson and Bugsy Siegel respectively.

4. In both Las Vegas Casino and Chabad Houses customers are in the dark about how the game is really played, hence the house always wins.

5. Both Las Vegas casinos and Chabad Houses are run by family clans (not a surprise that Shlomo Cunin who coined the name “Chabad House” considers Las Vegas “his territory”).

6. The primary purpose of every Chabad House and every casino is to shake all and any change from the customers. If you have no money to gamble both casinos and Chabad Houses will confuse you with room service.

7. If and when you crack the code of the game, then a casino security and a Chabad House will try to ban you from the premises.

8. You are likely to find plenty of liquid spirits in both.

9. Hispanic maids are likely to be found cleaning shit in both establishments.

10. Customers of Las Vegas casinos or Chabad Houses are too embarrassed to admit that they have been had and so what happens in a casino or a Chabad House, stays in casino and Chabad House!"

Weiner is Tropper and Tropper is Weiner said...

Very soon to be ex-congressman Anthony Weiner has a lot in common with recent ex-rabbi Leib Tropper both refused to resign until enough damaging and compromising XXX-rated videos, recordings and photos were released online making the end inevitable.

Even the gedolim could not save Tropper from his self-inflicted and well-deserved public self-immolation and likewise even the top Democrats from Obama on down cannot and will not save Weiner, that only makes him look like the pathetic liar and manipulator that he is, like Tropper like Weiner:


"Obama: 'I would resign' in Weiner's situation

President talks scandal, debt ceiling in an exclusive interview with TODAY's Ann Curry

TODAY staff
updated 6/13/2011

In an exclusive interview with TODAY’s Ann Curry that will air on Tuesday’s show, President Barack Obama said that if he were Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner right now, he would resign in the wake of the scandal in which Weiner admitted to sending explicit photos of himself to women online.

“I can tell you that if it was me, I would resign,’’ Obama told Curry.

Weiner has been the talk of the nation since he was caught sending lewd photos of himself to various women on multiple social media platforms, prompting the head of the Democratic National Party to call for him to step down and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi to demand an ethics committee investigation.

Video: Weiner in rehab as new photos emerge

“When you get to the point where, because of various personal distractions, you can't serve as effectively as you need to, at the time when people are worrying about jobs, and their mortgages, and paying the bills — then you should probably step back,’’ Obama said.

Story: New York congressman: 'The picture was of me, I sent it'

Obama added that what Weiner did was “highly inappropriate’’ and that he has “embarrassed himself” and his wife and family, but said it will ultimately come down to a decision by Weiner and his constituents as to whether he will continue in office.

Story: Weiner seeks treatment, leave of absence from House

While the President understands why the scandal has generated so much attention, he told Curry that it was behind joblessness, the economy and Afghanistan on his radar right now...Watch Ann Curry's exclusive interview Tuesday, June 14 on TODAY."

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


I think you're taking the "traditional" hard-line about Atheists/Agnostics.

I know and have worked with many of the above described people, and you'd never know what their "religious" beliefs were by their kindness, unselfishness and charitable undertakings to humanity.

Aside from the traditional Jewish chessed organizations that I've solicited from them large sums of money, they give gracefully without publicity or fanfare to every humanitarian cause (the ones that can afford to).

So, please forgive me, I believe you are being overly harsh on the majority of people whose worldview may be different than yours or mine.



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

I can't let the above Atlas comments go without saying the following:

The Lubavitcher Rebbe was one of the great Jewish minds of the 20th century if not the greatest (of religious people).

Something happened in the late 1980's that definitely turned Lubavitch in the cult direction.

Now, without real authentic leadership, it has, as a Jewish movement, lost support from traditional Jews.

Having said that, their impact on the chessed they promulgate, is unmatched by any Jewish group, regardless of how one may feel about the misguided cultish behavior by many.

Anonymous said...

thank you UOJ for that comment re lubavitch

i agree with there chesed impact

just a quick question for your readers when aguda loses the gay rights bill should thay shut down totally because all they do know id fight gay rights and steal money supposed to go to yeshivas thru title one

when will the gvmt check that scam

Boruch said...

If Agudath Israel loses the marriage bill, they should hang their shameful heads as they ponder the lackluster and pitiful support they made for the molestation bill. Middah keneged middah. You don't protect my children - then I'll cast you out.

The molestation bill, the need to background check, would expose the nepotism and dynastic protexia of yeshivas. Small wonder Agudath Israel, whose donations depend on the yeshivalite, won't back bills that would hurt their funding.

The marriage bill may pass - and without the added religious codicil. Middah keneged middah. Actually I would find it very amusing to see any of the Agudaniks officiating at such a chasseneh, not implausible, just amusing.

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

When the bill passes (not if), I'm gonna recruit 100 or so gay chevra to join the Agudah. Then I'll have them ask the Novominsker to be M'sader Kiddushin.


Joe Putz said...

Der Novominsker is not mechuyev to be mesader for non-residents of Boro Park. Have you forgotten?

Anonymous said...

I'm gonna recruit 100 or so gay chevra to join the Agudah.

Who will join the already closeted members?

Rep Weiner=The Agudah said...

Rep. Anthony Weiner spoke to the Agudas Yisroel May 29, 2011 - just a couple of weeks ago.
Here is the link:

Agudas Yisroel=Rep. Weiner said...

BTW, it looks like the Noviminsker is to the left of Weiner and Shmu Kamenetzky is to his right.
Wonder if Weiner found any Agudnistas to tweet to at the event.

Chaim said...

Weiner looks like a twelve year old kid in that video. Meanwhile, the Novominsker is making his usual post-cholent face, common during speeches where the subject matter is above his level of understanding. Kamenetzky is spacing out, as usual.

Anonymous said...

Ackerman got a life sentence for kidnapping

LAS VEGAS, June 2 (UPI) -- A Nevada inmate seeks an injunction to block the prison system's plan to end kosher food service to prisoners who keep kosher, the man's lawyers said.

Attorneys for prisoner Howard Ackerman, an Orthodox Jew, said the temporary restraining order was filed Wednesday in a Las Vegas federal court to protect the religious rights of their client and other prisoners who keep kosher, the Las Vegas Sun reported.

"This will interfere with the ability of Mr. Ackerman and similarly situated Orthodox Jews to be able to observe the tenets of their religion. This issue has been well litigated throughout the United States, including in this court, and it has been held time and time again, that such interference with a prisoner's right to kosher food is prohibited," the court-filed motion said.

Ackerman's lawyers, Jacob Hafter and Michael Naethe, say the state Department of Corrections has planned this week or next week to stop serving kosher food to inmates requesting it in all state prisons.


Click to see the one minute YouTube video:

Recorded on May 29, 2011

Ex Rep Weiner Admits Tweeting Lewd Photo said...

Click on the link to see the less than 2 minutes "confession" -- now if only Tropper could be man enough to admit his lewdness and go hang his head in shame instead of sticking around on his nutty blog, writing "seforim" and still deceiving senior rabbonim with false "tzidkus":

At a dramatic Manhattan news conference, Rep. Anthony Weiner said he won't resign despite taking, sending lewd pictures to women. (June 6)

Leib Tropper prays for No Penetration Scheinberg said...

Tropper on his nutty "כבוד התורה" blog prays for the health of his own first rosh yeshiva and rebbe, refuah sheleimah to both of them:

"Monday, June 13, 2011

Maran Harav Scheinberg Shlit"a

This past week Maran Harav A.L. Steinman Shlit"a visited Harav Scheinberg Shlit"a in the hospital.

Harav Scheinberg was in the hospital for the past week suffering from an internal infection.

Maran Harav Steinman Shlit"a spent roughly a half hour speaking with Harav Scheinberg Shlit"a.

Maran Harav Scheinberg Shlit"a is Bla"h over 100 years old. Ad Meah V'esrim!"

China IGNORES what happened to Japan in WWII said...

The New York Times | Asia Pacific:

"China Navy Reaches Far, Unsettling the Region

[Photo: A Chinese naval honor guard. China's navy has grown more assertive in recent years, rattling the nerves of maritime neighbors.]

June 14, 2011

QINGDAO, China — The photographs of Chinese warships speeding between Japanese islands in the Pacific for drills circulated quickly last week, raising what Japan’s defense minister called “serious concern.”

Vietnam, with little forewarning, then began live-fire naval exercises off its coast — a show of bravado in the face of rising tensions with China over rival claims to the oil- and gas-rich South China Sea. Protests against Chinese actions in the sea took place on the last two Sundays in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, with at least the tacit approval of the government. On Monday, the Vietnamese prime minister signed a decree giving details on a possible military draft.

The separate events reflect a new and potentially volatile pattern. As the Chinese government and the fast-modernizing naval branch of the People’s Liberation Army extend the nation’s maritime reach, uneasy neighbors are tracking Chinese vessels, including military and surveillance boats, fisheries law enforcement ships and fishing skiffs, and pushing back hard over anything deemed aggressive.

In recent weeks Vietnam, the Philippines and Japan have voiced concerns or made formal complaints over Chinese nautical movements. Some nations have deployed ships or aircraft to disputed waters. The United States, the dominant military force in the Pacific, is watching closely and has sought to bolster its alliances in the region.

The growing confidence of the Chinese Navy is on open display. Here in the port of Qingdao, host to an impressive naval review in 2009, destroyers and a submarines are docked for public viewing at a seaside military museum that extols the navy’s might. At a coastal city farther north, Dalian, the navy has been rebuilding an ex-Soviet aircraft carrier, the Varyag, which is expected to be operational this year.

American officials have said that one of the Chinese Navy’s main goals in modernizing is to operate in an area where the United States currently has naval supremacy: the waters of the western Pacific that lie beyond Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines, what is commonly known as the “first island chain.”

“At one level, this is the new ‘normal,’ ” Lyle Goldstein, a professor at the China Maritime Studies Institute at the United States Naval War College, said in an e-mail. “This is especially true with respect to the group of Chinese P.L.A. navy ships going through the ‘first island chain’ to conduct a medium-sized exercise.” Such exercises will become much more regular and likely grander, he added, “especially once China adds a carrier to the mix.”

The Chinese Defense Ministry said last week that the Chinese ships spotted between the Japanese islands of Okinawa and Miyako were in compliance with international law. Their purpose was to conduct a “regular exercise” that was “in accordance with the annual plan” of the Chinese military, the ministry said.

The Japanese defense minister, Toshimi Kitazawa, said Friday that there had been a growing number of actions by Chinese vessels in the waters near Okinawa since 2008. “We should be concerned about whether they would go beyond that or not,” he said, according to Kyodo News. In April 2010, a large Chinese flotilla passed near Okinawa, and a Chinese helicopter flew within 300 feet of one of two Japanese destroyers that had begun following the Chinese vessels."

China IGNORES what happened to Japan in WWII said...

"China Navy Reaches Far, Unsettling the Region

Last September, a diplomatic crisis erupted between China and Japan when the Japanese detained a Chinese fishing captain whom they accused of ramming two Japanese Coast Guard vessels patrolling disputed islands administered by Japan. There was no evidence of ties between the fisherman and the Chinese Navy, but analysts say Chinese civilian boats have been increasingly acting as proxies for the navy by trying to assert Chinese sovereignty in disputed waters.

Bernard D. Cole, a former United States Navy officer who teaches at the National War College, said he had heard the Chinese Navy was trying to expand operational control over the Fisheries Law Enforcement Command and other Coast Guard-like organizations.

Such boats have also been at the center of flare-ups in recent years in the South China Sea, which is claimed in part or in whole by China, Taiwan and four Southeast Asian nations. Foreign officials and analysts say the skirmishes this year have great potential to devolve into military conflict. “The situation there seems to be escalating in dangerous ways,” Mr. Goldstein said.

On May 26 and June 9, Chinese boats cut cables from Vietnamese oil exploration ships, Vietnamese officials say. Vietnam formally protested, saying the ships were inside its exclusive economic zone, 200 nautical miles off its coast. China contends that the ships were outside the zone. In the second case, Chinese officials say, armed Vietnamese ships were chasing a Chinese fishing vessel from the area, and a fishing net accidentally snagged the cable.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hong Lei, asserted on June 7 that “China has indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea islands and adjacent waters.” Though China has not explicitly delineated its territorial claims, critics in the region say it is relying on a map, drawn up by the old Kuomintang government and supported by the current Communist government, that shows virtually the entire South China Sea under Chinese dominion. Mr. Hong said China’s position on the sea “has remained unchanged for centuries,” and has called on Vietnam and the Philippines to stop oil exploration there.

Philippine officials say China has provoked five to seven incidents with their country this year, said Carlyle A. Thayer, a professor at the Australian Defense Force Academy who studies the region. One of the most serious was on March 2, when two Chinese maritime surveillance ships ordered a Philippine survey boat to leave the area around Reed Bank and, according to the Philippines, threatened to ram the boat. The Philippines later sent military planes to the area. Mr. Hong said the Philippines should “stop unilateral actions that impair China’s sovereignty as well as maritime rights.”

But Mr. Thayer put the blame on China, saying “a series of unilateral actions by China have raised serious tensions and potentially set China on a collision course with Vietnam and the Philippines.”

Analysts say the tensions will be a test for the United States, since it is allied with the Philippines and has grown closer to Vietnam. Last year, the United States publicly sided with Vietnam and other Southeast Asian nations at a regional meeting when Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke of a “national interest” in the sea and urged a solution to the disputes.

The territorial issue remains the time bomb, Mr. Cole said. “Neither Beijing nor Hanoi has given any indication that they are willing to back off their claim to complete sovereignty over the land features,” he said. “That is the crux of the issue.”

Shao Heng contributed research from Beijing."

Australian Agudah Fresser said...

Victoria, Australia police are investigating sexual assaults that may have taken place at Chabad's Yeshiva College in Elsternwick between 1989 and 1993.

Anyone with information can call Crimeshtuppers at 1-800-330-000 or the sexual offenses unit based in Moorabin

Chilul Hashem said...


Here is a Hungarian lowlife from Boro Park working together with a slimy lawyer to extort money out of 100s of businesses. He sues that there is no wheelchair access. The NY Post wants to know how he is able to give details of inside if he couldn't get inside and why he is suing so many treif restaurants and prust places if he is a Chassidishe Yid. When the article says he lives with his girlfriend and the children they had together, they probably don't chap that this is probably that heimishe scam they are doing all over BP & Willy to not register the marriage to collect more benefits.

They are taking advantage of a loophole in the law to sue that Congress wants to change because of sleazy plaintiffs like this.

Ahavah Gayle said...

Dear UOJ,

No doubt you are correct that I am being too harsh, and I'm glad you have such good and kind atheist acquaintances. But I wouldn't call my comments the party line but rather my personal experience. Perhaps it is my field of interest - peak oil particularly - that brings me in contact with a lot of atheists whose opinions of policies that should be enacted are, IMO, downright scary. There are plenty of people out there who really believe a big "die-off" either natural or artificially created is the only "real" solution to the world's problems. They don't want to live a simple lifestyle - they want to get rid of the people who they will have to share resources with instead. Or, they want to use force of arms to prevent other people from obtaining or keeping their fair share of the world's resources - blood for gasoline, etc. They're nuts, and they're dangerous, and there are a lot of them. And as globalization fizzles out and they find themselves having to pay the real prices for goods and resources, it's debatable who will be able to take control of government, them or the right-wing evangelical tea-partiers. Either way it's not going to be great for the rest of us.