Image 1: Elly Kleinman, super-salesman of the day
Image 2: “Thank You” letter published by Agudath Israel after the recent “89th Dinner” notice that Elly Kleinman is just above the “89” as if he were the “center” of this world (which he is trying to be and they are falling for it). One over to Kleinman on the right is his son Yossi and one over is Aron Kotler Jr. CEO of Lakewood yeshiva Inc.
(First in a series)
It seems that nowadays wherever one turns in the Torah world of Agudath Israel of America and way beyond, such as in Chabad and even in Religious Zionist circles the name of Elly Kleinman, CEO of the “Americare” companies seems to have become like a ubiquitous octopus with untold tentacles!
Elly Kleinman’s name, often in conjunction with his wife Bruchie’s, is all over the place if one lives in the “Oilem HaTorah Sesame Street .” The Kleinmans sponsor endless reams of this and that and the other tomes of the ArtScroll publishing company. They are constantly spreading their largesse over a wide spectrum of Torah institutions and causes that are often at loggerheads with each other. They will give to Chabad and Jerusalem reclamation projects as easily as they will donate to high powered Washington DC politicians of various ilks and beliefs.
Litvish Roshei Yeshiva, Chasidic Rebbes, Executive Directors of myriads of causes count the Kleinmans as their friends. This has taken on a life of its own to the point that the name “Kleinman” is virtually expected to be attached to causes like some sort of “seal of approval” when it’s nothing of the sort.
Funny, but we have been here before quite a few times in recent living memory.
Not so long ago, another overly-zealous billionaire (Tom Kaplan) aided and abetted by his nephew (Guma Aguiar) came along and hit the Orthodox-news headlines with a hidden agenda of taking remote control over the world of Torah in the name of “raising the standards of conversion” by buying off almost every Bais Din and Posek in the world with freely-distributed tens of millions of dollars. It resulted in one of the greatest catastrophes to befall the Torah world when the one (Leib Tropper) who was supposedly running this operation for years was unmasked as an immoral conniving fraud who was trading sexual favors for himself and his buddies in exchange for conversions as well as pocketing millions as he went along.
Tom Kaplan and Guma Aguiar were praised and hailed by the Moetzes rabbis in America and Israel when with Tropper they were pumping tens of millions into those rabbis’ worlds. They also supported many causes outside of Aguda-type rabbis and institutions, such as Chabad, Holocaust remembrance and Israeli causes to the tune of tens of millions of dollars through their private family foundations just as Elly Kleinman is doing now. But after the Tropper sex-scandal fiasco the fakery and fraudulence and EGO-mania of Tropper-Kaplan-Aguiar was revealed in all its nakedness and they have slinked off into the dark.
Before those guys, there was the notorious case of David Schick who was praised by the American Agudists as their “savior” for pumping in tens of millions into their coffers and pet causes. Only problem was that David Schick was revealed to be a huge financial fraudster who had ripped off anyone he had came into contact with. It was reported to be more than $350 million that he denuded trusting banks and “bakante” (close friends) alike. After all, Schick was an attorney, “sworn” to uphold the law, right? Wrong! He was sued, tried and went to jail for his still-unsolved mega-crimes, and the Agudists were revealed to be the suckers and dumb-bells whom Schick had taken along for the ride of their lives. To this day his name is anathema among the frum world where he lived. But it seems that people have chosen to forget this too. Kleinman is counting and working with this selective amnesia and “sha-shtil” mentality among the frum oilem goilem!
Then before this there were the vaunted Reichmann brothers who through their vast real estate property-holdings’ profits and wealth, bankrolled Torah causes to the tune of tens of millions. They supplied Agudist institutions in America and Israel with tens of millions. It is said that they gave Rav Elazar Shach in Israel a no-strings-attached “spending account” with carte blanche to allocate the millions of dollars as he saw fit. This all came crashing down when the Reichmanns lost the bulk of their world-wide real-estate empire in a crash so big that at the time books were written that the Reichmanns were “Too Big To Fall” and they thereby consequently extorted unheard of concessions from the banks they were beholden to because the banks had too much to lose with the collapse of the Reichmanns’ real-estate wealth. People have long forgotten those vanished “false messiahs” that turned out to be a king size flash-in-the-pans! So Kleinman can take heart that not only do his type of people “see no evil” but they will “talk no evil” and “do no evil” to him, as he has already amply shown as he wiggles out of case after case that’s comes at him!
Then there was the rise of Abraham Fruchthandler who had allied himself with the Reichmanns but had made lots of his own vast wealth. Fruchthandler was whispered and expected to be the great “power-that-be” behind the scenes of Agudath Israel and related causes. But then came Fruchthandler’s machinations with his friend Aron Schechter in the way the humiliated, disgraced and “fired” their own yeshiva’s mashgiach ruchani. For these halachic offenses they were summoned by no less than Aguda head Rav Moshe Feinstein for a din Torah to explain and defend their unjust actions which they have refused to do that it turned them into virtual silent pariahs in the eyes of the very Aguda world they purportedly led and supported. Even though people fear to talk openly to them about this, but no one who knows respects them because of that. They keep a low profile and it seems that many have chosen to forget that as well. Similarly, the Kleinman family acts with utter disregard for what the world may say about the younger Yossi Kleinman having committed a grave great sin when he had an affair with a married woman and then dumped his unsuspecting wife and married his mistress even though halacha forbids it since this is case of a Sotah (“another’s wife accused of adultery”) but the Kleinmans act as if this never happened, the world be damned.
So now comes Mr. Elly Kleinman (there are a few others with him, but he is a “star” in his own right) as a kind of “Tom Kaplan-Leib Tropper-David Schick-Reichmann-Fruchthandler” rolled into one!
He has exhibited the symptoms and attributes of all of them at one time or another. Like Tom Kaplan he likes to see his name in the headlines and headlights. Like Leib Tropper he and his son Yossi have been accused of sexual misconduct and have had to settle law suits for that. Like David Schick he’s had to face serious accusations of legal wrong-doing, from having his company paying out legal settlements for the cutting out of the prostates of dozens of mentally ill men who did not need it, to being fined and settling for various cases of financial fraud with Medicaid and Medicare cases in the many millions.
Obviously Kleinman got off the hook from going to jail because he hired better and smarter lawyers than David Schick who is a lawyer himself. And like the Reichmanns and the Fruchthandlers, the Kleinmans function “above the law” in a world of their own making out as if they were “absolutist royals” since they want to and are viewed as the financial “messiahs” of the Aguda and Torah world and beyond by strategically spreading their name and wealth.
But above and beyond all this, from the Kleinmans’ point of view it’s also all part of a very shrewd “business model” that the obviously very business savvy Elly Kleinman has drawn up. That is, that he always lets it be known that he offers all sorts of “services” for sick and aged through his “Americare” companies throughout the New York state area where most of America’s religious and other Jews still live with large aging populations.
By wrapping himself in false outward “robes of righteousness” Elly Kleinman projects an “aura” of “benefactor” of the Torah and Jewish causes he decides to support. He obviously directs and micro-manages the PR and advertising campaigns of the New York medical health market he thinks he knows so well. But inwardly, this charade, megalomania and near false messianism cannot go on for much longer before it too crashes down like the Tropper, Kaplan, Schick, Reichmann, Fruchthandler and other false prophets who were revealed to be crooks and perverters of both legal justice and simple human decency. For now Kleinman can go on “acting” and “huffing and puffing” on his stages at the various venues in Lakewood, Flatbush, Boro Park, Crown Heights, The Five Towns, Jerusalem, On You Tube, Google, the Internet and wherever else he may choose to “touch down” with his self-promoting egotistical show. The only one he is really fooling is himself, as time is bound to tell!