Monday, December 29, 2014

Some (crackpot) Orthodox rabbis contend there's no medical proof that babies can became sick due to the circumcisions...

Religious circumcision ritual leaves another Jewish baby with herpes

City health officials believe the baby boy got sick as a result of a centuries-old ritual known as metzizah b'peh practiced by some ultra-Orthodox Jews.

Another newborn boy has contracted herpes after a controversial Jewish circumcision ritual — the fourth case this year and the 17th since 2000, city health officials said Wednesday.
The baby was rushed to the hospital 12 days after undergoing the ancient ritual, known as metzitzah b’peh, which involves cleaning the circumcision wound by oral suction.
The unidentified boy has recovered, but two of the other infected infants since 2000 died, and at least two suffered brain damage.
The oral suction ritual is practiced by a small number of ultra-Orthodox Jews. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that it is performed 3,600 times a year in New York city.
Some Orthodox rabbis contend there's no medical proof that babies can became sick due to the circumcisions.
In the latest case, however, the Health Department said the newborn’s symptoms, the timing of the herpes outbreak and laboratory confirmation of the herpes simplex type 1 virus “are consistent” with transmission as a result of the oral suction procedure.
The new case was first reported by Capital New York.
In 2012, under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the city enacted a regulation requiring that anyone who performs the ritual obtain a signed consent form from parents acknowledging the potential health risks.
SUNDAY MAY 15, 2011 PHOTONOAH BERGER/APBenjamin Abecassis closes his eyes during his Bris, a Jewish circumcision ceremony in San Francisco.
But the regulation is nearly impossible to enforce and it is often ignored.
In the latest case, it was not immediately clear whether the person who conducted the circumcision obtained a signed consent form.
As a candidate, Bill de Blasio voiced dissatisfaction with the 2012 regulation.
He vowed to “change the policy and find a way to protect all the children but also respect religious tradition ... and come in Day 1 to City Hall with a new policy that is fair.”
Some ultra-Orthodox Jews took de Blasio's remarks as a sign that he was sympathetic to their concerns the regulation was an unnecessary intrusion.
A year has passed since he took office, but de Blasio has not yet come up with a new policy. 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Did Rabbi Barry Freundel Treat Mikveh Like 'Car Wash' To Peep on Women? Lawsuits Blame RCA and Synagogue Over Scandal

Two new lawsuits aim to hold Modern Orthodoxy’s largest rabbinic organization responsible in the Rabbi Barry Freundel mikvah-peeping scandal.
Both lawsuits allege that the Rabbinical Council of America and Freundel’s own synagogue were aware of inappropriate conduct by Freundel prior to the discovery that he was using a hidden camera to view women as they bathed nude in a Washington, D.C. ritual bath. The lawsuits, which seek class action status, charge that the RCA and Congregation Kesher Israel should have taken measures to remove him from his positions of responsibility based on his earlier behavior.
One of the suits underlines odd behavior by Freundel relating to the mikvah, noting that he allowed non-Jews to attend rituals there and that he invented the notion of “practice dunks.” That suit also quotes an unnamed Kesher Israel staff member saying that Freundel “treated the mikvah like a car wash. Every Sunday, six students at a time.”
That suit charges that Freundel used his role in the RCA’s controversial centralized conversion system to put himself in a position of power over potential converts — a position he allegedly used for sexual exploitation.
The suits were filed on December 2 and December 18, respectively, in Superior Court of the District of Columbia.
“The real issue with [Freundel] is, he was just bragging about the amount of power he had,” said Steven J. Kelly, an attorney with the law firm Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin & White, who is representing the plaintiffs in the earlier of the two suits. “These women needed [his] stamp to get married in some cases… to do all sorts of things.”
Filed by three alleged victims of Freundel, the earlier suit brings charges against Freundel’s synagogue, his mikvah, the RCA and The Georgetown University, where Freundel taught. The second suit, brought by a sole alleged victim, names the synagogue, the mikvah, and the RCA as defendants, but not the university. Neither suit charges Freundel himself.
Both suits claim that the total number of Freundel victims could be large. The first suit claims that the number of members of a potential class of victims could be over 100; the second claims that Freundel may have recorded “thousands of women” in the mikvah with his hidden camera. The suits allege that Freundel opened the mikvah at his synagogue in 2005 with the explicit intention of using it to sexually exploit women.
Defendants have yet to respond to either of the suits with legal filings. Freundel’s criminal defense attorney did not respond to a request for comment.
In an emailed statement, Kesher Israel called the lawsuits “without merit.”
“Kesher Israel’s leadership is deeply concerned about the harm caused by Rabbi Freundel’s actions — of which we did not and could not have known — and for the personal welfare of all those individuals who may have been violated,” the congregation wrote. “The lawsuits that were recently filed are completely without merit. Our energies remain focused on working towards healing our community and building a vibrant future for Kesher Israel.”
The synagogue fired Freundel after Washington police arrested him on October 14.
In a formal statement, the RCA said it was reviewing the complaints.
“The RCA has conducted itself appropriately and is taking important steps to improve its conversion protocols,” the rabbinic group said. “We will defend ourselves vigorously in this matter.”
Freundel pleaded not guilty on October 15 to charges that he had illicitly videotaped at least six women who were showering in the mikvah next door to his synagogue. Since firing him, the synagogue has demanded](http://www.kesher.org/termination-statement) that Freundel leave his synagogue-owned residence by January 1. The National Capital Mikvah also released a statement condemning Freundel’s alleged actions.
The second lawsuit, filed by an anonymous plaintiff called Jane Doe 2 in the filing, offers a litany of events that the complaint alleges should have put the synagogue, the mivkah, and the RCA “on notice” to Freundel’s “illicit proclivities,” including the allegation that Freundel was forcing prospective female converts to perform clerical work for him in 2012. The lawsuit also claims that the RCA was told in 2013 that Freundel had shared a sleeping compartment on a train with a woman who was not his wife.
The plaintiffs in the earlier lawsuit allege that Freundel used his positions of authority, and particularly his role within the RCA’s new conversion system, to wield enormous power over potential converts. An RCA conversion committee that Freundel headed, known as the Geirus Policy and Standards committee, was responsible for implementing a new and controversial conversion process that centralized all conversion authority with a few selected rabbinical courts. Prior the GPS’s establishment in 2006, individual rabbis within the RCA were empowered to implement conversions on their own authority. The GPS system was the product of negotiations between the RCA and Israel’s chief rabbinate to ensure that the chief rabbinate would continue to recognize RCA conversions.
Freundel was not only the head of the RCA’s conversion committee, but also the head of a regional rabbinical court tasked by that committee with approving conversions in the Washington area. The lawsuit filed by Kelly’s plaintiffs alleges that Freundel used that combination to put himself in a unique position “to sexually and otherwise exploit converts, over whom he exercised great power and control.”
One of the plaintiffs in the suit filed by Kelly, Emma Shulevitz, claims in the complaint that while she met with Freundel about her desire to convert to Judaism, the rabbi “made repeated references to [her] ‘looks’ and did not seem interested in discussing her spiritual development.” The suit also alleges that Freundel “bragged about his prominence within the RCA and touted his relationship with the Chief Rabbi in Israel.”
Later, Freundel asked Shulevitz to engage in a “practice dunk” at his synagogue’s mikvah. While there, she claims Freundel warned her not to “disturb” a clock radio resting on the counter. Police allege that Freundel used a clock radio with a camera inside to record women showering at the mikvah.
When Shulevitz later said she planned to find a new rabbi to convert her, Freundel allegedly responded: “Fine, but it won’t be accepted in Israel.”
Rabbi Marc Angel, a longtime critic of the RCA’s new conversion system, told the Forward that the allegations, if true, reaffirm concerns about the centralization of conversion powers. “This is a bad example of the fears we have had all along,” Angel said. “If you concentrate too much power in few hands, then there is bound to be abuse, and this just confirms our deepest fears.”
The RCA created a committee to review its conversion system in the wake of Freundel’s arrest. The committee, which is chaired by a former RCA president, is split evenly between men and women. Mark Dracht, the RCA’s executive vice president, said that the committee was still working on its review. “It would be premature to say anything about it,” Dracht said.
The suits face a high legal bar to be approved as class action suits. “In order to have a class action certified, you have to have common questions of law and fact across the entire class,” said Marshall Breger, a law professor at the Catholic University of America in an email. “Those are not always so easy, certainly the commonality can be a question of great controversy, and usually is in lawsuits.”

Read more: http://forward.com/articles/211529/did-rabbi-barry-freundel-treat-mikveh-like-car-was/?p=all#ixzz3MsM6Uc7G

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

"There never was a State of Palestine in the past and Israel did not invade such a state in June 1967. Israel crossed a temporary ceasefire line and took control of a disputed territory that had been under Jordanian rule (not sovereignty) between 1949 and 1967."

Palestinians in their tents circa 1930

Israel should join the ICC to give the Palestinians a taste of their own medicine

The International Court of Justice (ICC) announced this week the admission of Palestine as an observer state –a status that does not amount to membership. The representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in New York, Riyad Mansour, reacted to this symbolic move by declaring that the next step would be to become a member state. Mansour was thus contradicting his colleague Ibrahim Khraishi, the PLO representative at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva. On July 9, 2014, Khraishi declared on Palestinian television that, were the “State of Palestine” to join the ICC, it would expose itself to war crime probes.
Referring to the war raging at the time between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, Khraishi declared that “the missiles that are now being launched against Israel, each and every missile constitutes a crime against humanity, whether it hits or misses, because it is directed at civilian targets … Many of our people in Gaza appeared on TV and said that the Israelis warned them to evacuate their homes before the bombardment. In such a case, if someone is killed, the law considers it a mistake rather than an intentional killing because [the Israelis] followed the legal procedures … Therefore, people should know more before they talk emotionally about appealing to the ICC.” What Khraishi was explaining is that Hamas (which rules the Gaza Strip and which is part of the PA government) is guilty of war crimes and, therefore, that the “State of Palestine” would expose itself to war crime probes by formally joining the ICC.
Even the former prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, has warned the Palestinians that joining the ICC could backfire because Hamas terrorists would be investigated for rocket fire and suicide bombings against Israeli civilians. In fact, Palestinian terrorist activities can already be prosecuted. This is because many Palestinians engaged in terrorism hold Jordanian citizenship and Jordan is an ICC member. The list includes Hamas leader Khaled Mashal and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas himself (in November 2014, the Israeli NGO Shurat Hadin asked the ICC prosecutor to open an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by Abbas, based on his Jordanian citizenship).
Were the virtual State of Palestine to become an ICC member, Israel could (and should, in my opinion) join the ICC as well to give the Palestinians a taste of their own medicine. It is doubtful whether, in such a scenario, the ICC would want to be used as a propaganda tool by both sides. But if the ICC were to endorse the Palestinian claim that Israeli settlements constitute a war crime and that the Court should have retroactive jurisdiction to prosecute them, then Israel could embarrass countries that support the Palestinians by forcing an investigation of Turkish settlements in Cyprus or of Moroccan settlements in Western Sahara.
There are also legal precedents that would make it hard, if not impossible, for the Palestinians to involve the ICC in their “lawfare” (legal warfare) against Israel. In May 2013, the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) of the ICC rejected an attempt by former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi to evoke the court’s jurisdiction over his country because, the OTP explained, Morsi had no “effective control” of Egypt. Factually, Abbas has no “effective control” over Gaza. Legally, he does not have “effective control” over the West Bank, either, since both he and the UN define Israel as an occupying power in the West Bank, and since effective control belongs to the occupying power.
There never was a State of Palestine in the past and Israel did not invade such a state in June 1967. Israel crossed a temporary ceasefire line and took control of a disputed territory that had been under Jordanian rule (not sovereignty) between 1949 and 1967. What the Palestinians are trying to do is to involve the ICC in a border dispute. But the ICC was established to determine the guilt of individuals, not the borders of nations (border disputes are to be referred to the International Court of Justice). The UN General Assembly decision from November 2012 to grant Palestine the status of non-member observer defined the question of borders as an “outstanding issue.” The UN itself does not define the former armistice line between Israel and Jordan as the border of the putative Palestinian state. Even William Schabas, the Canadian human rights expert who heads the UN investigation into Israel's role in the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict, takes the Golan Heights, but not the West Bank, as an example of territory that would fall within ICC jurisdiction were Israel to ratify the ICC treaty. This is because, as opposed to the West Bank, the Golan Heights used to be part of a recognized sovereign country (Syria).
To quote Ibrahim Khraishi again: “People should know more before they talk emotionally about appealing to the ICC.” His government would be well advised to listen.
Emmanuel Navon chairs the Political Science and Communication Department at the Jerusalem Orthodox College and teaches International Relations at Tel-Aviv University and the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center. He is a Senior Fellow at the Kohelet Policy Forum.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Satmar Rebbe: Hands Stained With Blood Of Terror Victims Of Those Voting For Haredi Parties

Satmar Rebbe: Hands Stained With Blood Of Terror Victims Of Those Voting For Haredi Parties

“Since early elections were announced, the Haredi parties have already started preparing with great joy to join the next government, with sweet dreams about what they will achieve by being part of the government,” the Rebbe said with angst. “This will turn them into partners for the implementation of the core studies by the secular education system, and this will turn them into partners of drafting Torah students into the ‘impure’ military.”

satmar rebbe
The Rebbe went on the lambast the ‘Misnachlim’ (settlers), who enter the Temple Mount and continue building activity in settlements on Arab land and between the Arabs, thus igniting a fire and inspiring the “cruel murderers to kill and murder Jews, like the ones we recently saw in Jerusalem.”
“Jewish blood is flowing like water,” the Rebbe roared, “and Frum Misnachlim are unfortunately responsible for that.”
“We must speak out and declare: your hands are stained with Jewish blood,” the Rebbe continued. “It hurts to say, but whoever intends to participate in the elections and votes – even for an Ultra-Orthodox party – who will ultimately join a government that will instate the settlements – has a hand in anything that could possibly happen in the future, Hashem Yerachiem… And we have to cry out loud: today’s leaders, the Misnachlim and those who support them, are liable for all the tzures and murders.”
“We ask the leaders of the religious parties, how can you be partners with those who are abandoning Jewish lives, not only in ‘Eretz Yisroel’ but also worldwide?” the Rebbe asked.
“They will be responsible for this ‘Shefichas Dumim’ (spilled blood) to the full extent,” he declared.

Monday, December 15, 2014

"This identity fraud is not without consequences. It is at the center of one of the greatest intellectual and political manipulations of all times, which has notably led to the recent votes in Europe on the recognition of a "Palestinian State" which corresponds to nothing historically."

For which sons does Rachel weep?

This week, I visited the Tomb of Rachel, the matriarch of the Jewish people, located at the entrance to Bethlehem. Rachel, who was Jacob’s wife and the mother of Joseph and Benjamin, was the heroine of the biblical chapters read in recent weeks in synagogues across the world.

The exterior of her mausoleum has nothing to do with the pastoral paintings that have adorned the walls of Jewish homes throughout the world for centuries. The Oslo Accords and the second intifada have turned this site of pilgrimage into a concrete fortress, allowing Jewish worshipers a sort of relative security. Inside, near the presumed location of the tomb, there is an ancient stone plaque, engraved with a passage from the prophet Jeremiah:

“Thus said the Eternal, and a voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more. Thus says the Lord: ‘Restrain your voice from weeping And your eyes from tears; For your work will be rewarded and they will return from the land of the enemy.’”

The Prophet Jeremiah witnessed the destruction of the first Temple in Jerusalem (in 586 BC) and refered to the Jews leaving the Holy Land for exile in Babylon. Long convoys passing by Rachel's Tomb inspired Jeremiah to pen these words, as inspiring as they are premonitious.

Not far from Rachel's Tomb is the Aida refugee camp, one of the many camps of misery in which Arab countries have left their "Palestinian brothers" after the wars of 1948 and 1967. At the entrance to the camp is a large gate topped with a huge bronze key. The key, which was donated by Germany, symbolizes the hope of return. But what is most interesting is the plate on the door which bears the following inscription: "Your sons will return to their borders," the phrase which has been taken word for word from Jeremiah, but decontextualized and misused.

This example is one among many in the methodical policy applied by the Palestinian Arabs to stick to the history and the ethos of the Jewish people. Regarding Rachel's Tomb, in 2001, textbooks in Palestinian Authority schools replaced the traditional name of "Dome of Rachel" with that of "Al Bilal Mosque," converting it into a Muslim holy site. It was then endorsed by UNESCO in 2010 as "part of Palestinian Heritage". This kind of reclamation of identity is part of the same process used in the first centuries by the Fathers of the Church, who developed the Theology of Replacement according to which the church has replaced the Jews as God’s children.

The appearance of a "Palestinian people driven from his home” reminds us of ancient Jewish history and the exile of the Jewish people driven out of Judea by the Romans. Hence was born the term "Jewish Diaspora", which coincidentally gave rise to the "Palestinian diaspora" in Palestinian Arabic lexicography.

 Examples abound: exodus, wandering, camps, the centrality of Jerusalem, the odious comparison between Gaza and Auschwitz, between the Dura child and the Warsaw Ghetto, are trying to superimpose the suffering of the Jews in the ghettos onto the Palestinian people. Even Jesus, who was born and died as a Jew, has suddenly become a "Palestinian who fought against the occupier." Certainly, but against the Roman occupiers and his Jewish brethren, not to mention all the biblical characters who converted to Islam.

This identity fraud is not without consequences. It is at the center of one of the greatest intellectual and political manipulations of all times, which has notably led to the recent votes in Europe on the recognition of a "Palestinian State" which corresponds to nothing historically.

Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas said a few days ago that there are "six million refugees waiting to return to their homes." Palestinian human rights activist Bassam Eid had the courage to denounce "the cynical use and operation of the status of 'refugee' by the Palestinian authorities, with the help of this UN institution. "

It is therefore not for the return of the Palestinian Arabs, a recent invention, that our matriarch Rachel is weeping, but for the Jewish exiles. And when the prophet Jeremiah announced the return of her sons to their borders, he was not referring to residents of the Aida refugee camp.
The Talmudic sages teach us that "the world is based on three things: Truth, Justice and Peace." Peace is not a means to achieve other goals. It is the result of Truth and Justice.

Shraga Blum is an independent journalist. He publishes a weekly press review in the "P'tit Hebdo" and political analysis on Israeli-French language sites.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

When faced with a Rabbi suffering from Alzheimer's, most of us respond with denial...

When faced with a Rabbi suffering from Alzheimer's, most of us respond with denial ("It won't happen to all Rabbis") or extreme efforts at prevention of letting the world know. But global health expert and TED Fellow Alanna Shaikh sees it differently. She's taking three concrete steps to prepare for the moment — should it arrive — when all of them get Alzheimer's disease.

Friday, December 12, 2014

"It was only when I began to experience the bad of the orthodox world, the cultural aspects that had nothing to do with G-d or Torah, that I realized there was much in my secular upbringing that would benefit the Jewish world if ..."

The Frum World

Here is something that is unfortunately not acknowledged enough, that is seen as almost shocking to believe, even heretical. But it shouldn’t be: the secular world has a lot to offer the orthodox world.
This took me a long time to realize because, often, the process of becoming a baal teshuva involves rejecting the world you came from, trying to see all the negative in it, so that you can make that clean break, so that you can truly work to change yourself from the inside out.  And, of course, the people who brought us in are often all too willing to encourage that feeling.
It was only when I began to experience the bad of the orthodox world, the cultural aspects that had nothing to do with G-d or Torah, that I realized there was much in my secular upbringing that would benefit the Jewish world if I was properly motivated by trying to bring Hashem’s truth into the world (rather than a simple desire to rebel).
A small but powerful example: art.  Whatever anyone says, the orthodox religious world has a long way to go.  Often, even the people drawn to art do not see it as an expression of their unique neshama, but rather as an expression of their culture.  Thus, we see a billion paintings of tzadikim that look exactly the same.  We see rehashed stories, written no differently than they are told.  We hear music that is no different than the kind they were brought up with.
A baal teshuva that accepts this reality, that tries to conform to it, simply because he believes the orthodox culture is the right one, the G-dly one, is sacrificing his neshama’s purpose in order to conform.  He is killing this aspect of himself, especially if he had access to the lively world of secular art (as profane as it often is).
When he does not meld the worlds he came from, when he does not see that the world he came from has value, something to teach the orthodox world, he is betraying himself and he is betraying Hashem’s mission for him.
Art is an easy example, but there are so many more.  From manners to business ethics to sexual abuse, the secular world, the world the baal teshuva came from, has something to offer.  Why else would Hashem have brought him into the orthodox world?  Why would he have made the baal teshuva go on this journey?  To be the same?!  To fit in?!  It makes no sense.  Hashem wants us to take the value of the secular world, transform it into G-dly energy, and meld it into the orthodox world.
Anyone who denies this denies the power of a baal teshuva.  And this is often the reason so many yeshivas, so many rabbis and leaders, often “cut [baalei teshuva] in half”, as Steinsaltz said They believe their job is to make us conform.  They are only half right.
And the implications of this betrayal of a person’s neshama are more far-reaching than improving the orthodox world.  As I said, this also applies to the world at large.....

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Rotten Frankfurter - Keep 'Em In The Dark!

Lawsuits and More Lawsuits....

Comedian Bill Cosby sued for defamation by sexual assault accuser

The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, asserts that Cosby himself is liable for the conduct of his legal and press representatives.(Reuters) - Comedian Bill Cosby was sued for defamation on Wednesday in Massachusetts by a sexual assault accuser who said he branded her a liar in public statements made through his representatives denying her allegations of abuse.
The eight-page complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Springfield, Massachusetts, is believed to be the second lawsuit arising from a wave of sexual misconduct allegations against Cosby, 77, by more than a dozen women since October.
The plaintiff in Wednesday's lawsuit, Tamara Green, 66, a lawyer who lives near San Diego, has said Cosby sexually assaulted her at her apartment after drugging her at a Los Angeles cafe in the early 1970s.
Neither Cosby, who resides in western Massachusetts, nor his attorney was immediately available for comment.
The lawsuit said denials by an attorney and a publicist representing Cosby in response to her allegations in articles published in Newsweek magazine and the Washington Post were false and defamatory.
The complaint was filed on Green's behalf by Joseph Cammarata, a Washington-based attorney who initially represented Paula Jones in her sexual harassment lawsuit in the late 1990s against then-President Bill Clinton.
He said the defamation lawsuit provides a new avenue for Green and others accusing Cosby of sexually assaulting them decades ago to bring their allegations to court without the complications posed by statutes of limitations.
"This case presents a forum for Tamara Green to have her day in court," her lawyer said. "One person says it happens, the other person says you're a liar. OK, a jury of your peers will decide which is telling the truth."
Another Cosby accuser, Judy Huth, sued the entertainer earlier this month, saying he molested her in 1974 when she was 15 at the Playboy Mansion after serving her alcohol. Her lawsuit claims that trauma from the incident caused psychological and mental anguish that she has only come to terms with in the last few years.
In 2006, Cosby settled for an undisclosed sum a lawsuit brought by another woman, Andrea Constand, who claimed he had drugged and sexually assaulted her.
Cosby has never been charged, and through his lawyers has insisted none of the allegations against him are true.
Green's lawsuit says she met Cosby through a mutual friend in 1969 or 1970 when she was a young, aspiring model and singer, and that he sought her help to raise money from investors to establish a club that the entertainer wanted to open.
Over lunch one afternoon in the early 1970s, according to the lawsuit, Cosby gave Green some pills that he told her was cold medicine after she complained of not feeling well, and then took her back to her apartment when she began to feel woozy.

Once there, the lawsuit says, Cosby undressed the two of them and proceeded to sexually assault Green, who was too weakened and disoriented to fight back and got Cosby to stop only after she managed to upend a table. She says Cosby eventually left her apartment, leaving two $100 bills on a coffee table.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Oddly reluctant to cry ‘hate crime’ - So why isn’t shouting “Kill the Jew!” while stabbing a Jewish student in a temple enough to raise the hate issue?

Yet the NYPD and most media seemed strangely reluctant to acknowledge that angle in the early wake of Tuesday’s attack in Brooklyn.

The NYPD officers’ conduct in responding to the attack was exemplary. A video shows the immense restraint of a policeman repeatedly demanding the suspect drop the knife.

It’s only after the suspect appears to surrender as he sets the knife down, but then abruptly grabs the knife, continuing his threatening gestures and advances that the police, left with no choice, use lethal force.

Happily, the victim, 22-year-old Levi Rosenblat, was in stable condition yesterday, recovering from stab wounds to the head.

Media accounts near-universally mentioned that the knife-wielding suspect reportedly shouted “I want to kill the Jew!” and “Kill the Jews!”

But some stories feature the police saying he may have said only, “I will kill all of you” — though, again, in a synagogue, that’s still pretty telling.

Remarkably, the New York Times account didn’t even see fit to mention any “kill the Jew” statements, though it did link to a Chabad.org article noting that “according to witnesses, the perpetrator was heard repeatedly saying: ‘Kill the Jews!’”

Yet the Times only reports the part caught on video where the suspect tells worshipers, “You want me to kill you.”

And initial reports treated it as a crime with no known motive. Headlines read: “Police Shoot, Kill Stabbing Suspect at Brooklyn Jewish Center,” “NYPD shoot, kill man who stabbed rabbinical student in synagogue,” “Police kill knife-wielding man in NY synagogue.”

That the suspect may have yelled stuff about killing Jews wasn’t the focus of any articles I found.

Contrast that with the tale of Ahmed Aden, a mentally disturbed Kansas City man who intentionally ran over a 15-year-old boy outside a Kansas City mosque — which the media quickly (and correctly) highlighted as a potential hate crime.

It helped that news swiftly broke that the perp had made prior anti-Muslim statements — on the other hand, no reports tried to suggest it wasn’t a hate crime because the man was also delusional and mentally ill.

Headlines read: “FBI eyes Kansas City man’s car kill as anti-Muslim hate crime,” “Police report reveals man accused of killing 15-year-old in hate crime threatened others before.”

So why isn’t shouting “Kill the Jew!” while stabbing a Jewish student in a temple enough to raise the hate issue?
An initial NBC New York reports stated that the police weren’t even investigating the Brooklyn attack as a hate crime. Police Commissioner Bill Bratton is now saying that the hate-crimes unit is investigating.

That seems mandatory: State law defines a hate crime as a “crime committed when an offender selects a victim because of a belief of perception about the victim regarding race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation.”

The 49-year-old suspect wasn’t robbing anyone or committing any other known crimes. Before viciously stabbing the student in the head, he entered the synagogue asking for a Bible. His actions and ramblings certainly suggest mental issues, but that does not rule out anti-Semitism.

That the knife attack echoes the recent deadly hatchet attack in a Jerusalem temple even suggests a copycat hate crime.

Today, the mere fact that a cop is white and a suspect is black is enough for much of the media to quickly imply racial motivations in shootings. This makes the silence deafening when the same media ignore the strong likelihood that the Brooklyn assault was anti-Semitic.

Hatred of Jews and Israel is spreading around the globe like wildfire. Recently, a 19-year-old woman was tied up and raped in a horrific anti-Semitic attack in France.

If we’re not willing to acknowledge the motive in these attacks, we’re inviting more of them.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Rabbi Who Installed Hidden Cameras in Dorm to Open New Seminary

Rabbi Who Installed Hidden Cameras in Dorm to Open New Seminary

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The surveillance cameras were discovered within hours by several stunned students living in adjacent rooms, who immediately lodged a complaint with program administrators citing severe invasion of privacy and who demanded police intervention.
Bryks was soon thereafter relieved of all his responsibilities at the program and barred from any contact with students.
Bryks posted an apology on his personal Facebook page, claiming that he installed the cameras in order to investigate complaints against the maintenance staff:
Rabbi Bryks apology letter
In the middle of last year, Rabbi Bryks began teaching a weekly class once a week at Tomer Devorah, a Jerusalem seminary for women. According to a mother who attended an event in the Five Towns, Rabbi Bryks is now planning to open his own seminary for the coming school year 5776 (2015-16). According to the website of Bnei Akiva Toronto, Rabbi Bryks represented both Tomer Devorah and the new seminary, Meorot, at a visit to its high school on November 18, 2014.
Representatives of Israeli Seminaries including Rabbi Tully Bryks at Toronto high school
Representatives of Israeli Seminaries
Yet Tomer Devorah’s site does not include Rabbi Bryks on its list of 37 staff members. The not-yet-opened seminary, Meorot, also has a website. Rabbi Bryks is not listed as astaff member there either.
But a simple check reveals that Tully Bryks is listed as the registered owner of the domain “MyMeorot.com”:
bryks lookup

If Rabbi Bryks is visiting high schools as a representative of two seminaries, and operates one of their websites, he should be included in the public staff listings. According to the mother attending the event, Bryks is not only the recruiter . He is a founder of Meorot.
It’s safe to assume a connection between the fact that Rabbi Tully Bryks left his last job under a cloud, and the omission of his name on the websites of the two institutions.
Bryks has not been convicted of a crime, and may possibly be guilty only of a lapse in judgment. There was a police investigation, that was closed.
Bryks’ activities at Bar Ilan could be indicative of more serious concerns. Parents have a right to know that someone with such a history is involved with an institution, and in what capacity. Anyone considering sending to an institution should demand full transparency.