Category Archives: Lies, Spin and ‘Creative’ PR

Contest

Watch the video. List every lie or misstatement this clown makes. Post them in the comments section. First one to list all the errors wins a prize yet to be determined.

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Filed under Haredim, Israel, Lies, Spin and 'Creative' PR

The Conversion Of the Alter Rebbe’s Son, cont.

Tzemach Atlas has a review of Assaf’s new (Hebrew) book on hasidim, which contains a chapter detailing the conversion to Christianity of the Ba’al HaTanya’s son Moshe:

…Assaf concludes the chapter by unceremoniously taking apart what was said or written about this parsha by Rayatz. Alas Assaf admits that because there is no archival evidence about R. Moshes death in the hospital technically there is a room for the Golus version or even for the version presented by some of the Maskilim that R. Moshe was a clerk in a government office in St. Petersburg. But unfortunately Rayatz not only used extreme creative hyperbola when speaking about this, he also changed the key facts in his own versions of the event.



In 1922 Rayatz wrote a letter to one of the descendants of Zvi Heikin. In the letter there is R. Moshe’s dispute with Christian Theologians (a first mention of this by anybody). R. Moshe is then imprisoned, his cellmate suddenly dies and in the confusion R. Moshe escapes to go in the above mentioned Golus in Volyn area.

In 1942 Rayatz wrote a letter to a Schneerson family member who lived in Montreal. Here R. Moshe is lead by decree to a disputation to occur in Vladimir. The guards that accompany him fall asleep and R. Moshe escapes, and of course the date of the escape is 19 of Kislev! R. Moshe arrives to Orel. In Orel R. Moshe stayed with R. Moshe Leib Yakobson …. R. Moshe then goes to the Golus in Volyn. Assaf points out the Geography and the correlation with the Alter Rebbe himself (besides Yat kislev). The two towns mention[ed] by Rayatz[,] Vladimir and Orel[,] were on Alter Rebbe’s itinerary when he run from Napoleon.…

TA also notes:

… Assaf tells about pivotal moments that he discovered in the archives. R. Moshe attempted (without his family) to join the caravan of his brothers and Alter Rebbe in winter of 1812 when they were fleeing Napoleon’s army. He was arrested by the French in Shklov, the French interrogated him and after concluding that he was a spy, they sentenced him to death. The French then understood that he “was not all there” and let him go.…

…After the war the Schneersons moved to Lubavitch. R. Moshe was with his brothers there even after the incident [conversion] and his family made valiant attempts to protect him from Christians who now claimed his soul. This didn’t prevent R. Moshe from writing from Lubavitch that he would rather be a Russian Orthodox than Catholic.…

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Filed under Chabad History, Lies, Spin and 'Creative' PR

One More Thing …

… With regard to Rabbi Asher Zeilingold’s “investigation” of the alleged worker abuse at Rubashkin’s Postville slaughterhouse. Rabbi Zeilingold is visually impaired, legally blind. He sees shapes, and can distinguish between faces at close range, although he does not see the faces clearly. It would be difficult if not impossible for Rabbi Zeilingold to see fear on the face of a Rubashkin employee, or to see who may be watching from a distance. Would his aidut (testimony) be accepted in a beit din? Without caveat? I don’t know.

I don’t hate Rabbi Z; I don’t even dislike him. I just wish he wouldn’t do crazy things like trying to exonerate Rubashkin with transparently a skewed “investigation.” Teaching his old friend Rabbi Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin about workers’ rights in halakha would be a far more productive endeavor, and one far more befitting his position as a rabbi and morah d’asra. And to drag Casriel into this …

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Filed under Chabad Theology, Crime, Jewish Leadership, Kosher Business?, Kosher Meat Scandal, Lies, Spin and 'Creative' PR

Rubashkin Innocent, Chabad Rabbi Claims

Chabad Rabbi Asher Zeilingold, the rabbi who called me “Adolf Hitler” and ‘excommunicated’ me, has launched a defense of Rubashkin. Rabbi Zeilingold visited Postville with my (former) friend Carlos Carbonero to “prove” the Forward wrong. In essence, what happened is two hasidic Jews, clearly presenting themselves as such, interviewed workers to determine the truth of the Forward’s story.

The core of the Forward’s argument is the intimidation caused by the large number of illegal alien workers and repeated threats from Rubashkin to turn in dissidents to the Immigration and Naturalization service. To believe Rabbi Zielengold is to believe that workers would tell the truth to representatives of Rubashkin. Rabbi Zielengold gives the hechsher (kosher supervision) to Rubashkin’s non-glatt meat and has had a close business relationship with the Rubashkin family since the plant opened almost 20 years ago. His name is on hundreds of boxes of meat produced daily at the plant, and is known to workers there.

Further, Rubashkin is a former resident of and still is a major donor to Rabbi Zeilingold’s community.

If Rubashkin would close, Rabbi Zeilingold would lose much. Therefore his “testimony” should be suspect. But, as Rubashkin and his rabbis prove on an all too frequent basis, in Chabad-land and haredi-land, truth does not matter.

By the way, the “Dr. Carlos Carbonero” mentioned in the article has a Ph. D. in math, and has no expertise or competence in labor relations, medicine, law or halakha. His sole purpose on the trip, beside driving Rabbi Zeilngold, was to translate from Spanish to English.

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Filed under Chabad Theology, Crime, Haredim, Jewish Leadership, Kosher Business?, Kosher Meat Scandal, Lies, Spin and 'Creative' PR

The Duplicity Of Agudath Israel Of America

In the 1940’s Agudath Israel of America and the Spero Foundation published a series of chapbooks known as Jewish Pocket Books. These were by and large nothing more than apologetics designed to keep Orthodox youth "in the fold." As a measure of their success, one can note that most children born into Orthodox homes in 1930 became members of Conservative congregations in their adulthood. This failure to retain the youth has many causes, not all of them attributable to bad apologetics. Yet, in 1947 Aguda published a truly despicable chapbook in the series, Science and Judaism, authored by Rabbis Harold Leiman and Joseph Elias. It is little more than warmed over creationism. It misrepresents both how science works, and what science had already proved, while at the same time avoiding all mention of traditional Jewish sources that support evolution and the findings of paleontology.

But within this book is a stunning admission regarding the Jewish heritage of Ethiopian Jews:

The Falashas of Abyssinia considered themselves Jews who emigrated from Palestine in the times of King Solomon. In fact they only posess some books of the Bible and have been out of touch with later developments of Jewish history. Yet they believe in the future coming of the Messiah and the rising of the dead. This belief is one of the doctrines of Judaism since Sinaitic days, it is therefore natural that Falashas share it. Orientalists, however, "cannot" concede its divinely inspired origin; they consider it an invention of suffering Jewry after the fall of the Maccabean dynasty. Instead of accepting the evidence from Abyssinia they, therefore, blithely declare that the Falashas’ belief in a Messiah "disproves" their Solomonic origins.

This kind of reasoning is necessary if the facts of history are to be fitted into a preconceived evolutionary pattern.… (Science and Judaism, Agudath Israel of America and the Spero Foundation, New York, 1947, pages 66 – 67, emphasis added.)

But how did Agudath Israel react to the plight of Ethiopian Jews? While willing to use these poor people to support Aguda’s apologetics, their usefulness vanished when rescue became necessary. As I reported here last year:

On May 19th, 1981, a delegation from
the American Association for Ethiopian Jews met with Rabbi Moshe
Sherer, the head of the Agudath Israel World Organization.

Their purpose?

To enlist the help of Agudah in the rescue of Ethiopian Jews.

The AAEJ had every right to expect Agudah’s help. Rabbi Moshe
Feinstein had already publicly endorsed rescue. So had Israel’s Chief
Rabbis. Rav Ovadia Yosef was clear and unequivocal in his support.
Further, a leader of the Young Israel movement and a supporter of the
AAEJ, Rabbi Yaakov Pollack had arranged the meeting with R. Sherer.

But the meeting did not go well.

R. Sherer spent much of the time lecturing the group, and little
time listening. He wanted proof of the Ethiopian Jews Jewishness before
acting.

What about Rav Moshe Feinstein’s ruling? the group asked. R. Sherer
brushed aside Rav Moshe’s ruling, apparently citing Rav Moshe’s
advanced age as his reason. The group was stunned.

What of the rulings by the Chief Rabbis? the group asked. Not good enough, R. Sherer replied.

What about Rav Ovadia Yosef? they asked. Surely he is someone who can be relied on? R. Sherer, agreed that Rav Ovadia was a chacham, a wise Torah scholar, but his ruling on Ethiopian Jews was not scholarly enough.

What if Rav Ovadia would rule again, and write a longer, more detailed teshuva? That would be different, R. Sherer replied.

He also suggested the group get a ruling from someone more scholarly
like Rav J. B. Soleveitchik, the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva University.

The group was being hondled by R. Sherer and they knew it.

Nonetheless, the AAEJ sent Rabbi Pollack to Jerusalem to see Rav
Ovadia. Not surprisingly, Rav Ovadia handed Rabbi Pollack the same
ruling he had issued before because nothing else was needed. (Rav
Ovadia was telling R. Sherer in polite rabbinic parlance to stick the
teshuvah up his fat Ashkenazi ass.)

Despite Rav Moshe’s teshuvah and his 1984 letter calling for
immediate rescue, the Agudath Israel World Organization did nothing to
help rescue or resettle Ethiopian Jews. (Rav Moshe had correctly
wondered what good another teshuva, along with the public letters he
had alreadly signed with Rav J. B. Soleveitchik, would do – but he
wrote it anyway because we asked him to.)

Less than forty years after the Holocaust, the leaders of haredi Judaism in America refused to listen to their posek (religious law judge) and instead chose to stand by while thousands of Ethiopian Jews died.

If that is not racism, I do not understand the meaning of the word.

It is also interesting to note that the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem
Mendel Schneerson, referred the question of the Ethiopian Jews
Jewishness to Rav Moshe Feinstein. Rav Moshe ruled that the Ethiopian
Jews must be saved. The Rebbe, just like R. Moshe Sherer, ignored Rav Moshe’s ruling.

[Based on a first-hand report by the AAEJ’s president Graenum Berger
found on page 694 of his autobiography, published in 1987 by Ktav, and
from other contemporaneous sources.]

Worse yet, Rabbi Moshe Sherer was a leader of Agudath Israel of America at the time it published Science and Judaism, gaining leadership in that organization in 1941, and leading Aguda until his death in 1998. Rabbi Sherer was one of the few American-born haredi rabbis active at that time in what was then a small organization. There is no question he saw Science and Torah and approved it before its publication.

Rabbi Sherer – like much of Aguda leadership – was racist. He was also a liar and a rank apologist whose ends almost always justified his means. [His son, Rabbi Shimshon Sherer, takes after him.]

Haredim, led by their Aguda spin-doctors, claim to want to be judged in the free marketplace of ideas. And so they should be. We would not accept lies and racism like this from our politicians. We should not accept it from our rabbis, either.

Make this point clear to your local haredi rabbi the next time he asks you for a donation.

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Filed under Ethiopian Jews, Haredim, History, Jewish Leadership, Lies, Spin and 'Creative' PR

Why The Baby Doctor Supports Metzitza B’peh

Stephen I. Weiss interviews one of the two pediatricians pimped by haredim who claim metzitza b’peh, the oral suctioning of the open cirumcision wound by the mohel, is not dangerous. Here’s what Dr. Robert Adler has to say:

"I’ve spoken to infectious disease experts…even though the bulk
of” them think it’s dangerous, “the ones who are like triple
professors” have told him it’s not a problem.”

As I noted there, generally
speaking, according to halakha (Jewish law), from this quote alone MBP should be suspended.
If the majority of infectious disease specialists think it’s dangerous, then it
must be stopped.

The only exception may be if his “triple
professors” are really at the top of this field, and are not outweighed
by other infectious disease specialists also at the top of the field.
But this seems unlikely based on the infectious disease specialists who have already come out
against MBP.

This should be further proof that haredim are not
pursuing this honestly. At the very least, they should be calling for a
temporary suspension of MBP. But they are not.

[Related stories are posted here. Please scroll to the bottom of the page and read upward. Thank you.]

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Filed under Circumcision Controversy, Haredim, Lies, Spin and 'Creative' PR

Forward Reports Rabbi Who Resigned From RCA In Support Of Rabbi Mordechai Tendler Is Rabbi Tendler’s Wife’s Cousin – Did Not Disclose Relationship When Publicly Criticizing RCA

The Forward reports:

Last week the Brooklyn-based Jewish Press published an open letter from
Rabbi Moshe Faskowitz announcing his resignation from the RCA in
connection to the Tendler controversy. Faskowitz quit the RCA after a
Jerusalem regional rabbinical court characterized the organization as
being in violation of its rulings.

Tendler had filed a complaint with the Jerusalem court in July, claiming that the RCA had violated rabbinic law by expelling him without bringing the charges to an independent rabbinical court. The RCA has responded that according to rabbinic law, a summons is not to be sent from one city to another if both litigants live in one city, and that therefore the Jerusalem court has no jurisdiction in the matter.

[The RCA’s president Rabbi Dale] Polakoff said that his office had received no notice of an official resignation from Faskowitz or anybody else.

RCA sources say that Faskowitz is actually a cousin of Mordecai
Tendler’s wife, Michelle. Faskowitz could not be reached for comment.

If true, this lack of disclosure is another black eye for the wider Tendler-Feinstein family. The RCA should be happy to be rid of Rabbi Faskowitz.

UPDATE: Jason Maoz, editor of the Jewish Press, tells Steven I. Weiss that Rabbi Faskowitz did not inform the RCA of his resignation or discuss resigning with them before his "open letter" appeared in the Jewish Press. Rabbi Faskowitz used the Jewish Press to ambush the RCA and specifically forbade the Jewish Press from seeking comment from the RCA before his "open letter" ran. This type of conduct is reprehensible and unethical.

Is this another black eye for the Tendler-Feinstein family? You bet it is.

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Filed under Crime, Haredim, Jewish Leadership, Lies, Spin and 'Creative' PR, Modern Orthodoxy