Sunday, June 6, 2021

Who Glorifies Evil?

From the United States Department of Justice:

CHAIM STERN, 72, of Flushing, New York, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall in New Haven to 30 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release... Between approximately 2011 and 2018, Stern stole approximately $4.1 million from the BHCC Pension Plan, over which he was the trustee, principally by diverting the money to a purported charity, called Em Kol Chai, which Stern controlled, as well as to himself and other entities.  Also, in approximately February 2015, Stern misapplied $305,608.06 from BHCC Health Plan by diverting the money from a stop-loss insurance plan that was intended to pay for an employee health claim, and instead used it for other purposes, including Em Kol Chai, the operation of the BHCC, and for Stern’s personal use. Stern also failed to pay millions of dollars in other health insurance claims that he was obliged to pay on behalf of his employees, resulting in many cases in debt collection action against employees by the health care providers.

From the Hartford Courant:

A handful of former Stern employees appeared in court through video conferencing and said the crime has ruined their lives.

Maria Alves said she recently retired after 43 years, and is broke. In addition, she said she owes $45,000 in unpaid medical bills because her health care insurance plan denied her claims for surgery. “When I retired - I just turned 66 today, I had no money,” Alves said.

Former employee Constance Morton said she is being sued by a health care provider after her daughter required surgery and the health care insurance claims were denied. “My credit is ruined because I have claims that have gone unpaid.,” Morton said. “I’m sorry but I don’t feel sorry for Mr. Stern because he didn’t feel sorry for us. He didn’t keep it open for us. He kept it open for himself.”

Other employees complained of similar suits and of being pursued by collection agents, even though they never stopped paying their employee contributions toward health care coverage. An unidentified former former employee complained of being denied access to the pension benefits for for the first six years of retirement. ”I worked for BHCC for 40 years” the employee said. “I applied for my pension on December 5, 2015. As of today I have not received anything.”

From Lawrence Dressler's blog:

Stern’s attorney projected videotapes of Stern’s many fans attesting to the charitable and selfless nature of Mr. Stern. Stern submitted 60 pages of character letters from friends, neighbors and family members. Stern’s daughter in law, Gitty Stern, wrote in her letter the following: “...If there would be some more Chaim Sterns on this Earth, this world would be a better place! Please extend him the mercy and compassion he has shown others in his entire life, everyone can benefit from his goodness!” 

Rabbi Isaac Oelbaum of the K’Hal Nachlas Yitzchok shul of Kew Gardens Hills wrote a letter attesting to Stern’s good deeds... Rabbi Keeva Grunblatt, the Dean of the Rabbinical Seminary of America submitted a letter of support. Attorney Moshe Schwerd... wrote the following: “In over 30 years of practice, I have never been moved to pen a letter such as this… though I would not characterize Mr. Stern as a friend, I know him and, more importantly, I know of his vast and selfless contributions to a myriad of philanthropic causes.” 

From Matzav.com, back in September 2013:

In the Vizhnitzer Bais Medrash in Bnei Brak, Maftir Yonah was sold for $28,000 to R’ Chaim Stern of Queens, NY.

From B'Chadrei Charedim, April 20, 2021:

A year ago, when court proceedings began, the Chassidus arranged a widespread Pidyon Shevuyim campaign, to raise funds for first-rate lawyers. Recently, as the date of the verdict approached, many days of prayer were arranged at the Western Wall, at Kever Rachel... and at yeshivos and Talmudei Torah.

From B'Chadrei Charedim, March 29, 2021:

A rare and unique assembly took place on Tuesday this week, in the Hall of Vizhnitz Chassidus in Bnei Brak. The Rebbe sought to glorify and support the greatest supporter of their institutions, R. Chaim Stein, who would be entering prison the next day for tax fraud. The Rebbe surprised everyone with words that an Admor has never stated about a Chassid... "Tomorrow, our precious Chaim ben Sara Rivka does not go to prison for something that he did for himself. He goes for something about which I can attest was all for the place that we are in right now - it is all in his merit... My holy father is standing in Heaven and wants to show an example, for the sake of the education of future generations, of what mesirus nefesh for a Rebbe and Chassidus looks like! ...If people ask me, which sect of Vizhnitz do I belong to, I will say: I am the Rebbe of R. Chaim Stern!" 
 
From a comment by a friend of mine:
 
It seems like the rest of the world doesn't exist from their perspective. Stealing from non-Jews or even non-Charedim is almost a victimless crime, in their eyes.

103 comments:

  1. You missed the part where the Rebbe said he wishes he could swap places with Stern if possible.

    I wish so too.

    ReplyDelete
  2. speechless

    A charedi

    ReplyDelete
  3. NOW will you admit that the religion of the Haredim is not Judaism?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. This is indeed their attitude towards the rest of the world. I don't recognize their variant belief system as normative halachic Judaism. The Gra knew what he was talking about.

      Delete
  4. 4 million dollars? While morally revolting is nothing compared to what the non-charedim do.

    https://www.chicagotribune.com/investigations/ct-philip-esformes-sentenced-nursing-home-fraud-20190912-cumxa7wwb5do7iekg32h2o5thy-story.html

    1.3 billion, sentenced to 20 years and had his sentence commuted by Trump.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Also Madoff. As well as countless others. But as somebody pointed out in a previous thread, chareidim ought to be held to higher standard than non-chareidim. When you claim to be superior to the other nations, or other Jews, you ought to act that way.

      Delete
    2. The issue isn't so much the illegality or immortality of it. There are rotten eggs in every basket. However, it is the fact that it is viewed as not just acceptable but ideal. A comparison would be to Arab antisemitism, and the (general) lack of criticism and pushback from the wider Arab world

      Delete
    3. Yakov, nobody glorified the guy you mention.

      Delete
    4. Was there material for glorifying that guy?

      Delete
    5. Of course they get glorified when it means $$$ for the recipients. Only reason Madoff wasn't glorified was because he made everybody lose money. But one such person had an entire wing of an Israeli hospital named after him after he made a donation. Talk about glorification.

      Delete
    6. Madoff was vilified by the entire world. Even his own sons turned him in.

      Terrible example to bring.

      Delete
    7. So why was that person not glorified and Mr Stern was?

      Hint: it has nothing to do with Charedim, it is an issue with this Rebbe. The amount of Charedi issues that totally skip the outside world is mind boggling. Yet everyone pontificates about us as though they had the slightest idea what is going on.
      When I see it I remind myself to read articles about Arabs in the same light. People have no idea what is happening in other communities and no amount of National Geographic articles can change that.

      Delete
    8. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    9. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    10. It's not hard to find criminals who are glorified in the non-chareidi world.

      https://www.acsz.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Heartbeat-spring-3.2015.pdf

      https://www.idc.ac.il/en/library/pages/main.aspx

      And many more such examples.

      Delete
    11. >> 1.3 billion, sentenced to 20 years and had his sentence commuted by Trump.
      > Also Madoff.

      Madoff took more, but his sentence was commuted by a "Higher Authority".

      Delete
    12. Bankrupting people who trusted you to deal honestly with them I s fine because other people stole more? This is my religion's celebrated ethics?

      Delete
    13. Assuming your religion is Ultra Orthodox Judaism, no, it's not fine. It's terrible.

      We're just pointing out the context of this post. That in the non-chareidi world, sleazy corrupt scumbags are so common as to be completely unremarkable. And they are glorified as well, as I have shown.

      That's why you won't see anything on this blog about them. Because for the non-chareidi world, conduct such as this is just another Tuesday. They certainly have no celebrated ethics, nor any ethics at all. But chareidim should be held to a higher standard.

      Delete
    14. Yep. Exactly what I was saying. You excuse stealing millions from people who trust and depend on you, bankrupting them and putting them in danger of dying. And you justify it by saying "Anyone who isn't just like me does that and worse."

      Let me explain something to you, something you probably won't understand because you've spent a life gorging on racial supremacy and TOYREH justifications for being evil.

      In the real world - not Charedistan - we have laws we follow. We have accountants and auditors to make sure those laws are followed. But most of all, we have professionalism, personal responsibility, honor, and a sense of shame which prevent us from being evil. If we do something wrong we don't say "I lied, cheated, and stole, but that's alright because someone else did." We don't get a free pass if some rabbi with a dead beaver on his head blesses us. The Community doesn't rally around because we poured blood money into the right gadol's pockets. We have to answer to our fellow man, our conscience, and the Law. We try to deal with each other according to principles you have probably never heard of:

      "11 “‘Do not steal.

      “‘Do not lie.

      “‘Do not deceive one another.

      12 “‘Do not swear falsely by my name and so profane the name of your God. I am the Lord.

      13 “‘Do not defraud or rob your neighbor.

      “‘Do not hold back the wages of a hired worker overnight.

      14 “‘Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but fear your God. I am the Lord.

      15 “‘Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly."

      If you really believe you are held to a higher standard you would not excuse evil simply because someone who looks like your first cousin committed it or because some lesser, not fully human creature like a non-charedi did it.

      Delete
    15. the HUGE difference is when charedi Rebbes & leaders call stealing a mitzvah and glorify it and turn the criminals into some martys.

      this is UNIQU to Charedim. no one else does it. Me Keamcha Yisroel... what an embarrassment. i am a chusid..

      Delete
    16. @Tellner, we are definitely held to a higher standard. As we should be! We are the am hanibchar! That's why our host doesn't write about non-chareidi criminals, white collar or otherwise. Because for them, criminality is completely unremarkable. If he wrote about them, he would have nothing else to do all day. His beautiful museum would be neglected!

      @na, not true. Not unique to chareidim. Non-chareidim name hospitals after thieves and scoundrels.

      https://www.acsz.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Heartbeat-spring-3.2015.pdf

      Delete
    17. And by the way, I am in the real world professionally. And being in the real world, I can see firsthand that the typical umos haolam/non-chareidim are definitely no better, and almost certainly worse, than the typical chareidi with regard to all the things you mention. Professionalism, personal responsibility, honor, and a sense of shame. All these things go out the window when their temptations get the better of them.

      And it's easy to see this even if you're not in the professional world. Just look at the countless non-chareidim getting caught DAILY, committing the worst possible crimes, white-collar and otherwise.

      Of course, as I said before, chareidim should be held to a higher standard. And we are.

      Delete
  5. I used to read this blog years ago and enjoyed rationalist ideas, some of which were new to me, some were not. But has anyone else come to the conclusion that this blog has descended into just another anti chareidi trash bin? What happened to the intelligent articles dealing with hashkafa? Perhaps the author ran out of material.
    Either way, this blog is almost a complete waste of time for me. I know the shortcomings of the chareidi community. I also know of the many virtues.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "What happened to the intelligent articles dealing with hashkafa?"
      The article is about hashkafa - the lo saase part of it.

      Delete
    2. Obviously you are STILL reading this blog.

      Delete
    3. What virtues? Taking care of each other by stealing from everyone else?

      Delete
    4. Avi Rosenthal, so there are none?

      Delete
    5. Noone is making you come here except your own Yetzer Hora.

      Delete
    6. Stealing from your employees and bankrupting them is fine as long as you give money to a rabbi with a fur hat? That is an entirely evil attitude. If it represents Judaism I need to see about converting to Christianity.

      Delete
  6. "Stealing from non-Jews or even non-Charedim is almost a victimless crime, in their eyes."

    I bet your friend strongly supports the military occupation and civilian expropriation.

    Calling out wrongdoing in the sects of others - easy. Amongst your own - apparently the hardest thing in the world.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Or bombing hotels. Or sinking ships filled with civilians. The people behind these are glorified to this very day.

      Delete
    2. Just eat yourselfJune 6, 2021 at 8:58 PM

      Cuz the Hat is always calling out fellow anti "elite" ostriches with their (unmasked) heads in the ground for their numerous stupid views. It's easy to call out the wrongdoings of others for not condemning their own sects, but your own...

      Delete
    3. Sinking ships filled with civilians:
      That was a British thing. One case of Yitzhak Rabin.
      My mother waa there, on TA beach. As were all Tel Avivians, celebrating a nice evening, during a cease fire.
      Bombing hotels:
      Since when do you (British) put your military headquarters in a civilian hotel? Anyway, they gave a half hour warning.

      Delete
    4. The military occupation is essential to keep the peace between Jew and Arab. Look what happened in Gaza.

      Delete
    5. Fascinating. What about the civilian expropriation. How does kitzonim in Chevron or Dolev help keep the peace?

      The occupation is its own security problem.

      Delete
    6. What country do you live in? How was it founded? Remove the beam from between thy own eyes.

      Delete
    7. "Look what happened in Gaza" versus "what could have happened in Gaza"--if the Disengagement would have truly brought us peace in the south of the country.

      Sharon was tremendously popular after performing the Disengagement, and was projected to win 40 seats for Kadima in the upcoming elections in 2005, whose platform was to perform another Disengagement, in the West Bank.

      Somehow, 24,000 rockets doesn't seem to put a dent in those plans. We're still supposed to leave the West Bank, and essentially just pray that we won't get 240,000 rockets from there.

      Delete
    8. Excuses. Don't worry, I'm sure this fellow has plenty of excuses.

      Delete
    9. I'll try again.

      The civilian expropriation is its own security problem. Look what happened in Chevron.

      Delete
    10. Yehuda P - if they fire a single rocket from the West Bank we should engineer and militarily support a coup from an alternative government more aligned to Israel's interest. Same in Gaza. If such a government was in military trouble we would be its airforce and we should intervene with feet on the ground as required.

      This is a long term project which requires fostering a credible Palestinian ally over the course of a decade, not humiliating moderate Palestinians at every turn, and giving Hamas political wins at every turn (latest political win being gifted by Netanyahu being the flag march - a disgusting event which Hamas should have rendered uncancellable this year).

      Delete
    11. Thanks for trying again. Hevron should be Judenrein? Jews don't legally own any property in Chevron?

      Delete
    12. Fascinating. What about the civilian expropriation. How does kitzonim in Chevron or Dolev help keep the peace?
      .....

      (2)What civilian expropriation do you mean. For a long time now Israel only builds on land not owned by palestinians.

      (2)Occasionally there is a reaction to Palestinian terror by Jewish terror. What a red herring.

      It changes not the slightest the security rationale for Israel controlling the West bank.

      Look at Judenrein terrorist Gaza


      Delete
    13. The civilian expropriation is its own security problem. Look what happened in Chevron.
      ...

      Red herring. You do not support a military occupation either despite it preventing the West Bank being taken over by the terrorists.

      The civilian presence is needed to take the load of the Idf. The Idf cannot be every where.


      So Military control needs a strong civilian presence to back it up.

      https://www.jpost.com/arab-israeli-conflict/gaza-disengagement-was-absolute-mistake-says-commander-who-oversaw-it-636926

      The terror that emanated from the Strip in the years following the Disengagement “created better conditions to convince leaders, including the international community, that Israel could not afford to build another Lebanon in the West Bank. There’s no way to defend Israel if that happens,” HaCohen told the Post.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pXrMfU4sPs

      https://besacenter.org/lessons-of-the-gaza-war/

      For that matter, President Biden’s support for Israel’s right to defend itself could not be taken for granted, and it is likely that a price will have to be paid for the US backing PM Netanyahu received for 10 days of warfare. The US administration, which is committed to promoting the two-state solution, was well aware that failing to support Israel while it was under a terror onslaught from Gaza would make it difficult to demand Israel’s agreement to a future West Bank withdrawal. Still, Israel was prevented by the administration from sustaining its offensive so as to bring Hamas to its knees.

      Delete
    14. Frank: good points.

      My answer is:-

      1) The property concerned, lies outside the claimed sovereign territory of Israel, and was taken from Arabs at the barrel of a gun. I oppose the Israeli military occupation using its monopoly on force to return Jewish property in Chevron to Jewish ownership. That's not a legitimate use of an army or if military justice. If the matter is to be settled it should be settled by a civilian court with appropriate non emergency territorial jurisdiction.

      2) I oppose the Arab law of return for the same as reason I oppose a state led Jewish presence in Chevron. A line needs to be drawn between the warring parties and sacrifices need to be made for peace. Leaving little pockets like this amongst majority areas of another ethnicity sows seeds of ongoing violent conflict. I think compensation should be paid to anyone who can prove descent from the 1929 land owners and then we should move onwards. Maybe one day when racial tensions are lesser Jews can consensually buy and live in Chevron. For the purposes of securing peace at this troubled time it seems a disproportionate imposition to secure the Jews by locking up the Arabs and shuttering their windows.

      3) you know and I know and everyone on this blog knows the character of the residents of Chevron. The stone throwing, the street harassment, the arrogance, and the racism. That is material to the question of supporting their residency through the military. The fact is that 90 percent of the Jewish residents of Chevron are an embarrassment to 90 percent of the other citizens of Israel.

      Finally on a stylistic point I would avoid comparing Jews clearing Jews out of Chevron to the Holocaust. In the one 6 million people were murdered. In the in other, a few hundred people would be denied their property rights.

      -

      Mad Hatter: Either you accept that Shalhevet Pass was a civilian 6 month old baby left out in the sun who didn't deserve to be shot; or by suggesting civilians are part of the military occupation you engage in apologetics for the atrocities of Hamas.

      Delete
    15. The Hat - please don't start again with your infantile "you know and I know" line type of argument. You know what ever you think you know. Don't force the person(s) you are debating to agree to your delusions.

      And also let's reserve the word "fact" for, well, facts. The only fact is that you stated your wild (and somewhat anti-semitic - yes it appears you do harbor an element of a self hating Jew) opinion as fact.

      What about other areas that are "outside the claimed sovereign territory of Israel"? Does that include the whole of Yesha? Gush Etzion? Maale Adumim? Where else should we also racially cleanse (to take into account your sensitivities with the word Judenrein? the population from Jews? Do we need to go back to the Auschwitz borders (oops there I go again) in order for the "occupation" to not be its own security problem?

      Delete
    16. Frank, I apologise. You didn't know about the character of the Jews in Chevron, the stone throwing, the street harassment, the arrogance, and the racism. I'm here to help.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDQUONGCRXk
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvZ-FptlX4M
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhBefHrzgqk
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cy_Cayt7I2E
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5D5-0bKtwuY
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kem1ajIKv1k
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpuuwFp6aU0
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1yII2J_7tM

      Israel does not claim sovereignty over the entire West Bank (Yesha, including Gush Etzion, Maale Adumim). That's why Israel denies Israeli citizenship and democratic representation to the people who are live there. (Unless they are racial Jews).

      Your overwrought Holocaust analogies are not victimless crimes. Anti-Zionists indulge in the same rather tasteless pursuit, and you write them a blank cheque to do so.

      Delete
    17. You gotta love the way "The Hat" says "we" as if he's the Minister of Defense of Israel or something. (It's tasteless when right-wing American Jews do it, but it's just sad and funny here.) He didn't bother responding to me, so I'm just going to assume he doesn't even live in Israel. Based on his spelling, I'm guessing that bastion of Zionism, the United Kingdom.

      Delete
    18. Got it. I see you're one to generalize and paint with a broad brush. Like bigots everywhere.

      Did Abba Eban also write a blank check to Anti-Zionists when he used that term to describe the 67 borders?

      And I guess I'm not sure if you answered the question of whether we have to clear all the Jews from Yesha (including Gush Etzion, Maale Adumim) in order for the "occupation" to not be its own security problem. Just trying to make sure I understand what is within the parameters of the definition of the "in order for the occupation to not be its own security problem" according to your obviously expert reckoning?

      Delete
    19. you say "You didn't know about the character of the Jews in Chevron"
      ....

      You do not know about the character of the Palestinins in Chevron. How many of them would condemn the massacre in chevron? Is it 2% or 3% ?

      Delete
    20. "if they fire a single rocket from the West Bank we should engineer and militarily support a coup from an alternative government more aligned to Israel's interest. Same in Gaza. If such a government was in military trouble we would be its airforce and we should intervene with feet on the ground as required."

      I also thought that Israel should have helped the PA when Hamas performed the coup in 2007. But--what if the Palestinians want Hamas, and voted them in?

      We see that America could only keep the Taliban from power in Afghanistan for so long. If the PA leadership is unpopular, Israel helping them maintain control will not buoy up their popularity.

      Delete
    21. Nachum, correct, I live where cheques are not checks. I am an Israeli citizen and I spent depressing hours touring Chevron with a proud racist.

      -


      Mad Hatter - There are many ordinary people in Chevron of Arab descent. All the Jews who live there do so, to use some apt yeshivish, b'shittah.

      2) Both the Chevron massacres (the 1929 one and the Goldstein one) were deplorable and disgusting.

      3) My point is that the Israeli state, and in particular the IDF are supporting Marzel to do his street harassment shtick. The state should have higher standards on whom they grant succour, notwithstanding that they do not grant succour to other Arab people who are equally or more objectively obnoxious.

      Delete
    22. Yehuda P -

      Firstly I would point out that politics is a stochastic rather than deterministic process. There is no guarantee that given X y and z the outcome will be consistent. Clearly the Oslo process was not something whose time had come in the early 2000s. Yasser Arafat was not the right man. That's not too say it can never work. I would say prospects for peace at the moment appear dismal, but that is precisely why a strategy now is needed to create the conditions for peace.

      Secondly there are a huge number of variables to consider.

      1) Pakistan, like Israel, lives next door, and had strong opinions about what goes on in Afghanistan. Also see Turkey in Syria, Russia in Ukraine. The US has projected its power effectively in central America: less so in Afghanistan, where empires of all descriptions have foundered.

      2 - ethnicity is important. The Israelis were untenable in Southern Lebanon because their SLA allies were not ethnically representative of the Shiites who dominated there. I don't think Kabul will fall to the Talibs any time soon but Helmand surely will, as the Pashto dominate there. Political and military credibility are critical.

      Delete
    23. Frank, I take your point about broad brushes very seriously. There are less than 1,000 Jews who live in Chevron. I don't think my brush is as broad as you say it is. Chevron is, for Jews, not a normal commuter town. Nobody moves there for the lovely views of the shuttered windows of David Hamelech / Al Shuhaddah Street. People mind there because they believe it is a mitzva if yishuv etetz yisrael - because they believe that harassing the Arabs into yielding is a mitzva.

      This is an English language blog. Most people on this blog understand what it means to live in a Western multicultural city. Tolerance, equality, and mutual respect are second nature. To our eyes, shouting 'sharmuttah' at your neighbor in front of her 9 year old child it is the be antithesis of refined Jewish womanhood.

      The children imbibe racist extremism from their parents.

      Delete
    24. Ok so according to you the community of Hebron are an embarrassment to 90% of Am Yisrael and the community of Kiryat Arba (which has a much higher population count) is not? Do the resident of Kiryat Arba not move there also because the mitzva of yishuv eretz yisrael? And is that a mitzva or is it not?


      And I'm still not sure what your parameters are for "in order for the occupation to not be its own security concern" as it seems you twice neglected to state your position clearly (at least as far as I could discern). So I'll pose the question I asked again:

      And I guess I'm not sure if you answered the question of whether we have to clear all the Jews from Yesha (including Gush Etzion, Maale Adumim) in order for the "occupation" to not be its own security problem. Just trying to make sure I understand what is within the parameters of the definition of the "in order for the occupation to not be its own security problem" according to your obviously expert reckoning?

      Delete
    25. Frank,I was actually thinking about the same thing myself - the difference between Kiryat Arba Jews and Chevron Jews. So yes, KA Jews have a certain reputation (as tough guys / racists depending on your point of view) but the difference is that KA is a viable commuter town and many of the people who live there are well functioning, normal people who hold normal jobs in society. The Chevron Jews are, in my subjective opinion, maladjusted, not functional, incapable of holding a professional job, and driven by religious zealotry.

      Which brings me to your question about whether I believe in mitzvas yishuv etetz yisrael. It is indeed wonderous to me to see a main return to its homeland after 2,000 years - but you still need to ease up on the KoolAid. It was Rabi Kook the elder who emphasised that whatever formal Halachic systems we have, morality should be intuitive. Racism, scuffling in the street, racial abuse discriminatory systems of law - it just feels pretty treif to me. Veohata lreacho komocho - zeh klal gadol batorah. I've previously expressed in this blog that I cannot hold a gay man's sexual behaviour against him whatever it says in Vayikra, because I just cannot believe that it is right to discriminate on something that is so innate. Judaism is likes all religions a powerful drug and needs to be taken with care, humanity, and with due regards to empirical reality. So I think it's wonderful that Jews live in Etetz Yisrael, but I don't think racism and coercion is the ratzon HaShem, I think that any such coercion is a mitzva haha b'aveirah, which we all know is not a mitzva at all.

      The low hanging fruit in terms of stopping the occupation being its own security problem would be the settlement in Chevron, on the basis of the ratio of state forces (magav + tzahal) to civilians probably exceeds 1:1, and the majority of Israeli citizens are as I say embarrassed of Marzel and accolytes and so withdrawals would be politically possible. My UK neighbour, a fan of Trump, a right wing hardliner, who professes a belief in expelling the Arabs, who spent two years as a Negev gunner in the IDF - even he told me that he hated operating in Chevron because even to him the abusive behaviour of the residents there towards even little children was extreme and troubling.

      Obviously at the other end of the scale we have areas like Ramot which are essentially secure on their own with conventional civilian policing.

      In terms of a long term solution, I obviously think that the precise borders should be the subject of negotiation and will not follow the pre 1967 borders though that will be the starting point for negotiations.

      I am interested in whether mutually agreed land swaps subject to ratification by local electorates are viable (for example swapping out uhm al fahm).

      I don't think it's possible to remove Jewish towns such as Neve Yaakov from the West Bank, but I would certainly look to financially and practically incentivise such a move as those will end up being exclaves in a Palestinian state and I fear 1) for their safety and 2) for the possibility that they may become the spark of a future conflict. I think it's inevitable that some Jewish settlements will remain in the newly formed Palestinian state, but to the extent possible these should be consolidated (for their own safety) and minimised ( to avoid them being a source of future conflicts).

      The principle I would work with to work off in drawing the map is the Bentham utilitarian concept of trying to minimise human suffering - Jewish and Arab suffering ranking equal in this respect.

      Obviously forced evacuations cause a lot of suffering, but exclaves and enclaves have the potential to create a lot of future suffering as well.

      I don't have a hard and fast rule, but I do think a contiguous Palestinian West Bank with East Jerusalem as its capital which isn't split up by blocs is a sine qua non, the absolute minimum Israel needs to offer to ensure peace is more valuable to the Palestinians then war.

      Delete
    26. So you're in favor of a negotiated solution which would seem to mean that you're not in favor of a unilateral withdrawal from Yesha as that has obvious security implications? Which seems to fly in the face of some of your other provocative statements. Such as the would be rockets not being "pointier" than the ones from gaza.

      Or to quote an earlier statement of yours:

      "So spare me your crocodile tears - you like the occupation because you want to steal the land without paying for it in democratic representation for the civilians who live there under military rule."

      By your own admission it seems, the occupation as you put it, is not necessarily there because we like to "steal" the land without democratic representation but because it is a necessity based on a multitude of complex issues that can't be reduced to a cheap sound bite that makes one (among other things) into a useful idiot for the Israel hating masses.

      And I wonder if you would also support forced evacuations of certain Arab towns in order to similarly avoid "future suffering" by they remaining where they currently are situated. Or is uprooting Jewish towns an exclusively Jewish "right"?

      Delete
    27. I'm in favour of unilaterally evacuating every single Jewish civilian out of Chevron *today*. It's a clear win- win. There are multiple other illegal and insecure settlements where this could be done unilaterally and would be beneficial for Israeli security. See https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli_settlement#Unauthorized_settlements for further details. This shouldn't be controversial or a bargaining chip.

      -

      The basic motivation of the civilian settlement enterprise was clearly articulated by its greatest patron, Ariel Sharon. It was to create "facts on the ground." I cannot see anything I have said inconsistent with this position.

      There are a multitude of nuances and caveats in what to do about it. I'm not going to prejudge what the final status should be. But some practical, simple steps could be taken note, unilaterally, and for the benefit of all.

      There is a risk that the complexity and the demand that everything be sorted before anything is sorted is used as an excuse to stall and disrupt.

      It obviously suits the short term interests of the militarily occupying power to retain the status quo and continue denying democratic representation to the occupied.

      -

      I cannot think of any equally noxious Arab equivalent to the Jewish settlement of Chevron. Can you?

      Delete
    28. And what would happen to Ma'arat Hamachpela? Should the state of Israel retain control or should that be handed over? I'm sure you realize that that would mean that Jews would be unable to worship there again. And they'd use that opportunity to un-"Judaize" Hebron. You ok with that?

      And with all due respect - I'll let the experts and citizens of Israel decide whether "practical, simple steps" could be taken. I think we've tried some of those simple steps (that is, if we include uprooting 7000 citizens in the definition of "simple).

      You'd have to define "noxious equivalent" because that is obviously tainted by your noxious view of how you define and see things. But there are plenty of illegal settlements and building in the negev for example. Har Habayit where Jews are not able to even open their mouths lest that will be interpreted as praying. Virtually any Arab town where Jews living there would be verboten. Not making good on rental payments in the Holy City. Oh but I forgot - it's only Jews who are fair game when it comes to being uprooted and shipped out.

      Delete
    29. Me'aras hamachpeils would likely be inaccessible by Jews for around 10 years after a divorce. I would hope that after that period low profile visits by Jews would be something that could be worked out in a less excitable atmosphere. As far as we know visiting the tomb is not a yehoreg v'al yaavor type of mitzvah.

      -

      You may convince yourself that we need to slow down, that absolutely everything is incredibly and hopefully intractably complicated, and that moving 7,000 Jews out is far more complicated than the original occupation in which 500,000 Jews moved in or the Gaza disengagement. You are entitled to your opinion. I question whether it is not a self serving rather than honesty held opinion.

      -

      Could you name an Arab settlement from which emanates a constant stream of
      racially motivated violence, threats, and curses daily ? I'm trying to be fair. The nearest I can get is the Shuafat camp, but it's not particularly close in terms of the intensity of the threats. If the residents of Shuafat could be moved to the East though, that would seem to make sense, especially if their horrible housing was updated for them.

      -

      The situation regarding Jewish prayer on Har Habayis is bizarre. In that we agree. I doubt under my proposed peace be settlement that Jews would get access to the area for a good few years. Your unpleasant Nazi references notwithstanding I do understand that this is a fundamentally unfair situation. All I would say is the current occupation is far, far worse overall in terms of human suffering. We've managed 2,000 years without full access to Har Habayis, another 50 is doable.

      -


      As long as the Jewish residents of Har Nof are not required to pay rent to the Arab ancestors of the survivors of Deir Yassin, there seems to be no ground other than racial discrimination for the Arab residents of Sheikh Jarrah to pay rent to Jews.

      Delete
    30. I think it is quite likely that a Palestinian state would racially discriminate against Jews. I make that assertion because the Jewish state has been racially discriminating against Palestinians from before it even declared independence, and human nature is equally applicable to all races.

      However if the Palestinian state had access to relatively few Jews to discriminate against; and the Jewish state post occupation has access to relatively few Palestinians to discriminate against - then it seems to me that the overall levels of discrimination and human suffering would be lower. That simple realisation was the essence of Herzl's Zionism. The most practical solution to human bigotry is national borders.

      I'm a believer in good fences making good neighbours. Let's build the wall!

      Delete
    31. 1. I'm afraid you're being hopelessly naive and delusional. There is nothing at all to suggest that Jews would be able to worship at Maarat Hamachpela. Not recent nor long term history. At best, we'll be granted access in a way that guarantees our humiliated and downtrodden state. The way it was until fairly recently where Jews were only able to ascend to the 6th stair (or thereabouts). At worst (and most likely) they'll un-"Judaize" it by ripping out every semblance of our connection to the place.

      2. It seems from what you wrote above that uprooting 7000 Jews was a "simple" solution. Thank you for entitling me to my opinion and that opinion is that uprooting 7000 Jews is not... simple. It seems this might be our central point of difference and glad that this is able to illustrate where you stand and where I stand so starkly.

      3. Verboten is an English word derived straight from German. Used fairly commonly. And if that upsets your sensitivies due to the Nazi overtones that you ascribe to it, well perhaps that's not a bad thing as the Nazis thought nothing of uprooting (to say the least) Jewish communities. Your attitude seems way too flippant and intentionally provocative in this regard and serves nothing but to embolden the enemies of Israel.

      4. The Arab countries expelled 800,000 Jews. There was a mass upheaval and exchange of populations at the time. If you want to consider getting property rights back in Syria etc., we can talk about the property rights of Deir Yassin residents who moved out the way so Jews could be annihilated and then return later. Your stock and childish response to this (based on previous comments) is "two wrongs don't make a right". That's an argument for kindergarten children. Not one to be used for massive world upheaval at the time that caused major population fluctuations all over.

      5. To make a moral equivalence between the way that a Palestinian state would discriminate against Jews (like Gaza let's say) and the way that the Jewish state discriminates against Arabs (been too a mall in Israel lately or ever?) once again illustrates starkly the world view from which you operate and the unfortunate community of useful idiots of which you are evidently a member.

      Delete
  7. The Vilna Gaon was a wise man . . .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Rabbinical Seminary of America is also known as Yeshivas Rav Yisrael Meir HaKohen, popularly known as the Chofetz Chaim Yeshiva (Queens, not Rockland- and that other place has issues too). About as un-Chassidish as you can get.

      The fact that the Chafetz Chaim's name even comes up in this context is a disgrace.

      Delete
  8. No doubt he'll end up in a place like Otisville with kosher food, a regular minyan, and a gemara chavrusah. Upon release in 30 months, expect him to be feted by his compatriots who will blame everything on evil goyim and secular Jews.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Who is this 'their' that you speak of when talking about 'their world'?

    Let us find out, what is the standing of this particular Rebbe in the Haredi world? How do others look at him? Is he considered a wise leader? What is his history?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vizhnitz is one of the largest chassidic groups in Israel- in the top three with Belz and Ger. The rebbe has a huge amount of political power.

      Delete
    2. Nachum, it is not. You are thinking of the main Vizhnitz which is led by Reb Yisroel. That's not who this article is about.

      Delete
    3. Nachum - you are proving my point. It is impossible to understand the Charedi world from the outside, and your mistake is just one proof out of many.
      And it is not just that he is the brother with less chassidim, the story is much broader than that.

      Delete
    4. I'm getting the feeling that charedim like having all these rebbelech just for plausible deniability in cases like this (as Willi Cicci says in The Godfather, Part II, "Yeah, the family had a lot of buffers") and for trying to lord it over us bumpkins as here: "Oh, see? You know nothing about the charedi world!"

      No, that's not going to work on me. Is this guy part of the same family? Does he claim the same connections? Does he use the name? Do they get along? Do they have positions indistinguishable to all but those privy to the most inside baseball? Then it's Vizhnitz, period. Give me a break.

      Delete
    5. He is part of the same family, yes. But why does he have such a small group of Chassidim? Find out the answer and then come back.
      Yes, they get along. Do we need another Bobov/Satmar/Ger/Ponovez style fight? Why does that make one responsible for the other? Or all of us responsible for him?
      Do you know what קב חומטין means (in the context of this Rebbe)?

      When this story happened, it was discussed in every shtiebel, even before it made the news. And it was for a good reason. But you wouldn't understand, nor are you expected to.

      You gave yourself an apt name - country bumpkin. You don't understand the culture and the place this Rebbe has in the world of Vizhnitz, Chassidim, or Charedism. But keeping quiet about things you know nothing about was not an option for some people.
      In lions skin an ass did hide,
      And no-one knew who was inside,
      Until one day did he himself betray,
      By opening his mouth to bray.

      Delete
  10. Why is this guy only getting 30 months in prison for stealing $4 million dollars?

    ReplyDelete
  11. What is the point of this post? Are you trying to become the next Failed Messiah?
    This has nothing to do with rationalism, nor judaism, and is beneath you (or should be.)
    Coming from a fan.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ditto, I've been saying this for a while. I think what's started out as RNSs disillusionment with charedi apologetics turned into rebutting charedi hashkafa which turned into just duking it out óver contemporary social issues. I guess if we're using the term rationalism broadly it can work ...

      Delete
    2. So let's see... the charedi press won't report this, and you're saying that nobody in the frum world should report this... so it should just be swept under the carpet, and frum people should not know about crime in their community, and how it is whitewashed and glorified by certain rabbinic leaders?

      Delete
    3. Bruce... Slifkin himself quoted Chareidi sources

      Delete
    4. Only Israeli sources. The English Yated, Mispacha, Ami would never mention such things.

      Delete
    5. "and you're saying that nobody in the frum world should report this..."

      Bruce, no i didn't. Stop seeing things that aren't there. I said Rabbi Slifkin shouldn't report this, as it has zero to do with his blog.

      Delete
    6. "I said Rabbi Slifkin shouldn't report this, as it has zero to do with his blog."

      Whatever is posted on this blog has everything to with the blog, its title notwithstanding.

      Delete
  12. You present Stern's behavior as he was all evil. But in the end his community will not make a dollar of profit out of it :

    "As part of his plea agreement, Stern has agreed to make restitution to Pension Plan participants in the amount of approximately $4.1 million; to participants in the Health Plan with unpaid claims; and to the IRS in the total amount of approximately $2.4 million."

    If the point of the theft was to transfer the money to his hasidic sect, why plead guilty and give the money back when get caught ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To get a 30 months sentence.

      Delete
    2. they did not think they will be caught. they thought they are screwing the small guys and giving it to the Rebbe doing a mitzvah and the rebbe will protect them with prayers and Brachos. in the end they made a huge chilul hashem AND had to pay back the $$.
      this should serve as a lesson for other would be ardent blind faith chasidim who think that stealing for the rebbe is great & the rebbe will protect them

      Delete
  13. For Pete's sake, can you cut it out? Your heading is "Exploring the legacy of the rationalist Rishonim (medieval Torah scholars), and various other notes," not "Exploring the legacy of the rationalist Rishonim (medieval Torah scholars), and trying to find anything negative about any group within the chareidi world to write about, while never commenting on the deficiencies of my own adopted society."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. that is the whole point. when we turn a blind eye to the wrong within, to the "right" of us then it pulls us all in the wrong direction – if these tzadikim do it then maybe it ok! .
      all you need for evil people to do evil things is for good people to remain silent. we cannot remain silent, when supposedly righteous people do inexcusable things we have to point it out, "you guys are NOT tzadikim" what you do is wrong. regardless of what you call yourself

      Delete
  14. Yehoshua, perhaps you don't realize that Rabbi Slifkin's fantasy of 'rationalist judaism' was concocted by him only in order to 'find negative things within the charedi world'.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I am reminded of a comment made by my 7th grade Rebbe:
    The crime isn't what's done; it's getting caught.

    I don't remember much else of what he taught, but this stuck with me for well over 50 years. Apparently it's become the general Charedi hashkafah. I wonder if the same applies to shemiras Shabbos or kashrus?

    ReplyDelete
  16. Was Professor Slifkin hiding under a rock during the "BLM" riots only a few short months ago? Arson, robbery, assault, mayhem. And yet their perpetrators were glorified - and not just by individuals, but by the country's official institutions - as protesters and civil rights heroes. So please, give us a break about "glorifying evil." Such nairus.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Whataboutery of the highest order.

      Is Slifkin in any position to condemn BLM? Is he a distinguished black professor?

      Delete
    2. Dont defend hypocrisy. Slifkin has commented on countless issues he knows nothing about ever since the blog lost focus, since when does he worry about being "in a position" to condemn.

      Anyway you totally missed the point. The country's leaders, who certainly are in a position to condemn, happily glorified the rioting criminals. That's what the country has become. For P. Slifkin to worry about Vishnitz is just dumb.

      Delete
  17. @the hat
    You say "by suggesting civilians are part of the military occupation you engage in apologetics for the atrocities of Hamas."

    You are wrong in international law. It is the Geneva conventions which defines what is legal and not Hamas propaganda.

    Geneva conventions do not allow targeting civilians even if they make the securing of an area a lot easier for the army when defending itself against terror.

    If the prime minister said big families makes gives Israel a more secure future when it comes to defending itself against a vastly larger enemy, is that also apologetics for Hamas ?

    ReplyDelete
  18. @ the hat

    You say "If the matter is to be settled it should be settled by a civilian court with appropriate non emergency territorial jurisdiction."

    So you support Sheikh Jarrah being settled by a civilian court?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes for reason 1) (territorial jurisdiction) although for reasons 2) and 3) (preventing future conflict and the poor character of the extremists who live there) I am opposed to using the military police to instal Jews in a conflict area who are known supporters of Lehava captured on camera throwing chairs across the street to provoke their Arab neighbors at iftar.

      Delete
    2. you say "I am opposed to using the military police to instal Jews in a conflict area"

      You want to use the police to void court judgements on property ownership.

      Democracies do not work like that.

      Delete
    3. Democracies give people votes regardless of their religious or racial backgrounds. Only Jews living in Chevron get to vote. That isn't a democracy, and therefore court's views on racist laws are therefore the views of a kangaroo court.

      Delete
  19. @ the hat

    "Leaving little pockets like this amongst majority areas of another ethnicity sows seeds of ongoing violent conflict. "

    If the Jews can live with arabs in their midst. Palestinians should be able to live with Jews in their midst.


    you say " you know and I know and everyone on this blog knows the character of the residents of Chevron. The stone throwing, the street harassment, the arrogance, and the racism. That is material to the question of supporting their residency through the military. The fact is that 90 percent of the Jewish residents of Chevron are an embarrassment to 90 percent of the other citizens of Israel."


    If poor character is a justification for ethnic cleansing, most gazans would be long gone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 2 wrongs != 1 right, and you should spend some time on the zooms people do with ordinary Gazans.

      Delete
    2. So in your view expelling Jewish Hebron residents is a wrong or a right?

      (Most ordinary Gazans voted in the genocidal Hamas. I hate to think what the extraordinary Gazans are like)

      Delete
    3. Please do me the small courtesy of reading the three reasons I provided:-

      1) the military courts had no business enforcing ethic property disputes outside Israel's sovereign territory given that the only legal justification for the occupation is for temporary security.

      2) the concept of eminent domain in which the interests of the public in a peaceful settlement overrides the property rights of the minority is engaged.

      3) anyway the state should stop subsidising and acting as security for racist hate.

      Delete
  20. @the hat

    "Finally on a stylistic point I would avoid comparing Jews clearing Jews out of Chevron to the Holocaust. In the one 6 million people were murdered. In the in other, a few hundred people would be denied their property rights."
    ...

    so when Jews were expelled from arab countries, it was just a case of Jews losing their property rights ?

    ReplyDelete
  21. Question: Considering all the Torah this Rebbe has learned and taught has it made him a better person? Or does the nature of a person, perhaps a scoundrel remain, within an outside persona of a righteous individual? Is there a distinction between religious rules (Mitzvot, dinim) and moral behavior?

    ReplyDelete
  22. @the hat

    You say "Mad Hatter: Either you accept that Shalhevet Pass was a civilian 6 month old baby left out in the sun who didn't deserve to be shot; or by suggesting civilians are part of the military occupation you engage in apologetics for the atrocities of Hamas."

    What do you know about Israel's security that Rabin does not.
    Rabin viewed many (although certainly not all) of the civilian settlements as essential for Israel's security

    https://mfa.gov.il/MFA/ForeignPolicy/MFADocuments/Yearbook9/Pages/3%20Interview%20with%20Prime%20Minister%20Rabin%20on%20Israel%20Te.aspx

    In his first interview after assuming office, Mr. Rabin elaborated on the distinction he made between "political settlements" and "security settlements. " In the "political settlements" existing contracts will have to be re-examined

    ReplyDelete
  23. Every time I read or hear about such disgusting, criminal behavior I am at a total loss to understand how anyone, let alone a frum Jew, could do such a thing. Regardless of chareidi or non chareidi such a chillul HaShem just cuts me to the quick. I heard a rav say that in ancient times the lust was for avodah zarah. That has passed, he said, and has been replaced by lust for money. Just as the people sinned through idol worship then, today they sin through immoral, illegal monetary behavior. We are in great trouble and with few truly ehrlicha leaders to help us be the people we are supposed to be.

    ReplyDelete

Comments for this blog are moderated. Please see this post about the comments policy for details. ANONYMOUS COMMENTS WILL NOT BE POSTED - please use either your real name or a pseudonym.

Shaken By The Lulav

There are many aspects of Judaism which make people feel uncomfortable. The mitzvah of arba minim sometimes falls into that category. Shak...