Friday, May 6, 2016

Police investigate video of principal, boy - decide not to press any charges

update:Times of Israel

State police are investigating the incident, according to the Journal News, the local paper that first reported the incident. 
Christopher Borek, the chief assistant district attorney for Orange County, said his office had received a copy of the video but declined to say whether or not the incident is under investigation. 
“I can tell you that in general our office treats all allegations of sexual abuse of children as extremely serious,” Borek told JTA, noting that a designated unit handles such allegations. “We never comment on investigations even to confirm if the investigation is ongoing or not unless or until charges are filed.”
The following seems to be a false report based on a surveilance video which was understood by those who put it on the internet as being an example of abuse - when in fact no abuse took place. It illustrates what was mentioned in a previous report of people willing to destroy the reputation of individuals without proper investigation and concern for what actually happened.
 =======================================================

lohud

State police are investigating a video purporting to show a school principal in close physical contact with a young boy in the Orange County village of Kiryas Joel.

The video was widely circulated on the Internet Monday.

The video camera appears to have been in the ceiling of the principal's office. An 11-minute version of the video shows a man sitting down at a desk and drawing the boy to him. As the boys stands between the man's legs, the man appears to stroke the boy's face and kiss him several times, shaking him occasionally and pulling him closer. Both remain clothed.

An administrator at the ultra Orthodox Jewish school, United Talmudical Academy, could not be reached. A call to the principal was not returned.

“We have received the video. We have looked at it,” Major Joseph Tripodo, commander of New York State Police Troop F in Middletown said. Tripodo said state police investigators have been looking into the matter along with the District Attorney’s Office and the Orange County Child Abuse Unit. He said it was premature to say whether a crime was committed.

He said police had the video before it began circulating on the Internet Monday but he would not say how long ago they began their investigation. He declined to discuss details of the tape or whether the principal has been questioned. He said “it hasn’t been determined” what exactly is happening in the video but that police are trying to have it enhanced as part of the investigation. [...]

Forward    reports having read the above article

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kikar haShabbat

הרשת סוערת: האם המלמד מתעלל בילד?

ברשתות החברתיות מופץ סרטון מזעזע בו נראה אדם בעל תפקיד חינוכי בחיידר בארה"ב מתעלל בילד. לפי חלק מהטענות, התיק נסגר לאחר שהתברר לחוקרים כי לא מדובר בהתעללות בילד (חדשות)

בשנים האחרונות הולכת וגוברת המודעות בציבור החרדי לטיפול אמיתי בתופעות חמורות של התעללות בילדים אם במקומות העבודה או הלימודים ואם בתוך הבית במסגרת המשפחתית, השם ירחם, וגם רבני הקהילות מורים לטפל בעניין במלוא הרצינות והחומרה זאת על מנת שחלילה תופעות שכאלו לא ישנו ויעקרו מתוך המחנה.

לעיתים הרבנים מורים להתייעץ עם העסקנים המוסמכים המפנים ליועצים חינוכיים ,פסיכולוגים או עובדים סוציאלים ולעיתים כשהדבר לובש חשש של היבט פלילי מערבים אף את רשויות החוק וחוקרי המשטרה הכל מתוך רגישות מירבית במטרה להביא לתועלת.

בימים אלו מופץ ברשתות החברתיות סרטון מזעזע, שכפי הנראה צולם כבר לפני כשנה, בו נראה אדם בעל תפקיד חינוכי בחיידר מוכר בארה"ב כשהוא מתעלל לכאורה בתלמיד ילד בגילאי 6-8.

הסרטון גרם לזעזוע ותחושות של חלחלה בקרב רבים שטענו כי יש למצוא את האשמים ולהעמיד אותם על עונשם.
 [...]
לדברי גורמים המכירים את המקרה, התובע בניו יורק שחקר ובדק את המקרה, ושמע את גרסת הילד, ההורים והמלמד, סגר את התיק מאחר ובדיקתו העלתה כי מדובר במחנך מזה 45 שנה שמעולם לא הוגשה נגדו תלונה וכי התברר כי מדובר בהתמסרות לתלמיד בלבד

Was the Holocaust caused by specific sins? A disagreement between Rav Yitzchok Hutner vs Rav Avigdor Miller

update: The words of the Lubavitcher Rebbe seem consistent with the views of Rav Hutner that the Holocaust was not punishment for the sins of that generation.  See also my post on the views of the Lubavitcher Rebbe and Rav Shach   Chabad and the Holocaust 

Chabad itself has the following material

The Rebbe and the Holocaust

Belief after the Holocaust
===============================================
There are those who wish to suggest that the Holocaust was a punishment for the sins of that generation.
 The Lubavitcher Rebbe rejects this view. He stated (Sefer HaSichot 5751 Vol.1 p.233):
The destruction of six million Jews in such a horrific manner that surpassed the cruelty of all previous generations, could not possibly be because of a punishment for sins. Even the Satan himself could not possibly find a sufficient number of sins that would warrant such genocide! 
There is absolutely no rationalistic explanation for the Holocaust except for the fact that it was a Divine decree … why it happened is above human comprehension – but it is definitely not because of punishment for sin. 
On the contrary: All those who were murdered in the Holocaust are called “Kedoshim” – holy ones – since they were murdered in sanctification of G–d’s name. Since they were Jews, it is only G–d who will avenge their blood. As we say on Shabbat in the Av Harachamim prayer, “the holy communities who gave their lives for the sanctification of the Divine Name ... and avenge the spilled blood of His servants, as it is written in the Torah of Moshe ... for he will avenge the blood of his servants ... And in the Holy Writings it is said ... Let there be known among the nations, before our eyes, the retribution of the spilled blood of your servants.” G–d describes those who were sanctified as His servants, and promises to avenge their blood. 
So great is the spiritual level of the Kedoshim – even disregarding their standing in mitzvah performance – that the Rabbis say about them, “no creation can stand in their place.” How much more so of those who died in the Holocaust, many of whom, as is well known, were among the finest of Europe’s Torah scholars and observant Jews. 
It is inconceivable that the Holocaust be regarded as an example of punishment for sin, in particular when addressing this generation, which as mentioned before is “a firebrand plucked from the fire” of the Holocaust. 
In short, one can only apply the words of Isaiah, “My thoughts are not your thoughts and My ways are not your ways, says the L–rd.” (Isaiah 55:8)There are those who wish to suggest that the Holocaust was a punishment for the sins of that generation. 
The Lubavitcher Rebbe rejects this view. He stated (Sefer HaSichot 5751 Vol.1 p.233):
The destruction of six million Jews in such a horrific manner that surpassed the cruelty of all previous generations, could not possibly be because of a punishment for sins. Even the Satan himself could not possibly find a sufficient number of sins that would warrant such genocide! 
There is absolutely no rationalistic explanation for the Holocaust except for the fact that it was a Divine decree … why it happened is above human comprehension – but it is definitely not because of punishment for sin. 
On the contrary: All those who were murdered in the Holocaust are called “Kedoshim” – holy ones – since they were murdered in sanctification of G–d’s name. Since they were Jews, it is only G–d who will avenge their blood. As we say on Shabbat in the Av Harachamim prayer, “the holy communities who gave their lives for the sanctification of the Divine Name ... and avenge the spilled blood of His servants, as it is written in the Torah of Moshe ... for he will avenge the blood of his servants ... And in the Holy Writings it is said ... Let there be known among the nations, before our eyes, the retribution of the spilled blood of your servants.” G–d describes those who were sanctified as His servants, and promises to avenge their blood. 
So great is the spiritual level of the Kedoshim – even disregarding their standing in mitzvah performance – that the Rabbis say about them, “no creation can stand in their place.” How much more so of those who died in the Holocaust, many of whom, as is well known, were among the finest of Europe’s Torah scholars and observant Jews. 
It is inconceivable that the Holocaust be regarded as an example of punishment for sin, in particular when addressing this generation, which as mentioned before is “a firebrand plucked from the fire” of the Holocaust. 
In short, one can only apply the words of Isaiah, “My thoughts are not your thoughts and My ways are not your ways, says the L–rd.” (Isaiah 55:8)


===============================================
The following quotes are taken from a paper written by R Gamliel Shmalo concerning Rav Hutner's view of the Holocaust. The objections that were raised in comments in a previous post regarding Rav Miller's views are similar to those that Rav Hutner raises against Rav Miller's view. He objects to anyone speaking with certainty as if he were a prophet or to say that the Holocaust was a kindness that was deserved by the sins of the Jewish people. In contrast Rav Hutner specifically rejects such an explanation or even the ability to know the truth of such allegations and claims that the Holocaust was part of the suffering of Exile and not because of specific sins. Furthermore Rav Hutner viewed the horrible events as being nothing inherently different than the suffering of the past and in fact described events
as Churban of Europe [similar to the Churban of the Beis HaMikdash] rather than utilize the new word Holocaust.

The last paragraph contains unconfirmed conjecture from the paper as to the possible consequences of the disagreement


Rav Avigdor Miller (Rejoice of Youth Page 350-351) …because so many European Jews fell into the error of admiring and emulating the Germans, G-d allowed the Germans to do their utmost to show who they really are.. Those Jews who had begun to ignore the Soul, and in imitation of the gentiles devoted their efforts solely to the needs of the body, were made to see how their efforts ended in. the worst ruination of Jewish bodies in history ... Because so many imitated the gentiles and refused to rest on the Seventh Day., they were forced to work seven days a week at_ killing labor. Because they sent their children to non-Jewish or .secular schools and no longer gave their children to the Torah-study, the Nazis were allowed to destroy Jewish children entirely. Because, for the first time in Jewish history, women ceased to cover their hair, tbe Germans shaved them bald in the death camps. Because the virtues of chaste dress and behavior were diminished in imitation of tile gentiles, they were marched naked to the gas chambers, and Jewish women were subjected to every barbarous indecency before being killed., Because they had so revered the physicians, especially the German specialists, they were subjected to the malicious experiments and torments which the German physicians impose upon them, Because they forsook the laws of the Torah, they were subjected to the Nuremberg Laws which deprived them of all the rights which other men enjoyed…. 

Rav Yitzchak Hutner (taken from "Interpreters of Judaism in the  Late Twentieth Century" Prof. S. Schwarzchild and  R Matis Greenblatt's "Rabbi Yitzchak Hutner" in Jewish Action  Summer 2001)

The first of these of these epochal changes involves the shift from generations of gentile mistreatment of Jews, which, if unwelcome, was nevertheless expected and indeed announced by our oppressors - to an era where promises of equality were made and then broken, rights were granted and then revoked, benevolence was anticipated, only to be crushed by cruel malevolence. 

The end-result of this period for the Jewish psyche was a significant - .. indeed, crucial - one. From trust in the gentile world, the Jewish nation was cruelly brought to a repudiation of that trust In a relatively short historical period, disappointment in the non-Jewish world was deeply imprinted upon the Jewish soul.
[…]
It should be needless to say at this point that since the churban of European Jewry was a tochacha phenomenon, an enactment of the admonishment and rebuke which Kial Yisroel carries upon its shoulders as an integral part of being the Am Hanivchar - G-d's chosen ones - we have no right to interpret these events as any kind of specific punishment for specific sins. The tochacha is a built-in aspect of the character of Kial Yisroel until Moshiach comes and is visited upon Kial Yisroel at the Creator's will and for reasons known and comprehensible only to Him. One would have to be a נביא or תנא (a prophet or a Talmudic sage), to claim knowledge of the specific reasons for what befell us; anyone on a lesser plane claiming to do so tramples in vain upon the bodies of the kedoshim who died 'על קידוש ה' and misuses the power to interpret and understand Jewish history.

כנראה ,ראש ישיבה חיים ברלין (רב הוטנר) והמשגיח הרוחני שלה (רב אביגדור מילד) היו מחולקים בנושא" .רב מילד הביא את ספרו הנ"ל לדפוס נשבת 1962 והוא יצא לאור בפועל בשנת 1963  ; מעניין שהרב מילד עזב את הישיבה בשנת 1964 - עובדה האומרת דרשני. יש בזקרם לשייר שמבחינתו של הרב הוטנר, רב מילר הקצין · את השיטה המסורתית עד נקודת שבירת הכלים. רב הוטנר איבד בשואה קרובי משפחה שהיה בעיניו צדיקים וקדושים: מסופר בחוג הישיבה 68 שדודו היה כה רגיש לכבוד התורה שהוא מת מהתקף לב כשהוא ראה חייל נאצי יורק על ספר התורה. לא ייתכן להסביר את מיתתם של ''קדושים" האלו באופן כל כך גס, ועל כן הרב הוטנר חיפש פשר חילופי . קשה להוכיח מה היו מניעיו של הרב הוטנר; מה שברור הוא שבעולם הישיבות, הגישה שלו הייתה 
יוצאת מן הכלל, אם כי היו תקדימים 
68
 


Acharei Mos; Are We Not Concerned About Animal Blood? by Rabbi Shlomo Pollak

The Torah instructs us to cover the blood of a bird or WILD animal, that we slaughtered. We call that, the Mitzvah of "Kisoi HaDam". The Torah elaborates, in the next "Posuck", why we must not leave the blood uncovered...כִּי-נֶפֶשׁ כָּל-בָּשָׂר, דָּמוֹ בְנַפְשׁוֹ הוּא.

However, the Torah does not tell us to do Kisoi HaDam on the blood of domesticated animals (cow, sheep, or goat). In fact, the Halachah is that there is no Mitzvah of Kisoi HaDam on animals....

But, Why not?!.....כִּי-נֶפֶשׁ כָּל-בָּשָׂר, דָּמוֹ בְנַפְשׁוֹ הוּא.. 

We first must explain, the reason the Torah is giving us for this unique Mitzvah, and then we can try to understand why it doesn't apply for domesticated animals as well.....

For questions and comments please email us at salmahshleima@gmail.com


Conversion program for children?

http://giyur.org.il/אודות/http://giyur.org.il/אודות/


The Origins of the Non-Jewish Custom Of ‘Shlissel Challah’ (Key Bread) “The Loaf of Idolatry?”

update: Rabbi Yair Hoffman who is critical of the following article

http://daattorah.blogspot.com/2013/04/schlissel-challah-analysis-by-rabbi.html

Shlissel     By Shelomo Alfassa


Introduction
Every year Jewish women, young and old, partake in an Ashkenazi[1] custom to place a key (such as a door key to a home), inside the dough of a loaf of bread that they bake.[2] This custom is known as shlissel challahshlissel from the German language shlüssel (key) and challah or hallah from the Hebrew for bread.[3] While a metal key is often baked within the bread, some form the bread itself into the shape of a key or even arrange sesame seeds on top in the form of a key.[4] Often times, these women gather in celebratory groups with the common belief that baking the shlissel challah will bring blessing into their homes, and specifically, the blessing of increased fiscal livelihood. There is also a seemingly new ‘custom’ of baking shlissel challah in the “merit” of a sick person, as a way of helping them recover from physical disease or trauma.[5] A poll on the popular Orthodox Jewish website imamother.com asked participants: “How do you make your schlissel [sic] challah?”[6] The 88 respondants reported: In the shape of a key 13% [12]; With a key baked in it 61% [54]; Neither, I don't do this 17% [15]; Other 7% [7].


Non-Jewish Origins
The baking of a key inside a bread is a non-Jewish custom which has its foundation in Christian, and possibly even earlier, pagan culture. At least one old Irish source tells how at times when a town was under attack, the men said, “let our women-folk be instructed in the art of baking cakes containing keys.”[7]

Keys were traditionally manufactured in the form of a cross, the traditional symbol of Christianity,[8] a physical item all Christian commoners would posses in their home.[9]On Easter, the Christian holiday which celebrates the idea of Jesus ‘rising’ from the dead, they would bake the symbol of Jesus—the key shaped like a cross—into or onto a rising loaf.[10] This was not only a religious gesture, but the bread was a special holiday treat. Sometimes these breads were wholly formed in the shape of a cross; other times the shape of a cross was made out of dough and applied on top. In the context of historically baking a key into bread—the key itself, intrinsically, was a symbol of Christianity and by extension symbolized Jesus ‘rising’ in the dough.[11]


Connection to Passover
The modern Jewish custom of baking the symbolic shlissel challah, annually takes place on the shabbat immediately following the holiday of Pessah, when tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of religiously observant Jewish women[12] practice this observance.

In Christianity, baked goods associated with keys are commonly called ‘Easter breads,’[13] and in Europe they are also known as ‘Paschals,’[14] as the holiday of Easter in the East is known as ‘Pascha’ or ‘Pascua.’ This is most likely the reason Christians often call Easter breads baked with keys Paschals.[15] Before the Romans destroyed theBeit HaMikdash (the holy Temple) in Jerusalem, the focus of the Passover holiday for the Jewish people was the Korban Pessah (lit. Pessah sacrifice, also known as thePaschal Lamb[16]). Within Christianity, Jesus is known as the ‘Paschal Lamb.’


Geographic Origins
Professor Marvin Herzog, a world renowned Yiddish linguist at Columbia University tells that dough twisted in the form of a key (among other shapes such as a ladder) were found to top challah loafs in Poland, “…the distribution of some of these things was a regional matter.”[17] As an example of the regionality, Prof. Herzog created a map demonstrating where dough was shaped as a ladder and placed on challah, and how it was specific only to certain communities and was not universal. Insomuch as a ladder motif was regional, it can be conjectured that the use of a key or key motif could have evolved the same way. Both a ladder and a key are symbolic as tools that could metaphysically help one attain heaven, as they both help ‘gain access.’


Lack of Sources
While the custom is said to be mentioned in the writings of Avraham Yehoshua Heshel (the “Apter Rav” 1748-1825) and in the Ta’amei ha-Minhagim (1891), there is no one clear source for shlissel challah. And while people will say there is a passuq attributed to it, there is not. And, even if there were, a passuq that can be linked to the practice is not the same as a source. Micha Berger, founder of the AishDas Society, [orthodox] calls this type of logic ‘reverse engineering,’ it’s like drawing a circle around an arrow in a tree, and subsequently declaring the arrow is a bullseye.[18] The idea of baking shlissel challah is not from the Torah; it’s not in the Tannaitic, Amoraitic, Savoraitic, Gaonic or Rishonic literature. Rabbi Shlomo Aviner of Israel’s Yeshivat Ateret Yerushalayim said that while baking challah with a key in it is not forbidden, “there is no meaning in doing so.”[19] Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim[20] of Mesora.Org [orthodox] teaches that:

The Torah teaches that Hashem punishes the wicked, and rewards the righteous. It does not say that challah baking or any other activity will help address our needs…When the matriarchs were barren, they did not resort to segulas, but introspected and prayed…Nothing in Torah supports this concept of segula; Torah sources reject the idea of a segula…baking challas with brachos cannot help…segulas are useless, and violate the Torah prohibition of Nichush [good luck charms]. It does not matter if the charm is a rabbit’s foot, a horseshoe, a challah, key or a red bendel. The practice assumes that forces exist, which do not, and it is idolatrous.[21]

Rabbi Reuven Mann, Principal of Yeshiva B'nei Torah in Far Rockaway, New York [orthodox] says one should ask themselves: “What connection is there between putting a key in the dough of a challah (schlissel challah) and the improvement of my material situation (parnasa)?”[22] He says:

The dangers of deviation are very great. For by inventing new practices not prescribed by Torah one, in fact, implicitly denies the Torah. He is in effect saying that the Torah is not perfect, for it does not work in my case, and there are other man made practices out there which will work for me. In effect this is a negation of Torah and constitutes a form of idolatry, heaven forbid….[this] indicates that a person has lost faith in the authentic prescriptions of Torah. By performing these “unauthorized actions” one is implicitly affirming that there are other “forces” out there besides God which will respond to the needs of the performer of these ritualistic practices. This constitutes a form of “Avodah Zorah.” [...]