Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Lakewood baal teshuva marrano is Christian? II

The Ger Tzedek who is a Levi, The Conservative Jew who is an Orthodox Rabbi, and The Christian College professor ordained by the Rabbinate of Israel -- an American Story

We are all familiar with the recent news story out of Lakewood NJ where Natan Levy was arrested as a fugitive from the FBI. It turned out that Mr. Levy was actually Ted Floyd, a Kansas gentile.

When the story first broke, Floyd was described by the Lakewood Rabbis as a Marrano who was a Baal Teshuvah and a Levi. This alone should raise questions since it is well known that Marranos are not Jewish. In their zest to collect a "frum" Jew, the Rabbis in Lakewood fully accepted that this man, who by his own admission wasn't raised Jewish, and they accepted him as both a full Jew and as a Levi.

After the story broke, a Rabbi Pinchas Aloof of Wichita Kansas was tracked down and he claimed that Floyd was a goy, but that he converted him and his wife. Aloof claimed he is an Orthodox Rabbi and it was an Orthodox conversion. The blog vosizneias reported "VIN News has now learned that the man in question, currently being held by the authorities for attempted passport fraud and identity theft, did in fact undergo a conversion by an Orthodox rabbi together with his wife in 2002.

VIN has located and contacted Rabbi Pinchas Aloof, who was serving the synagogue Congregation Ahavat Achim in Wichita, Kansas at the time Mr. and Mrs. Floyd underwent conversion—and who has vouched in a telephone conversation with VIN from his Texas home for the Floyds' authentic Jewish status and kosher conversion. "It was 100% kosher with a Beis Din, I was there; they both went trough the whole process 'al pi halacha'" says Rabbi Aloof."

Many visitors to that blog expressed fantastic relief that the truth was finally out! Of course, nobody seemed terribly troubled about the fact that this "Ger Tzedek" may have had ulterior motives (as a fugitive from justice) nor was anyone troubled that he arrived in Lakewood using the identity of a DEAD man and posed as a Levi. Nope, all the bloggers were glad that the Loshon Hora was being put to a stop and that this man's Jewishness was affirmed!

If anyone bothered to look a step further and do some basic internet searching, one would find that Aloof is NOT an Orthodox Rabbi, and there is no Beit Din in Wichita that could have done a proper conversion. Aloof has led more than one Conservative congregation, teaches at a Christian college, and his synagogue, which lacks a Mechitsa, is described as welcoming to people of all faiths. Some evidence is mounting that he might even be intermarried himself. Orthodox?

VIN claims further: "VIN News has confirmed that Rabbi Aloof received his semicha from the Rabbinate of Israel, and is a Talmud of Yeshivas Chofitz Chaim of Baltimore." From this we of course infer that the Rabbinate fully supports Rabbi Aloof and would of course accept the conversion of this man who converted while escaping the law and then later posed as a Marrano and Levi in Lakewood. I would love to see the Rabbinate make a statement either saying "this is our guy and we stand by him and this conversion" or "we made a mistake giving him Smicha and hereby revoke it" or "we never heard of him."

Time and time again we see Jewish Americans go to extreme lengths to find a way to accept any possible excuse to label Gentiles as the true Jews. Of course, the big question is "why?"

The answer may come from an unlikely source: Woody Allen, who said "I wouldn't want to be a member of any club who would have a person like ME as a member." American Jews feel great and empowered when a goy chooses to be Jewish. All of their dissatisfaction and insecurity about being Jewish evaporates when a goy wants to be part of the club. This is so important that the American Jews, and their Rabbis, truly do not care about the quality of the conversion, nor do they care even IF a conversion was done, in most cases. As long as we fill more seats and get more donations and bigger population numbers everything is good. Because Woody Allen is correct in his assessment of the American Jewish psyche, the logical cure to assimilation is to welcome the gentiles to our fold (their thinking, not mine).

That's one explanation. Of course the other explanation could just be that we have let so much Christian thought into our communities that now their value system is replacing ours.

Posted by: Bright Eyes

8 comments :

  1. Back in the day, when I was growing up at the Shore, I had to produce two witnesses to my mother's halachic Jewish status before I could even VISIT another kid's house let alone eat there.

    Our mother is a JW and no one "KNEW" that (Chassidishe)side of the family.

    Regarding the Marrano story, I have not known an Orthodox Sephardic synagogue to accept a person as Jewish without some proof (a visitor won't get an aliyah usually without witnesses).

    Why was a "Marrano" accepted as Sephardic? If he can show that he is Jewish, he is just Jewish, not a Marrano. If he cannot document his matrilineal Jewish status and he must convert then he is a new Jewish soul who should choose the tradition of the Rabbi who taught(birthed) him, his spiritual father.

    In the Sephardic synagogues our family has been affiliated with, we were asked to fill out a genealogy and it was followed up with elder Rabbis and community members where we had grown up.

    Even the mohel who circumcised my sons would not do so without "checking" even though he knew both of our families for many years.

    How did this family slip by in a Sephardic synagogue in Lakewood?

    My sister is a widow who lives in Lakewood and she can't get her kids into any of the schools (probably because she wears pants, its her claim to fame). I asked her and she SURE doesn't know.

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  2. Recipients and PublicityApril 2, 2008 at 5:25 AM

    If anyone listened to the voice interview that Zev Brenner conducted with "Rabbi Aloof" via the sound link that is posted on Vos Iz Neies ("VIN") it is very clear that Zev Brenner does not know how to ask the right questions in this kind of situation.

    Brenner is more interested in running a pally friendly show that also happens to be cut in half when Dov Shurin chimes in with his elaborate maisos about Israeli news and pitching for buying carpets, and between the two of them they sound like the two stooges conducting the wrong kind of show and and useless so-called interviews that add to the confusion creating more question than clearing up doubts.

    Firstly, Zev Brenner states again and again and gets Rabbi Aloof to say "you *did* the conversion" but what is that supposed to mean? Does a rabbi "do" a conversion like someone fries an egg? The minute anyone says that rabbi-so-and-so "did a conversion" the intelligent listener and/or experienced kiruv rabbi or rov who works with such people knows something is very off because the correct question is not just who "did" the conversion but what type of Bais Din it was and what the name of the Bais Din was and who sat on it since last anyone checked al pi Halacha a Bais Din must consist of three dayanim mumchim and not any three Jews thrown together paid a few dollars and who shout out a "hail mary with a sprinkling of 'holy water' and presto you have an 'instant Jew/ess' " Strike one against the "Lakewood marrano who was a levi then a goy and then a ger who is now back to being a goy"!

    Secondly, when asked about the shull he served in in Kansas rabbi Aloof says it was set up in 1902 (?) but then fudges what became of it when he was rabbi when he says that the seating arrangement of the shull is without a mechitza and that men sit on one side, women on the other, and those that want to sit together sit in the middle and he justifies it by saying that is what many "Orthodox" shulls are like because what can one do it's "golus" and he repeats the word "golus" a few times to justify himself. So based on this rabbi's own words he was not a rabbi of what one could call or describe as a normative Orthodox shull by any means. And he throws in that he is no longer the rabbi of the shull and that where he lives is "golus" mentioned yet again. Strike two against the "Lakewood marrano who was a levi then a goy and then a ger who is now back to being a goy"!

    Then if one listens to what Rabbi Aloof says happened to his ger, he says that as far as he knew the "ger" was supposed to be in Israel because he would do well over there as "sofer" and make a go of it. So how exactly would such a "ger" AND his "giyores" wife get approved by the Israeli chief rabbinate who are known to monitor applications for cietizenship from such converts. The rabbi says that was his assumption and that he heard nothing for the past six years until this latest story broke out. Which means that this is just another bit of evidence that the Mr. Floyd?Marrano?Ger is an incurable con-artist and pathological liar who cannot commit to one scenario of truth about his own identity, origins and whereabouts with anyone. Not with the rabbi who "did" his conversion, not with people in the Lakewood community and certainly not with the Federal and State authorities that initiated an FBI manhunt for him that resulted in his arrest. Or was he perhaps an undercover FBI or other type of undercover agent checking out what's happening in the Jewish, Orthodox and Haredi world in America, testing it's method of operations, how people are "converted" and live in Jewish communities??? Who knows what kind of insider information he may or may not have gathered along the way and is now passing it on to government authorities either as part of a pre-planned plea-bargaining deal or as something he just will do to save his neck from further prosecution that has not come to light yet. One thing is for sure, this was not an honest man and to become a "ger" sheker
    and to commit geneivas daas on a grand scale and tell the simultaneously colorful and disgraceful LIES and FALSIFICATIONS that he did so brazenly to everyone he came into contact with, from poor bamboozled Rabbi Aloof in Kansas to the perplexed people in Lakewood and who knows who else along the way, goes against anything Yiddishskeit teaches or that would be expected of a true and HONEST Ger Tzedek. Thus, strike three and you're out for the "Lakewood marrano who was a levi then a goy and then a ger who is now back to being a goy"!

    This story is getting weirder by the day...

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  3. Get the facts straight. The guy didn't show up in Lakewood as a "fugative from justice" - the crimes he is charged with were committed *after* moving to Lakewood (according to the court documents).

    The guy certainly has some issues (and some explaining to do), but assuming that his gerus was kosher (something that needs to be established), these revelations cast no aspersions upon it from a halachic perspective.

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  4. Thank you for pointing out how disentisized to the real meaning of conversions we have become. The comments in that other blog (VIN) are mind blogging.

    You hit the nail on it's head depicting the numerous flaws in the conversion and in the attitude towards halachik conversion in particular has been eroded. A Rabbi that officiated in a conservative shul is seen as legitimate dayan in a beys din for giyur?! A convert that duped everyone, including the "rabbi" is not a problem in their eyes? Yasher koach for being fair in your criticism.

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  5. A point of history, to give credit where due...

    Groucho Marx was offered membership in the Friar's Club. After looking over the population, he realized the offer was tokenism. So, Groucho turned down the offer with the famous line, "I wouldn't want to join a club that would have me as a member." Not only is it classic Groucho-style humor (that any logician would enjoy) but also an effective charicature of their antisemitism. ("Now that I'm a Friar, how can I belong to a club with a Jew in it?")

    The line represents one man choosing pride in his Jewish identity over professional and social network.

    -Micha

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  6. Recipients and PublicityApril 2, 2008 at 9:13 PM

    To Micha: Your line was already recently said over and posted on this blog in the name of Woody Allen (without the "Friars" in it, but exact same pitch) and now you say it over in the name of Groucho Marx, so now that present's us with a problem here as to whose "girsa" (version) is the original and true one (it's probably some anonymous backroom scriptwrite who maybe wrote it in any case...)

    But one thing is for sure, Woody Allen and Groucho Marx have a lot in common, besides being the foremost comedians of Jewish birth in the US of their times, that they both very opnely and famously married gentile women and didn't even bother getting them converted to Judaism by *anyone*, indeed they scorned Yiddishkeit and made deadly fun of it, so these are hardly the type of people to quote in discussions about intermarriage, but yes, yes, these statements and life-histories illustrate what a sad and sinking situation secular or non-Orthodox Jews in America are in, stuck and paralyzed in a self-contradictory religious, ethnic and existential Jewish dillemma.

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  7. Actually Woody Allen and Groucho Marx should both be commended for their honesty.

    When they intermarried they understood that what they were doing was against Judaism, and were honest about it.

    Intermarriage is a huge threat to our people, for sure. But a bigger threat is when we change the rules to define as "right" something that was always "wrong."

    Bright Eyes

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  8. To Bright Eyes:

    As a Jewish woman, I take great personal offense when Jewish men marry out.

    Like "WHAT, NONE of US were good enough for YOU???"

    It's even worse when the successful 45 year old Jewish man leaves his Jewish wife and children for a 25 year old Gentile woman.

    This just happened to two of my husband's 40+ year old cousins,both within a few months of each other, they are sisters, I guess that one husband empowered the other one?

    Hopefully with the new RCA rules, none of the Rabbis will "convert" the Gentile women to kasher them for intermarriage. When the Jewish man can proudly parade his new "pretty young thing" around the community, while the tired, lonely middle aged ex-wife and her kids squirm in the corner, it will usually start an epidemic in a community, which in this case is Cedarhurst. Then a dozen more middle aged Jewish women and their children will be left "widowed and orphaned" because some men are empowered by the "okay-ness" of it.

    I have always wondered if Rabbis who do conversions for marriage really understand what they do to Jewish women when they permit Jewish men to marry "out"?

    ReplyDelete

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