Thursday, January 29, 2009

Guma Aguiar of EJF - raised as Christian

RaP forwarded

Arutz 7: Amongst the famous names in Israel rubbing elbows at a cocktail reception launching the 6th annual Jerusalem Conference on January 26, Israel National Radio's Yishai Fleisher spoke with oil magnate and philanthropist Guma Aguiar, the chairman of this year's conference, about using his personal gain in order to transform the Jewish dream into a reality, and using discoveries which changed his life and the lives of thousands of Jews throughout Israel.

Email readers, click here to watch video interview with Guma Aguiar

"The dream that our parents, grandparents, and great-great grandparents had…it begins with a profound trust in G-d and is accomplished by gathering the Jewish people from the Diaspora to their homeland," Aguiar told Fleisher, in a joint interview broadcast on Israel National News TV and Israel National Radio. "Unless we have the dream of having a Temple that we would be able to serve our G-d with all of the [commandments], then ultimately, what are we doing here in Israel? That's the reason why my family came to the Holy Land. That's the reason why all our forefathers longed set foot in Israel. Based on my studying of our Hebrew scriptures, it is clear to me that our focus must be focused on sacred matters here in Israel. This inspiring endeavor will strengthen the Jewish state and, please G-d, hasten the redemption."

Aguiar has come a long way toward these understandings. Despite having been born Jewish, Aguiar was raised as an Evangelical Christian, encouraged to participate in Christian youth groups and church events throughout his young life. At the age of 26, Aguiar moved to Houston, Texas with the determination to find oil beneath the soil. Seeking out a Christian congregation to join, he encountered Rabbi Tovia Singer who has devoted his life to helping Jews in the church return back to the truth and beauty of the Jewish faith. Rabbi Singer is the founder of Outreach Judaism and pop ular talk show host on Israel National Radio.[...]


  1. Raised as an Evangelical Christian, married a Christian woman he had "converted", had his Evangelical Christian father "converted", is a major sponsor of Chabad (which many believe is a Christian sect), runs an org. dedicated to changing Judaism to allow patrilineal descent and permit intermarriage.....maybe now Israeli Rabbis (and Rabbis worldwide) will see what is happening to "Orthodox" Judaism and how it has been taken over by Christian missionaries!!

    A man like Guma Aguiar who was raised as an Evangelical Christian should be a follower who spends his whole life learning to live as a Jew. But in America, money is the main decider of Jewish law and such a man has become a determiner of Judaisms most important question "Mi Yehudi?".

    Aguiar's money controls Batei Din, Dayyanim and Gadolim around the world through EJF which has shown few signs of losing steam among American Rabbis who feel the need to compete with Chabad's laissez faire approach to halacha in order to keep their shuls and institutions full and solvent.

    Now with the economy being what it is, you will see many more "conversions" to permit intermarriages as we are taught that Hashem rewards those who have no place in Olam Haba but still some merit in Olam Hazeh with tremendous wealth. (Yirimahu 12:1, Mishnah Avot 3:14)

    It is the Tom Kaplans and the Guma Aguiars of the world who are steering the course of Judaism with their wealth, mainly via Chabad, a sect that, according to the rulings of Batei Din (Elkana and in Israel is a "messianic cult".

  2. From reading the various articles about Mr. Aquiar, I find it hard to fault him too much. He's clearly an enthusiastic BT who has the funds to act on his enthusiasm. He's thrilled about being redeemed from his Christian upbringing and wants to spread the joy around! In and of itself, I'd say, "Nisht geferlech." Who in his position wouldn't feel that way? It seems like a key point that is being missed by people like Mr. Aguiar is that saving a Jewish tinok shenishba from Christianity is *worlds apart* from converting a non-Jewish Christian into the Jewish people. In this day and age, however, where so many Jews are so far removed from Torah, the difference between the two can be hard to see, since most of the process, with the exception of mikva (and mila for the boys out there), is basically identical. If anything, it's his rabbinic entourage who are at fault for being led around by his wealth and neglecting to provide proper guidance (and challenging him when necessary).

    JG said: "A man like Guma Aguiar who was raised as an Evangelical Christian should be a follower who spends his whole life learning to live as a Jew."

    There's some truth to this, but I hear a bit of FFB nativist jealousy/anger in Jersey Girl's voice that's off-putting. Easy there! There are halachos against Geirim holding positions of public leadership, but AFAIK, there's nothing barring BT's like Mr. Aguiar from becoming a leader. And on top of that, he's being denied a place in olam haba??

  3. A different version of Guma's story in Kol Yaakov's newsletter back in summer of 2004:

    "After the Sefer Torah was brought to its new home, the over 100 assembled guests, sat down to a seudas mitzvah and were inspired by the amazing story as told by Yehuda Dovid Kaplan. Also known as Guma Aguiar, Yehuda Dovid, though born a Jew, was raised as an Evangelical Christian. Through the dedicated teaching and inspiration of Rabbi Tropper and Kol Yaakov, Yehuda Dovid has since returned to the path of yiddishkeit and has made a stunning transformation in recent months. Part of his desire in dedicating a new Sefer Torah for the yeshiva was as a means of reaching out to his estranged family who were still practicing Christians. This endeavor surpassed his greatest expectations: In the span of the few shorts weeks between Pesach, when the Sefer Torah was purchased, and the week of Shavuos, when the sefer was completed (and paralleling the sefira period, when we mark the ascent of our forebears from the 49 Sha'arei Tum'ah of Mitzrayim to the spiritual heights of Har Sinai), Yehuda Dovid’s family had ceased practicing Christianity and had begun their return to their true heritage. "

    The message is clear, give Leib Tropper money and miracles will happen to you!!! No wonder the poor guy thinks he is the Messiah!

  4. version 3 of the story

    "Aguiar knew little of his Jewish heritage until he and a few friends stepped into Chabad of Fort Lauderdale one Friday evening."

    (from RaP's post above). Now Chabad gets the credit for Aguiar's epiphany four years ago.

    Jersey girl thinks that there really isn't that much money to be made in Texas oil in decades (look at Neiman's sales numbers- 31% down this year), that Guma is a practicing Christian, that his philanthropic donations came from the Southern Baptists/Chosen Peoples who want to change the definition of "who is a Jew" so that they can fill Israel up with "Jewish Christians" and destroy the Jewish people via EJF and Chabad.

  5. If ever there is a case of the tail wagging the dog, this is it.

    What could possibly qualify these people, who were raised as gentiles, to determine and influence the course of the Jewish religion?

  6. Version 4 of the story is captured in the 20 minute Arutz Sheva video interview with Guma, click here to view it, where Guma praises Rabbi Tovia Singer of Outreach Judaism for making him stop being an Evangelical.

    So in some ways, like with all BTs, there are multiple factors, like an initial meeting with a motivator who does the first sales pitch (like Rabbi Tovia Singer), then on the spending some time with Chabad (good hosts who do not rock the boat) and enjoying its hospitality at the home of one of its rabbis, when there is also time for being in a BT yeshiva (like Kol Yaakov with Tropper its head) and then get yourself involved with some Zionist organizations like Nefesh BeNefesh that is sponsored by Christian groups to bring Jews back home to Israel so that Jesus can be hurried along to make his "Second Coming".

    One wonders who the real Guma is?

    If you pay carefull note in what he says in the video interview, he tells and shows that he is very well schooled in Biblical texts as in the top Christian missionary schools his parents sent him to, he is no dope.

    And then the other odd thing, that he was already hitched to his wife (Jamie) prior to meeting Tovia Singer and they remained together which raises the question where was she on this spiritual path and why was she so resistant to getting that EJF conversion that we are told is what eventaully led to the parting of the ways with Tropper after Guma and Jamie went to Rabbi Bomzer to convert her?

    There are so many blanks to the story at this point.

    On the one hand in the reports from Israel Guma is being praised as a hero. He learned from EJF how to make an organization let it be known that money will be handed out and the rabbis will come running like starved cats, and then put yourself at the center of the media frenzy, while back home in the good ol' USA his uncle Tom Kaplan is suing him and charges that Guma suffering fro false messianism and that he ran off with hundreds of millions of Kaplan money.

    By the way, what does Tom Kaplan mean when he accuses Guma of "messianism" is he hinting that Guma may in fact be a "Jewish Messianic" another term for a Hebrew Christian or a Jew for Jesus? There are so many nuances and gradations in these things it's often hard to make them out. Or is Guma just suffering from "general" delusions of grandeur and needs to see a shrink real soon or he will do a lot of harm while he tricks people by distracting them with bribes of money, anothet trick he learned at EJF under Tropper? Time will tell.

    Will the real Gumas/Kaplans/Troppers/EJFs please stand up!

  7. " I hear a bit of FFB nativist jealousy/anger in Jersey Girl's voice that's off-putting."

    Guma Aguiar discovered his Judaism in 2004. This means that Jewishly, he is very a young child, perhaps just beginning to explore the Humash with Rashi, learning basic halacha etc. It takes a LONG time to re-raise a Jew. Even the most dedicated and brilliant learner who was raised in a Jewish home will have a difficult time. But Mr. Aguiar was raised in the Church. How do you undo 28 years of Church upbringing in a person's life to remake a Jew??

    He is also still married to his Gentile wife.

    Such a person cannot be in a position of influencing the most important halachot of Mi Yehudi as these questions are the most far reaching in terms of Jewish continuity and the future of the Jewish people.

    THINK ABOUT THIS!!! A person with a child's education, a head full of Christianity and a Christian wife is pushing his ideas of conversion and permitting intermarriage down the throats of Rabbis all over the world. And why are they listening?? Because he has a lot of money. That is what qualifies Guma Aguiar to decide the future of the Jewish people!!

    Because Aguiar is still married to his Gentile wife, it is not fair to even call him a Baal teshuva!

    Rather than abandoning his former lifestyle to become observant, Mr. Aguiar is trying to use his money to change the most basic cornerstones of Judaism to accommodate his current lifestyle.

    That is not a Baal Teshuva!!! That is a Baal Geiva!!

    "There are halachos against Geirim holding positions of public leadership, but AFAIK, there's nothing barring BT's like Mr. Aguiar from becoming a leader."

    This is true and hopefully with Hashem's help, Mr. Aguiar will someday become observant and abandon his former ways. This must include leaving his Gentile wife and her children and marrying a Jewish woman who is permitted to him.

    " And on top of that, he's being denied a place in olam haba??"

    He is living with a Gentile woman. Rather than becoming observant and following halacha, he is trying to CHANGE Judaism to accommodate HIS current non Jewish lifestyle!!!

    According to some opinions he is tinok shenishba and according to others he is a rasha.

    Either way, he should not be a decisor of the halachot of Mi Yehudi and the future of the Jewish people.

  8. For accuracy of events: 1) Guma is probably a tinok shenishba. 2) probably was first approached by tropper to raise his awareness as jew, 3) wanted to convert his wife, Tropper would convert if she would keep torah and mitzvot, 5) she did not want to. she stated that she would not keep shabat even befarhessya. 6) Tropper DID NOT covnert her, 7) when about two years ago: Bomzer and a particular chabad rabbi (the one on the news) grabbed the opportunity and made the fake conversion, and bomzer got 50,000$ gift and R. L. got a building ("essnan zonah" money).

    In the end: 1) while guma may be tinok shenishbah he cannot be characterized as "baal teshuva" living with a goya, 2) tropper did not convert her, DESPITE LOSING HIS MONEY! 3) bomzer continued his practices in making fake conversions for big $$$$

  9. For accuracy of events: 1) Guma is probably a tinok shenishba. 2) probably was first approached by tropper to raise his awareness as jew, 3) wanted to convert his wife, Tropper would convert if she would keep torah and mitzvot, 5) she did not want to. she stated that she would not keep shabat even befarhessya. 6) Tropper DID NOT covnert her, 7) when about two years ago: Bomzer and a particular chabad rabbi (the one on the news) grabbed the opportunity and made the fake conversion, and bomzer got 50,000$ gift and R. L. got a building ("essnan zonah" money).

    In the end: 1) while guma may be tinok shenishbah he cannot be characterized as "baal teshuva" living with a goya, 2) tropper did not convert her, DESPITE LOSING HIS MONEY! 3) bomzer continued his practices in making fake conversions for big $$$$

  10. "What could possibly qualify these people, who were raised as gentiles, to determine and influence the course of the Jewish religion?"

    How was Moshe Rabbeinu raised?

  11. Roni,

    Comparing Rabbi Tropper to Rabbi Bomzer is like comparing McDonald's to Kentucky Fried Chicken.

    Both are treif! Does it matter which one is worse treif???

  12. רפאל said... "What could possibly qualify these people, who were raised as gentiles, to determine and influence the course of the Jewish religion?"

    How was Moshe Rabbeinu raised?"

    רפאל you do have a point, but you are making a false analogy big time.

    Moshe Rabbeinu was saved by Batya, who according to the Oral Torah was coming down to the Nile to immerse herself as a willing convert to Judaims and for that she is regarded as one of the most saintly converts of all time. She acted fully as Moshe's guardian in the court of Pharaoh. According to the Oral Torah when Moshe refused the Egyptian whet nurse, it was Batya who arranged to have Moshe nursed by his true mother Yocheved.

    Moshe was a Levite and the son of Amram and Yocheved who remarried and he was prematurely miraculously born to them in the sixth month of Yocheved's pregnancy. He had to saintly older siblings Miriam who looked out for himeven when he was floating down the nile in his little boat, and Aron who was his equal in many ways, as the Jewish Kohanim (Priesthood) would come down from Aron to this day.

    Pharaoh and his advisors were suspicious of Moshe even as a young child and they tested him with the choice between either hot coals or gold when he was as an infant. Moshe put the hot coals in his mouth and burned it badly for life.

    Yes, Moshe served Pharaoh and Ancient Egypt as did Joseph in his day and as did Maimonides who served the Egyptian rulers of his day, but from Moshe's youth, and from his righteous step-mother Batya and his childhood contact with his mother he knew of his true Israelite identity. That is why the Torah says that when he went out and saw an Egyptian smiting an Israelite he was moved to kill the Egyptian because of his (Moshe's) love for his people, and he paid dearly for that since he then had to flee Egypt for his act of defending an Israelite by killing and Egyptian.

    The story goes on, but so far, one does not see an iota of similarity between Moshe Rabbeinu and Guma the Golem, unless of course the latter is so-far gone in his own self-delusions that he has convinced himself that he is now "Moshe" when he is only Guma.


    Roni says: "2) tropper did not convert her, DESPITE LOSING HIS MONEY!"

    Does that mean that now that Tropper has gotten burned big time, that Tropper has learned his lesson and will finally cease and desist TOTALLY from continuing with EJF's cockamamy scheme to try to lure and convert the gentile spouses of Jews hitched to non-Jews?

    Guma and his wife Jamie going down in flames so spectularly, now in the open, according to Roni/Tropper's own account, should be an abject lesson of how NOT to do kiruv and of how NOT to try to solve intermarriage situations, and how NOT to haughtily rely on one's own powers of persuasion or position as spiritual leader in any way.

    The world awaits to know if anything will be heard, and Rabbi Tropper owes it to Klal Yisroel that NEVER AGAIN will he tamper with trying, through conventions, hotel retreats, advertising, publci meetinsg or any type of recruitment and luring that amounts to forbidden proselytizing, to in any way attempt to convert the goyishe spouses of his disciples or those that seek him out, that can and must only lead to greater numbers of the Guma-Jamie type fiascos!

    Message to Rabbi Tropper: Let this serve as a great warning and sign to you, that your were misguided in your assumptions and that not only were your efforts futile, but they bore poisonous and dangerous fruits, and you cannot come up with the lame excuse, like Eve, that "it's all Momzer's fault" or that "Bomzer made them do it" because you were the one that got the ball rolling by taking Guma and Jamie under your controlling wings, obviously something went horribly wrong and they rebelled against you, when noone asked you to go in over your head and cause such crazy damage as you sought every means to defend your obvious (excepet to you) stance and rationale, but now you must do public penance for launching the fierce Guma Golem who will now trump his perverted cause from Israel across the world (having learned a thing or two from his days launching and spreading EJF propaganda), and that you, Rabbi Tropper, by failing to fully MEKAREV him and failing to fully MEGAYER his wife with your "EJF standards" and having learned the lessosns of what happens when you fail in your self-appoined cockamamy mission, have brought a catastrophe upon yourself and on Klal Yisroel, r"l.

    You cannot hide behind Tom Kaplan's two lawsuits against Guma and play innocent on the sidelines saying it's "just a private family feud" when it's far worse than that.

    Like Rabbeinu Yonah who opposed the RAMBAM and later repented for that and wrote the Shaarei Teshuva you must PUBLICLY and preferably IN WRITING renounce Guma and Jamie because, as you/Roni continuosly admit on this blog, Tropper was the first and the longest rabbi to to try to (a) MEKAREV Guma, but failed and (b) MEGAYER Jamie, but failed so miserably and now so spectacularly out in the open.

    And as you/Roni have pointed out on this blog a few times, it was only after Tropper failed to both MEKAREV Guma and MEGAYER Jamie that it was your/Tropper failues as both Kiruv rabbi and Geirus worker that drove Guma and his wife Jamie and their kids into the arms of your/Tropper's arch-enemy, Rabbi Bomzer and the Chabad rabbi in Florida who did the unthinkable according to you. It was you/Tropper who drove Guma and Jamie into Bomzer's arms, so you cannot cry fould when Bomzer did what he always does, perform lenient conversions that you hate and fight so much, and have the last laugh with the Chabad rabbi at you his rodef who has no clue in diplomacy 101.

    Like Rabbeinu Yona you must take the lead in OPENLY renouncing Guma and Jamie, and it is not enough that you won't "take their money" because guess what, they are not giving it you in any acse, so you must stop hiding under fake identities online or faking neutrality converning the Kaplan-Guma family feud, but like a person who must not only face up to his failures and mistakes but must now also try to undo them and warn others of not getting involved with Guma and how you have anandoned the misbegotten EJF cockamamy experiment to convert the non-Jewish partners hitched to Jews.

    You must do this forcefully, in writing and consistantly and clearly, so that the world will know not to repeat the mistakes you/Tropper have made.

    You also owe a huge apology to all the rabbonim who came to EJF events and whom you fooled into thinking that all was above board at EJF metchila ad sof, when you knew full-well the fact that Guma, the guy heading up the Kaplan Foundation and writing the checks not just for EJF and various mosdos but also to your/Tropper's own Kol Yaakov yeshiva and its "Horizons" outreach program, brought about a great Chillul Hashem and Bizayon to all, Hashem Yerachem.

    Hoping to hear Besuros Tovos from you soon and that we can put our past differences behind us and unite together as Torah Jews!

  14. "
    רפאל you do have a point, but you are making a false analogy big time."

    I did (of course) not intend to make an analogy between this Guma and Moshe. Rather, I wanted to hint that the writer of the paragraph that I was reacting to would likely - according to the wording he chose - reject Moshe Rabbeinu for his upbringing. The lesson is clear.

  15. Tropper/Rony would not recognize the truth even if it hits his head tells his own version of the story. More likely scenario will be a combination of those two. Tropper who is the most affluent keiruv professional in the world demanded ridiculous amount of money from Guma to finance his shtuios in order to convert his wife, Guma Refused and went to rabbi Bomzer.

    Also. Tropper who is known to be a control freak and likes to dictate every little part of his talmidim and his converted women life, from place of residency and what kind of job the women has to sexual practices of the couple and if the woman wears a pajama pants..

    Guma’s Brazilian, hot-blooded wife probably had enough of that and told her husband “ either Tropper or me” Guma did what every normal person would do and went to rabbi Bomzer.

    Guma should count his blessing and says hagomel every day to have his life, his money and his family intact.

    Some who got involved with Tropper were not so lucky. Gideon Busch is one.

  16. Guma on a roll: In a major speech, Guma calls himself nothing but "a servant of Hashem" and he's in Israel "to serve the Jewish People" as he calls for rebuilding of the Temple on the Temple Mount and hints at aiding major Aliyah efforts not just through Nefesh BeNefesh but also through Shavei Israel.

    Dr. Tom Kaplan's concerns about his nephew Guma Aguiar's "messianic" aspirations are of deep concern...:

    "The Lillian Jean Kaplan Foundation, in existence for seven years, handed out nearly $4.9 million in 2006 to causes ranging from Jewish charities to the digging of water wells in Africa, according to the last federal tax return available online.

    It's not those gifts Kaplan is objecting to, but to the more than $7 million he says his nephew, 31, doled out last year to advance what the lawsuit calls his "claim that he is the Messiah and to promote his messianic mission."

    Kaplan's attorney, Harley Tropin, declined to comment on the case, saying the Jan. 9 lawsuit speaks for itself.

    At the root of this unique court action may be a family falling-out over a business deal. Aguiar and Kaplan have dueling lawsuits involving a company they founded, Leor Exploration & Production LLC, which was sold for $2.55 billion after discovering huge natural gas reserves in East Texas..."

    Israel National Sheva reports:

    "Aguiar: We've Got to Climb the Ladder

    Published: 01/29/09, 10:08 PM

    by IsraelNN staff

    ( Oil magnate and philanthropist Guma Aguiar, the chairman of this year's Jerusalem Conference, spoke Thursday at the Aliya (Immigration) session. Aguiar told the crowd of his journey from Christianity to Judaism and his introduction to Nefesh b'Nefesh, the aliya organization that has brought 18,000 new immigrants from the United States, Canada and Britain in recent years.

    [New 8 minute VIDEO of Guma speaking]

    Aguiar compared aliya to ascending a ladder, and asked, “What is the true meaning of aliyah? ... There's a ladder... so what's the top of the ladder? What's the ultimate dream?”

    The ultimate goal is the Temple, Aguiar said. “The Temple Mount! Nobody else wants to talk about it...” Aliyah must include an understanding of that goal, he said, adding that throughout history Jews have associated the word “aliya” with the Temple, which they longed to see. “You think they were dreaming of coming back here and going and praying at the bottom of the Kotel? I'm sorry. But they weren't!”

    Aguiar used his own story to illustrate the point. “After I sold the company, I could have chosen to go to Beverly Hills, or to Aspen, or to Paris—why did I come to Jerusalem?” He asked. “This is another step in the ultimate ladder... we've got to climb the ladder as a Jewish nation. As a Jewish nation we have to get this in our consciousness"."


    However if you watch the video and listen to what Guma says, and the way he says it, you will see that the above report is heavily sanitized.

    Guma is very personable and one could say charismatic. He has a strong voice with a forceful, almost a few decibles too lud delivery style that reminds one of, yes you guessed it, his first and longest rabbinical menotor and guide Rabbi Leib Tropper of the Kol Yaakov yeshiva in Monsey. This is the "bowl-them-over" technique that is not quite your parliamentary correctness. it befits preachers, evangelists and yes even volubale kiruv rabbis.

    Among other points, Guma tried to dispell the notion that he is a businessman, because he prefesr to be than: "Nothing more than a servant of Hashem" -- and as he says this he rolls his eyes "heavenward" to the ceiling that shows more than a glimpse of worrisome mania.

    He tells the audience that he was born in Brazil, that raises the question what was his mother Ellen doing there in the first place by the way, had she met her husband Otto before or after?

    At about age two his parents came to America and converted to Christianity and he was raised as an Evangelical Christian from age 2 to age 26 he says. He quotes scriptures and Bible with ease. Yeshivish he is not. This is no dope.

    He says that moving from Brazil to the USA was one part of his "Aliya" and then becoming and Evangelical Christian and learning all the various Biblical texts that Evangelical chrisstians made him even more aware of "Aliya" and Israel.

    Guma again gives public thanks to Rabbi Tovia Singer for teaching him the righ way to go within one conversation.

    He says he is "only afraid of tow PEOPLE, my wife and God and again he rolls his eyes noticably upwards as he says the words "people, my wife and God." We know his wife Jamie has been a source of controversy because she refused to go by Rabbi Tropper's rules and obtain a super-holy EJF-snactioned conversion to Judaism but instaed sought one from a Chabad rabbi in Florida with the help of Rabbi Tropper's nemesis, Rabbi Bomzer, and they then moved to Israel. But it's very odd to hear Guma call God one of two "PEOPLE" he fears, catch himslef, look upwards, and NOT CORRECT HIMSELF so that the audience is left with that message from him that he described God as one of two PEOPLE he (GUma is "afraid of") the other being his wife! NO wonder Rabbi Tropper didn't stand a chance with Guma's wwife, her husband has her up their in the same pantheon with GOd was the two "PEOPLER" he (Guma) "fears most" -- so this leaves us with the very obvious question: Does Guma belive that God is a "person" ch"v or ws it just a verbal slip of the lip that he just made a mistake and couldn't rretract without making himself look stupid or slow or ignorant or all of those?

    If guma thinks that God is one of "two people" he fears then WE must fear that Guma still has vestiges of beleief in Jesus who Christians beelieve is sopme sort of embodiment of God. Jews are forbidden to think or belive this as stated in Maimonides Thirteen Principles of Faith: "3. I believe with perfect faith that G-d does not have a body. physical concepts do not apply to Him. There is nothing whatsoever that resembles Him at all."

    Guma then climaxes his talk with urging all to think about the need for rebuilding the Temple on the Temple Mount. He pleads modesty that he is not the one to do it, but he reaches a near-fever pitch and is then dragged away by one of the hosts. This kind of thing could spark off World War III ch"v.

    In the middle of his talk he addresses "Mr. Freund" presumably referring to Michel Freund of the controversial Shavei Israel organization that wants to bring any person with the most remote and minimal connection to Jews and Judaism on "Aliyah" to Israel. See some past posts about this:

    *Shavei Israel - Proselytizing or discovering Jews? (September 7, 2008)
    *Shavei Israel II - Exploiting Law of Return Loophole (September 8, 2008)
    *Shavei Israel III - Proselytizing not kiruv/Finding Jews that don't exist (September 9, 2008)
    *Shavei Israel IV - Targets non-Jews for conversion (September 9, 2008)
    *Shavei Israel V - Proselytization as kiruv (September 9, 2008)
    *Ingathering of Jews or proselytes? (March 2, 2008)
    *Conversion - Bnei Menashe & Christianity (November 25, 2008)

  17. [...]


  18. (Worthy of a new post:)

    Guma Aguiar of EJF & Nefesh BeNefesh controversy: False messiah or hero?

    Clashing media depictions from America and Israel about Guma Aguiar's philanthropy and his agenda

    First off, thank you for the good wishes from poster Roni/Tropper and his willingness to debate and be frank about many issues relating the still unfolding EJF-Guma Aguiar saga and his wife Jamie with the doubtful conversion from Rabbi Bomzer and the Chabad rabbi. We have all learned a lot and benefited from Roni's/Tropper's seemingly obvious first-hand knowledge about the Guma-EJF-Jamie-Tropper situation.

    But it is now time to move on, not be mired and sit with the old slogans and accusations and the old points that have been repeated a hundred times by now. We need to take stock and move on because from the very bosom and heart of EJF, its still official Co-Chairman, has arisen one named Guma Aguiar who until a few days ago was only an elusive mysterious name and person in the background of the EJF story and controversy, but who now, with his "Aliyah" to Israel and having given a huge donation of a few million dollars to the Nefesh BeNefesh organization (that has support from Christian Evangelicals in America), hyped by the ultra-Zionistic Arutz Sheva media outlet, see Oil Tycoon Cashes In on Spiritual Dividends in Jerusalem (01/28/09) and Aguiar: We've Got to Climb the Ladder(01/29/09), and having declared an agenda of "starting" with bringing 100,000 new "olim" of all stripes to Israel, all this must be noted and analysed.

    But even more so, because while Guma Aguiar who came from a fierce Christian Evangelicalic home, upbringing and schooling from age 2 to 26 (he is now 31) and was molded in Yiddishkeit for 5 years by Rabbi Tropper during which time he also helped fund (maybe even inspire) and found EJF in his ongoing capacity as head of its mother foundation, the Lillian Jean Kaplan Foundation, see Who is behind Eternal Jewish Family? (February 21, 2008) and Is Eternal Jewish Family the center of the universe? (February 24, 2008) and The mountain produced a mouse or you call this a defense of EJF!? II (February 28, 2008).

    Guma has been accused in the USA of delusions of false messianism by his own uncle and business partner Dr. Tom Kaplan, see Uncle's suit claims nephew misspent foundation money to promote claim he is 'the Messiah'(February 2, 2009) who is also the head of EJF and who officialy still serves as Co-Chair of EJF (they have neither officially evicted him nor renounced him yet) with Guma, even though Rabbi Tropper has managed to attack Rabbi Bomzer who did Guma's wife's more recent conversion with a denunciatory letter. Question for Rabbi tropper: Why just denounce the rabbi who did the bad conversion what about giving Guma the same harsh treatment and be consistent as the one who is also perpetrating the actual sin of living with a falsely converted Brazilian woman now living in Israel and launching new cockmamay projects to "save the Jews and bring the redemption"?

    So while Nefesh Benefesh wallows in its new found gelt from Guma and Arutz Sheva trumpets and hails Guma Aguiar for his "greatness" in giving nine million dollars to Nefesh BeNefesh to bring all and sundry riff-raff to Israel, back home in Florida, Guma the Golem's uncle Tom (Guma the Golem and uncle Tom are both of EJF) is telling an entirely different darker more ominous tale, all while their mutual rabbi with a bee in his bonnet against Bomzer the bad, Rabbi Leib Tropper runs around online screaming that he knew nothing about anything and that all he wanted was to get Guma's wife Jamie to become an ultra-Orthodox Haredi Jewess with all the trimmings and strictures of a rebbetzin from Meah Shearim (while he ignores the calls of the rabbis from Meah Shearim to stop his proseltyzations to gentiles that have now born the bad Guma poison fruit, see Bedatz letter regarding conversion (November 18, 2007) (original copy) and Bedatz Letter regarding EJF signed by Gaavad (February 14, 2008)) (original copy), and if the reason that things went wrong with Guma at EJF and with Jamie not wanting an EJF-style conversion FOR FIVE YEARS AT LEAST was "not" his fault but it's due to his nemesis who popped up six years later to give Jamie and Guma what they wanted (who knows maybe Jamie is still a secret Christian. like aMarranin reverse and there were such people in her cultures history, they are called Moriscos ("A morisco (Spanish "Moor-like") or mourisco (Portuguese) was any Muslim of Spain or Portugal who converted to Catholicism during the reconquista of Spain. The term also became a pejorative applied to those who had converted but were suspected of secretly practicing Islam. Converted Jews (conversos) who secretly held to Judaism were called marranos") and not what Rabbi Tropper wanted/willed/decreed/dictated for them, in the person of Rabbi Herber Bomzer who is on YU's Talmudical faculty ("Herbert W. Bomzer, Assistant Professor of Talmud. BA, MA, EdD, Yeshiva University; Ordination, Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary") and is a noted author (The Chosen Road), while uncle Tom Kaplan launches two lawsuits and speaks to the media that his nephew Guma is a major thief (hundreds of millions of dollars missing), that he is a big liar and swindler, and that worst of all he has spent millions to promote himself as an aspirant false messiah, and it's not clear if Guma thinks he's the Jewish messiah, the Christian messiah, or a combination of both, either way, it's all bad and a nightmare.

    In the meantime too, on this very Blog anonymous "spokesman" "Roni" for Guma's original rabbi, Rabbi Leib Tropper of EJF and the Kol Yaakov yeshiva in Monsey, NY, and who sounds almost identical and very learned as Rabbi Leib Tropper himself, has volunteered some key behind the scenes information about the long struggles and confrontation between Rabbi Tropper and Guma and his wife Jamie, to convince Jamie to obtain and undergo an EJF-style strict conversion to Judaism which Rabbi Tropper ultimately failed to convince her to do and then Guma and his wife went down to a Chabad rabbi in Florida who with that other rabbi known for performing conversions with lenient standards, Rabbi Herbert Bomzer of Brooklyn and a Talmud professor at YU, they oversaw the conversion of Jamie to Judaism against the wishes and standards of Rabbi Tropper. Goodbye Haredism & EJF and hellow Aliya & Arutz Sheva.

    The point being that there is now a vicious two-pronged attack on Guma and Jamie Aguiar taking place at the present from two directs at once, one from the USA and family and one the other from their former rabbi: Dr. Tom Kaplan has filed two lawsuits against his nephew Guma and in a story in a Florida paper, that may be objective or may have been planted in the press by uncle Tom. As for Roni/Tropper's attacks against Guma they have grcaed several posts and threedas on this blog for the past couple of weeks, all laced with attacaks on anyone who does not see it the my-way-or-the-highway-Tropper-way.

    It's not clear who tipped off the reporter and got him to write the damaging anti-Guma article with the so-far unverified false messianism claims in them, altho it looks like Guma is going to exhibit some radical symptoms in Israel soon in any case.

    Judging by two short video clips that were part of the Arutz Sheva breaking stories promoting the new Guma the Super Religious Zionist and Mega Aliyah Pro-Activist, see the 20 minute clip here and see the 8 minute clip here.

    The other prong of the attack has been spelled out on this blog, where poster Roni/Tropper has come up with a condemnatory letter seemingly directly orchestrated by Rabbi Tropper himself against Rabbi Bomzer, see R' Bomzer censured by Vaad for Conversion (January 12, 2009) and the copy of original document, written by ten mostly out-of-town (out of NYC) second-tier Haredi rabbis against Rabbi Bomzer warning him to stop his lenient-style conversions partly based of his conversion of a "Brazilian woman" on 4 Adar I 5768 "in violation of all Halachik procedures" -- a manner in which Rabbi Tropper is prone to talk when he attacks those he deems to hold lesser Halachik criteria in his new self-chosen second career of ultra-super-duper-kosher-conversions-enforcer related to his work as a minor Kiruv rabbi, that sounds exactly like the Jamie Aguiar case, and also with poster Roni/Tropper deliberately revealing a lot of what he regards as anti-Guma information, essentially that Jamie refused to convert via EJF and that led to Guma and Jamie dumping Rabbi Tropper and seeking out the Chabad rabbi in Florida, see Young Energy Magnate Promises 'Taking Care of Chabad A Priority'(December 9, 2008) who together with Rabbi Bomzer helped Jamie with a lenient conversion that may or may not be accepted in Israel by all rabbis.

    At any rate, the letter against Rabbi Bomzer by the 10 rabbis, mainly headed by Rabbi Nochum Eisenstein of the VaaD HaOlami LeInyanei Giur and on its staionary (although no address is given, so the letter is actually coming from two P. O Boxes and no official Bais Din is mentioned in it, that they have declared that Bomzer's conversions are null and void per their view and not recognized by the Israeli Chief Rabbinate per their view so that at this time one may assume that it's both possible and probable that Jamie is still NOT considered to be officially converted according to Israel's Chief Rabbinate (unless something else has happened to help her situation that we are not aware of) meaning that while Guma gets a lot of glory from the Nefesh BeNefesh and Shavei Israel crowd and Arutz Sheva promotes him as EJF promotes rabbi Tropper and the same thing copnsequently happens that some gullible money-hungry (maybe just plain hungry too) rabbis (always plenty of those unfortunately) in Israel, on the other side of the Atlantic/Mediterranean he is being accused of being a massive crook, fraud, liar and to top it off a false messiah in America, and now he has come to Israel with a wife and 3 non-Jewish children who are almost probably and assuredly not recognized as Jews by the Israeli Chief Rabbinate.

    All in all, if the past is prologue to the future, then based on the deceptions and moves and ideas that Guma got going at EJF via the tens of millions of dollars he gave through the foundation he controlled, the Lillian Jean Kaplan Foundation, his preseence in Israel will be highly controversial and unless independent rabbis and rabbinic organizations will at least put him in his place or even denounce him explicitly he will proceed full steam ahead with his Christian Evangelistically-style implanted ideas of mass proselytizations to gentiles who may only have the slightest marginalized alleged fake connections to Jews and Judaism, by supporting Shavei Israel and corrupting the mission of Nefesh BeNefesh to ask non-Halachik Jews/gentiles to "make Aliyah" and maybe even launch attempts to get totally watered down lenient conversions for any gentile wanting one and certainly for those like himself who were/are still married to gentiles and wish to convert them any which way in contravention of Jewish Law and lore, something that he was nurtured on at EJF unfortunately when they led him on that such things could be done, see EJF - offers enlightenment to non-Jews (January 14, 2009) (original article:) Basics of the Jewish Faith: "While nearly one third of the population of the world is considered Jewish or has Jewish ancestry, Judaism is a religion not understood very well by those who don't practice in the modern world. Sure, we know about Hanukkah and Passover, but what are the basic foundations of this worldwide faith. If you've always had questions or curiosities, or are considering conversion and want to know more, most of the time all you have to do is ask. Here are some of the basic precepts and beliefs of Judaism...About the Author :- Eternal Jewish Family ( offers information on Jewish conversion. Art Gib is a freelance writer.)

    If Guma Aguiar is not stopped now, he will try to trigger an even bigger flood of non-Jews to Israel from America and any place on Earth where people contact a Shavei Israel rep that will be much worse and more dangerous than the over 300,000-500,000 non-Halachik Jews/gentiles that the Israeli government via the Jewish Agency brought from the former USSR.

    Klal Yisroel be warned, a false messianic monster has been unleashed ch"v, and again we call on Rabbi Tropper as Guma Aguiar's acknowledged former primary rabbi who groomed and tutored Guma for at least five years and took tens of millions of dollars from Guma to build his EJF and other personal projects to unequivocally and categorically DENOUNCE GUMA IN PUBLIC VIA THE SPOKEN WORD AND IN PRINT since Rabbi Tropper is quite well-familar with how to condcut press releases.

  19. RaP, you don't need me anymore. Now you see what I see AND you are MUCH more articulate than I.

    Maybe you can work together with Rabbi David Berger and get somewhere convincing our Rabbis of these threats.

    Hatzlacha and May Hashem bless you and your family for your efforts and loving kindness on behalf of Klal Yisrael.

  20. Jersey Girl says: "RaP, you don't need me anymore."

    RaP: Jersey Girl I cannot fathom you. What are you saying? Please don't go anywhere and stay put right here. Even though we may disagree from time to time, your voice is unique and it pushes others to respond one way or another. Besides, noone can match your anti-Zionist vehemance and the way you cite your sources in all subjects, even if your data base drives other posters nuts.

    "Now you see what I see"

    RaP: Shavei Israel with their agenda of bringing borderline non-Halachic Jews/gentiles to Israel I have never trusted and now Guma Aguiar is gravitating to them. I was willing to give Nefesh BeNefesh the benefit of the doubt until a few days ago when they have publicly taken up with and have started fawning to the Evangelically programmed Guma Aguiar and have given him a public forum to toot his Evangelistic horn in the manner that things were duplicitisly and hypocritically done at EJF where Guma Aguiar was not just hiding out for six years but was also its Co-Chairman and distributor of tens of millions of dollars from his control of the Lillian Jean Kaplan Foundation, all while his wife Jamie refused to undergo an EJF-style conversion and the hundreds of rabbis coming to EJF events were kept in the dark, duped and are now made to look like total idiots.

    "AND you are MUCH more articulate than I."

    RaP: You are being too humble here, I have read your many contributions and they are all of an academically superior level. But thanks for the compliment.

    "Maybe you can work together with Rabbi David Berger and get somewhere convincing our Rabbis of these threats."

    RaP: I do not agree with Dr. Berger's full-frontal attack on Chabad. While someone has to do it and in the global perspective he is the voice of opposition to Chabad's worrisome tilt to messianism, yet he is too shrill and not schooled enough in the ways of Chasidus in general and in the outpouring of the uncontrolled and uncontrollable mystical current in Jewish history that has erupted AMONG ASHKENAZI JEWRY in positive and negative directions since the days of the Maharal of Prague (1520-1609), the ARI (1534-1572), the Baal Shem Tov (1698-1760), the RAMCHAL (1707-1746), the Vilna Gaon (1720-1797) and the Baal HaTanya (1745-1812) continuing with many of the Chasidic greats while the Sephardim have their own Kabbalistic traditions and lineage of greats.

    It's highly questionabale if Dr. Berger is sufficiently knowldgeable and sympathetic to the development of Kabbalah and Chasidus and the central role of "the Tzadik" and of genuine messianist aspirations that have had there ups and downs over the last few hundred years in Ashkenazi Jewry. In addition, a work like Dr. Berger's against Chabad messianism could just as easily be written against the spectacular failings of Modern Orthodoxy and the YU school of thought that Dr. Berger epitomizes.

    It's truly a great pity that Rav Yoshe Ber Soloveitchik of YU is not around today because he was also schooled in Tanya and was close with the last Lubavitcher Rebbe and how he would have guided a Modern Orthodox approach of how to deal with the flare-ups of false messianism that have tended to afflict all mystical movements in Judaism, going back to the times of Rebbe Akiva and his hailing of Bar Kochba as the true moshiach.

    "Hatzlacha and May Hashem bless you and your family for your efforts and loving kindness on behalf of Klal Yisrael."

    RaP: Thank you, but please stay, really!

  21. "It's truly a great pity that Rav Yoshe Ber Soloveitchik of YU is not around today because he was also schooled in Tanya and was close with the last Lubavitcher Rebbe and how he would have guided a Modern Orthodox approach of how to deal with the flare-ups of false messianism that have tended to afflict all mystical movements in Judaism, going back to the times of Rebbe Akiva and his hailing of Bar Kochba as the true moshiach."

    One of Rabbi Soloveitchik's most famous students was Rabbi Yitzchok Hutner ztl.

    Rabbi Hutner became a fierce critic of Lubavitch and the idolization of Rabbi Menachem Schneerson even 30 years ago.

    Thank you for the compliments RaP. I am grateful to you and many others for the education I am receiving from this blog.

  22. Jersey Girl said: "One of Rabbi Soloveitchik's most famous students was Rabbi Yitzchok Hutner ztl."

    RaP: The above is totally wrong.

    They were friends and equals and were about the same age. Rav Hutner never studied under Rav Soloveitchik, as a matter of fact Rav Hutner was friendly with Rav JB Soloveitchik's father Rav Moshe Soloveitchik from Europe yet (Warsaw) and when Rav Moshe Soloveitchik left Europe to assume the post of a rosh yeshiva at YU's RIETS he entrusted the Torah tutoring of his younger son Rav Aron Soloveitchik (later of Chicago fame) to Rav Hutner's care.

    You are right about Rav Hutner's opposition to modern-day Chabad practices and beliefs, but that had a lot to do with Rav Hutner's objection to the last Lubavitcher Rebbe's outlooks YET they were strong personal friends nevertheless until the very end.

    Disagreeing with someone's views as a true gadol or rebbe or rosh yeshiva does NOT mean that they are to be hated.

    Rav Y Hutner, Rav JB Soloveitchik and Rav MM Schneerson all knew each other as close friends and professional rivals and each were gedolim who blazed their own trails and each developed different types of philosophies, talmidim and diverse followings.

  23. This blog should simply be called "Lashon Hara and Proud of It".
    You are a sad and jealous group of small-minded and jealous individuals.
    According to you, those who only want to help lost Jews like Rabbis Tovia Singer, Kotlarsky & Tropper are to be demonized..... Chabad is really a front for Jews for j and all converts are really secret insincere missionaries.
    Do Torah Judaism a huge favor by either shutting up or killing yourselves!

  24. You're A JOKE!!! said... "Do Torah Judaism a huge favor by either shutting up or killing yourselves!"

    When is the last time anyone heard a Torah Jew talking like that? Not one poster on this blog has ever wished anyone they have criticised such an ugly curse?

    "You're a JOKE" the bitter joke is on you. You are clearly not a Jew yourself when you tell people to go "kill themselves" ch"v, because Jews like to think and discuss things, but Jews and especially never Torah Jews, NEVER wish people to "kill themselves" and they never talk like that. You owe everyone here an apology.

  25. What has happened to this blog? I used to visit this site for insightful commentary and opinions about Jewish faith and identity, but it seems that the entire blog has become mired in gossip and negativity.

    How many of you commenting actually know Guma Aguiar or his wife? Any of you ever even met them? Seems silly to be throwing around such harsh words based on hearsay. Everything I've read about this family is honorable. I wish more Jews would invest their time and energy in bettering Israel rather than bickering over nonsense.

    Have a wonderful day.

  26. Shoshana - since you are not a regular reader you are not familiar with the many issues that appear here.

    The issue has come up many times about wonderful people - who mistakenly thought that they were Jewish or who had practcises which contradict the halacha.

    There are many Christians who are helping Israel as well as sincere non-observant Jews. We are not concerned here with how nice people are but to what degree their efforts are in fact beneficial according to Jewish principles.


please use either your real name or a pseudonym.