Thursday, April 23, 2009

Guma Aguiar & R' Tropper


Horizons

It all started with a phone call. Last Erev Pesach the Kol Yaakov Torah Center received word that the Sefer Torah the yeshiva had been borrowing for a number of years had to be returned to its owners. Yehuda Dovid Kaplan, staying with the Rosh Yeshiva for Yom Tov, offered to donate a new Sefer Torah as a replacement. Yehuda Dovid and his uncle, Mr. Thomas Kaplan, generous supporters of Kol Yaakov and its outreach division, Horizons, decided to dedicate this sefer to the memory of their mother and grandmother, Mrs. Lillian Jean Kaplan, A”H.

Within a few weeks a new sefer was procured with the assistance of sofer Rabbi Melech Michaels, an alumnus of Kol Yaakov, and a Hachnosas Sefer Torah was quickly planned. Rabbi and Mrs. Yehoshua Krohn graciously offered their home on Meadow Lane for the K’sivas Ha’osios. Talmidim, Rebbeim, alumni and supporters of Kol Yaakov gathered to complete the sefer on the Sunday before Shavuos. The yeshiva was honored by the participation in the k’sivas ha’osios of Ha- Gaon HaRav Reuven Feinstein, Rosh HaYeshiva of Tiferes Yerushalayim, Staten Island and HaGaon HaRav Shmuel Faivelson Rosh HaYeshiva of Bais Medrash L’Torah in Monsey, shlit”a. With Rabbi Yehuda Tropper, the Rosh Yeshiva’s father, completing the last of the osios, the Sefer Torah was exuberantly escorted to the Kol Yaakov Torah Center along Saddle River Road and on to West Maple Avenue. Though the noonday sun was out in force the participants escorted the sefer accompanied by unwavering dancing and singing to music provided from the back of a pick-up truck by Nochi and Yosef Krohn.

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.

5 comments :

  1. Recipients and PublicityApril 29, 2009 at 8:50 PM

    That was then, this is now...

    Seen on the scene:

    On the front page of the latest weekly English-language Hamodiah, Wednesday, April 22, 2009: A huge photo devoted to "Saving Jewish Souls" of a Lev Le'achim kinus, and seen seated on the second row off-center, looking down glumly, none other than Rabbi Leib Tropper who seems to be strumming his fingers and wondering how he got to be seen in public as a seond-row and fourth fiddle, if that, at a Lev Le'achim event that isn't even devoted to EJF's proselytization ideals of luring limitless numbers of gentiles hitched to Jews.

    Lev Le'achim is a pure classical Israeli charedi kiruv organization that specifically only targets secular Israeli Jews with no known agenda like EJF's cockamamy ideas about luring gentiles into becoming ultra-Haredi Jews.

    Rabbi Tropper has definitely hit skid row!

    Now that Guma Aguiar has walked off with, and totally controls, EJF's original sponsoring foundation, the Lillian Jean Kaplan Foundation that is now used exclusively by Guma and Jamie Aguiar to fund the causes that meet their, and not Tropper's fancy, like Chabad, Nefesh BeNefesh, Marches to former Nazi death camps, and even Shavei Israel.

    All this leaves Tropper looking like a lone baloon careening through the air as it lets out its remaining air supply, or running around like a chicken without a head, eating his hat to stay afloat at all costs, to make up with his former employers Rabbis Mendel Weinbach and Nota Schiller who had once sacked him and still ongoing professional rivals at Ohr Somayach Jerusalem, and now like a beggar hat in hand at yenem's dais, to sit in line-up fashion, just one of dozens of rabbis with others invited to grace the photo-ops and act as a prop to others like Lev Le'achim instead of the good old days when many similar rabbis used to come to EJF concerts and instead of Tropper sitting all the way anonymously, forlorn and dejected on left field, with a huge banner proclaiming the glories of the Lillian Jean Kaplan Foundation and all its munificence, now Tropper must sit under the banners of organizations like Ohr Somyach and Lev Le'achim not under his control and in which he has no say or part. Poor old Tropper, he will never recover from the Guma scandal.

    So indeed, that was then and this is now.

    Now, as for this post by Rabbi Dr. Eidensohn from Kol Yaakov yeshiva's newsletter of a few years ago, there are many obvious questions, like hey, now that we know that Guma was living in conubial fashion with Jamie through all this, just exactly what were Tropper and Rav Reuven Feinstein thinking when they not only led Guma on and took his millions, but how were they not ashamed to make such a public display of their connections to Guma and his Christian missionary family when they knew that there was sooo much wrong behind the scenes???

    All of which makes it quite clear why they had to eventually seek a scapegoat and a cover-up which was provided for them by Tropper's old baggabo Rabbi Bomzer and they resorted to launch a war on Rabbi Bomzer to scape-goat him, mostly recently on this blog mind you and also using Bomzer as a decoy red-herring to try and help Tropper escape the uncompromising and unresolved heat he has faced from the BADATS and Rav Moshe Shternbuch on this blog, so that when Guma dumped Tropper and Rav Reuven Feinstein altogether, they richly deserved it for [...] parading Guma as some sort of Torah-dikke "hero" and fake "saviour" [...], as they milked Guma and his wife for every last million they could pump out of them.

    (Yeah, Yeah, we all know that poster Roni/Tropper will jump up and down at this point and tell us all what a "hero" Tropper was for not converting Jamie, but just take a look at everything else that Tropper and Rav Reuven Feinstein did, like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid pick-pocketing Guma and Jamie Aguiar and fleecing them for all they were worth, everything short of an an ot-tot-tot conversion, and then plead "innocence" that they did "nothing" illegal on technical grounds using their well-honed krumme lomdus, when they have clearly commited a mammoth chillul Hashem berabim when you compare the events of then with has happened lately.)

    This is a shanda and charpa of the highest order!

    Hope you all had a great Pesach!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Recipients and PublicityApril 30, 2009 at 10:53 AM

    Guma Aguiar, with Rabbi Tovia Singer at his side and Israeli Vice PM Silvan Shalom nearby, gets noticed big time for his Kaplan Foundation philanthropy, while Tropper is bereft of all the glory for himself and EJF which must surely be classed a goses now or close to becoming one.

    As reported in The Jerusalem Post, Apr 23, 2009:

    "features.jpost.com Apr 23, 2009 Media Matters:

    Reporting from the scene of the crime

    By Ruthie Blum Leibowitz

    ...The occasion was the 21st annual March of the Living (MOL), in commemoration of Holocaust Heroes and Remembrance Day. I owe my own participation in the event - one that I have followed from afar since its inception - to the generosity of this year's leading sponsor, philanthropist Guma Aguiar, chair of the Kaplan foundation, and the good will of MOL chairman Shmuel Rosenman and vice chairman and international director David Machlis...

    Indeed, as commented one member of our group, radio host and Outreach Judaism director Rabbi Tovia Singer: "This is our past; not our future."...

    But Israeli Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom, who gave a press conference at the entrance to Auschwitz right before the march, focused on that very connection, forcing those who interviewed him to make it, too. Or so said TVN 24 reporter Lukasz Fratczak, when I asked him about local coverage of both events. "The March of the Living leads the news bulletins while it is going on," he told me. "This year, it has been alternating with Durban, but not discussed as part of the same issue"."

    P.S.

    The $64,000 question is what has happened to Tropper's big backer Dr. Tom Kaplan?

    He obviously has lost control of the Lillian Jean Kaplan Foundation to his nephew Guma and Jamie Aguiar and there is no talk of the legal case he launched against Guma or any of the accusations he made that Guma is suffering from a messiah complex.

    Only anonymous poster Roni/Tropper produced a fraudulent and forged letter from rabbis that indirectly tries to smear Guma by throwing red-herring spit balls at Rabbi Bomzer for converting Guma's gal Jamie Aguiar that poster Roni/Tropper uses as an argument, via this very blog of all places, as a way to attack Guma and Jamie Aguiar, but with Guma's money and all the people fawning and falling over him right now, it's doubtful that Guma gives a darn about what goes on on this blog or anywhere else online for that matter.

    But still and all, why is Tom Kaplan's name not being touted with Tropper's as it was in the past?

    Something must have surely happened that either (a) Kaplan does not have the mega-philanthropic clout or will that Guma has (in light of the economic meltdown, Kaplan may have lost all his wealth for all anyone knows, and as anyone in tzedaka knows, the first thing to go is giving to charities) and/or (b) there has been been a genuine cooling off of relations between Tropper and Kaplan as the Kaplan-Aguiar family sinks into opne internal warfare and recriminations (with newspapers publising stories about their fratricidal fights) and Kaplan has lost both the zeal and financial capacity to prop up Tropper's cockamamy EJF ideas and grandiose plans.

    Perhaps, ever so gingerly, Dr. Tom Kaplan has finally woken up and smelled the coffee and he does not like what he sees has become of all the heavy millions that were poured into EJF by the Kaplans and Aguiars that gained nothing substantial or worth writing home about in return for anyone concerned.

    EJF was fun while it lasted for its puppet-masters, but the game is up, the well has run dry, the pigeons have flown the coop, and Tropper must now return to being the simple kiruv worker at his Kol Yaakov yeshiva in Monsey, New York, that he always was and drop all his pretenses of being a velt's leader of the Jews andof the millions of gentiles hitched to the ones who are assimilated and intermarried beyond reach and best left for Eliyahu Hanovi to take care of.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Recipients and PublicityMay 1, 2009 at 1:02 AM

    I mentioned that "looking down glumly, none other than Rabbi Leib Tropper who seems to be strumming his fingers" but as I looked closer at the photo again it seems that Tropper is not wasting his time at this "kinus" that his heart is not in to (simply because it's not his show and he's not the grand maestro), but rather, much more fittingly, in the photo Tropper is looking down at his BlackBerry device and checking his Emails, (hey for all we know he may have been writing his next response as poster Roni/Tropper for this blog) or he may have been consoling Tom Kaplan not to feel all that bad about losing yet more gazillions of $$$$ on the flailing and foundering US stock market (just like EJF's woes), or maybe Tropper was reaching out to a gentile lady who was looking for a nice rabbi to convert her.

    One thing is for sure, happy he aint, judging by the candid shot where he is not posing. Tropper right now is not a happy camper!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Recipients and PublicityMay 1, 2009 at 8:05 AM

    EJF is at it again as they advertise a next event in the latest edition of The Jewish Press, Friday, May 1, 2009, Page 11, with a quarter page ad:

    "[Logo]: Eternal Jewish Family
    THE LILLIAN JEAN KAPLAN JEWISH PRIDE THROUGH EDUCATION PROJECT

    Confronting the Challenges of

    Intermarried Families Pursuing Conversionin Communal and Educational Settings

    An Interactive Seminar for Those Dedicated to the Fields of Kiruv and Education Featuring Leading Gedolei Yisroel and World-renowned LecturersSunday afternoon, May 24 - Tuesday morning, May 26, 2009

    The Westin Governor Morris

    Morristown, New Jersey

    All expenses, including travel arrangements, fully sponosred by

    The Eternal Jewish Family and

    The Lillian Jean Kaplan Jewish Pride Through Education Project,

    An Affiliate of Horizons

    Space is Limited
    For more information, please call (845)357-1022 ext. 106Applications can be filled out online at ejf.org/rabbinicseminar"

    The above event is also advertised on the EJF site at "EJF Rabbinic Seminar MorristownWestin Govorner Morris, Morristown,NJ
    05/24/2009 - 05/26/2009

    Rabbonim and educators on the front lines of kiruv know firsthand the challenges of working with intermarried couples who are interested in building Torah homes. In another effort to act as a critical resource and support for their work, EJF has scheduled a rabbinic forum to take place May 24th through 26th at the Westin Governor Morris in Morristown, NJ.

    Prominent speakers will highlight the importance and challenges of preventing intermarried couples from the pitfalls of fraudulent and/or questionable conversions and how to secure a universally accepted conversion for those who are sincere in their commitment to lead an observant Jewish life. Those wishing to learn more about this Rabbinic Forum should contact EJF at (845)357-1022 ext. 106."

    For EJF, the show must go on, no matter how much credibility it has lost. The term "universally accepted conversion" must be one of the biggest misnomers in Yiddishkeit today when all it means is at EJF is a conversion done in the strictest ways, with absolutely no room for any other valid halachic views, under the personal control of Rabbi Tropper who will then act as the convert's chief supervisor, inquisitor and judge even though he is not the one to sit on the conversion bais din nor does he sign the conversion papers. Tropper just loves this kind of stuff and it's hard for him to see that he should not be in the conversion business and just give it up.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Another article

    http://www.thejewishweek.com/viewArticle/c371_a15651/News/36_Under_36_TJW.html#

    ReplyDelete

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