Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Irwin Katsof forms new alliance

Just received the following statement from someone who identified himself to me but doesn't want his name revealed and he claims to know the true facts.
The facts of the [following] article were all wrong. Irwin has no connection to guma never had a conversation with him and does not even have him contact information. Iriwn is not a billionare and he does not know rabbi tropper. This is a typical example of someone reading the news and then spreading the rumors without actually caring about the facts. That is fine and accepted in todays world but on "daat torah" website???

RaP wrote:

In an important development, it was reported that Irwin Katsof the former top fundraiser and marketer of Aish HaTorah now reputedly a very wealthy man himself (some reports have stated he may be in the billionaire bracket) has now teamed up with Tom Kaplan's estranged nephew and foe of Rabbi Tropper, Guma Aguiar.

Irwin Katsof became a legend in his own lifetime by attracting incredible financial wealth and political recognition for Aish HaTorah and glorifying its now deceased leader Rav Noach Weinberg. He was so successful that he left to run his own business conglomerate The Doheny Group In a recent controversial news report, Katsof brought the Governor of Texas and an elite power elite from Texas to do business with Guma l

"Records obtained by CBS 11 show the governor's airfare and trip costs for he and his wife were paid for by Irwin Katsof, a financier for energy companies around the world. And the man who presented Perry with the Defender of Jerusalem award, Guma Aguiar, owns a company that made billions of dollars in the Texas natural gas industry. Aguiar also created the award given to Perry."

The alliance between Katsof and Guma spells more serious trouble for Rabbi Tropper. Katsof is world-class expert at manipulating politicians, creating events, generating wealth and burnishing images and he is just as committed to unlimited outreach to secular Jews as Guma is, and he has more wealth than Rabbi Tovia Singer.


  1. Who is Irwin Katsof?November 4, 2009 at 7:06 PM

    One of Aish HaTorah’s founders is Rabbi Irwin Katsof, a billionaire international business consultant who also has substantial real estate holdings in Ukraine. Katsof runs several companies–the Doheny Global Group, AVest Ukraine, Dohenyavest, and Global Capital Associates. I have not yet been able to discover under what company name/s Davis has been investing in Ukraine or whether there is any overlap between his interests and those of Katsof. If there is, this would be an obvious reason for Katsof/Aish/Clarion to be advancing Davis’ and McCain’s political interests.

    The Doheny website publicizes a tour of Israel and the Ukraine to mark Israel’s 60th anniversary. “Special guests” on the trip that took place June-July, 2008 were Republican luminaries Tom Ridge, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and others. Clearly, Katsof-Doheny’s business dealings with Republicans are long and deep.

    John McCain and Joe Lieberman are honorary co-chairs of Katsof’s charity, Words Can Heal.

    In 1995, Katsof founded the Jerusalem Fund of Aish HaTorah, and shortly thereafter relocated to New York with his wife Judy and eight children in tow. He served as its Executive Vice President until mid-2004 and thereafter as a Board Member. Katsof recruited countless senior mission participants for his high-level Jerusalem Fund executive missions to Israel and Jordan between 1996 and 2004, including Senators Orrin Hatch, John Kerry and Joe Biden, Secretary Tom Ridge, former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman, past House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Senator Rudy Boschwitz, Lady Margaret Thatcher, former Secretary of Housing Henry Cisneros and Ambassador Jeanne Kirkpatrick, as well as numerous top business leaders, among them National Semiconductors’ Brian Halla, Chairman of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Barry Sternlicht, Starbucks’ Chairman Howard Schultz, and Coors Brewery Chairman Pete Coors. His creative, soft-spoken approach attracted many celebrities and business leaders to explore their Jewish roots. CNN’s Larry King, actors Kirk Douglas, Elliot Gould, Jason Alexander, Rod Steiger and William Shatner, as well as business magnates Metromedia Executive Vice President Stuart Subotnick, AOL Time Warner Investments President Len Leader, and Dean and DeLuca Chairman Les Rudd are among the many that Katsof inspired to get involved in Jerusalem Fund programs.
    In 2001, Katsof assisted in the founding of “,”

  2. Eternal Jewish Fraud WatchNovember 4, 2009 at 7:35 PM

    The list of celebrities sought out by Katsof and Aish include Jews married to shiksas. William Shattner (Captain Kirk) was married to a Fillipina. I think Douglas is married to the Welsh actress Katherine Zeta Jones.

    Is Aish also going down the slippery slope that EJF has bottomed at?

  3. Recipients and PublicityNovember 4, 2009 at 8:21 PM

    Eternal Jewish Fraud Watch said...Is Aish also going down the slippery slope that EJF has bottomed at?

    Yes, they have been doing so rapidly and in fact while they are arch-rivals with Rabbi Tropper competing for rich intermarried or interdating secular supporters, EJF/Horizons/Kol Yaakov/Rabbi Tropper hate Aish HaTorah, one reason being that Aish founder rav Noach weinberg when he was at Ohr Somayach (that Rav Noach also founded) fired Rabbi Tropper 35 years ago and made sure to isolate him.

    In some ways it could be said that Rabbi Troppper dedicated his entire life to prove Rav Noach Weinberg wrong and never misses a chance to heap scorn on him. The feelings were more than mutual.

    But Rabbi Tropper has certainly proven his durability and in turn he in effect bumps into the same rich potential baalei teshuva with shiksa wives or girlfriends that Aish seeks out.

    Now it so happens to be that Rabbi Tropper handed Aish a huge PR bonanza with openly pursuing his proselytizing goals because Aish is NOT that stupid or brazen. They work quietly below the surface in organized team efforts. Rav Noach was the mastermind. Now he's gone, who knows wha's up with them.

    But while EJF and Tropper drew a lot of the fire and criticism, Aish was able to get on without controversy and launch its own billionaires like Katsof and other successful Aish entrepereneurs to build the Aish empire.

    Aish HaTorah and the two late Weinberg brothers drew heavy criticism from the late Elya Svei in America who was their sworn enemy and it dragged Rav Shach into the fray to attack Aish HaTorah's methods. But Rav Elya Svei and Rav Shach are both gone now and Rabbi Tropper has no crediblity in his attacks against Aish because he is doing far worse with EJF attracting goyim to convert.

    In the meantime Aish HaTorah is definitely propagating and conducting the same EJF activities, MINUS the open courting of controversy as EJF and Rabbi Tropper do, and often one can read their articles and see what they are up to as they try to smooth over the issues surrounding the cute shiksas marrying the gullible Jewish boys.

    Question is, who do they use as their batei din or is it all in-house that they know would draw serious fire from rabbonim who are supicious of the conspiratorial and empire-building of the Aish rabbis and its disiciples.

    Now this alliance of Katsof with Guma sounds like "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" and since both Guma and Aish are the enemies of Tropper it now makes perfect sense that Guma and Katsof (as an embodiment of the arch-Aish rabbi) have joined themselves together as "friends" that translates into really bad news for Rabbi Tropper.

  4. meinyan leinyan beosso inyanNovember 4, 2009 at 8:29 PM

    William Shattner is a distant cousin of the people with the same last name who were Rav Belsky's clients for the fake bittul kiddushin.

  5. Tropper hates rav Noach Weinberg ZT’L just a bit less than he hates rabbi Bomzer. Allegedly rav Noach saw what kind a person Tropper is and the danger he will inflict on klal Israel one day and forced him out of Ohr.

    Aish with their darchei noam is far more equipped to deal with the intermarried couple. For once they do not insist like Tropper that everybody will accept young universe as Torah from Sinai. actually has articles by rabbi Slifkin R’L.

    Aish does not demand people to dress like a penguins, to drop out of college (like Tropper demanded from Gideon Busch) or demand that they will sever their contacts with their family if the family does not agree to be observant. They do not demand a potential BT to leave his wife and children and sends him to a yeshiva in Israel.

    This method by Tropper is very similar to the Scientology disconnection method where member are required to sever all ties with their family, friends etc.

    Disconnection, when used in Scientology, is a term used to describe the severance of all ties between a Scientologist and a friend,
    colleague, or family member deemed to be antagonistic towards Scientology. The practice of disconnection is a form of religious shunning.
    Among Scientologists, Disconnection is viewed as an important method of removing obstacles to one's spiritual growth. However, disconnection is controversial since it has ended marriages and separated children from their parents.

  6. Eternal Jewish Fraud WatchNovember 5, 2009 at 3:00 AM

    Could RaP kindly tell us what exactly Maran Rav Schach ztl did to criticize Aish?

    I heard there was a big sichsuch with Ner Yisroel after they spoke chutzpadik of the Steipler ztl after the Steipler had criticized their hashkofos. This was the last straw for the Agudah and they gave the heave ho to NIRC until R' Aron Feldman took over.

  7. Recipients and PublicityNovember 5, 2009 at 10:04 AM

    "Eternal Jewish Fraud Watch said...Could RaP kindly tell us what exactly Maran Rav Schach ztl did to criticize Aish?"

    Rav Shach's criticism of Aish was in line with, and even based on, the criticism of Aish, and of both Weinberg brothers, Rav Yaakov and Rav Noach, by Rav Elya Svei who kept up a running battle with them.

    The central nekuda was that Aish used and spoke of matters in discussing sexual topics, such as in their "Love, SEX and Marriage" seminars that both Rav Elya Svei and Rav Shach found utterly repugnant and keneged the derech HaTorah. Vehameivin yavin. Aish has not stopped and they have a very explicit "sex education" program that they conduct behind closed doors and they make absolutely sure that no yeshiva types are allowed in or within earshot.

    In Aish's favor, it can be said that they are dealing with secular people who are entirely absorbed in the open sexual lifestyles of the modern age and therefore the only way to combat that and roll it back is to fight "fire with fire" and go head to head with an explicit sexual message derived from Torah sources. It does not take great imagination to realize that this is a highly dangerous way of teaching (it can border on the Sabbatean or the Frankist ch"sh) no matter how it's rationalized and can lead to great harm for both the teachers and students, and it has led to problems.

    The leading expositor of this "method" today in the Aish world is in fact Matis Weinberg who gives explicit sex "shiurim" that I know for a fact, having heard complaints from parents of Orthodox youth, that they object to this kind of sex talk by him to young people. On the other hand, the young people say that they need to hear this kind of "relvant" message "based on Torah."

    So it seems that the controversy revolves around how to educate people and to shlep them out of gillui arayos in all its colors and flavors (and hopefully there is no need to dwell on the need to stop people from shfichas damim and avoda zora.)

    There have also been constant clouds of allegations about hanky-panky against various members of the VERY charismatic and brainy Weinberg family, such as against Rav Yakov Weinberg's two sons, Simcha who was forced to resign his shtelle at Lincoln Square Synagogue after a messy divorce, and Matis who has been surrounded by well-known controversies adjucated in various batei din over the years that go back a long time. The cloud had also extended to the senior Weinberg brothers, Yaakov and Noach, but nothing was ever proven against them, but the fact that they built up a curriculum and allowed and fanned the flames of explicit sex education, even if "justified" al pi Torah "for kiruv" that created the smoke that made people suspicious that there was fire.

    To my knowledge that was the crux of the complaints of Rav Elya Svei and Rav Shach against the Weinbergs and Aish. No doubt there were other issues that greater higher know about but keep their mouths closed out of respect for Rav Ruderman's honor (the father-in-law of Rav Yaakov and the grandfather of Matis). Maybe others know more than this, feel free to contradict or add your voice.

  8. In my first post here I would like to say this is a very interesting blog and I appreciate that the moderator is not constantly interjecting as they do on similar blogs like Hirhurim to edit messages that are not politically correct.

  9. Are the Aish sex seminars open to all singles as well? I could see how that is problematic.

    As far as for married people, Rav Schach and R' Yaakov were very Liberal so to say as compared to contemporary yeshivishe trends.

    Rav Schach once sent Rav Stern from Eretz Yisroel to give an X-rated shmuz to the yungerleit in Lakewood because he felt they were too inhibited with their wives. The chassidishe went haywire and were having shouting matches with people when it was over.

    R' Yaakov gave a very explicit chosson shmuz, advising on techniques you will not hear in the yeshivos and encouraging chasanim to enjoy themselves, instead of the standard vague reminders in BMG sanctioned chosson shmuzes of how ishus is "hoich". R' Yaakov's mehalach is too much for the yeshiva, who assers chasanim from going to a rov who says over mipi R' Yaakov.

  10. Who is the Rav who has a mesorah from R' Yaakov on this tpic?

  11. The rov who cannot give a chosson shmooz to BMG bochurim is Rabbi Gissinger. ... the chosson shmooz is word for word from R' Yaakov Kaminetzky ztl. This was confirmed by one of R' Yaakov's relatives.

    In the old days when he could still give the shmooz (about 15 years ago), his misnagdim would mock him that he charges $40 to create more buzz. When the yeshiva found out that part of shmooz included lusty sounding things, even though some of the Chazal included the very same things in their shmoozen, they moved to asser him. Since then, every chosson is paid a visit by their shaliach Yankel Pollock to find out who is giving them their shmooz.

  12. When Rav Henkin ztl gave his shmuessen he told the chassanim to enjoy themselves because the kavonne of the Shulchan Aruch to do otherwise is to address "der alter mentchen".

    Lakewood does not like this angle whatsoever. I don't think it has anything to do with shitas R' Aron however. There have been dinei Torah over different things that the current yeshiva claimed was shitas R' Aron yet talmidim of R' Aron were mayid in front of the beis din that R' Aron held nothing of the sort.

    This may have to do with the fact that R' Dovid Schustal tries hard to inject his personal opinions into yeshiva policy and he has chassidishe nettios.

  13. Rav Eidensohn,

    My comments that were replaced by the ... dots ..., did you not think they are relevant? I can provide additional details to make my case.

  14. Lakewooder said...

    Rav Eidensohn,

    My comments that were replaced by the ... dots ..., did you not think they are relevant? I can provide additional details to make my case.
    I didn't think they were relevant and I think it distracted from the point that you made.

  15. Recipients and PublicityNovember 6, 2009 at 3:17 AM

    To the complainant who cries: "The facts of the [following] article were all wrong."

    RaP: So all the local CBS 11 reporters are lying?

    "Irwin has no connection to guma never had a conversation with him and does not even have him contact information."

    RaP: that's not what the CBS 11 reoprt states. It makes very clear that Katsof worked to bring the Texas governor to get Guma's "Jerusalem" prize as reported?

    "Iriwn is not a billionare"

    RaP: Really?

    "and he does not know rabbi tropper."

    RaP: Irwin worked in kiruv for Aish a long time, he knows everyone that matters. Irwin now lives in Monsey same place as Tropper does, worked for Aish HaTorah, and was a long-time confidant of Rav Noach Weinberg, how could he NOT know about Rabbi Tropper? You sound stupid to say this.

    "This is a typical example of someone reading the news and then spreading the rumors without actually caring about the facts."

    RaP: While such spinmeistering coming from you is a typical response from an Aish operative who wants to whitewash the facts.

    "That is fine"

    RaP: What is?

    The CBS 11 news report speaks for itself, so what are you belly-aching about? See the highlights below that EXPLICITLY names Irwin Katsof a few times as THE organiser for Guma on this Texas junket, and it must mean that they will benefit mutually from each other:

    "FORT WORTH (CBS 11 / TXA 21)..."CBS 11 asked to see the governor's expense records for the trip, we received four pages and no specifics...Keith Elkins is executive director of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas. Elkins and his organization fight for government transparency. Elkins says, "This Governor operates under the premise of 'believe what I say, not what I do.'"...Records obtained by CBS 11 show the governor's airfare and trip costs for he and his wife were paid for by Irwin Katsof, a financier for energy companies around the world. And the man who presented Perry with the Defender of Jerusalem award, Guma Aguiar, owns a company that made billions of dollars in the Texas natural gas industry. Aguiar also created the award given to Perry....Sheila Krumholz is the executive director of the Washington D.C. based Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks the effect of money on public policy...CBS 11 obtained a list of people on the trip. The organizers describe those attending as "an elite cadre of 20 executives in, gas and oil, biotech, finance and technology." The list includes an out of state Congresswoman and Texas Railroad Commissioner Victor Carrillo, whose agency regulates the oil and natural gas industry in Texas. Carrillo says he paid his own way but refused to show CBS 11 any of his expenses...Perry even took time to do an interview with an Israeli TV station. Remember...Like the governor, State Senator Hinojosa's entire trip was paid for by Katsof, the financier. Hinojosa also received the Defender of Jerusalem Award. But unlike the governor's four pages of documents, Hinojosa gave us everything he had -- fully disclosing the nature of the trip....Krumholz disagreed, saying, "This trip raises real concerns for the potential for a secret junket." The trip also had its share of perks. CBS 11 obtained private emails and found the organizer, Katsof, asked attendees what kind of scotch they preferred for a "scotch and cigar bar" where they would admire "a starry Jerusalem." Krumholz says trips like this "can be a lucrative way to conduct business. You pay for vacation and in return you may get contracts or government brokered deals worth millions of dollars." In late May a Texas appellate court ruled that all DPS expense reports for the governor's security detail were to be made public. A few days later, the state legislature passed a bill to get around that court ruling, allowing DPS to hide the expense reports of the governor's security detail from public view. The law took effect immediately."

  16. Recipients and PublicityNovember 6, 2009 at 8:37 AM

    Regarding Katsof's reputed billionaire status (obviously no one has seen anyone's bank accounts so one relies on various reports) below are a few mentions about that in blogs online per a Google search.

    There is also the strong connection that Aish and Katsof have a strong alliance with Christian Evangelical groups, which is further proof that Katsof may be in alliance with Guma a self-admitted former not-so-long-ago Christian evangelical himself:

    What Do Aish HaTorah, Rabbi Irwin Katsof, Rick Davis, the Ukraine and John McCain Have in Common?...One of Aish HaTorah's founders is Rabbi Irwin Katsof, a billionaire international business consultant who also has substantial real estate holdings in Ukraine. Katsof runs several companies-the Doheny Global Group, AVest Ukraine, Dohenyavest, and Global Capital Associates..."

    "Aish's Katsof, Founder of Words Can Heal, Ignores His Own Advice When It Comes to Muslims...In her piece, she connects for the first time in any MSM article billionaire Rabbi Irwin Katsof, the founder of the Aish HaTorah's Jerusalem Fund, to production of Obsession. My anonymous researcher holds out strongly for Katsof being the funder of the multi-million dollar
    production and promotion campaign for Obsession and Third Jihad. While this is a credible hypothesis, at this point, we only can confirm that an evangelical source has acknowledged that Aish HaTorah contributed lavishly to their efforts to promote the film. The fact that another evangelical
    source referred to Clarion Fund as funder of the same project indicates that the two groups are, for all intents and purposes, interchangeable."

    "All this begs the question: who in Aish has that kind of money? Clearly,
    Raphael Shore doesn't. But my researcher is holding out for Aish co-founder and billionaire international business consultant, Rabbi Irwin Katsof, as the funder..."

    Interfaith stuff:

    May 4, 2007: The unique gathering, dubbed the Summit on Peace and Tolerance, was the brainchild of Irwin Katsof and was a joint project of the World
    Conference for Christians, Jews and Muslims; the Global Foundation for Democracy; and the Ukrainian Interfaith Association. I was invited to speak at the event, whose attendees included Tom Ridge, the first U.S. Secretary
    of Homeland Security, Rabbi Yona Metzger, the Chief Rabbi of Israel, former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, former Romanian Prime...(Human
    Events Online)..."

    Why would people researching Irwin Katsof say he's a billionaire if he wasn't one? Anote how I put it, "(some reports have stated he may be in the billionaire bracket)" -- do you read English proficiently and accurately at all?

    At least I have cited some of the reports and few seem to argue with them. What can you offer as proof that Irwin Katsof is neither a billionaire nor is he involved with Guma? when news reports and blogs clearly and positively indicate the opposite of what you are moaning about.

  17. "Aish HaTorah is definitely propagating and conducting the same EJF activities, MINUS the open courting of controversy..."

    Perhaps in its kiruv activities this is so, but in its activities supporting the settlement movement & attacking Islam that is not at all so. Films like Obsession & THird Jihad make clear that Aish/Clarion Fund are deliberately courting controversy.

    And in the distribution of millions of DVDs of these films to voters in critical election states during the presidential campaign, Clarion/Aish was deliberately trying to influence the outcome of the election in favor of John McCain.

    Of course, they have concealed who spent the tens of millions to finance this, but otherwise they're perfectly ready & willing to court controversy.

    If anyone here is willing, I am very interested in further information related to Aish & its efforts to Judaize Jerusalem & attack Islam, & its efforts to court & curry favor with the Republican right.

    I have written a new post on Katsof financed Congressional junkets to Israel:


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