Monday, November 2, 2009

Kiruv skills save Black marriages for $500,000

Mother Jones\ /Senator Lieberman's praise in Congressional Record

Stephen Baars has a few impediments to connecting with his current audience. Among them: He's a redheaded white guy. He's a rabbi. And he has a British accent.

None of these was a big problem when Baars was offering his "Bliss" marriage enhancement seminars to suburban Jews in Bethesda, Maryland. But in 2006, much to his surprise, the Department of Health and Human Services awarded him a five-year, $500,000-a-year "Healthy Marriage" grant. His federally mandated mission: to bring down the divorce rate in Washington, DC, whose population is more than 55 percent black and 20 percent poor. So for the past two years or so, Baars has been running ads in local papers and on black radio stations to entice couples to drop by his office in a gritty area just north of the Capitol and "create relationships that win!"

On a warm Thursday night in May, Baars, dressed in a gray suit and yarmulke, is sitting alone in his third-floor conference room, awaiting some bliss seekers. He understands that achieving his federal grant's goal is "a tough nut to crack." "When you're dealing with that degree of poverty, it's very hard for people to take this seriously," he says. "I read many black magazines," he adds—but even so, the cultural disconnect can be daunting. "Twenty or thirty percent of the people who come here can't deal with it."[...]


  1. This is something straight out of Saturday Night Live. He has to read up on black popular culter from magazines. May be he has even subscibed to the Black station on cable. This is a riot.

  2. Wassup dude? The rabbi know how to be speakin' to the homies. You can axe him any question you like and the man has got answers.

  3. Eternal Jewish Fraud WatchNovember 2, 2009 at 9:05 PM

    Non-orthodox Joe Lieberman is also a fixture at Gateways who speaks from the bima during davening at their shul in Westchester.

  4. The article is from last year, that time George Bush was the president and Mother Jones and the commenters did not like the idea. Now when Obama is the president they maight change their tunes.

    From the web site of Healthy marriage initiative

    “…Finally, preliminary research shows that marriage education workshops can make a real difference in helping married couples stay together and in encouraging unmarried couples who are living together to form a more lasting bond. Expanding access to such services to low income couples, perhaps in concert with job training and placement, medical coverage, and other services already available, should be something everybody can agree on... “

    Barack Obama, Audacity of Hope, 2006, page 334

  5. Shame on Joe LiebermanNovember 2, 2009 at 10:30 PM

    When he was interviewed on the Don Imus show he was asked point blank if orthodox opposition to intermarriage is racist. Because Joe will never let Torah get in the way of his Liberal meshgassin and hunger for votes, he agreed with the host and threw the Torah in the garbage. Imus is a clever troublemaker who then asked how he can be orthodox if they agree. Lieberman then answered that he is observant instead of orthodox.


    And here is attention hungry Rabbi Shmuely Boteach also raking in big bucks to save goyishe marriages. It's not exactly clear how Gosselin from "Jon & Kate + 8" plans on getting in touch with his "Jewish roots" however, being that he is a Hawaiian of Korean descent on both sides.

  7. Shmuely Boteach was kicked out of his pulpit in Oxford and put in cherem by Chabad after he published that menuvaldik book of his. There were also investigations of him and his sister over missing tzedaka money from his time in England. His nephew is currently under arrest pending trial for selling counterfeit ammunition to the US Army.

  8. I'm not sure how what R' Baars is doing here is comparable to the actions/statements of R' Boteach and Sen. Lieberman. I found his federally funded program, as described in the article, to be quixotic and somewhat depressing (in a funny sort of way), but I fail to see anything here that is halachically objectionable.

  9. Boteach's brazen behavior in general and with Hollywood menuvolim led a talmid of R' Berel to wonder about his yichus.

    As far as the big "kiddush Hashem" with his nephew Efraim Diveroli, he was arrested together with the son of Rabbi Packouz from Aish Hatorah in Eretz Yisroel. The NY Times reported that there were dead bodies of middlemen found on streets connected to the fake bullet fraud. When they were shlepped before Congress to answer questions, they pleaded the 5th.


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