Thursday, February 18, 2010

For the times they are a-changin'

Title from Bob Dylan

In the last two days I had conversations with two people who approached me to thank me for my blog and what I am trying to do as well as how I do it. While it was nice to be complemented - neither of them are people who I would have imagined  read my blog. I never would have guessed that they shared my concerns and understanding of what is going on now in the Jewish community.

Both acknowledged that they sense a loss of direction - or even the perception that someone is in charge. That we live in very troubled times and that the scandals are not just accidents but are reflective of a deeper malaise. We need to do something different. Orthodoxy can't continue with patching up the old system - a new direction is needed.

One of them is a gevir who told me that he normally gives money to Toldos Aaron - even though he is Modern Orthodox -  because they have many hungry families who genuinely need assistance. However because of the riots he told the Rebbe that he was canceling his support. He didn't accept the excuse that these were hooligans. He told the Rebbe it was his responsiblity to deal with the hooligans. This is the second gevir I have heard this from.

He also said that while he feels it is important to give tzedaka - but he no longer gives simply because the organization is associated with gedolim or is a major organization. He said that he now uses his tzedaka money to maximize the impact on society. If there are two ways to deal with off the derech kids - he picks the one that is most  efficient and cost effective. He also supports issues that strengthen the society -  not just because someone has a need.

This is probably the most important issue. All major institutions need money. In the past the donors were flattered and given kavod - but they were told that the gedolim would decide what programs were needed and where the money was spent. There is a growing revolt against this with the donors dictating what needs to be done and simply not funding programs that are bloated and unproductive. Funding goes to innovative programs which they see are producing results.

I have been told that despite the failure of the gedolim to condemn tropper  - those organizations that were associated with him have been suffering a large drop in funding. Tropper corrupted through money - the antidote seems to be that the donors have to show the way out of this mess by redirecting and rewarding healthy projects.


  1. Your old road is
    Rapidly agin'.
    Please get out of the new one
    If you can't lend your hand
    For the times they are a-changin'.


  2. This is most reasoned and thoughtful. No one can say the 'answers are blowin' in the wind'.

  3. I hope there is a paradigm shift. See the following article about the state we are in and what's liable to happen if nothing changes:

    My biggest issue is that in many communities, financial self sufficiency is just not part of the plan. Until the attitude changes to 'it is simply wrong to live on yenner's (or the government's) cheshbon, and therefore it is necessary to take steps to make sure it is viable for the average guy to lead a life without needing to resort to outside funding' (i.e. telling people that, in 90% of cases, if they want to get married and have lot's of children, they have to work to provide for them, and if they want to be able to find normal jobs then they are going to have to receive a solid secular education). Hopefully, the Israeli government will soon realise that by funding schools which leave their pupils with no marketable skills, they are leading their country down the path of eventual economic self-destruction, and they will eventually refuse to do so (as in every other country in the world in which schools that do not teach the national curriculum do not receive government funding).
    It's all very nice to help the poor families of Meah Shearim, but the question is how to make sure the next generation do not fall into the same trap, and how to solve the economic problems - not just to throwing some money at it so the problem will be magnified 20 years down the line.
    What we need is a revolution from the ground up - of Charedi parents who are no longer prepared to give their children an education that will make it much harder for them to be self-sufficient, and a realisation that a there is dignity in work, as opposed to financial incontinence.

  4. Sounds like you are tooting your own horn here...

  5. Where do we go from here?February 18, 2010 at 2:28 PM

    I have previously written about the very painful topic of divorce in our community. As the number of divorces of young couples rises to unprecedented proportions, leaving devastated families and at times devastated communities in its wake, the Torah community as a whole has not stepped up adequately to address this modern plague in our community.

    From a personal perspective, in my first 15 years of being blessed with the opportunity of serving as a community rav, I dealt with approximately ten divorces. In my last five years, I have dealt with approximately ten each year. I’ve often been asked something that I’ve already been asking myself for years: what is the common denominator in so many divorces today, particularly among young people.

    Until recently, I’ve felt that there really is no common denominator to be found. Sometimes it’s a result of overwhelming economic pressures; sometimes it’s due to meddling parents. At times it’s due to a lack of middos, and sometimes one spouse has grown in a different direction from his or her spouse. There are even times that they are so incompatible that they never should have gotten married to begin with (though this is not too common).

    Lately I have begun to detect a common thread running through most of the divorces of young couples that I have been involved with (emphasis on most, not all), and it’s something that some of my distinguished colleagues have expressed as well.

    In the last 150 years, yeshivas were defined by their roshei hayeshiva. The rosh yeshiva’s style, personality, and derech defined the character of the yeshiva, and the students for the most part were defined by their connection and relationship with the rosh hayeshiva. Rav Boruch Ber’s talmidim were distinguished from the talmidim of the Alter of Slabodka in many aspects, as were the talmidim of Mir and Telz. Each rosh hayeshiva left his imprint on the students, who (again for the most part) developed a lifelong connection to their beloved rebbi. In my days, things were no different.

    There were numerous times in my own married life that we had decisions to make. At times we may have even seen things differently. Often, at my wife’s suggestion, we called the rosh hayeshiva for his thoughts on such an issue. While he would never tell us what to do, he often clarified the issues for us to help us make the necessary decision.

    This was not only the way of the talmidim of my yeshiva; those from Yeshiva Chaim Berlin had Rav Hutner, zt’l; Yeshiva Torah Vodaas had Rav Yaakov, zt’l, and then Rav Pam, zt’l; and so did many others from their respective yeshivos.

    I’m not sure why or when this changed. Today the vogue is to send our sons to large institutional yeshivos with thousands of talmidim, whether here or in Eretz Yisrael, where the atmosphere is truly inspiring but the connection to a rebbi is non-existent. Many of our sons, within a year or two after high school, join these colossal yeshivas, where they make many friends and learn many blatt, but do not develop a connection with a rebbi whom they can turn to in the ensuing years. While we can debate the necessity of having a real rebbi to maximize one’s learning potential, the void left in one’s life without a rebbi is undeniable.

    Often, after a lengthy painful session with a young couple, at times with several children, going through the divorce process, I ask them if they have a rebbi or rosh hayeshiva to consult with. Often the answer is no.

  6. For the record, Bob Dylan is not exactly a role model. Growing up Jewish as Robbie Zimmerman on 150th St in Kew Gardens Hills he started becoming a menuvel. The Queens Courier had a front page story a few years ago that he secretly had a non-Jewish Black wife that he was ashamed that anyone should know about so they were never seen together in public.

    Chabad has touted him as one of their "baalei teshuva" ...

    ... but according to this article, they let him drive to Yom Kippur davening and park in the lot of one Chabad house.

  7. So what you're saying is that the power is going from the "gedolim" to the rich.

  8. If my thought-dreams could be seen, they'd probably put my head in a guillotine

  9. Tropper was part of the cause, not just was the lack of condemnation in his a symptom. If you need an archetype of someone who manipulated the gedolim to get the statements he wanted and then repeated their proclamation as validation, Tropper was pretty high on the list. And that is what cost them their credibility and ability to lead.

    If you cry wolf when someone tells you about a young rabbi who writes about an old universe, or a senior one who writes about life in Slabodka as it really was, or ban a singer days before a concert that had tens of thousands of tzedaqa money riding on it, or proclaim things about a giyores you never met, or a shidduch among people you hear described second hand... who is going to listen to you when you need to actually speak up?

    For that matter, if you get used to talking about the world based on second-hand reports, how are you going to know how bad things are really getting -- unless that cadre want you to?


  10. I ask them if they have a rebbi or rosh hayeshiva to consult with. Often the answer is no.

    Does one ever ask if there's a parent they can consult with?
    Joel Rich

  11. correction to QueensFebruary 18, 2010 at 5:22 PM

    Queens - Dylan was from Minnesota.

  12. Get Your Facts StraightFebruary 18, 2010 at 5:39 PM

    "Growing up Jewish as Robbie Zimmerman on 150th St in Kew Gardens Hills"

    Dylan lived in Minnesota. He was never in Kew Garden Hills. Nor is anything else you said about him true, except that his name was Zimmerman.

  13. No, what he's saying is that the current system of edicts and pamphlets of what we must do or not do is broken. So the people are starting to not listen. What the rich do with their money is what's noticed, but the poor are just as frustrated, no, probably more.

  14. Dylan grew up in KGH? What? I'm almost positive it was in a small mining town in MN. I got this from some website somewhere

    (born May 24, 1941, Duluth, Minn., U.S.) U.S. singer and songwriter. He grew up in the iron-range town of Hibbing, Minn., adopted the name of the poet Dylan Thomas, and traveled to New York in search of idol Woody Guthrie...

  15. I would say just a little transparency is in order.

    The gvirim don't need to storm the Winter Palace.

    Just let the charities publish info about where their money goes like they do in every other country. Donors will read it and make up their minds.

    When I first got solicited for a contribution in Israel I asked to see the books of the charity and they were grossly insulted. In the US the first thing they pull out is the financials of the organization.

    This is not the fault of the gedolim. It's an Israeli/European old habit that hasn't died out yet.

  16. where do we go from here,
    i think the problem is exactly opposite. the philosophy of only doing what rabbis advise, daas Torah (well, this definition of it), has created people who no longer think for themselves. its great that donors feel like they can tell the rabbis "guess what, i'm not happy with your positions."

  17. Queens said...

    For the record, Bob Dylan is not exactly a role model.

    Why is it relevant whether he is a role model for me to quote his song?

    While Torah needs to be learned from a pure source - there is no such limitation on chochma!

    Rambam (Shemonah Perakim—Introduction): You should know that the things that we will speak about in these chapters and that which will be mentioned in the commentary are not things that I invented on my own and not explanations that I made up. In fact, they are all things that have been gleaned from the words of the sages—from the Medrash, Talmud and other of their compositions. Material has also come from philosophers both ancient and modern as well as the composition of many men. [My guiding principle has been] hear the truth from all who say it. ...

  18. I'm a poet and I know it
    I hope I don't blow it

  19. DT-that's one of the things that got the Rambam in trouble (and me too:-))

    FT- I think someone may be confusing Dylan with Simon and Garfunkel (KGH boys)
    Joel Rich

  20. RBS Home of the DepravedFebruary 18, 2010 at 9:01 PM

    Rav Eidensohn,

    Are you aware that a ban has been reinstituted against Lema'an Achai and its founder, David Morris?

    The ban was put out by Rabbi Malinowitz because of David Morris's vocal protest against rabbonim who protect molesters before children.

    Check out Tzedek-Tzedek blog for more info.

    What a disgrace!

  21. First of all I do not intend to criticize Rabbi Eidensohn but there is some discussion among rabbonim whether the music of a menuvel can make a bad roshem if it is internalized too much. A rov once gave a shiur on this saying that music has a bigger koach to do this than other mediums.

    Let me rephrase what I said slightly. Dylan as per this article moved to NY after college in 1960 which is when he lived in Kew Gardens Hills.

    And I just discovered this article that says Dylan had several secret Black wives and children.

  22. It's true that Paul Simon is also from Kew Gardens Hills.

    Art Garfunkel was from Forest Hills and is the first cousin of disgraced music manager Lou Pearlman of Flushing who was jailed for child molestation and a $300 million ponzi scheme.

    Contrary to the popular rumor that they are Torah Vodaas boys, they actually attended public school.

  23. I'm sure the author of the Yad Moshe can cite for you where Rav Moshe discusses the music question and IIRC Rav Moshe was matir. I think he was asked about listening to Shlomo Carlebach's music.

  24. re the music

    we're lucky then that Leib Tropper is not a baal menagen!

  25. שו"ת אגרות משה אבן העזר חלק א סימן צו

    בדבר אחד שהיה בן תורה בחזקת כשרות כמה שנים והוא מנגן שעשה ניגונים על שירי קדש ולשיר לחתונות והורגלו כמה בני תורה לזמר אותם בשמחות של מצוה ועתה אין שמועתו טובה שמכנס בחורים ובתולות יחד ומזמר לפניהם, ושואל כתר"ה אם מותר עתה לזמר בניגוניו שעשה תחלה כשהיה בחזקת כשרות. לע"ד איני רואה בזה שום איסור מכיון שהם ממה שעשה בכשרותו. וראיה שהרי מצינו בתקנות יוחנן כהן גדול שנקראו על שמו במתני' סוף מע"ש ובפ' עגלה ערופה בסוטה ויש שסוברין שהוא זה ששימש שמנים שנה בכהונה גדולה ולבסוף נעשה צדוקי עיין במלאכת שלמה במע"ש שם, ואף ששם לא היה אפשר לבטל התקנות הגדולות שתיקן ונתקבלו בישראל ונעשו הלכות קבועות, מ"מ לא הי"ל לקרא אותם על שמו אלמא דכיון שתיקן אותם בכשרותו יש לקרא על שמו אף שעתה הוא רשע ומין כיון שנקרא על השעה שהיה כשר.

    איברא שהרמב"ם רפ"ט ממעשר כתב שהוא יוחנן כהן גדול שהיה אחר שמעון הצדיק וכתב הכ"מ לאפוקי שלא נאמר שהוא אותו יוחנן כ"ג שנעשה צדוקי לבסוף, מ"מ מסתבר שאינו משום שסובר הרמב"ם שהיה אסור לקרא על שמו אם היה אותו יוחנן כ"ג שנעשה צדוקי לבסוף, שאין לנו לעשות מחלוקת בחנם וא"כ מדידהו נשמע שגם הרמב"ם יודה שמותר לקרא על שמו מה שתיקן בכשרותו, אלא שיודע מאיזה מקור שהיה זה יוחנן כ"ג הקודם לזה שנעשה צדוקי. וגם הא מצינו מאמר באבות פ"ד מ"כ מאלישע בן אבויה אף שהוא לו זכרון גדול והוא משום דאמר זה בכשרותו.

    ולבד זה הא מוכרח כן דהא כל המקור לאסור הוא לטעם הרמב"ם בס"ת שכתבו מין שישרף שהוא כדי שלא להניח שם לאפיקורסים ולא למעשיהם, והא זה ברור שבנעשה מומר אחר שכתב הס"ת היא כשרה ממש אף לקרות בו עיין בפ"ת יו"ד סימן רפ"א סק"ב אלמא דכיון שכתב כשהיה בכשרותו הוי הנחת השם לזמן כשרותו שלזה ליכא קפידא. ואין לדחות דבכתב בכשרותו הרי קידש את השמות שהיה אסור לשרוף אף בכתבו מין כדמשמע שם ברמב"ם, דמ"מ היה לן לפסול ולהצריך גניזה, אלא צריך לומר דכיון שהנחת השם הוא לזמן כשרותו ליכא קפידא גם להרמב"ם. ולכן גם בעובדא זו הניגונים שעשה כשהיה בכשרותו שאף אם נימא שיש בזה ענין הנחת השם לעושה הניגונים אין לאסור דהרי הוא הנחת השם על זמן כשרותו שליכא קפידא בזה ומותר. ואף לבני תורה ובעלי נפש אין מקום להחמיר.

    ובעצם מסופקני אף בהניגונים שעשה אחר שסני שומעניה, אם הם ניגונים כשרים שאין בהם קלות שראוין לנגנם, אם יש לזה ענין הנחת שם למעשה רשעים, דמסתבר דרק בעניני קדושה ככתיבת ס"ת שהוא חשיבות הנחת שמם בדבר קדושה הוא אסור להרמב"ם אבל בעניני חול אין בזה שום חשיבות במה שיהיה שמם עליהם ואין לאסור. וכמו שפשוט שמותר להשתמש וגם לקרא שמם על עניני חדוש ברפואות ומאשינעס /ומכונות/ וכדומה אלמא דרק בעניני קדושה הוא גנאי להניח שם לאפיקורסים ולא בעניני חול. וא"כ גם הניגונים הם עניני חול דאין להם שום קדושה ולכן אף שעשו לנגן בניגונים אלו דברי קדושה אפשר אין להחשיב שהוא הנחת שם להרשע בדברי קדושה כיון שבעצם הניגונים שחידש אין בהם קדושה. וא"כ אף ניגונים אלו שעשה אחר שסני שומעניה נמי יותר נוטה שאין לאסור לנגן בהם. אך באלו יש לבני תורה ובע"נ להחמיר כיון שיש גם טעם לאסור אף שהוא טעם קלוש.

    והנה בעובדא זו שהסני שומעניה אינו בעניני כפירה אלא בעניני קלות ראש לנגן בפני בחורים ובתולות יחד שודאי אין להחשיבו כמין ואפיקורס ואף לא כמומר לתיאבון דהא רק לדבר אחד דקלות ראש ופריצות הוא עבריין לתיאבון מסתבר שעל אדם כזה אין למילף שיהיה דין וחיוב שלא להניח שם לו ולמעשיו. ואדרבה הא ברור שהס"ת שיכתוב איש כזה יהיה כשר, ומפורש ברדב"ז סימן תשע"ד הובא בקיצור בפ"ת שם שס"ת שכתב אחד מהקראים אסור לשרוף ובעצם היה מותר גם לקרות בו רק משום שאפשר שלא נעשה כתקון חז"ל עיי"ש והא במין ואפיקורס שכתבו ס"ת אף בהיה ידוע בעדים שכתבו כדין היה אסור לקרות בו להרמב"ם כדי שלא להניח שם להאפיקורסים, מטעם שחלק הרדב"ז שאף שהם בכלל הכופרים כיון שעכ"פ מאמינים בקדושת השם ובקדושת התורה אין קפידא בהנחת שמם בקדושה שמחזיקין. א"כ כ"ש שמומר לתיאבון כשמאמין בקדושת התורה שכשר לקרות בו. וכ"ש בעבריין רק לדבר אחד לתיאבון דכשר הס"ת שיכתוב. וא"כ כ"ש הניגונים שעושה שרשאין לנגן בהם ואין להחמיר אף לבני תורה ובעלי נפש. ואם סני שומעניה גם לעניני כפירה אז הוא כדכתבתי לעיל שאלו שעשה מתחלה אין מקום להחמיר כלל ואף אלו שעשה אח"כ מסתבר יותר שאין לאסור כיון שאינם ענין קדושה אבל לבני תורה ובע"נ ראוי להחמיר,

  26. It's a big machlokes when it comes to music.

    R' Aron Kotler ztl was very worried that the guitar was going to ruin Shlomo Carlebach and he was right. R' Aron told his talmidim btw to not play any Carlebach music.

    Perhaps the biggest misnagid of goyishe music is Rav Plutchok in Boro Park who will not be mesader kiddushin unless he reviews the music the band will be playing to censor various tunes, especially "A Bon a Bee" which was originally a German rock tune. Meanwhile, that same tune is said to be the favorite of R' Aron Schechter.

  27. Actually, Dylan's son in law, Peter Himmeleman (a musician himself) is a Chabad BT.

  28. Dylan moved to NYC after he dropped out of college.

    Eleven years ago when Dylan was on his BT kick, I got a call from the Chabad. A guy named Robert Zimmerman (they really did not know who he was) who was a vegetarian was asking for Shabbat hospitality. (I make a lot of vegetable side dishes. I always get the vegs as Shabbat guests).

    I knew that Dylan was in town on tour.

    My neighbor nabbed him first.

    There are worse role models out there than Dylan. His wife, Sarah and his kids (from Sarah) are Jewish. His step daughter (married to Peter Himmelman) is observant.

    I haven't heard of him molesting little boys, laundering illegally earned money or running a prostitution ring with his wife as the star.

  29. I don't know how orthodox Himmelman is. There are all kinds of people who daven in Chabad who are not frum.

    One blog says that Himmelman was involved with the now defunct Edah, the ultra-Left wing group that falsely claimed it was orthodox, and spoke lovingly from the podium at their convention about Pesach sedarim with his shver where Dylan plays the guitar on Yomtov.

  30. FT said...

    I'm sure the author of the Yad Moshe can cite for you where Rav Moshe discusses the music question and IIRC Rav Moshe was matir. I think he was asked about listening to Shlomo Carlebach's music.
    there is such a rumor. I am not sure Rav Moshe was aware who the teshuva was about but it was definitely Shlomo Carlebach.

    A number of years ago when I was completing Yad Yisroel I was advised to go to Toronto to try and raise money for the project [My driver made more than I did]. When the flight from New York to Toronto landed there were screams - it's Shlomo" He was flying on the same plane. As we were going through customs I went over to him and asked him whether he knew about this teshuva in the Igros Moshe about him. He was clearly flustered by the question but responded that he and Rav Moshe had a close relationship and that Rav Moshe really liked him.

  31. The music issue can and has been misused by fanatics.

    In one yeshiva where rock music was assur, someone who was mashgiach ruchni for one year by accident and was completely unfit, took it upon himself to asser classical tunes with no lyrics from 100s of years ago.

    This drey kop on a power trip said you have to be concerned for "menuveldik machshovos" that the artist had when composing.

  32. There was a big tumult when Mordechai Ben David used the rock group Manhattan Transfer for background music and some yeshivos assered the tape.

  33. It seems that R' Moishe was not told the entire story of Carlebach's bad behavior. And I wonder if his psak would be lechumrah if he knew more details.

    When I was a boy, I was told by the alter Frankfurter, Rav Friedler, that although he will criticize Carlebach for kissing & touching strange women in public, he knew his parents and he therefore doesn't think that someone with his upbringing would create music that is considered tumah. I did not enough at that age to question anything and today I do not understand the logic behind this. Rav Friedler has passed away so I cannot ask for clarification.

    Carlebach was also dogged by rumors for years that he was a molester of adult women against their will. This has been reported in the press and he is listed as an offender by an organization that has the backing of Rav Yosef Blau.

  34. Back to the tzedaka issue, I used to give to whoever came to my door. I used to look at it that I had maaser money and once it was given to tzedakah it was one less thing to do.

    But the recession hit and I started seeing that some who came and collected drove better cars than I do. I discovered many had nicer homes than I do. I don't think that's right. Collecting for aniim should not be a lucrative career in my opinion. Not when there really are people who can't pay their bills and need the money.

    From a more selfish point of view, times are hard now. We won't be taking a vacation this year, and we have cut back. If both the donors and the poor are having a hard time, why should those who collect be putting away retirement money?

    So now I pay more attention. I decided I would even give to protect the big cats if the one running that project gets his money back from the one who used his charity selfishly.

  35. I have been told that whenever Peter Himmelman performs in Chicago, he arranges a backstage mincha.

  36. Many chassidishe niggunim especially come from goyim, sometimes with the direct influence of rebbes who in some cases purchased the rights to them.

    There has been a problem with fanaticism in our circles lately, most prominently in the dual assaults on Lipa Schmeltzer.

    First, with complete disregard for Choshen Mishpot, they ambushed Lipa & his associates purposely at the last minute causing a hefsid of $1 million. The three troublemakers behind this presented lies to the rabbonim who signed the edict. They were earlier thrown out of R' Zelig Epstein's office because they are known to only listen to gedolim when it suits them.

    One of these characters later attacked Lipa at a wedding in a fit of yelling like a madman and grabbed the microphone from him. Someone captured it on a cellphone and posted it to YouTube. (This character's father was behind the nefarious plot to kick the almana Rebbitzen Mendlowitz out of her home after R' Shraga Feivel was niftar according to the Mendlowitz family. When it came up at a hanhala meeting, R' Yaakov Kaminetzky stormed out of the room in a rage, and Rav Belsky's grandfather who was even more enraged, smashed a chair over the head of the plotter's shlock shammass, sending him to the hospital on a stretcher. R' Reuvein Grozovsky who had earlier suffered a stroke could not move or comment so he sat there crying at this tremendous avlah.)

    So be very careful when supposed kannoim are a little too machmir on music.

  37. This problem is, as Rav Eidensohn notes, huge. In addition, it can only end badly. Why?
    1) For the last 50 years a cult of "godol worship" has been institutionalized inside the Chareidi community. Great and pious rabbonim were elevated from positions of religious leadership, for which they were superbly qualified, to positions of political leadership, for which they were not. As a result, a class called "askanim" developed that took over running the Chareidi community's political machine, in the name of the "gedolim" who were busy learning Torah and thus otehrwise engaged.
    With the State of Israel, another new dynamic appeared: suddenly there was money for people who previously had to live in poverty if they wanted to learn full time. Add to that no serious entrance requirements at the kollel door and a new underclass appeared: the full-time learners who took the money the State gave them and setttled down to a life of avoidance of economic productivity, all with the haskamah of the "gedolim", or at least that's what the askanim told us.
    How does this change? Well, having deified the gedolim and having attributed infallibility to them, how does one change the system they have already declared as the ideal? How can any major "godol" turn around and say "You know, maybe some of you bums should go out and get jobs"? How can he say "You know, maybe we should show public gratitude to Israel for giving us billions of dollars over the years"? That's the problem with infallibility: you can't change your mind!
    It won't come immediately but in 1-2 generations, the money will run out and hundreds of thousands of people will suddenly wonder where their next bowl of borscht is coming from. That's when we will lose a lot of people and it's worth losing sleep over that.

  38. " I don't know how orthodox Himmelman is. There are all kinds of people who daven in Chabad who are not frum."

    He is an Observant Jew married to another Jew who at least publicly, is mitzvah observant.

    We don't REALLY know what goes on in anyone's home (or hotel room).

  39. We Jewish people are so unlucky.

    We are always in an era just a few years after the REAL Gedolim lived.

  40. Only complete nutjobs had a problem with R' Moishe Feinstein. among others.

    Nice try with your cynical swipe.

  41. I have the text of the Barron's article on Tom Kaplan that no one wanted to pay for.

    Because it is a very lengthy feature article, I will excerpt the relevant portions.

    The gist of it is that Kaplan made another billion dollars with his controlling stake in NovaGold going up ten fold on the stock market but he has got some major problems on the horizon because the SEC is investigating him for fraud for his involvement in the collapse of Apex Silver.

    Guma only gets a passing mention and the Albert Friedberg quoted throughout the piece is a frum guy in Toronto.

  42. >
    Often, after a lengthy painful session with a young couple, at times with several children, going through the divorce process, I ask them if they have a rebbi or rosh hayeshiva to consult with. Often the answer is no.<

    The answer is 'no' because nowadays many, perhaps most of the RY are... [fill in the blanks based on your own experiences and stories heard]. Hashem Yirachem.

  43. What's this world coming to?February 19, 2010 at 9:47 AM

    Today's NY Times & Wall St Journal.

    Bais Yaakov Brooklyn owner & Rubashkin brother in law Balkany is arrested for blackmailing $4 million out of a hedge fund.

  44. Has anyone managed to get in to Rav Elyashev shlita to let him know what's going on with Tropper?

  45. "Has anyone managed to get in to Rav Elyashev shlita to let him know what's going on with Tropper?"

    I wonder if such a thing is possible without the askanim hovering over you as you try to ask your sheila. Then they interrupt you and shout translations in Yiddish to Rav Elyashiv something you didn't quite say. Then watch your back after you've shown the askanim you're not on their side.

    Anyone have the stomach to go through that?

  46. The blackmailer above has a LONG history of shady dealings from what I recall.



    Torah Vodaas board members are involved with the Balkany extortion. They are not named but there are at least 2 convicted criminals on the board, one of whom is also an Agudah trustee.


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