Tuesday, August 31, 2010

4 Israeli civilians killed in Palestinian ambush

Four Israelis were murdered Tuesday evening after the vehicle they were traveling in was ambushed by terrorists in the Hebron region.
At least some of the victims, who are all residents of Beit Hagai, are members of the same family. Ambulance service officials said the victims include two men aged about 25 and 40, as well as two women of roughly the same ages, one of them pregnant.
According to initial reports, an Israeli vehicle traveling in the area came under fire directed at it from a passing vehicle at the Bani Naim junction on Highway 60, between Hebron and Kiryat Arba.
More than one terrorist apparently took part in the attack, with Channel Two reporting the attackers apparently confirmed the death of the Israeli victims by shooting them at close range, before fleeing the scene. [...]

Boro Park Bank Robbery

Monday, August 30, 2010

Coverup in Belgium Church case

New York Times

The former leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Belgium urged a victim of serial sexual abuse by a bishop to keep silent for a year, until the bishop — the victim’s own uncle — could retire, according to tapes made by the victim last April and published over the weekend in two Belgian newspapers.

The tapes, which church authorities have verified as accurate, are among the more revealing documents in the continuing scandal of sexual abuse by clerics and subsequent cover-ups by the church. And having a record of a cardinal entreating an abuse victim to keep his silence is another embarrassment for the Catholic Church. [...]

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Life and Death of Yoseph Robinson z"l

Aish HaTorah

The first time Yoseph Robinson z'l stared down the barrel of a gun was 15 years ago, when the Bronx drug dealer was betrayed by a colleague in crime. It changed his life. Robinson, then 19, quit life on the street filled with drugs and crime and embarked on a path that would eventually guide him from his post as a successful Hip Hop recording exec in L.A., to Orthodox Judaism. On August 19, the 34-year-old father of four was shot a second time, this time fatally, in Flatbush, Brooklyn, at the MB Vineyards kosher liquor store where he worked.

“It’s like his tragic death closed a circle,” says owner of MB Vineyards Benjy Ovitsh, 39, Robinson’s employer and close friend, who was on vacation when the crazed gunman entered the store and shot Robinson in the chest and arm for protecting the woman he was dating, Lahavah Wallace, 37, from the robber.[...]

Black & Jewish without contradiction

New York Times

In yeshivas, they are sometimes taunted as “monkeys” or with the Yiddish epithet for blacks. At synagogues and kosher restaurants, they engender blank stares. And dating can be awkward: their numbers are so small, friends will often share at least some romantic history with the same man or woman, and matchmakers always pair them with people with whom they have little in common beyond skin color.

They are African-Americans and Orthodox Jews, a rare cross-cultural hybrid that seems quintessentially Brooklyn, but received little notice until last week, after Yoseph Robinson, a Jamaican-born convert, was killed during a robbery attempt at the kosher liquor store where he worked. [...]

Friday, August 27, 2010

Shul janitor accused of abusing children

Jerusalem Post

A cleaner who worked in a synagogue was indicted by the Jerusalem District Court on Friday on charges of sexual abusing at the place of worship minors between the ages of eight and thirteen. The suspect has also been charged with sodomy and attempted sodomy.[...]

Rav Sternbuch - Evil Children

Illegal Immigrants - situation in Mexico

Wall Street Journal

This week's massacre of 72 Central and South American migrants in Mexico highlights a paradox the government here doesn't like to talk about: While it complains about the treatment of its own undocumented workers in the U.S., Mexico can be a far worse place to be an illegal migrant.

Mexican soldiers on Thursday fanned out near a remote ranch about 90 miles from the U.S. border where 58 men and 14 women from Honduras, El Salvador, Ecuador and Brazil were bound, blindfolded, lined up against a wall and executed.

A survivor told authorities that he and his fellow U.S.-bound migrants were kidnapped and told they would either have to pay a ransom or work as drug couriers and hit men, according to the Reforma newspaper. Authorities suspect the Zetas drug gang was behind the massacre.[...]

YU Conference on abuse - school & community

The problem of always doing something - hasmada

New York Times

Cellphones, which in the last few years have become full-fledged computers with high-speed Internet connections, let people relieve the tedium of exercising, the grocery store line, stoplights or lulls in the dinner conversation.

The technology makes the tiniest windows of time entertaining, and potentially productive. But scientists point to an unanticipated side effect: when people keep their brains busy with digital input, they are forfeiting downtime that could allow them to better learn and remember information, or come up with new ideas.[...]

Which Shul to choose

Five Towns Jewish Times

When one visits Israel, one often faces a quandary: Which shul should one daven at on Erev Shabbos? The choices are often between nusach Sephard and nusach Ashkenaz, or one where there is a Friday evening speaker or not. Should one daven at the more yeshivish minyan or the regular one? In this article, a third factor will be introduced which, at first, might seem to be not such a serious issue but after some analysis appears to be irrefutable.

But first some background. The Navi Yishayahu (58:13) tells us, “Vekarasa leShabbos Oneg—and you shall call the Sabbath a delight.” The Gemara in Psachim (68b) understands this as an obligation to take delight in Shabbos through good food and drink.[...]

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A word of caution:Countersuing a yeshiva in civil court

I recently was asked about the use of civil court - as a legitimate path when someone has sued you in civil court. It is of interest that this just happens to be a major issue in my book on abuse. This is the issue of defending yourself against harm - when the secular system is the only effective means of defense. Let me just briefly touch on a few of the many sources that deal with this. This of course is only a theoretical discussion and not to be acted upon without consulting a competent posek.
It is a clear halacha in Shulchan Aruch that one can not go or should not go  to a civil court unless beis din has given permission or that one stands to suffer a loss by waiting for permission from the beis din.

Gittin(88b): Shemos (21:1): “These are the laws (mishpatim) which you should place before them.” That means that you should place cases for judgment only before Jews and not non‑Jews. Another understanding of this verse is that cases for judgment should only be placed before  judges who have semicha  and not laymen…

Shulchan Aruch(C.M. 26:1): It is prohibited to have a case judged by non‑Jewish judges in their courts (i.e., fixed chambers where they judge cases). This prohibition applies even when the non‑Jewish judges make judgments according to Jewish law and even where both litigants agree to go. Whoever goes to them for judgment is a wicked person (rasha). It is as if he blasphemed and raised his hand against the Torah of Moshe.

Shulchan Aruch(C.M. 26:2):
If the non‑Jews are the controlling power and the litigant is powerful in his own right and therefore the person can not recover what is his by the authority of the Jewish court – he should first summon his opponent to the Jewish court. If his opponent refuses to go – he should obtain permission from the Jewish court and then use the non‑Jewish court to recover what is his from his opponent. Rema: The Jewish court has the right to go to the non‑Jewish court and to testify that one person owes the other money. All this is only if one of the litigants refuses to obey the Jewish court. Otherwise it is prohibited for a Jewish court to give authorization for Jews to have their dispute presented to a non‑Jewish court..

It is also clear that if someone informs the secular government against you - i.e., sues you in a civil court -  then you can defend yourself by going to the secular government and countersuing.

Shulchan Aruch(C.M. 388:9): It is prohibited to inform on a Jew – either concerning himself or his money - to non‑Jews who are in power by force.  This is prohibited even if he is a wicked person and a sinner and even if he causes aggravation and trouble to the potential informer. Rema: But the prohibition is only if he aggravates him with words. However if the Jew informs on him then it is permitted to inform on the Jew who informed. Because he has the right to kill the one who informed on him because of the fear the informer will reciprocate and inform on him to the secular authorities (Rosh 17:1, Rashba #181) or if it is impossible to save himself another way. However if he can he should save himself another way. Thus it is like two people who inform on each other. Whoever causes the greatest loss is obligated to pay the difference. Whoever gives over a Jew into the hands of non‑Jews – whether physically or monetarily – he has no portion in the world to come.

Sema(C.M. 388:30): For the sake of the harassment of the individual it is prohibited to report it to the secular authorities. This that the abuser is not reported to the secular authorities is only when he is verbally abusive but if he causes financial loss and surely if he beats him or causes bodily suffering it is permitted to report him to the secular authorities as is stated in the Rema and the Darchei Moshe

It is also clear that if a person bypasses the beis din system and takes a dispute to secular court - that the person or even a yeshiva - can be sued in secular court. He has shown that he has no respect or trust in the competency of the beis din system.

In sum a person has every right to defend himself by the rules of combat that have been determined by the plaintiff.