Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Conversation between Chief Rabbi Sacks & Prof Sandel

Judaism and Justice - A Conversation Between Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks and Professor Michael Sandel from Harvard Hillel on Vimeo.

Should a Ger be Fearful of an Orthodox Conversion?

 This comment was just published to an older post Should your child marry a ger? under the name "concerned"

1) My husband and I have been trying to convert for almost 10 years. The main holdup is denominational issues. I want an orthodox conversion, because I (foolishly, I know) dream of my children having the opportunity of attending a good yeshiva if they want. My husband can't stand the idea of an orthodox conversion because of comments/ideas like this blogger's. He is angry about the way girls are spat upon in Israel by "men" in black hats. He wants a conserva...dox conversion, followed by the same observant, increasingly frum lifestyle we have had over the past several years. I'm close to agreeing with him.

(2)To the person who feels the need to say that a shiksa would revert back, the "ש" word is pejorative term up there with the "n" word. It implies moral debasement. It's basically a meaner way of calling somebody a "skank ho." (a) Don't toss that word around loosely. If you dare insist on using that word to describe all gerah, you are intentionally being ignorant and racially prejudiced. (b) If you are not using that word to describe all gerah, then consider this: Assume somebody who is so-morally-debased-the-ש-word-should-apply-to-her somehow decides she wants to go to a beit din, and assume she somehow commits fraud or bribery on the court sufficient to get through her conversion. She's morally corrupt!!! Isn't it kind of a "duh" statement that she runs a high risk of recidivism?!? Why even bother making the point?!?

(3) BUT, that is not most gerim. Most of us have had to give up former family and friends, completely overhaul our lifestyles, experience discrimination, hatred, bigotry from both sides of the fence. Yet we still manage to convert.

You who are reading this: Are you an FFB? Please take a moment and imagine sitting your parents down. "Mom, dad, I'm converting to, e.g., Islam." Imagine their reaction. Imagine what lengths they would go to so you would change your mind. We withstand all of that and still manage to convert.

I know another ger who took 20 years to get through the conversion process. That is 20 years where a VERY religious individual lived without a spiritual home. He lived in a nether-region--no longer a Christian, not yet a Jew. We aren't allowed to have study partners. We can get bounced from the shul we go to at any time, for any reason. We are constantly living in fear that the one thing that means the most to us in the whole wide world will be yanked out from under us. Yet we still manage to convert.

Why? Because we love our G-d. Because we love his Torah. Because we love his people. We love you even when you are mean to us for no other reason than genetics. We love you even when you are mean to our children. I think that is why you are asked to love us. It is not because we are evil. It is because we loved you first.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Inverse relationship between time spent multitasking on social programs & social problems


Tween girls who spend much of their waking hours switching frantically between YouTube, Facebook, television and text messaging are more likely to develop social problems, says a Stanford University study published in a scientific journal on Wednesday.

Young girls who spend the most time multitasking between various digital devices, communicating online or watching video are the least likely to develop normal social tendencies, according to the survey of 3,461 American girls aged 8 to 12 who volunteered responses.

Attention deficit drugs are not effective in the long run


Attention-deficit drugs increase concentration in the short term, which is why they work so well for college students cramming for exams. But when given to children over long periods of time, they neither improve school achievement nor reduce behavior problems. The drugs can also have serious side effects, including stunting growth. 

Sadly, few physicians and parents seem to be aware of what we have been learning about the lack of effectiveness of these drugs. 

What gets publicized are short-term results and studies on brain differences among children. Indeed, there are a number of incontrovertible facts that seem at first glance to support medication. It is because of this partial foundation in reality that the problem with the current approach to treating children has been so difficult to see.




Saturday, January 28, 2012

Rabbi Pinto's Followers raise questions about Congressman’s Fund-Raising


Soon after he began running for Congress in 2009, Michael G. Grimm, a Staten Island Republican, needed to convince party leaders in Washington that he could raise enough money to become a viable candidate. Seeking help, he turned to an unlikely source: followers of an Orthodox rabbi and mystic from Israel. 

Mr. Grimm, a former agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and a Roman Catholic who regularly attends Sunday Mass, traveled around the New York region with one of the rabbi’s top aides, Ofer Biton, to raise campaign money from the rabbi’s followers. In all, the Grimm campaign collected more than $500,000 from the followers, according to numerous interviews and an analysis of Mr. Grimm’s campaign records. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Maharal explains why Moshe had to marry a giyorus

Maharal(Gevuros HaShem): Why didn’t Moshe marry a Jewish woman from birth with pedigree like Aaron? Don’t think like the fools that this just happened because that is mistakenly dismissing foundation principles. Therefore it is important to explain itdsf because this is one of the reasons that Moshe’s children were inferior to Aaron’s children. From here our Sages (Bava Basra 109b) learned that one should always attach oneself with a pedigreed family. If so what was the reason that he married a woman from another nation? This is truly a very great question but if you think about it intelligently you will realise it was not done for nothing but was for a extremely important issue. Firstly you should know that Moshe was equivalent to the entire Jewish people because he was in fact the completing factor for the entire Jewish people. That is why the Torah (Shemos 18:1) writes that Yisro… heard all that G‑d had done for Moshe and for Yisroel. We thus see that Moshe is equivalent to all the entire Jewish people… Therefore it makes no sense that he would marry a woman who is one of the 600, 000 Jews when Moshe was equal to the 600,000. In contrast gerim who are outside of the Jewish people and therefore are not included in the 600,000 are capable of matching Moshe. That is because Moshe was not included in the 600,000. Thus the soul of the convert if she merited was more appropriate for Moshe who transcended the Jewish people. It is important to understand this amazing thing. Consequently Moshe married a woman from a different people even though the Jewish people are the essence of the world and the other nations are merely additions and supplements. Thus gerim when they convert become additions to the Jewish people. This is the reason that Moshe married a giyorus.

Rav Kook supports Argentine rabbis' measures against insincere conversions

Rav Kook(Daas Cohen Y.D. #154): [Written to the rabbis of Argentina] Even though the halacha is that those who convert for ulterior motives are valid gerim (Yevamos 24b) and this includes a man who converts for the sake of a woman and a woman who converts for the sake of a man, it appears from Tosfos (Chullin 3b) and Yevamos (24b) that this is only if the conversion involves a full commitment to keeping the mitzvos. But if the conversion is not complete –meaning without full observance of the mitzvos and also the motivation was not proper – then they are worse then regular lion‑converts that are mentioned there in a braissa. There is one opinion that these lion‑converts are genuine gerim but they are like the Kusim because according to the view that they are lion‑converts they are considered according to the halacha as total non‑Jews because there are two problems. 1) the conversion was not for the sake of Heaven 2) they don’t fully observe the mitzvos because as a minimum they worship idols through shituf as is learned from the verse “and yet they still worship their gods.” The language of Tosfos in Chullin is that they didn’t convert completely and thus it was not only idolatry that they violated. Thus in any case where the mitzvos are not observed properly and the motivation wasn’t proper – then there is no conversion at all. We see this in the language of the Rambam and Shulchan Aruch (Y.D. 248) that a person who converts for ulterior motivation, we are concerned about him until his righteousness is established. In other words if we see that he is not conducting himself properly according to the halacha and he had ulterior motivation for conversion – this is not considered complete conversion. In fact by accepting a ger who is not going to be observant, we transgress the prohibition of placing a stumbling block before the blind in any case. For if we say that the conversion is not valid even bedieved and yet we accepted them – then that causes problems for society because they are treating non‑Jews as Jews. How many snares and destructions results from that – especially concerning kiddushin, gittin and yibum. The Jewish husband will mistakenly view their son as his son and if he has a Jewish wife afterwards and he dies without other children, his wife will be mistakenly allowed to remarry without chalitza even if he has a brother. There are many other harmful cases that can result. On the other hand if they are truly gerim then bedieved they are fully obligated to keep the entire Torah. Then the beis din causes the gerim problems because they are now obligated in punishment because of all the Torah prohibitions they are violating. Prior to conversion they were not obligated and not punished for transgressing the Torah. We see this in Yevamos (47a) that we are to instruct the candidate for conversion the punishment for not keeping the mitzvos. We tell him , “you should know that before you came to convert, if you ate chelev fat there was no punishment of kares. If you transgressed Shabbos you would not be punished with stoning. However once you convert , eating chelev fat is punishable with kares and profaning Shabbos is punished with stoning. Thus we see that we are commanded about lifnei ivair (placing a stumbling block before the blind – even for non‑Jews. This is stated in Avoda Zara (6b): How do you know that you should not offer a limb from a living animal to a non‑Jew? Because the Torah says “do not place a stumbling block before the blind.” And it is a kal v’chomer concerning our case because he causes him to be have a great obligation as a Jew and he will be punished for his transgressions of the Torah. Therefore it is wonderful what you and the other holy rabbis [of Argentina] have done in making and strengthening the boundaries in Argentina where there is a great breakdown in the walls and there is a great number of gerim who are not sincere – and you have decided not to accept gerim at all. Whoever genuinely wants to attach themselves to the holy Jewish people should come to Israel where they will carefully be evaluated by the Jewish courts. Only those who are genuinely committed to converting for the sake of Heaven and will be fully observant - will be accepted…

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wikipeidia - Criticism of Michael Freund & Shavei Israel

Michael Freund's response to RaP's criticism in 2009

Shavei has been under criticism for its limited vision of the Jew Status and Jewishness. Many rabbinical and secular notions state that a Jew is always a Jew, no matter how much he or she stood away from the rabbinical tradition. The laws for Sephardic Anussim sustained by Sephardic rabbis and rabbinic wisemen for more than 600 years defined “anuss” as any Jew forced to abandon Jewish legal practice, but still remains Jewish anyway, seeing that, in rabbinic law, an anuss does not need to be formally converted (though workers of Shavei affirm they do not convert in the strict sense, people who contact with their projects frequently use the term conversion[6]), and in some rabbinical opinions the Anussim retain a higher statute than a Jew free to observe Judaism on the inside of a Jewish community.
It has also been accused of giving only some attention to groups like the Majorca Chuetas and the Belmonte Jews, whom “have been abandoned by the Sephardim”, and that attention given by Shavei comes always accompanied by “some historical and dialectical inconsistencies”. Shavei is frequently accused of favouring Ashkenazi ways, ignoring the Sephardi Chief Rabbinate of Israel and ignoring that these populations are “Sephardi Jews with specific customs and ways of living under the halakha.” Its lack of transparency is also an usual target of criticism. The tops-down structure and excessive clericalism of Shavei is also criticized, seeing that it ignores that “being a Jew is also a matter of communal agreement” with the communities that they try to convert, something which they do not try to reach.
These critics affirm that the non missionary character of Shavei is a sham, and that it is made by the “Secular Arm” of the Israeli government. The supposed separations of Freund’s Amishav and Shavei is also noted by critics, and much noted and believed by the public oppinion.[7][8][9]
Shavei may also be accused of fooling different crowds by using the word “return” for defending their actions (“return” to the Jewish nation being understood in different ways by the Israeli government, Israeli rabbinates, and Jewish law).[citation needed] The Jewish return law does not include tevilah, for a meshumad (former heretic) or an anuss (coerced converted Jew).[10]
Rabbis related with Shavei have also been accused of having turned tense the relations with local non-Orthodox spiritual traditions and favoring Israeli traditions.[11]
While Freund and his supporters affirm that his critics engage in Lashon haRá (evil tongue/rumours), the critics answer that many Shavei publications induce readers and Sephardim-Anussim in error and have many transgressions of Jewish law, and that they are truly preserving Jewish Law by attacking Shavei’s actions. They accuse Shavei of not being transparent on its motives, fooling Bnei Menashe for using them as settlers in areas disputed with Arab populations,[12][13] of treating Sephardim-Anusim as Gentile converts to Judaism (denying them so their culture and ancestrally[14]) and of “Ashkenazifying” them.[citation needed]

The Shavei actions towards the Bnei Menashe are especially criticized and analyzed. In 1979 the Amishav, na Israeli organization founded by Rabbi Eliyahu Avichail and dedicated to locating the Lost Tribes of Israel (with the objective of contracting the population increase of a “bourgeoning” Arab population by their mass return[15]), heard of a group in India which affirmed to descend of Israelites. The Rabbi travelled to India several times during the 1980s for investigating the claims. Convinced that the Bnei Menashe were in fact descendants of Israelites, he dedicated himself to converting them to Orthodox Judaism and ease its aliyah with funds given by benefactors like the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, an US-Israeli organization which rises funds of Evangelical Christians for Jewish causes. By influence of the involvement of Shavei and other related Jewish organizations, from 1994 to 2003 800 Bnei Menashe made Aliyah to Israel, the majority going to Jewish settlements.
In 1998, the US-Israeli writer and New York Sun columnist Hillel Halkin travels to India with Rabbi Avichail for meeting himself with the Bnei Menashe and writes a widely-analyzed book on it titled Across The Sabbath River (2002). Halkin’s conclusions were that the immense majority of the Kuki-Mizo do not descend from the lost tribe of Manasseh but small numbers of them may in fact descend from this, and having passed their history and traditions to the remaining Kuki-Mizo people. The Rabbi left the leadership of Amishav for the Jerusalem Post columnist and former vice director of communications and policy planning of the Prime Ministers Office Michael Freund, who founds Shavei Israel. In 2003, the formerly Shavei sponsored Hillel Halkin starts collecting 350 genetic samples of Mizo-Kuki which are tested in the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology of Haifa under the guidance of Prof. Karl Skorecki. In agreement to the late Mizo research scholar, Isaac Hmar Intoate, who helped collect the samples, no proof was found which seemed to indicate a Middle Eastern origin for the Mizo-Chin-Kuki.[16][17]
In 2003 the Israeli Minister of Interior Avraham Poraz froze indefinitely the Bnei Menashe immigration (after accusations by Ofir Pines-Paz, future Minister of Science and Technology, that the Bnei Menashe were “being cynically exploited for political aims", settling in the settlements in the disputed areas of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank/Judea and Samaria). In August of the following year in response to this action, the Israeli Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar sends a rabbinic committee to investigate the origins of the Bnei Menashe. In 2004, DNA testings in the Calcutta Central Forensic Sciences Laboratory affirmed to have discovered proves of Middle East genes among a sample of Mizo-Kuki-Chin in an internet article titled Tracking the genetic imprints of lost Jewish tribes among the gene pool of Kuki-Chin-Mizo population of India. This article is still to be peer-reviewed but already led to some critical answers (by Prof. Shorecki in an article in Haaretz,[18] referred to by a BBC News article the same day, as indicating non Jewish paternal root but maternal possibly Middle Eastern root, and also stating that "right wing Jewish groups wanted such conversions of distant people to boost the population in areas disputed by the Palestinians",[19] and Hillel Halkin described how he contacted two of the authors, "V.K. Kashyap and Bhaswar Maity, with a request of additional information", but the information not only was not given as Kashyap and Maity never published the article, what would subject it to peer evaluation).
Thanks to Shavei lobbying and these doubtful DNA tests, in March 2005 Rabbi Shlomo Amar announced the recognition of the Bnei Menashe by Israel and their possibility of immigration under the Law of Return, after a full conversion in face of their separation from Judaism.[20] In June 2005 the Bnei Menashe completed the construction of a mikvah, a ritual bath tank, in Mizoram under the supervision of Israeli Rabbis in way to start the process of conversion to Judaism.[21] Short afterwards, a similar mikvah was built in Manipur (Shavei was involved in all this mass conversion and immigration process[22]). In mid-2005, with the help of Shavei Israel and the Kiryat Arba local council, the Bnei Menashe opened their first community center in Israel. This is seen by Shavei critics as showing its wrong conception of conversion for elements that (to being genetically confirmed as “Lost Jews”) are still de facto Jews.
Freund talks many times of the Bnei Menashe from the utility to Israel point of view: he calls them "a blessing to the State of Israel" for being "dedicated Jews and Zionists",[23] he believes that "groups like the Bnei Menashe constitute a wide demographic and spiritual reserve, for being used, by Israel and the Jewish people"[24] and on the support to the settling of 218 Bnei Menashe on the High Nazareth and Karmiel in November 2005 expressed by the Jerusalem Post ("after what the North passed by this Summer during the Lebanon war, it is especially meaningful that the Bnei Menashe will help to strengthen and revitalize this part of Israel"). In the last two decades about 1,700 Bnei Menashe moved to Israel, mainly settlements in the West Bank[25] and Gaza Strip (until the disengagement).
Shavei and Amishav may be accused of creating division among the Bnei Menashe people: in interview to the Northeast India Grassroots Options magazine Halkin explained that "Avichail is today a man in his seventies, and many years ago, convinced that Amishav needed a younger leadership, gave away his position to an American-Israeli journalist, Michael Freund. The two (Avichail and Freund) ultimately shocked on organizational issues, and Freund left Amishav and founded an organization called Shavei Israel. Both men have their supporters on the inside of the B’nei Menashe community in Israel, although Avichail continues to be the most influential and admired figure." He added that "tribal rivalries and Kuki-Mizo tribal clans have also played a role on the schism, with some groups supporting a man and some the other. Because Freund is independently rich, Shavei Israel is the better financed of the two organizations and has been capable of conducting more activities, particularly in the area of supporting Jewish education for the B'nei Menashe in Aizawl and Imphal".[26] Among the Mizo-Kuki out of the Bnei Menashem the Shavei acts also caused tension, provoking strong controversy with the evangelical churches predominant among those ethnic groups (mainly during the television debate between Dr Biaksiama of the Aizawl Christian Research Center and Lalchanhima Sailo, founder of the Chhinlung Israel People’s Convention (CIPC), a secessionist Mizo organization which on the contrary prefers to create independent Mizo Israelite nations inside India to the return to Israel.[27][28][29] Biaksiama was also author of Mizo Nge Israel? (Mizo or Israelite?) on this subject.[30]
This subject concerns people in India out of the Mizo-Kuki ethnicities. As Dr. Biaksiama states “mass conversion by foreigner priests will rise a threat not only to the social stability of the region, but also to national security. A large number of people will forsake loyalty to the Union of India, as they all will become eligible for a foreign citizenship”.[31] Shavei’s action also affected the close and healthy relations between Israel and India, motivating even the Israeli government to stop the conversions in November 2005 for calming the concerns of the Indian rulers. This decision not only worsened the relations of the Bnei Menashe with the Indian government (the Bnei Menashe defended that the actions of the Israeli rabbis only formalized previous conversions and did not count as proselitising in light of Indian law), but also of some Hindu groups with the government (affirmed that the care in favor of Mizo-Kuki Christians facing conversion to Judaism was not shown by the government to the conversion of Hindus by Christian groups).[32][37] Freund took an aggressive posture against the government and threatened the same responsible minister that he would take him to the Supreme Court if he did not ease the arrival of the Bnei Menashe. In face of the decision in October 2007 of passing to take decisions on the mass entry in Israel and conversions in Cabinet reunions and not by one single minister (in the attempt of making more difficult the taking of decisions), Freund again promised to fight the government on this issue.[33] Despite these tensions Shavei did not stop continuing takings of people in November 2006 (first group of 100 Mizoram[34][35][36]), Agosto de 2007 (mais de 260 Bnei Menashe[37] and in January 2009 (more than 200 Bnei Menashe). In January 2010 the Israeli government announces that the remaining 7,200 Bnei Menashe can make Aliyah within a period of 1-2 years after passing by conversion in Nepal.[38]

RaP -- "Why does Michael Freund do it?!"



There are good reasons why Michael Freund is still up and running:

Michael Freund's image is that of a clean-cut "good citizen" and is the opposite of the greasy sleaziness that Tropper exuded from every pore. Freund comes across like a "saint with a halo" compared to Tropper's grim Mafioso demeanors.

Freund is connected to the right people in the Israeli establishment and government and through Shavei Israel's efforts they can showcase that Israel does not discriminate against any racial group and that Zionism is most definitely NOT racism to a world that forgets that Israel has already taken in millions of multicultured (Halachic) Jews from every corner of the globe and does not really need to prove its bona fides.

And if as "Jersey Girl" says, Freund is funded by the Christian Evangelicals (and they have unlimited hundreds of millions at their disposal to further all their aims), then that is another reason that the likes of the Netanyahu and the Likud want to impress them and not interfere with the financial support for Freund's Shavei Israel because the Likud counts on the political support and muscle of the Evangelicals in the United States against the liberal anti-Israel establishment.

But Freund sincerely believes that he is doing "the Lord's work" -- you can see it in his face on any of the YouTube videos with him talking on this topic -- his earnestness and sincerity are obvious, see this good example:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQzhNlL0lWE (YouTube video 5 minutes) and the way he speaks with absolute certainty, no one stands up to such a tone of voice and audacity! so that few realize the anti-Halachic controversial nature of his organization's global missionizing and proselytization of gentiles with borderline Jewish identity to haul them over to Israel and hold them up as PR prizes for the Zionist state and the "atchalta de'geula" that he no doubt believes in with the clear "messianist-appeal" pull of modern day Zionism at work.

By the way, listen to Michael Freund attack a former Likud Minister Sheetreet who wants to introduce a 5 year waiting period and Michael Freund attacks, worth listening to: 

California sex offender sentenced to 195 years in prison


A convicted s♠ex offender who sliced off his electronic tracking device in 2010 and drove to the South Bay where he assaulted four women will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Leonard Scroggins was sentenced Tuesday to 195 years to life in prison by San Diego Superior Court Judge George "Woody" Clarke. 

Last month a jury convicted Scroggins of seven felonies, including committing a forcible lewd act on a child, attempted kidnapping, robbery and assault with a deadly weapon

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Woman assaulted by haredim in Beit Shemesh while hanging signs in a synagogue,


Beit Shemesh resident Natalie Mashiah, 27, who was attacked by dozens of extremist haredi men while trying to put up posters of Mifal Hapyis (Israel's national lottery) in a synagogue recalled the moments of horror.

"I didn't even have time to pull down the hand brake, and they already surrounded me. They shattered all the windshields and threw stones at me. I begged them to stop, I promised to leave, but they wouldn't let me go.

School superintendent threatened, punished 15 year old boy who wrote op-ed against gay adoptions

A 15-year-old Wisconsin boy who wrote an op-ed opposing gay adoptions was censored, threatened with suspension and called ignorant by the superintendent of the Shawano School District, according to an attorney representing the child.

Mathew Staver, the founder of the Liberty Counsel, sent a letter to Superintendent Todd Carlson demanding an apology for “Its unconstitutional and irrational censorship and humiliation” of Brandon Wegner.

Wegner, a student at Shawano High School, was asked to write an op-ed for the school newspaper about whether gays should be allowed to adopt. Wegner, who is a Christian, wrote in opposition. Another student wrote in favor of allowing gays to adopt.

Wegner used Bible passages to defend his argument, including Scripture that called homosexuality a sin.


Kosher Switch - Rav Neuwirth rejects use l'chatchila

SEE prior post - kosher switch - problematic haskomas

In Police Training, a Dark Film on U.S. Muslims - Aish HaTorah connection


The 72-minute film was financed by the Clarion Fund, a nonprofit group whose board includes a former Central Intelligence Agency official and a deputy defense secretary for President Ronald Reagan. Its previous documentary attacking Muslims’ “war on the West” attracted support from the casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, a major supporter of Israel who has helped reshape the Republican presidential primary by pouring millions of dollars into a so-called super PAC that backs Newt Gingrich.[...]

Repeated calls over the past several days to the Clarion Fund, which is based in New York, were not answered. The nonprofit group shares officials with Aish HaTorah, an Israeli organization that opposes any territorial concessions on the West Bank. The producer of “The Third Jihad,” Raphael Shore, also works with Aish HaTorah.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Kav L'Noar Child Abuse Conference - mp3 of Rav Leff & Dr. Pelcovitz

I attended the Kav L'Noar Child Abuse Conference in Jerusalem tonight - Sunday January 22, 2012.  The presentations were excellent and are a reflection of the progress that is occurring in our communities. I am just providing the recordings of the two main speakers. Click on link to listen or right click and save link to download mp3 files

Rav Zev Leff as the halachic adviser to Kav L'Noar is clearly aware of the issues. He focused on the various conflicts involved - without offering a nice neat resolution. He addressed briefly the need for calling the police and mandated reporting and clearly and forcefully acknowledged that abuse is not the area of competence for rabbis. He ended up suggesting the need for a group involving rabbis, social workers, therapists and secular authorities such as is done in Los Angeles and Bnei Brak.

Endorsement
He also graciously acknowledged using and benefiting from my books which he recommended to everyone interested in the topic of abuse. Click this link to hear his endorsement.

Dr. David Pelcovitz is a consultant to Kav L'Noar. He presented a sensitive and informative presentation which gave clear practical advice as to how to protect children and shared his extensive experience regarding specific problems. He also stated that rabbis are not the total solution to the problem since they have often focused on what is best for the abuser rather than the victim.

RaP discusses Shavei Israel search for hidden Jews around the world

Looking at the latest postings on Shavei Israel's website; it's reach is global with direct projects geared to:

*"Bnei Anousim  http://www.shavei.org/category/communities/bnei_anousim/?lang=en  Bnei Anousim in Spain...Portugal...Brazil"

 RaP: In Brazil, no Orthodox rabbis undertake conversions and they have closed the door to this kind of thing, but Freund is not put off. Freund is staying clear of the USA -- except to get his funding and ask for more -- and Western Europe where he knows he will have to deal with strong rabbinical opposition, so he works from the Israeli front, leaving the field wide open in the USA for a variety of smaller operators of this effort, that The Jewish Press never fails to promote no matter in which synagogue or state a pro-Anusim talk or gathering may be held.

 *"Bnei Menashe http://www.shavei.org/category/communities/bnei_menashe/?lang=en ...In recent years, Shavei Israel has brought some 1,700 Bnei Menashe back home to Zion.  Another 7,200 still remain in India, waiting for the day when they too will be able to return to Israel..."

 RaP: Even the Israeli government is in no rush to have these people who are of very doubtful Halachic Jewish status, but that does not stop Freund and Shavei Israel from extending the "Zionist dream" to them.

 *"Subbotnik Jews http://www.shavei.org/category/communities/subbotniks/?lang=en "The Subbotniks were peasants in southern Russia who embraced Jewish practice and converted to Judaism more than 200 years ago under the Czarist regime..."

 RaP: Who they were is not clear and what the Subbotniks did is controversial. They had ties with Christianity. After 200 years of raw ignorance there was also the inevitable intermarriage with gentiles. Shavei Israel's work with this group has been featured in past editions of the American Mishpacha magazine. But since the demise of EJF the Mishpacha editors/owners have been more cautious about getting into this minefield.

 *"The Hidden Jews of Poland http://www.shavei.org/category/communities/hidden_jews_of_poland/?lang=en "...increasing number of Poles have begun to discover their families’ Jewish roots. These include young people whose Jewish parents or grandparents were put up for adoption with Polish families and institutions in a desperate attempt to save them from the Nazi onslaught nearly seven decades ago..."

 RaP: On the one hand it is noble to welcome those who can prove they were descendants of victims hidden during the Nazi conquest of Poland, but Shavei Israel is rolling out a red carpet come one come all, not just to victims of Nazism, but of everything bad that ever happened in human life and in the process crosses the line into proselytization, as it does with all it's activities. It is not stopped by what other rabbis may or may not say or think, it makes up the rules and its goals for itself. It gets away with everything because it cloaks all its efforts in the ethos of modern Zionism, the Israeli flag and the kippa seruga, so people in the Israeli government do not oppose them, and that's all that matters to them.

*"The Kaifeng Jews http://www.shavei.org/category/communities/kaifeng_jews/?lang=en  Jews arrived in Kaifeng...China, over a thousand years ago... 5,000 people...assimilation eventually began to take its toll...there are between 500 and 1,000 identifiable descendants of the Jewish community...an awakening has been taking place among them, as increasing numbers of young Kaifeng Jews seek to reclaim their heritage"

 RaP: To Shavei Israel a group of perhaps 5,000 from 1,000 years ago that had withered down 800 years later and for the last 200 years has melted away obviously by centuries of intermarriage with local gentiles does not mean anything. The main thing is to get them to Israel.

 *"San Nicandro http://www.shavei.org/category/communities/san_nicandro/?lang=en ...Italy...end of the First World War.. illiterate peasant, Manduzio...discovered Judaism...thought that no Jews were left in the world. He began practicing the Jewish faith, and more and more of his neighbors joined him in his spiritual quest. Eventually, the community numbered 80 people...They approached the soldiers...to take the community members to the Promised Land. Subsequently, in 1946, most of Donato’s community succeeded in converting to Judaism, and the vast majority of them made aliyah in 1949. Today, there are still a few dozen members of the community in San Nicandro who are living a Jewish life and practicing Judaism even though they did not undergo a formal conversion."

 RaP: This stuff cannot be made up! Someone gets the idea in their head that they want to be "Jewish" and convinces a few more people, they suddenly all want to go to Israel, and Shavei Israel will help any such group to get to every last one. Multiply such things by hundreds of groups all over the world, and where does one draw the red line? Let them stay in Italy. It is a great country. A mecca for tourists. Israel does not have to be the "home" of anyone who decides they are part of the Jewish people. There are hundreds of millions of Christians who regard themselves as the modern Biblical Israel, and who knows when they will want to convert and Shavei Israel will help them make Aliya to make Israel into an even bigger Zionist population. Not to mention all the Arabs who think they already "own" Eretz Yisrael and are willing to kill Jews to get their goals.

 *"The Jews of the Amazon http://www.shavei.org/category/communities/jews_of_the_amazon/?lang=en In the 19th century...Moroccan Jews, made their way to South America...many of them eventually married local women...In recent years, a growing number of these Jews of the Amazon have begun to reconnect with their heritage, leading several hundred to make aliyah."

RaP: If they married local women then their children are gentiles. Simple! Brazil is a great country, why the need to get to Israel? This story can be told about Jews who moved anywhere who did not stick to Torah learning and Mitzvos observance. The whole Reform and Conservative movement in America is riddled with this scenario in every way with millions of such similarly non-Halachic "lost Jews" but there is certainly no mass proselytization effort to reach them by the Orthodox in America at this time, not since the demise of EJF at least. But Shavei Israel works out of Israel and can sell its goods of Aliya from there. The day when they will get access to the huge American market will indeed be interesting to behold...

*The Inca Jews http://www.shavei.org/category/communities/inca_jews/?lang=en Over five decades ago, in the northern Peruvian city of Cajamarca...Alvaro and Segundo Villanueva Correa...decided to embrace Judaism, forming a community in 1958...The group, which came to be known as the “Bnei Moshe”...makes no claim of Jewish ancestry...growing in number to more than 500 people...nearly all of the Inca Jews underwent conversion by Israel’s Chief Rabbinate and made aliyah, thanks in part to Shavei Israel."

RaP: There was no need to rush to bring them to Israel nor to convert them en masse. They could have stayed where they were. Peru is a nice country! Israelis love to vacation there! But again, someone gets an idea in their heads and Shavei Israel is there to not just fan the flames, to roll out the red carpets, to proselytize en masse and even get the Chief rabbinate to give its stamp of approval.

*"Other Communities http://www.shavei.org/category/communities/other_communities/?lang=en This section of our website is the place to learn about other Jewish communities around the world where Shavei Israel is not specifically involved. Below you’ll find these communities organized according to region and country."

RaP: In other words: they've only just begun! According to Shavei Israel they have a global master plan! See the list that Shavei Israel posts on its own website that would target even more far-flung groups. Click on each link to see what Shavei Israel has to say about each one:

"So far, there are only [two] regions listed – we’ll be adding others over time:
*Africa http://www.shavei.org/category/communities/other_communities/africa/?lang=en
    Abayudaya (Uganda)     Cameroon     Igbo Jews (Nigeria)     Lemba (Zimbabwe, Malawi, South Africa)     Rusape (Zimbabwe)     Timbuktu (Mali)

*Asia  http://www.shavei.org/category/communities/other_communities/asia/?lang=en
    Afghanistan     Bnei Ephraim (India)     Bukharan Jews     Donmeh (Turkey)     Jews in Japan
    Kyrgyzstan     Pathans (India)

*Caribbean http://www.shavei.org/category/communities/other_communities/caribbean/?lang=en

    Cuba    Jamaica     Puerto Rico     Suriname "

RaP discusses Shavei Israel search for 'Hidden Jews" in Poland

Guest post by RaP:

Shavei Israel looks for 'Hidden Jews' in Poland and All Over!

"The Jewish Press
Friday, January 20, 2012
Page 18

(Display advertisement:)          

HELP  US  UNCOVER  THESE  HIDDEN  TREASURES

After decades of oppression, Poland’s ‘Hidden Jews’ are finally emerging from the shadows, seeking to reclaim their Jewish identity. The downfall of the Iron Curtain has opened up new worlds, and allowed previously-buried family secrets to come to the fore.

Across Poland, countless young people are suddenly discovering the Jewish roots that their parents or grandparents sought to hide because of fear or persecution, and an increasing number are seeking to learn more about Judaism.

Shavei Israel is leading the way, reaching out to Poland’s ‘Hidden Jews’ with a helping hand and a welcoming heart.

Please join us in assisting these brave young men and women to reconnect with the Jewish people.

[Photos six young people surrounding Shavei Israel logo]

Please send your US tax-deductible contributions to:
American Friends of Shavei Israel
25 West 45th Street, Suite 1405. New York, NY 10036. Tel: (212) 840 – 1166

The Jewish Press is unique among the English language Orthodox weekly newspapers and magazines in that for many years, someone or other in its ownership/editorial department has consistently pushed and allowed and even promoted articles and ads from organizations and individuals such as the defunct EJF, Shavei Israel and a variety of events.

The American Yated is the most conservative in this regard. It has basically never allowed any information on its pages that in way seem to be promoting proselytization of gentiles by any sort of rabbis or organizations. Perhaps in the early history of the EJF when many roshei yeshiva were induced to attend its earliest meetings, there was something, otherwise nothing. The American Hamodia at one time had regular articles and ads about EJF's work, but it stopped that when the Tropper scandal came into the open. the American Mishpacha once used to have more articles about finding lost Jews and promoted the work of the Shavei Israel  organization headed by Michael Freund. But without missing a beat, The Jewish Press has never given up on the theme of publishing articles, ads and promoting outright proselytization to gentile by Jewish organizations and rabbis. This seems to have come about in the period after the passing of its founder Rabbi Sholom Klass (d. 2000), but since then there has been a constant blizzard and drumbeat for this cause. The Jewish Press was among the leadership of the EJF from its inception in various ways and even wrote editorials and op-eds to support EJF. The Jewish Press has been the greatest supporter of Shavei Israel and it hosts a regular column by Michael Freund who has made it his life's mission to go searching for all manner of "lost Jews" that's part of a greater Zionist vision as he is also a Zionist activist. (The New York Jewish Week is not considered an Orthodox paper as it's funded by the secular UJA).

This past week was no exception, and space was given not to events to help "Anusim" but raise money for finding lost Jews in Poland.
----------------------

The following is a closer look at the latest Shavei Israel infomercial:

"HELP  US  UNCOVER  THESE  HIDDEN  TREASURES"

RaP:  The word "uncover" here is ambiguous, it easily means "proselytize"!

"...Poland’s ‘Hidden Jews’ are finally emerging from the shadows, seeking to reclaim their Jewish identity."

RaP: Almost all of them are not Halachic Jews and would require proper conversions. The wording jumps the gun, it tells the reader that they are already "Jews" albeit "Hidden" -- meaning they are "real" Jews just "hidden" away somewhere, when the facts are far from that. They are mostly gentiles with very tenuous links and claims to Jewish ancestry, and to repeat, almost every single one of them would require a proper geirus. So this is really a masquerade to cover up another mass proselytization effort.

"The downfall of the Iron Curtain has opened up new worlds, and allowed previously-buried family secrets to come to the fore."

RaP: Many of these claims are useless in a court of law, let alone a Bais Din because they almost all lack the proper kind of documentation that their parents or grandparents or great-grandparents were truly verifiable Halachic Jews.

"Across Poland, countless young people are suddenly discovering the Jewish roots that their parents or grandparents sought to hide because of fear or persecution, and an increasing number are seeking to learn more about Judaism."

RaP: This is true EVERYWHERE, not just in Poland, but that does not mean that they should be ENCOURAGED to do so for obvious reasons that no one knows who these people are really descended from. This is certainly not classical "kiruv rechokim" by any stretch of the imagination, its going way beyond the normal parameters of what an Orthodox-run organization should be doing. There should be many lessons learned from the recent mass Aliya from the former USSR that dredged up all sorts of people with very unreliable and false and even no claims to being Jewish and they amount to at least a third of the million who came from the USSR who are not Halachic Jews. The Jewish state of Israel does not need more problems because it is already choking Halachically on this bone of contention of nebulous "hidden Jews"!

"Shavei Israel is leading the way, reaching out to Poland’s ‘Hidden Jews’ with a helping hand and a welcoming heart."

RaP: There are plenty of priorities to work on and help bring back to authentic Judaism the millions of secular or marginal Jews who have a closer connection to provable Jewish ancestry.

"Please join us in assisting these brave young men and women to reconnect with the Jewish people."

RaP: They may be brave but Shavei Israel, and The Jewish Press that's promoting this are clearly pushing the envelope of and clearly crossing the line from kosher kiruv to painful proselytization. 

"Please send your US tax-deductible contributions to:
American Friends of Shavei Israel

RaP: There can surely be more important things to support in the Jewish world today. A further look at the web link opens the wide window into Shavei Israel's growing network, that unlike EJF has not been stopped or derailed. Michael Freund is NOT Leib Tropper even though they are merchants in the same bazaar of bartering for "lost Jews" and having no qualms in trying to have them converted, no matter how many there are, they're still the same type of very dangerous undertakings from the point of view of Jewish identity according to Jewish law.

--------------------

Prominent Zionist rabbi Moti Elon denies sexual assault charges


Prominent Rabbi Mordechai ‘Moti’ Elon denied on Sunday the charges against him that he sexually abused two male students.

Elon, until recently considered one of the spiritual leaders of religious Zionism, is the former head of Yeshivat HaKotel in Jerusalem, went on trial at Jerusalem Magistrate's Court in December last year on charges of forcible sexual assault against the two students, who had sought his emotional support.

Jerusalem Police wage war against chareidi extremists


The short history of the current conflict begins in 2003, with the anointing of Rabbi Yitzhak Tuvia Weiss - an elderly Belgian Jew who lives in Antwerp and who earned a respectable living as a rabbi and a rabbinical court judge - as leader of the anti-Zionist Eda Haredit community in Jerusalem. In his years as the Gavad (Genius Father of the Court ), pragmatic elements have been shunted aside and radical elements have grown stronger, dragging the sect into a series of struggles, most of them violent failures: against the gay and lesbian community's Pride parades; against opening the Karta parking lot and the opening of the Intel plant in Jerusalem; against the construction at the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon; against the arrest of a mother from the Toldot Aharon Hasidut for starving her son; and more. 

In the last of these cases, in 2009, top police officials continued to treat the Gavad with respect due to his being the great rabbi of the generation. But the soothing words they extracted from him at late night meetings remained within the room, while activists around him continued to fuel the struggle in the streets. 

At about the same time, a group of Sicarii attacked a busload of ultra-Orthodox children with special needs driving down Mea She'arim Street in the capital. There were no physical injuries but some of the children suffered prolonged psychological trauma, which led representatives of the ultra-Orthodox public to realize that their internal institutions are not enough. They demanded, in no uncertain terms, that the police intervene and do what no rabbi dares to do: suppress the fanatics.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

'He masterminded systematic rape of over 100 kids' :The nightmare of Nachlaot


Members of the haredi community in the capital’s Nahlaot neighborhood are calling it “The Holocaust.” At least 10 pedophiles molested more than 100 children for six years, reaching nearly every family in this close-knit community.

One mother couldn’t figure out why her two sons would get hysterical every time she left the house, begging her not to go. They were chewing their clothes to pieces and having uncontrollable outbursts. She brought them to different doctors and psychologists to try to determine what was wrong, but no one could figure it out.

Then community doctors started seeing strange marks, possibly indicative of abuse, on many of the children. Finally, one young boy was injured in a way that was unmistakably sexual abuse. He was the one who finally broke the silence, and talked about the horrific abuse happening in the neighborhood.

Members of the community call this “the miracle.”[,,,]

Responding to abuse - interview with Dr. Yitzchok Schecter of CAPS of Rockland County


Friday, January 20, 2012

The yawning chasm between American & Israeli Chareidim

Cross Currents by Rav Yitzchok Adlerstein

Many people, myself included, believe that the fallout from Beit Shemesh and Kikar Shabbos will have a longer half-life than others suppose. One item to keep an eye on is the fault line that has surfaced, much as those that sometimes appear on the earth’s surface after an earthquake. 

This fault line separates Israeli charedim from many of their American counterparts. Two different narratives developed. Americans could not accept the Israeli one, while Israelis were deaf to the arguments of Americans.

Americans by and large rejected the suggestion that protest was unnecessary, because there is no reason the rest of us should be responsible for the actions of a relatively small number of extremists. Witness the wall-to-wall condemnations of the activities in Beit Shemesh and Yerushalayim. Americans understood what was at stake: if you don’t distance yourself from ugliness, you are considered complicit in it. It didn’t matter to us whether lumping us all together was just or not. The honor of Torah, our relationships with non-Jews and non-religious Jews, our ability to attract baalei teshuvah in the future – all these would be imperiled by our remaining silent. So we spoke up, and couldn’t understand that in Israel, our cousins seemed not to understand. [...]

Constructive gossip proven to be healthy


It seems as social animals we have a strong urge to pass on unsavory information to others, and people even spent their own money in the study, using a "gossip note" they had to pay for during an economic game in which participants could warn people about to play against cheaters. The researchers suggest that people shouldn't feel bad about passing on information if it is likely to help those involved, exposing vices or protecting someone against exploitation.

Willer points out, however, that the study was focused on the positive sides of gossip, passing on useful information or "prosocial" warnings about untrustworthy or dishonest people. The study did not look at the typical tabloid type gossip involving celebrities and their personal issues. This author would suspect that this type of gossip is an almost imaginary or invented version of the more positive prosocial / protective gossip, in that the behavior of a celebrity with a drug or marital problem doesn't necessarily have any real or immediate effect on our daily well-being, although perhaps studying the behavior and mistakes of famous people, might help those spectators avoid those kinds of life path mistakes themselves.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Shabbos problem of using water in high rise buildings


Bnei Brak's Rabbi Moshe Yehuda Leib Landa has warned that turning on faucets in some multi-story apartment buildings leads to the desecration of Shabbat

The rabbi issued a halachic ruling explaining that the using the tap directly turns on an electrical water pumping system – an offense which, according to the Torah, can be punished by stoning. [...]

According to the rabbi, the long-term solution is to install a high water reservoir enabling natural rather than electrical pumping. In the meantime, however, "there is no other choice but to ensure that the pump is turned throughout Shabbat and Jewish holidays."

Four Mea Shearim Men Released in Charity Scam Scandal

Artuz Sheva

Judge Dan Pollock of the Jerusalem Magistrate Court ordered the release of four men who were suspected of assisting a scam in the Mea Sharim neighborhood. The accusations involved keeping money that was advertised as being collected for charity. The arrests involved a popular community rabbi and his arrest this week led to street protests in the Mea Shearim and Geula neighborhoods of Jerusalem.

Controversy regarding report on the serious problem of Ethiopian domestic killings


The Immigration and Absorption Ministry has withheld a landmark research project documenting the murder of women in Israel's Ethiopian community. Only sections of the report, completed in 2009, are now coming to light. 

The research was conducted by Dr. Shalva Weil, an anthropologist who has researched Ethiopian Jewry for over 30 years. It offers a comprehensive profile of what Weil claims is the typical wife-killer, based on the examination of 16 such cases and extensive interviews with women and other family members who survived murder attempts.

Yiddish in Japan

Haaretz


הרב מרווין טוקאייר מגרייט נק שבמדינת ניו יורק לא ישכח את השיחה המפתיעה שקיבל לפני 43 שנה. "ב-1969, כשגרתי בטוקיו, צלצל לפתע הטלפון בבית. "שמעתי קולות לא ברורים", נזכר טוקאייר, שכתב 20 ספרים ביפאנית על יהדות והיה הרב היחיד ביפאן באותה העת. "השיחה היתה מטלפון ציבורי ברחוב, שמעתי את המכוניות ובכלל לא הבנתי על מה האיש מדבר. אז שאלתי אותו: אילו שפות אתה מדבר? והוא ענה: יפאנית, גרמנית, קצת אנגלית ויידיש. אז אמרתי לו: יידיש?! קענסט דעדן יידיש? (אתה מדבר יידיש?) והוא ענה: יו (כן). אז אמרתי לו: קום אהער! בוא מיד, אני רוצה לפגוש אותך!"

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

French police suspect rabbi raped underage girls


Police in France have questioned Rabbi Daniel Farhi, a prominent member of the Jewish community in that country, over suspicions that had he had raped an undisclosed number of underage girls, French media reported Tuesday.

The 70-year-old rabbi, who founded the Liberal Jewish Movement of France, the nation's tiny Reform Judaism group, was grilled by investigators at a police station in Paris earlier today.

Amsterdam chief rabbi suspended for signing document saying homosexuality can be changed through therapy


The chief rabbi of Amsterdam, Aryeh Ralbag, was temporarily relieved from his post Wednesday by the board of the Orthodox Jewish community, after he signed a document describing homosexuality as an inclination which “can be modified and healed.”

Ralbag, a US-born Orthodox rabbi nominated to head the Amsterdam community in 2005, had recently cosigned the document titled “Declaration On The Torah Approach To Homosexuality,” which called on “authority figures” to “guide same-sex strugglers towards a path of healing and overcoming their inclinations.”[...]

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Historic Reconciliation between Satmar & Belz


A wave of excitement is gripping parts of the hareidi religious world as a historic reconciliation between the hassidic dynasties of Belz and Satmar is underway.

The Admor of Belz sent a delegation of ten dayanim (rabbinic judges), headed by his personal assistant, to the graves of Satmar Admorim, Baal Ha"Divrei Yoel" and Baal Ha"Berach Moshe," at the Kiryas Yoel cemetery in New York City. [....]

The Shaky Science of Shaken Baby Syndrome


On New York’s Rikers Island, the parents of baby Annie await trial for shaking their infant girl to death. Her mother and father deny harming their child in any way, but prosecutors claim the 70 day old baby died with a severely fractured skull and brain damage consistent with being shaken violently.

Shaken baby syndrome presents a terrifying dilemma to the criminal justice system: a false conviction leaves a grieving parent or other innocent in prison for years while an undeserved exoneration could allow a dangerous child abuser to kill again. Unfortunately, the medical science used to determine the cause of death in infants suspected of being shaken to death is far from precise, and certainly not conducive to the simple “guilty” or “not guilty” decisions that courts require. [...]

Ultra-Orthodox teens accost U.S. immigrant boy in Beit Shemesh


On Monday, just two weeks after a big demonstration sparked by an incident in which an ultra-Orthodox man spat at a local 8-year-old girl dressed "immodestly," another student at Beit Shemesh's Orot state religious school was targeted by Haredi teens on the short walk home from school. 

The victim this time was a third-grader, whose parents asked to identify him only as A. He was surrounded by a group of boys who shouted and spit at him and then threw a large rock in his direction that hit him in the back.[,,,,]

Monday, January 16, 2012

RaP's discussion of the scheduled Anusim Conference


Guest Post by Recipients and Publicity:

The following appeared in the latest The Jewish Press. The article and comments and questions follow:  The Jewish Press Page 44 Friday, January 13, 2012 South Florida

Anusim/Crypto Jewish Conference Scheduled

On January 2, 1492 the queen and king of Spain, Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon, signed the Edict of Expulsion of the Jews. It is estimated that 300,000 Jews lived in the country and only one third managed to get out and continue practicing their faith.

One hundred crossed the border to Portugal, where they considered to be being safe, but only five years later they were forcibly converted to Christianity. One hundred thousand were unable to leave Spain either took their faith underground or adopted the Catholic faith. The Church called them New Christians, but many of those New Christians were not so observant of their forced new faith, practicing their true Jewish beliefs secretly and within their homes.

Caminos de Israel is organizing its second annual Anusim and Crypt-Jewish Conference, with experts in the filed and Orthodox rabbis participating, on Sunday, February 12, from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Marriot Dadeland in Miami. This year’s special speaker is a woman from Cuba who has traced her family’s Jewish ancestry all the way back to the 1400.

Due to limited seating, organizers ask that reservations be made in advance. Reservation in advance is $20 per person (at the door it’s $25 per person).

You can e-mail your reservation request to Loscaminosdeisrael@yahoo.com and you will receive a Pay Pal-secured link to make your reservation. If you wish to make your reservation over the phone call 786-306-8211.

For more information, or to schedule this type of event in your synagogue or community, call Rabbi Moshe Otero at 786 306-8211."
----------
RaP: Who is Rabbi Mariano Moshe Otero? A little Googling gives some answers. According to a 2003 article in The Miami Herald on the website of  "The Jews of Cuba" http://www.jewishcuba.org/descendants.html  : "Hundreds of Hispanics return to Jewish roots...Hundreds of Christian Hispanics in South Florida are discovering they are descendants of Jews who hid their faith...
Dozens of Cubans in exile, and even on the island where they were born and raised with different beliefs and identities, are discovering what their subconscious mind has suggested to them for years: their Jewish roots. Through identity papers, records and genealogical studies, many have confirmed their Jewish origins and are returning to the religion, usually through conversion...
This group of Cubans is not alone in its discovery. In South Florida and the rest of the Americas, hundreds of Christian Hispanic families are turning to Judaism in the belief that they are descendants of the marranos, the Jews who converted to Catholicism during the 15th Century Spanish Inquisition to avoid being burned at the stake, said Nathan Katz, head of Florida International University's Department of Religious Studies...
Mariano Moshe Otero, a 42-year-old Cuban American and a former evangelical minister, knew he was a Jew but had no proof. His mother told stories about his grandparents' home in Cuba, when they would cover the mirrors when someone died, a practice among some Jews.
One day, Otero, who is Orthodox, received a document that confirmed what he had always known. It was the birth certificate of his maternal grandmother, Dolores Caraza Levi, stating that she was a Jew. According to Rabbinic law, Judaism is passed down from the maternal side, which made Otero a member of the faith.
''I always felt I had a special connection,'' said Otero, who is taking Rabbinic studies and helping a dozen Cuban families in Miami track their religious roots through his organization Los Caminos de Israel -- The Roads to Israel...
Los Caminos de Israel -- The Roads to Israel -- helps Cuban families in Miami trace their religious heritage. For more information, call 786-306-8211."
The problems are glaring. What are the bona fides of "Rabbi Mariano Moshe Otero"? And given that the article states that he's "a former evangelical minister" who were and are his own rabbis and teachers that can support his claim that he renounced his Christian beliefs and which reliable posek and rov and rabbis, presumably a Bais Din, that can vouch for him and his claims that his proofs are 100% Halachically valid when he claims that he (in his own words:) "received a document that confirmed what he had always known. It was the birth certificate of his maternal grandmother, Dolores Caraza Levi, stating that she was a Jew. According to Rabbinic law, Judaism is passed down from the maternal side, which made Otero a member of the faith."?
The JP article and a number of sites of "Rabbi Mariano Moshe Otero" indicate that he is actively encouraging Hispanics to dig into their ancestry to find if they have any Jewish roots. This process could be applied in most lands where Jews lived for centuries and assimilated, not just Anusim.
There is a red line that is crossed, and NOT OFTEN GRASPED as well as OFTEN DELIBERATELY IGNORED, from doing acceptable normative outreach or Kiruv when the chances are fairly certain that the targeted students are Jewish, but to run around looking for potential converts and returnees with VERY shaky and doubtful connections to the Jewish people amounts to  PROSELYTIZATION and is thus very dangerous to Judaism and the future of the Jewish people faced with ongoing assimilation, intermarriage and apostasy in the here and now, without having to dig up what may or may not have happened 500 years ago!
Since the Jewish Press is promoting this event in its paper it needs to act responsibly and  provide the bona fides and more background about this organization and its Cuban American rabbi who also seems to be commercializing and making great efforts to raise huge funds as he advertizes on his own websites. This and more information about his goals, associations and activities can be traced from his Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/mariano.otero page there are a number of links to his work:

Contact Information

So there is more information about him if one searches.. For example, see http://roshpinaproject.com/2010/03/17/introducing-mariano-moshe-otero-converting-to-hasten-moshiach-and-redemption/
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Introducing Mariano (Moshe) Otero – Converting to hasten Moshiach and Redemption

 Mariano (Moshe) Otero is a Cuban-American ex-Pentecostal minister in his late forties who promotes Noahide evangelism amongst Gentile Christians and kiruv evangelism amongst what he calls wayward and lost Jews. In his own words he states. “I am a former ordained Christian minister who has returned to (Orthodox) Judaism, the faith of my forefathers.” Otero says he always knew [he had no evidence, just a feeling] he was Jewish and had a special connection with the Jewish people. One day he got documents showing his maternal grandmother was Jewish, then he decided to convert to Judaism.
Otero is Founder and Director of the Spanish speaking Los Caminos De Israel (The Roads to Israel) in Hollywood, Florida, initially helping Cuban families in Miami track their religious roots. He leads the Ways of Israel and Noah’s House. He is a member of the First Covenant Rainbow Foundation.  Otero has Chabad connections as we also see with the YouTube clip at the end of this post which is festooned with references to the rebbe. Chabad Hollywood also partner with one of Otero’s prjoects.
Otero  runs a radio show in Costa Rica aimed to convert Gentiles to keep Noahide laws. “The goal of TSHUVAfm is to be a means of communication for the Remnant of Israel in the Diaspora to have a real chance to reconnect with their true identity, and for non-Jewish people to discover the Seven Noahide Laws, as a precursor to the coming of the Messiah and the Redemption (Geula)“    
Otero’s eschatological excitement is tangible in his comment here: “ The Christian world seems to be moving into a new direction. And I pray it will be one which will bring them closer to their first century roots: in which non-jews were Noahide observers–Yirat Shamayim. This fact alone herald the imminent coming of the Moshiach.”  
Converting lost Jews to Judaism is seen as a trigger for the coming of Moshiach as we read in his comment here: “No one can doubt that Jewish Community is experiencing a wave of converts, and I expect this trend to grow with more intensity as we move closer to the time of the advent of the Mashiach.”
It seems that Otero has not changed much of his Pentecostal missionary zeal or beliefs about the imminent coming of Moshiach, only who that Moshiach will actually be!
[See YouTube video, 9 minutes:]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=iJiKG6oh6fs "
RaP: The poster of that ends with a big worrisome implied question. As Bugs Bunny used to ask: "What's Up Doc?" :
"Gev on said:

He sounds so much like a fundamentalist Christian when he talks about Jews and Gentiles converting is a precursor to the coming of Moshiach/Christ!"