Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Schlesinger Twins Custody fight - update

Heute - Austria   this is an update to previous post Schlesinger custody battle

 Translation from  Beth Schlesinger's blog

Every evening Beth straightens the covers on her children’s beds, folds their pyjamas – but the beds of her sons remain empty. The sad story: A judge based her ruling on a dubious psychologist report which alleges that she is mentally ill, took her children away from her – the father, a junior doctor, brought the police to collect them.
This newspaper can now reveal the findings of our research: For months a high court judge (name known) has intervened on the side of the father (the high court judge is a good friend of the ex-husband).

Although in the meantime two further reports have concluded that the mother is perfectly healthy, custody remains with the father. In response to questions why the judge has still not set any court hearing dates for custody despite new evidence with the latest reports in the mother’s favour, the court spokeswoman, Ingrid Weigl replied: “We are waiting for a new report from the Social Services.”

This takes time. Time that the children do not have. Mother Beth says: “ My children are suffering, they are doing very badly with the father. They are traumatised and do not speak.”

45 comments:

  1. Interesting.

    I accept that there may be serious allegations here.

    The only thing I question in this report is the last paragraph. It may be correct but again, we only have her say so.

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  2. Now that we've read the mothers unsupported allegations, let's hear the fathers side of the story.

    It is meaningless to hear only one side.

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  3. Wolfgang SchüsselJanuary 8, 2013 at 4:42 PM

    Avi Noffers, we meet again! It is true we only have her word for it, but at what point do you ever believe anything anyone ever says? I might dispute that the earth is round! I only have scientists telling me, I don't hear the other side of the story. The courts might also have come up with all sorts of allegations that might be untrue; we only have their word for it!
    At some point you have to go with what you feel is most believable to you. I won't mind if you want to believe the earth is flat or if the moon landings were fake or if the 3-year-old twins are in fact actually writing literature to the standard of Shakespeare. I think there comes a point, Mr Noffers, where you are simply never going to believe anything the mother says. This would be grossly unfair considering you have yet to prove a SINGLE instance where she has said anything untrue. The overwhelming viewpoint in the public domain is that the father comes off pretty badly in all of this. There are always going to be conspiracy theorists that are never taken seriously and you should take care not to put yourself in this category.

    Esther, perhaps you can ask Mr Noffers for the father’s side of the story? If it turns out that corruption has taken place (which is the most likely conclusion) then of course Schlesinger will keep silent. On the contrary, the full picture now looks clearer than it has ever looked so far! If you are related to Schlesinger yourself (I suspect your sister may be VERY involved!!!) maybe you can share some details here and we can have an open debate.

    I am sure this will not be enough to silence Mr Noffers or Esther for that matter, but the general public reading this will be able to get a hint of Schlesinger’s viewpoint from reading your comments.

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  4. Wolfgang SchüsselJanuary 8, 2013 at 4:45 PM

    Avi Noffers, we meet again! It is true we only have her word for it, but at what point do you ever believe anything anyone ever says? I might dispute that the earth is round! I only have scientists telling me, I don't hear the other side of the story. The courts might also have come up with all sorts of allegations that might be untrue; we only have their word for it!
    At some point you have to go with what you feel is most believable to you. I won't mind if you want to believe the earth is flat or if the moon landings were fake or if the 3-year-old twins are in fact actually writing literature to the standard of Shakespeare. I think there comes a point, Mr Noffers, where you are simply never going to believe anything the mother says. This would be grossly unfair considering you have yet to prove a SINGLE instance where she has said anything untrue. The overwhelming viewpoint in the public domain is that the father comes off pretty badly in all of this. There are always going to be conspiracy theorists that are never taken seriously and you should take care not to put yourself in this category.

    Esther, perhaps you can ask Mr Noffers for the father’s side of the story? If it turns out that corruption has taken place (which is the most likely conclusion) then of course Schlesinger will keep silent. On the contrary, the full picture now looks clearer than it has ever looked before! If you are related to Schlesinger yourself (I suspect your sister may be VERY involved!!!) maybe you can share some details here and we can have an open debate.

    I am sure this will not be enough to silence Mr Noffers or Esther for that matter, but the general public reading this will be able to get a hint of Schlesinger’s viewpoint from reading your comments.

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  5. A court of law has listened to all the testimony on both sides and determined that the mother is a pathological liar and an unfit mother while the father is telling the truth and most suited to bring up the children in a healthy and safe environment.

    Who will you choose to believe - the hearsay rantings of a woman who a court of law has determined is an unfit parent or the court that has heard hundreds of hours of the testimony of both sides?

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    1. A single judge is prone to failure. Which is why the Torah tells us to use at least three. So I don't necessarily trust a single court with a single judge.

      Not saying who is right or wrong, because I really know nothing about this case. Just saying that a single Judge has no more weight in my eyes than a mother blogging.

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    2. Back in the late '90's the JPost and OU were in an uproar over a Chareidi family, in which an Italian judge decided that the parent whom the Beit Din put the daughters with was an unfit parent. Why? The parent refused to allow the child to eat milk and meat together or indulge in pork or shellfish, so the Judge ruled that Judaism was a harmful and anorexic religion...

      That's what one judge gets you.

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    3. Rav Michael: I've been arguing about this for what seems like an aeon on the previous post!

      I don't think you can extrapolate from the Italian case. There may be misconduct here but at the moment this is unproven.

      Surely a judge has more weight than a blog?! A judge is not involved on either side but everything the mother (or, for that matter, the father) says is necessarily biased.

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    4. I no longer feel alone!!

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  6. Wolfgang SchüsselJanuary 8, 2013 at 8:47 PM

    Joyce, a court of law is only made up from humans and can never be totally perfect. No country can ever declare that every court is 100% correct in 100% of cases. Mistakes can and do arise from misinformation (either deliberate or accidental from either or both parties) or other human traits such as corruption on either the judge and/or witnesses. So on the one hand, you have the views of a court, and on the other hand you have the researched publications from the independent press who have implicated some misgivings about the court's fairness. (It is not simply a mother's blog as you claim). I would not be as confident as you to put such blind trust in any legal system, particularly when alarm bells have been rung. To suggest a judge is not biased (as opposed to the external media being biased for some reason) is simply untrue if it turns out that there has been some form of corruption involving the judge. The very fact that these are precisely the accusations implied in the media, means that outsiders like ourselves cannot rely on the courts opinion being unbiased until this is absolutely clarified.


    Mr Noffers, "the fact that custody was awarded to the father in the first place" does not prove anything in light of the above.


    Mr Noffers, You seem to be unclear as to whether you have more knowledge than what is in the public domain: "I have some (but not much) knowledge of the case and believe me - there are definitely two sides to this story." but when pressed, you claim you don't have access to the court documents nor would you be able to translate from the German text. It is unclear what other information you do have that is not in the public domain, if any. I shall leave this alone and not pursue this avenue further as it is not proving constructive.


    You have stated numerous times that you are impartial. Again, for the purposes of this debate, let us assume you are and lay this to rest. The readers can decide for themselves.


    Mr Noffers, as you are unable to provide any alternative background to the custody decision because you don't have access to the court documents, your whole argument about the story being not "quite as she presents it" hinges totally on the reliability of the court. In the other camp, there are numerous publications from multiple independent media sources implying the court is not being conducted in a fair/correct manner. (Many senior international rabbinic figures have publicly sided with the mother by the way, thus adding weight to her case, but we can leave that as an aside for now.)


    Neither of us can be absolutely sure which side is correct. I certainly would not criticize any media or blog publication in raising awareness to the whole potential scandal even if it eventually turns out that the court was unbiased and made fair decisions as best they could.

    It is very sad that you would be more willing to sacrifice the childhood, lives and welfare of two innocent children than to publicly call for a fair investigation into this trial. If the father feels he is being subjected to bad publicity, he should publicly voice his version of events. It is up to the readers to form an opinion as to why he is not speaking to the press given the multiple opportunities he has had.

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    1. The media is far more biased than a court. Besides, what "researched publications" do you speak of? I know of none in this case other than from the court proceedings. Certainly not from the press. The press will simply scoop up and sensationalize anything that can sell papers, the truth be darned.

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    2. Additionally, the mothers airing of her dirty laundry is reprehensible. This should NOT be tried in the court of public opinion. Her publicity actions raise further questions as to her fitness for motherhood.

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    3. The bottom line here is that this is a simple custody dispute between the father and the mother. Even if we are to assume all things are equal and that both parents are equally capable and loving, the mother has no more right to primary custody of their children than the father has the right to resident custody. That being the case, why should the father lose primary custody? He shouldnt. Of course the mother should be given generous visitation and overnight visits of her children while they remain in their joint custody with the father maintaining residence custody of their children.

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  7. Finally, Herr Schuessel, you have written what I've been saying all along (it's taken a lot of wailing nd gnashing of teeth but you seem to have got the message at last):

    "Neither of us can be absolutely sure which side is correct.......even if it eventually turns out that the court was unbiased and made fair decisions as best they could.



    "You have stated numerous times that you are impartial. Again, for the purposes of this debate, let us assume you are and lay this to rest. The readers can decide for themselves."

    This is a rather snide way of casting aspersions on my honesty yet again.

    Once again, and I really don't know nor understand why you are being so obtuse about this, I have not said that her witnesses should not be heard nor that there should be not a fair trial. I am simply saying that her story is not to be accepted totally, completely and uncritically and that the father is "a monster", "violent" and surrounded by "cronies" as you, rather hysterically allege. In your own words "outsiders like ourselves" can, or at least should be able to, try to look at both sides.

    For the umpteenth time, the father only has to make his case in the courts and not to the media.

    Your trust in the 'independent' media is really quite sweet. Do you believe, for example, all the garbage written about the Israel/Palestinian dispute is without bias? In the UK there have been several recent cases of media (written and electronic) skullduggery - some of which is illegal. I wouldn't trust a paper like "Heute" more than I would red tops like the Sun, Daily Mail or National Enquirer or most of the Israeli media. Of course, these fine and esteemed publications are not always wrong - even a broken clock is right twice a day.


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  8. Wolfgang SchüsselJanuary 9, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    Joyce, when I said "researched publications", I meant, there were media publications/articles released about this specific custody case that have been well researched from the court documents and other evidence. To suggest numerous reputable media enterprises have all not even looked at some court documents would be ridiculous, despite your (and Mr Noffers) suggestion this is the case.

    "Her publicity actions raise further questions as to her fitness for motherhood." - I totally disagree, particularly if it turns out the courts have not been fair. The readers can decide this for themselves.

    "That being the case, why should the father lose primary custody?" - At the moment, the mother has lost all custody and this has been the situation for the last 18 months. I don't see you complaining about that.

    I acknowledge that 'independent' media, as you put it, can sometimes get things wrong, but they also sometimes get things right. Likewise, the courts can sometimes be biased/unfair (as the media implies) and can sometimes can be correct. Neither of us has any further information to know which is the case here.

    Mr Noffers, correct me if I'm wrong, but the message you are trying to get across is that we should not simply believe either side, and readers should be open to the idea that not everything the mother/media are saying, is 100% accurate? I would respond to that by saying I agree, but we should nevertheless launch a full and TRANSPARENT investigation into how the court has reached their decisions. I think this is all the mother is asking for, and has yet to be answered. Until this happens, I certainly hope the media and the blogs continue to raise more awareness to this already high-profile case. Isn't everyone entitled to a fair hearing?

    My own personal view (which may or may not be widely shared) is that the mother has a very strong story and I am inclined to believe her. The fact she is being publicly endorsed by so many respected Rabbis and media organisations only strengthens my view.

    "I no longer feel alone!!" - Congratulations!!! You are now joined by an incoherent self-contradictory anonymous blogger. You have to start somewhere I suppose.

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    1. Wolfgang: You place your trust in the press? The press, in general, are the most unreliable source for nuances in any story. A court is surely more trustworthy than the press. Especially of the press is getting its information second-hand from the court. Often you can discern the truth by assuming the opposite of what the press writes.

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    2. Wolfgang SchüsselJanuary 9, 2013 at 4:18 PM

      Simcha, that is your opinion. Ultimately, there is also the possibility that the press are correct here. Unless you have inside knowledge of the case, and I'm assuming you don't, then you can't know for sure either way.

      No one is forcing you to take the side of the Mother or even any side. Feel free not to lend your support if that is how you feel.

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    3. There is no justification for Wolfgang or anyone else to take any sides -- father or mother. Stay out of it.

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    4. Wolfgang SchüsselJanuary 10, 2013 at 3:47 AM

      "Stay out of it" - This is what I would expect to be the advice of Schlesinger and his cronies. What does this say about morals, ethics and humanity itself if we all just looked away while potentially serious crimes were being perpetrated and covered up. This halacha is unambiguously mentioned in the Torah and has even formed the basis of an Israeli secular law:

      “Lo taamod al dam reakha,” which means, “You shall not stand idly by the shedding of the blood of your fellow man.”

      http://www.daat.ac.il/daat/kitveyet/assia_english/porat-1.htm

      Sure, look away and don't entertain the idea that a potentially heinous crime is being committed under our noses. You will judged only by your conscience (if you have one!) and by the ultimate court after your departure from this world.

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    5. Sam, don't bother mate! Herr Schuessel is unable to distinguish between trying to ensure a fair case (which is the job of the various legal teams) and outsiders voicing uncritical and strident support of one side or the other. It seems anyone voicing a contrary view to the mother or not accepting all she says is a "crony".

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    6. p.s. I don't think that there are "so many respected Rabbis" supporting her. So far, as far as I am aware, only two have been named (neither of whom live anywhere near Austria). Besides I have as much faith in a rabbi in this sort of situation as Rav Tzadok has in a judge.

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    7. Wolfgang SchüsselJanuary 10, 2013 at 2:17 PM

      At the risk of covering the same ground yet again, we don't know which side is correct. But, what I hope everyone will join me in campaigning for, is a fair hearing for the mother. She has every right to flag up concerns about the malpractice of the court if she feels there has been any bias, and she should be able to request a full investigation as I have stated previously.

      No credible investigation will be addressed through the legal channels alone due to the nature of corruption and how it works. The only way corruption can be tackled is through mass media publicity. Anyone who has followed the numerous recent corruption scandals in Austria's political circles will know the exposure has always been driven by the media. It is a shame Mr Noffers is doing everything he can to protect the court from being investigated, I cannot understand why he feels this way.

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  9. ...but that hasn't been your message all along. You have described the father in the most disparaging terms, have accepted the mother's story completely and called anybody who raises objections as cronies or being involved on the father's side and being corrupt in some way (and of being a liar - in my case). And i have no power, influence nor desire to prevent any investigation.
    I think I deserve an apology.

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  10. Wolfgang SchüsselJanuary 10, 2013 at 7:06 PM

    Mr Noffers, I am amazed that you are so personally offended by a discussion on a blog site.

    "The Times of Israel printed a poorly researched ... article." - How do you know this?

    "Because observer, some things are confidential and I have no permission to disclose details." - So you do have access to information not in the public domain?

    "Once again, I have NO agenda and I am neither a friend nor relative of either of the protagonists but I DO know that there is a complicated story here and the case is not as presented as the Times of Israel article nor her blog." - How do you know this?

    "...incredibly poor article from the ToI about a subject about which I have some direct knowledge"

    "I don't think that I am under any obligation to "reveal" my knowledge of this case on a public forum (especially a blog)."

    "I think you'll find that the husband and the original court decision DO dispute her version." - How do you know this?

    "I read somewhere (and I admit this weakens my argument a bit as I cannot quote the source) about the 80 page document. I do not, of course, have access to this."

    "I am not campaigning on behalf of the father but just that the story as purported in the campaign of the mother isn't quite as she presents it." - How do you know this?


    I uphold my allegations that you are a liar for saying unambiguously that the "story as purported in the campaign of the mother isn't quite as she presents it" and other accusations against the publicised story not being correct. Once there has been a full and transparent investigation, it will be very clear whether you have lied or not. Similarly, once the corruption claims have been fully (and transparently) looked into, we should know whether or not the father's supporters/cronies have been corrupt.

    Maybe now you too will be calling for an independent investigation into this case so you can claim the apology you so desperately seek!

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  11. I would ask the owner of this blog to request from Herr Schuessel to stop call me a liar. I can accept being called wrong, stupid or similar but I will not have my honesty called into question.

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    1. o.k. will delete any future posts which question your honesty when you have clearly shown that your are trying to be fair. Actually it serves to seriously weaken Her Schuessels defense so it really doesn't benefit anyone.

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  12. If Mr Noffers disputes the mother's version of events, is he not calling her a liar?

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  13. It is apparent that both sides of this discussion are sincere people who would like to get to the truth and both sides are being offended by the language and tone of the other. Please be more gentle with each other - especially since ultimately the issue is going to be decided in the courts anyway.

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  14. Wolfgang SchüsselJanuary 13, 2013 at 8:10 PM

    Right or wrong, fair or not, it looks like there will be continued ongoing media coverage of this case with no signs of it slowing down for a long time yet. Not I, nor Mr Noffers nor the blog owner has any control over the continued publicity in the press and other external blog sites (like this one). What makes things worse is that the information remains online and will likely remain in circulation for years to come. If anyone does an internet search on Schlesinger's name years from now, they would probably see many different articles, videos and blogs discussing him and the case.

    I have to say, however, that Schlesinger is not really helping himself. My advice to him (I doubt he is reading this anyway!) would be to approach respected and impartial Rabbi(s) to ask for talks be set up between him and the mother to broker a solution that everyone is agreeable to. It might be that such a solution does not exist, but he still needs to try. Isn't this the preferred Jewish way of resolving such disputes? No wonder it seems like everyone is against him.

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    1. It does not, at all, seem that most people are against him. In fact, it appears that virtually all the prominent locals familiar with the case support his position. The only support she could muster was to import one or two relatively unknown foreign rabbi(s) who only know what she fed them. Her loudly banging her drums on her blog hardly constitute support.

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    2. As far as media coverage is concerned, her name is being dragged through the mud as much as his is, anytime the story is carried in a media outlet. The mere coverage of the case is another dagger in her heart, regardless of what biased angle the press may or may not be giving. It will do her no good in finding another shidduch or her social standing. And considering women have a considerably more difficult time finding a shidduch for a normal never-married girl, taking into account that she is a) divorced and b) has a contentious divorce and custody proceedings and c) has her case attracting media attention, she is already *starting out* with three strikes against her.

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    3. Wolfgang SchüsselJanuary 14, 2013 at 2:43 AM

      Which Rabbis are supporting his position?

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    4. Which rabbis are supporting her position? Any locals?

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  15. Probably best to give Faige a chance to respond before addressing other questions. Faige, which Rabbis are supporting his position?

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  16. I doubt anyone is supporting anyone's position other than each their own immediate family. Looking through the details I see no one from either side can produce any solid actual name to post that is allegedly supporting their side. Until someone posts an actual name of someone verifiable that can be contacted and inquired directly whether they support one side or the other, it is safe to know that no one is supporting anyone.

    Names, please.

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  17. Wolfgang SchüsselJanuary 14, 2013 at 3:29 PM

    Siptula, if you read the many online news articles you will find numerous quotes from Rabbis extremely supportive of the mother's situation. There have been "prominent" Rabbis saying they have been "trying to convince Dr Schlesinger to agree to a rabbinic mediation." and "There are many concerns about how this case has been handled, how outside parties have interfered and how the judge has acted in a most partisan manner..." to name just a few. However, I have yet to see a single Rabbi publicly come out in support of Schlesinger.

    I do feel however, that we should address the questions in the order they were raised. Faige stated "virtually all the prominent locals familiar with the case support his position", yet no one has been able to identify a single Rabbi (either local or overseas) in support of Schlesingers position.

    I ask the owner of this blog to moderate any other questions/points made about support for either party until either Faige or someone else answers my orginal question: "Which Rabbis are supporting his position?"

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    1. Wolfgang: Please kindly post a link here to any alleged news article that gives the actual NAME of a "prominent Rabbi" that supports the mother, as I have seen no such thing despite much research.

      Much thanks in advance, as I am sure you will post an a actual link to an article giving that rabbi's NAME, as you claimed they are "many" and "numerous", so surely you'll have no trouble at all finding a handful of them -- with prominent rabbi's names mentioned -- to link to here.

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    2. Wolfgang SchüsselJanuary 14, 2013 at 8:19 PM

      I ask the blog owner to bring some sanity to this discussion.

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    3. Wolfgang: If you cannot produce the requested documentation that you previously assured us exists somewhere, please have the courtesy to admit as much and retract your previous inccorect assertions regarding unnamed "prominent rabbis".

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    4. Wolfgang SchüsselJanuary 15, 2013 at 2:22 AM

      Yawn! As you are too lazy to use a search engine, I have copied and pasted some information below.

      I would like to put to bed the notion once and for all, that Schlesinger has no public Rabbinic support. Feige has yet to respond and the repeated avoidance from Siptula to address this only serves as further confirmation.


      http://www.timesofisrael.com/nasty-jewish-divorce-spirals-into-an-international-incident/

      “There are many concerns about how this case has been handled, how outside parties have interfered and how the judge has acted in a most partisan manner,” says Rabbi James Kennard, a British rabbi who taught Beth in high school and is now principal of one of the world’s largest Jewish day schools, Mount Scopus Memorial College in Melbourne, Australia. He has been in close contact with Schlesinger and calls the case “tragic.”


      According to Kennard, “Beth’s friends and supporters are astonished at how some of the rabbis in Vienna have refused to involve themselves in reaching a resolution for the sake of the children, or have even acted in support of one party against the other. Fortunately, Beth is now finding more support amongst the Viennese community, and from some of the rabbis.”


      A rabbi from Manchester, Jonathan Guttentag of Whitefield Synagogue, was moved this summer to write to three of his Viennese colleagues to implore them to offer Beth more help.


      http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/69846/thousands-back-tug-love-custody-mother

      The JC reported two weeks ago that senior Manchester rabbis, including the registrar of the Manchester Beth Din, Rabbi Yehuda Brodie, had pleaded with the Vienna rabbinate to intervene.


      Rabbi Chaim Kanterovitz of the Yeshurun Hebrew Congregation, Manchester, said: “It must be in the best interests of the prestigious Vienna rabbinate to resolve this distressing situation as soon as possible, especially where two young and tender vulnerable children are affected.”

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    5. 1) The Times of Israel is a known anti-Orthodox rag.

      2) Some former high school rabbi from England who is now a school principal in Australia who is a friend of the wife's family is an outsider not from where the couple lives in Austria nor is he prominent as you've been telling us.

      3) Then the rag brings some other foreign rabbis who know little about Vienna or the case, other than what one side told them.

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  18. I had promised to myself not to contribute any more to this thread. However, I think it should be pointed out that the latter two Rabbis quoted above, Rabbis Brodie and Kanterovitz, are not exactly supporting the mother's position. Their statements are very much akin to politicians and are carefully worded not to really say anything!!

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  19. I'm not sure what more I can add. I refuse to get drawn into a debate as to what the words "prominent" and "support" mean, people can decide that for themselves. Schlesinger's supporters here (which may only be one person, we have no way of knowing) dismiss entire independent media organisations out of hand even when they are publishing quotes, thereby making any form of discussion here worthless.

    We have still yet to see any Rabbi make any public statement on any forum in support of Schlesinger's position no matter how guarded.

    I hope the truth does come out in the end although I suspect many people are already more than aware of what has actually taken place in Vienna.

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    1. And we have still yet to see any Rabbi make any public statement on any forum in support of the wife's position. At most you have a small non-Orthodox website quoting a rabbi from another country who does not purport to support the wife but rather expresses concern over the process, without indicating support for one side or another.

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