Sunday, September 21, 2014

Schlesinger Twins: Chabad finally dip their toe into the Schlesinger case

Guest post by Ari Steingold
I was amazed to read the "ask the Rabbi" column in "The Jewish News" this week: (to read the full newspaper, click on the right-hand column)

Finally, we see UK Chabad dipping their toe into the water. It should be no surprise to anyone familiar with Chabad culture that they have arrived late (there has already been public endorsements from Chief Rabbi Mirvis, Manchester Beth Din, etc...) but nevertheless it is very noteworthy.

Rabbi Schochet is a highly influential spokesperson within Chabad circles, and his unprompted passing reference to the Schlesinger case is more significant than it first seems. He brings Beth Alexander as a reference point, as if to recognize that her case in Vienna is an example of a clear injustice that is beyond debate.

I sincerely hope, now that there is public acknowledgement from senior and respected Chabad hierarchy, that a proper and thorough representation will be made to Biderman, and that the twins will soon be reunited with their mother once again.

Dear Rabbi,
I'm involved in a nasty custody battle with my ex-husband. He has the majority custody of the children until the finances are sorted and the divorce is final. Is there a halachic position on this? Does Judaism acknowledge the rights of one parent over another?
- Name Withheld

Dear 'NW',
Judaism sanctions common sense and what is in the best interest of the children. With the exception of extenuating circumstances, it is obvious it is the best interest of the children to enjoy shared love from both parents, which can be experienced only when there is shared access.

Once case which has made headlines in the national press is that of Beth Alexander in Vienna. I don't know the circumstances that led to a judge denying her the basic rights as a mother, or the thinking of a court that doesn't sanction the husband for constantly cancelling the already-sporadic visitation rights granted to her. But notwithstanding the courts, I would have thought the husband would want the best for his children and all responsible parents must surely want their children to experience the love that only a mother can give.

Tell your ex-husband he should park his spite and bury his hate and not use your kids as battering rams against you. If he loves them and wants them to have a stable future and be able to form loving and lasting relationships in their own lives, he should do the right thing and grant equal access.


  1. Where did the questioner write anything to Rabbi Schochet that her ex-husband uses the kids as a "battering ram" or denies access to them? The writer made no such allegation so why he is throwing that into the cholent?

  2. Does the father want what is best for his children?
    If he goes to work and hires help to take care of the children, what is the sense in that?

    It can only be out of pure spite!. The children don't speak in any language at 5 years old although? ironically, their mother is a language teacher, teaching other peoples children to speak. She only works school hours, so she could look after her sons daily and give them the love and security the boys so badly need!

    Instead money is being demanded from the mother to hire help to care for the boys while the father works long hours and hardly sees them, the money could be saved for or spent on the children!

    No wonder the boys are in such a bad way.

    It would make more sense to give Beth lots more contact with Sammy and Benji and hopefully they will start to thrive.

    The formula clearly isn't working. It needs
    to be changed. It is clear for all to see. Beth needs to be given lots more contact with her sons?

    What is the father's problem?

  3. At last someone from Chabad is 'dipping their toe in'! The next step is for a Chabad representative to request an explanation from Rabbi Biderman Chabad Vienna as to just what has gone on here and his own involvement in the miscarriage of justice that has taken place. Questions amongst others to be asked are - for what reason he has sheltered and shielded Schlesinger while all the time knowing these children are suffering from the traumas they have and are enduring; what reason did he have for supplying false information to the court stating these children were doing well when one was self-harming at three years old; and WHERE ARE THEIR TEETH AND WHY ARE THEY UNABLE TO ARTICULATE PROPERLY AT FIVE YEARS OLD. Answers please Chabad Vienna!

  4. I wonder if Rabbi Schochet would comment on the terrible moral failure displayed by the Chabad leadership in Vienna in this case? Having personally experienced his vicious reaction to any criticism of Chabad, I doubt it.

  5. It is greatly appreciated that Rabbi Schohet has recognised that Beth has been wronged and suffering has been caused to her, but most of all to the children who can't understand why they are not being treated like their peers. Why it is just a treat to see their mother?

    As a grown up I Can't understand this either? Can someone please explain?


    We are hearing about so many sandals around the world involving CHABAD!
    The latest two English Chabad Rabbis arrested and awaiting trial for their part in dealing in counterfeit medicines that could kill. They are part of a ring Austria named
    as one of many countries involved in this multi million pound fraud!

    Why is it that Chabad never acknowledge
    there is any bad even amongst them, even when the Metropolitan Police and Imterpol are involved.

    Their reluctant to acknowledge bad and to
    help Beth more by questioning Rabbi Bideman and obtaining answers, as the previous commentator suggest, brings the whole Chabad/Lubavitch organisation into

    Bideman needs to account publically for his actions!


please use either your real name or a pseudonym.