Sunday, September 11, 2016

Copepods, Citi Field, and Cattle Prods by Akiva Wasserstein

Guest post by Akiva Wasserstein

In the summer of 2004, a group of Brooklyn rabbis made a discovery while rinsing bug-free lettuce from Israel. They found tiny crustaceans, called copepods, in the New York City drinking water. A community-wide tumult ensued, prompting Jewish housewives far and wide to urge their husbands to procure and install all kinds of filtration products. Regardless of the fact that Rabbi Belsky himself ruled that the water is kosher, the people voted with their feet, and resolved to keep the bugs at bay with any and every means available to them from their local hardware and plumbing stores.

In the spring of 2012, a throng of epic proportions gathered at Citi Field in Queens, New York, at the behest of rabbinic leaders from the Agudah. They went there to decry the dangers of "technology," and the internet. Jewish mothers far and wide urged their husbands to procure special filters and locks to keep the black-flag-waving terror of information from riding roughshod over the impressionable children and teenagers in the Jewish home. Rabbis issued sharp warnings against the use of smartphones and WhatsApp, going so far as to deny the children of such users entry into the yeshivas. Never mind that a recent study in Israel shows that Haredim surf the web just as much as anyone else does.

Lately there has been a new menace prompting the use of filters, but it's not about keeping out bugs or bytes. This time, the Jewish wife is banning the bum, which is what she calls her husband. An infraction as small as a harsh word uttered after a hard day's work, or even just a 'look,' will oftentimes be enough to get the ball rolling to have him ejected from his home, his children, and his marriage. A good husband filter can be bought at the mega-BDA, or any smaller local mom-and-pop corrupt besdin, who in cases of more serious critters can refer the woman to the professionals in superior court, ORA, and rabbis-for-hire wielding cattle prods. And so the precious children will ultimately be treated to clean drinking water, protected from outside influences, and be rid of that good-for-nothing father of theirs, once and for all.

What we are left with is dozens of fathers who have been shut out of their children's lives, either partially or in totality. The affected children are all around us, even though we may not notice that there's anything wrong with them at first. Many have been so thoroughly brainwashed to despise totty that they may not even know themselves how badly damaged and scarred they are. But these lebideke yesomim are a giveaway when you look them deep in their sad and soulful eyes. It would take a miracle to prevent some of them from slipping headlong into the OTD abyss, the numbers of which are estimated to be 5000 in the NYC area alone. The father's life is virtually over as well, with his reputation gone and remarriage prospects bleak, not to mention being forced out of shul in some cases. Many will never regain the financial traction that they once enjoyed, and even more slip away emotionally.

The recent reporting here on Daas Torah about a rabbi in the Satmar community getting hired to bump off a husband strikes one as being a bit anachronistic. Hadn't he heard about Mendel "The Prodfather" Epstein going away for ten years? And that was only for conspiracy to kidnap, not murder, although Epstein did admit to an undercover agent that if the husband gets a heart attack in the middle of his "session," his men were instructed to "make a right turn and keep on going." Ah, but wait; didn't this attempted murderer's rebbe forbid him from looking at a computer? Maybe that is why he never heard of Mendel Epstein or his arrest.

Instead of filtering out imaginary bugs or husbands, it's about time we took serious steps to expunge these killers from our midst. And while we're at it, we should focus on all the other bad apples and actors in the rabbinate as well. I have yet to hear R' Herschel Schachter retract his "beat 'em up with a baseball bat" ruling. Why his feet were never held to the fire during the Epstein trial for inciting to murder, I will never know.

It shouldn't have taken so long for Barry Freundel's shenanigans in the mikva to finally be put to an end, but eventually one brave woman did make a stand, bringing the whole world crashing down on him. The finger of blame for that one needs to be pointed directly at the RCA, who covered up for that peepster all along. And If it wouldn't have been for some brave souls plodding onwards in the face of neglect on the part of the NYPD and Charles Hynes, justice would never have been served in the Epstein case either.

Now we have R' Shmuel Kamenetsky and his son being paraded about in conferences and symposiums as if they are the best thing since sliced bread, as if nothing ever happened to Aharon Friedman. It won't work, of course. If a major effort to come clean on the worthless Greenblatt heter will not be forthcoming soon, their fate to be forever known as charlatans and quacks will be sealed.
And no amount of Citi Field-like events will succeed in keeping the Jewish public from the truth.

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