Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Irwin Katsof forms new alliance

Just received the following statement from someone who identified himself to me but doesn't want his name revealed and he claims to know the true facts.
The facts of the [following] article were all wrong. Irwin has no connection to guma never had a conversation with him and does not even have him contact information. Iriwn is not a billionare and he does not know rabbi tropper. This is a typical example of someone reading the news and then spreading the rumors without actually caring about the facts. That is fine and accepted in todays world but on "daat torah" website???

RaP wrote:

In an important development, it was reported that Irwin Katsof the former top fundraiser and marketer of Aish HaTorah now reputedly a very wealthy man himself (some reports have stated he may be in the billionaire bracket) has now teamed up with Tom Kaplan's estranged nephew and foe of Rabbi Tropper, Guma Aguiar.

Irwin Katsof became a legend in his own lifetime by attracting incredible financial wealth and political recognition for Aish HaTorah and glorifying its now deceased leader Rav Noach Weinberg. He was so successful that he left to run his own business conglomerate The Doheny Group In a recent controversial news report, Katsof brought the Governor of Texas and an elite power elite from Texas to do business with Guma l

"Records obtained by CBS 11 show the governor's airfare and trip costs for he and his wife were paid for by Irwin Katsof, a financier for energy companies around the world. And the man who presented Perry with the Defender of Jerusalem award, Guma Aguiar, owns a company that made billions of dollars in the Texas natural gas industry. Aguiar also created the award given to Perry."

The alliance between Katsof and Guma spells more serious trouble for Rabbi Tropper. Katsof is world-class expert at manipulating politicians, creating events, generating wealth and burnishing images and he is just as committed to unlimited outreach to secular Jews as Guma is, and he has more wealth than Rabbi Tovia Singer.

Avodas HaMelech: Public knowledge & lashon harah

Justice: Harvard Prof Sandel #5

Testimony of dogs sends men to jail


A dog's sniff helped put Curvis Bickham in jail for eight months. Now that the case against him has been dropped, he wants to tell the world that the investigative technique that justified his arrest smells to high heaven.

The police told Mr. Bickham they had tied him to a triple homicide through a dog-scent lineup, in which dogs choose a suspect's smell out of a group. The dogs are exposed to the scent from items found at crime scene, and are then walked by a series of containers with samples swabbed from a suspect and from others not involved in the crime. If the dog finds a can with a matching scent, it signals — stiffening, barking or giving some other alert its handler recognizes.

Dogs' noses have long proved useful to track people, and the police rely on them to detect drugs and explosives, and to find the bodies of victims of crime and disaster. A 2004 report by the F.B.I. states that use of scent dogs, properly conducted, "has become a proven tool that can establish a connection to the crime."[...]

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Ezagui case & Chabad

Home Page See Federal Indictment under documents

Ezagui Case from Pidyon Shevuim Trust on Vimeo.

Aish HaTorah:Does G-d care about intermarriage?

Aishe HaTorah

Belinda and I struggled with the idea: Does God care if we intermarry?

"What are we waiting for?" Belinda asked, buoyant yet somewhat confused as we sat facing each other. For weeks we had been talking about the prospect of getting married.

I held back. I was not supposed to marry a gentile, I thought. To do so would be a betrayal of my family, my ancestors, my tradition. Yet it would sound racist if I told her that.

Then I realized: It would sound racist to me as well.

I needed time to think, to read up on intermarriage, to figure things out. Belinda, who is Chinese, and I had been dating for a few months. Never before had things felt so "right," and yet there was an underlying sense that something was very "wrong."[...]

Monday, November 2, 2009

EJF, R' Tropper and Chabad

This post is a bit complicated. I don't have time to translate the Hebrew material or to organize it. Don't waste your time if you have not been following the discussions. I am not claiming the charges are true or taking sides.

First read the letters from these two links

Kiruv skills save Black marriages for $500,000

Mother Jones\ /Senator Lieberman's praise in Congressional Record

Stephen Baars has a few impediments to connecting with his current audience. Among them: He's a redheaded white guy. He's a rabbi. And he has a British accent.

None of these was a big problem when Baars was offering his "Bliss" marriage enhancement seminars to suburban Jews in Bethesda, Maryland. But in 2006, much to his surprise, the Department of Health and Human Services awarded him a five-year, $500,000-a-year "Healthy Marriage" grant. His federally mandated mission: to bring down the divorce rate in Washington, DC, whose population is more than 55 percent black and 20 percent poor. So for the past two years or so, Baars has been running ads in local papers and on black radio stations to entice couples to drop by his office in a gritty area just north of the Capitol and "create relationships that win!"

On a warm Thursday night in May, Baars, dressed in a gray suit and yarmulke, is sitting alone in his third-floor conference room, awaiting some bliss seekers. He understands that achieving his federal grant's goal is "a tough nut to crack." "When you're dealing with that degree of poverty, it's very hard for people to take this seriously," he says. "I read many black magazines," he adds—but even so, the cultural disconnect can be daunting. "Twenty or thirty percent of the people who come here can't deal with it."[...]

Rav Moshe:Sanctions against intemarried couples

Whether to given an aliyah to a bar mitzva boy whose father is not Jewish?

I was asked by a rav whether a boy who was born to a Jewish woman who is married to a non‑Jew is allowed to be called up to the Torah on his bar mitzva? I replied that even though it is obvious that the boy is a Jew in all respects – according to the majority of rishonim which established the halacha and consequently there is an obligation to teach him Torah and to educate him in doing mitzvos – but in fact if his mother is still living in sin with the non‑Jew and she isn’t concerned with the prohibition of the Torah and her son is being raised with them – then as for the sake of the Jewish community (migder milsa) he should be prevented from getting an aliyah on his bar mitzva and there should be no celebration in the synagogue. Similarly it is better not to accept him as a student in the day school for this reason of the welfare of the Jewish community.

Only when the mother leaves the non‑Jewish father do we need to be concerned for the Jewish nature of her children from the non‑Jew and be concerned with educating them properly. In such a case it would be proper to give him an aliya and to make a celebration on his bar mitzva.

However if there is concern that other children will be negatively influenced by accepting him into the day school - then it is prohibited to accept him also according to halacha [and not just because of migder milsa]

שו"ת אגרות משה אורח חיים חלק ב סימן עג

אם לקרא לתורה ביום הבר מצוה שלו לבן ישראלית מנכרי י"ח שבט תשט"ו.

נשאלתי מרב אחד אם יניחו לבן הנולד לישראלית הנשואה לנכרי לקראו לתורה ביום הבר מצוה שלו, והשבתי שאף שפשוט שיש להבן דין ישראל לכל דבר לרוב הראשונים שהלכה כמותם ויש ממילא חיוב ללמדו תורה ולחנכו במצות, אבל למעשה אם עדיין אמו ברשעתה עומדת ודרה עם הנכרי ומופקרת לכל האיסורין ומתחנך הבן אצלם יש למיגדר מלתא בכל האפשר שלא יקראו אותו לתורה ביום הבר מצוה שלו ולא יעשו איזה שמחה שם, וכן היה טוב שלא לקבלו ללמוד בהת"ת מאותו הטעם למיגדר מלתא, ורק כשתפרד האם מהנכרי יש ללמדו כדין ולקראו לתורה ולעשות שמחה ביום הבר מצוה שלו. ואם יש חשש שיתקלקלו ילדים אחרים עי"ז שיקבלוהו בהת"ת אסור גם מדינא. משה פיינשטיין.

R' Nochem Kaplan: Jewish education

Chabad Lubavitch News

Let me first say this: I believe that the quality of Jewish education today is better than it was a generation ago. But the demands of the times are much greater. Children must feel that education speaks to them, encourages them, interests them, and excites them so that distractions from the outside don't take priority. We're still falling short here. The world today is an exciting place. If you just log on to the internet, the distractions are enormous and pervasive, so you can't expect a child to go back to learning by rote—it has to be something far more involving than that.[...]

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Tosfos: Public knowledge is not lashon harah

Chofetz Chaim (clall 2) goes into great detail to try and disprove the simple understanding of Bava Basra (39b)/Erachin (16a), Tosfos and the view of the Rambam. These sources seem to say that the essence of lashon harah is speaking gossip in a concealed manner - not just saying negative things about others. Thus if it is said in a way that it will become public knowledge then there is no prohibition of lashon harah. This is apparently closer to the peshat of Vayikra (19:16).

Erachin(16a): Disparaging remarks said in front of three people is not considered lashon harah. What is the reaon? Because your friend has a friend and your friend’s friend has a friend [and thus it is considered public knowledge].

Tosfos (Bava Basra 39b): Negative words about another person that are said n the presence of three people is not prohibited as lashon harah - either to say or to repeat it to others This is clarified by the statement said in Erachin (15b) There this statement is said in the context of R’ Yossi statement in which he said, “I have never said something and looked around to see who was listening.” That means he wasn’t concerned if the one he was talking about was there. [That proves that saying negative comments in the presence of three people is not considered lashon harah – Rashi].

Rambam(Hilchos De’os 7:5): Speaking lashon harah is prohibited whether the person being spoken about is present or not. Those words which will cause harm to another person - either physically or financially when repeated by others or even if it upset him or frightens him – is considered lashon harah. If these types of words are said in the presence of three people then it can be assumed that they have become public knowledge Therefore if one of the three repeats the negative words which he had heard on another occasion – there is no prohibition of lashon harah. However this is only permitted if he did not intend to spread the news and cause it to become more known.

EJF innovation - Women's mentoring symposium

Hat tip to RaP. His commentary is in comment section

A WOMEN'S MENTOR symposium will take place November 8-9 in tandem with the annual Dayanim Conference at the Sheraton Meadowlands in NJ. By holding the mentor symposium concurrently with the dayanim conference, distinguished rabbonim and Roshei Yeshiva will enhance the program by providing their perspective and responding to questions regarding the expectations of the batei din. The symposium will address the role of the mentor in guiding candidates, assisting them in meeting the requirements of their officiating bais din, and ultimately helping them integrate into a Torah community.

The participating women are either recommended by various batei din, were previously involved in kiruv, or aspire to be part of the EJF mission.

In addition to the formal lectures, the symposium is an opportunity for the mentors to share experiences and to learn from each other's diverse backgrounds. The EJF mentor symposiums have proven to be extremely informative, helping to create a network for people with a common goal: to work alongside the bais din in helping committed intermarried couples build a Torah home. Approximately thirty mentors are expected to attend. For more information please contact Rochel Weinstein: (845) 357-1022 x106 .
The following appeared in the The Jewish Press October 30, 2009 Page 8.

Hamodia Community 10 Cheshvan 5770 | October 28, 2009 Page C29
Eternal Jewish family: The Lillian Jean Kaplan Jewish Pride Through Education Project Presents

A Symposium For Women Mentoring/Tutoring Conversion Candidates

An opportunity to network with other mentors from Around the world, and receive chizuk from gedolei hador. Topics to be addressed:

Developing Jewish Character and Its Role In Conversion
Open Question and Answer Forum
Challenged of Educating Intermarried Couples Sincerely Committed to Building Authentic Torah Homes
Q & A Panel Featuring Leading Dayanim from Around the World
Informal Mentor Networking Session
Perspective of Geirus Candidates and Mentors Divrei Chizuk

Sunday, November 8 - Monday, November 9, 2009 Sheraton Meadowlands, East Rutherford, NJ
EJFI sponsors travel expenses and hotel accommodations. Participation is based on approval only.
If you are an interested mentor or tutor, please contact us for an application.