Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hashgocha Protis - reconcilation with Chazal

Guest Post


I followed your post and comments on hashgacha pratis the other day ( This is a subject that I've been coming back to from various perspectives for nearly thirty years, so your post got me thinking once again. This time around, I'm having trouble with those rishonim and acharonim who are presented as believing in a virtually random, unguided fate for most people. For instance, you quote R' Dessler:

...all non-Jews and most Jews—except for some exception—they are without a doubt under the control of natural laws… This is no different than the animals whose Providence is not for the individual but only for the species—because it as a species they fulfill G-d’s will.

How would this fit the gemara in Brachos

כשם שמברכים על הטוב כך מברכים על הרעה?

Isn't the bracha an acknowledgement that all the good and bad things that happen to us are orchestrated directly by G-d. One look in Shulchan Aruch will tell us that this halacha relates equally to all Jews.

And how about

בארבעה פרקים העולם נידון בפסח על התבואה בעצרת על פירות האילן בר"ה כל באי
עולם עוברין לפניו כבני מרון?

According to the Ramban in Shar Hagemul this wasn't necessary a judgment over life and death, but over the general quality of life in the coming year – and it covered all strata of human life, not just tzadikim. I would imagine it would require a great deal of hashgacha to engineer precisely the good and bad events for each individual...

It's one thing to see a machlokus rishonim or acharonim, but who can argue with an explicit chazal? Perhaps there are other forces at play in the world besides hashgacha...maybe something like the “bracha” discussed by the Chofetz Chaim in Ahavas Chesed.

With best regards,

Boruch Clinton

Rav Sternbuch: Simcha of Succos

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Justice - Harvard Prof Michael Sandel #1

Quest for logical certainty in mathematics


Well, this is unexpected — a comic book about the quest for logical certainty in mathematics. The story spans the decades from the late 19th century to World War II, a period when the nature of mathematical truth was being furiously debated. The stellar cast, headed up by Bertrand Russell, includes the greatest philosophers, logicians and mathematicians of the era, along with sundry wives and mistresses, plus a couple of homicidal maniacs, an apocryphal barber and Adolf Hitler.

Improbable material for comic-book treatment? Not really. The principals in this intellectual drama are superheroes of a sort. They go up against a powerful nemesis, who might be called Dark Antinomy. Each is haunted by an inner demon, the Specter of Madness. Their quest has a tragic arc, not unlike that of Superman or Donald Duck.

So, at least, the creators of “Logicomix” would have us believe. First published last year in Greece (where it became a surprise best seller), the comic book — er, graphic novel? — is the brainchild of Apostolos Doxiadis, previously the author of a not-bad mathematical fiction called “Uncle Petros and Goldbach’s Conjecture.” For expert assistance on logic, Doxiadis called on his friend Christos Papadimitriou, a professor of computer science at Berkeley and the author of a novel about Alan Turing. The art was done by Alecos Papadatos (drawings) and Annie Di Donna (color).[...]

Incest - Interview with Marilyn Van Debur

Unfortunately this is not a theoretical issue only relevant to non-Jews. Having talked with people dealing with child abuse in the frum community - they view this as a troublesome reality. One which is harder to aknowledge because there is infinitely more shame involved than normal abuse. One rav told me of a case where he authorized going to the police - but the community activists drove the family out of the country. BTW people involved in incest don't look or act any different than the rest of us.

Guest Post

Here's an interesting interview from 5mos ago with Marilyn Van Debur, 72-yr-old former Miss America turned incest awareness activist. Said she rec'd 8,000 letters from across the country after she, in 1984, went public with her story. Now if that # reflects just those who took the action of writing in, and no doubt responding in cases similar to hers (father-daughter), imagine the greater scope that that implies for the phenomenon generally!

Part 2 of the interview offers more of a look into her father's pathology.

She's the author of an autobiography _Miss America By Day_, which--if you're not already familiar with it--seems to have resonated with other survivors and helped people in relationships with survivors: See here the Amazon comments (never read it myself, but she's quite articulate in the above interview)-

Found it referenced in the Comments posted to the Morris-Rosenblum-Lesher-Rosenblum back&forth. (The comments section on the last two parts of that actually seems to be where the action is.)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Conflicts & tensions of the formerly religious


One cold night in Jerusalem about two years ago, I fell into a deep sleep. After what seemed like just a few minutes, I woke up. Terrified. In the twilight between slumber and wakefulness, a hand was placed over my closed eyes in an unmistakable gesture. It happened in an instant, but that recollection of the specific gesture that accompanies the recitation of "Shema Yisrael" - of four fingers covering one eye and the thumb covering the other, like a roof - shook me up. After all, the last time I said the prayer before going to sleep was over 25 years ago.

I have since forgotten most of the text, except, of course, for its impressive beginning: "Hear O Israel, the Lord is your God the Lord is one," which I would probably be able to recite even if I lost my memory.

In the darkness, after the confusion had passed, I tried to understand the significance of this message, risen from the depths of my consciousness. It was not a pleasant memory or a kind of childhood nostalgia, but rather reflected distress I had felt in the past, provoked by the fear that I had fallen asleep without saying the "Shema." I wondered what else remained there, deep inside the drawer of the life experiences of the child with the long, pinned-back braid that I used to be. Through the curtain that had lifted momentarily, I discovered the traces of fear that had been an inseparable part of my religious life. Fear that was constantly inculcated in the pure souls of the girls at the Bais Yaakov seminary in Tel Aviv where I studied - and in me as well. [...]

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Abuse in Beit Shemesh - Jonathan Rosenblum

There is a very important discussion on the David Morris's Tzedek Tzedek blog concerning child abuse

Jonathan Rosenblum was severely criticized by Michael Leshier for in an earlier article in the Jerusalem Post and this is his defense - comments to it are especially interesting.

I am not taking sides but will just note that the people involved are all sincere and articulate. Nonetheless there are children who have been harmed

Harvard online class in morality


Many of the 14,000 or so students who have taken Harvard's wildly popular course "Justice" with Michael J. Sandel over the years have heard the rumor that their professor has a television avatar: Montgomery Burns, Homer Simpson's soulless ghoul of a boss at Springfield's nuclear power plant.

The joke, of course, is that Mr. Sandel — who at one time or another taught several future writers for Fox's "Simpsons" and shares a receding hairline with the evil-minded cartoon character — is the anti-Burns, a moral philosopher who has devoted his life to pondering what is the right thing to do.

Now Mr. Sandal gets to play himself on television, not to mention online, as Harvard and public television stations across the country allow viewers to sit in on his classroom discussions about Wall Street bonuses and Aristotle, same-sex marriage and Kant, for the next 12 weeks. [,,,]

Justice - Michael Sandel

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Neuroscience - metaphoric thinking & phantom limb


Rav Moshe Sternbuch:Yom Kippur - getting favorable din


Eternal Jewish Family rescues women captives with assistance of Lev L'Achim

Yeshiva World News

Jerusalem, Israel - In a bold initiative to rescue Israeli women drawn into marriages with Arab men that have horrifying consequences, the Eternal Jewish Family International (EJFI) has partnered with Lev L'Achim in a dramatic effort to rescue many of these women. For decades, Israeli women of both Orthodox and secular backgrounds have been lured into relationships with Arab men only to find themselves mistreated and abused. The Lev L'Achim organization has become a key force in their rescue. Lev L'Achim has set up a hotline for family members and friends of the victims and frequently for the victims themselves. "Our hotline is published in newspapers, mentioned in lectures throughout the city, and advertised on pay phones, even in Arab villages when possible," says an active leader in Lev L'Achim. "We're trying to reach every woman that needs our help to let her know that she doesn't have to handle her situation alone." With EJFI's involvement, Rabbi Mordechai Neugroschel acts as staff advisor and counsels women involved in interfaith relationships. Horrific stories of their abuse make the headlines, but are sometimes not enough to prevent these women from allowing their relationships to progress [...]

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Obama - Songs of praise taught in public school

Fox News

Song 1:
Mm, mmm, mm!
Barack Hussein Obama

He said that all must lend a hand
To make this country strong again
Mmm, mmm, mm!
Barack Hussein Obama

He said we must be fair today
Equal work means equal pay
Mmm, mmm, mm!
Barack Hussein Obama

He said that we must take a stand
To make sure everyone gets a chance
Mmm, mmm, mm!
Barack Hussein Obama

He said red, yellow, black or white
All are equal in his sight
Mmm, mmm, mm!
Barack Hussein Obama

Mmm, mmm, mm
Barack Hussein Obama

Song 2:
Hello, Mr. President we honor you today!
For all your great accomplishments, we all doth say "hooray!"

Hooray, Mr. President! You're number one!
The first black American to lead this great nation!

Hooray, Mr. President we honor your great plans
To make this country's economy number one again!

Hooray Mr. President, we're really proud of you!
And we stand for all Americans under the great Red, White, and Blue!

So continue ---- Mr. President we know you'll do the trick
So here's a hearty hip-hooray ----

Hip, hip hooray!
Hip, hip hooray!
Hip, hip hooray!

Anusim & Chabad - Latin American Jews

CNN - please read this accompanying text regarding anusim

Animal rights activists posken against Kapparot


Animal activists from 'Let the Animals Live' collect halachic opinions from Rabbi Ovadia Yosef claiming that harm brought to chickens during Yom Kippur ceremony should be kept to minimum. Group asks chief rabbis to instruct public to convert chicken-swinging custom into alternative of giving charity

The animal rights organization Let the Animals Live petitioned Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger and Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar to instruct their followers to prevent the suffering of chickens used in the Yom Kippur holiday's Kapparot (atonement) custom and to give money to charity as a replacement for slaughtering the animals.

The letter from the organization to the rabbis read: "Every year we turn to the highest echelons of the religious leadership, but the abuse continues. It is our moral obligation, together with the rabbis, to take action to limit the great suffering of the chickens on the eve of the new year."

Monday, September 21, 2009

Climbing a mountain - without legs

Women's greater freedom & unhappiness

New York Times

In the early '70s, breaking out of the domestic cocoon, leaving their mothers' circumscribed lives behind, young women felt exhilarated and bold.

But the more women have achieved, the more they seem aggrieved. Did the feminist revolution end up benefiting men more than women?

According to the General Social Survey, which has tracked Americans' mood since 1972, and five other major studies around the world, women are getting gloomier and men are getting happier.[...]

Friday, September 18, 2009

Rav Sternbuch Preparing for Rosh Hashana



Rosh HaShanna & a year of blogging

It has been an interesting and productive year and one which bears introspection and review. We have spent much effort on the issue of conversion and abuse. There have been some heated discussions - some of which were very abusive. Hopefully this year we will try harder and be more successful in having discussions within the boundaries of halacha and be more sensitive and accomplish more.

It is also clear that the internet has tremendous power for teaching and bringing about change. Hopefully we will be using it to bring about needed changes and kiddush haShem. For too long issues have been "swept under the rug" and there has been intimdation and bluff used to control others. The Blogs have the potential to be the great equalizer - but they need to be used responsibly. It still amazes me that I am having conversations or influencing people in South America or Asia and that people in Australia or Saudia Arabia are reading and commenting on what I have posted. I have learned much from your comments as well as the postings on this blog. For those who have been offended by my comments - I apologize and ask your mechila. For those who have made abusive comments to me - I forgive you whole heartedly. However for those who are offended by the truth - there is not much I can do.

Wishing all kesiva v'chasima tova

G-d's reason for abuse and rape?

One of the issues that is typically brought up is, "Why did G-d want me to be raped and abused?" The following are some thought regarding two contradictory yet legitimate views within mainstream Orthodox Judaism. This passage wll be included in my book and is copyrighted. No publishing is allowed without my written permission.

Perhaps the most difficult issue for a religious Jew to face is why did it happen? Since we know that nothing happens without G-d’s approval - that must mean that He wanted the abuse to happen .There are in fact in two alternative views which need to be considered. Strangely enough each approach is legitimate within Torah sources but only one is comforting and the other is viewed as distressing. Which is which is dependent on the individual and his/her psychological and spiritual attitude.

The first approach, which is the dominant one today, is the Gd centered view that G-d is responsible for all events and He wanted it to happen. Even if a leaf falls off a tree is was caused by Divine Providence. There are a number of reasons why G-d wanted to suffering to happen. 1) because the need for atonement – either in this lifetime or for a previous existence. The Ramban states that without the concept of reincarnation (gilgul) it is impossible to understand the suffering of the righteous and innocent. Thus most suffering is the result of sin. 2) the need for testing and character refinement through adversity. Thus the suffering is not the result of sin but is the means of getting greater personal growth and reward in the world to come. 3) suffering of love is simply n order to give greater reward in the World to Come. This view is found comforting because everything has meaning and the main test is to accept that the suffering is G-d’s will. The suffering is pre-ordained and thus there is no protection against it. The only way to prevent the suffering is to take the initiative to raise ones spiritual level so that there is no need for the suffering. If the desired consequences can be achieved by one's spiritual intitiative then ther is no need for the suffering. The perpetrator still needs to be punished because if he wasn't wicked he would not have be selected to be the agent of the suffering. The concern that G-d is doing something cruel is answered simply by the statement that G-d is obviously is kind but we don’t understand it and must accept whatever He does as kind. G-d is like a doctor who causes pain by amputating a limb or give chemo- therapy to save the person.

The second approach is the man centered view that while G-d in fact runs the world – but He gives man free-will to do what he wants. Thus a man can hurt or kill another – even though G-d doesn’t want it to happen – because of the granting of free-will. Consequently one can in fact prevent the harm from happening by human efforts. The Rambam explains that Divine Providence is reserved for those truly close to G-d and even a distraction from thinking about G-d makes you vulnerable to harm. The Netziv cites a Zohar as the source of this understanding. Rav Dessler cites Seforno that most Jews are not operating under Divine Providence. This is generally the approach found in the Rishonim and was the dominant approach until Chassidim introduced the first view about 150 years ago. This man centered view is comforting because G-d is not being cruel in any sense of the word. Rather it is man that causes suffering or the impersonal forces of chance or mazel. This approach puts the responsibility on man to act and to stop the suffering. It also means that one needs to focus on how he responds on a human level because not all efforts will be effective in stopping the harm. The first approach is much more fatalistic because ultimately one needs only accept what has happened and that it needed to happen.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

How to be an instant tzadik on Rosh HaShanna?

I was told the following understanding of Rosh Hashanna and Yom Kippur yesterday. It was said by Rav Elya Ber Wacthfogel of South Fallsburg. I apologize for any mistakes and if you see any please let me know so I can make corrections.

There is an ancient question. Why does Rosh HaShanna precede Yom Kippur? We all know that for proper teshuva it is necessary to confess your sins (vidoi), have regret for sinning and we need to atone for those sins. Thus it would follow that if Yom Kippur preceded Rosh HaShanna that we could be properly judged as well as be prepared for the judgment. How can we be judged to be a tzadik on Rosh HaShanna when we have so much spiritual filth that we need to cleanse ourselves? A related question is the well known gemora (Kiddushin 49b) that if a wicked man betroths a woman on the condition that he is a tzadik - that there is a sofek that the marriage was valid. But the same queston occurs there. How could he be a tzadik without cleansing himself of all his sins?

The answer is that being a tzadik is not dependent on being cleansed of sin. It is an attitude that can be acquired in an instant. Becoming a tzadik and doing teshuva are two separate processes. A person who becomes a tzadik still needs to cleanse himself. However the cleaning up of the filth is a separate task and doesn't interfere with being a tzadik. Thus on Rosh HaShanna if we decide to be a tzadik then we are in fact a tzadik but the task of cleansing can be left over to the 10 Days of Repentance and Yom Kippur. The main issue is what we want to be - not how clear of sins we are. Therefore we first have the day of making a decision - which is the Day of Judgment - not the day of cleansing which is Yom Kippur.

Curing blindness with a tooth

Reporting abuser even if victim or others object

The following is a sevora regarding reporting the perpetrator even against the wishes of a victim or others. I have not seen this reasoning anywhere so it is possible that it is wrong. I would appreciate comments and suggestions

While we have a clear rule that we don’t sacrifice the life of one person to save to save other people there is a clear exception in the case of rodef. A rodef is killed in order to prevent him from killing or raping. There seems to be a second exception in regards to the relative importance of the spiritual well‑being of the rodef versus the life of the victim. The rodef’s spiritual well-being results from being prevented from sinning. Sanhedrin(73a) asks what if the woman that is being pursued to be raped - tells her rescuers to leave the rapist alone because she is afraid the rapist will kill her. There is a dispute in the gemora regarding this point. R’ Yehuda says she is to be listened to because she values her life more than her honor. We posken like the Rabbis (Shulchan Aruch C.M. 425:4) who says we don’t listen to her because the Torah is concerned that she shouldn’t be raped. In other words our prime goal is to stop the rodef from sinning – even if it means the victim is harmed.

It would seem that we could generalize from this that even if the victim or her family say that they don’t want the perpetrator reported because they are afraid of the damage to their reputation – the perpetrator should still be reported. That is because the perpetrator is likely to abuse others and therefore still has the status of rodef after the molestation. Consequently even if the reputation or even the life of a victim is lost – the rodef has to be stopped. Thus it seems we have a second exception to the principle of not sacrificing one person for another. The life or reputation of a victim is not as important as stopping someone who will commit rape or murder in the future - on an unknown number of other victims. This case is even stronger because here the victim is saying not to stop the rodef from harming others because she will be embarrassed, while in the gemora she is saying not to stop the rodef from harming her. Thus she has less authority than in the case of the gemora and therefore the perpetrator should be reported.

Abuse: Liability for negligence without knowledge

Columbia Missourian

COLUMBIA — After a recent sex abuse settlement involving a Boonville Catholic church, a separate lawsuit has been filed against a United Methodist Church in St. Joseph and its overseeing bodies, including one located in Columbia.

On Sept. 1, 5th Judicial Circuit Court judge Randall R. Jackson overruled a motion to dismiss a civil sex abuse lawsuit against Huffman Memorial United Methodist Church in St. Joseph. It is also against the Pony Express District of the United Methodist Church in St. Joseph and the Columbia's Missouri Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, both of which are overseeing Methodist bodies.

The plaintiff is a former Huffman member who filed the suit anonymously.

"This ruling is significant because it is the first time a Missouri court has held that a negligence case could be pursued against a church for sexual abuse," said Ken Chackes, the plaintiff's attorney, who has handled about 100 cases involving alleged sexual abuse involving the clergy. In earlier lawsuits, victims had to prove that the church knew the abuser was going to harm children and failed to take actions to prevent it. [...]

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Skulener Rebbe: Need for sex education

Someone sent this to me recently. I have not be able to verify its authenticity. However the views regarding the need for sex education expressed here are similar to what I have heard from Rav Moshe Sternbuch, shlita. Anyone who can provide more information regarding its authenticity and context should please contact me. Also any other discussions of this topic would be appreciated.

Skulener Rebbe Speaks Out

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Abuse: Is castration an effective solution


False Muslim rumors - about Jews harvesting Algerian kids organs - go viral


The anti-Semitic blogosphere and many Arab and Muslim media outlets are aflutter in recent days over accusations of an international Jewish conspiracy to kidnap Algerian children and harvest their organs.

Unlike the multiple conspiracy theories about Jews circulating among radical fringe organizations online, this one seems to be gaining momentum on mainstream Arab and Muslim Web sites.

According to the story, first reported by Algeria's Al-Khabar daily, bands of Moroccans and Algerians have allegedly been roaming the streets of Algeria's cities kidnapping young children, who are then transported across the border into Morocco. From the Moroccan city of Oujda, the children are then purportedly sold to Israelis and American Jews, who then harvest their organs for sale in Israel and the United States. The organs are said to fetch anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000.[...]

Shas MK:Soldiers should get lenient conversions


A mouthpiece for haredi Ashkenazi rabbinic leadership blasted Shas MK Haim Amsalem on Monday for suggesting that conversion criteria for non-Jewish IDF soldiers should be more lenient than for other prospective converts to Judaism.

"Rabbis and rabbinical judges expressed their disgust with MK Haim Amsalem's impetuous and blasphemous declaration to apply leniencies when converting goyim from the former Soviet Union who serve in the IDF," the editors of Yated Ne'eman, a haredi daily representing the Lithuanian haredi rabbinical leadership, wrote in a biting article against the MK.

"Amsalem's claim that military service itself is tantamount to adhering to religious commandments is baseless and ridiculous," they wrote.[...]

Child abuse:Vaad HaRabbonim of Baltimore

Monday, September 14, 2009

Rabbi Tropper: Assaults & threats of bodily harm

(hat tip to RaP)

From Rabbi Tropper's Blog

"Dealing with Assaults and Threats


Rabbi Tropper, how does one deal with a person who assaults and threatens bodily harm?

Menachem Z.

Brooklyn, NY


After he has done what needs to be done for self protection he should Daven that that person should do Teshuva.

Rabbi Tropper will not respond to any more questions regarding this matter.

Thank you.

Taking Sides Before Learning The Facts


Rabbi Tropper, why do a few sites who have written about this assault take a side before finding out the facts.

Feivel L.


That is something that only they can answer. The assault is something that I feel is not a topic of discussion on a blog. Particularly in Chodesh Elul.

Spend your extra time learning Divrei Chizuk and Mussar.

Was Rabbi Tropper Assualted?


Rabbi Tropper, there was a story that appeared in the news paper about you being assaulted. Is that True?

Heshy D.


The Story was only reported to the police not to any Newspaper . Whoever reported it to the Press did an injustice to all parties. It took place 5 months ago, on april 26th at 5:55am in Jerusalem."

Hatzalah & Magen David Adom


If you or somebody near you is hurt or ill and calls 101 for Magen David Adom, the first person to arrive may come on foot, in his private car, a motorcycle, a motorbike, a four-wheel-drive Tomcar, an "ambuboat" on Lake Kinneret or even a bicycle - but not an ambulance.

These rescuers volunteer for MDA - and in many cases, they are also unpaid medics or paramedics for United Hatzalah on call 24 hours a day who stop whatever they're doing to reach the person in need. They are usually only a few minutes away. [...]

The Van Jones matter - C Krauthammer


So Van Jones, the defenestrated White House green-jobs czar, once called Republicans "a-holes." Big deal. I've said worse about Democrats. I've said worse about Republicans. I've said worse about members of my family (you know who you are).

How prissy have we become? Are we allowed no salt in our linguistic diets?

Having once written a column praising vice president Richard Cheney's pithy deployment of the F-word - on the floor of the Senate, no less - I rise in defense of Jones. True, Jones' particular choice of epithet had none of the one-syllable concision, the onomatopoeic suggestiveness, the explosive charm of Cheney's. But you don't fire a guy for style.[...]

Day schools & economic crisis


NEW YORK - As schools across America opened their doors for the new academic year this month, in a corner of Orange County, California, the Morasha Jewish Day School stayed dark.

Last spring, it failed in its last-ditch effort to raise much-needed cash through the sale of land. In April, the school's fate was sealed and the board sent a letter to parents outlining the grim financial situation.

"It is with much sadness, therefore, that we share that Morasha Jewish Day School is a casualty of the economic downturn," the letter read.

When it shuttered its doors for good in June, Morasha was not alone. Since the economic collapse last fall, day schools with fragile finances and dwindling enrollment have been forced to close. Others have seen dips in enrollment and significant increases in financial assistance. [...]

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Wall St. wizards ignored human nature


IN the aftermath of the great meltdown of 2008, Wall Street's quants have been cast as the financial engineers of profit-driven innovation run amok. They, after all, invented the exotic securities that proved so troublesome.

But the real failure, according to finance experts and economists, was in the quants' mathematical models of risk that suggested the arcane stuff was safe.

The risk models proved myopic, they say, because they were too simple-minded. They focused mainly on figures like the expected returns and the default risk of financial instruments. What they didn't sufficiently take into account was human behavior, specifically the potential for widespread panic. When lots of investors got too scared to buy or sell, markets seized up and the models failed.

Angry crowds against Obama's programs

Friday, September 11, 2009

Yeshiva training Orthodox women rabbis

Jewish Journal of LA (hat tip to RaP)

Today is the opening day of Yeshivat Mahara"t, a day I believe, that will go down in history. It is the first program open to Orthodox women that is willing not only to train, but to ordain women as spiritual leaders— as rabbinic leaders— in the Orthodox community. This is the message that I hope to impart to the inaugural class:

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Rav Sternbuch: Simcha through giving

Miss Muslim Moral Beauty Pageant in Saudi Arabia

Calling police - case of R' Tropper

R' Tropper's recent filing of a complaint with the police has prompted the question by RaP as to what the circumstances are for going to the police. In response Roni [R' Tropper passionate defender] posted a number of sources which were then questioned by Mekubal. This was a discussion taking place on "R' Tropper claimed his life was threatened - the o...":

I am making this a separate post and will transfer the original comments except for ones similar to the following which were censored for obvious reasons.

RONI said...

DAAT Torah, vekol hashemos shenikreu loy1

mekubal has left a new comment on your post "R' Tropper claimed his life was threatened - the o...":
Actually Roni,

He posted both sides of the story. The first part is found here R Tropper said his life threatened. Which is pretty much R' Tropper's side of the story.

Then when Guma decided to talk to the press he posted a link to that as well. There is no censorship, simply linking to the relevant news stories. That is what is called fair and balanced reporting. Now if you want to give back story to the argument feel free, I am sure that D"T will publish it. Especially if you write it politely.

However, the truth is that you are not dealing with the issues. You are simply falling back on Ad hominim attacks. Why you feel the need to do that I am not sure. There as been no direct attacks on R' Tropper. In fact from my perspective I just want to the discuss the halachic validity of his actions.

So here are two honest questions:

1) Can you(or he) demonstrate the halachic validity of his going to a secular court with Tom Kaplan to sue for control of the Lilian Jean Kaplan Foundation? There is a very clear issur first expounded in Gittin 88B and then through the Rishonim and Achronim.

Shulchan Aruch(Choshen Mishpat 26:1): , It is forbidden to bring a case before non Jewish dayanim and their courts(meaning a permanent seat for their ministers to hear cases) even if they rule by dinei Yisrael, even if they agreed to bring the case before them, this is forbidden. All who come to judge before them, are considered to be Reshaim it is as if they blaspheme against Moshe Rabbeinu, peace be upon him.

the Beis Din may put into nidui or cherem one who brings a case before a non-Jewish court until he withdraws the case (Maharik, shoresh 187). And any one who supported a Jew bringing a case to a non-Jewish court was also put into cherem (Rivash (Siman 102). And even if he does not bring the case to be tried before the non-Jewish court but rather to use the non-Jewish court to force his Baal din to come to him for the case in Beis Din by means of their issuing a court order for this, it is appropriate to stretch him out on the pole (Mordechai, Bava Kama, perek hagozel kama). And see Siman 388. One who already brought his case before a non-Jewish court and was obligated by them and afterwards brings his claim before Dayanei Yisrael, there are those that say that we don’t relate to the matter, meaning the Dayanei Yisrael to not hear the case (Maharik, shoresh 187), and there are those that say that the case is heard (Mordechai, Bava Kama, Siman 195), unless he caused a loss to his opposing litigant before the non-Jewish judges, in which case it is no longer heard by dayanei Yisrael (the ruling of the Maharam Mirsbork). And the first line of reasoning seems to me the main one.

2)Which halachic authority gave the Ok for his latest prosecution of Guma?

Restrictive laws lead to Pedophile Clusters

Fox news

When police raided the home of convicted sex offender Phillip Garrido and freed Jaycee Lee Dugard, a girl who'd been kidnapped 18 years earlier, they were astounded to learn that more than 100 other sex offenders lived is the same area.

What they discovered is a trend that has been raising concerns among cops, local officials and experts across the country who study efforts to rein in sex offenders.

It is called clustering -- and it is raising alarms from coast to coast, from Florida to Iowa to California.

As states and municipalities have enacted laws that bar registered sex offenders from living near schools, playgrounds and other places where children congregate, they have been forced to settle down in more remote, often rural, areas where restrictions haven't been imposed or there is enough space to avoid them. [...]

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Mondrowitz abuse case & R Bomzer

ABC News

Retired New York Police Department Det. Pat Kehoe still remembers a phone call she got more than 20 years ago, from a person making allegations that a rabbi was sexually abusing children in his neighborhood.

"I never received a call like that in my whole career in the New York City Police Department. Never," Kehoe told Cynthia McFadden in a recent interview.

"I'll never forget it because unfortunately it was my birthday, November 21 1984. I was working in the Brooklyn Sex Crimes squad and I received an anonymous call from a male who started to say that there was a rabbi and gave the name and he was abusing people on this block," she said.

Rabbi Avrohom Mondrowitz, as he called himself, lived on a tree-lined block in the Borough Park section of Brooklyn. Kehoe and her partner, Sal Catafulmo, went out to the neighborhood where Italians and Hasidic Jews lived side-by-side.

At one of the first addresses they tried, she says a resident told her "Everyone knows Rabbi Mondrowitz. He's good to all our children. He buys them bicycles and takes them away on weekends and things." [...]

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

R' Tropper claimed his life was threatened - the other side of the story

Chedrei Chareidim

Kikar HaShabbat

Global sex-offenders registry


While the world's attention was focused on Phillip Garrido, who is accused of abducting 11-year-old Jaycee Lee Dugard in 1991 and holding her hostage for 18 years as a sex slave, three other alleged sexual predators were quietly brought back to the United States to face prosecution for abusing countless children in Cambodia. The horrifying ordeal of Garrido's victim is now well documented; however, the stories of an estimated 1.8 million other children worldwide who are forced into the multi-billion dollar commercial sex trade every year remain largely unheard. [...]

The other face of the Eida Chareidis

It is basically saying that the point of view expressed in an interview by Rabbi Pappenheim - who is associated with the Eidah - which he gave to Mishpacha a few weeks ago is becoming accepted as a necessary and pragmatic approach with discussions rather than violence. That there is a realization in the Eidah that violent demonstrations are harmful and therefore they have been stopped.

R Tropper said his life threatened


A prominent U.S. rabbi is accusing Guma Aguiar, the billionaire energy industrialist and patron of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer club, of assaulting him in a Jerusalem hotel in April while the rabbi served as a prosecution witness against the businessman in a civil suit in Florida. Aguiar - who was born in Brazil, raised in the United States and now spends part of the year in Israel - is accused of entering Rabbi Leib Tropper's room at the David Citadel Hotel, assaulting him and threatening to cause him further harm. [...]

Monday, September 7, 2009

Stanley's questions regarding the BDA

Now that Stanley is willing to have a civil discourse - I am making his questions a post because he is asking some really good questions. The only question that I clearly need to answer is 3. I am not writing a book about wife abuse or husband abuse or child abuse but - abuse which includes all three and more. For previous dialogue between us see the post linked by his name below.

[[Wednesday Sept 9 Daas Torah said: I just was contacted by the BDA. They generously have offered to have someone answer questions - if they are given a list of clearly written and polite questions.

Stanley here is your chance. Your questions at present are too disorganized - please rewrite them and I will forward them]]

Stanley has left a new comment on your post "Insistence on only Torah law would destroy society...":

let's see if this post will make it or not:

1) i asked where the source for the BDS's dina de'malchusa dina was when it was rejected by all the rishonim and many acharonim and prof. michael broyde couldn't justify it with sources. i was accused of lziness.

in fact it is the BDA who came up with this 'novel' interpretation, it is for them to list the sources, not me. they must justify this new interpretation not me.

2) i questioned the veracity of the takonah of the BDA regarding the pre-nup by claiming i) no one else accepts it and no gedolim from the chareidi camp saw the need for it ii) less importantly, showed how modern society requires two wage earners and no longer is traditional where the man provides the bread any longer, so the need for the takonah is far less than in previous generations.

3) i stated as a fact and provided a source that the BDA'S claims that NY Get law can still usually result in a kosher get is rejected accross America by charedi poskim so how can the BDA go it alone in dinei nefoshos regarding eishes ish? i sited by name an example where rabbi manilowitz condemned the head of the BDA for mis-interpreting a tshuva from an odom godol. (a further fact, if the BDA wants to use reb moshe to justify this interpretation, how is it that no one from the chareidi camp understands the t'shuva of reb moshe the way it does and has condemned the NY get law).

3) i questioned the blog site's owner's objectivity regarding this agunah issue if he is writing a book on wife abuse and not spouse abuse which includes husband abuse. he may have 100% for this legitimate reasons but he has not answered what they are and I believe he should, otherwise one cannot be blamed for believing he is biased.

instead i have been addressed in a very condascending way and been lamblasted and accused of violent anger. all i wish is for him to answer the 4 questions (even though it's still 6 months till pesach) on his blogs without his frankly despicable replies.

if he claims that this is not his area of expertise and has no time to explore these issues, this is clearly his right. but then how can he be so dogmatic about his opinions and condemn mine so strongly? the other MO people reading this blog should also be able to answer most of my questions if they are defending the BDA out of knowledge and ignorance and i challenge them to do so.

i believe that he agreed to post my comments again on certain conditions and i hope i have been civil enough to have met his conditions. time will tell...

lastly this is not about me or you or anyone being right for that matter,. this is about a basic principle in yidddishkeit. if the botei din are doing the wrong thing, regardless of who they are or what they are, or what camp they belong to, they need to be held to task! gentlemen, i await your response without the sarcasm!

Haaretz' reporting is incitement?


US President Barack Obama told Jewish leaders in a July meeting that Israel needs to "engage in serious self-reflection." Israel's new US ambassador was "summoned" to the State Department to be lectured about Israel's building settlements in Jerusalem. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called two top aides to Obama "self-hating Jews."

All of these reports appeared in Haaretz.

And they've all been disputed or denied by the principals involved.

Nevertheless, the tales have become an important part of the day-to-day narrative on the US-Israel relationship. Partisans and pundits on both sides of the political divide have seized on the anonymously sourced stories to herald their own preconceived notions of the Obama administration and the Netanyahu government. [...]

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Racism - what does color blind mean?


At the Children's Research Lab at the University of Texas, a database is kept on thousands of families in the Austin area who have volunteered to be available for scholarly research. In 2006 Birgitte Vittrup recruited from the database about a hundred families, all of whom were Caucasian with a child 5 to 7 years old.

The goal of Vittrup's study was to learn if typical children's videos with multicultural storylines have any beneficial effect on children's racial attitudes. Her first step was to give the children a Racial Attitude Measure, which asked such questions as:

How many White people are nice?
(Almost all) (A lot) (Some) (Not many) (None)

How many Black people are nice?
(Almost all) (A lot) (Some) (Not many) (None)

During the test, the descriptive adjective "nice" was replaced with more than 20 other adjectives, like "dishonest," "pretty," "curious," and "snobby."

Vittrup sent a third of the families home with multiculturally themed videos for a week, such as an episode of Sesame Street in which characters visit an African-American family's home, and an episode of Little Bill, where the entire neighborhood comes together to clean the local park.

In truth, Vittrup didn't expect that children's racial attitudes would change very much just from watching these videos. Prior research had shown that multicultural curricula in schools have far less impact than we intend them to—largely because the implicit message "We're all friends" is too vague for young children to understand that it refers to skin color. [...]

At last - Peaceful Shabbos demonstration


Violent demonstrations staged by Jerusalem's haredi community in recent weeks were scaled back Friday and Saturday, due in part to last week's orders from the Eda Haredit against blocking roads, throwing rocks, spitting or taking protests beyond the religious neighborhoods.

While several cars and individuals that passed near religious neighborhoods were peppered with stones and water bottles from a gathering of about 2,500 haredim, there were no violent confrontations with police.

"In general things were relatively quiet in comparison to other weekends," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told The Jerusalem Post Saturday night.[...]

R' Slifkin's review of Chaim Be’Emunasom

This is the lastest round in the debate concerning Science & Religion a.k.a the Slikin Issue. My publishing this is not an endorsement of the views expressed - on either side. I am willing to publish civil comments that deal with the substance of the issue. Comments that say nothing more than "kofer" or "rasha" will be discarded. Even though Rabbi Tropper has claimed that I am R' Slifkin's major supporter - it is simply not true. I am quite willing to publish the critique of this critique. I was undecided about publishing this but commentator Stanley's ready use of the word kofer served as a timely reminded that violent demonstrations in Jerusalem are not the only serious issue we must deal with.

A no holds barred opponent of R' Slikin here - R' Raphael Bearmant and here

Intermarriage & racism/ Ask Moses

Saturday, September 5, 2009

R Tovia Singer at Auschwitz

Obama's energy guru's problematic statements

Washington Post .Wall Street Journal Just resigned - Washington Post

White House officials offered tepid support Friday for Van Jones, the administration's embattled energy efficiency guru, who has issued two public apologies this week, one for signing a petition that questioned whether Bush administration officials "may indeed have deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen, perhaps as a pretext for war."

Earlier, Jones said he was "clearly inappropriate" in using a crude term to describe Republicans in a speech he gave before joining the administration.

The apologies did little to quell objections from Republicans, several of whom demanded Friday further action against Jones. Rep. Mike Pence (Ind.) called on the adviser to resign or be fired, saying in a statement, "His extremist views and coarse rhetoric have no place in this administration or the public debate." [...]

Wrongly convicted convicts paid $80g/ year


Thomas McGowan's journey from prison to prosperity is about to culminate in $1.8 million, and he knows just how to spend it: on a house with three bedrooms, stainless steel kitchen appliances and a washer and dryer.

"I'll let my girlfriend pick out the rest," said McGowan, who was exonerated last year based on DNA evidence after spending nearly 23 years in prison for rape and robbery.

He and other exonerees in Texas, which leads the nation in freeing the wrongly convicted, soon will become instant millionaires under a new state law that took effect this week.

Exonerees will get $80,000 for each year they spent behind bars. The compensation also includes lifetime annuity payments that for most of the wrongly convicted are worth between $40,000 and $50,000 a year — making it by far the nation's most generous package.[...

Friday, September 4, 2009

NY Times errors regarding the Eidah Chareidis


Yesterday, the New York Times reported a conversation that their correspondent had with a supposed representative of the Eida Chareidis in Jerusalem, Yoilish Krauss. The New York Times, however, did not check out in fact, with the Eida Chareidis whether or not this fact was true. In an interview with Rav Moshe Shternbuch, VIN News reported that Rav Shternbuch stated categorically that Mr. Yoilish Krauss has no involvement with the Eida Chareidis whatsoever.[...]

Children who molest other children

Times on Line

Two brothers aged 10 and 12 who tortured and sexually humiliated two boys were spared trial for attempted murder yesterday when prosecutors decided to accept their guilty pleas to lesser charges.

The brothers pleaded guilty to robbing, sexually abusing and intentionally causing grievous bodily harm to their victims, aged 9 and 11, during a pre-planned attack of extreme, sadistic violence that has drawn parallels with the murder of James Bulger and to assaulting another boy a week earlier. The Crown Prosecution Service said that it had accepted the lesser charges to save the victims from having to relive their ordeal in court and said that the brothers would still face the same maximum term of life imprisonment.

The attack happened in April, 25 days after the brothers had been taken into care and placed with a foster family in the mining village of Edlington, South Yorkshire.

The nine-year-old victim raised the alarm after being found wandering the streets barefoot and dazed and covered in mud and blood. His 11-year-old friend was found a short time later at the foot of a steep ravine. He was unconscious, naked from the waist down and half-submerged in water. He had been left for dead after a sink was smashed down on his head.[...]

Petach Tikva & Falash Mura - it is not racism

Haaretz SEE Previous posting on subject

Israel is rife with racism, xenophobia, snobbery and hatred - particularly toward Arabs, especially Palestinians, but also toward foreign workers and other "others." Each part of our society has its own well-known pet hates; fear and loathing exist across every religious, geographic, racial and financial divide.

Yes, of course, other societies are just as bad, if not worse, and the hatred is certainly reciprocated, with interest, toward Israelis and Jews, from many other quarters. But that should not serve as any kind of excuse. Israel and Israelis aspired once upon a time to better things, and still like to think themselves above all that.

With all that said, however, the crisis over the Ethiopian children and the Petah Tikva schools has nothing to do with racism. I lived in the religious Zionist community for many years, studied with Ethiopian students in yeshivas and colleges, served with them in a hesder unit (which combines army service and Torah study). And despite my unreserved criticisms of the community in which I grew up, and its many racist and xenophobic traits, I have to admit that with regard to absorbing Ethiopian immigrants, it is probably the least racist part of Israeli society. It is not without fault, and there have been racist incidents. But on the whole, most of its leadership, and certainly the grass roots, have displayed more concern for the Ethiopians' acceptance than any other group. [...]

Abuse - Pitfalls of relying on scientific circumstantial evidence

Obama, the Mortal - Charles Krauthammer

Washington Post

What happened to President Obama? His wax wings having melted, he is the man who fell to earth. What happened to bring his popularity down further than that of any new president in polling history save Gerald Ford (post-Nixon pardon)?

The conventional wisdom is that Obama made a tactical mistake by farming out his agenda to Congress and allowing himself to be pulled left by the doctrinaire liberals of the Democratic congressional leadership. But the idea of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi pulling Obama left is quite ridiculous. Where do you think he came from, this friend of Chávista ex-terrorist William Ayers, of PLO apologist Rashid Khalidi, of racialist inciter Jeremiah Wright?

But forget the character witnesses. Just look at Obama's behavior as president, beginning with his first address to Congress. Unbidden, unforced and unpushed by the congressional leadership, Obama gave his most deeply felt vision of America, delivering the boldest social democratic manifesto ever issued by a U.S. president. In American politics, you can't get more left than that speech and still be on the playing field. [...]

Artzeinu:Driving Through Mea Shearim on Shabbos

Guest Post

Kindness Will Work Better

A number of years ago there was a young rebel who decided to go speeding through the streets of Mea Shearim on a Shabbos afternoon with his radio at full volume. As you could imagine, the indignant shouts of "Shabbos, Shabbos!" could be heard block in and block out. The indentations on the car from the stones hurled by angry Chassidim had already become evident after a few blocks.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Bedatz:New Guidelines for Protest

My translaton of the guidelines for the demonstration:

At the instructions of the rabbinical leadership of the Eida Chareidis we are to go through the streets of Meah Shearim only until Rechov Shivtei Yisroel. Unmarried students and children are not to participate in any manner in the demonstrations. There is an absolute prohibition of doing any actions which can bring danger to life. No one is to go into the streets and interfere with traffic and similar activities. Furthermore no one is do any act of violence such as throwing stones or vegetables or similar things. Everyone is responsible to make sure that no one else violates any of these instructions. These prohibited activities are self-defeating and are destructive to the battle to properly honor Shabbos.

Rav Sternbuch:Having a successful Elul

Rav Sternbuch denounces violent demonstrations

VIN Interview with R' Yair Hoffman

Hooligans attack Palestinian cab driver

Attackers not chareidim

Nachum Barnea is a noted columnist etc. He was there, said that the attackers were not charedim, did have black kipas but clothing was not charedi. Also after the driver climbed out of the car no one attacked him, only argued and cursed. so... listen to the recording.

[Title of post corrected and Haaretz's version deleted]

Jerusalem Post

In the latest development in an ongoing series of violent incidents, a group of haredim attacked an Arab taxi on Tuesday night at 2 a.m.

The attack was seen as an act of revenge after another cab driver, purported to be an Arab as well, hit a haredi protester with his taxi while speeding through the area during riots on Sunday night.

Shmuel Poppenheim, a spokesman for the Eda Haredit, said his organization was opposed to the use of violence, especially against non-Jews.

The Eda Haredit is opposed to the Zionist movement and the establishment of the State of Israel in part because of its use of violence against non-Jews, which is seen as dangerous incitement and a revolt against God.

Poppenheim instead blamed members of a yeshiva for newly religious men affiliated with a stream of Breslav Hassidism.

"Those guys look haredi because they dress like haredim but they aren't," said Poppenheim. "They are responsible for all the violence. We are not a violent people."

Poppenheim said that the head of the yeshiva had a "strange messianic" justification for using violence against non-Jews which is diametrically opposed to the Eda Haredit's way.[...]

Eidah issues new guidelines for protests


The Edah HaChareidis rabbis who have lead the Jerusalem protests throughout the summer will Thursday issue new guidelines for their struggle against the opening of the municipal Karta parking garage on Saturdays, Haaretz has learned. While not calling for an end to the disputes, the rabbis are calling to avoid violence and damage to property.

The letter, set to be published Thursday, is the first step taken by the Edah HaChareidis rabbinical court, or Badatz, to rein in the violence - which reached new heights earlier this week. On Saturday, two drivers attempted to run over protesters who were blocking their path near the parking lot, while on early Wednesday morning several dozen young people attacked an Arab taxi driver.

The letter, titled "Declaration and Warning," states that "in protests for the dignity of heavens, and against those seeking to overrun the fortifications of religious wisdom, one must still conduct himself by Torah law and spirit, not to carry out acts of violence like stoning, burning and spitting or to cause any damage to any property." From now on, the rabbis command, the protests will only be held inside the ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods rather than by the parking garage itself. They also declared they were banning children and unmarried men from participating in the protests.

Despite the letter, disagreements with the ultra-Orthodox community continue. Rabbi Yitzhak Tuvia Weiss, the leader of Edah HaChareidis, was determined Wednesday not to accept the operation of the municipal garage during the Sabbath, and new leaflets and pashkavils announcing protests on the coming Saturday could be seen in the streets. It is also unclear what, if any, influence the rabbis have over the protesters, as many of the riots are sparked by young men not affiliated with the Edah HaChareidis and not followers of its rabbis. [...]

Kidney transplants- buying & selling

MASA campaigns against intermarriage


An organization that works to strengthen ties between Israel and Diaspora Jews Wednesday launched a scare-tactic campaign that urges Israelis to combat assimilation in North America by working to prevent the "loss" of their own Jewish acquaintances there.

The 10-day Hebrew-language campaign, to be shown on television and online, was prepared by a leading advertising firm at the behest of MASA, a partnership between the Jewish Agency and the Israeli government that helps finance and market semester- and year-length Israel programs for Diaspora Jews. [...]

Religious- secular divide in Israel


JERUSALEM — On Saturday, as on every Saturday in recent weeks, hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jews gathered before dusk on the terraces above the Carta parking lot just outside the Old City walls. In black silk Sabbath robes and fur hats, they lined up in rows, perched and waiting.

Suddenly their foot soldiers arrived on the street below, protesters who surged past the newly opened luxury Mamilla Hotel. Police officers mounted on horses rushed to meet them as hotel guests looked on, bewildered, from windows on the upper floors.

This summer, radical elements of the ultra-Orthodox community have been demonstrating and rioting against city authorities, welfare officials and the police. For Jerusalem's mayor, Nir Barkat, a secular high-tech millionaire trying to attract more business, tourism and professional types to the city, the timing has been inopportune, to say the least.

The tensions in this contested city usually run along an east-west, Jewish-Palestinian divide. But within the western, predominantly Jewish, section of the city, the cultural fault lines between religious and secular Jews run deep. Any change in the delicate status quo seems capable of setting off a riot, as Jerusalem's most zealous Jews and liberals vie for the city's character and soul.[...]