Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Danger of Science Denial

Distinction between social judgment and judgment of beis din Rav Hirsh

In researching my new sefer on judging others versus judgment of beis din I came across this relevant quote from Rav Hirsch (Vayikra 19:15).

For judgment outside the court of justice, for judging our fellows in ordinary life, out of this sentence imposing the duty on the judge to adhere sharply to the absolute facts in all strictness, the Gemora ]Shevuos 30a] there learns the rule:הוי דן את חברך לכף זכות always give the best possible interpretation to all matters concerning your neighbour and judge him to his advantage. This is only apparently in contradiction with the judicial formula. For judgment in a court of justice and social judgment do not serve the same purpose. The former has to test the action solely as to whether it is in accordance with the dictates of justice or not, quite apart from any considerations of the individual circumstances or conditions and without regard to the motives. An action, although it may not be legal, can be entirely excusable and yet at the forum of justice must be judged as punishable. And an action judged by its motive can be stamped as highly vicious and yet legally be within the law and unpunishable. But Society has, on the other hand, above all, the personality, the character, in its eye, and every action is, to it, only a symptom by which to judge the integrity or the reverse of its members. Exactly the same justice which in court banishes personality entirely from the judgment, and judges the action entirely in absolute objectivity, that same justice demands in social life the most meticulous and anxious conscientiousness in considering every possible condition which could make the person and his character appear in a better light, and admonishes:

Be not hasty in throwing mud at anybody's character, always be inclined to find excusing circumstances for all actions! This is the same idea of justice which for social judgment says: אל תדין את חברך עד שתגיע למקומו "Judge not thy neighbour until thou hast been in a similar position" (Aboth II,5). "It differentiates between forensic and social judgment to such an extent that to the judge in civil cases it says: "When the parties stand before you, consider them both in the wrong, but once they have accepted your decision and have left you, regard them both as good men":   כשיהיו בעלי הדין עומדים לפניך יהיו בעיניך  כרשעים וכשנפטרים מלפניך יהיו בעיניך כזכאין כשקבלו עליהם את הדין (Avos 2:5).

Schlesinger Twins: Michael lies to court that Beth went to a beer festival on Yom Kippur to deny her weekend visits with her children!

Guest post from Beth Alexander

It seems there any no lengths Mr Schlesinger won't go and no depths too low that he won't sink to try to discredit and destroy me, the mother of his beloved children.

Every day of separation from my dear boys is another day of torturous pain and agony to endure. Special days like birthdays, holidays and celebrations are especially hard.

Shabbat and Chagim are the most testing of all. These silent lonely days are the harshest reminder of the heavy loss of all my hopes and dreams: the loving Jewish home I yearned to create together with my so-called 'religious' husband, the happy home of fun, ringing with children's laughter I struggled to build, the holiness and warmth I expected to fill my marriage - all devastatingly replaced by abuse, destruction and tears.

Unable to bear the pain of solitude on Rosh Hashonnah, I flew home to Manchester. I sat at the back of shul with my mother and we wept and sobbed in each other's arms, consoling one another; a mother bereft of her children and a grandmother's double pain for her daughter and suffering grandchildren far away. It is the 4th year without my children on the Chagim but the wound is just as fresh and raw as the day it was inflicted.

I wasn't able to stay until Yom Kippur so was forced to spend the fast in Vienna. I went to shul and cried again. Uncontrollably. I was comforted by the kindest people, strangers and old friends who shared my grief and understood what, for any mother in the world, is the greatest loss of all.

Sukkot and Simchat Torah - again separated - but the Tuesday visit I was able to take them to the shul sukkah on chol hamoed brought the three of us pure joy!

It's been a difficult month and truthfully, I'm glad it's over. Until Sammy and Benji are back in my arms, the Chagim will never be the same for me again. Simcha and celebration have been replaced with solemn mourning and meditation.

Yet to add salt to the wound, Michael Schlesinger wrote to the court this week to deny my application for weekend visits claiming that I am not religious and accused me of spending Yom Kippur 'the holiest day of the year' at a beer festival in some far flung place in Austria!!

Why do you tell such audacious lies, Michael? Why did you also lie that the twins were ill on my visit two days before Rosh Hashonnah? You claimed Sammy had pneumonia - which would take at least 2 weeks to recover from - but then both boys were in the Chabad shul just two days later on Rosh Hashonnah. Why did you then ask people to lie for you to deny that they were in shul when others had already seen them there and informed me they were there?

Worst of all are the lies to our children. They have a mother who loves them more than anything in the world. And you continue to deny them my love.

What lies do you tell them when they ask you why their Mama doesn't tuck them into bed at night and kiss them goodnight?

What lies do you tell them when they ask you why they can't run into their Mama's arms after a long day at kindergarten like all the other children?

What lies do you tell them when they hurt themselves and cry for their Mama?

One day soon they will discover the truth. Prepare yourself. How exactly do you expect them to react when they do?
========================Witness Statement =================
Vienna, October 29, 2014
I, Sofia Collar, Argentina, 65 years old and now living with my daughter, Deborah Collar in Iglseegasse *, **** (Percholdsdorf), Austria, for some weeks, I declare, on my own will, that I met Beth Alexander at the evening of Yom Kipur – Jewish forgiveness day – at the Main Vienna Synagogue, the Stadttempel and as we were sitting next to each other and she did not stop crying I asked her what was wrong with her. 
Thereafter, we spend during the whole Friday evening service and Saturday – all day long – together and on different times when she could stop crying she told me that she was very unhappy and sad because she was apart from her two little children and could not spend the Jewish Holidays with them.
                                                            Sofia Collar
                                                           Argentine Passport 1.8******
                                                           Tel (in Vienna) 0650 *******

Permanent address: Araoz 282 – 6p 19
1414 Buenos Aires, Argentina

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Rav Shmuel Kaminetsky claims that vaccinations are harmful

Rav Shmuel Kaminetsky
Baltimore Jewish Times    Read the whole article including the comments

[...] R.B. encountered significant difficulties when she claimed a religious exemption at a local boys’ day school. Before her son began school, she contacted someone at the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, as well as the state attorney general’s office, to inquire about Maryland’s laws regarding religious exemptions.

“They said that the school could not refuse to accept a religious exemption,” she related. “But then school started and the nurse called. She said the school didn’t accept religious exemptions. I told her they had to accept them so she said I would have to speak with the principal.”

R.B. reached out to Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetzky, founder and dean of the Talmudical Academy of Philadelphia, whose wife, Temi, speaks out against vaccinating children. The rabbi wrote a letter on R.B.’s behalf, leading to her son’s principal relenting and apologizing.

When reached by phone, both Kamenetzkys confirmed their belief that vaccinations, not the diseases they prevent, are harmful.

“There is a doctor in Chicago who doesn’t vaccinate any of his patients and they have no problem at all,” said the rabbi. “I see vaccinations as the problem. It’s a hoax. Even the Salk vaccine [against polio] is a hoax. It is just big business.”

Kamenetzky says he follows the lead of Israeli Rabbi Shmaryahu Yosef Chaim Kanievsky, who rules that schools “have no right to prevent unvaccinated kids from coming to school.”

“What about the people who clean and sweep in the school?” argued Kamenetzky. “They are mostly Mexican and are unvaccinated. If there was a problem, the children would already have gotten sick.”

Sharon Billing, a Baltimore nurse and mother, said she once challenged Temi Kamenetzky at a lecture.

“How can you advise young mothers to do this?” she asked the rebbetzin. “You’re old enough to remember whopping cough and diphtheria. As Jews, we are required to guard our health.”
Billing has a cousin born just prior to the development of the polio vaccine.

“He was wheelchair bound all of his life and had the use of only one arm,” she said. “I find it distressing that so many are so uninformed about vaccines.”

In her 20 years as a pediatric nurse practitioner, Stacy Schwartz of Pikesville has rarely come across parents who refuse to vaccinate. Schwartz, who works in a private practice in Cross Keys and at Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School once a week, says she believes in vaccinating all children.

“For us, it’s a public health issue, and there is no credible research to show that vaccines lead to developmental disabilities,” said Schwartz, who added that Beth Tfiloh follows Maryland’s state vaccination policy. [...]

R Freundel accused of Mikve camera: Police set up hotline for those who think they were victimized

Washington Post Authorities investigating a Georgetown rabbi accused of secretly recording women in a ritual bath in Northwest Washington have set up a hotline number for people who think they might have been victimized. 

D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier, in her first public comments on the arrest of Rabbi Barry Freundel, said Tuesday that the investigation is expected to take a long time as forensic experts comb through computer storage devices seized in the case.

“It’s really a tragic case and it is going to take some time for all the details to unfold,” Lanier told Bruce DePuyt on her monthly appearance on NewsChannel 8. “I think this case will be rolling out for some time.” She added, “For people who are potential victims, that is agonizing.”

The number at the U.S. attorney’s office is . There is also an e-mail address,, and a web site with updated information:
Lanier said it is important that potential victims “who are part of this larger family can follow what is going on.” [...]

Each life is precious: The life of children with severe brain damage

YNET    The children of the Chronic Respiratory Care Ward at Herzog Hospital have severe brain damage, but for the dedicated staff it is a priority to give them quality of life.

When Eli arrives to visit his 14-year-old daughter Rachel at the Children's Chronic Respiratory Care Department in Herzog Hospital in Jerusalem, he fights to hold back the tears. Instead of crying, he tries to be positive, telling her about the upcoming holiday, sharing all the recent news from their large family, and praying with her.  

Sometimes, as he prepares to say goodbye to his beloved child, he thinks she is moving her head as though trying to reach for him. But, painfully, he understands that she can't.

The department opened in 2004, based on the successful treatment of adults requiring respiratory support. There are at present 24 children in the ward - some are conscious and others have minimal response to stimulus.[..]

 "Almost half of our children had periods of hypoxia due to various disastrous incidents, such as a baby who suffocated on the lace of a pacifier or a toddler who pushed his head inside a pickle jar full of water," Gil says. 

"The second group contains children with congenital problems such as a developmental defect leading to brain dysfunction, a hereditary disease or malfunction created by some genetic defect during fertilization, or complications following meningitis, which unfortunately still occur. The common denominator is their constant dependence on a ventilator," she says.   

"However, our work doesn't end with prolonging their lives; it is also about improving their quality of life. Our children receive physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, therapy with animals, music therapy, bibliotherapy and more. The adherence to daily stimulation has certainly proven itself; there are conclusive physiological responses, for example their muscles, which under normal circumstances are very rigid, become looser, and the heart rate and blood pressure decrease.  

"Furthermore we have noticed that the children look at us and recognize us, despite the fact that they can't communicate verbally. Obviously they feel more than they understand."  [...]

At first glance they seem so helpless, remote and in pain that crying is an inevitable response. But when you sit next to one of the children, who is wrapped safely in the arms of one of their special education teachers, the picture changes. [...]

Often," says Prof. Gil, "when people hear about this ward, they immediately think 'What kind of life is this?' But studies show that children with severe disabilities are content with their lives; it all comes down to how you look at it. In our culture, and especially for me as a Holocaust survivor, life is so precious that it's unthinkable to give it up.

"There are hospitals around the world where when the doctor breaks it to the parents that there is nothing he or she can do to improve their child's condition, the parents take one last photograph with their child, they say their goodbyes and ask for the child to be disconnected from life support. 

"In Israel, apart of the fact that it is forbidden by law, it just never happens. Throughout the years we have had cases where we have succeeded in weaning children off the ventilator, and these are our greatest success stories."  [...]

Observations about the Salk Polio vaccine - National Public Radio

The Guardian    In 1954, over 300,000 doctors, nurses, schoolteachers and other volunteers across the United States, Canada and Finland took part in one of the most complex and monumental medical trials in history. The plan was to test the effectiveness of a newly-developed vaccine for a disease that was devastating the lives of children across the US: polio.

It was a mammoth task – a double-blind experiment, in which 650,000 schoolchildren were given the vaccine, 750,000 were given a placebo, and over 400,000 children acted as a control group and were given neither. For taking part, each participant was given a sweet and a certificate proclaiming their role as a ‘Polio Pioneer’. The results, announced in 1955, were just as monumental: the vaccine was safe and effective. As a direct result of the development of the vaccine, polio was completely eradicated in the US by 1979. [...]

One other aspect of Salk’s story still plays a vital role in the development and use of vaccines today: public support. In many ways, the 1954 field tests of the polio vaccine are a major success story in public health and scientific engagement – according to some sources, a Gallup poll that year showed that more Americans knew about the trials than could give the full name of then president, Dwight Eisenhower. In short, it appeared that there was unprecedented support for the vaccine. 

It is therefore a sad and strange irony that there now appears to be a growing backlash against vaccines in the US and UK – particularly the MMR vaccine. Since Andrew Wakefield published a fraudulent paper in 1998 purporting to show a link between the MMR vaccine and autism, incidences of measles and mumps have risen greatly. Despite this, and despite studies showing clear costs to society when vaccine rates drop, antivaccinationists still insist on ignoring the evidence when it comes to immunising children. It therefore seems like the celebration of Salk’s 100th birthday is an apt time to remember how hugely important vaccination is – not just on an individual level, but for public health as a whole.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Polygamist cult leader Goel Ratzon sentenced to 30 years in prison

YNET  The Tel Aviv District Court sentenced polygamist Goel Ratzon on Tuesday to 30 years in prison for sex crimes against his wives and daughters as part of what prosecutors described as a mind-boggling saga of dominance and delusions of deity.

Last month, Ratzon, 64, was convicted of a number of sexual offences, including rape of a number of his wives. He was cleared, however, of separate counts of enslavement regarding 21 spouses and 38 children he had kept in various homes around the city. He was also found guilty on the majority of the other sexually related offenses, condemning him in the highly publicized trial as a serial rapist.[...]

In an interview he gave to Yedioth Ahronoth in 2010, the first since his arrest, Ratzon denied the charges against him and claimed his relations with the more than 30 women who lived with him were based on love and respect.

During the interview Ratzon said: "There was no slavery. We had warm relations. (There was) full understanding between us, a genuine desire to help one another. A woman does not stay in a place she is not pleased with for 15 years." 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Karen Mosquera hy"d - second victim of Hamas terror attack at train station - is buried

Arutz 7 Karen Jemima Mosquera hy''d, fatally wounded last Wednesday by a Hamas terrorist in Jerusalem, succumbed to her wounds on Sunday and was buried in the capital. She became the second victim to die from the attack, along with three-month-old Chaya Zisel Braun hy''d.

A year-and-a-half ago Mosquera came to Israel from her home in Guayaquil, Ecuador, to complete her conversion to Judaism, a Foreign Ministry statement on Sunday said. It revealed she chose to convert after discovering she was descended from Conversos, Spanish Jews forcibly converted to Catholicism after 1492.
"She spent the last two months in a Midrasha, an institute of Jewish studies for women, with other women from South America. Prior to moving to Israel, she had studied Family Psychology at the Catholic University of Guayaquil and was planning to study archaeology in Jerusalem," added the statement [...]
"She was a quiet girl who believed in her path, fought to become a Jew and nothing bothered her," said a friend. Mosquera's bereaved mother said her daughter’s dream had been to come to Israel and build her life here, but her life was cut short. [...]

Top Cop's Housemaid Admits She Made Up Affair - accusations destroyed his career

Arutz 7   A woman who was employed as the housemaid of recently retired Commander of the Jerusalem Police Maj. Gen. Yossi Pariente has admitted that she lied about being sexually exploited by him, according to IDF Radio.

"I made it all up," the maid now reportedly says.

Pariente retired surprisingly last week, and the housemaid's allegations appear to have been a major consideration in his decision to cut short his career. The woman, who used to clean the Parientes' home in Jerusalem, claimed that she had an affair with him for two years, and that he sexually harassed her. [...]

Leading criminal lawyers have claimed that allegations of male sexual misconduct against women are extremely hard to disprove in Israel's court system, due to the pervasive influence of a radical women's lobby in the Knesset and media, which insists that false allegations are very rare.

The matter was discussed in a heated debate last month in the Knesset's Committee for Advancement of the Status of Women, when three female lawyers who head the Committee on False Allegations and Parental Alienation in the Tel Aviv District of the Israel Bar Association claimed that such allegations are a very common phenomenon.

Representatives of women's groups linked to the New Israel Fund hotly disputed the claim and the parliamentary committee's chair, MK Aliza Lavie, read out what she said were police statistics, according to which there were only 12 cases of false allegations by women per year, and a similar number by men. The representatives of the Committee on False Allegations and Parental Alienation called this number "ridiculous." [...]

Today: Satmar Hasidic Men's-Mikva sexually abused activist Joey DiAngelo Candlelit Memorial in Monsey Upstate NY.

 Guest Post
Candlelit Ceremony at the Burial Site:
6:30-7:15pm - 221 Brick Church Road, Spring Valley, NY 10977

Memorial, Remembering Joey:
7:30-10:00pm - Rockland JCC, 450 W Nyack Rd, West Nyack, NY 10994
Bring along some form of ID (Standard JCC building security requirement)

America is now all consumed and busy with the woman's mikva voyeurism abuse, but by us Hasidim in Bror Park Williamsburg Monsey & Monroe, men and boyz use a naked bath house together called the Men's-Mikvah, and kids are sexuality molested and abused! Nobody cares!

One now died of a overdose. Please come over to report this vigil and lets stop this abuse once and for all!

Rabbi Nuchom Rosenberg will be talking. 

Here are some reports on this terrible loss of life due to abuse in the Mens Mikvah

1.  like by Deb Tambor the family stole the deceased body, that they disowned while alive because he was talking about his trauma, and didn't let his friends be by the funereal.

2. Here you can read about the cold callous divisiveness of our pain by the community mouth pieces, how they shun and hush those who speak out against child sexual molestation.

3. Mark Openhiemer of the NY Times, this weekend went so far re the Woman's Mikva voyeurism scandal, to dip himself in the Mikva. Little does he care that by Hasidim children get abused in the Mens Mikva!

4. At minute 70 hear Joey in his own haunting voice, how he opens his up his wounded heart, to the world, describing his life full of pain guilt and anguish, since he was abused in the mens mikvah as a young kid as old as 8!

5. Was it a suicide or an accidental overdose is the question? Read how one community activist says its a "Homicide!!!" Because the community silences those victims like Joey! And they have no other way to go but to die.

6. In Yiddish a short but heartwarming report.

The Shabbos Project: New Versus the Old -- Questions and Challenges

Guest Post by RaP 

The Shabbos Project (TSP) of 2014 has now come and gone. Tens of thousands of people partook in this milestone global event. With heartfelt hopes and prayers that TSP will inspire people of all walks to become more Shabbos/Shabbat observant. Congratulations to Rabbi Warren Goldstein (RWG) and his backers on achieving such an incredible success. TSP for 2015 is now in the works and it will no doubt build on this year's amazing success.

update As Rabbi Irons has challenged the accuracy of this article and I have no independent way of checking it - I am taking the article down for the time being. In general RaP has been a very reliable and insightful commentator - but I don't know whether his assertions here are from direct knowledge or conjecture.

Rabbi Irons wrote:
It's very surprising that the author is anonymous and is not willing to write his real name. I suspect that the author is not involved in kiruv, nor is aware that Rav Zelig Epstein was a big backer of Rabbi Buchwald, and the Agudas Yisroel never came out against AJOP. To use this incredible kiddush H-shem of the Shabbos Project as a platform for motzei sheim rah is a chilul H-shem. I recommend that this article be taken down, if not to prevent the spread of motzei shem rah, but also to preserve the journalistic integrity of this blog which comes into question on such hearsay and non-verified assertions.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Working women - Orthodox feminism or simply facing reality?

Cross-Currents by   Dr. Leslie Ginsparg Klein is the Academic Dean of Maalot Baltimore. She previously taught at Touro College, Hebrew Theological College, Gratz College and has lectured internationally. She has a Ph.D. in Education and Jewish Studies from New York University

“Orthodox women should have a job, not a career.” That is the message that frum girls are hearing at home and throughout their education. I’ve heard it repeated by my students, graduates of Bais Yaakov high schools and seminaries, who use it as a guiding principle. Words are powerful and words have significance. These words, and their implicit meaning, are damaging to women and our community. I implore parents and educators to stop using them. [...]

Why does it matter whether we call work a job or a career? What do people mean when they make that differentiation? Within sections of the frum population, particularly in the Yeshivish community, “job” is considered a positive term, while “career” has a negative connotation. As I understand the usage, job refers to a position that will not interfere with family life; that a woman takes solely to earn a parnassah (paycheck). Career, on the other hand, refers to a position where work is prioritized over family; that a woman takes because she enjoys working and views it as a source of fulfillment. 

While the message that women should make their families their top priority is an eternal one, in today’s world, this trope of “have a job, but not a career,” is irrelevant and even damaging. Perhaps it made sense fifty years ago, when the Orthodox community perceived second-wave feminism as advocating career over motherhood. Perhaps it had a place in the work world of thirty years ago, when women were expected to choose between having a family and pursuing a career. Perhaps it was relevant in a time when for most married women in the Orthodox community, working outside of the home was a choice. These are not the realities of today.[...]

The message of looking for a job, not a career, further seems to imply to women that if you consider your work a job, not a career, then you will not have to face the challenges of balancing work and family that “career” women face. This is patently false. Women with “jobs” also struggle to balance their work and home lives. Mothers with “jobs” still have to arrange childcare, still have to figure out what to do when their kids are sick, and are still expected to work when their kids are on vacation. They may be asked to work on weekends or work overtime. They may be called at home and expected to take work home with them. They are still going to have to leave their six-week-old baby in someone else’s arms. Because whether you call it a job or a career, employers have the same maternity leave policy. Do you think that if you call it a job, not a career, it will be any easier to leave your kids? These issues are equally salient whether you are working as a lawyer, a secretary, an occupational therapist, or a Bais Yaakov teacher. Calling what you do a “job” isn’t some magic formula that will solve the challenging issue of work-life balance. As such, we are setting our students up for disappointment, disillusionment and failure.

This message also costs frum women potential employment opportunities. According to Dr. Elly Lasson, of Baltimore’s Joblink, many Orthodox women fail to secure positions because employers sense that they are not enthusiastic about working and are only interested in the paycheck. They perceive that these women don’t take their professional lives seriously. Employers, even frum ones, want to hire candidates they view as enthusiastic, dedicated, and motivated. They look for these qualities in job interviews. A candidate who is excited about the job opportunity and cares about her work will get the job over one who displays an attitude of work not being important to her.[...]

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Iran to execute woman accused of killing attempted rapist

 Update USA Today  U.S. condemns hanging of Iranian rape victim

The U.S. State Department on Saturday joined other organizations condemning the execution of an Iranian woman convicted of killing a man she said she stabbed in self-defense during a sexual assault.

Despite a robust international campaign and social media outcry, Reyhaneh Jabbari — convicted of murder in the 2007 death of a former Iranian intelligence agent — was hanged at dawn Saturday in Tehran, according to Iran's official news agency IRNA,[...]

 update: Iran postponed execution Tuesday

Fox News    An Iranian woman sentenced to death for killing a man who tried to rape her told her mother goodbye and prepared to die, even as the Islamic republic’s president was meeting with world leaders at the United Nations.

Rayhaneh Jabbari, 26, is set to be executed Tuesday, according to reports from Iran. [...]

==========================Islam requires 4 male witnesses for crime of rape =====
Islam Web

Fatwa No : 156817

A daughter accusing her father of sexual abuse

Fatwa Date : Jumaadaa Al-Aakhir 15, 1432 / 18-5-2011

A 14 yr old girl has accused her father of sexually abuse since the age of 9 and also of rape. The mother of the girl says the father has admitted the abuse but not the rape. The father is now flatly denying that anything happened and says the mother has misunderstood what he said. The girl is still adamant that it all took place and by the way the man is on bail. How would this be dealt with according to Islamic law?


All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
It is an abominable sin that a father sexually abuses his daughter and it is even more abominable if he rapes her. If he does so with any girl, it is strictly forbidden, let alone him doing so with his own daughter.
However, it is not permissible to accuse the father of rape without evidence. Indeed, the Sharee’ah put some special conditions for proving Zina (fornication or adultery) that are not required in case of other crimes. The crime of Zina is not confirmed except if the fornicator admits it, or with the testimony of four trustworthy men, while the testimony of women is not accepted.
Hence, the statement of this girl or the statement of her mother in itself does not Islamically prove anything against the father, especially that the latter denies it.
Therefore, if this daughter has no evidence to prove that her accusations are true, she should not have claimed that she was raped by her father and she should not have taken him to the court. But if what she says is true, then she has the right to ask for protection from him even by taking him to the court so that he would not continue committing this evil or practice more sinful acts with her. In this case, she would claim his dissoluteness and her fear of his evil so that she will be kept apart from him.
Allaah Knows best.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Rabbi Barry Freundel - prominent Modern Orthodox leader - arrested on voyeurism charge

 Update Oct 23, 2014   Washington City Paper

The acts of voyeurism were likely not limited to the mikveh area, and police say in the documents that evidence shows Freundel has been engaging in the activity with "several devices and over a period of time." Police seized a similar recording device from Freundel's home and found a manual for another hidden camera disguised as a fan.

Update: Oct 22,2014 Wusa 9

RCA suspends R Freundel's membership

The Rabbinical Council of America's President Rabbi Leonard Matanky and Executive Vice President Rabbi Mark Dratch said in a statement released Monday:

"First and foremost, our hearts continue to go out to the individuals who were converted to Judaism by Rabbi Freundel whose trust was violated and who have worried about their personal status. We pray for the welfare of all victims, including the many women who used the Kesher Israel mikvah for taharat hamishpacha (family purity) purposes, and for the continued strength and healing of the Kesher Israel community, which is a vibrant center of our sacred Torah and that is suffering greatly at this time. We also feel for the Freundel family and offer them our support during this difficult personal time."

RCA also announced that Rabbi Freundel's membership was suspended from the RCA and its Executive Committee, "and together with the Beth Din of America from all activities related to conversion." RCA officials, however, say that "...the Beth Din of America has concluded as a matter of Jewish law that conversions performed by Rabbi Freundel prior to his arrest on October 14, 2014 remain halachically valid and prior converts remain Jewish in all respects."


update Oct 21, 2014  Towson University - Towerlight

The University has indefinitely suspended Associate Professor Barry Freundel with pay, following his arrest outside his home in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 14. [...]

Freundel teaches classes in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies. ... Senior mass communication major Nicole Coniglio said she toured Freundel’s synagogue last fall for a religious studies class she was taking. While there, Coniglio said she and other students on the tour were asked to shower in the mikvah, the ritual bath Freundel is accused of videotaping. Coniglio declined, but two of her classmates, who were Jewish but not Orthodox, accepted. [...]

In the past, Freundel has invited students to his synagogue for his classes. Any students or alumni who may have been impacted are encouraged to contact Towson University Police at , who are assisting D.C. police in their investigation.
update Oct 21 2014 Washington Post    Georgetown rabbi accused of voyeurism is focus of other allegations

The case of a Georgetown rabbi accused of secretly videotaping women in the ritual bath expanded significantly Monday when a national rabbinical board said it had known since at least 2012 of complaints by women converts of inappropriate behavior.

The news triggered an outpouring by converts and advocates for women in Modern Orthodoxy who said the case reflected deeply embedded problems with sexism.

Rabbi Barry Freundel’s arrest last week shocked many in the small world of Modern Orthodoxy in part because he was viewed as an active supporter of women’s equality in areas such as synagogue leadership and education. In his 25 years as spiritual leader of Kesher Israel, he had elevated women to top positions at the small synagogue, whose members have long included prominent national leaders such as former senator Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.

Freundel was also one of the country’s best-known advocates for converts, and was known for going head-to-head with the powerful and strict Israeli rabbinate to try to get more U.S. conversions recognized.

But on Monday, the Rabbinical Council of America — the country’s main group for Modern Orthodox rabbis — said it had received reports going back at least two years that women working with Freundel toward becoming Jewish felt coerced into performing clerical work for him and donating money to a tribunal he led. There was also an allegation that he inappropriately acted as a co-signer on a checking account with one woman. [....]

update:Washington Jewish Week

According to a report by investigators with the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) obtained by Washington Jewish Week, police were notified of the surreptitious recording device by an individual associated with the mikvah on Oct. 12, who also reported witnessing Freundel plugging in and operating the recording device secreted in a Dream Machine digital clock radio while she was setting up the mikvah’s showers. Freundel said that he was using it “for ventilation of the shower area.”

Police obtained a search warrant for the recording device on the very next day and reviewed numerous sets of recordings stored on the camera’s memory card.

The first three recordings on the camera’s memory card, timestamped June 2, capture three women separately “partially undressing” or changing clothes in view of the camera. The second occasion, timestamped Sept. 13, the camera recorded the face and voice of Freundel appearing to adjust the camera’s display time and “positioning it on the counter to face the shower stall area.” Six more recordings on the same day included four women “undressed or changing clothes” before entering the shower and drying off after.

A third set of videos dated Oct. 6, shows the rabbi again positioning the camera, followed by a video of when the camera was discovered. Because the camera was discovered on Oct. 12, at least on this day, the camera’s timestamp was behind by six days.

update: October 17 2014 Washington Post Rabbi accused of voyeurism pored over questions of sex and ethics

If Barry Freundel secretly violated sexual ethics, in public he pored over them.

Allegations that the Georgetown rabbi hid a camera in a ritual bathing area have astonished people from Washington to Israel, in part because Freundel had positioned himself as an ethical beacon. The internationally known Orthodox rabbi served as spiritual guide to the likes of former U.S. senator Joseph I. Lieberman and Supreme Court expert Linda Greenhouse and proffered wisdom on a wide range of moral matters.

Freundel’s writings, interviews and sermons, however, reveal that he appeared deeply worried about the dangerous overlap between sex and ethics, especially where it concerns technology.

Technology, he told a 1999 congressional bio­ethics panel, is “value-neutral. You can use it for good, you can use it for bad; the concern is how you use it. Every technology is a tool given to us by God to improve the world, if we use it the right way.” Same with knowledge, he said. Jews “style ourselves the ‘People of the Book’ because we think knowledge is valuable. But are you using it ethically?”

“The lack of sexual morality that pervades this society is all over the place, and the Orthodox community, no matter how traditional, is not immune from this,” he told Washington Jewish Week in a story last month about divorce among the Orthodox. “Pornography and its accessibility is wrecking marriages. It’s two keystrokes away. You get on the computer, you hit the button twice and you’re there.” [...] =========================
Washington Post   A prominent modern Orthodox rabbi at a Georgetown synagogue was arrested by D.C. police on Tuesday morning and charged with voyeurism, according to a department spokeswoman.

Barry Freundel, 62, of the Kesher Israel Congregation, was being held in police custody Tuesday and was likely to have an initial appearance in D.C. Superior Court on Wednesday. Within hours, the synagogue’s board of directors suspended him without pay.[...]

Law enforcement authorities said the case involves a hidden camera but gave conflicting accounts of where the alleged voyeurism took place. Both the synagogue bathroom and the mikvah, where ritual bathing takes place, were mentioned.

Freundel is one of the region’s most respected rabbis. Kesher Israel is a modern Orthodox synagogue, part of a denomination that emphasizes Jewish law and tradition while trying to accommodate modern trends such as the rise of women in leadership.[...]

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Rumors change a person's status- sources

There have been people who have incorrectly claimed that a person can not have his presumed status (chezkas kashrus) changed without a psak of beis din. Or that negative information can only be allowed after a psak from a beis din or a rav.

Part I: Sources mentioned by Dr. Benny Brown

A. The Babylonian Talmud explains the statement of Rabbah b. Rav Huna that ‘‘anything said in front of three people is not considered libel,’’ based on the assumption that it will spread in any case: ‘‘Your friend has a friend, and your friend’s friend has a friend.’’133

B. Rabbah stated that it is permissible to say libel in front of the offended party: ‘‘Anything said in front of the person is not considered libel.’’134 He bases this statement on the opinion of Rabbi Yosi: ‘‘I never said anything and turned around.’’ Rashi broadens this leniency even further, holding that to remove the statement from the category of libel, it is not necessary for the person to actually say the statement in front of the offended party, but enough that he is prepared to do so.135

C. The Jerusalem Talmud cites the following statement in the name of Rabbi Yonatan: ‘‘It is permissible to speak libel about quarrel mongers.’’136

D. bYoma states: ‘‘One may publicize the [identity of] hypocrites in order to prevent desecration of God’s name.’’137

E. Rav Ashi stated that ‘‘it is permitted to call a person who has acquired a bad reputation a ’gimmel’ or a ’shin’.’’ In other words, one about whom there are negative rumors138 can be degraded and called ‘‘son of a whore’’ and ‘‘son of a rotten one’’ (or ‘‘son of a stupid whore,’’ or ‘‘son of a Gentile,’’ or ‘‘son of a slave,’’ according to other interpretations), which casts aspersions not only on him, but also on his mother.139 Similarly, Rav said: ‘‘One may flog a person for negative rumors.’’140 Rashi explains that ‘‘a person about whom it is reported that he transgressed is given lashes.’’ bM.Q. records a story in which Rabbi Yehudah allowed himself to excommunicate a scholar because ‘‘bad rumors had been heard about him’’.141 Also among the rishonim (medieval rabbis), we find that it was permissible to impose sanctions based on rumors.

The Hafetz Hayim dedicates several long discussions to speaking libel about someone who has a bad reputation. In general, he objects to relying on rumors, and prohibits spreading them further:
‘‘If a rumor was perpetrated about someone claiming that he did or said something that is inappropriate according to the Torah, be it a severe prohibition or a lighter one, it is nevertheless prohibited to believe it in a resolute manner [...], and how much more so must he be careful, if he wishes to mention it to another person, not to spread it further and publicize it more.’’173 He explains the permit to denigrate, censure, excommunicate, or punish based on rumors in a manner consistent with his general approach, i.e., that it is only for the purpose of censuring ‘‘evil people’’ and excluding them from the protection of the prohibition of libel.174 He therefore limits this permit by establishing a |series of qualifications. First, the permission to speak libel about a person who is the subject of rumors does not apply to a person about whom there are isolated rumors, but only to one who is regularly the subject of rumors.175 The Hafetz Hayim agrees that for this type of person, ‘‘it is permissible to conclude that he is evil and to denigrate him, even a person who does not know him well.’’176 Second, the permit applies only to rumors about the transgression of offenses ‘‘that are well known among all Jews to be prohibited.’’177 Third, one who degrades a person about whom there are rumors can only do so in his presence (‘‘to his face’’).178 Fourth, even after all of these qualifications, the Hafetz Hayim adds an interesting note: ‘‘And I was very much afraid to write this law because of the libel-inclined persons who upon hearing one negative thing, will immediately assume that person to be evil and degrade him, and will justify their behavior as being based on this book. Nevertheless, I did not delete it, for as our Sages said in Bava Batra (89b) about Rabban Yohanan b. Zakkai: ’He said it [openly – a law that the transgressors may abuse] and his source [for that] was this verse (Hos 14:10): For the ways of the Lord are right, and the just do walk in them; but transgressors do stumble on them’.’’179
Part II. Niddah(61a) is an important source for understanding the validity of rumor or lashon harah changing a chazkas kashrus.
Raba observed: As to slander [lash harah], though one should not believe it one should nevertheless take note of it. There were certain Galileans about whom a rumour was spread that they killed a person. They came to R. Tarfon and said to him, ‘Will the Master hide us? ‘How’, he replied, ‘should I act? Should I not hide you, they [the Romans] would see you. [and take vengeance] Should I hide you, I would be acting contrary to the statement of the Rabbis, "As to slander, though one should not believe it, one should take note of it". Go you and hide yourselves’.
According to Rashi, Rav Tarfon is saying perhaps they did in fact kill someone  - as the rumors say - and then it would be prohibited to save their lives because they are criminals. Consequently he refused to be involved in saving them and told them to hide themselves. Clearly Rashi understands Rav Tarfon to view the Galileans differently simply because of the rumors - without a psak from beis din.

[This is also be relevant concerning extradition. [see JLaw Article by Prof M Elon]  If goyim demanded that someone who was rumored to have committed a crime  be turned over to them -  - it would seem from Rashi that it would be permitted to give them the accused.]

Both Tosfos and the Rosh strongly reject Rashi's view. [Chofetz Chaim (6:10 takes their viewpoint]

Prof Elon explains
Why did R. Tarfon refuse to help the suspected criminals? Of what specifically was he suspicious? Rashi explains that R. Tarfon told them, "perhaps you killed, and it is forbidden to save you." Tosafot disagrees, and, citing the She'iltot, explains, "perhaps you killed, and if I hide you. I will forfeit my life to the king." According to this explanation, R. Tarfon's refusal to help them was due to concern for his personal safety rather than moral objections. The Rosh (ad.loc. 9,5) rejects Rashi's explanation for the following reason: "Is it possible that because of a mere rumor that someone sinned it will be forbidden to save his life?" He therefore accepts the explanation of the She'iltot. The Maharshal (ad.loc.), commenting on the She'iltot, writes:
There is no proof here that one should protect a murderer. Even though we do not have the power to try capital cases, nonetheless it is prohibited to save him. "So shall all Your enemies perish, God" (Jud. 6,31), and our hands should not aid them. The reason it was permitted to save them (in the case of R. Tarfon) was because there was a doubt (whether they were guilty) and (we act to save a life if there is even a possibility that it should be saved). Furthermore, each individual is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty, so we can say that he definitely did not murder anyone.
This story, together with all the various commentaries (of which only some have been cited above) embodies the different attitudes toward the question of harboring a murderer. Rashi maintains that it is prohibited, even if there is merely a doubt whether he committed the crime; Tosafot contends that R. Tarfon refused them help because of concern for his own safety and not because it was intrinsically prohibited; the Rosh supports harboring one who is only rumored to have committed a crime; and the Maharshal states unequivocally that one should not help a murderer, except where there is a doubt concerning his guilt, in which case we apply the principle that he retains his presumption of innocence.

In sum, we have two different approaches - but they both can lead to view a person differently simply because of rumor without a psak from Beis Din.

Rashi says is is prohibited to save a  criminal even if it just a rumor because perhaps the rumor is true. This is a moral issue. Thus the rumor changes the persons status in terms of aiding him which would include not saving his life. It would also follow that one could fire or refuse to hire a person based on rumor because if the rumors are true then he is not fit for job. This is in fact the view of the Sho'el U'Meishiv and others. A suspected criminal or sinner can be treated as if he is a sinner or criminal.

On the other hand, the Rosh and Tosfos based on the She'iltos says that it is not a question of prohibition to save a criminal - it is whether your life becomes endangered if the rumors are true. Saving someone who is rumored to be a murderer means he might be dangerous to the one who provides the aid either because he is dangerous or because the government will kill the one who helped him. If there were no danger of death - but only loss of money or suffering - than it is reasonable that they would require aiding the rumored criminal or sinner because after all he should be presumed innocent without beis din. Therefore only if there was a possibly of danger to life if the rumor were true - would it be permitted to treat the accused differently. In short the rumors would have to indicate that the accused is a rodef to have an impact on his presumptive status.

However I looked up the She'iltos that both the Rosh and Tosfos base themselves on and there is a major problem. The She'iltos does not say not to save the rumored murderer because it endangers your life. He says because helping might cause suffering. Thus while the She'iltos is disagreeing with Rashi's claim that helping criminals (even rumored ones) is prohibited. He disagrees with Tosfos and the Rosh who say not to help because it is potentially fatal. The She'iltos says it is enough if the helping might cause suffering or inconvenience. 

This is the She'iltos (129). There is no alternative version for the word tzar in the Mirksy edition found on Hebrew Books.

. הנהו בני גלילא דנפק קלא עלייתו דקטלו נפשא, אתו לקמיה דרבי טרפון אמרו ליה: אטמירנן מר. אמר להו: אמור רבנן, לישנא בישא אע״ג דלקבוליה לא מיבעי, למיחש ליה מיבעי, דילמא איתא למילתא, ולא מסתייעא מילתייכו, וגרמיתון צערא לדילי נמי, אזילו אתון אטמירו נפשייכו.

To be continued