Monday, February 06, 2006




Monday, January 16, 2006


Add an "S" to Jew.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Jewish Organizations- YOU ARE WARNED!

I urge anyone who has been a victim,or anyone that has any information at all about abusers and their protectors, to kindly contact Mr. Pasik.

How do any of you who supposedly are working for Klal Yisroel live with yourselves? You at Tora U'mesorah...., if this happened to your child, would you not have set the world on fire to CHANGE the system? Is this child not yours?- UOJ

Comments from two people that were molested.

1-"Regarding people in power abusing woman ,children and the like: At the age of 11 on Yom kippur afternoon I was physically assaulted by a respected member of a " out of town" community -Im not getting into the details but it wasnt pretty- etc. there were actually 2 aydim and drawing of blood no hasroah but definately bordering a chayev misah offense ( yom kippur,drawing blood) to make a long story short I was an 11 yr old wild kid- even my parents werent 100% backing me up- It was that farfetched of a story and this a well respected guy- no waves etc- On the way to his house the next day I took an icepick-my father pulled up to see this, calmed me down etc and that was it I made up my mind that when Im 17-18 big and strong etc like the " older boys" then i was gonna kill him!- Fast track to 17 I still remembered and i was still pissed. I spoke to the rav who knew of this guy and apparently i was noty the only one etc.In his own words " In Europe the askanim would take these kinds of people out of the shul on R'H or Y'K when all the talleisim were over peoples head -take them to the river and DROWN them!!"At this pt I was not too religious and involved with a little shadiness and my comment to the rav was well - screw dina dimalchusa- Im gonna take him to a dark alley etc! his response- " If we were in Europe I would go with you to that dark alley" BUT were not etc etc...Take him to B'D instead- and sue him monetarily for emotional damages this way win or lose - the word gets out! Ok- Before I decided to take it public I had a talk w/ his son - a sweet lo yutzlach who begged me due to shidduchim Please not to go public telling me-" My father is an ANIMAL" - You dont even know the begining of how me and my brothers suffered - never my mother for if so i would have killed him myself!!! With this in mind I decided on a simpler course of action with the sons blessing! 5:30 in the morning on the way to give his daf yomi shiur said rabbi was confronted -alone on a deserted street with jackboots and a .44..................

I did not kill the man.He tried to run and there was a confrontation-I still remember him asking me not to use nivul peh- that was the least of his problem -I directed him to a close by wooded area - got him on his knees- I asked him if he knew vidui baal peh.. He started to beg for his life< to interject- a cpl years before this my father did actually confront him asking him to ask me for mechila-he refused and told my father the following-" If a malach wasnt watching over me that afternoon -I wouldve killed your son!" my father refused to speak with him ever again! Why he didnt do more is another issue altogether>I realized that what happened to me was not gonna change-causing him pain or not,my primary concern at that time was to prevent him from doing things like that again.To that end I calmly explained to him that I would be watching him -If it happened again there will be no questions -and if he so much should lay a hand on anybody again there would be no malach there to save him.No Beis din .No more lies. Din.Dayan.Executioner all rolled into one- He understood very clearly this was not a joke -This was about 6-7 years ago .To my knowledge he has "reformed" He has not (and i keep tabs) bothered anyone since.I see him occasionaly in shul when I go back home- Ill ask him if hes behaving himself.He just quietly nods.Would I actually carry throgh if he would...??? I hope that that is a bridge I dont ever have to cross. The rabbi who was originally consulted in my case as well as many others that he had known about told me directly-" He has a din of a Rodeph" by doing these things hes killing kids neshomas..etc.There is however a dina dimalchusa issue which is why he recommended beis din. In Closing There are many ways to go in situations like these.I personally knew kids who violently confronted rabbis who had molested them etc. and ended up in jail.Clearly that is not a viable option. In my scenario while probably not being the most mature response -I was 17 - It seems to have worked .It seems a threat of imminent death can do wonders for self control.
UOJ and others - How should the COUNTLESS kids who have been abused in one form or another over the years- many still wandering the streets of flatbush,BP, Willy etc. confront the pain?? These are not yechidim- There are A LOT of these kids out there"!!

Friday, September 23, 2005
Why Is This Child Molester Being Kept At Rasha Gamur-Margulies's personal Piggy Bank - Tora Temima

2-Posted By David

"I too was molested by Rabbi Yidi Kolko, both while a student in 7th and 8th grades in Yeshiva Torah V'daas and during those same summers whilst a camper in Camp Agudah.

I used to get rides to school in the mornings with Yidi whether in his old blue car or in his brand new brown car. At that time he lived on 56th Street between 14th & 15th Avenue, whilst I lived on 57th Street, between 15th and 16th Avenues. He was newly married at that time and his first child, a daughter, was also just born then.

Once we got to the Yeshiva on Ocean Parkway, which then was just off of Caton Road, he would park the car (either down the block from the Yeshiva, on the Ocean Parkway service road, or around the corner, I think it was East 5th Street, and ask me to come over and either sit beside him or sit on his lap. Sometimes he would move over to the passenger seat and would then sit me on his lap.

That's when he went fishing. He would insert his hands down the front of my pants and would begin to "search around" to say the least. At the same time he would pull me closer to himself, or would push himself forward againt myself, sometimes even pushing me into the stearing wheel, to the point that it hurt.

Unfortunately I didn't react or complain. The winters were cold and these rides saved on not having to walk all the way to 13th Avenue to wait for the bus (especially on Sunday mornings), you were able to leave your house later since you could always make the ride, and you saved a couple of cents, which was a lot in those days.

During one of those Sunday mornings whilst we were driving on Caton Avenue, whilst I was sitting in the front passenger seat - I almost always sat in the front passenger seat - we were involved in a terrible traffic accident where a car went through a red light and slammed into Yidi's car. B"H we all got out without a scratch.

In Camp Aguda it was the same, whether if he took me into the trees, or into his cabin, or even would take me out for a drive. FYI, during the summer of 1970 I had my bar mitzva in the camp.

I of course told my parents and tried on several times
to explain to them what I was going through, but they didn't want to believe me and my "stories", etc. My father at that time was a very well known and respected person in the Boro Park & Midwood communities and within the Yeshiva world. So I just shut up and let the molestation and perversion continue.

I also think that Yidi Kolko is a danger to the students, past and present in Yeshiva Tora Temimah and I feel that it is about time that the wall of silence be torn down.

Did I suffer as a result, probably. But I have made a life for myself and today am very happily married with 4 wonderful children".

Posted by David to UN-ORTHODOX JEW at 9/23/2005 01:49:51 AM

UOJ Comments

Everyone in the community is complicit with this criminal Margulies!
Lipa Margulies is an example of how a BIG crook gets away with murder (yes, murder of the soul of G-d knows how many children),while the little guy gets trampled on.
Margulies is the # 1 low-life in the Orthodox community.
He began his school with a major fraud and massive theft.He is a first class thief and a phony minuvel.His God is the almighty dollar.I know him well, HE DOES NOT HAVE A RELIGIOUS BONE IN HIS BODY!

He continues to harbor a child molester.

Every board member of this school or person of influence should hide themselves in shame!There is no wonder why the community is plagued with tragedies.You bring it on yourselves. Generations of Jewish people suffer because you really don't give a damn about anything that you feel doesn't effect you directly.I hope your kids and grandkids suffer the same fate as the above David, at the hands of a vicious child molester.You are all no better than the KING SCUMBAG of the Jewish community!


I am not ashamed to admit that I cried myself to sleep the night that I read this post. My wife kept waking me up in middle of the night because I was screaming in my sleep.


Comments By Elliot B. Pasik, Esq.
Long Beach, New York

Somebody asked me yesterday about the statute of limitations, and I addressed myself to that issue in secular court. However, in halacha, there is no statute of limitations - it doesn't exist. Indeed, at "common law", much of which is based on Torah, there is no limitation period for bringing lawsuits. That's why we call them "statutes" of limitations - these statutes of limitations are in derogation of common law.

Thus, where there are credible allegations of sex abuse against any Jew, you can bring an action in Beis Din, and the "statute of limitations" defense will not be available. And there are some trustworthy, credible batei din which exist today.

In secular court, one can, in the caption of the case, identify oneself as John or Jane Doe, and also move for relief that the file be sealed, not open to the public, where the issues may be exceptionally sensitive. I've done this. If I had a case in Beis Din like this this, I would certainly ask for the same procedure, where my client wanted it.

If a client harmed by a Jew against whom there are credible allegations of sex abuse does not have the ability to pay, certainly, I would offer some level of pro bono legal services. I certainly would not charge for an inital conference. The client would also, clearly, need as to'ayn.

Additionally, by no means should a lawsuit be ruled out, based on the failure of the organized orthodox world to enact reasonable security measures to protect the 100,000 Jewish children attending yeshivas and day schools in NYS, and the 200,000 nationwide. Not to have background checks, and a disciplinary system/registry, is simply unconscionable. As far as the background checks are concerned, in New York it is absolutely clear that the legislative route is currently the way to go. But what about the internal disciplinary system/registry - to compel the yeshiva/day school world to do this, court may be the only way to go.

Certainly, nonprofits can and have been successfully sued in the past, under a variety of legal theories. I recall a case against the Jewish National Fund, based on allegations that they were publicly seeking donations on the representation that they would support projects on the other side of the Green Line, but in fact, they were not doing that.

If you're thinking of a lawsuit against a Jewish organization based on the sex abuse problem, you can be sure I've given that some thought. The OU is primarily an organization that services synagogues, promotes religious programs to youth (NCSY), advocates legal and social positions before the Government, and obviously, is in the kashrus business. It has very little to do with yeshiva and day schools. NCYI is similar to the OU.

Torah U'mesorah is a different story. They are an umbrella group for 700 yeshivas and day schools in the United States, educating 200,000 plus Jewish children. Certainly, their individual schools, and arguably, by extension, Torah Umesorah itself, owe a "special" or "heightened" duty of care to all of the children attending those schools to provide adequate security. Those words are in quotes, because they appear in court decisions.

Some courts refer to this duty as, "in loco parentis" - an ancient Latin phrase that means, in place of the parent. When a parent, under legal compulsion, transfers physical custody of his or her child to a school, that school stands in the place of the parent, and assumes the same duty of care that a parent has toward the child. Just as a parent would not hire a convicted sex offender as a babysitter, a school should not hire a sex offender as a janitor, kitchen worker, teacher, or rebbe.

Just from publicly held lectures, I know of two cases where convicted sex offenders did assault children in our mosdos.

We also simply don't know whether there are, in fact, convicted sex offenders working in yeshivas - because nobody checks. And nobody tells us. Why? Because there's no parents organization. No oversight. No lawyers looking over somebody's shoulder, with the children's interests at stake.

To convince anybody of the extent of the problem, go onto the website of the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, click onto sex offender registry, and there you will find the lowest of the low - thousands of convicted Level 3 sex offenders - those adjudicated to be at the highest risk for repeating (Level 2 is moderate, and Level 1 is low risk, and they don't get onto the public website). You can search by county, zip code or name. And if you search by zip code, type in the zip codes for Borough Park, Rockland County, and Albany, click onto the Jewish names, and then staring you in the face will be Jewish men with beards and yarmulkes - Level 3 sex offenders. And there are other jurisdictions in this country where you can do the same thing. Then consider that any of these men can apply for a job in a yeshiva or day school, not get background-checked, and get the job. I printed some of these web site photos up, and in a discussion I had with a Rosh Yeshiva on this issue, he was very attentive, and supportive, but he wasn't really moved until he saw the photos. It is astonishing.

Ah, what about UNconvicted sex offenders. That is point 2 of my two point proposal. The vast majority of sex offenders don't get arrested and convicted. This is why we need an internal mechanism, possibly under the umbrella of Torah U'mesorah, or a parents organization, for internally disciplining any yeshiva/day school employee who is violent or commits a sexual assault. The New York City Department of Education has such a system and so too does every other public school system. We have 100,000 yeshiva/day school students in New York State. We need our own system, and we don't have one. At the two May 2003 Torah Umesora and RCA Conventions, several speakers told of incidents in which rabbi-molesters move from one yeshiva to another, after credible accusations are made. We have to stop this, by developoing an internal disciplinary system, and registry. The frum organizations have not done this, so we the parents must step in.

This is exactly what the May 2005 Resolution says, which I proposed and drafted - and was totally overlooked by the Jewish media. Its on rabbis.org. First, we need background checks, and next, we need a disciplinary system and registry.

Quite frankly, this is not complicated stuff. We just have to do it. But the RCA is primarily a synagogue rabbi organization, so they can't do it, and Torah Umesorah, an educational umbrella group of 700 yeshivas, which would seem like the right address for this, has failed to act. And even if they did belatedly act, what role do the parents play? Me? You? Where is the oversight?

In my opinion, the legislative route, as I've described, is preferable to a lawsuit, but if the legislative route fails - perhaps because there may be opposition from some quarters - certainly, then, all options should be considered. Public education departments get sued all the time for these kinds of things, and certainly, we all know what has happened in terms of lawsuits against the Catholic Church. We must remember that these are our children we're talking about, not the school's not the rabbi's, our children.

All of this clearly, clearly, clearly, needs an organization, despite the comments from the sole dissenter, Anon 5:05. None of us, not me, not UOJ, not anybody, can work alone.

I would also certainly cooperate with any newspaper interested in any aspect of this story.

Anon: 5:05. I see no useful purpose in continuing a dialogue with you, because it seems like you've got your mind made up, despite my saying that there are numerous aspects and nuances to this whole story which can't be told on a Blog. There is information out there which you are simply unaware of, and which can only be related in a b'kavodik organizational setting, where there is some reasonable level of confidentiality amongst the people involved, and where there is a thoughtful, intelligent exchange of ideas among activitist people. That's why I keep repeating that a parents group is necesssary. Practically every school in America, public and private, has a parents' organizations, except - did I say this before? - the Jews.

We need oversight, we need ideas, we need activism, we need each other - one more time, these are our children we're talking about.

I'm glad to hear that UOJ has gone to the Forward, and I would certainly cooperate with any journalist interested in this story.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Lip-Shits All Over Himself

The Yated's editorial, in part.

During the past year the New York City’s health commissioner, Dr. Thomas Frieden, has engaged in an effort to undermine a sacred component of Mitzvas Milah. He and his department recently stepped up their activities in this regard and issued directives and advisories aimed at planting fear in the hearts and minds of parents who are about to bring their child into the holiest covenant in Judaism.

The threat is not only against metzitzah b’peh. It is a slanderous and offensive diktat that undermines not only a specific element of Bris Milah, but assaults the entire concept of Bris Milah itself.

He claims to be “educating.” What he is actually doing is far more sinister.
Frieden clearly has overstepped his bounds. He was asked to back down from his assault on the privacy and sanctity of religious choice. But he does not relent. Last week he openly mocked a group of distinguished Rabbonim whom he called to an urgent meeting, by suggesting that they relinquish their religious authority to the Catholic Church.

An insult of this sort from a government official is reminiscent of the slurs once aimed at the Jewish community by foreign anti-Semitic governments of the past.
Indeed the lights of the nairos have glowed, but their flame must continue to illuminate the darkness. We pride ourselves on the amazing accomplishments Jews have reached throughout political and socio-economic levels. But the fact that shomrei Shabbos senators, mayors, doctors and lawyers abound in this country is not enough to guarantee that our freedom to practice our religion with all its sacred minhagim and particulars, will be upheld.

When the attack appears to equate our practices with those of tribal cults that are unsanitary and dangerous, a spear is being hurled at the heart and soul of a nation that is no stranger to hostile campaigns of this nature.

At stake is nothing less than the right to religious freedom, a lynchpin of the Constitution that we should never take for granted.

We must insist on the liberty to continue the practice of our tradition with every nuance and detail of the beautiful customs that are an integral part of the written law. It is our mesorah. It is our heritage. And our heritage is as sacred as our Torah.(You are an ignorant liar, perverter of our Torah, and an unbelievable asshole- I just thought I'd stick that in-UOJ)

Everyone concerned with these imperatives must let his voice be heard. Because when the dictates of bureaucracy begin to govern our spirituality, then our religious integrity has been compromised and walls of our tower have been breached. “ Ufortzu chomos Migdalai.” It is not long before the oil is defiled and the menorah hauled away.

Perhaps a commissioner will next mandate the use of electric menorahs because of his “concern” for our safety.

We get so comfortable here that we forget at times the message of the agalos; we lose sight of our mission and our goal. We forget that we are on a dangerous and treacherous path in golus, one that requires constant vigilance.
We need reminders so that our spirits can be lifted and we can return home. Let the image of the flames of the Chanukah menorah burn brightly in our memory so that we remember that at the end of the day, victory belongs not to those who boast of numbers, status or militarily might, but to those who battle for what is right and true.

Just as in the times of the Yevonim whose determination to uproot us from the Torah was miraculously defeated, so too, in our times, modern-day warriors who fight for the inviolate purity of Torah will be rewarded from Above with the consecration of the Beis Hamikdosh, speedily and in our day.

Jewish pornography at it's worst

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


I am in communication with Mr. Pasik Esq., he is spending his own resources trying to institute various laws and programs to protect our children and vulnerable adults from sex abuse. I have done my due dilligence on this gentleman; he has an impeccable reputation in the legal as well as the Jewish community. I am urging members of our community to assist him in this noble and much needed effort.

I'm a lawyer, and I've been active in trying to do something about the problem of sex abuse in our community. In person, on the telephone, and by numerous letters and e-mails with all of the major frum organizations, I've been trying to accomplish two things:

1. Criminal background checks of all employees and volunteers working in yeshivas/day schools;

2. Torah U'mesorah having an internal registry of people who are unfit to work in our mosdos, because of a history of violence or sex abuse.

In May 2003, Torah U'Mesorah had a seminar on the problem of sex abuse, and some of the speakers said that the concept of a registry has been endorsed, but nothing has yet been done.

I got a boost in May 2005, when the RCA at its Convention passed a Resolution that I proposed and drafted, which endorses my two proposals. You can read it on their website, rabbis.org.

At this point, I've written letters to the Governor, and leaders of the Assembly and State Senate, asking for a new statute (law) that would require criminal background checks in all nonpublic schools, i.e., yeshivas, day schools. As I state in my letter, 42 out of 50 states require their public schools to perform background checks; 10 states require their nonpublic schools to do background checks; without compulsion of law, many nonpublic schools and volunteer youth groups are doing background checks, e.g., all Catholic schools, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, Little League of America, etc. Only we Jews aren't doing this.

Public support for my proposal would help, and if you, or someone you know, or any other serious person reading this blog would like to invite me to speak somewhere, I am available.

Finally, I hope to form an association of yeshiva/day school parents and friends that will push this proposal, and also explore other, new ways to make our schools a better and safe place for our children. Again, all interested persons can contact me at my e-mail address below. I do have some specific ideas in my mind. I particularly need somebody with computer skills to set up a website, which will include some of my letters on this issue; and I also need lawyers who can set up a nonprofit corporation, eligible for tax deductions.

Kol tuv.

Elliot B. Pasik, Esq.
Long Beach, New York

Monday, January 02, 2006

The Wrong Message From The Gun For Hire Charedi Stooge

by Jonathan Rosenblum

Though the economic crisis of the chareidi community in Israel is much discussed subject, that discussion typically focuses on the threat to our yeshivos or trumpeting the percentage of children under the poverty line to demonstrate the failure of the government's social and economic program. Much less frequently discussed is the impact of poverty on our homes and families.

I know of no authoritative statistics on the number of gittin in the chareidi community, but each one of us is privy to plenty of anecdotal evidence of the rise in divorce, in particular among young couples. Prior to the Gaza withdrawal, the black humor in at least one community with a high concentration of younger couples went: "Yehudi aino m'garesh Yehudi, aval Yehudi megaresh Yehudiah -- A Jew does not expel another Jew, but a Jew does divorce a Jewess."

Economic factors are rarely the only factors behind divorce. But no one would deny that economic pressures are adding new stresses to marriage, and that many marriages are not standing up to the strain. As Chazal say, "Arguments are not found in a man's home, except as a consequece of [a lack of] grain" (Bava Metziah 59b).

One of the leaders of the generation recently asked a respected talmid chacham to undertake a kollel in a community with many young couples. He couched his request not in terms of limud HaTorah, but rather in terms of "pikuach nefesh". The gadol told him that he personally knew of 12 cases of gittin in that community in which economic pressures were a major factor.

In many of these cases, the problems begin soon after the wedding, when the husband is unable to secure a place in Kollel. The areas to which young couples are attracted by virtue of relatively lower housing costs, are also furthest removed from major population centers and good jobs. As a consequence, many young married women find themselves with little, or no, work.

Even if the husband in such a situation spends most of the day in a beis hamedrash --by no means an easy matter, if one is not a member of a kollel -- the young couple inevitably find themselves too much in one another's company. Too frequently, each feels that their spouse has somehow failed him or her, either by failing to secure a place in kollel or to find a job, and as the pressures caused by a lack of incoming income mount so do the mutual recriminations.

The economic pressures on young couples are only one aspect of the problem. Unfortunately, those pressures do not abate with time and the growth of the family. A rosh yeshiva of a yeshiva ketana recently told me that even families in which both parents work, are often unable to pay full tuition, especially if they have already married off one or two children and are heavily in debt. By that time, of course, the marriage is on a much sounder basis than for young couples but daily, grinding pressure takes its toll on the ability of even the finest people to deal with the challenges that all married couples face.

NOT UNRELATED TO THE STRESS ON MARRIAGES from a lack of money even for basic necessities is the adverse impact on children.

We would like to think that the simplicity with which we live conveys to our children a message of mesirus nefesh for Torah. And that is no doubt true in many cases.

But where there is constant discussion in the house of a lack of money or squabbling between parents over monetary matters, the children may end up receiving a message far different than that which the parents intended to convey. The message for many children in such a situation is that money is the solution to all problems and that Torah learning is the cause. And that may be true even where the parents mesirus nefesh is in fact extraordinary and a reflection of both parents' sincere desire to sacrifice for the husband's growth in Torah learning.

Someone close to one of the leaders of the generation once told me of a young boy just a few years after bar mitzvah, who came into the gadol's house and demonstratively threw down his kippah. The gadol asked him to explain his dramatic act. The boy's reply: "Everything is no, no, no. We can't afford that because Tatte learns Torah. Even when all I want is a cheap candy, the answer is still, "No, because Tatte learns." That teenager viewed Torah study as a source of deprivation, rather than of the greatest imaginable joy, with predictable consequences for his future learning and mitzvah observance.

During his years as a rav in Tzitevian, Rabbi Yaakov Kaminetsky was very poor. His salary was collected from the members of the town in the smallest possible coins. Reb Yaakov and his Rebbetzin possessed only one pair of galoshes between them, and he had only one shirt to wear. Yet whenever the children asked for something, Reb Yaakov was careful not to tell them that he could not afford the item in question. Instead he always explained why the item in question was not really necessary.

Better that the children should see him as a tightwad, Reb Yaakov felt, than that they should feel that their father was unable to provide for them. Not only do too many of our children lack the security of feeling that their parents are able to supply their basic needs, but they feel that they too are destined for a life of even deeper poverty.

In the end the hidden costs of rampant poverty on the quality of our marriages and our children may turn out to be even greater than the more obvious consequences of poverty.

UOJ Comments


Now I know you have lost it completely. Are you suggesting that the opening of new kollelim is a matter of life and death?? Do We need MORE kollelim and more young men breeding poverty?

How confused have you become? How many kids are you willing or able to support in kollel?

Assuming the average Charedi family has only five kids and each kid has five kids, add their spouses into the equation and in no time there are 30 people added to the welfare roles.

What kind of advice is this from a Yale graduate? Either you have become a dishonest broker for the Fundies, or you have gone off the deep end.

Then you end the article with an imaginary Art Scroll story, pathetic!

Shame on you!

Saturday, December 31, 2005

An Open Letter To Rabbis Moshe Tendler And Dovid Feinstein


This is the open letter I published July 20, a mere five months ago, urging Mordecai to settle this issue with the RCA. Please read it very carefully. I will direct a new letter to you at the end of the July letter to Mordecai.

(I urge readers to go back to July 20, click on the comments, and see how wrong you were for blasting me. I'm talking particularly to a few "bigshot" bloggers who have as much brains as the amoeba and apes they came from).

Wednesday, July 20, 2005
An Open Letter To Mordecai Tendler

I have no idea whether you are guilty or innocent of the many charges against you.

I do assume innocence,although the latest developments with the RCA causes me to pause.

I do not have a horse in this race.
I do not have a kugel in this oven.
I do not have a black hat on this head.

So for starters you need to know I hope you are innocent.

I did not say I hope you are" found "innocent,because the only thing you can be" found" is guilty.
You know what the score is. Either you are guilty or innocent,there is no gray area.
I do know what this fight with the RCA represents, and that makes me a nogaih b'dovor, because whatever the outcome of this matter, all streams of Orthodox Jewry will be affected.

Trying to avoid the well known cliche, I have come up with my own.


The above is a general rule that I learned throughout my own trials and tribulations that life offers. I sense that there is something here that does not quite meet the proverbial eye.
You have waited way too long to come out swinging. These rumors have been swirling around for years.

Why pick a fight with an adversary that you can not beat? You can NOT beat them!
They will destroy whatever is left of your reputation.
I am not saying you should not be defending yourself, but this Israeli bais din gimmick sounds and feels like camouflage and subterfuge.

I know Rabbi Shmuel Fried extremely well. He is the toain or attorney for the RCA.
A few things you must know about this guy.
We speak often on business issues, especially when it comes to real estate.
He is unbeatable when his client is right, and never takes a case unless he is sure they are.


I know of your Toain Mittleman,he is out of his league.

Mordecai Tendler,

You are getting very bad advice.
Your ego will destroy you and your family.

This is my advice to you.

Give it up!

Have your respective representatives meet in private.

Let both sides come up with a pareve statement that is ambiguous.
Fried is a big mentsch,he will encourage a respectable settlement.

You are in way over your head.
Your father and all your uncles will not be able to help you.
Fried will absolutely crush you!


You are still the rabbi of your shul, if you proceed with this nonsense you will lose your job.
You will join Moshe Londinski from Seattle in no man's land.

I hope you don't one day have to look at this blog, wishing that you should have listened to this anonymous blogger.

The problem is people do not listen to free advice, so send a check in my name to your local Tomchei Shabbos.


posted by Un-Orthodox Jew | 12:05 AM | 36 comments

Rabbi Moshe Tendler And Rabbi Dovid Feinstein,

You are both New York boys, so no need for warm and fuzzy language.

You messed up big-time.

Instead of sitting down with Shmuel Fried and settling this matter, you let Mordecai and your egos get in the way of reality.
I warned Mordecai that Fried was going to CRUSH him. The legal action brought by Ms. Marmelstein has Fried's fingerprints all over it. He destroyed your son without himself or the RCA going to court.

Who do you think is behind this lawsuit. Who's idea was this and who encouraged her to proceed like this out of the blue??? Who do you think is advising her?


You gotta be crazy to fight with Fried. He's doing this thirty some odd years and is a genius. Your family and all the good that it once represented will be turned into fertilizer.

And Fried has just begun, He will hit you from every direction imaginable.
He will pull witnesses out of his shtreimel that you never knew existed.
Mordecai will be facing criminal charges as well by the time Fried gets done with him. He has more tactics and strategies than Shlomo Hamelech had wives and concubines.

Proceed at the peril of "you" being accomplices in destroying your own family.

Sit down with Fried and settle, he can help you with the Marmelstein lawsuit, and pull the plug on his other tactics that will hit you in the head.
Pay no attention to Mordecai, he lost it years ago and needs serious help. You should force him to resign his job at KNH before he destroys that kehilla and whatever is left of your family's reputation.


I'm publising the Marmelstein lawsuit for shock value only. Perhaps Mordecai hid it from you. Read it carefully, PEOPLE DO NOT MAKE THIS STUFF UP. There is more coming, it will be relentless. SETTLE, SETTLE, SETTLE.

I wish you well,

Case Against Rabbi Mordecai Tendler - Supreme Court of the State of New York County of New York

Supreme Court of the State of New York County of New York
Filed: December 20, 2005
Index No: 05117629
Plaintiff designates New York County as the place of trial
The basis of venue is plaintiff's residence
Plaintiff resides at:
(Address removed)
County of New York

Survivors Adina Marmelstein, Plaintiff,
Kehillat New Hempstead: The Rav Aron Jofen Community Synagogue, and
Mordecai Tendler, Defendant

To the above named Defendants:
You are hearby summoned to answer the compliant in this action and to serve a copy of our answer, or, if the complaint is not served with this summons, to serve a notice of appearance, on the Plaintiff's Attorney(s) within 20 days after the service of this summons, exclusive of the day of service for within 30 days after the service is complete in this summons is not personally delivered to you within the State of New York); and in case of failure to appear or answer, judgment will be taken against you by default for the relief demanded in the complaint.

Dated: New York, New York
December 20, 2005

Yours, etc., Kramer and Dunleavy, LLP
Attorneys for Plaintiff

Lenore Kramer, Esq.
A Member of the Firm
350 Braodway, Suite 1100
New York, New York 10013
(212) 226-6662

Defendants Addresses:
Kehillat New Hempstead: The Rav Aron Jofen
720 Union Road
New Hempstead, New York 10977

Mordecai Tendler
653 Union Road
Spring Valley, New York 10977
Page 2

Supreme Court of the State of New York County of New York

Verified Complaint
Filed December 20, 2005
Index No: 05117629

Survivors Name Adina Marmelstein, Plaintiff,
Kehillat New Hempstead: The Rav Aron Jofen Community Synagogue, and
Mordecai Tendler, Defendants.

Plaintiff, by her attorneys, KRAMMER & DUNLEAVY, LLP., complaining of the defendants, respectfully alleges, upon information and belief, as follows:

1. That at all times hereinafter mentioned, defendant KEHILLAT NEW HEMPSTEAD: THE RAV ARON JOFEN COMMUNITY SYNAGOGUE, was and still is a domestic not-for-profit corporation duly organized and existing pursuant to the Religious Corporation Law of the State of New York.

2. That at all times hereinafter mentioned, defendant KEHILLAT NEW HEMPSTEAD: THE RAV ARON JOFEN COMMUNITY SYNAGOGUE held itself open to members of the public as a place of worship, guidance and sanctuary.

3. Defendant MORDECAI TENDLER was and still is the founder and leader of defendant KEHILLAT NEW HEMPSTEAD: THE RAV ARON JOFEN COMMUNITY SYNAGOGUE.
Page 3

4. Upon information and belief, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER was and still is an employee of defendant KEHILLAT NEW HEMPSTEAD: THE RAV ARON JOFEN COMMUNITY SYNAGOGUE.

5. At all relevant times, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER had a reputation as a scholar, educator and community leader within the Orthodox community.

6. At all relevant times, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER held himself out to the public and to the plaintiff as a counselor and advisor with an expertise in women's issues.

7. That the plaintiff (SURVIVORS NAME REMOVED) first became acquainted with defendant MORDECAI TENDLER and his work on behalf of women in 1994.

8. That beginning in 1994, plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) consulted by telephone with the defendant MORDECAI TENDLER on various personal issues.

9. That beginning in 1995, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER began to actively recruit plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) to join his congregation at defendant KEHILLAT NEW HEMPSTEAD: THE RAV ARON JOFEN COMMUNITY SYNAGOGUE.

10. That in September, 1996, plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) began attending services at defendant KEHILLAT NEW HEMPSTEAD: THE RAV ARON JOFEN COMMUNITY SYNAGOGUE.
Page 4

11. At all relevant times, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER took on the role of counselor and advisor to plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) and did counsel and advise her with respect to her personal, legal and financial problems.

12. At all relevant times, a relationship of confidence and trust existed between the plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) and the defendant MORDECAI TENDLER.

13. At all relevant times, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER represented to plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) that she was his "favorite" and his "closest."

14. At all relevant times, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER represented to plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) that he would "be there" for all of her needs.

15. At all relevant times, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER represented to the plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) that he would assist her in finding a prospective husband so that she would be able to marry and have children, as she wished.

16. At all relevant times, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER represented himself as an advisor, a father figure and a god to plaintiff (NAME REMOVED).

17. Beginning in November, 2001, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER began a sexual relationship with plaintiff (NAMED REMOVED).
Page 5
18. That from November 2001 through May, 2005, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER had an ongoing sexual relationship with plaintiff (NAME REMOVED).

19. That prior to and throughout the duration of the aforsaid sexual relationship, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER advised plaintiff (NAME REMOVED)
that she was "close to the possiblity of finding a husband" and that she would never find a husband in her current state.

20. That prior to and throughout the duration of the aforesaid sexual relationship, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER advised plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) to permit him to have sexual intercourse with her so that her "life would open up and men would come" to her.

21. That prior to and throughout the duration of the afordsaid sexual relationship, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER advised plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) that "Everything was closed" to her and that she should let him "open up her to the world."

22. At all relevant times, defendant "MORDECAI TENDLER advised plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) that, if she had sexual intercourse with him, "doors would open," she would be "open up to meeting men" and she "would get married and have children."

23. That from November 2001 through May, 2005, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER had sexual relations with plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) at
Page 6
various locations, including in his rabbinical study at defendant KEHILLAT NEW HEMPSTEAD: THE RAV ARON JOFEN COMMUNITY SYNAGOGUE.

24. At all relevant times, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER told plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) that he "was as close to God as anyone could get."

25. At all relevant times, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER told plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) that he "talks to God all the time."

26. At all relevant times, defendant "MORDECAI TENDLER told plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) that he "was the Messiah."

27. That plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) was induced to engage in this physical relationship with defendant MORDECAI TENDLER as part of a course of sexual therapy which he represented would lead to her achieving her goals of marriage and children.

28. At all relevant times, defendant (MORDECAI TENDLER warned plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) that, if she told anyone about the sexual therapy, he "would have her placed in a straight jacket," "have her put in the penitentiary" and/or "have her thrown in jail."

29. At all relevant times, defendant "MORDECAI TENDLER warned plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) that, if she told anyone about the sexual therapy, he "would have her banned from the shul (synagogue)" and "would turn the community against her."
Page 7

30. At all relevant times, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER advised plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) that engaging in sexual relations with him, was her "only hope" to open her up to become receptive to men.

31. At all relevant times, plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) believed the words, advice and threats of defendant MORDECAI TENDLER.

32. That once plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) submitted to his course of sexual therapy, rather than assisting her to reach her goals of marriage and children, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER physically and emotionally abused plaintiff for his own sexual pleasure and gratification.


33. Plaintiff repeats and reiterates each and every allegation contained in paragraphs 1 though 32 inclusive, with the same force and effect as in specifically set forth herein at length.

34. That the aforesaid representations made by defendant MORDECAI TENDLER to plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) were false and reckless.

35. That at the time he made the aforesaid representations, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER knew them to be false and reckless.

36. That defendant MORDECAI TENDLER made the aforesaid representations with the express intent to deceive plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) and induce her into a sexual relationship with him.
Page 8
37. That in knowingly making the aforesaid false and reckless representations to plaintiff (NAME REMOVED), defendant MORDECAI TENDLER took unfair advantage of his position as her counselor and advisor.

38. Plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) relied on the false and reckless misrepresentation of defendant MORDECAI TENDLER and engaged in sexual relations with him.

39. That had plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) known that the course of sexual therapy advised by defendant MORDECAI TENDLER was solely for his personal pleasure and gratification, she would not have engaged in sexual relations with him.

40. That as a result of the foregoing, plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) was physically violated, had her reputation impugned, was ostracized from her synagogue and has lost her standing in the community.

41. That as a result of the foregoing, plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) has been injured and damaged in a sum which exceeds the jurisdictional limitations of all the lower Courts that would otherwise have jurisdiction over this action.


42. Plaintiff repeats and reiterates each and every allegation contained in paragraphs 1 through 41 inclusive, with the same force wand effect as if specifically set forth herein at length.
Page 9

43. At all relevant times, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER occupied a position as fiduciary to the plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) as her counselor, advisor and therapist and owed her a relationship of trust and confidence.

44. That as a result of the foregoing, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER breached his fiduciary duty to plaintiff (NAME REMOVED).

45. That as a result of the foregoing, plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) was physically violated, had her reputation impugned, was ostracized from her synagogue and lost her standing in the community.

46. That as a result of the foregoing, plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) was caused to and has suffered and sustained severe and serious personal injuries, severe and serious conscious pain and suffering, severe and serious mental distress and anguish and attendant economic losses.

47. That as a result of the foregoing, plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) has been injured and damaged in a sum which exceeds the jurisdictional limitations of all lower Courts that would other wise have jurisdiction over this action.


48. Plaintiff repeats and reiterates each and every allegation contained in paragraph 1 through 47 inclusive, with the same force and effect as if specifically set forth herein at length.

Page 10

49. Defendant MORDECAI TENDLER encouraged his congregates at defendant KEHILLAT NEW HEMPSTEAD: RAV ARON JOFEN COMMUNITY SYNAGOGUE, to harass, threaten and intimidate plaintiff (NAME REMOVED).

50. The congregates at defendant KEHILLAT NEW HEMPSTEAD: THE RAV ARON JOFEN COMMUNITY SYNAGOGUE did harass, threaten and intimidate plaintiff (NAME REMOVED).

51. Defendant MORDECAI TENDLER engaged in a concerted scheme to embarrass, humiliate and diminish plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) in the orthodox community so as to injure her reputation and destroy her credibility.

52. Defendant MORDECAI TENDLER knew, or should have known, that his actions towards plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) in falsely inducing her into a sexual relationship, in physically violating and abusing her, in causing her to be harassed, threatened, intimidated and ostracized from the community and in intentionally injuring her reputation and standing in the community would result in serious emotional distress, pain and suffering to her.

53. In doing the actions hereinabove alleged, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER acted with willful, wanton, reckless, intentional and deliberate disregard for the likelihood that plaintiff would suffer severe emotional distress, pain and suffering as a direct and proximate result of his actions.

Page 11
54. The aforementioned wrongful conduct of defendant MORDECAI TENDLER was extreme and outrageous and went beyond all bounds of civility and decency.

55. That as a result of the foregoing, plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) was caused to suffer severe mental and emotional distress, pain and suffering.

56. That as a result of the foregoing, plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) has been injured and damaged in a sum which exceeds the jurisdictional limitations of all lower Courts that would otherwise have jurisdiction over this action.


57. Plaintiff repeats and reiterate each and every allegation contained in paragraphs 1 through 56 inclusive, with the same force and effect as if specifically set forth herein at length.

58. At all relevant times, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER was aware that plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) trusted him, relied on him and placed her confidence in him.

58. At all relevant times, defendant MORDECAI TENDLER knew or should have known that his actions would cause her severe mental and emotional distress, pain and suffering.
Page 12
59. That as a result of defendant's actions, plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) was caused to suffer severe mental and emotional distress, pain and suffering.

60. That as a result of the foregoing, plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) has been injured and damaged in a sum which exceeds the jurisdictional limitations of all lower Courts that would otherwise have jurisdiction over this action.


61. Plaintiff repeats and reiterates each and every allegation contained in paragraphs 1 through 60 inclusive, with the same force and effect as if specifically set forth herein at length.

62. At all relevant times, defendant KEHILLAT NEW HEMPSTEAD: THE RAV ARON JOFEN COMMUNITY SYNAGOGUE was aware of the aforesaid conduct and actions of defendant MORDECAI TENDLER.

63. At all relevant times, defendant KEHILLAT NEW HEMPSTEAD: THE RAV ARON JOFEN COMMUNITY SYNAGOGUE knew or should have known of propensity of defendant MORDECAI TENDLER for the aforesaid conduct.

64. At all relevant times, defendant KEHILLAT NEW HEMPSTEAD: THE RAV ARON JOFEN COMMUNITY SYNAGOGUE knew or should
Page 13

have known that defendant MORDECAI TENDLER used his rabbinical study at the synagogue to conduct his sexual therapy sessions with congregation members.

65. At all relevant times, defendant KEHILLAT NEW HEMPSTEAD: THE RAV ARON JOFEN COMMUNITY SYNAGOGUE knew of facts that would lead a predent party to investigate the use by defendant MORDECAI TENDLER of his rabbinical study at the synagogue.

66. At all relevant times, defendant KEHILLAT NEW HEMPSTEAD: THE RAV ARON JOFEN COMMUNITY SYNAGOGUE had notice of prior allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct by defendant MORDECAI TENDLER.

67. That in spite of the aforesaid notice of prior allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct by defendant MORDECAI TENDLER, defendant KEHILLAT NEW HEMPSTEAD: THE RAV ARON JOFEN COMMUNITY SYNAGOGUE took no steps to warn or protect plaintiff and other female congregants, to adequately supervise defendant, to remove defendant from his position of authority or to make an appropriate investigation.

68. That defendant KEHILLAT NEW HEMPSTEAD: THE RAV ARON JOFEN COMMUNITY SYNAGOGUE, was grossly negligent as follows: in failing to properly and adequately supervise the activities of defendant MORDECAI TENDLER; in failing to use reasonable care to correct the conduct of defendant MORDECAI TENDLER; in failing to remove defendant MORDECAI TENDLER was an employee; in failing to conduct an adequate and appropriate investigation; in
Page 14
failing to warn congregants of in failing to take the steps necessary to have prevented the fraud and assault on plaintiff; and, in further failing to exercise that degree of due care as a reasonable party under the same or similar circumstances.

69. That as a result of the foregoing, plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) was physically violated, had her reputation impugned, was ostracized from her synagogue and lost her standing in the community.

70. That as a result of the foregoing, plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) was caused to and has suffered and sustained severe and serious personal injuries, severe and serious conscious pain and suffering, severe and serious mental distress and anguish and attendant economic losses.

71. That as a result of the foregoing, plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) is entitled to recover punitive damages from and against defendant KEHILLAT NEW HEMPSTEAD: THE RAV ARON JOFEN COMMUNITY SYNAGOGUE.

72. That as a result of the foregoing, plaintiff (NAME REMOVED) has been injured and damaged in a sum which exceeds the jurisdictional limitations of all lower Courts that would otherwise have jurisdiction over this action.

WHEREFORE, plaintiff demands judgment against defendants KEHILLAT NEW HEMPSTEAD: THE RAV ARON JOFEN COMMUNITY SYNAGOGUE and MORDECAI TENDLER for both compensatory and punitive damages in the sum which exceeds the jurisdictional limitations of all lower Courts that would.
Page 15
otherwise have jurisdiction over this action and is within the jurisdiction of this Court

Dated: New York, New York
December 20, 2005

Yours, etc.,
By Lenore Kramer
A Member of the Firm
Attorneys for Plaintiff
Office and Post Office Address
350 Broadway - Suite 1100
New York, New York 10013
(212) 226-6662
Page 16


I, the undersigned, an attorney admitted to practice in the Courts of New York State, state that I am a member of the firm of KRAMER & DUNLEAVY, L.L.P. attorneys for the plaintiff in the within action; I have read the foregoing verified complain and know the contents thereof; the same is true to my own knowledge, except as to the matters therein stated to be alleged on information and belief, and as to those matters I believe it to be true. The reason this verification is made by me and not by plaintiff, is because the plaintiff is not now within the County where deponent maintains her offices.

The grounds of my belief as to all matters not stated upon my own knowledge are as follows:

Conversations with plaintiff and a review of the file maintained at my office on this matter.

I affirm that the foregoing statements are true, under the penalties of perjury.

Dated: New York, New York
December 20, 2005

Lenore Kramer

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Famous Author Looking For Participants From New Jersey

Dear Readers,

I received this e-mail from Hella Winston, the author of the Unchosen. I read her book, no surprises, but a very interesting read.
I am in communication with the author; she assures me that she has no other agenda other than to report the various experiences of people who are struggling with, or who have left Orthodox Judaism.The identities of the people will not be revealed.
She kindly requests that you e-mail me at: a_unorthodoxjew@yahoo.com; I will forward them on to her.

Hello! I am writing to introduce myself, and to ask whether anyone
who posts here is from New Jersey. The reason I ask is that there is
a reporter from a New Jersey (Jewish) paper who is planning to write
a story pegged to my book, Unchosen, about the issues it raises. He
would like to speak with people who grew up strictly Orthodox
(chassidish or litvish) in New Jersey, or who live there currently.

He is interested in people's intellectual and emotional struggles,
as well as how they are treated by the larger the "community" if they
go public with their doubts and questions,leave altogether, etc.
One of the issues I have discussed with him is the way in which people
who openly question, or who "go off,"often get labeled as mentally ill, narcissistic, unable to control their lust, losers, etc.

But I don't think my thoughts are nearly as compelling
as hearing from people who have actually lived this experience.
If anyone here feels that they would like to be interviewed
for this article (the reporter has assured anonymity), I will put you in
touch with the reporter. (The Newark Star Ledger is also planning a
similar piece and is also looking for participants as well, but I
believe that will happen later in the month).

Thanks so much and I apologize in advance if anyone here feels that this post was in any way an intrusion into your privacy.

Hella Winston

Another Chag, Another Scandal -Kashruth & Money Don't Mix Well With Oil

by N. Katzin

Two weeks ago Taaman CEO Chaim Shalom told the following telltale fact: If olive oil is priced below NIS 20 per bottle it might be fake. One week later Taaman olive oil could be found on grocery store shelves for NIS 11.75. So what is the smart consumer to conclude? This anecdote typifies the state of the olive oil market in the chareidi sector during the Chanukah season. It seems the rumor mongers who started disseminating stories about supposedly fake olive oil did not imagine how high up the rumors would spiral.

The wild competition in the lucrative oil market reached its peak recently when competing dealers sent samples of each other's products to the Israeli Standards Institute for lab testing, only to find not a single brand met the institute's standards. What are we to make of these findings? Have commonly sold olive oils really been uncovered as fake? What does the kashrus seal on the bottle indicate?

The first rumors in circulation spoke of revelations that products labeled olive oil were actually not made from olives according to the Standards Institute. These vague rumors from unnamed sources effectively indicted all of the dealers selling low-priced oils. The rumors were accompanied by supposed telltale signs of fake olive oil.

Chaim Shalom of Taaman, whose oil was sold at a relatively high price, explained that the primary identification mark of fake olive oil is the price. "Every bottle sold today under NIS 20 is suspect since the oils in Spain itself are currently priced at approximately NIS 17 per bottle," he said. The same rumors suggested the chareidi consumer could also spot fake olive oil according to the shape of the bottle. These rumors were accompanied by praise for the quality of Taaman olive oil, which should be a sufficient tip- off for even the innocent reader to realize this is not exactly objective advice.

The rumors alerted the managers of chareidi grocery store chains who were astonished to discover an attempt had been made to set high price levels by disseminating vague rumors about low-priced products. They insisted olive oil sold for NIS 15-19 — and even less — was genuine.

The claims of false olive oil were reminiscent of the walnut oil affair on Erev Pesach 5765, when major shortages in olive oil jacked up prices significantly. At the time Yated Ne'eman revealed that the exclusive importer, Taaman, was accused of taking advantage of the situation to rake in large profits at the public's expense. The company's CEO denied the claims.

Discovered Fake Last Chanukah

Where did the rumors really originate? Apparently from a combination of factors.

The only bona fide fake was a product labeled "Yerushalayim Semen Zayit Katit," which HaRav Machpud's Yoreh De'ah organization announced was no longer under their kashrus supervision. But this was actually old news, for a simple test revealed it was fake even before last Chanukah.

Last year the standards institute issue a press release saying two brands of olive oil, Yerushalayim and Romis, had been found to be diluted with soy oil although they were packaged as fine pressed olive oil. Both brands were marketed for eating, not for lighting purposes, whereas the recent rumors referred to candlelighting oil.

Another brand, Menora, also lost its kashrus certification. Contrary to rumors Chug Chasam Sofer of Bnei Brak did not remove its kashrus certification because the product was not genuine olive oil.

"We discovered the oil was purchased by a party that bought the oil in barrels, bottled it and sold it to two dealers who marketed it," a Chasam Sofer spokesman told Yated Ne'eman. "We learned the bottled oil was sent to a certified lab for tests and was found to be 100 percent pure, clean olive oil. But because the oil was not under our supervision at the time of packaging we removed our kashrus certification and announced that Menora olive oil was not under our responsibility."

"Anyone who reads the wording of the announcement carefully can see this was stated very clearly, not that fake [olive oil] had been discovered but that the oil was packaged without supervision and therefore we do not take responsibility for it. The decision was made several days before we made a public announcement and certainly before the rumors about fake [olive oil] began to circulate."

The Kashrus Seal and the Reliability of the Oil

The products the rumors refer to were marketed under mehadrin kashrus. What does the kashrus seal indicate? Does the hechsher apply only to the kashrus of the product or does it include supervision over the reliability of the claims by the manufacturer or dealer?

According to the Badatz Eida Chareidis its kashrus "includes supervision to ensure the oil is 100 percent pure olive oil as the label indicates. We are very careful to avoid misleading the public in this matter, which is important in and of itself."

Through its representatives in Eretz Yisroel, Dayan Osher Yaakov Westheim's kashrus organization also confirms the olive oil under its supervision is 100 percent pure. They say Maagal Hashana Olive Oil was under their supervision "from the start of the production process to the finish, all along the way through the marketing of the product. In the middle samples were sent to certified labs and it was found to be clean olive oil."

Dr. Eliyohu Licht, a chareidi chemist and an established authority in the area of kashrus, refused to comment on any brand of olive oil, but remarked, "Every chemist checks the samples brought to him at the lab and the certification applies to these samples and not all of the products. The chemist certainly does not oversee or grant a hechsher for the products.

"I would also like to state regarding quotes that had me saying one brand of candlelighting olive oil or another is edible and the label `Semen Zayis Lema'or' is affixed because of import customs, etc.—if the manufacturer does not take responsibility the olive oil is edible nobody else will take responsibility for determining the oil is edible."

Pure Olive Oil — But Does Not Meet Standards

Dr. Eliyohu Licht explains in greater detail what tests are conducted on olive oil.

The first test is to check the fatty acid, which provides an indication of its source. Every type of oil has a different composition, which allows us to identify whether it is olive oil or a different type of oil, i.e. whether the olive oil was diluted with a different type of oil. If the additives are a substantial percentage they can be discovered at this stage.

Two other tests relate to quality: Acidity testing: olive oil contains free acids. The standard institute ascribes different terms to olive oil according to a ranking of acidity. Extra virgin cold pressed olive oil has an acidity level of up to 1 percent. Virgin olive oil has an acidity level of up to 2 percent. Regular olive oil has up to 3.3 percent.

Beyond 3.3 percent acidity, according to the standards this is inedible olive oil. Dr. Licht notes, "The public should be made aware that even if the standard sets an upper limit of 3.3 percent still this does not mean that in actuality the oil cannot be consumed. The limit is hard to determine. In any event olive oil above 3.3 percent acidity is not fake. It is pure, clean olive oil, but it is not of high enough quality in the eyes of the Standards Institute. By the way, acidity level is advancing and rising all the time [as part of the normal aging process of olive oil]."

Another test is peroxide value: oil that comes in contact with air oxidizes and goes bad over time. The standard institute has determined that within one year of bottling the peroxide level should not exceed 8. It definitely can happen that when the bottle was filled the oil has a value of 2-3 and at the end of the year it is hovering around the 8- mark.

This leads us to an interesting conclusion: olive oil should not be stored, certainly not for more than a year, for its quality diminishes over time.
( In other words, throw out the oil so you have to buy F*** NEW kosher oil next year at a higher price, GET IT??? - Who makes this shit up? UOJ)

Another test is solvent residue. Olive oil can be 100 percent clean, but pose a health hazard. Using a chemical process oil can be extracted from olive dregs after the pressing. Although the oil is clean and has a low acidity level, its quality is poor and it may contain chemical residue.

Note: This article addresses consumer, not halachic issues surrounding olive oil (except for the sidebar).

The closer Chanukah came the stiffer the competition became. Dealers sent samples of competing brands to private labs for testing and reveled in the findings: none met the standards for olive oil. But their exultant claims competing brands were "fake," were based on a lack of knowledge and understanding, for the standards institute does not have a separate set of criteria for candlelighting oil.

Did a shyster infiltrate the group of dealers involved in the import and marketing of candlelighting oil and deceive the public by diluting olive oil? This claim goes unsupported. It goes without saying that the chareidi consumer should not buy olive oil blindly but should choose the product based on the trustworthiness of the importer, manufacturer and seller, and of course "mehudar" kashrus.

Ho-Hum just another day in the world of bullshit hashgachas.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Rabbinic Judaism Inc.

A Portable God for the World’s First Multinational Business

Paul Johnson, A History of the Jews (Phoenix Grant, 1987)
Israel Shahak, Jewish History, Jewish Religion (Pluto Press, 1994)
Dan Cohn-Sherbok, The Crucified Jew (Harper Collins,1992)
Henry Hart Milman, The History of the Jews (Everyman, 1939)
Josephus, The Jewish War (Penguin, 1959)
Leslie Houlden (Ed.), Judaism & Christianity (Routledge, 1988)
Karen Armstrong, A History of Jerusalem (Harper Collins, 1999))
Jonathan N. Tubb, Canaanites (British Museum Press, 1998)
Norman Cantor, The Sacred Chain - A History of the Jews (Harper Collins, 1994)

Whatever daughter religions might spin off from old Judaism, the parent religion itself had inevitably to refashion itself for the new era. After the disaster of 135 AD, a number of Jews retreated into asceticism, banning meat and wine altogether, since sacrifice in the temple was no longer possible. Others lost themselves in mysticism, attempting to reach the ‘celestial throne’ via their imagination, the forerunners of the later ‘Kabala’.

But for all their suffering, most Jews were not ready to bastardise their traditional creed by infusing it with the dying godman mythology. The vacuum was filled by ‘Rabbinic Judaism’, the inheritor of the Pharisee tradition.

"The rabbis, a smallish group (perhaps a hundred or so in the whole Roman empire) of religious specialists descended from the Pharisees, gradually enhanced their status and developed a specifically Jewish way of arguing, which marked them off quite dramatically from both Christians and Romans." (Keith Hopkins, A World Full of Gods, p234)

In Palestine itself, where the Jews were now a minority, what remained of traditional Judaism turned inward. No longer could its priests use the ‘temple magic’ once used to summon divine favour, no longer could Judaism be proselytised.

The Rabbis became ‘clericalised’ – obsessed with cultic ‘rules’ as a practical substitute for the lost temple. They peopled the air itself with beneficent and malign spirits. A Jewish ‘code to live by’ - the Mitzvoth (the forerunner of ‘monastic rules’) detailed no fewer than 613 rules, governing every pious moment from waking to sleeping, to keep the Jew on the right side of an all-seeing God.

‘His rising from his bed, his manner of putting on the different articles of dress, the disposition of his fringed tallith, his phylacteries on his head and arms, his ablutions, his meals, even the calls of nature were subjected to scrupulous rules – both reminding him that he was of a peculiar race, and perpetually reducing him to ask the advice of the Wise Men, which alone could set at rest the trembling and scrupulous conscience.’ (Milman, History of the Jews, p165)

Within a few generations Judaism would be codified anew, into a portable (albeit confining) religion which could accompany and – fatally – identify this pseudo-race in their wanderings in the centuries ahead. By the close of the fifth century, the total population of Jews would be half of what it was at the beginning of the ‘Christian era’.(See, Cantor, ibid)

The Jewish people – dispersed but bonded by an exclusive faith, uniquely among ‘peoples’ – established enclaves in every major city from India to Spain, from Arabia to Britain. Capitalising upon this network of ‘safe havens’, and with a filial presence in every major resource, from African ivory to Germanic slaves, the Jews threw themselves into the commerce of the ancient world.

Jewish merchants traversed with impunity the hostile frontiers between Rome and Persia, sailed the sea lanes from the chilly rivers of Germany to the balmy seas off the Horn of Africa. The Jews became dealers in amber and fur, gold and silver, slave-traders and money-lenders.

But they were also dealers in superstition as well as produce:

‘The empire swarmed with Jewish wonder-workers, mathematicians, astrologers, or whatever other name or office they assumed or received from their trembling hearers.’
(MiIlman, History of the Jews, p158)

Levies on their new wealth paid for a programme of synagogue building, and in turn, the synagogues strengthened the bonds of the Jewish communities. Rarely assimilating into their host cultures, convinced they were especially favoured by the deity (and thus strengthened in their faith), the heady mix of piety and mercantilism rewarded the Jews with an unparalleled financial success – and an unequalled and universal opprobrium.

UOJ Comments

Sound familiar?

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Kosher Electricity-What's Next?

Gedolei Yisroel Call for Reinforced Efforts to Use Kosher Electricity on Shabbos

by A. Cohen

Gedolei Yisroel including Maran HaRav Eliashiv, shlita, signed a letter of encouragement for the askonim who are making marked progress toward plans to install a Shabbos generator for the entire city of Modi'in Illit.

The letter was written by HaRav Eliashiv and his signature appears along with those of HaRav Aharon Leib Shteinman, HaRav Shmuel Halevi Wosner, HaRav Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz, HaRav Nissim Karelitz, HaRav Chaim Kanievsky and HaRav Shmuel Auerbach. "It is a great mitzvah," read the letters, "to assist the activists who committed themselves to this important matter of strengthening Shabbos observance by supplying the city of Modi'in Illit with electricity on Shabbos generated without chilul Shabbos, which is an act of kiddush Sheim Shomayim."

The gedolei Yisroel who signed the letter attach great importance to kosher electricity in every place with a large concentration of chareidi residents. "It is well known how [strongly] Maran HaChazon Ish zt"l [opposed] the use of electricity generated through chilul Shabbos Kodesh. And it is kovod Shabbos for the botei knesses and streets as well to be illuminated by electricity kosher for Shabbos."

The letters ends, "And may all of those helping toward this effort be blessed with the blessings of Shabbos, which is the source of all blessing. As is stated in the Talmud Yerushalmi, `"Bircas Hashem hi sa'ashir" refers to Shabbos' (Brochos, Chap. 2, Hal. 7), "and may the merit of the tzaddik [the Chazon Ish] protect all of those assisting in this matter to be blessed with all of the blessings written in the Torah."

The letter was written at the end of Tishrei following progress in setting up the electrical plant in Modi'in Illit. Recently the plan took another major step forward when City Council Head Rabbi Yaakov Guterman met with top officials including Electricity Authority Chairman David Assos, Electric Corporation's CEO Dr. Yaakov Ratzon and the assistant directors in charge of planning the generator project. At the meeting the two sides signed an agreement on the construction of the plant.

Electric Corporation heads said they were pleased over the letter by maranan verabonon, which was presented during the course of the meeting. They pledged to work to have the Shabbos power plant in operation as soon as possible.

The Modi'in Illit project is expected to serve as an example for other places with large chareidi populations.

UOJ Comments

The Charedis' coffers are dead broke.
The organizations are corrupt from top to toe, stealing, yes stealing from the government and fraudulently raising money for people and causes that are non-existent. Who is dreaming this shit up?

Do people stay up at night thinking what other chumras we can slap on to our followers? Boasting that R' Elyashiv signed his name to this "important" cause, tells us how OUT of touch he is with the reality around him.
He is suppose to pasken for us in America, when he is clueless as to what is going on in his own backyard???

Kosher electricity is on it's way to Monsey, Boro Park and Flatbush while we are probably eating non-kosher food. I'm certain that's what the Chazon Ish had in mind.
Any more window dressing coming? Any more cover-ups of the real problems, by changing the subject?
This is sickening!


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

A History Of Kashrus Scandal In America

By Joseph Adler

When the great Jewish migration from Eastern Europe to the United States began in the late 1880s there were about two hundred major congregations in the country, of which only about a dozen were Orthodox. Indeed, for most of the nineteenth century no Orthodox rabbi of repute had established himself in the United States. Organized Judaism remained foremost a virtual monopoly of the Reform movement, which the German-Jewish immigrants of earlier decades had brought with them to America.

Orthodox congregational life in the two decades preceding the advent of the twentieth century was at best chaotic, and lacked real leadership. Congregations created by the Orthodox immigrants were constantly springing up, only in many instances to be torn apart by factionalism within a short time. In most cases the services at these little synagogues established by the first groups of Eastern European Jewish immigrants were conducted by the most learned members of each congregation; often their learning was quite minimal. Plagued by a lack of qualified rabbis, ignorant of the problems poised by life in a secularized environment, Orthodox leadership was slow to grasp the fact that Old-World religious authoritarianism could not easily be transferred wholesale to the New-World. In the new environment with its congregational polity and voluntaristic character, the automatic leadership of the rabbinate was not accepted without question.

This situation was a far cry from Eastern Europe where the rabbi had served as a communal rather than a congregational official. With State approbation, legal matters among Jews had been left to Jewish law, and the rabbis adjudicated that law. In short, a rabbi had been envisaged not as a pastor but as a jurisconsult. In America, however, the State pre-empted virtually all matters of law. Thus, for example, a rabbi could not grant divorces, could not decide matters of inheritance and adoption, could not so much as perform marriage ceremonies without State approval.

Adding to the Orthodox rabbi's diminished power and prestige in America during this period of mass immigration, was the competition he encountered from non-ordained self-styled "reverends." Indifferent to Jewish, or even American law, many of these charlatans presided over dubious practices. They conducted questionable marriage ceremonies, and granted illicit divorces, and most profitably of all, competed in the single area of Jewish life that offered authentic rabbis a certain economic security — namely, the supervision of "kashrut" (the Jewish dietary code), especially those laws relating to ritual meat slaughter.

Scandals relating to "kashrut" were already an old story in Eastern European Jewish life, but nowhere did they flourish as extensively as in the United States, a nation lacking an officially recognized Jewish communal authority. Agonizing over this state of affairs an attempt had been made as early as 1879 to organize the Orthodox congregations of New York. The effort, however, proved abortive. Some years later, in 1886, a group of eighteen Orthodox congregations managed to successfully band together under the name Association of American Orthodox Rabbis. They agreed to import a rabbi from Europe who would be given the title "chief rabbi," and be responsible for rulings on matters of ritual and belief; raising the spiritual level of the faithful; and bringing order to the preparation and sale of kosher products.

Accordingly, the Association of American Orthodox Rabbis corresponded with the leading rabbis in Europe, and eventually settled on the choice of Jacob Joseph, a highly respected rabbinic scholar of unimpeachable piety. Rabbi Joseph had been born in Kovno (Lithuania) in 1848, and as a youth studied at the famous "yeshivah" (talmudic academy) at Volozhin under Hirsch Leib Berlin and Israel Salanter. His aptness as a student had won him the title "harif" (sharp-witted), and after ordination he served as a rabbi in various Jewish communities of the Russian Empire. Joseph's piety and scholarship was soon recognized and he was rewarded with the prominent post of "maggid" (preacher) of the great Jewish community of Vilna (Lithuania).

The Association committed itself to pay Rabbi Joseph the munificent salary of $2,500 per year, and bestowed upon him the title "chief rabbi." In July of 1888 stevedores at the port of Hoboken (New Jersey) were treated to the spectacle of some ten thousand bearded Orthodox Jews awaiting Joseph's arrival. The Lithuanian rabbi was greeted appropriately with cheers, pious chanting, and prayers of welcome.

However, from the outset the appointment of Rabbi Joseph by the Association created a furor among certain Jewish circles. Many Orthodox congregations who did not partake in the selection refused to recognize Rabbi Joseph's leadership. Reform Jewry, on the other hand, remained indifferent or hostile to the entire idea of a "chief rabbi." Jacob Joseph's appointment was particularly resented by the Anglo-Jewish press, then dominated by German Jews. Thus, the New York correspondent of Isaac Mayor Wise's American Israelite, even before Rabbi Joseph's arrival in America, expressed bemusement that a man who spoke neither German nor English, and whose vernacular was an unintelligible jargon (Yiddish) had been chosen as a fitting representative of Orthodox Judaism to the world at large. The Jewish Messenger in its editorials cautioned Rabbi Joseph to appreciate that in marriages and divorces the courts of the State must be sought for redress, and not a rabbinical court that the "chief rabbi" was known to favor.

From the start Rabbi Joseph realized that his major mandate was less to cope with marriages and divorces than to bring order to the system of "kashrut," notably the kosher meat business. It was a lucrative business and notorious for its strong-arm methods, chicanery, and squabbles. The butchers and "shochatim" (ritual slaughterers), as well as some rabbis had repeatedly been locked in disputes over the income from "kashrut": fist fights were not uncommon and disregard for Jewish law and Board of Health ordinances were rampant. Exploiting the vacuum of both secular and rabbinical authority, Jewish abattoir owners and retail butchers alike resolved the matter by engaging their own rabbis, or pseudo-rabbis to validate the ritual purity of their products. With this seal of "kashrut" the entrepreneur kept his foothold in the Jewish market and justified the higher prices derived from its religious value. The system lent itself to corruption, and it has been estimated that during this period possibly half the kosher meat sold to the Jewish public was non-kosher. Until the arrival of Rabbi Jacob Joseph in New York no one had dared tamper with the highly lucrative arrangement of the abattoirs and butchers.

To facilitate Joseph's task the Association of American Orthodox Rabbis proposed a penny tax upon poultry. Every bird slaughtered in the abattoirs would be under the strict rabbinical control and supervision of Rabbi Joseph's staff, and stamped accordingly with a lead seal. It was anticipated that the penny tax and the congregational dues paid to the Association would be sufficient to cover the salaries of Rabbi Joseph and his inspectors. Instead of easing Joseph's job the lead seal became a weight which dragged the "chief rabbi" to depths of indignity and eventually led to his downfall.

To many housewives the tax smacked of price gouging. For Jewish radicals, and for most of the Yiddish press, the tax was reminiscent of the infamous "karobka," the hated levy imposed by the czarist Russian government on kosher meat. An equally bitter protest came from the ranks of the butchers and slaughterers who were convinced that inspection best which inspected least. They expressed their discontent by forming their own association with the aim of resisting outsiders from gaining control over their industry. In addition, some rabbis threatened with the loss of their income from the abattoirs and butchers, and resentful of the exalted state and salary conferred on the "chief rabbi" joined in the agitation against Joseph and the penny tax.

Opposition to the Association and to Rabbi Jacob Joseph also came from a number of Galician and Hungarian congregations who were unwilling to submit to an authority dominated by "Litwaks" (Lithuanian Jews). Instead, they decided to look for a "chief rabbi" of their own, and in 1892 settled on Rabbi Joshua Segal as their choice. What followed was a squalid competition between the two "chief rabbis", and their partisans over the supervision of "kashrut." In 1893 still another rabbi entered the fray. His name was Hayim Vidrowitz of Moscow. He managed to gather to his side a few followers from a number of Hassidic "shtiblakh" (prayer rooms), and hung out a sign reading "Chief Rabbi in America." Asked who had given him this title, Rabbi Vidrowitz replied, "the sign painter."

Rabbi Joseph, despite a small and appreciative following could not overcome the centrifugal forces in the New York Jewish community. Reduced to shame and parody his influence gradually declined. The Association of American Orthodox Rabbis soon began to renege on payments of Joseph's salary, and for all practical purposes became a mere paper organization. Eventually, the Association dissolved in an atmosphere replete with acrimony.

Rabbi Joseph left without a source of income was forced to move his family to a squalid Lower East Side tenement flat. There disillusioned and ill he suffered a series of paralyzing strokes and in 1902 at the age of fifty-four he passed away. The Yiddish newspaper Forward in an editorial on his death stressed that Rabbi Joseph had been a sacrificial offering to business-Judaism.

Even in death Jacob Joseph was not to be spared further indignities. Perhaps guilt ridden at their treatment of this gentle scholar, a crowd estimated at between fifty and one hundred thousand lined the route of Joseph's funeral cortege (July 30, 1902). As the funeral procession coiled its way through the Lower East Side enroute to the Grand Street ferry it stopped at synagogue after synagogue. Finally, turning into Grand Street the procession reached the factory of R. Hoe & Company, makers of printing presses. The Hoe establishment was a massive building occupying a solid city block. Some one thousand employees worked there, nearly all of them Irish. Animosity of the Irish toward the Jews at this time was a fact of life in New York City. Much of this hostility had its origins in Catholic religious attitudes; distrust of Jewish political radicalism; and Jewish economic competition in the marketplace. In an earlier period of American history this hostility of the Irish immigrants toward other groups whom they feared or saw as competitors had resulted in the infamous Civil War draft riots directed against the blacks of New York City.

During Rabbi Joseph's funeral as the hearse passed directly in front of the R. Hoe plant the employees on the second floor of the building began emptying buckets of water on the tightly packed mourners, then hurling bottles, screws, and blocks of wood. Enraged, a number of Jews ran into the building entrance, shouting in Yiddish, and attempting to get at the missile throwers. At that point the factory superintendent blasted the Jewish interlopers with a powerful stream of water from a fire hose, and then turned the water on the mourners in the street.

After some forty minutes the violence ebbed, and the funeral procession began to move again. Belatedly then, some two hundred policemen arrived on the scene. Led by an inspector named Kevin Cross, who allegedly ordered his men to club their brains out, the police ignoring the Irish factory workers suddenly waded into the crowd of Jewish mourners. Shouting anti-Jewish epithets, swinging their clubs vigorously the police drove the Jews back from the R. Hoe building. Heads and arms were broken, and bodies relentlessly beaten as the police joined by R. Hoe employees continued to pursue the fleeing Jews. By the time the assault had ended a half hour later over three hundred Jews required medical attention. Adding insult to injury scores of Jews were arrested and fined whereas only one R. Hoe emoloyee was detained.

This disgraceful episode which in many ways reminds one of the recent Crown Heights riots shocked the Jews of the Lower East Side. At no previous point in the life of the community had there been so free a display of Jewish anger. The Forward observed that nobody ever talked about inequality in America. Indeed, everyone tried to hide it, not only the Gentiles, but the elite of American Jewry. Continuing on, the newspaper noted that the behavior of the police, and still more the attitude of the American press, clearly proved that there was little sympathy for Jews. At this moment of shame the Forward editors bitterly commented not one English newspaper, not one Christian voice, was raised in protest.

Protest meetings followed, resolutions were passed, and Jewish delegations besieged City Hall demanding justice. Mayor Seth Low, who not long before had been elected on a reform ticket appointed an investigative commission. The ensuing hearings and commission report confirmed a widespread pattern of police anti-Semitism. Mayor Low then launched an extensive house cleaning of the police force. However within three years the reformist program abruptly ended. Unseating the mayor in the next election Tammany Hall would control City Hall for the next thirty years, and police reform was low on its list of priorities. However, not all Irish Tammany municipal sachems sanctioned the attack on the Jews during Rabbi Joseph's funeral. John Ahearn the Tammany chief eager to win Jewish support for his organization ordered his followers to break every window in the R. Hoe factory as a sign of his displeasure.

In retrospect Rabbi Jacob Joseph was a victim of changing times and a New-World setting. An Old-World rabbi, his outlook could no longer evoke credence among a rising generation of immigrant children, and an older generation eager to escape through congregational independence the bonds that had formerly tied them to a European style hierarchy.

Rabbi Urinates In Aisle, Diverts Brooklyn Flight

Associated Press-name changed to slam the asshole.

-- FBI investigators said Lipa Margulies was the unruly passenger who caused a United Airlines flight to be diverted to Ocean Parkway instead of Lakewood.

Authorities said he lit a cigarette, argued with a flight attendant, then urinated and made a kaka in the plane's aisle.

Margulies was taken off flight 1502 over the weekend and questioned by police, a spokeswoman said.

The man was "acting extremely inappropriately," the airlines said. "When you want to run a safe airline, we don't tolerate that type of activity on our aircraft."

Flight attendants noticed that Margulies appeared drunk not long after the plane left Miami. Margulies later lit a cigarette, started singing "oi es iz gut tzu zine a Yid", and allegedly began to argue with a flight attendant who asked him to put it out, she said. He said something about being so happy because he fleeced some old people out of their life savings.

He obeyed, but when the flight attendant walked away, he allegedly stood up, urinated, and took a crap on the person in row 9c.

People familiar with the alter kaker/pisher, say he can't help himself, he has been urinating and shitting on people all his life.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Why The OU-Yisroel Belsky & Star K-Moshe Heinneman Are Blasting The Shit Out Of Each Other

Kosher craze sweeping U.S.

Major food manufacturers, grocery chains compete for 9 billion dollar kosher market; analysts say market for kosher products growing at 15 percent per year

Associated Press

UOJ comments at the end of this article

When U.S. supermarket giant Albertsons hired Yaakov Yarmove more than three years ago, the company found a point man to navigate what might seem like an unlikely market for a grocery chain with stores in places like Cheyenne, Wyo., and Evanston, Ill.: kosher food.

Albertsons, one of America's largest grocery chains, has since dramatically expanded kosher aisles at hundreds of its supermarkets across the country.

The company has also launched more than two dozen kosher destination stores that include everything from bakeries to delis.

"There's a kosher awakening," said Yarmove, an observant Jew who is Albertson's corporate kosher, marketing and operations manager.

"Kosher was perceived as scary and foreign. Now it's perceived as chic. I think everybody is realizing that there is an opportunity," he added.

Bringing matzah to church

The Idaho-based Albertsons is just one of many companies around the country competing to get a lucrative slice of an approximately USD9 billion kosher industry that is growing at a rate of 15 percent a year.

Experts say the boom is being fueled by several factors, including vegetarians and younger customers looking for healthier and safer food – the same demographic that has helped the organic market take off. Plenty of these customers are not Jewish.

"When I take the matzahs to the church, they love it," said Ursula Torres, of Manhattan, who was buying 100 percent wheat matzos recently at Streit's, a Jewish landmark on New York's Lower East Side.

Marcia Mogelonsky, a senior research analyst with Mintel International Group, a Chicago-based consulting firm, recently completed a nationwide study in April that produced some surprising results about the kosher craze.

She found 55 percent of the people who buy kosher products believed the food was better for them – almost double the number in a similar study Mogelonsky conducted in 2003.

"They trust the kosher symbol like they'd trust the Good Housekeeping seal," she said.

Part of the trust, Mogelonsky said, is derived from how the animals are raised. There is a popularly-held myth that Jewish law forbids the use of antibiotics, additives, hormones or feeding animal byproducts to animals raised for kosher slaughter. But Jewish law has no such regulations.

Jewish for 'good food'
Manischewitz, one of the best-known kosher food companies in the world, is developing an advertising campaign that says their name is "Jewish for good food."

Hebrew National, a division of ConAgra Foods, has always touted that famous tagline found on its packages: "We answer to a higher authority." But over the summer, the company decided to move the "Finest Kosher Quality" seal to a more prominent spot on certain product packaging.

Lou Nieto, president of packaged meats at ConAgra, said two things are driving the double-digit growth at Hebrew National, which recently opened a new state-of-the-art kosher facility in Michigan.

"First and foremost is taste but number two is that it's 100 percent kosher beef – nothing artificial," said Nieto, who oversees the Hebrew National brand.

He added that sales were being bolstered by non-Jewish customers, who devour the company's popular hot dogs at hundreds of venues across the United Stat

To meet demand, the industry has undergone radical changes, recognizing that kosher food is more than matzo, gefilte fish and borscht.

The transformation was on display last month in New York at Kosherfest 2005, a convention that drew more than 6,100 retail and foodservice buyers, manufacturers and distributors from 36 countries.

"Anything that can be made kosher, is being made kosher," said Menachem Lubinsky, who founded Kosherfest. "Even the Chinese are going kosher."

Kosher dumpling wrappers – no problem. Asian sesame ginger noodle and Thai chili sauce? They got it. Italian kosher. It's in abundance. Penne rigate, lasagna, angel hair, and all enriched with soy protein. There is also a kosher energy drink called "Kabbalah."

And it seemed like almost everyone was selling humous, creating a war of the chick pea. If any one food is leading the kosher charge, it might be humous.

One of the biggest humous makers is Sabra Go Mediterranean, produced by Blue & White Food Products in New York.

"Today, all the hippies buy this stuff," said Nissim Ohana, who distributes Sabra products and has been selling kosher food for 20 years in the United States. "Humous has become a very hot item.

At Streit's, the venerable New York company is adapting to the changing environment, producing Mediterranean, Spelt and five-grain matzos, along with spreads like sundried tomato morsels.

"Chains carry it," said Alan Adler, director of operations at Streit's, which has been making matzos since 1925. "Our products are on the shelf year round. We are having trouble baking enough matzos."

In two decades, Ohana, an Israeli, has seen the number of Brooklyn stores purchasing his kosher food rise from 16 to more than 200.

"Five years ago, it wouldn't have sold," said Frank Widdi of Met Foodmarkets in Brooklyn. Widdi, a Palestinian, now has two separate refrigerators with humous, including one for Sabra which he gets from Ohana.

A Palestinian selling kosher humous?

"Business is business," Ohana says.

Rabbis Rule Romaine Lettuce Off Limits to Kosher Consumers

Kosher Today-New York

A cross-section of Orthodox rabbis ruled last week that “it is forbidden” to eat romaine lettuce and several other packaged vegetables, including Spring Mix and Baby Spinach, because of insect infestation. The 30 rabbis, however, noted that “this prohibition does not apply to iceberg lettuce, cabbage or greenhouse vegetables provided they are under a reliable, expert hashgacha.” According to several rabbis reached by Kosher Today, a key target of the edict published in many Jewish newspapers was Fresh Express, whose certifying rabbis have since withdrawn their certification. A spokesman for the Orthodox Union said that while the US grown romaine lettuce was off limits, it approved the romaine lettuce grown in hothouses by Alei Katif, which after having being evicted from the Gaza Strip was said to have resumed production in Israel’s Negev Desert. The letter by the rabbis singled out pre-washed romaine lettuce, romaine hearts, romaine mixes (European, Italian, Greener Selection) and Fresh Leafy Salads (such as Spring Mix and Baby Spinach).

The letter noted: “It is unfortunately our duty to inform you that insect infestation was found in most packages, regardless of the company or the supervising authority…Caterers, restaurants and stores that offer these products are guilty of offering food that is forbidden by Torah law.”

UOJ comments

The OU lead by Yisroel Belsky was on the attack. The Star-K, Moshe Heinneman's organization was permitting it.
As we can see from the numbers, "Kosher" is a multi-billion dollar business.

Moshe Heinneman was relying on a p'sak "he said" was told to him by Rabbi Aron Kotler z"l. UOJ called the Kotler & Schwartzman families and none of them knew of this psak by RAK, which would permit eating lettuce that normally had bug infestation in excess of ten percent of the time checked; providing that a particular batch of lettuce was checked and found bug free.
In other words, Heinnemann claims RAK told him you can go by a particular batch; if there is less than ten percent of bugs found, you may eat them.
The OU and gang, say you go by the type of vegetable, if generally there are bugs, you must clean them all or throw them out.

I called Heinneman and asked him the following.

1-When did RAK tell you about this p'sak?
2-How old were you at the time of the p'sak?
3-Why would you have asked this shaila, if the shaila of bugs in Romaine lettuce was on no one's radar screen in the early sixties?( thinking he had asked him in the sixties)

Moshe Heinneman is 67 years old, RAK was niftar in 1962. Assuming Heinneman asked him the shaila that "no one knows about" in 1962, that would put Heinneman at 24 years old. The problem is Heinneman said he asked RAK this shaila the year he came to Lakewood, when he was 18 years old. Counting backwards, this would be circa 1956.
Who in the world was thinking about bugs in lettuce in 1956?????
The whole bug "epidemic" is maybe ten years old!!!

The OU is losing market share to Heinneman, they seem way to eager to do him in.
Heinneman's p'sak from RAK sounds really questionable to me at best, and a friggin lie at worst.
When money is involved everything is possible.

Tell me what you think!