Monday, September 26, 2005

Mr. Agudas Yisroel, Moshe Sherer- All Dollars, No Sense

Cast your bread upon the waters
by Jonathan Rosenblum
Mishpacha Magazine

I'm currently in the process of finishing a biography of Rabbi Moshe Sherer, who headed Agudath Israel of America for over three decades. That biography could be described as an Orthodox version of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. By unanimous consent Rabbi Sherer was one of the most effective people in recent memory, and the impact of Agudath Israel of America during his tenure was, in large part, a function of his remarkable talents.

Those talents were many, and this is not the place for their enumeration. But the deeper I become immersed in this project the clearer it becomes how much of Rabbi Sherer's success was a function of good middos – the respect, concern, and sensitivity he showed to others, and the dignity with which he conducted himself. Even in the decades when Agudath Israel was a small, virtually penniless organization, with a handful of employees, he was making connections with literally hundreds of politicians and key bureaucrats at all levels of government – federal, state, and municipal.
The files of Agudath Israel are filled with records of timely interventions by Rabbi Sherer where a single phone call to the right person achieved results worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to a particular yeshiva.The responses of those officials rarely had anything to do with the political power of Agudath Israel's constituency, from which the bureaucrats were, in any event, largely insulated. Rabbi Sherer never spoke the language of power politics, but argued each case on the merits. Rather the bureaucrats and politicians went out of their way to help – many times even beyond the strict letter of their mandates -- because of the enormous respect that they had for Rabbi Sherer, who was often the only Orthodox Jew they knew. AARTS, the accreditation agency serving the American yeshivos, has brought tens of millions of dollars of federal funding into yeshiva coffers in the thirty years since its founding.

Yet AARTS would have never come into existence but for the close personal relationship between Rabbi Sherer and John Proffitt, the person in charge of accreditation agencies in the Department of Education. Over the seven years leading up to AARTS formal recognition by the Department of Education, Dr. Proffitt repeatedly exercised his discretion to waive various requirements or hasten the governmental review on behalf of AARTS. And each time, he gave the same reason: the desire to do a "favor" for Rabbi Sherer, as an expression of their personal closeness and mutual respect.

Rabbi Sherer emblemizes the principle that good middos pay. Unfortunately, it is not too hard to find those who also demonstrate the opposite principle: Bad middos, in the end, damage their possessor more than anyone. There are those who approach life as a jungle in which it is either kill or be kill. They devote themselves to exercising control over others, and live for the joy of breaking someone else in negotiations, whether it is in business or buying a new refrigerator.

Oh how they cherish their victories – the fifty dollars on the price here, the hundred dollars they talked someone down there. But those precious victories are usually pyrrhic. The few thousand dollars saved over a lifetime come at the cost of gaining the name "a hard person" -- someone to be avoided, whether in business or shidduchim. Often those closest to such people pay the highest price, and the angry man, as Chazal say, is left only with his anger.

Recently, I asked someone why they had gone out of their way to circulate a negative review of a project undertaken by a certain organization. In the course of the conversation, it became clear to me that if a certain phone call had been returned the critique would never have issued. How many times, I wondered, did parties who might well have ended up as business partners find themselves bitter competitors instead because of an unreturned phone call? (Rabbi Sherer, incidentally, was a fanatic about returning phone calls the same day, and if he could not do so, he would have one of his secretaries call to explain why.)

As a beginning lawyer in Chicago, the senior litigation partner in my firm gave me an invaluable piece of advice: Don't make life miserable for your opposite counsel. If he or she asks for an extension on a brief or to defer a hearing, grant it, without making them appear before the judge, unless you have some compelling reason. Someday, he explained to me, you will need a favor from that same attorney. You might think that with fifty thousand lawyers in Chicago, you are unlikely to find yourself on the opposite side again from that particular attorney, but you will. And even in the relatively short time that I practiced, I had the occasion to learn how right he was.

One of the best-selling self-help books of the 1950's was Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People. Most of Carnegie's tips are really lessons in good middos – e.g., remember people's names; everybody loves the sound of their own name. Anti-business intellectuals of the time dismissed the work as indicative of the vulgarity of America, which reduced even decent behavior to the almighty dollar sign.

But that was a misreading of Carnegie. Yes, treating other people well, learning how to listen to others, for example, would help one in life. But Carnegie never doubted that good middos were desirable for their own sake. Many famous Mashgichim encouraged their students to read the book.

If anything, the utility of good middos was only proof that Hashem has structured the world in such a way that life becomes richer and more enjoyable the closer one follows the Divine instructions. Every time we smile, or give someone a compliment, or decide that something is more important to someone else than it is to us, we create a little pool of positivity. All those who are touched by that pool are instinctively filled with the desire to create own little pools. Those pools expand outward in concentric circles, and eventually they come back to engulf us as well.

The good we do for others returns to us – certainly in the World to Come, and usually in this world as well. As the wisest of all men advised: "Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days, you will find it" (Koheles 11:1).

The Agudas Israel is a paid, professional lobbyist group, period.
Jonathon Rosenblum's article highlights Sherer's career in dollars, without any common sense.
Sherer was the consumnate politician, who was famous for his back slapping around the halls of Washington.He was a charismatic gofer for the yeshiva world.
Yes, he did deliver the goods or the gelt, and the politicians were paid dearly, by votes and donations to their political campaigns.

Rosenblum's eulogy of Sherer is typical of all eulogies where the person had not much going for them.The use of the words" good middos" says it all.That's the BUZZWORD for I got NUTTIN else to say about this guy.
Were you ever at a eulogy where they said the dead guy had "bad middos"?

To Jonathon Rosenblum I say, it sounds like you have been hoodwinked to write another fairy tale story for Art Scroll. How well did you know Moshe Sherer? Do you know that as a teenager he hung around Bedford Av., watching all the girls go by?
Do you know that he was a way below average yeshiva student?
I am certain that this will be treated with truth in your Humpty Dumpty book.
Do you know that Mike Tress did NOT trust Sherer, other then to run errands for him?
Did you ever spend time with Sherer? What qualifies you to write a biography about him, other than the fact that you are a prolific writer?
Are you prepared to perpetuate the lies about his GOOD MIDDOS, for a handsome profit?
Do you know that this baal middos NEVER did anything for anyone that he could not cash in on?
I knew Sherer, he had anything BUT good middos?
The world was his stage, and everything he did was an act.
The best thing he did for Judaism was to leave the world stage to others.


Anonymous Zusha said...

Wow Unorthodox!
You really outdid yourself with this EVIL post. Forget about 'cherem hakadmoinim' against speaking on the dead(kol shekein on the living, alz loshon horo)but even IF true, what do we have to gain from your besmirching the dead?
some of your comments are so telling on of your evil eye:You writes:'Did you know that as a teenager he watched young girls on the Street'.Really dumb A)Sherer would be about 90 today, how in heaven would you know what happened 75 year ago,eh????B)Let's say he did,So??I think many healthy boys do the same and he surely had time from being a teenager to an adult to do teshuva, SO TELLING THAT YOU HAD to go 'fishing' to his teenage dayS to find dirt.Question:fROM THE VULGARITIES YOU USE IN YOUR BLOG IT'S clear that you ain't a very big tzadik when it comes to those things.

Monday, September 26, 2005 2:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At least he wasn't a rapist like mordy tendler. Or is that next? Inside info, my foot. Jerusalem jew

Monday, September 26, 2005 6:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to daven with Rabbi Sherer at 84 William Street. I had nothing to give hime except my 54/year membership dues. He showed exemplary midos as he was friendly to everyone he saw. My Father and Grandfather knew him from his yeshivah days in Baltimore and they spoke very highly of him. This was before he became famous as my Father left this world in 1972, a few years after my Grandfather left this world.

Monday, September 26, 2005 8:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Izzy said...


Monday, September 26, 2005 10:10:00 AM  
Blogger Y.Y. said...

you UOJ
your scum
lowest piece of shit

Monday, September 26, 2005 10:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My uncle knew and worked with Rabbi Sherer for many years. He had no love of rabbis, especially orthodox ones. He told me of all the rabbis he knew Sherer was the biggest mentch he ever met. Rabbi Sherer was wonderful to everyone he met. All who knew him respected him. This alone is a tremendous accomplishment. You can say whatever you want about the agudah, but Rabbi Sherer was truly a great man. Be careful who you criticize. Although there are a lot of bad people out there, There are also some very good ones.

Monday, September 26, 2005 1:32:00 PM  
Blogger David Kelsey said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Monday, September 26, 2005 4:26:00 PM  
Blogger David Kelsey said...

I don't get it. So let's say he watched girls as a teenager. So what? Why would that prevent or discredit him from doing something good with his life?

There have probably been a lot of great men who watched girls as a teenager.

Monday, September 26, 2005 4:28:00 PM  
Anonymous shmshi said...

and not only that unorthodox !!!

the levaye of rabbi sherer how he orcastrated it that it should coincide with the arriving of the greatest leaders among the orthodox community the gerer rebbe(ger is assumed as the largest chasiduss) and harav shtineman (the manhug of the litvisher velt) i guess he was total class and erlich even without the beard!

Monday, September 26, 2005 4:52:00 PM  
Blogger Un-Orthodox Jew said...

My "global" point was that these stories should be made credible!
In order for the generations to BELIEVE these stories, these humans must be portrayed as humans not angels.
For example the story that R' Aron Kotler wrote love poems to his kallah was in fact true.
The yeshiva world has banned that book and fact, causing celebrated book burnings in Lakewood.
In order for kids to move on with their lives without being discouraged by their failings, these stories must, I repeat, must not be unbelievable.

Monday, September 26, 2005 6:22:00 PM  
Anonymous itzik said...

Sherer was a ok guy, what are they going to say in the book that he was a tzadik? he was no tzaddik,no gadol, but a good fundraiser.
anymore than that is ridculous.

Monday, September 26, 2005 6:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

gerrer rebbe is a phony idiot who has steted the messiah will be here by the end of this year.

Monday, September 26, 2005 7:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

rabbi steinman was put on a plane, he probably didnt know where he was going or who rabbi sherrer was

Monday, September 26, 2005 7:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Monday, September 26, 2005 7:15:00 PM  
Blogger Un-Orthodox Jew said...

It was addressed previously in an open letter to Mordecai Tendler.
I have no new material or news.
If there is anything new, let me know.
I do not know him, so I can't offer a personal opinion.!

Monday, September 26, 2005 7:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sherrer was a ego maniac with a lust for power.
he was full of shit.

Monday, September 26, 2005 7:30:00 PM  
Anonymous der blatt said...

does mishpacha have a website?

Monday, September 26, 2005 7:36:00 PM  
Blogger Un-Orthodox Jew said...

I dunno!

Monday, September 26, 2005 7:44:00 PM  
Anonymous UOJ's MOMMY said...


Tuesday, September 27, 2005 12:17:00 AM  
Blogger Heshy said...

Im not an agudah member nor have I ever been at their conventions but I did attend the funeral of Rabbi Sherer.The gemorah tells us that by the size of a funeral you can get a glimpse who the person was.THERE WERE ABOUT 30 THOUSAND PEOPLE AT HIS FUNERAL AND THAT MAKES HIM very special. Even the Lubavitcher rebbes funeral had only about 35 thousand people and Rabbi Moshe Feinstein had 50 thousand.Satmer had about 100 thousand at his funeral and Rabbi Avigdor Miller had 13 thousand,
I wish I could accomplish as much as Rabbi Shere so that my funeral will have at least half of what he had.Lets not knock good people.If you want to throw dirt throw it at the reform clergy and their ilk.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 12:55:00 AM  
Anonymous beny said...

heshy, by rabbi sherer's levaiya his son said quote" daddy there are 10,000 people here " i found it very funny but that was a quote were did you get 30,000

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger Un-Orthodox Jew said...

Please be nice to me, I ate up all my supper last night, and all my breakfast, and I promise to keep eating until I gain another few hundred pounds, and then I will study to be a doctor.......

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger Heshy said...

I know how to size up a crowd.It spread for blocks and blocks.It is true that there were a number of great Rabbis in town and that probably gave many people extra motivation to attend.But that was the hand of G-d to show us that Rabbi Sherer was a good man by increasing the attendees at his funeral.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 10:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

big F---n deal!
Who gives a s--- how many people were there to make sure they don't see his puss anymore.
They just were makin sure he was dead.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 10:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Cardinal Lustiger said...

They were serving coffee and cake for free, you always get a crowd of jews when ther is free shit.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 10:36:00 AM  
Blogger Un-Orthodox Jew said...

I hope you will have a million people at your funeral.
You got something to look forward to now!!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 10:38:00 AM  
Anonymous heshy said...

If I could have a million Jews at my funeral I would be happy to die today.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 6:39:00 PM  
Blogger Un-Orthodox Jew said...

Go ahead and die, I will take care of the rest!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 7:16:00 PM  
Blogger kjef1 said...

what about the simple jew that worked hard his whole life,never stole from anyone,learned his mishanayot, gave his maasar money
to the poor widows and orphans. He never said a nasty word about anyone, yet had a funeral of only ten jews. This is because he never
walked with a cane with a silver top, never pushed himself to the mizrach wall, and never sought honor in this world. He was content to be a simple servant of Hashem. Perhapes he was not a genious or wealthy.Perhapes all he had was simple faith in Hashem, without all the "so called " Lomdos.We all know people like that, or knew people lkie that. Perhapes they were relatives of ours. But because of a small simple funeral the person is not considered great. What a bunch of
garbage? Get over yourselves, you smalled minded people. Its not about our Honor, its all ABOUT G-ds
honor. A million man funeral is this what we dream about? What a
pathetic group of people? Its really sad

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 8:50:00 PM  
Blogger Un-Orthodox Jew said...

You are one of the smartest posters I have heard from.
Your world view is really a honest and sincere window to reality.
I would like to know who your rebbe was.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 8:58:00 PM  
Blogger kjef1 said...

I had many rebbes as teachers, some were simple jews that i saw on a daily basis. These were great men, without titles or followers.
When can we all become The "simple
jew", without the honor seeking.
The simple kitsur shulchan aruch
jew. I feel the "honor seekers" are the ones keeping us back.
The ones seeking to seat at the mizrach wall willing to step over anyone to get there. We all know who they are. Where are the simple yids seeking only G-ds honor not their own. A million man funeral--
what a pathetic display of Kovad seeking. Its disgusting. The honor seekers are distorting our yiddishkeit. To what lengths will they go to feed their hunger for honor, and who will they step on in the process.Oh, the beauty of the simple Jew. Where are you????

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 9:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This discussion is despicable.

Moshe Sherer was a class act. Elegant in appearance, a true haredi, he was a good speaker who lent his eloquence and dignity to further the political ambitions of the Agudah.

When everyone else is going to a funeral, who wants to be left out, especially if the gedoilim order appearances? The whole Moetses is political, an artificial creation of the movement for the furtherance of the Agudah's agenda. It's all or nothing in that world, a world I'm a part of. The gedoilim are perfect. The political leaders are perfect. It's all you blogging goyim who are evil.

Ayn herem kamohu.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 11:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Jack said...

Sherrer was FULL OF SHIT and himself.
He was a whore who got paid real well for his services.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 11:15:00 PM  
Anonymous heshy said...

The unsong hero,the simple frum Jew who goes to work honostly and learns a shiur in the morning and at night are the cream of the crop.But we have to realize there are great men who had great funerals because of the many people they touched.Rabbi Moshe Feinstein was not a great Jew because he had 50 thousand people at his funeral,but they came because he had such a spiritual effect on so many.Rabbi Shlomo zalman Orbach had 300 thousand people at his funeral and yet lived a simple Torah lifestyle.Yes there are simple good Jews who may have only a minyan but that does not mean that a tzaddik who has thousands at his funeral was no tzaddik.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 11:56:00 PM  
Blogger kjef1 said...

Why are we so crazy with the numbers? Do you really think Rav Moshe, zlb cared about the numbers?
He cared about giving honor to Hashem, not his own? For a frum jew to write that he wished to have a massive funeral for himself is a honor seeker, and that is disgusting. Do we do things for our
own honor, or G-ds thats the million dollar question? The simple jew lives Torah, he just doesnt learn in the morning or evening.....Torah is his whole life 24 hours a day. This simple jew doesnt need the kavod because he knows its all Havel ...for nought. Lets get real about our real purpose in life. Is it all about our honor, and the numbers present at a funeral? Let the tzadim have their due, but lets not become tzadim just for the honor? Did you ever the expression Nachas baolam haba---Glory in the next world, not in this world. Lets
do something for G-ds glory without seeking honor for it.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005 12:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

honor in cyberspace. now, that's something.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005 11:10:00 AM  
Anonymous beny said...

this reminds me of a story, one chusid came to the holy kotzker rebbe and told him that he is thinking of moving to eretz yisroel, the rebbe looks at him and asks why at your age do you want to go to isreal! so the chusid explains that he does not want to make through the gilgulim when moshic comes and he wants to be right there in eretz yisroel as the kotzker heard that he scolded the cusid not only are you a bal teiva today but you still want a comfortable future too

Wednesday, September 28, 2005 12:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

good story.

what this has to do with Rabbi Sherer, I'm not sure.

He looked presidential. He dressed well. Unlike his constituency, he spoke well, intelligent.

He looked good and helped the Agudah look good.

UOJ makes us look good too.

Thursday, September 29, 2005 1:44:00 AM  
Blogger Un-Orthodox Jew said...

I once met the holy Putzker magid, he was the gilgul of the Penislover and married into the family of the Breslover.
His son married the niece of the Dogcatcher who was a grandaughter of the Stinker.
To make a long story short, they had a son. Now the Mohel hated the Penislover so the uncle of the shviger was Mendel Dickover or Dick for short!
So instead of the metziza ,he bit off the dick and gave it to uncle Mendel.
Now the Putzker scolded the Mohel and told him he was a baal taiva and the kid he just gemalet was without a BIG future.
Beny, this is what I understand from your story.
Did I get it??

Friday, September 30, 2005 1:25:00 AM  

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