Friday, October 14, 2005

Orthodox Criminals

A great e-mail from a new Frum Skeptic

A- the community has a tendency to live in self-denial and delusional
grandeur ("it doesn't happen here"), and to sweep things under the rug
when it does happen: talking about such things is taboo. (examples of
such taboos are someone who: served time; was in a clinic for
addiction, mental ilness, eating disorder, chronical problem (such as
a young person with congenital heart problems), or any
"non-conventional illness"; came out of the closet; had troubles with
the law; ran away for a while (either from home, yiddishkeit or both)
but returned and so forth - not to mention the presence of a
handicapped individual in the family, see more below). therefore,
voicing disapproval is by extension forbidden because one cannot say
loshon hora, "be motzei shem ra" (i hate the yeshivish english) or
accuse another yid of something false ("do YOU have ANY proof of it?
no? then don't accuse if you cannot prove! never mind what the new
york times says, YOU do not have proof and the press is
anti-semitic!"). simply put, it never happened - and if it did, the
person does not exist or was absolved by wither previous holiness,
denial, or some type of perceived teshivah.

B- as practical examples:
there is a head of a beis din in north america whose son is serving
time in an american prison for armed robbery - and nobody ever talks
about him, not even cousins - and there are members of his family who
even do not know that this person exists (kids who are almost
teenagers, spouses of cousins, etc.)!

There is the camp in new york state for handicapped children whose
counsellors are required to sign a legal document of non-disclosure of
names or the identity of any of the campers and their families; the
campers are taken to and from camp by hired drivers (almost always
non-jews) and whose families do not visit them, unless it is already
"public knowledge" that such handicapped individuals exist.

Although no crime is involved in the second instance, the attitude is
symptomatic of an intolerance of any deffect in those who should be
holy above all reproach - even when it is not their fault and others
could actually help them make things better for themselves and the
community (in my community, large as it is, there is no organized
group home for disabled individuals from frum families - there are
other "jewish" places, but without kosher food, etc. but the frum are
either homebound or shipped away until they die and are "found out"
only to vanish again after the shloshim when all mourning ends).

A- it really depends on what his "illegal activities" were.
oftentimes, it will not diminish his respect in the eyes of the
community as a rabbi, and this rabbi will rule as he pleases in all
matters, even if it blatantly contradicts his own behavior. see #3.

B- as an example: it happened with a head of a beis din in south
america that he attempted to leave the country with a briefcase filled
with american dollars (note: u.s. federal law requires that anyone
entering or leaving the country with more than 10,000 dollars declare
it - and many other countries have similar rules; the rabbi had much
more than ten thousand dollars). stopped by the police at the airport
(during a random security check, way before 9/11) he refused to talk
about the money, saying "i am a man of g-d, and it is none of your
business what i do". long story short, he missed the flight, spent at
least one night in detention and was freed with posting of bail and
bribes to clear his record (with the bribery making it 2 wrongs, but
still making it all right). but the said rabbi is very strict in his
rulings about business honesty, and no one even talks about this
incident anymore!

A- money-related offenses, especially financial fraud against the
government, is not seen as a crime by the frum community - especially
if the perpetrator/s use the money obtained to support a community
cause. the most famous case is perhaps that of zalman "jimmy" Gourary
of crown heights, who served time in federal prison for tax evasion
and fraud, but was seen in lubavitch - even by the rebbe - as a pillar
of righteousness and charity, mainly for his sponsorship of printing
of the rebbe's books and of a free mikvah right next to 770. other
cases - which happen daily and any yeshiva bochur heard of at least
one - include cheating car rental companies, long-distance providers,
insurance companies, purchase return policies (who never heard of the
"borrowed simcha outfit"?) and many other "soft" crimes (in one
instance there was even a way to obtain a driver's license without
knowing either english or how to drive, but technological changes to
the process ended that one). halacha clearly prohibits cheating
anyone, but since these involve cheating "the government, who steals
enough from us through taxes" or "the goyim", it is seen as no problem
("those companies/the government have so much money anyway!").

B- there is alwasy the "relocation" method: one commits a crime
somewhere and moves away to another community where s/he is either
unknown or out of reach of the jurisdiction of the first one. cases to
point include draft-dodgers who flee israel (too many to mention, but
nevertheless illegal aliens in the usa), people who run away from
their spouses with a lover (one such case now heads a
kashrut-supervising agency in North America), and one businessman
Fischer who pocketed money and building and land deeds from the crown
heights community council, fled to israel and avoids all cherem
provisions just by being out of the crown heights beis din
jurisdiction. the case became famous when it went to court and the
RICO act was invoked.

the bottom line:
Unfortunately, the orthodox community has created a self-perpetuating
vicious cycle of tolerance to crime and corruption, sometimes in the
name of jewish holiness ("lashon hara"), sometimes in the name of
protection of the families (e.g shidduchim, innocence of children
about crimes), but most often out of honor for some persons who do not
deserve it, safe for the position they currently hold and should lose
for their crimes.


Blogger Acher said...

Shana Tovah UOJ,

How true this is. The Erev Rav is bigger then I ever thought. Poshim and Ganavim. But it is us the common peoples fault as well. We let them put this noose of chicanery on us. When such things as this letter documents happened we should have raised a hulabaloo to equal the thunder on Har Sinai. You know why Moshe Rabbeinu was such a great leader of the highest caliber? It was because he didnt let his zchus of being Hashems Shliach get in the way of being an everday Joe. He could teach and lead and argue and gripe he was approachable anytime of the day he was not doing something for the people as a whole.

Thats why Hashem gave us Neviim and Shoftim like Shimshon. Ordinary guys we could respect because they didnt get bloated and haughty in their positions. We could learn Torah from them because we knew their Torah was just that Torah Lismha.

And I have this sneaky feeling that alot of these Rabbis want the Moshiach to come, better to prosper themselves then redeem the Am

Friday, October 14, 2005 2:39:00 AM  
Blogger Un-Orthodox Jew said...

Shana Tova, Acher!

Friday, October 14, 2005 2:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ho hum, yawn. Zzzz.

Friday, October 14, 2005 4:13:00 AM  
Blogger Askinstoo said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Friday, October 14, 2005 5:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Unsure said...

i was wondering what UO thought of the following site:
this and other related articles purport to explain why the frum get so corrupt.
They take it a step further than you do, they claim, the who religion is made up. Is that your contention, and if not, what is your view on why not.

Friday, October 14, 2005 1:02:00 PM  
Blogger kjef1 said...

I just want to ask a question. If
a man commits a crime, should his innocent wife and children suffer because their father is a criminal?
People will be adverse into marrying into that family.The chilren are innocent, should they never be allowed to get married because their father is a bum? Its a differcult question. I know people
who pretend to be frum with the way they look, yet are far from yidishkeit......Criminals . Yet they have very nice exceptional children, especially their daughters. Should we punish the daughters for having fathers that are criminals. So we brush it under the carpet!

Friday, October 14, 2005 2:54:00 PM  
Anonymous one frum jew said...

Regarding Shidduchim - I would want the best for my children but it would be difficult to be open for me as I have been taught to be prejudiced and judgemental, by well meaning parents.

It will take a life time and many miracles for me to slowly start to truly give the benefit of the doubt. Instead of just giving lip service.

Friday, October 14, 2005 9:02:00 PM  
Blogger Un-Orthodox Jew said...

The shidduch issue is really a challenging one.
Personally, I would NOT knowingly get involved with a family whose father is a criminal.
It does hurt my heart to see innocent children hurt, but one can never be certain that the apple does not fall far from the tree.
Siyata D'shmaya is definitely needed in all shiduchim, hain d'yada, hain d'lo yada!

Sunday, October 16, 2005 1:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Yonaton said...

Everything you said is true, and its a shame. I grew up traditional, and then I slowly became very frum on my own in 11th grade. Now I'm in a my last year of college and the last two years I went completely "off the derech" because I had so many problems with so many Rabbis. They all lie and they are all looking our for their own best interest. ALL of them, there is not one good one out there. Rabbis are terrible people trying to live off the hard working dollars of other people. There needs to be a system for their smicha to be revoked.

Sunday, October 16, 2005 1:48:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

is y.y. the skverer rebbe? no wonder he's so upset.

yonatan, welcome home. Not every rabbi is evil or corrupt. Some are very good and earned semicha the old fashioned way, with honors and distinction, reb uoj, for example.

Sunday, October 16, 2005 11:02:00 PM  
Blogger Un-Orthodox Jew said...

Oh, so humbling.....

Sunday, October 16, 2005 11:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...



I speak to you as a jewish drug addict in recovery - this December 1st I will be 2 years clean. My story in a nutshell, behavioural problems from a very young age, but nothing serious enough for the law to get involved with, just enough though to make sure that parents did not allow their children to play with me on Sundays....age 17, found I enjoyed the mental gymnastics of gemara, immersed myself in it and for about a year actually had a good name n one of the most respected yeshivas in the world. Then at age 19, went to yeshiva in Israel to fill the gap between living off my parents and living off a prospective father in law - and it was there that I went off the frumkeit rails - it just happened one day - I saw the frum world just the same as any other closed community - self rightious, self pretencious, and a broom big enough to sweep even the largest load of hypecritical crap under the floorboards.........and I went off (yeshivisha shprach for becoming an apikoras)

13 years later, I am still " off", suffer from mild to moderate depression and like I stated earlier am reaching a two year anniversary being clean one day at a time..........

I am writing to you to let you know what I think is the ultimate evil that goes on in the yeshivishe world - I have a kid brother who not only has he always been a good kind gentle natured person, but is also modest, extremely bright and is don everyone lcaf zchus.......its as if, I am sure my father thinks this, he was sent a present from heaven to lighted the load, the boosha, that I have caused to my family.........

He is now 21 himself, in Israel doing the in betweeen getting married thing.......only, and this is the point, no one is marrying him......why????? because of me, because he has an elder brother that went off the derech, maybe some frummers even got to hear how I later got involved in drugs...whatever the reasen, this is happening in our community - young men and women are becoming pawns in the greater needs of the in laws seeking to better their connections - to whom exactly?? to the very same criminals who launder the drugs money that I am constantly hearing about.........it stinks, and the frum world is becoming more rotten and corrupt each decade, oh I wish a survey could be carried out showing the increase in drug abuse by frum kids as each decade progresses...........this is no coincidence - this is an infectious disease - in laws should be rushing to offer their daughters to my brother - he is the only real mentch that I have ever met - and he is being ostrasiced because of something his elder brother chose of his own free will to do.........never mind - the frum community is a herd of asses that will cling to the words of a money laudering chasid with payos and a shtramel and avoid a good kid who puts new meaning to the words "mentch"....

Sunday, October 23, 2005 6:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So sad.

The jewish leadership during the bais hamikdosh was also completely corrupt. This prompted a large group of people to go to the judean desert to live away from the community in isolation and righteousness. (see qumaran, dead sea scrolls.)

Maybe its time to start something like that again.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005 6:33:00 PM  
Anonymous the booger said...


This is the same Herbst from Ave M in Brooklyn that got such a good write-up in one of your previous blogs for working with at risk teenagers.
Guess he can afford it with a good income bringer like the Independence Bank stock.

Ralbag from Ave K is a known scumbag when it comes to Gittin. Keeps the women chained unless they fork over the big bucks. Pimp in Hasidic garb. His Poppa mailed in his Passover Hechsher on Coca-Cola. One of the first Pay-for-Hechsher Rabbi's in the USA.

Hersh Ginsburg, another winner. Remember him from the days on the lower east side and RJJ. Gelt fresser.

Sheesh; Chaya Sieger really met the A-team, didn't she!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005 3:25:00 PM  

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