Monday, February 2, 2009

The Money Train? (Rakkefet...)

My Elter Zeide and Lubavitch

Schneur said...

Rabbi Rakeffet has the talent and ability to be a serious "objective historian" as shown by his fine volume on Dr. Revel. But as a native of the Jewish Bronx , he also likes to be a Yenta and in several talks I heard him in YU that's what he does, he goes into stream of consciousness, talks and delivers good stories, with his mother or other relatives obviously playing a major role. Of course this stuff is entertaining, but not factual history. Here too we hear of nonsense like the cholent of Lubavitch, like the importance of Rose Lieberman because her grandson became the macher in CA 50 years later, like major Chassidim living in Lakewood, leaving out the issue of the Rebbe's possible residence in Chicago. Actually he has got it wrong about retirement. Its his Rebbe's mechutan, a Hassidic Rebbe in Boston, who said that with him T. chassidus is over. And he acted on it by sending his son Dr. IT to Boston Latin School, not to Maimonidies, and going into the Real estate business. Of course that would not play well in MO land.. The Kramer family and their role completely disappear from Rabbi R's account..Frankly at that time BP was as aristocratic as CH, so was the Upper West Side, and of course why didn't the Rebbe move to the Upper East Side if that was the sole criterion for establishing his residence. There is also much more to be said about the Brooklyn Jewish Center and Rabbi R's statement that at that time (1940) there was little difference between Orthodox and Conservative. In his own books we see him contradict himself.

My father would call this article stam ploideray !! If someone wrote the biography of Rabbi JBS the same way, everyone would have a good laugh.

22 comments:

thanbo said...

That's "רכבת", not "רקפת"

הנה רכבת, היא מסתובבת...

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

duh, I know.

thanbo said...

http://he.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D7%A8%D7%A7%D7%A4%D7%AA

Rakeffet is a kind of flower.

thanbo said...

um, OK. if you want to delete, pls do.

Anonymous said...

Didn't read it yet, but I thought I'd let you know, Rakef is a chronic liar, he's told so many lies, he himself probably can't tell a lie from the truth anymore. Oh, he a historian it's his profession, I guess that excuses him.

schneur said...

Rabbi Rakeffet has the talent and ability to be a serious "objective historian" as shown by his fine volume on Dr. Revel.
But as a native of the Jewish Bronx , he also likes to be a Yentta and in several talks I heard him in YU thats what he does, he goes into stream of consciousness talks and delivers good stories, with his mother or other relatives obviously playing a major role.Of course this stuff is entertaining but not factual history.
Here too we hear of nonsense like the cholent of Lubavitch, like the importance of Rose Lieberman because her grandson became the macher in CA 50 years later, like major Chassidim living in Lakewood, leaving out the issue of the Rebbe's possible residence in Chicago.
Actually he has got it wrong about retirement . Its his rebbe's mechutan a Hassidic rebbe in Boston who said that with him T. chassidus is over.And he acted on it sending his son Dr. IT to Boston Latin School not to Maimonidies and going into the Real estate business. Of course that would not play well in MO land.. The Kramer family and their role completely disappear from Rabbi R's account..Frankly at that time BP was as aristocratic as CH, so was the Upper West Side, and of course why didn't the Rebbe move to the Upper East Side if that was the sole criterion for establsihing his residence.There is also much more to be said about the Brooklyn Jewish Center and Rabbi R's statement that at that time (1940) there was little difference between orthodox and Conservative. In his own books we see him contradict himself.
My father would call this article stam ploideray !!

If someone wrote the biography of Rabbi JBS the same way , everyone would have a good laugh.

thanbo said...

>Boro Park was as aristocratic as CH

Not so much, I don't think. My father grew up in Boro Park, it was pretty much middle-class, the same sort of housing stock as Flatbush - a few big Victorians, and a lot of brick two-families. Nor was it terribly religious - my grandparents, raised Chasidish of some form, were totally non-religious after they came here in 1914.

You don't have anything to match President St. or Eastern Parkway in Boro Park. In Flatbush you have the older homes in Ditmas Park and that area. Boro Park was mostly newer middle-class development after WWI. Ft. Hamilton Parkway is a narrow commercial street by comparison.

thanbo said...

Rabbi R. didn't say that in 1940 there was little difference between Orthodox and Conservative, I said it.

You'll note that I put stuff about my family after a break.

And given the realities around the Mt. Clemens case, what difference was there between Mod-O and Conservative in 1940? Both allowed mixed-seating shuls, neither permitted driving, both claimed adherence to halacha. The big difference was that JTSA tolerated Kaplan, and RIETS would not.

But that was Louis Cohen's brother Joseph H. Cohen, who had set up the Jewish Center with Kaplan in 1916 as a splinter from KJ on the UES, and then turned on Kaplan when K's apikorsus became unavoidable. And then, 5 years later, when the non-religious financiers tried to merge RIETS and JTSA, JHC on the RIETS board put his foot down and said that as long as Kaplan was at the Seminary, they could not merge. (that from Gurock's book on K's relationship with the Orthodox).

Mottel said...

-Thanbp: For all the love Rabbi Rakeffet has for Chabad and the Rebbe - you for one don't seem to express it.

I actually heard the MP3 of the shiur where he brings up the story (One mans attempt to keep a YU hashkafa as the world moves right), and it was told in his 'style'(as Schneur explained.)
It wasn't, however, said as an official history - statements were qualified with if his memory recalls him, he's "not sure but" etc.
The point, that Chabad helped radicalize Judaism in America- bringing in the
'old world' standards and transplanting them here, is accurate.

Twistelton-Twistelton said...

"like major Chassidim living in Lakewood"

Well the Rebbe DID stay in Lakewood upon his coming to America. Building is still standing. It is now a small apartment building. When I first got married I rented an apartment in it. When they were tryng to open a Chabad mesivta in Lakewood, they had a lot of info on it on their website. Probaly still up. (The current owner is from the only -if not the only- frum Yid in Lakewood from those days. But he didn't own the building then).

schneur said...

1. BP and CH. Just check out the fancy shuls built in B prior to WW2 and you will see the wealth of the community :
Beth El
Emmanuel
(now destroyed)
Shomre Shabbath
Bnai Yehudah and other buildings like the former Menorah hall and the Hebrew orphanage which the late R. Josephy took over with Sam Hirsch
All the leading MO shuls in NYC in 1940 had Mechizoth -KJ, JC, Shearith Israel, West Side Institutional.And at that time the MO type of orthodoxy was a tiny minority of Orthodox Jews, most shuls were European type orthodox with 90% with mechizoth. Its OnLY AFTER WW2 that many Orthodox shuls started removing their Mechizoth.The MT. Clemens case reflected realities after WW2 when hundreds of thousands of young Jews returned to the US and got married and started the growth period of Conservative Jewry. the case certainly did not reflect the situation in 1940.
Yes the Rebbe was in Lakewood and we have nice films of that period, but that was because Lakewood wa the leading resort place for Orthodox Jews at that time.

LkwdGuy said...

Well the Rebbe DID stay in Lakewood upon his coming to America.

Never heard about this. Where?

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

the Rebbe Reb Yosef Yitzchok of Lubavitch stayed in Lakewood for Pesach 1940. Well before RAK, who arrived only in 1943, I believe...

Milhouse said...

1. The FR arrived on 9 Adar II, and didn't go to Lakewood until Pesach. i.e. the story didn't happen as R Rakefet told it.

2. AFAIK the house he stayed at was not owned by a Lubav, and I'm not aware that there were any Lubavs (major or minor) in Lakewood.

3. I've never heard that he specified what kind of neighbourhood. CH was probably the best the chassidim could afford, and that only because they got a good deal on 770, because of its owner's legal problems. Sorry, Thanbo.

4. The FR did not have a stroke, and never suffered from aphasia. AFAIK the FR's problem with speaking was entirely muscular; it was painful to form the words, but he had the osois hadibur. Vehoraayoh, he was writing maamorim until the very end.

5. What Thanbo actually wrote was that there was little practical difference between O and C in 1919, not in 1940. He was explaining why his elter-zeide stayed at the Brooklyn Jewish Center when it switched from O to C, while in similar circumstances his brother left the Manhattan Jewish Center. (The difference being Mordechai Kaplan's open apikorsus.)

Twistelton-Twistelton said...

As far as I know, the hotel was NOT owned by a Lubavitcher, but a frum Yid.

Milhouse said...

I think it was a private house, not a hotel.

Twistelton-Twistelton said...

"I think it was a private house, not a hotel."

Impossible. I know the building and it is impossible that the building in question was ever a private house.

thanbo said...

Milhouse:

In your last point, not quite. JHCohen stayed at the Jewish Center, but pushed Kaplan out. Shortly thereafter (1922?), Kaplan had the first Ashkenazi bat-mitzvah for his daughter, Judith Kaplan [later Eisenstein].

Stroke, facial muscle problem (could also have been a stroke that affected the facial muscles, no? strokes can affect different parts of the brain without affecting cognition) - whatever the case, he needed the Rebbetzin to interface to the world.

If the FR didn't go to Lakewood until Pesach, where did he stay? BP? I know there was an L shul in BP starting in 1916.

Mottel: the "love for Chabad" doesn't come across in this MP3. He appreciates what they've done, regards the Meshichists as beyond the pale, and says that we shouldn't ostracize them; some of his own students have been Lubavitch. It's a "they're OK for the most part" more than "affection". Or so it seemed to me.

Milhouse said...

As I understand it, the FR had MS. In 1940 he could still speak clearly, and walk, though with difficulty. Towards the end of his life he could only be understood by those who were used to the way he spoke. Writing was also difficult for him, but they got him a special pencil that was easier for him to hold, and he was able to write even maamorim as long as Bosi Legani.

He was at the Greystone Hotel from when he arrived until 770 was bought in late summer, except for the few weeks he spent in Lakewood.

Friendly Anonymous said...

Milhouse,

The maamorim in the last years were reprints; I seem to remember that Bosi legani is originally from tof reish pey dalet

thanbo said...

Ah. The Greystone is a rat-infested dump today, according to things found on Google.

"could still speak clearly, and walk", although in the video from the ship, he was in a wheelchair. And from Tzig's first picture, it's clear that the FR is being held up.

Milhouse said...

Go to any airport and you will see people being wheeled to the plane, and then get up and — miracle of miracles — walk a few feet to their seats. You will even see people get out of their wheelchairs and walk to the facilities unassisted, or with minimal assistance. That doesn't mean they're faking their disability; it just means they're not totally immobile. At that point he was still capable of walking, with some help. And he was capable of speaking clearly; that's why there are Sefer Hasichos from 5700-5705, but not later. As his disease progressed everything became more difficult for him.