Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Boys Of Am Echad

Received via email: (the opinions expressed here are not NECESSARILY the ones of Circus Tent or its management.)

Hundreds joined Am Echad, a new grassroots organization promoting tolerance and unity, in marching at the Salute To Israel parade up 5th Ave. Joining this year, were various different chasiddim and yeshiva students from Satmar, Bobov, Vizhnitz, and Lubavitch. For 3 years, Am Echad has been working behind the scenes with the disenfranchised members of the charedi community who have been misunderstood and abandoned by a community that does not nurture their individuality, leading to a rise in drug abuse, abortions, and desperation. Inspired by Isaac Schonfeld, director of the famous weekly Chulent group, Mark Appel, an Upper West Side businessman and community activist declared yesterday that the war has begun to reclaim our beautiful youth and their potential for greatness, with love and a new sense of hope and trust.

We will use every resource available in challenging the Rabbis and leaders to stop this epidemic. Can we trust todays' Rabbis and so-called communal leaders who rip apart their OWN families with litigation and brutal communal disputes to do anything legitimately constructive? Absolutely not, says Appel, who has opened his house 24/7 as a safe haven for kids who have been abused and ignored by their community and families for simply wanting a better and more normal life. LET THE LEADERS TAKE SOME RESPONSIBILITY, and spend money on building community centers, libraries, vocational and job training centers, instead of fighting Lipa Shmaeltzer and organizing highly publicized and generally impractical trips to dead tzaddikim all over the world. LETS FOCUS ON THOSE LIVING RIGHT HERE IN OUR BACKYARD, SOMETIME UNDER OUR OWN ROOFS WHO NEED HELP, LIFE, LOVE, AND CHIZUK.

AM ECHAD We are One.


Anonymous said...

Lest the Isaac Hersh tragedy is forgotten...

And of course, the sordid example of "le affair Isaac Hersh" who was allegedly abused by his own family and father Michael Hersh who with the support and blessings of Rav Aron Shechter (RAS) of Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin, took the extreme measure of supporting the kidnapping and imprisonment of his own son, then 16 year Isaac Hersh on the island of Jamaica, that required a drastic rescue by Dr. David Pelcovits and Rabbis Wolbe from Houston and Monsey...that has become a cause celebre.

Why is this story not making the news anymore? It's probably one of the worst cases of how frum teens at risk are abandoned and abused by their own families and rabbis.

The new meshugas is that if a family, say, has ten kids and one goes off the derech, then it becomes a new kind of preverted "norm" whereby, with the "blessings" and "pesak" of a "rov" of course, the kid gets booted out of the house since he/she has become a "rodef" in the eyes of his/her holier-than-thou parents, and what is happening in America and Israel is that a new kind of "ma'aser" rachmona litzlan has emerged whereby families are prepared to calously accept that one in ten OF THEIR OWN kids lands up on the streets so that about ten percent of the frum world is literally going up in smoke RIGHT NOW as a new kind of modern-day version of literal child sacrifices to the "molech" of frumkeit instead of people trying therapy, medication, rachmonus, tolerance and some other stuff that's possible, instead of the mass cruelty and deification of rebbes and no-good monsters charading as "leaders" when they are far from it.

The Avos and Moshe Rabbeinu had to take care of sheep before they were allowed to lead Am Yisroel, and it's time to force ANY potential and even current leader to first spend about five years taking care of sheep and goats to see how he can cope with animals before letting him loose, often in his teens (like the rebbe of Belzo today) and early twenties on the human and vulnerable masses of Klal Yisroel.

While RAS will write all sorts of letters and make appearances at meetings to "save" and "mekarev" youth via "Oorah" in America and "Lev LeAchim" in Israel, he shamelesly resists the rebuke from even his own fellow Moetzes Gedolei haTorah members, such as Rav Shmeul Kamenetstky and Rav Dovid Feinstein who fought to rescue Isaac Hersh from RAS clutches and who even issued a public statement published in the Jewish Press forbidding the sending of any Jewish teens at risl to ANY sort of "boot camps".

Tzemach Atlas said...

i still would not admit any snags though...

Anonymous said...

Lo z'chisi l'havin es omeik divreihem

They are holding Rebbe Nachman posters but advocating against visiting deceased tzaddikim.

Someone please explain, thanks

The Bray of Fundie said...

דור השופט את שופטיו

without a doubt. Question is is there merit to these judgements?

Anonymous said...

michoel, chas vesholom kivrei tzzadikkim are a special place,,,,,but we must address the lebedeka first am acad

Anonymous said...

the man whoever it is, is absolutely right.

and if anyone says, How can I as a Shliach say this openly and publicly, I ask you who do you think YOU are fooling.

No one else but yourself.

Its time someone brought back the achdus before Shvuos that the Rebbe did not stop speaking about and all this terrible fighting stop.

Anonymous said...

better to do what's right (achdus) perhaps not correctly than to do all that's wrong (the infighting etc) with noble intentions.(keeping Halacha)

The Bray of Fundie said...

the kid gets booted out of the house since he/she has become a "rodef" in the eyes of his/her holier-than-thou parents,

Bad mixed mataphor CB tragedy. This IMO is not comprable to Molech but what the Levi'im did during the Khet HoEgel. Didn't they kill there own half brothers? were they also "smug" and "holier-than-thou" or were they heroes who did the right thing despite the tenderness they felt for their relatives.

You scoff at "rodef" but it is not the invention of current Gedolim. IIRC it was the Rav Ahron Kotler who established this paradigm for Torah UMeSorah when determining if a student should be expelled from a day school.

Instead of demonizing the parents who are sometimes forced to make this "Sophies Choice"

how about a little compassion and being dan l'kaf z'chus?

I can't begin to imagine a parent who would make this move without being forever tortured and anguished by it.

Do you have kids of your own?

BTW you are confusing me. You trash RAS in this comment. Weren't you the one who defended him to the hilt when Tzig posted on the CB vs. Mashgiach and CB vs. Belz controversies??? What gives?

JB said...

Did someone allude to medication if a child is not religious?

The Bray of Fundie said...

a new kind of "ma'aser" rachmona litzlan has emerged whereby families are prepared to calously accept that one in ten OF THEIR OWN kids lands up on the streets so that about ten percent of the frum world is literally going up in smoke RIGHT NOW

Fascinating idea. Interesting that per Khazal (targum Yonoson on the posuk of vayeuvaik ish imoi)the levi'im were niskadesh for their avodah through a maaser B'haima of Yaakov Oveenu.

Anonymous said...

Oy! This one hurts!
Good Shabbos and Good Yom Tov.

The Bray of Fundie said...


check this out. Brilliant provocative essay

Anonymous said...

June 6, 2008 – The inaugural issue of the journal Conversations includes an article by Targum Shlishi’s director, Aryeh Rubin, entitled “Toward a Kinder, Gentler, More Tolerant and Flexible Orthodoxy.” The article, which is pasted below and also linked to, contends that the modern Orthodox should play a leading role in healing the rift between different denominations, and should provide guidance and direction to a much wider range of Jews than only the modern Orthodox.

Conversations is published by the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals, which offers a vision of Orthodox Judaism that is intellectually sound, spiritually compelling, and emotionally satisfying.”

Link to article:

Anonymous said...

Does anybody know the inside details of what happened with the the Hirsch family? I don't neither do the others petz here,but it's easy to point fingers.
Btw, this was quite an expensive way of 'giving up on the kid', it costs about 30k a year to send to the boot camp.
This is a very unusual story , this was not an average 'off the derech' kid .

Anonymous said...

To bray of fundie of Friday, June 06, 2008 11:03:00 AM who asks "BTW you are confusing me. You trash RAS in this comment. Weren't you the one who defended him to the hilt when Tzig posted on the CB vs. Mashgiach and CB vs. Belz controversies??? What gives?"

Um, ever heard of objectivity?

You also probably weren't reading my old posts at the time when we were discussing the saga of Chaim Berlin vs. Rav Shlomo Carlebach (RSC) where nobody involved comes off looking like a "tzadik".

It reminds me of the old expression that: "In nuclear warfare thereare no 'winners' only survivors" and likewise when supposedly great rabbonim stoop to the level of bitter dehumanizing machlokes and what looks like chilul H-shem to many people it damages the stature of the greatest people and noone can escape that.

Another point: The RAS vs RSC issue took place about 30 years ago when they were in the prime of their lives. RSC had his failings too. He gambled on a big win with Rav Yitschok Hutner but he lost out to RAS in the end who had greater pull.

Now RAS is in his 80s and he is definitely showing signs of serious wear and tear.

This was first noted when he got involved in banning the sheitel store opposite his yeshiva via protest and boycott letters. Then he got hitched up with Avrohom Schorr to make ash und blotte out of L>I>P>A's concert and trash it. And then to cap it all his role was exposed in supporting Michael Hersh against Isaac Hersh by sending the kid to a prison on Jamaica. At least in the RSC, he was picking on a rov, but in the Hesrh case they took a 16 kid and bundled him off to prison under false pretenses (no doubt they would have liked to do that to RSC, but he was too smart for that, he was already a prisoner in the Holocaust-- see his latest book about his father "Ish Yehudi".) This is an undeniable sign of rot and decline in Denmark that any OBJECTIVE observer could spot a mile away.

By the way, your twisted and tendentious defense of the indefensible is shocking. You are coming up with krumme self-serving boich svoras to justify child abuse and abandonment of one in ten of our people when only 60 years ago Jews faced Hitlerian genocide and now face the "Silent Holocaust" of assimiliation and intermarriage which is where these youth at risk will land up.

You should be more careful with how you use Torah to justify unjust notions of plain cruelty and lack of mentsclihkeit to one's own flesh and blood.

Anonymous said...

aron schter and his mafia treated a rebbe familly who passed away reb mendel weiss ah like garbage.he told askanim to give all the moneys collected for the fammily to the yeshiva instead.btw im his family mayer

Anonymous said...

Chaim Berlin
You probably don't realize but you are giving the low life Tzig real oneg shabbos and yom tov but bad-mouthing Chaim Berlin.
His yom tov is to feel that his 'team' Lubab won and they win but nasty stories in other groups.
If you are a not a masochist don't give him this pleasure.
You probably noticed that this low life never ever touches any story about Lubob inc with a ten foot pole AND there are so many.Starting from his eveready energizer rebbe who has the eternal gift of life according to many of his co-religionists or the third grade meat forced on us the second rate hashgochos.

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

Lau (please don't abuse that name)

my Oneg Shabbos is a good shloof, nothing less.

Anonymous said...

the mainstream cahredi media chose to ignore the whole hersh story for some reason which i dont know but they will be accountable for it.

hirshel, you like rav lau enough to sanctify his name?

Anonymous said...

The azus you have to rip and mach ois with a gadol!
Do you actually know what took place in the Hirsch story?
RAS certainly made some seemingly questionable decisions, but he certainly was misinformed about the situation.
The people on the "other side" of the machlokes, consisted mainly of three people who have absolutely no nemanus whatsoever. If you are indeed familiar with the story then you will know exactly of whom I speak.
One person is stam a ba'al habus who would hold no clout anywhere if not for the fact that his father is a noted askan. The second person is a person who holds no clout anywhere, even in his tiny community, but he managed to make a big ruckus in this case since the Hirsch boy lived by him for a while. And the third person, oleh al gabeihen, is a divorcee who left his wife an aguna and was mekadesh his twelve year old daughter!
Oh, and then there is another person who played a role here (if you are really familiar with the Hirsch saga, then you know exactly of whom I speak) who has had an agenda to bashmutz RAS for years, and he started this smear campaign in the first place.
So there you go, a real all-star lineup!
I just can’t imagine why RAS found it hard to believe this group right away!
By the way, when RAS finally had clarification of the story, HE was the one who had Mr. Hirsch sign the release forms!

Anonymous said...

Nice fairy tale vus nisht (and I think you meant to write "veis nisht" so your Yiddish is pretty bad) but it has nothing to do with reality.

A rant is no substitute for an intelligent debate based on the facts. And the purpose of all this is to gain some insight into the teens and youth at risk dropouts and shababniks plague that is hitting all Orthodox, Haredi and Hasidic communities and how parenst (even the ones with best intentions) and rabbis (even the ones with the biggest titles) are contributing to the problem and making it worse and not better by their dictatorial and elitist attitudes and ways of dealing with people and what lessons can be learned from the Isaac Hersh case that became a PUBLIC matter, like the Pollard Case (that RAS has no problem fighting to "get out of prison") or the Dreyfus Case where they accused a Jew falsely and he was finally brought back from Devil's Island near South America which is not too far from Jamaica island by the way!

While some of the people you cite are not tzadikim, you have avoided explaining how and why and for what reason AL PI TORAH AND HALACHA (by simple mentschlichkeit standards it's obvious) it was that Isaac Hersh was kidnapped on the orders of his father, Michael Hersh (MH) and held against his wishes (or do 16 year old kids not have a right to say what they like or don't like in your world of "chinuch"?) all with the "haskoma" of RAS and why it was necessary for a combined near literal war of liberation by:
(1) a human rights legal case and lawyer in a US court of law,
(2) another battle in a Brooklyn surrogate's court with everyone in the Hersh family trying to get custody of Isaac Hersh away from his father,
(3) the US State Department's intervention and involvement,
(4) supposedly Senator Clinton as well got into the act,
(5) the two Rabbis Wolbe who knew and had cared for Isaac personally (and they are not "nobodies" as you say, shame on you! I get the feeling you are MH himself when you say things like that, since RAS is your Avoda Zora as bad as any Lubavitcher who thinks that the Rebbe is G-d in a guf, not just Moshiach),
(6) and Dr. Pelcovitz, a professor of psychology from YU who stuck his neck out and continues to speak out against the factors that resulted in this entire mess, and whose father was a leading rov too,
(7) fierce and open opposition to the entire scheme from Rabbis Shmuel Kamenetsky and Dovid Feinstein of Agudas Yisroel's Moetzes Gedoloei HaTorah and who fought and opposed RAS every inch of the way once they got wond of what had heppened. it was Rav Feinstein man, Rabbi Rosenblum who was the one who did the real behind the scenes work to get Isaac out finally,
(8) stories appearing in newspaper reporting about this sad saga, with reporters smelling blood (and it was real blood sadly -- that of lo sa'amod al dam rei'echa)
(9) the Jewish Bologosphere was ablaze and dredging up the old case of how RSC was fired and abused by RAS as well,
(10) publictaion of even MORE damning original documents online that proved RSC side of the case, how he was abused and fired and not paid and that RAS was a "lo tzayis dino" as based on the pesakim by Rav Moshe Feinstein and other batei din and dragging other people in CB into the mud;

All of whom, and which you mach avek mit di hant (it means "wave off with a flick of the wrist" in mock righteous indignation), had to align and correlate to save Isaac from the clutches of Tranquility Bay in far off Jamaica island, and they showed the world what ahavas Yisroel, mesirus nefesh and rachmonus truly means by sticking their necks out for a troubled Yiddishe teen stuck with hundreds of dangerous and even demented goyim on a fardorbenne island in the middle of nowhere guarded by vicious thugs HIRED BY MORMONS who owwed the whole operation from A to Z, who will think nothing if someone "suicides" around them.


Who cares if it was Branson from Virgin Atlantic airlines or Shareshvsky a controversial yid in Virginia who helped fly them to Jamaica? (and Sharshevsky has done much good with many of the stories about HIM being false) -- and if that bothers you maybe you could say that feh, they flew on a plane that was using jet fuel from Libyan or Saudia Arabian petroleum and they then flew by Cuba that is ruled by atheistic Communists and then had to speak to lowly Blacks in Jamaica, all of which would be illogical and not to the point, and that is the way your "argument" to defend the indefensible comes across...useless.

Bottom line, as is the case with most of the frum teens-at-risk, a huge avleh and chilul H-shem was committed using extremely bad judgment in this case by Michael Hersh (MH) who dragged RAS into this horrendous garbage scenario, and RAS, instead of throwing up right away and throwing MH out his office and telling him to get lost, instead gave it "deep thought" tugged on his beard and thinks MH is an "illui" (of rishus that's for sure) or something crazy like that, and instead helped him get a $250,000- year job with Hatzola (!) during the time Isaac was in prison.

It's impossible to conceive what what RAS and MH were thinking that MH could head Hatzola of Flatbush and "save lives" when he was dumping his own kid onto an island like a piece of discarded human garbage and to think that in the midst of such scandalous, cynical, ruthless and brutal actions RAS stood up for MH even when their bluff was called and appels were made by other Gedolim like Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky and Rav Dovid feinstein for Isaac Hersh's immediate release ASAP, no ands ifs or buts.

It was only a huge public outcry, attention from the media in this case, the objections of other Gedolim on the Moetzes who finally drew the line against RAS's tyranny and told him where to get off.

Maybe, just maybe, RAS should take some time off and spend a few months in Tranquility Bay to "mekarev" the inmates and set everything in the world straight over there, and see how he likes it. He has never even washed a dish in his life, so this would be some good reality orientation for him for what kind of suffering people go through in life upon the twisted orders of rabbis who are making huge mistakes all the time, and even gedolim make mistakes because Jews are not Catholics and do not be believe in Rabbinic-Papal infallibility!

And if you think "Tranquility Bay" is OK for any Jewish kid, no matter how bad he or she may be, test it out yourself first. Send your child or a brother or a sister or nephew or niece who may have started to go a little off the derech there first to do some "consumer reports" on life at Tranquilty Bay for not less than one year, then come back and tell us all, in the YATED and MODIAH as well as "MISHPACHA" what they saw and learned and what it was like and if you would recommend it to people in Orthodox communities who nebech are challenged with having kids and teens at risk literally in their own backyards.

Note, it took Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky to finally stand up to RAS pure BULLYING tactics.

Rav Shmuel then co-signed and published in the Jewish Press a full page statement with Rabbi Dr. Twersky and Dr. David Pelcoviit of YU. It was known that Rav Dovid Feinstein also supported Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky against RAS on this case, that NO Jewish should ever be sent to the kind of place that Isaac Hersh had been sent to by his father MH with RAS smiling to cover up in the background. You hear what they said? Never again!

Funny, when it came to banning Lipa, who only wanted to bring some simcha, the people invoilved had no problem even forging so many rabbinic signatures and the rabbis didn't even object. But to save Isaac Hersh's nefesh achas beYisroel there is no such huige list of signatories. Don't you think it's disgarceful? Don't you think the silence is damning. Instead of spouting fake "kavod haTorah" for RAS why not call a spade a spade, like Rav Shmuel kamenetsky did and "just say no" to what was done to Isaac Hersh and what it took to free him.

By the way, where is Isaac Hersh nowadays? Nobody seems to know. Is he in a safe place? What has been going on since Isaac Hersh was taken away from Jamaica and brought back to Brooklyn?

That you feel the need to defend such horrors and to rely on cover-ups by talking about "gadlus" is sheer chutzpa on your part.

You are a very bad spinmeister.

Anonymous said...


You write:
“I think you meant to write "veis nisht" so your Yiddish is pretty bad”…

Obviously if you decide what I want to write you can find many mistakes. However, you are the one making the mistake. My first language was Yiddish, and I would venture to say that I speak it as well as you or anybody else around here. “vus nisht” is short for “far vus nisht” (which, by the way, means why not). But it’s OK, I was not expecting you to stick to the topic the whole way. You always like to take a cheap shot. Sorry it didn’t work out for you this time.
As it happens, I was recently told that “A rant is no substitute for an intelligent debate based on the facts”, so I will attempt to address your great concern of “Haredi and Hasidic communities and how parenst”… Wait… What the heck does “parenst” mean?!

That said, I think you missed my point entirely. I was not in any way defending MH or anybody who partook in leaving this child in Tranquility Bay after they understood under what conditions he was living. I was simply standing up for the kavod of RAS, who did not knowingly partake in causing IH any harm. RAS was grossly misinformed, and did not jump to conclusions based on testimonies of the three stooges. As you yourself write, “Michael Hersh (MH) who dragged RAS into this horrendous garbage scenario”. RAS was dragged into this and grossly misinformed the entire way. The second RAS saw the child’s conditions, he had MH sign the release forms.
If your aseres hadibros are true or false is of no consequence here. I am maskim that IH was unreasonably held under subhuman conditions, and I am maskim the Tranquility Bay is no place for a Jewish kid. What I am not maskim to is the way you degrade RAS. An oisvurf like yourself should never stand up to somebody like RAS, especially in this case where part of your information is wrong.

You write:
“Who cares if it was Branson from Virgin Atlantic airlines or Shareshvsky a controversial yid in Virginia who helped fly them to Jamaica?”…

Nobody cares! That was not my point! My point was that you can not expect any sane person to listen to a word that man says based on his track record!

You write:
“It's impossible to conceive what what RAS and MH were thinking that MH could head Hatzola of Flatbush and "save lives"“

MH is not, nor ever was, anywhere near a position of “Head of Hatzolah of Flatbuah”. The average Hatzolah member never even heard the name Michael Hirsch before this incident took place! MH was hired by Hatzolah to write computer programs, as he is a computer programmer by trade. He was not in a position to do the lifesaving work of a Hatzolah member. He had only worked for Hatzolah for a few months before story broke, and was let go right after the news became public.

The way you try to use MH’s position at Hatzolah story just shows how you are just another guy who reads a few articles online or in the paper and then draws up an entire story based on it. It would not have taken more than three minutes of simple research to see that the whole Hatzolah thing was all wrong. And with perhaps a bit more research you might have actually ended up with some truth in your twisted theories. To write degrading things about RAS when you have not clue about what role or part he played in this tragic story is just sickening azuz!

And one last time I will reiterate that I am in no way defending any of the horrors that befell IH. But the fact that you can even begin to blame any of his misery on RAS is very farfetched.
Your chutzpah knows no bounds!

Anonymous said...

I have to say one thing; the whole blog is kedai just to be able to read tragedy's comments. he is clear, fair, and compelling.

i know the hersh saga inside out and he is, as usual, right on.

Anonymous said...

its so ironic the people r aron scheter hurt are now taking vare of his sick wife reb aron do tesuva ..i love you myer m appel brother in law of reb mendel weiss ah

Anonymous said...

ok vus nisht, you are entitled to your online name here, sorry for misunderstanding what it meant.

So now I am an "oisvurf" for picking on poor little innocent Rav Aron, boohoo, who according to you is just an innocent and blameless person. This just shows how you do not have the simplest clue how RAS functions behind the scenes. He is stealthier and trickier than anything the KGB, CIA and Mossad combined could ever come up with in a "handler" and mastermind. He has ruined many lives with his quiet way of operating usually by getting others, willingly and sometimes unknowingly to to do his dirty work for him so that he can remain mister squicky clean, the enigmatic smiling gadol. But in the MH saga the mask fell off and the world got to get a good look at the real RAS and at how he operates and noone is fooled by all your silly protests.

So if I am an "oisvurf" for criticising RAS I must be in very good company because RAS is an infamous and KNOWN lo tzayis dino as is well known, based on OPENLY published piskei din, by no less than Rav Moshe Feinstein personally and in his capacity as av bais din of Agudas Harabonim, the bais din of Satmar, and several other known batei din, and accodring to you, because they dared to call RAS for a din Torah multiple times in the RSC matter and he turns them down all the time, are they now also "oisvurfs" for turning the great gadol RAS into a lo tzayis dino? That was not my doing.

When RAS was mevaze a yid who owned a sheitel store and ruined his parnosa because he refused to take down some dumb posters of a lady wearing sheitels that you can see in any magazine that comes to all frum homes (of course not in the Yated and Modia of course, they only like photos of old rabbis taking nedovas) and first sends out a letter and then a second that makes him (RAS) look like he is on a wild goose chase trying to make Flatbush into a great place when there is a known cabaret nightclub just up the road from CB next to the Subsational Grill where CB bochurim go eat all the time on and which RAS has never tried to shut down.

Or the great "kidduish H-shem" of how RAS was BEGGED, by people within CB, the Jungreis family to be precise, to take back his signature from the Avrohom Schor forged kol koreh and refused, and making LIPA in the eyes of the many people he (Lipa) inspires (sorry not everyone gets turned on from gedolim sitting in backroom offices plotting how to ruin the lives of people on the outside, some people just like a little music and singing to make them feel good and happy and that is what Lipa provides, innocent heimishe fun, which RAS hates and cannot fargin others to enjoy) and make Lipa look like a total idiot or even a rosha when he did absolutely nothing wrong. So does that make Lipa and people like him oisvurfs as well?

Hey, if you are such a tzadik why are you reading and writing on this blog on the Internet, doesn't that make YOU an oisvurf as well for going against what the gedolim said?

You seem to think that a critical and open look at gedolim is a thought crime. That is scary. It sounds like something out of Orwell's 1984 book, if you know what that is, and as if frum Jews are now victims of the ayatolas of Flatbush, Boro Park and Lakewood.

The IH saga should be taught in schools of social work and at Torah Umesorah workshops about how things can go horribly wrong when misguided parents, especially raw Baalei Teshuva like MH, who try to assert frumkeit on their sceptical and resistant kids by force, how and why the subsequent rebellions and explosions happen (humans, especially Jews, by nature, hate dictators), how even gedolim then get involved and come up with the wrong conclusions and remedies and defenses, and how this type of situation should never happen again.

Sorry, but the truth does hurt, I know, and oh yeah, please pardon my typos that slip in sometimes, I admit I am not perfect, do you?

The Bray of Fundie said...

By the way, your twisted and tendentious defense of the indefensible is shocking.

Stop hyperventilating and tell me what you find wanting in my defense. You have not answered me the basic questions? Are you a parent and are you the parent of an OTD/teen-at-risk child with younger, impressionable siblings?

I am the former and thankfully (to date) not the latter. I am not defending MH. From the J-Blogosphere it sure sounds like the guy is a little off kilter and did at least one outrageous thing in commiting his son to Tranquility Bay. OTOH the J-Blogosphere is hardly an unimpeachable source of objective info. In any event as the old saying goes mehn zuhl nisht gehpreevt vehren. I wouldn't want to be either Hersch.

But you were levelling a societal critique at Rabbonim and parents alike. What I'm saying is: Who made you such a Kahkham Harozim? It is at best unfair and at worst being meorer dinim on K'lal Yisroel to level the charges that you've levelled. Who made YOU the only compassionate mentsch out there?

You are coming up with krumme self-serving boich svoras to justify child abuse and abandonment of one in ten of our people when only 60 years ago Jews faced Hitlerian genocide and now face the "Silent Holocaust" of assimiliation and intermarriage which is where these youth at risk will land up.

Any "solution" to an OTD challenge will by definition be heart-rending. But, I reitereate (and fail to see any krumkeit here other than in your arrogant dismissiveness): What's a parent convinced that the OTD child is leading his/her siblings OTD supposed to do? I don't know the answer and, I suspect, neither do you. Because while it's no doubt true that mnay of the OTD kids who don't somehow fond there way back on TD will end up lost to theri people does losing there siblings along with them minimize the tragedy? Like I said before it's a really unenviable "Sophies Choice!"

self-serving boich svoras

How are my boich svoras self-serving? I am neither MH or RAS? I am not on trial and have no need to defend myself. So whence "self-serving"?

The Bray of Fundie said...

He has ruined many lives

Hmmm...How many??? Are the lives that he ruined more or less numerous and valuable than the ones that he fixed, repaired and or saved?

Hey CB tragedy... How many have you ruined?

How many did Moshe Rabenu ruin? Remeber one good homicide can ruin your whole life! How about Shaul and Dovid HaMelekh? If /when Sanhedrin slew a ben sorer, would you term that a life ruined or a life redeemed?

I'm not trying to minimize the tragedy of the Hersch family and especially of IH. Just trying to bring a sober dispassionate sensibility to the whole issue.

"Objective", indeed!

The Bray of Fundie said...

This is an undeniable sign of rot and decline in Denmark that any OBJECTIVE observer could spot a mile away.

Perhaps. I too do not subscribe to the Hashqafa of Rabbinic infallibilty and certainly don't believe that gedolim are invulnerable to the ravages of dementia.

But perhaps all the examples you cite point to a higher, more refined , MORE COMPASSIONATE concsiouseness , a daa's Torah, rather than to the crass, oppresive, manipulative one that you posit ? Just some food for thought.

And the fact that RAS decisions seem so patently wrong and counterintuitive to you prove absolutely nothing as the threshold that Khazal establisehd for us in terms of ציות לדברי חכמים is אפילו יאמרו לך על ימין שהוא שמאל?

Ever hear of דעת בעלי בתים הוא היפך דעת תורה?

I too was miffed and confused by both the wig store brouhaha and the LIPA ban. But I struggle with my emunas Khakhomim with full cognizance of the Khokhom's Khokhmas haTorah and exalted status over my own. While both of these moves were a bit right of center loit mein na'arishen sekhel, I hardly think that they come close to approaching the אפילו יאמרו לך על ימין שהוא שמאל threshold.

If Rav Shmuel and Rav Dovid have gone to battle so be it. That is both their right and their prerogative. However kleinea mentsilakh such as you and I would be best off watching on the sidelines while the titans do battle.

If you want to see "rot and decline" go to Philadelphia and check out nebekh, Rav Elya Svei, he has advanced Alzheimers and no one is making a secret of it.

If the Khazon Ish were still alive today and aware of the J-Blogs he'd no doubt revise his famous essay on emunas khakhomim from his Emunah u'Vitokhon. Instead of blaming the crisis of emunas khakhomim on suspicion of n'geeos, he'd blame it on suspicion of midos mushkhosos and dementia.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Rav Aharon is a tzadik gadol, a true oheiv Yisroel. And if this could happen to Reb Michoel Hirsh shlit"a, it could happen to any other very ehrliche yid. I tremble to think what this mud-slinging on a yid who is in excrutiating pain is causing in shamayim. If Hakadosh Baruch Hu is soneh someone who knows a d'var ervah about another yid, meaning he knows that another yid was oiver on echad min hachamoros, and now comes the one who knows and is me'id yechidi, and Hashem "HATES!" that person... you, are who are stam a zoi blabbing about an ehrliche yid when he is deep in tzar... Oy vey. Hashem yerachem.

Did you see him be bo'el his neighbor's wife? Did you see him be over on mishkavei zachor? You saw a yid that is yadua lanu as an ish yashar, who lo aleinu had a son yotzei l'..., perhaps lost himslef and made a very bad decision but maybe not, and you are besmriching him and patting yourself on the back that you are doing a mitzvah raba.

Tzig, I am a Litvak, what you call a snag. I like to come to this site and learn something and have an open mind and hopefully gain kavod for Chabad and find a mutial ground. DO REALLY WANT THIS TALK TO REFLECT ON LUBAVITCH!!!!

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...


not all Litvaks are Snags, only the nasty ones. I've said that many times.

I wasn't the one to bring up the whole Hirsh story, your fellow Litvaks were.

Anonymous said...

"I wasn't the one to bring up the whole Hirsh story, your fellow Litvaks were."

But the issue is that "my fellow Litvaks" that bring up these things feel at home on this blog, given other things that you have brought up. "my fellow Litvaks", the 'nasty ones' that you call snags, are NOT the ones that brought this up.

The Bray of Fundie said...

To be fair CB Tragedy is, quite obviously, a Chaim Berlin talmid and may even still live in Flatnbush and davin in Yeshiva (he seems equally expert at current events as at ancient scutlebutt).

Except to Lakewooders, Chaim Berliners are NOT chasidim.

The Bray of Fundie said...

CB tragedy;

I eagerly await your responses to my comments from yesterday.

Anonymous said...


You write:
“Hey, if you are such a tzadik why are you reading and writing on this blog on the Internet, doesn't that make YOU an oisvurf as well for going against what the gedolim said?”

Thank you for calling me tzadik, it makes me feel good. However, I never claimed to be a tzadik, so writing on this blog and surfing the net is no stira to what I see myself as. If, however, you find me to be a tazdik and cannot come to terms with the fact that I use the internet I am sorry for your plight.

Also, I did not call you an oisvurf for going against what the gedolim said, I called you an oisvurf for not being noheg the proper kavod with RAS.

You write:
“So if I am an "oisvurf" for criticising RAS I must be in very good company”… “are they now also "oisvurfs" for turning the great gadol RAS into a lo tzayis dino?”

Do I really need to answer that, or is it enough for me to remind you that you are just an oisvurf and not R’ Moshe or the Satmar Beis Din?! Perhaps they can pass judgment on RAS, you can’t!

You write:
“You seem to think that a critical and open look at gedolim is a thought crime. That is scary. It sounds like something out of Orwell's 1984 book, if you know what that is”

For some reason I think I’ve read that being critical of gedolim IS a crime, but it was not in 1984 (yes, I am familiar with it, I once did a book-report on it). Oh right, it was in the Torah! (How many mareh mekomos do you want to prove that it is asur to be critical of a gadol?)

You write:
“and oh yeah, please pardon my typos that slip in sometimes, I admit I am not perfect, do you?”

We don’t need you to admit that you are not perfect, it’s easy to see. As for me, I admit I’m not perfect too. But at least I don’t go around bashing gedolim in public forums.

Look, just because you are farbissen about your relationship with your alma mater, and the fact that you did not end up getting receiving the kavod you wanted from them, you don’t need to go and trash them publicly. That’s just immature.

The Bray of Fundie said...

Hate to break it to you vus nisht but CB Tragedy seems to have tired of this thread.

Anonymous said...

Several points are being missed here. There is a klal “Ein cholkim kavod lorav bemakom chillul Hashem”. RAS is guilty of making some bad judgments here. The horrible part is that the research about Jamaica had not been done well, and the original decision may well have been flawed and irresponsible due to lack of data. However, there were numerous efforts to provide this information to him, and he rejected them. Throughout the efforts to rescue IH, when other gedolim were already involved and pleading the case, he maintained staunch resistance. This went to the point of another gadol of the Mo’etzes calling RAS (directly) a “rotzayach”. The original mistake might be dismissed as an error, but the akshonus of keeping the status despite the evidence and pleas from numerous others (including Rabbonim, askonim, and others) is not defensible. This is the bitter taste regarding RAS that lingers on.

As far as daas Torah is concerned, not everything that a gadol says is automatically daas Torah. If a gadol asks to pass the salt, is that daas Torah? Not every decision qualifies as daas Torah. Any decision that involves other sources of influence outside of Torah cannot be considered daas Torah. Whether this is a bias based on relationship, money, secular knowledge and education is irrelevant. The input to a decision must be 100% Torah to qualify as daas Torah. From the involvement RAS had here, it was clear that other factors played a role, though I would not pass judgment. That is enough to disqualify his decisions as daas Torah.

Yes, mistakes happen. However, to defend mistakes is no longer a “shogeg”; it is a “mayzid”.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't resist this important follow-up. I noticed in a new post on VIN: "New York - Stupidity Of The The BIG EVENT Concert Ban Played As Color-War By Teens In Camp. VIDEO"

taken from with a ten minute VIDEO of the color war outbreak at Camp MaNaVu this summer starring none other than Lipa Shmeltzer, and to rub salt into some people's "wounds" the theme is how a "frumak" overthrows Lipa but in the end gives in an joins Lipa in the fun, singing and dancing. This is all done under the watchful eye of Rabbi Shlomo Klein, who is the founder, owner and director Camp MaNaVu, and who also happens to be the very successful menahel of the Chaim Berlin Yeshiva Ketana in Flatbush that he has built up over the more than thirty decades that he has headed it into probably the finest yeshiva of its type in Flatbush having accepted, guided and motivated tens of thousands of yeshivishe kids.

However, Rabbi Klein is neither a Chaim Berliner nor is his Camp MaNaVu in any way connected to Chaim Berlin yeshiva, as the article mistakenly seems to indicate. On the contrary, while Rabbi Klein has the utmost derech eretz for RAS, he, like RAS, was chosen, appointed and received his mandate to run the elemenatry school of Chaim Berlin yeshiva after a number of devout RYH disciples failed to get it rolling.

But there is more to this story, and the key is in the ten minute video that VIN got its hands on, and that is, that one can clearly see the sheer genius of Rabbi Klein as he does his work on stage (he is the older gentleman in shortsleaves with the grey somewhat pointed shortish beard mostly on the right of the screen) and one can see that he has grasped what the yeshivish crowd of boys that have come to his camp NEED, and that is FUN, not just any old fun, but a fun that is rooted in TODAY and is aware of the social climate and of the boys' needs to hang loose and sing and dance in a way that lets them let off steam and freshens them up for when they get back to the stuffy and boring atmosphere many will have to face with clueless rebbeim in the winter.

One of the educators quoted at the end of the article hits it right on the head when he says:

“You can see how upset the kids are about the whole thing [the Lipa ban]. I think it really exposes an underlying problem that people think these kids are dopes and can be dictated too. They are very naive about how a kid thinks and how he should be educated.”

You bet!

And one wonders how many off the derech kids could be saved if they were treated the way Rabbi Klein is willing to take the risk and expose the kids at MaNaVu to the sort of TRUE relevant fun that is absolutely necessary in modern day America (and Israel) to save kids from looking for worse stuff in goyish society then getting into a never ending spiral of self-destruction.

Too bad that many Baal Teshuva parents, and farfrumte individuals, and stuffy old rosh yeshivas and rebbes fight against the life that Cam MaNaVu is literally pumping into the kids and who knows if Isaac Hersh and many who have suffered fates similar to him could have been saved from the tragedies that befell them if they would have had more fun, of the type they kids at MaNaVu seem to be getting, and going easy on the falshe frumkeiten!

Anonymous said...

And take a look at the Camp MaNaVu website's home page at where two parts of the Lipa at MaNaVu color war break out have been disabled on YouTube even though their links remain. Why is that? It may be that the owner never meant to post these videos, but then that does not make sense since they got onto MaNaVu's official website.

So either the the videos are treif and must go and if so there should be no links to them on the MaNaVu home page at all, or someone at MaNaVu is protesting censorship and making a statement that "you may have stopped the videos, but the the events (concert/color war) were an important catharsis and cleansing of lingering resentments about the Lipa concert ban that we stand by"!

No doubt, that Rabbi Shlomo Klein will be hearing from the RAS politically-yeshvishly-correct thought cops for allowing, nay participating, in such a slap in the face of his nominal boss's RAS compounding this tragedy of not allowing for clean fun (RAS hates the mere mention of the word "fun" he thinks the Satan is behind it!) while openly and callously courting the demons of rebellion and disaster as was seen when the Isaac Hersh fiasco spilled over and is in fact still bubbling malignant froth.

Anonymous said...

Please correct my typo in my post of Thursday, August 21, 2008 4:55:00 AM about Rabbi Shlomo Klein, "the Chaim Berlin Yeshiva Ketana in Flatbush that he has built up over the more than thirty decades" it should read "thirty YEARS" (not "decades" -- noone lives that long!) Thanks!

Anonymous said...

When things get really nasty (and litigous)...:

It would not be surprising that when Isaac Hersh turns 23, he will find a lawyer (like Elliot Pasik) who will help him sue the people responsible for plotting and abetting his kidnapping, incarceration, torture and multiple emotional, physical and psychological damages he suffered on Tranquility Bay, as has now happened with a Satmar boy (now 23) who was abused and is now taking Satmar to court and claiming $5 million in damages.

See the story as reported by VIN on 08-28-08 from a brealing news reoprt in The New York Jewish Week

"Williamsburg, NY - Satmar Teacher Sued For Millions By Former Student For Sexual Abuse

Williamsburg, NY - A teacher at a prominent Satmar yeshiva in Williamsburg is being sued by a former student for sexual assault and abuse.

In court papers filed Wednesday, Joel Engelman is seeking $5 million in damages from Rabbi Avorohom Reichman, the yeshiva, the United Talmudical Academy and the Satmar Bungalow Colony, where Reichman also teaches in the sects summer camp in upstate White Lake.

The civil complaint alleges that Engelman, now 23, was 8 years old in 1993 when Rabbi Reichman sexually assaulted him. The suit alleges that Engelman suffered psychological and physical injury, which required medical and psychological treatment, as a result of the abuse.

The suit also alleges that the school continues to lack basic rules protecting children from sexual assault.

It states that a deal was in place in April whereby the Engelman family agreed not to pursue legal action in return for Reichmans resignation from the school and the camp. But Rabbi Reichman, according to the suit, was videotaped teaching at the camp in July, after the statute of limitations for a criminal prosecution had run out.

Read the lawsuit here PDF

The defendants fraudulently induced Joel Engelman to enter into this exchange of mutual promises, and oral contract, the suit alleges.

It also claims that various Satmar officials investigated Engelmans allegations and found that ³there were multiple, credible complaints of sexual abuse made against Reichman.

Calls to United Talmudical Academy and the Satmar Bungalow Colony for comment were not returned.

I really didnt want this to get into the courts, Engelman told The Jewish Week. Had they done things differently [and fired Reichman], I probably wouldn’t have sued. This is the last thing I wanted.

Engelman¹s sexual abuse allegations are the latest in a string of such charges made by former male yeshiva students in ultra-Orthodox schools in Brooklyn.

Rabbi Yehuda Kolko, a first grade teacher at Yeshiva Torah Temima in Flatbush, recently plead guilty to two counts of endangering the welfare of a child after being charged with several counts of sexual abuse. Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes defended the last-minute plea, citing the
young age of the plaintiff.

Several civil suits pending against Rabbi Kolko and the school seek a total some $50 million in damages."

Anonymous said...

News flash!

Those of us "on the outside" who have been wondering from a distance what ever happened to Isaac Hersh after he was rescued from Tranquilty Bay in Jamaica, finally got a small answer. Seems, last week he was at the chasunah of the Kamenetsky Family.

So thanks to a public photo, Isaac Hersh shows up in person in the YATED NE'EMAN of 5 Elul 5768/September 5 2008, Center p. 17

Wow! Months have passed since the rescue of Isaac Hersh from Tranquility Bay, and the uproar that surrounded the whole fiasco, and since his return it's been quiet with people scratching their heads. Last heard, an agreemenet was reached and he was in the "custody" of a friend of the family in Brooklyn.

But now, in the colorful center page of the latest YATED, in the bottom right page, "At The Kamenetsky-Rosthstein Wedding" is none other than "Isaac Hirsch" (sic) in between Rav Sholom Kamenetsky and Rav Moshe Feurst, who is next to Rav Tzvi Basch.

I always look at the photos of the YATED and MODIAH very carefully, in the spirit of "Kremlin watching" because they often reveal more than most of the articles, in the spirit of "a picture is worth a thousand words".

I had to do a double take. Was that really THE Isaac hersh that split the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah against RAS?

I looked closely. Who else could it be in casual wear, blue leather yamulka and the face that matched all the ones I had seen of Isaac Hersh till now.

Yup, it was him alright. But what was he doing at the wedding of Rav Mordechai Kamentesky's daughter's wedding, with the entire Kamenetsky clan?

Out of six photos devoted to this wedding in the YATED, three of them have several Kamenstskys in them. There is Rav Binyomin Kamenetsky, brother of Rav Shmuel and father of Rabbi Mordechai. RSK is not pictured. One connection, and it is intrigueing is that Rav Yacov Lipschutz who is also pictured is also a zeidah of the kallah, and he is the father of the YATED's editor, Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz, so that it seems that the Lipschutz family shares both family and perhaps even some communal concerns with the Kamenetsky family and that PERHAPS Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz is doing has share for making "shalom beYisroel" in keeping with RSK's open warfare against, and defiance of RAS on the Isaac Hersh matter. And it therefore seems that RSK does not stand alone and that his entire family, and by the implication of these latest picures in the YATED, RSK's extended family and some of their mechutonim aand family friends support him (RSK) to the hilt against the hardline views of RAS who backed the father of Isaac Hersh in exiling Isaac Hersh to Tranquility Bay in Jamaica in the first place.

So this is it then, the Kamenetsky's have been healing Isaac Hersh it seems. Maybe he is going to one of their yeshiva day schools. The one that was founded by Rav Yaakov ztk"l and is headed by his sons Binyomin and grandson Mordechai is the Yeshiva of South Shore, part traditional yeshiva and part modern Jewish day school, a perfect kiruv yeshiva that bochurim like Isaac hersh could use if they could fit into it and make it work.

(Interestingly in the same edition of the YATED there is no photo or mention of RAS, but on the other side of the Center page, p. 16, top left, there is photo of Rav Shach's son, the known Religious Zionist educator Dr. Efraim Shach at a family wedding. Have to give the YATED credit for doing some interesting things and for making the "Kremlin watching" worthwhile!)

Meanwhile, over at the recent edition of the HAMODIAH, in what may a be a case of grand scale divine co-incidence, on the front page of the Wednesday, September 3, 2008 edition, there are two photos, one of Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin and an inset of its Rosh Yeshiva RAS under the heading "Beginning of the Zeman" with the caption: "The bachurim of Yeshivah Rabbeinu Chaim Berlin listen as Hagaon Harav Aharan Schechter, Rosh Yeshivah, delivers a maamer in conjunction with the pesichas hazeman. (Inset) The Rosh Yeshivah speaking."

So as the green lady in the Wizard of Oz said: What a world!

The YATED, takes pride in finally show-casing Isaac Hersh to the world surrounded by the warmth of the Kamenetsky family, and the HAMODIAH showcases Yeshiva Chaim Berlin and RAS in the same week's editions. There must be some Divine irony in all this. Maybe Moshiach is closer than we think. A Kesiva Vechasima Tovah!

Anonymous said...

Actually, though the Kamenetzky's are warm and loving, the boys came from the Mechutan's side.

RSK was in Australia.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said: "the boys came from the Mechutan's side."

Since you seem to be in the know, tell us more about "the Mechutan" and "the boys" -- what does this Mechutan do and what was Isaac Hersh doing among "boys" (who are not pictured) you claim were there?

And it's good to know that RSK is still able to perform his role as "Minister of Foreign Affairs" of Agudath Israel of America and its Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah, Australia is really grwoing in Torah and many Jews have moved there increasing its Jewish population to an all time high of about 150,000 Jews with a few strong Charedi communities and many becoming frum.

Anonymous said...

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SH said...

thank you for affirming your position and for considering the notion that critical thought is in fact not a crime.