My Whys over Pesach?

The AJN target Yeshivah and are not at all even handed.

[UPDATED: I was not aware that my post (in good faith, by a friend) was published on Facebook. I don’t use Facebook except in a private professional capacity to stay in touch with my 450+ postgraduate alumni of nearly 3 decades as it is a most convenient forum.

I understand some people had nice, not nice, and some scathing comments to make about my “Whys”. It’s only a relatively a free country, however, and as author of my thoughts I reserve the right to publish and/or respond to anyone reacting to these. Accordingly, if you feel like it (and frankly it is not my aim to attract comments) and are ready to put a real name to your comment (unless you are, of course a victim of crime) I will moderate your comment according to my understanding of Halacha and common law. If such an arrangement does not suit you, go ahead and write a critique. I won’t be engaging in debate, as this is not why I write. If I want my blood pressure to rise, I have a myriad of better techniques at my disposal 🙂 ]

Onto the article, which I will now proof-read in anticipation of a wider audience than I would normally expect.

Both before and during Pesach I found myself full of pitputim that I needed to express. I held myself back for reasons that aren’t worth recording. One of these was that I didn’t think it was permitted on Chol Hamoed. Maybe I was the proverbial תם (simpleton) of the Hagadda and should have fired thoughts as soon as they occupied my neurones, but, for various reasons, I held back and wrote them immediately after Pesach (when I undoubtedly should have helped my wife). Undoubtedly that was not the right timing, but let’s not go there (thanks CBN).

Some of the responses to these questions need people to retrospect through new glasses; as such I was reticent. This is a hard job, Accordingly, I’m going to frame some of my thoughts as a series of why’s as opposed to proffering cheap advice.

  1. Why has the disgraceful Australian Jewish News continued to remain the mouthpiece of few, as opposed to a faithful unbiased reporter of Jewish news allowing for a wider range of reporting of fact. To give but one example, anyone on Facebook (and I am not on Facebook except with my University alumni although I have an account I originally set up to see pics of my grandchildren) can look up Avi Yemini and find most serious accusations which he apparently alleges will now be formalised via the police against his father Steven (aka Tzefania) Waks. Why Steve? Well, he has clearly shown a preference to a centrist orthodox way of life, dispensing with charedi garb and beard. For the record, I am often regarded as centrist and my name is Isaac. Some persist in calling me יצחק and from my perspective both are quite ok. Indeed, halachically speaking one cannot will away a name that one was called formally even if done via deed but lets not go to that area of Halacha. More to the point:Why is the Australian Jewish News seemingly ignorant of Avi Yemini and his siblings and their views of the father of Manny Waks? I met his siblings in Miami and it wasn’t a pretty description, and backed up Avi. Indeed, they don’t like to talk about it. Guess what AJN? That (comparative silence) in of itself is news, and should be reported. Why didn’t you do that? There is more, but I won’t write it.
  2. Why is Tzedek “off the map?” I did see an advertisement this week, which is good but there is no denying the demise of Tzedek and it worries me. At best, it served as an important encouragement to those who have been abused (earlier in their lives) to give voice to that abuse; and encourage others to give voice. This is critical to unveiling the mask of perpetrators and ensuring educational programs become de jure in organisations to recognise and prevent such perverts. We don’t hear comparatively less from Tzedek since their controversial CEO resigned, although I have absolutely nothing against those running it now and I am sure they are as committed to the cause as those who preceded them; irrespective of whether some were victims. I am not a victim of abuse, but I pursued Cyprys until his veil was lifted. I believe Kramer was after my time, and I certainly didn’t experience any abuse from any of my teachers, be they religious or secular in my 12 years in the School and neither did my siblings.
  3. Why are victims creating websites? The manifestation of private websites authored by professed victims serves good in my eyes only if it’s cathartic for them and not investigative. I’m not a psychiatrist but I’d hope their psychiatric advice would be to pursue such channels only if it was part of their healing. There are existing channels. I’m not sure why they aren’t apparently being used. Shouldn’t they channel their life long challenges to established professionals and professional organisations? I don’t think personabused.com.au is the best idea on the planet and furthermore many will see it as self-serving gold-digging. There are formal community and private bodies to help deal with these life long issues and give aid using the best professional methods, as they are developed. At worst it may give the impression that those abused seek to make a career from being abused and I doubt that this is their intention. Well, I hope not. If it indeed is their sublime intention, then I suggest they need even more professional help than they realise.
  4. Why is it that The Australian Jewish News seems to only report one school and institution-the Yeshivah Centre. We all know that the Yeshivah Centre and Chabad in general have done more than arguably any group for Torah observance, Kiruv, and the welfare of those in need. They are not judgemental. Their mantra is love albeit played through the love strings of their Rebbe’s violin. This is their great strength. They do, in the main follow, a system which was typified by their late and great Rebbe. They have rotten apples. No group is immune from that reality. The last Lubavitcher Rebbe (and his father in law) didn’t join groups (e.g. Aguda) and felt they could achieve their aims through an independent well-structured agenda: bringing Jews and Judaism to Torah and Mitzvos through spreading Chassidus Chabad. He rarely (to my knowledge) interfered with the nitty-gritty of problems in his myriad of institutions but was surely bombarded by such (indeed I once did so). He expected that same independence and intellectual purity to be demonstrated by his trained and faithful emissaries. Sure, they asked his advice, but he wasn’t aware of cleaners and locksmiths and groomers of kids in Mikvaos irrespective of the stories you hear of his greatness and vision.Now, it is clear to all, that the SCHOOLS, (Yeshivah and Beth Rivkah) which are really the raison d’être of the entire organisation are employing best practice, to the extent that they are perhaps overly strict. It is known that they are allegedly being sued by some employees who step out of a very strict line and who don’t allegedly practice world’s best standards. This was instituted before the Royal Commission and as soon as word of the criminals Cyprys and Kramer became love children for the reporters of “the Age”. The other love children of “the Age” are Israel and the “Palestinians”. I know some of the reporters from the Age. They hunkered for Jewish stories and used to call me (and read my blog) as I am straight on these matters and always tried to be. Indeed Mr Waks senior rang me almost daily in my pursuit of Cyprys. As a board member of Elwood Shule, I felt an extreme responsibility to stop this pariah from parading in the way he did.
  5. Why is Yeshivah singled out for its particular mode of governance, when all Chabad Houses still function in a similar way and have not been abandoned in any way. Few complain, because they trust the Rabbi and his advisors and they all benefit. Are some going to conduct an audit of a Rabbi Raskin/Engel/You-name-them and their specialised Chabad Houses, or, say Rabbi Lieder who works tirelessly for Israeli back packers (and ironically leave Melbourne with more knowledge of Judaism than what they learned when in Tel Aviv?) No. I don’t hear any call from the Jewish News or the holier than thou’s asking for a different form of transparent governance. Why not? Is it a matter of amount or principle? Don’t get me wrong here. I think they should all, without exception, including Adass’s offshoot extreme school, subscribe to the strictest codes especially given the Chillul Hashem we have endured. I also happen to disagree with the mode of governance but having grown up witnessing the hopeless squalor that Rabbi Groner lived in, I never considered him to have anything other than the institution in his mind. Indeed, when my father gave him some money before Pesach, the next day there was a receipt from the Yeshivah Centre.
  6. [Please note] The information about Heichal Hatorah (Rabbi Donnenbaum) was miscommunicated. It isn’t based on video surveillance. There is a policy, as I understand it being developed by professionals which as I am informed will be an approved policy that can stand up to accepted standards.  We apologise for that previous innacuracy.
  7. Why only Chabad? It’s not just Chabad. Rabbi Kohn, a controversial figure himself, runs what is effectively the identical model of a Chabad house, except that his is a private business like Meir Gershon Rabi. Will anyone ever know the finances? Cyprys went to Kohn’s minyan! I heard Rabbi Kohn say he learnt his craft from R’ Nochum Zalman Gurevich, who we all knew and loved. Well he learned some of it, the bits that garnered donations. Yes, Kohn’s bent could be described as non Hasidic or anti Hasidic, but who audits his books? What real governance exists? What standards do they use there? Is there a community list—even a Shomer Shabbos list—of every single place that has an acceptable verifiable standard. Let’s not forget, people like Cyprys would try to hire a Shule Hall or a Youth Hall and use that as their modus operandi. He worked for the CSG no less and they had no clue.2015 is not 1985 or 1995 or earlier. The world has changed we must completely eradicate this scourge of scum. It is in fact far worse overseas, if you can believe it because they are so much “holier” and use cattle prongs to elicit a gett as long as you pay through your teeth.
  8. Why are Adass Israel ignored? Peyos don’t make the man. Malka Leifer, has strangely not been a constant focus of those affected by Cyprys and/or Kramer and she runs free allegedly in Immanuel in Israel. Credible rumors abound that she is seeking to avoid extradition to face serious charges on the grounds that the “West Bank” where she resides is not Israel! and Australia has no extradition treaty. Can you believe such a Chutzpah? If true, this is a clever but grossly offensive defence by smart attorneys. I ask why the silence from the Adass Congregation that provides us with so many products and producers. Is it only about food and profit? You cannot get Adass to do anything until you hit their hip pocket. The rest of us are unwanted pimples of the Sitra Achra. Don’t be mistaken. This is what they are taught. I have heard it from the number 2 in the Rabbinic side of the organisation. The youth of Adass are not the old generation. They have little love and are taught thatAhavasYisroel only exists for aShomer Shabbos.There are some wealthy people in Adass. Why isn’t Leifer’s picture in the local Immanuel paper weekly saying “Beware of this person. There are serious allegations of lesbian pedophilia against her”. Should she be teaching or ever left alone even with her own children? Has she even admitted she was wrong, short of fleeing the next day. I asked arguably the third most senior Rabbi at Adass and he shrugged his shoulders saying “What can we do”. I urge you to ask them when you bump into them at various establishments. Ask at the bakeries, ask at the fish shops, ask at the next function you attend. You can do plenty Adass but you thumb your nose at the non charedi community and now also deny that many of your own are “off the derech” something you prided yourself with and now send away so “nobody will notice”.
  9. Why aren’t other schools in the frame? I was informed reliably by someone at the Royal Commission that there were n students of Mt Scopus abused some time ago and a then headmaster was approached and said “Shoosh” it will cause a Chillul Hashem. Sound familiar? I know the AJN were at the Royal Commission. Was there an order barring the names of other schools affected by the despicable reprehensible pedophiles to be reported. I had wondered about the timing of a later letter by Rabbi Kennard (who reads my blog). He didn’t reply. Why? Rabbi Kennards letter was correct and proper but should have been written at least 6 months earlier.
  10. Why don’t people re-internalise that Yeshivah was a one man band. An incredibly wonderful one-man band with more success than people could ever imagine. It was the late and great Rabbi Groner, who whilst consulting with professionals, would not today remotely repeat his approach if he had his time again. Is there anyone game enough to say he would? There was always a committee, but they were and are toothless tigers who took ultimate direction from Rabbi Groner. If he said “no” the committee could proverbially jump. He told them what he thought they needed to know. I have no doubt there were many private things he took his grave. Tonight is his birthday as I just saw from an email.Much was in his head and certainly never on paper. He was the Shaliach. People were only too happy to call him their friend and get his calls in hospital while he was in hospital himself, and come to functions in his honour and he is on the record as vociferously castigating some of the parents whose children became victims (and they ignored him on occasion). Is there a real need to destroy the man after his passing, together with his significant life work, now, while the place has initiated a process to modernise its governance when ill-timed votes threaten its existence financially? Sure, if their new governance is a façade, go for it, but for crying out loud, give them a chance to go through a process. It doesn’t happen over night.
  11. I know of another very well-known (real) clergy (not charedi) who the Jewish News chose NOT to name over allegations of past pedophilia. The name would shock. He was by no means “ultra” orthodox. In that case the AJN (correctly) did not name the person because he couldn’t defend himself against the odious claims. Why only Yeshivah? Because some Rabbis showed themselves to be second-rate and/or clever by half?
  12. Why are there so many (self-proclaimed) counsellors permitted to discuss all manner of most serious topics to congregations and groups “as if” they are experts. If you are a counsellor, then register with the Australian Counselling Association and/or other similar bodies. Your commerce degree isn’t enough. There are enough complaints about counsellors themselves but if, unlike psychologists, some can get away with a load of ill-advised counselling, and more, without being answerable to a formal board, then no Jewish organisation should let them into their four walls to speak and nobody should seek them for any advice except which chewing gum to buy. Some maybe okay, but others are straight out charlatans, Register! Did victims go to a psychiatrist and spill their guts out and get medication where indicated or did they run rings around the counselling option of people who don’t answer to a board of counsellors.
  13. Why are people skeptical about those who sit on Yeshiva’s board or sat on that board? I have emails from about a decade ago where (it now turns out) some victims and others were looking to change things while Rabbi Groner was alive. One hears all types of stories of “this board member” being stubborn, “that one” being nepotistic etc. Some of it is true especially in a vacuüm. I know three former board members and I don’t think they aligned with any of the above. I know they gave thousands of hours of their lives to keep the institutions above water and growing in a way that no Jewish child was ever turned away. Remember, I happen NOT to be a card-carrying member of the “Chabad only” approach to Judaism, although members of my family happen do. We live in peace and in harmony. It’s not hard.There is a review of governance allegedly taking place. It doesn’t and can’t take 5 minutes. Instead, I hear people saying “it’s a PR trick”. How do they know that? I know a serious person who is looking at the structure and they are definitely not looking at it from a PR point of view. Yeshivah is in transition. It had to happen after Rabbi Groner’s passing following that of his mentor. It’s a shock and terrible that the spectre of pedophilia needed to be the back-breaking catalyst, but in the words of a good friend “it is what it is”. So people why don’t you sit back and see what comes forth. By all means if it isn’t transparent and in keeping with the law, bleat and bleat and bleat. Until then, surely wait a little while.
  14. Why do people feel that beating Rabbi Telsner or Rabbi Glick is the answer? It isn’t. It’s 2015. I especially rang Rabbi Telsner because I wanted to know exactly what he said that got the Jewish news positively apoplectic on their front page and what was said to him. How the AJN could then say “tell us it’s not so Rabbi Telsner” is beyond me. Rabbi Telsner and I have a love/less love relationship. He doesn’t like it when I raise Chabad issues with him (halachic) and he’s not my Posek but he doesn’t deserve to be manipulated.
  15. Why isn’t the Association of Jewish Psychologists being used more. They respond. They don’t go looking for work. I went to a talk and was very impressed with Dr Dan Gordon. He is someone who every School should use for an in-service for their teachers. Why was this a well attended event by Rabbis and religious people and yet so poorly attended by others including headmasters and/or vice-principals? I have a feeling my wife may have been the only senior teacher there. These are specialist psychologists, with PhDs and experience; they have authority and wisdom and aren’t running shonky practices. Listen to their professional wisdom.
  16. Why is the AJN becoming more of a left-wing “Age” newspaper seemingly only haranguing religious institutions (except Adass who don’t buy their paper and buy Hamodia). Religious groups certainly deserve it in some cases, but as I’ve pointed out the AJN are transparently biased. I dislike Hamodia with a passion because it is such a fake fairy tale “feel good” paper full of omissions. I saw a new paper emerge over the break. I hope it takes form. To be honest, I wouldn’t be unhappy if the AJN disappeared if it didn’t seriously reform to become a properly neutral paper instead of a harbinger of an agenda together with pictures of who attended what. I’m tempted to cancel my subscription and my advertising. If it’s possible and the AJN is listening, let me know and I will cancel. Call me tomorrow. My blood pressure will be healthier without your articles and the predictable Henry Herzog et al propaganda that we all skip and are sick to death of.

Author: pitputim

I'm a computer science professor in Melbourne, Australia. I skylark as the band leader/singer for the Schnapps band. My high schooling was in Chabad and I continued at Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh in Israel.

23 thoughts on “My Whys over Pesach?”

  1. You ask too much of the AJN. Consider the number of subscribers: it’s effectively a small town newspaper. You wouldn’t expect the Wagga Wagga Herald or the Shark Bay Advertiser to be on the frontlines of investigative journalism; it’s amazing the AJN is as good as it is.

    As for Tzedek … its activities were mostly confined to publicising the issue of child abuse. That’s a worthy endeavour, but the only named victim was Manny Waks, which made it hard to distinguish between what was being done on behalf of victims generally and what was being done on behalf of Mr Waks. Publicity alone is not enough; we need a communal body devoted to preventing future abuse through education and communal audits. The synagogue program is a good start, but the program needs to include schools, sports groups, and every other relevant community group.

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    1. a) It is not too much to ask the AJN to cover the news as opposed to singularly focussing on one community
      b) I did not have a problem with Tzedek, but rather when ex CEO’s stop using it and having their own web sites
      c) There are community groups which were established and have been established since.

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  2. By questioning Z Waks, pointing fingers at the AJN or questioning other communities without any proven facts seems like a sad form of obfuscation. Its all irrelevant!
    The Yeshivas had a duty of care both in Sydney and Melbourne. They failed miserably both then and now. With their ongoing callous and arrogant attitude, they will continue to be the centre of the whirlwind that they are reaping.

    Prior to Pesach you were going to list shuls NOT implementing policies for the protection of children. That is more important and noble than trying to point fingers at everyone in town for the failings of the Yeshiva communities.

    The only thing from your earlier post you seem to have confirmed is a claim that Rabbi Donnebaum wants to place CCTVs in his shul as a deterrent thereby negating any need for secular based policies. I assume you have confirmed this otherwise it may just be Lashon Harah.

    As to ‘Why’ the AJN picks on Yeshiva both in Melbourne and Sydney is straight forward.

    Yeshiva Melbourne and Sydney have cases of neglect and cover up as proven in Australian courts. Their Rabbis have stood before a Royal Commission and shown to be unrepentant liars, hypocrites, frauds. On the Chilul Hashem Richter scale – they are without a doubt the leaders of the pack sadly washing away any good they may have been done (consider the Catholic church who have also done good things in the past).

    To quote Maria Geraces’ epic line to Rabbi Telnser ‘Perhaps its time for you to do Teshuvah’

    To the media these communities are the gifts that keeps on giving.

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    1. It’s not irrelevant questioning the Jewish news for example for going after rabbi Telsner but failing to even mention the abuse described by yemini, siblings, etc brings the AJN into disrepute
      I have given other examples but you’ve simply trotted out what we know. Indeed you you should get a job there as your little comment could have been one of their feeder sources. The reality is that I found that almost all shules have a policy save about 3 of which donenbaums’s is a pathetic excuse for a policy. The other two I’m awaiting proper confirmation before I name them.

      As to the issues at yeshiva you sound like the AJN. What the heck are you telling me that I don’t know or disagree with?

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      1. Indeed I’m not naming the other two because I want to be sure. As to the epic line I didn’t see it or hear it but the number of times teshuva was misunderstood when I heard it could only be matched by Van Der Weil QC’s pantomime as he roared while pulling his glasses on and off thinking he was still in a criminal court. He was the weakest of all the barristers and had to be pulled into line.

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  3. “Why Steve? Well, he has clearly shown a preference to a centrist orthodox way of life, dispensing with charedi garb and beard. For the record, I am often regarded as centrist and my name is Isaac. Some persist in calling me יצחק and from my perspective both are quite ok. Indeed, halachically speaking one cannot will away a name that one was called formally even if done via deed but lets not go to that area of Halacha”

    Extremely disingenuous attempt to justify calling him Steve and very disappointing you should stoop to that.

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  4. Isaac, I don’t live down under.Brooklyn is where I am, so i don’t know all the details, though i have read a lot about the goings on.
    You ask why Chabad is singled out by the Jewish Newspaper and I do think you know the answer:Chabad is always out there.Aggressively, in your face .Lots of self promotion.Its natural that the media finds such a group to of much more interest compared to groups who go about their business in a much quieter fashion.I think Chabad may have discovered the flip side of always “being out there”.Sometimes getting lots of attention that their actual numbers shouldn’t garner.You probably didn’t complain when they got ten times as much positive coverage as their numbers really deserved.You probably did not complain when almost every available pulpit, bes din post, kashrus job etc was filled by one of them, did you?.So now the media, so familar with all the publicity, mitzva tanks, yechi hamelech banners in the main shul (yes i know u think rabbi telsner should get rid of it)sees them as being a very central voice of the community.
    As i see it a little modesty would not hurt them.A little humility a little less of “only we have the truth” would avoid them sending out people to testify and be spokesmen in a fashion that causes al of us terrible bushes.
    Some food for thought before you attack

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    1. Actually I think we do have too many CHABAD rabbis in pulpit positions and quite a few are self serving and lazy. Chabad are out there but so are Jews. We complain when we are singled out. I complain when a newspaper knowingly avoids news BECAUSE it’s not chabad

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  5. Isaac, i know that you are a passionate and truthful person, but bias is a strong thing to overcome.You are biased towards Chabad.That is a fact that i’ve seen following your blog and in other places on the web,Almost an apologist.
    Yes, even you see sometimes that things are a bit to nutty to gloss over such as the Yechi movement which much as we want is not going anywhere.It’s actually getting stronger.Yet it hardly bothers you, you pooh pooh it
    What happened in Yeshiva was a travesty.Its true that it has happened in many other places, but striking out at others does not minimize the crazy ideas of allowing pedophiles to roam free

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    1. You are confused. I struck out against pedophiles and I think meshichisten are graded from well intentioned ‘in denial’ apologists to complete nutters. I reckon I’m doing well when you guys call me an apologist and when simply mentioning the name R Chaim Volozhiner at a farbrengen where I spoke recently, I was howled down by the Gabbay Hershel Herbst. I’m commonly called anti CHABAD. The truth is I’m neither. I try to remain true to what I think. It’s Yom Haatzmaut. How that is less of a day then Yat Kislev is simply beyond belief! There’s an example for you. But I write what is going through my mind. I wrote two blog posts recently and trashed them before publishing them because I felt I wasn’t informed enough on those two topics.

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  6. [This was edited by me]

                                            B”H
    

    i) At the risk of personal attack, as Josh notes is what you do, and is selective at best, may I ask you to step back a blog, and focus on values.
    ii) The Royal Commission is the best thing that has happened to the Yeshiva, as it has shaken up the closed thinking that dominates in everyday activities, everywhere, but more so because it represents transparent, unadulterated investigation , and does so at government expense, so there is no financial prejudice as to whom may attend or give evidence. It is a legacy to Julia Gillard’s secularism as it would not have happened under any other government head, because of self interest. It also came about because of the good work the Victorian Legislative Council did, and it followed their report.
    iv) Josh said it, and the AJN reported it. What happened that upset the apple cart at the Royal Commission was not that abuse occurred, that was known. What happened was the expose of lies and ongoing lies, but more than that was the sound of silence.
    v) The AJN also reported the resignation of Rabbi Kluwgant and indeed gave him credit for his attempts to do something useful in the whole affair. His resignation, at least, restored his own integrity and opened the door to giving the rabbis a chance to recover from what they had robbed themselves of, integrity.
    vi) But it was the silence that could not be broken, that continues to eat at the heart of the whole crumbling set up, that they set up themselves.
    vii) What silence you may say? Did you watch? Did you hear the barrister ask Rabbi Telsner what he, as a community rabbi, would like to say to someone in his congregation who feels estranged, ostracised, hurt. The rabbi said as anyone would, “I regret”. That was about the past. He was asked about the present. What do you say to someone who feels hurt or ostracised, whether true or false?
    Is yours a cold hearted response of silence. There is a difference between a sorry for cause and a sorry of comfort. Cause is passé. No-one expects you to say you caused the disease of the person you visit in hospital to comfort. But comfort you can offer. Surely, from anyone, including a rabbi, a rabbi under oath, in view of the public, representative of Jews? Is not every prayer every morning begun with, “i take upon myself the mitzvah of loving my fellow as myself”? Is that not the opening of the gates that permits our prayers to rise up to Hashem, to be heard? and not cast aside, G-d forbid.
    Is that not what is meant by, “If I am not for myself, who is for me? And if I am only for myself what am I? And if not noW, when?” [Pirkei Avot I:14]. Moshe Rabbeinu, as did the Rebbe, cared for every one of us. Rabbi Groner surely did too, but each of us is only human. We make mistakes. The G-d in us allows us to acknowledge those and correct them, given the chance. The pain depends entirely on how much one thinks of oneself instead of the benefit that it brings. However faulty, they are forgiven, provided one says, “I am sorry”. Two words describe the Torah as given. “Thank You”, words of praise, characterizes the first and “sorry” the second.
    viii) What would it have taken to bring Mashiach at that point. One word, “Menachem”, a word of comfort. And we are still waiting for it to be said, in full view of everyone, to everyone in the world for not having said it, then or noW, May Hashem have mercy upon us. It is our duty to bring compassion into the world. How can ISIS respond now – without compassion as they did before, but noW we are complicit with them.
    xi) The Torah was given to us to be able to do teshuva, and on Yom Kippur no less, indicating Hashem’s compassion after the greatest communal sin of the Golden calf.
    xii) Accepting reward and punishment, i.e. having to take responsibility for our actions, is one of the thirteen tenets of Faith in Hashem, which we ascribe to. If we believe in Him, then trust in Him by doing His commandments. Accept honesty as a reality, be a part of Him.
    xiii) Chabad has revived Yiddishkeit. Everyone is a Chassid, deep inside, I believe so. But those who call themselves Chabad are simply those who need to do so most. And sometimes even that is not enough to be a Chassid. To extract the oil the olive has to be crushed.
    xiv) As Josh pointed out, as the lawyer he quoted above, M. Geraces, pointed out, and as I do now, in Iyar, in the month which is “I Hashem am your Healer”, which links us to the end of the Torah reading on shevii shel Pesach, in order to go out of Mitzrayim, the straits, remove the splinter bothering us from the festering sore, that which is burning inside each of us, as healing cannot occur without doing so.
    xv) Rabbi Telsner, for your own good and the good of what Yiddishkeit has to offer the world, break the beam until it splinters, but let those splinters fall to the ground. Hashem rules the world, our job is to help Him do that, not stand in His way, however lofty one feels. King Saul has had his day [Haftorah Shabbat Zachor].
    xvi) I thank the person who sent the link to your blog, as I had not know about it. I hope you will publish this entirely, with thanks, or not at all and let your blog followers know, please, why you decided what you did.
    xvii) it is also timely to note that this Shabbat marks the 100th anniversary of the Anzacs. What did they go to fight for? Fun? Adventure? And for the sake of values that a free society only can endure. They didn’t have much of a fight, but they fought and died together. We are not here to remember only that and how many of us also died in war without a fight. We are here to reinvigorate those values and that our hope and lives project, by example, to our children and their children. Having the courage to take up that challenge to do so is up to us.

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  7. Isaac
    I don’t refer to you when I said that allowing pedophiles to roam Yeshiva was a travesty.So I don’t think I”m confused.I read here how you did your outmost to get rid of one of those pedophiles.
    The point i was bringing out is that the press writing about such a crazy thing as allowing a known dangerous fiend pedophile to be part of the school staff and giving them all hell for it is the way to go.

    Lastly, Isaac as much as I appreciate your honesty, your blogging with your own name, I still think you are a apologist for Chabad.From what i read on your blog, you have all chosen to send and be meshadech with Chabad, and obviously your eyniklach will be full fledged-who-ever-wins-the messichist-non meshichist wars’ chasidim.
    I can’t fathom out how anyone who is not an apologist can sit and farbreng with people who howl when the name of R’Chaim Volozhiner is mentioned.How can one sit with such fanatical close minded robots?
    Since I know you are passionate, intelligent,,well read and open minded about most things, the only answer I can up with why someone like you would choose to apologize or even defend and have taynos to the press that for once is not buying into the Chabad kool-aid is that you are “meshuchad” from some of the nice people or whatever else affected you as a young person.

    In closing I personally believe that Chabads worst enemies are the apologists.Had they been warned years ago that crazy deification and claims of eternal life for the Rebbe will bring about a total ban including rabbis, Chabad would be healed, less cultish, more learned and part of the mainstream.How can a group who’s main shul in Melbourne proclaims the Rebbe as alive 21 years after the fact be anything but crazy??

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    1. Some things you need to realise. I never ever questioned or requested a Chabad shidduch suggestion.
      My children act largely on their own initiative in respect of their maturity.
      It is natural that being educated in Chabad means you are likely to jive more with someone whose life yor understand. None of my boys or girls went to a Chabad Yeshivah (although a son did Smicha later). The groups is a spectrum. It’s not binary. I spoke because it was a Yohr Tzeit and the Baaal Yohrtzeit requested I speak (despite attempts to ”forget that”. I feel me NOT going would be worse. They need to hear voices of reason and know meshugass is watched.
      Not sure you understand better. In my day, there was no Chabad Lite, although I did have one Shidduch with a Chabad girl. I don’t care. Satmar and that style of Charedi would be a real challenge for me, but I knew my kids wouldn’t enterntain that and they certainly wouldn’t entertain me, although I feel in general people respect me and my straight shooting views.

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  8. ” Chabad has revived Yiddishkeit. Everyone is a Chassid, deep inside, I believe so. But those who call themselves Chabad are simply those who need to do so most. And sometimes even that is not enough to be a Chassid. To extract the oil the olive has to be crushed”

    Isaac,
    The following poster is just an example of the absolute nonsense taught there.
    “Everyone is a chasid deep inside”.What kind of disrespect lies here for the many/most Jews who have chosen other paths? The poster, probably well meaning has been fed this notion that Chabad is the crown and only authentic Orthodoxy.I know this is the Chabad belief, they believe that the only way Moshiach can be revealed is thru studying Chabad theology, why every single jew must become Chabad.This is the mainstream belief in Chabad.

    ” Chabad has revived Yiddishkeit”
    Again with the absolute nonsense.Chabad has done many good things, but has not revived Yiddishkait or anything remotely close to that.Chabad has revived Chabad.
    They have brought many Jews who were alienated and far back to their roots.BUT, they have also introduced loads of crazy cultish practices .
    Living in Brooklyn where Chabad is headquartered I can tell you that Chabad has had very little affect.Many of the members were always Orthodox and were convinced by Chabad to join.I am quite sure that the same scenario played out in Melbourne.Most of the current Chabad community was always Orthodox and was convinced or steered to Chabad by attending the Yeshiva College.Chabad of course deserve credit for taking the initiative and opening a Jewish school.Had they not opened the school others would have.What we might have had would be an saner version of Orthodoxy had that played out, but that is just my speculation

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    1. Let me say this והמבין יבין.
      I heavily edited the comment. It comes from someone with a past that many condemn him for. I don’t sit as judge and jury, although I have made up my personal mind about this person, he has heard it loud and clear, and he is someone who in my opinion needs some professional medical help (and he is a gerontologist accused of inappropriate relations with older women). Much of this comes from shallow education, sincere people shouldn’t be over exposed to concepts they can’t possibly comprehend even at the surface level without a proper grounding in Torah. I watched for a few years as the crazies who jump on the corner of Balaclava and Hotham listened to a most sincere person who was giving shiurim at 6am on “Moshiach”. Where I come from, we are concerned with the here and now. Moshiach is an outcome.

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  9. Isaac,
    I wish you only nachas from your children and grandkids.My point was not chas vesholom to mix into your family’s choices and chas vesholom insinuate anything whatsoever.All I wanted to bring out was that clearly your sentiments lie with Chabad, therefore despite your truthful nature when it comes to Chabad you tend to be an apologist and not understand for example why the AJN “picks on Chabad”

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    1. It might surprise you that my philosophy in life is reasonably consistent. If I see a child not following the hanhogos they have adopted I will express an opinion. My one point I keep hammering is, that what I should to do should never influence you to change what you need to do.

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