Why Orthodox Rabbis Should NOT be Supporting Trump [opinion]

Dear Reader:

The following is an Opinion that was posted in Haaretz. It is posted behind a paywall so we will only post a few excerpts. It is worth the read.

The inevitable conclusion of the Opinion is that Donald Trump shares no values at all with Orthodox Jews (and we would comment he shares none with secular Jews either). To support him is to support, if not be complicit with the many atrocities of Donald Trump. The author maintains that as Jews, we should know this.

Please read further.

Donald Trump and Orthodox Jews Share No Values at All

Backing Trump is a morally disastrous decision for Orthodox Jews, and for Orthodox rabbis in particular. He stands against everything we believe in   

Daniel Landes

A ‘rediscovered’ student of many years past caught me recently in a chance encounter. “As an Orthodox rabbi living in Israel – I imagine that you are supporting President Trump,” he stated.

But no, I immediately responded: as an Orthodox rabbi, I am compelled to vote him out. He stands against everything we believe in.

As a covenanted people, our theological DNA affirms the holiness of all human beings, while Trump makes common cause with racists and white supremacists; we have always allied ourselves with the best findings of scientific investigation and Trump ridicules that process and the scientists behind it; we believe in the preciousness of human life, while Trump indicates that as long as he is healthy, the rest of the country be damned.

The list goes on. I do not like to identify myself as a rabbi in political matters. I have seen both in the U.S. and in Israel the terrible damage of theocrats who push their religious agendas into every aspect of social and personal life. But facing the potential of four more years of terrible social strife and climactic cataclysm, we all need to speak from the deepest part of our knowledge.

In this case it is not only the holy books that speak to us, but our experience as a people. We know what it means and what can happen when democracy is eroded: public rallies based on hate; the deriding of a free press; the effort to deny voting; the imputation of wild conspiracies; and the refusal to accept a peaceful transfer of power when one loses an election.

Orthodox rabbis know all this, so why are they silent, or even complicit?

To continue reading in Haaretz, click here.

Flouting Covid -19 Rules, Monsey, NY – A Subtle form of Bio-Terrorism [video]

Police Officers Enter House to Find Large Gathering, Monsey, NY Where Numbers are Rising

This is not anti-Semitism. It is an understanding that every sick person has the power to infect others. Private homes, public gatherings, these are spreading events. There should be some accountability, particularly in areas where the numbers of sick to healthy are legitimately rising.

Targeting violators within the religious community

Ghislaine Maxwell & Epstein Deposition Public, and The Men in Her Life [videos]

NBC News
CBS News This Morning

https://www.cnbc.com/video/2019/07/25/nbc-archive-footage-shows-trump-partying-with-jeffrey-epstein-in-1992.html

Donald Trump and Ghislaine Maxwell.
Forbes Photo from here

Here’s Every Time Donald Trump And Ghislaine Maxwell Have Been Photographed Together

Topline: During a Tuesday coronavirus briefing, President Trump offered well-wishes to Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein’s longtime confidante who now faces multiple federal charges related to Epstein’s alleged sex ring. In the 1990s and early 2000s, all three traveled in the same social circles, and Maxwell was photographed with the future commander-in-chief multiple times. Here’s every photo of them we could find:

Elsewhere:

A photo of Trump and Maxwell at a “hookers and pimps” themed party was published by the Daily Mail in December 2019. Maxwell sports a blonde wig and a leopard-print trench coat, while Trump wears the same business suit he’s typically seen in.

Another image of Maxwell wearing a green outfit and posing with Trump and an unnamed third woman has been posted multiple times to social media, but it’s unclear when the photo was taken, or where.

Crucial quote

“I’ve met her numerous times over the years, especially since I lived in Palm Beach,” Trump told reporters Tuesday. “I just wish her well, frankly.”

Big number:

At least 15 years. In July 2019, and after Epstein was arrested on federal sex trafficking charges, Trump said he hadn’t spoken to the disgraced financier—who he once called “a terrific guy”—for 15 years. “We had a falling out,” Trump told reporters, adding he “was not a fan.”

To continue reading in Forbes, click here.

Journalist at the Center of a Storm, His Public Service and Covid-19

theJC.com

Charedi reporter at centre of a storm

There are two men at the centre of the febrile Brooklyn street demonstrations by strictly Orthodox Jews, protesting against a coronavirus crackdown by the Democratic governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, and his mayoral colleague, Bill de Blasio.

One is homegrown local Harold “Heshy” Tischler, host of a populist pro-Trump radio programme, now facing a court case on charges of inciting a riot and unlawful imprisonment.

And the other, improbably, is a softly-spoken Orthodox Jew, Jacob Kornbluh, born and brought up in Stamford Hill, London and now a political reporter for the Jewish Insider website, a national Jewish publication rather than a Charedi, local, one.

Since the beginning of the pandemic — and Kornbluh himself fell victim to the disease early on — he has been one of the loudest voices calling for the strictly Orthodox community to observe the rules of masks and social distancing. He has lost both relatives and friends to the virus.

But last week matters turned ugly when a crowd of mainly young men and boys — apparently urged on by Tischler — turned on Kornbluh and began screaming “moiser” — “traitor” — in his face. Though there was no actual physical violence, Kornbluh, 39, requested and received a police escort to his home in the Brooklyn neighbourhood of Boro Park, where he lives with his wife and five children.

He and his family now have to deal with intimidation on the street and on social media, directed at Kornbluh for apparently “siding” with the mayor and the governor, and for pressing charges against Heshy Tischler. “As a reporter, I never want to be the story”, says Kornbluh, “I always want to be the one presenting the accurate facts, the government guidelines and so on. Unfortunately there’s so much misinformation and miscommunication”. He is as critical of the mayor and governor for “failure to reach out to the community and educate about the virus”, as he is of the community for flouting the regulations.

Public service is central to Kornbluh’s family. His father, Isaac, ran for local council in Stamford Hill and was one of the founders of the area’s Hatzolah and Shomrim groupings, forming tight bonds with police and hospital authorities. Jacob, the fifth of seven siblings, told a Haaretz webinar this week that his memories of home life included his father “being almost never there” on Shabbat or even seder night, because of being on call for emergencies. “My father was always pretty vocal about his core mission, to save lives”, Kornbluh told the JC, “that’s how I grew up, and that’s how I feel”.

To continue reading in theJC.com, click here.
Hershy Tischler defying social distancing and mask mandates
Covid-19 Cluster Crackdowns and Heshy Tischler
Heshy Tischler Confronts Jacob Kornbluh

Frum Watch: People are Wondering it and Not Saying It – Covid-19 and Hareidim

***Journalist, governments, secular Jews, and non-Jews the world over are all wondering the same thing:Why are the coronavirus case counts higher in hareidi neighborhoods and communities?

Reposted with Permission of Frum Watch

Some like to point to the difficulty practicing social distancing with large families in cramped quarters, while others like to point to the lack of science education and general secular knowledge. Still others point to the hareidi communities refusal to put on hold its communal way of life. We would like to share with you the real reason behind the lackadaisical commitment to, if not outright rejection of, the social distancing guidelines in the hareidi community.

The answer is one word – WORK (or the lack thereof).

Let us explain. Never before in the history of the Jewish people has a Jewish community rejected the notion of the male members of the community working for a living. From the Bible to the Mishna to the Talmud — through the times of the later codes of Jewish law — husbands and male members of the Jewish community always have worked to support themselves and their families. In ancient times, some chopped wood, some made clothing, while others were shoemakers and blacksmiths. The Jewish marriage document, the Ketubah, itself attests to the importance and obligation of the husband and father of the household to support his wife and children.

However, this all changed when Rabbi Aaron Kotler, a Lithuanian yeshiva dean, arrived in the US and founded the Lakewood yeshiva and kollel in 1943. Rabbi Kotler believed and Rav Karelitz, the Chazon Ish, in Israel agreed that the secular work place was no place for a frum hareidi male. The temptations were too great; kefirah (heresy) was rampant – and besides, the hareidi world needed Torah scholars, not Torah businessman. This Torah Only theology spawned what we now know as the “kollel for life” model, where the male members of the community learn Talmud for life, while their wives and daughters support the household.

This new order is unprecedented in the annals of Jewish history. For the first time ever, we now have in Lakewood, Bnei Brak, and Jerusalem entire communities of men who don’t work for a living. Naturally, without working men, the community ultimately has become reliant on the income of the wives (usually working part-time), government welfare, and gemachim (community charities).

Continue reading

More Problems for Jews, Islamophobia Masquerading as “Chabadnik”

Yochanan Avraham: An Islamophobic Embarrassment for the Jewish People

By: Andrew Karshan – Submitted to LostMessiah for Publication

John Way Jr. aka Yochanan Avraham is a maybe Jewish or maybe not Jewish. Nobody is really sure. He claims he converted. But nobody really knows if he ever did or who converted him. He lives in Roslyn, NY, outside a Jewish community, and spends his time posting Jewy and political YouTube and BitTube videos.

His Jewy YouTube channel is a mixture of interviews with eccentric characters, John’s attempt to teach “Torah” to viewers as he stumbles through the Chabad.org website, and John posting himself trying to do various Jewish rituals which often looks like Jewish bloopers. He also does right-wing political videos promoting hate groups such as the Proud Boys and lots of pro-Trump propaganda, videos attacking people he disagrees with, and Jewish news (which he also stumbles through). In addition to that, there’s plenty of Islamophobic and anti-Christian material on his channels cause John loves to bash other religions. He puts down Jesus and Mohammed using very obscene language. Many times he posts videos and then deletes them after people criticize his videos.

The Jewish community has called him out for his Islamophobic videos. So far he has on YouTube done a Draw Muhammed Day, burning of the Quran, using the Quran as a doormat, using the Quran as a cutting board with bacon and peeing on the Quran. Some of these videos have been deleted.

But the Jewish community was very scared about the backlash that these videos might cause because John is representing himself as a Jew, and looks like he is a Lubavitcher to someone who doesn’t know any better. And there was a fear that someone might get angry from the hate that John is spitting out and take it out on Jews. Many Jews have denounced his behavior. And my understanding is that he hasn’t been welcomed in Jewish communities that are familiar with who he is because they know he is a troublemaker.

I mentioned earlier that he makes videos about people with who he has conflicts with. When John got angry at me he made 4 BitTube videos about me including one called “The Simcha of Burning Andrea Karshan” where he burned a picture of me while playing a festive Hasidic song and wearing a Jewish Lives Matters T-shirt and one where he claimed I called my children mamzerim (I would never say that about my own children.) He also made a YouTube video about me. Some of these videos have now been deleted.

Andrea Karshan Blog, click here.

Hareidim – A Primer – “Fundamentalism is a Recent Creation”

This is being reprinted with permission from the administrators of the “Frum Watch” Facebook Site. It speaks to the differences among various Jewish sects. For Additional Reading we invite you to also consult a site called “Rationalist Judaism with other notes by Rabbi Dr. Natan Slifkin.

The Hareidim – a Primer

In light of the recent civil unrest and civil disobedience displayed in hareidi communities the world over, we bring to you a short primer on the Haredim. Hopefully, this brief outline will afford our readers a better understanding of the nature and composition of the community.

Not all haredim are hasidic, but all hasidim are haredim. In general, the hareidi community comprises two distinct communities, hasidim and non-hasidim. Both are ultra-Orthodox Jews, also known as frum Jews, hence the name of this Facebook group. The hasidic community contains multiple sects, such as Satmar, Chabad, Ger, Belz, and many others. For the most part, all the hasidic sects are at odds with each other, with some also at war. The reasons for this division and rancor are varied, some are battles over turf, others battles over ideology and influence. For example, the Satmar and Chabad sects have been at war for the better part of the past 50 years. However, of late, they have agreed upon a cold truce. This detente was due to the joining of forces to repel the treif influence of the internet and other evil secular influences.

Hasidic sects, except Chabad and Breslov, are led by a living rebbe, or admor (grand rabbi). Chabad is still in the throes of its failed messianic experiment, which collapsed with the death of M.M. Schneerson, their rebbe, in 1994. Unable to accept their leader’s failure to bring the messiah, Chabad leaders have refused to appoint a rebbe in his place. Most Chabad followers recognize their rebbe’s death and burial in Montefiore Cemetery, Queens; however, some still refuse to accept that he is no longer among the living. This extreme Messianic faction controls the main 770 synagogue in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. They believe the rebbe is the long awaited messiah and, though we can’t see him, is still alive.

The case of Breslov is somewhat similar to that of Chabad in that a new leader was never appointed after Rebbe Nachman’s (their founder) death in 1810. Breslov, too, is a fervently messianic group. However, Breslov has never officially proclaimed Rebbe Nachman as messiah, but instead insisted that his light will burn until the messiah’s coming. Breslov hassidim place great importance on praying by Rebbe Nachman’s grave in Uman, Ukraine, on Rosh HaShana.

The non-hasidic hareidim, aka Litvish, aka yeshivish, Jews, mostly hail from the area of pre-war Lithuania and live in the Flatbush/Midwood section of Brooklyn and Lakewood, N.J. They are led by the non-hasidic faction of Agudas Israel of America. Agudah, for short, is the leading umbrella group of American ultra-Orthodox Jews. Agudah not only protects the interest of the non-hasidic community, it also tries to cover up the misdeeds of the hasidim. For this reason when the New York State Education Department ordered hasidic yeshivas to teach their students the mandated minimal secular subjects, it was Agudah who sued them in Federal Court. It was this same Agudah who recently sued Governor Cuomo when he ordered the shuls in Boro Park and Flatbush closed for Simchat Torah.

A third group of hareidim, that of Sephardi and Mizrachi Jews, also exists. This group is much more prominent in Israel, where their political party, Shas, holds 9 seats in the Knesset. Hareidi Sephardi and Mizrachi Jews are primarily found in the US in the Syrian community of Brooklyn.

All hareidim are suspicious of secular authority, scientific knowledge, and anything “modern.” They feel that they must reject secular authority whenever it infringes upon their Torah lifestyle. It is this rejection of secular authority that is behind all the ills in the hareidi community. For example, cheating on one’s taxes is legitimized because leading a Torah lifestyle is expensive and very costly — from private school yeshiva tuition to the price of glatt kosher meat. Working off the books and not paying taxes is the only way for many frumme to get by. In addition, cheating and scamming the welfare system is also legitimized on this account. How else is a frum family of 10 living in a 3 bedroom section 8 apartment going to survive?

The rejection of civil authority is also behind the widespread disregard of social distancing guidelines currently wreaking havoc in hareidi enclaves the world over. They believe, as the Belzer rebbe made clear, that they cannot allow the guidelines to interfere with their day-to-day Torah lifestyle. If people have to die, so be it, the Torah lifestyle must go on.

We must emphasize that the extreme fundamentalism of current hareidi practice, theology, and philosophy is a recent creation. In earlier times, observant Jews had a healthy respect for science, doctors, and civil authority. Whether on account of the Holocaust, the creation of the State of Israel, or otherwise, the hareidi community’s rejection of civil authority is unprecedented in the annals of Jewish history.

Please note that, though the demographics are not in their favor, there still exists a substantial group of Modern Orthodox (or MO) Jews. Modern Orthodox Jews are generally college educated professionals and businessmen. While ritually observant, this group is familiar with contemporary culture and respects the rule of secular law.

To read this on Facebook please click here.

New Square Celebration – Covid-19 Defiance in Rockland County

Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, Medical Pioneer, Covid-19 Defiance, Anti-Semitism

Yehuda Mesh-Zahav (Courtesy of Zaka to The Times of Israel)

Haredi health pioneer: COVID-19 defiance fuels anti-Semitism, sullies God’s name

An ultra-Orthodox health pioneer has expressed intense frustration at coronavirus disobedience, and said it’s bringing hatred on his community and fanning the flames of anti-Semitism.

Yehuda Meshi-Zahav hauls body bags of the COVID-19 deceased, but even the warnings he delivers after carrying out this gory work fall on deaf ears, he said.

His organization ZAKA, a medical aid and rescue nonprofit, has helped some 1,800 God-fearing Diaspora Jews killed by the coronavirus to fulfill their dying wish, transferring them from planes for eternal rest in Israel’s sacred soil, he said. He also personally retrieves bodies of Israelis who have died.

But he is astounded that nothing he can say or do — whether talk of the body bags, Israel’s dizzying coronavirus stats shared in Yiddish, or personal stories of those who died — can convince the slice of the Haredi community that is insistently noncooperative in the battle against the coronavirus to change its ways.

Meshi-Zahav spoke to The Times of Israel on Sunday, at the end of the Jewish holiday season, amid numerous reports that mass gatherings had taken place among Israeli Haredim in defiance of coronavirus rules.

These included celebrations for Saturday’s Simhat Torah festival, held despite statistics indicating that ultra-Orthodox Israelis, around 12 percent of the population, are catching the virus out of proportion to others. Hospitals are heavily populated by Haredim, while some members of the community are being treated by a program to give breathing support at home, without knowledge of the authorities.

“I explain to people that others are looking at them, and saying that we’re in this situation because of Haredim, and that the 12 percent is infecting the 80-plus percent, and that ‘you’ are ‘stealing’ the breathing machines,” Meshi-Zahav said. “And I say that this hatred is terrible, but what people see is the continuation of singing, dancing, public prayers, and simchas [celebrations] — as well as continuation of protests.”

The Times of Israel, click here.

Disobedience born of poor leadership

It’s a misconception to assume that Haredi refusal to follow virus rules is driven by disrespect to others, he said, arguing that it stems from a misguided desire to retain religious routine at all costs. In his view, strong and determined leadership could fix this with a clarion call insisting that the religious imperative to save life comes above all, but there is no such leadership on the horizon.

He said there are large parts of the Haredi community where coronavirus rules are carefully followed, and there are rabbis who encourage this. And he stressed that disproportionately high virus rates among Haredim don’t reflect disobedience alone, but to a large extent also circumstances, like large families and cramped conditions.

Yet he is worried that a notable minority is breaking rules, which causes infection to spread, and lamented: “People don’t understand we’re all in the same boat. It’s like the story of the people who drill a hole under their seat in boat, saying it’ll only affect them, but of course, it affects everyone.”

Meshi-Zahav is particularly concerned by the fact that Haredi disobedience has an international element. In New York’s Haredi community, where virus rates have been high, there have been some very visible expressions of disdain for restrictions, including angry protests against coronavirus shutdowns.

The Times of Israel, click here.

shutdowns.

Groups of protesters gather in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Borough Park to denounce lockdowns of their neighborhood due to a spike in COVID-19 cases on October 7, 2020 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)

Fueling anti-Semitism

And he believes that the situation in Israel and New York is playing into the hands of anti-Semites. “If Jews are saying the things I mentioned about each other, of course others will say them,” he said. “They will take the symbol of a man in Jewish dress, and connect it to the coronavirus

To Continue Reading the Times of Israel in its entirety click here.

NYC – “Test and Trace” – Covid-19 and NYC Partnerships

Agudath Israel Files Suit Against Governor Cuomo and Loses – Covid-19

WILL THE RELIGIOUS COMMUNITY ABIDE BY THE JUDGE’S RULING AFTER A 2-HOUR HEARING AND A LENGTHY REASONED ARGUMENT?

Dear Readers:

On October 8, 2020, Agudath Israel of America, along with other Plaintiffs filed a law suite against Governor Andrew Cuomo:

asking for a temporary restraining order to bar the State of New York from enforcing its limits on house of worship attendance in certain areas of the state. The limits, announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo just two days ago, would cap Shul and other houses of worship attendance in so-called “red zones” to ten individuals.”

Yeshiva World News, click here.

In short Plaintiffs,

argue[d] that the Executive Order’s restrictions unconstitutionally discriminate against religious practice while simultaneously permitting comparable secular conduct. Moreover, the restrictions violate Free Exercise rights because they appear to target conduct due to their religious motivation.

Yeshiva World News, click here.

The filing requested that the court – in light of the holidays beginning [today] – immediately grant a temporary restraining order (TRO) preventing the state government from enforcing the new limits, as well as declaring the executive order unconstitutional.

Yeshiva World News, click here.

In a hearing held by video and audio, which listed 1492 participants at one point, Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto gave a significantly thorough and well-reasoned review of the issues raised by Agudath Israel as well as the counter arguments by Governor Cuomo’s attorneys, who were asked specific questions for points of clarification.

The main question at hand was whether or not the Governor’s recent Executive Order placed a disproportionate and undue burden upon the religious rights of one particular group of people to freely practice religion under the Constitution.

The final ruling was that the current public health emergency, the rise in cases of Covid-19, and the health threat it presents outweighs the rights of any one religious group. In a well-reasoned and lengthy discussion, Judge Matsumoto ruled against Agudath Israel. She came to the conclusion that the health and safety of the population at large trumps any single religious group’s religious freedoms.

Continue reading

The Covid Conspiracy? Or, a Group That Believes Itself Immune?

Yeshiva World News WhatsApp Blast

WHEN IT COMES TO REQUESTING CHARITY TO ASSIST VICTIMS OF COVID-19, THE PANDEMIC IS REAL. WHEN IT COMES TO COMPLYING WITH GOVERNMENT RESTRICTIONS, IT IS NOT REAL. SO, WHICH IS IT?

There is no shortage of video currently available with endless clips of non-socially-distant religious Jews who are not wearing masks and flouting safety precautions. They seemingly do not care about one another in that regard nor do they care about those outside of their community who may be adversely affected by their actions.

Many assert, like President Trump who has proudly proclaimed that Covid-19 is a “gift from G-d” or just a “flu” that Covid-19 is not a major health threat. Many believe that Covid-19 is a conspiracy imposed upon the people [religious Jews] for the purposes of mind control, limiting religious belief or some other absurd assertion. Many within the religious Jewish community believe themselves immune, either because G-d will step in “B’Ezrat Ha’Shem” and provide assistance, because they have already reached “herd immunity” or because the “others” are not worthy of their consideration or concern.

But the great irony is that there are also no shortage of requests for financial assistance, “chesed” charity to families of people suffering from Covid-19 or families of people who have died. When will the reality jive with the illusion that Covid-19 restrictions are not an anti-Semitic approach to a public health threat, but rather, a means to keeping everyone safe.

Covid-19 is a hazardous virus that presents a major health threat. Those members of the religious community who do not comply with strict requirements of social distancing and mask-wearing present a public health threat, not only to themselves but to others. Covid-19 is killing people. Those who are not adhering to law are committing acts of bio-terrorism.

It is about time that the non-civil law adherent Jews within the religious Jewish community at least begin to adhere to Jewish law “Pikuach Nefesh” which holds human life to be paramount.

Mayor De Blasio “I’m Coming For You.” Heshy Tishler Threats – Covid-19 SHANDA

Heshy Tishler –

TO OUR READERS: THIS IS NOT CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE. THIS IS BIO-TERRORISM! THIS IS A SHANDA OF EPIC PROPORTIONS!

[SELECT QUOTES FROM VIDEO]

“I’m Coming for you Mr. Mayor.”

“We will not listen to you, Mr. Mayor.”

“Come and Help us, Mr. President.”

“My name is Heshy Tishler and I am running for City Counsel. – My first piece of legislation will wipe out the tickets of anyone who got a fine at this time.”

“They Can’t Arrest all of Us.”

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Feeling Targeted? Are Religious Jews Committed to Protecting Everyone? Covid-19

From the files of First Amendment Activist

Is this discrimination or is the uptick in Covid-19 cases within the ultra-Orthodox Community in the United States and in Israel a numerically quantifiable increase Covid-19 activity and spread that requires taking immediate and unequivocal action?

This man from Borough Park is well-spoken and wearing a mask He claims anti-Semitism and discrimination. However, it is our opinion that he is mistaken given the video footage available from the Spring, the Summer and now the Fall of the ultra-Orthodox community NOT abiding by Covid-19 restrictions, social distancing or keeping out of packed shuls.

Is also quite tragic that this man seemed okay with a group beating up a “Moser” [snitch] which is the tragedy within this community. There seems to be a line drawn between the acceptable and the unaccepted.

This is posted, however, with respect and admiration insofar as the speaker who is being respectful and, as already stated, is wearing a mask.

He also may very well be accurate regarding the safety of walking around in his community late at night (so long as you are not a “Moser”).

The tragedy is that his views are shared by much of the community that feels the good it does exempts it from the necessity of compliance and “civil justice” appears to be okay.

We hold that religion does not exempt the community from being respectful regarding Covid-19 a threat to everyone.

Haredistan and the Militancy of the Ultra-Orthodox Response to Covid-19 Rules

This is being reposted from a Facebook Group – Frum Watch. It is being reprinted in its entirety with permission from the author, Rabbi Yossi Newfield.

Please share.

Haredistan – What Went Wrong?

From Bnei Brak to Boro Park, the haredi community has had higher case numbers, higher hospitalization rates, and higher deaths rate than the surrounding areas. The question is why? We believe the very nature of the haredi community is the cause.

Inevitably, wherever there is a critical mass of haredim, the community feels that it can disregard secular laws and norms. Sometimes this is done openly; other times there is a great deal of dissembling, with community apologists such as Avi Shafran working overtime. Before the coronavirus pandemic the disregard and rejection of civil society may not have been as pronounced, but it always lurked just below the surface, waiting to raise its ugly head.

An example of this is the haredi (especially hasidic) self-ghettoization and their rejection of state mandated minimal secular education standards. The resulting intellectual isolation of their communities is considerable and it is accompanied by severe side effects, such as systemic fraud, rampant sexual abuse, and poverty.

But so long as the harm was confined to the haredi community itself, the civil authorities from Israel to London to New York looked the other way. They reasoned that if a community wants to stay ignorant, poor, and a refuge for sexual predators, so be it. It’s not our problem.

However, the moment the pandemic struck, these same civil authorities began demanding that the haredi community abide by the social distancing guidelines promulgated by their respective health departments.

To their shock and amazement, they were surprised to learn that haredi society was not willing to curtail their communal way of life, even in the face of a once in a century world-wide pandemic. But we were not surprised in the least. Once a society is allowed to disregard civil laws and norms for decades, it is no wonder that they will not become normal law abiding citizens overnight.

Let’s look at how things progressed:

At first secular society convinced themselves that the haredim in Israel were trying to follow the guidelines, but they just couldn’t on account of their large families and crowded living conditions. Then came the grand wedding in Belz. The Belzer rebbe brazenly ordered that his grandson’s wedding continue as planned, covid be damned. Thousands of men packed together to witness the chuppah. At that point, it became clear to the rest of Israel that the disregard of the guidelines was pre-meditated and intentional.

Why?

The Belzer rebbe decided that his sect would not follow state mandated guidelines out of fear for the spiritual welfare of his flock or out of fear of the breakdown of communal life. Pick either reason. In haredi eyes they are one and the same.

But Belz is not alone. The haredim in Bnei Brak, Meah Shearim, Boro Park, Williamsburg, and Crown Heights have all made the same decision. They will not follow the guidelines because the guidelines disrupt their daily prayer and torah learning schedule, tisches, weddings — their communal life and routine.

This disregard for coronavirus guidelines does not only jeopardize the health of haredi communities, it puts the surrounding non-haredi communities in grave danger. The haredim are either so used to getting their own way or so insensitive as to be unaware of the reaction that’s bound to come.

Back to the present, in New York Governor Cuomo ordered the shuls in Boro Park and Flatbush closed for Simchat Torah because of rising Covid-19 case numbers. Instead of accepting the executive order, Agudas Israel sued him in Federal Court. This is the same Agudas Israel who sued the New York State Education Department for having the nerve to order hasidic yeshivas to teach the English language!

The chickens have come home to roost. Even before the virus escaped from Wuhan, the haredi community was on a dangerous and unsustainable path. Covid-19 just made this apparent for all to see.

While a last minute correction of course by haredi communal leaders may avoid total disaster, we are afraid that this will not occur and we will all suffer because of it.

By Rabbi Yossi Newfield

Heshy Tischler Runs for Office and Incites Violence and Lawlessness – Covid-19

ARE WE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE A “LIGHT UNTO THE NATIONS?”

This Behavior is Pure Darkness.

The Earth Shattering Savagery of NY Jews Beating a”Moser” “Snitch” – Covid-19

In one Brooklyn ZIP code, 18 per cent of everyone who has gotten a coronavirus test since October 1 has tested positive, compared with a rate of about 3.9 per cent citywide, according to city data

Jewish man is left critically injured after being branded a ‘snitch’ by ultra-Orthodox rioters in Brooklyn who attacked him and a photographer for recording COVID-19 violations amid spike in coronavirus cases

Mordy Getz said his brother, Berish Getz, 34, was ‘critically injured by anti-mask Hasidic rioters’ during a protest in Borough Park, Brooklyn, Tuesday night

Victim was reportedly recording video of crowd, when some called him a ‘snitch’ and demanded that he stop; eventually they caught him and assaulted him

Mordy Getz said his brother was critically injured and taken to local hospital   

Meanwhile, near the same area, photographern Bruce Schaff was chased down

He said Orthodox Jewish protesters punched and kicked him for taking photos 

Schaff said he managed to escape before being seriously injured during incident

Protests erupted Tuesday night following Gov Andrew Cuomo’s new restrictions on nine mostly Jewish neighborhoods where coronavirus cases have surged  

The restrictions were placed on schools, businesses and religious gatherings 

The Daily Mail, click here.
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Providing an Explanation on How to Disregard the Laws in Place for Covid-19

Expressing a Complete Disregard for Civil Law – “Not Going to Cooperate”

HESHY TISCHLER – CAMPAIGNING FOR HIS RADIO SHOW –

CAMPAIGN OF DISOBEYING CIVIL LAW

This is a flagrant disregard for the dangers these types of gatherings pose for the rest of civil society. This is a complete and utter disregard for the optics which will only increase anti-Semitism and rightfully so. These are not victims to a society that wants to limit social gatherings. This is a group of people victimizing everyone else around them.

But the reality is we cannot completely blame this group when our government is actively proposing that Covid-19 is nothing more than the flu. Why should a religious group listen to anything more than the United States President, Donald Trump? If he is unwilling to accept the dangers than we cannot really argue that his flock of sheep do not accept the dangers.

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Governor Cuomo- Orders Lockdown – Flouting Laws Part IV – Covid-19

This is Crown Heights on October 5th or 6th, 2020 – This is after being order to wear masks and avoid crowds

A BRAZEN FLOUTING OF LAWS.

The people in this video are brazenly avoiding abiding by the laws. The Police Department in Crown Heights, New York is doing very little to break this up, though that may be an impossible task given the sheer numbers.

The people in this video are NOT guided by the notion of the sanctity of life. Like our US government’s leadership, they feel themselves impervious and are putting every New Yorker, Israeli (many go back and forth) and every person who might disburse to another country at risk.

This is not about religious freedom, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly. It is about protecting the sanctity of life of every New Yorker. But, if our government does not lead by example, there is little hope that the people in this video will stop putting theirs and others’ lives at risk.

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Governor Cuomo Goes Up Against the Bloc and they Flout Part III

Listed as a drive by….

If this was, indeed, a drive-by, we will retract our comments. There are other videos that have since been removed from YouTube indicating that this was a huge event.

Simchas Torah – The Narrative that Somehow they are exempt

Covid-19 – Community Truth Suppression – A Game of Infection Numbers

Under Threat Of Lockdown, Some Orthodox Neighborhoods Seek To Downplay Coronavirus Rates

Reported by LostMessiah

[EXCERPTED FROM Gothamist ]

With the threat of targeted lockdowns hanging over Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods, community leaders are scrambling to contain the growing rate of COVID infections — and in some cases appear to be taking steps to artificially downplay the severity of transmission.

Residents of Borough Park and Williamsburg received anonymous robocalls this week urging them against getting tested, “as this drives up the numbers,” according to a Yiddish recording shared with Gothamist. On Wednesday, leaders of the Bobov Hasidic dynasty asked congregates who previously had the virus, and are thus less likely to be currently infected, to get swabbed at a neighborhood clinic immediately.

Perhaps most alarmingly, sources in the Orthodox medical community say that some healthcare providers in Borough Park are withholding COVID-19 test results from public health authorities — despite recent advisories from the state and city clarifying that such reporting is legally required.

Gothamist, click here.
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Israel’s Vizhnitz – War of Attrition – Flouting Covid-19 Rules. Fait Accompli.

Hasidic rabbi calls for ‘war of attrition’ against virus restrictions

Head of the Vizhnitz hasidic sect rejects government limits to curb coronavirus spread, calls on followers to continue as usual.

World Israel News, click here.

“Let us prepare for a war of attrition,” said Rabbi Yisroel Hager, the spiritual leader of the Vizhnitz hasidic sect of ultra-Orthodox Jews, after police broke up a large indoor gathering of his followers earlier this week in the predominantly ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak.

“Yesterday we should have prevented them [the police] from entering,” Hager told his followers. “I will not allow the closing of ritual baths, synagogues and educational institutions.”

A phone call from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was not able to assuage Hager’s anger over the national lockdown despite the high infection rates in many ultra-orthodox communities.

World Israel News, click here.

[EXCERPTED]

Shlezigner discovered that the hasidic sects are opting for herd immunity as a “deliberate and conscious policy” under which the adults and those at risk will take care of themselves, but the young will continue as usual.

With Hasidism built on the community where the spiritual leader, the “rebbe,” is at the center, it is inconceivable for his followers not to be able to approach their rabbi or pray with him for many months, Shlezinger wrote. Living in densely crowded neighborhoods, they consider it just a matter of time before everyone gets infected.

The ‘herd immunity’ policy of the followers is a fait accompli,” Shlezinger said. “The questions are only if, when and how it will affect the entire country.”

World Israel News, click here.

Govs Murphy and Cuomo Pandering to Their Voting Bloc, Covid-19

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy sets off on a tour around the Red Bank Middle School Friday morning, September 25, 2020.  He was there to get an update on how things are going with coronavirus in the new school year.
Asbury Park Press Photo, click here.

BOTH GOVERNOR MURPHY AND GOVERNOR CUOMO ARE FOOLING THEMSELVES IF THEY THINK THE ASSURANCES OF COMPLIANCE ARE ANYTHING MORE THAN LIP SERVICE.

Last night we posted a poster in Yiddish requesting, nay demanding, that 100% healthy ultra-Orthodox Jews get tested at several available testing sights in Yeshivas and Community Centers in Williamsburg, New York. The purpose, by the very words of the flyer – to alter the statistical positive rate. In other words, play a game of numbers and fool government officials in New York into believing that the community [Satmar] is being respectful and that there is a low positive to testing rate.

This morning we posted a similar request in New Jersey – test healthy people. These communities are not run by fools. Nor, in our view, are they the leaders particularly pious individuals – but that’s another story. Pikuah Nefesh is a fundamental principal in Jewish law – protect human life, all human life. They are putting their own people at risk. Worst still, they are placing the rest of us at risk; and with that are increasing a legitimate resentment against Jews.

https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=10164470322285078&set=pcb.10164470322370078

That is a tragedy marked by people more interested in ritual than religion with little care for the lives of others. That is a quintessential definition of wholly morally bankrupt behavior.

But condemnation of the leaders of these communities is not enough. That Governor Cuomo in New York and Governor Murphy in New Jersey are not putting their foot down and enforcing complete segregation and lockdowns,

limiting travel of members of these communities, jailing people if necessary is a testament to the power that the religious leaders have over government. They represent a powerful voting bloc, one that ingratiates governmental officials such that lawlessness is par for the course.

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Lakewood, NJ, Healthy Ultra-Orthodox Urged to Get Tested for Covid

Hefkervelt

A voice for the Tzibbur by the Tzibbur- overcoming challenges. We take no responsibility for comments posted you are solely responsible for any comments you make and their accuracy. We take no responsibility and assume no liability for any comments posted by you or any third-party.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Audio Message: Igud Harabonim for Corona Matters

https://vocaroo.com/embed/fjXt0Pk9aJO

The govt has requested that everyone without sympyoms get tested. The Rabbonim advise this will help schools open after Yom Tov with no restrictions. There will be mobile testing units around Lakewood to make it easier and less waiting time.

Virus Cases Found on 17 Flights with Pilgrims Returning from Belarus

Virus cases said found on 17 flights as pilgrims return from Ukraine, Belarus

Belarusian soldiers guard the border to Ukraine against hundreds of Jewish pilgrims on Sept. 15, 2020. (Courtey of Shahar Eliyahu via JTA)
Belarusian soldiers guard the border to Ukraine against hundreds of Jewish pilgrims on Sept. 15, 2020. (Courtey of Shahar Eliyahu via JTA)

Confirmed coronavirus carries have been identified on 17 different flights to Tel Aviv from Ukraine and Belarus, senior Health Ministry officials told Channel 12 Tuesday.

An annual pilgrimage over the Rosh Hashanah holiday in Uman, Ukraine, which usually draws tens of thousands of Hasidic Jewish pilgrims, was curtailed this year due to the pandemic. Despite Health Ministry warnings, however, thousands of Israelis flocked to Ukraine to the pilgrimage site of Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav, before Kyiv closed its borders in September to avoid an outbreak.

Thousands of others then traveled to neighboring Belarus in an attempt to cross the border to Ukraine, but were blocked by local authorities.

To continue reading in The Times of Israel, click here.

Satmar Testing Drive – Bring Down Covid-19 Numbers and Mislead

Healthy People Only Asked to Get Tested

The poster above was sent to us this evening. This is a request in Yiddish by Congregation Yetev Lev of Satmar and Yeshiva Torah v Yireh of Satmar for only healthy people to come and get tested.

This is a tacit acknowledgement by the Satmar leadership that they are getting sick. This is further intended to mislead the NYS Government regarding the illness within that community.

Finally, for this to work there must be medical personnel and healthcare officials complicit in this drive to mislead the public.

UPDATE: We have been told that thousands of RoboCalls are also being made to the community to come and get tested.

[Summarized Translation]

“Emergency Drive for Healthy Individuals Only. We must bring down our numbers to save our community, schools, and synagogues.

Please help the community stay open. Only 100% individuals are asked to come tonight to emergency testing drive to bring down our numbers.”

The following are the locations for testing:

Beis Hamidrish Hagadol

Beis Hamidrish Beis Menachem Tzvi

Beis Hamidrish Baruch Moshe

Beis Hamidrish of Our Community

Magen David Adom Volunteers and Fake Testing Site, Israel and Covid-19

Reporters Catch Numerous Magen David Adom Volunteers Running Coronavirus Testing Scam

Coronavirus testing station (MDA spokesperson)

“Two Magen David Adom volunteers were caught on camera conducting black market corona tests for hundreds of shekel. According to a special report that appeared on Ynet news website, who conducted an undercover investigation, the volunteers are running a network of black market tests.

One of the volunteers who was caught on camera, a “high-ranking” volunteer in MDA’s Jerusalem branch, planned an “anonymous” Coronavirus test, that was carried out by a second volunteer. The volunteer who did the testing arrived in a dark vehicle and was not wearing any protective suit, in spite of the danger of being infected by the person who was getting tested. The test was done in exchange for hundreds of shekel.

In a separate incident, the high-ranking volunteer arrived to a woman, also a Ynet reporter who pretended to be a single mother, and conducted a test, without charging her this time. According to the sticker on the test, the test itself came from the “drive-thru” testing station in Jerusalem, and the MDA volunteer submitted the test into the results of the drive-thru under a different person’s insurance.

According to what reporters uncovered the system works as follows: Those wanting to be tested anonymously (so they can avoid going into quarantine or for other personal reasons) contact the high-ranking volunteer, and the price is set over the phone, as are the time and place of the test. The tester goes to the car of the person being tested without wearing any protective gear, and takes the cash, somewhere between 800-1,200 NIS according to the Ynet report. The tester swabs the person getting tested using MDA equipment, and promises that the results will be received in a number of hours.

It seems that the test gets transferred to the drive-thru testing center in Jerusalem, and from there gets sent to the laboratories. However, there is no proof that the samples get passed to the labs or that the answers received are accurate. According to the camera footage collected by Ynet, the high-ranking volunteer sent two different volunteers to do the tests, thus it is clear that this is bigger than a one-person operation.

One of the reporters was told by the MDA volunteer who came to test him and arrived on an MDA medicycle, “You are not the first person I’m testing. We do these kinds of tests all day long, from morning until nightfall. Regarding the results, you have to talk to the high-ranking volunteer. I just do the work. You have nothing to worry about. The lab that runs the test is in Ramallah, thus, the information never even gets to the Health Ministry. We only deal with people who don’t want others to know.”

According to the footage collected from the first Ynet reporter, these black market tests aren’t unique and occur all the time. Someone in MDA is abusing their power and connections to the testing centers for their own personal profit. Additionally, it is unclear whether the results given are accurate, thus allowing for the possibility that people sick with the disease are being told that they can roam free in the population.

If the tests are being sent to the drive-thru facility and processed that way, then the high-ranking official is stealing money from the HMOs who pay for each of the tests being conducted there and is taking the slot of someone else who needs the test.”

To continue reading in Yeshiva World News click here.

Covid-19 Infection and the Ultra-Orthodox, Israel News

Benny Gantz on a visit to Bnei Brak (Photo: Ariel Chermoni/Defense Ministry)

COVID-19 Infection Rate In Chareidi Cities Has Doubled In The Past Week

Data published by Israel’s Health Ministry on Sunday shows that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Chareidi cities has doubled in the past week, which may be a result of Rosh Hashanah tefillos and Selichos.

“From the beginning of Elul we see a dramatic increase in the Chareidi population of twice the amount of coronavirus cases than the general population,” said Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, the Health Ministry’s head of Public Health, in an interview on Radio Kol Chai. “In the past week alone, 20,000 Chareidim tested positive for the coronavirus, three times the number in the general population. About half of the seriously ill Chareidi patients are under the age of 60.”

To continue reading in Yeshiva World News click here.

Covid-19 Hotspots in NYC and Rockland/Orange Counties, ultra-Orthodox

Coronavirus Updates: New York City positivity rate approaches 2%


CORONAVIRUS

Coronavirus Updates: New York City positivity rate approaches 2%

The New York City sheriff’s office says it pulled the plug on three large gatherings that were not following coronavirus restrictions.NEW YORK (WABC) — As the worldwide death toll from COVID-19 has eclipsed 1 million, New York City’s COVID-19 positivity rate is approaching 2%, health officials said Monday, a concerning rise as New York City public schools would close at 3%.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city had 332 new reported cases, with 61 patients admitted to hospitals. The citywide positive tests are at 1.93%

Earlier, Governor Andrew Cuomo also reported elevated positive test rates in Brooklyn, Orange County and Rockland County.

Of the 52,936 tests reported, 834 were positive (1.5% of total). Total hospitalizations are 543, and 11 additional deaths related to COVID-19 were reported on Sunday.

To continue reading click here.

A Picture Paints 1000 Words, the Kushner Affect, Kodak, Chemdas and Covid-19…

FOIA Request to the DFC, dated May 12, 2020

Eastman Kodak, A Loan From the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, a Fabulous Share Price, Kushner and a Donation

The underlying premise of the following opinion analysis is that there was and has been a relationship between Jared Kushner and Kodak’s board member George Karfunkel. That relationship, as we see it, is one based in real estate holdings and transactions, between well connected religious families that travel in the same circles, either directly or indirectly strengthened to religious connections; and then fostered by Kushner’s lifelong political elite status. This is a relationship that, when accompanied by a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” approach, offers Trump significant access to donations and religious Jewish bloc voting as well as the ear of officials in countries like Israel and the Ukraine. It’s all about money and Jewish geography.

It is our belief that the $750M loan to Kodak by a little known US government development corporation whose head is a former Kushner college roommate was no coincidence and was a means to filter money to Kodak, couched in a brain trust Kushner was tasked with building to try to overcome a formidable opponent, Covid-19. Whether or not the company’s head knew of the seeming lack of propriety of the Kodak deal remains open to debate. He spoke frequently about the deal and seems to have sincerely believed he was going to both rebuild a company and slow or even stop the spread of Covid-19.

He has claimed that Covid-19 made the entire loan idea completely reasonable. We beg to differ. Regardless, Kodak had been lobbying the US government for months and while somewhat questionable, Kodak’s ability to re-define itself might have been palatable, or at least was not exquisitely unfathomable. Had monumental increase in share price and corporate greed not come to lay waste on the transaction in the form of some dubious stock trades, including a donation, that loan probably would have materialized.

On August 7th, 2020 it was put on hold. We do not believe it should be provided.

We opine that the metioric rise of Kodak share price on the announcement of the Kodak loan was well-timed by Kodak’s board member, also the Director of Amtrust, George Karfunkel who used a single moment in time to run a significant donation through a mysterious [” virtually non-existent”] yeshiva, Chemdas Yisroel, effectively maximizing gains in the stock which otherwise would not have materialized. The parenthetical in the previous sentence regarding the status of Chemdas Yisroel is based upon a complete lack of paper for the mysterious Yeshiva, an address which is an unlikely place to hide a Yeshiva with a newly acquired $100+Million and corporate filings that seem inconsistent with a company that donates or that fosters young minds. The board of directors is also not easily found but word is that it is a group of people, family members of Karfunkel, who are oft involved in monumentally profitable loophole-based transactions.

Not coincidentally, the Yeshiva was incorporated by a signatory located at an address in Monsey, New York, 25 Robert Pitt Drive, a location that is the alleged principal location for dozens of seemingly opaque companies, nearly all in the hard money lending, real estate, finance and not-for-profit charities and Yeshivas industries. The Char 440 Registration Statement for Chemdas Yisroel, Inc. can be found here.

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Perhaps There Will Finally be a Day of Reckoning for Nursing Care Owners

Increased Nursing Home Data Reporting Could Bring ‘Perfect Storm’ of Federal Lawsuits

Under regulations instituted as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency, skilled nursing facilities are reporting a wealth of information to the federal government — on top of all the information they were required to submit pre-pandemic.

And that information could end up being the guiding light for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG), according to a webinar hosted Thursday by the continuing education provider Strafford.

Skilled Nursing News, Click here.

“Under regulations instituted as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency, skilled nursing facilities are reporting a wealth of information to the federal government — on top of all the information they were required to submit pre-pandemic.

And that information could end up being the guiding light for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG), according to a webinar hosted Thursday by the continuing education provider Strafford.

The presentation focused on reporting requirements for SNFs, government enforcement actions and compliance, and preparation for enhanced enforcement.”

[Excerpt]

“Is this really the perfect storm, then, for a potential wave of lawsuits initiated by DOJ with a much richer database for targeting facilities with with a record in infection control surveys and IJs [immediate jeopardy deficiencies]?” McGovern asked on the webinar. “Time will tell about that. But it’s not simply DOJ. If DOJ doesn’t take the initiative, whistleblowers can also bring lawsuits under the False Claims Act (FCA) and seek to recover the considerable damages afforded under the FCA.”

FCA cases relate to the conduct of private companies that do business with Medicare, Medicaid, and other public health care funding sources, and generally involve fraud, as Bloomberg noted in September 2019 covering an announcement by the DOJ that it would pursue criminal charges in such cases that involved nursing homes.

Many of the claims that hit nursing homes related to the provision of therapy, such as the $30 million settlement agreed to by the Louisville, Ky.-based Signature HealthCARE, the $15 million settlement from Brockway, Pa.-based Guardian Elder Care, or the saga related to the case of several SNFs and a therapy company that eventually settled for $255 million.

To continue reading click here.

Rabbi Dr. Glatt, A Voice of Reason During Covid-19

COVID-19 Update Rabbi Dr Glatt: Why this Tremendous Surge Now all Over Frum Communities?

We are again at a crossroads. Both in the Jewish calendar, entering into Yom Kippur, where life and death decisions will be made, and in the world of COVID-19, with a disconcerting continuing rise in cases in our area, where life and death decisions will be made.

Mi Bamageifa” (and who will die by plague…):

In just the past 24 hours, I have been inundated with numerous pressing shailos from communities all over regarding COVID-19 exposures. Here are but a few of the quarantine questions that Rabbonim and shul presidents have asked me.

 

To remove any doubts about the scientific truths to date, these are the undisputed COVID-19 facts.

Worldwide to date:        Cases: 31,672,300;   Deaths: 972,081

United States to date:   Cases:   6,897,661;   Deaths: 200,818

 

Why is this happening now?

This all “re-started” with the flagrant disregard for scientifically vetted guidelines around weddings and kiddushim, large public gatherings, with many people eating unmasked and in close proximity.

What proof exists, you may ask, that such events indeed cause suffering? Maine public health officials just published a shocking report of an August 7th wedding in Millinocket, Maine. At the wedding, guests ignored social distancing guidelines and mask recommendations. The results: 135 guests got COVID-19, with 7 guests DYING from this wedded bliss exposure. Do you think that young couple will ever be able to look back happily at what should have been one of the most joyous events in their life, knowing that their “simcha” was the cause of so much misery? This wedding is just one in a list of several studied “superspreader” events in the country over the summer. How many more are still to occur?

To continue reading click here.

Uptick in Covid-19 in Hasidic Neighborhoods, Cause for Concern

Virus uptick in Hasidic NYC neighborhoods causes concern

FILE – In this May 28, 2020, file photo, a woman passes a fence outside Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery adorned with tributes to victims of COVID-19 in New York. The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus topped 200,000 Tuesday, Sept. 22, a figure unimaginable eight months ago when the scourge first reached the world’s richest nation with its sparkling laboratories, top-flight scientists and towering stockpiles of medicines and emergency supplies. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — A spike in COVID-19 cases in a handful of Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods with large Orthodox Jewish populations is raising alarm bells even as New York City’s overall infection rate remains low, city officials said Wednesday.

The neighborhoods including Borough Park and Williamsburg accounted for 20% of the city’s COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, according to city Health Department numbers.

“We have a lot to do because we’re seeing a serious uptick in multiple neighborhoods simultaneously,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at his daily coronavirus briefing. “And it’s something we have to address with a very aggressive public health effort right away.”

Some neighborhoods have drawn scrutiny since early in the coronavirus pandemic for large gatherings that violated social distancing guidelines. De Blasio personally oversaw the dispersal of a Hasidic funeral in Williamsburg in April and weathered criticism over a tweet warning “the Jewish community, and all communities” to heed the virus.

Dr. Mitchell Katz, the head of the city’s public hospital system, said health officials are meeting with religious leaders in the hard-hit neighborhoods, making robocalls in English and Yiddish and sending sound trucks to flood the streets with messages about virus guidelines.

Katz said the city hopes to prevent gatherings such as wedding banquets in the communities that are seeing an uptick.

“Large indoor activities are a huge problem for COVID transmission,” he said.

APNews to continue click here.

Another Kodak Moment -Little Reported Donation Part II

Kodak Inquiry Doesn’t Solve the Mystery of the $100 Million Donation to a Little-Known Synagogue

From Mother Jones

“In August, Kodak and the Trump administration ran into a scandal, when word leaked that the once-mighty film giant was in contention for a massive and unprecedented $765 million federal loan (to manufacture ingredients for prescription drugs) and its stock price soared, giving rise to speculation about insider shenanigans. Last week, Kodak released the results of a review conducted by the law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld that concluded Kodak and its top brass “did not violate the securities regulations or other relevant laws, engage in a breach of fiduciary duty, or violate any of Kodak’s internal policies and procedures.” House Democrats questioned the finding and why the Trump administration—via a little-known federal agency headed by a former roommate of Jared Kushner—would consider handing such a loan to Kodak. Moreover, the report failed to fully explain a curious aspect of the controversy: a gargantuan transfer of stock by board member (and billionaire) George Karfunkel to an Orthodox Jewish congregation in Brooklyn called Chemdas Yisroel that had practically no public profile but that he controlled as its president and chief financial officer.

In fact, Akin Gump’s investigation of the Karfunkel transaction seemed somewhat cursory, with the report suggesting the law firm didn’t do much more than ask Karfunkel about it. One House Democrat, who has tried to gather information on Karfunkel’s transfer of Kodak stock, noted recently that this move still “raises many questions.” “

To continue reading the story, click here.

Jewish Pilgrims to Uman, Kanievsky, Covid-19, a Jewish Public Relations Catastrophe

Kiev closed its borders for most of the month of September citing a growing number of coronavirus infections, but the pilgrims attempted to bypass the restrictions by travelling through Belarus / © TUT.BY/AFP/File

OPINIONAs Jews, we are confronted not only with divisions within the Jewish community but vastly differing viewpoints within sub-divisions of the different Jewish sects. We are confronted with bigotry and racism, anti-Semitism and hate, yet we ourselves are not really the shining example of tolerance and consideration, obedience and lawfulness.

The lip service paid by many Jewish organizations is really just that, a nod to other organizations hoping to conquer hate as a global problem. For most Jewish organizations, bigotry is a Jewish problem and anti-Semitism is rampant and of course, unjustified.

With that thought in mind and with Israel now reeling from a rapidly uncontrolled spread of Covid-19 within the ultra-Orthodox community, albeit hidden at the behest of many ultra-Orthodox rabbis instructing their followers to avoid reporting, who really speaks for worldwide Jewry? Shuls in the US and elsewhere will be packed with Jews for Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and the holidays that follow without any regard for the dangers presented by the lack of social distancing and mask-wearing. The spread from within the ultra-Orthodox communities will inevitably spread to the secular communities in Israel and elsewhere and with so many who traveled to Uman, despite warnings that they would not be granted entry due in large part to Covid-19, what is it that we want to be the face of Judaism?

Setting aside the humanitarian tragedy unfolding in Uman and the strife that tragedy has caused to international relations between Belarus and Ukraine, the ultra-Orthodox Jews that made that journey have, in their own unique way, put every Jew worldwide in danger. This entire affair has risked a worldwide increase in anti-Semitism that should be understood but requires careful damage control.

The photographs and videos of openly religious Jews tearing down gates in an airport speaks volumes to a selfish and harrowing lawlessness. The filth at the checkpoints due to a situation that was foreseeable speaks to an inability of the Jews there to manage the human context of their pilgrimage. And the entire notion of openly religious Jews being told not to travel in light of Covid-19 who disregarded, if not obliterated a reasonable request, reflects an inherent lack of consideration for the ramifications of that travel. It reflects a decision to choose ritual over religious virtue which is not Judaism.

When we consider the “public face of Judaism” it should not be that of the Pilgrims of Uman who attempted to enter the Ukraine after being told multiple times not to come. The face of world Jewry should not be Rabbi Kanievsky of Israel who has told his religious followers that it is all in G-d’s hands and yeshiva students should not be tested. G-d gave us brains, we should really be using them.

Donation Request – GoFundMe

With the upcoming Jewish New Year, there are a lot of causes and charities worthy of attention. Covid-19 has all but obliterated businesses and communities and many of them need your help. As it happens, this blog needs it too.

GoFundMe https://gf.me/u/ypdd3s

The political climate has people of all faiths, political beliefs and persuasions asking themselves if they are not being gas-lighted. Websites critical of the behavior of Jews have been removed from Facebook and Twitter under the guise of racism, bigotry and anti-Semitism.

This site has been, since its inception, focused on providing an honest opinion of events and offering some perspective.

In the rare case we have gotten it wrong, used materials that we thought to have been reliable only to be told otherwise, we have been asked to correct and bar none, we have done so. We remain true to that.

Two years since Plaintiff filed a defamation case against me, I find myself still trudging away in a hamster wheel, trying to prove I am not another website and I DID NOT republish. And the courts are doing very little to shift the weight of that burden on the Plaintiff.

So, I ask you to donate to the lawsuit, a payment that goes directly to the lawyer. If that does not suit you, please donate to this site. That goes toward trying to bring information your way.

L’Shana Tova.

JG

The Persian Gulf Honey Trap, not a “Business Paradise”, The Dark Side…

Desert Storm: Former Israeli defense officials’ Persian Gulf entanglement

Former senior officials from the Israeli defense sector attest that the Israeli government and the defense establishment either didn’t know about, or chose to ignore, the fact that for many years, Israeli companies had been doing business with other Persian Gulf states with whom Israel does not have diplomatic ties, and likely won’t have any in the future due to their alliances with enemy states like Iran, or an ideological affinity to it as it relates to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.Pini Meidan Shani (left) Yoav Mordechai, and Dror Mor. Photo: Yair Sagi, Amit ShaalPini Meidan Shani (left) Yoav Mordechai, and Dror Mor. Photo: Yair Sagi, Amit Shaal

A legal dispute that erupted between three companies in July, some of its details being revealed here for the first time, exposes the involvement of Israelis— all former senior officials in Israel’s defense establishment— in providing physical and cyber protection for a major civilian infrastructure project with a Gulf state with whom Israel does not have diplomatic relations. The details of the affair were initially placed under an extensive gag order by the Tel Aviv District Court at the request of the involved companies. Following a petition by Calcalist, filed by Attorney Yaron Hanin from the Lieblich-Moser law firm, judge Hanna Plinner recently reduced the scope of the gag order so that only the name of the county and the project itself remain undisclosable.

The documents that were approved for publication expose serious allegations regarding an attempt to export proprietary offensive cyber capabilities without receiving the required permit from the Ministry of Defense. Though the claims were later denied by the parties, they reflect the dangerous side of the “business paradise” in the Persian Gulf, which may be used as a honey trap for the extraction of highly sensitive security capabilities from Israel.

HHS and the Sheer Stupidity of Giving for-Profit Nursing Homes MORE Money -Covid

OPINION No Amount of Money is Going Incentivize a Morally Bankrupt and Profit Centric Nursing Home Owner/Operator/ Manager to Improve Care to Patients – More Oversight is Required

Whomever thought up the idea that shelling out MORE money to nursing homes, their owners, managers, wealthy entrepreneurs and magnates to reduce Covid-19 numbers doesn’t seem to understand the dynamics of the nursing home industry. In fact, that idea represents an utter and complete disregard for the entire history of the nursing home industry, the coining of money that occurs and the harrowing lack of oversight that lead to Covid-19 deaths.

It was not about a lack of funding for appropriate care. The deaths were caused by greed. The stockpiling of PPE (and respirators) so they could be traded or sold on a secondary market, represented greed.

The obscene amounts of money that has already been given to fabulously wealthy owners, operators and magnates in the form of PPP and EIDL loans has only allowed the wealthy to get wealthier. It has improved nothing else. And, you cannot buy a conscience with that money, which would be what is required to stop improve the quality of life of every individual currently residing in nursing homes and to prevent further death when Covid-19 ravages these homes again.

To many of the owners, operators and managers in for-profit care nursing and rehabilitation centers, a patient represents an equity interest in a financial gain, whether that gain is in the form of Medicare/Medicaid or private insurance, or in the form of a life insurance policy after a patient has died. Nursing care is not about improving the lives for human beings, the vulnerable and the most in need of care and compassion. It is not about preventing a spread of a deadly virus.

For every person who died from Covid-19, the owners, operators and magnates made money on life insurance policies where they didn’t on some other death benefit or healthcare payment. The owners, operators and managers are all but printing money in the basements of some of these homes, coining it. They DO NOT need more money. What they need is oversight.

For many of these nursing home owners, operators, managers and the equity interested individuals, providing additional access to money is like giving an opiate to an addict. You cannot instill in many of these individuals a sense of moral obligation to do right by their patients, clients and families. These people are not morally challenged they are morally bankrupt and the money only feeds into an ability to obtain more equity on human life and death.

If NY Gov. Was Not so Entrenched, He Would Want Nursing Home Investigation

New York GOP renews push for investigation into nursing home deaths


“N.Y. Republicans want answers on nursing home deaths – New York Daily News javascript:false

ALBANY — Republican lawmakers launched a petition drive Wednesday in an effort to push for an investigation into the number of coronavirus deaths in New York State nursing homes.

The petition calls on Democratic leaders to get behind a bill that would spark an independent investigation examining how the state handled the surge in COVID-19 cases among the elderly and what can be done to prepare for a potential second wave of the virus.

N.Y. Republicans want answers on nursing home deaths – New York Daily News javascript:false

“We’re launching this petition drive to harness the power of the citizenry to pressure the Majorities to bring forward bipartisan legislation for an independent investigation to subpoena the Health Department so we can provide a measure of closure to the loved ones of those who died and prevent this from happening again,” said sponsor New York Sen. Jim Tedisco (R-Glenville).

The state has reported more than 6,400 COVID-19 deaths at nursing homes across the state, but critics contend that the number could be significantly higher since the Cuomo administration does not include elder care residents who died in hospitals. Advertisement

Tedisco, Sen. Daphne Jordan (R-Halfmoon) and Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh (R-Ballston) said the bill would create an independent investigation that would have subpoena power and help the public learn the real numbers of New Yorkers who died from COVID-19 in state-regulated nursing homes.

Cuomo senior adviser Rich Azzopardi slammed the petition as a “political stunt” and said that it exposed a recently announced Department of Justice request for information about nursing home deaths as the same.”

To continue reading in the New York Daily News click here.

Breslovers Stuck in De-Militarized Zone and Covid-19

From Yeshiva World News
Breslovers singing in the face of adversity

The situation in the demilitarized zone between Belarus and the Ukraine is a Humanitarian Crisis of the Breslovers’ Own Making and Should Not be Condoned

The mayor of Uman, clearly sympathetic to the reasons for the pilgrimage, had told the Breslovers and other Chassidim not to come to Uman as early as July of 2020.

“Every year about 30,000 pilgrims come to Uman to celebrate Rosh Hashanah,” the mayor said in a video posted online. “But this year, the coronavirus pandemic made adjustments to our life…. It’s a very difficult situation in the world and in Ukraine. In Uman, the situation is under control…. But the arrival of a large number of foreigners from different countries could cause a coronavirus outbreak in our town.”

Hamodia, click here.

The Ukranian Government had announced a ban on Foreign travel to the Ukraine, also in July; but then agreed to restrict the pilgrimage at the request of the Prime Minister of Israel.

Ukraine said on Tuesday it would limit the number of Chassidim from Israel planning to enter the country for Rosh Hashanah after Israeli officials voiced fear that the event would be a coronavirus hotspot.

“At the request of the Prime Minister of Israel, a decision was made to significantly restrict the Hasidic pilgrimage to Uman to celebrate Rosh Hashanah,” President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s office said in a statement.

It did not say how many people would be allowed into Ukraine for the event or give any further details.

Hamodia, click here

The Covid-19 crisis did not need to be exacerbated by the tens of thousands of Breslover Chasidic and others who make that pilgrimage every year; and sensibility should have dictated that the Chasidim from Antwerp (Belgium), Bnei Brak (Israel) the United States and elswhere rethink this yearly ritual. The entire pilgrimage represents a loyalty to a ritual and not to a religion.

There is nothing in Jewish law that requires this pilgrimage and nothing in the culture of the Breslovers that could not have been otherwise honored by remaining home.

But, many Breslovers came anyway, caring not for the health and safety of their own, of others who may come into contact with them or of those in Belarus and the Ukraine. Pikuach Nefesh (the sanctity of human life) be damned. Anti-Semitism is on the rise and we cannot really be asking ourselves why. Two countries are now being disrespected by our own and the world is bearing witness to the selfishness of the undertaking of the pilgrimage.