Dr. Stuart Ditchek and Agudath Yisroel – Heroic Move to Advocate Yeshiva Closures Amid Covid-19 –

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This Orthodox Brooklyn doctor saw the truth about coronavirus weeks ago

On Wednesday evening last week, Dr. Stuart Ditchek convened an unprecedented meeting. At a synagogue in Midwood, Brooklyn, he gathered 170 rabbis, yeshiva principals and administrators (some streaming in via Zoom) to ask them to make a difficult, but necessary, decision: close their doors immediately to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

Ditchek, a pediatrician and an Orthodox Jew who is well known in South Brooklyn’s Orthodox communities, has been working at the grassroots level over the past weeks, trying to urge yeshivas and synagogues to help “flatten the curve” of new infections, giving hospitals more space and resources to treat patients with coronavirus and other serious illnesses.

At the meeting, Ditchek presented the evidence in a slide deck: The infection rate is high. Children under 10 are not dying, but they are transmitting the disease. Limiting interaction of all kinds, immediately, will make an enormous difference compared with waiting even a few days, given the exponential rate of new infections every day.

“It was well received by about half of the room,” Ditchek said in a phone interview Sunday morning, in between seeing patients and speaking to rabbis calling for his advice. “It was not so well received by the other half.”

As the coronavirus has spread across the United States, it hit the Orthodox community early and hard. A synagogue, Yeshiva University and several schools in suburban Westchester County were among the first institutions in the country to close their doors in response to the virus.

Yet the Orthodox community has grappled in recent days about whether to push for full-scale closures of schools and shuls across the country. Many organizations — some persuaded by Ditchek, working around the clock — have closed. On Sunday afternoon, Agudath Israel of America, the largest Orthodox umbrella organization, reversed itself and started urging communities to shutter their synagogues and schools. There are still some holdouts, however, and Ditchek hasn’t given up on them.

 

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The GOP Bowing to Pressures of Agudath Yisroel and Major Fundraisers – Not About Religion, About Over-Development

This is a Land Use Issue. It Always Has Been. Any Other Characterization is a Strategic Misrepresentation.

Dear Readers:

This blogger has been accused of being a liberal, a self-hating Jew and an anti-Semite. If I am to be judged by those who choose to bully and use the judicial system as a constant weapon, shove the mantra of anti-Semitism down everyone’s throats and toss integrity to the wind, then I will take whatever insults someone wants to sling my way.

A more recent accusation was that I am an idealist too. Yeah… true enough. It would be nice if money was not the currency of darkness, if honest opinions and speech was not chilled by hundreds of thousands of dollars; and if truth and transparency were the goals for which we all strive.

But that is just not happening. It was a lofty goal when this blog was started.

Four years later, the insults sometimes feel more like compliments when the judgments come from those whose moral compass sits far askew from my own.

This piece is focused on over development and the misapplication of laws, the manipulation of a system by those who want to use anti-Semitism to justify any mode of behavior and the resulting tragedy for everyone.

Zoning in Jackson Township, New Jersey should never have invited the chorus of the “anti-Semitism” choir. It should not have attracted big money donors and Agudath Yisroel who want to chalk everything up to anti-Semitism to allow their own to act with impunity. Codes and laws should be enforced equally across the board. The laws passed were intended to foster responsible development and maintain a quality of life within a specific landscape, not to chase out religion. That ultra-Orthodox Jews were and continue to be the most affected by those laws is a function of sheer numbers and statistics, not a generalized hatred.

I have said repeatedly that the Holocaust should not have given us a sharper spear to toss when things don’t go our way. Using it as such demoralizes everyone who perished during the Holocaust, and only increases an “us versus them mentality” which ultimately intensifies hostility. It is a dangerous game to play. And so it begins.   

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Can Allegedly Demonizing Yeshivas co-Exist with Defending Against Violence?

Comments to Rabbi Avi Shafran’s Opinion in the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

by LM

Below we have republished a portion of an opinion that appeared in the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, written by Rabbi Avi Shafran of Agudath Israel. We would like to thank the person who sent this our way, though we are certain he would not agree with our conclusions. Thankfully, there is a mutual respect for differing opinions. We thank him for that also.

There are a few points that should be made about Shafran’s opinion in JTA. The first is we believe you can criticize over-development and the draining of the public school system for the benefit of private yeshivas (and parochial schools) and still defend against anti-Semitism and resentment. The two are not mutually exclusive. While he refers to the links as “indirect” he spends an inordinate amount of time criticizing efforts to uphold educational standards, presumably albeit indirectly linking criticism to hate.

We take the position that only when these uncomfortable subjects are aired can the differences in perception (that often create resentment) be either resolved or peacefully tabled. One can agree to disagree so long as both sides can be vocal and respectful.  

Second, Safran’s comments about the criticism of the substandard Yeshiva education in many (but not all) Hasidic yeshivas is, in our belief misguided.  Contrary to Shafran’s opinion, a fair indictment of a school system that public money is also partially funding does not detract from defending the religious beliefs that the children who graduate from those yeshivas share. It is simply a criticism of the leadership and the political governmental system that allows the education of these kids to be neglected. If public money is being used to fund these yeshivas, even a single dollar of public tax funds, then they should comply to certain state mandates. To do otherwise is an unfair requirement on all taxpayers; and that does not even address the future tax burdens that stem from inadequate education.

If Shafran’s comments are to be taken to their extreme, then perhaps this country should allow schools for white supremacists, schools for radical Muslims, schools for the Church of Latter Day Saints, Scientologists, and an endless list, all without any oversight guaranteeing that the children have some level of conformity to basic subjects when they graduate. According to Shafran, if applied equally to all faiths, any criticism of any non-conforming schools, whatever the religious belief, is contrary to a peaceful co-existence. That is absurd. Demanding certain standards be met is not indicting an entire religious belief system. Rather, it is holding an educational system to a conforming standard. The United States is based upon a system of equality and laws should be upheld equally. For the yeshiva system in New York, equality has gone out the window.  

  

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Agudath Israel, Rabbis and a Self-Inflicted anti-Semitism

Jewish Rabbis and Highly Damaging Comments 

Dear Readers:

We are reposting below the following Facebook post without the permission of the author, the Distinguished Fellow in Jewish Studies at Dartmouth College, Professor Shaul Magid.

This  will allow non-Facebook members to see his comments and follow the various links.

Your takaway should not be that Professor Magid endorses this site. He is likely  wholly unfamiliar with this site. His comments are profound.

We ask that you watch the accompanying 3 minute video which, for a litany of reasons, we find more than a little unpalatable. 

In our view the Rabbi’s “attacking Trump” are expressing a position that is entirely contrary to the basic architectural  tenets of Judaism and dangerous to all Jews everywhere. We note, as does Professor Magid, that the Rabbis do not speak about Israel but about “Eretz Ha-Kodesh” or “The Holy Land.”

They do not recognize the formal State of Israel. 

We could go on and on but Professor Shaul Magid is far more eloquent.

 

Please watch this three minute clip of Rav Elya Brudny of the Mirrer yeshiva at a recent Agudah convention on the “three Jews attacking Trump” and then read, if you’re interested, my remarks below. Thanks to Yossi Newfield.

This clip of Rav Elya Brudny of the Mirrer yeshiva, speaking about the impeachment hearings at a recent Agudat Yisrael convention is an illuminating and a fascinating document worthy of our consideration, in particular in regards to American Orthodoxy’s relationship to Trump but more significantly how many in the “Yeshiva Orthodox” world view their place, and the place of Jews more generally, in America. R. Brundy is not making a pro-Trump case here but decrying what he views as assimilated Jews (“they don’t even know what it is to be Jew”) leading the impeachment of a sitting president. R. Brundy views this as a breach in the precarious “covenant” between Jews and the “host” societies in which they live. That is, “we should be thankful they do not throw us out” and thus engaging in what he determines is the political morass of impeachment, endangers the Jews. He notes that the real place for the Jews is “eretz ha-kodesh” (curiously not saying “the state of Israel”) and thus we are guests here in America and should act like guests. Is this a kind of “sha-schtill” position? Should Jews just stay out of political controversy?

There are a number of things here worth noting. First, of course, given the present state of things, R. Brundy could live in Israel (which he views is where Jews should live) and chooses not to. Second, the notion of the Jews as “guests” contradicts, or at least, questions, the very nature of what America is for the Jew, the “Tri-Faith” society in which are, or should be, on equal footing with “Protestants and Catholics” (at least). The very notion of civil society in America is that we, and other minorities, are not “guests” but integral parts of the fabric of the society in which we live. His position is a difficult one to maintain in a democracy, more reminiscent of a monarchy and Czarist regime. Third, we do not know if R Brundy would have said similar things, or did say similar things, when Obama was being viciously attacked. What would he say, for example, about Stephen Miller, or other “unpopular” Jews in the Trump administration? In short, is this a political statement or not? Fourth, his denigration of those “Jews who don’t even know what Judaism is” (Schiff, Schumer, et al) seems like an old model of Orthodoxy’s animus toward “the left” that we can see at least as far back as the mid-19th century. How much is this also implicit in Orthodoxy’s Trumpism?

Finally, R. Brundy is a fairly well-known Rav in the Agudah world. He is a rosh yeshiva in the Mirrer yeshiva in Brooklyn. How common is this view? How much does this reflect contemporary Orthodoxy in its politics and its attitude toward those “Jews who don’t know what it means to be Jewish” which would include not only those referenced, but most or all non-Orthodox Jews in America (to say nothing of secular Israelis)?

Watch: Rav Elya Brudny: The 3 Jewish Dems Attacking President Trump Are Causing Anti-Semitism

https://matzav.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/VIDEO-2019-12-04-19-57-45.mp4?_=1

 

 

The Blueprint for Takeover – Jackson Township, Lakewood (NJ), Rockland County, NY – Dear Editor

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Dear Editor of Lost Messiah:

We are asking you to print the following letter along with the link to the documents substantiating our claim. This is the story as we understand it based upon the documents we found. 

https://img1.wsimg.com/blobby/go/ee9f70a2-44e7-40d3-8609-984bcd8638e0/downloads/jacksonlawsuits.pdf?ver=1572200522121

We don’t even know how to explain this secret that has surfaced…..and it looks right on track.

It’s 11 PAGES OF CHANGES FOR JACKSON land use rules.

Story has it there was a secret meeting between Ken Bressi and Agudath Israel of America back in November; and behind closed doors decisions for Jackson Township/Lakewood were made. As you can see from the document the new developments are being designed, the Kapparot Ordinance which would allow the ritual slaughter of fowl during the High Holy Holidays was presented along with the Eiruv Ordinance.  It is all in the documents.

I ask you thiss?

WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON WITH THE REST OF THE COUNCIL???

Are they to busy too working for Jackson because it seems it’s all Ken Bressi.

Please read the rest below presented from Rise Up Ocean County:

Dormitories, schools, mikvahs, synagogues, community centers, parking waivers, eruvim…all discussed in a closed door meeting between representatives of Agudath Israel of America, Jackson Township Attorney Jean Cipriani and Jackson Township Councilman and Planning Board member Ken Bressi. No one else. No other councilmen…just BRESSI! Why is this guy neck deep in all of this?

Anyhow, when civil litigation is filed there is a requirement for mediation and settlement discussions before an actual trial. There is no requirement that you bend over, grab your ankles and prepare for the worst and yet…last November, as part of that process, this meeting took place to establish common ground and areas that might become common ground. As a result, an eleven page notice of surrender, there is no other way to describe it, was drafted. You can read the entire document by clicking the link below.

In short, these terms of surrender, if approved, would make Lakewood look tame compared to Jackson. Special provisions for almost every orthodox Jewish demand and, you are starting to see some of these being put into place on Tuesday night. A township wide eruv and an ordinance that PROTECTS the ritualistic slaughter of chickens during Kaporos are just the first two steps of capitulation. In essence, your government has given up.

Remember when Mayor Reina said “the gloves are off” signaling that he was ready to fight? How about the announcement that Jackson Township had hired religious land use attorney Marci Hamilton to help guide the town through the lawsuits, fight for home rule and to provide counsel on future ordinances? Well the gloves are back on, Marci Hamilton has left the building and only one thing stands between Jackson staying a rural, blue collar and family friendly town and Lakewood 2.0. YOU!

So let’s all put on our big boy/girl pants because quite literally it is time to take the fight to town hall.

Thank you for publishing this letter.

Anonymous

VIDEO (log in through Facebook):

VIDEO (log in through Facebook):

 

 

 

The GOP in Rockland “Fearing Takeover” is Supporting a DA Candidate Allied with the Same “Feared” – Stirring Hate Soup…

A storm is brewing in Rockland County, N.Y., a campaign ad says.

As dramatic music pulses in the background, the Rockland County Republican Party’s video first targets what the party considers overdevelopment in the county of about 329,000 people.

Then it takes a turn. County Legislator Aron Wieder, an Orthodox Jew who supports new housing developments, is “plotting a takeover” that threatens “our way of life,” the advertisement proclaims. After the video asks what’s at stake, the words “Our Families” are overlaid on a photo of a white, non-Orthodox couple and their children posing on a front lawn.

……..

Development, and how much of it is too much, recently has been a flash point in Rockland County. A town board meeting in Ramapo this month featured nearly two dozen speakers complaining that 220 planned housing units favored ultra-Orthodox Jews at the expense of secular residents, the Rockland/Westchester Journal News reported.

In March, Rockland County banned unvaccinated children from public spaces amid New York’s largest measles outbreak in decades. Day said during a news conference at the time that authorities would not search for unvaccinated children, but parents who were found to be in violation could be charged with a misdemeanor. The action came at a time when health authorities were raising concerns about decreased vaccination rates and measles outbreaks in communities including ultra-Orthodox Jews. An outbreak in Rockland “has mainly affected the Orthodox Jewish community in Spring Valley and Monsey,” the lohud.com news website reported.

To read the article in its entirety click here.