Lost Messiah must credit Richard Silverstein and Tikun Olam for the historical perspective and eloquent insights. Please view the site. Silverstein is beautifully eloquent and the pure definition of a journalist, whether or not you agree with his perspectives. We’ve had eight years to consider his comments and we have apparently done a grossly inadequate job of learning from history.
On December, 8, 2008 Richard Silverstein the author and editor of Tikun Olam posted an article regarding a Long Island Orthodox Jewish Columnist who advocated for the killing of Muslims. On December 18, 2008 he published a follow-up article.
Today, following a massacre in Orlando, we posted a video wherein a Chabad member advocated for the killing of members of the LGBT community, on the generally same anti-Biblical grounds.
Previously, we had posted several posts about radical Jewish fundamentalism, including a post with videos of Rabbis preaching the killing of Muslims using basically the same agruments the Islamic Fundamentalists use for killing Jews. This is a subject particularly relevant whether you accept that the Orlando shooter committed this act of atrocity because he was a Muslim terrorist or because he was mentally unstable and hated the LGBT community. Either way, what happened in Orlando was a hate crime of epic proportions.
As a Jewish community or as members of a blogosphere which criticizes and scrutinizes the ills of the Jewish community, Lost Messiah believes that these articles have relevance in the picture they paint of extremism and its cross-religious scope. While the articles posted below are historical they are nonetheless very much a part of today’s religious extremist parlance.
It has been nearly 8 years since Silverstein posted the below two articles but the same articles could have just as easily been posted today. They reflect in vivid color current events if not equal than magnified.
We would be remiss were we not to ask the question: are we in a state of increasing fundamentalism and extremism within ultra-Orthodox Judaism or are these isolated incidents. Is this a sign of the diminishing state of Judaism? We find it unsettling.
You take a stab at judging for yourself.
Once again let me say I find astonishing the near total silence of the organized Jewish community and media to Lawrence Kulak’s diatribe against Islam published in the Long Island Orthodox paper, Five Towns Jewish Times. In his guest column, he claimed that if Islamists kill innocent non-Muslims that Muslim innocents should similarly be targeted for murder. Essentially, an invitation to anti-Muslim mass murder:
“The only way to deal with Islamic terrorists is the same way in which they deal with their victims. Muslims believe in the literal interpretation of the Biblical doctrine of an eye for an eye…They killed our innocents, and unless we kill theirs, they will go on killing ours. The Torah, however, preaches a doctrine which…would finally put an end to all Islamic terror: if somebody is coming to kill you, rise up and kill him first.”
The fact that Kulak was diagnosed in 1991 with a bipolar disorder and hospitalized at a mental health facility never appears to have factored into the publisher’s editorial decision about publishing the piece. Not only has the 20,000-circulation paper’s editor not distanced himself from the column (though he HAS strangely removed it from the website), he has gone on the counter-attack against the Muslim organization which first brought the world’s attention to Kulak’s hate speech, CAIR.
The Muslim defense organization has a lot of nerve pointing out the deficiencies of the Jewish paper’s editorial when CAIR won’t denounce every single terrorist act ever committed by a Muslim against anyone. It doesn’t matter than CAIR HAS in fact denounced Muslim terror. They haven’t denounced the particular Muslim terrorists who most exercise Gordon, Hamas and Islamic Jihad. So instead of taking responsibility for the hash he’s made of things, Gordon decides to blame the Muslim victim for his attack.
In my own post about this I wrote that Kulak’s piece was a meandering anti-Muslim rant. If possible, Larry Gordon, the paper’s editor, wrote an even more lugubrious, non-responsive reply. The most relevant passage is this one:
The editorial staff of the Five Towns Jewish Times decries the notion of any support of terrorism, and we fully support the United States government’s War on Terrorism. As an Orthodox Jewish weekly, the 5TJT also rejects the demonization of Muslims, both in this country and abroad. If any such implication of supporting the terrorization or murder of innocent Muslims who do not support terrorists or terrorist activities was made by an article in the 5TJT, it was due simply to a poor choice of words—a slip of the author’s pen, if you will. Read in its entirety, the article is clearly conveying the message that members of a community that supports terrorists and allows them to remain in its midst should not expect to escape retaliation.
For the editor, the fact that Kulak clearly advocating killing Muslim “innocents” is a mere “poor choice of words–a slip of the author’s pen.” Somehow Gordon transmutes Kulak’s phrasing into a hardly less offensive locution that Muslim members of communities supporting terror deserve retaliation. Kulak advocated western nations and Israel invading Pakistan to exterminate Muslim militants. Gordon’s articulation would also justify such egregious violation of international law. So what has his warped apologia gained? Not much.
To make matters worse, the paper has published a defense Kulak wrote of his column in which he included this memorable contradiction of the passage I quoted above:
I never advocated the wanton killing of innocent Muslims…
Has he forgotten this passage? “They killed our innocents, and unless we kill theirs, they will go on killing ours.” I thought killing innocents was automatically “wanton” killing. Or has somehow Islamist terror caused the killing of Muslim civilians to become acceptable?
The ADL, the ony Jewish group to respond in any way to this Jewish publishing outrage, published a generic objection that wasn’t even attributed to a staff person:
We were shocked by Lawrence Kulak’s suggestion that Jews should kill innocent Muslim civilians to counter Islamic terrorism.
Regardless of one’s views on terrorism, to even entertain the notion of responding in kind is morally reprehensible and appalling. It is unfair to hold innocent Muslims responsible for the radical views of an extreme minority.
In the Jewish tradition, words have consequences. In this case, Kulak’s words crossed the line.
“Crossed the line.” That’s as bothered as the organized Jewish community seems to be by Kulak’s Islamophobic hate.
I’m pleased to note as distinguished a theologian as University of Chicago professor Martin Marty has denounced the Five Towns diatribe in Sightings his weekly newsletter:
Kulak is unsentimental in his “kill them all” approach…The problem of making a principle of this…is that the…counter-belligerents who read this…editorial–and read them they do–find occasion to raise the price, engage in more indiscriminate violence, and that, in turn…impels us to raise it still higher and engage in ever more violence…We all know that in all wars, including those we call “just” or “good,” there are “collateral damages” and deaths of innocents. However, making a principle out of doing so, and especially doing so on religious grounds, only invites more violence. Then there are no eyes to trade for eyes, teeth to exact for teeth, while hatred and violence triumph.
If Martin Marty finds this important enough to write about why can’t Jewish organizations? Why can’t Abe Foxman actually sign his name to the ADL denunciation of this malarkey? Why can’t we Jews tell the world in no uncertain terms that the Kulaks and any Jewish paper that publishes him do not represent us in any way shape and form?
I note that Reb Kulak discovered my denunciation of his work and published his own diatribe here:
I would love to personally drive you and Marty into Gaza and then return several hours later to watch the vultures pick at the remains. (and later watch the vultures drop dead from ingesting poison)
That’s slightly less murderous than advocating mass killing of Muslim innocents, but not much. Thanks to RM for the links and some background research for this post.
Did “thou shalt not steal” contain an exemption regarding Israeli flags?
It is unclear to us whether the persons in this video are two men and their kids or all kids or one man, a few younger children and an older child. When we initially posted this video we believed this to be filmed on Shabbat with one older man, one younger man and some children, making the entire situation feel like these children were being taught to steal, and perhaps on Shabbat.
Many of our readers believe that all of the people in the video are actually children, older and younger, in which case, the video is one of children up to no good. So we decided that the better part of valor was to revisit the post and revise.
All children, whether Jewish or non-Jewish, black, white, yellow green, orange, Asian, Muslim (you get the gist) engage in some form of mischief at one point or another. To some, it is what it means to be a child. And precocious children can be sweet, also regardless of race, color, religion, ethnic background.
What is disturbing here is the lack of respect for a flag, one that to many represents what it is to have a homeland, a Jewish homeland. What is unsettling here is that the children discuss and contemplate the theft of the flag, for which they appear to have little, if not any, respect.
Children who love something are less likely to disrespect it. And, if you are taught something at home, one would like to think it carries into our behaviors outside the home, though not always.
When we believed our initial assessments were correct, we were left wondering what lessons these children were being taught. Were they being taught to steal?
If we conclude that these are all just children, with slightly less admonishment, we still must ask ourselves what these children are taught at home. Are they taught that the Israeli Flag is not to be respected? Are they taught that it was okay to steal it? Did their parents later ask them to return the flag with an apology? Finally, is this the quintessential definition of piety?
And then we wonder why people are anti-Semites…
We have written before on the comparison between the cultist fundamentalist Haredim to their cousins, the extremist Muslims, with the exception being that the Jewish counterpart tend not to like to explode things, setting a man on fire notwithstanding. We have commented on the hypocrisy of the Haredim who live in Israel and live off of the work of other Jews (and others) without compunction. We have admonished the Haredi fundamentalists who live in a small state with enemies at every possible corner, just waiting to destroy them, and yet refuse to serve in an army that protects them. The following, an opinion piece in The Guardian is written by Giles Fraiser who attempts to explain what to him appears an antithesis in that Haredim are themselves Jews and believe themselves to be the truest form of Judaism. We tend to disagree. We do not view the anti-Zionist Haredim as Jews but rather as a cult who have bastardized Judaism rather than purified it.
In our view, the anti-Zionist Haredim living in Israel are the greatest danger to the State of Israel and to Judaism as a whole. They set a world stage for the destruction of the State of Israel – for if our own people do not believe in its existence, why should the rest of the world? We believe that fundamentalist anti-Zionist Haredim provide a strong argument for fundamentalist Muslims to justify the wholesale acts of terrorism, not only in Israel but in countries like Belguim, France and England, killing Jews and non-Jews alike. For the rest of us are Heretics, whether Jews or Arabs, or anything else for that matter, why not slaughter us? Finally, in our view they provide a solid argument for any anti-Semitic hatred – if we can’t love and respect one another than are we better than the worst of mankind?
As we see it, the anti-Israel Haredim have no business living in a country they would not defend. The rest of our children go off into the army and defend Israel’s borders at the risk of peril. Why should our secular and non-fundamentalist observant children be defending the children of those who are wholly unwilling to do the same? The ultra-Orthodox fundamentalist Haredim should be reminded that were Israel’s borders to be breached by those wanting to toss every Israeli into the sea, their children would drown too.
We leave this discussion for you to ponder. A portion of The Guardian piece to follow.
“Haredi theology began as a reaction to the 18th century Jewish enlightenment, the Haskalah, a movement that aimed at the modernisation of Jewish culture in Europe. Whereas the Haskalah wanted to end Jewish segregation and encourage greater engagement with modern ideas and secular society, traditionalists saw this as a threat to Jewish religious identity. Thus the Haredim stuck resolutely to their traditional clothes and ways. They would chat in Yiddish and only pray in Hebrew, too holy a language for social intercourse. And when the secular movement of modern Zionism started to take shape, they opposed this too: only God could bring about the new Israel, they argued. Trying to pre-empt God’s action through secular nationalism was a heresy. Judaism is fundamentally a religious community, they argued, and modern notions of race and nationhood are alien to it. Thus, for many Haredim, the state of Israel remains almost sacrilegious.
It’s not so long ago that even the chief rabbis of the UK thought something similar. In 1898, Mirvis’s predecessor, Chief Rabbi Naftali Hermann Adler, gave a sermon in which he condemned modern Zionism as usurping God’s role: “I look at this movement and worry with my heart, since I see it as opposed to the Torah of Hashem.” (Hashem meaning “the name” – that is, God’s name.) Compared with what others were saying, this is mild stuff indeed.
Yes, after a long and heated debate, mainstream orthodox Judaism was won round to the modern version of Zionism and now celebrates it enthusiastically. But the idea that those who oppose it are being “deeply insulting to the Jewish community” does rather depend on which Jewish community you mean. Chief Rabbi Adler’s successors might have changed their mind, but many deeply traditional Jewish communities have not. And these communities are growing. Currently the Haredim make up roughly 10% of the Israeli population. Given the current birth rate of about six children per Haredi mother, some predict they will make up 25% of the population within a few decades. And a significant proportion of these are somewhere on a scale from indifferent to downright hostile to the state of Israel, and refuse to serve in its army. Last year a uniformed IDF officer was pelted with stones, eggs and nappies in Mea Shearim.
Often dismissed as “extremists”, these Jews don’t fit with the neat secular narrative into which the Israeli government continues to woo them through education and army membership. But by refusing assimilation, the Haredim deliberately eschew the racy hi-tech Israel of those jogging on the Tel Aviv seafront. Personally, I admire their stubborn resistance to secular homogenised modernity and omnipresent capitalism, its companion. Furthermore, whatever else one may say about the Haredim, their anti-Zionism isn’t antisemitism. They stick to older, pre-Enlightenment promises about Zion. And why shouldn’t they?”
For the entire article click here.
April 21, 2016
In what should come as no surprise, (at least) one of the investors in Shalom Lamm’s Chestnut Ridge in Bloomingburg (a development that undoubtedly violates the Fair Housing Act, among other laws and statutes) has a documented history of discriminatory practices.
Jacob “Yaty” Weinreb, principal of Weinreb Management, discriminated against a same-sex couple who were tenants in one of his rent-stabilized Manhattan properties. The Daily News reported on the couples’ lawsuit against Weinreb:
An Upper West Side lesbian couple is suing their landlord for refusing to put both of their names on their lease in what is believed to be the first case of its kind since New York legalized gay marriage in 2011.
Dava Weinstein, 68, and Dorothy Calvini, 64, say their landlord, Jacob Weinreb, is violating their rights by refusing to recognize Calvini as a co-tenant in their West 86th Street rent stabilized apartment.
The couple were married in Iowa in March 2011 to commemorate 35 years of partnership. Three months later, gay marriages were legalized in New York.
The contend their landlord violated their rights by refusing to put Calvini on the lease because New York law recognizes gay marriages in other states and requires gay couples to be given the same rights as heterosexual couples.
Weinstein and Calvini have been living in the same apartment since 1977 with only Weinstein’s name on the lease.
Their troubles started last December when Weinstein had to sign a new lease and added Calvini’s name as a co-tenant. Weinreb rejected it, explaining later that New York State law does not recognize Calvini as a tenant.
When he refused for months to budge on the issue, Weinstein signed a new lease without Calvini on it, but then the two women filed suit with the help of the gay rights group, LAMBDA.
LAMBDA attorney Susan Sommer said Weinreb “refused to budge” even after getting a letter from her explaining that New York recognizes gay marriages in other states and the women had to be treated like any other couple.
“They stuck to their guns. It amounts to rank discrimination,” she said Thursday morning.
Sommer said this was the second case that LAMBDA has handled in the last year where a gay couple had trouble getting both spouses’ names on a lease, but in the first instance, the landlord backed down before the matter got to court.
“We suspect this could be the tip of the iceberg,” she said.
Sommer said other married same sex couples might not know their rights to put their spouses on their leases as co-tenants or they could be “reluctant to rock the boat” with their landlord for fear of losing their rent regulated apartment.
She said it is far better to have both spouses on the lease than to have to prove, after one spouse dies, that the surviving spouse has a right to stay in the apartment.
Neither Weinstein, a clinical licensed social worker, nor Clavini, a geriatric nurse, were available to comment.
A manager in Weinreb’s office said his firm has no comment at this time.
A month after the suit was filed, Weinreb settled out of court, adding Calvini’s name to the lease and paying the couple $20,000.
“While one bloc-vote puppet, Ramapo Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence, sat in a holding cell awaiting arraignment, Hasidic ‘mouthpiece’, Yossi Gestetner, was hard at work trying to reel in a bigger fish.
We’re thrilled that Mr. Trump took the time to be brought up to speed about Rockland’s issues by a person who compared Rockland residents with Nazis.
Given that NY’s Republican Primary is four days away, please give us your new and enlightened thoughts on Rockland’s crisis, Mr. Trump. After all, NY is a critical state in your Presidential future.
Please also enlighten us about the following …..
Donald Trump met in Trump Tower today with the individual who made the video ‘The Jew In Rockland’ which compared Rockland with pre-war Nazi Germany.
Yossi Gestetner, the producer of that particularly disgusting piece of video trash said Trump is an “amusement thing”.
Gestetner, a “Hasidic political consultant”, pointed out that “Trump has a long history of being friendly to people in the Jewish community.”
Trump has not actively sought the support of the ultra-Orthodox, but he has not turned it away.
Still, many Hasidim and those who closely track the political climate of the community pointed out that the discussion around the election among the ultra-Orthodox may not actually translate into votes.
Gestetner agrees there is a genuine buzz of interest about Trump’s candidacy within his community but he is skeptical whether Hasidim will actually turnout for Trump in the New York primary, which is not until April 19.
He also says many Hasidim he knows support Cruz.
Trump’s popularity in the Hasidic community right now, says Gestetner, “is conversational, it’s an amusement thing.” And just like everywhere else in the country, a large part of the conversation right now is about Trump.
“Politics is the sport of Hasidim,” said Gestetner. “And those who follow politics as closely as fanatic sports fans, see [Trump] as the winning team.”
As the papers (and LM) have already reported, Mayor de Blasio claimed that he did not receive anything from Jona Rechnitz and Jeremy Reichberg, two of three subjects of an FBI/DOJ probe, after 2012, or was it 2013? Rechnitz and Reichberg, Hizzoner claims, had not contributed to his campaign (really?).
Well then, how does Mayor de Blasio account for dinner at the home of Jeremy Reichberg on Wednesday, May 21, 2014? Mayor de Blasio, sir, the two statements do not seem to even jive with one another – well, unless you are an ultra-Orthodox Hasidic man who bends the interpretations of the world to his advantage and that of his community.
Hmmm…. [thinking out loud] It was not a Shabbat Dinner. There’s no indication of who else was in attendance , seemingly unique from nearly every other scheduled event.
According to your schedule you broke bread with Reichberg at his home…”HaMotzi Lechem Min Ha’aretz”….
Was the wine mevushal or lo mevushal?
[Note to our readers: “Mevushal wine is frequently used in kosher restaurants and by kosher caterers so as to allow the wine to be handled by non-Jewish and/or non-observant waiters. The process of fully boiling a wine kills off most of the fine mold, or “must”, on the grapes, and greatly alters the tannins and flavors of the wine”]