Velvel Butman, Shmuel Butman – Father Protecting Son? Defrocked and Deadbeat


Jewish leader’s son is a ‘deadbeat dad’ who refuses to pay child support

Originally Published in the NYPost April 2, 2010

The son of the head of the city’s powerful Chabad Jewish organization is an unemployed deadbeat dad who refuses to give his wife a divorce or pay child support, court papers reveal.

Velvel Butman — whose father, Shmuel Butman, lights the giant menorah in Manhattan’s Grand Army Plaza, Times Square each year during Hanukkah — has been battling the court, and his own community, since he first refused to give his long-suffering wife a divorce five years ago, documents and sources say.

Velvel, a 49-year-old dad of eight, once worked for his father as an emissary of the Hasidic movement in Westchester County.

But Velvel was booted as a rabbi after a rabbinic court of Chabad Lubavitch ordered him to give his wife a Jewish divorce, called a get, and he refused.

“He strongly believes that a rabbi’s not supposed to get divorced. Yet he’s no longer technically a rabbi because he’s been defrocked,” said a rabbi who feared reprisal if his name were published.

A Brooklyn judge last week held Velvel in contempt for failing since 2013 to pay child support for his children. Six of them still live with his estranged wife, Rachel, who treks from their home in Crown Heights to her job at a day-care facility in Westchester to pay the bills.

Velvel has been on the hook for $2,000 a month in child support for the past four years but has paid only the first two months, court documents show.

Yet instead of working, he has been gallivanting to Israel and Uzbekistan, allegedly telling the court at one point, “I would have needed to get permission from a rabbinic panel if someone of my stature should be seen [working] in a Starbucks.’’

His father, Shmuel Butman, 73, heads New York’s Chabad Lubavitch.

The judge said Velvel has 60 days to pay $78,400 or he’ll be thrown in jail.

His wife is so desperate to be free of him that she even offered to forgive the child-support debt if he would just sign the divorce papers, sources said.

“[Velvel] has publicly stated that he would rather sit in jail than give his wife the money, and would rather sit in jail than give his wife the get,’’ a rabbinical source said.

Velvel lives with his 73-year-old dad.

“[Shmuel] is supporting his son financially, while his son claims that, given his father’s status, it is below his dignity to work here or there,” the source said.

But Rabbi Butman insisted on Sunday that his son has done no wrong.

“I’m his father, and he’s going to pay,” Shmuel Butman said, though he declined to say whether he would be footing the bill.

Velvel did not return a message. His lawyer declined comment.

Rachel Butman’s lawyer, Joel Yacoob, also declined to comment.

For More Information from the NYPost click here.

Yosef Yitzchak Feldman – Litigious – Seeking Profit from the Unspeakable Sins of a Community

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02 Mar 2:00 pm 2016/00040453 Yosef Yitzchak Feldman v Jeremy Spinak Civil Supreme Court Mediation
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02 Mar 2:00 pm 2016/00040435 Yosef Yitzchak Feldman v Executive Council of Australian Jewry Inc Civil Supreme Court Mediation
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02 Mar 2:00 pm 2016/00040450 Yosef Yitzchak Feldman v Council of Orthodox Synagogues of Australia Ltd ABN 35 140 866 655 Civil Supreme Court Mediation
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Did the Rebbe Hand Out Compassion for the sexually abused children His own Community Betrayed? PLEASE DO NOT CONTRIBUTE!!!










LM – 10/11/15

By the Grace of G-d

Erev Yom Kippur, 5777 • October 11, 2016

Dear Friend,

A few hours before the onset of Yom Kippur each year, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory, would enter the synagogue for prayer, holding a bag of coins. The tables were covered with scores, perhaps hundreds, of charity plates, representing an array of causes, from food for the poor and assistance for needy brides, to schools and mitzvah campaigns and more.

Despite his impossibly tight schedule, the Rebbe would deliberately and carefully place coins into every plate, taking great care not to skip a single one. Each represented a community or an individual who needed help, materially or spiritually.

In his urgent desire to help each individual, the Rebbe did not consider even one of them to be insignificant.

•   •   •

Emulating this extraordinary example, when we dig deep into our own resources to fill the plates of others, we encourage G-d to throw open His bank account of abundant blessings to each of us, to be judged with mercy and compassion for a truly happy, healthy and sweet year. And G-d, we know, has plenty to give.

•   •   •

At, where millions regularly turn to fill their plates with spiritual inspiration, Torah learning, or practical tools to enrich their Jewish experience, we try to do our part.

Year-round our rabbis, editors, programmers and designers work with extraordinary urgency and devotion, motivated by the constant awareness that at the other end of the screen is an individual — millions of individuals! — who seek a lifeline.

Our team is able to fill those needs only thanks to wonderful, caring people like you who, recognizing the importance of this mission, happily partner with us to provide the necessary funding.

As Yom Kippur quickly nears, please consider:

Can you please partner with us to fill the plates of the Jewish People?

Remember: For many who turn to us every day, we — you! — are their only Jewish lifeline.

Would you please open your heart real wide and partner with us to help them?

•   •   •

To donate, please click here.

(You can contribute via Credit Card, PayPal, E-Check (ACH) or Bank Wire / Transfer. Checks can be mailed to:
Chabad.ORG High Holiday Appeal • 770 Eastern Parkway Suite 405 • Brooklyn, NY 11213)

•   •   •

May your charitable partnership stand you in good stead as G-d opens His bank account wide, to bestow all of the deepest of His blessings upon you, your family and the entire world, to be inscribed and sealed for a Good and Sweet New Year!


The Team

P.S. – For all of your final Yom Kippur informational needs, please visit our Yom Kippur site. For one of the many inspiring talks by the Rebbe listed there, click here.

P.P.S. – If you have already partnered with us during this campaign, we apologize for the repeated emails. We are trying our hardest to avoid duplication and we are most grateful to you for your support!

Also, if you are unable or unwilling to contribute, please note that this request is not a requirement but simply an appeal to those who are able to help. You are always welcome to enjoy our website and subscriptions, regardless of whether you make a contribution.

Finally, these books make great ones: My Rebbe (Even Israel-Steinsaltz), and the New York Times bestselling Rebbe: The Life and Teachings of Menachem M. Schneerson, the Most Influential Rabbi in Modern History (Telushkin) (updated paperback edition).


Rabbi Leibel Groner – Perhaps You Can Address the Topic of Child Sexual Abuse?



Dear Rabbi Leibel Groner:

Will you, the keynote speaker, oblige us by telling us why the Rebbe never mentioned the topic of Child Sexual Abuse?

It is the stuff of legend that the Rebbe answered all manner of questions put to him, be they asked when followers went for $’s or when they wrote to him.

Thousands of questions were asked of the Rebbe on a monthly basis, possibly even weekly and who knows, possibly even more frequently.

The Rebbe was revered for his ruach hakodesh (divine inspiration) and his care and love for all Jews be they observant or not yet observant.

Stories aplenty tell of such times when the Rebbe knew through his ruach hakodesh that a Jew who was alone in a far flung place was about to fry out, perhaps even convert.

The Rebbe would send an emissary to save the hapless Jew just in time.

The child sexual abuse that occurred on the Rebbe’s watch, not just in Melbourne Australia but worldwide and very often in the Rebbe’s own institutions cannot be sidestepped and ignored.

Did the Rebbe have ruach hakodesh or did he not?

If he did not, so be it.

If he did, why did he do and say nothing?

Realistically how could the Rebbe not have known about the DESPICABLE GOINGS ON given that he was the recipient of the thousands of requests from his followers on an almost daily basis for decades?

It just does not pass the smell test.

So Rabbi Leibel Groner,will you please explain?




“The greatest guaranteed assurance for all Jewish parents in need of special help and Deliverance for their children is through their support of those who study Torah.” – The Lubavitcher Rebbe.

Dear ………………..,

Kollel Menachem invites you to Partners in Torah – A Tribute to the Lubavitcher Rebbe and a fundraiser for our Kollel,
ו׳ שבט תשע״ז    
Tuesday 2nd February, 2017
at The International of Brighton,  81 Bay Street, Brighton.
The evening will commence at
7:30pm and supper will be served.

We look forward to welcoming Rabbi Leibel Groner, Personal Secretary of the Lubavitcher Rebbe for over forty years, as our distinguished keynote speaker.

Rabbi Groner will share with us first hand stories and insights of the Rebbe, including the Rebbe’s special relationship with Melbourne.

Please join us in support of Kollel Menachem and participate in the dissemination of Torah throughout the community by booking your seats and sponsorship today.
Tickets are $50 person and seating is separate with a Mechitzah.   Sponsorship of Torah Learning is available in support of a specific day, week, or month of your choice and all sponsors will be acknowledged during the sponsorship period.  It’s a wonderful way to commemorate a Yahrzeit or celebrate a birthday or other special occasion and foster Torah study. Sponsorship is tax deductible. To book your tickets and sponsorships, please visit

ותומכי’ מאושר
“And those who support it are fortunate.”

For any questions, please call 9522 8221 or email

Wishing you a Gmar Chasima Tova!

Kollel Menachem Lubavitch



Orthodox “Philanthropy” and Torah Usemorah – a Platinum Investment

Platinum, Torah Usemorah, Huberfeld and the above, Inextricably Linked.


The following article was published by Josh Nathan-Kazis on September 14, 2016. It has, for the most part, received very little press coverage. In fact, we have not seen much said AT ALL about the questions that article raises but we have our theories:

  1. Why would a not-for-profit National Society for Hebrew Day Schools loan money to a failing hedge fund – let alone $2.3M (Our theory: so that Platinum could have access to easy cash while on the other side, Huberfeld was donating money to Platinum and declaring a tax deduction)
  2. Why did Torah Usemorah stop making its tax documents public? (See our theory in number 1)
  3. How does the Simon Wiesenthal Center fit in? (Our theory: Simon Wiesenthal is going to turn out to be collateral damage. Huberfeld was a substantial financial donor of both Wiesenthal and Torah Usemorah and that provided him the cover of respectability. His Platinum funds needed to “lose money” to avoid paying out investors – [see Cayman Islands.] By accepting a loan from Torah Usemorah of money that Huberfeld had actually provided to the charity, Platinum could claim greater losses, avoiding repaying investors. It’s plausible deniability in the fraudulent conveyance context and Huberfeld remains the unsullied “Philanthropist.”)
  4. If Usemorah is donor funded and Huberfeld is one of the donors, is he not lending money to himself? (See numbers 1 and 3 above).
  5. What is the relationship between Torah Usemorah and Platinum Funds? (Our theory: they are incestuous entities with the same donors as they have principals. The money circulates between the same pool of people, one side taking deductions for charitable giving or lending the other taking tax losses, all the while both are stealing from investors or donors and then the companies are declaring themselves insolvent.)
  6. Was Platinum donating the money right back to Usemorah? (Our theory: Yes. Follow the money, we believe, and you get to the same small group of well connected, high finance self-interested “philanthropists” – with Huberfeld at the helm).


Why Did a Jewish Schools Charity Loan $2.3M to Failing Hedge Fund?

A Jewish education charity made a $2.3 million loan to a failing hedge fund this May, two months before the hedge fund’s collapse.

Torah Umesorah, also known as the National Society for Hebrew Day Schools, handed the money to a fund controlled by Platinum Partners at a time when the fund had access to just $63,000 cash.

Both of Platinum’s main funds are now being liquidated. It seems unlikely that the donor-supported not-for-profit will recover its loan any time soon, if ever.

Torah Umesorah’s national director, Rabbi David Nojowitz, did not respond to a request for comment.

The loan was first reported Monday by the New York Post. It was described in documents filed in Cayman Islands court in late August.

Torah Umesorah is a Brooklyn-based not-for-profit that provides programing, training, and other services to hundreds of Orthodox yeshivas. Founded in 1944, it had an annual budget of $39 million in 2008, the last year for which it made its tax documents public.

Its relationship to Platinum is unclear. Platinum has managed money for some charities, though there’s no indication that Torah Umesorah itself was one of those investors.

Torah Umesorah’s May 27 loan to Platinum came more than a month after an April 14 Wall Street Journal report tying the hedge fund to a federal investigation involving Jona Rechnitz, an Orthodox businessman embroiled in a police corruption scandal, and Norman Seabrook, boss of the corrections officers union.

The Wall Street Journal story turned out to be prescient. Just weeks after Platinum accepted the charity’s loan, a close associate of the firm, Murray Huberfeld, was arrested and charged with bribing Seabrook to invest union pension funds with Platinum. Rechnitz reportedly cooperated with prosecutors in the case. Huberfeld has pleaded not guilty.

Huberfeld is a leading Orthodox philanthropist, a major donor to Chabad-Lubavitch synagogues and to yeshivas in Brooklyn’s Boro Park, and, until his arrest, a member of the board of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a California-based group that opposes anti-Semitism. His foundation has sponsored a named program at the rabbinical school at Yeshiva University.

Huberfeld was convicted of fraud in 1993 for having someone else take a broker license exam in his name. An earlier company he founded, Broad Capital, specialized in selling penny stocks to Jewish charities.

Platinum announced in July that it would close its two main funds. It faces reported investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice. Federal agents raided the firm’s offices in June.

In filings in Cayman Islands court, the Platinum Partners fund to which Torah Umesorah made its loan admitted that it “is unable to pay its debts.” A Cayman Islands judge appointed liquidation specialists to work with a New York liquidator hired by the firm to sell off its assets.

To read the article in its original format click, here.

Shimon Cowan – Western Civilization, No Homosexuality, Bigotry and A Letter



Dear LM:

I have a couple of suggestions for you about the Shimon Cowan article (“Rabbi urged to face facts about sexuality”.) The suggestions are relevant if you have the ability to amend past posts. If not, just ignore them.

  • You have posted the AJN article about the reaction to Cowan’s book as a .jpg image. I have observed that it is too small to read properly at its original size and, if you enlarge it, the resolution is too poor to read it enlarged. Why don’t you upload the pdf copy of the article (which has a much better resolution) to your site and turn the jpg image into a clickable link that can be used to download the pdf or open it in another browser tab. To facilitate that, I am attaching the pdf for you.
  • Please see my comments below:

The rabbi who is the subject of the attached article from this week’s Jewish News is Shimon Cowan (son of the late former Governor General, Sir Zelman Cowan.) His extremist attitudes are the hallmark of the religious zealotry that often characterises the ‘born-again’ who either adopt religion or change their religious allegiance to (ultra-)Orthodoxy in middle adulthood.

This was the case with Shimon Cowan, and it so happened that I, unwittingly, played a tiny role in that transition of his. It was back in the distant days when I was still (at least to some degree) part of the Yeshivah community. I was in the Yeshivah shule on the evening of Tisha B’Av, and the reader, the late Reb Isser Kluwgant, noticed that I was the only one there in possession of a book of Kinnot with an English translation. (It contained the Book of Lamentations and other elegies comprising the special evening service that ushers in that fast.) He pointed to a stranger about my age and asked me to sit with him so he could follow the English translation of the service from my book. If I ever get the opportunity to remind (the now Rabbi) Cowan of that evening, I will tell him that I regret having played any part, however minor, in that transition of his, for it turned him into an intolerant bigot.

This is not a sudden conclusion that I came to from reading the attached article; I came to it gradually many years ago, and it was subsequently reinforced a little over a decade ago when I made the acquaintance of a former victim of his bigotry. She was then a Melbournite, but is now living in Israel. She goes by the Hebrew name Devorah, but that is not her birth name, for she was born anatomically male. I gradually became acquainted with her story. For years she struggled with her identity and against the body she felt imprisoned in, knowing even in early childhood that she felt female, but not knowing of the medical solutions to her very severe quandary until after attaining adulthood, when she surgically transitioned. For many years afterwards, she struggled to maintain her former allegiance to Orthodox religious belief and practices in the face of rejection by some, or at best, a cold, distant, awkward tolerance by others. But none approached the hostility with which she was treated by Shimon Cowan.

The late Rabbi Yitzchok Groner, to his credit, had issued a halachic ruling that she be accommodated in the women’s section of Chabad House services, and not be shunned or driven away. Despite this ruling, Rabbi Cowan summoned her to his house – a summons she dutifully obeyed, albeit with some trepidation, and he unceremoniously and most uncharitably challenged her motivation, bluntly asking, “why are trying to infiltrate the frum community?” To which she tearfully responded, “I’m not trying to infiltrate, I’m just trying to remain frum (observant).” By the time I met Devorah, a little over a decade ago, this was all past history for her. But I happen to know, because we remained in touch over the intervening years, that she kept trying to maintain that allegiance until only a few years ago, when the repeated rejections she encountered finally defeated her. She still identifies with Judaism, but not with Orthodoxy.

So, at long last, Shimon Cowan has had his victory. I hope to acquaint him of this fact some day and to also give him a piece of my mind about it, just as honestly as he has revealed his true mind in his new book, “Homosexuality, Marriage and Society,” which has engendered the responses reported in the attached article. If only Chabad had shown him the same kind of “welcome,” all those years ago when he was dipping his toe into Chabad-style Orthodoxy, the rejection might have changed his mind and some of those who were the subsequent victims of his acquired bigotry and intolerance might have been spared many tears.



Shimon Cowan – Another Chabad Intellectual – “Conversion Therapy”? A Lobotomy Perhaps?

Rabbi Shimon Cowan and the “Facts About Sexuality”…

The rabbi who is the subject of the attached article from this week’s Jewish News is Shimon Cowan (son of the late former Governor General, Sir Zelman Cowan.) His extremist attitudes are the hallmark of the religious zealotry that often characterises the ‘born-again’ who either adopt religion or change their religious allegiance to (ultra-)Orthodoxy in middle adulthood.