Scrutinizing Religious Leaders of Any Religion is Necessary When their Flouting Authority Leads to Death – Covid-19

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish youths look at Israeli police as they patrol to enforce restrictions of a partial lockdown against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in the Mea Shearim neighborhood of Jerusalem, March 30, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Ronen Zvulun.

Orthodox Leaders Flouted State Authority for Years — Coronavirus Spread Was the Result

By now, there is near universal agreement that the initial response from many ultra-Orthodox leaders to the spread of coronavirus was an embarrassing and deadly failure.

While some wanted to chalk up early non-compliance with the social distancing guidelines among the ultra-Orthodox to just a handful of crazies — or claim that the leadership has done everything in their power to stop it — more recent incidents of non-compliance leave no doubt that the problem is real and systemic.

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A Yeshiva That Stays Open Amid Covid 19 Risks the Lives of Everyone – akin to Bio-Terrorism (Israel)

SHOWDOWN: Despite Police Visit to Harav Chaim Kanievsky, the Rav Says That Yeshivas & Chadarim Cannot Be Closed

Following Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s announcement on Motzei Shabbos of the partial shutdown being imposed on Israeli citizens in wake of the spreading coronavirus, the Health Ministry issued a new order on Sunday morning, directing all yeshivos and kollelim to close down.

However, the yeshivos and kollelim were already opened for the day on Sunday and many chadarim opened as well as word spread that Hagadol Harav Chaim Kanievsky said that bittul Torah is more dangerous than the coronavirus.

Following the Health Ministry’s directives to close all schools, a principal of a cheder approached Harav Chaim and asked the Gadol what to do. Harav Chaim answered: “Continue learning as usual,” adding that the Health Ministry’s instructions in all other matters besides closing the chadarim and yeshivas should be strictly followed.

Later, the principal returned and asked HaRav Chaim if he should follow this instruction even if the school is visited by police and fined. HaRav Chaim answered that Torah learning must continue as usual.

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Rabbi Berland, Shuvu Banim, A Disappearance, Religious Extremism, Sexual Assault and Modesty Patrols

From HaAretz – To read the entire article click here.

New True Crime Show Explores ‘Insane’ Story of a Prominent Rabbi, Sexual Assault and a Missing Teen

‘It’s a story you hear and dismiss as an urban legend at first,’ says creator of Israeli docu series delving into the world of Rabbi Eliezer Berland, who served prison time for sexual assault

On the night of January 23, 1986, a 17-year-old yeshiva student disappeared in Jerusalem. Nissim Shitrit was last seen in the area of an ultra-Orthodox community in the Jerusalem Hills. Four months earlier, members of a so-called modesty patrol came to the yeshiva where Shitrit was enrolled. Disguised as yeshiva students, they told the teenager that two well-known rabbis wanted to speak to him about his future. Shitrit went with them to the beach. They began to beat him up, but stopped when a police van drove by.

Shitrit filed a complaint with the police about the attack, telling investigators that his assailants had identified themselves as members of a modesty patrol who told him they came to teach him a lesson for having dared to go out with girls. In his statement, he added that one of his attackers was Shmuel Habany, a known follower of Rabbi Eliezer Berland and a member of the rabbi’s Shuvu Banim Hasidic community in Jerusalem. Habany was arrested, but released after denying a connection to the incident.

 

Members of Berland’s community are people who became religiously observant and are not wanted in their secular home but also are not welcomed in the Haredi community, which often sees them as unmarriageable. To what extent did that situation allow Berland to wield control over consciousness of his followers?

“It’s easier to take these people, who are tabula rasa in terms of religion, and to tell them things that they’ll consider to be absolute truths. From there it’s easier to also arrive at extremism. Often they actually choose a new identity for themselves, changing their names. With Berland there was also this extremism surrounding the laws of modesty, until at the end he was convicted of sex crimes. I think Berland has obsessions surrounding sexual control, and that’s where all the insanity came from. There are testimonies I was exposed to from additional women who didn’t go to court but testified before a rabbinical tribunal.”

In the movie and beyond, Berland is portrayed as a dangerous man with great influence over his followers. Perhaps law enforcement isn’t dealing with him and his sect in a reasonable manner, even when he preaches violence.

“I can’t understand it. After all he is a spiritual authority who has great influence. It’s like a riddle. I don’t know why and how it happens. I don’t have answers. To come and say that maybe there’s someone in the police who wants to protect Berland? I find that hard to believe. He is a powerful man with connections to a lot of people, including people from the underworld, who are considered his followers.”

Do you think there’s a connection between underworld figures and the fact that the police seem to be lenient toward him?

“If there is, that would be frightening.”

During your research, did you consider whether there are figures in the police who are protecting Berland at some level?

“There’s a young woman who filed a police complaint against Berland for sexual harassment. A woman I know accompanied her. I know that a few hours after the complaint was submitted, Berland was already at Ben-Gurion International Airport and he left on a trip that lasted three years, until he was extradited [here]. People who left Shuvu Banim told me a few times that they had lost their faith in the police because of the way they were treated. There were so many things that Berland did and said, ostensibly including calls to murder someone, and you don’t understand how he wasn’t arrested.”

New investigation

In the wake of your movie’s findings, the police have launched a new investigation into the disappearance of Nissim Shitrit. Do you believe that this time they will investigate the case with the seriousness that it deserves?

“I shall be very disappointed if the case of Nissim and of Avi Edri is not reopened,” Haziza said, referring to a different unsolved murder, carried out in the Jerusalem Hills in 1990 and attributed to the modesty patrols.“If at the end of the new investigation there are no answers, it will surprise and disappoint me very much.”

It’s possible that you’ll be called in and asked about findings in the case. What will happen if you’re asked to testify in a way that involves reporter’s privilege – the protection of confidential sources?

To read the story in its entirety, click here.

RLUIPA – a Manipulation of Religious Law – Allowing Unabated Legal Segregation

The United States Supreme Court.

From the Facebook pages of  Clarkstown What They Don’t Want You to Know

RLUIPA – Under This Law You Can Declare Your Stupidity Or Ignorance To Be Part Of Your ‘Religion’ And Claim A Benefit As Your Right.

The classical definitions of words in the English language continue to be lost as our courts lose common basic sense. How is the word ’Religion’ to be defined for the purpose of making government policies and laws? Is it any belief held by any person?

How is a ‘School’ to be defined for the purpose of ensuring that government policies and laws can be applied and public funds be expended?

Have you ever heard of the ‘Christian Identity’ religion? On what authority does the court accept that a ‘religion’ that claims to be ‘Christian’ is indeed either a ‘religion’ or that it holds to an historically recognizable ‘Christian’ theology.

What is the definition of a ‘school’? What is the definition of a ‘Christian’? What is the definition of a ‘law’ if an act such as RLUIPA has no foundation to support it in terms of historically understood definitions?

Read on ….

QUOTE
Two Michigan prison inmates, proclaiming themselves adherents of the “Christian Identity” religion, sought the prison’s official recognition to be allowed to conduct their own worship services, apart from other inmates. The prison already recognized 20 religions, including a number of Christian denominations, but the two men said they couldn’t pray with others because their religion demanded “white separatism.”

 

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March of 2013 – Mezizah B’Peh Ritual Linked to Learning Disabilities – STD’s and the Measles Vaccine Hypocrisy

This graph depicts the number of states that criminalize high risk STD behaviors

Metzizah B’Peh – a Dangerous Ritual With Potentially Life-Altering Consequences to Children – Well Documented in 2013, No Different than Spreading STD

Dear Readers:

On March 30, 2013, FailedMessiah reported on a potential link between learning disabilities in the Haredi community and the ritual of Metzizah B’Peh. He published a study conducted as well as noted a “cause and effect” between the ritual and increased birth defects noted by Rabbi Dr. Moshe Dovid Tendler of Yeshiva University several years before the 2013 article. Yet, the ritual continues. New York politicians have done nothing to criminalize what is, among other things, a risky practice performed on 8-day-old infants, likely pandering to those who financially support them. There is no legitimate basis in Judaism for the practice, if anything Pikuach Nefesh (the safety of the soul) should dictate quite the opposite.

And then there’s the measles hypocrisy.

In 2018/2019 when many of the Haredim were refusing to vaccinate children for measles, and numerous religious schools and yeshivas were unwilling to bow to the whims of legitimate vaccination concerns,  one of the many reasons given was a nonsense study which linked the measles vaccine to autism. Setting aside that the studies on that connection were debunked eons ago and ignoring the dangers that contracting the measles poses to immuno-suppressed individuals, rabbis were calling for civil disobedience on the subject. So, on one hand, they ignore medical wisdom and on the other, disavow it. Does this sound reasonable?

The same Haredim refusing to vaccinate for measles due to a farcical link between the vaccine and autism are many of the same parents who are allowing the Metzizah B’Peh ritual to be performed on their infant children, despite a very real and well-documented link between the procedure and Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 and a potential link between HSV-1 and learning disabilities.

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Rabbi Yosef Mizrachi, Declaration of War Against G-d and Why is Torch Giving Him a Podium? [Letter to Editor][Video]

Dear LostMessiah:

I am enclosing an email I wrote to a local Jewish Kiruv  group that’s
popular in Houston. I don’t know what type of Kiruv they do since it
costs too much money for classes. (https://www.torchweb.org/)   They
invited Yosef Mizrachi to speak in December and it didn’t make sense
to me since he is a fraud and spreads lashon ha’ra.

It does make sense that they are more interested in money.  I sent an email just now and will tell you if they respond:

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Metziza B’Peh, A Ritual that Should be ILLEGAL – This is Not Religion, its Politically Endorsed Child Abuse

A photo of a man holding a "Blood Libel" sign during a heated circumcision hearing in 2013

A man holding a “Blood Libel” sign during a heated Board of Health circumcision hearing in 2013. ALEC TABAK/GOTHAMIST

Multiple Babies Infected With Herpes From Ritual Circumcisions In Recent Months

At least four babies in NYC have been infected with herpes from mohels performing the metzitzah b’peh ritual since September 2019. According to a report from the CDC, three of those babies have been infected since December; all three have been admitted to the hospital and are reportedly recovering now. Herpes can cause severe infection in babies resulting in brain damage and death.

The “metzitzah b’peh” ritual is the circumcision practice in which a mohel sucks the blood from a freshly snipped foreskin of a baby boy. Outside of the ultra-Orthodox community, the ritual is shunned by Jews, and is considered by many to be an ancient tradition based on “a long-discredited medical theory from the Iron Age before the dawn of the Common Era.”
“Protecting the health and wellbeing of infants is always the city’s first priority,” said Department Of Health spokesperson Patrick Gallahue. “The spread of neonatal herpes through ritual circumcision is a public health risk. To address this risk, we will continue to work with providers and families across our city to keep our youngest New Yorkers safe.”

The DOH added they have started doing outreach to medical providers in the orthodox Jewish community on how to recognize the signs and symptoms of herpes in newborns, and warn families about the risks of this particular ritual. At least one of the babies recently diagnosed was not immediately hospitalized because health care providers did not recognize the signs of infection.

The Health Department also noted that there have been no reported cases of herpes from the ritual in the city since 2017, when it came out that at least six babies had been infected with herpes since Mayor de Blasio came into office. At the time, two of the six mohels who infected the babies were identified and ordered to stop performing the ritual. De Blasio acknowledged that the policy at the time was not working.

Under the Bloomberg administration, the Board of Health ruled that “parents need to be aware of the opinion of experts,” and introduced circumcision consent forms that required parents to sign a waiver before their infant could undergo the procedure. The city was immediately sued by ultra-Orthodox Jewish groups, who claimed their First Amendment rights were violated.

When he was first running for office, de Blasio criticized the Bloomberg administration for not doing enough community outreach, but stopped short of promising to dispose of the consent forms. His subsequent criticism of the consent forms helped him win over ultra-Orthodox Jewish voters and further distinguish himself from Bloomberg, saying, “I would start over and change the policy to find a way to protect all of our children but also respect religious tradition.” As Failed Messiah put it at the time, “Bill De Blasio Promises Satmar That In Exchange For Votes, He Will Repeal Informed Consent For Dangerous Haredi Circumcision Practice.”

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ADDITIONAL READING:

WPIX News 11

Several infants contract herpes during Jewish circumcision ritual

“Protecting the health and wellbeing of infants is always the city’s first priority,” a Health Department spokesman said. “The spread of neonatal herpes through ritual circumcision is a public health risk. To address this risk, we will continue to work with providers and families across our city to keep our youngest New Yorkers safe.”

Infants have died after contracting herpes.

To read article in entirety click here.

The Wall Street Journal

City Flags Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Circumcision Ritual Following New Herpes Cases

Four recent cases of neonatal herpes infection following a Jewish circumcision ritual have health officials once again urging parents in New York City’s ultra-Orthodox population to avoid the practice or at least limit its risks.

Health officials on Sunday said there have been three cases of herpes simplex virus 1 infections in infant boys reported to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene since Dec. 1, 2019. The fourth case was reported in September 2019.

To read article in entirety click here.

Times of Israel

4 NY babies get herpes from Jewish circumcision rite in past 6 months

The custom is rarely practiced outside the haredi, or ultra-Orthodox, community. Other mohels use a sterile pipette for the practice.

It has been a political football in New York City with its large haredi population. In February 2015, the city eliminated a parental consent form mandated by former mayor Michael Bloomberg. The form was replaced with an educational brochure in 2015.

Six families in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, had children contract herpes between 2015 and mid-2017 from metzitzah b’pehNone of the families would give the name of the mohel to the Health Department.

At least 11 boys contracted herpes from the practice between 2004 and 2011. Two died and two suffered brain damage.

To read article in entirety click here.