The Road to Hell has Been Paved by the Religious Right – and Social Distancing Covid-19


Dear Readers:

The video is a wedding performed with Social Distancing. Mazel Tov. Some are listening.

The below is an opinion from the New York Times, Katherine Stewart. It focuses on the right wing evangelical Christians, an important talking point in understanding the juxtaposition of what is being stated and what is unfolding in fundamentalist New York neighborhoods, in contrast to the video.

We are only posting a few excerpts and encourage you to click here to read the opinion article in its entirety.

We have shared Ms. Stewart’s  opinion for weeks. Trump’s greatest supporters, the Evangelical right wing, [both Christian and Jews] are now being hurt the most by Covid-19, even if they are denying or otherwise hiding this fundamental truth.

The religious leaders on all sides took President Trump at his word that Coronavirus was “fake news” or that generally healthy people would not get sickor die; and they continued congregating in large numbers, creating a breeding ground for the virus. Now the religious supporters, Christian and Jewish are getting sick and even dying in record numbers. And on the Jewish side of the evangelical base, anyone who wants to tell that story is being silenced, either by community demands, by claims of anti-Semitism, or by closure of testing centers in religious neighborhoods.

Continue reading

Zelenko and Hannity [video] KJ Letter Requesting Zelenko’s Silence – Chalking it up to Fears of Anti-Semitism?


Sean Hannity and Dr. Vladimir Zelenko

Dear Readers:

This is an interview by Sean Hannity with Dr. Vladimir Zelenko, a physician from Kiryas Joel who is using a regimen for treatment of patients in Kiryas Joel who tested positive for Kovid-19. He claims to have treated his patients aggressively and has managed to keep patients out of the hospital, which is how he defines success.

Dr. Zelenko claims to be trying to “decrease the viral load and decrease infection prior to ARDS developing”. He has applied the treatment pre-hospital and claims to be having significant success.

The Kiryas Joel Community has sent a letter asking Dr. Zelenko to stop making YouTube videos about his treatment of patients in Kiryas Joel. The KJ officials demanding his silence claim that the request is derived from a fear of increased anti-Semitism.

Well…. if Dr. Zelenko is bringing a new treatment to KJ, one would think the risk of “fear of anti-Semitism” seems to be outweighed by the potential benefits.    

KJ Open Letter COVID 19 3.24.20.pdf_Page_1KJ Open Letter COVID 19 3.24.20.pdf_Page_2

The Hypocrisy – Covid-19 and the Community Response, or lack thereof

This following was sent to LostMessiah by an author who has asked to remain anonymous.

There are a few points that should be made.

First, one of the underlying news articles states that Rabbi Aharon Teitelbaum (Ahrale) of Palm Tree, New York, (a/k/a Kiryas Joel) has been diagnosed with Covid-19.  There is then a correction stating that he was waiting on results. To our understanding he did test positive. But we would be doing a disservice if not to mention conflicting reports.

The next point that should be made is that New York has had a daily +/-50% increase in Covid-19 positive tests for the last 3 days. While that is likely attributed to an increase in testing, as late as Sunday, there were reports of large gatherings in Wesley Hills, New York as well as Brooklyn, New York in what are largely Hasidic neighborhoods. This is unacceptable. From the outside looking in, the utter arrogance of congregating is worthy of contempt. If we are trying to minimize anti-Semitism, this level of lawlessness should not be happening. It is dangerous to those gathering and then to anyone who comes in contact with those gathering. 

The final point, comments to one of the underlying articles suggests that the anti-vaxxer named here, was not actually an anti-vaxxer, that the story had it wrong. We can neither confirm nor deny the comments and the following is based upon information as it was reported.

We stand by the position that if you have not been tested and received a negative result, you are potentially a walking bio-weapon. Any gatherings of people should be treated as acts of bio-terrorism. It is simply how we view this episode in history. 

Hypocrite in Our Times 

Exactly one year ago – there was a two-hour heated debate at the home of the Satmar Rebbe of Kiryas Yoel, on the topic of expelling kids of non- vaxxers from the Mosdos. The Rosh Yeshiva of South Fallsburg Yeshiva,  Elya Ber Wachtfogel came in from the Catskills to attend the meeting. R’ Elya Ber is reportedly an Anti-vaxxer.

The anti-vaxxers brought a physician to argue against the banishing of their children. 

When the Oklahoma physician said the Torah doesn’t allow it, the Rebbe said ‘leave the Torah out’ just stick to medical facts. In the Rebbe’s opinion, Health comes before Torah. 

During the exchange, some anti-vaxxers in the room started screaming that kids die from vaccines. The Rebbe said people died from heart surgery should we not do heart surgery? People died from the needle at the dentist, should we not go to the dentist anymore? The Rebbe said the bottom line is we will not force you to vaccinate but don’t put us in danger. The Anti-vaxxers should open their own schools, shuls, camps & playgrounds. The Grand Rebbe Ahrale of Satmar expelled all children who were not vaccinated, and they went on to open their own schools. 

This last Purim The Grand Rebbe Ahrale of Satmar conducted a full Purim Tisch. Attendees were kissing, hugging, partying and eating Shirayim given directly from the Grand Rebbe’s hand. Until last Thursday, all Satmar shuls, schools and Mikvaot were operating in full force. The Rebbe who is sick with Corona Virus, shared his Corona with many of his disciples. The authorities were begging us to shut down all schools but to no avail.  As of now, many Satmar mikvaot and Shuls are operating under the radar and the Rebbe is not making a pips. No objection whatsoever. 

You be the Judge.

Grand rabbi of Satmar Hasidic dynasty tested for coronavirus

Editor’s Note: Due to inaccurate information provided by Ezra Friedlander, a Hasidic leader, a prior version of this article incorrectly reported that Rabbi Aharon Teitelbaum of the Satmar dynasty had tested positive for the novel coronavirus. After publication, Friedlander said Teitelbaum’s grandson had told him the rabbi had not yet received results of his coronavirus test.

The Grand Rabbi Aharon Teitelbaum, one of the two heads of the Satmar Hasidic dynasty, has been tested for the novel coronavirus, and has been made public appearances for nearly a week.

Teitelbaum, who is based in the Satmar community of Kiryas Joel and represents the largest constituency of Hasidic Jews in the world,, had the test done on Thursday, according to Ezra Friedlander, a Hasidic lobbyist with close ties to the leadership of Hasidic groups. Friedlander, who originally told the Forward he that Teitelbaum had tested positive for the virus, said he had apparently been mistaken and that the community was still awaiting the test results.

Friedlander said that Teitelbaum had not been seen in public since Friday, after one of his gabbais, or close personal attendants, became sick.

Ezra Friedlander@EzraFriedlander

Retraction: Want to apologize to @HQSatmar community & to @jdforward. My quote in @jdforward was not accurate. The blame lies entirely with me & not with the reporter @aefeldman or with @jdforward.
Satmar Rebbe Shlita should enjoy good health & long years! 

Aharon Teitelbaum, Grand Rabbi of Satmar Hasidic dynasty, has coronavirus

On Sunday, Teitelbaum came out strongly against mandatory school closings to combat coronavirus.

See Ezra Friedlander’s other Tweets

Kiryas Joel, a village in Orange County, N.Y., is a dense, tight knit community of 26,000 Hasidic Jews. Teitelbaum, 72, is one of two recognized leaders of the Satmar group, along with his brother, Rabbi Zalman Teitelbaum, who leads a rabbinic court in Brooklyn.

Aharon Teitelbaum is one of the most influential Hasidic rabbis, with a following in the tens of thousands across the world.

He came out strongly against closing schools in recent days after New York City officials announced that all public schools would be shut down to combat the spread of the virus. He said that the observant Jewish community could not afford to follow such restrictions because their children do not have access to the Internet to keep them occupied.


To continue reading click here.

Dr. Confirms that 9 of 14 Tests in Kiryas Joel are Positive – Meaning 90% of KJ WILL Have Covid-19 – 35K People


Stay Home, Watch Over Your Elderly, Young Children and Immuno-Compromised and DO NOT Go Into Large Groups!

If you have been to a large gathering recently, please report it. Thirty-Five Thousand People are Potentially Bio-Weapons, if this doctor’s assessment is correct.


For a Friday Afternoon: Is it Acceptable By Halacha to Close Public Roadways for Rabbinical Processions? [ Video, Yiddish]


The following video is largely in Yiddish. Loosely translated it suggests that it is not acceptable under Halacha to close public roadways and thoroughfares (in this case the BQE) for the purpose of private processions by a rabbi. Here the reference is to the Satmar Rabbi that closed the BQE “with great excitement” as he was escorted to the airport for a mission to Israel, reported about several months ago. 

We do not know enough about the subject to opine in great detail.

We thought it was interesting that it is circulating WhatsApp chats as a point of discussion in regard to the “Daf Yomi”  (the page of the day), which is what we understand this to be.  

We will, of course, make additions, editions amendments if they are forthcoming and/or if we somehow have this wrong.

We welcome a complete translation.

Shabbat Shalom!

KeyBank Sues KJ, NY Religious Charity for Alleged 950K Chargeback Scheme

KeyBank sues Kiryas Joel religious charity in $950K credit card chargeback scheme

KeyBank has sued a Hudson Valley religious charity and a co-founder for allegedly running a $950,000 credit card chargeback scheme.

KeyBank of Cleveland sued Mordechai Gold and BHMD BY on Chevron Inc., of Kiryas Joel, Orange County, Dec. 16 in White Plains federal court.

“KeyBank seeks to prevent the fraudulent transfer or dissipation of assets, including those assets that they have already tried to put beyond the reach of KeyBank,” the lawsuit states.

Gold responded in a court filing that the allegations are a “complete fabrication.”

The bank “has attempted to dress up its contract claim as being an elaborate fraud involving over 40 conspirators,” he stated, “yet KeyBank has proffered no evidence of fraud.”

Gold, 26, Yoel Shtosel and Joel Fekete set up BHMD BY on Chevron in 2015 to establish a place of worship, Bnai Yisroel, on Chevron Road, according to the incorporation papers, and to “support the spiritual needs of the community with providing free loans and to support the religious, intellectual, moral and social welfare among them.”

Shtosel and Fekete are not named in the complaint.

BHMD opened a settlement account with KeyBank in March for handling credit card transactions. Fiserv, a vendor working for the bank, processed credit and debit card charges for BHMD merchandise bought by cardholders, collected funds from the credit card banks and paid the merchants.

From April to early September, about $984,000 was deposited in the Keybank settlement account. During the same period, Gold transferred about $950,500 out of the account.

The transactions include $22,308 in cash withdrawals, $41,150 wired to a family trust, $84,000 wired to a member of Gold’s family and $533,996 transferred to Gold and BHMD accounts at NorthEast Community Bank.

Fiserv became suspicious and opened an investigation. BHMD was repeatedly charging the same, even-amount for transactions on high-reward credit cards. When the vendor questioned Gold, he said BHMD had been taking advance orders for Hebrew texts. Fiserv pressed for details, the complaint states, but Gold could not provide them.

Fiserv concluded that Gold and BHMD had colluded with customers to process fraudulent credit card transactions, collect the credit card rewards and steal the funds.

“BHMD and Gold then transferred the fruits of the fraud into outside bank accounts and took cash withdrawals,” according to the complaint.

Fiserv referred its findings to the FBI.

After KeyBank closed the settlement account in September, there was an enormous spike in chargebacks. Customers demanded refunds, claiming that the amounts of the transactions were incorrect, they didn’t recognize the transactions or the goods were not provided.

By mid-December, the chargebacks totaled $630,400, and KeyBank expects the number to surpass $950,000.

KeyBank had processed credit card transactions that resulted in $984,000 in deposits to the settlement account, “even though no actual goods or services were sold or delivered,” the complaint states. Then Gold and BHMD “plundered” $950,500.

The settlement account had insufficient funds for refunding the credit card banks, so KeyBank had to pay them.

Gold states in his declaration that BHMD functions as a charitable institution, raising money from contributors that it distributes to “needy families to help cover their costs (of) yeshiva, holidays, weddings and basic needs.”

BHMD had been offered a large supply of religious books and bookcases, he says, that it used as incentives to encourage donors to contribute $990,000 to his organization. But the supplier failed to deliver the items and BHMD was unable to honor its incentives.

“This resulted in a massive business failure in which over 40 contributors, disgruntled over the failure of BHMD to supply the promised items, issued chargebacks for their contributions.”

Gold said BHMD was unable to cover the chargebacks because it had immediately distributed the contributions to “needy recipients.”

The bank accuses Gold and BHMD of breach of contract and fraud. It is asking for a court to order to preserve all assets and for judgments for damages and enforcement of a personal guaranty Gold signed when he opened the settlement account.

KeyBank is represented by Manhattan attorneys Emily J. Mathieu and Brian K. Steinwascher. BHMD and Gold are represented by Richard M. Mortner of Manhattan.

To see the article on its original forum click here.