Rabbi Hillel Handler enjoyed a rare moment in the glare of mainstream media this week when he addressed an anti-vaccination crowd in a heavily Hasidic town in suburban Rockland County.
The member of the Satmar Hasidic sect riled up the crowd of a couple of hundreds of people with a diatribe that accused liberals in and out of government of using a still-spreading measles outbreak to target observant Jews.
Handler called Mayor de Blasio a “nasty German” and claimed it was “in his DNA” to hate Jews.
”Like the Fuhrer, he says: ‘Blame the Jews. They’re contaminating the whole city,’ ” Handler told the Daily News Wednesday.
De Blasio shot back that Handler was spouting “dangerous and irresponsible lies.”
“Rabbi Handler is putting at risk the lives he claims he’s trying to save,” said Miranda Marcy, a spokeswoman for the mayor.
At the rally in Monsey, Handler focused mostly on measles, although he did veer off into an anti-immigrant diatribe claiming that undocumented immigrants pose a more serious health threat.
Little did the crowd or the reporters covering the event know that Handler has a long history of supporting radical causes on the far right-wing fringes of Jewish opinion.
Handler has fiercely attacked observant Jews for reporting child sex abuse to police, claiming such accusations should be handled by rabbinic authorities. He once even defended a rabbi who was convicted of raping his own daughter, saying the girl was lying about the abuse.
Handler also opposed efforts to regulate metzizah b’pei, a controversial circumcision rite that health officials say can spread deadly herpes to newborn boys.
He even opposes Israel’s existence.
“There’s a lot of half-crazies like him in America,” said Alexander Rapaport, who runs a network of kosher soup kitchens and recently recorded a pro-vaccination public service video. “It’s the price of freedom in America.”
Rapaport, who happens to be a neighbor of Handler, shrugs him off as a phony who has no pulpit and no real following.
Others see him as a powerful danger in his ability to link different hateful causes. Shmarya Rosenberg spent several years chronicling abuse and corruption in the ultra-Orthodox world but has since left the blog called Failed Messiah.
“He’s an extremist, and he’s amoral,” said Shmarya Rosenberg. “He’s appears to be a gun for hire in the ultra-Orthodox community.”
To continue reading click here.
“FIRST DO NO HARM”
Primum non nocere is a Latin phrase that means “first, do no harm.” The phrase is sometimes recorded as primum nil nocere.
Non-maleficence, which is derived from the maxim, is one of the principal precepts of bioethics that all healthcare students are taught in school and is a fundamental principle throughout the world. Another way to state it is that, “given an existing problem, it may be better not to do something, or even to do nothing, than to risk causing more harm than good.” It reminds the health care provider that they must consider the possible harm that any intervention might do. It is invoked when debating the use of an intervention that carries an obvious risk of harm but a less certain chance of benefit.
Non-maleficence is often contrasted with its corollary, beneficence.
– Pikuach Nefesh (Hebrew: פיקוח נפש)
LM – 19.04.17
Jewish teachings demand that we travel on Shabbat and that we override nearly every other religious consideration when a person’s life is in danger. We are commanded to “lo ta’aseh” a Mitzvah when in so doing we would be putting a life in danger or failing to save one.
Is protecting a mohel who has permanently damaged and even killed babies not within this category? Are you not the putting the next child’s life in danger? Is it not a moral imperative of EVERY SINGLE JEW to make certain that mohels who are damaging children be stopped and be prosecuted for their crimes, crimes against Jewish babies, crimes against all Jews?
Whatever our beliefs are regarding the use or misuse of the word “me’tzizah,” should those very tenets of our religion not be trumped by the notion that we as Jews are religiously and morally obligated to protect our children?
To the parents who will not cooperate with the authorities, you are hypocrites. You are shameful. You do not deserve the blessings that are bestowed upon you in your ability to conceive and bring children into this world.
To the parents who will have babies harmed by these practices because your friends, family members, rabbis and communities did not warn you, did not protect you, it might be time to re-evaluate your belief system. May you and your babies not suffer the sins of your community.
To the Rabbis who are not cooperating with authorities and claiming that these rituals are complicated and holy, you are the unholiest of them all.
Herpes cases among babies linked to ultra-Orthodox Jewish circumcision ritual
New York health department alerts doctors to infections linked to ancient ritual in which circumcision wound is cleaned by mouth
A baby boy was rushed to hospital when he developed herpes following a controversial ancient circumcision ritual, it has been reported.
The New York health department alerted doctors to the case of a newborn who fell ill after undergoing the ultra-Orthodox Jewish practice in which the circumcision wound is cleaned by mouth.
A rash is said to have spread across the child’s genitals, buttocks, inner thighs and ankle two weeks after the procedure.
There have been six cases of herpes among children who have had the ritual known as metzitzah b’peh performed on them since February 2015, reported the New York Daily News.
The majority of Jewish circumcision ceremonies do not include metzitzah b’peh, in which the mohel, or circumciser, places their mouth directly on the wound to suck away the blood.
An estimated 3,000 babies are circumcised each year using the method in New York City, home to the largest Jewish population outside Israel.
The city’s mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters officials were in the process of identifying the mohel who had performed the procedure and expected “full cooperation from the community”.
Mr de Blasio retracted the requirement for a parental consent form for the practice two years ago in a compromise with ultra-Orthodox leaders who agreed to help identify and isolate any mohels found to be responsible for an infection.
Of the six previously undisclosed cases, two occurred last year and three in 2015.
Since 2000, there have been 24 cases of infant herpes linked to circumcision, leading to two deaths and two cases of brain damage, according to the New York Post.
Herpes, a highly contagious viral disease which can cause blisters and ulcers, is more severe in newborn babies as their immune systems are not fully developed.
Updated: The photographs were changed by request of one of LM’s commenters. We could not disagree that the original publicly available photograph could have been viewed as child pornography had it not been “tactfully” disguised as religion.
The grey and black picture comes from an article in HaAretz describing the procedure and the dangers of the Herpes virus which can spread when a Mohel’s mouth is infected.
De Blasio Cozy with His Bobov Hasidic Friends – How Far Would he go to “not Forget them“?
LostMessiah March 5, 2016
Only in NYC can one have an article about an AIDS Home, which was (disingenuously) purchased by Allure Group “with the intent of keeping it open as a nursing facility” and congratulations for “rolling back” restrictions on the controversial circumcision rite called “metzizah b’peh”….
A Mohel with AIDS can transfer it to an infant through this rite.
Truth is stranger than fiction.
As a note for our readers: “metzizah b’peh” (MBP) translates quite literally from Hebrew to English as “orally sucking”. In something of a pun, “rolling back” is what happens to the foreskin before the Mohel performs a circumcision. Jewish law refers to suctioning he blood away from the wound and using one’s mouth is an interpretation. Only a very small subset of ultra-Orthodox Mohels perform circumcision using this ritual, frowned upon by the majority of Jews worldwide.
Rules were set in place in January of 2013, against this “rite” because [s]ince 2000 MBP has been blamed for 18 cases of neonatal herpes in New York City. Two of those babies died, and two others suffered brain damage.” In 2015, however, under pressure from the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, Mayor de Balsio announced that the city was going to revoke the regulations, which were officially revoked on September 9, 2015.
Now back to Allure Group and the controversial “Flip” of a Nursing Home on Rivington Street…
On April 5th of 2016, Mayor de Blasio “voiced confidence…in the commissioner charged with cleaning up the botched approval of a deal that allowed the sale of a formerly protected Lower East Side nursing home to condo builders. The reference is to Allure.
On April 3, 2016 at 4:42am, in an article entitled “De Blasio slams nursing home sale – but doesn’t punish aids” the New York Post reported:
“Mayor de Blasio claims to be “livid” that his administration approved a deal to convert a nursing home to a luxe condo — yet the staffers and aides who let it happen have seemingly escaped his wrath.
De Blasio has threatened to sue the Allure Group for misleading the city and has touted a “full-scale” Department of Investigation inquiry into how the city removed a deed restriction on the Lower East Side property last November to pave the way for the sale and conversion of Rivington House.
But top-level officials have so far skated in the widening scandal.
To read the full article click, here.
Later that same day, on April 3, 2016, at 8:02pm, in an article entited “How Mayor de Blasio can prove he’s truly ‘livid’ over that $72 million scandal” the New York Post reported:
“It took several days of embarrassing news stories — plus a Post editorial insisting he “should be furious” — but Mayor Bill de Blasio finally declared himself “livid” over that $72 million nursing home flip.
That’s a welcome switch from a few days earlier, when said simply that he was “not happy” about the scandalous deal.
Now he’s promising “there will certainly be consequences” and is threatening legal action, citing “a lot of evidence” that something unacceptable happened.
That much has been obvious from the start — which is why the whole affair is being probed by the Department of Investigations and city Comptroller Scott Stringer.
Last Thursday, DOI subpoenas began to go out to city workers and officers of Allure Group, the Brooklyn nursing home operator at the center of the whole mess.
Allure bought the Lower East Side property, then a residence for AIDS patients, and spoke of hoping to keep it as a health care facility, as required in the building’s deed.
But the city never got a written commitment — and Allure successfully lobbied to get all deed restrictions lifted. It then sold the building to a developer that plans to build luxury condos, netting $72 million.
Despite objections from the local community board, the deed change sailed through with virtually no public input.”
“How did they get around this deed? I don’t
understand it,” Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer told Politico.
Neither does anyone else — de Blasio insists the first he heard about it was when the Wall Street Journal reported on it.
It’s good that the mayor finally seems to comprehend that this scandal goes well beyond your ordinary bureaucratic foul-up, signifying something deeply wrong in his administration.
Of course, with DOI run by de Blasio crony Mark Peters, don’t expect its investigation to point to anyone high at City Hall.”
To read further click, here.
That followed a March 25, 2016 New York PostArticle in which:
“Elected officials are calling for an investigation into a move by the de Blasio administration that removed a protection on a Lower East Side nursing home — allowing its operator to flip the site for luxury condos at a $72 million profit.
The Allure Group bought the building at 45 Rivington Street in February 2015 for $28 million, and said it would keep it as a nursing facility if a restriction that it be run as a health-care non-profit were removed, according to city officials.
In June, the restriction was lifted, and in November, the city got $16.1 million based on appraisals.”
To read the complete article click, here.
Fast-Forward to the Connection Between Meziza b’peh, Joel Landau and a Controversial AIDS Home…
On April 1, 2016, the Forward reported that, Hasidic Businessman Who Flipped AIDS Home Part of Sect With Cozy Ties to Mayor Bill de Blasio
At a recent fundraiser for the Bobov Hasidic group attended by New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, City Council member David Greenfield told the crowd that de Blasio “did not forget his friends.”
Now, de Blasio’s ties to the Bobov have put him on the defensive, amid a scandal over a nursing home chain run by a prominent Bobov businessman. Allure Group made $72 million in February flipping a Lower East Side home for AIDS patients to a condo developer. Now, the New York City Comptroller and the city’s Department of Investigation are investigating the deal, and de Blasio says that his administration was “misled” by the firm.
Allure’s CEO, Solomon Rubin, is a prominent member of the Boro Park-based Bobov Hasidic group, one of the city’s largest ultra-Orthodox sects. The Bobov enjoy a particularly close relationship with de Blasio, who represented Boro Park in the City Council from 2001 to 2009.
On March 9, days before the Allure scandal broke, de Blasio attended a fundraising dinner for Amidei Zion of Mosdos Bobov, a Bobov charity, at the New York Hilton. The mayor announced trash collection schedule changes meant to ease congestion in Boro Park, earning vigorous applause.
De Blasio’s ties to the Bobov run deep. Bobov powerbroker Rabbi Yitzchok Fleischer, whose mother’s shiva de Blasio and his wife Chirlane McCray attended in January, told the online Jewish magazine Tablet in 2013 that de Blasio “owes me everything.”
“Without me he wouldn’t be anyplace,” Fleischer said.
De Blasio now faces tough questions about the Allure Group deal. The company purchased the Lower East Side home in February 2015 for just $28 million, promising that it would use the building to operate a nursing home. In November, Allure paid $16 million to the Department of Citywide Administrative Services for permission to retroactively adjust the deed on the property. In February of 2016, thanks to the deed change, Allure sold the property to a condominium developer for $116 million.
“It makes me livid that this happened in one of the agencies that are part of my administration,” de Blasio told the local television station NY 1 on April 1, according to a transcript circulated by the mayor’s office. “We’re looking at all potential legal options related to the company that did this because we have a lot of evidence that they misled us.”
Days earlier, at a press conference at NYPD headquarters, De Blasio told reporters that he was upset to have heard about the flip only after it was made public.
The New York Times reported on March 31 that a prominent lobbyist who at different times worked for both the not-for-profit that sold the building to Allure and the developer that bought the building from Allure has raised $45,000 for de Blasio’s election campaign since October.
Allure owns six New York City nursing homes, according to the group’s website. At least one of its executives shares a surname with Solomon Rubin; another, Joel Landau, who has been Allure’s public face, is not a member of the Bobov Hasidic group.
Rubin did not respond to a message left at Allure’s office.
Rubin sits on the board of Bnos Zion of Bobov, the sect’s school system for girls. “They are very well off and they support a lot of things that are going on in the community,” said Yoel Rosenfeld, a Bobov community activist, of Rubin. “He’s very involved.”
Rosenfeld said that he escorted de Blasio in and out of the Bobov dinner on March 9, and that Rubin did not speak to the mayor. While he assumed Rubin was in attendance, Rosenfeld said that there were more than 1,000 people there, and he did not see him.