The First Haredi to Graduate Med School and the Technion’s Brilliant Efforts to Sustaining the State of Israel

4256‘I want to be a doctor, not a rabbi’: how Israeli ultra-Orthodox are being drawn into work

 

From the age of three, Yehuda Sabiner harboured a secret ambition to become a doctor. But it seemed unlikely to be fulfilled: he was raised in one of the strictest ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities in Israel.

His education was limited to religious study, first at a private school that barely taught mainstream subjects and later at a yeshiva, a religious school, where he spent 14 hours a day studying Jewish texts. Sabiner, a bright boy and an outstanding student, was earmarked to become a leading rabbi.

But he never forgot his dream. When he was 21 he confessed his ambition to his new wife. She was horrified: she had married him on the understanding that he would be a rabbinical leader. Also, he had no knowledge of science. But Sabiner’s yearning would not go away.

Now 28, Sabiner is embarking on the final year of his medical degree. He will be the first person born and raised in a Haredi community in Israel to become a mainstream doctor, and he plans to specialise in internal medicine.

Sabiner has benefited from a pioneering scheme at the Technion university in Haifa to draw young ultra-Orthodox, or Haredi, Jews from largely closed communities into mainstream education and then into the workforce.

The numbers are still tiny – about 60 out of a total student population of 10,000. “But the idea is to bring the number to 200 within five years, and to 400 within 10 years,” said Prof Boaz Golani, a vice-president of the university. “Engaging the Haredi community is important for Israel. Having a civil society where entire segments live in their own world and with little interaction with others is not healthy. It’s a recipe for tension and animosity.”

In 2017 the number of ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel rose above one million for the first time, accounting for 12% of the population. By 2065 they are expected to make up a third of Israel’s population.

Traditionally, Haredi men are not economically active. Many spend their time in religious study, relying on state benefits to support their large families, which average almost seven children. But in recent years the Israeli government and educational institutions have taken steps to integrate the Haredi population into colleges and workforces.

“There was a concentrated effort launched a few years ago by the ministry of transport, which needed more engineers,” said Golani. If the Technion could get Haredi students on to its courses, jobs could be guaranteed.

“We knocked on the doors on yeshivas in Bnei Brak [an overwhelmingly ultra-Orthodox town near Tel Aviv]. We found a few rabbis ready to talk to us. The idea was to take young men who had the brain and intellect to meet the scientific admission criteria, and who were not perceived as chief rabbis of the future.

“We said we would not try to force any change of lifestyle of students, such as [strict] dress codes or praying. We kept a low profile.” Continue reading

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Israel, Elections and the Weight of Ultra-Orthodoxy and Radical Judaism

PM: No decision made regarding elections
Netanyahu emphasizes no discussions were held with ultra-Orthodox parties on draft bill, which threatens to dismantle coalition; ‘I hear they are asking about the elections’ date… The answer is that no decision was made regarding the matter.’
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Photo: CNN)
According to the High Court of Justice’s ruling, by December 2nd, the Knesset must pass a new law regulating the enlistment of ultra-Orthodox civilians to the IDF. The proposed draft bill threatens to dismantle the coalition and prompt early elections. Members of the United Torah Judaism party.

According to the High Court of Justice’s ruling, by December 2nd, the Knesset must pass a new law regulating the enlistment of ultra-Orthodox civilians to the IDF.

 

The proposed draft bill threatens to dismantle the coalition and prompt early elections.

The Council of Torah Sages of Degel HaTorah, the Lithuanian faction of the United Torah Judaism party, is expected to convene on Monday or in the coming days in order to decide whether the party’s opposition to the bill still stands, or if a compromise regarding the enlistment of the ultra-Orthodox population is possible.

To continue reading click here.

Amudim – Trying to Banish Stigma of Sexual Abuse and Drug Use

 

Ultra-Orthodox group looks to banish stigma from community’s sex abuse victims

Citing a virtual absence of resources available to young Jews, Amudim has set out to break taboos affecting survivors and drug addicts

 

There are two people who Rabbi Zvi Gluck credits with helping him bring the topic of sexual abuse into the ultra-Orthodox mainstream: His father, and the late Jewish philanthropist Mendy Klein.

Gluck is the co-founder and director of Amudim, which means “Pillars” in English. It is an organization dedicated to educating, preventing, and helping victims cope with addiction and sexual abuse in the Jewish community – subjects long ignored — intentionally — as taboo.

Since its inception in 2014, Amudim has taken on nearly 5,000 cases, by its own count, providing clients with therapy, rehabilitation, and support in dealing with family and community from its staff of certified clinicians. The organization’s main headquarters are in New York, and they recently opened offices in Israel. On a daily basis, Amudim fields calls from around the world.

Gluck got his start at a young age, volunteering with teenage drug users and addicts within his childhood community in the New York City area. He quickly found that a disturbing number of substance abusers suffered from darker, deeper-rooted issues.

I realized that a lot of the people I was dealing with were victims of childhood sexual abuse, and there was really not enough being done to help them,” Gluck said.

“I gave my first public speech on the subject, which generated a lot of noise within the Jewish community, in October of 2010,” he said.

The “noise” Gluck generated was not all good. His efforts, he said, would not have lasted long, had he not been the son of Rabbi Edgar Gluck, now chief rabbi of Galicia.

“It was a very interesting situation, because my father being as influential as he is, the haters couldn’t come out against me publicly,” said Gluck. “I was sort of in a weird spot where they’d see me on the street and they’d say, ‘You know, you shouldn’t talk about these topics, it’s not right,’ but they couldn’t do anything to me — as opposed to a lot of the other advocates that have dealt with sexual abuse and were chased out of town, or got bleach thrown at them, or other things that have occurred.”

Speaking animatedly, Gluck dropped a laundry list of big names in the Orthodox community during a telephone conversation with The Times of Israel, as he described how Amudim got its start.

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Zvi Gluck@zgluck

“Zero tolerance” Said Pope Francis, “We need to keep kids safe” to myself, my father and members of delegation, at meeting in the Vatican

 

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Isn’t this Rich? Cuomo will Let his Ultra-Orthodox Donor Contingent Run Circles Around the Law and Nixon Will Not.. We Call that SCRUPLED, not anti-Semitic…

 

Cynthia Nixon calls on Andrew Cuomo to apologize for campaign mailer calling her soft on anti-Semitism

(JTA) — New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon called on her primary opponent, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, to apologize for a mailer paid for by the state Democratic Party that questioned her support for issues important to Jewish voters.

Cuomo, who heads the state Democratic Party, has said that he had no knowledge of the mailer and said through a spokeswoman that the language was “inappropriate.”

“I am the mother of Jewish children,” Nixon, who is raising the children of her first marriage as Jews and attends Congregation Beit Simchat Torah in Manhattan, said in a statement late Sunday.

Nixon questioned how Cuomo could not know about the mailer and called on him to apologize, urging him to record a robocall to go out to voters apologizing for “calling me an anti-Semite,” The New York Times reported.

The mailer was sent Saturday, five days before the primary, to some 7,000 Jewish households.

“With anti-Semitism and bigotry on the rise, we can’t take a chance with inexperienced Cynthia Nixon, who won’t stand strong for our Jewish communities,” it said.

The mailer also said that Nixon is “against funding for yeshivas,” supports “BDS, the racist, xenophobic campaign to boycott Israel” and has been “silent on the rise of anti-Semitism.”

In an interview Tuesday with Times reporter Lisa Lerer, Nixon said of the mailer, “I thought it was disgusting and cynical and really surprising that Andrew Cuomo’s New York state party would stoop to this kind of fear-mongering and lies. To use this in this nasty and untruthful way — it’s really Trumpian.”

She added that she thinks Cuomo knew about the mailer despite his denials.

“I think he’s a micromanager and it’s his Democratic Party,” said Nixon, an actress who gained fame on the hit TV show “Sex and the City.” “The idea that he did not know about it is patently ridiculous.”

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah and her wife, Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, issued a joint statement Friday saying that the charge that Nixon was soft on anti-Semitism is “a baseless lie.”

A poll released before the issue of the mailer went public showed Cuomo leading Nixon by 63 percent to 22 percent.

Meanwhile, the New York Post reported Tuesday that a Cuomo campaign official had pitched a story to a reporter at the newspaper about Nixon’s opposition to Israeli settlements and her support of the BDS movement against Israel a day before the mailer was delivered.

The email pitch included excerpts of news reports from 2010 detailing how Nixon was among about 200 American celebrities — including many Jews — who signed a letter supporting a boycott by Israeli actors, directors and playwrights of a new theater in the West Bank settlement of Ariel.

To read the article in its entirety, click here.

If You are Latino, if You are Black if you are LGBTQ – Tish James’ List of Financial Backers Should Steer You in ANY OTHER Direction

A NOTE TO THE JAMES’ SUPPORTERS WHO THINK THEY ARE GETTING SOMEONE LOOKING OUT FOR THEM. THE ONLY ONES SHE CAN LOOK OUT FOR ARE THOSE WHO CONTRIBUTED HEAVILY TO HER CAMPAIGN… AND IT IS NOT YOU. – 12.9.18

Whatever we know, or don’t know about what Ms. James believes in, or did, her donor pool tells us everything we need to know about what causes she will support and who will be prosecuted for their crimes.

To the Latinos and Blacks, your schools in East Ramapo, New York (and Lakewood, New Jersey) have been destroyed because money and Federal Funds goes to Yeshivas and not to public education. It goes to supporting a non-substantially similar education. While having a minority candidate represent your interests may feel like a victory, she will be beholden to her contributor base first and that has nothing to do with her color but the color of the hats of those who donated heavily to her campaign.

To the LGBTQ community, you are an abomination to the ultra-Orthodox Jews supporting the James campaign. You are a violation of the laws of G-d, right or wrong. Ms. James will ultimately need to placate her financial backers. Your humanity and dignity is not a top priority for those wanting to preserve an insular and highly religious way of life. The two simply cannot go hand-in-hand.

Please voters, look to Ms. James’ greatest sources of financial campaign support to decide for who to vote on election day. A James win is nothing more and nothing less than a win for the Ultra-Orthodox communities of Williamsburg, Crown Heights, Ramapo, Kiryas Joel and all of the other communities inhabited for the most part by the ultra-Orthodox Jewish donors to her campaign.

“At the end of the day, members voted for who they know.”

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, who is running for state attorney general, talks on the campaign trail about wanting to be New York’s first openly gay statewide elected official. Yet despite being a slight favorite in the latest Siena College poll, New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, one of Maloney’s primary rivals, is winning more LGBTQ support.

James just released a letter signed by more than 100 lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer New Yorkers involved in politics, all backing James – including New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten. Perhaps the only LGBTQ group backing Maloney’s campaign is the Victory Fund, which seeks to elect LGBTQ people.

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, who is running for state attorney general, talks on the campaign trail about wanting to be New York’s first openly gay statewide elected official. Yet despite being a slight favorite in the latest Siena College poll, New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, one of Maloney’s primary rivals, is winning more LGBTQ support.

James just released a letter signed by more than 100 lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer New Yorkers involved in politics, all backing James – including New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten. Perhaps the only LGBTQ group backing Maloney’s campaign is the Victory Fund, which seeks to elect LGBTQ people.

Tish James and Her Donor Pool – 80,000 Reasons and Counting to Fear Her Election

Real estate and insurance firms tout AG candidate to Jewish voters

Businesses pour $80,000 into a PAC supporting Letitia James

A new business-backed political action committee hopes to convince religious Jews that supporting Letitia James for attorney general is a mitzvah.

A real estate company and an apparent health insurance firm have poured $80,000 into One Voice New York PAC, which has produced an online video ad and a print piece encouraging members of the politically potent bloc to back the city’s public advocate to be the state’s top law-enforcement official. James is among four candidates in Thursday’s Democratic primary.

One Voice New York registered with the state Board of Elections on Sept. 6, the same day that a Twitter account bearing the same name posted a highly charged video in support of James’ candidacy. The spot juxtaposes footage of anti-Semites at last year’s “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., with a clip of President Donald Trump referring to “very fine people on both sides” at the event, which resulted in an activist’s death at the hands of a white nationalist. Further remarks by the president, disparaging immigrants, then play over a diverse montage of pained faces, followed by a recording of a man chanting “Jew-S-A” at a 2016 Trump rally.

The ad then cuts to a speech by James in which she vows to “represent the interests of marginalized communities,” superimposed over the Statue of Liberty, smiling children, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Manhattan skyline.

“In Trump’s America, bigots and racists are on the rise. In @TishJames’ New York, they are on the run!” the tweet read.

A source forwarded Crain’s a full-page ad funded by the PAC in Jewish Week. It repeats the tweet and adds, “On Sept. 13, New York Democrats will unite in one voice for Letitia (Tish) James for attorney general; a woman of firm conviction who fights bigotry and hatred wherever it is.”

The Board of Elections filings describe One Voice New York as an independent expenditure unaffiliated with James’ campaign. The disclosures also show that the PAC’s funding comes entirely from two sources. Ben 37 LLC, which state records and addresses indicate is an offshoot of the Queens-based Katz Realty Group, gave One Voice New York $20,000. The other $60,000 came from Diamond Health Associates, based out of 202 Caton Ave., Brooklyn.

Diamond shares this Kensington address with Allstate Administrators, Diamond HR Benefits LLC, Eagle Risk Management LLC, Eagle Risk Services LLC and at least one real estate entity, all of them—as indicated by documentation filed in both New York and Florida—linked to insurance claims adjuster Samuel Schlesinger and his partner, Malkie Mittelman.

Neither Katz Management nor anybody at 202 Caton Ave. responded to a request for comment.

The religious Jewish community often votes as a bloc, and its support has proved important in numerous local and state races. But this Thursday’s primary falls between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, leading several experts Crain’s consulted to predict that its turnout will be relatively low this year.

Cuomo and the state Democratic Party, which have endorsed James, apparently share this concern. The party last week sent a mailer to certain Jewish voters accusing the governor’s Democratic challenger, Cynthia Nixon, of anti-Semitism. The party—but not Cuomo—has since apologized for the literature, which provoked controversy on social media.

It’s not clear why a video portraying Trump in a negative light would resonate with the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, which largely voted for Trump in 2016 instead of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, a former New York senator and secretary of state.

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Dear Ms. James – A Shikse, a Shvartze, a Shabbos Goi and the Darling of Those Who Grace Our Pages

Dear Ms. James:

We have been following your donor pool and are more than a little bit disheartened.

Did you know that many of your ultra-Orthodox contributors, grace the pages of this website, not for their generosity “philanthropy” but for their lack of morally integrity, if not blatantly illegal activity?

Are you prepared to bend to the whim of those who are so generously financing your campaign as darling of the ultra-Orthodox? Or, are you morally challenged enough for it not to matter?

Are you prepared to sacrifice your moral integrity (and that of those around you); or do you not have any?

Are you prepared to live in an ethically shady area between what might be legal, (or not) and what is most definitely, while perhaps legal – questionably unethical (or not)? Or, do you already live there?

Did you know that the people with whom you sit, the men with their black hats, lengthy beards, black coats and pious looks, those who promise you generous support, will expect something in return? Or, have you already agreed to their terms and conditions?

Are you prepared for the day the Tallyman comes calling? Or, has the price for their support already been laid out in unadulterated detail?

Are you flattered that they have chosen you, a woman of color and a non-Jew to represent them as the future Attorney General of the State of New York? Or, have  you decided that you are willing to do whatever it takes?

Do you ask yourself, why you? Or are you naïve enough to believe that they have chosen you because of the best qualities you have to offer?

Or, worse still,  have you already given them your soul?

Perhaps we can set you straight…

You should not find the support you are being given flattering. It is not being offered to you because of your grades in school and how hard you have worked. It is not being offered to you because of where you come from, how much you struggled and how much your family struggled to get you where you are. 

You are not being showered with campaign contributions because the men from a culture you understand so little about, speaking a language you do not understand, believe you will be fair, impartial and ethically grounded. They believe you will be there’s for the asking. And they don’t bargain fairly.

These men believe you to be malleable and pliable. They believe you to either be of questionable moral character or so driven that you would sell your soul to the Devil himself to get to the AG’s seat.

And Ms. James, you have indeed sold your soul to the Devil.

It is very likely that your cast of unsavory donors have “dirt” (whether real or fabricated) buried in a shoebox somewhere waiting to come to light. When you are asked to return a favor that is less than comfortable for you it will not matter whether you were hiding something or not, all will be lost. These men don’t play nice in the sandbox. They will bury you, say the Kaddish and be done. Scratch that, you are not a Jew. Kaddish is unnecessary.

Being the Darling of the Orthodox Jewish donor pool that has so willingly fed your coffers is anything but a complement. It is an insult, both to your own hard work and to the struggles that define you (at least according to your interviews).

Should you win the election, we hope you will prove yourself to be better than those very donors give you credit for. You returned money from one such donor. We only wish you would return the rest.

We hope you will have a voice that can make your family and your community proud, one that will demand that laws are followed, reporting of rape and molestation is encouraged and the elderly are protected.

Your ultra-Orthodox donors want none of it. They want a cheap political whore.

For those of us watching your donations from the ultra-Orthodox grow, and knowing the dark places that money comes from, we hope you do not get elected. We hope for your sake that your integrity does not need to withstand that test. These men (and their wives) are their own kind of mafia.

If you are defined by the company you keep, we find the prospects of your election to be more than a little bit unsettling.