Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Frum Survivor Tells Her Story Publicly - For the First Time Jewish Community Watch

Nissan Miracles, Netanyahu and the Charedim: Ending a Two Year Estrangement by RaP

Guest post by RaP

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is a very interesting man. He is the only person to serve as prime minister of Israel four times. His name is also unique. The original family name was Milikowsky and his ancestors include famous Lithuanian rabbis. The Hebrew family name itself means "God Gave" or a "Giving God" as if somehow God has chosen this person to channel something important not just to the Jewish and Israeli people, but to the world at large. It was fascinating to watch recently as hundreds of non-Jewish political leaders in the United States looked up to him as a voice not just for Israel on the world stage but for the Western World as it is faces unprecedented challenges from an aggressive Islamic and Arab world bent on world conquest by means if a global Jihad. Only the famous World War Two British Prime Minister Winston Churchill has, as Netanyahu has, spoken three different times to a joint session of the US Congress.

Netanyahu is not a perfect man, far from it, he has gone through and survived many personal and political failures. It is not even clear how truly Jewishly religious he is. While he is always depicted as being respectful of Orthodox Jews and Judaism, in his personal and family life he certainly is not a model of what Torah-true Judaism requires of its adherents.

Nevertheless, Netanyahu has always shown a great affinity and insight into how to ally himself with the Charedi, Sefardic and Chasidic worlds, as his benefactor and mentor Prime Minister Menachem Begin did to his great success. When Netanyahu served as Israel's ambassador to the United Nations first gaining fame, he went to visit the last Lubavitcher Rebbe in Crown Heights. There are famous videos of him standing on line to talk with the late Lubavitcher Rebbe and no doubt like many other politicians he spent quality time there as well. When Netanyahu first ran for the prime ministership of Israel he was promoted and supported by the famous Lubavitch Gutnick family from Australia that poured money into his election coffers. The Charedim were always a trusted part of his various governments.

Yet, two years ago, something very bizarre happened when for the first time, Netanyahu was forced to cut loose his usual Charedi partners and allied himself with Lapid of the secular anti-Charedi Yesh Atid party. That union did not end well as Netanyahu found out the hard way when Lapid started to plot to oust Netanyahu, whereupon Netanyahu struck first and fired Lapid, bringing down his own coalition, and heading to new elections, that has now seen the picture come full-circle, with the Charedim being among the top promoters and allies of Netanyahu once more. No surprise really, because the rate of secularization and assimilation into a totally gentile and anti-religious mentality especially by the Labor and leftist parties has proceeded at a rapid pace. Charedim can only hope to find allies now in the right-wing camps.

So here we are, Erev Pesach 5775, with the most cooperative and mature allies of Netanyahu being the Charedi parties UTJ and SHAS acting very statesmanlike and patiently waiting for the new government to be formed and sworn in. This is coming as a very rude awakening and shock to the anti-Torah elements in all the parties. Within the Likud there are grumbles that they want more cabinet seats as everyone wants to be a VIP with a front-row seat in the Knesset, while in those parties that have already officially informed President Rivlin of Israel that they are with Netanyahu, amazingly each one wants to be a "Defense Minister" and a "Foreign Minister" and a "Finance Minister" seeing only themselves and forgetting that in a COALITION government ministries and important posts have to be given to EVERY party (yes, even to Charedim if they are part of the coalition) and that not everyone can get all the top posts, because the price for retaining allies in a coalition is to give them the just political rewards they have earned.

Naftali Bennett of the Bayit Yehudi party even still wants to be the "Minister of Religion/s" little realizing that his days as the "religious one" at Netanyahu's side are now history since others such as the members of UTJ and SHAS are in no mood for games and will treat what goes on under the rubric of a "Religious Affairs Ministry" as deadly serious business that cannot be left in the hands of amateurs and opportunists.

There is too much at stake such as removing the ridiculous "criminal" penalties for religious boys who are yeshiva students; stop interfering with the appointment of Dayanim and the running of Batei Din; stop the inroads of Reform; not meddling in the affairs of the Chief Rabbinate and its functions serving the people of Israel; allowing the full practice of Orthodox Judaism in the army and the Israeli workplace; finding ways to limit the pro-secular bias and activism of the Israeli Supreme Court; dealing with the over 300,000 émigrés from the former USSR who are not Halachic "Jews"; ensuring funding for Charedi Yeshivas and educational institutions that were mercilessly cut; that Charedi society receives the same social welfare benefits of all Israelis; removing and burying once and for all the absurd slogan of "shivyon banetel" ("sharing the burden") that demonizes Charedim; making secular society aware that they have as much an obligation to study Torah as they demand of religious Jews to "integrate" into Israeli society and much, much more. Yet so few seem to have the maturity to realize this as they jockey for the prestige of being top honchos with Volvos.

But one thing is obvious to all, and to their great credit the Charedi parties realize this all too well, that the time for playing games is over. There are too many dangers facing the Jews in Israel and worldwide. Not just in France and Russia, but in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and the United States which have all seen a steep rise in vicious anti-Semitism and massive efforts to destroy Israel economically through the "BDS" ("boycott, divestment, sanctions") campaigns, and the constant military threats through Hamas, Hezbola, ISIS and Iran and many other cut-throats plotting Israel's demise. There is just too much for the Jewish people to face up to in and outside of Israel, to play political games of "mine" that suits children, something that Israeli leaders must face up or the consequences could be severe.

Let us hope and pray that Netanyahu will continue to get and take the valuable guidance and support from the Charedi parties who are guided by their Torah sages and who will hopefully bring HKB"H's Blessings to all of Israel and the Jewish People and the World.

Wishing everyone a Chag Pesach Kosher VeSameach and may the Nissim ("miracles") of the month of Nissan continue and culminate with the ultimate Redemption, Amen!

How to Be a Better Spouse - Scientific American

Before you get married, everyone tells you that marriage takes work. I never really believed it until my husband and I landed in therapy after four years, two kids and one seismically stressful cross-country move. Turns out you really can't just flip the switch to autopilot and trust love to take care of itself; you have to devote actual time and effort to understanding and appreciating your spouse. Anyone who is married knows that's not always a simple feat. Here's what relationship research (and a touch of game theory) tells us about how to become a better spouse.

#1 Be nice as often as you can. A lot of modern relationship therapy is based on the research of John Gottman, a prolific psychologist famous for videotaping thousands of couples and dissecting their interactions into quantifiable data. One of his most concrete findings was that happier couples had a ratio of five positive interactions to every negative interaction. “That just leapt off the pages of the data analysis,” he says. It was true in very different types of relationships, including those in which the people were very independent and even distant or argumentative. These positive interactions don't have to be grand gestures: “A smile, a head nod, even just grunting to show you're listening to your partner—those are all positive,” Gottman says.

#2 Think about what your partner needs, even when fighting. [...] In 1950 mathematician John Nash proved there was another, better outcome: a solution in which the parties may have to compromise, but in the end all of them come out satisfied. (This now famous “Nash equilibrium” won him a Nobel Prize in 1994.) I'm reminded of a recent situation in my own marriage—my husband hated the house we bought a couple of years ago and wanted to move to a different neighborhood; I liked the house just fine and didn't want to go anywhere. After much discussion, we realized that what we both really want is to settle in somewhere for the long haul. If the current house is not a place my husband feels he can settle in, then I can't truly settle in either. So we're moving next month, for both our sakes! Find the Nash equilibrium in your conflict, and you'll both get your needs met.

#3 Just notice them. “People are always making attempts to get their partners' attention and interest,” Gottman says. In his research, he has found that couples who stay happy (at least during the first seven years) pick up on these cues for attention and give it 86 percent of the time. Pairs who ended up divorced did so 33 percent of the time. [...]

#4 Ignore the bad, praise the good. Observations of couples at home reveal that people who focus on the negative miss many of the positive things that their partners are doing. Happy spouses, however, ignore the annoyances and focus on the good. [...]

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Rabbi Schachter's letter regarding Tamar Epstein - 3 problematic issues

 Rabbi Schachter's letter     and the circulation of that letter by ORA and Rabbi Jeremy Stern, raise at least three sets of issues. One issue is whether the letter accurately reflects halacha. A seond issue is whether the letter is consistent with Rabbi Schachter's own publicly declared principles regarding gittin, as well as those of ORA and Rabbi Jeremy Stern. A third issue is whether Rabbi Schachter, ORA, and Rabbi Jeremy Stern, have violated Federal criminal law in writing and circulating this letter. This post addresses the first of these issues.

At the time Rabbi Schachter's letter was written, there was no finding against Aharon from any beis din whatsover. The matter of whether a get should be given in this case was jointly brought by both parties to the Baltimore Beis Din, which held several hearings with the participation of both parties. That Beis Din has never ruled that a get should be given. Tamar violated the Baltimore Beis Din's orders regarding dismissing the case from civil court, thereby causing severe damage to Aharon and the parties' child. The Av Beis Din of the Baltimore Beis Din was quoted at the time Rabbi Schachter wrote this letter stating that Aharon had not committed any wrongdoing, and that it was up to Tamar to bring the matter back to the Baltimore Beis Din.

Rabbi Daniel Eidensohn and Rabbi Dovid Eidensohn have written extensively on this blog on the general halachic paramaters of when pressure of various sorts may be brought against a husband to give a get. In addition to violating those general paramaters, the halachic basis of Rabbi Schachter's letter also rests both on the declarations of Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky, who has extremely close and longstanding personal and financial ties to Tamar's family and Rabbi Schachter's novel halachic principle derived from "sod Hashem lerauv." This principle is addressed in a document issued by Beis Din Shar Hamishpat, a translation of which is below. This excerpt appears in page 3 of the original document.

Rabbi Schachter’s letter: What Rabbi Schachter wrote concerning Rabbi’s Kamenetsky’s letter “there already is a sage who’s instructed” makes a mockery and disgrace of the entire Torah. With such a meaningless statement one can erase all the Torah’s prohibitions, and nullify all integrity and justice, and issue decisions according to whatever one likes in contradiction to the Torah. One should wonder whether Rabbi Schachter would follow so blindly after Rabbi Kamenetsky had he instructed him to abandon his family since “there is a sage who has instructed” based on “sod Hashem lerauv” [the secrets of G-d are revealed to those who fear Him, and therefore the statements of such people represent the word of G-d]? Presumably not… But when it comes at the expense of others he has become a great “believer.”

Also, Rabbi Schachter’s pronouncement of “sod Hashem lerauv”is against the poskim who required that psakim [decisions of Jewish Law] be based on actual sources. [See the Mishpatim Yisharim: A judge who says “So it appears to me” and does not base his decision on actual sources is a false judge, and his opinions are worthless….] The pronouncement of “sod Hashem lerauv” shows that Rabbi Kamenetsky’s baseless psak [decision] is a painful mockery and a spewing malignancy. This “sod”[secret] reveals to everyone that Rabbi Kamenetsky has close ties to, and received benefits from, the Epstein family.

Rabbi Schachter’s conclusion “unless it is proven in error” shows that he admits that even though a “sage has instructed already” and “sod Hashem lerauv” if Rabbi Kamenetsky’s decision is proven wrong then that decision is totally worthless. We have already proven in our decision that ta’ah bdevrei mishna [he erred on a fundamental matter] and did so twice: Rabbi Kamenetsky erred in regard to the divorce obligation that he decreed on the husband [even if this was just between him and husband without public embarrassment] that clearly contradicts all poskim as the rule is that if a purported obligation to divorce is imposed on the husband, where no such obligation properly exists, any resulting get would be invalid. And he even more clearly erred when he issued the derogatory letters and the “seruv” against Aharon to permit all to shed his blood, which is considered complete coercion that invalidates any resulting get in this case. And now he should show some integrity and heed his own words and admit in public that there was such an error.

Epstein Torture for Get Trial: Rav Herschel Schacter to testify for defense tomorrow

Nat Lewin has requested that Rav Herschel Schacter testify for the defense. Apparently that is scheduled for tomorrow Thursday March 26th.

Rav Schachter has previously indicated that the use of force to encourage the husband to give a get is permitted - even without a ruling of beis din. His recording where he mentioned the appropriateness of the use of violence have been removed from the YU website. See his letter at the end of this post.
 From the end of the following post

The violent attack against Aharon Friedman was at least partially the result of the incitement to violence against Aharon by various rabbis and organizations.  In this letter (see link below) that was publicized by ORA, Rabbi Hershel Schachter calls for Aharon to be physically beaten.  It is not yet known whether Rabbi Schachter was involved in hiring the thugs that attacked and attempted to kidnap Aharon on Tisha B'av.

One of the sources Rabbi Schachter cites in the letter against Aharon (Rabbi Akiva Eiger) is referenced in an audio lecture by Rabbi Schachter that is on Yeshiva University’s website: as grounds for beating someone over a get. (It is ironic that Rabbi Eiger writes about a husband who is leaving the city of the marital residence and that immediate action was necessary, whereas in this matter it was Epstein who left the city of marital residence with the child and abused the beis din process so that her abduction of the child would be treated as a fait accompli in court.)

In the letter, Rabbi Schachter says that Aharon's situation is the same as "a slave whose master provides for him a Canaanite maidservant, that until now it is has been permissible, and now it is forbidden." In the audio, he explains that in such a situation the slave, or, as he writes in the letter, Aharon, should be beaten. Furthermore, Rabbi Schachter specifically writes in the letter that any person can take the law into his own hands [to beat Aharon].

See in particular:
4:00 - beat someone over a get (citing Rabbi Akiva Eiger)
4:30 - beat a slave for wrongfully remaining married to maidservant, analogizing this case to the get case, and that anyone can take upon himself to take the law into their own hands to beat the person
9:10 - beat someone up over a get
10:20 - bludgeon someone to death over a get
13:33 - have right to beat someone over a get (citing Rabbi Akiva Eiger)
26:50 - beating for a get with a baseball bat

Rabbi Schachter’s letter can be found at Daas Torah here: 

The reference to Bava Kama 28a in the letter is referring to beating a former slave to prevent him from sinning. It is permitted to beat him - even without the authorization of a beis din
Come and hear: Whence is derived the ruling that in the case of a [Hebrew] bondman whose term of service, that had been extended by the boring of his ear,9 has been terminated by the arrival of the Jubilee year10 if it so happened that his master, while insisting upon him to leave, injured him by inflicting a wound upon him, there is yet exemption? We learn it from the words, And ye shall take no satisfaction for him that is . . . come again . . .11 implying that we should not adjudicate compensation for him that is determined to come again [as a servant].12 [Does not this prove that a man may take the law into his own hands for the protection of his interests?]7 We are dealing here with a case where the servant became suspected of intending to commit theft.13 But how is it that up to that time he did not commit any theft and just at that time14 he became suspected of intending to commit theft? Up to that time he had the fear of his master upon him, whereas from that time14 he is no more subject to his master's control.10 R. Nahman b. Isaac said: We are dealing with a bondman to whom his master assigned a Canaanite maidservant as wife:15 up to the expiration of the term this arrangement was lawful15 whereas from that time this becomes unlawful.16

Rav Eliashiv rejected the prenup because of Get Me'usa 

Look at the original article plus there are are links to other articles on the topic at the bottom of the original article

Rav Elyashev's strong objections to the prenup is brought down by him in קובץ תשובות ח”ב סקס”ג

עדויות תלמידי מרן הגרי"ש אלישיב זצ"ל
עדות הגרא"ד לוין שליט"א, ראב"ד בית הדין ירושלים לדיני ממונות ובירורי יוחסין, ובעהמ"ח פסקי דין ירושלים.
בס"ד. לכבוד הרב הגאון רבי פנחס שפירא שליט"א, נו"נ לגדולי ישראל בדורות האחרונים, אחדהש"ט.
מכיון שבקשתם ממני – ברוב ענוותנותכם – לחוות דעתי על מה שעומדים לאשר בחוקיהם לאפשר לכל הנישאים, גם אלו שנרשמים ברבנות, לחתום על הסכם קדם נישואים המחייב את האיש ואת האשה להתגרש כאשר יחליט אחד מהם לכך, ואם לא יחוייב בקנסות כספיים גדולים, שלפי דעתכם יש בזה חוק לעקירת הדת, שהרי מי שמגרש לאחר הסכם כזה נחשב למגרש בכפיה, שאם אין פס"ד של כפיה לגט אזי הגט הזה בטל לפי ההלכה, ובניה מאחר ממזרים!
לדאבון לבי, אני מכיר את הבעיה הזו גם בטרם נחקק חוק כזה בדיניהם, מאז ששימשתי כמנהל מחלקת הנישואין ברבנות ירושלים, בהוראת מרן הגרי"ש אלישיב זצ"ל, וכבר אז הגיעו אלי בני זוג להירשם לנישואין עם הסכמים כאלו ואחרים, ובהנחייתו של מרן זצ"ל לא הסכמתי לאשר אותם אם הם כללו סעיף של כפיה לגירושין שלא כדין.
קריאתכם וזעקתכם על סכנת הממזרות כתוצאה מהסכמים שיש בהם לגרום לגיטין מעושין שלא כדין, מובנת וברורה, וטוב עשיתם שהעליתם על הכתב את הדברים למען ילמדו תועים בינה.
וכבר יצא קול קורא לציבור היראים לדבר ה' מאת דייני בית דיננו שליט"א, שלפני שניגשים לשידוכין יש לברר אם אין ח"ו בעיית יוחסין כזו או אחרת, כי הבעיות רבות וחמורות!
לענ"ד, לאור המצב הקיים, בהם הרבנות הראשית כפופה לחוקיהם, לא נותר ליראי ה' אלא להתנתק ולנהל רישום נישואין וגירושין בבתי דין פרטיים שיבדקו תחילה את כשרות היוחסין כהלכה. כשתימצי לומר, אני קורא בזה להפרדת הדת מהמדינה על כל המשתמע מכך, עד כי יבא שילה ומלאה הארץ דעה.
תבורכו משמים, וכולנו תפילה לבנין ביהמ"ק בב"א.
המכבדכם ומעריככם, אברהם דוב לוין, אב בית דין ירושלים לדיני ממונות ולבירור יוחסין.

עדותו של הגר"נ איזנשטיין שליט"א, רב שכונת מעלות דפנה בירושלים, וראש ועד הרבנים העולמי לעני' גיורים.
לכ' הרב הגאון ר' פנחס שפירא שליט"א, אחדש"ה.
בנידון של מה שמכונה הסכם טרום נישואין שמעתי ממרן הגרי"ש זצוק"ל כמה וכמה פעמים התנגדות מוחלטת לכל סוגי הסכמים (חוץ מהסכם שכתוב בו אך ורק שהצדדים מתחייבים ללכת לבית דין רבני מסויים), שמלבד שלא הוה קידושין ע"פ רוח ישראל סבא לקדש אישה עם מחשבות כיצד להתגרש, אבל עוד יותר חמור שהתחיבויות כאלו עם סכומים של כסף מהווה אסמכתא (וגם לא יועיל קנין בבית דין חשוב ואין פה המקום להאריך בזה) ויגרום לגט מעושה, שידוע דעת מרן זצ"ל שעישוי ממון הוה עישוי (כמבואר בשו"ת תורת חיים), וחלילה יכול להרבות ממזרים בישראל. וע"ז בעה"ח נחום איזנשטיין

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Pushing the false idea of Get on Demand - Activists Plan ‘Gett-Refusal’ Protest in Crown Heights

A group of activists are planning a march in Crown Heights to raise “awareness and change for Jewish wives who are ‘chained.'” According to organizers, this march is in response to a so-called “crisis in our community.”

The march is being organized by Itta Werdiger-Roth online through a Facebook event page, and has around 200 people confirmed as ‘attending.’ Werdiger-Roth writes on the page that this event is targeted ‘against’ the Besht Shul and their Rabbi.

Much discussion has been generated in the form of Facebook comments arguing some of the merits pertaining to Gittin and Halacha – most of which were ceremoniously deleted, and even going as far as to ban and dismiss people from the group who disagreed with Werdiger-Roth’s opinions.

A poster named Yehoishophot Oliver wrote that he devoted many years to studying the Halachos of Gittin and Nisuin: “There is a vast Halachic literature discussing when a Beis Din, or anyone else, is allowed to require a get. It is simply untrue that Halacha can require a husband to divorce his wife simply because she demands so,” he wrote, directly contradicting one of the march’s main premises.

After deleting most of Oliver’s posts, Werdiger-Roth wrote “You are not welcome to comment any further on this thread or any of the pages associated with the POSITIVE change we are trying to make.” She later dismissively wrote that her thumb was getting tired deleting all his posts and that she will delete the rest later. [....]

Bitul Seruv of Aharon Friedman - Translation

 [originally posted 9/24/12]
The following is a translation of Rav Gestetner's bitul seruv concerning Aharon Friedman. It was shown to Rav Gestetner who approved the translation and its public distribution. Original Hebrew is here

Boston College Conference on Divorce :Changes in Orthodox Judaism

Public shaming as blood sport has to stop - Monica Lewinsky

Monday, March 23, 2015

Dr Noblitt - garbage science of the Mind Control of the Satanic abuse ring panic in America

In 1992, at the height of a social hysteria now commonly referred to as “the Satanic Panic”, Dr. Noblitt — believing he could disentangle the coercive subliminal sounds of secret demonic code within popular music, as well as decrypt the hidden meanings behind seemingly mundane occurrences — testified for the prosecution, as an “expert” in the field of “ritual abuse”, against one Fran and Dan Keller, a couple accused of engaging in child abuse at their home-based day care center. With no physical evidence to support the accusations (which included claims of graveyard rituals and medically undetected limb transplants) the couple was convicted on the most dubious of testimony. The children themselves — ignored when they claimed they were not abused at all (as happened even in testimony) — were led by coercive and incompetent interrogations to produce claims of abuse which are nearly impossible to credit [see footage and analysis of one such interrogation embedded below]. Noblitt’s own fantastical testimony, of course, was no more credible than Noblitt himself.

21 years later, the Kellers still sit in prison, their case on appeal.

Dr. Evan Harrington, Associate Professor at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, wrote the below letter [following the embedded videos] — on behalf of the Kellers’ recent appeal — to the 14th District Court in Travis County, Texas, outlining the absurdities, shoddy methods, and scientific ignorance demonstrated by Dr. Randy Noblitt, concluding, “His opinions have been scientifically discredited, and are not shared by the vast majority of clinicians and researchers within the field of psychology.” The letter, bearing signatures of support from various esteemed social and behavioral scientists, reveals a disturbing portrait of Dr. Noblitt as a delusional man obstinately oblivious to any and all facts that serve to disconfirm his paranoid theories. The letter is a damning indictment against the institutions that would recognize such a clearly problematic character for an “expert”. The letter further raises grave doubts regarding the credibility of Alliant University, where Dr. Noblitt serves on faculty, still purveying the irrational narrative of a long discredited, thoroughly debunked hysteria.