Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Poster child for OTD - allegedly hatched murder plot! Cops: Ramapo podiatrist, girlfriend plotted to kill wife

As ex-chasidic mom fights for her kids, Rockland judge’s ruling favors husband amid abuse allegations.  
When a chasidic husband and wife in the midst of a bitter custody battle want to go their own very separate ways, what’s in the “best interest” of their three young children who have only known the religious and cultural cocoon of upstate Monsey?
That question, a thorny one even when the parents’ breakup is amicable, takes on added emotional freight in the case of Kelly Gribeluk (Myzner) vs. Guillermo (Moshe) Gribeluk, the couple that until recently shared a home in the Satmar enclave. There are allegations that the father is physically, and perhaps sexually, abusing the children. And there is the mother’s vow, relayed in court documents, to take the three boys away from the only religious community they have known and instead raise them in a secular Jewish environment. 
Add to that allegations that the father has a hair-trigger temper and flies into fits of rage, and that the mother was carrying on an affair with her husband’s 19-year-old nephew and you have a vivid portrait of a family coming apart at the seams. Then consider the fact that the family court judge hearing the case has received sizeable campaign contributions from Rockland’s powerful Orthodox community, and the story becomes that much more dizzying. [...]


Cops: Ramapo podiatrist, girlfriend plotted to kill wife

A podiatrist and his girlfriend plotted to kill his wife and have two insurance investigators looking into his business beaten up, town police said Tuesday.

Police arrested Ira Bernstein, 41, and Kelly Myzner Gribeluk, 36, Monday night following a month-long investigation they said was sparked when the person the couple reached out to about killing Bernstein's wife initially reported the plot to the Spring Valley police.

Ramapo Detective Lt. Mark Emma said Bernstein and Gribeluk thought the man they approached had the connections they needed. He called the man "an exceptional citizen" for reporting what happened.

"This person had some sort of relationship with one of them," Emma said. "They asked him to cause injury to Bernstein's wife to result in her death. They made an assumption he could help them. He doesn't do those things."

Rockland District Attorney Thomas Zugible, called the plot "a despicable plan to take the life of a wife and mother essentially for financial gain." [...]

Supreme Court: Retry shopkeepers convicted of sexual assault

The Supreme Court on Monday ordered a retrial for two Jaffa flea market shopkeepers convicted of sexually assaulting a 25-year-old American tourist three years ago.

The three-justice panel of Yoram Danziger, Neal Hendel and Uri Shoham ruled that since only one of the three Tel Aviv District Court judges who convicted the shop owners had heard the tourist’s testimony, it had been illegal for them to render a verdict.

In June 2013, the woman was sexually assaulted at a store in the flea market by Avraham Shamian, 39, and Shimon Rachmani, 44. In April 2015, Shamian, of Ra’anana, was sentenced to four and a half years in prison, while Rachmani, of Holon, was given eight months. Their sentence was frozen pending an appeal.

According to the indictment, the woman came to the flea market on a Monday afternoon – when the area is crowded with shoppers – and entered a store. She chose a ring, the indictment said, and gave Shamian NIS 200. The storekeeper refused to give her change, and suggested she buy more jewelry.

Next, noted the indictment, the owner brought her into a corner of the store and assaulted her, while threatening her. Shamian then told the tourist he was leaving briefly, and that if she tried to flee it would be “suicide” for her.

Afraid to leave, she remained. Upon his return, Shamian again raped and sexually assaulted her, the indictment stated. [...]

Lawsuit: New Haven Rabbi Sexually Assaulted Teen

In a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday, a New Jersey man accuses a prominent rabbi from New Haven of repeatedly sexually assaulting him when he was a teenager.

The target of the allegation is Rabbi Daniel Greer, a well-known member of the Orthodox Jewish community in New Haven and a former member of the city's board of police commissioners and governor's commission on school choice. The suit was filed electronically in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport Tuesday morning, a court clerk said.

The suit names as co-defendants two schools run by the rabbi, Yeshiva of New Haven, Inc. and The Gan School, Inc. It accused the schools of "allowing the violent sexual abuse to continue unabated for years."

It alleges that Greer sexually abused another male student as well. [...]

William Ward, Greer's attorney, said he hadn't seen the lawsuit and couldn't address the specific allegations. But he questioned the plaintiff's motives and the delay in bringing forward his allegations.

"It only takes a moment to make allegations with despicable indifference to the consequences of the damage they would cause to my client, to his family and to his reputation that he spent a lifetime building in this community. This is a difficult time for my client and his family, but I would remind the public to ask for evidence before rushing to judgment."

"Ask yourself why [the plaintiff] would wait 14 years. Ask yourself why [the plaintiff] well into his adulthood, repeatedly honored the man he accuses." He has repeatedly said the rabbi helped him personally in several ways, Ward said.

"Ask yourself why [the plaintiff] himself an Orthodox Jew, would not seek redress in the form of a rabbinical arbitration court. Finally, ask yourself why [the plaintiff's] first stop was his lawyer's office to seek money." [...]

Statutory joint custody - Is it a good idea?

In many states, the default custody arrangement is 50/50 physical and legal custody. Both parents have equal time and input with the children, and the children thrive with two active, fully involved, loving parents. The children used to live with both parents in one house all the time before the divorce, and now after the divorce they continue to live with both parents half and half. It minimizes the trauma of the divorce on the children, and makes the divorce easier and less stressful.

Unfortunately, New York state is still locked on some old middle-age belief, that the default custody should be with the mother. This is based on the belief that the mother stays home all day and is always available to care for the children, and the father works out of the home from morning till night and is unavailable to care for the children. In modern age, the same percentage of men and women work out of home, and the same percentage work from home or don't work. Fathers and mothers are both available at home, or both use babysitters the same way.

The current belief and practice in New York State causes the situation that one parent receives full custody and the other parent is thrown out of the children's life, and is only allowed some visits as a stranger. This causes tremendous emotional damage to the children. Their life is shattered, they lost a parent; and whether he/she is allowed visits or not, it will never be the same again.

This situation in New York State also adds so much stress to the divorce process, because every parent has to fight for his life. People spend millions for attorneys, use false allegations, go to appellate court, and engage in constant litigation. The court is obligated to provide 18B attorneys, forensic experts, and the judges must spend thousands of hours on each case, and all this costs the state billions of dollars, on the tax-payer's expense.

With one simple modification of the law, everything will fall into place. Like many states already ruled, the default law should be: 50/50 physical and legal custody to both parents. This will make the children's life happy and calm. This will also save billions of dollars for the state. If a parent wishes to take away the other parent's rights, he/she will be obligated to pay for the forensic expert and for the other parent's lawyer. This will minimize the stress and will eliminate false allegations.  

My view is that such an arrangement is ideal - but that there are many families where it is not a good idea. I found an article on Huffington Post which articulates my feelings on the matter. In addition it is conceivable that such a law would increase false allegations in many cases against a spouse to counter the reality of joint custody. I would prefer a preference for joint custody as the starting point - but leave it up to the court to decide whether it is appropriate in each case.

Equal Child Custody Revisited

Several months ago I submitted a blog entitled “Why Equal Child Custody Should Not Be Presumed.” It is accessible on the Huffington Post Divorce Website in permanent archives. In that blog I stated that one size does not fit all and that I believed the statutory policy requiring 50/50 equal custody should not be the law.

I have received some comments where people have been very upset over my position.

In the state of Michigan where I practice there have been proposals in the legislature to have the statutory presumption for joint, equal, physical custody. The law has not been passed as of this date.

The general view of the attorneys who specialize in family law is that one size does not fit all. The view is that custody and parenting time should be decided on a case by case basis without a mandate or rebuttable presumption.

There clearly is a trend in Michigan and elsewhere towards a sharing of custodial arrangements.

There is also a trend to get away from some of the arguments over semantics. In Michigan there is a presumption favoring joint legal custody, which means that in almost every case the parents are to share in any major decision making consistent with the best interests of their children. This covers medical issues, school related issues, religious issues, and extracurricular activities by way of example.

I also feel that we are too hung up on semantics. A lot of battles are over physical custody. In many of my cases I don’t even use the terms physical custody, whether it is sole physical, primary physical, or joint physical. We will simply say that there is to be joint legal custody with a shared decision making arrangement and then set forth a parenting time schedule which is what visitation is called for the simple reason that both parents are parenting when they are with the children and not visiting. [...]

The angry responses that I have received to the blog were that attorneys just want to litigate and that the clients are being hurt. The truth of the matter is that where two people can agree then a shared custodial arrangement is clearly going to work and is clearly in the best interests of the minor children.

Let’s look at the scenario where we have a high conflict divorce where each parent cannot agree on anything. One will say it is raining, the other will say it is not. One parent will say it is midnight; the other will say it is morning. I have had many cases like this and even if there were a presumption by statute favoring joint physical custody, these are the cases where the litigation would continue. These are the cases where there would not necessarily be joint physical custody. Do I believe that joint physical custody makes sense? Do I believe that there should be a sharing of the children as much as possible? Absolutely [...]

On the other hand, I believe that there are cases where it just will not work. I have found over the years, that in most cases where parents get along and there is not high conflict, there can be a very easy relationship where the children, especially teenage children, can go back and forth between each home. This works, and makes sense.

On the other hand, in most cases where there is a high conflict, whether because of anger, bitterness, domestic violence, abuse, or perhaps mental illness, these are the situations where every detail has to be spelled out. Every day has to be spelled out; the hours of pick up and drop off have to be spelled out. These are the cases where joint physical custody too often will not work. Where the parents cannot communicate at all, everything has to be detailed so there is no room for argument. [...]

Although I may be antagonizing some people I stick to the views of my prior blog. While I believe joint physical custody makes sense in the majority of cases, it does not make sense in every case. I do not believe that it should be statutorily mandated. Every case is different. The key again is not what is best for the parent; it is what is in the best interests of the children. Most states have best interests of the child or children in their custody statutes and this is what is to be followed.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Was the Holocaust caused by specific sins? A disagreement between Rav Yitzchok Hutner vs Rav Avigdor Miller


The following quotes are taken from a paper written by R Gamliel Shmalo concerning Rav Hutner's view of the Holocaust. The objections that were raised in comments in a previous post regarding Rav Miller's views are similar to those that Rav Hutner raises against Rav Miller's view. He objects to anyone speaking with certainty as if he were a prophet or to say that the Holocaust was a kindness that was deserved by the sins of the Jewish people. In contrast Rav Hutner specifically rejects such an explanation or even the ability to know the truth of such allegations and claims that the Holocaust was part of the suffering of Exile and not because of specific sins. Furthermore Rav Hutner viewed the horrible events as being nothing inherently different than the suffering of the past and in fact described events as Churban of Europe [similar to the Churban of the Beis HaMikdash] rather than utilize the new word Holocaust.

The last paragraph contains unconfirmed conjecture from the paper as to the possible consequences of the disagreement

Rav Avigdor Miller (Rejoice of Youth Page 350-351) …because so many European Jews fell into the error of admiring and emulating the Germans, G-d allowed the Germans to do their utmost to show who they really are.. Those Jews who had begun to ignore the Soul, and in imitation of the gentiles devoted their efforts solely to the needs of the body, were made to see how their efforts ended in. the worst ruination of Jewish bodies in history ... Because so many imitated the gentiles and refused to rest on the Seventh Day., they were forced to work seven days a week at_ killing labor. Because they sent their children to non-Jewish or .secular schools and no longer gave their children to the Torah-study, the Nazis were allowed to destroy Jewish children entirely. Because, for the first time in Jewish history, women ceased to cover their hair, tbe Germans shaved them bald in the death camps. Because the virtues of chaste dress and behavior were diminished in imitation of tile gentiles, they were marched naked to the gas chambers, and Jewish women were subjected to every barbarous indecency before being killed., Because they had so revered the physicians, especially the German specialists, they were subjected to the malicious experiments and torments which the German physicians impose upon them, Because they forsook the laws of the Torah, they were subjected to the Nuremberg Laws which deprived them of all the rights which other men enjoyed…. 

Rav Yitzchak Hutner (taken from "Interpreters of Judaism in the  Late Twentieth Century" Prof. S. Schwarzchild and  R Matis Greenblatt's "Rabbi Yitzchak Hutner" in Jewish Action  Summer 2001)

The first of these of these epochal changes involves the shift from generations of gentile mistreatment of Jews, which, if unwelcome, was nevertheless expected and indeed announced by our oppressors - to an era where promises of equality were made and then broken, rights were granted and then revoked, benevolence was anticipated, only to be crushed by cruel malevolence. 

The end-result of this period for the Jewish psyche was a significant - .. indeed, crucial - one. From trust in the gentile world, the Jewish nation was cruelly brought to a repudiation of that trust In a relatively short historical period, disappointment in the non-Jewish world was deeply imprinted upon the Jewish soul.
It should be needless to say at this point that since the churban of European Jewry was a tochacha phenomenon, an enactment of the admonishment and rebuke which Kial Yisroel carries upon its shoulders as an integral part of being the Am Hanivchar - G-d's chosen ones - we have no right to interpret these events as any kind of specific punishment for specific sins. The tochacha is a built-in aspect of the character of Kial Yisroel until Moshiach comes and is visited upon Kial Yisroel at the Creator's will and for reasons known and comprehensible only to Him. One would have to be a נביא or תנא (a prophet or a Talmudic sage), to claim knowledge of the specific reasons for what befell us; anyone on a lesser plane claiming to do so tramples in vain upon the bodies of the kedoshim who died 'על קידוש ה' and misuses the power to interpret and understand Jewish history.

כנראה ,ראש ישיבה חיים ברלין (רב הוטנר) והמשגיח הרוחני שלה (רב אביגדור מילד) היו מחולקים בנושא" .רב מילד הביא את ספרו הנ"ל לדפוס נשבת 1962 והוא יצא לאור בפועל בשנת 1963  ; מעניין שהרב מילד עזב את הישיבה בשנת 1964 - עובדה האומרת דרשני. יש בזקרם לשייר שמבחינתו של הרב הוטנר, רב מילר הקצין · את השיטה המסורתית עד נקודת שבירת הכלים. רב הוטנר איבד בשואה קרובי משפחה שהיה בעיניו צדיקים וקדושים: מסופר בחוג הישיבה 68 שדודו היה כה רגיש לכבוד התורה שהוא מת מהתקף לב כשהוא ראה חייל נאצי יורק על ספר התורה. לא ייתכן להסביר את מיתתם של ''קדושים" האלו באופן כל כך גס, ועל כן הרב הוטנר חיפש פשר חילופי . קשה להוכיח מה היו מניעיו של הרב הוטנר; מה שברור הוא שבעולם הישיבות, הגישה שלו הייתה 
יוצאת מן הכלל, אם כי היו תקדימים