Friday, October 31, 2014

The Torah Position Regarding the Case of Meir Kin and the Travesty Wrought by ORA

By Yomin Postelnik
As religious Jews, we believe that Torah, the word of Hashem, contains the ultimate morality.  Political fads come and go, and most of them are seen in the end to be harmful. 

The case of Meir Kin is one such example.  He followed Torah law and, just as importantly, was willing to settle fairly, at one time offering a choice of four Rabbinical Courts in which to present his divorce case.  Those who trashed him did not follow Torah and, just as importantly, sought to wreak havoc for their own monetary and political gain - mostly at the expense of the woman who they feigned caring for. 
As Torah Jews, we do not have the right to trash people over disagreements, especially if they are following Torah law. As sensible people, we do not trash people in middle of divorces. Indeed, the actions of the activists have not only hurt Meir and his child, but have also caused a standstill that hurts the woman who the activists supposedly sought to help.
Get ORA (a criminal organization that self-styles itself the Organization for the Resolution of Agunot) is known as a group that has wreaked havoc in almost every divorce case that it has touched, often taking easy to resolve cases and making them impossible to resolve, all the while collecting money on behalf of their "work."  In other cases, they've gotten involved in custody battles, in clear violation of Jewish law.  Most despicably, they often seek to procure divorces in cases in which the husband seeks to save the marriage and insists on counseling or on an evaluation for postpartum anxiety, even when medical or therapeutic experts have called for same. 
Get ORA has also been involved in several violent acts and has been the subject of at least two documented police reports.  Their website boasts of having caused false arrests.  They work in tandem with an activist group masquerading as a Rabbinical Court that calls themselves the "Beth Din of America." Their leader, Hershel Schachter of Yeshiva University (a place where the open immorality of university campuses is all but encouraged and never stopped, yet which seeks to disguise itself as a religious institution), has encouraged despicable acts of violence and has been recorded doing so. He cares as much for Torah law as did Saddam Hussein in his time. And he cares almost as much for the wellbeing of the women whom he purportedly seeks to help.
In the Kin case, Meir Kin had offered 4 Rabbinical Courts that were acceptable at the getgo. All were refused as his wife received advice from GetORA and self serving rabbis from the Rabbinical Council of California.  This Council's members were excommunicated by a Monsey Rabbinical Court for their actions and then proceeded to issue a retaliatory "contempt" ruling from an ad hoc court that never before existed.  At no time did they have any jurisdiction in the case.  Obviously, such actions, and the trumpeting of such actions by violent activist groups like ORA, are shameful and represent a threat to Judaism. 
What's even more shameful is the human aspect.  These self-aggrandizers claim to be helping his wife.  They're doing no such thing.  Every divorce mediator knows to settle things down before there can be any negotiation.  Any divorce lawyer who cares for his or her client's long-term interests does the same thing.  Not so Get ORA.  Instead of working with any one of the four highly respected rabbinical courts that Meir Kin had agreed to, they wrought havoc in the case and made sure that it could not be resolved for years, all the while portraying themselves as great warriors who needed money to further harm the woman who they purportedly wished to save. 

Divorce cases are easy to resolve when people who care about both parties seek to calm things down.  Of course, people who truly care about both parties usually try to save the marriage, as did all sages and rabbis throughout all times.  Our tradition from Aharon HaKohen (Moses' brother Aaron) on, and replete throughout the Talmud, stresses the primary importance of saving marriages over all.  Sure, sages sought to help "agunos," women whose husbands were lost, or who had abandoned them.  Using this term in the full and traditional sense to describe someone who's lashing out at her husband and who refuses to adjudicate in a proper rabbinical court, or who refuses counseling sessions (which even non-Jewish courts often order absent a settlement agreement), is to rewrite the Torah.  We can't do that. 
Along those lines, when a Jew wishes to know what Hashem's ultimate morality dictates, he or she consults halacha.  Jewish law treats both parties fairly and does not sacrifice either of their rights.  The Shulchan Aruch, in Even HaEzer Section 154 outlines the cases in which some pressure may be applied by a religious court in a divorce.  Ninety five percent of cases in which activist rabbis, who openly admit that they care little for what the Shulchan Aruch says on the matter, don't fall into this category.  This isn't some side point in Jewish law.  The same Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 134 and 77) invalidate gittin (bills of divorce) that do not fall under the categories outlined in section 154.
Those who have found a new "morality" for themselves by falsely pitting men against women, attempting to deny fathers and mothers the rights to seek custody, encouraging divorce in all cases while preventing counseling, advising people to "do the get" first and then work on it later as a way of "ensuring" rights (and rendering marriage meaningless in the process, similar to how the baby killing crowd encourage abortion as some kind of perverse "right," with not totally unsimilar consequences for many of the children involved), have indeed supplanted Judaism's inherent goodness with their own wreckage.  But make no mistake, there's nothing Jewish about it.
And they care for no one.  Just ask Lonna Kin.  A decent person could have sat down with both parties.  Even people who are only interested in her side should have known better than to do everything in the world to make resolution for both impossible, all the while masquerading as her concerned friends who only aggravated the situation while collecting money for their continued destructive efforts.  They are true enemies of her, of the Torah and of Hashem, unless they are too dimwitted to see the clear effects of their actions. 
As to Meir Kin, he's done nothing against Jewish law.  In general it's always important to try to save the marriage (which today can also involve the necessity of ignoring screaming loons who care for no one and who have sacrificed many couples in the name of a very irreligious cause), and then, if that fails, to resolve these things. Yet at the same time, a father who poses no danger has a right to meaningful custody.  What is against Jewish law, and what has only prolonged this case and made settlement all but impossible, is embarassing him or humiliating him.  His case has nothing to do with those mentioned in Shulchan Aruch (EH 154) and listening to a retaliatory siruv (contempt finding) from a court that does not exist makes those who heed it guilty of sin and purveyors of nothing good for anyone. 

As Rabbi Avrohom S. Y. Gestetner (a dayan - qualified religious judge - who sees fighting the tactics of the get activists, and their attempts to change halacha, a core mission of his) wrote to a group of rabbis who sought to exact a get based on the woman's demands, against the opinion of poskim (true arbiters of Jewish law) and those of medically licensed experts (loose rendition): The Torah is no one's private toy with which to play games with and the sin of embarrassing one's fellow applies fully in such cases.  I'd personally add to his words that their tactics make no sense unless they purposely want to wreak havoc with the lives of all parties involved.

If the guidelines of Jewish law would be followed, far fewer divorces would happen and those that would would have been worked on to a point where coparenting is possible.  Meir Kin's case is a travesty and according to clearly stated Jewish law, and backed by a rabbinical court and many leading rabbis (not to mention clearly stated Jewish law), it is an absolute sin to participate in it.  From a standpoint of common sense, doing so only harms both parties, as is usually the case when one confuses Hashem's holy commandments that lead to peace with political posturing that has only lead to years of harm.  Anyone who can speak out against the self-aggrandizing activist havoc wreakers should be blessed, by both parties, as well as by G-d Almighty.   

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Rabbi Sholom Shuchat is Deserving of Mercy

By Yomin Postelnik

Judaism and human decency demand approaching every situation and treating every person with the facts that pertain to that individual.  The common era mentality of lumping all members of a certain cause or situation into one group is a false, cruel and inhumane position.

One can and should be against all that Mendel Epstein stands for.  One should recognize that meting out severe punishment on a young scribe who had no intentions of beating anyone up, and who almost definitely had his sympathies taken advantage of, not only does nothing to stop the likes of Epstein, but that such overreaction endangers all efforts to shed light on the wrongs of those who are like Epstein.  Going overly harsh on the wrong person endangers the efforts of all who are calmly and determinedly, but peacefully, trying to shed light on the cruelty and sacrilege of many activists, and who are trying to promote sane solutions, countering dangerously misguided activism and trying to save marriages or procure gittin (bills of divorce) when absolutely needed, without fanfare.

Rabbi Dovid Eidensohn has started a "Shalom Bayis Beis Din" for this task.  He works one on one with couples and has never had a case in which both parties came to him left unresolved.  Projects like his are receiving widespread support, and are often opposed by those who see Epstein as their hero.  Persecuting Shuchat, a well meaning person who was called by Epstein to officiate as a scribe, will backfire on any local efforts to return people's hearts and minds to true Torah based solutions.

There are travesties committed by those who falsely wrap themselves in the flag of Torah.  As one recent poster to a site that is supportive of Eidensohn's heroic efforts surmised, people like Mendel Epstein (who was arrested for torturing individuals in order to obtain Jewish bills of divorce, bills that have been ruled invalid by leading rabbis and as is stated clearly in Shulchan Aruch, the Code of Jewish Law), are seeking to overturn thousands of years of Jewish religious law and tradition.  They make a mockery of Jewish law, cause invalid second marriages and destroy the core values of Judaism, those of human decency and of the sanctity of marriage.

However, proportion and perspective are necessary, and charging someone who had nothing to do with planning or administering Epstein's beat ups doesn't pass the muster of fairness.  In fact, such overkill in prosecution only serves to prevent meaningful societal change and harms moderate efforts to advance Torah law over harmful and fanatical misguided activism.  Such overkill also harms all efforts to counter the vicious extremism of the likes of Epstein on a community and societal level.

There are many in the religious community who are sickened by the get activists when they fight against such things as marriage counseling as a prerequisite to most divorces and who know that Jewish law seeks to prevent, not perpetuate divorce.  There are people who are seeking to go back to the one on one solutions that saved hundreds of marriages, and that made gittin (religious bills of divorce) rare, but resolved without fuss when all else failed.  Arresting people who had little to do with the worst excesses of the likes of Epstein detract from efforts to bring mainstream Judaism back to halacha and to protect marriage.

I'm writing this piece, and this call for leniency and for no incarceration of Shuchat, as someone who is against anything who has to do with any forced gittin (Jewish divorces) except in those rare and proven cases mandated by Shulchan Aruch.  Even in such cases, Epstein's depraved tactics are not what Jewish law prescribes. One can readily see how many organizations which claim to help those who they deem to be agunos have turned case after case upside down, including cases that were very easy to resolve, for nothing more than their own self-promotion and glorification.  They've pushed for gittin in cases where both sides were ambivalent about divorce.  They've pushed for gittin after recent births, when postpartum professionals expressed objection to divorce without diagnosis and counseling.  Such acts are shameful, violate Jewish law and demonstrate the worst excesses of screaming-lunatic-activism.

One may be against the likes of Mendel Epstein or of the Marketing Director of the OU, the “Orthodox Union”, (who's now all but publicly advocating for false arrests in a series of hate-filled columns that pervert and make a mockery of the Code of Jewish Law) with every part of their being. But one should recognize that arresting the scribe who went along for the ride, was probably sold a false story to play on his sympathies, and who earned nothing for his services, is unjust and unfair to him as a human being.  In this case, the community should and must do whatever it can to support him.

Torah giants like Rabbi Yosef Sholom Elyashiv of blessed memory and today's Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch have fought time and time again against coerced gittin except in circumstances outlined in Shulchan Aruch, the Code of Jewish Law (EH 154).  Organizations that trumpeted Epstein as a hero before his arrest have engaged in other disreputable conduct and have shown not only their contempt for halacha, but also for the women who they supposedly advocate for.  They have taken many cases that were easy to resolve and turned them upside down for their own self-glorification or promotion. They've taken cases where couples were wavering on divorce and encouraged gittin at all costs.  Source after source shows that people who do this have no portion in Olam Haboh (the World to Come).

This is what necessitates organizations like Rabbi Dovid Eidensohn's.  The need to promote effective solutions is what makes going after well meaning people like Shuchat harmful, aside from the fact that he deserves better.

Justice can only stand when there is good judgment.  It's easy to paint everyone with the same brush.  Doing so is a travesty on a personal level and cruelty has repercussions far beyond the courtroom.  Lack of mercy in this case also poses a dangerous threat to decent efforts to counter this terrible problem and to promote truly beneficial and effective solutions.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Defamation of Aharon Friedman is More Than a Miscarriage of Justice

By Yomin Postelnik

Some people took issue statement of mine, that there's a “cheskas kashrus” (a warranted presumption of factual innocence) on anyone who's been attacked by internet blogs. Turning to the internet in a divorce is shameful, it shows callous disregard for the kids, as is causing false arrest, as is arranging a beat up of one's spouse. All these and more are done by ORA, the Organization for the Resolution of “Agunot” and this says more about them than it does about any one of their targets.

The question is: was it only their tactics that are despicable? The answer is usually that outrageous tactics stem from wrongheaded people with terrible ideas. The case is no exception; it's a prime example.

Facts vs Lies:

ORA claims that they do not attack anyone without the sanctioning of a Beis Din (rabbinical court). The Friedman case showed this to be another of their boldfaced lies. The problem for them was that no reputable Beis Din would find Aharon Friedman in contempt. For a long time, even disreputable ones refused to intervene. This was because it was Aharon Friedman who had sought resolution in a proper rabbinical court from the start. The other side had pulled out in middle. ORA ignored these facts, and all religious law and moral decency in the process, took the streets (after being paid very well to do so), harassed his employer and took part in the filing of legal actions against him that violates all tenets of Jewish Law.

It should be noted some of ORA's shameful actions adversely affected people who are in a position to be of assistance to Israel. The Modern-Orthodox leadership has claimed to be Israel's strongest supporters. Many have long noted that Netanyahu and most right thinking Israelis view the Modern-Orthodox leadership and Yeshiva University as political fanatics who give Israel a bad name. Regular Orthodox people like Aharon Friedman put their passion in religion and not in fanning political flames. They, like secular Israelis who care about basic security, support a strong defense and abhor harmful rhetoric. The callousness of the Modern-Orthodox leadership in this area is as harmful as their war against marriage and parental rights.

Thugs Masquerading as Activists and (Modern-Orthodox) Rabbis:

To put this in perspective, ORA is an organization that was founded and effectively run by Hershel Schachter, a dean at Yeshiva University who has called for Netanyahu's assassination, as well as that of Olmert before him, may Hashem protect both. Where marriage is concerned, they've taken divorce cases that were very easy resolve and wrought havoc for solely the sake of wreaking havoc and furthering their own self promotion. In other cases, where reconciliation was sought, they've done everything to prevent same. Like many activists, thumping their own chests and taking to the streets instead of encouraging dialogue, is a natural progression of their self-serving ways.

Women who have gone to them, and have been advised by the great luminaries who run the joint to arrange beat ups, seek false arrest (using either mandatory arrest laws or near-frivolous contempt motions), invariably regret ever having done so. After the anger has subsided, the divorcing spouse realizes that all ORA has accomplished is to drag their own name through the mud by way of association, as well as possibly irreparably harm their kids.

ORA's tactics have been used in cases where nothing has been sought other than counseling and a postpartum evaluation. Their activism has been used in cases where nothing more than fair access to children has been insisted upon. The bottom line is that in the overwhelming majority of cases that ORA sees fit to thrust the full force of their army of chicken-hawks out into the streets, no one with any moral compass or knowledge of Jewish religious law would ever touch with a ten foot poll, other than perhaps taking the other side. In cases where some kind of intervention is needed, their insane tactics only work to preclude resolution.

ORA and the Modern-Orthodox leadership seek to portray themselves as champions of women's rights. Like the crazed lunatics who cheer on abortion as an inalienable right, they march in lock step saying that all men must immediately grant a get to wife upon demand. The fact is, however, that in case after case, ORA has done everything possible to prevent any type of amicable resolution – there's no money or media attention in that. Just like the woman who chooses abortion in her teens or her twenties, regrets having done so all the way into her 60s and beyond, those who avail themselves of ORA regret the insanity wrought upon themselves for the rest of their lives.

Torah Judaism is compassionate. When men stopped being the automatic gatekeepers of marriage, over a thousand years ago, Rabbeinu Gershom immediately instituted a decree that prevented a man from divorcing his wife if she did not want one. This was done “to give women the same rights as This was before the Shulchan Aruch was written Contrary to ORA's claims, no rabbi today has the write to supersede Jewish Law and those who do end up espousing positions that are the antithesis of morality. Case in point, what they did to Aharon Friedman.

There are other examples. Here's a snippet of one of their shameful press releases, one snippet that points to a mountain of immorality:

"Chani called ORA in July of 2007, and we pursued an aggressive strategy to convince him to give the get. Using outside-the-box tactics, and in partnership with community lay-leaders, attorneys, and rabbis, ORA never gave up on Chani. Due to our coordination, her ex-husband served nine months in jail for withholding the get. However, he was eventually bailed out, and persisted in his recalcitrance. Eventually, we were able to get him incarcerated once again. This time, he had had enough. Chani is finally, finally free."

Jew law stipulates that someone who does this is a “moser,” an unwarranted informer. Furthermore, the gittin (religious divorces) that they supposedly procure are clearly invalid according to clearly stated Shulchan Aruch, the book of Jewish religious law (see Ever HaEzer 154). If Shulchan Aruch isn't enough, renown Rabbi Yosef Sholom Elyashiv OBM ruled over and over again that such gittin are invalid, as does renown posek Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky Shlita.

But at least ORA's criminals aren't violent, right? Wrong:

ORA's founder, Hershel Schachter, a “Yeshiva” University “rabbi” who has called for the assassination of two Israeli Prime Ministers, Heaven forfend, also openly incited violence against Aharon Friedman, without any basis in halacha or morality. His perversions of Torah, especially in this case, were widely decried in proper Orthodox circles, except by those who were too shamefully timid to speak out.

Invalid Gittin:

It would be wrong not to set the record straight in another regard. Many Litvisher Roshei Yeshiva who should know better have bent over backwards to compromise with the Modern-Orthodox. To do so is to compromise Judaism.

I've had conversations with HaRav HaGaon Dovid Eidensohn, who was ordained as a religious judge by Rabbi Moshe Feinstein ZTL and others, in which he's expressed tremendous sorrow and disappointment regarding the Rosh Yeshiva who could care less about Jewish law and care less that they're making mamzerim. The fact that the same cretins who lambasted Aharon Friedman after his wife walked out on a kosher and mutually agreed upon Beis Din, now refuse to speak out about his wife's supposed annulment (which no orthodox rabbi can support), shows you all that you need to know about their supposed reverence for Jewish law and for preventing mamzerus.

The Shame of this Case and What They Did to a Young Mother:

Aside from ORA's efforts to even deny women the rights afforded to them through Takonas Rabbeinu Gershom, there's another sad and shameful aspect to this story. It seems clear that Tamar Friedman was used by this group, who dragged her and her child's name through the mud and who were more than happy to take their demonic battle to the streets than to negotiate fairer access to the kids.

I have nothing against Tamar Friedman and believe that she too is a victim of ORA. I know details about the case and people have advised that there was a marked change in her after pregnancy. Anyone familiar with postpartum anxiety knows that if not treated, it can cause certain factors that would make someone associate with the likes of ORA or any other thug activist. It often does not go away on its own. I won't mention the specific symptoms as this would be a disservice to her. Suffice it to say that one frum post-natal organization has been credited with saving hundreds of families after births because they recognize the symptoms, which lead these mothers to want divorce and fear the worse, and treat them.

At a minimum, Mrs. Friedman should have been told that divorce involves negotiation and that she can't have everything. Any caring person would have told her that her daughter needs a close connection with her father, not seeing her mother march in the streets with a bunch of dishonorable Yeshiva University activists. The damage that they did to her name is far greater than whatever they did to him. They don't care, they've done it in case after case. It's a chiyuv to now speak out against them.

The Disgraceful Others Players:

Mordechai Wolmark was involved in condemning Friedman. Wolmark is been charged in numerous kidnappings in which he sold his services to the highest bidder. Religion (and resulting mamzerus). never factored in and that much is clear to all.

But Wolmark was not alone. Rabbi Yisroel Belsky, a man known for both fraudulent annulments and for highly controversial kashrus rulings, also jumped onto the political bandwagon, siding with people who saw fit to debase Judaism and rationality itself by taking a private divorce case to the papers and internet bloggers. No surprise there either.

There's a principle in hilchos aveilus (the laws of mourning) that halacha kdivrei hameikil b'avel, the ruling goes according to the (posek who sights legitimate halachic proofs to be) lenient in mourning. This principle does not apply to kashrus, which is of course news to Yisroel Belsky. The fact that the Modern-Orthodox OU give credence to his innovative and highly questionable rulings is a prime reason why their hechsher isn't accepted in many religious circles and why no educated frum people eat cooked fish under their certification.

To see Yisroel Belsky's singlehanded rewriting of Jewish law, and Rav Ovadia Yosef OBM condemnation, view this:

One person who should have known better was Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky. Aharon Friedman's wife's family were substantial donors of his for years. The fact that a person is able to give up his unlimited Olam Haboh for limited dollars is sad. The fact that a rabbi would cave to political pressure to try to cause mamzerus is beyond shameful.

It should be noted that this is not the first time that Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky has acted questionably. He once signed onto an edict stating that it was forbidden to attend a certain concert. That is his right and he may have been correct. But when confronted by the media he stated that it might have been better not to sign on. Judaism isn't passed down by bandwagon followers and he had no business signing “mecho'ois” (letters of protest) if he wasn't certain of them. To do so shames his position.

Can people such as Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky and R' Yisroel Belsky, both in a position to inspire thousands of students to adhere to Torah, ever hope to represent or transmit Torah if they remain committed to farcical tactics? The question is as unfortunate as it is rhetorical.

It should be noted that while Belsky and Wolmark have engaged in violent criminal activity, the kind that Hershel Schachter has encouraged, Kamenesky has not. His involvement was merely opportunistic, but an invalid get results in mamzerus and hataras aishes ish (adultery) and is more destructive and shameful than words will allow.

I'm unfortunately no stranger to much of what was described above. And while my battle was only with the Modern-Orthodox and a few lunatic followers, it was still shameful. In fact, one liar who collaborated with the FailedMessiah, tied my case to Aharon Friedman. I thanked him for the compliment.

Many men who've gone through divorces have told me the same thing, that someone who hasn't been through it themselves, Rachmono Litzlan, hayo lo siheyeh, can't begin to understand these people or to fathom the depravity of the activists. They are right. In my case, I sought nothing more than a postpartum evaluation and counseling. I was supported by a frum postnatal organization, the Beis Din that had converted our adopted son and a renown posek. It meant nothing to the shameful activists who were looking for another case in which to wreak havoc for their own self-glorification.

Like Aharon Friedman, some lunatic tried to arrange a beat-up. In my case I told the ring leader who they dragged along to call the chief rabbi of the town, Rabbi Pinchas Weberman, who immediately asked why on earth they were there and told them the truth. Aharon wasn't as fortunate. Like Aharon Friedman's case, the activists advised trying to pull an arrest which only backfired in court, as these tactics have done. I was advised to pursue an arrest in return and did not, as no believing Jew ever should dare do such a thing, chas veshalom, to any other person. Like Aharon Friedman's case, the activists then shamefully took to the blogs with ridiculous allegations that were either laughed out of court and almost cost the side making them custody (judges are wising up to this) or, in other cases, refuted by the woman herself. Like Aharon Friedman, I didn't pay heed to the demands of screaming lunatics. Unlike him, I was blessed with her good instincts to eventually sit down and talk.

One should try to save their marriage. Divorce is supposed to be rare. That's not how the YU activists, who have the maturity of new born babies and an even less developed sense of basic morality, see the issue. That's their problem. If all efforts have been taken to save a marriage, when both sides are aware that divorce destroys children (Harvard and Cambridge studies point to increased crime, substance abuse, lower self-esteem, lower success rates and even suicide, Rachmono litzlan, among children of divorce, even decades later) then there is unfortunately the concept of divorce. But to give into activists for the sake of it is a crime against one's children, against one's spouse and against morality itself. Taking part in an invalid get also causes problems of aishes ish and mamzerus, may Hashem protect against it.

My heartfelt advice to both parties in this case would be not only to sit down but to try to put the marriage back together in spite of all the third party opportunists who've wreaked havoc in both of their lives. There are organizations and people who can help and who've turned around many broken cases. This would be of tremendous benefit to them, even if they can't see it now because of all of the outside opportunists who involved themselves, and would also be of untold benefit to their daughter. I'm sure that both parties would have at the idea at first, but it would be of greatest service to them both and the attempt itself can yield surprising results.

To those who've been attacked:

There's no shame in being the target of malicious, vicious fools. There's even less shame in standing up for your marriage. There's no shame in seeking to protect your parental rights. And there's certainly no shame in being accused of supposedly violating religious precepts by people who flush all that is decent, yet alone holly, down the proverbial toilet, all the while admitting that they could care less whether their actions follow Jewish religious law (the code that they accuse you of breaking), as they stoop to one low after another to try to compel you to comply with their demands.

To others:

Make no mistake. There's nothing good, holy or Jewish about ORA, the Yeshiva University or Modern-Orthodoxy. Netanyahu recognizes Modern-Orthodoxy for the blight on the Jewish people that it is and it's a shame that so-called religious leaders in the Litvish community don't have the fortitude to call a dangerous moral poison that which it is and nothing less. Chassidisher rabbis have made no qualms about showing Modern-Orthodoxy to have no basis in Jewish law. There's unfortunately a trend among outreach leaders, who do indeed do valuable work, to refrain from criticizing, or even cooperating with their Modern-Orthodox counterparts in ways that cede ground on Yiddishkeit. Nothing is more important than preserving true Judaism and the Jewish family.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Parks: The Defamation of Yomin Postelnik: The Depravity of the Left and Those Who Push for Divorce

The Defamation of Yomin Postelnik: The Depravity of the Left and Those Who Push for Divorce

Yomin Postelnik’s columns on many subjects often challenge one’s outlook. Most see that as a positive thing. But in the worldview of the left, which views any opposition as a nuisance that needs to be crushed, such outspoken activism has become cause for attack.
Attacks on Yomin’s columns and on him personally weren’t unprecedented. A few years ago a particular atheist group went on a relentless campaign to ban his columns and to smear him personally. They accomplished little, other than proving the original point of his column that touched it all off, that atheists do not act or think logically.
One would hope that despite one’s political differences, certain kinds of defamation would be off limits. One would be wrong to assume this of the left. When Postelnik insisted, with the backing of both rabbis and professionals, on seeking an evaluation and marital counseling before agreeing to a religious divorce, he was targeted in a variety of false and despicable ways that give a new meaning to the war on men. That this was done largely without his then wife’s consent by those who raise money claiming to be women activists, makes what happened all the more shameful.
To begin with, the rabbi who converted their adopted son testified that he had been working with the Postelniks throughout almost the entire divorce. Rabbi Mendel Senderovic is no amateur rabbi and apparently his conversions are more accepted as valid worldwide than those of any other rabbi in the entire State of Florida. But when he saw little wrong with Yomin’s insistence on counseling and professional involvement, activists wasted no time in publicly in publicly defaming him.
According to outside experts, these actions were unwarranted and shameful. Leading rabbis spoke up in spite of attempts to pressure or silence them. Yet this didn’t stop the “modern-orthodox” rabbis, who seek to remake religious Judaism in a new image, and like all other movements on the left, attempt to silence those who don’t march in lock step. A few of their activists decided to make a cause celebre out of a former Republican candidate and outspoken conservative columnist’s insistence on trying to save his marriage, working with orthodox rabbis and secular professionals, and ignoring their demands. In their eyes there were no human beings involved, only a cause and a traditionalist/moralist who was not interested in their worldview.
Just as liberal society has increasingly viewed marriage as something that one can throw away at will rather than the serious commitment that it always was, so have many so-called religious leaders. Leaders of all religions do far less to save marriages and are callous toward, or at least more abivalent about, divorce to an extent that would have been hard to believe until now. This is of course a byproduct of the constant attempts to remold the definition of marriage to mean anything and everything, as well as a direct result of today’s throw away mindset.
Postelnik’s case gave his enemies the fodder that they needed to attack. Aside from advising the wife, more accurately scaring the wife that she’d lose custody of their children if she didn’t avail herself of their “help.” After harassing him, organizing a theft of his belongings and filing a false charge that the state attorney refused to proceed with due to the sheer ridiculousness of it, they then launched a media campaign demanding that he provide a religious divorce upon demand, without, of course, mentioning that he had offered to provide one so long as there was an evaluation and counseling beforehand.
According to the religious Jewish faith that the Postelniks follow, marriage and divorce are serious matters and both need the consent of both parties. Rabbi Avrohom Gestetner put it very clearly when he said that as little as 20 years ago any rabbi worth his salt would have required counseling before sanctioning a religious divorce. Now activists push not only for divorces on demand, but push women to seek divorce as a first option.
Rabbi Dovid Eidensohn, a rabbinical judge who was so ordained by leading deciders of Jewish law, including Rabbi Moshe Feinstein and Rabbi Yosef Sholom Elyashiv, has also decried the tactics of the “get” (or “Jewish religious divorce”) activists, joining with many leading rabbis and religious courts in Israel. It seems to be the consensus that leading rabbis who follow traditional orthodoxy and chasidism decry the campaign for “gittin (religious divorces) on demand” that have been launched by the less religious Yeshiva University and their leaders, who are referred to as “modern-orthodox.” They have also deemed such divorces to be largely invalid, as seems to be the opinion of Postelnik’s rabbi.
Rabbis Gestetner and Eidensohn were not the only ones who spoke out against the viciousness that surrounded the Postelnik case. Professional experts were brought in and advised against an immediate divorce. The modern-orthodox crowd knew better and disregarded the rabbinical judges and secular experts. Their tactics, including theft, defamation and at one point trying to arrange a false arrest, were so over the top that even his then wife asked them to cease and desist.
But why would a group who did not know either party get involved in a divorce case? Why did they do this in case after case, harassing men who do not comply with their demands; demands that leading rabbis have decried as immoral. Why would the same people who were clear to state that their involvement was nothing personal become so involved in a family matter? The fact is that the leftist media and blogosphere looks to have a frenzy when any Republican is involved, especially one who has been attacked relentlessly before by atheists, for standing up to their intimidation tactics. And from this case, and others brought to my attention, it seems that the cruelty of the left reaches a particularly zealous pitch when it comes to destroying marriage.
Who were the people behind the attacks on Postelnik? Better phrased: Which loons decided to make a case out of someone who was willing to grant a religious divorce upon completion of counseling and a few other stipulations that were suggested by professionals. What kind of people choose to launch into a self-glorifying internet smear campaign, which would have precluded the woman who they were claiming to help receive a religious divorce from ever receiving one, had the man not been above their tactics and defamation?
Aside from threatening rabbis, breaking their own promises to adhere to Jewish religious law and ignoring a religious appellate ruling that provided 9 pages of sourced refutation, the group (calling themselves the “Beth Din” or rabbinical court “of America”) staged a sham hearing in which their representative tried to berate the husband, grabbed papers out of his hand, screamed and yelled and later shamefully blogged against the husband, with a made up rendition of events that even the wife laughed at. The defamation and other shameful tactics of this self-styled court (which in this case were condemned by two proper rabbinical courts) are not unique to this case and have been described in detail by Mishpat Tsedek, a religious site dedicated to preventing forced divorce. A particular article, available here, is quite telling.
The rabbinical court that the Postelniks went to originally opined that the Beth Din of America hearing was a sham and a “disgrace to the religion.” The Florida representative in the sham hearing agreed to refer the case to a proper rabbinical court in Monsey, who issued a ruling that Jewish law does not demand a divorce in this case and that the husband may insist on counseling, that the sham Beth Din of America acted so improper that their leader is excommunicated in accordance with Jewish law (something called “cherem”) and that its panel members had “forfeited their portion in the World to Come” according to religious statute.
The administrator of this highly controversial Beth Din of America has also been the subject of an FBI complaint for racketeering (threatening people’s livelihood if they refuse to use his mediating body, even if they are using another religious court) and for criminal extortion (stemming from his advice to use false criminal allegations of domestic violence and insane mandatory arrest laws to procure religious divorces, despite the fact that these coerced “divorces” have been ruled to be religiously invalid by leading rabbis of the religion which he claims to represent).
In fact, a full statement from the head of the mutually agreed upon rabbinical court, available by clicking here, shows that Postelnik was fully cooperative throughout, was looking for proper resolution and had taken steps to alleviate any fears the wife may have of not receiving a divorce, doing so many months before the left-leaning activists who wreak havoc in every case that they touch ever got involved.
That didn’t stop some local media from having a field day. A group called Get ORA, who have previously boasted of causing false arrests, went to bloggers whose stated mission is to bash religious people, with the story of “another Republican get witholder,” promoting a false charge that had already been thrown out of court, with the state attorney refusing to proceed with it due to its ludicrous nature.
Did the blogs report this? No, even when they were provided with court documents and emails from his ex-wife, they preferred their own narrative. One Shmarya Rosenberg, who spends day and night posting even the flimsiest report against any religious Jew that he can find, even kept the story up even after receiving this email from the ex-wife:
From: Leah Postelnik
Date: Fri, Dec 27, 2013 at 12:42 PM
Can you please remove the post about my marriage and divorce ordeal?  Yomin had consistently offered a get based on counseling.  There were a lot of third party people trying to make hey out of the situation, yelling that it was a ploy, < >
Regarding the arrest, the charges were thrown out before trial and the person responsible for it was a lady named Leah Davis who pretends to help women win custody.  I did not cooperate with this and in truth, the arrest was an abuse of mandatory arrest laws, initiated by her.
This was not the first time that Shmarya Rosenberg was caught printing false stories, or at least taking great liberties with the truth. One story here documents Rosenberg’s report of an “arrest” of a Jewish bride in Williamsburg, NY that never happened. The comments about him were telling. Yet this is who Get ORA and their Beth Din of America use to post untrue stories of hatred in the media.
(Rosenberg did link to the dismissal of a no-contact petition, instead of the charge, which would have shown that it was thrown out by the State Attorney himself, and had done so well before Rosenberg had printed his activist hit piece.)
As with the rabid left, it seems that ORA, headed by Yeshiva University Dean Hershel Schachter, is all about control and self-glorification, even if it comes at the expense of the people who they purportedly claim to help. The fact that according to leading rabbis, their actions could have caused a man not to provide a religious divorce at all, and that if not for the decency of Postelnik this might have been the end result, due solely to their actions.
Their modus operendi in this case is not unique. This link documents ORA’s leader Hershel Schachter calling for violence against a husband whose daughter was taken out of state and who had also sought a different rabbinical tribunal (with Schachter being excoriated for doing so based on real Jewish religious law), and here we see how the same Schachter threatened the lives of two Israeli prime ministers, used derogatory racist terms and compared women to monkeys. His insane and vicious musings have widely been condemned by rabbis and Jewish leaders throughout the world and his following has been reduced to only the most rabidly inclined of modern-orthodox activists. It should be noted that Schachter has appropriately been placed in excommunication as well, as noted here.
A separate Mendel Epstein was arrested for arranging beat-ups in order to coerce Jewish divorce. In that case it was widely reported that the late world renown expert on Jewish law, Rabbi Shalom Yosef Elyashiv had ruled that bills of divorce written by him were mostly invalid. When Epstein was arrested (and news that his divorce bills were not religiously valid was disseminated), Hershel Schachter and Yeshiva University staff took down his own calls to violence from the internet, as documented here.
According to one rabbi involved with the Postelniks, the get activists readily admitted that they did not know the husband either, at least not all that well.  But “he’s a Republican,” (Haven’t we heard this all too often from the hate filled left?) “he won’t give a get,” (He had made a concrete offer for a get and was following the advice of professionals and his rabbis.), “he must be a …..”  Well sorry, but his actions throughout this ordeal say otherwise. Maybe they were in fact talking about themselves.
This much I know. Both Yomin Postelnik and Leah Postelnik are decent community people and parents.  Both work tirelessly to ensure that their children receive a proper Jewish education and have made sacrifices to do many in far better situations wouldn’t make for their children’s education.  Both of them deserved better than the media circus that was foisted upon them.  Both Postelniks deserved better than the range of outside activists who knew nothing about the case, but who were all too willing to make sport out of it nonetheless.
What remains shocking is how low the left, atheist bloggers and associated others will go when it comes to attacking anyone who challenges their secular leftist or, in this case, “modern-orthodox” worldview. And that, in fact, is the lesson to be learned from this case, the message of their own leftist depravity.
This piece was researched and written by Dan Levy

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Want to Thank a Few Friends for This Site -

I haven't and won't comment much on personal matters, especially since others are involved and everyone's been hurt a bit too much.  What I will say is that all decisions, at all times, were made with the consultation of leading rabbonim, counselors and other professionals.  Rabbi Mendel Senderovic, who tried from the beginning to bring peace to the situation, has given testimony that shows that Efrem Goldberg's disgraceful campaign, including collaborating with the likes of the "FailedMessiah" was not rooted in anything other than his own self-glorification at the expense of a woman's wellbeing and that of small children.

Friends have compiled some key letters and testimonials from leading rabbis and from people with first hand knowledge of events and have helped set up a site -  I thank them sincerely for this task.

Lastly a message to Martin Wagner - I don't take lessons in morality from comic book thieves and internet bullies. After you went on your nonsense campaign 6 years ago, messing with Google Ranks because you disagreed with an article, I confronted you about your defrauding comic book dealers (charging them in advance for Hepcats books that you never wrote) and you freely admitted to it.   I don't even know what "retracking" Richard Dawkin's site is.  What I do know is that publicizing mud and provable lies in someone's divorce is beyond disgraceful and your attacks never cease to amaze me in terms of how low you go.  Suffice it to say that if you disagree with me on an important family or moral decision, I consider your slander to be the highest form of compliments.  You might want to do your research on some of the so-called (Modern-Orthodox) rabbis who you quote though.  Recent posts by Yerachmiel Lopin are a good start.    

For anyone with questions, please review the website.  I will post one letter on this blog and thank all friends involved for their efforts.

Intro Letter:

A while ago I received a call from Yomin Postelnik.  I hadn't spoken with him in at least a year but I remember his kind advice and his genuine caring.  What he told me had happened in the interim shocked me and made me sick.  After talking more I decided that the least I could do would be to write my thoughts and start this site.

It's one thing to reconsider whether to save a marriage.  It's another thing for those pushing for a religious divorce to use false pretenses to have someone arrested, smear them and attempt to beat them up.  Yomin Postelnik consulted a list of experts that he was happy to provide me with.  They include a professor at Boruch College, Dr. Mordechai Rindenow, a postnatal organization called SPARKS and several rabbinical judges.  He wasn't just doing what was clearly right, to try to save a marriage.  He was also following the advice of experts the whole time.

None of that is of any concern to the activists who were so quick to trash him.  But it should be of concern to us.  So here's what I know:

Yomin is a loving father.  He's also a passionate defender of the values that he believes in, and this is how I knew him best.  But there's something more to him, and that's the personal interest that he takes in his friends.  He's someone who you want in your corner, he's someone who you can feel cares about you and while he's quick with advice, it's good advice and very insightful.  In short, he's a good and decent man who I consider lucky to have as a friend.

I don't know his ex-wife.  I spoke with her once, briefly, and my quick opinion of her was that she's a good person too.  Yomin confirmed to me that a lot of the attacks against him had nothing to do with her and were started by a radical organization that, to paraphrase his words, "is attacking his religion and all of family life at its core."

He shared a story that his wife wanted a divorce.  He was devastated, but simply asked for counseling sessions before any decision could be made.  He also asked for a postpartum evaluation, because there was a marked change in his ex-wife's, behavior, after the birth of their children.  He explained that many women go through difficult times after birth and lose hope or feel like they're up against the world.

He said that many rabbis helped him out, but a group of "modern rabbis" who professionally engage in mudslinging in order to procure religious divorces, were brought into the picture.

The wife also had consulted custody advocates.  This made matters even more ridiculous.  A ridiculous criminal charge was attempted, one that was thrown out of court before it could ever be heard before a judge, mostly because they same people who cooked them up had said things diametrically opposite mere hours before to the custody evaluator.  It was this sordid attempt at a charge, that the get advocates used in their smear campaign.,

Although the separated couple mutually agreed to discuss their differences at a rabbinical tribunal, who decided that Yomin's request was reasonable, another leftist tribunal called "Beth Din of America" involved themselves and launched into a defamation campaign (including extorting Yomin with the above referenced false charge).  Fortunately Yomin called their bluff and  refused to back down. Eventually a proper rabbi excommunicated the rabbi who found Yomin in "contempt" as a result of his insistence on counseling and a postpartum eval before making a decision on divorce.

I have nothing against Yomin's ex.  Like Yomin, she became an adoptive parent and she probably did half of what she did in an attempt to fight for custody.  If anything I know about divorce lawyers, feminist social workers and the like is true, they not only want to break up families at any cost, but also revel in trying to destroy the husband.

Yomin deserves far better than what people who've never met him or his ex-wife have done to him.  His ex-wife also deserved an opportunity to save her marriage without agenda-driven third parties wreaking havoc on an already stressful situation.  Their kids deserved better.  They deserved for people who don't know either party, to stay out of the mix.

Yomin forwarded me letters from rabbis condemning the actions of the self-styled "Beth Din of America," which has been described as an activist group that masquerades as a rabbinical court, and a list of professionals who recommended trying to save the marriage and ignoring the modern ones.  Some of the stuff is in Hebrew and I may post it together with his translations.  In the meantime I just set up this site to clear the air and to let others know the truth.