Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Jewish News at it again - This time it's Rabbi Yossi Feldman

Long-time readers will remember that the straw that broke the camel's back and the catalyst for creation of this blog was the following front page in the AJN:
(Although all charges against Rabbi Engel were later dropped, we cannot recall reading an apology from the newspaper for their despicable sensationalist reporting.)

Two years on - nothing has changed. Both editions last week plastered their front pages with an assault on another rabbi - not just any rabbi, but the "top" rabbi - in their estimation.
A Sydney reader has informed us that Rabbi Feldman's lawyers view the Jewish News' reporting as actionable under Australia's libel laws. If indeed so, we look forward to Rabbi Feldman extracting a substantial payout למען ישמעו ויראו.

Maybe Rabbi Engel can also get some advice about the way his case was portrayed.

If anyone can supply the documents and any further details please contact us at

Meanwhile we look forward to Australia's rabbis and rabbinical organisations to offer more support to Rabbi Feldman than they did to Rabbi Engel. After all, who knows who the next קרבן if the Jewish News is?

The Sydney Sunday Sun-Herald has now latched on to this story:
A SENIOR Sydney rabbi is refusing to resign from the state's Jewish religious authority over comments he made suggesting that sexual abuse cases should be handled within the community and not by police, claiming they did not represent his ''official'' view.

Rabbi Yosef Feldman, the president of the Rabbinical Council of NSW, has been under pressure to resign after making the comments in a series of emails to fellow rabbis last week.

Last night, his brother, Rabbi Eli Feldman, said that, while he does not deny sending the emails, which were leaked to The Australian Jewish News, the contents ''do not reflect his official position'' and he ''is a strong advocate of police intervention in cases of paedophilia''.

 ''He was just conjecturing,'' Rabbi Eli Feldman told The Sun-Herald.

The comments by Rabbi Feldman echo an edict given by Pope John Paul II in the 1980s that reports of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy be handled in Rome by then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

Rabbi Feldman wrote: ''I really don't understand why as soon as something of serious loshon horo [evil talk] is heard about someone of even child molestation should we immediately go to the secular authorities. One must go to a Rov [rabbi] who should firstly investigate the veracity of the complaint and if thought to be serious, warn the culprit etc. and act in a way that could scare him by threatening him with publicity by internet to the whole community.''

He added: ''I personally feel that if we as a Jewish leadership can't deal with this and other issues bifnim [internally] we are showing ourselves to be impotent …''

Rabbi Feldman also suggested that because paedophiles were raped in prison, the people who reported them to the police could be held responsible.

Several rabbis told The Australian Jewish News that Rabbi Feldman's comments did not represent the broader view of the rabbinate and that he should resign from the honorary position.

As of last night, Rabbi Feldman was clinging to his post but a decision had not been made about his future, his brother said.

Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence said that he did not believe there was anyone in his congregation who was sympathetic to the views ascribed to Rabbi Feldman.

He said the rabbi's comments were alien to their understanding of Jewish values and of the responsibility of the rabbinate leadership.

Rabbi Lawrence himself resigned from the council following friction between himself and Rabbi Feldman. Asked if he felt Rabbi Feldman should step down he said that it would remove pressure from other rabbis who felt they were unable to be taken seriously within their communities while the council was enmeshed in controversy.

He stressed that there was no suggestion that there had been any abuse in Sydney or that there had been abuse in Sydney that had been concealed.

Rabbi Eli Feldman said his brother was determined to clear his name and that they were considering taking legal action against The Australian Jewish News.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Questions asked at the birth of (the now dead) "Chesed Foundation"

The post by Nosson Titein about the demise of Melbourne's "Chesed Foundation" has created some behind-the-scene comment.

We have received some very interesting emails, been forwarded brochures and links to blogs requesting comments about certain posts that discuss Meshulochim. A number of Sydneysiders have also contributed with their views on that city's "Vaad Tzedaka". We shall be looking at all submissions and may post regarding some of the more important revelations.
We thank "Angry Baal-Tzedaka" for forwarding a brochure that was going around town at the time of "Chesed"'s creation.

While no longer relevant here, we have decided to publicise parts of that brochure, in case some other "well-meaning" individual will one day in the future get a similar idea into his head. It should also be of interest for AJN Watch readers in other cities where this type of organisation exists.

The brochure also included the following article in the AJN:
(Note from AJNWatch: We have not verified the allegations regarding the fees demanded from Meshulochim by the Melbourne and Sydney Tzedaka certifiers nor the amounts that its backers allegedly give.)

We don’t know if the individuals behind the “Chesed Foundation” collectors scrutinizing apparatus understand the words of the above Midrash, but their rabbinical backers certainly do.

The message is clear: !די לו בעניותו LEAVE THE POOR ALONE!! They have enough troubles, tribulations and problems in their lives without a horde of businessmen adding to their load.

We ask the businessmen behind this “Foundation” to reply to the following questions:

1) Who are you exactly? Why do your names not appear on the website?
2) What are your qualifications to approve or reject assistance to needy people arriving at our shores?
3) How much Tzedaka do you personally give (even to your 100% “scrutinized” collectors)?
4) Will you now be giving substantially larger amounts to collectors who present YOUR certificate?
5) Can you deny or confirm that the ‘businessmen’ behind this scheme include those who have mostly have their own doors closed to collectors? And/or that give collectors the grand sum of $5 and sometimes even $3? That another gives collectors the run-around where and when to come (costing them time and money) and if and when finally ‘caught’, gives them a negligible amount – often with a few abuses added?
6) How much extra funding are you guaranteeing to collectors who agree to submit themselves to your meticulous scrutiny? Have you lined up additional donors - seeing that they no longer need have doubts about the integrity of ‘certified’ collectors? Will you assure those collectors, that displaying your ‘certificate’ ensures them of additional funds? (And we don’t mean that Mr $5/$3 will now give them $10.) Or is that beyond the objectives of your “Chesed Foundation”?
7) As you well know, there already is such a “vetter” in Sydney (a member of your alleged “global Orthodox Jewish network”?),who charges Meshulochim $60,for such ‘certificates’. If a collector already has a Sydney certificate, will you still impose upon him to get your $50/100 duplicate?
8) If the answer to #7 is ‘no’, please skip this question. However if it is ‘yes’, why? What makes you a better certifier than Sydney? Why force a decent person, who may have fallen on hard times, to again undergo this degrading and time-wasting process? Don’t you trust your Sydney colleague? Why not? And we have the same question if he has a certificate from an overseas Vaad Tzedaka - from one of your so-called “global Orthodox Jewish network”. Why won’t you accept their assurances re the honesty of the collector? Is the true answer that this exercise has absolutely nothing to do with the bona fides of Meshulochim and everything to do with“Meniyat Tzedaka” (as publicly stated many times by Rav Beck שליט''א)- to reduce the number of people coming to you requesting help?
9) How about collectors who come annually? Will they be compelled to be ‘processed’ year after year? And the representatives of well-known institutions, like Chabad, Ruzin, Viznitz, Karlin, Belz, Toldos Aharon etc? Do they need a new certificate every year? Why?
How about that blind man from Jerusalem who nebach shlepps all the way to the other side of the world to raise funds to marry off his 15 children. Does he too need your annual anction that he is authentic and above board?10) And what about the blatant lie in the above newspaper article, where you claim to be “supported by most of Melbourne’s Orthodox rabbis”!
You actually list a grand total of 11 rabbis! ( which is less than 25% of the local rabbinate!
Additionally, have you bothered to investigate how many (if any!) members belonging to the shuls of Rabbis Genende, Glassman, M Groner, MZ Gutnick, S Gutnick, Heilbrun, Reisenberg EVER open their doors to a collector? According to our research there are less than 25 ‘givers’ combined!
As for the other signatories, seeing that they and their communities are constantly fundraising themselves, isn’t this a situation of conflict of interests?
And if you and they are going to be so fastidious about Tzedaka money, why shouldn’t their organizations also be investigated to ensure that monies raised are actually used in accordance with donor’s expectations? Why aren't you demanding that there be a public accounting annually? After all, they raise millions of dollars every year, compared to the paltry few thousand that the average collector from Israel can put together.)
11) If you do not wish to partake in the Mitzva of Tzedaka, simply tell the drivers that you are not a giver and not to bring anyone to you. Why incite the entire community against giving Tzedaka by making contemptible claims in the AJN, labeling good, decent - but poor - Jews as ”cheats”, “unsavory” and “frauds”?
Did the rabbis also approve this disgusting rechilut and hotzoat shem ra?)
Are you confident that if an independent auditor went through your business and financials that you’d come out so great?
The AJN article talks about “collectors whose motives are not pure”. What about the creators of the Chesed Foundation? How “pure” are their motives?

Finally, let us repeat the words of Rav Beck shlita during his Shalosh Seudot Torah on Shabbat Parsha Mattot (citing well-known Chassidic sources): “As long one isn’t too exacting about who he gives his Tzedaka to, so too in Heaven they are not overly vigilant when granting this person their blessing. However, if someone is adamant to give charity only to one who is 100% worthy, similarly in Heaven - middah keneged middah - they will scrutinize his adequacy thoroughly to see if he is eligible to qualify for Hashem’s bounty.”

And now a few questions to the honorable Rabbanim:

1) Did you consider all the above points 1-11 before signing?
2) If so, how do YOU answer the above questions?
3) Did you know at the time of signing that HaRav Beck was so firmly opposed to this and despite that gave your approval?
4) Do you know that in most places where there is a Vaad HaTzedaka, it is managed by Rabbanim and not in the hands of a few businessmen?
5) What will YOU do on the POSITIVE side of the ledger for those collectors who do pass muster? Will you speak to your well-off congregants and supporters requesting them to make generous donations? Or are you only supporting this “Chesed” foundation for the NOT giving part?
6) In your letter (published on the website) it states that “even if an institution or individual does receive a certificate of approval, it does NOT mean that in the eyes of the Vaad (Hatzedaka) it/he is worthy of the community’s support”!!!
Can you please clarify? You seem to be saying that despite demanding that these unfortunates (and representatives of prominent Yeshivas/Kollels/ organizations) go through the degradation of being probed and scrutinised by sel-appointed businessmen, you still state: “but we [still] don’t recommend supporting you”.
Or have we misunderstood your words?
7) Will you insist that Rabbanim, Roshei Yeshivot and Rebbes also be certified?
8) Isn’t the role of a Rav to encourage people to give Tzedaka – rather than stopping Jews doing Chesed?
9) And (repeat of above question #9) to our Rabbanim: Do you have ANY IDEA what percentage of YOUR membership gives - if ANYTHING - to collectors?
10) According to our investigations, 35-40% of the funds raised by most collectors are from the Adass community.
Accordingly, shouldn’t you rabbonim consult with the rabbi of that community, before backing such a vetting scheme?

We look forward to hearing the response both of the businessmen and the Rabbanim to all of the above. Meanwhile we strongly urge decent and generous Jews observe the words of the quoted Midrash: “Al Tigzol Dal”. Have no part in adding salt to the wounds of the needy and distressed.
והזהיר הקב"ה שלא יגזול אדם מהם מתנות הראויות ליתן להם, "כי דל הוא", די לו בעניותו…

והיות שאנו נמצאים בימי בין המצרים נכון מאד להזכיר שציון במשפט תפדה ושביה בצדקה - שהפדייה מהגלות והשבייה היא על-ידי צדקה  
 וגדולה צדקה שמקרבת את הגאולה בב''א

Friday, July 29, 2011

Another useless organisation bites the dust

Guest Post:

By Nosson Tittein - the Meshulach's friend

Without the publicity, pomp and ceremony that Jewish News readers were subjected to at its launch, Melbourne's 'meshulach vetting inspectorate', with the truly insulting name "Chesed Foundation" has given up the ghost. 

We say 'insulting' name, because it was everything BUT Chesed. Nebechdigeh meshulochim who detested the unpleasant time-wasting chore of applying, proving themselves worthy and qualifying for this almost-useless certificate, often had to go back a number of times before being 'zocheh' to a scrap of paper attesting that they were 'genuine' aniyim.

As any meshulach will tell you, B''H, nearly all of Melbourne's baalei tzedaka were disinterested in the 'recommendation' of this "Foundation" and brushed aside the certificate if presented. Additionally, those Rabbonim in town - who have any feeling for the mitzvah of tzedaka - were totally against it. They wanted no part in creating an extra burden for Yidden who have more than enough tzaros and issues already.

The probing and interrogating was especially painful and humiliating for people who until recently were themselves hardworking, self-supporting and 'baalebatish". Due usually to circumstancses beyond their control they find themselves in a situation of having to ask for help. To submit and force such people to grovel and plead their case before some self-appointed verifying 'gvir' who probes into their personal woes, was very often humiliating and degrading.

After the AJN published Shimon Allen's comments regarding the need to vet collectors, a meshulach responded with a letter to the editor where he clearly shows all that was wrong with the concept.
I have no idea why S Allen and Co have decided to close down this operation. Was it because they too finally grasped that it wasn't mentchlich to add shame and pain to unfortunate and pitiable persons? Or have they come to the realisation that of the hundreds of donors in Melbourne less than a dozen people requested to see this certificate? And as the meshulochim will tell you, only one or two of those ever gave a substantial donation. The others, would give nothing if there was no certificate and almost nothing with it!

Actually, the only chesed that the "Chesed Foundation" did was for people who want no part in the Mitzvah of tzedaka. It gave them an easy way of opting out.

As for the original claim that it was going to filter out 'swindlers', that proved to be a joke. The few doubtful types that come here, ALWAYS carried certificate. (It may be that Mr Allen did refuse a suspected 'crook' or two. But that never stopped them from collecting anyway.)

PS: Interestingly, unless my computer is playing up, it appears that the Chesed Foundation have swiftly pulled their website. Pity about that as I was going to again check out who the approving rabbis were. (If anyone has anything on their files please forward tome - NT c/o

Should the JCCV be wasting their time on this?

Why is the JCCV using its limited resources for an issue that is more than fully addressed by our local, state and federal governments? After all, concerns and problems that these individuals claim to have are the same for all - whether they are Jewish, Hindu or Rastafarians.

Not that we object to them getting all the help they need. To the contrary, some may even seek and find a ways to drop their abnormal, anti-Torah, queer lifestyle and join the mainstream 'normal' community.

 But why is the JCCV straining to seek a 'Jewish angle' on this? Don't they have enough issues to deal with? Have they checked with their membership and the community at large to gauge if this is something wanted by or even acceptable to the majority?

Or has John Searle finally capitulated to that miniscule and insignificant noisy bunch of homosexuals and their ad-nauseum-whimpering. If so, why not go a step further and resign his presidency and hand over the running of the Victorian Jewish community to Michael Barnett.

Such a step may even defer the whimpering for a week or two.
To paraphrase an earlier post on an associated matter, maybe the JCCV should call for submissions to investigate discrimination and vilification against members of the following "groups":

“Melbourne Jewish Idol-worshippers”
“Jewish Adulterers Society”
“Australian Jewish Chazir-fressers Club”
“The Shabbat-desecrators Association”
“Jews for Jesus”
“The Ladies Yom Kippur & Tisha B’av Lunchers Guild”
"Melbourne Jewish Car Thieves/Drunk-Drivers/Coke-sniffers"

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The massacre in Norway - and the day before

An alert overseas reader forwarded to us disturbing reports in the Norwegian press of an event that took place in the same camp only a day before the tragic mass-murder. The articles (translated in a somewhat imprecise but comprehensible English by Google) state that leaders of the AUF (Youth) faction of the ruling Labour party in Norway, were at the camp demanding and inciting that the government impose an anti-Israel boycott.

To the best of our knowledge this story has hardly been picked up by the mainstream or Jewish media.

That said, the Jewish people are "rachmanim bnei rachmanim" and offer our sincere condolences and sympathy to the victims of this cold-blooded massacre and their families.

Who, like us, knows of the horrendous capacity of Nazis and their collaborators to slaughter innocents - young and old - cruelly and pitilessly.

Who, like Am Yisrael has felt the pain of innocent children being murdered and wounded by callous, merciless killers and terrorists.

It is time for all ccounties - including the ever so liberal-minded Norway - to take the harshest possible steps against all forms of terror and to stop offering support and comfort to those are involved in such activities.

Photo: Eirik Helland Urke / Dagbladet

Norwegian to English - Google translation

Dialogue is no, Jonas

AUF leader Eskil Pedersen believes it is time for stronger measures against Israel.

ALEXANDER STENERUD alexander.stenerud @
20.07.2011,  6:56 p.m.

BOYCOTT: AUF leader Eskil Pedersen believes the time has come for more drastic measures against Israel, and wants the Foreign Minister to impose an economic boycott against the country.
This week is about a thousand members of Labour Youth (AUF) collected Utøya to discuss politics. On Thursday comes Jonas Gahr Store to Utøya to debate the Middle East.

The foreign minister believes in dialogue in the conflict between Israel and Palestine, but the leader of AUF Eskil Pedersen has a clear message to the Minister.

- We like to talk, but as we have seen so has Israel not been interested, and have not listened to any of the clashes that have been made. The peace process is the wrong way, and though the whole world screaming for Israel to comply, they do not. We in Labour Youth will have a unilateral economic embargo of Israel from the Norwegian side, says Pedersen.


AUF leader says dialogue can no longer have anything to offer in the face of Israel, and believes it is high time that the new measures are adopted. Pedersen believes that the Israeli authorities have now moved so far right that it is impossible to have any conversations with them.

- Norway has little opportunity to influence in any way, and we are no closer to any peace in the conflict. Rather the contrary. Israel has moved very far to the right, which means that it will get the dialogue partners. I would dare say that even foreign politicians from the Progress Party will struggle to find conversation partners in Israel. There is no call web anymore. I mean is that we should talk to everyone, but we can not sacrifice our principles and our policies, just to talk, he said.


AUF has long been an international boycott of Israel, but the decision at the last congress, demanding that Norway imposes a unilateral economic embargo of the country, was sharper than before.

- I acknowledge that this is a drastic measure, but I think it gives a clear indication that we are tired of Israel's behavior. Large parts of the world react all the time, but Israel will not listen. I think the decision is a sign that we in the AUF is tired of Israel, quite simply, he says.

Jonas Gahr Store: - The occupation must end, the wall must be demolished and it must happen now
21. July 2011, at. 5:42 p.m.   By: Eivind Funds

Foreign Minister met with claims that Norway must recognize a Palestinian state when he visited the Labour Youth League summer camp Thursday.

AUF WANT BOYCOTT: Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store was met by demands that Norway must recognize a Palestinian state when he visited the Labour Youth League summer camp at Utøya Thursday. Here the Minister ushered around in the camp of the AUF leader Eskil Pedersen. (Reuters)

During the second day of Labour Youth League summer camp at Utøya got the Labour Party's young hopefuls visit by Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store.

Together with the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation correspondent Sidsel Wold and Norwegian People's Aid Kirsten Belck-Olsen, discussed the Foreign Minister of the deadlock between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

As foreign minister arrived Utøya he was met with a demand from the AUF that Norway must recognize a Palestinian state.

- The Palestinians must have their own state, the occupation must end, the wall must be demolished and it must happen now, said the Foreign Minister to cheers from the audience.

AUF-leaders: - Jens must be tougher against "Anbusd-Erna"

- Norway is prepared to recognize

Earlier this week, when Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas visited Norway, the Minister said to TV 2 news channel that Norway stands ready to recognize a Palestinian state. This he repeated during the debate on Utøya.

MIDDLE EAST DEBATE: Foreign Minister participated in a debate on Utøya with NRK Sidsel Wold and Norwegian People's Aid Kirsten Belck-Olsen. (Reuters)

- We are ready to recognize a Palestinian state. I await the actual resolution text Palestinians will promote the UN General Assembly in September, said the Minister.

In autumn it is expected that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will bring the matter to the UN. Where will he ask for UN membership and recognition of a Palestinian state within the borders before the 1967 war, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

AUF would boycott

Wednesday said AUF leader Eskil Pedersen that the AUF want a unilateral economic embargo of Israel from the Norwegian side.

- Labour Youth will have a more activist Middle East policy and we have to recognize Palestine. NOK NOK's, now we have to get the peace process into a new track, said Pedersen.

The foreign minister admitted that the situation is untenable, but believes that the boycott is the wrong tool.

- Boycott will be to move from dialogue to monologue. It is difficult to open the door the day we will talk with Israel, said the Minister.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Praise for the Hamodia - from unlikely source

It is rare to find Jewish publications praising the work of their competitors. But following in the wake of the tragedy of young Leib Kletzky z"l the NY Jewish Week published the following piece commending the Hamodia for its sensitive reporting of this heartbeaking story.

There was a sign outside the apartment in Borough Park where Leiby Kletzky’s family was sitting shiva for him last week that said: “DO NOT share rumors, stories and information you have heard – at all!!”

Many newspapers quoted the words of the sign and then immediately violated its proscription by going on in graphic detail about the abduction and grisly murder of the 8-year-old Haredi boy. But one paper that did not detail the “rumors, stories and information” was Hamodia, a Brooklyn paper that calls itself “the Daily Newspaper of Torah Jewry.”

From the time Leiby was reported missing, Hamodia used its pages to help get the word out. It covered the extensive search for Leiby and told of the 3,000 volunteers who scoured the neighborhood “block by block” looking for clues. It also praised “the Catholic, Asian and Pakistani communities” for handing out flyers with information and for alerting people to “keep an eye out for the missing boy.”

Addressing its own readership, Hamodia asked them to “daven and say tehillim for the safe return of Yehudah ben Ita Esther.”

When the body of Leiby was found, it was a major story, both in New York and around the world. The murder had all the earmarks of a classic tabloid story: A missing child, a search, clues, a surveillance video, dashed hopes, blood and dismemberment. But it had more than that. It also parted the curtains on a private and insular community that the public rarely gets to see. And then it had the ultimate surprise: the suspected killer was not from the outside, but one of its own, a Jew named Levi Aron.

The Daily News and the New York Post outdid each other with sensational headlines, like “Gone in a Flash,” “Monster,” “Every Parent’s Nightmare,” “Twisted,” “Confessions of a Lunatic” and “the Butcher of Brooklyn.”

While the tabloids were on the story from the beginning, reporting the disappearance of the boy and the search that was underway, the New York Times came to it late. The Times, which generally shies away from “missing children” stories, did not write about Leiby until he was found dead. Then they pulled out all the stops.

The Times was, to be sure, more understated than the tabloids, but all the gory details of the murder were there. Over the next few days, the paper explored the story from every angle, including a front page report on what the Orthodox community has done in recent years to investigate sexual predators in its midst. Joseph Berger wrote a touching article about the ritual of shiva and Clyde Haberman did a sensitive interview with the father of another celebrated kidnap victim, Etan Patz.

Hamodia’s coverage, on the other hand, was incredibly restrained. An article about Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly’s press conference only suggested the horror without detailing it. “Every piece of information increased the pain within the press briefing room,” the unnamed Hamodia reporter wrote without telling what the information was. “Seasoned reporters – who have heard it all – were visibly shaken by the steady shower of facts.”

Later in the article, the writer added: “One reporter asked if the suspect is a member of the same community. Mr. Kelly paused, seemingly looking for a tactful way to respond, then simply said that the suspect was dressed as an Orthodox Jew.”

Only once in Hamodia is the suspect’s name mentioned and this was in an Associated Press story that was heavily edited to fit Hamodia’s standards.

Rabbi Avi Shafran, director of public affairs at Agudath Israel of America and an editor at another Haredi publication, Ami Magazine, said that the restraint shown by Hamodia “was very characteristic” of such papers. “Events may be important, but grisly details are seen as unseemly to write about,” he said. “And what’s more, children read such papers too and there is a haredi reluctance to expose young kids to such details.”

Indeed, the articles in Hamodia focused on prevention and intervention, among them “What to Say to Your Child,” “Suggestions for Parents in Dealing with Child Trauma,” “Rules of Conduct in an Insane World” and “Where Do We Go From Here?”

Perhaps the most eloquent writing about the tragedy came in Hamodia’s account of Leiby’s funeral. None of the details of the death were rehearsed here. The writer, again unnamed, also stretched to find universal themes in the tragedy.

Here are some excerpts:

Sorrow of epic proportions emanated from the crowds in Borough Park on Wednesday night. Tens of thousands of anguished mourners from near and far stood sobbing unrestrainedly, shoulder to shoulder, at the levayeh of Leiby Kletzky, z”l, the 8-year-old boy abducted on Monday and murdered.

Loud sobs erupted from the crowd as the shattered father, Reb Nachman Kletzky, stood in front of the aron and stoically thanked Hashem for the few precious years he and his family were zocheh to share with his beloved son.

The massive levayeh, attended by Jews and non-Jews of all backgrounds, exhibited both the indomitable achdus of Klal Yisrael and the common threat of all humanity. Litvish, Chassidish, and Sefardi Jews of all religious levels, as well as every ethnicity and age group, were represented by those who went and cried over the loss of a precious life cut short, and a family left in profound pain.

As I read the restrained Hamodia coverage I thought that there was more involved here than just, as Rabbi Shafran said, protecting the children from the “grisly details.” Hamodia was playing a healing role in the community, much like the mainstream press did in the aftermath of the terrible events of 9/11. Remember back then? The mainstream press refrained from showing certain horrific images, like mangled body parts and people leaping to their death from the towers. The mainstream press also wrote hagiographic tributes to the fallen that made them seem more like heroes and angels than human beings.

In its coverage of the Leiby Kletzky tragedy, Hamodia reminds us that there are times for restraints, limits and self-censorship. Not everything has to be sensationalized. Mainstream journalism can learn something from them.

A few bits and pieces from this week's issues of the AJN

Well, well, well. Who would've thunk it?

After all the warring going on between MP Michael Danby and the editor of the Jewish News, look who made it to the cover this week. Could it be a sign of remorse and repentence for past behaviour? We hope so - but aren't very confident.

Nobody will deny that Rabbi Meir Shlomo Kluwgant is hard-working and very active in many fields. But "senior" rabbi!? Isn't he a bit young for that tag? Or is it like our policemen who seem to be getting younger, so too are our 'senior rabbis'?

This letter to the editor had us a bit puzzled.
"Congratulations to the RCV for taking a stance on the issue of non-kosher and poor-quality mezuzos being sold in Judaica shops".

"Congratulations"!? Isn't this what they are all about? In fact some may ask - what took them so long? These passul Mezuzos have been floating around for many years.

The writer continues: "It is therefore encouraging to see our local rabbinate finally taking a stand on this very important issue."

"Finally". Our point exactly.


We also checked out our free issue of the Sydney edition and noticed the  following two advertisements:

So now along with advertising chazir treif and mechalel Shabbat establishments, the AJN is promoting Xmas.

But it's not ALL chazir-treif. Read about this new Sydney 'minhag' -après-funeral Kosher catering!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Danby upsets the Jewish News

(Apologies for the delay in posting)

We can't remember another occasion where, following criticism, the AJN expended an entire page to justify itself.
Seems that Michael Danby's private mailing to thousands of constituents describing how the newspaper was censoring or totally disregarding matters of importance, really got under the editor's skin. We suspect that AJN Watch's publicising those details didn't endear us to them either and probably the reason they unleashed Zeddy's donkey upon us this week.

But seriously, it is about time that they realised that they no longer have total domination and control on information to (and about) the Jewish community .

We now live in a world of blogs, websites and other alternatives. J-Wire seems to be picking up and becoming a more relevant. Galus Australis seems to be gaining importance. The weekly circulation of the Hamodia is growing constantly (despite the hefty $6 cover price) with much of the increase coming from the 'non-Charedi' and, surprisingly, even 'non-frum' sector. (Well maybe not really surprising, seeing that their coverage of news from Israel and the Jewish world is 3 or 4 times more comprehensive than the couple of pages that the AJN cuts and pastes from internet sites. And may we proudly add that this humble blog too, is getting thousands of hits every month (1500 this past week alone).

That a newspaper can upset so many sectors of the community is some 'achievement'. But it shows that there are deep seated problems and issues which require massive surgery and serious changes in the way the owners and management operate.

Not that we expect them to do anything. The Jewish News will continue to be the (tax loss) plaything of one rich Jew after another. And when current owner realises what little genuine respect and honour this little hobby brings him (and even less influence), you can bet on him handing over this loss-making operation to the next 'gevir' - another prosperous developer or merchant - with more dollars than sense - to take his turn riding the AJN merry-go-round.

Though it isn't a total disaster for the current owner Robert Magid. Zeddy Lawrence in his wisdom (and no doubt valuing his job or maybe even hoping for a raise) made sure to include his boss in his list of the "50 most influential Jews in Australia".
Now that's gotta be worth some of the lost big bucks and headaches that come with owning such a enterprise.

Another, rarely mentioned loudly, advantage of owning the paper is of course the clout his has when a mate or relative gets into financial or personal doo-doo. That's when the fearless voice of the community, becomes totally shtum. Shah shtill. We won't go any further about that matter at this stage, but it is special benefit that most do no have

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Adam Kamien - the ass that talked - ויפתח ה' את פי האתון

Perusing our free copy of the Jewish News' (to get yours, click here) we were 'elated' that their resident soft-porn peddler and dreckerati booze and drugs recorder, has after 2 years determined to again publicise this blog. (Not that we need his help, but it can't harm.)

Readers will note the title of this post is derived from last week's Parsha "Balak" and the story of Bilaam's chatty donkey. A week later the AJN's ass has opened his mouth.
Maybe Donkey Adam was running short on smut and neither could he find a way  to poke fun about a seriously injured child. So AJN Watch was given the 'honor' of his attention.

A bit tardy, he is, seeing how he tried using bully-boy threats when this blog was created (see here). But better late than never.

His imbecilic name-calling proves (if there was any need for proof) that Bilaam's donkey had far more seichal than the AJN's ass.

Note his delicate discharge attacking the AJN Watch blog and that post:
"balls-out, Mariana Trench-depth, plumbing faux pas, holier than thou hypocrites, pests, fundamentalist fanatics, taking cues from unhinged religious zealots, virulent vitriol, idiotic histrionics", while equating us with the Klu Klux Klan and Hizb ut-Tahrir. Nice, no?
Unsurprisingly, Eeyaw Kamien distorts our post, by lying that we 'gleefully' 'quipped' about the NZ earthquake tragedy.

But then what can one expect from an individual who derives his income via the stench of the smutty filth he pushes into so many Jewish homes.

Meanwhile our post suggesting an association between the Shechita ban and earthquake (and, Eeyaw, it was only a suggestion) was picked up and discussed in a number of sites (including some that we prefer not to be associated with). We were quite surprised at the interest shown.
One such site, Shirat Devorah, seems to agree with our sentiments, even mentioning the possibility of Holland too getting a 'heavenly' warning after its politicians recently decided to ban Shechita.

And while we can understand donkey's and smut-peddlers denying that anything that happens comes for a reason and from Hashem, we were rather stunned by comments from some in the 'frum' community who seem to have reservations about 'signs' from Above.

So for their benefit here is a quote from the Talmud Yevamot 63:
And here's how the Hebrew Artscroll explains it:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Crown Heights Beth Din statement re reporting abusers

Hat tip Zalman
Statement signed by 2/3 of the rabbonim on the Beth Din of Crown Heights (one being ex-Sydneysider Rav Y Braun the former rav of the Tzemach Tzedek community).

Hopefully similar statements will be issued by Batei Din and Rabbonim worldwide.

Another important clip: Rav Moshe Soloveitchik speaks about child abuse

Very strong views on how to deal with abuse in the community - including survivors going public. A must for all to hear. Click here.

Amazing video advising parents on prevention of child abuse

Rabbi Yakov Horowitz of Project Yes gives some excellent tips and advice on how to talk to your children about the dangers of abuse and how to ensure that they do not become victims.
Click here for a most important and interesting speech. A must for every parent.

From the site:
 “Speaking to Your Kids about Personal Safety” is a parenting workshop conducted by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, Director of The Center for Jewish Family Life’s Project YES and dean of Yeshiva Darchei Noam in Monsey, NY.

Part of the Project YES "Keep Our Children Safe" initiative, it was designed to raise awareness among parents in our community about the importance of speaking to our children about safety and personal space.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

WARNING: "Don't start with Shechita!"

Were the people of Melbourne and surrounding country areas the addressees of a (not-so) gentle warning message aimed at the state and federal governments?
Saying: "Don't mess with Shechita!"

To many in the community it may indeed seem so.

Only 9 days after the Sunday Age gave front-page coverage to an ignorant and biased anti-Shechita campaign, most of the city and environs felt a 'heavenly jolt' which they claim is a forewarning of what may happen if anti-Shechita laws are implemented.

They cite as proof the case of New Zealand where last year the government declared plans to ban Shechita - under  pressure from a minister who was later allegedly found to have a strong conflict of interest in the matter.

Well, we all know what has happened in New Zealand since that time. Not one, but two devastating and destructive earthquakes plus hundreds of aftershocks have almost totally destroyed life in the city of Christchurch. In fact they just had another one today - this time in the North Island.

So who knows? Maybe there is some link between Shechita bans and earthquakes...

Someone, (possibly Michael Danby and David Southwick,) should pass on the message to Julia Gillard and Ted Baillieu - "Don't risk it!"

Meanwhile read Danny Lamm's article in defence of Shechita in The Age