Monday, 31 December 2012
Sunday, 30 December 2012
Please see link below to essay from Nachum Klafter regarding: Sexual Misconduct and the Question of Rehabilitation
Klafter Sexual Misconduct and the Question of Rehabilitation
Saturday, 29 December 2012
Erev Shabbos Parshas Vayechi 5773 [28 December 2012]
“The rabbis sat by, and did not object, implying that they were content”
I am pained that there is a group of charlatans whom are powerful in our communal affairs
and are protecting a man whom rabbis have already announced to distance themselves from.
They thereby weaken the severity of the prohibition against licentious conduct.
Thursday, 27 December 2012
Wednesday, 26 December 2012
Tuesday, 25 December 2012
הנני לאשר שהמכתב הראשון שנחתם ע”י האברך החשוב ר’ חיים שנעק הי”ו היה בהוראה שלמעלה ואין להמשפחה ח”ו שום תרעומת עליו בזה ובבא. וד’ יברך את עמו בשלום.
12 Teves 5773
I confirm that the first letter signed by the esteemed Chaim Schneck was under orders from above and the family has God forbid no complaints against him neither in this world nor in the world to come.
May God bless His people with peace.
הנני בזה לאשר שהמכתב שכתב הר”ר חיים שנעק הי”ו במוצאי עשרה בטבת ש”ז, היתה בציווי מרן הגאב”ד שליט”א
הנ”ל נכון א.פ
Tuesday Vayechi 5773
I hereby confirm that the letter written by Reb Chaim Schneck on Motze Asoro B’Teves of this year was under instruction of the Ga’avad Shlita
Signed under orders
The above is accurate. E.P. [Ephraim Padwa]
ב”ה י”ב טבת תשע”ג
המכתב החתום ע”י ר”ח שנעק יצא מחמת אי הבנה וביהמ”ד דברי חיים עוד מצורף להתאחדות קהילות החרדים
וע”ז דו”ש משה חיים אפרים פדווא
12 Teves 5773
The letter signed by Chaim Schneck was released as a result of a misunderstanding and the Beish Hamedrash Divrei Chaim remains affiliated to the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations.
Greetings of Peace
Moshe Chaim Efraim Padwa
The first letter by Kedasiah (that Chaim Halpern’s shul was expelled from their organization), was issued because Dayan Sholom Friedman brought a number of women to his brother-in-law Rabbi Padwa, and they took testimony from them about Chaim Halpern’s improper behavior. The talk of town is, that Rabbi Padwa tore “keriah” and burst out crying and had the letter issued. Afterwards he went over to R’ Elchonon Halpern with the testimony where R’ Halpern’s son and brother of Chaim started yelling at him and wouldn’t let him leave unless he issues a retraction. There was also a demonstration by Halpern’s supporters and police had to be summoned – Therefore the second letter was issued under duress and is worthless.
Monday, 24 December 2012
In an unprecedented and potentially explosive move, the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, the umbrella organization for Britain’s Orthodox institutions, has expelled a synagogue led by a rabbi accused of sexual misconduct.
Beth Hamedrash Divrei Chaim, in the London neighborhood of Golders Green, is headed by Rabbi Chaim Halpern, a former religious judge in the Union and one of the city’s most senior Haredi rabbis. He was forced to resign all of his public positions in November following allegations that he had engaged in “inappropriate” conduct with about 30 women coming to him for counseling, but retained leadership of his shul, which is located in his house.
Since then, a group of local rabbis and religious judges have called on him to resign from his pulpit as well, to no avail. In response to intense pressure from the Haredi public, the Union agreed to set up a beth din, or religious court, to try the case, but it has yet to convene.
According to one source, the expulsion of Divrei Chaim means that the beth din is now unlikely to go ahead, as Halpern is no longer affiliated with the Union.
It will also remove the issue of Halpern’s conduct from the agenda of the local rabbis, as he has effectively become a private individual. “As far as we are concerned, the job is now done,” said one rabbi involved in efforts to persuade Halpern to step down. “The Union doesn’t want anything to do with him anymore.”
When several senior Golders Green rabbis issued a statement calling on Halpern to resign, ”the Union fought it, as it it was completely invalid,” the rabbi said. “Now they have seen there is no way out.”
The decision to remove Divrei Chaim from the Union was apparently made by Rabbi Ephraim Padwa, the head of the organization, to counter a growing threat that other synagogues affiliated with the Union in Golders Green were going to leave the group to protest the handling of the case. The Union, according to these rabbis, was too slow to act — partially out of deference to Halpern’s father, Rabbi Elchnonon Halpern, another leading London figure — and had blocked efforts to censure him.
Last Tuesday, one of the largest Union-affiliated shuls in Golders Green, Beth Yisochor Dov (known as Hager’s), discussed leaving the union, without reaching a final decision. Another, North Hendon Adass, is reported to be considering a similar move.
The threat that may have prompted the Union to take decisive action was the prospect that Golders Green shuls that left the Union would form a new, competing Haredi organization. That body could have created its own kosher-certification body to rival Kedassia, the Union’s powerful, respected and income-generating food division. The new group, which would initially cover only chickens, has apparently been in the works for some months; it would be run by a Stamford Hill rabbi who already produces kosher milk.
The rebellion of the shuls in Golders Green has exposed deep divisions between Haredim in that neighborhood and in Stamford Hill, the North London community where the Union is based, and where Halpern’s alleged victims came from. Golders Green is considered far more modern, with the majority of the men working, widespread access to the Internet and overseas vacations, for example, not uncommon. Stamford Hill, by contrast, has in the past 20 to 30 years become dominated by Hasidim, who avoid secular education and the professional world.
Of the more than 100 congregations in the Union, about 20 are in the Golders Green area.
When the Halpern scandal broke, rabbis in that neighborhood led efforts to remove him immediately from all positions of authority, while many of their Stamford Hill peers wanted to wait until the case had been judged by a religious court.
The Halpern saga, said one rabbinic source, merely “lifted the lid on what was already going on” between the two communities. “It had been simmering for a long time. [Halpern] brought it all to a head.”
He called the gap between the two areas “a huge chasm.”
Should the two communities split, it could have far-reaching implications for religious life in London. Residents can expect the differences between the areas to become more pronounced, with the Hasidic influence on Golders Green and its environs — until now mostly promoted by the Halpern family — diminishing.
Meanwhile, more moderate elements in Stamford Hill could find themselves isolated, and may choose to band together with the Golders Green congregations, or even to move there. Should Kedassia’s meat business be harmed — it currently claims about 15 percent of London’s kosher meat market, sources said — it would significantly impact the Union’s own budget. The organization’s financial resources would also be deeply reduced, of course, if a large number of communities seceded from its control.
Another potential casualty could be Padwa himself, who has allegedly struggled over decisions that might hurt his friend, Elchonon Halpern. Padwa is said to have tried to quit as head of the Union at least once recently.
The effects of his belated effort to address the Halpern scandal and limit damage to the Union remain unclear.
“There is no question that had Divrei Chaim been part of the Union, we couldn’t have carried on,” said a member of Hager’s. “But it’s very late in the day. A lot of damage has been caused.”
Sunday, 23 December 2012
A number of rabbinic judges in London had the courage to investigate the claims and subsequently found Halpern unfit to serve in any religious capacity. In response, Halpern stepped down from many of his religious positions.
Yet the saga continues because Halpern still maintains his position as a rabbi in his own community. In addition his father, another prominent and venerable rabbi, Chanoch Halpern, together with numerous other rabbis, have dismissed the allegations and maintain that Chaim Halpern is a righteous man who has been caught up in a conspiracy.
The proverb says that “there is no man on the earth who is (completely) righteous, who does good and never sins” (Ecclesiastes 7:20). We are all human and, thus, none of us are perfect. Yet the abuses allegedly committed by Halpern are in a different league – they are especially heinous.
There is the famous story, found in the Book of Samuel, where sons of Eli the High Priest used their priestly positions to gain sexual favors from women who came to the Temple to offer sacrifices. The venerable Eli the High Priest confronted his sons telling them, “No, my sons, for the rumor which I hear the Lord's people spreading is not good.”
Eli the High Priest did not need hard evidence in order to confront his sons. He relied upon and believed the rumors that were spreading. Eli then tried to convince his sons to repent. But, they didn’t listen to their father, nor does it say that they admitted their sins. The surprise, however, is the last part of this narrative, which explains that the sons of Eli would not repent because God wanted to kill them (Samuel 1, Chapter 2:22-25).
This is taken to mean that God hardened their heart to repentances and they were therefore killed. All the commentators are puzzled. Did God really want them to die as sinners rather than remaining alive and returning to a path of righteousness?
Making a mockery out of God
The answer is clear: There are some sins one cannot be rehabilitated from. One who abuses one's religious office in order to gain sexual favors cannot repent and then continue to serve. Such people need to be permanently and completely removed from ever serving in a religious capacity. In corrupting their positions as spiritual leaders they are in essence making a mockery out of God.
In terms of the sins allegedly committed, the case of Halpern is not dissimilar to that of the sons of Eli the High Priest. In how it was dealt with, however, the two cases differ considerably. In the Book of Samuel, Eli took the rumors seriously and confronted his sons. In the case of Halpern, his father, the venerable Chanoch Halpern, has dismissed the allegations and insists that his son is a Tzadik (righteous).
With regard to the sons of Eli, the entire Jewish community was united in their outrage. With Halpern, there are multiple religious leaders in the London Jewish community who have signed a letter defending him and his continued right to serve in a religious capacity.
The story of the sons of Eli teaches us that religious leaders are held to higher standards and must be completely and permanently removed from their religious positions based on rumors of sexual abuse alone.
It is clear that the allegations against Halpern are more than rumors, even if they have not been proven in a court of law. The fact that Halpern is still serving as a rabbi, and that his father and other rabbis are still defending him, is not only a disgrace to the community, it is a disgrace to the Torah and a huge desecration of God’s name.
By Rabbi Levi Brackman is co-founder and executive director of Youth Directions , a non-profit organization that helps youth find and succeed at their unique positive purpose in life
Friday, 21 December 2012
Thursday, 20 December 2012
|פיתרון לסאגה? בית דין מיוחד שיוקם בקרוב יבדוק את טענות שני הצדדים בפרשת הגר"ח הלפרין - הפרשה שמסעירה את הרחוב היהודי בלונדון.|
שלושת הרבנים שירכיבו את בית הדין יהיו, ככל הנראה: הגאון רבי מנחם מנדל שפרן, הגאון רבי מנחם מנדל פוקס, מו"צ ב'עדה החרדית' והגאון רבי פסח אליהו פאלק, דיין בעיר גייטסהד שבאנגליה.
שלושת הרבנים שמרכיבים את בית הדין הם ניטרליים ואינם נוטים לאף צד.
ההחלטה להקים בית דין מיוחד באה לאחר שהצדדים הבינו, כי ללא הכרעה הלכתית, הפרשה לא תרד מסדר היום.
לפי המסתמן, הדיינים יגיעו ללונדון כדי לשמוע את הצדדים בפרשה ולגבות עדויות. לאחר שישה חודשים לפחות, תתקבל ההכרעה בפרשה.
בתחילה אף היו ניסיונות לערב את גאב"ד 'העדה החרדית', הגרי"ט וייס, אך הוא הסתפק בפירסום מכתב.
Wednesday, 19 December 2012
Tuesday, 18 December 2012
Saturday, 15 December 2012
Thursday, 13 December 2012
Tuesday, 11 December 2012
Friday, 7 December 2012
Wednesday, 5 December 2012
Saturday, 1 December 2012
B'H' the Rabbinim are now talking ... !!
This is from the times of Israel ...
This is from the times of Israel ...
Colleague to resign following sex scandal
Chaim Halpern, who has already stepped down from his other public roles, remains in place at his Haredi synagogue
LONDON — Approximately 30 London rabbis are preparing a statement calling on a colleague accused of sexual misconduct to step down from his synagogue, The Times of Israel has learned.
The declaration will say that Rabbi Chaim Halpern is not fit to serve as a rabbi “due to his violation of Jewish law and the laws of modesty,” and that he should be removed from his shul, according to Yisroel Lichtenstein, the head of the rabbinical court of the Federation of Synagogues in London.
Two weeks ago, Halpern, who is considered one of the top Haredi rabbis in London, resigned from his role as a religious judge in Kedassia, the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations. He also ended his relationship with Beis Yaacov Primary School, the Hatzolah emergency medical service and Chana, an infertility charity where he was a religious advisor.
He has been accused by about 30 women of “inappropriate” contact. Earlier this month, six rabbis and religious judges gave him a choice between withdrawing from his positions or facing a public statement against him. They could not remove him, however, from his synagogue, Beis Hamedrash Divrei Chaim in the neighborhood of Golders Green, which is run from a building he owns.
The exact nature of the accusations has not been publicly revealed.
‘Because he is still rabbi of his community, he is still operating at full speed’
According to Lichtenstein, the rabbis originally assumed that Halpern’s community would abandon him once it was clear he had lost his colleagues’ support. But last Shabbat, his synagogue was full.
The level of community support for Halpern “took them by surprise,” he said.
About 30 rabbis attended a post-Shabbat meeting on Nov. 24 in which those familiar with the alleged evidence against Halpern revealed what they knew.
“For the first time, most rabbonim heard the details and were shocked,” said Lichtenstein. “There was unanimous approval of a condemnation.”
Although those in attendance initially planned to issue a statement immediately, about 10 were members of Kedassia, and said they needed authorization. According to Lichtenstein, permission was not forthcoming, and this is the reason the statement has not yet been issued. He hoped it would be released within days, although other rabbis involved said they are unclear on when it will come out.
Other signatories, said Lichtenstein, will include several London Beth Din religious judges, a member of the Sephardic religious court and a number of community rabbis from the Jewish heartland of North West London.
“The rabbis feel betrayed by Rabbi Halpern,” he said.
‘In all my years of rabbinic life, I’ve never had to be involved in anything like this. It is completely unprecedented in the UK rabbinical world’
Two other rabbis who said they were going to sign the statement spoke to The Times of Israel on condition of anonymity.
One said that “there were rumors spreading that Rabbi Halpern was only [resigning] temporarily, and that he will bring himself back into his positions within a few months. We need to consolidate our position.”
The other rabbi said that while Halpern had resigned from Kedassia and other organizations where he was a rabbinic advisor, “his main position in the community is as rabbi of his shul. That’s his main position of power. The fact that he’s not rabbi of Beis Yaacov anymore is almost trivial. No one sought his advice because he was the rabbi of Hatzolah. But because he is still rabbi of his community, he is still operating at full speed … Nothing’s changed — it’s business as usual.”
The community “relies on us, their rabbis, to do the right thing,” he said. “If we fail to do the right thing, we will have failed our congregants.”
Those questioning why the rabbis have not already spoken out are “not wrong,” he said.
Originally, when accusations against Halpern started spreading, “everyone, including myself, found it too incredible to be taken seriously,” he said.
Now he believes the allegations.
“This is a very sad story,” he added. “No one is willing to talk about it because it is such a sad, difficult issue. In all my years of rabbinic life, I’ve never had to be involved in anything like this. It is completely unprecedented in the UK rabbinical world.”