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Monday, September 18, 2017

R' Shlomo Zalman Blau Drowns in Jordan River Leaves 15 Orphans

A 46 year old man drowned to death in the Jordan River Monday. The man was identified as Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Blau, a 46-year-old resident of the Neve Yaakov neighborhood in Jerusalem.

The Behadrei Haredim Hebrew news website reported that the father went to pray at the tombs of the righteous together with his children. Afterwards, the family went for a walk near the Arik Bridge on the Jordan River in the Golan Heights.
Rabbi Blau saw his 16-year-old daughter in distress in the river and jumped into the river in an attempt to save her. He drowned in the attempt.

Two passerby saw the incident and pulled Rabbi Blau out of the river. They attempted to resuscitate him until Magen David Adom paramedics arrived. However, they were forced to declare his death at the scene. His daughter was rescued and physically unharmed.

Rabbi Blau leaves behind 15 children, including a soon to be married bride.

The funeral procession will start at midnight from the Shamgar funeral home to Jerusalem's Har Hamenuhot where Rabbi Blau will be laid to rest.

Happy New Year Message From President Trump

Chris Day Removing Eirav in Orangetown Doesn't Want Chassidim Living Near Him!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Eida Chareidi the ones who tried serving Jews "The Treif Brakel Chicken" Call For Violent Protests Against IDF Draft

I don't see anyone working? Does anyone even have a job???
Who's supporting these guys??

Last week’s High Court decision struck down a law exempting ultra-Orthodox men engaged in religious study from military service, saying it undermined equality. The decision raises the possibility that they could be forced into service, a highly contentious proposition with political implications.
However, the court suspended its decision for one year to allow for preparations for the new arrangement — which also provides the government with the opportunity to pass a new law.
Ultra-Orthodox political parties, holding key positions in the ruling coalition, are likely to draft new legislation that could seek to override the court ruling and keep the exemption in place.
The issue is part of a decades-old debate over whether young ultra-Orthodox men studying at yeshivas should undergo compulsory military service like the rest of Israel’s Jewish population.
After reaching the age of 18, men must serve for 32 months, and women must serve for 24.
Ultra-Orthodox seminary students have been largely exempt from Israel’s military draft since then-defense minister David Ben-Gurion exempted 400 students from service in 1949 on the grounds that “their studies are their craft.” Exceptional young artists and athletes are often granted exemptions by the Defense Ministry on the grounds that two or three years of military service could hold them back dramatically.
The ultra-Orthodox oppose serving for a variety of reasons, with the most extreme believing a Jewish state is not allowed before the coming of the Messiah. Others argue that study of religious texts is just as important to Israel as military service or that ultra-Orthodox soldiers would be confronted with irreligious behavior.
The court decision drew instant condemnation from ultra-Orthodox leaders and sparked a number of protests opposing the move.
On Friday, an ultra-Orthodox IDF soldier was attacked by residents of the Beit Yisrael neighborhood in Jerusalem, and was only extracted from there after police were called to the scene.
According to the police, the soldier entered a store in the neighborhood, which is located north of the ultra-Orthodox Mea Shearim neighborhood. A large crowd gathered by the store, yelling slogans against the soldier and against service in the IDF.

Charedi draft law needed to restore the glory of Torah

Letter From Rav Shach Stating Only Students Who make their Torah "Umnoso" "his trade" should get exemptions, all others must serve in the IDF
By Dov Lipman 
Dov Lipman served as a member of Knesset (2013-2015) with the Yesh Atid party. He is the author of seven books about Judaism and Israel, and holds rabbinic ordination from Ner Israel Rabbinical College and a masters in education from Johns Hopkins University. He has been at the forefront of combating religious extremism in Israel and is a leader in efforts to create Jewish unity both in Israel and around the world.

When an ultra-Orthodox young man appears before the IDF draft board to receive his exemption from serving in the army, he does not say “I am ultra-Orthodox.” He declares that “his Torah study is his trade.”
That phrase in Jewish tradition refers to someone who is so dedicated to Torah study that he cannot do anything else. We are talking about unique individuals who separate themselves from the physical world and engage in Torah study alone.
The Talmud teaches that these people are so committed to Torah study that they shouldn’t pause their studies for prayer! The great Rabbi Yochanan comments that this category only applies to someone like Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai but it doesn’t apply to people like himself. The Talmud relates that many people tried to live in accordance with Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai’s way of life in which Torah was his trade and he did not work for a living — and they failed.

Time to Take Back Our Religion, PART 2

A Jewish Father responds to his critics

Last week I posted a letter from an anonymous father and now responds to his critics 

I appreciate the feedback, both in support of how I resolved my very real dilemma, and against. Some of you were really passionate. I think that’s great! 

Let’s brainstorm together how to collectively get out of this quagmire before our children are totally lost at sea. 

The goal of my article was not to divide the community, but rather to rally a response that will raise this dilemma to the rabbinic leadership of our communities as the number one threat to the future of American Orthodox Jewry. 

Every Yom Kippur sermon this year, after the appeal is over, of course, should find the rabbis of the shuls standing humbly before the communities, publicly repenting for what they have and have not done this past year to help solve the problem of overpriced Judaism that is slowly bleeding the community dry. If the rabbis won’t lead us out of this problem, then it really is up to us little guys to make it happen on our own. Happy New Year! Now let’s get to work.

So what are the answers everyone is looking for?

New York Times Upset that Harvard Rejected a Women Who Tortured and Murdered Her Own 4 year-old child

Guys, you cannot make this stuff up. This is the new definition of privilege ....
 A black woman who kills her child is praised and placed on a pedestal as somebody who is worthy. Being a "published scholar" washes away the brutal torture and beating death of a helpless 4 year old little boy according to NY Times.  

What an awful example of humanity. And what an awful, corrupt organization that praises her. And Jones still won't reveal what she did with his body. This women hasn't even demonstrated credible remorse!
I wonder why the Times doesn't hire her as a daycare worker for its employees.
Read below and vomit!

Zionist Group Brings Almost 10,000 Jews Back to Israel with Help From Christians Around the World

Jerome Henri Cohen was born in Paris and he was also born a Jew. But despite his heritage, he was living a secular life, first as a journalist and then as a successful lawyer in the French capital.

Cohen did not feel any discrimination because of his heritage — until he decided to embrace Judaism. Things changed when he asked for time off from work to celebrate the Sabbath and other aspects of practicing his faith proved challenging.
That changed when the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) helped Cohen move to Israel in July where, under Israeli right of return law, he was granted citizenship and is getting help for his first six months in his new homeland, including with housing and employment.
“That’s my dream,” Cohen told Breitbart News of his repatriation to Israel. “That’s what my ancestors wanted.”
In fact, like the organization that helped him come to Israel, Cohen believes his return is fulfilling biblical prophecy that says all Jews will return to the land God promised them.

“We are making history,” Cohen said. “I changed the destiny of my family.”
“It’s huge,” Cohen said, adding that he believes the mission of IFCJ — which embraces the Zionist belief of Jews returning to their ancestral home, with the help of Christians around the world — is healing the rift between the two faiths that has existed since the birth of Jesus and the founding of the Christian church.
“It’s really wonderful to feel that,” Cohen said. “We are doing something that is important for us and for humanity.”
Cohen’s “aliyah,” or immigration to Israel, is part of the larger mission of IFCJ, according to Yael Eckstein, senior vice president of the organization founded in 1983 by her father, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein to “promote understanding between Jews and Christians and build broad support for Israel,” according to its website.
“Christians around the world are able to show their love from Israel and the Jewish people,” Eckstein told Breitbart News.
Eckstein said that her organization is not a fund-raising organization but rather a “bridge-building” group that gathered as much as $150 million a year in donations to help repatriate Jews, help care for the poor in Israel and contribute to the effort to protect Israel from its enemies.
Eckstein said that the interest from Christians around the world to help Israel — especially among Evangelicals — has increased dramatically in recent years, as has the need for Jews to escape persecution around the world. This includes a record number of 26 non-western countries where IFJC is helping Jews repatriate to Israel.
“That has grown dramatically in recent years,” Eckstein said. “We see a rising need to escape these countries.”
Those countries include — for the first time since World War II — Russia, and the Ukraine, where she said Jews now arrive in Israel at least once a week.
In all, Eckstein said, some 10,000 Jews have been brought to Israel.
“We putting in place a whole new reality — tapping into this prophetic reality that is unfolding before our very eyes,” said Eckstein, who has been in Israel for more than a dozen years and all four of her children were born here.
The work of IFCJ also has included building 5,500 bomb shelters and providing food for Israelis in need, Eckstein said, noting that Israel does not have a national food program.
The Jewish American media outlet, The Algemeiner reported on Friday that IFCJ, which is based in Chicago and Jerusalem, will provide $1.5 million to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in annual Rosh Hashanah “Fellowship Gift Cards” to 12,000 IDF soldiers marking the upcoming Jewish New Year.
“The initiative, coordinated in collaboration with the Association for the Wellbeing of Israel’s Soldiers and the LIBI Fund, will provide more than 10,000 lone soldiers and soldiers $140 gift cards. Another 2,200 soldiers will receive gift cards worth $100,” the Algemeiner reported.
The cards “will allow the soldiers to celebrate the New Year without the burden of financial stress,” the organizations said in a statement issued last week.
“The vouchers can be used at some 90 major Israeli retail chains to purchase food, clothing, shoes, sporting goods and leisure products,” the Algemeiner reported, adding that 840 soldiers serving in the IDF are from the United States.
Eckstein said the long history of Jews being persecuted and attacked by enemies around the world continues and she said told Breitbart News that she hopes Christians from America come to Israel to see beyond the “fake news” presented by the U.S. media.
“Come visit, come experience, come see the beauty beyond the politics,” Epstein said, adding that she is grateful for Israel-loving people around the world.
“Thank God we are not alone and that there are people who understand the difference between good and evil,” Eckstein said.

סליחות נוסח קרליבך עם החזן יצחק מאיר - - אלול תשע״ז

Selichos with Yehuda Green

Selichos with Rabbi YY Jacobson

Zoltan Hirsch One of Five handicapped New Yorkers behind hundreds of lawsuits

Five New Yorkers in wheelchairs are behind nearly 400 lawsuits brought against small businesses for lacking handicap access.
Such legal claims have been criticized as part of a “cottage industry” of “serial plaintiffs” who target mom-and-pop establishments for quick cash settlements. But others see the suits as helping enforce the American with Disabilities Act.
Wheelchair ramps and bathroom doors are not the only battleground. Two blind New Yorkers have taken the fight online, filing a combined 23 suits against business Web sites that didn’t have screen-reading software for the visually impaired. And a woman cited seven businesses for not allowing her service dog inside.
Zoltan Hirsch, 37, a double amputee from Brooklyn, is hell on wheels for those who fail to make their establishments wheelchair accessible. Since 2010, he has filed suit against 195 businesses ranging from a Soho eyeglass shop to Brooklyn non-kosher bodegas to a Hell’s Non-Kosher Kitchen restaurant.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Sexual-Assault Accusation Shaking Up OTD World ...

A Note about sources for this article: Some of the information here was gleaned from the nominally private Off The Derech Facebook group. Group rules urge members to be mindful of the fact that some members are “still in the closet” and to be respectful of that by “not reposting anything from this group”.
Nevertheless, we have decided to base some of the reportage in this article on what is accessible only to members of the private group, owing to the following:
  • The incident has now become a cause celebre among thousand in the OTD sector and beyond, whether intended to or not, and is no longer, de facto, private.
  • Where possible we are not reposting content verbatim from the Facebook group, and never with attribution to the real identity of its commenters.
  • The accusation was originally posted to a 2,525-member group with the express intent that as many people become aware of it as possible. Many others have been notified through illicit emailing and screenshots. At this point the OTD and the public’s interests are best served through a more complete, accurate, and balanced version of events.
A woman in the OTD community whom we shall call A.B. has publicly accused a fellow man who we shall call C.D. of raping her. Her initial announcement was made on September 11 in the Off The Derech Facebook group:
[C.D.] brutally and viciously raped me, with significant force, and causing serious bodily injury with complete disregard for my very explicit lack of consent. He did so to at least 6 other OTD/footsteps members before me. And the reason why he wasn’t stopped, the reason why I had to go through this horror; was because people behaved like a bunch of sweeping under the carpet frumies.
It is unusual in general and unprecedented in the OTD sector that a supposed rape victim makes her accusation public and names her alleged perpetrator. (The law usually protects the identity of rape complainants in order to encourage them to come forward; hence genuine rape victims who seek justice avail themselves of that protection.) The blunt Facebook post therefore engendered a heated response of 143 likes and 82 comments. Virtually all of the commenters were unquestioningly and unconditionally sympathetic and supportive, even though the accusation did not include any details about the event, e.g. whether A.B. had known C.D. prior to the event, how they went about courting, if any, and whether she had at any point willingly participated in the acts leading up to the intercourse that the A.B. now defines as “rape”.
The tone of the response was rage and indignance. The mob directed their ire not just on the alleged perpetrator but also on Footsteps, believing that Footsteps should have done more to protect A.B. from her alleged rapist. The mob was also furious that Footsteps wasn’t swiftly and decisively banning C.D. from the organization now that the event has come to light, or meting out some other punishment.
Others debated whether A.B.’s refusal to report the event to the police was tying Footsteps’ hands on the matter given that the organization is not equipped to investigate, let alone punish criminal behavior. Still others questioned why the organization hadn’t reported the incident to government authorities as “mandatory reporters” of molestation or abuse, to which the retort by the legally proficient members was quickly provided: mandatory reporting only applies with respect to minors. Adults can and ought to report to authorities alleged assault themselves. Besides, a Footsteps report would be useless if A.B. then refused to cooperate with a police investigation and press charges.

NYU Welcomes Back Students With Handbook Focusing on the Evils of Israel

To the surprise of precisely no-one, least of all those of us who had studied or taught there, New York University kicked off the new academic year this week with a student-produced guide focusing on Israel as more or less the source of all existing evil.
You can read the guide here, if you’re in to that sort of thing. If you’re not, the indispensable Washington Free Beacon crunched the numbers for you: “Israel is mentioned 55 times” in the report, the Beacon found. “That’s more than the number of references to ‘Trump,’ ‘alt-right,’ ‘racism,’ ‘fascism,’ ‘white supremacy,’ and ‘socialism’ combined.”
Not that socialism isn’t mentioned: 
If you make it all the way to page 38, you’ll enjoy the heartfelt plea to dismantle capitalism. But this is just a fleeting distraction, and on page 41 the guide gets back to what really matters, which is the dismantling of the Jewish state. 
Two organizations that support the annihilation of Israel in its current form:
—Jewish Voices for Peace
Students for Justice in Palestine—
are recommended as “radical” groups students might enjoy joining, and NYU’s Tel Aviv campus is decried as one of the university’s “imperial projects.”
Toss in a series of wildly inaccurate historical maps, and a call to boycott Birthright—the free trip, thunders the guide, is “pure propaganda designed to obscure the destruction of Palestinian homes, lives, history, and culture”—and you know exactly who your son’s or daughter’s new classmates are going to be if he or she were fortunate enough to make it into the Greenwich Village campus.

Trump invites Orthodox, but not Reform & Conservative Jews who snubbed him, to High Holidays conference call

President Donald Trump has invited representatives from three major Orthodox umbrella groups to join a pre-Rosh Hashanah conference call, but pointedly left off the invitation list two liberal denominations that had said earlier they would not take part.
The call to take place Friday morning comes three weeks after three non-Orthodox movements — Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist —  declined to help organize an annual rabbis call that Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, had instituted.
The Reform and Reconstructionists were not on the invitation list, spokespeople from both movements said. While Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, the CEO of the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly, was invited to take part in Friday’s call, she declined.
In addition to the Orthodox Union, Agudath Israel of America and the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, participants who confirmed to JTA that they would be joining the call include four general organizations: the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Zionist Organization of America.
“The Trump Administration will be commemorating the upcoming High Holidays in several ways,” Natalie Strom, a White House spokeswoman, told JTA in an email Thursday. “Tomorrow, President Donald J. Trump will hold a conference call with Jewish leaders and staff to send well wishes for the upcoming holidays and discuss his Administration’s progress on issues of interest to the Jewish community.”
Reform movement leaders, who led the decision last month to call off the clergy call, stood by their decision and said they would not accept an invitation from Trump had it been proffered.
“Our position has not changed,” Graham Roth, a spokesman for the movement’s Religious Action Center, told JTA in an email. “Reform rabbis, along with Reconstructionist and Conservative rabbis, decided to forgo hosting the annual High Holiday call with the President this year. This was not a decision made lightly, but the President’s lack of moral leadership in the wake of Charlottesville made it necessary.”
Trump had equivocated after a white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Virginia, turned deadly on Aug. 12, when an alleged white supremacist killed a woman by ramming his car into a crowd of counterprotesters. The president earned bipartisan disapproval when he said “many sides” were responsible for the violence, and also said there were “very fine people” on both sides. More recently, he has more robustly condemned white supremacists.
“We hope that the President will use the call as an opportunity to condemn white supremacy,” Roth said.
The statement from the rabbinical umbrella groups charged Trump with giving “succor to those who advocate anti-Semitism, racism, and xenophobia.”
The Anti-Defamation League at first erroneously reported it was asked not to join. Later Thursday, an ADL official told JTA that an invitation had been directed not to CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, but to another ADL representative. ADL will be on the call, the official said.
Queries to the American Jewish Committee asking if its officials had been invited or planned on taking part went unanswered by press time.
Schonfeld explained why the Conservative movement will not participate.
“While I remain entirely open to the possibility of the president making real change, an insufficient period has passed since our August statement to evaluate whether he has made that change,” she told JTA in an emailed statement. “In the spirit of the season, I will pray for the health, strength and wisdom of the president.”
An invitation was extended to some individual rabbis from all the movements, and some could well take part. There was wiggle room in the original statement put out last month by the three non-Orthodox movements. “We cannot organize such a call this year,” it said, leaving room for individuals to take part.
Representatives of Orthodox movements said joining the call was common sense.
Rabbi Levi Shemtov, the executive vice president of American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad), said conversation was a critical component to any relationship in Washington.
“Openness to people who do not share your opinion may not always be easy, but it always remains necessary,” Shemtov said. “Conversation will always bring better results than the opposite.”
Shemtov said that he would have taken the invitation regardless, but he noted that Charles Schumer, D-N.Y, the Jewish Senate minority leader who in recent days has struck a deal with Trump on raising the debt ceiling and is close to another on protecting from deportation the children of illegal immigrants.
Nathan Diament, the Washington director of the Orthodox Union, said the call was part of the natural back-and-forth between the Jewish community and any president.
“He is the president of the United States and we must engage with him on issues of importance to the community,” Diament said, “and this call is part of that process.”

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Projections of Life: Jewish Life before World War II

Ezra Friedlander Trying to Manipulate Congress to Fund His Own Shenanigans

Ezra after swallowing some schmaltz herring

We are all B"H living in the year 2017, but you would never know it if you met Ezra Friedlander. Ezra Friedlander has built a career  trying to enrich himself on the backs of Holocaust survivors.

We had Jews like that in 1941 when Nazis forced Jews to persecute and torture their fellow brothers and sisters in ghettos and concentration camps...these Jews had a name "Capos" .....

I remember growing up and  actually meeting these capos. They were dressed like other Jews with some of them actually dressing chassidish.

Some capos tried their best to preserve the lives of their brethren and sacrificing their very own lives
 .... others, became opportunists that morphed into wild animals.

I must have met the animals, because I vividly remember my neighbors whispering about these subhumans who managed to survive and now assimilated in our neighborhoods masquerading as frum benevolent Jews. In Israel some were actually tried in court and others were murdered by their victims.

One in particular, was the Rosh Hakhal of a famous shul in Boro-Park. He was a "Baal Chesed" and donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to our holy institutions. It could very well be that he regretted his past, but my Mother a"h who never spoke evil about anyone told me that he was a sadistic evil monster. 

Just about a year ago, President Obama made a deal with Iran that according to the people in the know, would in effect hand nuclear weapons weapons to Iran, known as the largest terrorist exporter in the entire world. 
Let's not forget that Iran constantly vows to wipe Israel off the map. 
It was a very bad deal.....

Jerry Nadler, a congressman whose constituents comprise of Holocaust survivors was in favor of this disastrous deal and as an aside, is also in favor of JStreet, an organization that fights to weaken Israel and supports the vicious BDS movement .

Right before Election Day, he hired Ezra Friedlander to write an op-Ed in the Yeshivahworld blog  that urged his fellow Jews to disregard Nadler's disgusting Iran “Genocide Bill” vote, and vote for Nadler!
His money is apparently running out, so this admitted uneducated schemers,  came up with a money making scam that may very well be illegal...

He  has made a business of arranging luncheons on Capital Hill  for organizations who want the use of the prestige of the capitol, charging them enormous fees.

So how does he do it? By commercializing the Congressional Gold Medal.

And guess who he wants to honor ..?????????

Anwar Sadat! 

Anwar Sadat? 
A boro-park guy with a shtreimal wants to honor Sadat? 
Yes, because this will bring Arab Money, soaked with Jewish blood!

Call your local congressman and voice your opposition to this money scam ..... 

Natural-Hair Shaitels Are The Cause of ALL Human Suffering ....

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Amazon and Walmart slashed Hillary's Book by 40% Before Release

Two huge booksellers, Amazon and Walmart, have already cut the price of Hillary Rodham Clinton's 2016 tell-all by 40 percent -- and it isn't even available yet.
Set to be released Tuesday, both have priced "What Happened?" at $17.99.
Publisher Simon and Schuster set a price of $30.
Much of what's in her book has already been reported on, thanks to leaked copies of the Democratic presidential candidate's latest work.
The price cut, however, has likely helped to boost sales. It is No. 1 on Amazon.

Zionist High Court Doesn't Want Moshiach!

Dov Sobol has repeatedly turned to Israeli courts demanding recognition of G-d's purported 'messages' to him

The Israeli High Court of Justice on Tuesday declined to debate the messages a self-styled “Messiah to the world” was purportedly receiving from the “Creator of the world,” despite the petitioner noting the very great “responsibility for the fate of the world” that rests on his shoulders.

In their rejection, justices Noam Solberg, Uri Shaham and David Mintz explain: “The petitioner, who signed his petition, ‘A prophet like Moses, Messiah to the world,’ relates that he is acting in the name of the Creator of the world and bears messages from Him, and that it is vital to hold an inquiry into them [the messages] before this court in order that [the court] shares with him the weighty responsibility for the fate of the world that rests on his shoulders.”
Alas, Israel’s top court chooses to forego said honor. “The petition shows no cause for judicial intervention,” the justices write.
The appellant, Dov Sobol, has turned to the High Court before on theological matters, as well as to multiple lower courts.
In 2015, Sobol asked the High Court to force Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to read his book, “in order to save the world from its future troubles and to bring world peace.”
Justices Salim Joubran, Yoram Danziger and Anat Beron rejected his petition then — but not without reading it.
“We examined the petition,” they assured Sobol, “but had no choice but to refuse.”

Time to Take Back Our Religion, Folks

by a guest blogger
a Father of four 

Last year, I was a 45-year-old married father of four children, a member of a large American Modern Orthodox Jewish community, and I didn’t have a penny saved in the bank. I decided to get serious about my finances and sit down with a financial planner. He told me that in order for me to be able to pay for my four children to go to college, and to have any semblance of a retirement for myself and my wife, we would need to save 50 percent of our net income for the next 20 years. We began to itemize my family’s major expenses:

Day school tuition – approximately $80,000 post tax dollars a year. Currently consuming nearly 50% of our post tax annual take home pay.

Housing and utilities – near a synagogue, walking distance, big enough for 4 kids, another large sum of money.
Health insurance – my employer only pays 50 percent, leaving me with almost $900 a month to pay to cover the family
2 cars 
Jewish Summer camp – with 4 kids in various combinations of summer camps, both home and away, plus all associated flights and gear, approx $20,000.
Kosher food – At times coming to more than $1,000 a month
Additional outlaysto Jewish charities, synagogue dues + building fund, and more, as well as life insurance, tolls, and random other surprises.
Dollars left for savings, investment, college tuition, wealth building: Zero
We reviewed this short list of items and my advisor said, “You realize the greatest expense to your life is your religion. It is consuming over half of your post tax take home pay. You are paying almost $150,000 a year to ‘do Jewish.’”
And that’s when I realized I had forgotten to include Passover on the list.

I’m not alone

This was the wakeup call of the century for me. I was raised to believe that religion came first; that everything was ‘holy’ and a ‘mitzvah’; that the more you spent on your Judaism the better it was in God’s eyes. And I now realized I had been completely neglecting the financial health and future of my family.
The first thing I did was to ask around how other people were managing it. Word on the street was that to do everything on my list in a “second tier” community, not something in the greater New York area, one would have to earn more than $500,000 a year. Now I work very hard and I do pretty well, but I will most likely never make half a million dollars a year. Granted, some people in the community do, but not many.
What I saw was far more people who were – if they were willing to admit it – getting steady monthly checks from their parents to survive. Adult children 50 years old still living off handouts from their parents in order to “do Jewish.” Some parents had large fortunes and were easily able to afford to help several adult children, but some were slowly being bled dry. I had one grandmother tell me, “It’s wrong that the day schools are now trying to fund themselves off the backs of the grandparents, now that they have already broken the parents.”
Even more concerning, were the large number of families, doctors, lawyers, investment professionals, who, when asked in confidence, replied that they don’t have two pennies to rub together. And that was before their children were setting off to years in Israel and very expensive college in New York.
The day I left the synagogue forever was the Saturday the rabbi preached that day school tuition does not fulfill the obligation to give 10 percent of one’s income to charity — and that from a rabbi making $350,000 a year, along with free tuition, free housing, and free food expenses. As I angrily began to walk out of there for the last time, my neighbor grabbed my tallis and told me “The day the rabbis pay full tuition is the day that the tuition crisis will be solved.”

‘You’re in or you’re out’

Let’s spend a little more time on the tuition crisis in Modern Orthodox day schools, since this was the greatest expense for me. With four kids in school and an upper middle class income, I was told I had to pay full tuition for all four kids with no sibling discounts (and no reprieve from constant fundraising calls).
At one point, I went to the school president, a major donor (independently wealthy) to the school. I explained that keeping all my kids in the school would mean never saving a penny for retirement or college, and asked if there was any plan for helping working middle class parents, such as capping tuition at a percentage of income, or providing a sibling discount. His reply: “You’re in or you’re out.”
So I took myself out.
I enrolled my kids in an excellent private secular school for a third the cost of the “excellent” Jewish day school. And now, a year later, you know what I’ve found? That my kids are not running a year behind public school in their education; That kids actually have discipline and respect for their teachers; And even more importantly, that all children who misbehave are handled in the same manner, instead of letting the children of the wealthy supporters get away with murder. And even more interesting, this amazing secular school had all of…drumroll…one principal — the Day School I left had five. Enough said.
In hindsight, I remember when a Muslim I worked with asked me one day why I was so stressed out. I said because I have to make so much money to pay for my kids to go to school. He asked me how much tuition I was paying per kid and when I answered $20,000, he said, “Wow, you’re getting screwed. We in the Muslim school are paying only $5,000.” Of course their school also had only one principal.
I had now left day school and synagogue, and my life was only getting better. Not just financially, but emotionally as well. I actually didn’t have to work as hard, and started to have more time with my family. I knew fathers working five jobs to pay the Jewish bills, or taking jobs out of town, showing up for weekends at home, or even putting their families in Israel and flying back one week a month. This is no recipe for ‘Shalom Bayit.’
Kosher food came next. I set a $200 a month limit for my wife on spending in the local Kosher butcher shop. Some chicken breast, some wings. There is no health benefit to eating meat more than maybe twice a month. Now that I look at the prices, I am actually shocked the communities have not simply boycotted these establishments en masse.
Passover? Forget about it. We just do it at home now. I toss that one up there as a luxury on par with buying a country club membership or a small yacht.
Summer camp? Chabad. In fact, we have been getting more involved with Chabad. At least they don’t make Judaism all about the money. Sure, they also need community support to exist, but in return they provide full-service Judaism at a reasonable price. That in my opinion, will effectively position Chabad as the ‘last man standing’ of US Jewish Orthodoxy, as the far right Jewish communities become increasingly impoverished due to the failure to educate their kids for the workforce, and as the Modern Orthodox numbers continue to dwindle under lack of commitment, unbearable costs and attrition in the college years and beyond.

Time for a revolution

Over the past year, our family has rewritten our financial future. We now live on half of our income and invest and save the rest. And thanks to this new president, the financial markets have been doing great. We pulled our kids out of Jewish day school and they are getting a better education in a better environment, and we supplement their Jewish education via Chabad. I am now able to comfortably “do Jewish” for $40,000 a year, the sum my financial planner told me needed to be our limit. You know what, we may even be able to go away next year for Passover!
The overpriced balloon of the Modern Orthodox experience rests on three core flaws:
Jewish organizations are too top heavy, with too many positions filled by wives and cronies, and with amply-paid rabbis who are out of touch with the financial woes of their congregants.
There are too many very wealthy board members controlling too much of the decision-making for the wider Jewish community. It’s time to get some working class and even poor people on the boards of schools and JCCs.
Too many sheep just go right along, with their heads buried in the rear end of the sheep in front of them. It’s time for a revolution.
What kind of revolution?
How about launching a month-long community boycott of all neighborhood kosher markets? (Start two weeks before Passover.) Or pulling the kids out of day school, demanding charter schools, and insisting that the local rabbis earn their fat salaries by holding lowcost Jewish after-school programs in the synagogue.
As we gear up for the High Holidays – by the way, my Chabad doesn’t charge mandatory ticket fees – it’s time to take an honest look at where Modern Orthodox Judaism is going. For me it was a $150,000 a year post tax commitment, a sum of money that most people never even come close to earning.
Religious leaders have no right to complain about intermarriage rates in the US when the religion is being priced out of affordability. And don’t even get me started on the shidduch crisis, although if you look honestly at the problems of matchmaking and failure to find a mate, there too you find that much of the problem also comes back to who has the most money. It’s time to take back our religion, to make it more accessible to Jews of all financial situations.
Those who stand in the way of this progress should be expelled from the community. The legacy rabbinate and top-heavy institutions are not sustainable in the long term. They’ve bankrupted the parents. They are now trying to bankrupt the grandparents. That was never the way this religion was supposed to be.