From the Archives- Monsey Rabbis Restore Hashgachah to Vendor of Treyf Chickens (Satire)From the Archives-

first posted in 2019

Twelve years ago Moshe Finkel was caught selling treyf chickens as kosher.  It was truly a calamity. The community was thrown into turmoil, massive kashering and a torrent of explanations ranging from loshon horah to short skirts. Some rabbonim called for public fasts. He was kicked out of Monsey.

But now a panel of distinguished rabbis declared his teshuva is complete and he can return to selling chickens.

Some were surprised by the ruling of Rav Nistar Chelm. But his reasoning was solid and backed up by other rabbonim.

Rav Chelm based his ruling on the halachic response to child molesting. In those cases if there was no abuse for three years and the offender expressed regret he is assumed to now be safe to work with children. This is even true if he was not subjected to public humiliation, expulsion from town and forfeiting money.

Kal v’chomer, Rabbi Finkel, a well known talmid chochom, was humiliated, it is over 12 years in which he has not sold an ounce of unkosher or even non-glatt chicken, he has given a lot of tzedakah, and has spent a lot of time learning.

Many in the community were outraged, but they were warned not to say loshon horah. Besides, they were assured that “The rabbis would keep an eye out on him” just as they do with repentant molesters.

HALB’s Board of Directors Misled Parents About Their Investigation of  Yoseph Ungar (Updated 8/31/22- 8:20pm) (see update at end of post)

Guest post by Ariella Kay of Zaakah

The Allegation

Parents expect schools to protect their children from molesters. So, imagine the shock and horror for parents of Hebrew Academy of Long Beach (HALB) when they learned that Rabbi Yoseph Ungar, HALB’s first grade boys teacher, was named in a lawsuit for allegedly molesting a six-year-old student. 

The former student, Daniel Weiss (who has chosen to disclose his real name rather than using a John Doe pseudonym), is suing HALB (and those who were board members at the time) for alleged negligence which resulted in Weiss being molested by Rabbi Ungar. 

The complaint reads:

In or around the Fall of 2002, plaintiff went into the closet in Ungar’s
classroom to get a book while the other students were outside for recess. While he was in the closet, plaintiff saw that there was candy and took some for himself. 

Ungar approached plaintiff from behind, questioned him about taking the candy, and then said something to the effect of “You have to do something to get the candy.” Ungar then closed the closet door behind him and cajoled and otherwise required plaintiff to orally copulate him until Ungar ejaculated into Plaintiff’s mouth. Plaintiff spit the semen on the floor and began to cry.

Ungar proceeded to comfort Plaintiff and apologize, and promised to not do it again, as he wiped the semen off the floor. 

But according to the lawsuit it did happen again. In fact, it happened some twenty times. 

HALB’s Initial Communication to Parents

Within a week of being served in July 2021, HALB sent parents an email informing them:

  • Of the allegation, 
  • That they had placed Rabbi Ungar on administrative leave, and 
  • That HALB was retaining the Morgan Lewis Firm as an “outside, independent counsel” to investigate the allegations.

HALB’s Unjustified Exoneration of Rabbi Ungar

Four months later, in November of 2021, the school sent another email letting people know the investigation found the allegations were “not substantiated” and Ungar would be returning to the classroom after Chanukah, and he did.

But there had never been an independent investigation. The investigation (whose flaws will be detailed shortly) was conducted by the very same law firm employed by HALB to defend itself against Daniel Weiss’ lawsuit. That was a blatant conflict of interest. Defense attorneys have a vested interest in refuting allegations and limiting a client’s financial exposure and reputational risk. It is not surprising that they also had a vested interest in whitewashing the allegations against Ungar.

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Fixing the YWN Erroneous Announcement of the Petirah of Rav Shlomo Carlebach

Yeshiva World News (7/21/22) announced the petirah of Rav Shlomo Carlebach (not to be confused with his cousin, the singer who died decades ago). They call him the “former mashgiach” of Chaim Berlin. But in fact according to Rav Moshe Feinstein, he retained that role pending resolution of Rabbi Carlebach’s beis din claim. The claim was never answered by Chaim Berlin in spite of Hazmanos by Reb Moshe’s bais din.
For a better of appreciation of the holocaust suffering of his family and the magnificent leadership and suffering of his father, Rav of Hamburg, Joseph Carlebach, see his interview (long, 4 hours)

R. Carlebach wrote this scorching letter to Dovid Zwiebel when the Aguda’s Moetzes included Aron M Shechter on its Moetzes, and a parallel letter to the NY Jewish Press

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