Would BMG of Lakewood Admit a Gentile Student?

Would Beth  Medrash Govoha (BMG) of Lakewood, NJ, admit a non-Jewish student? Most of you would think I am nuts to even be asking the question. But the New Jersey Star Ledger reports that according to “Moshe Gleiberman, vice president of administration at Beth Medrash Govoha …… there is no “religious test” for admission.”

Of course we all know this is a lie. No gentile, not even one who could learn with the best of them, will ever be admitted to BMG. But this lie is necessary for BMG to qualify for 10.6 million dollars in NJ public funding for buildings. If they discriminate on the basis of religion they are not qualified for the funds.

I have a question for my readers. Do you think it is OK for Gleiberman to lie this way to get money for BMG?


33 thoughts on “Would BMG of Lakewood Admit a Gentile Student?

  1. Yerachmiel, re:: “I have a question for my readers. Do you think it is OK for Gleiberman to lie this way to get money for BMG”?

    Yerachmiel, I wasn’t aware that you were in training to be a stand-up comic. Yasher Koach, you are on your way,

    But seriously, It’s all a matter of degree of criminality and mendacity and theft. Gleiberman is in competition with all of the Yeshivas who have,, received a truckload of funds from E-Rate, through either coruption, mendacity, or “creative” applications. The Orthodox world seems to be in competition not only regarding who can be more OCD religiously stringent, to out-machmir each other, but also, re who can steal the most from the government., In general as there is so much religious one-upmanship, as evidenced by the incredible mind-boggling move to the right, it seems as if they have adopted their own codicil to the Torah, the Talmud, and the laws of ethics. They have been rewritten,. Stealing , in genreal has been elevated to a mitzvah, and if it is from the govt, OD YOTER.

    So, in the final analysis, just as Algemeiner recently had readers, and other “personalities” compile a list of the 100 people (note:not just Jews) who have most helped the Jewish world this past year, (and, if you care to read the comments there you will see that some poster named “GAON” suggested an alternative additional list of those who have most damaged the Jewish world in the last year–I do remember this GAON giving first prize, the Oscar to MANIS fRIEDMAN, imho worth the read, this is on the list article, not the ones describing the red-carpet celebrations) JUST AS that list was created, I propose that you, or someone, we can call Algemeiner, compose a list of the most outrageous thefts of funds by any and all Jewish organizations, although I am certain that it will be close to 100% Charedi and some MO.
    The list can separate between source of theft, usually the govt. but not always, It could be subdivided in various other ways, such as percentage of total net assets of the group which was acquired through mendacity, through creative “theft”.
    And, then, let the awards begin. The list could be updated periodically, every six months or every year, depending on just how outrageously immoral the contestants become over time.
    Did I answer your question <>?

    • You remind me of the man who was paid to stand at the edge of town to let people know when the moshiach was coming. He said, “The pay is lousy but the work is steady.”

      If I were to compile your award list the work would be perpetual and the pay, which is zero for me, would be lousy. But I try to do my bit here and there.

  2. Of course not, but the real question is whether BMG lied to get the $10 mm in the first place. They’re gonna’ build a library and “research center” with the money? Will it have microscopes, a computer lab, and dissection rooms? Will their research be published in scholarly journals (a difficult question ever since the Jewish Observer ceased publication)? Something is not right here- considering BMG got more money than come public universities.

    I hope to G-d that any subsequent audit of BMG does NOT reveal any impropriety regarding how the funds were utilized (contra the numerous les affair’s d’ Satmar that have been widely reported)- that would be a horrible chilul HaShem. But I can’t reconcile nor justify the huge sum of money they were awarded in the first place. And I suspect that Moshe Gleiberman’s recent lie will not be the last

    • Any New Jersey resident can request a copy of the application filed by BMG and the contract signed by BMG under the freedom of information act. If it is available in electronic form it will be very cheap. If it is in paper it will be $7.50 for first 10 pages and then the rates drop and eventually are $0.25/page. If someone gets hold of it I will be glad to post a link to it. It should be an interesting piece of fiction. I bet many of the Kollel guys in BMG will not recognize the institution described in the application. But they will live with it, because, to riff on mishnah mikvaoth, “Kul hamareh holech achar hakesef” (all appearances are determined by the money prospects).

  3. Once you find a gentile qualified to follow the courses, you could try it out. If they refuse to accept him, this would prove they lie.

    If I were them, I would take him….

    • I think the likely candidate would be someone whose mother’s conversion was revoked by Leib Tropper. Technically, and in the eyes of NJ he could be a goy yet he may have learned enough to qualify under their learning standards. To paraphrase the old Tropper tape, BMG could tell him “You need (another) conversion and we need a goy to qualify for funds.”

      Of course it would create all sorts of complications. Like the envy of everyone else in Lakewood when he is the only bochur allowed to date non-Jewish girls, the competition among people for his services as a shabbos goy, and his priveleged access to the role of Haman in the Purim shpiel.

  4. The truth is that it mean bupkis to be admitted to an institution of higher learning (aka, “lehrnen”) -the real test is what kind of $cholar$hip package will they offer. So, I wonder if the goy who applies to BMG can also receive financial aid- or perpaps a “research grant”- like all the other nice Jewish boys who got their paperwork in on time.

    • Fred, Do you not only expect BMG to admit but to also issue him a father in law. I can see the discussion with the goyish shadchan. “You want me should take this boy as a son-in-law and pay his way in Lakewood. What kind of a shmuck do you think I am. Becoming a rabbi isn’t even a nice job for a Jewish boy. He will never become a rabbi. If I should lose my money how is he gonna make a living as the only goy talmid chacham. Fuhgetit!”

      • Maybe Jackie Mason (or the goyish Jay Leno) will get hold of this topic- it could make really spice up their monologue. And think of the BMG Purim schpeil- with goyim attending the Yeshiva, they’ll have more punch lines than the number of beans in a cholent!

        Seriously (well, kind of…) will the proposed “research center” allow members of other faiths to use it to conduct, well, “research”? Maybe some Amish guys will visit, and get hooked into making a minyan.

        • It’s time to create a thread on research topics for them. Off the top of my head, here are a few:

          1. The economic impact of Yeshivish culture on Borsalino
          2. Estimating the true GDP of Lakewood through proxy variables for in-laws and cash: Lexus vs junker.
          3. Fertility in Lakewood and the elusive conctraceptive heter
          4. OTD in Lakewood and family strategies for covering it up
          5. The value of lomdus vs yichus as measured by dowries
          6. Why have streimlach gotten taller while Borsalinos have gotten wider and have we reached the upper limits of this trend?

          • “you remind me of the man who was paid to stand at the edge of the town to let people know when moshiach was coming””

            Great list!, this comment site is rapidly rising on the tschok tscale, but, as an aside, I had thought that only Lubavs spell it with an “o”, the mms word?.
            I like #4. above., it has fabulous potential.

  5. I believe that in the RW world of BMG, it is considered assur to teach Torah to a non-Jew, with a limited exception for prospective gerim — who don’t learn in yeshivot. But any such exception wouldn’t mean there is no religious test, since requiring a non-Jewish applicant to profess the beliefs required of a candidate for RW Orthodox conversion would truly be a “religious test” — unlike merely requiring that an applicant have been born to a Jewish mother.

    I’ll leave it to rabbonim to debate which is worse, a Chareidi Jew who violates halakhah for goyish money, or one who merely takes goyish money conditioned on his promise that he will violate halakhah in the future but with no intention of keeping that promise. If it stinks, you don’t ask which nostril is more offended.

  6. As an attorney, my opinion is that Rabbi Gleiberman was not lying. There is no religious test to obtain admission into BMG. There are numerous criteria that must be satisfied in order to gain admission but none of them require you to specifically be Jewish. And Rabbi Gleiberman is saying the 100% truth when he says the criteria were established to ensure that the students are up to the task of learning in Lakewood. They were never designed to keep non-jews out. They were designed to keep out students (generally Jewish ones) who are not up to par. What you are saying is that hypothetically, if a non-jew would be able to pass all the numerous criteria in order to get into Lakewood, BMG would then institute a new factor in their admission policy that said no non-Jews allowed. That may be but it’s an impossible hypothetical. Pointing to some impossible hypothetical and saying if it would take place BMG would then act to bar non-jews is not legitimate criticism.

    • As an attorney you have made a good argument that they cannot be prosecuted for lying and you could probably successfully defend them in court. As a sentient human being you should know perfectly well that BMG will never admit a non-Jew and accord him equal treatment. If you don’t know that about BMG you are theorizing and thus have no basis for saying that they are not lying.

      However, your reaction misses the point of my posting. I never claimed they could be prosecuted. I was referring to a moral standard of honesty, a standard of Torah, of most religions, and of secular ethics.

      Pardon me if I misunderstood you, if you were writing as an ethical human being and not merely as a lawyer.

  7. If you are focusing on BMG’s moral standard of honesty, I would like to question one of yours. Why would you now question BMG’s response on this, if EVERY SINGLE YESHIVA IN THE USA has been engaged in such behavior for tens of years? Haven’t you ever seen where yeshivas numerous times in the past post small advertisement in the Jewish newspapers (i.e., Jewish Press, Hamodia, Yated, etc) stating their ” Non-discrimination Policy”. They need to do this in order to get their lunch funds as well as other state and federal funds. Why point out BMG as the only culprit?

    Perhaps your problem is not BMG’s statement on this (which is done by every yeshiva that posts those advertisements). Perhaps, your real problem is BMG no matter what it does. And if so, by posting the way you did, as if BMG does this and no other yeshiva does it (when EVERY OTHER ONE DOES) and the action is what bothered you, your standards of moral honesty are not that hot either.

    • You raise a good point. Indeed, many other Yeshivas lie. You then accuse me of being out to get Lakewood. Listen, if I had pointed out other yeshivas you probably would have complained that I was out to get all yeshivas.

      Here is the simple explanation for why my posting was about Lakewood. I happened to notice them first because I am paying attention to the Kolko trial. When I noticed it I was amazed by the words coming out the mouth of the spokesperson. So I posted

      However, I want to thank you for reminding me to look at the big picture of many other institutions also being dishonest.

      I want to ask you a question, Where did I ever say that no one else does this? So I was not dishonest. Where did I say that Lakewood is worse than other Yeshivas? You are just complaining about what I chose to focus on. Do I have an obligation to cover every instance of a problem before I talk about a specific case? Didn’t your comment attack me and even (unjustifiably) accuse me of dishonesty. Can I argue that you are dishonest and out to get me because you did not mention any other blog that also does this, thereby making me look worse than other media and blogs?

      As a lawyer, do you see any way you could make a case in court that i was dishonest? At worst, you could argue that in one instance, describing one set of misdeeds by one institution, I did not mention every other instance. Big deal!

      I want to ask you, how come so much pilpul and so little svoroh? Why are you so busy searching for a kvetch to avoid dealing with the main issue, that Lakewood does not mean what it says about not discriminating?

    • I dont think any other Yeshiva in US history ever received $10.8 MILLION in public funding- sorry bud, but in this case, money isn’t just talking; it’s screaming, and if that draws attention to BMG, so be it. Ditto for comments made by Mr. Glieberman: if he has the temerity to lend his name to a public comment, then any scrutiny that comment happens to invite is simply fair game. And in this instance, he seems to have been caught with his pants down

      • Great comment. Actually, I am not so sure about no other yeshiva getting that much in public funding. I wouldn’t be surprised if Satmar’s UTA, which is also very large, managed to top that feat with comparable politicking and misrepresentation. Funny how the organizations who score at the funding trough are also the communities embroiled in some of the most publicized CSA scandals.

        • You’re probably correct about Satmar- remember the “medical clinic” that was under construction a number of years ago up in Monroe? I recall they received waaaay north of $10 million for it. So it was even a bigger score from the government, and that occured like 20 years ago. The dollar was worth more then.

          Unfortunately, the clinic was never completed- not even close to completion- because the NY State conducted an audit on the project and found a boat load of mis appropriated funds and false documentation of work performed. A massive fire destroyed all of the records and whatever was under construction after the audit was conducted. Imagine that! The legendary Ed Bradley, of blessed memory (and this approbation is applied with absolute sincerity) of “60 Minutes” fame actually visited Monroe and interviewed a few of the players involved with this fiasco. What a disgrace…you can find the clip on you tube, but be prepared to hurl your cholent over your laptop.

          I think there is definately a strong relationship between the frum organizations who score the biggest stash of public funds and the degree of financial malfeasance that ensues thereafter.
          Think “e-rate”, Section 8, Pell Grants, and who knows how many other scandalous kiting of taxpayer dollars that some of our brethen have ripped off over the last 20 years. As the saying goes, “Der mentch tracht, und Gut lacht” ( Man tries (to outsmart HaShem), and G-d merely laughs at him).

  8. Esq., as a fellow attorney, I know as well as you do that one needn’t be an attorney to determine that something is a lie. I’ll accept that BMG has no written requirement that students be Jewish, and probably no non-Jew has ever applied, but we both know that discrimination does not require a written policy. Unless I am mistaken that it is halakhically prohibited to teach Torah to non-Jews, BMG could not admit a Gentile student without committing a public violation of halakhah, which it surely would not do. (I doubt that any posek would hold that voluntary acceptance of government funds on condition of non-discrimination overrides the halakhah as dina d’malkhuta.) If the spokesman of a religious institution claims it imposes no “religious test,” when the religion whose laws and teachings it claims to faithfully obey and transmit imposes such a test, is that not a lie, or at least a false statement that the institution and spokesman should have known to be false?

    That a non-Jew might apply and meet BMG’s written criteria is unlikely, but not impossible. There are a few Gentiles with a strong interest and aptitude for Jewish learning, and many who consider themselves Jews, but whose conversions, or the conversions of their mothers, grandmothers or great-grandmothers, were not kosher by consensus-Orthodox standards. I know a rabbi who discovered he was halakhically non-Jewish (and underwent conversion) only when he applied to RIETS.

    If it is true that, as you say, every yeshiva in the USA has been engaged in this behavior for tens of years, what difference would it make, legally, morally or halakhically? Wouldn’t that imply that organized Orthodox Judaism de facto condones lying to the government to obtain benefits and subsidies? I sincerely don’t want to believe that, and would be relieved if someone pointed out the error in my thinking.

  9. Esq. makes a point about the non-discrimination policies of “other Yeshivas”- and by extension they are no better than BMG since the whole group of them is phoney from the get go.

    My recollection is that Yeshivas who place adds in other publications- Jewish Press, HaModia, etc.- include non-discrimination statements regarding EMPLOYMENT, NOT ADMISSION- in other words, the statements are directed toward those who may apply for jobs at the respective Jewish school.

    Conversely, many Yeshivas, regarding admissions policy, openly state that entrance to the school is open to people of the Jewish faith, and so on. I see no problem with this- a monestary for entrance into the priest hood shouldnt be forced to admit a Belzer Chassid either (regardless of their similar fashion proclivities).

  10. I agree that religious schools should be allowed to have religious entry requirements. But the public should not subsidize institutions that discriminate on religious grounds.

  11. Kevin in Chicago: of course, as you already know, your logic is impeccable. of course, ortho judaism supports and encourages lying to the government to lllegally obtain funds. this is not Czrarist Russia. OTOH, well, i do not want to be put on the no fly list..
    Yerachmiel, of course. in any case, the US economy is going down the drain. GLUB GLUB, DO NOT LET THE CURRENT PONZI SCHEME. mislead you. So, actually, just as i advocate to friends to take their social security at the earliest age legally possible, before “and then there were none”, there is a point, albeit, immoral to make, that , now or never. OMG, i can’t believe i wrote that. Shame on me. gotta erase this comment quickly. are we talking about ethics, morality, integrity, Judaic halachik , or are we talking about tachlis, survival, this is too much for me. I need a few vodka shots.

    and then wha….

  12. Gleiberman is not a rabbi. He was working in the back office in IDT and a friend suggested he would be a good assistant to Aaron Kotler CEO of BMG. Any statement he makes is provided to him by the CEO. He is not the sharpest tool in the shed, just a shlepper for the CEO. Funny thing is- before he was hired by BMG, he would curse them out about all the corruption they are involved in. Now he is enjoying that corrupt lifestyle.

    • I don’t know Gleiberman. I hear you saying he has the charifas (sharpness) of a butter knife and the moral malleability of a Gumby. But everyone knows CEO Aaron Kotler’s reputation as sharp and ruthless. I agree, we can assume that the grant application had the haskamah (endorsement) of Aaron and if necessary the signature of his brother, Rav Malkiel, the Rosh Yeshiva. I have been told that Aaron also decides which Kol Korehs (banning proclomations) get signed by Rav Malkiel. It is sad to think of the CEO bearing the name of his illustrious grandfather. I have heard that Rav Elya Svei would pronounce the CEO’s first name in a hyper-exagerated American accent to make the point that he did not regard him as a worthy descendent. Sic transit gloria mundi (thus passes the glory)!

      • You got truncated, Yerachmiel. Sic transit gloria mundi (thus passes the glory of the world).
        ha! glory, still looking for it. ‘moral malleability”, has a nice ring to it, alliterative.
        B’sofo shel davar, “the paths of glory lead but to the grave”. Sometimes it is hard to not wish that that could be accelerated. OY.

  13. If a non-Jew applied to BMG, all they would have to do is start a “7 Mitzvot of Bnei Noach” Chabura, and this would solve both the Halachic and discrimination problems.

    • I thought of that. However, not discriminating means not limiting some students to only some classes on the basis of religion. Imagine the stink if a trade school for Chefs admitted women but only allowed the women into the lower level prep courses.

  14. Every private school puts out an ad which says ‘this-and-this school does not discriminate on the basis of race or color etc.’ This is obviously necessary to get funding from the gov. Is this lying? Of course not; if a gentile would like to come to BMG, they would be more than welcome. Just one question: Would they learn Gemarra/Talmud? BTW there ARE Mexicans in BMG dot dot dot! (And both Jewish and non-Jewish, how do you like that?!!!) Regarding what another wrote in a comment regarding that they got money for a ‘research library’, and he wonders if their work will be published in scholarly publications. Let me ask: What does one expect to find in such publications; articles about improving the physicality of this world. OK, Question: Who’s dealing with improving one’s character? Answer: That is what a yeshiva is all about. And while yeshiva guys might not seem like the greatest contributors to the economy, A) they spend plenty on all their basic needs, just not much luxuries, and B) the fact that the prisons are not full of them saves the taxpayer money; including you, dear questioner (I hope). So this is much food for thought. Thank you

    • Yeshiva University has all sorts of religious requirements for enrollment in their RIETS seminary. So they made it a separate legal entity which does not qualify for various government funding. Lakewood’s BMG is trying to eat its cake (out of the public’s tax till) while indeed discriminating on the basis of religion. YU is honestly able to say it does not discriminate when hiring or admitting to its law school, medical school, science programs, etc. Lakewood is not.

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