The Detroit Measles Story Has Vital Health Lessons

Watch this short video to understand how horrible measles can be and how easily it spreads. It is a short video packed with information about the problem and its solution.

Unless all frum communities get maximally vaccinated, more people will die or end up in ICU’s and hospital rooms. The outside world will be afraid to interact with frum Jews and their fears will be understandable.

Of course anti-Semites will exploit it. But it is pointless to kvetch about antisemitism when internal recklessness delivers ammunition to them on a platter.  Continue reading

Israeli Kosher Cell Phones Block Calls to Resources for Sex Abuse Victims

Yediot Achronot reported today (4-11-19) on kosher cell phones which deliberately block calls to centers for sex abuse survivors. It came to light because this practice is being challenged in court in Israel.

The “kosher phones” are serviced by telecom companies who accept the stipulations of the ועדת הרבנים לענייני תקשורת (The Rabbinical Committee for Communication Matters). See this Wikipedia article in Hebrew (which is pretty clear if you then use Google Tranlate) for more information on the restrictions embedded in these phone accounts and the ways in which Haredim are pressured into accepting them.

You Shall Know a Community by Its Sanctions

If a Hareidi reports sex abuse to the police or protective services, the usual consequences can include getting their children excluded from schools, being expelled from shuls, losing income that comes from the community, and being harmed at getting marriage matches for their extended family.

Right now a measles epidemic is growing in Rockland County because of many Haredim who are not vaccinated. Officially, most of the community leadership is calling for vaccination. The county has set up free vaccination clinics but they are barely being used. Continue reading

Ukraine’s Chief Rabbi Removed from the Website of Council of European Rabbis

Something is brewing with the status of the Chief Rabbi of Ukraine, 55-year-old Yaakov Dov Bleich. Just this past Friday (3-29-19) he was a prominent figure in the Council of European Rabbis (CER) listed on their website as a member of their 6 member Executive Council, 12 member Presidium, and their 47 member Standing Committee.

CER Exec Council 3-29-19 11am EST

 

Not any more. He is off of those bodies with no announcements and no replacements as of Sunday, March 31, 2019. In fact his name is nowhere to be found on their website. All those 3 committees are now down one rabbi. Bleich is a man who happily accumulates titles so I can’t imagine he removed himself. Which means the CER probably removed or suspended him.

While some might say he was expelled there is no precedent for the CER to take such action. As a confederation they have till now always deferred to the decisions of the national communities to make such decisions. Only after a national group removes a rabbi do they then expel him as well from the CER. But on the other hand, how does one remove a chief rabbi who answers to nobody within his national community. I imagine that is a sticky issue for the CER and one that would require some significant process which we are likely in the middle of.

I believe it is related to allegations of sexual abuse of the sort I described in  “When Kiruv Gets Too Close and Turns into Abuse” (2/27/19). Continue reading