web analytics
November 1, 2014 / 8 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Breslov’

‘Price Tag’ Vandals Hit Arab Village in Samaria

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

“Price Tag’ vandals slashed tires on dozens of cars and destroyed trees in the Arab village of Kablan in Samaria Monday night, according to local villagers and the pro-Palestinian Authority Rabbis for Human Watch organization.

Most of the damaged vehicles reportedly were in car repair garage, and graffiti was scrawled on a nearby wall with the slogan “Na Nach Nachm Nachman M’Uman,” a mantra used by Breslov Chassidic followers of Rav Nachman.

If the rabbi were alive today, he would be sorely tested to retain his saintly presence in the face of the alleged vandalism that continues to paint all Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria as criminals.

The police and the IDF have opened up an investigation. Leftists have criticized police for not being able to catch and bring to price tag vandals to a trial that results in a conviction.

Jerusalem, Tiberias ‘Sex Cult’ Leader Gets 26 Years

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

A district in Tel Aviv on Thursday morning sentenced to 26 years in jail a Breslaw Chassid who headed the “Jerusalem Cult,” after his convictions for sexual abuse and holding women and minors in slavery conditions in the Jerusalem and Tiberias areas. One of his “helpers” was sentenced to six year in jail. The judge also ordered the cult leader to pay some $30 thousand as compensation to his victims, but it isn’t clear how they would go about collecting, since his victims continue to give him their full support.

The story was first exposed in August, 2011, and the police said it was one of the most severe abuse cases ever. Testimonies from the women who had been taken to temporary shelters, and journals that had been kept by the women and children, provided much support to the police case. Various hospitals also provided documentation of many injuries inflicted on the children.

In September, the court convicted the cult leader of 18 out of the 20 counts with which he was charged, including keeping people in slavery conditions, abusing minors, false imprisonment, and serious violations using sex and violence.

Nine suspects were involved in the case, although it is often difficult to separate the perpetrators from the victims. The “leader” had two male assistants, who carried out the punishments he issued. The crimes were, most often, “forbidden thoughts.” The remaining six suspects were the leaders “wives,” who were themselves being abused.

The obsession with “forbidden thoughts” is at the root of a lot of craziness, unfortunately. Together with the obsession with “forbidden sights” and “forbidden sounds” it is the force that turns religiosity into a hellish exercise in fear and loathing.

Then there was the “extended family,” that included dozens of children who were raped, sexually abused, tied up, caned, and shocked.

The court sentence reads like something out of the exploits of the Marquis de Sade, including public sex and sexual punishments. Shmaria will most likely be celebrating this one, so, if you seek hard core content, by all means, go visit.

Over here, we are overwhelmed by what appears to be the bestial outcome of a movement’s obsession with the “evils of sexuality.” We should rightly identify those obsessions as belonging with the school of de Sade, and not, l’havdil, Chassidism.

Chief Ukrainian Rabbi Calls for Removal of Provocative Cross

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

The recent placing of a crucifix near the Uman grave of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov was an act of “clear provocation,” said Ukraine’s Rabbi Yaakov Bleich, who called for its immediate removal.

“Ukraine is not a Jewish country, and Ukrainian Jews respect Christian symbols like crosses,” Bleich told the Jewish Ukrainian news site Еvreiskiy.kiev.ua. “However, the cross raised in Uman, in the immediate vicinity of the tomb of Rabbi Nachman, is a clear provocation.”

Earlier this month, Hebrew graffiti was discovered on the crucifix, which was erected in recent weeks on the banks of a lake near the grave of the 18th-century founder of the Breslov Hasidic movement. The Hebrew message read: “To exact vengeance on the gentiles.” A further inscription on the crucifix’s leg reads: “Stop desecrating the name of God.”

Referring to an estimated 30,000 Jewish pilgrims expected to arrive in Uman for Rosh Hashanah, Bleich said: “They will not be able to pray there this year.” He told JTA the cross would prevent the pilgrims from performing tashlich, a prayer often accompanied with the ritual of symbolically casting off the sins of the previous year by tossing pieces of bread or another food into a body of flowing water.

Failing in Order to Succeed

Monday, August 19th, 2013

The rabbis teach that we can only truly understand Torah when we allow ourselves to fail at it (Gittin 43a). Unless we push ourselves to reach for deeper understanding, where we inevitably get it wrong before we can get it right, we will not grasp the very essence of the Jewish enterprise. Rashi here seems to think that it’s the public shame of getting it wrong (and the concomitant rebuke) that strengthens one’s intellectual rigor. It is not hard to think about giving constructive feedback (“rebuke”) when it comes to moral matters, but do we care enough about ideas that we (respectfully) challenge others when ideas are misinterpreted or misapplied? How much do we really value the marketplace of ideas and the assurance that we as individuals and as a society get it right?

History is full of examples of leaders who acknowledged that persistence in the face of failure was more important than individual failures. President Abraham Lincoln, whose army suffered many crushing defeats in the early years of the Civil War, said: “I am not concerned that you have fallen — I am concerned that you arise.” A century later, Robert F. Kennedy echoed the optimistic spirit of youth when he said, “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” Besides for being tragically assassinated, what these presidents have in common in that their causes lasted, their legacies carried on, and they are remembered as being among the greatest and most successful men to occupy the Oval Office.

Very often, one can be lured by the traps of conformism (just follow others’ ideas or practices) or isolationism (just follow one’s own marginal ideas and practices). Our job as Jews is to break free from these ploys for mediocrity. We must challenge ourselves and the status quo to reach higher by engaging with societal ideas but without blindly accepting them.

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, the great-grandson of the Baal Shem Tov (the founder of the Chassidic movement) and founder and intellectual-spiritual leader in his own right, was anything but a conformist. He not only told his followers to be happy, but he also encouraged them to do silly things, highly unusual for a religious leader. Rebbe Nachman stated that each person had to fall in order to rise, and stressed the universality of this concept:

[E]ach person who fell … thinks that these words weren’t spoken for him, for he imagines that these ideas are only for great people who are always climbing from one level to the next. But truthfully, you should know and believe, that all these words were also said concerning the smallest of the small and the worst of the worst, for Hashem is forever good to all.

However, Rebbe Nachman went further, stating that it is “a great thing for a person to still have an evil inclination.” Even the tendency to evil could serve G-d, as people worked through these passions and eventually overcame them. To Rebbe Nachman, it seems, spiritual stasis is the only unacceptable path.

We must be willing to learn and debate with others. Ideas matter. Inevitably that will lead to some level of shame when we get it wrong, but the promise land afterwards is much greater. It offers a culture of more honest, informed, connected individuals who are willing to be vulnerable for the sake of truth and who are willing to be wrong in order to get it right. Our great rabbinic and presidential leaders wouldn’t have it any other way.

New Super-Size Kitchen for Jews in Uman for Rosh HaShanah

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

Jewish volunteers have finished building a kitchen the size of a basketball court in Uman, Ukraine, where they plan to prepare 105,000 meals to serve an expected 20,000 Jews visiting and praying at the burial site of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov.

The new kitchen, donated by philanthropist and entrepreneur Steve Bogomilsky of Florida, replaced a smaller setup used in previous years by volunteers and employees of Uman’s Hachnasat Orchim project: A giant dining hall with 15,000 seats will be available for Jews to eat before and during Rosh HaShanah.

Meshulom (Charles) Rubinfeld, who is heading the project in Uman, said the kitchen’s 37 ovens and 17 burners will be used to cook 18 tons of meat, 13 tons of chicken and 105,000 pieces of fish, along with 250,000 challah rolls.

The cattle and poultry were slaughtered in Ukraine by butchers from the Badatz, Israeli’s most stringent kosher authority, who flew in from Israel. Other ingredients, all Badatz supervised, were shipped in from Israel in four containers.

Rubinfeld  said the food will be served in seven meals, 15,000 plates per meal, before and during Rosh Hashanah, which begins Sept. 4.

All leftover food will go to Jewish and non-Jewish charities in Ukraine, said Rubinfeld, who is holding weekly meetings with local officials to increase cooperation and minimize friction between Uman residents and the Jewish pilgrims.

Breslov Jews Robbed of $50,000 in Uman

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

Unknown assailants robbed $50,000 from Haredi Jews last week at the Uman headquarters of a nonprofit group that works to accommodate the tens of thousands of followers of the Breslover rebbe who will pour into the city for the High Holidays in September, Ukrainian authorities said.

The Ukrainian newspaper Segodnia reported that the money was meant to create better infrastructure for the pilgrims.

Natalia Taran, the Ukrainian Interior Ministry’s spokeswoman for the Cherkasy region in central Ukraine, was quoted as saying the assailants physically attacked at least one worker of the group helping the pilgrims.

The robbers took a safe containing the money after beating a local security guard.

Last week, the mayor of Uman ordered a halt to earthwork near the gravesite of Rabbi Nachman following protests by Haredim who feared that new earth brought in by contractors may contain human bones that would render the gravesite impure according to the Orthodox Jewish view.

Local Jews arranged for earth free of bone fragments to be delivered instead, according to the website.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/breslov-jews-robbed-of-50000-in-uman/2013/07/30/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: