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December 10, 2016 / 10 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘lost’

Shabak ‘Lost’ Documents Permitting Use of Torture in Duma Arson Interrogations

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

One of the most disturbing aspect of the way in which the state handled the investigation of the Arson-Murder case in the Arab village of Duma, was not so much the fact that the accused are two Jews, one of them a minor, but the fact that the country’s military, police, government and even the judiciary have colluded in an effort to get a confession out of those Jewish suspects, even at the cost of using torture.

Media reports from the time of the investigation clearly indicated that then Attorney General Yehuda Weinsten, and the Supreme Court, gave the GSS (Shabak) permission to employ “aggressive” means of interrogation. Defense attorneys called for press conferences in which they decried the fascistic nature of such orders, warning that no matter what confessions the authorities manage to squeeze out of their clients using these brutal means, in the end no court could possibly accept them considering the manner in which they were extracted.

Not really. To paraphrase the old pseudo-philosophical adage: if a fascistic permission by the court to use torture disappears, does it still count against a conviction?

In a revelation that brings to mind some of the worst regimes in history, the Honenu legal aid society on Wednesday issued a press release accusing the state of losing documents pertinent to the case of one former Duma case suspect, said documents being the authorization to use torture in interrogating him.

The accused, who was initially part of the Duma investigation, was interrogated for a full month by GSS employees using violence and forceful shaking, until it became clear that he had no connection to the case. At that point, the prosecution indicted him on the charge of attacking an Arab during a brawl that had taken place two years earlier.

His attorney, Sinaia Harizi Moses, of Honenu, has been requesting for month to be shown several documents from the investigation, and her requests have been ignored. Among those documents, she asked to see the specific documents that supported the prohibition against letting her meet with her client, as well as the full protocol of his GSS interrogations.

According to the Hunenu release, during a court hearing last week, the prosecution declared that some of the investigation documents had “disappeared” and that despite many efforts, they could not be found. As to a few other documents, the prosecution objects to sharing them with the defense. The court will have to decide on those.

According to Moses, the “disappeared” documents were the alleged permission issued by the Attorney General to GSS employees to brutalize her client for a month in their dungeon. Other documents, she alleges, are the false statements issued by GSS interrogators to persuade the AG and, in turn, the courts, to permit her client to stay behind bars without seeing his lawyer or his family, and to be interrogated “aggressively.”

Which brings us back to the Duma case which rattled the country when it literally burst in flames on July 31, 2015, and has since been relegated to the far regions of media and public memory. The case, should it ever come to court again, could become an indictment of former AG Weinsten as well as the players and coaches of the much hallowed Israeli Supreme Court team.

Unless someone conveniently loses the documents.

Stay tuned.

David Israel

‘Holy Trash’ Exhibition Turns Lost Synagogue Books into Stone [video]

Friday, October 28th, 2016

“Holy Trash: My Genizah” is a new project by fine arts and performance artist Rachel Libeskind created especially for the American Jewish Historical Society (AJHS) exhibition space in the great hall of the Center for Jewish History.

According to Solomon Schechter, Genizah is “the storeroom or depository in a synagogue a cemetery in which worn-out and heretical or disgraced Hebrew books or papers are placed. In medieval times…their sanctity and consequent claim to preservation were held to depend on their containing the “names” of God.” What’s between the Genizah and today’s Jewish archive?

My Genizah presents a contemporary interpretation of the traditional Genizah. Crafted with texts and objects formerly belonging to the AJHS collections, My Genizah is a hard-edge, personal commentary on the making of the Jewish archive from the documents of the Genizah, and on today’s archival procedures of sorting, cataloguing, and organizing history.

“I think it’s interesting to look at the inventory of things that make up our lives,” Libeskind News1 NY. “Some of them are holy, and some of them are definitely not holy, and we just think of them as trash, and some we’re just not comfortable throwing away. It’s kind of an endless idea.” said.

On view through December 1, 2016.

Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011, Tel: 212-294-6160

Visitor information.


Lost Tzedakah

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

For many years Mr. Jacobs served as gabbai tzedakah. In addition to a general tzedakah fund that he managed, he also collected for the local yeshiva and Hatzalah. Every day he would place three separate pushkas in shul. At the end of each month, he would count the money and deposit it in the designated accounts.

One day, after counting the donations, Mr. Jacobs put the money in his coat pocket and headed to the bank. But when he reached the bank, he put his hand in his pocket and realized the money was gone.

“It must have fallen out along the way,” he thought. Mr. Jacobs retraced his steps but could not find the money. He panicked. There was over $1,000 of general tzedakah; old Mr. Katz alone had contributed two hundred in honor of his father’s yahrzeit. There was almost $400 for the local yeshiva, and $300 for Hatzalah.

Mr. Jacobs came home with a glum look. “What happened?” His wife asked. “You look terrible!”

Mr. Jacobs related what had happened. “I always put the money in my attaché case,” he added, “but I didn’t have it today so I stuffed it in my coat pocket. It’s $1,700 down the drain.”

Mrs. Jacobs thought for a moment. “Are you held accountable for the money?” she asked. “It’s going to be very hard for us to cover such a sum.”

“I was wondering the same,” answered Mr. Jacobs. “I was careless. On the other hand, I do this as a volunteer; I don’t get anything for being gabbai. Furthermore, nobody’s keeping track of the money except for Mr. Katz; he asks me every day if I distributed it already.”

“But you know that you lost the money,” retorted his wife, “and God knows!”

“I was just wondering what the halacha is,” apologized Mr. Jacobs. “I’d like to discuss the issue with Rabbi Dayan.”

When Rabbi Dayan heard the story, he said: “You must pay the money that was collected for specific causes, namely the yeshiva and Hatzalah. On the other hand, nobody can claim the unspecified tzedakah from you, not even Mr. Katz, but according to some you have a chiyuv b’dinei shamayim, a halachic obligation toward G­od, to make good to the poor.”

Rabbi Dayan then explained: “A gabbai tzedakah is responsible for negligence the same as any other person who is entrusted with money. If he is paid for his services, he would be accountable even for theft. Nonetheless, the Shulchan Aruch [C.M. 301:6] holds that one who was negligent with unspecified tzedakah is ‘exempt,’ since nobody can claim the money from him. The donors cannot claim the money, since they never expected the gabbai to return it to them, but rather to distribute it to the poor. Each individual poor person also has no claim, since the gabbai can choose not to give the charity to him, but to some other needy person. However, if the money was earmarked for specific people or organizations, they have a definite claim to the money, and the gabbai is fully accountable to them if he was negligent.”

“And what did you mean by a chiyuv b’dinei shamayim about the unspecified tzedakah?” asked Mr. Jacobs.

Rabbi Dayan continued: “The Chavos Yair explains that even when the money is not earmarked for anyone specific, the gabbai is only ‘exempt’ in the sense that neither the donor nor an individual poor person can demand the money from him. However, the gabbai has a halachic obligation, albeit not enforceable by beis din, to give the money to the poor. His commitment to handle their money is no less a commitment than one made by a person who pledges to them [Pischei Teshuvah 301:6].” Maharam Shick, though, exempts even latzeis y’dei shamayaim if the gabbai did not actively damage” [C.M. 14].

Rabbi Meir Orlian

Tamar Yonah Show – Dissed and Disgraced by Nations, Obama Has Lost His Crown [audio]

Tuesday, September 6th, 2016

How has the most powerful country and office in the world, fallen to such depths of disdain by the world? Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has called Barack Obama a “son of a whore” and when arriving in China for the G-20 summit, Obama got snubbed with no red carpet reception, and he had to exit the airplane from the back. Join guest, Paul Miller, director of www.SalomonCenter.org as he talks about this, and the Jewish Prayer Shawl that Donald Trump Received.

Also, she doesn’t wear a cape, but Lana Melman from Liberate Art, is a Jewish Super-Hero who stands up against the BDS and helps celebrities and Music Artists do the same. Hear this important interview on how this woman from Los Angeles has been able to fight the good fight. Lana will be on a speaking tour this fall and you can visit her website at LanaMelman.com

Tamar Yonah Show 05Sept2016 – PODCAST

Israel News Talk Radio

Has the Anti-Defamation League Lost the Plot?

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

{Originally posted to the author’s website, Word From Jerusalem}

I rubbed my eyes with incredulity when I read bizarre statements emanating from Jonathan Greenblatt the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), one of the most powerful American Jewish organizations whose principal mandate is to combat anti-Semitism.

A few months ago I was drawn into a heated dispute with Greenblatt after criticizing a kumbaya address he delivered to J Street students which included implicit criticisms of Israeli government policy and a failure to urge J Street to cease demonizing Israel and canvassing the US government to intensify pressure against the Jewish state.  Instead, he should have encouraged them to engage in the battle against the mushrooming anti-Semitism proliferating the campus. Greenblatt responded that he was “impressed” with these students and felt that they were “the future Jewish leaders of our community”.

But more recently, Greenblatt appears to have entirely lost the plot and behaving as though he remained employed by the Obama administration. He was entirely out of line in his condemnation of the Republican platform as “anti-Zionist” for omitting reference to a two state solution. One can disagree about a two state policy. But for an American Jewish organization which must remain bipartisan and should be concentrating on anti-Semitism, to issue such a statement breaches all conventions. It is totally beyond the ADL’s mandate to involve itself in such partisan political issues.

Greenblatt is clearly obsessed with the subject of being “open minded” and tolerant of anti-Israeli groups. He made the extraordinary statement that, whilst disagreeing with Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) groups which promote anti-Semitism, he considers that they are “animated by a desire for justice” and we should “acknowledge the earnestness of their motives”. One is tempted to remind him that Islamic fundamentalists are also sincere in their beliefs and equally animated by their perverted concept of justice.

But the final straw is Greenblatt’s deepening association with the “Black Lives Matter” (BLM) movement.

Jews have a long and proud tradition of direct engagement in the civil rights campaign, in the course of which some even sacrificed their lives, making it all the more regrettable that since 1967, many African American groups have been in the forefront of campaigns against Israel.

The ADL mandate is to combat all forms of racial discrimination and endorsing legitimate civil rights groups is commendable.

However, the recent manifesto released by Black Lives Matter has clear anti-Semitic overtones. This should not come as a surprise to anyone.  Last year, BLM endorsed a “Black Solidarity Statement with Palestine” which demonized Israel, accusing it of “ethnic cleansing”, “genocide”, apartheid etc. and called on all Black institutions to engage in BDS. Black Lives Matter are engaged in anti-Israeli demonstrations, teach-ins and other activities, even including visits to Israel to protest the “ethnic cleansing” and “occupation”. It likened New York police behavior with alleged Israeli brutality against Palestinians and in Atlanta BLM accused Israeli counter terrorist training of American police forces as being responsible for the shootings of black Americans.

Yet despite pleas and warnings, Greenblatt continues to associate the ADL and by implication the Jewish community with the “Black Lives Matter” movement. Incredibly, in his J Street address he stated that “making sure that ‘Black Lives Matter’… are the struggles of our time”.

The ADL did criticize BLM’s accusations of genocide and apartheid and its promotion of BDS against Israel. But Greenblatt downplayed and marginalized the anti-Semitic elements to the initiatives “of a small minority of leaders” within the organization and stating that “Israel is far from a principal focal point in the more than 40,000 word document”.

Whilst contending that the ADL did not “endorse” or have a formal relationship with the BLM, Greenblatt refused to break with them. Thus, as of now, he insists that the ADL continue to endorse and promote Black Lives Matter domestic educational material in its curriculum resources and family discussion guides in schools and elsewhere because its concerns “are critical civil rights issues that merit attention”. To the best of my knowledge, Greenblatt also failed to publicly condemn the vicious lies and anti-Israeli statements made by the BLM group which visited Israel last month.

For any mainstream Jewish organization to continue providing legitimacy to a purported civil rights body which includes BDS and anti-Semitism in its policies on the grounds that only “a small minority of leaders” are responsible is unconscionable. For an organization like the ADL whose principal mandate is to combat anti-Semitism, it is sheer lunacy.

Furthermore, when Congressman Hank Johnson, a black Democrat notorious for his hostility towards Israel, referred to Jews living in Judea and Samaria as “termites” – a foul anti-Semitic expression – Greenblatt, who was willing to condemn the Republicans for not relating to a two state policy, saw fit to merely tweet “This is an offensive and unhelpful characterization. Demonization, dehumanization of settlers doesn’t advance peace”. Such a timid response to this outrageous expression from American Jewry’s purported premier body designated to combat anti-Semitism, is incomprehensible.

This is taking place at a time when anti-Semitism and demonization of Israel in American campuses, under the guise of human rights, has mushroomed with some campuses being described as cesspools of anti-Semitism. That is the principal issue on which the ADL (and other major Jewish organizations) should now be concentrating.

It is also disconcerting that, aside from the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), Jewish organizations have shrouded themselves in a curtain of silence and failed to dissociate themselves from this craven ADL approach.

Incredibly Greenblatt actually directed his ire at the ZOA rather than the anti-Semites. He proclaimed to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency “We are a civil rights organization. The ZOA is not. We are an organization focused on combating anti-Semitism and bigotry. The ZOA are not.” The ADL even castigated a Jewish newspaper for having the effrontery to publish ZOA chief Mort Klein’s justified criticism of ADL for failing to sever its links with BLM, claiming that such remarks amounted to “hate speech”. In other words, the ADL had the chutzpa to declare that the ZOA (which has played a major role in combating the demonization of Israel and anti-Semitism) has no right to express its dissent or criticism of the ADL.

This is a fundamentally serious issue for American Jewish leadership. If mainstream Jewish organizations remain silent and fail to criticize the ADL’s reprehensible behavior they will be ushering in a new era in which American Jewry’s hard fought achievements and status in society will be severely undermined.

If the CEO of the ADL continues engaging in such partisan politics and refuses to prioritize his organization’s principal resources towards fighting anti-Semitism, he should step down. Otherwise the $50 million plus ADL budget is likely to be dramatically reduced when supporters and donors recognize that the organization purporting to  combating anti-Semitism is primarily focusing its efforts on seeking liberal acceptance by pursuing progressive agendas, denouncing conservatives, combating Islamophobia and becoming engaged in universal issues and social justice at the expense of its core mandate. These issues are handled by human rights bodies which individual Jews can support as they deem appropriate.

The ADL central mandate must be to combat anti-Semitism which is today largely manifested in the demonization and delegitimization of Israel. If they elect to abandon this objective, they do not warrant Jewish communal support.


Isi Leibler

Lost Property The Status of the Shomer Aveidah

Thursday, August 4th, 2016

As you are leaving the synagogue on a Shabbat morning, you find a diamond ring on the floor. The loss is publicly announced in the synagogue three Shabbatot in a row. But no one steps forward to claim it. According to Jewish law, you, the finder, are a shomer aveidah, a guardian of lost property, and must guard the ring in your possession until the owner claims it from you.

So you take the ring home and place it in a safe. When the owner finally comes forward and claims the ring, you go to the safe to retrieve it, but alas, the ring is gone. Somebody, you don’t know who, stole the ring. Are you now liable to pay the owner the value of the stolen ring?

That all depends on the status the halacha attributes to the shomer aveidah. There are two possibilities. The shomer aveidah either has the status of a shomer chinam, an unpaid bailee, or he has the status of a shomer sachar, a paid bailee. A shomer chinam is a person who volunteers to guard a deposited item free of charge. Accordingly, the halacha does not hold the shomer chinam responsible for the theft of the article so long as he guarded it in a responsible manner. A shomer sachar is a person who receives compensation for guarding a deposited item. Accordingly, the halacha holds the shomer sachar responsible for the theft of the article.

Is a shomer aveidah considered a shomer chinam or a shomer sachar?

According to Rabbah, the shomer aveidah is a shomer chinam because he receives no compensation for fulfilling the mitzvah of guarding lost property. According to Rav Yoseph, the shomer aveidah is a shomer sachar.

The reasoning of Rav Yoseph is as follows: While guarding the lost property, the shomer aveidah is performing a mitzvah. Now, the rule is “ha’osek bemitzvah patur min hamitzvah,” if you are busy performing a mitzvah you are exempt from performing another mitzvah. Therefore, explains Rav Yoseph, the shomer aveidah is exempt from the mitzvah of giving charity to the poor. The amount he saves in charity is deemed to be the payment he receives for guarding the lost property and the shomer aveidah is therefore a shomer sachar.

The Shulchan Aruch rules that as long as the lost property is in his possession, based on the dictum of ha’osek bemitzvah patur min hamitzvah, the shomer aveidah is a shomer sachar. The Rambam rules that as long as he is preoccupied with taking care of the lost property in his possession, based on the dictum of ha’osek bemitzvah patur min hamitzvah, the shomer aveidah is a shomer sachar.

Clearly, one’s liability for guarding the lost ring depends on the interpretation of the Talmudic dictum of osek bemitzvah.

Does the osek bemitzvah exemption apply only in circumstances where it is impossible to perform both mitzvot simultaneously, as in the case when the poor man comes by when you are preoccupied with polishing the diamond, a situation we shall refer to as the “Impossible Case”? Does it also apply where it is easy to perform both, as in the case when the poor man comes by when the ring is lying locked away in the safe, a situation we shall refer to as the “Easy Case”? Does it apply where it is difficult yet still possible to perform both, as in the case when the poor man comes by when you are holding the ring in one hand, a situation we shall refer to as the “Difficult Case”?

According to Tosafot and the Rosh, the osek bemitzvah exemption applies only in the Impossible Case. Clearly, argue Tosafot, one is not exempt from mitzvot just because one wears tzizit all day or because one is warehousing somebody’s lost property. Rashi holds that the osek bemitzvah exemption also applies in the Easy Case. Accordingly, a person traveling by day on Sukkot to perform the mitzvah of visiting his rabbi, is, says Rashi, exempt from the mitzvah of eating and sleeping in the sukkah when he sojourns at night.

According to the Ran, the osek bemitzvah exemption does not apply in the Easy Case but does apply both in the Impossible Case and the Difficult Case. The Ran cites several proofs for the application of the osek bamitzvah exemption in the Difficult Case as follows: In Talmud times, a bridegroom was exempt from reciting Kriyat Shema on account of his preoccupation with his wedding night. Similarly, cites the Ran, a person performing the mitzvah of guarding the unburied dead or digging them a grave is exempt from all mitzvot.

In all these cases it is possible, though difficult, to recite Kriyat Shema while preoccupied with the first mitzvah. Yet, says the Ran, the exemption applies. In explaining the reason for the application of the osek bemitzvah exemption in the Impossible Case and the Difficult Case as opposed to the Easy Case, the Ran points out that the Talmudic dictum is “ha’osek bemitzvah” (one who is busy with a mitzvah) and not hamekayem mitzvah (one who is merely fulfilling the mitzvah).

The halacha, as expressed by the Rema, adopts the approach of the Ran and this would seem to accord with the position taken by the Rambam in the case of the shomer aveidah.


Raphael Grunfeld’s new book, “Ner Eyal on Seder Nashim, Nezikin, Kodashim, Taharot and Zera’im,” will be published shortly.

Raphael Grunfeld

Tiberias Hospital Brings Health Knowledge to ‘Lost Tribe’ Jews

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

The Baruch Padeh Medical Center, Poriya, located on the ridge above Tiberias by the Kinneret, is accommodating the special needs of Jewish immigrants who must be transferred not only geographically, from the exotic regions of earth, but also in time, from forgotten ages to the 21st century.

A case in point is the community of Bnei Menashe, a small group of indigenous people from northeastern India, who claim they are descendants from the lost tribes of Israel, and have adopted the practice of Judaism. The Bnei Menashe speak Tibeto-Burman languages, and they probably migrated into northeast India from Burma in the 17th and 18th centuries. Israeli Rabbi Eliyahu Avichail, of the group Amishav which seeks evidence of the existence of exiled “ten tribes” in the world, named the group Bnei Menashe based on their account of descent from the tribe of Menasseh.

When a group of about 7,000 of these northeastern Indian Jews arrived in Israel six years ago, some of whom settled down in the vicinity of Tiberias (which is quite aways to the north of where the Biblical tribe of Menashe originally lived), the local hospital has taken upon itself to usher them into the wonderful medical advantages of modern times. And so the Baruch Padeh Medical Center, Poriya, a week ago hosted a meeting of agroup of Bnei Menashe women with its infectious diseases supervisor, Nurse Ilana Aharon from the Epidemiology Department.

The meeting, at the local chapter of WIZO, explored hygiene as the key to health. This included personal hygiene and dental hygiene, as well as keeping homes, courtyards and streets clean. Aharon also covered the importance of proper nutrition—eating vegetables every day—and physical exercise in maintaining health.

Another issue stressed in the meeting was the danger of smoking, which causes a long list of damages to health in addition to lung cancer: diminishing vitamin C deposits, blood diseases, impaired vision, and impotence. Most of the smokers in the Bnei Menashe community are the husbands, but family members suffer by exposure to secondary smoke.


Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/tiberias-hospital-brings-health-knowledge-to-lost-tribe-jews/2016/06/07/

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