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April 25, 2014 / 25 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Rabbi Metzger’

Police Want Rabbi Metzger on Trial for Bribery Charges

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

Police from Israel’s Major Crime Unit have recommended that former Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger be put on trial for charges of bribery, money laundering and breach of public trust.

The recommendation revealed more details of alleged criminal violations, including the rabbi’s allegedly pocketing money for his participation in a ceremony in Poland marking 70 years since the Warsaw Ghetto Rebellion and for speeding up conversions.

As previously reported, the rabbi also is accused of putting in his personal pocket half of funds that were raised for charities, including seminaries and a yeshiva.

Rabbi Aaron Metzger to Head NY Kosher Law Enforcement

Monday, January 13th, 2014

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets has named Rabbi Aaron Metzger of Monsey, New York, as the new head of the Kosher Law Enforcement Division.

“As part of his duties, he will work to protect consumers by ensuring compliance with the certification, record keeping and signage requirements relating to kosher food, and maintaining the Department’s online kosher databases,” the agency said in a  statement.

Rabbi Metzger will be based out of the Department’s Brooklyn office.  Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets Ron Rausch said, “Rabbi Metzger will work closely with our Division of Food Safety to enforce the statutory consumer protection provisions relating to kosher products.”

Rabbi Metzger replaces Rabbi Luzer Weiss, who resigned several weeks ago to pursue other interests. The Division once had a cadre of inspectors who fell victim to state budget cuts in the waning days of the Pataki administration. While some criticized the Department of Agriculture for dismissing the inspectors, the State agency has trained state safety inspectors to be vigilant about requirements under the State’s Kosher Law Protection Act.

Kosher law enforcement in New York State has always been under the microscope as New York is believed to account for almost half of the nation’s kosher food sales of $12 billion.

Rabbi Metzger was ordained in 2000 and has a Masters Degree in Educational Administration He worked in kosher certification on the West Coast as a leading rabbi for kashrus administration in Northern California.

Rabbi Metzger Released from Jail, Under House Arrest on Heavy Bond

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

An Israel court has released former Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger from jail but ordered him under house arrest with a bond of nearly $425,000. The court in Rishon LeTzion, south of Tel Aviv, told the rabbi not to leave the country or talk to the media for six months.

Besides facing charges of bribery and money laundering, he also is suspected of obstructing justice by allegedly offering a bribe to an acquaintance not to testify against him.

Police arrested him last week for the second time this year as a result of an undercover probe millions of dollars of charity money, a large part of which he allegedly pocketed.

Police Say Rabbi Metzger Paid Off Friends to Shut Up

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Police said on Thursday they have solid evidence that former Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger offered an apartment and cash to someone in return for his not spilling the beans to the police about the rabbis’ alleged offenses.

Rabbi Metzger was arrested this week on charges of pocketing millions of dollars that were intended for charities and yeshiva, and he also was accused of obstructing justice.

Police said they recorded Rabbi Metzger’s offer to the man, who is a state witness, after a previous arrest of the rabbi this past summer, when he was placed under house arrests for several days so he could not make contact with other involved in the case.

Rabbi Stav: Get ‘Corrupt Politicians’ Out of the Rabbinate

Friday, June 28th, 2013

National religious Rabbi David Stav has based his campaign to become Israel’s next Ashkenazi chief rabbi on a message of inclusion, friendliness and tolerance. But in an exclusive interview with JTA, he had harsh words for those who have attacked him in recent weeks.

The attacks began two Saturday nights ago, when Rabbi Ovadia Yosef used his weekly speech to call Stav “evil.” Rabbi Yosef, Israel’s chief Sephardi spiritual and legal authority, said that Rabbi Stav, who has painted himself as a reformer,  is “dangerous to Judaism, dangerous to the rabbinate and dangerous to Torah.”

One day later, some Haredi Orthodox youth took the rabbi’s words to heart and literally pushed Rabbi Stav around as he danced at a wedding.

And then last Thursday, the man whom Stav hopes to replace, Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, was questioned for fraud and money laundering and placed under house arrest for five days, preventing him from being in communication with other suspects and from leaving the country.

No indictments have been charged, but in Israel, public figures, especially those who are right wing or religious, are considered guilty until proven innocent.

Rabbi Stav wouldn’t comment directly on Metzger’s arrest, but said earlier in the interview that Israel “needs a rabbinate not ruled by corrupt politicians but by God-fearing people. The people of Israel want a Judaism that speaks not in threats and curses but in a pleasant language and ways of peace.”

He insisted that he only wants to make the rabbinate more user-friendly, not to change Jewish law. He’s against instituting civil marriage in Israel and won’t recognize non-Orthodox conversions. But the Haredi orthodox leadership in Israel doesn’t seem to believe him.

Rabbi Stav told JTA that if elected, he wants to strengthen the chief rabbinate’s relationships with Jewish communities outside Israel. One of his goals would be to push for a unified international standard of kashrut.

“The Israeli rabbinate is not just the top institution in the Jewish state but is also a formal authority for Jewish people worldwide,” he said. “We want a permanent dialogue with the different organizations and rabbinates in the United States and different places in the world.”

Update: Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger under House Arrest

Friday, June 21st, 2013

Police have released Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger on condition of “house arrest” for five says, during which time he is forbidden from leaving the country or making contact with anyone under investigation on charges of bribery and money laundering.

Police questioned Rabbi Metzger for 10 hours before releasing him close to midnight Thursday night.

He vehemently denied any wrongdoing.

Police have taken into custody Rabbi Metzger’s aide, Chaim Eizenstein, for eight days. Also being held for six and seven days respectively are officials of two non-profit organizations,  Beit HaTavshil director Simcha Karkovsky  and Ben Zion Tzioni, head of the Tzedaka V’Mishpat.

Israeli fraud squad officers raided Rabbi Metzger’s home and office Thursday morning following an undercover probe the past several months.  Police received authorization from Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein and State Prosecutor Moshe Lador to carry out the raid and arrests.

Police confiscated computers and documents and opened bank accounts.

The Chief Rabbi allegedly pocketed hundreds of  thousands of shekels, and possibly more, that were intended for non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Also questioned and eventually arrested were one of the rabbi’s aides and two NGO officials.

Other arrests are expected.

The probe is the latest in a lengthening list of investigations of Israeli public figures, including former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who was acquitted on two major charges and found guilty on one count, and suspended Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

The suspicions against Rabbi Metzger are grave, and if indictments are filed, the case would be a bombshell for an Israeli public that is increasingly distrustful of the police, politicians and judges.

Nevertheless, the  timing of the indictment against Lieberman and the questioning of Lieberman is interesting. Accusations and investigations against Lieberman dragged on for more than 10 years before an indictment was filed late last year, coincidentally around the time new elections were scheduled.

Rabbi Metzger, from the Haredi community, is being questioned days before the election of new chief rabbis. The two leading candidates for the Ashkenazi post are Haredi Rabbi David Lau and national religious Rabbi David Stav.

Can Kosher Sausages Be Kosher If They Are ‘Pork-Flavored?

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

A vegetarian food company in Britain has raised the hackles of rabbis by selling its certified kosher sausages without approval for adding flavoring that gave them the taste of pork.

The same company also sold a kosher certified vegetarian product with the flavor of shrimp.

“It makes me sick when I think of people who drool for something that looks like and smells like the real thing, referring to non-kosher “treif” foods, said one rabbi quoted by the New York-based Kosher Today newsletter.

He declared, “My stomach turned when I saw a [kosher certification] ‘hechsher’ on kosher shrimp.”

Many American rabbis and even the venerable Orthodox Union (OU) have allowed many foods to retain a kosher certification even if the flavors give them the taste of non-kosher food.

However, the Manchester rabbinical council that certified the Redwood Whole Foods as kosher also had that the kosher symbol not be used on precuts that are flavored to taste like non-kosher foods, such as pork and shrimp.

In Israel, Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger two years ago gave his blessing for a unique goose species that tastes exactly like pork. The species was introduced by Spanish farmers, and the Chief Rabbi ruled that the meat is totally kosher.

He cited a Talmudic source that God provided a kosher substitute with the same taste as its non-kosher counterpart.

Rabbi Metzger said at the time that observant Jews  may be “disgusted” when first tasting kosher meat with the taste of pork but that they “eventually get used to it.”

German Jews to Israeli Chief Rabbi: Your Circumcision Commotion Did More Harm than Good

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Israel’s Foreign Office and the Jewish community in Germany have criticized the intervention of Interior Minister Eli Yishai and Israeli Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger in the issue of the ban on ritual circumcisions in Germany.

Dr. Dieter Graumann, president of Germany’s Central Council of Jews, criticized Yishai’s call on German Chancellor Angela Merkel to intercede in the matter, as well as Chief Rabbi Metzger’s comments during his visit to Germany last week.

“We are concerned that Interior Minister Yishai didn’t think of becoming better informed about the details,” complained Graumann, suggesting Yishai had not paused to consider “whether his intervention was necessary or beneficial.”

In a polite but strongly worded letter to Israel’s ambassador to Germany Yaakov Hadas, Graumann declared: “There’s no need to elaborate – it’s not beneficial.”

Accoring to Graumann, Yishai chose to “ignore the fact that the Chancellor had clearly expressed her position supporting the right to perform ritual circumcisions.”

Referring to Rabbi Metzger’s visit, Graumann accuses him of meeting with high level government officials without notifying or even consulting with the local Jewish community or rabbinic institutions.

“This is an unprecedented example of interference in religious and political issues in an independent Jewish community outside the State of Israel,” Graumann stated.

In reference to Rabbi Metzger’s proposal of mohalim (ritual circumcisers) being trained by German doctors, Graumann wrote that “it raises doubt regarding the training being provided for the mohalim.”

Graumann concluded that “if the intervention of Interior Minister Yishai and Rabbi Metzger yielded some limited benefit, it was outright inefficient by causing needless harm and introducing additional mistrust.”

A source in the Foreign Office told Maariv that “the Jewish community in Germany is in the midst of several moves, both public and confidential, on the political, judicial and legislative levels, that are ripening. Suddenly the arena is invaded by forces like Minister Yishai or Rabbi Metzger who are unfamiliar with the local rules of the game, the create a a big commotion that damages our efforts.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/global/europe/german-jews-to-israeli-chief-rabbi-your-circumcision-commotion-did-more-harm-than-good/2012/08/28/

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