August 22, 2019
(JTA) — A rabbi accused of sending sexually inappropriate text and voice messages to a woman living on a Tacoma-area military base is resigning his position.
“I write to notify you that I am resigning my position as Rabbi of Chabad of Pierce County effective Sunday, August 11, 2019,” Rabbi Zalman Heber said in a statement provided to the Tacoma News Tribune by his attorney.
It is not clear if he will continue as director of the organization.
Last summer, Traci Moran, whose husband Jared is a soldier at the Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Washington, alleged that Heber had been sending her sexually inappropriate text and voice messages for close to a month despite her objections. Heber “completely denies” Moran’s allegations of sexual harassment, his attorney told JTA last month.
Heber’s resignation comes after The News Tribune on Friday published a report about a second woman who had come forward. Chabad member Kim Shomer described to the newspaper a similar pattern of harassment and an attempt of unwanted physical contact. Shomer said she and her husband, who is not Jewish, first met Heber at their youngest son’s circumcision in 2007, and began weekly Kabbalah study sessions with Heber in March 2015.
Shomer, 50, and her husband, Spencer Freeman, 49, formally split from the Chabad Jewish center in December when they learned of Heber’s treatment of Moran. Shomer and Moran have met, and Shomer and her husband went to court hearings to support Moran.
The couple told the newspaper that they would not rule out legal action against Heber and Chabad.
May 3, 2019
Rabbi Aryeh Goodman, former executive director of Chabad of East Brunswick, admitted in U.S. District Court in Trenton that he paid to have sex with a 17-year-old girl; she was a victim of sex trafficking.
Goodman, 35, a registered sex offender from a 2013 crime, is under house arrest until his sentencing although he is permitted to travel to pre-approved locations during the week of Passover, according to records from the April 12 hearing. Calls made to his attorney, Eric Kanefsky, to find out the names of the specific locations were not returned.
Chabad of East Brunswick was affiliated with Chabad of Central NJ until 2013.
Rabbi Mendy Carlebach, administrator at Rutgers University Chabad House, which is affiliated with Chabad of Central NJ, told NJJN that Goodman was not on campus for Passover; his parents, Rabbi Baruch and Sarah Goodman, are Chabad’s campus activities directors. “Absolutely not,” he said. “[Goodman] has not been in the building for several years since this began.”
April 17, 2019
A preschool at a prominent Jewish synagogue in Washington, D.C., enabled sexual abuse against numerous children for years, a new lawsuit filed Monday alleges.
The families of eight children previously enrolled at Washington Hebrew Congregation’s Edlavitch Tyser Early Childhood Center say the preschool and its leader, Deborah “DJ” Schneider Jensen, failed to protect students from a child sexual predator over a two-year period, according to the complaint.
The families allege Jordan Silverman, a teacher at the preschool, subjected numerous children, including their own, to “regular and systemic” sexual abuse beginning in March 2016. The lawsuit alleges the children were between ages 2 and 4 at the time of the abuse.
The 74-count complaint alleges the abuse, perpetrated against both male and female children, included the most “grievous, demeaning and damaging forms of sexual abuse.”
“Mr. Silverman categorically denies engaging in any inappropriate or illegal contact with children at Washington Hebrew Congregation,” his attorney, Shawn Sukumar, told HuffPost. He declined to comment further. Silverman has not been charged with a crime.
Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia confirmed to CNN that an investigation into alleged sexual abuse of children at the school is currently ongoing.
Jensen, head of schools for Washington Hebrew Congregation, hired Silverman to teach at the preschool despite having no professional background in teaching or child care, the complaint alleges. Previously, he worked for 20 years as a photographer in Vermont, before moving to Bethesda, Maryland, according to the lawsuit.
Silverman was often alone with the preschoolers, the lawsuit alleges, even though child development centers in Washington are required to enforce a “two-deep policy,” which requires two adults to be present at all times if one or more children are present.
The policy is “the number one deterrent of children being abused in an institutional setting,” Michael Dolce, the attorney representing the families, told HuffPost. “It’s a very effective way to guard against the unknown abuser.”
But Silverman was “allowed and encouraged” by school administrators to be alone with individual or small groups of children on an almost daily basis, according to the lawsuit.
Dolce would not describe specific aspects of the alleged abuse, citing the ongoing police investigation.
The number of people who have no religion has risen 266 per cent – one third of the population – in three decades
April 5, 2019
- People with no religion accounted for 23.1% of the U.S. population in 2018
- By comparison, Catholics make up 23% and Evangelicals account for 22.5%
- The three are now statistically tied as the largest religious groups in America
- Meanwhile, mainline Protestant Christianity has seen a 62.5% decline in believers since 1982, to now account for just 10.8% of the U.S. population
The number of Americans who identify as having no religion has risen 266 percent since 1991, to now tie statistically with the number of Catholics and Evangelicals, according to a new survey.
People with no religion – known as ‘nones’ among statisticians – account for 23.1 percent of the U.S. population, while Catholics make up 23 percent and Evangelicals account for 22.5 percent, according to the General Social Survey.
Those three groups now represent the largest the religious groups in America.
The survey has tracked a broad swath of American trends since 1972, offering comprehensive insight into the evolving face of religion over more than four decades.
Ryan Burge, a political science professor at Eastern Illinois University who analyzed the data, said that experts have several theories about why the number of ‘nones’ has risen so dramatically in recent decades.
‘One of them is that many people used to lie about what they were,’ he told DailyMail.com. ‘Many people were (always) atheist or non-religious, but it was previously culturally unacceptable to not have a religion in America.’
March 24, 2019
Sex convict rabbi Eliezer Berland promises he can revive people who were officially declared brain dead, if family members pony up some NIS 20,000 ($5,400), according to a television report on Thursday that exposed the working of the miracles-for-cash services offered by the shadowy leader of the Shuvu Bonim community.
Berland has long been known to offer “pidyonim,” or kabbalistic benedictions, to the ill, whereby they receive a blessing after donating money. In late-night visits, and surrounded by dozens of followers, Berland frequently shows up at Israeli hospitals across the country, unattended by staff, to bless the sick, according to footage uploaded by his followers.
Israeli journalists from Channel 12 news, seeking to unearth how it works and after encountering victims of Berland’s scheme, invented the case of a 35-year-old woman, “Yael,” who was declared brain dead.
They contacted Berland’s aide Natan, who was initially circumspect, saying he would have to check as it was a case of brain death. “If it wasn’t brain death, I would promise you that he would revive her,” he tells them, tacitly acknowledging the irreversible loss of all cognitive functioning.
But getting back to them after consulting with Berland, Natan says his mentor is confident he can do it. It would cost NIS 20,000, he says, vowing that the woman will be brought back to life. “At least once a week, the rabbi revives the dead in all sorts of ways in the hospital,” the Berland aide reassures them.
After they balk at the price, Natan puts Berland on the line.
“Bring NIS 20,000 within an hour, at 1 a.m. I’ll be at Rambam [medical center in Haifa],” the rabbi tells them.
“Wait, but Rabbi Berland, the doctors said she’s brain dead,” interjects Channel 12 reporter Yoav Even.
“The rabbi knows this,” replies Natan the aide.
“Yes, I can revive her. I’ve already revived people who were brain dead, who were totally paralyzed, people with cancer… against which they didn’t stand a chance,” Berland says, adding that he performed “total miracles, total miracles.”
“If you bring me NIS 20,000, she’ll wake up. There will be a miracle. Her brain will start to work, you’ll see her brain starting to work,” said Berland.
Natan later updated the journalists that Berland would offer the blessing remotely after the money was transferred, and wouldn’t show up at the hospital.
In a statement to the TV station, associates of Berland insisted that his religious services do not cost money.
“There is a matter of pledging money to charity during a time of suffering. The rabbi himself blesses and prays and doesn’t deal with money at all. If the money comes, it’s immediately distributed to the needy,” a statement from his associates said.
“We are witness to hundreds and thousands of stories of people who were saved by the blessings of the rabbi, which are supernatural,” the statement added.
Activists who have spoken to The Times of Israel in the past have cited several cases of followers who, they say, have sold their houses or have been plunged into debt for these benedictions, in what they argue is tantamount to extortion by a cult-like leader with undue influence over his followers.
The donations — provided by ostensibly consenting adults for a religious service — are not illegal under Israeli law.
In a recording recently obtained by The Times of Israel, which is punctuated by derisive laughter by his followers, Berland boasted of exploiting a woman who donated tens of thousands of dollars.
Long considered a cult-like leader to thousands of his followers, Berland fled Israel in 2013 amid allegations that he had sexually assaulted several female followers. After evading arrest for three years and slipping through various countries, Berland, 81, was sentenced to 18 months in prison in November 2016 on two counts of indecent acts and one case of assault, as part of a plea deal that included seven months of time served. He was freed just five months later, in part due to ill health.
He can raise the dead but can’t cure his own health problems. Hmmm.
Since then, he has resumed his activities as the leader of the Shuvu Bonim community, an offshoot of the Bratslav Hasidic sect that has been disavowed by the broader Bratslav dynasty.
December 22, 2018
Aryeh Goodman, serial pedophile, sex trafficker and a danger to children seen here with his next two victims
A March 20 court date has been set in Middlesex County Superior Court for an East Brunswick rabbi charged in connection with human trafficking and forced prostitution of a 17-year-old girl.
Rabbi Aryeh Goodman, former executive director of the Chabad of East Brunswick, is charged with one count of engaging in prostitution with a child and one count of endangering the welfare of a child for allegedly having sex in an unnamed East Brunswick hotel with the girl, who is from Lancaster, Pa.
Accompanied by his attorney, Goodman, 35, turned himself in to the East Brunswick Police on Feb. 6. He was later released pending his court appearance before Judge Michael A. Toto, according to the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office spokesperson Andrea Boulton.
Gabriella Colon, 18, and Richard Ortiz, 23, both of the Bronx, were also arrested in the case and remain in the Middlesex County Jail on 11 criminal charges, including human trafficking, promoting prostitution of a child, criminal restraint, and a number of child pornography offenses, including manufacturing, distribution, and possession of pornography.
Goodman was one of 30 men who allegedly paid to have sex with the 17-year-old girl, according to the prosecutor’s office.
In a previous case, in January 2013, Goodman was extradited to Pennsylvania where he pled guilty to two counts of indecent assault of a person less than 13 years of age. Those offenses involved complaints about several incidents of a sexual nature with a 12-year-old boy, who accused Goodman of the acts while the rabbi was a counselor in the summer of 2001 at Camp Menachem, a Chabad facility in Lackawaxen Township, Pa.
The original indictment charged him with 12 counts; he pled guilty to two and the rest were dismissed. In October 2015, Goodman was sentenced in Pike County, Pa., to 11 to 23 months in prison, and the terms of the sentencing included completing a sex offender counseling course and refraining from having contact with the victim or his family. NJJN was unable to determine how much time Goodman served in prison.
Goodman’s name did not appear on the New Jersey State Police sex offender list available to the public; however, a law enforcement official who asked to remain anonymous told NJJN that offenders are divided into three tiers, with level three being the most serious; only the names of offenders in the top two tiers are available to the public, and Goodman is a tier one offender, according to the official.
In 2006 Goodman and his wife, Ora Malka, launched Chabad of East Brunswick on Lexington Avenue, which focused on education, operating the Chai Early Childhood Center, as well as the Chai Central Hebrew School. The Hebrew school, for children ages 6-14, closed in 2013 after charges against Aryeh Goodman were filed, but the early childhood center remains open.
December 21, 2018
Nir Ben Artzi, using his magic forehead box to tell the future
Rabbi Nir Ben Artzi, an Israeli mystic with a substantial following, has been warning of an increase in volcanic eruptions as part of the end-of-days process preceding the Messiah, who the rabbi maintains is present but waiting to reveal himself. Hiding out at Burger King, no doubt.
“The Creator is purifying the world from the filth of the snake in order to prepare the way for the Messiah to be revealed in the world,” Rabbi Ben Artzi said in his weekly sermon that was published yesterday. Because most sinners live around the Pacific basin, right?
A volcanic eruption in Indonesia followed by a large earthquake is the most recent event that has caused concern among geologists that we are entering a global period of increased seismic activity. Several rabbis weighed in, recognizing the volcanoes as a necessary part of the end-of-days that immediately precedes Redemption.
Mount Soputan, a 6,000-foot peak in Minahasa on the northern part of Sulawesi island in central Indonesia, erupted twice on Sunday morning, spewing ash more than 24,000 feet into the air. A two-and-a-half mile exclusion zone was enforced around the mountain. Residents were also urged to wear masks in case of ash rain, as authorities kept the volcano’s alert level at the second-highest level.
One hour after Mount Soputan settled down, a 6.2 magnitude earthquake shook the region with the epicenter about 100 miles southwest of Jayapura, Indonesia. …
August 16. 2018
Aryeh Cohen, would be child molester
A Minnesota rabbi who works in student outreach was charged in a child sex sting conducted earlier this year.
Rabbi Aryeh Cohen faces two felony counts of engaging in electronic communication relating to or describing conduct with a child, the Pioneer Press reported.
Some 17 people have been charged in recent days in the undercover operation.
In most of the cases, the men responded to ads posted on Craigslist by undercover agents posing as young women or men seeking a hook-up.
Cohen, 44, who has no prior record, was arrested in February outside an apartment in North St. Paul, where the federal agent posing as a 15-year-old boy suggested they meet after a week of communicating through a hook-up site, the Forward reported.
Cohen was the director of outreach for the Minneapolis Community Kollel, an Orthodox community center that offers seminars and classes on Jewish texts and religious life. He ran the Kollel’s JWAY program for college students and recent graduates. He and his wife, Adina, also led private text studies with male and female students at the Hillel on the University of Minnesota campus, according to the Forward, though he was not employed by Hillel.
Cohen’s name was removed from the Kollel’s website.
The rabbi will appear in court in September. If convicted, he faces up to six years in prison.
July 25, 2018
Mundhir Abdallah, calling for the killing of all Jews
July 7, 2018
August Hlond, shown here wearing his magic penis hat.
Prominent Jewish groups are condemning Pope Francis’ decision to push Poland’s top Roman Catholic priest during and after World War II further along the road to sainthood, claiming the would-be saint’s legacy is tainted by anti-Semitic views.
Pope Francis confirmed the “heroic virtues” of Cardinal August Hlond in late May, which means that he put a stamp of approval on a Vatican body’s initial review of the priest’s candidacy for sainthood. The Vatican now needs to confirm Hlond’s involvement in two miracles before the priest, who died in 1948, can become a saint.
But two leading U.S.-based Jewish organizations, the American Jewish Committee and the Simon Wiesenthal Center, have already stepped in to question Hlond’s attitude toward Polish Jews.
Rabbi David Rosen, the AJC’s director of interreligious affairs, criticized Hlond in a letter to the pontifical commission tasked with maintaining good relations with Jews.
Moving forward with the canonization process “will be perceived within the Jewish community and beyond as an expression of approval of Cardinal Hlond’s extremely negative approach towards the Jewish community,” Rosen wrote in the letter.
Hlond, who led the Roman Catholic Church in Poland between 1926 and his death, is revered in the country for opposing Nazi Germany’s occupation of the country and attempting to maintain the Catholic Church’s independence when communism took root after the war, The Associated Press reports.
But Jewish groups believe Hlond’s legacy is tainted by his anti-Semitic views. In a 1936 pastoral letter sent to Polish churches, Hlond warned his flock to stay away from the “harmful moral influence of Jews” and to avoid Jewish shops and publications.
“It is a fact that the Jews are fighting against the Catholic Church, persisting in free thinking, and are the vanguard of godlessness, Bolshevism and subversion,” Hlond wrote in the letter, according to a translation provided by AP.
Hlond wrote in the letter that “not all Jews” exhibited those qualities, and there were many “ethically outstanding, noble and respectable” Jews. He also urged Poles not to attack Jews or their property. Still, the priest ultimately criticized Jews for rejecting Jesus, Rosen wrote.
March 27, 2018
Menachem M. Weiss, charged with sexual assault of young boy
A man who served as a rabbi and teacher was arrested and charged in a 1999 sexual assault of a boy in Woodcliff Lake, according to the Bergen County prosecutor’s Office.
Rabbi Menachem M. Weiss, 46, of Los Angeles, was accused of sexually assaulting a boy from January to June 1999 in Woodcliff Lake, the prosecutor’s office stated.
Woodcliff Lake police received information of the sexual assault in December 2016, and Weiss was indicted on Tuesday.
The rabbi was taken into custody by Port Authority police Thursday evening at Newark Airport and taken to Bergen County Jail pending a detention hearing scheduled for Monday, according to the prosecutor’s office. He arrived on a flight from Los Angeles and there was a warrant out for his arrest, according to Port Authority spokesman Joseph Pentangelo.
Weiss used to live in Woodcliff Lake and Park Ridge, according to a 1999 article in The Record. In the article he spoke of a menorah outside his house being vandalized. He ran the home-based Pascack Valley Outreach Chabad Center.
He previously served at Milken Community Schools in California and was married for more than 20 years, according to a 2016 article by the student publication at the school Milken Roar.