Years back I had a neighbor, we'll call him Mr. Klein, not his real name, who was the only person, from his extremely large chassidic family, to survive Hitler's death camps. He seemed like a nice enough guy; on Shabbos, if we bumped into each other, he'd always respectfully say good Shabbos.
He was not observant in any way, but was not in your face about it. I always nodded back and wished him Shabbat shalom. I tried many times to get to say good Shabbos first, but he always beat me to it. I invited him over many times, with the promise of "no proselytizing", and he always politely refused.
It was on a summertime Friday night on my way back from shul, when I saw him get out of his car, that I waited to bid him good Shabbos. He was somehow taken aback by the gesture, why, I am not certain. We shmoozed for a bit then he asked me if I'd like to see a photo of his family pre-war, I responded, "absolutely!"
He took his wallet out of his rear pocket, we moved under a fluorescent lamppost, there were 14 people in his handsome family. His father was a man with a black hat with a well-trimmed black beard and bulging peyos. His mother was an aristocratic woman with the traditional chassidic headgear. He was a middle child, about 12 years old at the time of the photo, he beamed with pride at his long peyos and big black yarmulke, and went on to tell me all the names of his siblings (I still remember every name). The baby, he said was 4 months old, and could have been a model for Gerber; a cherubic-like beautiful baby girl, the likes of are indeed rare.
And then he broke down!
"How could He let this happen"? What did Rivkele do at 4 months old to be tossed into an oven alive? He sobbed uncontrollably! What to say? What do you say to a person who has a question with no good answers? I cried unashamedly. "How can people blame me for not believing in God - how could they" - he cried, barely able to catch his breath?
He sat down on the sidewalk, I sat there right along side him holding his shoulder.
I told him finally, not thinking I was capable of any consoling words; "the question is how could anyone believe in God after what you saw, and not the other way around. "You understand?" -- Of course I do, I always did. I told him that every thinking person of faith struggles with their belief system; certainly someone who went through the hell that he experienced.
It resonated with him; by that time I was sweating bullets, the emotions and the humid New York night almost caused me to faint. We lifted each other up off the sidewalk, we bid each other good Shabbos, and we went to our homes.
Back to Mr. Klein later.
We are watching the collapse of meaningful institutional Yiddishkeit. Not because the Agudath Israel is a fraud. But because there is NOT one single Orthodox institution that is not tainted with criminal activity, be it legal or moral.
Organizations like EJF, run by the ghastly ill psychopath Leib Tropper sprung up, because everyone involved in vocally supporting that criminal enterprise was being paid off.
The ramifications are telling! Everyone permitted phony conversions in a typical pay for play scheme. From rabbis Hershel Schechter, Shlomo Miller, Avrohom Union - to the Reform Movement -- there is a commonality that they all share --- look aside, get paid, and let every drek, scoundrel, thief, prostitute, adulterer, become a member of what was once an exclusive club, the Jewish Nation. We have more than enough of our own scum, without admitting members from the outside. (No offense please to the blessed sincere Converts - factually they are however in the minority)
The Israeli Rabbinate discovered that an astounding 97.2 per cent of converts between 1996 and 2008 had not kept mitzvot — and as a result, their conversions could be invalidated retroactively, and if they married, no Get would be required.
Mishneh Torah, Book of Holiness, Laws of Forbidden Relations, 13:8
Maimonides wrote that gerim do not have a very high success rate: Most trip over some event along the way that alienates them from the Jewish people. But most drop out -- and some of them have even become vicious enemies.
And then you have Leib Tropper creating a new conversion ritual; sleeping with the convert - and his "rebbetzin" -- and a few Satmar chassidim added for aroma and ambiance.
Kashruth is no better now, than when my grandfather zt"l ranted about it in the 1920s - 1940s. The certifying rabbis were criminals then, as they are now. At the top of that list is Yisroel Belsky - the titular head of Yeshiva Torah Vodaath -- a dirty trick the Ribbono Shel Olam played on my grandfather's memory. I always did think that HKBH has a weird sense of humor.
And the Yeshiva Movement that my zeide built, brick by figurative brick, has child molesters and their enablers under many a yeshiva's desks, in every other administrator's office and in every Orthodox organization. But no, we don't want legislation to rip out the metastasized cancer from our ill bodies, we want to do it ourselves, just like our honorable Catholic cousins. Lest we forget, the administrator of Torah Umesorah's "Torah Online" program for children, did time in a federal prison for possession of kiddie porn. Another rotten trick on my zeide's holy memory and legacy.
So what's left?
A group of crafty Jewish investors, including the Satmar goniff Hertz Frankel, get together and create a new glossy magazine. They know what trash will sell in their neighborhoods. Their "centerfold" is every bit as pornographic as Hefner's, Flynt and the rest of these perverters of every sacred thing on this planet. But now we put on display, in full color, our own dear struggling brothers. You know, the ones that have every reason in the world to struggle with their faith - BECAUSE - of the self-proclaimed holy representatives of our God, here on Earth, who uncannily aborted every logical reason to believe in Hashem, from our stout bellies.
Worse than Planned Parenthood, at least you know their murderous agenda. It is no longer just a leap of faith to have emunah, now it is just about - how can you have emunah?, just like my aforementioned neighbor Mr. Klein. Call these good, honest people "sick" or "emotionally ill?" Our babies and ourselves are being tossed into ovens of lies, distortions, criminal behavior and negligence, and being gassed by Bans, chumras and insane proclamations - by these so-called representatives of our Mesorah. We are "railroaded" to a spiritual death, by the very gangsters that have created the environment of disgust that permeates our communities.
They preach poverty as a way of life, and own millions of dollars of real estate and other holdings. Not one dime of these holdings belong to them, but go try and take it away. Did anyone hear of Lipa Margulies? You know the menuvel that owns almost a square block on Ocean Parkway! Do you know why the Kotlers from Lakewood wanted Corzine elected over Governor Christie? Because Corzine allegedly promised them huge government grants for their same-sex dormitories, as part of government grants allotted to the Gay and Lesbian community. How come they're all still there? They get caught or are involved in one illegal scheme or another, and throw parties if they somehow make a deal with Charlie Hynes, or get out on bail?
WE ARE SICK!
We survived every inquisition, crusade, pogrom, holocaust... because whatever was left of our broken bodies, our moral compass was untouchable, unscathed and fully intact. But now that's gone, and they blame the Internet and Bloggers?
Did Dwek, Balkany, Margulies, Kolko, Lebovitz, Hertz Frankel, Jack Perlow, Mondrowitz, Rubashkin, Belsky, Sholom Tendler, Mordecai Tendler, Aron Tendler, Spinka and hundreds more - blog? Did they become corrupt because of the Internet? Did they molest children because of the Internet? Did they enable and embolden hordes of child rapists because of cyberspace?
BAN A FEW MORE CONCERTS YOU PATHETIC IMBECILES!
And our brothers are struggling with their emunah; AND THEY ARE SICK AND EMOTIONALLY ILL? You want to blackball them for seeing what we now all see - and we can't take it anymore - and you blame the collective we? Do you know the trauma that these sincere people may have gone through to lose their faith? Perhaps it's a temporary state of mind? Or is it just simpler to write these people off!
OR IS IT YOU THAT IS ILL? THE CRAZIES ARE INDEED RUNNING THE ASYLUM!
On a recent trip, a yungerman comes over to me at the airport; "excuse me, aren't you UOJ?" I nodded! He asked if he could introduce his family to me. He pointed to his large beautiful family. I walked over to the seating area with him and met his rebbetzin. After his way too kind introduction, he and his wife thanked me for my work, introduced me to their children name by name, and asked the boys to give me sholom aleichem. I counted 9 children, the boys in velvet yarmulkes and peyos, and the girls in traditional chassidic dress.
He told me his zeide, who was davening Mincha in a wheelchair in the corner, was a survivor of the Nazis. His zeide supported them almost exclusively he volunteered, he was a rosh yeshiva in Eretz Yisroel and his wife had a full time job raising the children. He could not possibly live without his zeide's generosity to him, his family, and to his yeshiva.
I looked at the man in the wheelchair; he had a white flowing beard, bulging neat peyos tucked behind his ears, and dressed in chassidic garb. I immediately recognized my former neighbor, Mr. Klein.