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Why do many orthodox Jews think it’s ok to cheat on their taxes?

A new study is out that finds an overwhelming number of Jews thinks it’s ok to cheat on your taxes, pay workers off the books and pull other scams when it comes to their money and the government.

“Do you know how hard it is to find a frum person who will work on the books?” Said one business owner who told us that his business was known as the most honest, yet he just couldn’t stay open without sidestepping the government when it came to finding good trustworthy employees from the community. “Sure I could go and hire non-Jews, but they aren’t as trustworthy as frum Jews.” FS news reporters found it a bit odd that those cheating the government would be considered honest and trustworthy so we dug a bit more to get to the bottom of this mystery.

At a local watering hole in Boro Park we found many answers, many business owners simply denied that cheating the government was a crime or dishonest, because “they take our money and don’t give us anything back for it” when we mentioned that roads, sewers, law enforcement and public libraries were used by these people everyone just kept saying that the public schools cost so much to maintain and we have to pay double for schooling.

We tried to ask several rabbis and most of them told us that the law of the land should only be followed if it were reasonable, “paying taxes is unreasonable, especially when so many of these people have kids to send to yeshiva – what you want they should go to public school?” said one rabbi who wished to remain anonymous.

So why do so many orthodox Jews feel that it’s ok to cheat on their taxes, pay or work off the books and abuse many other government programs? The world may never know.

{ 92 comments… add one }
  • zalmie October 5, 2010, 8:27 AM

    i always figured that it was because of how the russian government treated the rebbes. so everyone grows up with these stories of how the government is against yiddishkeit.

  • Yochanan October 5, 2010, 9:04 AM

    “everyone just kept saying that the public schools cost so much to maintain and we have to pay double for schooling.”

    No, you don’t HAVE to pay double for schooling. You’re CHOOSING to send your kids to a private parochial school.

    • Puzzled October 5, 2010, 1:57 PM

      More correctly, you’re having your money taken at the point of a gun to pay for a school you choose not to use, and you choose to use another one instead that isn’t funded by theft.

      • Anonymous October 5, 2010, 4:41 PM

        Nonsense. Most school funding comes from local property taxes not federal income taxes.

        • Anonymous November 28, 2016, 2:23 PM

          Oh, OK then

    • Jonathan Toms-Lucy May 28, 2017, 10:24 PM

      It’s against their religion so it’s basically being forced to.

  • Whaaaat? October 5, 2010, 9:36 AM

    Because Loshon Hara wasnt enough….. We move on to Chillul Hash-m.

    • Heshy Fried October 5, 2010, 11:36 AM

      So you mean the orthodox Jews want to make a chillul Hashem more than tell loshon horah? I’m not sure I get it.

      • Whaaaat? October 5, 2010, 12:50 PM

        I was referring to your usual posts that sometimes infringe on Loshon Hora. Here, you stepped it up and managed to get Chillul Hash-m in there as well. Good job.

        • kissmeimshomer October 5, 2010, 1:01 PM

          Exposing faults=good.
          Covering the collective ass of the Frum (Definition: devout, honest, pious) community=bad.

          • MoDoxGirl October 5, 2010, 3:46 PM

            Whaaaat?, if you think that this is bad, why are you looking at FS? If you know he says lashon hara, why bug him about it. Just don’t read it.

            • Whaaaat? October 6, 2010, 10:44 AM

              Exactly why usually end up skipping 3/4 of most articles.

  • Yankel October 5, 2010, 11:41 AM

    Yeah, better to pay your taxes, and deprive your precious yiddishe kinderlach of basics, so that the government can take your money and send it to a shvartza in Carolina to spend on crack. Or on a good day, they send 10 billion dollars up to the moon on a NASA test run.
    If the government would give us a break on educational taxes – which shouldn’t be so difficult being that none of us use their school system – it would change things.

    On a more serious note,
    Jews DO pay their taxes. The Lakewood police dept. (which treats Jews like cr*p) are the highest paid police in the country, recieving 76,000 plus benefits, some of which include the right to break the law and discriminate against Jews.
    They have so much extra money they don’t know what to do with it. They already bought 3 special edition Corvette police cars just to use the money on something.
    I wonder why they have so much money….
    Gee, I’ll bet they’re getting it from the Hispanics and blacks who live in the slums there…

    Get it straight people, there are honest and dishonest people EVERYWHERE!!!
    There are people EVERYWHERE who cheat on their taxes, and if you think Jews do it more than anyone else, it’s because of your anti-frummy hormones more than anything even remotely logical.

    • Anonymous October 5, 2010, 2:41 PM

      ya but we have a specific halacha in the shulchan aruch that says we must pay our taxes no matter what. you cant compare us because we have halacha. heshy is just pointing out the hypocrisy of people who say they are very religious but dont follow halacha.

      • anon October 5, 2010, 2:59 PM

        there is no such halacha. Unless of course you are reffering to fake shulchan aruch , there youll probably find it.

        • Yankel October 6, 2010, 7:00 AM

          There is a halacha of Dina D’malchusa, but like many things it’s not so clear cut. Mostly because the obligation to adhere to governmental laws is to some extent subject to whether or not the law is rational.

    • Anonymous October 5, 2010, 4:59 PM

      This clown is telling in your inquiry.

      The answer quite simply, is that unfortunately many Orthodox Jews are raised in morally bankrupt homes which are coincidentally often racist and paranoid as well.

      The nominal income tax said clown would be responsible for, would just as likely go some welfare shlepper in Williamsburg as it would to the “shvartza in Carolina”. Of course, as you already pointed out, most government spending goes to things like roads, the military, and food subsidies, so the warped justification for cheating would be rendered bunk.

      Additionally, most school funding comes from local and state, not federal taxes, so explaining away corrupt behavior with this excuse about public schooling is also a load of nonsense.

      The real reason OJ’s often cheat on their taxes is because like most things in life, it is considered communally acceptable. The community not only tolerates but often promotes such behavior, inevitably leading to another generation of cheats. Kind of like why clowny here is a racist: he picked it up from his parents and school mates who in turn picked it up from theirs.

      Good begets good; bad begets bad… you get the idea.

      • Yankel October 5, 2010, 6:00 PM

        Dear Idiot,
        If you can’t pick up on what is being said seriously or jokingly, please get off the computer and stick to your ball of yarn.
        Hearing you of all people whine about UOs being paranoid and racist is almost comical.
        If you can make a broad statement like that about the Orthodox, in addition to being incorrect, that makes you a racist.

        • Anonymous October 5, 2010, 7:05 PM

          Seeing as a was raised in the Orthodox community, I think it perfectly reasonable to make broad statements about a people I am all too familiar with. You on the other hand, have not a clue regarding the “shvartze in Carolina.”

          That Orthodox Jews are largely racist is not exactly earth-shattering news. It has been acknowledged and covered extensively on this blog. Ah yes; and Jews are not a race.

          Of course this is all beside the point. You prefer to nitpick my comment while ignoring the larger more salient point: people acquire poor behavioral characteristics from people around them, thus explaining the behavior of unscrupulous and unethical Orthodox Jews. While these tendencies are not unique to the Orthodox community, they arise from the same social conditioning.

          Being the inarticulate, largely uneducated buffoon that you are, you resort to pretending that you were engaging in comedy hour — that I am somehow not in on you shul humor. I guess that beats having to refute the central claim that you are a silly racist who knows nothing about tax allocation.

          • Yankel October 6, 2010, 2:38 PM

            Dear Idiot who desperately needs to reduce his caffine intake,

            The first paragraph was a take-off on what a UO who happens to cheat on his taxes might have to say on the subject.

            My personal opinion is stated quite clearly at the end of the post, that dishonesty is not present within the orthodox any more than anywhere else. There are those who would and those who wouldn’t. Those who do and those who don’t.

            I’m sorry if your own family and the friends you attracted were a band of thieves who turned you off, but don’t paintbrush the rest of orthodoxy all because you were brought up and surrounded by rednecks.

            If my parents found out I ever cheated on my taxes, they’d kill me. If anyone in my family said a racist word they got soap in their mouths. And my family is not unique in that sense.

            Jews are not a race – OK so you’re not a racist. You’re a prejudiced jerk with an ax to grind.

            Please go get a life.

      • Jonathan Toms-Lucy May 28, 2017, 10:28 PM

        Saying that to people whos family’s were almost wiped out by Hitler’s🤔. 4 out 5 ultra orthodox were killed in the holocaust. But their the racist?

    • Do it right May 28, 2014, 12:01 AM

      Name calling against others has no place in any post,nor does bigotry. Everyone is welcome to contact their legislators if the laws do not suit them. Being dishonest to the government and cheating on taxes makes the stereotypes of the Jewish community even worse and it is disgraceful. Wouldn’t it be nice if the community was known for intense honesty and an example to mankind?

    • Merkel July 14, 2015, 1:52 PM

      I live in Lakewood. One of the only none news now. Yes the cops get paid well but also because they deal with all the local gangs… In case you didnt notice the police officer who was shot and killed midday…
      Also corvettes? I cant take you seriously. How about the Jewish community does the same thing other private school families do. Chip in and shut up! Its your choice not to use the public school system, but you still (for now) use the buses 2x more than public school as boys and girls go to different schools. Officers treating Jews like crap? In Lakewood? You don’t live here so dont make that claim, it happens all the time on sabbath when the cop is waved down to do this or that because religiously “i cant touch the light switch today!”
      By discriminate, are you referencing when the cop pulled the daughter over and the Jewish grandfather argued with the cop? Pushing the cop into traffic is assault but touching the rabbis beard got the cop fired.
      Do not speak about what you do not know…

  • Moishelle October 5, 2010, 12:01 PM

    Unreasonable works both ways. It is unreasonable to ask me to donate for an Aliyah since it is for a Mitzvah. For that matter, Paying for a Lulav and Esrog is also unreasonable since it is also for a Mitzvah. That’s why I always pick the best ones and never pay for them. The same goes for Matzah which is made L’Shame Mitzvah, so I only take the best hand-made Shmurah Matzoh and never pay for them This way, I am not steeling, but rather giving people an opportunity to do more Miztvos by helping me do more Mitzvos!

    Oopp, I have to go. The mailman just arrived and there should be a welfare check and food stamps which I really don’t need because although I am unemployed and have no high school diploma, I have a rich father-in-law who buys me anything I want.

    • Yankel October 6, 2010, 7:42 PM

      Do you think he could get you an xbox with some killing games?
      I would strongly suggest it for you to let out some of your anger.

    • Michaltastik October 7, 2010, 8:42 PM

      Food stamps don’t come in the mail. They electronically put them on a card.

  • Anonymous October 5, 2010, 12:19 PM

    I would change your title to ‘some’, in my circles, all of my relatives and friends pay taxes, and so do my husband and myself. We are Lubavitch, shluchim in fact, both my shluchim friends and non shluchim friends file and pay taxes.

    • Heshy Fried October 5, 2010, 12:22 PM

      I should have also mentioned that I used to cringe and be less willing to work for someone who paid me on the books. I also should have mentioned that I spoke to someone the other day who said he was very honest in business but paid his employee off the books so he could collect unemployment – in no way am I implying that I am honest in business – although I do work on the books.

  • A. Nuran October 5, 2010, 12:43 PM

    Yankele, Phil and a few others, sit down. Make sure you aren’t operating heavy machinery 🙂

    I’m not sure the Orthodox are particularly dishonest when it comes to taxes, at least not any more than anyone else in the same areas with similar incomes and jobs. It’s something “everyone knows”. But that’s just the time to ask my favorite questions “What do you know?” and “How do you know it?”

    Is the common prejudice true? If it’s true, is it true for all Orthodox, recent immigrants, Kiryas Joel types, New Yorkers or someone else? What does the IRS enforcement division have to say about this?

    • John October 5, 2010, 3:02 PM

      Who are you and how did you hack in to A. Nuran’s account? If not for your anuran pic I wouldve assumed someone was posing.

      • A. Nuran October 5, 2010, 3:44 PM

        You’re seeing a Frog who just got very good news. I am officially a five year cure. No more cancer, at least not this time around.

        • Yankel October 5, 2010, 6:11 PM

          May you live many happy heathy and truly fulfilling years to come.

          • A. Nuran October 7, 2010, 9:20 PM

            Thank you, Yankel. Really thank you.

        • Heshy Fried October 6, 2010, 2:40 AM

          I just had this stupid thought: “holy crap someone with cancer reads my blog” and then I realized how dumb that sounded.

        • Yochanan October 7, 2010, 5:44 PM

          Mazal Tov!

          My mother, Chava bat Edith, is currently in a really tough stage in her battle.

          • A. Nuran October 7, 2010, 9:22 PM

            All my prayers and good wishes go out to her. It’s a very unpleasant and tough fight. I hope you can tell us soon that she is in remission.

    • Yankel October 5, 2010, 6:31 PM

      Ok Nuran,
      I cannot say that I go through most of the orthodox people’s taxes to know whether or not they are cheating. Nobody can, even the IRS, because they only know about those who they a)look for, and b)find.
      The only way anyone can make a legitimate estimation of what’s going on in the UO community, is to judge based on the people he knows, assuming that he knows enough of them, and from enough of the various communities.
      I know enough UO’s to make the statement that there are many who would and many who wouldn’t, and if I had to pick which one is the majority, I would definitely say the ‘don’t cheat’ group.

      There is another point which I see desperately needs clarification.
      There’s cheating, which I classify as doing anything illegal, and then there’s LEGALLY getting around having to pay a decent amount of your taxes by playing it smart and playing it right.
      The two are not in any way the same, and it’s wrong to lump those of one group with the other.

      I will admit that there is a disproportionate amount of Frum Jews in the second group, but that is due not to their kniving dishonest nature which you all want to believe in so dearly, but rather to their access to resources which can help them succeed in doing things properly, thereby avoiding the full bill, because in the orthodox community PEOPLE HELP EACH OTHER.

      • A. Nuran October 6, 2010, 1:14 AM

        In other words, we agree. There’s a belief that Orthodox Jews don’t pay their taxes. Neither of us is willing to believe that without something more than prejudice and anecdotal evidence. An experienced IRS enforcement agent like my aunt’s late husband – who was assigned to NYC – would probably have a better idea than we would.

  • Telz Angel October 5, 2010, 12:51 PM

    Talmud Frum Satire, Tractate Shabbat 33b Three hochers were sitting at sushi metzuyan and Heshy was sitting near them. Maestro Yehuda! started to sing. Then he said: Mayor Bloomberg is great — look at how well out tax money is spent. Jose (who obviously is a frummy from Mexico who converted) just spaced out. Shimmi Yochai started to yell “Taxes? what taxes? who pays taxed? Bloomberg is a Kapppo.”

    Heshey blogged about it and the authorities saw the feed on their RSS reader.

    Bloomberg said “Yehuda!” is a pretty good singer. Jose confuses me — you know like the way Geraldo does. But Shimmi Yochai is a real hocker. I’m gonna send a some New York Post journalist over to his place and get them to take a really bad picture of him and claim that he got herpes from the mikvah.

    Shimmi rad and hide. He had to actually go to a baal-habateshe kollel and pretend to learn for the first time in his life. Fortunately he hooked up with Jose’s distributor and got hold of some good weed. 13 years later he publishes kiruv articles for Aish.com.

    • Yankel October 5, 2010, 1:36 PM

      Very funny, I must say.
      If it weren’t for all your pent up frummy-hate which leaks it’s way into almost everything you write, I might have laughed harder though.

      I was waiting so eagerly to see how you would spoof the guy who got nuked at the end for snitching on R’ Shimon in the first place.
      I guess I’ll have to wait for next issue.

      • Telz Angel October 5, 2010, 2:54 PM

        There are two versions of the story. In the bavli version R’ Shimon bar Yochi allegedly (magically?) kills two people, the ben Gerim guy (who was the original snitch), and the “old man” guy who teases him about the path he made which circumvents the graves. The story paints a critical view of R’ Shimon as someone who has a difficult time controlling himself – one who misses the point that learning and living according to the Torah is supposed to improve you. The Yerushalmi version of the story is (as typical) more terse and less harsh. I find it odd that people read the story and miss out on the message here. It’s a critique of kollel and of a torah-only lifestyle. The story is written by a modern orthodox amorah.

        Consider. R’ Shimon berates the Romans for their economy, bathhouses, and bridges. Yet, as the story comes to a close he has recovered in a bathhouse, visits the marketplace, and creates a passageway to the city — and the storyteller makes reference to the fact that Yaakov did the same — and that these are improvements to the world. R’ Shimon leaves a cocoon of 12 years of learning only to emerge as a destructive person. He in his son remark how valuable they are (as learned Jews) and how worthless any working-Jew is. And they they realize how wrong they are in having this self-important impression when they meet the guy who carries two hadsim home for shabbat.

        You’d think that the story was written by a frum satire blogger — since the message is that RSBY dedicates himself to 24/7 learning and turns into a frummy jerk. He kills “ben Gerim” (literally meaning the son of converts) when indeed he himself is the son of Yochai – a Roman guard!

        Learn the gemara carefully — you’ll find that they don’t always paint a pretty picture of the protagonist. The current “Artscroll” generation thinks that these stories are all praises, and that every maiyse about a godol must be some kind of hero epic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epic_hero) of perfection — perfection that mere mortals like you will never achieve. This is a shame. And it’s a misreading of the gemara.

        Yankel — you must think that I hate frummies. I’m not sure why. I hate people who distort the truth, (unless they are doing it for ironic satirical purposes — in which case I love it).

        • Yankel October 6, 2010, 8:04 PM

          Before I go on my rant I must state that, if you’re sincerely searching for the truth, then I admire you no matter what you arrive at.

          That being said, I must say this post was really an eye opener for me.
          You are not evil, you’re not just looking to get away with not keeping the Torah, you’re not just looking to take it easy without the Torah’s resrictions, you’re just clueless.

          I hope this was your own interpretation which I can attribute to “Nashim da’atam kalos” and not of an MO Rabbi, because if it was indeed taken from one, then this is the new all time low since the misreading of the R’ Moshe hair covering teshuva.
          But back to my point, if you were able to read the gemara and take out what you did, then I take back any negative feelings I ever had for you.
          All I feel for you is sympathy. I’m being totally serious.

          • Telz Angel October 8, 2010, 1:13 AM

            I’m shocked, shocked that 1. you think I’m clueless. 2. that I’m a female, and 3. that I don’t “keep the Torah”.

            I totally believe I understand this Gemara. It’s a story that shows how living an ascetic lifestyle of Torah 24/7 can lead one off the derech. RSBY realizes that he turns into a frummie-jerk when he banishes himself back into the cave for 12 months as a form of Kaparah (saying that the punishment of a wicked person is 12 months in gehenom). The message: Torah is intended to teach us how to live in the “real world” not in the cave. Moreover I’m sure the person who fabricated this story was well aware of Plato’s analogy of the cave and used the idiom on purpose. Learn the gemara again — this time with out the artscroll 🙂

            You were far sexier when you were angry with me. This sympathy crap is pathetic.

            • Yankel October 8, 2010, 8:55 AM

              Listen buddy, I don’t even think it’s worth it to try and go through the Gemara with you piece by piece, and quite frankly I don’t really have the patience for it.
              All I can suggest is that you look up some of the commentators and see for yourself how they explain the message of the gemara.
              (And if you are silly enough to think your interpretation is better than their’s then this conversation is pointless.)

              I feel symathethic towards you because of your ability to really truly see things the way you want them to look.
              Now this can be said about many people, but one would hope that subconscious biased thoughts one has limit themselves to the gray areas of life, where one’s judgement can at least rationally convince him of a non-truth.
              The commentators all see the story as praise of RSBY, and how he learns to relate to a world which in general, is not properly responsive to G-d’s word.
              If you were able to read and understand the gemara that way (as critical of RSBY), then your perception of reality has gone off – way past the line of reason, and for someone so deeply in a fog of incorrect thinking, yes, I have sympathy.
              That is what I mean by clueless, your judgement in certain areas.
              You can take it however you like.

  • offderech October 5, 2010, 12:57 PM

    Why don’t we pay our taxes? for the same reason that we double park whenever and wherever we feel like, we violate building and zoning laws, we build Succkas that obstruct the sidewalk and we don’t hang flags on American holidays! It’s because we don’t give a cr*p about anyone else other than “Acheinu Beis Iysroel.” We don’t give a damn about local laws, society or the government…see my blog

    • Michaltastik October 7, 2010, 8:48 PM

      Sh*t, most Jews don’t even care about other Jews, just the ones they went to camp with.

      • Yankel October 8, 2010, 9:14 AM

        What’s with the paintbrush?
        If none of us care about each other, then how do our thousands of organizations exist and run?
        How do people who never met each other donate organs?
        Really, what you just said is one thing we have never been accused of.

  • Hirhurim October 5, 2010, 1:26 PM
  • Patrick Aleph October 5, 2010, 1:30 PM

    This was brought up in that movie Price Above Rubies where Renée Zellweger’s character starts selling jewelry from her home, cash, under the table. She says “not paying your taxes is lying, even if it is lying to the government.” Her brother in law replies, “everyone does it”. Funny how Jews are obsessed with Collective Responsibility and the Sins of the Community, but then when you point the finger at everyone, it’s “not me not me don’t blame everyone!”

    • Telz Angel October 5, 2010, 3:05 PM

      An important movie that every frummy should watch on their TV/DVD that they don’t own. Seriously good movie.

    • A. Nuran October 5, 2010, 6:04 PM

      Movies are fiction. Fiction is, by definition, things which are not true. I’m sure the movie makes a good moral point, but I would prefer to base my ethical decisions on something which I believe to be grounded in facts.

  • Andrew M. Hoffman October 5, 2010, 2:50 PM

    Because today’s Frum equates to ritual mitzvot, not ethical mitzvot.

    Because today’s Frum equates to punctilious observance of mitzvot ben adom l’makom and not ben adom l’chavero.

    Because today’s Frum is internally focused and doesn’t give a hoot to be Or L’goyim.

    Generalizations, of course. I’m sure there are honest, ethical Frum who scrupulously obey the tax laws, parking laws, speed limits because they believe this is part of what God wants them to do.

    And as bad as you find it in Boro Park, it is far worse in Israel where the crimes mentioned above are even more heinous since the government itself is Jewish!

    • Anonymous October 5, 2010, 3:06 PM

      Even if true, at least todays frum have something. The irreligous have nothing.
      Which of course brings us to the sequel to this post which Heshy is undoubtedly preparing “Why do all non- orthodox Jews think it’s ok to eat pork?”

      • A. Nuran October 5, 2010, 3:38 PM

        Anonymous Coward, as usual you’re brimming over with your own end product. Ritual observance doesn’t make a person good or honest. Neither does lack of superstition. Those come from the content of a person’s character. And that has bugger-all to do with religion one way or the other.

        • F. Rog October 5, 2010, 5:35 PM

          There now I’m not anonymous, I’m brave like you although much smarter.
          I’ll explain this too you slowly, Being a religous Jew involves both ritual mitzvot, and ethical mitzvot, punctilious observance of mitzvot ben adom l’makom and ben adom l’chavero, being internally focused and being an Or L’goyim.
          Mr. Hofman accuses frum Jews of ignoring the latter and only focusing on the former. Which even if true, at least they are following part of their religion. What do irrelegious people have – nothing.

          • A. Nuran October 5, 2010, 6:01 PM

            The b.s. you’re spouting is standard crap found worldwide. Every religion claims that their taboos and rituals make them morally superior to the infidels.

            It simply isn’t true.

            People are wise, foolish, honest, thieves, loving or hateful. The particular gods they worship or none at all doesn’t seem to enter into it.

            Atheists are no more likely to cheat and lie than god-botherers. The reasons they hold their moral views are different. It’s not fear of being tortured forever.

            Truth be told religious people don’t refrain from killing and eating their neighbors because volume 108 of Invisible Sky Fairy’s Really Serious Rules says not to.

            People pick up the rules from those who raise them at a pre-theological age. The rationalizations come later. Recent work indicates that there’s a strong biological component to a lot of it. Our closest relatives, the Great Apes, have similar ones. Domesticated dogs and wild coyotes a very similar sense of fairness and basic rules of behavior.

            And before you yammer on about Hitler, Stalin and Mao let me just urge you to not embarrass yourself. Dolf Shickelgruber’s own words and writings state flat out that he was a Christian. So was Junipero Sierra. Joshua was a genocidal maniac, and he had the Torah pretty much direct from the source. Hong Xiuquan was very religious and had strict ethical codes from his holy books.

            Nope. Having a religion doesn’t make people better by default. It also doesn’t make them worse. The real reasons most of us are good or bad are upbringing, the examples of the people around us, the way we’re physically wired and a combination of urges and imperatives that motivate us to have a code of behavior in the first place.

            • F. Rog October 5, 2010, 8:01 PM

              wow in your haste you didnt bother to read through the conversation and thus your comments dont make sense.

              i didnt say Religous people are better, nor did I say more moral (You can double check, i’ll wait) Thus your comment about atheists having the same morals even if true is completly irrelevant.
              I’ll walk you through this again slower this time:
              Hoffman criticized frum people for only following the ritual, bein adom lemakom part of mitzvot. To which i replied even if true, at least we are keeping some parts of the torah. Not that we are moral becasue of that fact, my point is that you cant criticse frum people in claiming that they pick and choose which parts of the torah to follow, when at best you (irreligous people) are guilty of the same thing just in reverse, and in reality do much worse (from a religous perspective) becasue you dont follow the torah at all.
              Now I know you dont value the religous perspective, but firstly, that is the perspective with which i made my comment so in order for your comment to make sense it has to be made from within this imaginary bubble in which I and my invisible sky fairy dwell (incidently you should join us here youd be much happier). Secondly that is the perspective in which hoffman’s comment was made, he criticzed religous Jews, not for being thives but for not following our religion (once again his comment is still there you can double check it)
              Hope this helps.

          • Yankel October 5, 2010, 6:09 PM

            Mr F.Rog,
            I totally thought you would mention the most important point.
            If you are a religious Jew, you end up doing all the rituals, and studying the books. The chances of becoming genuine from there are far greater than from anywhere else.
            The ethical books are essentially almost all filled with the same message: to become genuine.

            • A. Nuran October 6, 2010, 1:29 AM

              That’s a good point although people from other religions would say much the same thing. And those who do not believe in gods are just as sincere about a life filled with meaning and significance. For many of the religious it’s more about social conformity or doing what their religion tells them to than internalizing it and being a truly spiritually awakened person.

              • Yankel October 6, 2010, 8:13 PM

                I don’t understand your inclusion of Yehoshua in the list.
                Do you mean to say that if G-d would command you to kill someone, you wouldn’t do it?
                Was the test of the akeida to see if Avraham would NOT kill Yitzchok?
                Is G-d genocidal because of Sodom?
                What about the flood?
                What about death in general, he created the concept and billions have died since then as a result. Does that make G-d genocidal?

                • A. Nuran October 6, 2010, 10:00 PM

                  It’s in the interests of fairness. By any standard that does not favor my religion over others’ he qualified. Destroying every city until there wasn’t one stone left on another and wiping out members of certain enemy tribes down to the smallest child forever would be considered horrors if he weren’t our ancestor and co-religionist.

                  Otherwise we couldn’t condemn Himmler. He based much of his evil on what seem to be sincere religious beliefs. So did Torquemada, the post-WWII Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Osama bin Laden, Jim Jones and any number of others.

                  • Phil October 6, 2010, 10:51 PM


                    In all fairness, Yehoshua did offer the Canaanite nations the options of converting or fleeing before going to war with them, something himmler and bin laden never did.

                    As frum Jews, we believe that he was commanded to do so, just as we believe that God decided to give us the land of Israel.

                    If Jews/Israelis believed in our God given right to the land instead of our UN right to the land, we wouldn’t be in the mess we are in today.

                    • Yochanan October 7, 2010, 6:27 PM

                      Bin Laden doesn’t want me to convert to Islam? That’s news to me!

  • Phil October 5, 2010, 4:59 PM

    Jews were used to getting charged “Jew tax” in many countries. There is a heter to avoid paying Jew tax, so they got creative.

    Though there is no heter for tax evasion here and it’s halachically considered stealing, it seems that some “minhagim” are hard to get rid of.

    • M October 5, 2010, 5:08 PM

      Just out of curiosity, do you Phil have some sort of subconscious tormented recollection of the “old country”? I sure don’t.

      Stop making excuses for theft and fraud.

    • A. Nuran October 5, 2010, 6:02 PM

      Mmm, but this includes people who haven’t lived in countries like that for a couple hundred years. I’m skeptical.

      • Yankel October 5, 2010, 6:23 PM

        The general attitude can stick easily, especially when it’s beneficial.
        Look at all the positive ‘general attitudes’ which are by no means easy to maintain in todays world and yet we still manage to keep passing on.

        • A. Nuran October 6, 2010, 1:30 AM

          Mmm. That one’s worth chewing on.

    • Michaltastik October 7, 2010, 8:57 PM

      Yeah, the minhag is everything. I had a couple tell me it was their minhag to only benstch a couple paragraphs of the bircas hamazon. What’s next? Minhag not to bentsch? Actually people have that one, but most aren’t going to tell me that because I’m a gyoress so they put on a good show for me and pretend they really just bentsched THAT fast. (30 seconds, anyone?)

  • Phil October 5, 2010, 5:16 PM


    Open a book once in while, you might actually learn something. Jew taxes are mentioned by the Rambam who lived 1200 years ago, and still existed in recent times in many arab lands, they are one of the reasons my dad and his family left North Africa.

    I wasn’t trying to make any excuses for anyone, and I DID mention that it’s against halacha.

    • M October 5, 2010, 5:53 PM

      “Jews were used to getting charged “Jew tax” in many countries. There is a heter to avoid paying Jew tax, so they got creative.”

      I believe the above words are your own. I challenge you or anyone reading this blog to explain how your words are not an excuse for theft.

      • Stan October 5, 2010, 5:57 PM

        Challenge accepted!
        Theft from whom?

      • Phil October 5, 2010, 8:52 PM


        You can’t be serious! If a country robs it’s Jews by charging them a Jew tax, do you actually consider evading THAT tax as theft?

        If someone stole your bike and you found it a few days later, would you consider yourself a thief if you took it back without the thief’s permission?

      • Michaltastik October 7, 2010, 8:59 PM

        I’m someone reading the blog who didn’t take it that way. He’s just saying another excuse they use.

        • Michaltastik October 7, 2010, 9:01 PM

          Oh, hey I know a girl who had her bike stolen (by guys) and she got it back by flirting with them and saying, “ooo, lemme see your bike,” and then, “get off my bike!” It had some sort of mark on it that she knew for sure it was hers.

  • Yechiel October 5, 2010, 8:46 PM

    I have always had trouble understanding what “orthodox Jews” really means.

    • Michaltastik October 7, 2010, 9:02 PM

      Shabbos, kosher, taharas mishpacha and that’s the only requirements.

      • Yankel October 8, 2010, 9:17 AM

        That just about covers ‘Mesorati’…
        Perhaps a step above ‘traditional’.

  • wikipedia October 5, 2010, 9:44 PM

    Orthodox Judaism is a formulation of Judaism that adheres to a relatively strict interpretation and application of the laws and ethics canonized in the Talmudic texts (“Oral Torah”) and subsequently developed and applied by the later authorities known as the Gaonim, Rishonim, and Acharonim. Generally, Orthodox Judaism consists of two different streams, the Modern Orthodox and the Ultra Orthodox.

    Im full of great information to people who have always had trouble understanding simple terms, though next time feel free to ask me directly.

  • FrumGer October 5, 2010, 10:06 PM

    The fact is that EVERYONE picks and chooses what governmental rules they want to follow. Be it speed limits, jay walking, driving on expired on insurance whatever…

    I dont cheat on my taxes but I have worked under the table. I say if you can stick it to this government do it. the amount of theft and corruption in our legislature branches is absurd and I call it karma. F*ck the government. We do not have a voice in this government our vote is worth for sh*t… this is not a democracy… it is run by special interest groups such as corporations, unions, and other opportunists… lots of gelt risen for even larger marketing advertising campaigns win our popularity contests, electing some of the most unqualified people to be in any leadership position. cowards and whore mongers. prostitutes of policy.

    its not theft if you refuse to give up whats yours already. over 20 billion of our tax money goes completely unaccounted for every year. thats theft…

    And really I say screw em.

    • Anonymous October 6, 2010, 2:36 AM

      Yeah man, and it’s like the corporations control everything man. The corporations that are run by the Jews that orchestrated 9/11 that is.

  • frummie not dummie October 5, 2010, 10:17 PM

    if your against governments in general, then I assume you want anarchy… anarchy is evil and because that is what you want and it is clearly a terrible thing. Anarchism is unfeasible and utopian, even by those who agree that it may be an appealing principle. European history professor Carl Landauer, in his book European Socialism claimed that anarchism is unrealistically utopian, and holds that government is a “lesser evil” than a society without “repressive force.” He holds that the belief that “ill intentions will cease if repressive force disappears” is an absurdity. Also, the anarchist movement has often been associated with violence and destruction, it is inherently violent. From the way you talk, it seems your uneducated and have a quick temper. If people like you had weapons, there would be a complicated problem in our country.

  • FrumGer October 6, 2010, 10:43 AM

    why is it that everyone is so obtuse?

    Im not an Anarchist, at all. I’m the farthest thing from it. I oppose a government run by special interest groups by proxy. how is that saying I am against all government?

    If anything I believe in true democracy which is not even close to what we have now.

    And guess what dude, I do own guns, and Im not killing any one I actually dont have a quick temper at all I just express my opinion with verve.

    And anon- you can make me out to sound like a radical hippy which im not, but the fact is im right. lobbyist control career politicians because they keep them in office by donating lots and lots of money to their campaigns. and people are so almost shockingly stupid as a whole they pick the person with the best slogan or most commercials… its just true… how is any of that “conspiracy theorist”

  • Embarrassed Yid November 21, 2010, 8:51 PM

    Look in the Talmud, people. According to Bava Kama 113a, “”Dina de-malchuta dina,” as Yankel pointed out in his comments. Civil law is halacha, so long as it applies to all citizens equally. The Gemara provides that tax evasion is permitted only where the tax collector is authorized to collect any sum he wishes or, according to a different opinion, where the tax collector is self-appointed and does not represent the king. However, in the absence of either of these factors, tax evasion is prohibited on the basis of dina de-malchuta dina. There is no equivocation on this point.

    The argument about non-use of public schools is absurd. Every citizen in the U.S. pays taxes that supports services he does not use. Those who do not drive pay for highways, and at the state level for the operations of the Department of Motor Vehicles. Healthy young people support Medicare. Vegetarians’ taxes go to fund federal meat inspection programs, and the taxes of those who never fly are used to pay for air traffic controllers and the Transportation Security Administration.

    Of course, many citizens do not use the public schools. Should they all cheat on their taxes too? These include elderly people who no longer have children in school, couples who are unable to have children, and single people. Soon enough, no one would pay any taxes. Everyone would “work off the books” and there would be no government services at all for anyone. Then, when the uneducated gentiles come to burn the houses of the Jews you will reap your reward.

    The idea that Jews who send their children to Yeshiva are, by that fact, exempt from paying taxes and authorize to cheat the government is disgusting. It spits in the face of the greatest country on earth, where Jews have given the most extraordinary opportunities to practice their religion in freedom and to move to positions of power in civil society.

    Any Jew who cheats on his taxes is the same as one who eats ham, drives his car on Shabbat, or commits adultery. In fact, he is worse. He steals from his neighbors and puts himself above lawful authority.
    Let us not be afraid to speak the truth here — this is all about simple greed. It is repulsive, and it reinforces one of the most vicious stereotypes about Jews.

    I am embarrassed by this behavior.

  • Lev Isaacson March 20, 2011, 12:49 AM

    I can personally attest to this cheating atmosphere in the frum community. I have been ripped off big time by an Orthodox rabbi who connivingly got control of my demented, aged (90+) father and aunt, drew up bogus wills with the aid of a powerhouse lawyer (also a frum rabbi), giving him absolute control over a fraudulent trust for me in my father’s name. He sends me threatening letters, and cut off my phone using a false name because he is a sadist as well as a goniff. He got my Alzheimer’s afflicted aunt to sign a will granting him a quarter of her estate. All this though he had said he was looking out for them as a mitzvah and didn’t want to be paid except for expenses. He walked off with almost $200,000 after their wills were probated and probably much more since. I have pleaded for help from a couple of rabbis but they won’t help. Someone please help.

  • h b April 22, 2011, 8:53 PM

    two orthadox rabbis stole my friends house and almost a milliondollars he went to rabbi after rabbi and they dont care he cant get zaduka and i am shocked im feeling that frum people raelly are just no good will any living human help

  • Allen Roth October 22, 2012, 5:57 AM

    The utter lack of ethics of many members of the Orthodox community is appalling. I do have a theory as to why this is so. For hundreds of years, Jews were compelled to obey the law, but were not given the protection of the law (i.e. pogroms, blood libels, expulsions, etc). And this engendered a lack of respect for the law, a feeling and attitude of, “They refuse to protect me, so why should I feel obligated to obey them?”
    Anyway, this attitude is so widespread it is astonishing. And for those of you who are frum, it is definitely a chillul HaShem. Example: A cousin-in-law of mine, found thirty thousand dollars extra in his savings account. He said nothing, hoping to keep the money (this is stealing, for those of you who can’t follow). The bank, of course, eventually discovered their mistake. Or the story some years back, of a Hasidic drug ring, with sophisticated helicopters and the whole nine yards, that laundered the funds through six Yeshiva bank accounts, disguised as charitable contributions. I can think of no other source for this widespread attitude (even among those who don’t actually act on it) except the historical failure to receive the protection of the law.

  • TR May 16, 2013, 12:48 PM

    Are you serious?!? You are actually trying to rationalize tax evasion!!! Yes! SOME of your tax money goes to schools you CHOOSE not to attend, HOWEVER, a large portion of that money goes to your beloved Israel, either in financial or military support! This is why gentiles think jews are dishonest thieves! BECAUSE THEY ARE!! I am a 5th generation in the united states, each generation has served their country honorably in the military (and, may I had, defended your pussy-asses in spite of your disloyalty to the country that subsidizes YOUR laziness!), in addition, they have seen paying taxes as part of contributing to the prosperity of this country! You should be ashamed of yourselves! Rationalizing thievery by saying everyone doesn’t do it!! Everyone doesn’t commit murder! does that make it ok? If you intend on leeching off the country me and my family have ensured financial and military security of , THEN GET THE FUCK OUT YOU SHAMELESS SCHNORRERS! You have manipulated our government, and have done little to positively contribute to our society! P.S.: saying someone is racist because they speak out against your usuary is a joke! YOU are racist! Your Talmud makes it very clear! I am yet to go to church and be told I am gods chosen people, and therefore have a right to screw anyone that isn’t a jew!! Again, next time you ask why jews get such a bum rap, Think about the fact that you mooch off the system more than any black or Hispanic person you so openly excoriate! They don’t justify their laziness by saying “g-d” (I know you don’t like that word! Wonder why? I freely speak the name of my maker with reverence, and don’t conceal it!) has given them the divine right to do so! SHAME ON YOU! GO BACK TO ISRAEL UNTIL THEY KICK YOU OUT FOR FREELOADING TOO!!!! You are certainly contributing in any productive way here!

  • Jonathan Toms-Lucy May 28, 2017, 10:23 PM

    Probably because they are dirt poor and are still forced to pay for public and private schools.

  • El Kel September 23, 2017, 3:06 PM

    Everyone knows that religions are tax exempt and the more religious you are the more willing you are to avoid paying them- I am not happy paying my taxes so they can be extorted by Israel. There’s many reasons related to where the money ends up that causes me to want to withhold from them but there’s also so many benefits we get from living here -having dough swelling up our pockets for one. The discrimination practiced by Jews causes me to wonder why they’re the ones always crying about discrimination, should be the other way around. Worry about the swindlers&con’s of the so-called tribe pretending to be kosher before throwing accusations of dishonesty at non-jews.

  • Dale Holmgren October 12, 2017, 12:41 PM

    Single people have to pay for schools we don’t use; you don’t see us whining. People have to pay for roads they will never travel on and bridges they will never cross. No excuses.

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