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Chassidim: The Taliban of the Jews!!!

The biggest problem I have with yesterday’s events is that I’m not surprised. I have watched over the years as the Chassidic movement has shrunk from it’s holy stature in my mind, to a bunch of zealots who place more value on dress and language that on the personal welfare of children and women. Go and take a look at any of the Jewish news blogs and you will see a daily crime blotter of mostly Chassidim convicted on charges of fraud, child molestation, rape, government scams and so on. This is not a once in a while thing, it happens every day and it’s disgusting. I find it even more disgusting that the Chassidim – whether we like it or not – is what the secular world thinks the orthodox world is made up of. To the secular world there are no divisions – they think the orthodox Jew must wear the garb, the peyos and the beard.

I know there are people out there who will argue about the close knit communities (part of the problem with cover ups) and the amazing chesed that goes on and so forth – but after the reaction of yesterday’s events by the Chassidish and frum world in general – I am beginning to see this group as a whole new religion. A man tried to murder an entire family and not one Chassidic leader has said a word, it can’t be that they do not know of this – they remain silent, just like they do whenever something else happens that tarnishes their name and our religion.

This is a chillul Hashem in the highest and I am sickened by it. Is there any hope for the Chassidim, or will they continue on their path of closed minded zealotry and claim that their form of authentic Judaism (it’s only 300 years old) will live on while everyone else becomes modernized. The non-observant Jewish movements seem a whole lot frummer than the Chassidim a lot of the time.

I am wondering if the Skverer Rebbe will even acknowledge this violence committed in his own little shtetl, or will he remain silent in hopes that it will just go away.

Notes: This post was generalizing a lot – I am sure that within the Chassidic community there are those that do not scam the government, cover up molestation charges and allow women to think for themselves, but these people fear getting killed so they stay in the closet.

{ 75 comments… add one }
  • John May 24, 2011, 11:57 AM

    Agreed! im at aloss for words
    (Although taliban is a drop extreme, its not like arson has become the norm though perhaps thats where they are headed)

    • Moone May 24, 2011, 12:10 PM

      Yes. Perhaps Heshy should correct this.

      • Moone May 24, 2011, 12:18 PM

        I mean changing the title to not so insulting. More people would retweet/like it without the comparison to the Taliban

        • Sergeant j May 24, 2011, 12:24 PM

          Don’t change the title!! If they don’t want to be compared to Taliban, let them come out and denounce this action.

          • Moone May 24, 2011, 12:35 PM

            Of course they denounce it. The Chasidim are actually quite insulted by this, and there is no single mentally sound Chasid who doesn’t condemn this and view this just as bad as you and others do. It looks like you have a personal interest in insulting them because you disapprove their way of life. Although the article here proves some good points, it’s still not proper to compare them to murderer’s like the Taliban or Nazis because of an individual incident. It’s quite disturbing from you to promote such illegitimate racism.

            • John May 24, 2011, 12:37 PM

              I want to hear the Rebbi condemn it this was done in his name, and ive heard him speak out over a lot less than ATTEPMTED MURDER

            • Sergeant j May 24, 2011, 1:18 PM

              Send me a link.

            • A. Nuran May 24, 2011, 1:20 PM

              The NS Bet Din signed the letter trying to exile the victim and his family.

              They didn’t sign the mealy-mouthed general condemnation of violence yesterday. They didn’t denounce the attempted murder of a man and his family.

              The Skverer Rebbe has kept his kugel-hole shut.

              They deserve every insult heaped on them and more.

              • Moone May 24, 2011, 1:52 PM

                I can’t prove you’re wrong about the Skver people, since I’m not living in Skver or any direct communications with them (although it doesn’t make sense what you’re saying, and I’m not sure whether you can prove it). However I do know from first hand experience that the Chasiddim not residing in Skver disapprove it as much as you and anybody else does. And stereotyping the Chasiddim as murderers, is just like the other anti-Semites which have ‘some’ ground to their accusations, and exploit it to spread hatred against the Jews, and of course because they intend for the good-of-the-world. In theory whoever does this big-lie circulations, is not much different then ‘the Taliban’ who believe in the their own defined good deeds, no matter how disturbing it’s for other people.

                • Sergeant j May 24, 2011, 2:11 PM

                  Right, so change “chassidim” to “severer chasidim”.

            • Heshy Fried May 24, 2011, 2:23 PM

              The letter condemning the action was not signed by one Rebbe or the beis din of the town. I’m wondering where any of the so called “religious” Jewish leaders are at this point – or are they trying to cover it up so as to negatively affect the community – like so many other things.

              • A. Nuran May 24, 2011, 3:51 PM

                They’re practicing a particularly vile form of CYA.

        • talking stam May 25, 2011, 10:05 AM

          Agreed. It seems unfair to compare them to the Taliban, the Taliban would never murder an entire family just for praying at a different location. They allow freedom to worship at any mosque you want. I am sure the Taliban leaders would cringe at such a story.

  • Sergeant j May 24, 2011, 12:22 PM

    The entire process, from threats, to property damage, to physical violence, is SOP for the Taliban as well as many crime syndicates and cults…. Any chorus who does not publicly denounce these acts has no part in true Judaism, no matter what flavour of ancient polish nobility they dress like.

    • Sergeant j May 24, 2011, 1:19 PM

      Chosid. Apparently my iPad autocorrects chosid to chorus..

    • A. Nuran May 24, 2011, 1:23 PM

      Cosplaying a Jew-hating Pole doesn’t make you noble.
      Acting like a Cossack makes you one.

      One of the real differences is that the Taliban are willing to take on guys who can fight back. They beat the Soviets. They are currently beating the Americans. The Skeevy Chassidim only pick on unarmed and outnumbered people.

      • daniel May 25, 2011, 2:58 AM

        then al qaeda would be a fairer comparison.

        i just want to put this out here i think there is a stigma associated with the word “modern” and “modernized”, etc., such as in the way heshy posted here. it’s like nobody who is observant wants to be called “modern”. i don’t think that’s a correct correlation, that modern = reform. i think “modernized” means we don’t approve of neanderthal actions like this it means respecting torah in the modern world, and not going off and creating your own insular community where you have your own twisted code of morality that ends up in everyone enjoying a nice glass of kool-aid, it means having priorities, that just looking the part doesn’t make you right, and those that don’t look the part may be keeping halakah more than you do. but most of all, i think we can take this from leviticus: “Love your neighbour as yourself: I am HASHEM.” your neighbour isn’t just chasids, or frummies, or even jews. your neighbour is everyone. remember that.

        • batsheva May 25, 2011, 5:54 PM

          Ameyn, Daniel. Ameyn. And thanks.

        • A. Nuran May 26, 2011, 7:48 AM

          The problem is they’ve redefined “neighbor” so as to exclude the entire human race except for a few people who have turned mindless obedience into a religion.

  • Michael May 24, 2011, 1:23 PM

    Not sure if the Rebbe came out with a condemnation directly, but there was a condemnation of all acts of violence put out jointly by the Beit Din and Mosdot Chinuch of New Square, interestingly it wasn’t signed by any names.
    Also, I’m surprised that the notice is in Hebrew, I would have thought that it would have been in Yiddish.

    • Aliza T. May 24, 2011, 7:02 PM

      why do I have a feeling this was written by their PR team and not any of the skver “Rabbis”

      • John May 25, 2011, 5:19 AM

        because you are blinded by an irrational hatred of jews. Frum jews cant win with you. If they dont protest “why arent they protesting” If they do “its just their PR” Youre no differnt than ignorant birthers or other conspiracy theroists you wont be placated no matter wha so please stop pretending and just join the next neturei karta or neo-nazi protest, youd fit in nicely

        • Sergeant J May 25, 2011, 5:53 AM

          Si the rav was so busy he couldn’t spend a second to sign it?

          • John May 25, 2011, 6:03 AM

            He absolutely should sign it, every second that goes by without signing or speaking out is an active maseh rishus. Thats at least 10 since I started typing this reply.
            however lets not kid ourselves. If he did sign, Aliza and her ilk would say “its probably forged” or he should speak in public. If he spoke in public, they would demand he personaly apologize to the victim, if he apologized tot he victim they would demand he publicly apolagize etc etc. People who come up with conspiracy theories about “PR teams” Arent satisfied no matter what.

            • Sergeant J May 25, 2011, 6:12 AM

              No, I think a public condemnation of a public act, and a warning that he will not tolerate violence in his town, plus some actual waning of violence and rhetoric, would do it.

              • John May 25, 2011, 6:25 AM

                Agreed, though thats not what we are discussing. We are discussing why somebody would think a letter wasnt written by a Rabbi an rather by PR team.
                I agree a letter isnt enough for attempt murder for crying out loud! this isnt skirts that are too short or photoshoping pictures! we agree whole heartedly

                • Sergeant J May 25, 2011, 6:30 AM

                  Reason the letter was likely written by a bad PR team:
                  It has been documented that getting a rav to sign a letter without him reading it is relatively easy for someone close to him to do. If a rav writes a letter, signing it takes a few second less than if he did not, and even less effort.

                • Aliza T. May 25, 2011, 7:11 AM

                  Because if it was written by him (Or some other rabbi) they would have signed it. this isn’t some ideological thing, its simple that if you write a letter to be published than you sign it. a simple “i am david twersky and i approve this message” you know what i mean. AND: you’re right about one thing even if it was signed a simple letter is not enough for something like this, anything less than a public condemnation and saying he was in no was involved and that this is wrong is inadequate, it’s attempted murder! but i know you at this point you, of course, will not agree with anything i ever say, so whatevs (im just not gonna sit here and, as you and the other right wingers here (read: yankel) and go on about how your blind and refusing to whatever. but u know what i mean

                  • Anonymous May 25, 2011, 8:35 AM

                    He can’t sign due to Midvar Sheker Tirchak!

                    LOL (JK)

                    • Aliza T. May 25, 2011, 4:47 PM


              • John May 27, 2011, 4:16 AM

                He fiannly spoke out publicly, do you think the antisemites like aliza are satisfied? Are you? Read the comments on failed messiah.

        • A. Nuran May 26, 2011, 7:49 AM

          Given the way they behave Aliza’s distaste for cultists is absolutely rational.

  • waitwhat May 24, 2011, 1:50 PM

    a nuran

    you havent read “Kiterunner” have you? The taliban definitely beat up people who counldnt fight back. They are fighting the americans in order to be able to do so again.

    The taliban did not fight the soviets, as the soviets left in 1991, and the taliban were only formed after that.

    • Moone May 24, 2011, 1:57 PM

      It’s how you twist it. Some folks have an agenda to twist it in a certain direction for their own gratification, and it doesn’t carry to much weight. 😉

      • Aliza T. May 24, 2011, 7:04 PM

        Even though i tend to agree with nuran on a lot of stuff, theres nothing worse than a jew claiming the taliban are heroes. (well except maybe a jew lighting someones house on fire) disgusting! im disappointed in you nuran

        • A. Nuran May 25, 2011, 4:25 AM

          Where did I say they were heroes? The Taliban are the backwards degenerate hillbilly’s backwards degenerate hillbillies. They are repellent which is why I call the Jewish equivalent “Tallitban” as an insult.

          That doesn’t alter the fact that they are waging very effective asymmetric warfare against the United States just like their fathers did against the Soviets.

    • A. Nuran May 25, 2011, 4:22 AM

      The Taliban are “willing” to fight people who can fight back. They enjoy killing people who can’t, but they don’t restrict themselves to the helpless.

      And while the Taliban as an organization didn’t get that name until after the Soviets left it was a more of a name change from “Mujahedeen” than anything else. Same leaders. Same followers. Same ideology.

      • A. Nuran May 25, 2011, 11:01 AM

        In fact, during the Soviet-Afghan war there was a lot of ink about the “students” as a leading faction within the anti-Soviet resistance. Students in Pashtun is “Taliban”

  • C May 24, 2011, 1:58 PM

    Heshy I have been reading your blog for over 2 years now and i think that as time passes you are becoming less cynical in general. the blog is reminds me of failed messia.

    just my thoughts

    • ploni May 24, 2011, 2:10 PM

      less cynical? you mean more cynical? heshy doesn’t (appear to) have an axe to grind like failed messiah, he’s just saying it as he sees it

      • Heshy Fried May 24, 2011, 2:28 PM

        This blog post is definitely a Shmarya-Like rant, but since I’ve moved to California most of the stuff that goes on in the frum community doesn’t bother me at all since I never have to deal with it – unless I decide to visit NY and in that case I’m like a tourist looking around and wondering why on earth these Jews would choose to live in such a horrible place.

        No axe to grind what so ever, I would take more time to rant like I used to do – I just make fun and once in a while, like during this blog post – I get angry and serious, but this is rare.

        • John May 24, 2011, 2:37 PM

          Rare occurences call for rare reactions

          • Mahla May 25, 2011, 5:41 AM


        • talking stam May 25, 2011, 10:14 AM

          is there any jew who heard this story about the attempted murder of an entire family by the right-hand-boy of the rebbe, and didn’t get upset and rant about it?

    • A. Nuran May 24, 2011, 3:55 PM

      This is an exceptional event that requires an exceptional response. Heshy’s response has been measured and appropriate which is to say about half a mile more towards tolerance than someone like Shmarya.

      The attempted mass murder is inexcusable. Even VIN is tacitly supporting that position.

      Most of the time Frum Satire turns a penetrating but affectionately tolerant eye towards the Orthodox community. Any healthy society needs voices like that.

  • S. Tefilinov May 24, 2011, 6:38 PM

    The only solution to a silent rebbe is hard time in prison, like the unrepentant Spinka Rebbe and the Syrian chief rabbi in Deal.

    • Arnie May 26, 2011, 10:45 AM

      The Spinka Rebbe publicly expressed remorse at an Agudah sponsored event to addresss business ethics in general and money laundering specifically. His words were widely publicized and are documented in the book “The Jersey Sting”.

  • Aliza T. May 24, 2011, 7:05 PM

    hmm i heard that ppl saw navy seals hanging out in new square today….

  • Mendy May 24, 2011, 8:20 PM

    I don’t know how to react to this story. On one hand, I was in Touro college with many chassidim and they are such nice people, and every one of them condemns this type of behaviour.
    On the other hand, there has not been any official condemnation of this act. (Although, I think this has more to do with the fact that people are scared of the skverer “rebbe”)

    • Moone May 24, 2011, 8:54 PM

      Skvera dayen from montreal gave out a letter that skver rabbi is guilty in the terrorism from skver shtatel http://twitpic.com/5267et

      • Sergeant J May 25, 2011, 5:56 AM

        Hope he has good security.

      • A. Nuran May 25, 2011, 5:36 PM

        Turns out it was a forgery 🙁

  • frumsatire is a russia May 24, 2011, 11:37 PM

    lushin hora

    • Aliza T. May 25, 2011, 7:15 AM

      he is a russia? as in he is one of the many countries named russia ( a implying one of many). or do u perhaps mean he’s a russian?
      in the future try “rasha” when going hebrew to english just spell it as it sounds. this is just classic

      • Yochanan May 25, 2011, 1:03 PM

        Maybe he’s a Ukraine, or a Laos, or a People’s Republic of China.

        • Aliza T. May 25, 2011, 4:49 PM

          After the press conference 2day (watch the clip on failed messiah)… i think hes a Jewland

        • Sergeant J May 26, 2011, 10:58 AM

          He is definitely a PRC.

  • chasidim rock May 24, 2011, 11:39 PM

    litvish people luv 2 say lukshin hura about chasidim men

    • Avrumy May 25, 2011, 6:27 AM

      Lukshin hura – sweet.

      • Frumsatire Fan May 25, 2011, 9:13 AM

        They make a mean lukshin hura, in Russia.

  • Mike May 25, 2011, 7:07 AM

    Chasidim unfortunately are the height of evil in the frum world, and they walk around feeling and thinking like they are the height of good and purity.
    I once heard a rabbi saying, some people walk this world thinking that when they come up they are going straight to heaven, and when they come up they are shocked to learn that they are going straight to hell. These type of evil people is what come to mind..

    • Aliza T. May 25, 2011, 4:51 PM

      In that same special part of hell as bin-laden and fred phelps and all those types. there was a really funny SNL sketch about that a few months ago

  • Y-Love May 25, 2011, 8:11 AM

    Many chassidic communities have their “one-offs” like this. The beatdown in Satmar over the eruv that had cops called. Meah Shearim and everything that has to do with tznius. The Lubavitch dude who got shaved and is the reason that many Chaba”dnik people don’t eat Satmar shechita.

    The point is zealotry is a real issue in the Jewish community. Change on this is not going to be able to happen from outside the “zealot” communities. What, violence will stop in Rockland because someone assurs it at YU? in Teaneck? Until that happens will all the social ills (cheating on taxes, -isms, child abuse, domestic violence) there will always be a UOJ or a Shmarya writing a blog on it…

  • Leibel May 25, 2011, 9:07 AM

    The Taliban analogy is too far IMO. It’s kind of like how Nazi has been cheapened by being abused to describe any little evil (the world loses it’s power when it’s used to describe someone who cut you off in traffic). That being said I do have issues with Jewish communities that are too insular and think many Chassidic communities fall into that category, they don’t even “intermarry” with each other, much less marry litvacks, MO, etc.

    • A. Nuran May 25, 2011, 5:41 PM

      Why is it too far? They are a reactionary, insular, totalitarian cult with a romantic attachment to an extreme, ahistorical form of their religion. They reject all outside information, treat their religious leaders as gods and require a truly insane degree of gender separation and female oppression. They are incapable of compromise, violently allergic to any information outside their bubble and are prone to commit violence against dissenters.

      The only difference is that groups like the Skver are not well-armed and have not, until now, made murderous violence a regular part of enforcement.

  • me May 25, 2011, 10:49 AM

    the charedim in israel are no less taliban than the chassidim in america!

  • Realistically Speaking May 25, 2011, 12:25 PM

    What would the Baal Shem Tov say? Somehow I think he would be shocked to see what his movement dissolved to. He certainly would not have legitimized violence for the sake of Judaism. Yes I think Chassidus is its own branch of religion much like the Reform and Conservative movement. At least those movement are not blinded by religious zealotry and prone to violence. Alas, there are non chassidim who are star struck by chassidus which I fail to see what the appeal is since I used to live among them. Excuse my indifference but I was never able to share to their sentiments and fascination towards Chassidus. I believe I practice authentic Judaism more than they do. How do I know? For starters, I am not listed as a sex offender as far as I am aware.Secondly, I haven’t been convicted of felony. I don’t feel the need to conceal my physical beauty behind a plastic helmet, bullet proof stockings, and a house coat. I don’t think I will be condemned to burn in Hell for eating gebrokts on Pesach. I may consider welcoming kitniot if they keep up with this “banning non kosher for Pesach products” madness. I am college educated and I don’t speak Yiddish as my first language. I suppose that would make me frummer than the frummest chasid ever 😉

    • A. Nuran May 26, 2011, 10:39 PM

      The Baal Shem Tov was the Jewish equivalent of a Sufi.
      The sort currently under discussion are the Jewish equivalents of Salafis.

  • Yishai May 26, 2011, 10:50 AM

    In every community within any religion or country, there are going to be people who commit basically any sin you can think of — murder, rape, arson, theft, etc. When you look at the overall charedi community in the US, it’s probably several hundred thousand people. Of course there are going to be people who commit these sins, just as there are going to be Catholics, Modern Orthodox, Muslims, and atheists who commit these crimes. No one has ever presented evidence that Charedi or Chassidic Jews are any more likely to do any of these things than any other group. Because they’re a very visibly distinctive group, whenever a member does something, it gets a lot of publicity, not only in the news media, but in anti-Charedi blogs and other venues. The natural response to this is to assume such things are common or disproportionally occur in these communities, but that would be a mistake. Without statistical evidence, we have no way of knowing.

    The question of the leader’s responses are a bit different. Are chassidic leaders like the presidents of countries or non-profits, who see their jobs as churning out press releases in response to everything that happens in their community? I doubt it. Regardless, even if we think the leaders should act differently, that doesn’t mean we can condemn the whole community. As with any community, there are going to be good and bad people, and good and bad leaders.

    • John May 26, 2011, 11:15 AM

      I used to be the one on this blog arguing that strongly but in this case that argument is treif!

      Its one thing to whitewash cheating on taxes or even to downplay outright gezel from other community members.
      However attempted murder cant even be mentioned in the same sentence.
      Ribono shel olam, we arent dealing with a chumra or minhag! but one of the gimel chamuros!!!! I never dreamed it could come to this. We are dealing with an attempted Rotzeiach. and people are silent!! The skverr rebbi is a big rasha every second that he is silent. He is approving, and is thus guilty of Retzicha !
      You say “Are chassidic leaders like the presidents of countries or non-profits, who see their jobs as churning out press releases in response to everything that happens in their community? I doubt it.” Absolutyly yes! In his kehila he has more power than a president. when women’s skirts are too short if they are on cell phones he is able to protest but for attempt murder…silence. That is the mark of a Rasha!!
      You then go on “Regardless, even if we think the leaders should act differently, that doesnt mean we can condemn the whole community. As with any community, there are going to be good and bad people, and good and bad leaders.” Approving of a bad leader makes the people bad, we absolutly can, nay must! condemn the entire community. There should be riots in front of the rebbe’s home DEMANDNG that he condemn retzicha!
      The rebbi is a rasha, and supporting him is tacit aproval of rishus. Rishus in all its forms must be crushed or at the very least, protested and condemned!

      • A. Nuran May 29, 2011, 10:17 AM

        That’s assuming the Rabbi isn’t more deeply involved even if it’s the of the plausibly deniable “Will no-one rid me of this turbulent priest?” variety.

  • Yochanan May 26, 2011, 12:56 PM

    Can any history buffs answer this:

    When did Chasid turn from meaning “pious” to “adherent to Eastern European mystical Judaism”?

    • talking stam May 29, 2011, 9:44 AM

      an even better question: when did chasid turn from meaning pious to meaning the rebbe is g-d? the way they worship the rebbe is not different than idol worship. and the response to this incident, as in all incidents with chasidim, is that the rebbe is beyond reproach and if you even hint that the rebbe has any culpability you are a heretic. even those who never thought the rebbe was close to g-dliness, are shocked that he is involved in an attempted murder; and even those who know his chasidim follow him blindly, are shocked that they find nothing wrong in this situation.

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