WHO IS A JEW - Ethically, Spiritually and Politically?

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The answer hinges on who is a true rabbi. (Updated 5/1/2017)

I get a lot of tough questions from my Christian readers about why so many Jews are liberal Democrats who have supported Obama and his gay, anti-Israeli policies. But what Jews back actually varies strongly with who they accept as a rabbi.

PART 1 - REFORM JUDAISM. The first Prime Minister of Israel was David Ben Gurion. He said that for every 2 Jews there are 3 opinions. He underestimated. However in this article (with the help of Torah Codes) we’ll look at who is a Jew and examine the fact that in many parts of our nation Jews can't find a local rabbi with a Torah-valid opinion. We start with Reform Judaism. On Figure 1 the axis term is REFORM. JUDAISM at the same absolute skip in a 36-letter box. This is their closest meeting in Torah. Crossing JUDAISM in the open text is Nadab and Abihu died before the LORD when they offered strange fire before the LORD. It's the primary example in Torah of what happened to Jews when they worshipped in the wrong fashion. Nadab and Abihu were sons of Aaron, the brother of Moses. Also meeting JUDAISM in the open text is Midianite woman in the sight of Moses. This woman (Cozbi) and her Israelite lover (Zimri) were killed together when Pinchas threw a spear through them both while they were having sex. Sound cruel? The execution halted a plague that had already killed 24,000 Jews (Numbers 24:9).

Figure 1 Above: Reform Judaism s likened to an offering of strange fire. Its high rate of intermarriage is likened to Zimri's mating with Cozbi. Both are fatal links in the Torah.

       The father of the American Reform movement was Isaac Meyer Wise. On Figure 1 above WISE is on the matrix at an ELS, as is ABOMINATION. Wise planned a banquet that served shrimp, a food prohibited for Jews by Leviticus 11:12 which states that, “Everything that does not have fins and scales in the water – it is an abomination to you.” In fact, Reform Judaism rejects all Torah-mandated ritual, as well as prohibitions such as that against homosexual behavior. It rejects them because it rejects the Torah as a book dictated by God to Moses. That means that Reform Judaism does not recognize the deed to Israel given to the Jewish people by God, so it's not surprising to learn that Reform Jews are not overly concerned about Obama's hostility toward Israel. 

 

INTERMARRIAGE RATES AMONG THE BRANCHES OF JUDAISM. As should be apparent from the above reference to the killing of Zimri and Cozbi, intermarriage has not been viewed by Torah observant Jews as something  that is desirable. Reform Jews have a 46% intermarriage rate. For Conservative Jews, its 32%, while the Orthodox have the lowest rate - just 6%. Among Secular Jews it was 49%.  For Orthodox Jews the intermarriage rate has been decreasing with each generation while among non-Orthodox Jews it's increasing. Of children born through intermarriage only 28% of them are raised as Jewish. And of children of intermarriage who identify as Jewish only 10 to 15% of them end up marrying Jews. So intermarriage has largely been seen by many as a way for Jews to exterminate their own religion; with Reform and Secular Jews leading the charge to oblivion. Under Jewish law a child is only Jewish if its mother is Jewish, however the Reform don't follow Jewish law. They accept the child as Jewish if either parent is Jewish.

Reform Bar Mitzvah Family Incident. I have a relative who was once very close to me. I'll change some names here, as I had to do in my Baptism Annulled book, but the story goes as follows. About three months before my first attempt to move to Israel, which ended when I ran out money over there, I spent about $750 to fly from California to Maine for a bar mitzvah. When I arrived I had brought a beautiful tallis for the young man in question (Paul). I requested a kosher meal for the affair, but that set off a lot of fights. The affair was going to be traif (unkosher) and I was told to not make any problems. In the end I finally got the mother of the boy (Maria) to agree to cook an Empire kosher chicken in her nonkosher oven. It was, of course, a compromise, but at least it offered the possibility of family harmony.

     When I arrived at the synagogue, I had to chuckle at the name. It was Bet HaAm. It meant House of the People (not necessarily Jewish people), but somehow I just read Bet Ham, House of Ham. I went in and lo and behold, before I could enter the sanctuary for the service, I noticed that they were selling books about how to have a successful intermarriage to a non Jew. How could I endorse that? While I had not planned it, I thought back to a bar mitzvah that I'd attended before for a nephew in Philadelphia. He was Conservative, just like I was for most of my life. There were Chabad rabbis who were invited to be there. The service, like that of the Reform, had mixed seating with men sitting with women. The Chabad, acting like Orthodox Jews, would not participate in a mixed service, but they really liked my cousin, so they politely stood just outside the door of the sanctuary where they could see and hear everything, but they didn't enter. My cousin and his family (closer to Orthodox than Reform) had no problem with the Chabad action, so I decided to do likewise in Portland.

       When it was time to read the Torah portion for the week, an act that takes almost an hour in Conservative, Chabad, and Orthodox synagogues, the rabbi made it clear that only about 10% of the reading would be covered. He began with the words, "I don't know what this Torah portion means, but..." When his brief words were over, the ceremony involved a symbolic passing of the Torah from one generation to the next (with the blind leading the blind). Obviously, if the rabbi wanted to know what the portion meant, it would have helped to actually read it all, but Reform Jews don't have the patience to sit through such an act.

      My quiet actions were not appreciated by the family members there. In fact, 21 years later it's still the cause of an enormous family rift. But how did Paul's Jewish Reform upbringing serve him as time marched forward? About 14 years later I received an invitation to his wedding. The first problem was that it was held on the Sabbath. The next problem was the date - August 13, 2005. That night, when the wedding feast was being held, was the 9th of Av (Tisha B'Av) on the Jewish calendar. It began not a feast, but rather a 25-hour fast in commemoration of the destruction of both Jewish Temples in Israel (in 586 BCE and 70 CE). Here are a few of the many other tragedies befalling the Jewish people on this day:

  • The First Crusade was declared by Pope Urban II on July 20, 1095 (Av 9, 4855 AM), killing 10,000 Jews in its first month and destroying Jewish communities in France and the Rhineland.
  • Jews were expelled from England on July 25, 1290 (Av 9, 5050 AM)
  • Jews were expelled from Spain July 31, 1492 (Av 8-9, 5252 AM).
  • On August 1, 1914 (Av 9, 5674 AM), World War I broke out, causing unprecedented devastation across Europe and set the stage for World War II and the Holocaust.
  • On the eve of Tisha B'Av 5702 (July 23, 1942), the mass deportation began of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto, en route to Treblinka.

Finally, I was astounded to read on the invitation that Paul's wedding would not be in a synagogue. Rather, it was to be held in a Catholic Church, complete with a Catholic mass! We have a Yiddish expression that is well known to cover such a contingency - Oy Guvult!  In keeping with what one might expect from a synagogue named Bet Ham, there was a roast pig for the wedding feast. Finally, in payment I suspect for insulting every possible tradition that relates to Judaism, the couple had an unplanned baby in 2011. It was a boy, born with Down Syndrome. The child was born just as the Jewish New Year (a time of Judgment) was about to begin.

       The birth probably says more than I could ever say about the Reform movement and how it is viewed by the Torah's Author. However, I do have experience with two other Reform synagogues that I should mention. Back in 1981 when I had just met my current wife, on our second date I took her to meet a Reform rabbi. She agreed to begin conversion classes with him. Ruth took the 12-week course, but after I heard him teach that God did not give us the Torah, I withdrew her from the class and entered her into a Conservative one taught by Rabbi Farber at Temple Samu-El Or Olom in Miami. I figured that with doctrine like that taught at the Reform Temple Beth Am (where I once taught Hebrew after having taught it to myself), there would be no way that my future wife would ever take Judaism seriously. The other experience that I had with Reform Judaism was in West Palm Beach around 1983. There, at Passover, Rabbi Joel Levine called an assembly for the children where he announced that there was no death of the firstborn Egyptians because "God would never allow little children to be killed." I guess that in addition to his passing over what was written in the Torah, he also passed over the 1.5 million Jewish children who were murdered in the Holocaust." But perhaps, he had a problem comprehending the strange fire that incinerated those kids even as he never understood the strange fire that consumed Nadab and Abihu.

How Reform Judaism is Swindling the Jewish People Out of Judaism. The primary reason that Reform Judaism is able to substitute non-Jewish beliefs for Jewish ones in the U.S. is that most Jews don't speak Hebrew unless they moved here from Israel. The Torah is Hebrew, so when we meet a fool posing as a rabbi like that described above at Bet Ha(a)m, and he admits that he doesn't understand the Torah portion, he means it! How much more so for his (or her) congregation. Now, it's true that I once taught Hebrew at three Reform Temples and one Conservative synagogue, but when I did, I tried to teach what the Torah actually said.  A few parents objected, but I was a popular teacher with classroom activities like building a full sized model of the Ark of the Covenant, so most did not oppose me. However, when the kids went home they heard no more Hebrew, nor did they see any of the Jewish Law being carried out. Nor did they learn Jewish theology from their rabbi. As l'll discuss below under Part 2, this was like the Conservative Hebrew school education that I received, except those teachers were no fun, and I recall no theological instruction taking place - there was only, at best, history. I didn't really learn any conversational Hebrew until I started writing my first book on comparative religion. Perhaps what American Jews need is a starter version of Orthodox Judaism, one with services largely in English, but with a rock solid Orthodox/Torah theology foundation. 

 

PART 2 - CONSERVATIVE JUDAISM AND THE MASORTI MOVEMENT - Think It's the Middle Way? It's in Rapid Spiritual Decay. I was raised in a nominally Conservative Jewish home. The services were in Hebrew, which I didn't understand then. The bar mitzvah was about monetary presents that I thought were for me, but which wound up paying for the expensive affair. I had no clue about the meaning of the Sabbath; let alone how to observe it. Pork was often on the dinner table. I never heard a thing about kosher laws. In all, after five years of Hebrew school, all I knew was the Hebrew alphabet (which is only 22 letters) and how to drive my teachers there nuts. I did, however, enjoy the grape juice and cookies that came after the services. But even in those days, nobody would imagine that Conservative Judaism would first ordain women rabbis, and then follow up with homosexual rabbis and an endorsement of homosexual marriage. What's next, an endorsement for marriage with apes? Will Reform and Conservative live up to the mockingly Anti-Semitic song in the musical show Cabaret - If You Could See Her Through My Eyes?
 

     On Figure 2 the axis term is MASORTI. This is the name of the Conservative movement in Israel and other countries outside of Canada and the U.S. The word Conservative is 11 letters in Hebrew – much longer than the length of an ELS typically found (about 8 letters) , and in fact it doesn't occur at an ELS in Torah. Don't be fooled by the name Conservative into thinking that Conservative Jews are conservative politically. Sadly, most are flaming liberals who seem like almost mindless slaves to the Democratic Party. If you want to find Jews who are political conservatives and Republicans like myself, you have to look for Orthodox Jews (and Chabad). 

       I looked for STRANGE FIRE because it was on Figure 1 which was about the Reform movement. It’s on this matrix, but at an ELS. I looked for a reference to SODOM because Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed as punishment for homosexual practices, and the Masorti/Conservative movement recently joined the Reform movement in approving the ordination of homosexual rabbis. In the open text in this matrix is Men of Sodom surrounded the house. The house here, I fear, is the House of the Lord. In the open text is also they defile my tabernacle that is in the midst of them. Finally, the word DECAY is at an ELS. In Chapter 5 of my Baptism Annulled book, I described an incident that at the time left me dumfounded. It went was follows:

 

I spent one last Sabbath in Israel.  I asked a rabbi if there was a Conservative synagogue in town. The rabbi told me, “In Jerusalem there is one Reform synagogue, one Conservative synagogue, and 40,000 toilets.”  Israel, you see, really only has two kinds of Jews – Religious (Orthodox), and not religious (secular).

 

When the incident occurred above, although I had not yet overcome the poor religious upbringing that I had, I thought the (Orthodox) rabbi was way out of line. But it turned out to be one of two opinions that I thought were extreme that were later proven fully in line with the Torah that I would eventually come to treasure so much. The Conservative, like the Reform, are indeed offering a strange fire. They and the Reform defile our faith through their homosexual policies.

Figure 2: Below: The Masorti/Conservative movement is encoded with Sodom and defiling the Tabernacle.

 
  
PART 3 - CHABAD / LUBAVITCH JUDAISM.  I wasn't raised as an Orthodox Jew, but I became one back in 1984 after I won the interfaith custody battle described in my book, Baptism Annulled. From then until 2003, except when on active duty, I was blessed to attend synagogue and study with Rabbi Zevulon Glixman in Homestead, Florida. I'll discuss him in detail later under Part 5 because in my 65 years of life I've never seen anyone come even close to him in terms of demonstrating what Judaism is supposed to be all about. However, I have known two Chabad rabbis who have an outstanding approach to Judaism. My younger son, David, had both his brit milah (ritual circumcision and naming) and his bar mitzvah with one of them, Rabbi Ferris in Berkeley, California. There is a link to a 15-minute video tribute to him here that will be repeated later in this article. Rabbi Glixman was present for the brit at Rabbi Ferris' house. The other Chabad rabbi that I hold much respect for is Rabbi Gavriel Levin. He has a great open mind, and he has in fact lectured about my research at his yeshiva in Postville, Iowa. You can find a link to his lecture about me at the link just provided. However, I have two enormous problems with the Chabad movement in general.    
       The first problem, discussed in great deal elsewhere on my site, is that many (but not all) Chabad rabbis and members believe that a man (Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson) who died in 1994 is the Messiah. There already is a religion that believes a deceased rabbi is the Messiah. It is, of course, Christianity. Its followers point to stories of the resurrection of their hero, but there are no such accounts for Rabbi Schneerson. Therefore I see no reason to try to mimic Christian beliefs.
     The second problem is that Chabad seems to think it's exempt from the Commandment banning images of anything in heaven. On Figure 3 below, the axis term is CHABAD AND MESSIAH. The segment of Deuteronomy 12:30 running through the first letter of Chabad isTake heed to not be not ensnared to follow them after they are destroyed from before you; and that you inquire not after their gods. The verse goes on to warn, “You shall not inquire after their gods, saying: ‘How used these nations to serve their gods? even so will I do likewise.'”  This sounds a lot like a warning to avoid mimicking Christianity, and, in fact, at the last (Florida) Chabad synagogue that I attended, the rabbi expressed his belief that Christianity was a successful model that he had no problem mimicking it. He was adamant that Rabbi Schneerson was the Messiah, that it was OK for his synagogue to have a wall mural portraying Schneersion as more important than Moses, and on a par with the Creator. Note the graven image of Rabbi Schneerson below on a Congressional gold coin.
       The Chabad center in question has been open for over 20 years. A legitimate synagogue is required to build a ritual bath known as a mickveh even before it acquires a Torah (Rabbi Ferris' congregation in Berkeley maintained a mickveh). There were at least three Torahs in the aforementioned Florida synagogue, but the rabbi never built a mickveh. The nearest one was operated by Chabad, but it was 92 miles north of us. Every (Orthodox) woman knows she is required to use the mickveh each month 7 days after her menstrual flow ceases. Only then, under Torah Law, may she have sex with her husband.
       I offered the Florida rabbi thousands of dollars toward a mickveh building fund, but he actually had the gall to say that only my wife would use it. Another Chabad member (a woman) tried to give me a few hundred dollars to add to what I was prepared to spend, but I couldn't accept it. I had no official function in the synagogue. When the Florida rabbi went so far as to indicate that a Jew couldn't be a real Jew unless he accepted Rabbi Schneerson as his teacher (and more), my son and I were forced to walk out just as the Torah service was beginning. We had in fact originally purchased our home so on Sabbaths and high holidays we could walk to what we thought was an Orthodox synagogue. When we understood our error, we moved away, selling our house at an enormous loss.
      In Florida, if you want to attend a synagogue that looks Orthodox (even if it isn't), once you go north or west of Palm Beach county, there's nothing other than Chabad until you get to Jacksonville. Like Wal-Mart or any other successful franchise, Chabad monopolizes the (Jewish) market. But few members keep the Sabbath by not driving since most members do not live within walking distance. Most telling, perhaps, was a summary of the movement by (Israeli) Rabbi Elazar Menachem Man Shach. When Shach was asked which religion was theologically closest to Judaism (but not Judaism), he responded "Chabad."
      With the above in mind, what else is on the Figure 2 matrix? As noted above, Jews are prohibited from making graven images. THE IMAGE is found at an ELS just to the left of the Schneerson coin. In the open text, crossing CHABAD is And you had been cut off from the Earth (Rabbi Shach would agree to such a verdict). In the open text crossing CHABAD AND MESSIAH is also Forgive, I pray you, my sin. Chabad does so much good in the world. In my travels around it, they were often the only source of kosher food (although Rabbi Shach will not accept Chabad kosher supervision of food). I pray that our Creator will forgive the sins of men like the Florida rabbi mentioned above. The phrase You shall keep the commandment was found because I sought the commandment a-priori. Chabad places great emphasis on learning to keep one commandment at a time. The problem is that it ignores the commandment about idol worship and graven images, while emphasizing a few like lighting Hannukah menorahs. Hannukah, however, is in reality often a time that Chabad sends out huge mailings in full color in an effort to raise large amounts of cash. 
       Finally, also on the matrix in the open text is the phrase "And he spoke to Korah and to all his  company, saying: 'in the morning the LORD will show who are his." The verse (Numbers 16:5) goes on to say "and who is holy, and will cause him to come near unto Him; even him whom He may choose will He cause to come near unto Him."  Korah led a rebellion against Moses. The Earth then swallowed him and his compatriots alive. On the day that I walked out of the Chabad synagogue, the rabbi compared me to Korah. But a dead rabbi (Schneerson) cannot be compared to the live Moses and Aaron that Korah wrongly challenged. I stand by my actions that day, and I stand with Rabbi Shach in challenging the Chabad movement to not just be closest to Judaism, but to return to Judaism. I fear, however, that unless it changes, those in Chabad who have strayed from Jewish theology may one day face excommunication if they don't mend their ways.
       Those Chabadnicks who accept Rabbi Schneerson as their Messiah are now about where Christianity was about 50 years into its formation. In fact, until the Second Temple was destroyed in 70 C.E., early Christianity was basically just a Jewish sect that believed the Messiah had come, was resurrected, and would soon return again. Only when Paul began to preach that the Law (Torah) was a curse (Galatians 3:10 and 3:13), and that the Nazarene was a literal son of the Creator, or part of a Trinitarian diety, did the break between Christanity and Judaism became a formal one. Chabad is well down the path to duplicating that history. Note that this article has no separate section for the so called Jews for Jesus because when Jews accept Christ, they leave Judaism and become Christians. It's vital that American Orthodox Jews let Chabad know that they are flirting with excommunication, but it's also vital to take every possble step to bring them back into the fold of Judaism because in so many places Chabad has the only infrastructure in place  to support the fulfillment of Torah Law. 
 

Figure 3: Chabad and Messah are encoded with warning about idolatry.

 

PART 4 - ORTHODOX JUDAISM. There really is no legitimate form of Judaism today other than Orthodox Judaism, but as we shall see below, the Orthodox wing of our faith is not serving the vast geographic distribution of Jews in America.

       On August 16, 2002 an article appeared in J Weekly claiming that a study found Orthodox Jews have the most synagogues in the U.S.  However, there were huge caveats in the story which stated that, "Of 3,727 synagogues in the United States, 40 percent are Orthodox, 26 percent Reform and 23 percent Conservative." The first caveat was with what they categorized as Orthodox. The article states that 36 percent were not officially tied to any organization, 23.5 percent belonged to the Orthodox Union, 23.1 percent to Chabad/Lubavitch, 10 percent to the National Council of Young Israel, 4 percent to the fervently religious Agudath Israel of America and 6.5 percent to Sephardic organizations.

        In Part 2 of my discussion above I described why Chabad/Lubavitch is rejected by much of the rest of Judaism as a somewhat heretical organization that has a cult-like dedication to a rabbi who died in 1994. Many rabbis in the movement believe that the deceased rabbi is the Messiah, and, from my own experience in many Chabad centers, all seem to have the need to have that rabbi's portrait on many or all walls of their homes and synagogues. In Florida, Chabad has an essential monopoly on all synagogues posing as Orthodox except in Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Duval Counties.

        Rabbi Avi Shafran, a spokesman for Agudath Israel, informs us that many Orthodox synagogues have only 20 or 30 members, compared with some 200 to 300 members or more in many Conservative and Reform synagogues. Orthodox Jews don't drive on the Sabbath. So, in many places, what passes for an Orthodox synagogue might not be a separate facility that serves a wide geographic area. Rather, it might just be a home where at least ten Jewish men could be found to join a minyan to pray together. When it comes to how synagogues are actually distributed in the U.S., the 50 metropolitan areas with the largest Jewish populations contain 82 percent of all synagogues, and within the 50 areas with the densest Jewish populations, seven metro areas contain more than 100 synagogues, or 58 percent of all synagogues in the country. Once you leave those 7 areas it becomes very hard to find an Orthodox synagogue (and even harder to find kosher food). The only attempt to provide what looks like an Orthodox facility in most places in the U.S. (and this is often true in many nations outside of Israel) is by Chabad. In many places they offer traveling Jews the only kosher food available in the country. Those who attend their facilities may overlook the organizational oddities as a kind of compartmentalized insanity, but increasingly their heresy has drawn ever stronger condemnations by legitimate Orthodox rabbis, especially in Israel.

       Weird things have occurred in Israel with respect to recognition of rabbis from around the world. On May 29, 2012 the (secular) Israeli attorney general’s office said that Reform and Conservative rabbis in some parts of Israel will be recognized as “rabbis of non-Orthodox communities” and will receive wages equal to those of their Orthodox counterparts. And, as mentioned earlier, both of those movements openly repudiate the Torah by backing homosexual marriage and rabbis. And yet, also in the news out of Israel on May 23, 2012, was a decision to reject Orthodox conversions done by overseas rabbis except for those done by 50 of them (that's in the entire world including the USA). The article in HaAretz includes the following:

 

By Amiram Barkat | May.23, 2006 12:00 AM 

     

Fears of a historic rift between the Chief Rabbinate and Orthodox rabbis overseas have been sparked by the Chief Rabbinate's recent decision not to recognize conversions and divorce decrees (gets) by most Orthodox rabbis abroad.

       The Rabbinate confirmed that rabbinic courts in Israel have been instructed not to recognize conversions and gets authorized by overseas rabbis until those rabbis pass Rabbinate exams in Israel.

       This means that Jews who underwent an Orthodox conversion abroad will have to convert again in Israel in order to be recognized as Jews by rabbinic courts. Jewish women who received a get overseas and wish to remarry in Israel will have to ask their ex-husbands for another get if the first one was approved by Orthodox rabbis not recognized by the Rabbinate.

       Under the new policy, Diaspora rabbis must be examined by a special rabbinic court panel appointed by the Chief Rabbinate Council for their conversions and gets to be recognized. Rabbis seeking recognition for their gets are required, in addition to the exam, to attend a brief training program in which they join the deliberations at rabbinic courts and learn how to register gets.

       The Rabbinate will still continue to recognize conversions and gets by a group of some 50 senior Orthodox rabbis around the world. These rabbis, whose names appear on a list prepared several years ago by previous chief rabbis, will not be required to take the exams.

      Until now, rabbinic courts approved conversions and gets by most Orthodox rabbis abroad, largely based on personal acquaintance. Conversions and gets by non-Orthodox rabbis were not recognized.

       The new policy, which was approved by Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar, is already generating tension with the Rabbinical Council of America. An official of the RCA, which has a membership of 1,200 Orthodox rabbis, told Haaretz, "The impression created is that Rabbi Amar is trying to become a sort of Jewish pope."

       The Jewish Week, published in New York, reported earlier this month that the Rabbinate is refusing to recognize conversions authorized by Gedaliah Dov Schwartz, chairman of the Beth Din of America, the largest Orthodox rabbinic court in the United States. Rabbi Schwartz appears on the exemptions list, but the Rabbinate announced that only conversions personally performed by him would be recognized in Israel. The rabbinate "can't just bypass the rabbis who are its biggest supporters," Rabbi Schwartz told The Jewish Week. Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, executive director of the RCA's parent organization, the Orthodox Union, expressed surprise at the Rabbinate's policy.

       Rabbi Seth Farber of ITIM, an Israeli group that helps navigate Rabbinate procedures, says that non-recognition of past conversions could cause great suffering to legally converted Jews. He added that lack of cooperation between the Rabbinate and the rabbinic establishment in the U.S. is causing unnecessary tension between them.

       Rabbi Amar's bureau chief, Rabbi Yigal Krispel, defended the new policy, and told Haaretz it is designed to protect Israeli citizens and prevent them from turning to unqualified rabbis.

      "There is a hierarchy, and not every rabbi can perform a conversion or register a get," he said.

       Krispel said the Rabbinate will still recognize marriages and verifications of Jewishness by rabbis overseas.

 

       One immediate concern in this family is how this would affect us if we attempted to move to Israel again one day (two previous attempts failed for financial and legal reasons). While I was born Jewish, my wife is a convert of Orthodox Rabbi Zevulon Yerachmiel Glixman ZT''L. He was not a member of Chabad, but he is now gone to his Maker in Heaven. Therefore, he can't attend Rabbi Amar's classes. Common sense would dictate that such conversions would be grandfathered in, but in religion, common sense is often the first casualty of any religious skirmish. The ZT''L after Glixman means May the memory of the righteous be a blessing. No man is perfect, but in 69 years of my life he is that one man that I've known who best fit the meaning of the word righteous. This was a man who would not only give you the shirt off his back, and a place to live (as he did to my family when Hurricane Andrew destroyed our home in 1992), but who even spent many nights each week visiting the sick in hospitals to pray by their bedside, often with miraculous results. He died a poor man in 2007, but everyone who knew him was so much richer just for the experience.

Figure 4: Miami's Rabbi Zevulon Glixman koshered hotel kitchens, supervised conversions, and set the highest example of what righteousness is all about.

 
PART 5 - THE JUDAISM OF RABBI ZEVULON GLIXMAN. On Figure 4 the axis term is a transliteration of RABBI (Rav) GLIXMAN. As is often the case, there was a limit to 8 letters for the axis term. After Rav (resh vet), for Glixman I used gimel lamed kuf sin mem nun, but on formal documents he spelled his name gimel lamed yud kuf samech mem alef nun. His name does not arise in the Code with the longer spelling.
       Rabbi Glixman made much of his sparse income from koshering the kitchens of hotels in Miami Beach, including at the world famous Fontainebleau Hilton (shown to  the right of the matrix). KOSHER and HOTEL RABBI are at the same absolute skip as RABBI GLIXMAN. The odds against finding his job, HOTEL RABBI,  at a special case skip (+/- 1 or as here - the absolute skip of RABBI GLIXMAN) in just 169 letters with his name and title were about 1,804 to 1, so this match alone is highly significant.
       The rabbi's synagogue was named the B'nai Israel Greater Miami Youth Synagogue. The matrix includes BNAI ISRAEL (Children of Israel) in the open text. MIAMI is on the matrix at skip 4. YOUTH is on the matrix at skip +2. He converted my wife and gave her the Hebrew name RUTH, which is on the matrix at skip -2.
       The troublesome part of the Figure 4 matrix is that the word MIDIAN of the phrase And the children of Israel took captive the women of Midian and their little ones. Does this have any kind of negative connotation about his conversions? Since I made a big deal out of Midianite woman in the sight of Moses touching Judaism on my Figure 1 matrix about Reform Judaism, I can't gloss over this intersection, even if it's painful to deal with. The matrix is relevant to the status of my wife and older son (now an Orthodox rabbi) who are both converts, as well as to the status of my younger son (who was conceived after the wife's Orthodox conversion by Rabbi Glixman).
        In truth, Rabbi Amar has just cause to be concerned about some of the Orthodox rabbis' conversions conducted in America. But what he has lost sight of is the impact of his words on the people that were converted by those rabbis. As I mentioned above, my wife took the name Ruth when she converted. She's named for the convert who is the subject of the Biblical Book of Ruth. King David (and the future Messiah) are descended from Ruth. That Biblical figure's simple conversion to Judaism is recorded in Ruth 1:15-16 as follows:
 

15 Then she said, "Behold your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and her gods; return after your sister-in-law." 

16 But Ruth said, "Do not urge me to leave you or turn back froim following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God."

       The above history is read in synagogues each year on the holiday of Shavuot, which marks when the Jewish people accepted the Torah. Since she accepted her conversion, my Ruth has fulfilled every single Commandment possible. Who is Rabbi Amar that by his thoughtless words, he can call her status and that of thousands of other sincere converts into question? His actions, sadly, are not unique. I've already suffered through a similar family-wrecking action by Yeshiva Ohr Somayach in Monsey, New York. They didn't accept the conversion of my older son by Rabbi Glixman. The almost complete story of how I won custody of that son, the product of a previous mixed marriage, is found on this site at Baptism Annulled.  But while our triumph was recognized in press coverage around the world, when Ohr Somayach required a second symbolic circumcision (after his original circumcision by a Conservative mohel), the young rabbinical student decided that his step-mother's conversion was no good, nor was I, nor was Rabbi Glixman, nor was anyone he ever knew before attending Ohr Somayach. He completely severed relations with everybody that he ever knew who loved and cared for him. In his rush to embrace the Jewish law Ohr Somayach-style, he just decided that he had the right to toss out the Commandment about honoring parents. By the way, Ohr Somayach recruited my son after they learned about his fantastic Torah reading skills, skills that were meticulously taught to him through years of studying with Rabbi Glixman.
   
Updates. The Torah Answers My Concerns About Women of Midian Crossing Rabbi Glixman. I wrote the above on June 6, 2012. It was a hard piece to write, both with respect what I had to say about my older son who, as a child, was a great man; but who broke my heart as an adult. The story also left me less than happy about what met Rabbi Glixman in the Code. My concern about the Midianite, however, was at least in part answered three days later on the Sabbath of June 9, 2012.  Then, in every real synagogue around the world, we read about Miriam and Aaron speaking out against Moses in refererence to the Cushite woman that he had married (Numbers 12:1). This euphemistic reference to what is literally taken as an Ethiopian in fact refers to Zipporah, who was actually... a Midianite! See Exodus 2:16-21. There could be no greater convert than Moses' own wife. In fact, her actions saved the life of Moses himself, thus allowing us to have Torah (Exodus 4:24-26).
 
       It seems finding a good Orthodox rabbi is something akin to finding a good surgeon. All surgeons are expected to know how to cut into a patient, but the good ones know when not to operate. Likewise, Rabbi Amar and Yeshiva Ohr Somayach may know the Law, but they don't know when to refrain from applying their legal skills in a way that destroys families and Orthodox communities.
       Rabbi Glixman and Rabbi Rokowski of Ohr Somayach both accepted my son as being Jewish after they arranged for a symbolic additional brit milah in their synagogues. However, Rabbi Glixman was correcting the actions of a Conservative mohel which, while embarrassing, made sense. In fact, on the day that my older son had his second brit, I also remarried my wife. My original (Conservative) and second (Orthodox) weddings with her are shown below. Rokowski's actions, however, negated the legitimacy of the Orthodox court that performed the Orthodox conversions of my wife and son. My experience with him wasn't unique. While visiting my son at his yeshiva, and on June 4, 2012, I heard stories of other families that Ohy Somayach had destroyed in like fashion. In fact, while I was there, another Orthodox rabbi warned me that it was not uncommon for the families of students there to send cult deprogrammers to Monsey in an effort to redirect their sons at Ohr Somayach into a more sane approach to Orthodox Judaism. At the time I assumed that that the bond between my son and I was stronger than whatever he was learning there. I was wrong.
       In researching this article, I did so with the initial understanding that there was no problem with the Orthodox tribunal that signed off on my wife and older son's conversion on May 26, 1988. And yet, I've always been troubled by one fact. Rabbi Glixman supervised the conversion, but the certificate was on Rabbi Tibor H. Stern's letterhead. What did Rabbi Glixman require of our family? From 1984 until 1988, we spent nearly every Sabbath sleeping in the synagogue. From before sundown on Friday, until about an hour after sunset on Saturday, we (and many others) were together for all our meals, the services, and Torah study (plus some non electronic fun like ping pong, chess, and Risk). Rabbi Glixman made certain that all converts kept the Sabbath, kept kosher, and used the mickveh (one was right there in his synagogue) when required each month.
       We didn't really know Rabbi Stern (shown on the photo to the left below). However, it appears that he played a major role with respect to the kashruit (kosher) status of Hebrew National Hot Dogs, and that even Conservative Jews wanted to shy away from endorsing approving them as kosher until after Rabbi Stern passed away. Was this why the conversion was rejected? I never got the courtesy of an answer to this question from Ohr Somayach. In fact, I was not informed (by my son) about their rejection of his (and by extension, my wife's) conversion until many years after their decision, at a time when the relationship between my son and I was all but dead. If this is how Ohr Somayach treats live family members of its students, then perhaps they should shift gears from teaching the living to supervising the inspection of slaughtered cows and chickens. At least once the animals are dead, they won't feel anything (although a proper procedure must first be carried out to ensure that the animals felt no pain while they was being killed).
       Perhaps the Figure 4 Code matrix reflects not reality (my wife was a Korean, not a Midianite), but the attitude of Ohr Somayach toward Rabbi Stern's kosher supervision. However it's possible that sometimes financial considerations may enter into the decision of when one rabbi will accept another rabbi's supervision for kosher food (especially meats). With respect to Hebrew National, in the vast majority of the United States, if you try to find any meat in a supermarket that's kosher, Hebrew National hot dogs are all that's available. Not every American Jew who wants to keep kosher can move to Israel or live in a place like New York City where kosher food is abundant. Instead of spending so much time in fighting about what's kosher, and what isn't, Orthodox rabbis need to put more energy into solving problems that divide our people. Many stores that once carried kosher meat and chicken have decided against it because the price is too high, and not enough people buy it to make it profitable. Kosher meat can cost three times as much as non kosher meat. If Reform and Conservative rabbis begin to stress the importance of keeping kosher, as demand increases prices can come down. My younger son is now doing a postdoc in physics at Yale. Although there is Hebrew in its logo, there are no kosher restaurants where the school is in New Haven, Connecticut. Nor are there any kosher restaurants within 80 miles of my home in Cape Canaveral, FL.
 
       It is interesting to note that most people who buy kosher meat are not Jewish. Of people who buy kosher meat or chicken, only 14% of them buy kosher for religious reasons, though that number swells to 22% during Jewish holidays. Lubicom reports that only 21%, or 2.2 million, of the 10.5 million kosher consumers in the country buy kosher products because they keep kosher. According to Lubicom, there are only 1.1 million people who keep kosher. There were about 5,275,000 Jews in the U.S. as of 2010. Wikipedia states that 13% of American Jews are Orthodox. If they are correct, 13% of the 5,275,000 Jews would account for about 685,750 of the 1.1 million people who keep kosher. That would leave 412,250 of the remaining 4,589,250 Jews (about 9%) who keep kosher. Probably most of them belong to the Conservative movement.  

Figure 5: My first wedding in a Conservative synagogue was not accepted by Orthodox Judaism, so I had the pleasure of marrying my wife again.

PART 6 - JEWS AND POLITICS (AMERICAN AND JEWISH).

      With respect to American politics, as I wrote above, don't be fooled by the name Conservative into thinking that Conservative Jews are conservative politically. Sadly, most are flaming liberals who seem like almost mindless slaves to the Democratic Party. If you want to find Jews who are political conservatives and Republicans like myself, you have to look for Orthodox Jews (and also often Chabad). A 2011 article by Steven Windmueller, PhD, quantifies Jewish attitude by sect. His study of 2,025 Jews was done at a time when the choices were Obama (866 - 43%), Other (244 - 12%), Romney (228 -11%), Gingrich (119 - 5.9%), Giuliana (114 - 5.6%), and Powlenty (104 - 5.1%). Of the 866 votes for Obama, 61% were Reform Jews, 40% were Conservative and 17% were Orthodox. As for party affiliation, 64% of Reform Jews saw themselves as Democrats, 50% of Conservatives were Democrats, while only 30% of the Orthodox identified themselves as Democrats with 51% of Orthodox being Republicans. The Windmueller article makes clear that once Jews align with Democratic or Republican parties, they back the party lines on issues like gay rights or gun control. But how Jews behave is often affected by religious (or synagogue) politics.

       While I would like to say that I became Orthodox by a purely intellectual process, that would be deceitful. The fact is that in 1984, after I won the religious custody battle that was covered in the press around the world, I was both on the Board of Directors of the Homestead Jewish Center (which was Conservative) and I was also the school director there. I backed the wrong/losing candidate for synagogue president, and I was then given a simple choice - get off the board or resign as school director. It seems that I had too much power having both positions. Not happy with either choice, I moved to the newly opened local Orthodox synagogue and slowly became Orthodox under the direction of Rabbi Glixman. In moving there I also took the school population of the Homestead Jewish Center with me. At the time my older son was just 7 years old. Four years later I asked Rabbi Glixman to allow my son to have his bar mitzvah there. He said, "No, not unless your wife has an Orthodox conversion first." His reasoning, quite correct, was that the woman sets the religious tone of the house. If she doesn't keep kosher, keep the Sabbath (and use the mickveh), it's not likely that the children raised in the house will follow Jewish law either.

     The kosher part of the deal was easy. The Sabbath part involved making sure that my Coast Guard Reserve drills were never on a Saturday. That was doable. Frankly, I had a big libido so the restriction of no hanky panky with my young wife for about 12 days every month was what gave me the most pause, but it turned out that it actually added a lot of romance to our marriage. It meant that every month a time would come that was like a honeymoon night. We bought into the Rabbi's package deal and never looked back. The conversion to Orthodoxy for me came at about the time that I was just beginning my research into the Torah Code. Now that I really know what the Torah is about, I couldn't imagine practicing any other form of Judaism. But it hasn't always been easy, in part because Rabbi Glixman had one more stipulation that we have honored, but which often left us feeling somewhat lonely.

       The rabbi taught us that if we ever lived anywhere that lacked an Orthodox synagogue, it was better to pray at home without a minyan, than to drive to an Orthodox synagogue, or worse - to pray at a Reform or Conservative synagogue. From 1991 to 1993 I was on active duty in Alameda, California. That was where I met Rabbi Yehuda Ferris. He's a wonderful man. There is a 15-minute video tribute to him here. Although he had a very large family, we were often able to sleep in his house and walk to synagogue with him on the Sabbath and holidays. True, he had pictures of Rabbi Schneerson in almost every room of his house, and he thought that Schneerson was the Messiah, but Schneerson was alive back then. When Schneerson passed away, Rabbi Ferris let me know that he no longer regarded him as the Messiah. In short, Ferris let me know that he was sane, and that it was safe to pray with him if the opportunity ever arose again. It did when I was recalled to active duty between 2003 and 2007. But when we returned to the San Francisco Bay area, Rabbi Ferris' family had grown to 10 children, and there was rarely room for us in his house. When there was room, we'd stay for the Sabbath, but unlike the early tour in Alameda, instead of staying at the rabbi's house a few times each month, it was now only a few times each year. We loved living on the beach in Alameda, but there was no Orthodox or Chadad synagogue in walking distance, so we prayed at home on the Sabbath. When I retired in Florida, as mentioned earlier, we thought that Chabad would be the solution to our problems. In fact, at an old Linked In Profile, you can see that I was associated with Chabad. This lasted until we were confronted face to face by the more insane aspect of the Sect.

SO WHAT DOES A REAL, TORAH OBSERVANT JEW THINK AND HOW SHOULD HE OR SHE BE EXPECTED TO ACT? In part, the answer to the first part of the question above depends very much on where the individual lives - in Israel, or in the Galut which means the exile (everywhere else in the world).

2010 WORLDWIDE JEWISH POPULATION: THE TOP 12 NATIONS

RANKNATIONNUMBER OF JEWS% OF WORLD JEWISH POPULATION
1Israel5,703,70042.5%
2United States5,275,00039.3%
3France483,5003.6%
4Canada375,0002.8%
5United Kingdom292,0002.2%
6Russia205,0001.5%
7Argentina182,3001.4%
8Germany119,0000.9%
9Australia107,5000.8%
10Brazil95,6000.7%
11Ukraine71,5000.5%
12South Africa70,8000.5%

Figure 6 - Heredi (Ultra-Orthodox) Judaism is encoded once with proper indication that they keep the Commandments of Torah, but also with the need to serve in Israel's military forces when called upon to do so.

         There is no need for Jews to perform military duty in the U.S., although as a retired Coast Guard officer with prior naval service, I highly recommend it for all young Jews in America. However, Israel is a different matter. This is hinted at on Figure 6 above. On it the axis term is HEREDI JUDAISM (ultra-Orthodox Judaism). The first three verses highlighted as running through it are largely expected, but the last verse merits some discussion. On the top line is For a fringe, that you may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that you not go about after your own heart. All Orthodox men wear fringed garments. The fringes are call tzitzit. You'll find them on tallit that Jewish men wear during most prayer services and on undergarments that Othodox men wear. See the Israeli soldiers praying on Figure 6, each with Tallit and tefillin. While some Reform and Conservative women want to use them too, a tallit is really a man's garment, and there is no commandment for a woman to use tefillin.

        The second line running through HEREDI JUDAISM has Cursed be the man that makes a graven image or molten image, an abomination to the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman. This lines up well with Heredi concerns about all the images used by Chabadnicks. The sixth line of the matrix has To do these statutes and ordinances  pass through HEREDI JUDAISM. Heredi Jews try hard to do all the statutes and ordinances. So too do many Chabad rabbis. They just seem to be challenged by the image issue, but otherwise they often are indistinguishable in appearance from Heredi Jews. Finally, on the bottom line of the matrix is For we have sinned from Numbers 14:40. In that verse Moses deals with Jews who first displayed cowardice in the face of the enemy. With the exception of Joshua and Caleb, the spies who were sent to check out Canaan prior to a planned invasion by Israel, all brought back negative reports about Israel's ability to conquer the land. The punishment was 40 years in the wilderness. Some of them then admitted their sin and announced their desire to march forward. Moses warned them that it was too late, but they defiantly marched forward anyway, and were slaughtered (Numbers 14:45). Likewise, Heredi Jews in Israel should follow the example in the photo on Figure 6. If they wait for a second call to duty in a crisis, they might perish as a result of it. I'm proud to say that Rabbi Glixman's youngest son first served a combat tour in the Israeli Defense Force, and then he joined the U.S. Coast Guard.  

       The most essential summary of how Jews are supposed to act was given by Rabbi Hillel who lived between 110 BCE and 10 CE. He was asked to summarize Jewish Law (Torah) while standing on one foot. His response was, "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn." There's a lot that flows from the above statement. With respect to Jews who are ultra-liberal, there was so much persecution of our people over the last two millennia that many Jews just wanted to see an end to all discrimination. They rushed, or marched as I did when young, to see that American blacks were treated equally under the law, because Jews were not. But they failed to understand the difference between religious or racial discrimination vs. behavioral discrimination.      

       Genetic or physical problems may lead to homosexual inclinations, but the choice to act on those inclinations is always made by the person suffering from the problem. It's true that many, if not most, people who suffer in this way can't or don't want to control their problem, or even admit that they have one. To make matters worse, President Obama and Vice President Biden have both lent the prestige of their offices to support homosexual behavior. But that doesn't mean Jews should lend the respectability of our ancient faith to support their failings. Orthodox Jews know Who set the standard for human behavior. The Reform and Conservative movements have forgotten Him. They seem to think that if God's Laws are tough, we should just rewrite them and, perhaps in the end, design a god that fits our needs. The act of making your own god is idolatry. Reform and Conservative Judaism practice it, and Chabad is flirting with that crime with all its images of Schneerson. Orthodox Judaism doesn't, but it needs to both understand and act in accordance with Rabbi Hillel's summary of the Law. If it needs to clean house of rabbis who haven't done their jobs properly, then so be it. But they should not punish those who have in good faith converted to Judaism.

 

Genetics and Race. There was an interesting article in HaAretz about whether Jews are a separate race. Click here to see it.