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Were The Victims in Pittsburgh Really Jewish?

Yair Hoffman



Unfortunately video of Rabbi Mordechai Aderet discussing the tragic shooting in a conservative synagogue in Pittsburgh last Shabbat, has been making its rounds on social media.  In the Video the Rabbi explains that at the time of the Pittsburgh massacre in the Conservative Temple, there was a Bris Mila of a child adopted by two toeiva “fathers”. He claims that that is the reason there was a killing in the Synagogue. 

The murders of eleven Jewish people in a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was a horrific event. All moral people join together in condemning this hateful act. All of us, orthodox and non-orthodox alike, and good gentiles everywhere join in the pain of this tragedy The eleven people who were murdered died al kiddush Hashem (in Gods Name). They died because they were Jewish.


Unfortunately, there are times when misguided people, even great people, say things that are fundamentally erroneous and inflammatory. This week, one such person, a Rabbi from Great Neck, released a video that went viral immediately.

On that video, the Rabbi stated that the reason why the mass murder had happened was on account of a bris milah that was taking place in that synagogue – a bris milah of the adopted child of two men.


The Rabbi billed the video as his, “State of the Union Address.” Unless this author misunderstood him, he also began to lay claim that he had a bit of “Ruach haKodesh.”  Finally, he pointed to the notion of his doctrinal infallibility by the fact that lehavdil, Rav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita and ybc”l Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman had both walked him to the door.

No one is disagreeing with the fact that proper Shabbos observance is a fundamental of Judaism and that maintaining the sacred nature of marriage and its definition is vital.


There is so much that is wrong with this picture that it is difficult to know where to start and one is at a loss for words. Nonetheless, the video is so disturbing that one must speak up.

  • There is no question that those who perished died because they were Jews. They were eleven precious lives – Kedoshim (See Teshuvas Maharil #99 who calls the kedoshei elyon and writes that one can stand bemechitzasam). They were Hitler yimach shmo’s latest victims. To speak ill of them is horrifying. How dare this Rabbi blame holocaust victims?
  • What about the responding police officers? They were heroes who risked life and limb to protect others. Were they too punished because of some “marriage” that occurred years ago? These brave men who engaged the evil neo-Nazi lowlife in gunfire are to be saluted. How dare he vilify them?
  • Where is the empathy? Where is the emulating of G-d – the passage in tractate Shabbos – Mah hu rachum af atta rachum – just as He is Merciful, so too must you be merciful?  It is all so very absent in this video. Where is the feeling of the pain of the innocent?  Where is the sharing of the suffering, of children and grandchildren, and of friends of the victims in this Rabbi’s speech? Where are the tears? Our sages tell us that the Shechina cries when He beholds the tzaar of His nation. And yet there is nothing.
  • A Bris Milah has nothing to do with who is bringing the child to receive a bris. We do not condone behavior that is forbidden by the Torah, but when someone wishes to bring a child for a Bris Milah – he or she is to be encouraged. This is no Mitzvah habaa b’Aveira in such a case (See Minchas Chinuch on why “lecha” is needed to disqualify a stolen Sukkah). The Bris Milah is a separate event from anything else.
  • Where is the v’ahavta larayacha kamocha – the loving of our fellow man like ourselves? The Chazon Ish zatzal – held that most of the non-observant world are to be considered like a tinok shenishba – a child who was kidnapped and not raised with and thus not privy to the beauties of Torah true Judaism. These Jews are no different. It is wrong to suppress the natural inclinations of our chailek elokah mimaal – of our Divine Portion from Above to empathize with our brethren. In doing this, we are destroying our neshama – our soul, minimizing our schar in Olam Habah, and negating the very important Mitzvah of VeAhavta lerayacha Kamocha.
  • It is somewhat presumptuous to give a State of the Union Address – when one is not particularly in charge of any union.
  • Great Gedolim have walked many people to the door. It does not give a person a blanket heter of Halachic authority. There were people who fed Klal Yisroel tens of thousands of pounds of treif meat that received a similar honor.
  • Ruach haKodesh? Really? Moshe Rabbeinu was chosen to lead Klal Yisroel because of his humility.  The Midrash tells us that Har Sinai itself was chosen because it was the smallest mountain in the range.

This is a national tragedy and a tragedy to the entire Jewish people. It can also, Heaven forbid, engender copycat acts. Let’s not forget how school shootings began rachmana litzlan. For several decades there were none. Then there was one. Now, unfortunately, there are many.

No, dear Rabbi. We should empathize.

Deracheha Darchei No’am. The way of Torah is that of pleasantness. The latter part of the verse goes further. It states vechol nesivoseha shalom and all her ways are ways of peace.  The video is most inflammatory. The Rabbi should issue an apology.


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Terrifying: Entire Wisconsin School Celebrates with Nazi Salute

Polipace Staff



A school district in Wisconsin is vowing to take action after a number of students posed for a junior prom picture while displaying Nazi salutes.

The picture shows a group of male Class of 2019 students from Baraboo High School, many of whom are doing “Sieg Heil” salutes.

It was originally posted to the private Twitter account @GoBaraboo, saying “We even got the black kid to throw it up #Barabooproud.”

Though it has since been deleted, a screenshot was taken and shared on Twitter by user @CarlySidey.

As the image began to spread and was picked up by national commentators, the Baraboo School District issued a statement.

The photo of students posted to #BarabooProud is not reflective of the educational values and beliefs of the School District of Baraboo,” district administrator Lori Mueller tweeted.

“The District will pursue any and all available and appropriate actions, including legal, to address.”

Among those helping to spread the picture is journalist Jules Suzdaltsev, who says after he shared the image he has since received several messages from student who say they have been victims of racism while at Baraboo High School.

Baraboo is a city of just over 12,000 located found near the Wisconsin Dells.

The picture appears to have been taken by photographers, and it is still available to view on the company’s website. Bring Me The News has reached out to them for more information.

Among those responding to the images is the Auschwitz Museum in Poland, which suggested the school use this as a teaching opportunity.

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California Gunman Identified as 28-Year Old Mentally Ill Former Marine

Polipace Staff



The gunman who killed 12 people at a bar holding a student night has been named as former Marine and PTSD-sufferer Ian David Long

The 28-year-old former Marine had several prior contacts with authorities, including during an incident in April when he was reportedly acting erratically. Mental health experts were dispatched at that time but cleared him, investigators say.

Authorities are working on getting a search warrant for his home in Newbury Park. They are also working to determine if he was living with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

On Wednesday night, Long drove his mom’s vehicle to the bar, according to the Los Angeles Times.

He was reportedly hooded and dressed entirely in black.

Authorities say he used a .45-caliber Glock 21 handgun during the bar attack. The weapon was purchased legally despite a background of mental illness. Investigators say it had an extended chamber to hold more rounds.

Long’s body was found inside an office next to the bar entrance.

Hundreds of people ran from the building. Some even broke windows and jumped out to escape the massacre.

Twelve victims, including a sheriff’s deputy, are confirmed dead. The gunman is also dead.

The fallen law enforcement officer, who was killed while trying to stop the shooter, has been identified as Sgt. Ron Helus of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.

As of late Thursday morning, investigators believe the shooting was a random attack.

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Israeli Religious Courts Claim Entire Family Not Jewish Because Woman is “a Slut.”

Polipace Staff



A few weeks ago, we were shocked to read the ruling from a recent divorce case in the Haifa Rabbinic Court, in which a husband’s accusations of his wife’s “sluttiness” prompted the court to investigate and eventually revoke her Jewishness, because “that’s not how nice Jewish girls behave” ergo she must not be Jewish.

Rabbinical court judges (dayanim) Daniel Edri, Ben-Zion Hacohen Rabin and Elad Eli said the woman and her relatives would be unable to marry in a Jewish ceremony and are no longer Jewish.. They also fined her 25,000 shekels ($6,900).

This woman’s family had immigrated to Israel from the former Soviet Union. Like many of our clients from the FSU, they run the risk of their Jewishness being revoked any time they come into contact with the state’s rabbinic establishment in Israel.

This is even after they have undergone several “Jewishness investigations” by the Rabbinate confirming that they are officially Jewish according to Jewish law, like this woman did. These women are never safe.

It prompts women in bad or even abusive marriages to hesitate from seeking a divorce because they must decide: is the risk of losing their own and their children’s Jewish status worth the freedom and safety they would gain by getting divorced?

When Haaretz asked the court if it had the authority to rule on the woman’s Jewishness outside the context of a marriage registration request, it said: “An applicant’s personal status has a direct bearing on the divorce process; thus the Judaism clarification regulations of 2010 require a clarification of Judaism in cases when required as part of a divorce procedure.

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