Saturday, August 10, 2019

Chabad - Smoke and Fire

Chabad is 100% against unethical business. So if something "funny" is going on, it needs to be stopped. Tzvi Freedman writes at Chabad.org:
"Just like we wash out or wipe clean our kiddush cup before pouring in the wine on Friday night, so, too, we need to make sure our business is clean of any abuse of our fellow man and his property in order to receive G‑d's blessings in full."
There is a story out of Seattle about a rabbi who ran the Chabad there. He was texting different women inappropriately. After a huge outcry he has resigned “as rabbi not clear if he resigned as director.”

The person in question is Rabbi Zalman Heber. His boss is Rabbi Sholom Ber Levitin. Levitin, somehow, is still in charge despite being arrested and convicted for money laundering for a Colombian drug cartel, 30 years ago.

This news report, still live on YouTube, provides a summary. Levitin protested that he was innocent. At Failed Messiah, Shmarya Rosenberg wrote (in the comments, 5/23/11):
"Levitin was caught *red handed• money laundering for a drug cartel.
He was N-O-T taking "donations."
The feds had wiretaps of him making the deals in which he states what percentage of the money he will keep for himself."
Here is an article that discusses the Levitin case (the original is no longer online so the link is to the blog that reposted it):
"According to court documents, members of the conspiracy in New Jersey regularly sent cash to Seattle, where it was converted to cashier's checks by taking it to several banks and presenting it in amounts that didn't require federal currency reporting. Under federal law, bank transactions of $10,000 or more must be reported to the government....a 'common technique used by money launderers'...illegal under recent amendments added to federal money laundering statutes." 
No matter how kind and spiritual someone is, how is he still employed after being arrested and serving a sentence for even minimal involvement in international drug trafficking?

In the government when they do a security clearance they look for ways you could be blackmailed. Did anyone think that leaving Levitin in charge after his conviction could subject the entire Seattle Jewish community to blackmail?

Unfortunately, it is all too easy for religious organizations to evade responsibility by saying:

  • "We aren't about that. That is just one criminal."
  • “Those decisions are handled locally not centrally.” 
  • "That happened a long time ago and one thing has nothing to do with the other.” 
  • "You have an ax to grind.” 
  • "But he has a wife and children where’s your mercy?” 
They say "aveirah gorreres aveirah" - one sin brings another - where there is sexual abuse there are other kinds of abuses too. Failed Messiah notes of the video news report regarding Levitin:
"I'm told that the rabbi standing next to Levitin, Rabbi Moses Londinski was later run of the Seattle Jewish community after multiple sexual allegations about him surfaced. Londinski, who was at the time one of the most important Orthodox rabbis on the West Coast, was accused of propositioning many female members of his congregation."
Here are some links to articles about Chabad and drug trafficking, something which should be investigated further.

Below is a reprint of a portion of a website that asks the important question: "Where do they get all the money?" (Copyright permission for lengthy quotes and reprinting is granted on the site.)
"Chabad has a network of thousands of schools all over the world. These schools provide free tuition to most of it's students....Where do they get all the money? 
"In addition to their free schools, Chabad has thousands of Chabad houses all over the world....most of these Chabad houses are located in remote places where there are no Jews, such as rural parts of South East Asia and South America. According to Chabad, the purpose of these Chabad houses is to provide Kosher food and free housing to Jewish travelers if they go to those places. But once again, where do they get all the money for all these Chabad houses? And why would anyone want to build a free Kosher restaurant, that also provides free housing to the occasional Jewish traveler, in a remote place where there are no Jews? 
"Chabad houses have been strategically located in areas where there is a high volume of illegal drugs (sic) activity. Take for example the city of Tijuana in Mexico, a city where there are no Jews. The Chabad house in Tijuana is the oldest Chabad house in Mexico, and Tijuana is the most important city for drug traffickers moving their drugs from Mexico to the USA. Chabad houses also provide money laundering services to drug dealers and other criminals." 
"Nobody wants to mess with drug dealers, so no specific details will be provided on this page. Law enforcement officials are already well aware of this situation. The only information provided on this page is information that has already been published in the past in the mass media."
What is troubling about Chabad is precisely the amount of outreach, education, and social services they provide to Jews seeking religious support, while at the same time there are so many years of reported links to drug traffickers.

One has to ask the question - which is the chicken and which is the egg? Or is it impossible to extricate the one from the other?

This "weaponizing" of community assistance is the same tactic used by the radical Islamic terrorist group Hamas.

It is disturbing to think that Chabad "trafficks" young couples to remote areas, unprotected. Also in 2019, one such couple was attacked in Kenya, and we do not know what exactly happened here, but news stories only say that the wife had to go to the hospital.

I am very disturbed by these stories and by the unanswered questions behind them.
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By Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal. All opinions are the author's own. Public domain. Here is a link to the archive of the Failed Messiah article about Levitin.