The former dean of a Brooklyn-based yeshiva the government charges was fictitious and stole millions in federal subsidies testified in federal court Tuesday that he helped fake documents to obtain state accreditation in order to receive grants from the state and U.S. Department of Education.
Abraham Berkowitz was testifying in the trial of four chasidic men — three from the upstate village of New Square and one from Brooklyn — charged with stealing millions of dollars from federal and state benefit programs during a decades-old conspiracy.
The Reform movement is embroiled in an emotional national debate on the future of its belief system.
At issue is a controversial draft document titled the “Ten Principles of Reform Judaism” that seeks to set guidelines for how North America’s 1.2 million Reform Jews should practice their faith in the 21st century.
Rather than fostering unity, the platform, authored by the leader of the movement’s rabbinic arm, has provoked a firestorm of criticism from Reform lay leaders, academics and rabbis nationwide.
In response to sharp criticism by some right-wing Orthodox rabbis who charged that the Wye accords violate Jewish law, a group of Modern Orthodox rabbis this week issued a counter statement saying that last month’s deal between Israel and the Palestinians is indeed religiously legal.
The group, Shvil Hazahav, gathered the signatures of 28 Modern Orthodox rabbis to support an unequivocal statement asserting that the Wye deal does not violate Jewish law, or halacha.
The Lubavitcher rebbe is alive. And while some panic at anyone talking like that, the fact is that since the rebbe’s 1994 death, more than 400 Lubavitcher couples have gone out into the world as his emissaries, establishing 370 centers on every continent, in every time zone.Including emissaries — shluchim, as they’re called — who had gone out before his death, the rebbe lives on in 3,500 of his best and his brightest. They operate with an international budget of $400 million.
Another suit was readied this week in behalf of former Nazi slave laborers living in Israel even as some Jewish leaders expressed concern with the proliferation of Holocaust-related litigation. “It’s becoming a cottage industry,” said Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League.
“This whole issue of restitution and reparation deals with a question of providing justice to the memory of those who are no longer here, and justice to history and individuals,” he said.