Jun 27, 2013

For those who leave the Hasidic world, new life starts slowly

Rock Center
Alissa Figueroa
June 21, 2013

In the heart of New York City, a deeply religious community has created its own secluded island, where Yiddish is the primary language, men wear towering black hats and long robes even on the most sweltering summer day, and mothers lead broods of eight or 10 children.

They are Hasidic Jews - the descendants of a small group of ardent followers whose Eastern European villages were all but decimated during the Holocaust. For the better part of the last century they've been building their own communities in Brooklyn, maintaining the dress, language and traditions of their ancestors.

There’s an estimated 300,000 people living in various Hasidic communities in New York City, and they're poised to become the largest Jewish denomination in the city in the next two decades.

"There's a conviction that their way of life is special, unique, authentic," says Samuel Heilman, professor of Anthropology at Queens College. "It's a belief that what comes from the past is superior to what is in the present."

Much of the secular world is off-limits, including television, non-religious books and most websites.

Instead, religious study is emphasized, as is devotion to God and family. Most Hasids are wedded in arranged marriages while in their teens or early 20s. In a few years, they’re expected to be on their way to building a large family.

Avraham Berkowitz is a rabbi in the Lubavitcher Hasidic community. He says that this focus on family and religion is worth preserving.

“The modesty in the dress, the language in the house, standing up for parents, not interrupting when adults are speaking. That kind of protected lifestyle, that is what we have today,” says Berkowitz.

“You have to be able to pick and choose what to bring in and what to keep out that's negative.”


But that seemingly simple life, while comforting and fulfilling for some, can feel oppressive for others.

“Most of the individuals that are coming to us, what we're seeing is they just want to learn. They want to study physics. And they want to study how atoms work. And they want to study math.” says Lani Santo, executive director of Footsteps, the only organization in New York that helps people leave Hasidic communities.

Sam Katz is a Footsteps member. A yearning for knowledge drew him away from the Hasidic neighborhood in Brooklyn where he was raised and into Manhattan. He describes sneaking into the Museum of Natural History, where the dinosaur skeletons caught his imagination like nothing in his religious books.

“There was something so connected about standing next to a dinosaur, something so-- universally harmonious-- for lack of a better word,” says Katz. “It was just a feeling of this fantasy world.”

Katz’s secular education stopped when he reached middle school, when he, like other Hasidic boys, began focusing exclusively on religious study. Yet, he’s managed to earn a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, and is headed to Berlin in the fall on a Fulbright scholarship.

Hindy Sabel, who also left her Hasidic upbringing with the help of Footsteps, says she started questioning the Hasidic way of life as a child. She wanted to ride bikes around the neighborhood, says Sabel, like the boys could. And she wasn’t ready to get married before finishing college.

“I couldn’t be a leader in that community and I wanted to do something with my life,” says Sabel. That’s when she came to Footsteps with an older sister. Today, she’s working full time and studying for an MBA at New York University.

But picking up and leaving behind everything they’ve ever known isn’t easy. The process can take years of catching up.

“Footsteps members are very much like immigrants,” explains Santo. “But they're immigrants to a country that they're citizens in.”


For Judy Braun, 31, getting out was particularly difficult.

Braun grew up strictly Hasidic in Borough Park, Brooklyn, and recalls a happy childhood filled with summer camping trips in the Catskills.

But when she was 12, Braun says she had a terrifying experience that would haunt her the rest of her life – she found her friend trying to hang herself in the bathroom, and learned she’d been sexually abused.

Braun says the adults she told about the attempted suicide turned a deaf ear. She says she saw firsthand how the community refused to acknowledge that one of its own could abuse a child.

“Our rules and our laws will keep us pure, will keep these things from happening. Coming to terms with the fact that they will happen regardless undermines the entire idea of the truth,” says Braun. “If our way of life doesn't prevent our men from turning into beasts, then what's the point of our way of life?”

Feeling trapped by tradition, Braun ultimately got married and had children. But in her mid-twenties, she started secretly writing about what she saw as a child.

That fictionalized account of her ordeal, "Hush," was published anonymously in 2010. While some supported her efforts, when her real name leaked out as the author, she said threats started coming in. She received a copy of her book covered in fake blood, her car windows were smashed, and threatening messages were left on her phone.

“When you're an author of a book and you publicly shame the community, there is a full-out campaign against you at every level,” says Braun.

Rabbi Avraham Berkowitz says people are now acknowledging sexual abuse is happening.

“These type of crimes have to be eradicated,” He says. He insists, though, that the community can handle the problem internally. “We have to do it within the way the community knows how to solve its problems. Cause sometimes when you come banging with drums from the outside, the community becomes more insular.”

In the last two years, Braun has come out publicly as the author of "Hush" and started speaking out against abuse in the community. She recently divorced her husband and moved her children outside the boundaries of her old Hasidic neighborhood.

“It gives you more psychological safety,” says Braun. “Even though it's not that far a drive, but you’re in a different place.”

Mormon Sect Hometowns Fail to Kick Bias Suit

Courthouse News Service
Tim Hull
June 19, 2013

   (CN) - The government's fair-housing claims against two rural towns on the Arizona-Utah border dominated by a polygamist sect are not untimely, a federal judge ruled.
     Last summer, the Justice Department sued Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah, as well as Twin City Water Authority and Twin City Power, alleging religious discrimination in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
     The twin towns are populated largely by members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a polygamy-practicing breakaway sect. The church's United Effort Plan (UEP) owns most of the property in the communities.
     "The cities' public officials, the Colorado City/Hildale Marshal's Office, and utility entities have acted in concert with FLDS leadership to deny non-FLDS individuals housing, police protection, and access to public space and services," the complaint states. "Furthermore, the defendants have denied non-FLDS members access to housing in the cities, and they have coerced, intimidated, threatened, and interfered with the housing rights of non-FLDS members. The Marshal's Office has inappropriately used its state-granted law enforcement authority to enforce the edicts of the FLDS, to the detriment of non-FLDS members. In addition, the cities' officials have misdirected and misused public resources in the service of the FLDS."
     In an attempt to dismiss the fair-housing claims, the defendants argued that the government missed the three-year statute of limitations.
     U.S. District Judge Russel Holland concluded, however, that the defense had misinterpreted the statute of limitations to think it began "when the alleged victims were discriminated against."
     In fact, it begins to run when "plaintiff had reasonable cause to believe that defendants were engaged in a pattern and practice of housing discrimination," according to the ruling.
     Since that date is still unknown at this stage in the case, the "defendants are not precluded from raising a statute of limitations defense at a later date should they discover that plaintiff was aware of the alleged pattern and practice of housing discrimination outside of the applicable statute of limitations periods," Holland added. 

House of Judah: How a local FBI agent, federal prosecutors pushed the prophet behind bars

John Agar
ALLEGAN COUNTY, MI – After self-professed prophet William A. Lewis escaped conviction in the 1983 beating death of a child at his House of Judah compound in rural Allegan County, FBI agent Gene Debbaudt sought out a federal civil-rights prosecutor to go after the cult leader and his lieutenants.
Call it a cowboy streak, or a quest for justice. Debbaudt showed up in Ann Arbor, where the prosecutor, Susan King, was trying an unrelated case.
“He said, ‘You have to do something about this case,’” King recalled.
“It was not at the time typical for an FBI agent to do that in a slavery case. This one was definitely different from the rest. Legally complicated, with the religious overtones, and by the facts the victims were in the custody of their parents.”
It required King to mount a precedent-setting case - one that showed you could enslave a child, even if they were still in the custody of their parents.
King, along with Daniel Bell, successfully tried Lewis and others on slavery charges, centered on the July 4, 1983, killing of John Yarbough, 12.
Defense attorneys said the government brought federal charges against Lewis and his followers only because state charges didn’t stick.
Prosecutors said Lewis created a “climate of fear,” with followers brutally beaten for supposed transgressions. In Yarbough’s case, he was watching TV instead of cleaning out the trailer of a former tenant. The young boy was beaten to death, his body thrown in a pickup and taken to a local hospital.
In the early aftermath of John's death, three House of Judah member were convicted in state court. Ethel Yarbough, the boy’s mother, was sentenced to four to 15 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter. Two others were sentenced to one year in jail after pleading guilty to child cruelty.
But it was the federal case that carved the legal milestone: Lewis and six members of the cult were found guilty of enslaving children.
The sentences, however, were light, ranging from one to three years. Lewis received three years.
Former U.S. Attorney John Smietanka, now a private attorney, said the House of Judah differed from a Nazi concentration camp in Poland only in its scale.
“This is Auschwitz in Allegan,” he said. “John Yarbough’s death was a very, very, very brutal, torturous death.”

Jun 26, 2013

How Well Do You Know Your Moon

The UC in Brazil

Note: Excuse poor the broken English and poor grammar.
This letter, "16 years of abandon and decline from 1995 to 2009", was sent out to all the Brazilian Unification Church members:
We are living a moment very estrange in our church. The cupola’s leadership (Mr. Iremar; Mr. and Mrs. Baldini; Mr. and Mrs. Cipriani) united to protect Mr. Heung Tae Kim, and simultaneously to protect they themselves (they became too rich), although they have been elder members and perfectly know where the truth and the divine justice is. It is like if the cupola had gathered together to over-defender, alleging that we are living at the true love age. Therefore, all the sins were forgiven and all of us must just love one another. Just to forge and love. This argument is valid when it is living within love and the divine truth. However when it is used to cover a sin, the argument is not valid, because at lie there is neither truth nor justice. Then, there is not true love where there is not the truth and the divine justice. The true love is born exactly from the union of true love with the truth. And if there is love, there is true, and if there is truth, there is neither lie nor injustice. 

In Brazil there is a lot of lie and injustice involving the central leadership. That is why the continental leader needs to know the truth in order not to be disrespected and deceived as well. If the love, truth and divine injustice would have acted in Brazil , certainly the providence in Brazil would not be so destructed and stagnated as it is at present day. All of us know that where there is God’s hand, there, there is development and progress. If someone says that the actual situation of the Providence of Brazil is the fruit of the presence and God’s work, this one is surely accusing God to be a failed ragged One. The tragic situation of Brazil at present day is the result of the negligence and incompetence from some leaders. Then, how can God bless Brazil if its actual leadership thinks that it can even deceive God? Beautiful and true words everybody can proffer at the Temple , or even in the prison. A dishonest liar can even sit to the table with True Parents and to make pictures, but this does not make him a perfect saint nor open to him/her the Kingdom of Heaven ’s doors. The important is not just proffering the True Parents`words, but to live them, living and sacrificing for others, and not living a rich life and centered in the personal ambitions, those that True Children have condemned all over the world. The Unification Church ’s leaders are religious missionaries are religious missionaries, and not millionaire producers. All the members have intelligence and knowledge from the Principle. And they know that the tragic situation of the Providence that Brazil is facing at present cannot be a result of the presence and work from God and Heaven. If the disasters that have been committed in Brazil are attributed to God and Heaven, then, this will be one of the worst and the most serious accusations thrown up against God and the spirit world. Here are the “victories” from Mr. Heung Tae Kim and his supporters in Brazil : 

1) Mr. Heung Tae Kim is in Brazil for 16 years in Brazil . Since he came here in 2005 and the national providence started to be abandoned and to decline. 

2) He has never interested to live in Brazil (his mission camp). He lives in Korea . 

3) He acts as a visitor. He visits Brazil four times a year (spends more than US $30,000 dollars from the Church with these international trips. Why too much travel? 

4) He does not speak Portuguese and has never interested to learn the language of Brazil (his mission camp). All the missionaries from the other religious live in the country of their missions and got to learn the native language from. 

5) Mr. Heung Tae Kim abandoned the FFWPU from Brazil. In ten states (from 27) of Brazil has not even one state leader. And their missions are almost paralyzed. Except visits, the national headquarter almost does nothing to help the development of the Church in Brazil . They do not seem any preoccupation. 

6) The 80 missions (including the 33 from the State of `Mato Grosso´) are stagnated and abandoned. 

7) Mr. Heung Tae Kim comes 3 or 4 times to Brazil , however he has just come to Brazil to take his monthly income that is about U$15,000 dollars a month. He sums everything and takes it to Korea . 

8) The Garden Project (Jardim Project) has already lost 7 farms. And any projects started by their leaders Mr. Yoon Sang Kim, Mr. Cesar Zaduski and Mr. Joao Urias de Souza (they also became too rich) made any resulted. The justice of Brazil ordered the demolishing of four buildings from the New Hope Farm (Fazenda Nova Esperança) 

9) From the ´Jardim` Project all the lands already were seized to pay fines. However that was not enough yet. The fines have already exceed the value of the lands, 

10) In order to guarantee the payment of the fines from `Jardim´ - The justice seized the house from ´Bom Pastor`, the first official residence from True Parents in Brazil . 

11) The justice seized the National Headquarter from ´Cardeal Arcoverde` Street at 928, the second official residence from True Parents in Brazil in order to guaranty the payment of the fines from Jardim`. The National Headquarter is already 66% rented, including the Sacred Temple (the national headquarter is living from the rental of the proper building). 

12) Under the present leadership the ´Jardim` Project was destructed. Mr. Heung Tae Kim was the national messiah of Brazil , and was due to his omission (in defense of his personal interests) that the ´Jardim` Project was destroyed. Mr. Heung Tae Kim and Mr. Yoon Sang Kim had a used to protected themselves mutually. Any of the two talked the truth for the True Father. When True the Father knew the truth through Reverend Peter Kim, he called Hyun Jin Nim and put him in charge to solve the problems of ´Jardim`. Hyun Jin Nim came, but his plans were sabotaged by Mr. Heung Tae Kim and his supporters. They have deceived the assessors from Hyun Jim and these indicated them to compose the Counsel from the FFUWP created by Hyun Jin Nim. Thus, they got to keep Mr. Heung Kim at the power, and to maintain them themselves, as prize, Mr. Heung Tae Kim appointed them as supreme priests and planed a tour to Athletic Soccer Team to Korea in order to please the True Parents and to strengthen before the blessed families and the Brazilian leaders that know all the truth. Naturally, they also are trying to deceive Reverend Dong Mo Shing, the new continental leader in order to keep him away /distant from Brazil , like they did with the former continental leader Rev. Cho. There was a kind of pact between the Koreans (Rev. Cho, Rev. Heung Tae Kim ant the President Yoon Sang Kim). One used to protect another omitting the failures one from another. Indeed, they have never protected the `Jardim´ Project. Mr. Heung Tae Kim did not fight for the `Jardim´ Project nor for the Providence of Brazil. Under his responsibly all the providence of Brazil stagnated and declined. And everybody can see this. 

13) Mr. Heung Tae Kim and some Brazilian leaders became too rich, but the FFUWP got poor. Since Mr. Heung Tae Kim came to Brazil , more than 10 companies bankrupted, and he has never ever opened company in Brazil . Why? That is because he has not any interested for the future and the central blessed families of Brazil . 

14) The building of 6 floors from `Galvão Bueno´ Street is registered in Mr. Kyu Tae Kim’s name, he is Reverend Hyung Tae Kim’s brother, the former Korean leader who was dismissed from his Brazilian mission for deceiving Brazil and the True Parents. 

15) The Sorocaba Athletic Soccer Team was demoted in 1994. Therefore, it is 6 years and spent about R$2.000, 00 (two millions from Brazilian money per year). In six years of degradation, it already gave a loss about R$12.000.000, (twelve millions) enough money to open at least 20 companies of medium port to give jobs and professionalized all the second generation’s youth from True Parents. Many second generation’s youth are looking for jobs from the satanic world, and consequently they are over-destroying. Mr. Heung Tae Kim and your supporters do not seem preoccupied with this tragedy else. Although this tragedy, there is such a boldness in the air, because Mr. Heung Tae Kim and the leadership that supports him (Mr. Iremar, Mr. and Mrs. Baldini, Mr. and Mrs. Cipriani, Yoon Sang Kim, Mr. Cesar Zaduski and Mr. Joao Urias, at the Garden Project) pretends to ignore the real situation of the providence in Brazil and pretends to believe that we are growing up (and they say that at the Temple and at the Internet), while the majority of the members pretend to believe what they say, although everybody knows the reality. We are like the Catholics: the priests pretend to teach and the faithful members pretend to learn. In fact, the sadness is general. We are not crowing! We are a shame for God and True Parents! We are a Church with 44 years old of history in Brazil , and we are a shame in terms of order and progress. We have the most important God’s message to delivery to the Brazilians, but our department of communication is a shameful, unworthy of the True Parents and the King of the Kings. I personally have already built the department of communication for 6 times and also for 6 times it was dismounted by the order from the presidents of each epoch. Why? Who closed down the department of communication 6 times? Was God? For all this, my sibling, if you say that the situation of the Providence of Brazil is fruit of the presence and the work of God, then, you are accusing God to be a looser, because the providence of Brazil is been used as a mine of golden for some ´smart` leaders. Even the plans of Hyun Jin Nim, beginning in April 2008, Brazil , were sabotaged by Heung Tae Kim with the support from his Brazilian supporters (married with Korean sisters). 

For the blessed families of Brazil – You are a central blessed family that must obey to the True Children, (the Fourth Adam) and to assume your responsibility for the liberations of Brazil , stagnation, decline and deceiving. You are Brazilian therefore that is your responsibility to help Brazil . Heung Jin Nim confirmed that the Brazilians are the ones who must save Brazil . Have you never read these words? 

The Providence in Brazil is stagnating and in decline. It does not have even strength to print the Divine Principle’s book. For 8 years we do not have even an exemplar of the Divine Principle in Portuguese, although we have millions of dollars saved at the accounts to the Athletic Soccer Team, a printer house and a proper publishing house. And, what about the Cheong Seong Geyon, where is it? Where are the books? They are essential for the education of Brazil , and Brazil is the third nation more important of the divine providence um this century! 

The True Parents lived centered in Brazil of 1994`s to 2000`s. There were 7 years of love and hope! What is happening in Brazil ? Do you really believe that all this tragedy in Brazil is fruit of the presence and God’s work? You may even pretend like a jester to be persecuted, but you will not be able to escape from your responsibility nor of the divine justice. “The Heavens will not wait anymore. This is the age of Celestial Law.” 

That is you, Brazilian blessed family who has the mission and the responsibility to free Brazil with the support from True Children and his assessors in the midst the Reverend Doon Moo Shing. That is why the Reverend Dong Mo Shing needs to be informed of everything that what is happening in Brazil for 16 years. Not only God; neither the True Parents nor the True Children. You must not thread the head in a cavity waiting to dispel your responsibility. You must make fulfill what you read 8 times daily at the Family Pledge: “Our family, as the owner of Cheon IL Guk, pledge…” The True Children already gave authority for the blessed families to choose his/her local leaders. And all of you already know this, don’t you? If you do not know is because the information is been concealed. Try to get to know immediately Hyun Jin Nim`s words, the International president from the FFUWP (his speeches are in the Internet). There may everybody know that at the indemnity age there was time to accumulate mistakes and sins. However, at the age of Celestial Law there will not have time to accumulate any sin anymore. Everything will have to be clean almost immediately. This is really a temerous time. May the love and light from True Parents protect to all of us. And may God protect us. 

In True Parents Name,

Mr. Leornes Ferreira da Silva

Jun 2, 2013

Transcendental Meditation: Fraud, Philandering &; Fascism in the TM Movement

Transcendental Meditation: Fraud, Philandering & Fascism in the TM Movement William H. Kennedy

Flag of TM's Global Country of World Peace
Flag of TM’s Global Country of World Peace
WHO WOULD have thought to link the “flower power” image of Transcendental Meditation with an organization devoted to establishing a one-world government?
Writer, speaker, and documentarian William H. Kennedy, host of Sphinx Radio and author of Lucifer’s Lodge: Satanic Ritual Abuse in the Catholic Church, joins us to discuss his new article, “Transcendental Meditation: Fraud, Philandering & Fascism in the TM Movement“.  He outlines the career of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and how the TM movement started as a Hindu cult and morphed into an international movement that seeks to create a global kingdom — a movement supported by a diverse array of celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Clint Eastwood, pop singer Katy Perry, rap pioneer Russell Simmons, and director David Lynch (Twin PeaksElephant ManMulholland Drive, and other notable films), subject of the critical documentary David Wants to Fly.Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
Click here to go to the website of the International Center for Invincible Defense, a product of the TM movement.  It’s led by Dr. John Hagelin, quantum physicist and three-time Natural Law Party candidate for president, who promotes the Maharishi’s “scientifically proven Unified Field-Based Approach to Defense to bring invincibility to every nation and perpetual peace to the world.”  (Click here for a video of the chaos that erupted when TM’s Raja of Germany declared his intention to make Deutschland invincible!)
Sharon and Derek Gilbert will be at the sold-out Pikes Peak Prophecy Summit July 26-28, 2013 with Gary Stearman, Tom Horn, Chuck Missler, L.A. Marzulli, Joseph Farah, Dr. Stan Monteith, Cris Putnam, and many more. Get information here.
Please join the discussion at the PID Radio Cafe, visit the VFTB Facebook page and check out the great Christian podcasters at theRevelations Radio Network.
By request: Download a smaller, lower-fidelity version of the mp3 of this show by clicking here.

Jun 1, 2013

How Reliable is Your Memory?

June 2013 at TEDGlobal 2013
Psychologist Elizabeth Loftus studies memories. More precisely, she studies false memories, when people either remember things that didn't happen or remember them differently from the way they really were. It's more common than you might think, and Loftus shares some startling stories and statistics -- and raises some important ethical questions.
This talk was presented at an official TED conference, and was featured by our editors on the TED home page.