Chabad and BT Movement again
Date: May 01, 2008 02:13AM
I am really at a loss as to how much of a bad influence Chabad and the Baal Teshuva movement have been on me. It boggles the mind.
Years ago, at the time I got married through that cult, I had recently gone to COPE Institute for training in computer programming. It wasn’t easy finding a job.
My uncle told me about a Bobover Chasid that he knew that had a “headhunting” firm. I called him up and he refused to talk to me. My uncle intervened (he told me that “I didn’t know how to ask for what I want”) and he managed to convince his friend to speak to me.
The headhunter told me that “Once you were worth a lot but now you are [worthless]” I found that hard to take. Also, he was wrong because later on, I worked for AT&T for about 6 years. Basically, these Orthodox Jews don’t seem to think much of me at all.
Around the same time, Shea Hecht sent me to see some friends of his who had a consulting firm to see if they would employ me or encourage me. They tried to discourage me by saying, “You are too tense and wound up, you’ll never find work!”
I went back to Shea and he asked me with a smile on his face, “Well, how did it go?”
Now, I don’t want to construct a conspiracy theory here, but I had the distinct impression that Hecht told them to do this to me. I once heard Shea tell someone, “If he doesn’t burn his bridges behind him, we’ll burn them for him.” So, you be the judge here.
It must have been apparent to Hecht that I was set to leave Chabad and embark on my own destiny. After what happened with my ex-wife, the whole thing really left me with a bad taste on my mouth.
Years ago, at the 8th St. Shul, Rabbi Yitzchak Fried took in homeless people but the situation was very precarious. Rabbi Fried kept putting notices up about how everyone needed to leave the shul and find housing. But the notices also said, “Anyone that needs housing, talk to Rabbi Fried.”
My question is “Talk to Rabbi Friend about what?” He didn’t have a back up plan for anyone that I know of. And I should have known because I was his Assistant Rabbi.
Furthermore, it should be noted that Rabbi Fried used to use his English name (Isaac) at the shul and not his Hebrew name. He knew he had to deal with an assimilated crowd.
I went to see him in Brooklyn at his apartment once and I asked someone if the knew about Rabbi Isaac Fried and the woman said, “”Oh, a rabbi called Isaac!” See what I mean here? As usual, I didn’t know how to relate to someone in the frum community despite all my experiences in the BT movement.
Rabbi Fried used to ask me to talk to his friends all the time and when I spoke to one of them, he seemed to be a very strange person to me. It made me wonder just what the rabbi himself is all about. It seems to me that he lets people see a side of himself that is made for “export” and not for use in the insular neighborhood in which he lives around the Boro Park area. And just what kind of transformation does he want to see out of a BT who becomes frum through him?
Rabbi Fried constantly tried to get me to work as a salesperson on a variety of projects. He told me once, to work on Ebay and make it happen. “You can grow with it…” He wanted me to live in a rent free apartment in Brooklyn and put myself under his care but after what happened a the shul, I wouldn’t dare put myself in his hands totally.
He also told me to tell people that I am a “recent Baal Teshuva.” I told him off. I said that I was a BT about 30 years ago and I am not new to Orthodox Judaism. I also told him not to tell anyone anything like that.
I put the rabbi in charge of his trying to get me into OHEL Children and Family Services for housing and he dropped me on my face. He simply had no follow through.
I told him that I am going to a church and he told me that God was working through His emissaries in the church. But when I told him about my current position of trying to find work through someone in my church who works for a prominent newspaper, he didn’t seem too happy about it.
Well, my church doesn’t have a vermin infestation and although it has problems, it is much better than the 8th St. Shul was. It is my take on it that the shul had some reason for existing years ago, but after a time, we simply lost our grip. I left the 8th St. some 2 years or so before it folded.
You have to realize that when these “outreach workers” try to entice people to have an “authentic Jewish experience. And try “Torah True Judaism” as such they are trying to invalidate every other form of Judaism. Well, we know that most Jews aren’t Orthodox.
And my family is somewhat responsible for my repeated attempts at Orthodoxy. When I went to K’far Chabad in the mid ‘80’s my dad told me to study the Torah and “become a great man…” Can you see how deeply all this in engrained in my family’s minds?
My father sent me to a Conservative Hebrew school. Years later when Hecht got involved, my dad completely put down my scholarship and my practice of being Jewish.
Well, if he didn’t have any respect for the education that he paid for and gave me then why did he spend so much money on inferior merchandise?
Besides, Hecht told me that Chabad didn’t have the truth either. Can you see how complicated and convoluted all of this is?
Furthermore, once a friend of mine tried to get me to quit the Hebrew school and my dad was very upset. I knew he had enough money to send me to a yeshiva and he did send my sister to Hebrew Academy of Suffolk County after he found out about my involvement in the Ben Yishai cult.
Some years ago, I had an email printed in a NJ Jewish newspaper and I lamented that some Orthodox groups think that non-Orthodox Jews aren’t really Jewish at all. A woman responded and told met, “…we even do outreach to people like you...” I told the newspaper in an email that never was printed that I didn’t want their “outreach efforts.”
I know some people who have been BTs for years and even some associated with Chabad but they are in the minority. It’s like recharging a battery, it never has the same pop as a fresh one.