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JAHG - USA
JEWS AND HASIDIC GENTILES — UNITED TO SAVE AMERICA
PMB 519, 7108 Katella Ave., Stanton, CA 90680
|November 23, 2001||CONTACT: Boruch Ellison|
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ORTHODOX RABBIS, STUDENTS, CLASH OVER ANTI-CHRISTMAS CAMPAIGN
Hasidic Jewish activists have in recent years contended that pro-Communist agents are infiltrating Jewish communities, using their growing influence to wreak havoc with educational and outreach efforts. Such charges have tended to do little more than raise eyebrows, however, in the normally staid, religious atmosphere of an orthodox world that prides itself in its image of warmth and hospitality.
Now that image is being unexpectedly shattered by a contentious fight breaking out in the Los Angeles area. Two Jewish students are facing angry threats, and even possible homelessness, through behind-the-scenes retaliation.
At issue are fliers being distributed by the students, Shmuel Gelfand and Aaron Frimer. The one being handed out to non-Jews, entitled "How Did Pagan Customs Mix into Christmas and Easter?," explains how these holidays violate G-d's Law. The other flier, "Campaign to abolish X-mas celebration by gentiles," is being delivered to orthodox Jews to explain their obligations, under G-d's Law, to teach the truth to the outside world.
"Ordinarily, such materials have been met with mild interest in the Jewish community and with strong interest by gentiles," says Gelfand, who has attended yeshivas (seminaries) in New York and New Jersey. "But now that our campaign is growing, the infiltrators and their collaborators are suddenly going crazy to try to stop it."
Gelfand and Frimer have previously distributed these or similar materials in New York and Oregon, as well as other parts of the Los Angeles area. Periodically, they had encountered short-lived attempts to discourage their efforts.
But this time, a fierce counter-campaign of intimidation is frightening and polarizing some rabbis and other community members against the students. Responding to the pressure, Rabbi Boruch S. Cunin, administrative head of the California Chabad-Lubavitch organization, and Rabbi Ezra Schochet, head of Yeshiva Ohr Elchonon Chabad, have left panicky, screaming messages on the students' voice mail, ordering them to stop distributing fliers immediately. A frightened Rabbi Shimon Raichik, head of the Chabad of Hancock Park synagogue, has likewise lashed out, tearing down the posted fliers and threatening to block the students from praying at his synagogue. Other individuals, refusing to identify themselves, have made insulting or discouraging phone calls.
Neither Gelfand nor Frimer is affiliated with any of these organizations, forcing the opposition to become more aggressive. The students' landlords, a rabbi and his wife, have received unspecified threats against their jobs and status within the Jewish community, prompting them to give the students an eviction notice. Another rabbi, who was at first supportive of the flier campaign and who offered to rent the students a new room, is now reversing himself after coming under similar pressure. Thus the students could soon become homeless, while they are anticipating possible threats against their employers as well.
"Pro-Communist spies in our midst, posing as religious Jews, are resorting to any kind of psychological pressure, apparently including even bribery and blackmail, to keep gentiles from learning the truth about Christmas and other improper holidays," says Frimer, an alumnus of yeshivas in Israel and New York. "But no one disputes the accuracy of the information in our fliers. They all know it's true, and we certainly will not back down."
Funds are being collected to help the students personally, especially in case of eviction or unemployment, and for the printing of fliers. Donations (not tax-deductible, in order to maintain our independent ability to speak openly) should be made out to "JAHG-USA" and ear-marked specifically for the students.
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