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Christian Fellowship Donates $86k to Chabad in France

In the wake of the deadly ISIS terrorist attacks in Paris, The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews’ President Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein today said his organization is expanding emergency security aid to French-Jewish communal institutions. The Fellowship at the same time said it will help any French Jew who wishes to immigrate to Israel.

“Amid the horrific terror attacks in Paris, it is critical that we help better protect French-Jewish communal institutions, which have been targets in the past,” said Eckstein. “At the same time, we are extending our immediate support to any French Jew who wishes to leave France and make aliyah (immigrate) to Israel.”

The Fellowship is providing immediate emergency aid of more than $86,000 to 25 synagogues and schools run by the Chabad Lubavitch movement across France, including in Paris and Toulouse, to beef up security by adding security guards and more sophisticated security systems. The Fellowship is also considering other steps to help improve security for the entire French-Jewish community.

The aid is the latest of more than $1 million in security support that the Fellowship began providing to Chabad institutions worldwide after the terror attacks in Mumbai against Chabad and others. The Fellowship has helped enhance security measures at 21 Chabad synagogues and other institutions including in Argentina, Brazil, China, Cypress, Croatia, Denmark, Germany, Nepal, Spain and Thailand, in addition to in India and France.

Rabbi Mendel Azimov, the director of Chabad of Paris, said: “The last few days, have been living hell for the citizens of France, and especially for the Jews of Paris. Naturally we feel like sitting ducks, very aware that our community centers, synagogues and educational institutions are in realistic danger at all times. Rabbi Eckstein was the first to approach us, seeking to immediately solve any security issues we may have.

“We do not have words sufficiently strong to express our gratitude. The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews and its donors are saving lives, protecting the principals of freedom and fighting the terrorists with both love and courage.”

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#1 Comment By K On November 16, 2015 @ 2:56 pm

Interesting (and shocking) that Chabad rabbonim allow accepting this money, neged the overwhelming opinion of today’s poskim that strictly prohibit it.

(I assume – being dan l’kaf zchus – that da’as Torah was asked by Chabad rabbonim and followed)..

In 2009 Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, one of the top Torah authorities in the hareidi-religious world, had issued a ruling that says that the public may not take money from the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (Keren HaYedidut) headed by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein.

Groups that take money from the fund are flouting the Torah’s prohibition of idolatry, Rabbi Elyashiv said, and they even aid future missionary activities and grant them legitimacy. “We regret to say that we have learned that several institutions, organizations and charity groups have made mistakes of this nature,” he added.

Taking money from this fund is an “unclean” act, the elderly rabbi said. Other rabbis who made
similar decisions include R. Samuel Auerbach, R Nissim Kerlitz, R. Ovadia Yosef, R. Mordechai Eliyahu and others.

#2 Comment By Milhouse On November 17, 2015 @ 12:15 pm

R Ovadia Yosef and R Mordechai Eliyahu permitted taking R Eckstein’s money. So do R Shmuel Eliyau and R Nochum Rabinovitch. As for R Elyoshiv, as usual nobody knows what he really thought about it, and all reports that he held one way or another are suspect. (The haskomos were on Wikimedia, until some pubnlic spirited wikipedian had them deleted on copyright grounds, ha ha ha, isn’t that funny. It shows the dishonesty of the anti-Eckstein campaign.)

#3 Comment By K On November 22, 2015 @ 11:43 am

Oh, so Chabad follows Rav Ovadia Yossef psokim – when it suits them?

But that is besides the point.

The main issue:

These so called psokim from R Ovadia Yosef and R Mordechai Eliyahu are UNDOCUMENTED and DENIED by these rabbonim. (That is the real reason they were deleted from Wikimedia – it was false information!!)

NO ONE actually gave any hetter to accept this money!

#4 Comment By K On November 16, 2015 @ 3:12 pm

Apparently the Chabad Bais Din of Israel also ruled that it is forbidden to accept funds from this Christian-Jewish Organization:

“the Chabad Beis Din in Sivan issued a ruling prohibiting Chabad Houses from accepting any funds from Rabbi Eckstein and his organization.”

See more at: http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/israel-news/39113/funding-for-kollel-chabad-cause-for-controversy.html#sthash.ZT0maAs0.dpuf

Which raises the question: What is going on here?

#5 Comment By Milhouse On November 16, 2015 @ 7:07 pm

R Azimov and Chabad in France are not subject to the jurisdiction of a besi din in Eretz Yisroel, and are entitled to make up their own mind on the matter. They are certainly not under the jurisdiction of R Elyoshiv, or any of the other people you mentioned, and have no need to take their opinions into account.

The fact is that there is no halachic problem with accepting this money, and therefore no reason not to. All the so-called psokim against accepting the money were made out of ignorance and paranoia. I’ll bet you that not a single one of these so-called rabbonim and botei din examined any evidence, or even bothered asking R Eckstein any questions, so their condemnation of him was against the Torah, and they owe him an apology.

Meanwhile Tzidkas Rabbi Meir Baal Haneis Colel Chabad, the oldest tzedokoh fund in Eretz Yisroel, founded by the Alter Rebbe and directed by people appointed by our Rebbe, has a long-standing policy of accepting R Eckstein’s donations, and have even honored him at their dinner. I assume that they began accepting his donations during the Rebbe’s life, and therefore with his approval. If someone has evidence otherwise, let him say so. Otherwise, that would seem to be the final word; if the Rebbe approved it then it doesn’t matter who forbade it.

#6 Comment By K On November 16, 2015 @ 11:46 pm

Milhouse, Let me go over what you just said:

You assume (they accepted this tainted money during Rebbe ZT”L’s life), and based on this assumption you conclude that it was with the Rebbe’s approval (to do something neged poskei hador), and therefore psak halacha does not matter.

That makes perfect logical sense to…you?

#7 Comment By K On November 16, 2015 @ 11:59 pm

Is Halacha subject to limits of jurisdiction? If a posek in Eretz Yisroel says that you can’t use a light switch on shabbos, can someone in Antartica say that that psak does not apply to me, since I am in another jurisdiction???

Assuming, just to humor you, that this is corrct, and France has another Torah than Eretz Yisroel, did Rabbonei France give a hetter or was this a selfie hetter?

Is there even a Vaad of Rabbonei Chabad for Frae??? I know there is a Vaad of Rabbonim for Europe which includes Chabad – were they asked?

Or is this Ish Kol Hayosher B’einov Ya’aseh since each is an Olom Maleh – a jurisdiction of his own!

#8 Comment By Milhouse On November 17, 2015 @ 11:26 am

Yes, if they accepted R Eckstein’s donations during the Rebbe’s lifetime then that is all the justification they need to keep doing it, and to ignore any so-called “psak” otherwise.

And yes, halacha is absolutely subject to jurisdiction. If you are subject to a beis din’s jurisdiction then you have to obey them no matter what you think of it. Kechol asher yorucho. But R Azimov is not subject to any of these rabbonim’s jurisdiction, so he has no duty to take their opinions or pronouncements into account.

Colel Chabad has its own cheshbonos, since a) it long predates BD Rabbonie Chabad, and b) if R Eckstein began donating during the Rebbe’s life then the whole question doesn’t arise.

The question of accepting tzedokoh from goyim is a completely different one; it’s not about avoda zara but about giving the donors a zechus by allowing them to do a mitzvah. It applies equally to all goyim, whether they are Xian, Moslem, or atheist. And kevar horu zekeinim that we do accept
their money; no mosad in the world turns it down, and hardly any mosad outside EY could survive without it. Who do you think pays the majority of the taxes that end up in the subsidies that BMG receives?

#9 Comment By K On November 17, 2015 @ 10:34 pm

” if they accepted R Eckstein’s donations during the Rebbe’s lifetime then that is all the justification they need to keep doing it, and to ignore any so-called “psak” otherwise”

And yes, if you build a huge residential building in mid-air and fill it with tenants, the rent would make you a very wealthy person and you would be able to ignore paying property tax.

“…not subject to any of these rabbonim’s jurisdiction, so he has no duty to take their opinions or pronouncements into account”

When Rabbonim issue a psak, it isn’t their editorial comment or opinion, rather it is HALACHA. This halacha, if true, applies everywhere.

Someone asked a kiruv rabbi: how does a jew to keep shabbos on the moon? Rabbi answered, Torah lav b’shomayim, the Torah does not apply when someone is in heaven.

This is what Milhouse claims, that Psak halacha is not applicable when someone is in another jurisdiction!

Admittedly, there is such a concept of “b’asra d’Rav – halacha k’Rav”, that when there is a DISPUTE between rabbonim like Rav and Shmuel, those living in Rav’s jurisdiction must follow his psak.

However, that is (1) if there is a machlokes in psak; (2) if the machlokes is between rabbonim of that caliber as Rav and Shmuel.

This is not the case here!

#10 Comment By Andrea Schonberger On November 16, 2015 @ 3:18 pm

Don’t take the money. The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews is a nutty organization–I’ve seen the commercials on television.

#11 Comment By K On November 16, 2015 @ 11:50 pm

I don’t care that it is nutty (there might be Jewish organizations that are also nutty) – but I do care that many members of this organization serve avoda zarah, try to “save” Jews to believe in avoda zara and support missionary work.

But aside all that, gedolei haposkim explicitly forbade accepting their money and we must abide by our poskim.

#12 Comment By Milhouse On November 17, 2015 @ 11:32 am

Whether all forms of Xianity are avoda zara is an open question. The vast majority of donors to Eckstein’s organization are firm protestants, and therefore it’s likely that they are not ovdei AZ. But even assuming that they are, so what? And yes, of course they support missionary work; you would too if you believed their god was the real one. But again, how is that relevant? It doesn’t make them bad people, and it doesn’t make their money spend differently than anyone else’s. The only thing that matters is that IFCJ does not engage in or support missionary work, and its donations don’t come with any strings attached that would prevent the fight against missionaries. That’s why it’s important that the person making all the decisions about donations is Rabbi Eckstein, who is an erlicher yerei shomayim, and not some galach.

#13 Comment By K On November 17, 2015 @ 11:20 pm

“Rabbi Eckstein, who is an erlicher yerei shomayim, and not some galach”

– it sure is necessary to say this, because for decades, Orthodox critics have accused Eckstein of being a closet Christian; in addition, The Jewish Observer of Agudath Israel of America, called Eckstein’s work “a curse”.

Eckstein calls his group – “his ministry” (as in Christian Ministry).

Read more here and judge if he is “an erlicher yerei shomayim” or “some galach” running a ministry in Jewish garb:

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/24/magazine/the-rabbi-who-loved-evangelicals-and-vice-versa.html

#14 Comment By K On November 17, 2015 @ 11:31 pm

Regarding Milhouse’s hair-splitting between xtians and Protestants etc. This is the “machlokes” between Harav Hagoan Hershel Schechter (who follows Rav J.B. Soloveitich’s views) and Rabbi Riskin.

See http://www.torahmusings.com/2012/09/interfaith-dialogue-under-fire/

In any event, Eckstein fosters Interfaith Dialogue, a position NO “erlicher yerei shomayim” could agree with.

#15 Comment By K On November 17, 2015 @ 11:41 pm

BTW, “Rabbi Eckstein, who is an erlicher yerei shomayim” also regularly attends church services!

But maybe he is under the “jurisdiction” of Rabbi Riskin who allows participating in a church religious service if it is for learning purposes or if it would be a desecration of God’s name if you don’t attend.

http://jewishisrael.ning.com/profiles/blogs/rabbi-riskin-oks-jews-to-enter

#16 Comment By Uri Kogan On November 16, 2015 @ 3:44 pm

על פי פסק דין של רבנים, זה חילול השם

#17 Comment By Milhouse On November 16, 2015 @ 7:07 pm

Which rabbonim, and who gave them the authority to “pasken” like that? What is their mokor in Torah for such a “psak”?

#18 Comment By K On November 22, 2015 @ 11:47 am

Really Milhouse: “Who gave them authority to pasken like that?”

Do you think rabbonim only have authority to pasken if you like their psak and agree with it? If you disagree with their decision, then the rabbonim have “no authgority” to pasken?

Really now, are rabbonim’s authority limited to rbber stamp approval of the layperson’s opinion?!

This comment by Milhouse was so neged hashkofas HaTorah that it falls in the category of kefirah.

#19 Comment By K On November 16, 2015 @ 11:30 pm

Come on Milhouse, you know the mokor for not accepting tzeddakah from goyim! Why do you pretend that there is no mokor for such a psak???

For others who may not know the mokor that forbids accepting tzedakah from goyim:

Sanhedrin 26b states that someone who “eats that other thing” is disqualified as a witness. Rashi explains that it means someone who accepts donations from a Gentile. The Talmud goes on to qualify that this only refers to someone who accepts the money publicly but need not do so. According to Rashi, this is a Chillul Hashem. It publicly implies that Jews cannot or will not support these charity organizations (cf. Levush, Yoreh De’ah 254). If someone willingly and unnecessarily does this, he is shaming the Jewish people. However, if he accepts it in private or has no other option, then there is no stigma to it.

Another mokor:

Bava Basra 10b forbids accepting charity from a Gentile. The reason given is that the great merit of charity will extend the reign of the Gentile ruler, thereby lengthening the time that Jews are in exile. One should instead somehow refuse the charity so the Gentile kingdom does not receive the merit.

Both these reasons and mikoros are followed in halacha, Yoreh De’ah 254:1-2.

SeeTzitz Eliezer 15:33:5,. Binyan Tziyon 85; Minchas Yitzchak 8:85; Iggeros Moshe, Yoreh De’ah 2:117; Ateres Paz 1:3:EH:4.

So yes Milhouse, there is plenty of a mokor in Torah for such a psak.

#20 Comment By Milhouse On November 17, 2015 @ 4:23 pm

The question of accepting tzedokoh from goyim is a completely different one; it’s not about avoda zara but about giving the donors a zechus by allowing them to do a mitzvah. It applies equally to all goyim, whether they are Xian, Moslem, or atheist. And kevar horu zekeinim that we do accept
their money; no mosad in the world turns it down, and hardly any mosad outside EY could survive without it. Who do you think pays the majority of the taxes that end up in the subsidies that BMG receives?

#21 Comment By K On November 17, 2015 @ 10:19 pm

BMG gets GOVERNMENT grants – that is NOT the same as charity from goyim. The government supports various programs (including among others: cultural, arts, education and welfarte) for the benefit of the citizen taxpayers. This money is a “redistribution” of taxes collected from the citizen taxpayers. It has NO SHAYCHUS to the absolute issur in halacha from accepting charity from goyim!

Your claim, “kevar horu zekeinim that we do accept
their money”, …NAME the “zekeinim” who were “horu” neged the gemaras, neged the psak in shulchan aruch, neged the poskim???

Usually we call such zekeinim – Zoken Mamreh.

#22 Comment By K On November 17, 2015 @ 10:42 pm

It is a great nisoyon for me to respond respectfully to utter silliness. B”H I am ma’avir al midosei and overcome the impulse to answer as is deserved. I have written with extreme restraint, patience and sympathy to shtus bli shiyur, lchol hadayos yotzeh, mehadrin min hamehadrin.

#23 Comment By replying.. On November 17, 2015 @ 11:14 pm

Your right k! compared to last years replys you did improve-keep it up! regarding the issue: logically i agree not to accept money from goyim or any org. that would have goyim involved. now as a luavitcher to have proof what milhouse claims- i will not accept it ,as %100 for she even said “i ASSUME they excepted it during the Rebbe’s lifetime”. if chabad in israel refuse then there must be something under foot. what did the Rebbe say about this org.? i do not know. Some things his chassidim are doing and the Rebbe would not approve that why we demand He return NOW!

#24 Comment By K On November 18, 2015 @ 12:18 pm

Well I assume the Lubavitcher Rebbe ZT”L was against Interfaith Dialogue, which “Rabbi” Eckstein leads. I also asuume that the Rebbe kept shulchan aruch which forbids accepting charity from goyim. And I also safely assume that the Rebbe accepted the piskei halacha of gedolei haposkim including Rav Eliyashiv ZT”L which forbids accepting their money.

I think these assumptions are far stronger than any suggested by Milhouse.

#25 Comment By K On November 18, 2015 @ 11:48 am

Unless they got a CLEAR heter (maybe b’sha’as hadchak / pikuach nefesh etc) – accepting this money is 100% OSSUR as explicitly paskened by ALL poskin (Litvish, chassidish, Rabbonei Chabad of EY etc).

We cannot sell our souls for money – even for lots of money – because if we do, then what would be wrong to work on shabbos and make money?!

#26 Comment By Crown Heightser On November 19, 2015 @ 12:35 pm

Kesef mitaher mamzerim. Money blinds the moral compass.

#27 Comment By fictitious name On November 25, 2015 @ 1:09 pm

When it comes to Lubavitch, I somehow
regurgitate. In our community of Monticello, N.Y.
we are a little tainted With Lubavitch.
After Sunday breakfasts, I usually took the
meager remains, and brought it over to a
poor individual.
After doing this a few Sundays, the Rabbi, asked me
if the individual is Jewish. I said N0. To which the
response was, he did not like my action, and said
“I could use these remains.”
That was the last time I went to that BREAK FAST.
HOWEVER, if a Christian gives money, they
grab it. IT’S DISGUSTING!!!!!