In recent months the drama over the election of Rabbi Yosef Braun along with the deceptions therein has been little discussed in the public. Despite the silence, however, the matter is far from resolved. In a collection of fiery letters obtained by CrownHeights.info between the parties involved, serious disrespect and contention highlight a division more serious then ever before.
While it may be convenient to remain complacent – letting the status quo run itself out – recent events have made it necessary to once more bring the matter to the attention of the public.
These events, as will be discussed below, are nothing short of an attempt by “special interests” to remove Rabbi Avrohom Osdoba from the Beis Din, and take away his salary. What is more, these parties seek to give control of the Badatz and Vaad Hakashrus to someone from outside our community.
Many have contended that this unelected individual, Sam Chanin, who has been working on behalf of said special interest groups, has little qualification to run the spiritual or financial mechanism of our community.
The Vaad Hakohol signed a contract with Mr. Chanin, giving him final say in all matters related to the Badatz, and
Vaad Hakashrus. Although they have created a puppet board to approve Mr. Chanin’s decisions, no checks can be released without his signature and all decisions related to the Badatz – including the public release of information – must be approved by him.
In effect, this unelected individual has the power to hold Rabbi Osdoba hostage, depriving him of his salary, and creating a total media blackout to conceal any actions that the public would not approve of.
Mr. Chanin made it clear to Rabbi Osdoba in a recent letter that he recognizes R’ Braun as a member of the Beis Din, and demands (!) that Rabbi Osdoba do so as well. In a case of role reversal, he lectures Rabbi Osdoba on how the Psak should be understood – and the role that Rabbi Osdoba is to henceforth take.
A careful reading of the contract (below) and Mr. Chanin’s letter reveals that this is just another attempt to force Rabbi Osdoba to either abide by the whims of these special interest groups or lose his salary. In effect Rabbi Osdoba has not been getting a salary from the Vaad Hakohol for a number of months.
In a recent letter, Rabbi Yaakov Schwei and Rabbi Braun, demand that Rabbi Osdoba “immediately appear before them – in person – and give them “a full and direct accounting related to all his spiritual decisions regarding kashrus.”
In a letter addressing this matter (below), Rabbi Osdoba reiterated to the Vaad Hakohol that Rabbi Moshe Havlin and Rabbi Binyomin Kuperman, two of the four remaining members of the Zabla, clearly instructed him that he is not required to sit with Rabbi Braun until the matter of suspected forgeries and the ripping of the Smicha is resolved. The Rabbis further said that Rabbi Braun cannot act as a deciding opinion on a Beis Din between someone who supports him and someone who does not. As such until these issues can be resolved, there is no Beis Din of three.
The letter from Rabbis Havlin and Kuperman was written in response to a letter from Rabbi Yurkowitz to the Kraus Beis Din. In his letter, Rabbi Yurkowitz alleges that the issues of forgeries in Rabbi Braun’s Smicha was discussed by the Zabla Beis Din and included in their original Psak.
In their fiery response, Rabbis Havlin and Kuperman, completely refute this claim. They delineate a clear timeline of all discussions between the members of the Zabla and show how the matter of forgeries only came up after the initial psak, and remains unresolved to this day.
They make note of a previous dishonesty on the part of Rabbi Yurkowitz. According to the Rabbis, Rabbi Yurkowitz agreed, both by phone and by email that Rabbi Osdoba’s claims to Rabbi Braun’s validity could be brought before an outside Beis Din. As such a Psak was sent to all parties, in the name of three members of the Zabla, approving this decision.
Over a day after the Psak was issued, Rabbi Yurkowitz released a letter denying he agreed to the Psak. The Rabbis point out that the Psak of three was issued and emailed to the parties on Motzei Shabbas in Eretz Yisroel, when it was still Shabbas in America. If Rabbi Yurkowitz was indeed telling the truth, he would have emailed the parties immediately and by the time they opened their emails on Motzei Shabbas they would have seen the Psak and Yurkowitz’s disclaimer at the same time.
One must wonder then, why Rabbi Yurkowitz did not issue a disclaimer until after the Psak could be seen on Motzei Shabbos in New York. Why did it take him 24 hours to inform the parties? The above facts point to pressure and extortion on Rabbi Yurkowitz, by certain parties based out of America.
Sam Chanin Contract:
Rabbi Osdoba’s Letter to the Vaad Hakohol:
Letter from Rabbis Havlin and Kuperman saying that issues with Rabbi Brauns election have yet to be disscussed and are valid concerns:
Letter from Rabbis Schwei and Braun demanded that Rabbi Osdoba appear for a meeting and give account to them:
Letter from Sam Chanin demanding that Rabbi Osdoba meet with him and Rabbi Braun:
Exit Question: Where the real money at?