Saturday, February 16, 2013

Letter From Reb Mottel

ברוך מדרכי ליפשיץ
658 Montgomery Street. 1K
Brooklyn, NY 11225
Rosh Chodesh Sivan, 5765
To whom it may concern;
Recently a book was published with the title “Comrade: a gripping story of self-sacrifice and kiddush hashem” by Rabbi Dovid Goldwasser שליט"א.
After an attempt to stop the sale of the book, and after receiving multiple inquiries about my role in this book, I am forced to tell the truth to the public.
This book was not the brainchild and compilation of the author, as he would like to portray1, rather it was already written up and complied by myself with the help of others by the time the author set his eyes on it, and was compiled in response to the request of the Lubavitcher Rebbe that Chassidim record their history and stories of self-sacrifice.
What was most shocking to me though, was that the manuscript which was given to the author in order to translate into English and despite countless requests to see the manuscript before publication he avoided showing it to any of my family members. Instead, he rushed to print my work heavily censuring out, (to my utter dismay) any reference of Lubavitch, their leaders2, or the Yeshiva Tomchei Tmimim. Also, he simply invented an extensive amount of the story.
When the extent of his forgery was brought to my attention, that entire sentences were translated word for word only to omit the name “Schneerson” or words like “Farbrengen”, I inquired with my relatives and was told that the author had reportedly said “if the Chabad family saw the manuscript, then it would have been ruined and it would not have been able to be published.”
Therefore, in order to stand clean, והייתם נקיים מה' ומישראל, I want to publicly declare, that the product is not what I wrote, (one can obtain my Yiddish original "זכרונות פון גולאג" in stores) I did not have any part in the falsifications and historical revisionism, I do not take part in the attempt to erase the history of my dear Rebbes who stood by me in my dark days in Soviet Russia and it’s Gulags. I therefore object to all of this nonsense done in my name.
Boruch Mordechai Lifshitz
Formerly the Shochet of Moscow

1 See introduction and p. 18-19
2 Except in one misrepresented case.

Sunday, December 30, 2012



B”H. Monday, 11th of Teves, 5767

To R’ Boruch Mordechai שי' Lifshitz,

In connections with the third and last invitation to Rabbi Dovid שי' Goldwasser, as he still refuses to come before the Beth Din.

We are herby notifying you that R’ Dovid Goldwasser is in contempt of the Beth Din and his status is described in Shulchan Aruch, and you have permission to take him to the secular courts.

In the name of the Beth Din.

Rabbi Avraham Osdaba

Sunday, May 11, 2008



17th of Teves, 5767

To Rabbi Dovid Goldwasser שליט"א,

It is with a heavy heart that I write this letter before the eyes of the public.
However you have ignored letters, phone calls invitations to Din Torah and even a subsequent siruv.

Reb Mottel Lifshitz שיחי', the subject of your book Comrade, Targum Press, (2004(, lived for close to seventy years under the communist regime in Russia, he was moser nefesh for
Yiddishkeit. In the face of extreme danger he was the Shochet, Mohel and Melamed in Moscow and surrounding areas, and for this he was sent to the Russian labor camps in Siberia where he suffered greatly for some seven years; something we cannot even fathom today. Upon returning to his home town, he continued spreading Yiddishkeit.

Whenever Reb Mottel is asked how and why he continued under such horrendous circumstances, he has one answer. The Lubavitcher Rebbe. The Rebbe was his life force. The Rebbe warmed him in the Siberian winters, and the Rebbe gave him the courage to walk into a darkened basement and perform a bris only moments after the KGB had broken in and dispersed the crowd.

And now, at the age of 91 biz hundret un tzvantzig, Reb Mottel is living out his golden years in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. But no, he is still unable to rest. You have caused him unending agmas nefesh. You took the Yiddish manuscript of his memoirs (published in Yiddish entitled Zichronos fun Gulag) and completely distorted his life story to create your fictitious version, Comrade. For the past three years he has not stopped speaking, with abundant pain, of how you violated him and humiliated him. Not only did you make up stories and write facts that never happened but you eliminated every mention of “Schneerson” and “Chassidus” which is the very thread of who he is.

Reb Mottel Lifshitz שיחי does not understand English and was initially unaware of what you had done to him. You shlepped the elderly man around to speaking engagements about your book, but never once allowed him to speak. You omitted pictures he had given you to put into the book, and fooled him into thinking that you were translating his work, but no, you used him for your own fame and glory.

Reb Mottel was persecuted by the KGB because of his connection to ‘Schneerson’. When they came searching his house it was his letters from the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe and maamarim Chassidus they wanted not his Gemorrahs. They would taunt him and while interrogating him they would mockingly call him “a Schneersoni”.

Today he sits in his home and is aghast to think that, in his words “a frume yid, with a beard and a hat has done the same to me as the Russian KGB”. He now agonizes over the fact that you took his manuscript, rewrote it, distorted it and used it in an attempt to eliminate the Lubavitcher Rebbe and Chassidus from it, and from history!

I do not know how you can sleep at night knowing that an old man is suffering greatly because of you. He has suffered enough in his life. You must right this wrong before it is chas vesholom too late.

Reb Mottel Lifshitz שיחי is awaiting your prompt action.

Samples of distortions.

Note to reader:

It would be disrespectful for anyone to comment regarding a “world-renowned Torah
personality1”as Rabbi Goldwasser himself claims to be, of which “There is hardly a Jewish community [that] has not come in contact with [him]. He is described as patient, warm, and a giving character.1” “[Which] is what makes thousands flock to seek his words, advice, and knowledge”, who “is renowned worldwide for his piety and for his efforts to spread Torah and Judaism1”, we therefore leave you to reach your own conclusion.

Sample #1:

From the introduction, signed by M. Lifshitz but actually written by Rabbi Goldwasser without Reb Mottel understanding the content:1

“I will thank Hashem for allowing me to meet Rabbi Goldwasser shlita. Rabbi Goldwasser is renowned worldwide for his piety and for his efforts to spread Torah and Judaism. Now he has assumed the task of recording my life story”.

“Rabbi Goldwasser, my dear friend, when I first met you in the darkness of Communist Russia, you captured my heart. I rejoiced to know that the Jewish people are not alone, that with Hashem’s grace they were blessed with a leader of stature who would guide them along the proper path to avodas Hashem.”
Later in Goldwasser’s introduction:

“When we met again in person, I was filled in on some of the details of his life story, the incredible story of a Jew who had put his life on the line countless times to be mekadeish shem shamayim. Right then and there I made a commitment that Reb Mottel’s story would not remain a secret… I set to the task of gathering all the information, background, and documentation of Reb Mottels’ life.2”
But is this true? Let us compare:

Rabbi Dovid Goldwasser, shlita, whom I have known for almost three decades, thought it proper to collect the stories of Jews who lived under the brutal rule of the Soviets”. “Now he [Goldwasser] has assumed the task of recording my life story1”

”…Reb Mottel’s story would not remain a secret… I set to the task of gathering all the information, background, and documentation of Reb Mottels’ life.”

וואָס עס האָט מיך מאָטיווירט צו דערציילן און פאַרשרייבן די פאָלגענדע זכרונות – איז:
דער באוואוסטע אנווייזונג פון ליובאוויטשער רבי'ן צו פארהיטן די זכרונות פון עלטערע חסידים און דער מסירות נפש פון אידן אין סאוועטן-פארבאנד.

Translation from Yiddish:

What motivated me to tell and record these following memoirs? The known instruction of the Lubavitcher Rebbe to preserve the memoirs of the elder Chassidim and the self-sacrifice of the Jews in the Soviet Union.

Please note:
1) The manuscript was ready before Goldwasser arrived on the scene.
2) Reb Mottel writes in Yiddish who inspired him to record it, and the English has someone else’s name. Could it be that Rabbi Goldwasser received a ready manuscript of which he copied and distorted and gives no credit to the authors? Or perhaps did Reb Mottel himself copy, translate and distort Rabbi Dovid Goldwasser’s book about him?

Sample #2:

Comrade, by: Goldwasser Page 85:

“Comrade Mordechai Lifshitz had been found guilty of violating articles 58-10 and 58-11.
Lifshitz is occupied with collecting money for the families of those violating the laws (i.e., prisoners)

Lifshitz leads a full –scale operation to help Jews evade army conscription by providing them with eyeglasses and consequently ruining their eyesight.

Lifshitz communicates in writing with an agent of the Polish police force.

Lifshitz hosts gatherings of young boys and teaches them anti-Communist studies (i.e. Torah).

Lifshitz, organizes rallies that have been declared illegal by the Communist regime.”
Reb Mottel’s זכרונות פון גולאג (Goldwasser’s omissions are underlined)

הויפּט-שטריכן פון דעם באַשולדיקונגס-אַקט
איך וויל ביי דער געלעגנהייט ברענגען (אין איבערזעצונג פון רוסיש) אייניקע פון די הויפּט-שטריכן פון דעם באַשולדיקונגס-אַקט.
איך בין געפונען געוואָרן שולדיק אין דעם אַרטיקל 58-11, 58-10. וזה לשונם הטמא:

1) ליבשיץ פאַרנעמט זיך מיט קלייבן געלט פאַר די משפּחות פון די אַרעסטאַנטן [דאָס איז איינע פון די די גרעסטע עבירות, לפי דעתם הטמאה].
ליבשיץ פירט-אָן מיט אַ גרויסן קאַמפּיין, אַז אידן זאָלן זיך אויסדרייען פון דינען אין דער רוסישער אַרמיי, דורך אָנטאָן
אויגן-גלעזער, און אַזוי אַרום קאַליע-מאַכן אַביסל די ראי'.
ליבשיץ האַלט-אָן אַ שטאַרקן בריוו-קאָנטאַקט מיט אַן אַגענט פון דער פּוילישער געהיים-פּאָליציי – שניאורסאָהן, וועלכער וואוינט אין פּוילן.
ליבשיץ קלייבט צוזאַמען אין זיין שטוב יונגע בחורים, און לערנט מיט זיי אַזעלכע זאַכן, וואָס די סאָוועטישע מלוכה האָט פאַרבאָטן עס צו לערנען, ווי צום ביישפּיל: שיחות און מאמרים פון שניאורסאָהן.
ליבשיץ האָט אַ גרויסן חלק אין דעם איינאָרדענען פון פאַרבאָטענע דורך דער מלוכה "פאַרברענגענישן".

English translation from original Yiddish זכרונות פון גולאג with Goldwasser’s omissions are bold:

A) Lifshitz is occupied with collecting money for the families of those arrested [this is one of the greatest sins, according to their contaminated minds]

B) Lifshitz leads a large campaign to help Jews evade the Russian army conscription by providing them with eyeglasses and consequently ruining their eyesight.

C) Lifshitz communicates in writing with an agent of the Polish force, [Schneerson, who lives in Poland].

D) Lifshitz hosts gatherings of young boys and teaches things that are banned by the Soviet regime, [For example: sichos and maamarim of Schneerson].

E) Lifshitz, organizes [Farbrengens] [rallies] that have been declared illegal by the Communist regime.”

Sample # 3:

In 1972 Reb Mottel’s first wife left the Soviet Union for Israel with their three children.
Goldwasser, for whatever reason, only depicts one wife (who was actually Reb Mottel’s second wife) and conjures up a mysterious Aunt who is credited with transferring the children to America. Why would he do that? Perhaps he would like to ask mechillah at the grave of Mrs. Henya Lifshitz a”h in the New Square cemetery.

This is only a sampling, one can compare page by page and see for themselves.

We are, however, left with a few questions to ask ourselves:
Did Rabbi Goldwasser simply miss a few words or was there something unpopular that would not contribute to his fame that he needed to omit?

Is this a small omission not important to the story? Or is this the thread of Reb Mottel’s entire story that has been re-written? (Like writing Mr. George W. Bush’s biography and neglecting to mention that he was the President of the U.S?)

Does Rabbi Goldwasser still have an opportunity to correct this?

Anyone who compares the documents3, or speaks with Reb Mottel in person will immediately see for himself what an outrageous disgrace and infringement this is.


1 Comrade, Targum/Feldheim, (2004) written by Rabbi D. Goldwasser himself in the introduction he had M. Lifshitz sign. Reb Mottel does not understand English and when it was later translated for him, he was appalled.

2 Reb Mottel had no contact with Rabbi Dovid Goldwasser after their short meeting in Russia, nor did they have any contact in all the years Reb Mottel was living in Brooklyn, not until Reb Mottel’s manuscript was ready for publication in Yiddish did he meet again with his “life long friend1”.

3 Zichronos Fun Gulag זכרונות פון גולאג & Comrade.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Russia Rewritten An Orthodox Rabbi Revises History

By E. Sappir

Revising history is rightly viewed as a universal injustice. Cloaked under the noble guise of educational and literary advancement, books filled with historical distortions often wreak irreversible damage as they paint history in completely inaccurate colors.

As Jews, we have firsthand experience with ramifications of such activities. For decades, the Arab world continues to publish textbooks and maps with the State of Israel erased. Young, impressionable minds study history books that show Israel as a non-entity. In the early 19th century, Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch wrote prolifically against Reformists who compiled heavy tomes with “a cavalier, superficial and untruthful treatment to documentary sources” (Collected Writings).

One could be forgiven for thinking that literary prejudice does not exist in the Orthodox community. The fundamental elements of hakoras hatov and truth are so firmly ingrained in the psyche that it precludes the motivation to redefine, alter and revise.

Yet a recent book does just that, albeit on a smaller scale. “Comrade” (Goldwasser, Targum/Feldheim) purports to be the honest translation of the memoirs compiled by a Hasidic shochet from the former Soviet Republic, but has become another cog in the growing machinery of Jewish revisionism. There is clear deception here. The translator—who had assisted Lifshitz in Russia—carefully manipulates the story to satisfy ulterior considerations.

The hero’s family is aghast. “My grandfather thought his memoirs were being translated, not rewritten,” says one of his grandchildren. “The author was very friendly with my grandfather and earned his trust; now he is devastated. For example, my grandfather specifies that he recorded his memoirs based on directives of the Lubavitcher Rebbe; the author deleted that and claims he suggested and complied the biography himself. The original memoir was published in Yiddish—Zichronos fun Gulag—so non one needs to take anyone word for it, people can see the distortions for themselves. His book should be retracted.”

Lifshitz drew his strength from Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, a Jewish leader who would not be intimidated by the Soviets. Lifshitz’s studies in Chasidism, participation in Chasidic gatherings, and association with Schneersohn and his many followers are crucial elements in his gripping life story—yet they have almost all been carefully deleted. Aside from briefly mentioning a bracha of Rabbi Yosef Y. Schneersohn, the book is nearly “Chasidism-free.”

Erasing Israel from a map of the Middle East is inexcusable. Rehashing the role of George Washington in American history is wrong. Writing a book about the influential Mussar movement and removing references to Rabbi Yisrael Salanter does a great disservice to the greater Jewish community. Translating a memoir about the secret advancement of Yiddishkeit under the noses of the Soviets while intentionally distorting the incalculable contributions of Chasidism and Rabbi Yosef Y. Schneersohn is simply indefensible. The author —a community leader, rav, and noted lecturer—should know better.


Appeared in Nshei Chabad Newsletter


What does the term “historical revisionism”
mean? It is an attempt to revise history so as to
present an image of an event that is not compatible
with the true facts.

In the Orthodox world today, speeches are given, articles
are written, entire books (textbooks!) are printed and distributed
widely, that distort or minimize the accomplishments
of Chabad Lubavitch and the Lubavitcher Rebbeim.
Even some of our own people don’t realize how deeply
embedded and far-reaching Chabad’s activities are in the
fabric of the Jewish world today. Some are buying into the
propaganda that relegates Chabad to a mere paragraph in a
history book. All this while Chabad continues to innovate,
lead and grow by leaps and bounds. Today Chabad is the
largest Jewish organization in the world, reaching hundreds
of thousands of Jewish souls, with an operating budget
exceeding one billion dollars a year.

One example is the book entitled The Silent Revolution
by Miriam Zakon, published by Artscroll. The book, which
purports to describe the revitalization of Torah Judaism in
the Soviet Union, has the audacity to totally exclude
Lubavitch and the mesiras nefesh of hundreds of
Chassidim for several decades, many of whom were murdered
al kiddush Hashem. Just recently a Kiruv organization
in Israel, Nitzotzot Min HaNer, issued a report that
claims the Kiruv movement in Russia in the early 70’s was
the result of the work of Rabbi Eliyahu Essas.While there is
no question that his achievements are significant, the
extensive underground of Jewish educational institutions
run by Chabad during the Communist years are ignored.
The book Faith and Fate by Rabbi Berel Wein tells us
that the first yeshiva dedicated for baalei tshuva was founded
by Rabbi Sholomo Freifeld zt”l in Far Rockaway in 1967.
Ignored is the fact that Hadar Hatorah was started by Rabbi
Yisroel Jacobson Z”L years earlier.

The book Comrade by Rabbi Dovid Goldwasser, published
by Targum-Feldheim, takes the effort to change history
a step further. (See the letter to the publisher from the
protagonist, reprinted in this article.) The book is a biography
of Reb Motel Lifshitz, a Lubavitcher Chosid who spent
a good portion of his life serving as the mohel and shochet
of Moscow, when it was dangerous to do so. In the early
1970s, when his daughter was going to be married in New
York, Reb Motel considered leaving his post briefly to
attend his daughter’s wedding. He consulted the Rebbe,
who replied, “Who will be the mohel and shochet of
Moscow [in your absence]?” Reb Motel did not attend his
daughter’s wedding. This one story among many others
demonstrates that Reb Motel is a Lubavitcher chosid who
received his inspiration from the Rebbe, who in turn provided
Reb Motel with much support. And yet, we now have
a story of his life that leaves the reader ignorant of that fact.
Reb Motel was not given a chance to see the book before
it was printed.After it was published Reb Motel and his relatives
protested the deliberate omissions. Both Targum-
Feldheim and Rabbi Goldwasser refused to make the corrections.

Yet another example is the book Triumph of Survival, the
Story of the Jews in the Modern Era by Rabbi Berel Wein. To
him Chabad is a footnote, a marginal player with little
impact. In truth, Chabad-Lubavitch was and is indisputably
at the forefront of what the Rebbe called Hafotzas
Hayahadus, and is now known in the Orthodox world as
“the kiruv movement.”

When Chabad-Lubavitch began sending bochurim on
Merkos Shlichus in the 1940s and building Chabad Houses in the 1960s, projects initiated by the Frierdiker Rebbe and expanded upon by his indefatigable successor, the Rebbe,
the entire Orthodox world scoffed. When they saw how
serious the Rebbe was about it, and how determined he
was to bring Yiddishkeit to every corner of the globe, they
stopped laughing and began to publicly condemn what the
Rebbe promoted. During that era, Jews who were alienated
from Yiddishkeit were generally not welcomed in the
Orthodox world. The Frierdiker Rebbe and the Rebbe
changed all that dramatically and many in the Orthodox
world publicly and strongly disapproved, citing the spiritual
danger to our own children.

In the late 1960s, when the Rebbe’s Mivtza Tefillin was in full swing, a respected frum Jew told a N’shei Chabad Newsletter staff member, “It is more important for my little
son to make one brocha than for you to get one hundred
Jews who have never put on Tefillin to do it once.”
This was a common attitude.

To contrast the outlook between Lubavitch and the
Yeshivishe velt, consider the following: A prominent gadol
told his talmidim said that it is a chilul Hashem for a Jew to
walk in the street wearing a Talis on Shabbos, while the Rebbe
instructed his Shluchim to spread Yiddishkeit by venturing
forth on mitzvah tanks, stopping people on the street to
acquaint them with Yiddishkeit and to perform Mitzvos.END
RESULT: There are countless examples of people who ultimately became shomrei
Torah and Mitzvos as a result of these initial introductions to
Torah and Mitzvos via the mitzvah tanks.

When you have finally brought a detractor around to your
point of view, you can usually look back to a predictable progression:
first he roundly condemns what you are doing.Then
he says it’s actually a good idea — but only for you, not for
him. Then he tries it and likes it. Soon he adopts it as his own
lifestyle. Lastly, he says he is so glad he thought of it. This is
what happened here too.

In the 1970s, it finally became fashionable outside of
Lubavitch to permit bochurim to spend
some time in “kiruv rechokim” (a term the
Rebbe did not like because it labeled nonfrum
Yidden as distant). Instead of recognizing
that they were now adopting what
they had for years derided (when
Lubavitch did it), some in the frum
world simply ignored (and still ignore)
the role of Lubavitch altogether. Rabbi
Yisroel Gordon, among others, (also in
the 1970s) wrote a letter to the Jewish
Observer in which he asked where they
had been; Lubavitch had been expending
huge treasures of time, effort, and
money bringing Yidden back to
Yiddishkeit in America for 30 years
already. Rabbi Gordon says, “I asked
them: Instead of being ashamed that
it took you so long to wake up, you’d
have us believe that you alone discovered

As far back as the Alter Rebbe’s
days, Lubavitch has sacrificed
tremendously in order to be
mekarev Yidden. The Alter Rebbe
sent Chassidim on long and arduous
travels “tsu ohnvaremen
Yidden” (to warm up Jews). But it
was the Frierdiker Rebbe and the
Rebbe who turned the flickering
flame into an unstoppable blaze, a
worldwide movement. And only
much later did the rest of the
Orthodox world stop mocking
and begin to imitate us.
And yet, today, understanding
the story of the kiruv movement
from 1950 to 1980 from studying
some popular Jewish publications
is analogous to getting
an understanding of what is
going on in Israel from reading the New York Times.
To quote Rabbi Wein in Triumph of Survival:
Chabad-Lubavitch also prospered in the post-war
decades, and from its Brooklyn headquarters, it
operated tens of Chabad centers worldwide, and
held the loyalty of thousands of adherents. …The
charismatic and public figure of [the Frierdiker
Rebbe’s] successor, Rabbi Menachem Mendel
Schneerson, helped propel Chabad into the public
limelight and keep it there for decades.

These few sentences, full of understatements (“tens of
Chabad centers” “keep it there for decades”), were accompanied
by one picture, of the Frierdiker Rebbe only.
ubavitch has a long and proud record of clandestine
mesiras nefesh which did not slow even under
Stalin. Today it would be impossible not to notice
the network of Chabad schools and shuls all over the former
Soviet Union. And yet, Rabbi Berel Wein writes in
Faith and Fate that Jewish ethnicity and religious observance
“somehow” had survived the Stalin years. Somehow,
indeed! Yet we read that the “main activities” that have
transformed Yiddishkeit in the former Soviet Union are
from Orthodox groups other than Lubavitch.

The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of
America operates successful programs in the former Soviet
Union in addition to much good work with youth in the
United States.Agudath Israel has done commendable work,
along with Young Israel and several others. To be sure, these
groups and others have made and continue to make important
contributions. But from reading popular Jewish publications,
one would never know that what they have accomplished
in the former Soviet Union was built on the pioneering
work of Lubavitch.Nor do their projects even come
close to the over seventy million dollars a year that Chabad
spends in the former Soviet Union to kindle the Jewish
flame in thousands upon thousands of Jewish souls.
Artscroll published a book entitled The World That Was,
America 1900-1945. I was asked to write a
biography of the Frierdiker Rebbe which was
included. However, there are over 100 pages
detailing the growth of Yiddishkeit in
America where Lubavitch is not mentioned.
Torah Umesorah, Agudath Israel, Young
Israel and others are all given significant
credit for the growth of the baal teshuva
movement and for the sudden increase of
schools and shuls all over the U.S. When I
called the editor to protest, he replied, “Well,
we included your biography of the Frierdiker
Rebbe, didn’t we?” Yes, I said, you did, but
you still distorted history by minimizing the role of
Lubavitch in your overview of Yiddishkeit in the U.S. from
1900 to 1945. And to be truly even-handed, you should
have also included biographies of Rabbi Yisroel Jacobson,
the brothers Hecht, the Rabbis Sholom and Zalman Posner,
Rabbi Sholom Ber Gordon and others, who impacted history
in recognized ways. The editor replied that he had
taken enough flak for including the one biography of the
Frierdiker Rebbe.

There is a ripple effect. Many secular authors and speakers
do not give credit to Lubavitch because they are basing
their information on the printed word coming out of the
Orthodox world, which are sometimes false and/or understated
vis a vis Chabad. A perfect example of this is an
exploration of the conflicts in modern Jewish life, Jew vs.
Jew, written by Columbia Professor of Journalism Samuel
G. Freedman.

He too gives the bulk of the credit for the growth of
Torah-true Yiddishkeit in America to the “yeshiva world.”
In a meeting in his office I challenged him on this. In
response he admitted that he had misjudged the impact of
Chabad.He had thought we were just a Hasidic community
anchored in Brooklyn. It was only when he went on his
book tour and actually saw for himself our wide range of
activities that he discovered that Chabad was pervasive in
Jewish communities everywhere. In city after city he heard
from non-religious Jews that although they were members
of a Reform or Conservative Temple, their attendance at
Chabad events and their regular contact with Chabad
Shluchim and Shluchos evoked in them a connection with
the Judaism as practiced by their ancestors.

Moving Forward

If we want to be included and recognized by others,
we should be more willing to include and recognize
others in our own publications, talks, and classes.
There is no question that the accomplishments of groups
like Agudath Israel, Torah Umesorah, Orthodox Union,
and Young Israel have been monumental. We have been remiss in not acknowledging their valuable contributions.

In some ways we may be guilty of the same narrow vision
we see in others.

Due to somewhat differing viewpoints and the geographic
separation of our own neighborhood (Crown Heights), we have limited contact and dealings with much of the rest of the frum community. There is no question
that our agendas and strategies are to some extent different,
as well as our weltanschauung. This separation, this divide,
has partly caused the problem.We should all bear in mind
that ultimately we have more that unites us than divides us.
We must recognize that at times certain criticism of
Chabad may be valid. There are behaviors that are not
appreciated and are detrimental to our cause.
Whereas a certain level of esprit de corps must be maintained
in order to survive and succeed in our lifestyle —
how else will a young couple in their early 20’s work up the
courage to get onto that airplane, or more to the point, how
will they work up the courage to get off? — we also have to
be careful to keep that very necessary self-confidence from
being perceived by others as arrogance.
Sometimes that self-assurance that is so necessary when
going on Shlichus becomes an obstacle in situations when we
can learn from the rest of the frum world. Sometimes, to our
detriment, we are so busy cheerleading that we don’t allow
ourselves to look and learn from others in areas that need
improvement. It would behoove us to change this attitude.
This attitude may be partially to blame for the way others
view us, leading to the mistreatment of Chabad in some
parts of the Orthodox media.We must realize that there is
a time to cheerlead and there is a time to stop and study the
efforts of others.

Among the suggestions to ameliorate the situation
might be: We must make it a priority to collect authenticated oral
histories from our eltere chasidim and produce history
books with a broad historical perspective which would
give the general public an accurate historical record. This
would preclude a repeat of such situations as that which
happened in Australia: More than a decade after the
Lubavitch Yeshiva was established in Melbourne, another
group of avreichim arrived to create a Kolel, claiming in
print and in speech to the surprised community, “Now at
last Torah learning has arrived down under,” totally ignoring
and minimizing the fact that Lubavitch had been
flourishing in Australia for many years.Where are our history
books, setting the record straight?

The Library of Agudas Chassidei Chabad is a priceless
resource that is under-utilized. More historical documents
should be released, and the library could assist in documenting
and publishing accurate history. Kehos, Sichos in English (SIE), and other Chabad publishers
need to broaden the perspective of some of the history books they publish. Our history books are often written with a parochial Chabad focus. Much of what is published is constricted and fails to present Chabad history in the broader context of world Jewish history.Add to that the
sad fact that the quality is not always the best and the marketing is inadequate.Why should others, non-Chabad, buy them? While they are certainly valuable, they are too narrow
and provincial and therefore do not find a place in other libraries.

While many Jewish organizations (many of them much
smaller than Chabad) invest significant resources into
studies, statistics, and self-analysis,we do almost nothing of
the kind. “The Rebbe’s Army” by Sue Fishkoff was an eyeopener
in exposing the broad scope of Chabad’s work as
was the JTA report of the American Jewish Committee
Synagogue Survey (August 16, 2002). Among its findings:
The Orthodox movement claims the lion’s share
of synagogues in the United States, despite being the
smallest of the three major branches, according to a
new census by the American Jewish Committee…
…Of the Orthodox synagogues, 36 percent were
not officially tied to any organization, 23.5 percent
belonged to the Orthodox Union, 23.1 percent to
Chabad/Lubavitch, 10 percent to Young Israel, 4
percent to Agudath Israel of America and 6.5 percent
to Sephardic organizations.

This study made a major impact in the Jewish world.
Many who had relegated to Chabad the role of a peripheral
group with limited impact now realize that Chabad plays
a major role in contemporary Jewish life. has begun collecting data on the true scale
and breadth of Chabad activities. The information has
proven invaluable in sustaining claims of the broad scope
and growth of Chabad. There are philanthropists and
organizations that will provide funding for research and
analysis which would evaluate and permanently mark our
accomplishments. We should apply for this funding and
put ourselves on record.

We must learn the art of polite (but effective) protest when
injustice does take place. We should not remain silent when
the truth is distorted, when the Rebbe’s leadership and pioneering
role are minimized.Whether publishers agree to publish
distortions due to misinformation regarding Chabad or
because they imagine they will irritate a segment of their target
audience is completely irrelevant. Maybe they themselves
are being held hostage, so to speak, to extreme elements within
their own communities (just as we suffer from extreme elements
within ours). Rather than examining motives, let’s call
for and expect changed behavior and let’s show gratitude
when we see it. If quiet diplomacy is ineffective we should
consider contacting the patrons of these publishing houses, many of whom are Chabad supporters.

The time has definitely arrived to make our voices heard
to these publishers. A large customer base for those publishers
exists and grows within our Chabad Houses and
mosdos. If we politely protest when they exclude us, they
will listen… it’s good business sense. We should let our
voices be heard.

There have been some positive changes. The widely read
Mishpacha Magazine has featured articles of Chabad activities
and personalities, and yet readership has continued to
expand. The Artscroll Rubin Tanach includes in its commentary
quotes from Likutei Sichos. Still, there is a long
way to go.

Just recently, I contacted the organizers of Celebration
350, marking 350 years of Jewish life in America.After voicing
my objections and even contacting a historian connected
to the project, the timeline of major historical achievements
was amended to include the significant contributions
of Chabad in American Jewish history. Protest sometimes
bears fruit! Voices should be raised in a responsible
manner, b’oifen hamiskabel, when errant behavior on the
part of publishers and public speakers is apparent.
In the early 1990s, a prominent rav gave a beautiful talk
at a women’s function in Flatbush. In it he told stories of his
trips to Russia, made for the purpose of “kiruv rechokim.”
The rav went on to quote various gedolim by name, regarding
the importance of this work, giving them each credit for
the stories and Divrei Torah he gave over. Not one story or
Dvar Torah was left unaccredited. In conclusion he asked a
question: Why are the kohanim chayav misah if one of the
fringes of their garment hangs incorrectly? His answer: To
teach us that the Yidden who are on the fringes of society,
who have as yet nothing to do with Torah and Mitzvos, are
vital and crucial to our own lives and wellbeing. We are
responsible for them, too.And that is why he went to Russia.
A N’shei Chabad Newsletter staff member was in the
audience. After the talk, she was introduced to the speaker
and she complimented his truly excellent talk. She asked him
if he would like to submit it in writing for the magazine.
With a little chuckle, he replied that the main vort, about the
fringes, was the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s vort. Nonplussed, the
staff member asked why he had been so careful to give credit
to every single person he had quoted, to give every single
source, but the Rebbe had not been credited.
“Not for this audience. The Rebbe is not makpid on his
kovod. He just wants his words to get out, and his work to
get done.”

The Rebbe may indeed not be makpid on his kovod, but
we, his chasidim, are makpid. Secondly, “not for this audience”?
Why not? What would have happened had he told
davka “this audience” that this vort was Chassidus of the
Lubavitcher Rebbe? The women in attendance that day
could have left with a new respect for Lubavitch and the
Rebbe, just as they left with more respect for the people
who were credited and quoted. Instead, they left under the
same mistaken impression they arrived with: that
Lubavitch is a minor player on the world stage, and that
learning Chassidus is “not for us.”

No wonder entire communities in Lakewood, Boro Park
and elsewhere truly believe that Chabad had little or no role
in the worldwide renaissance and transformation of Jewish
life in which our Rebbe played a leading role. Respected
leaders… talented authors, speakers, teachers… either do
not know the truth or feel that revealing this information
might irritate some in the audience. Saying “it’s true but it’s
not for this audience” seems to mean: The members of this
particular audience have not been taught anything good
about Lubavitch, ever, so I won’t irritate them now by
telling them the truth or by giving any credit where it is
due. (See Mrs. Sara Karmely’s article in this issue for yet
another example of this.—Ed.)

Whereas the Rebbe surely welcomed and encouraged –
and, in many cases, actively assisted — any and all Yidden
to go to Russia and all over the world to be mekarev Yidden
to Yiddishkeit, and he indeed told people that he is not
makpid on his kovod, nowhere did he ever encourage history
to be recorded falsely. Just the opposite: The Rebbe was
adamant that eltere chasidim should record their life histories
exactly as they happened. He very much wanted the
true history of Yiddishkeit to be written down in a way that
would be read by the multitudes. There is no reason to
assume he would have changed his mind now that Hafatzos
Hayahadus is accepted, adopted and promoted by great
numbers of Orthodox Jews.

(The Rebbe was surely aware that hundreds of rabbis
were and are using Likutei Sichos for their talks without
crediting their source.He did not take issue with them. But
to print histories for the world to read that are full of inaccuracies
and missing information, I do not believe that was
something the Rebbe would overlook.)

As Rabbi Yisroel Gordon said with a sigh regarding the
historical revisionism that he sees now taking place in
Orthodox publishing, To quote Abe Lincoln, “I’m too old
to cry and it hurts too much to laugh.” Anyway, neither
laughing nor crying would be helpful now. The Rebbe
ended countless farbrengens with the words,“Hamyseh hu
ho-ikor.”Action is what counts.[END]

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Some nerve, he's got

Copyed from the blog CIRCUS TENT

View article there

Dovid Goldwasser is a name you heard of if you listen to the "stimulating" talk on the Nachum Segal show, or read the fascinating articles in the Jewish Press or Country Yossi. If you're like me you probably think "this guy is so full of himself it's a wonder he doesn't just explode". If that was his only crime דיינו , but here's what else he's done.

Reb Mottel Lifshitz was a Shochet and Mohel in Moscow all throughout the dark days of the Soviet Union. He was a Lubavitcher Chossid, a Talmid of the underground Yeshivos. Needless to say he had a fascinating story to tell. When he left Russia he somehow got to know Goldwasser who smelled a good book to add to his shining resume.

So the good Rabbi got the unsuspecting Mottel to give him the manuscript to have it translated into English. It had been published previously as a Yiddish book entitled "זכרונות פון גולאג" and was ready for the English version.

Here's what Mottel had to say when the book was published: (I have a copy of the letter in PDF format, which is difficult to post here)

"This book was not the brainchild and compilation of the author as he would like to portray"....

And despite countless requests to see the manuscript before publication he avoided showing it to any of my family members, Instead he rushed to print my work heavily censoring out (to my utter dismay) any reference to Lubavitch, their leaders, or the Yeshivah Tomchei Tmimim"......

"I do not take part in the attempt to erase the history of my dear Rebbes who stood by me in my dark days in Soviet Russia and its gulags."

What kind of a man would do something like that to a broken, old man?!

and he calls himself a Rabbi?!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

SHTUREM.NET is covering the story...החסיד מרוסיה מאשים את הרב הליטאי בזיוף חמור

החסיד מרוסיה מאשים את הרב הליטאי בזיוף חמור

פרשת זיוף נחשפת בימים אלה בארה"ב, במרכזה ניצב חסיד חב"ד, הרב מרדכי ליפשיץ , ומנגד, הרב דוד גולדואוסער, רב ליטאי בארה"ב • "התרגום של ספרי נדפס ללא איזכור של ליובאוויטש, מנהיגיה האדמו"רים, ישיבת תו"ת, הוא מחק את ליובאוויטש מכתב היד, ואף המציא חומר אותו בדה מליבו", כותב בכאב ובזעם המחבר החב"די של הספר המקורי • הסיפור המלא

Uniqe Visiters

web site hit counter