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Eifoh Yossele? Where is Yossele Schumacher?

shoemacher.jpg[The following article appears in this weeks Yated. No part of this article may be reprinted without exclusive permission from the Yated.] –In Monticello, New York!! We kid you not. This past Shabbos, the famous Yossele Schumacher, whose struggle to live a Torah life galvanized the Jewish world in the 1960’s, came back to upstate New York for a visit, to meet with his adoptive family, the Gertners.

The visit was arranged by the “Tzeitshrift,” a popular Yiddish weekly magazine, which had been covering the Yossele Schumacher story in great detail for the past seven weeks. The historical story was a hit, receiving lots of attention and letters from those who personally remembered the details.

One thing led to another, and the “Tzeitshrift” decided to treat Yossele and his wife to a week’s vacation in the States, an unofficial reunion with the Gertners.

To the Gs’ surprise and delight, Yossele and his wife—they have retained their traditional name of “Shumacher,” readily accepted. After being picked up from the airport by the “Tzeitshrift,” Yossele was taken to the Catskills, where he spent a beautiful Shabbos in Relax  Inn, a country hotel owned by Reb Moshe, the Gertners youngest  son.

On their way to the Catskills, the entourage made a detour in Kiryas Yoel, where a wide-eyed Yossele was shown the large Bais Medrash and thriving community built around it. On Shabbos, the regular guests at Relax Inn were astonished to find that the G’s were hosting a secular Israeli couple, and treating them like royalty.

Soon word leaked out—this ‘celebrity’ was the famous Yossele, the subject of an intense manhunt by the Shin Bet, which turned the State of Israel upside down in the 1960’s.  No longer the soulful little boy who had dominated the newspapers and media at the time, Yossele is now 53, a white-haired, paunchy father of three grown daughters.

Yet despite his intense indoctrination against Torah and mitzvos in the years after he was captured, Yossele showed an intense curiosity during his Shabbos with the Gs. He joined the minyan for shacharis, tried to sing zemiros at the seudos, and broke into an impromptu dance with Reb Chaim Elozor Gertner at the special melavah malka in his honor.

Though he repeatedly requested that the media keep its distance, Yossele was eager to share recollections and memories of those three fateful years, when his grandfather, Reb Nachman Shtarks, sent him to live with friends in the hope of keeping him frum. Sadly, three years of devoted effort came to naught when the Shin Bet abandoned all their ‘side’ projects, focusing only on capturing Yossele and restoring their wounded pride.

For those who are old enough to have grown up in the Sixties, when the song “Eifoh Yossele?” Where is Yossele, was on everyone’s lips, and the little girls on the block jumped rope in time to the tune, the story needs no elaboration.  But for the benefit of the ‘youngsters’, we hereby reprint highlights of the gripping, sensational story, as serialized in the “Tzeitshrift.”

Yossele’s Tale

Yossele Schumacher was born in the mid 1950’s, in rabidly Communist Russia, the second child of Ida and Alter Schumacher. As was common in those poverty-stricken days, Yossele and his sister Tzinah were raised by their grandparents, Reb Nachman and Miriam Shtarks, devoted Breslover chasidim. Young Yossele was a precocious child, who absorbed knowledge like a sponge. His Zeide shepped much nachas from the five year old, and yearned to raise him as a proud Jew, without having to hide from the menacing KGB.

Eventually, after years of suffering under Communist oppression, Reb Nachman Shtarks, his wife, and son Sholom were granted visas to Eretz Yisroel. They soon settled in Yerushalayim, and waited for the rest of their family to join them. Three months later, the younger Schumachers were also given permission to emigrate, bringing ten year old Tzinah and five year old Yossele with them.

The first few months were difficult for the new immigrants, who had to acclimatize to a new and foreign environment. When Reb Nachman offered to raise Yossele and his sister, Ida eagerly agreed to get her children off her hands. Tzinah was sent to a frum boarding school, while little Yossele learned Torah at his Zeide’s knee. It was an idyllic situation, but tragically, not destined to last.

Sadly, Ida and Alter Schumacher, who had retained their Jewish identity in the midst of the Soviet oppression, had been resettled in a secular environment by the Israeli officials, who wanted to stamp out every last vestige of their Yiddishkeitand create a generation of “new’ Jews.

They had already robbed the precious orphans of the Six Million kedoshim of their Yiddishkeit in the secular kibbutzim, and now they wanted to do the same to the vulnerable Russian immigrants.

Alter and Ida’s smattering of Jewish knowledge was no match for the rampant forces of assimilation surrounding them. Within a matter of time, they had shed every last vestige of Torah and mitzvos, and decided to raise their children as secular Jews. Ida showed up at her father’s door one day and asked for her son, planning to send him to public school. (Some say she wanted to take him back to Russia and raise him as a Communist, but this point is hotly disputed by Yossele himself.)

When Reb Nachman Shtarks realized the spiritual danger his grandson was in, he acted drastically. With the advice and blessing of several rabbonim, Reb Nachman hid young Yossele among friends, so that his precious einikel, his pride and joy, would remain an ehrliche Yid.

When Alter and Ida discovered that the child was gone, they were livid. They immediately contacted the Israeli police, who at first were not interested in the story. But soon the Israelis realized what this was all about—an elderly, ‘fanatic’ man who kidnapped a child in order to raise him as a ‘dati’, to spit in their faces and trample on their pride. A cry of anger was raised, as the media and the courts turned in fury upon the old man, in the winter of 1960, warning him to give back the child.

Instead of giving in to their demands, the determined elderly man summoned the inner strength he utilized in Russia against the Communists, and said, “I was not afraid of the heretics there, and I will not tremble before the heretics here!” His courageous proclamation rallied the entire frum world to his side. Many rabbonim announced that all ehrliche Yidden were obligated to help Reb Nachman in his mission.

The police now mobilized to scour the country in search of Yossele. It became urgent to smuggle the child abroad and find him surrogate parents.

Ruth’s Mission

Ruth Ben David, a righteous and talented convert, (later to become Rebetzin Ruth Blau, the wife of Rav Amram Blau,) agreed to carry out the mission, and went to meet with the boy in his place of hiding. After being inspired by the child’s courage, she resolved to find a way to spirit Yossele out of the country, a truly difficult feat, as his pictures adorned nearly every billboard in the State.

Ruth wasted no time in putting her plan into action. Her only hope was to disguise the young boy as a girl, but first she needed a passport for her imaginary ‘daughter.’
Since she held French citizenship, Ruth traveled to France with a picture of Yossele, in order to secure a visa for the child.

In Geneva she went to a touch-up expert, this was in the days before phot-shop, who transformed the picture of the pudgy boy into a cute little girl. Ruth took the altered picture to the Israeli consulate to obtain a tourist visa for herself and her daughter, “Claudine.”

It was not easy to board the ship with a nonexistent daughter and to pass through passport control, but to ensure Yossele’s safe passage, “Claudine” had to appear on the lists, and the passport had to be stamped with an exit visa. Ruth davened for Siyata Dishmaya, which was not long in coming.

As she boarded the ship, she told authorities her daughter was coming in a few moments, and waited anxiously as they stamped her papers. Trembling in fear, she tried to collect her wits, while whispering a fervent tefillah. Suddenly, she heard a mother calling her daughter, Claudine, one of her seven young children. Relieved beyond words, Ruth offered to watch little Claudine for the rest of the journey, and her mother eagerly agreed. Now Ruth’s alibi was complete.

In the meantime, the entire Eretz Yisroel was in turmoil. The police arrested Reb Nachman and tortured him, but he refused to say where the child was hiding. The media began to hound the chareidim, taunting them with the battle cry, “Eifoh Yossele?”

It was into this frenzied backdrop that Ruth arrived, to liberate the poor child who was hiding in a dingy cellar somewhere. Using her talents at disguise, Ruth cut off Yossele’s peyos, and dressed him as a girl. Then, only a week after she arrived from France, Ruth and her little daughter, Claudine, slipped onto a flight to Italy, under the noses of the unsuspecting Israeli border guards. From Italy, they took a train to Lucerne, Switzerland, where Claudine became a boy once more, known as Menachem Levy.

The child remained in Switzerland for a year, under Ruth’s care, and was then moved to France, because Ruth was terrified that the detectives would close in on their whereabouts. For seven months, young ‘Menachem’ learned in a yeshiva in Foubline, where the now-ten year old child was able to play with other boys his age.

But the noose was tightening. Soon even their hideout in France wasn’t safe. The Israelis were furious at their failure, and ordered the Shin Bet to abandon their other high-priority missions, (some say their mission to track down Dr. Mengele,) in order to focus on capturing Yossele. When Prime Minister David Ben Gurion would wake up in the morning, the first question on his lips was, “Has Yossele been found yet?”

The Israeli police eventually arrested the couple that sheltered Yossele during his months of hiding in Eretz Yisroel, and the name “Ruth Ben-David” was placed on high alert. Ruth realized she needed to act quickly. She knew a Chasidishe family in Williamsburg who would be perfect to shelter the child, now known as Yankele Frankel.

Yankele becomes Yossele

Wasting no time, they immediately traveled to the States, where ‘Yankele’ moved in with the Gs, who lived in a modest apartment on Penn Street. The eleven year old child was to remain there for only three months, hidden in the home and trembling in fear of being caught, before the noose finally tightened around its prey.

Ruth went back to France, where she made a colossal mistake. Nervous about being caught, she decided to place her house for sale, and buy an apartment in Eretz Yisroel. She contacted a realtor, who set up an appointment with a man named “Mr. Farber.”
Only when she arrived at the “attorney’s office” did Ruth sense something was amiss. Mr. Farber looked suspicious and way too sinister, not like someone about to close a sale on a home.  Realizing it was a trap, she frantically plotted to slip away. As she stepped out of the car, she intentionally forgot her purse on the seat. “Take your purse with you,” commanded Mr. Farber in a stern voice.

Quaking in fear, Ruth realized the game was over. She was dragged up a narrow, winding staircase leading to a tiny room. Inside the room was the head of the Shin Bet, a fearsome man with a large head, dyed hair and dark sunglasses. His two assistants grabbed the purse from her hands, opened it and emptied the contents onto the table.
“Mrs. Ben David,” he barked. “You did not come here to sell your house. You came here with a far more important purpose in mind. Now tell us where Yossele is!”

Ruth was held and harshly interrogated for several days, during which she was told that her son had betrayed her, (a false accusation,) and that her family was in danger. The vaunted Shin Bet agent, Isser Harel, who achieved fame for tracking the Nazi Eichman, was flown in to crack her. The hard-nosed interrogators were quite good at what they did, and they were able to ply here with enough information which they had gleaned about the case to make it appear as if her son had spilled the goods already, anyway. They also promised to guarantee Yossele a religious education among other phony promises and played mind games with her until they got the information they were looking for.

In the meantime, Yossele was being held in Williamsburg, where no one, including his next door neighbors, knew of his existence. Late one Motzoei Shabbos the doorbell rang, and two stern men, who identified themselves as “immigration officers,” asked to see Yankele Frankel.

“Who brought him here?” they demanded, scrutinizing the quavering boy.
“His mother.”
“Can we see the boy’s passport?”
“His mother has it.”
“Then we’ll have to take the boy with us to verify his identity.”

Ignoring his terrified cries, two Shin-bet agents forced the child to pack his belongings, and spirited him away, allowing Rabbi Gertner to accompany him. For days they ruthlessly interrogated their helpless prey, until they finally broke his spirit.

Preying on the little boy’s innocence, they painted a picture of his poor mother, crying for her only son back home.  Yankele finally admitted that he was Yossele Schumacher, but pleaded that he wanted to stay in America and go to yeshiva.

While this drama was taking place, the Israelis were placing heavy pressure upon the American government to allow them to extradite Yossele, even betraying an American spy who had sought shelter in Israel—one of their own—in exchange. Yossele was the prize they had waited so long for, their ultimate triumph over the charedim.

Yossele’s Zeide, broken and battered from his years of languishing in jail, was let out of jail the day his grandson arrived back in Israel but was not permitted to see him. Yossele arrived in Israel to great fanfare. Thousands gathered that Wednesday at Lod Airport for a hero’s welcome. School children were bussed in and sand a special song which was composed especially for the historic spectacular moment. The grandfather stood on the side crying out “Yosele, Yossele,” but no one heard him. The media had a field day, photographing the ‘kidnapped child’ being embraced by his parents, who had never bothered or cared for him, foisting him on the Zeide. It was only when they were afraid that Reb Nachman would ‘steal his soul’ that they were so eager to have him back….
At first, Yossele was miserable, pining for his adoptive family and yeshiva, insisting on keeping Shabbos and kosher. However they got to him. He was turned over to a team of psychiatrists charged with the duty of wiping out his past. A month later triumphant pictures were published in the media of the new Yoseleh, shorn of his peyos and old religious identity.

The child forgot about Torah and mitzvos, and put his past behind him. The years went by, and Yossele Schumacher became a secular youth, the symbol of Israel’s ‘triumph over the backward chareidim.’ He joined the army, then married and raised a family, sadly never returning to his religious Jewish roots.

Decades passed. The sensationalism of the story began to fade away, and “Eifoh Yossele” was no longer the battle cry it once had been. The ‘glorious era of Zionism’ came to an ignoble end, as the new generation ignored the sacrifices of their fathers, wanting to be like all the nations.

As for Yossele? The secular businessman maintained infrequent contact with some of his former friends, though he preferred not to dwell upon the past. During all these years, he had never actually met the Gs, or relived the memories of when he was first captured.
And now, thanks to the efforts of “Tzeitshrift,” who used their contacts to offer Yossele and his wife a trip back in time, the original “Yossele Schumacher” met his former ‘brothers’ and joined them for an inspiring Shabbos. Several days later, in an emotional reunion, he met the elderly Mrs. Gertner, who had been his second mother so many years ago…

And then the visit was over. After just one week, Yossele went back to Israel, a lost Jewish soul who could have raised a family of Bnei Torah, another link on the chain of eternity, had not the Israeli government ripped that chain asunder in a battle cry of “Eifoh Yossele.”

How many Yossel’s are there still out there waiting for us to throw them a life line and discover their glorious Jewish heritage. Let’s not wait till it’s too late and reach out to them with love.

© 2007 Yated Neeman.

78 Responses

  1. I remember the panic around the world when Yossele went missing. I clearly recall that there were rumours that he was in London and the police came to search our school. The final sentance in the story is so correct. Look at the story which has been circulating in London recently that some parents following the Mesorti (Conservative) tradition have complained about the fact the – nebech – their children have learnt some Torah from Aish or JLE (Dvar Yerushalayim) kiruv workers at the Jew’s Free School.

  2. i have to take exception with the ‘Yated’.

    it seems that ANYONE who doesn’t follow the strict jewsh religous lifestyle of the litvakis in BneiBrak is considered a lost jewish soul.

    this is totaly WRONG!

    Yosselh IS a shomer shabbos.
    probably NOT like the Yated’s style. He doesn’t wear a ‘kapoteh’, nor does he subscribe to any Brisker chumrehs.

    this i heard from Ruth ben David herself.

    she was up in Monsey a couple of years ago and showed up at a relative’s house to colect for some kiruv project she was involved in.

    since i lived close by, my relative called me and told me who is at his house
    i came over and we were chatching about the various kiruv projects she was involved at that time (mostly in France).

    during the course of chating, I asked her what ever happened to Yosele.
    and she told me that after his mother got him back, he slowly regresed and got cut off completely from yidishkeit. BUT as he grew older, he came back somewhat. Not like we would have wanted (and these were Ruth’s words herself), but he IS a shomer Shabbos, he is married and raises his children yiddish.

    BUT i can’t blame the Yated for their narrowminded views.

  3. You are totally wrong.

    He sadly is 100% chiloni and is not a shomer shabbos.
    Call the Gertners who just spent Shabbos with him.

  4. And after reading this who can object to calling the zionist Nazis? The Nazis may have killed us physically, but the zionists killed us spiritually. Which is worse?

    BTW, the heroes of the story Harav Amrom Blau and hs Rebbetzin Ruth are the founders of Neteurei Karta.

  5. Even if he came back to Yiddishkeit after the crimes the zionists commited against him, it does not forgive the rotzchim amongst the zionists.

    He came back despite the zionists, not because of them.

  6. scy4851,
    I was made to understand that this man is not shomer shabbos. He B”H spent a shabbos with his ‘family’ and as MBD says ‘Just one shabbos’ you never know how long it will be before he is shomer shabbos BE’H.

  7. Joseph says;

    ‘The Nazis may have killed us physically, but the zionists killed us spiritually. Which is worse?’

    I recommended lozengas for you cough on the last thread. However, I cannot recommend anything for ‘foot in mouth’ disease! sorry!(and I aint no Zionist either)

  8. What an incredible story.

    I’m just so curious if something like this would happen today, what would Daas Torah say regarding kidnapping to save a child from leaving yiddishkeit. Any thoughts?

  9. The bottom line is that we see what Reshoyim the Zionists were. Shem Rashoyim Yirkav. They were Chota Machty as Horabim Vein Lohem Chelek Baolam Habah.

  10. Kidnapped a child, sending him overseas away from his biological parents, to ensure a chinuch that the zeide demanded. WOW!
    I remember talk of this event when I was young. The bloggers here want to know, was Daas Torah asked at that time? To who, by who, with what details.. Do not judge any issue by the YATED only, there is always more that meets the eye.
    B”H Yosselle is living now bmenuchas hanefesh, and has had an opportunity to be reunited with important individuals in his life. He is a well respected resident in a yishuv in the shomron, let us hear more about his last 30 years.

  11. scy4851: The issue with Yossel is not whether he keeps Shabbos today. Even if he has come back somewhat, the Zionists’ aim was to uproot that competely. The Zaida’s aim was to prevent that from happening. If decades later, he has begun to do some things, it only a very small nechama, and does not mitigate one bit the terrible avla perpetrated by the chilonim. They did not even want him to be shomer Shabbos with a kipah seruga and sandles. And if the Yated is upset about that, and and you take exception with their position, as usual, I believe that the Torah is on the side of the Yated, once again!

  12. this happened recently where a young boy wanted to live with his Rav. his parents I think were divorced (could be wrong) and the mother sent him for Bar Mitzvah lessons to a Rav. The boy liked it and wanted to stay. The Rav AND his wife were convicted the Rav went to jail – not sure if she received jail time.

  13. cityofgold

    from my talk with Ruth it was obvious that she had some ‘shaiches’ with Yosele all these years which neither the Gertners nor that ‘frum’ mouthpiece from BneiBrak had.

    Ruth even told us where Yoseleh lived at the time.

    the Gertners DONT know his level of shmirat hamitzvohs. they are judging him by THEIR level.

    and i dont blame them.

    when you live in a closed society it is somewhat hard to grasp that there are other flavors of yidden oiskehalten not 100% but 1000%.

    and don’t get me wrong, I grew up in just such an evironment, i still live in one, and i wouldn’t think of going elsewhere.

    ah ‘gitter yid’ once said

    Chaza”l designated different days on Purim to read the megillah for diferent segments of people to teach us that we have to tolerate and respect other yidden even if they serve Hashem not the same way as you.

    some out there, have a hard time swallowing this.

  14. I have no hesitation comparing the physical crimes against Yidden by the Nazis to the spiritual crimes against the Yidden by the zionists. I for one think the spiritual crimes are worse than the physical ones.

    I do stand corrected though. Rebbetzin Ruth married Harav Amrom Blau long after he formed Neteurei Karta.

    And yes, many of the people today claiming to be Neteurei Karta today have no shaichos to the tzaddikim of Harav Amrom Blau’s Neteurei Karta.

    Finally, Daas Torah has made itself consistently clear over the years (including a case in Monsey about 10 years ago) that if a child wishes to learn Torah and be brought up in Torah, and the parents refuse, it is not only permissable but mandatory to assist the child in escaping his parents wrong ways and doing all one can to bring the child up in the ways of the Torah.

  15. midwesterner

    you COMPLETELY missed the point.

    let me quote from the article

    “The child forgot about Torah and mitzvos, and put his past behind him. The years went by, and Yossele Schumacher became a secular youth, the symbol of Israel’s ‘triumph over the backward chareidim.’ He joined the army, then married and raised a family, sadly never returning to his religious Jewish roots. ”


  16. Wow! This story is heartrending. I remember hearing about it over the yrs but never got the real story. My father remembers it clearly bec he was a child in Williamsburg at the time. Wasn’t the fiction, “Search my Heart”, slightly based on this story?
    Whether he’s not frum or slightly frum, fact is the Zionists did a terrible act. Shame on them!

  17. “Sorry, but regardless of his god intentions, the child was kidnapped, which is against the law.”

    which law?

    “God intentions?”

    i think a Malach was guiding your hand

  18. brumfin:
    there was a story like this about 10 years ago.
    the Shia Fima parsha with Rav Helbrens up in Monsey.

  19. I stand to be corrected but I think Rav Solovetchik left Lucerne at the time for fear of the Swiss since he was involved with hiding the boy!

  20. It is totally irrelevent if Yossle is now a shomer Shabbos, the fact is that he was kidnapped and for that the kidnappers are chayev “Misah”
    There is no excuse to take a child away from their parents, if the grandfather was so concerned he should have brought up his children as Charidim, the fact is that ALL of his children went off the derech,
    Shame on all of us for this big Chillul Hashem!

  21. mdlevine – That is the same case I was reffering too. Te tzaddik Rav Hebrans is now living in Canada.

    Sat101 – The grandfather was a victim of communism. You cannot fault him for any failings in the upbringing of his children. And it is not only permissable but mandatory to help a child learn and grow up with the Torah despite his parents objections.

  22. He was not kidnapped from his parents. If you would have read the article you would have noticed that the parents had given the child to the grandfather to bring up. He did not kidnap him. All you Yated haters ought to go back and read the documented history of the story. You may be amazed at how rabbonim chashuvim like the Satmar Rebbe, Rav Mendelson from kommimius, Rav Soloveitchik, and many others, guided them every step of the way.
    Thank G-d we have the Yated and who are not embarressed to publish the truth.

  23. E,27th,


    Thats of major importance! If they ARE indeed related to Shloime, I cant understand the lack of responsibility on the part of ‘Yated’ in not including that fact in the article!!! SHAME ON THEM;))))))

  24. moshe fox

    the state of israel doesnt turn the entire country and a couple others upsid-down to find a missing child. you can check it up your self how many children were missing and have never been found. CLEARLY THEY HAVE AN AGENDA!!!!

    (p.s. what mitzvah is there to advocate for the defense of Israel all the time?)

  25. E. 27th;

    this is the family that owns or owned (i dont know the status at present) GoldenFlow milk. they are ‘Malochim’, an offshoot from Chabad before Reb Yosef Yitchok became Rebbeh.

  26. pete:
    the COMPLETE story is true EXCEPT for the statement that he left his heritage for good.

    AND YES, Daas Torah WAS consulted at the time.

    i just wonder if the YATED consulted with Daas Torah before they wrote that false statement?’

  27. satmar101
    “…the fact is that ALL of his children went off the derech…” They came from a communist country that destroyed belief in G-d. it wasn’t the grandfathers doing it was where they were born and where they ended up living.

  28. Yeshivaworld has just spoken to the editors of the Tzeitshrift and confirmed what the Yated reported.

    In the EXACT words of the editor: The Yated wrote the article 100% accurately. The man is unfortunately a “Chiloni”. 

  29. Why does everyone run to attack the Yated??? R’ Lipschutz has a 15+ year history of bringing kosher, clean, and unbiased news to frum homes across the world. Not something the jewish press can show off!! We all need to apologize for attacking this chosuve news outlet.

  30. Although I don’t agree with the Yated all the time (I’m more to the right), it seems, ahem, some commentator here owes the Yated an apology.

  31. A few years ago. Yossele and family attended a chasanah of cousins at Kfar Chabad, the family name is Chen.

  32. Within the past 2 months, Kfar Chabad printed an article about Yossele, in which it said that he does occasionally or even regularly show up at his local Beis Chabad, but the article was clear that he does not live a frum lifestyle, only that he “connects” via the Chabad facility.

    I will see if I still have the article; if so I will translate the pertinent paragraphs and post them here before Shabbos BH IYH.

    Looks like Yossele wants to be in the limelight again after a very ordinary life and that he is in contact with some “haredi” PR agency that got him the Kfar Chabad interview and this reunion. Or just maybe he is on the road back to Avinu Shebashamayim.

  33. he met mrs gertner who is about 90. he was realy happy to see her and talk with her in legnth. its possible that he will become a bal tzhuvah. hashem yazor. his brother in low is a a real frum bal tshuvah, so its possible

  34. I just spoke to Yossel’s first cousins. I do business with them. They are a very choshuver Lubavitcher family in London. Their name is Shtroks.

    He told me that theonly person to ever sit in jail over this story was his father, an eltere Lubavitcher chosid from Russia. The UK put him away for 6 months, since the Israeli govt thought Yossel was in London and being that he is his uncle, Rabbi Shtroks was the one who paid.

    Interastingly, he told me that the Kfar Chabad magazine did a 5 page artcile on all this, only 2 months ago. (oooh, someone stealing ideas…)

    He also told me that he is traditional. He wife bentches licht, he learns chumash and puts on tefillin.

  35. Oh my gosh! Everybody is so focused on the wrong thing. The point of this posting was to highlight a historical reunion which took place between the famous “Yossele” and his adoptive family and everyone is sitting here arguing over whether or not hes frum & what exactly defines “frum” anyway ??! being shomer shabbos ? I think the bottom line is that Yossele obviously does not have any negative feelings towards the Gertners otherwise he would not be interested in meeting them, let alone spending an entire shabbos with them . He probably has some feelings of gratitude towards them for taking him in. Also just an aside-so sad how the Israeli goverment put all their priorities on hold in order to recapture Yossele. It was obviously a case of secular vs. daati & they just felt they couldnt lose the battle . They may have the won the battle-but the ultimate war -the religious people (we) are winning because BH there are so many people returning to their roots, so many children are returning their parents to their roots, look how many yeshivas & bais yaakovs there are in Israel and all over so yeah were winning & will ultimately win. Also you cant call this a kidnapping because Yossle at that time as it appears was given to his grandfather & he WANTED to stay frum & in a yeshiva. well anyway Hashem has His ways of doing things and Im sure somehwere down the line some descedant of Yossele will be a righteous, religious Jew !

  36. YW what Tzeitshrift calls chiloni, is that halachikally chiloni?
    Does he fast on yom kippur? Most probably
    Does he drive a car on Shabbos? most probably not
    Does he eat basar lavan – treif? most probably not

    even if he does not go to shul on shabbos, or eats standard rabbanut kosher, or doesnt wear a yarmulka, does not make him a mumor – chiloni

  37. and how does Tzeitshrift know what level of shmiras hamitzvohs Yoseleh is at?

    and what now? do i have to conclude that Ruth ben David is a liar?

  38. Moshe, you say;

    ‘The aim of the Israeli govt. at the time in this particular case was to return a child to his parents. Tsk, tsk, how terrible those Zionist bogeymen are…

    You and Joseph are both very , articulate men with opposing opinions.However when it comes to the issue of Zionism, I must say that he makes a stronger case against them than you do FOR them(although I dont agree with his alluding to Zionists as Nazis).

    Do you realLy think the Israeli Government would have made the same effort had this child been from a staunch Charedi family?

  39. The argument over whether this man is at present “really frum,” “a bit frum,” “completely not frum,” “not nearly frum enough,” “not frum at all,” seems so very childish. Mir Hobin Doh ah Machloikes Tzuvishin Dem Yated Un D”Hamodia, Un Dem Litvackes Mit De Chabadskis.” Who cares!
    Seems to me the heart of this story is to see if we can find out the real truth behind the motivation of the Israeli government in making such a big issue and taking such exaggerated actions over this.
    Was it really because they considered it a simple case of kidnapping? Or was their motivation more sinister, in that they couldn’t bear to see a child brought up in a Frum environment?
    The story says, “They immediately contacted the Israeli police, who at first were not interested in the story. But soon the Israelis realized what this was all about—an elderly, ‘fanatic’ man who kidnapped a child in order to raise him as a ‘dati’, to spit in their faces and trample on their pride.” Assuming that the Tzeitshrift and the Yated have done their research and this statement is the true motivating factor behind the zeal that the Israeli government showed, then this is a true tragedy.

  40. The bottom line is that even if he’s slightly frum and not entirely chiloni (which hopefully is true), had he been raised by his grandfather, he would’ve been very frum. So the story is just as sad. The fact that he keeps some mitzvos is no credit at all to those Zionists.

  41. Moshe,

    Yosselle was not kidnapped. He went on his own volition. He did not want to leave his hosts when the zionist gestapo caught up with him. AND his grandfather was given custody of him by his parents.

    However observant he is today (if he is), it is no credit to the zionist reshoyim but rather despite them. If they had there way, when they cut his payos off and took his yarlmulka away and took him away from Torah study, they would have made sure the payos never grew again and that he never would look at an open chumush again.

    My thinking is not 19th century thought, as you claim. It is (approximately) 10th century BCE thought, imparted to our people at Mount Sinai. And its relevancy, as well as its proponents and adherents, continues just as strongly into the 21st century CE.

  42. aishas chayil
    I find both Moshe & Jos well matched, and info can be learnt from both. (Jos deals with past info while Mo is more contemporary)
    What’s the slightly frum, very frum, somewhat frum lingo about? How about YW EDITOR contacting Yosselle and asking for an interview? Ask some questions, get some answers, only the last 30 years that he can reliably speak about. Where is his sister,does she have a family? Are his parents alive today, and what are their attitudes and view of the case in retrospect?

  43. Joseph,

    You make some good points but you lose your credibility when you begin with those ridiculous allusions! I suggest you google the following:
    MBD sings Av Harachamim, the 3m’s event London 2007….look at the clip , I doubt you will ever compare Nazis to Zionists again.Be it as a physical destruction or spirutal!

    Sayit you say,

    Jos deals with past info while Mo is more contemporary)

    Well he responded very well. Torah’s Moshe Misinai is our PAST PRESENT AND FUTURE! there are some things that never change for us.


    I’m a lot more open-minded than you give me credit for! But as I said, we stick to our traditions even if they may not be as ‘upbeat’ or innovative as would suit contemparary society.
    Basically Zionism is moving away from religion rather than embracing it!

  44. Aishes Chayil,

    Firstly, thank you for your vote of confidence in me. That being said, MBD is not the representitive of the Jewish people, as great of a singer he is. Our representitives are the likes of the Brisker Rov and the Satmar Rebbe. You should see the language they use regarding the zionists y’s. It makes my comments seem like praising the zionists.

    And like you alluded, the Torah does not change for ‘contemporary times.’ It is eternal.

    The zionists have delayed the arrival of Moshiach. This is not a fact I make, but rather those of our leaders. The list of crimes against Torah and humanity committed by the zionists is a long one.

  45. Joseph,

    Lol! The point was not Mordechai’s singing talents! The point was the clip where you see the barbaric Nazi Rishoyim cut off payos, enslave and torture yidden . Then we see the Zionists fighting wars and falling for innocent Jews. Come on, you gotta admit the comparison is absurd!

    Ther e is indeed what to criticize, but please please, dont compare Ben Gurion and his gang to Hitler and his henchmen! You just denigrate that painful period in history! watch the clip.

  46. ps Joseph, one more thing, you say;
    likes of the Brisker Rov and the Satmar Rebbe. You should see the language they use regarding the zionists y’

    Those names are ‘big shoes to fill ‘. We ,’ben oynim’, have a lot more to learn from them before we earn the opperutnity to be as judgemental as they are. Lets leave the heavy criticism for them….

  47. Aishes Chayil,

    Okay, I’ll grant it to you, the Nazis were worse than the zionists. This is so even though the Nazis attacked us physically while the zionists attacked us spiritually.


    The Torah began flourishing in Eretz Yisroel prior to the advent of zionism. And its rate of growth in the holy land continued unabated (only) depite zionism, which constantly tried to stifle it, not because of or any credit to zionism. Torah Yidden were settling in Eretz Yisroel prior to the advent of zionism at a brisk rate of growth prior to the establishment of the zionist state and continued to do so despite the arrival of the zionist entity.

  48. Moshe,

    I am not questioning your frumkeit at all! I am certainly not trying to slilence you but I totally agree with Joseph with regard to sayit’s comment. what is the
    definiton of ‘contemparay’ with regard religion?? our religion?

    OFCOURSE I DIFFERNATIATE BETWEEN RELGIOUS zIONISM AND sECULAR. wHAT KIND OF QUESTION IS THAT??? But their hashkofoh still differs from mine and most other Charedim, thats all!

  49. Aishes Chayil, One of the many comments by the tzaddikim regarding the zionists that is far stronger than any I made above is the Satmar Rebbe placing the blame of the holocaust squarely on the shoulders of the zionists (in addition to his blaming them for delaying Moshiach.)

    Moshe, Torah Yidden settled in Eretz Yisroel before the zionists. The Torah was built up in Eretz Yisroel before the zionist state. And its rate of growth continued post-zionism despite the zionists best efforts to interfere and interrupt the Torah revival in the holy land. None of it is to their credit.

  50. without getting into the whole inane argument, I’d just make two quick comments:
    One: The MBD video seems to be agreeing that the Zionists are pretty big reshaim and anti-torah. Watch the last minute as they beat the hooey out of the settlers from Gush Katif.
    (For what that’s worth.)

    Two: Moshe Fox, I hate to criticize, but your posts are impossible to read. The mix of high-falutin language and drawn-out nitpicking is exceedingly boring. Sharpen up the writing, I’m sure you’ve got some excellent opinions hidden in there.

  51. The arguement is BUT SO NOT INANE! The position Klall Yisroel is in and opinions between our people are very significant. I didnt notice the last minute of the video and we all agree that the Israeli police can be brutal. On the other hand the video depicts how Zionists(even secular) put their lvies on the line to protect their citizens(religious or not).

    Moseh Fox,

    I think I came across opinionated enough WITHOUT implying that I would prefer Israel to be under Arab sovreignty.( I for the life of me to dont undertand how you gathered that from my posts)

    But I will still reinforce a point that i have called on you about before. Charedim are bringing the geulah CLOSER, NOT FURTHER. Why any Torah Jew as well informed as you cannot accept that, is something I will never be able to figure out.

  52. And Moshe, you ought to retract the false allegation of kidnapping you leveled at the righteous grandfather. He was granted custody of Yossele by his parents.

  53. Moshe, You are incorrect about the historical facts of this case. Nevertheless wheher you accept it or not, it is a halachic fact that a child is OBLIGATED to refuse to follow his parents if they insist he violate the Torah.

    And calling a Jewish rotzeach (like the zionists) to the carpet for their crimes is permitted to stop a fellow Jew from falling to their evil ways.

  54. Moshe, Even if Yossele had no Halachic Daas, others had a halachic obligation to assist and enable him to follow the Torah as is his duty, even though his parents wanted him to follow a non-Torah path.

  55. Moshe Fox,

    I fully agree that Sinas Chinom is a hinderence and delays the Geulah. But please be informed that it comes from all sides. I once witnessed a modern orthodox Jew mocking a CHassidesher guy about his curly payos. I think Joseph conceded that it is vile to refer to Zionists as Nazis so I think it best that we let that part go. My point was that the gemarah , something you certainly are better acquanited with then I am, refers to a chosid as someone who is ‘lifnim meshuras hadin’. People ARE MORE makpid than others are certainly admired by G-d. Therefore, they should also be acknowledged by Man.

  56. AC – Upon further consideration the best way to put it I think is that to compare the zionists to Nazis would be a gross exaggeration.

    But it must be pointed out that various Gedolei Yisroel have put blame on the activities of the zionists for what occured during the war to European Jewry.

    Nevertheless I will not further debate this point endlessly.

  57. Moshe, in regards to your comments to AC as to where sinas chinom is far more pervasive; you are in no position to judge one community vs. another community. And even though I strongly (personally) disagree with your assesment of the chareidi vs. the modern communities and find it to be quite the opposite, I too am not one to issue such a judgement.

    Regarding your response my previous comments, this is a new position you are staking in this thread. Previously you had no compunctions calling the grandfather a kidnapper and (effectively) maintaining that in fact no one had a right to bring him up in a Torah environment. Now you are backtracking and saying that we should see how the poskim of the time paskened.

    Frankly it was Daas Torah at the time that gave the go-ahead for the tzaddikim who tried to save Yossele’s neshomo to go ahead and do so. And it is without question that chilul hashem and dina d’malchusa (which many in any event paskened does not even apply to zionist laws in the holy land) takes a back-seat to insuring a Yiddishe Neshomo is brought up in a Torah environment, instead of as a secularist violating the Torah.

    In civility.

  58. So you do not deny that it was halachically correct (you defer on this point.) So let us agree for argument sake it was halachically correct. Everything else (gov’t laws, so-called kidnapping, possible chillul hashem, etc.) becomes meaningless. If it was halachically correct to save Yossele’s neshomo, that is the end of the story.

    The Daas Torah that guided the attempted rescue of Yossele’s neshomo was Gedolei Yisroel recognized (if not necessarily always agreed with) across Klal Yisroel. The people who tried to save Yossele did not do so on their own initiative.

  59. You said since you are not a poisek that:

    it would be instructive to see whether poskim of the time tackled the issue.

    So you deferred to that.

    Do you actually believe that our chachomim would put themselves at risk by providing a written record of their psak halacha that saving Yossele’s neshomo is permissible? For what, to have the zionists come with their usual tactics of beating them to a pulp and using their written psak as a justification for it? A verbal psak has the same force of din, without the unnecessary risk. There is no halachic requirement that a psak be committed to writing, especially when doing so puts the poisek at risk from the governmental authorities.

    And suppose that Daas Torah paskened in a certain way, but some other Daas Torah disagreed and said it could not be done. If someone follows his Daas Torah that paskened it must be done, he cannot be criticized for doing so just because another Daas Torah disagreed.

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