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SHOCKING: Newlywed Sephardic Woman In Brooklyn Discovers Her Husband May Be Palestinian

A shocking story came to light on Sunday of a Jewish newlywed Sephardic woman in Brooklyn who recently discovered that her new husband, supposedly named Eliya, may not be a Lebanese Sephardi Jew as he claimed but possibly a Muslim Palestinian who may have lived in Beirut.

Sources tell YWN that the FBI is involved in the shocking incident and the Jewish newlywed, who only got married a couple of weeks ago, is reportedly now living in a safe house. The woman had become suspicious of various things after living with him for a number of weeks, and one night she discovered a Lebanese passport with his photo and another name.

She immediately contacted family and friends, who reached out to the authorities.

The woman knew that Eliyah was from Lebanon but never doubted that he was Jewish since he was “frum” and spoke Hebrew fluently. He also had a convincing story about why he was cut off from his family. Additionally, he was affiliated with Chabad of Texas for about six-seven years.

Apparently, “Eliyah” learned Hebrew and Torah in Texas and then married her.

The man had allegedly produced a “family tree” (riddled with glaring inaccuracies), that even had Ashkenazi names in it (such as Meyer Lansky – the same name as the notorious mobster in the 1920’s.) He also claimed he worked for NSA, and even showed her a “letter” from his co-workers at NSA congratulating them on their wedding. His family did not attend the wedding, and he provided various reasons / excuses why they were all unable to attend.

In addition to the involvement of the FBI in the incident, the US Department of Homeland Security has been briefed about the story as well as the Israeli Consulate General. They are investigating if the man is in the United States legally or not.

In addition to the authorities investigating this shocking story, prominent Rabbonim and community organizations are investigating if in fact he does not have a Jewish mother.

At this point, the woman is being kept in a safe house, until a confirmation is made on his real identity.


The Rohr Chabad Jewish Student Center at Texas A&M is open to all Jewish faculty and students to explore Judaism.

In 2018 a student presenting himself as Eliyah Haliwa began visiting Chabad along with other local campus Jewish institutions (including serving as president at one of them). He would occasionally attend Shabbat meals at Chabad, and infrequently attended the services or Torah classes.

Last year he met a woman from N.Y. on a Jewish dating website.
He falsely presented himself to her as observant. When asked by the woman and her family, I informed them that his conduct did not reflect that of a fully observant Jew.

The fundamental responsibility of the officiating rabbi at a wedding, the mesader kiddushin, is to determine the Jewish status [birur hayahadut] of the couple and ensure that they are both Jewish, single and allowed to marry each other in accordance with Jewish law.

Accordingly, when Rabbi Ezra Zafrani, a respected Syrian rabbi in Lakewood, N.J., asked me if Eliyah was Jewish, I explicitly informed him that I did not know and that whoever was officiating would need to do a proper birur and would need to independently confirm his Jewish status.

The wedding itself was officiated by Rabbi Zafrani’s son, Rabbi David Zafrani. As my wife and I were in New York for other reasons, Rabbi David Zafrani, who was officiating in place of his father, and his wife, asked us to join the wedding. As the groom had no family attending, at the request of the couple and the Zafranis, we walked him down the aisle and I signed the ketubah, which had been drafted by Rabbi Ezra Zafrani. We were not officiating and our involvement was predicated on the understanding that, as supervising rabbis, Ezra and David Zafrani had done their due diligence to confirm the groom’s Jewish status.

In the ensuing weeks, it has come to light that the bride was aware that Eliyah was using a false name, information he concealed from others, when she learned of his Muslim name. We were clearly misled about his identity. Our hearts go out to this woman, her family and everyone else deceived by this individual here in Texas and in New York and New Jersey.

Rabbi Yossi Lazaroff

“Eliyah” with his alleged relatives.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

78 Responses

  1. As much as I appreciate Chabad activities, they cannot and should not be relied upon to vouch for someones Yiddishkeit.

  2. Ohevet Yisroel, i don’t think this is a fair comment. My Chabad rabbi asked for pics of my family’s stones, grandparents and other details. Every situation is different.

  3. @Ohevet Yisroel

    There’s no way for a Shliach to prove that he’s not Jewish (and honestly no reason to assume) if other Jews say they’re related to him. The bigger issue is your ahavas yisroel.

    Furthermore, Chabad doesn’t give a “hechsher” on who is Jewish – that’s for a Rav (Chabad or otherwise).

    Aside from all the above, this guy either has Jewish blood, or is a terrorist cell, as there doesn’t seem to be any other motive.

  4. Well as long as he is not a Mitzri or Amoni within 3 generations nor a Mamzer, he can simply convert, and she can remarry & enjoy her husband whom she is in love with.

  5. Ohevet Yisroel.
    1) I personally know a case where chabad found out that a girl is not Jewish although she learned in a very frum not chabad school.
    2) in this case, The chabad shliach whith whom this individual was in contact was asked and he said that he does not know any information to prove that he is Jewish. It was a non chabad Rav who was mesader kidushin thinking that his father a rav already looked into it and confirmed that he is Jewish.

  6. @Ohevet Yisroel – as much as I appreciate your passion for the Jewish people, you cannot and should not slander thousands of people who work tirelessly to help their fellow Jews and bring them closer to Judaism. Nowhere does it say that the Chabad vouched for his Judaism. As a matter of fact, the Chabad rabbi said that he cannot vouch for his Judaism when he was asked.

    The rabbi who officiates at a marriage is responsible to ensure that both parties are Jewish and are permitted to marry halachically. The failure of the woman’s family and rabbi to do so has nothing to do with Chabad.

  7. @Ohevet Yisroel- I don’t know about other Chabads, but Chabad in Russia requires proof of Jewish-ness (birth certificate, DNA test, etc) before a person is allowed to join programs, due to the high rate of intermarriage. Maybe not if they come for Shabbos here and there, but certainly if someone were to be affiliated for as long as the article says he was, they would need proof.

  8. Avenger, there’s no DNA test that can prove whether someone is Jewish according to halacha. I don’t know specifically about Chabad in Russia, but I know of a few instances where the Rabbis did not require checking Russian individuals’ yichus because the parents said they are Jewish.

    People who are defending making baalie teshuvas wholesale without checking into someone’s yichus, such as the Chabad Rabbi above, are doing tremendous damage to klal Yisroel and to genuine baalei teshuvas. This wholesale, indiscriminate, “baalei teshuva” making is causing real problems. Whether it is missionaries or simply non-Jews mixing with the frum oilim, I definitely blame the baal teshuva movement. These stories that are published are likely the top of the iceberg.

  9. Hello people, if the Israeli government gets its way, these stories will sadly be regular, every day occurrences. There is a real potential disaster looming, r”l.

  10. Chabad has a notorious record of many times advertising gentiles into their Jewish services.

    It is despicable that they’re trying to pass the buck and blame another rabbi by name.

    The FBI doesn’t investigate whether someone is not of the religion he claims to be.

  11. @philosopher – you seem to be willfully ignoring that chabad is not responsible for the negligence of the officiating rabbi. the chabad rabbi specifically said that he cannot vouch for this individuals jewishness. it is tragic and unfortunate that this was not properly investigated before they married – by the officiating rabbi and family

  12. Yaapchik is 100% right. But here’s a true story…American Rabbonim don’t check! When my daughter got married, my husband took my Kesubah to the Rav who was going to be mesadar keddushin. He thought my husband was nuts. But when WE got married, in UK, even though my father was an askan in the community, a pillar in the shul & a founder with his father and brother of the same shul, we still had to meet with the Rav & give him our mothers’ kesubot, which he sent to London to have verified.

    Years later, my father was very involved in a case with a local family where the mother of the kallah was a gioress. They raised their children as committed Jews, but on inspection of her gerus certificate, the Rav recognized that the “Rabbi” who was megyer the mother as a scammer. It worked out in the end thanks to my father, but otherwise they would have gotten married supposedly al pi Halacha… and you can figure out the rest.

    Nebach on this poor girl.

  13. From Chabad Texas:

    The Rohr Chabad Jewish Student Center in Texas is open to all Jewish faculty and students to get closer to Yidishkeit.

    In 2018, a student known to us as ‘Eliyahu Haliva’ began visiting Chabad together with Hillel, AEPi and other Jewish institutions on campus. He would occasionally come to eat at our Shabbat meals, and almost never attended the services or Torah lessons we offer regularly.

    Last year he met a woman from New York on a Jewish dating site. He introduced himself to her as an observant man. When asked by the woman and her family, we informed them that his behavior did not reflect the behavior of an observant Jew.

    The basic responsibility of the rabbi officiating the Kiddushin at a wedding is to conduct a full investigation of the couple, to make sure that they are both Jewish, single – and allowed to marry each other in accordance with Jewish law.

    Accordingly, when the rabbi – a respected Syrian rabbi in Lakewood, New Jersey – asked us if Elijah was Jewish, we explicitly informed him that we did not know and whoever sanctified the couple would have to make a proper inquiry and would have to independently confirm his Jewish status.

    The wedding itself was held by the rabbi’s son, also a prominent Sephardic rabbi. When we were in New York for other reasons, and at the request of the rabbi and his wife, we joined the wedding. Since the groom did not have a family to attend, at the request of the couple and the rabbi who conducted the wedding, we walked the bride and groom to the canopy and signed the Kesuvah, which the Rabbi drafted. Our involvement was based on the understanding that as supervising rabbis, they did their test to confirm the groom’s Jewish status.

    In the weeks that followed, it became clear that the bride was aware that Elijah was using a fake name, information he had hidden from others.

    The tragedy of the woman and her family could have been prevented if the incumbent rabbis had properly fulfilled their responsibilities clearly in Judaism

  14. He could be a spy building a deep cover story (which is why the FBI might be interested). Claiming to work for the NSA or claiming to be related to a famous gangster suggests if he is working for a foreign intelligence agency, they aren’t very intelligent.

    He could be a “marrano” from a country where being openly Jewish is dangerous (perhaps someone whose Jewish female ancestor converted to Islam, perhaps not entirely of her own free will).

  15. Unfortunately today in Israel it is common for Jewish girls to marry Arabs. Perhaps his mother is indeed Jewish and this story or more of a legal issue than a Halacha one.

  16. @ philosopher
    @ ujm

    No question in my mind that, you should check if you are Jewish.

    Chabad does not try to “make people frum”.

    You cannot make someone become something.

    You can however (and this is what Shluchim do) show people what being Jewish is about and teach people about their heritage, laws, and customs.

    May the mouths of reshaim be closed, and only good words come from your mouths (and fingers/texts)…

  17. It would’ve taken about 30 minutes and an investment of roughly $79 to have an online background check done of this individual who you just met through a “dating service”. Aside from the obvious phony family tree, there were other red flags……

    Both rabbis also share responsibility for this fiasco, and their finger-pointing does not reflect well on either of them.

  18. I was at the hall but could not wait for the actual חופה to commence as it was running late and חתן דנן or rather Hassan did not arrive yet. The moral of the story is that Harav Goren may have been right and even the most well meaning Rabbonim may have overlooked some items. On the other hand, I knew a family that took a bris 4 times because no Beis Din would recognize the work of the Beis Din that preceded it.

  19. @Ohevet Yisroel

    I find it ironic that you say it’s the Chabad Rabbis fault.
    First Chabad as no reason and responsibly to investigate every person’s true identity before they walk through the doors of our Chabad house, as long has he says his mother is Jewish and knows some basic traditional Jewish stuff. Especially this guy which spoke Hebrew and had a Jewish name.
    Chabad checks their identity before they except any kid to their Hebrew school, making a Bar Mitzvah and especially officiating their wedding.
    I can speak first hand of many Rabbis going above and beyond for this. And every chossid of the Lubavitcher Rebbe knows how harshly the Rebbe spoke about Mihu Yehudi. So it’s pretty ironic to claim the Chabad doesn’t care.

    Now the Rabbi officiating the wedding of someone which a) the Chabad Rabbi said he doesn’t know for a fact that he’s Jewish. B) is not observant. C) has no family attending the wedding, and the Rabbi doesn’t do his due diligence to find out for a fact if he’s Jewish, is frankly an irresponsible Rabbi that should own up to his mistake and step down immediately.

  20. This article has been rewritten and edited. My comment is based on the first version where the Mesader Kedushin is quoted as saying that the Chabad of Texas vouched for the grooms Jewish status. Since the article has been edited ( the original version named the bride by name, as well as presented the wedding invitation and wedding video, and honestly this shocked me) .
    All those criticizing, please take into account that you are reading a different version of the article.
    @Goldie18 – pictures of family stones are not a reliable source to rely upon for ones Jewish roots.
    @Sam 33- Love of fellow Jew extends to the poor bride who was led to believe that the groom was Jewish. He learned enough at the Chabad house to not just fool her but if you saw the wedding video you would possibly be fooled as well. Chabad by their very nature made this possible. Besides walking the groom down the aisle is a strong endorsement in it of itself. Again in the original form of the article it stated that they vouched for the groom.
    @Knaidlach – my comment was based on the original version where it stated that the CHabad vouched. And come on, if they walked him down the aisle, doesnt that mean they are close to him and support him emotionally. Who walked you down the aisle?

  21. “come on, if they walked him down the aisle, doesnt that mean they are close to him and support him emotionally. Who walked you down the aisle?”

    You might be correct that’s the Shliach should have not walked him down the aisle and sign on the kesuba (I definitely wouldn’t if I don’t know he’s for sure Jewish). But all that is not at all an endorsement. And As stated, he wasn’t planning on coming to the wedding, he just happened to be on town, and they asked him to walk him down since he doesn’t have family attending.
    “The wedding itself was officiated by Rabbi Zafrani’s son, Rabbi David Zafrani. As my wife and I were in New York for other reasons, Rabbi David Zafrani, who was officiating in place of his father, and his wife, asked us to join the wedding. As the groom had no family attending, at the request of the couple and the Zafranis, we walked him down the aisle and I signed the ketubah, which had been drafted by Rabbi Ezra Zafrani. We were not officiating and our involvement was predicated on the understanding that, as supervising rabbis, Ezra and David Zafrani had done their due diligence to confirm the groom’s Jewish status.”

  22. Met him on multiple occasions, and I was by the wedding. He could have fooled anyone and I certainly did not think twice. Everyone is pushing the blame on someone else but I do not think that it is fair-anyone and everyone could have been fooled. IYH the truth will come to light and everyone should be safe.

  23. The certificate he is holding is showing his real name: Ali Hassan Haliwa. Ali is a common Shi’ite name. Definitely not a “Palestinian” (unless on his mother’s side).

  24. I do not see where the family tree is “obviously” a fake. There is one date that is clearly a misprint; the rest is quite plausible.

    This is not a comment on any other part of this sad situation, which I know nothing about.

  25. @Ohevet Yisroel, walking a Jew down the aisle where his family isn’t there – that is ahavas yisroel. That’s the impression the Chabad rabbi got – if the sefardi rabbi did his due diligence and went through for the wedding…that is the only reason he even came to the wedding!!! He didn’t really know this guy (maybe came by Chabad a few times through the years)!

    It doesn’t take much to claim – I am affiliated with x Chabad….except the Chabad rabbi refuted it.

    Moshiach Now!

  26. Thank you Chabad for everything you do. There’s a way to avoid any risks of this kind. Surround yourself with the elite. Accept people only on your own turf, on your own terms. Do not show up at any such weddings where you are not officiating. But Chabad dares to put fringes on people at the fringes, risking mishaps of this kind. When you stand next to muddy people, your shirt can sometimes get a superficial stain. I’d wear that superficial stain with pride where things go a bit sideways. You’re there for us, putting your necks out, and saving us from our lonely paths. The fact that mishaps like this can happen is just proof that you’re in the trenches saving one neshama after the other.

  27. Here is what you all don’t know:
    He is pro-Israel, in Arabic, on his Twitter (which he made in 2016).
    He has been commenting on Beirut’s Jewish Community’s Facebook since 2015 (he has since deleted his fb but this can be searched via google cache).
    He was a serious student at Texas A&M Uni and involved in their space research (also searchable).
    His college friends tell me his Jewish parents went through a nasty divorce.

    Most likely explanation: He simply hid his Beirut roots in an effort to hide his less religious and Arabic background.

  28. If you listen in the video, he calls his wife a “tzadeika”. For someone who purports to be a Hebrew speaker and, its an obvious telltale sign that he is a fraudster.

  29. despicable statement by chabad blaming someone by name.

    beyond despicable egregious loshon hora by YWN quoting the obviously biased one-sided account of the chabad shluchim maligning 2 respected Rabbonim. This is all done where the readers of the loshon hora have no way of ascertaining what is true, what is hearsay and what if anything is pure lies.

    shameful. or perhaps more accurately shameless.

  30. I meant that it’s possible that his mother is Jewish, even if his father is not. They say when Moshiach comes, many people who thought they were Jewish will be showed that they are not, and vice versa. Perhaps this is just the beginning.

  31. @Sam33, Yes stepping in for a JEW is Ahavat Yisroel. thats not what happened here. We are taught that he, who is kind to the cruel, ends up being cruel to the kind. And here there was no AHAVAT YISROEL just cruelty to a Bas Yisroel. You are so fast to defend the Chabad Rabbi but spare nothing to analyze how to prevent another Bas Yisroel from hiding in a safe house. The groom soaked up enough Jewish mannerisms and knowledge to fool the family. I saw the video. He learned that by joining the Chabad house, spending SHabbat meals at their tables, attending lectures etc. My Ahavat Yisroel goes to Yisroel and not the Lavans of this world who trick or those who allow themselves to be tricked. The Mesader Kedushin had no way to vouch for this guys Jewishness as all involved bought his lies. He relied on the CHabbad Rabbi who relied on the Mesader Kedushin and it was all a house of cards. Lessons need to be learned here!! and quickly!!

  32. I would like everyone to see that this is an example of irresponsible reporting.
    1. What if it happens to be that this boy’s mother is a Yid and that this boy is a sincere Bal teshuva who just didn’t reveal everything? And this marriage coud’ve been saved. His life is now ruined. Could even be his life would be in danger.
    2. So irresponsible to print the girls name, like how dare you?
    3. And even if in the end , he ends up being a muslim in disguise, like how do you put her life in danger like that?
    4. And then the Loshon hora aspect , both in the free for all of comments and for everyone involved in the article ?
    We the Jewish nation, are not a nation of gossipers like the others. we are held up to a higher standard and this world is not a free-for all to get hits and ratings! SHAME ON YOU YWN, U can do better than this!

  33. My research has shown that his name is Ali Hassan and he is from an UNRWA refugee camp in southern lebanon. Rabbi Yair Hoffman

  34. Rabbi Hoffman
    I beg to differ
    Hassan is a very common name in the Arab World (prob even more than Cohen )and it’s his middle name which he doesn’t really use

  35. Just remember back in the day when the chabad rebbe fought about Mihu Yehudi, how dangerous the situation will become down the line with non jews mixed into klal yisroel. The rest of the jewish frum world laughed at chabad, saying this is a problem that effects the secular, but is not a problem for us… the fact that israel was letting in hundreds of thousands of russians and calling them jewish based on their father. today, this issue effects all of klal yisroel with many families finding out their soon to be new family member is not jewish… Chabad was the only one who cared… it’s laughable to hear some people now actually blame chabad for this issue… soon were going to hear people say that chabad followed aish into shlichus as well.

  36. I agree with Mark Levin. Her name should never have been reported, and while that has been corrected, his identifying information should have been redacted until we know the full truth. Even if he is not Jewish, say that he has been sincere, if misguided, and now wishes to convert. Articles like this one would make this impossible.

  37. I pray that none of you are ever in an embarrassing situation and have your pictures and stories plastered as the top story on a news site . We all learned what we need the Rabbis will take what they need to out of this and that’s it! Move on daven for her and let her heal and have some privacy!!

  38. Rabbi Yair Hoffman, his name is indeed Ali Hassan Hawila (it’s written in the certificate that he’s holding), a common Shi’ite name, but he’s not from “an UNRWA refugee camp in southern Lebanon” as you claim. This picture is from 2012, and the certificate was given to him (as well as other students who did well in their studies) in commemoration of the studies, awarded by his municipality of Burj el-Shemali. The same year (2012), the Amal Movement (Shi’ite militia that took over his city and has fought with Palestinians) also did the same — congratulated students on their achievements and issued certificates. Mr. Ali Hassan is a Shi’ite Muslim man from Southern Lebanon.
    If you want to see for yourself, the links are: (where students were celebrated by the municipality of Burj el-Shemali), and (Amal celebration). If you need a quick background on the Amal Movement, Wikipedia has an article on it for superficial information:

  39. To Canadian guy
    Totally incorrect perspective on this. Your making light of the fact that a bas Yisroel was violated by a goy. This is not a mere unfortunate casualty of a better cause. This is a preventable tragedy and safeguards need to be implemented to make sure we have a system that this can’t happen. Everyone needs to learn a lesson and stop throwing each other under the bus. Chabbad needs to be more discerning despite their good intentions. The officiating rabbi needs to do more research etc etc. Double and triple check everything. Imagine this was your daughter would you make that same comment??

  40. It doesn’t matter if he’s Jewish or not if his mother is Jewish or not the guy lied about his identity if you look it up he has three different passports let alone she found it with a gun and a knife and he forced her after they wed to stay in the house and if she is expecting the baby is still Jewish and has no problem going up to the Torah

  41. Klal Yisroel does not seem, recruit, encourage or seek converts. At contraire; indeed, we discourage conversions and try to encourage them to not convert. There’s absolutely no reason whatsoever to attempt to encourage or facilitate this fraudster to convert to Judaism.

  42. Yossi, how exactly has Chabad helped the situation? How has the situation been improved now that every individual, whether they are non-Jews, non-Jewish terrorists, missionaries, LGTBQs, etc. has the opportunity to learn Yiddishkeit and become part of a Jewish community?

  43. What if he IS Jewish? Unfortunately in Lebanon there were a few cases of intermarriage , so it is possible that his grandmother is/was Jewish. Someone should find the guy and make a search- so if he is , a gett is needed, because otherwise the poor bride is in even a bigger problem , God’s ways are very strange . Since there was a wedding – it was God’s will.

  44. Shame the commenters here making light of the situation saying this chaia ruah can convert, etc. First of all Judaism discourages converts, particularly these kind of “converts” who are converting out of “love”.

    But the nerve of people to make light of the situation where a Jewish daughter was conned into marriage by this chaia ruah who presented himself as a frum person and he was not Jewish and likely a terrorist too. How low we have fallen!!! Would you like something like this to happen to your daughter?! Or are you even lower than that and wouldn’t even care?!

    Every Chabad house and every Chabad Rabbi and everyone doin kiruv who enables such individuals to circulate within frum communities, letting them learn about Yiddishkeit and our mannerisms is absolutely not absolved of the negative repercussions that come out of this. Remember: kiruv is NOT Yiddishkeit!

  45. It should be a requirement of those who do kiruv to only be mekarev individuals who they would be comfortable if their own families members be meshadech with them. Then we would rule out a lot of people who those who are mekarev throw into the Jewish communities without adequately checking out their yichus.

    You cannot be “mekarev” people left, right and center without there being repercussions. This is the reality. So therefore the ones doing kiruv have the serious responsibility to check out the yichus of those they give opportunities to circulate within our communities. They should fully vet them until they are satisfied with their yichus to the point that if they become frum they would be comfortable to let the BT marry into their OWN family. If they can’t do that then they have no right giving them these individuals the keys to assimilate within our communities.

  46. @Ohevet Yisroel

    So what lessons are we learning here?
    Chabad should not trust a Rabbi that is mesader kiddishin to do a berur yehadus that the guy is Jew? (Not reasonable a) Why should he not trust a regular frum Rabbi from Lakewood. b) it makes not sense that the Chabad Rabbi should mix in when he’s not being mesader kiddishin)
    Or should the mesader kiddishin do proper berur yehadus when the Chabad Rabbi says he can’t vouch for his Jewishness?

  47. Making this a story about the dangers of wide-open kiruv is missing the boat – of course a Chabad house will end up bringing in people for programming who aren’t halakhically jewish. But ordinarily someone who thinks they are frum would know enough to realize they aren’t jewish if indeed that is the case, and a frum rov being mesader kiddushin for anyone not frum would of course check that. What distinguishes this case is the trickery; rabbonim in this case apparently weren’t sufficiently on the lookout for that. This is honestly a bizarre case and doesn’t really support the thesis that this is a foreseeable result of wide-open kiruv programming.

  48. While everyone here is focusing on this unfortunate marriage, there is a much bigger and wider picture here. It is very clear this animal is a spy, who sneaked into our communities, shuls, and families. Thanks to Chabbad’s inviting kiruv style, which makes it very easy for any imposter to infiltrate our religion. As “mtmt” pointed out, he is a member of the Amal movement, which is a brother movement to Hizbollah, seen on 7/17/2015 receiving certificates of honor, him and five other members, for joining the clan, as seen in the pictures. (I came across that website yesturday, after googling his arabic name, but I was afraid to publicize the link for fears they might take down the pictures). Whoever still thinks that this guy might be Jewish is naiive and gullible. This is a lot worse that a stunt. He is a spy who infiltrated our religion and communities, sending back information to his handlers back in Lebanon or Iran. I would look into his other colleagues who he graduated with in 2015 and see what “missions” they are on.

    As for this unfortunate marriage, this animal did the worst act possible, duping an innocent Jewish girl and marrying her in an impure way. This bastard deserves to be caught and dealt with in the same manner Shimon and Levi did to Shchem after what he did with Dina, for besmirching the honor and pride of a beautiful Jewish woman, her family, her community, and the Jewish religion. Imagine, if this was the other way around, a Jew disguises himself as a Muslim, infiltrates mosques then fools a Muslim girl and marries her, then they find out he is a Jew, just imagine what they would do to him. I hope this filthy animal gets the proper justice he deserves.

  49. Can we maybe stop blaming the Rabbanim – the person at fault is the girl she is responsible for marrying this guy. Everyone blames this person or that person for their mistakes yes a misader kedushin should be double checking especially in such a situation. But it’s ultimately the girl who is responsible she is the one getting married she is the one who has to make sure he is Jewish. The Torah doesn’t say you should not marry Someone to a non jew. It says YOU should not marry… Could these so called extra layers of confirmation from a mesader or from Canada help Yes but the Girl has no right to blame other than herself…

  50. There are commenters here recommending reliable identity checks before engaging in kiruv. It is not clear such frictions are sustainable, and those recommending it may be about protecting their insular families. If one is officiating at a wedding, such additional safeguards can be recommended and indeed are exercised. But as a prerequisite for teaching torah or permitting attendance at a Shabbos table? That’s a great way of keeping the wheels stalled and the Torah scrolls hung up in museums.

  51. I know a lot of people will pounce on me for this, and I’m skeptical of this passing censorship.

    Of course I cannot say for certain, but it is my very lofty personal opinion that this is midah keneged midah for the Syrian community.
    For the longest time, they have held themselves in extremely haughty and high regard for their alleged superior yichus. They have routinely spurned everyone else (they have even cast doubt on Ashkenazim, claiming we’re not really Jewish. I am also biased because my aunt who is a daughter of an alter Mirer was engaged to a Syrian. His Rabbi told him he can’t marry her because she’s not Syrian.)

    It seems this particular Syrian Rabbi in question didn’t mind that Eliya isn’t Jewish because after all, he assumed he is a good Syrian boy with the best yichus. They were נספס in the very matter which they were abusing.

    This isn’t to say chas veshalom that I don’t pity the victim involved. She is the korban tzibur. It’s a terrible churva. Hashem should help her

  52. Let’s take a step back. People have no idea with whom they are criticizing. I know Rabbi Ezra Zafrani for over 60 years. He is a Kadosh. He is an integral part of turning many many people in our community into Bnai Torah. Any letter of apology is firstly based on his Anivute. Yes this character definitely pulled the wool over the eyes of a number of people. But what we should take away from all of this is the opposite. Enough with the finger pointing. It’s a tragedy, period.
    With regards to the community not allowing converts , we have an intermarriage rate of about a couple of percent. This is opposed to the overall intermarriage in America of over 60%!

  53. As a person honestly converting to Judaism, I can understand more clearly the Syrian Jewish position. Such low-lives cause trouble for other goyim that want to convert out of sincerity. They may have feelings and emotions sincerely to be Jewish, but lack the character needed to stand up for the Emet and undergo a rigorous process of conversion. But it’s not about tough checks, it needs to be the right kind of checks. Kiruv is essential to reach out to all Jews, and even non-Jews; since it says many times that the reason for the exile was for gerim to be added to the Jewish nation. But I think there is a clear lack of discernment from most communities when it comes to who to encourage or discourage from converting, and obviously the least they can do for someone that calls themselves Jewish is to have identity checks of them and their ancestry. I have often seen people jump into converting a married couple (Jew and non Jew), in order to save the Jew rather than discourage them and tell them to separate first. These conversions are often fast-tracked. But then, they can sometimes make a conversion process unnecessarily difficult for another person that truly wants to convert.

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