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Clarification Of A Local Baltimore Issue

mor[The following article is via]

Baltimore Jewish Life  was asked by Rabbi Shlomo Porter to post the letter below sent to the Rabanim of the Baltimore community.

April 25, 2014

Honored Rabbonim,

With consultation with Rabbis Heinemann, Kostelitz, Goldberger, and Naimen, I am informing you and the frum community about the status of Mark Hart.

Mark was born to a Jewish mother who could not take care of him at that time. He was placed in a non-Jewish home and raised as a Catholic. When he was 20 years old, he found out that he was Jewish and chose to become observant. Eighteen years ago, he moved to Baltimore to be part of the frum community. Meanwhile, he had retained connections to the Seventh Day Adventist movement and their world of belief. Mark lived two separate lives.

There is no evidence that he has shared his own beliefs with anyone in the frum community. Due to the organization, “Jews for Judaism,” we found out that he was a volunteer “Rabbi” at a Baltimore church. After being confronted, he admitted freely about his struggle in belief.

As of Erev Pesach, April 14, 2014, he has severed all associations to the church and belief in Christianity. The aforementioned Rabbonim feel that his teshuva should be accepted, while being monitored for a probationary period.

According to Rabbi Heinemann, non-mevushal wine touched by Mark after April 14, 2014 is considered kosher. Mark has sincerely chosen to be part of the frum community and belief system of Torah Judaism. He should not be harassed in any way.

(Studio B – YWN)


26 Responses

  1. Contrary to popular belief, Non Mevushol wine only becomes forbidden, if it was poured by the Nochri or non Shomer Shabbos etc. or if after this person had drunk a 1st cup of wine, a frum Jew pours him/her a 2nd cup of wine into same cup without washing the cup in between [Nitzuk Chibur}.

    Simply touching an open bottle of wine, or moving it around a fridge, imparts nothing to that Kosher wine.

  2. Mark is “intellectually challenged” — it is to the credit of the Baltimore community that he is being taken care by the frum community. The behavior of “Jews for Judaism” in attacking such a person is debatable. The organization purpose is to fight missionaries, not harass persons of limited capacity.

  3. very important to read this. he may have been simply misguided or made a personal midjudgment but never meant to leave judaism. It must’ve been a wakeup call for him.

  4. 2. That being said, would you allow YOUR daughter to marry him based on what you know about his double life?

    I am sure the answer is NO!

  5. To commenter #2: why do you think their purpose is to fight missionaries? Its to warn and protect yidden from insidious outside influences, regardless of their mental capacity

  6. What is YWN hiding by not explicitly and clearly identifying the author of the posted letter? Was it signed by that woman who had proof that Obama was born in Kenya, Australia and Mars?

  7. Re Comment No. 5: What does the shidduch crisis have to do with this story, or comment no. 2? And what would you expect as a fee if Commenter No. 2’s daughter married Mr. Hart?

  8. #7 – protecting Mark was not enhanced by publicly denouncing him for an error that by him was clear Shogat (out of mistake or ignorance) – if the law of Lashon Hora prohibits anything, it prohibts such

  9. nfgo3, the top says this is clearly a local Baltimore Issue. There are very few people in Baltimore who do not know Rabbi Shlomo Porter. He is the director of Etz Chaim , the major outreach center, and has served in this capacity for about 30 years or so. A Ner Israel Musmach and a talmid chochom, he is beyond reproach in every way and is completely respected by everyone in town.

  10. nfgo3,

    Speaking about Mars… It clearly says who wrote the letter. Maybe read before posting. It’s the seventh word of the post…

  11. nfgo #8: Apparently you missed the references to both Rabbi Shlomo Porter and Rabbi Heinemann in regards to the above letter.

  12. Mr 8…it says rabbi porter wrote this. Usher loach to the Baltimore rabbi in who are so wonderful and care so much about the community as individuals and as a klall

  13. I spoke with Mark on the second day of Pesach for about 40 minutes. I took him to Rabbi Heinemann that night and we spoke for another 40 minutes. Mark is now on the mend. He needs our support and I am sure all frum Yidden will give him that support. Teshuva is a demanding process and all sincere baalei teshuva are entitled to sensitive treatment and support from the Torah community. It is obvious to me that the letter was written by Rabbi Shlomo Porter.

  14. Not being proficient in the laws of Yayin Nesach I wonder what qualifications 147 has to make a blanket statement like that without citing any sources. If he is wrong then YWN by just posting the comment is doing a great disservice and possibly causing many people who might rely on 147 to transgress Halacha.

  15. I was not born a Jew. I am a convert. I was told once you convert you can never go back. This man has a sufek conversion and then became a messianic jew. He was living both as a christian and a Jew. How is this done and no one was able to see it? Being a convert myself, I am constantly asked about my conversion. Questions like, “Who did your conversion, where was it done, am I married and to who, who is my Rabbi?”
    I live in Baltimore. Why am I constantly going through this and this man isn’t.

  16. Re commenters 13, 14, 15 and 18: This post does not explicitly identify the author of the posted letter. The post identifies the person – Rabbi Shlomo Porter – who asked YWN to post it, and you may have jumped to the conclusion that the request for posting came from the author, but the post does not say that, and it is possible that the requester and poster are not the same person. YWN would do its readers a service by being more specific. And you would all do yourselves a service by learning how to read more carefully. Before you can read between the lines, you have to read the lines.

    As for my casting my question in the form of a quasi-accusation that YWN was engaging in some kind of cover-up, that was merely my attempt at humor (maybe not a very good attempt), which clearly went over your heads.

    And to commenter 14: learn how to cite text. The seventh word of the post, starting after the headline, and including the sentence in brackets and counting a web address as a word, is the word “Baltimore”. The seventh word of the post NOT including the bracketed text is “Rabbi”. And the seventh word of the letter, not counting the opening greeting, is “Goldberger”. So, clearly, your comment is not worth the paper it is printed on.

  17. As the Director of Jews for Judaism, East, I would like to assure the community that we did not expose Mr. Hart’s personal situation. We have no idea who would have leaked such sensitive information to the public and the media. Jews for Judaism works with individuals, families and Rabbis when someone has a crisis of faith. Individuals who come to us to discuss their personal situation are NEVER discussed openly or as “L’ashon Hara.” All inquiry’s are strictly confidential and each person is treated with the dignity and respect due them. Thank you. Ruth Guggenheim

  18. This man has a sufek conversion and then became a messianic jew.

    As I understand it. some one who goes through a sufex conversion, means that there is a question, if the person was really born a Jew. What is going on here?

  19. Chanah,
    Please understand that Mark was born to a Jewish mother, so according halacha, no matter what he’s considered a Jew, with or without the sufek conversion. I’m aware, just as you are that Penina Taylor outed him as having a conversion on Menashe’s blog, which according to Jewish law is wrong. How many times have we been told by our rabbis that it’s wrong to remind a Ger of their past or status.

    The whole notion of a sufek conversion is to prevent Mark from having any issues in the future regarding his Jewish identity. If someone is born Jewish and starts practicing another faith, they are still Jewish. I’ve been told by Rabbi Shlomo Porter many times, that you can’t convert out of Judaism.

    The issue isn’t really about Mark, the issue is with the rabbonim of Baltimore hiding the fact that they were aware that Mark was practicing Christianity. I personally can attest to the fact that Rabbi Shlomo Porter, Rabbi Menachem Goldberger and the staff at Jews for Judaism were aware of that fact that Mark was living a dual life prior to 2002.

    Considering these facts, the rabbonim of Baltimore continued to give aliyot in various shuls, along with allowing him to make kiddish for other Jews.

    This is a very delicate situation because anyone who knows Mark, realizes he has his own personal challenges. Knowing his issues, as Jews we all need to show him chesed.

    Anger should not be directed at Mark, yet we all must be questioning our halachic authorities in why they lied to the community in stating that Mark never proselytized to anyone. At one point Mark did this to me and rabbis Porter, Goldberger and the Staff at Jews for Judaism is aware of this fact.

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