Wednesday, August 19, 2009

// // 4 comments

Duck and Cover

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

In the moments before Moshiach, orthodox Jews will be despised. The ultra-orthodox community already gets painted with Poor, Dirty, Backward, Ignorant, Narrow Minded, Parasites. But it's about to get worse.

Jewish religious communities operate according to old rules. Some from the Torah, some condensed halacha (Jewish religious law) from generations, and some cultural baggage of 'the old countries'. A famous example being the Jewish diamond dealers sealing a deal with a handshake and the statement 'mazal u'bracha' (luck and blessing) - a completely binding agreement.

The Jewish religious community is relatively insular and accepts most changes slowly. 'A stiff necked people' indeed. This has served the community well in the past, preventing the infusion of passing fads, failing philosophies, and other cultural-religious incursions. (It has it's negatives as well, but that's another discussion.)

The Jewish religious community tends to be extremely honest. Both from the force of Torah obligations, Jewish religious law, and the cultural needs of a tight community, Torah Judaism operates at a high level of honesty.

Brief example - a few weeks ago I was parked outside an establishment for my Shabbos preparations. While I was inside, apparently someone backed into my car and scraped my rear fender. I found a note on my windshield "Sorry I accidentally bumped your car. If there is damage, please contact me so I can pay for it." I had my car bumped and scraped a number of times in the US tri-state area and never saw such a note.

All of that said, the Jewish religious community as a whole has NOT adjusted to post-9/11 monetary and financial conditions. Business relationships sealed with a handshake don't comply with Know Your Customer laws. Transactions handled in cash don't comply with Monetary Tracking Requirements. Handling 3rd party checks for a friend, a chesed (kindness), now qualifies as money laundering. Giving a needy friend a loan may appear as a bribe or supporting negative activities, and his repayment may appear to violate Gift Tax.

Post 9/11, the Bush administration put in a series of laws to control and track money and business activity. Enron made it worse, and the financial system almost-collapse worse again. Previously this focus was placed on the Muslim community, searching for terror funding from the US to overseas.

These laws and the microscope are now being turned on the Jewish community. A few high profile cases may have brought the initial attention, adding in a touch of antisemitism and a tone against Israel set by the administration (making charities with Israel involvement or providing support in Israel more attractive targets). Regardless of how it started, investigative attention is now being seriously focused on Jewish organizations, charities, and rabbi's in the US - and particularly in the tri-state area.

This is not speculation.

The model of operating within the community is NOT compliant with the current financial and investigative environment. Dear friends in the community, get your act together according to current US and state law down to every last detail. Hire a good accountant and maybe a good lawyer, and plan on taking some Anti-Money Laundering training and Anti-Corruption training (right away). It's critical to understand what, in the current legal environment, is considered inappropriate regardless of historical community practices and the honesty and chesed (kindness) thereof.

Because you're being targeted. This is not speculation.

4 comments:

yitz said...

This reads very plausible as a THEORY, & may be true, but yet you repeat a few times "this is not speculation." You seem to have more info than you are writing about. Do you have actual "insider information" that the Jewish religious community is being targeted?

BTW, some of the "cultural baggage of the old countries" was all kinds of dubious tax-evading & dishonest business practices, which probably originated by the discrimination against Jews, who were pretty much denied the ability to make an honest parnasa [livelihood]. While it may have been the only means to survive at the time, it seems to have become rooted in some parts of the community, & is difficult to uproot.

That said, I certainly agree that most religious Jews are very honest, scrupulous & try to avoid anything shady...

Shiloh said...

Some religious Jews are honest, so are mizrachi, modern Orthodox, secular and the list goes on. As a group, one cannot generalize as I have surely not seen what you say in Israel, especially when dealing in business. This includes where you live as I have worked there too. Honesty has come from all segments, and so has the opposite.

As far as the religious community being targeted, it is not. It would be more accurate to say that the Jewish community as a whole "may" be targeted.

Neshama said...

Isn't this one of the first questions that the 'committee' asks of you after 120, "were you honest with weights and measures in your dealings"? Reference to this is as old as the Torah.

I see this as a 'spiritual cleansing' from the twisted ways adopted in golus environments (albeit necessary at times) thru the ages; before the Geula, all these such 'habits', 'mores' and "unkosher" dealings need to be expunged from the psyche and practice of our People. No more glitz, fancy this and that, lavish this and that. We need to return to our 'simple, honest, G-d fearing ways'.

True Chessed is always honest.

Yitz (BTW) this was all discussed and hashed over when the "one prominent Rabbi" issue (incl prior arrests) was uncovered and all over the media. The Lawyer Brafman, I believe, gave public seminars (over a few years) to the frum community about the changes in the legal system concerning 'business practices'.

Anonymous said...

It seems that quite a few jews follow the 11th commandment: Thou shalt not get caught.
I know this because I've spoken to some people who have reinforced this idea.
of course, this is totally wrong.
These people need to WAKE UP very quickly.

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