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.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
// 8/19/2009 //