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Mar 2, 2008

Some previous posts about Haredim in BS finally see some explanation

Not too long ago I wrote about the appropriation of the Ko Tomar school building by the representative of Rabbi Perlstein on the City Council, to be transferred instead to the seminary of Mrs. Perlstein.

At the time I did not have too many details and I left it kind of open, just informing you of the appropriation. There were some rumors about how it happened, but I had nothing substantial, so I chose not to write anything more about it.

The rumors and hearsay have not died down. The only difference is, is that now the national Haredi press has written about it, which I consider to mean there must be something substantial, or at least serious, to it. And if the national Haredi press has already written about it, then I can write about it, because it is no longer just a rumor.

Another issue that has been in the Bet Shemesh news has been the resurgence of the debate over the planned Business and Municipal Center, aka "the Maar". About 6 or 7 weeks ago, the Ministry of Housing issued a tender regarding the construction of the Maar. That led to the renewal of the Haredi opposition to the building of the Maar.

The complexing thing about it happened a few weeks later. An ad was placed in the local Haredi press calling for the opposition to the Maar and it was signed by a plethora of Haredi Rabbonim. There was one signature that was noticeably missing form the list of Haredi Rabbis signed on the pashkevil. That would be the signature of Rabbi Perlstein. It was perplexing because until now he had been the Rabbinic leader of the fight against the Maar and suddenly his name is not on the list.
No explanation was offered as to why Rabbi Perlstein's name was left off. Rumors and theories abounded.

This past week, in the Ba'Kehilla newspaper (a Haredi weekly newspaper), there was an article about Bet Shemesh politics. It was mostly about the Haredi parties and their relationship with the current mayor and possible moves for the upcoming elections, including possibly fielding a Haredi candidate for mayor.

The writer digressed and there was also discussion of some of the infighting among the Haredi politicians. He got on the topic of the Maar and mentioned the seemingly lack of coordination on the fight against the Maar. He mentions the rumor, the one that I had refrained from mentioning, as possibly the reason a certain prominent Rabbi (aka Rabbi P) had not signed the letter and joined the fight. He says that it is called "Maar in exchange for a Seminar" - In other words, the rumor is that Rabbi Perlstein was given the building for his wife's seminar on condition that he back out of the fight against the Maar. And he took the deal.

Sure, it is still just a rumor, and the writer does not have any proof to this, and he only mentions it as a claim, but the rumor is now out in the air and in public.

So for his personal benefit (his wife's, but it is the same difference), he seemingly sold out the public he was claiming to lead. That is how he got the seminary building for his wife's seminary, and that is why his name was not on the list of Rabbis calling for opposition to the Maar. Still a rumor, but at a much higher level.


  1. Rafi - you should check your facts before writing Loshon Hara!

    I know for a fact that Rav P. has spoken about the Ma'ar in shul and he has had meetings with local politicians about it - I think the picture even appeared in one of the local handouts.

    You should be careful about what you read and even more careful about what you write.

  2. as I said, I heard this rumor a long time ago, but chose not to write about it. Now that it was in the Haredi press, there is no reason for me not to write about it.

    The question is not whether he is for it or against it. The fact that he agreed (if he did) to not participate in the fight against, does not mean he has to be pro. The rumor is that he agreed to lower his profile in the fight and not participate the way he was.

    Why was his name not on the list of Rabbonim against? Maybe there is another reason, but this theory says it was because of an agreement in which he got a building.

    That does not make him pro the maar.

    And, again, the rumor might be wrong. But now it is in the national Haredi press.

  3. Lashon hara is nto mutar just because some other source mentions it. Apel tlasa is a machlokes at best, and im sure that not everyone on your blog would have seen that. I know I didnt.

    In any event, other rabbonim were not listed on that list either, namely a certain rabbi K.

    Its not that hard to find out why. A little bit of investigating - like I did - would have led you to the real reason. RSZP - and RK - felt that the letter you are refering to was too mild and that they wanted to pen a stronger worded letter to the Iriyah. At the time that you posted this post, there in fact was another letter posted all over the shuls with the 2 rabbonims name on it, along with a list of the other rabbonim.

    If the lashon hara you are spreading is false, dont you think you will need to aplogize to RSZP? Or do you think its ok since a different media outlet is transgressing, so its ok?

  4. In any event, it looks like the big fight is over - see this past weeks chadash and also http://ladaat.net/article.php?do=viewarticle&articleid=2247

  5. the fight against the maar might eventually be successful, but the recent vote was only symbolic. Vaknin declared no vote could be taken because the issue has passed out of municipal authority and is now under government (Misrad Hashikun if I am not mistaken) authority. The vote was symbolic because the Haredi reps insisted on holding it anyway. As of right now the vote was a blow to Vaknin, but it has no meaning as far as the maar is concerned.
    The fight will continue, but this vote has more to do with the upcoming elections than with the fight over the maar.

  6. if true, it's not like this would be the first time someone played politics under the guise of advancing torah. (although does a women's seminary count as advancing torah?)

  7. What's most disgusting about this whole thing is that Rabbi P. is trying to steal that land from another Beis Yaakov!

    I am close friends with the people who founded and run Ko Tamar. They do everything l'shem shamayim and get advice for everything regarding the school from gedolei Torah.

    They were promised this land for their school years ago. If Rabbi P. is allowed to steal it for whatever reason it will be a true shanda and yet another stain on the chareidi leadership of RBS.

  8. If this is true, then I'm impressed that RP kept to his word.

    I hope that the people against the ma'ar will propose that housing be built in its place and spare the beautiful hills surrounding RBS.

    This area is truly a neches that should not be plundered... although the new maps already show many, many proposed roads.

  9. sheep - read the latest post..

    BTW, if we used that attitude, ,RBS should never have been built because to do so they had to destroy the mountainside and many trees and much beautiful scenery in the process.


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