The more I learn about Chabad, the more I realize what a sick,Sholom Shuchat demented, and criminal cult I was involved with.  As a mere patron, I only saw the happy, dancing rabbis, saying “l’chaim” (drinking alcohol), and praising God as they ask for donations for their “holy work.”  But backstage, and behind the costumes, is a very different story.

In the news this week is Sholom Ber Shuchat who has declared the use of a new mobile application for the religious practice of “taharas hamishpacha” (lit: family purity) as impermissible and said that it “may not be used.”

Essentially, the relatively new app is designed to send pictures of women’s menstrual and vaginal discharge stains to rabbis.

The practice of taharas hamishpacha is explained here:  I Had to Take My Dirty Panties to a Rabbi, and So Has Every Orthodox Jewish Woman

The application was intended to help women who are either too embarrassed to take their dirty underwear, or menstrual discharge cloth (called a bedika cloth), to a rabbi.  Or, for those who are located in a place where the personal delivery is not possible.

The application details are outlined on their web site:  Tahorapp | Anonymously send pictures of your Taharas Hamishpacha questions to a Rav right from your own home. Receive answers quickly and privately.

Tahor-app

 

Enter, Chabad rabbi, Sholom Shuchat, who was arrested for, and later pleaded guilty to his involvement in a Get (Jewish divorce) refuser kidnap, torture, and extortion case in 2014.  The crime ring, led by Mendel Epstein, and later exposed by the FBI, was well publicized in mainstream media.

Now this so-called “rabbi” has set his focus on condemning the Tahor App and has called for the creators to shut it down:

Rabbi Shuchat, a Chabad Rabbi and Dayan from Agudas Harabonim of the US and Canada, has written a letter against the new Tahor App which “is being heavily promoted on social media among the Orthodox crowd.”

Shulchat-Niddah-App

It seems odd that a rabbi with a criminal record, and who is a dismal example of moral and ethical clarity, would be considered an authority worthy of injecting himself into one of the most personal aspects of Orthodox Jewish women’s lives.

Many supporting the app cite a rabbinical desire to exert control over female adherents.  Others recognize that rabbis often reject technology that could replace them.  I would ask, how much money are these menses checking rabbis likely to lose by being marginalized and not having a population of dependent women beholden to them?

In an online comment responding the Shuchat’s rejection of the app, the Tahor application creators wrote:

To clarify (as this seems not to be clear):

“Tahor” is meant to serve as a halachically approved “filter” for a majority of Shailos (many of which are straightforward and simple to determine). It is meant to allow those who may not have access to a rov, or who may not feel comfortable going to a rov, to have an option, when halachically viable, to send in their sample anonymously.

What this app is not:
This app IS NOT meant to be an umbrella replacement for the process of showing questionable bedikah cloths to Rabbonim. Rabbonim were all able to pasken correctly because of our advanced white balance technology and Rabbinic measurement capabilities. The ones which are borderline or questionable, will be told to show the actual cloth to a Rabbi.

It is obviously preferable to take the cloth directly to the Rabbi when possible, but many many women are not doing it! This will allow them to keep Taharat Hamishpachah and get accurate answers.

We know that anything new is scary, but this app is not at all lenient and halachah will not be compromised.

May 11, 2017

 

For some background on Shulchat’s involvement with the Get refuser torture and extortion scheme, see the following links below:

http://theawarenesscenter.blogspot.com/2013/10/case-of-rabbi-sholom-shuchat.html

Arrested during an internet sting along with 7 other men.  The charges include kidnapping, extortion, various forms of torture including sexually assaulted men with a stun gun on their genitals.  The goal of this gang was to force men to give their wives a Get (Jewish Divorce), after the women paid the gang anywhere between $10,000 – $50,000.

Instead of raising funds to help the men victimized by these crimes Chabad organized a fundraiser to pay for the defense of Rabbi Sholom Shuchat.  The committee members of this fundraiser include rabbis Golan Benoni, Lipa Brennan, Sholem B. Hecht, Shea Hecht, Yosef Orenstein, Moshe Pinson, Yoni Raskin, Benzion Stock

It is well known that Chabad supports and collects funds for the defense of its criminals among their ranks.  Sholom Shulchat’s case was no different:

Shulchat, who avoided jail (common for Chabad criminals), was given only house arrest.  Failedmessiah archive: 3 More Sentenced In Jewish Divorce Extortion Plot

Shulchat is apparently still a well-respected rabbi among the more cult-minded, embedded members of the Chabad sect.  Even as a party to a scheme of kidnapping men and torturing them with a cattle prod to their genitals.   Now he is taking a stance against women gaining independence to determine their level of purity and suitability to have sex.  What is it about this guy that he feels a need to involve himself in matters concerning other people’s genitalia?
For those not fully familiar with Chabad, people like Sholom Shuchat should serve as a warning sign to keep their distance from the sect.  Information like this is not likely to come from your local shliach (missionary rabbi).  Shulchat is not merely a rabbi that happens to be in the same organization, he is their colleague.
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