The more I learn about Chabad, the more I realize what a sick, 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.
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.”
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:
For some background on Shulchat’s involvement with the Get refuser torture and extortion scheme, see the following links below:
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
Shulchat, who avoided jail (common for Chabad criminals), was given only house arrest. Failedmessiah archive: 3 More Sentenced In Jewish Divorce Extortion Plot