Fugitive rabbi’s followers ‘overrun’ Dutch campsite


A Dutch municipality ordered the eviction of 270 Jews from a camping site that is overcrowded with followers of the fugitive rabbi Eliezer Berland.

The order was issued Friday by the island municipality of Texel in the country’s north in connection with the arrival of 300 Orthodox Jews from the Breslov Hasidic sect ahead of Yom Kippur to a Jewish-owned camping site with a capacity of 30 people, the Noordhollands Dagblad daily newspaper reported Friday.

The visitors came from various countries to spend the holiday with Berland, who was arrested in the Netherlands last month.

Berland, the founder of the Shuvu Bonim religious seminary, fled Israel to Morocco and from there to South Africa last year amid allegations that he molested two female followers, including a minor. Israel requested his extradition; he is staying in Holland while justice authorities review the request.

Berland and his followers arrived ahead of the weekend at Camping Dennenlust, which belongs to a Jewish couple, Avraham and Rivka Pranger.

Out of consideration for the religious sentiment of the campers, Mayor Francine Giskes gave the Prangers until Sunday for their site to adhere to its legal capacity, Noordhollands Dagblad reported. She consulted several mayors in the region on how to approach the matter.

Avraham Pranger told the daily that he and his wife did not know 300 people would descend on their small business and that the guests kept multiplying despite the couple’s request that they find an alternative arrangements.

“It all began with a reservation by a rabbi from Amsterdam and 30 of his followers,” he told the daily before Yom Kippur. “We are totally overrun, but these are fellow Jews and I can’t just chase them away. I think it’s through social media the message spread.”

 

Feathers fly as fugitive fowl frustrates Pico-Robertson


For most of last week, a fugitive chicken mystified and delighted residentsof the traditionally Jewish Pico-Robertson neighborhood.
 
Rumors of its provenance flitted about for days, then came to perch on anespecially good story:
 
The chicken, according to neighborhood resident Rabbi Joel Rembaum, belongedto a local mashgiach, or kosher supervisor. Every year around Yom Kippur,the mashgiach, like many traditional Jews, buys a chicken in order toperform the ritual of kaparos, which means atonements. This year, it flewthe coop. 
 
If true, that’s one smart chicken. 
 
Early in the morning on the day before Yom Kippur, groups of Jews gather tohold squawking chickens by the feet and twirl them over their heads whilechanting a prayer. After the twirling, the chickens are ritually slaughteredand given to the poor. 
 
The ritual dates back to the Middle Ages.
 
 The idea was that since the Hebrew word for man (gever) and rooster were thesame, a man’s sins — and his punishments — could be symbolicallytransferred to the rooster, in the same way that during the times of theTemple, people brought animal sacrifices as penance for their sins. 

Therefore, while slinging the chicken during kaparos, the person chants,”This is my exchange, this is my substitute, this is my atonement. Thischicken shall go to its death, and I shall proceed to a good, long life andpeace.” 
 
For several reasons — not the least of which is its obvious cruelty — thecustom has fallen out of fashion. Some people perform kaparos by swinging abag of money over their head and then donate that money to charity. 
 
The fugitive chicken — black and white with a rust-colored spot and abright red cockscomb — roams from lawn to sidewalk, from rooftop todriveway. 
 
“I think one family is feeding it,” a resident said. 
 
But the story of the chicken’s provenance proved as flighty as the chickenitself. Calls to local stores with and without mashgiach’s met with denials. 
 
Speculation centered on Eilat Market, where giant Farsi-language postersadvertise for kaparos on behalf of Natan Eli Hebrew Academy. A marketemployee said all chickens were accounted for. 
 
“Everyone has seen it,” a local rebbetzin said, “but no one knows who’s itis.”
 
In the meantime, local animal rights groups and vegetarian activists havegeared up an annual campaign to protest traditional kapparos rites. In apress release entitled, “Jewish chicken-killing ritual Kapparot is illegal,inhumane and unnecessary. It is animal cruelty,” the activists call for animmediate end to the practice. The press release citesJewish as well as other sources as opposing the ritual.
 
It quotes General Manager of LA Animal Services and ex-pastor Ed Boks asstating, “Some of our nation’s healthiest animal husbandry practices andlaws originated in the ancient traditions of the Torah. Nowhere is thepractice of Kapparot even mentioned in the Torah. It is a pagan traditionthat has been muddled into the religious practices of a small Jewish sect.Kapparot should have no place in the 21st Century Los Angeles community.”
 
Via the Internet, activists are circulating notice of a protest againstkapparot to be held Sunday, Oct. 1 in front of Ohel Moshe temple at 8644Pico Blvd from 10-12:30 p.m. “begging people not to kill the chickens.” 
 
As for the fugitive chicken, as of press time, no one had claimed it, and noone had rescued it either — leaving the bird to fend for itself in a cityof speeding cars and hungry cats. 
 
Now that’s a sin worth atoning for. 
 
— Staff Report


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