Rabbi Beaten in Vilnius: Now Streaming Live

In case you have been following, where a split has in the Vilinus community emerged between the Chabad rabbi of 10 years, Rabbi Sholom Krinsky, and a (marginal?) lay leader.

At a conference of some Lithuanian Jews a few days ago, the crisis — which had already seem Vilinus’ only Shul shut down by this lay leader to “show who is the master in the synagogue” — reached a new low with physical violence against the aforementioned Rabbi Krinsky. This was videotaped and now streaming online ala Rodney King.

The tape is located on a Chabad website www.jewishlithuania.com, which to it’s credit contains much original documentation that bolsters their case. Whether this website will be a decisive factor in alerting Jews around the world to the plight of the Vilinus community, only time will tell. But in any event, it is indicative of the globalization of what once was considered local Jewish politics.

[Full Disclosure: I maintain close involvement with Chabad. However, I have never met any of the principles involved in the Vilinus situation.]

19 thoughts on “Rabbi Beaten in Vilnius: Now Streaming Live

  1. As always, it is not anti-semites who will destoy us, but it is fellow Jews who try to fuck us up.
    Of course, behind it is politics and who gets to own property.

  2. what happened to the rabbi can hardly be called a “beating.”
    maybe this is simply a case of local jews wanting to handle their own affairs as opposed to having them dictated by american chabadniks.

  3. Yeah, I get the distinct sense that this is not the whole story– and this was not a Rodney King style beating in the slightest (maybe you forgot what that looked like). Furthermore, these people need to learn how to cut a video so that audiences don’t get bored to tears before the action starts.

  4. I just got back from a month in Vilnius (I was attending the Yiddish Vilnius Institute (Cheap Plug) and was also in attendence at segments of the Litvaker conference, spent a Shabbos @ Chabad, and spoke with many members of the community. In short, this is a battle over money. The Lithuanian Government is willing to pay restitution to the Jewish Community, and Chabad wants a piece of the action. Many of the communities older members (especially those who survived the Holocaust) are unhappy with Chabad;s attempt to take over the Shul. (as an aside,,, many of the Jews from the FOSU who immigrated to Lithuania are siding w/ Chabad)… Personally, I found Krinsky to be a Mamzer… he was unwelcoming, sarcastic, obnoxious and generally not welcoming like many of the Chabadniks I’ve met here in the states. In addition, (to my knowledge) he has made no attempt to learn the Lithuanian language. If anyone desires, I have an article from the communitie’s (i.e. not Chabad) newspaper about the sittuation from their perspective and I would be willing to translate it for all interested parties (It’s printed in Lithuanian/Russian/and Yiddish)

    1. My father was born in Vilna, so was his father and my older brother was born in Vilna too. My dad came to America in 1949. My mothers family was from Bialstock. My father name is Pinchus Kejdan, and my mother’s maiden name was Rivkah Malkah Lasky Awidon

  5. “Personally, I found Krinsky to be a Mamzer… he was unwelcoming, sarcastic, obnoxious and generally not welcoming”
    Slightly strong language, don’t you say?

  6. Question? If Alperovitz/Burshtain are so successful in the community, why did they lock themselves out of the Shul
    Perhaps, they don’t have much grassroots support, only a set of keys!

  7. “Yeah, I get the distinct sense that this is not the whole story– and this was not a Rodney King style beating in the slightest (maybe you forgot what that looked like). Furthermore, these people need to learn how to cut a video so that audiences don’t get bored to tears before the action starts.”
    Agreed, agreed, and agreed.

  8. Closeted:
    Yes strong language… And it’s based only on my personal experiences with him on a couple of occassions… Maybe the Summer weather was bothering him… maybe the stress of the battle within the community… who knows… If you want to take the trip to Vilnius and check it out for yourself, by all means do.

  9. Lerxst, have you ever heard of Loshen Hora, calling someone a mamzer really is not on.
    Do you have evidence that he is a Mamzer? So you think his parents were not married? Is that the type of mamzer you are suggesting?
    Or are you suggesting something else?
    What did he do to really piss you off as you sound very bitter and sad.

  10. The man has been locked out the Shul whose community he grew for ten years.
    If I err not, Krinsky was the first rabbi to serve the community since the Shoah.
    Why does he undergo these trials, do they help the Vilinus community? I would imagine that they don’t. It seems that the JDC wants to make itself relevant to this community, and influen$e it’s donor$ abroad that it is successful in Eastern Europe.

  11. From the April-June 2004 edition of “Jerusalem of Lithuania” (the Newspaper of the Jewish Community of Lithuania) which has been printed since 1989… (if anyone wants scans I’ll make them available) The views below are not my own… but of the non-Chabad segments of the community… Page 6:
    On May 20, the Taharot ha-Kodesh synagogue at Pylimo St. 39, built with their own funds in 1903 by the religious Jewish mitnagdim community which has been gathering to pray here was temporarily shut. Prior to the Second World War there were more than 100 prayer houses in Vilnius. Now there is only one, and therefore even a temporary closing of its doors demnads and explination.
    Along with the Mitnagdim community which has functioned in Lithuania for several centuries, in 1994 Vilnius acquired the Jewish hassid Chabad Lubavitch community headed by rabbi Sholom Ber Krinsky. Though the hassidim have their own venue, including for services at Saltiniu St. 12, the hospitable Vilnius Jews selflessly offered this new religious community the opportunity to pray at the same Taharot ha-Kodesh synagogue.
    In order to understand thepresent sittuation, we need to recall events which occurred 3-4 years ago, when the title “Lithuania’s chief rabbi” appeared alongside Sholom Ber Krinsky’s name in the Lithuanian and foreign press and internet sites.
    No-one elected or appointed Krinsky cheif rabbi – he elected and appointed himself, on the assumption that the Lithuanian Jewish Community (chairman Dr. Simonas Alperavicius) would either not give it much significance or would not enter into a conflict and thus quietly swallow this pill.
    Rabbi Krinsky could not, and should not have hoped to be given this position, for in Lithuania it is also a question of ethics: all litvakes were followers of the Vilna Gaon, who was categorically opposed to hassidism To permit the appointment today of a representative of the Chabad Lubavitch Hassidism as chief rabbi would be the equivalent of rejecting the the Vilna Gaon and the memory of hundreds of thousands of his religious followers – victims of the Holocaust in Lithuania.
    Krinsky’s claims to the role of Lithuania’s chief rabbi is based on somewhat deeper and more significant reasons than those of hollow self-praise.
    Before WWII, Chabad Lubavitch owned no property in Lithuania. The sole lawful heir to religious based ownership is the Jewish mitnagdim religious community, so in order to open the wayto restitution of religious property, Krinsky needed to get rid of the mitnagdim community i.e. to become the onlyJewish community in Lithuania. But the Lithuanian Jewish Community was not about to let that happen.
    Krinsky therefore attemptedto arouse mistrust and to discredit the Jewish Mitnagdim religious community and the executive of the Lithuanian Jewish community in the eyes of the world Jewish communities. For several years he sent slanderous letters regarding the activity of the Lithuanian Jewish Community, its leadership and various Lithuanian Jewish organizations to Jewish communities in Europe, Israel, S. Africa, and USA.
    Having gotten nowhere, at the end of last year Krinsky changed tactics – he gathered together an aggressive and obedient group of approxiametly 20 people, who sent out hundreds of similar letters to the homes of Lithuania’s Jews, in an attempt to divide and destroy the small (ca. 4,500 strong) Lithuanian Jewish community from the inside, to compromise its leadership in the eyes of its members, to set them against each other and the community heads, to plant the seeds of suspicion and mistrust.
    Violating the ancient vow by Lithuania’s Jews not to involve state officials in resolving its internal disputes, the members of Krinsky’s group sent letters of a slanderous nature to members of the Lithuanian Parliament, to the prime minister, various other ministers, and the president.
    The main thrust of these letters is that the malevolent Alperavicius (LJC chairman) is afraid of the benevolent Krinsky – that the former has something to hide from the community, and that he therefore will not appoint Krinsky chief rabbi.
    But that’s not all.
    On Feb. 29, Krinsky’s group organized a meeting without the knowledge of Lithuania’s Jewish mitnagdim religious community, during which a new executive for the Jewish religious communitiy was “elected”, including with members of the Chabad Lubavitch group. Documents from this psuedo-election were sent for registery with the Ministry of Justice.
    When, where, in which country did one organization (the Chabad Lubativch hassidim) have the right to re-elect the leadership of another organization (mitnagdim). What were the organizers of this meeting hoping for? That the Ministry of Justice would not get involved in Jewish affairs, and simply register their choice?
    Registratiohn of a newly structured Jewish religious community executive would have opened the doors for the Chabad Lubavitch hassidim to make their own people heads of the mitnagdim community, and to pass a resolution disbanding, or including the latter in its own community. Following that, the Chabad Lubavitch hassidim would acquire the right to control the synagogue building and to use the stamp of the Jewish Religious Community, In other words – to take possession of the religious property of Lithuania’s Jews and to take part in resolving issues regarding the restitution of religious ownership. It’s no accident that the letters sent by Krinsky’s group deal to such a large degree with questions of ownership.
    Fortunately, their schemes failed, for the Minister of Justice understood the legal contemptibilityof the document presented by the Chabad Lubavitch group, and their attempt to circumvent the law was curtailed.
    The same Krinsky group began its active hooligan-like attacks at the synagogue, after Lithuania’s Jewish religious community, under recommendation by the conference of Eastern rabbis, elected orthodox rabbi Chaim Burstein from Israel, chief rabbi of Lithuania. During services now led by Burstein, Krinsky’s group turned into a solid team of troublemakers: stomping their feet, yelling, clapping, shouting the worst accusations against the rabbi – doing everything they could to stop the services. Amongst the participants was Krinsky himself.
    The provocations did not cease even when the synagogue was closed. The next day, members of the same group with Krinsky in the lead, broke into Burstein’s flat. They were extremely worked up, swore at and insulted Burstein, and beat him with their fists – as indicated by relevant medical evidence. Against their will, members of theMitnagdim Jewish community who had gathered for services at Berstein’s flat were witness to this disgusting attack by Krinsky.
    Using threats, coercion and sabatoge, Krinksy’s group is trying to force Burstein to renounce his post and leave Lithuania; the group is also trying to show the Mitnagdim and Lithuania’s Jewish Community its power, and its deep contempt for tradition and for people – to frighten and force them to stand aside, to ensure that Krinsky be elected chief rabbi at any cost………..
    More to follow after Shabbos…

  12. Well sounds like both groups are a bunch of mamzers.
    Good point about how Rabbi Krinsky made himself “chief rabbi” – he just assumed the title?
    Either way, both groups have once again shown Jews in the worst possible light.

  13. Part II of the article:
    Closing the synagogue is fundamentally an attempt by the mitnagdim to remove Krinsky’s people to their original position – i.e. to the building at Saltinui St. 12
    Sh. Krinsky told “Lietuvos Rytas” that the temporary closing of the synagogue is “an internal Jewish affair.” But there is no “internal affair.” Contrary to Krinsky’s attempted depiction this is not a conflict within the Lithuanian Jewish community but unfounded claims by both Krinsky and those who apparently stand behind him and control his actions, against the Jewish religious community and the Lithuanian Jewish Community.
    For many years, the Lithuanian JewishCommunity helped Krinsky graciously and inevery possible way; he was entrusted with celebrating traditional festivities, and with carrying out joint projects for the good of the entire community. Such collaboration had certain positive results, and it could have gone on had Krinsky continued working for the well being of Lithuania’s Jews, and not sought insidious goals. The Lithuanian Jewish community, and the dignity and faith of 4,500 people cannot be sacrificed for the personal interests of Krinsky andthose whose dirrections he carries out.
    The Lithuanian JEwish community did not object to the founding and registration of the Chabad Lubavitch hassidic community in Lithuania, never intruded in its activities, and when necessary even offered help. The Chabad Lubavitch hassidic community is an independent and autonomous organization. In many countries, the Chabad Lubavitch hassidim work along with local Jewish communities.
    But will the Lithuanian Jewish community want to continue any kind of collaboration with someone working against it? Is it a coincidence that the Association of Jewish Young People and Students, and other Lithuanian Jewish organizations have no longer a desire to work with him any longer? Is it by chance that the faithful, who understood Krinsky’s real goals have left his group?
    And what about the synagogue? Of course it will eventually open and continue to be a prayer house for the Jews of Lithuania, not a venue for demonstrating the claims of Mr. Krinsky and his inspirers.

  14. Paul:
    Yes I’ve heard of Loshen Hora… and I’m also very aware that in the same posuk as:
    לֹ×?־תֵלֵ֤ךְ רָכִיל֙ בְּעַמֶּ֔יךָ ׃
    don’t go as a peddler of gossip
    לֹ֥×? תַעֲמֹ֖ד עַל־דַּ֣×? רֵעֶ֑ךָ ×?Ö²× Ö´Ö–×™ יְהוָֽה
    don’t stand by as your friend’s blood is shed
    Sages much smarter than I have therefore claimed we are obligated to warn someone about a danger… Because Chabad is quite a bit more technologically savy, the community has been unable to get their word out beyond the confines of the Lithuanian media. At risk is the entire non-Chabad Lithuanian Jewish community… c. 4,500 people
    I admit I was a bit harsh in singling out Krinsky for criticism, and I regret not having chosen my words more carefully… I’ll start picking up all the feathers at my earliest convinience….
    and I think it’s perfectly clear I meant mamzer in the figurative sense rather than the literal

  15. You Didn’t get the point. Though physically the rabbi may have not been beaten but a man being dragged out very forcefully out of the synogague which he served the position of rabbi for 10 years is a total disgrace and a very big beating emotionally-far worse than physically.

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