rabbinical scam time

For reasons known best to themselves, AP avoided the word ‘rabbi’ both in their headline and in their story. Having checked that the man is indeed a ‘rabbi’, I have inserted it prominently. The JTA, on the other hand, has no problem in calling him a ‘rabbi’, but wants to equate him with those evil neo-nazi ‘holocaust deniers’, on the grounds that like them, he profanes the sanctity of the ‘Holocaust’ myth – RB

Rabbi headed to jail in NYC Torah fraud
AP, Oct 12 2012

A Jewish charity co-founder who billed himself as a “Jewish Indiana Jones” bent on rescuing vintage Torahs across the globe was sentenced to more than four years in prison on Thursday for conning donors out of about $1m. Rabbi Menachem Youlus told a judge in federal court in Manhattan that he was ashamed of his scam, but still hoped for leniency. He said:

I will carry that shame and dishonor with me for the rest of my life. I know I have a lifetime of atonement ahead of me.

US District Judge Colleen McMahon gave Youlus 51 months, the maximum sentence. She imposed the term after hearing some the victims express anguish over discovering that their donations, given to help to save the sacred scrolls in Europe and Israel, instead went into his pocket. She said:

We’re here because Mr Youlus is a liar and because he lied in order to obtain money.

Youlus, a 50-year-old father of nine children and owner of a book store in Wheaton, Maryland, had told donors he traveled the world to recover Torahs lost or hidden during the Holocaust, including at Auschwitz and Belsen. At a 2004 Torah dedication, Youlus wrote:

I guess you could call me the Jewish Indiana Jones.

But prosecutors said Youlus rarely went abroad during the years he had claimed to go Torah-hunting. They accused him of instead distributing Torahs he bought from US dealers to synagogues and congregations nationwide, sometimes at inflated rates. Authorities also alleged Youlus put some of the donations into his personal accounts, spending the funds on private school tuition for his children and on personal expenses, including meals and health care. Defense attorney Ben Brafman insisted Thursday that Youlus actually had “squirreled away” most of the funds. He also sought to assure victims they would get back all their money.

‘Jewish Indiana Jones’ sentenced to federal prison term
Neil Rubin, JTA, Oct 11 2012

Rabbi Menachem Youlus, once dubbed the “Jewish Indiana Jones” for his remarkable tales of rescuing Holocaust-era Torah scrolls, was sentenced in federal court on Thursday to more than four years in prison for fraud. Youlus was sentenced to 51 months by Judge Colleen McMahon, of the US District Court of Southern New York. He will surrender himself on Dec 17. Youlus had pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court on Feb 2 to having defrauded more than 50 victims, misappropriating some of the donations and secretly depositing them into the bank account of his Wheaton, Maryland store, called the Jewish Bookstore. Youlus also defrauded his charity, Save A Torah, Inc, and its donors of $862k, according to prosecutors. His dramatic accounts of rescuing Torahs turned out to be contradicted by historical evidence, witness accounts and records showing that he simply passed off used Torahs sold by local dealers who made no claims as to the scrolls’ provenance. The US Attorney’s office said that during many of the years in which Youlus claimed to be personally rescuing Torahs overseas, the Baltimore resident had not even traveled internationally. Menachem Rosensaft, vice president of the USAian Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants, told JTA:

This is extremely important because it sends a message that Holocaust deniers and Holocaust memory exploiters are not part of accepted society. There is very little if any difference between a Holocaust denier and someone like Youlus who exploits Holocaust memories in order to enrich himself.

8 Comments

  1. lobro
    Posted October 13, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    a treasure trove of bullshit.
    let’s pick out some of the shiniest gems.
    says rosensaft (hey are we talking about this rosensaft:
    There is very little if any difference between a Holocaust denier and someone like Youlus who exploits Holocaust memories in order to enrich himself.
    i guess that, lacking the vaunted ashkenazi iq, i haven’t figured out how to convert holocaust denial into shekels, so i do it on a pro bono basis.

    says youlus, accompanied by cantor and a fiddler, um, violinist:
    I will carry that shame and dishonor with me for the rest of my life. I know I have a lifetime of atonement ahead of me.
    wow, what a solemn vow!
    i would only suggest not to worry about “lifetime”, until next yom kipur should suffice.
    until the next day of atonement (whose arrival we hope for in happiness) we repent, aforehand, of them all, they shall all be deemed absolved, forgiven, annulled, void and made of no effect

    a question to talmud tech support:
    does kol nidre cover “vows, obligations, oaths or anathemas, pledges of all names, which one has vowed, sworn, devoted, or bound oneself to” other jews.

    note to the rich congregations (as if there are any other kinds); i have a rare copy for sale, bin laden’s own recovered from torah torah caves in afghanistan from where he directed 9/11.

  2. niqnaq
    Posted October 13, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Well spotted, lobro — that is definitely the same menachem rosensaft, but wearing a slightly different hat: in your version he is “founding chairman of the international network of children of survivors of,” whereas here he is “vice-president of the usaian gathering of survivors of and their descendants.” All this sounds just as scammy as youlus’s “save a torah, inc.”

  3. Helvena
    Posted October 13, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    You can always tell a Brit because they say “well spotted” instead of “good catch” like U.Sians do. I suppose it’s the baseball influence on us, whereas the rounders isn’t as big in Albion.

  4. lobro
    Posted October 13, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    having a bit of clue how these guys operate, he may well be the “fondling chairman of the international network of children”.

    but youlus is pure fun: so the guy travels the world selling trashed copies of torah to equally scuzzy synagogues that are happy to pass on collection yarmulke to their congregations in order to rescue the poor torah that has passed through nazi hell, pedal actuated brain bashin machines, soap factories and all, he literally does it for years, paying his 9 kids education among other things out of proceeds and then, all of a sudden, the suspicion dawns on him that he may be doing something, ahem, wrong and he is grief stricken, the rarest of birds, a jew who feels shame:
    I will carry that shame and dishonor with me for the rest of my life. I know I have a lifetime of atonement ahead of me.
    it is a heavy bear to load :-).

    i am touched (clue in violins, please).
    add another to the rapidly growing list of good jews.

  5. hp
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 1:38 am | Permalink

    “good eye” is the standard, innit?

  6. Helvena
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    In some circles hp, gallery openings and such. I tend to think “good eye” sounds a little bit stilted.

  7. lobro
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    and when combined with “evil eye”, a little bit skewed, especially in gallery massacres and such.

  8. Helvena
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    LOL, Hp will get a kick out of it 🙂

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