Sunday, February 28, 2010
Felicia Middlebrooks from WBBM-AM Chicago is in Haiti and tracked down Laura Silsby and Charisa Coulter in their inconvenient jail cell. Go here and listen to it. Much of Middlebrook's report is her own complaints about the conditions. Holy Jorge Puello! There's no air conditioning...and..and...and....it's 90 degrees...and...and...and... there's no eletricity...and...and...and...there's no plumbing or at least the kind American ladies and gentlemen use willingly.
Middlebrooks fails to mention that Team Silsby has a roof over its head, unlike hundreds of thousands of Haitians living in tents and streets. They have real homes to return to when they get out, even if Silsbuy's been foreclosed. Homes with air conditioning, electricity and plumbing
Then there's Drew Culberth, the Kansas firefighter and youth minister who got roped into child snatching by his brother-in-law Eastside Baptist Church pastor Paul Thompson who got roped into child snatching by Central Baptist Church patron Laura Silsby. Seems Drew, Pastor Thompson, and detainees Silas Thompson and Steve McMullin had a little party at the Bethany Baptist Church in Topeka before the latter three headed back home to Twin Falls, Idaho. The party was reported by their lawyer and hatchling right wing pol, Caleb Stegall who tells us:
they feasted on pizza and Mountain Dew, reconnecting and sharing stories as Drew Culberth's four children ran through the halls, happy and excited to be reunited with their dad.
EWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The fuel that youth ministries run on.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Investigative judge Bernard Sainvil said that before freeing Laura Silsby and Charisa Coulter he wanted witnesses that he had already examined in the Dominican Republic to give their testimony in Haiti. "The Americans will have to stay in jail while I hear those people ... the hearings will take place Monday and Tuesday, and they won't be released before I finish," Sainvil told Reuters.In case you haven't seen this video of Silsby and Coulter going to court the other day....note that Ms Coulter's lack of charm school training is showing.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Judge Bernard Saint-Vil tells reporters that he has asked two real estate agents and a pastor from the Dominican Republic to testify in Port-au-Prince about property the missionaries rented to set up an orphanage.
That is expected Monday. If they do not show, Saint-Vil says he still expects to rule next week.
2/26/2010: Tiny Update: A report from the European Press Photo Agency (in Spanish) says that "persistent" comments by defense attorney Aviol Fleuernt regarding the the exact release date of Silsby and Coulter put Judge Saint-Vil in a "delicate position with respect to the release:
Sin embargo, fuentes judiciales sostuvieron que las persistentes declaraciones del abogado Aviol Fleurant sobre la fecha precisa de liberación de las dos misioneras que permanecen detenidas, colocó al juez en una "situación delicada" con relación a su decisión de poner fin al proceso.
I've gotten behind in my reading. Has anyone heard from Larry, Curly and Moe recently? It sounds like Judge Saint-Vil doesn't expect them to show up. If they don't show, Silsby and Coulter should not be released. But then none of those so-called not-adopted pipeline kids should have been sent to the US and other points either.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
My information is from the February 2, 2010 CBS 7 (Odessa) News, Andrews connection with American missionaries accused of kidnapping. Go to the right of the screen and click on the video (couldn't find a separate link) and check out old pictures of the luxurious hotel that is in real life is no longer luxurious. These pictures no doubt were used to spirit the kids away from their families. (I'm working on a separate blog on that)
The news report places the First Baptist Church, on the ground floor of Larua Silsby's pre-quake orphanage scheme. It also places Silsby's Central Valley Baptist Church as an active sponsor of the orphanage and the trip to Haiti , despite various church self-reportings to the contrary (my emphasis):
Pastor Jeff Donnell of First Baptist Church in Andrews says the Central Valley Church in Idaho contacted them well before the earthquake to build an orphanage.
The church contacted us needing help that was just a natural fit for us,” Pastor of First Baptist Church in Andrews, Jeff Donnell said. “We could do that, we could go.”
The earthquake however inspired a sense of urgency.
No missionary tourists are named in the newscast, and the church's webpage is clean of all Haiti/DR visits. This is what we learn of the "missionaries' activities from the report:
“While they were tending to the actual children we were going to ten [sic] the building to get it ready” Donnell said.
They left for the Dominican Republic last week to help turn a 45-room hotel into an orphanage unit. This unit was supposed to house 150 children, including the 33 children the Haitian prime minister claims was kidnapped.
“We never went into Haiti. Our friends did and they spent a week working with the authorities before the accusations were made” Donnell said.
The pastor says they thought everything was in the clear to receive the children.
“Its our understanding all the paper work had been done, that every had been in order.” Donnell said...
...Now the all church can do is pray for their friends in Haiti and children still with out a home.
“We've communicated to Central valley church,” Donnell said, “And gave our support and prayers for them.”
The First Baptist Church bills itself as a mission giving church, donating 11% of its budget receipts to the ultra conservative Southwestern and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminaries. The church has led missionary tours to Trinidad, Belize, and Armenia (which, btw, adopted Christianity as its state religion in 301 AD) and helps support fulltime missionaries Crystal and Chad Reynolds. Numerous photo albums of church and mission work are posted on the church's webpage, but none from the recent DR incursion. For those interested in evangelical arcana, check out the Joshua Project People Group flowchart and The Unreached People Group of the Day" on the front page of the church's homepage. This will take you directly to the Haiti People Group, which inexplicably, if I'm reading it correctly, features French Jews (or the French and Jews are lumped into one People Group.)
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Many of the videos show the release of the "missionaries" and their return to Idaho. Apparently Yoram doesn't realize that these are some of the most hated people in the US today, and that most of us think they belong in jail right next to Dick Cheney and Tim Geithner. To win friends and influence people he does not want to take credit for that.
The page is in Spanish, and I need to go through it yet. The audio didn't work, but I trust that will be fixed soon.
The reinvention begins!
Monday, February 22, 2010
Down the Rabbit Hole: Additional Idaho Baptist and Anonymous Texas Missionaries were in Dominican Republic with Silsby
The Twin Falls Times-News today reports that more New Life "missionaries" than previously known were in the Dominican Republic preparing the so-called "orphanage" while Team Silsby was busy gathering up the boodle.
We already knew that Eastside Baptist Church members John Requa and Matt and Lora Crider remained at the "orphanage" while church pastor Paul Thompson, his son Silas Thompson, and member Steve McMullin crossed into Haiti. (I thought I had already posted about Requa and the Criders, but they are in an unfinished blog that I hope to get up soon. Baby Love Child, covers them here.)
Now we learn that Nancy Rodriguez, wife of Paul Rodriguez, Magic Valley Baptist Association director of missions, and four "missionaries" from an unnamed group in Texas were also at the "orphan" hotel. This makes (so far) 17 onsite New Life adoption traffickers recruited by Laura Silsby. According to the News-Times:
The plan had been to gather up orphaned children and take them across the border to an orphanage in the Dominican Republic. Eastside members Matt and Lora Crider and John Requa were joined in Haiti's neighboring country by Nancy Rodriguez - wife of Paul Rodriguez, director of missions for the Magic Valley Baptist Association....
...Requa arrived in the Dominican Republic on Jan. 28, with the Criders following the next day. They busied themselves working with another group from Texas to get the hotel that would serve as a temporary building ready for the children.
The Criders and Requa cut bait and returned to the US on Janaury 31, and the unnamed Texans the next day. The article doesn't say when Nancy Rodriguez arrived and left DR. I have been unable to determine what church the Rodriquezes belong to.
Talk about the sounds of silence!
Paul Rodriguez posted a message (undated) linking MVBA to the prisoners, but he fails to say that his wife was working at the "orphanage" when the arrests happened. The message begins (my emphasis):
It has been too many days now since our people were arrested and are still imprisoned in Haiti. Please do not grow weary...
There is also a picture of the MVBA's Disaster Relief Team (undated) that appears to be taken back in Twin Falls, not in the middle of an earthquake or any other disaster. Members are not identified, though someone who looks like Paul Rodriguez is the 3rd from the left, last row. I do not know what Nancy Rodriquez looks like. If MVBA sent its relief team to Haiti, I can find no record of it.
It gets more interesting. In addition to today's article, a search through the Twin Falls Times-News indicates that Paul Rodriguez was referenced three times (and Nancy none) in the paper's coverage of the arrests of the Eastside Baptist Church members. In none of them did Rodriquez mention that Mrs. Rodriquez was part of the gang. Maybe it has something to do with the crossed T's and dotted I's he mentions.
February 7,2010: Fellow Baptist pastors defend Thompson against Haiti charges
Paul Rodriguez, director of Magic Valley Baptist Association, said he’s “very disturbed” that Thompson is being held on the criminal charges.
With Thompson in Port-au-Prince is his 19-year-old son Silas, and Steve McMullin, both of Twin Falls and also members of Eastside Baptist Church.
Paul Thompson is known for working closely with the youth in his church and was concerned about homeless children being on the streets, said Rodriguez, who’s known Thompson for about 20 years. Thompson often encouraged families to accept foster children into their homes.
“This thing about trafficking and kidnapping — not Paul. Not Paul. Without a doubt, he had no intentions of trafficking or kidnapping children. Something arose, something went wrong,” Rodriguez said....
...This should be a lesson learned for other congregations, Sjostrom said. Churches should take the time to study and plan before jumping into relief efforts.
“I think they were foolish in moving so quickly just because of the earthquake,” he said. “I think it was done with the best of intentions, but that isn’t going to cut it. … They should have planned better. There needs to be checks and balances.”
Rodriguez concurred. “This is a lesson that we need to learn very well,” he said. “We need to be more prepared in the future, and make sure that our T’s are crossed and our I’s are dotted.”
February 21, 2010: McMullin welcomed home:
Steve McMullin (right) arrived to the warm embrace of family and friends Saturday at Joslin Field, Magic Valley Regional Airport.
McMullin, a member of Eastside Baptist Church in Twin Falls, arrived to the airport at about noon.
His arrival was announced only to family and friends, said Paul Rodriguez, missions director of the Magic Valley Baptist Association....
...Rodriguez said McMullin didn’t say much about his ordeal, but he had something to say to McMullin.
“I said, ‘Steve, good job. Good job.’ He said, ‘I didn’t do anything.’ But he did,” Rodriguez said. “He handled himself in a very Christian way through all of this.”
After a while the group at the airport broke out singing “Amazing Grace,” Rodriguez said...
...Rodriguez said he did not know when Thompson would arrive from Kansas, where he’s staying with family.
“They want to stay there for a little while. That’s what I heard,” he said.
Really interesting is the February 1, 2010, KMTV news video on the arrests that includes Paul Rodriguez silent on his wife's involvement with Silslby.
Allen, who IS from Amarillo, has said nothing about meeting up with any other Texans at the "orphanage" before he went into Haiti and was popped with Team Silsby. He has maintained that he was recruited by his cousin Eastside Pastor Paul Thompson (later detained in Haiti) and had about 48 hours turnaround time on the trip. He says he had no prior knowledge of Silsby and, in fact, met her for the first time at the Miami airport. So far, I've seen no reason to question that scenario. His church, the Paramount Baptist Church, makes no mention of a Haiti trip,though it does have a "disaster relief team." (As much as I've written about the churchy folks elsewhere, I've never heard of individual church disaster teams until now. I suppose that has something to do with the de-professionalism of the Protestant missionary industry.)
So we now have another mystery. Who are the Texas missionaries and why have they disappeared from the Silsby story? We'd really love to hear more from Nancy Rodriguez, too.
Just how many people were in on this little junket down to Haiti?
Thanks to Daily Bastardette commenter Robin for finding this article so quickly this morning!
CORREC TION: I was just over at websleuths and someone pointed out I had possibly mislabeled Paul Rodriguez suggesting he and Nancy were in the front row on the far left holding hands. I checked, and by golly, I believe they are correct. My eyes just glazed over them.
Friday, February 19, 2010
What I find so..well, interesting about these posts is that 95% (or more) pertain to the writer proving his Jewish, not his innocence of the crimes for which he is accused.
I will comment on these later, but I wanted to get them up now.
Below is post #1.
Message 1: February 18, 2010 4:55:09PM
Yoram has left a new comment on your post "WHO IS JORGE PUELLO, PT 2: JUMPING DOWN THE RABBIT...":
I am open to answer any question you have on me about my Yiddishkite, or anything
my e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org , I am not affraid to answer all you question and give you proof!!!!
Posted by: Jorge Torres Puello | February 18, 2010 at 02:32 PM
1. My Mothers mother is Swiss, her name is Miriam Rosental. And during the Shoach she moved to the DR and her name was changed by Trujillo for political reasons to Maria.She married my Grand Father Mannuel Puello a beirut Jew who moved to the Dominican Republic.
2. My family never practice Jewdaism and I never went to Jewish school BUT I WAS A JEW BORN TO A JEWISH MOTHER. (MEMBER OF THE SPANISH AND PORTUGUESE SYNAGOGUE SHEARITH ISRAEL IN MONTREAL)
3. After all my troubles I decided to do Baal Shuva and with the Help of a Montreal Rabbi I returned to the Jewish Community.
4. I never choose the life I had, I never made any money with any B´nei Anous, the story that you dont know is that I Gave more than US$600,000 to help others return to Judaism. ALL MY MONEY.
5. In Canada while working undercover for the US Gov. The government never told the Canadian that they were conducting an investigation ilegaly inside Canadian Soil, I get trap in to this mess. I WAS RELEASE AFTER BEEN ILEGALY DETAINED IN PRISON FOR AN EXTRADITION TO THE U.S.
read it your self.
My mother has never been religious and she married on her secon marriage a chatolic man. (That don´t take away my jewishness)
The reason Rabbi Perlman and Isaac Rudman don like me is because they dont like poor jews, and the b´nei anous had no money. (Like Hashem choosed only rich people when our father Abraham Abinu times)
The Mohel who did my sons bris was an ultra orthodox jew ISRAEL HELLER from New York, some one recomended by Rabbi Perlman´s boss Rabbi Zarchi from Chabad Puerto Rico.
Kulanu never sent me a dime, if you go to their web site in the news letter you will find more news about the community, and the forest foundation send some help for Chanukka when I built the biggest Chanukkia in dominican history.
As for the charges in El Salvador I am being extorted, I was not even there when in the span of the time when the crime was committed.
If you need more let me know
JORGE TORRES PUELLO (YORAM)
P.S. Yoram is in the book of Kings. Not a new israeli name.
Yoram has left a new comment on your post "WHO IS JORGE PUELLO, PT 2: JUMPING DOWN THE RABBIT...":
Sorry for the link it wont work that way
use this one and tipe my name
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA VS JORGE TORRES
read it below
PROVINCE OF QUEBEC
June 9th, 2004
Mr. JUSTICEJ. FRASER MARTIN, J.S.C.
TORRES, JORGE ANIBAL
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
LE DIRECTEUR DU CENTRE DE DÉTENTION R.D.P.
 I am inclined in particular circumstances of this case to take a rather restrictive view of article 69 of the Extradition Act.
 There is one thing that is clear. This is intended to be an expeditive procedure, the act is drafted in that fashion, delays are set out and the delays stand to be respected.
 There is no doubt that to some considerable degree Mr. Torres is the author of his own misfortune, in view of the (numerous, huge) number of letters that have been sent on an ongoing argument at various dates to the Ministry of Justice but that does not excuse for one second the Ministry of Justice.
 The Minister has his obligations under the Act, the Minister has the obligation to act in one way or another and it is totally unacceptable that the Minister's counsel, paralegals or everybody else put off under the guides of incorporating this into a final submission to the Minister that would be given at some elastic date on the future without having regard for any of the delays that are set out in the Act that somehow or other somebody be kept incarcerated for months on end.
 Giving this the most charitable interpretation that it can be given, from the point of view of the Minister of Justice, Mr. Torres has one way or the other been detained illegally since the 13th of March because he was entitled to do a decision by that date at the very least. (2003) (YEAR ADDED BY ME)
 As I say, not for me to speculate on the consequences but I read discharged out of custody to mean discharged out of custody purely and simply and I am cognisant that Mr. Justice Hébert has already declined to grant a stay of proceedings in this matter, so that I should not be interpreted the same that the order that I am rendering today intended to be interpreted in that sense. Not at all.
 I am interpreting section 69 to mean that he should be discharged from custody awaiting the decision of the Minister and it is not for me to specify as of today within what delays the Minister should act. That is up to the Minister to determine and to act accordingly.
FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT:
GRANTS in part the Petition and
ORDERS the immediate release of Mr. Torres from custody.
The conditions for your release are the following:
a) To keep the peace and be a good behaviour and to attend to Court when required;
b) To reside at [...], Granby and not to change your address without the authorization of the Court;
c) To remain within the territorial limits of the Province of Quebec;
d) To abstain from applying a passport and I note that your two passports, one which is for the United States and the other for Dominican Republic have been surrendered;
e) To report to the RCMP at Granby between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm and signed the register once a week on Friday, beginning on the 11th of June of 2004 and to report to the RCMP within 24 hours of receiving the Minister's decision with regard to surrender;
I take that these conditions will be respected
Yoram has left a new comment on your post "WHO IS JORGE PUELLO, PT 2: JUMPING DOWN THE RABBIT...":
If you want a letter of my sinagogue in canada I will send it to everyone, I BELONG TO THE OLDEST SYNAGOGUE IN CANADA AND THE UNITED STATES, even before all this Sphardic hater Kuzzars came to america. We are the true jews the Jews from the Arab Countries and Sepharad. The Ramban, Rambam, Rashi, Onkelos, Don Senior etc. Are all Sephardic. You don´t see any Auskenazim. or Black Hats or Schreimers in during the golden age of Judaism. It makes me sick that all this Kuzzars whant to step over our sages decision.
<<>> [ויקרא-Vayikra. 26:44]
Yoram has left a new comment on your post "WHO IS JORGE PUELLO, PT 2: JUMPING DOWN THE RABBIT...":
<<>> [יִרְמְיָה, Yirmĭyahu. 31:37]
<<>> [סנהדרין-Sanhedrin 44a]
- Hide quoted text -
<< (According to Kings 19:18, there were 7,000 faithful Israelites who) “have not bowed to Baal, we did not see that it occurred to any of our Sages that our forefathers who betrayed God, rebelled against Him and denied Him should be called ‘complete gentiles’ or ‘worse than gentiles,’ and that their sons who repented and worshipped God should be considered proselytes >> [R. She’ adyá ben Maimon ibn Danan, Khemdah Genuzah, 15a]
In views of Divine, Prophetic, Talmudic and post-Talmudic understanding, an apostate Israelite is still an Israelite. It follows that an Anous, who was forced into avoda zara / foreign cult, and their children who are born in a state of duress among non-Jews, are also Israelites:
<< (the children of Anusim), who have never seen the light of the Torah, are no different from Jewish children who have lived as prisoners among non-Jews or with Karaites (Israelites who do not believe in the authority of Oral Torah), even Maimuni, Hiljot, Mamrim III, 3, had compassion on them, and treated them lightly. >> [R. Abraham de Aboab – year 1694 -- Deber Shemuel, No. 45(S. 18c f.)]
It hardly ever occurred to the Sages of Israel in the Ottoman Empire, Italy, Algiers, Morocco, Amsterdam, London – in fact every where the most brilliant luminaries of our tradition flourished – to call Anusim “gentiles” much less “proselytes”. Because, as received in the mouth of Rabbi Samuel de Medina from his teacher R. Taytazak, as confirmed by Gaon Zemah, in relation to the Anusim:
Yoram has left a new comment on your post "WHO IS JORGE PUELLO, PT 2: JUMPING DOWN THE RABBIT..."
<< . . . if anyone brought up the question about the possibility that the child is from a non-Jewish woman, might answer would be that UNLESS THERE IS PROOF TO THE CONTRARY, we take as fact that the child is from a Jewish woman. Furthermore, we assume that all Marranos are descendants of Jews . . . and just as we assume the father of the Marrano is Jewish, we give as fact that each mother of the Marrano is Jewish >> [Responsa III, 112]
In other words, the proof for the matrilineal descent lies with the accuser . . .
Not with the alleged victim. Why?
In the Mishna – the compilation of Oral Torah – we find an injunction that says:
<<>> [Kiddushin 4:10]
In another responsum, now in regards to the Anusim of Ashkenaz (Germany) in the 12th c., Rabbi Salomon bar Simson said:
<<>> [Geshichte der Juden in Deutschland a.a. O. p. 29, Bernfeld a.a. O.S. 192.]
Why? Very simple, to speak wrongs on Israel leads to impiety, as exposed by Maimonides, of blessed memory:
<<>> [Iggeret ha-Shemad, Halkin’s translation, (Philadelphia, 1993) p. 17]
Now I am also held accountable.
The very claim of the Anusim carries authority, and establishes the main reference point for rabbinical defense.
The Rabbis dialogue underneath the voice of the Anusim.
We hardly find any actions to the contrary. And since it is in the majority of opinions to consider Anusim as part of Israel, it follows that it is treated with the utmost respect and care.
Therefore, there should be to no one’s amazement to see R. Aaron Soloveichik response when he says:
Yoram has left a new comment on your post "WHO IS JORGE PUELLO, PT 2: JUMPING DOWN THE RABBIT..."
Again, I must go back to the few Rabbis who are aware (not even knowing) the legal precedence on Anusim, and yet have to conform to the Status Quo to avoid any problems. Yet, let it be known they are not obliged and loop wholes can be found within the system.
In all fairness, you must understand that the whole issue of “conversion” is abhorred in the minds of some Anusim.
They have every right to think so.
We know that some people demanded also conversion from Yemenite Jews decades ago, yet the Yemenite community stood on its feet and fought their way through. How does one Jew have the right to invalidate the other’s lineage? Anusim lack the communal aspect, and as a result they cannot defend themselves jointly.
By all that we know on Anusim, no ceremony of “conversion” was ever performed and neither a certificate was ever issued.
Can anyone bring me the Responsa from 1400’s to 1800’s that explicitly show how this was ever done? For all we know, Anusim were treated on the same footing as it is done with any Jew today who did not grow up in the ways of tradition.
For all that this is worth . . . 761 years ago, the monastic orders in Spain set out to preach to Jews in their synagogues and convince them to conversion; 611 years ago the violent persecutions and conversions began in Seville; 515 years ago the longest, the most organized machinery for the destruction of the core of Israel (their soul) was founded.
The Inquisition aim was to eradicate the Jewish soul from the conversos, believing in the Christian doctrine that through Jesus everyone forms parts of the Church’s body and are no longer their former selves, and Judaism corrupts that “Body” , therefore we had to be treated as a disease that ultimately was cured with fire.
This is what happened to the community that revived Hebrew in its spoken and written forms, whose communities gave us the Codifiers of our Law, the liturgical poems most respected in our traditions, the Science and Translations that spread through the Civilized world, and a good name that speaks of elegance, mutual respect, and brilliant wit; whose descendants opened the doors again to France and England, and the New World .
Giving into Giur l’humra represents inversely the recognition that the Church achieved its aim.
Anusim are no longer Israel . . . Anusim are Aliens to be “newly” adopted into the house of Jacob.
is this how Jews today pay respect to tradition and the berit?
Posted by: Jorge Torres Puello | February 18, 2010 at 03:06 PM
Every one concentrates in what I did WRONG (NOT FOUND GUILTY YET), and don´t even mention that I risk my life for other
Yoram has left a new comment on your post "WHO IS JORGE PUELLO, PT 2: JUMPING DOWN THE RABBIT...":
For Judaism to be operative in what we call the “chain of tradition”, the full force the Written and Oral Torah, the commentaries of the Talmud, and the post-Rabbinic tradition as deposited in the Responsa have to operate hand in hand.
To render any of these useless, renders the whole “chain” inoperative. For this reason, Maimónides in his Mishne Torah – who in the name of the Sages – says:
<<>> [MT Hilkhot Mamurim, II.2]
Because it is certain that we all are dwarfs in the presence of the luminaries of the tradition, and when will it happen for us to surpass them? Let me let you into a secret: Never.
And how can anyone explain to the Anusim – with the full use of Halakha – how these most central matters on Israel’s identity do not come violated to its very core through the use of Giur?
Is this perhaps a joke? Can Israel be Israel without what the Sages have known for all times? And how can one invalidate the lineage of another Israelite without first bringing proof? And borrowing an expression from Maimonides, to make Anusim (coerced Israelites) into Gerim (adopted into the house of Jacob) is a “ranter of nonsense.”
Since when is permissible to take advantage of the innocent’s ignorance?
It is certain proving the Ignorance of some individuals through the Anusim filter.
And how we prove their ignorance? Ask them how many Rabbis decreed in favor of Anusim; Ask them for how long this went on; Ask them to prove you how their decision to make a Ger from an Anusim validates tradition.
They shall remain speechless for they have not been taught; yet they do not seem to have the responsibility to explain themselves either. As Maimonides lamented over 800 years ago:
<<>> [Iggeret ha-Shemad, Chp I]
Yet, ignorance by itself is not a sin.
Under all this, Anusim have every right to resist a “conversion” as understood in the sense of “adoption”. On the other hand, in no way they can, as with any Israelite, remove themselves from practicing Judaism . . .
Giur may be the “only” way as offered by some today, yet I cannot see how this is the correct way.
Monday, February 15, 2010
No reference is made to Torres Puello's religion in the interview with his mother and stepfather in the Miami Herald (registration required) or CNN. I've heard nothing to suggest he was born Jewish. Puello isn't a Jewish name, but Torres is. His father is reported to be Puerto Rican and if he were Jewish, it wouldn't make his son Jewish by birth. There are a couple media references saying that Torres Puello is a Jewish convert, but I've not seen any genuine documented source on that. If it is true, when did he convert and who did he convert under? Nobody has come forward to claim him.
We only "know" Torres Puello is Jewish because (1) he says he's Jewish and (2) he wears a kippah and talit. I have a talit. Does that make me a Jewish man?
When Did Jorge Torres Puello "Become" Jewish?
We know from various sources including Puello's mother Ana (Solead) Puello that her son skipped around a lot: the US, DR, Puerto Rico, El Salvador and Canada. (There are now sketchy reports that he spent 18 months in a Canadian jail waiting for extradition to the US and was finally released). Puello and his mother further claim that he spent a year in jail in 1998 for handling funds from drug trafficking (he denies the drug charge) and was jailed briefly between 2001-2002 for a parole violation. I don't know about the 1998 or Canadian raps, but the 2001-2002 time was not a parole violation,. He pled guilty to attempting to negotiate a stolen Treasury check for $66,000 in Philadelphia using the name George Boyd, Jr.,verified in the February 1-15, 1999 Fraud Awareness Newsletter and his failed appeal for sentence reduction before the 3rd District Federal Court of Appeals.
To makes things more curious, according to CNN (above link):
both his mother and Torres Puello say he served briefly in the U.S. Army in a military intelligence unit, and Torres Puello said he also worked undercover with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.
Given Torres Puello's penchant for lies and quick change identities, I have my doubts this is true. But if it is, that could explain his relationship with fellow trafficker Pablo Nasser (how would a cheap con artist and common criminal like Torres Puello meet up with the Deputy Director of Immigration?) and open up a whole lotta mess for a whole lotta people.
We know that Torres Puello lived with his first wife Valerie in Plantation, Florida, and that after his 2005 common law marriage to second wife Ana Rameriz, lived in Puerto Rico. He seems, in fact, to have had several "legal addresses" in the last few years, and judging from the picture of his La Liberdad home, he wasn't hurting for cash.
Harry Ezratty places Torres Puello, aka Jorge Yoram Torres, in Santo Domingo in 2005, where he self-identified as an American Orthodox Jew and ran an internet cafe, though that is information probably furnished to Ezratty by Puello Torres. I have no practical way to research the alleged business.
We know that Torres Puello founded the DR Sephardic Orthodox Jewish Community in 2007, the Sephardic Orthodox Jewish Council of El Salvador in 2008, and the for-profit Sephardic Orthodox Jewish Council of America in Florida in 2009, ostensibly to establish synagogues, perform religious marriages, conversion, certify kosher slaughter, etc. If and what these organizations did is so far unknown.
We know that there is Internet speculation that Torres Puello used the Chabad network to move his traffick. The Awareness Center: International Jewish Center Against Sexual Abuse/Assault posted the following yesterday:
According to reliable sources Jorge Torres Orellana davens (prays) at the Chabad in the Dominican Republic.
No details were offered. Read Twelfth Bough's thoughts on the subject here. There are a couple entries.
We know that the DR's small Jewish community is distancing itself from Torres Puello, claiming they never heard of him.
All of these "knowns" bring up the question: Is Jorge Torres Puello really Jewish?
If Torres Puello were a devout Orthodox Jew (by birth or conversion; Dominican or American), wouldn't he have sought out the tiny Jewish community in Santo Domingo? Wouldn't he have attended Santo Domingo's Centro Israelita de Republica Dominicana? Or Chabad? That didn't happen. Or at least that's the official story. According to Dr. Ezratty :
Obviously being Jewish, it was inevitable that someone would approach him [Jorge Yoram Torres]. It wasn't one of the members of the island's two tiny Jewish communities, but a Dominican who claimed a crypto-Judaic heritage.
By October 2006 when Dr. Ezratty met Jorge Yoram Torres, he had established his Jewish creds and was supposedly "advising" up to 3000 Dominicans who were or believed they were of Crypto-Jewish heritage and holding Jewish services in his backyard. The day Ezratty arrived in the DR, so did a mohel from Brooklyn to perform a bris on Torres Puello's son. Clearly he'd established his "Jewishness" well before that date.
I can't imagine that Santo Domingo's Jewish population was unaware of these backyard activities or other claims and fabrications:
They [Torres Puello's "congreation"] rallied to purchase a building with a sanctuary, classrooms and dormitories for men and women so that they might observe the Sabbath without traveling. For Hanukah Torres successfully petitioned the government for permission to erect a huge menorah in one of Santo Domingo 's busiest intersections. Torres didn't stop there; he got the government to donate land for a synagogue, a Jewish cemetery and a Jewish hospital. A rabbi has consented to help bring them back to Judaism and possible aliyah to Israel .
Just like there is no Laura Silsby-built New Life Children's Refuge, there are no Torres Puello-built sanctuary, dorms, or schools. There is no Jewish hospital. There are only two Jewish cemeteries in DR, one in Santo Domingo and a small cemetery at the Sosua Community. Neither of them are new.
Wouldn't the Jewish community have acknowledged the sudden appearance of a giant menorah in downtown Santo Domingo courtesy of Torres Puello? And who is the rabbi who "consented to bring them back to Judiasm and possible aliah to Israel?"
This recollection, coming from Rudman, a prominent member of Santo Domingo's Jewish community, suggests that other Jewish leaders were also aware of Torres Puello and were put off by his "conflictive" Messianic complex. Or they thought he was a phony or a nut. Or maybe they weren't so much. Rudman's comment calls into question Chabad Rabbi Shimon Pelman's (right) claim that he's never heard of Torres Pulleo, especially when it's been reported from a source the Awareness Network trusts, that Torres Puello davens at Chabad:
Something is up. Maybe Pelman doesn't know any Jews named Torres Puello because Torres Puello isn't Jewish. Maybe it's cover your ass.
Given Torrres Puello's self-aggrandizement and grifterness (not to mention other worse behavior), I think there's a good argument that Torres Puello's Jewishness is just another scam. with or without a strategic purpose.
The purpose of the Sephardic Orthodox Jewish Council of America (and I'm guessing the Puerto Rican, and Salvadoran organizations, which I can find no legal documents for, and the DR organization whose papers the New York Times has seen) is interesting because it seems charitable, though it is registered as a for-profit. The council would:
Represent the Sephardic Jewish communities in the Americas, and establish synagogues and performing religious marriages, conversion, kosher certification, Rabbi appointment and kosher supervisors, arbitration and mediation services.
It sounds like the "grandoise plan" for the Jewish city was getting a paper makeover to look legit and rake in the dough. Or something.
A couple of small points
Also, would a devout Orthodox Jew have a common law wife? I thought the Talmud forbade that or at least greatly frowned on it.
Who's scrubbing wiki:
Somebody has been busy scrubbing references to Jorge Torres Puello off of wiki. As I noted Sunday, the reference to "Jorge Yoram Torres" disappeared in midstream on the wiki entry for "Luis de Torres." Now, he's gone from wiki's "History of the Jews in El Salvador." The Sephardic Orthodox Council of North America has gone missing from "History of The Jews in the Dominican Republic"
As of this writing:
Wiki caches referencing Torres Puello on "History of Jews in the Dominican Republic," "Spanish and Portuguese Jews," and "Luis de Torres" are wiped clean.
Jorge Yoram Torres, remains in this cache from "Spanish and Potuguese Jews" under the "Other permanent personalities" list.
The reference to The Sephardic Jewish Orthodox Council of El Salvador remains on the Spanish and Portuguese page.
I don't have time right now to try to figure out who's cleaning up Jorge's mess.
I don't believe for one moment that Torres Puello is Jewish. But I do believe he is quite capable of "being Jewish," (like someone is capable of being Catholic or being Norwegian); that is, deconstructing an identity and building a new persona for a big haul. It's play acting. It's fun. Why he would pick Judiasm, I have no idea, but as another commenter pointed out tonight, "Perhaps he passed his time in jail reading about Judaism, and decided to grow a beard and buy some Kippot/ Yamelkahs to assume a new identity." I was thinking that myself. I know someone who did that in prison, only he actually converted and became a huge pain.
Whatever is going on is messy. It's about money. And it reeks.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
JORGE TORRES ORELLANA (Jorge Pulleo)
CRIMES AGAINST CHILDREN, PEOPLE SMUGGLING, TRAFFICKING & ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION
Thanks to everyone commenting and sending tips. They are tremendously helpful. Tomorrow I plan to sit down and go through them carefully. "Plan" being the operative word. The way the story is moving it won't surprise me if Jorge Puello is picked up in Andorra by then. In the meantime, it's impossible to keep up and comment cogently on breaking Puello events. The best way is to break the story into chunks, although with so much new news, old news gets tossed aside, at least for now.
Today I'm writing about Jorge Puello. Next, unless something big breaks, I'll give an update on the New Lifers.
On February 11, 2010 ((New York Times) we first learned that New Life Children's Refuge "legal adviser" Jorge Puello, may not be who he claimed to be. As I determined earlier, and the New York Times verified, Puello is not a licensed lawyer in the Dominican Republic. In fact, he's not a lawyer anywhere. How Puello became the group's "legal adviser" is still unknown. Updates on that situation will appear in another entry.
The article said Jorge Callegas, head of the Salvadoran Border Police, told the Times that he was investigating accusations that a man with a Dominican passport under the name Jorge Anibal Torres Puello, worked a human trafficking ring that recruited women and underage girls to El Salvador with the promise of legitimate work. They were then sold into prostitution there and in Nicaragua, and DR. The sex ring was broken up when three prisoners, 14, 15, and 16 escaped from the house and went to police to report they had been forced to pose naked to promote the sex business. Multiple passports were found in the house, including one in the name of Jorge Torres Orellana.
Callegas, after seeing pictures of "legal adviser" Jorge Puello on television in Haiti, believed that "Jorge Puello" and "Jorge Anibal Torres Puello" and "Jorge Torres Orellana" were the same man. A February 12, article in The New York Times gave a few more details about the case, saying that suspect Puello had worked the ring with Ana Josefa Galbarina Ramierz Orellana, identified elsewhere as suspect Puello's Salvadoran common-law wife. Ramierz Orellana (currently in jail) and Pablo Nasser, (right) former deputy director of the Salvadoran Immigration Service. Last April, just before his arrest, Nasser attended a course on fraudulent document detection sponsored by the Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism (CICTE) in collaboration with the Forensic Document Laboratory of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE/Homeland Security) and the Salvadoran government. This opens a new set of questions and issues, which need to be discussed, but not in this entry.
In response to the first Times article, "legal adviser" Puello claimed to know nothing about "Jorge Anibal Torres Puello" saying his full name is "Jorge Puello" (no middle name) and he'd been born in Yonkers (Westchester County), New York to a Dominican mother. Incredibly he claimed to have no passport. "In a subsequent interview he told the Times that his full name is "Jorge Aaron Bentath Puello" and he is president of the Sephardic Jewish Community in DR. Documents connected to that Sephardic community were found in the house where traffickers held the young women. The February 13 Times reported that Dominican records filed on November 1, 2007 indicate that the Sephardic Jewish Community is registered to Jorge Anibal Torres Puello. I have not been able to confirm that.
Ana Puello told the Herald that her son was born in Yonkers, but was reared, mostly by his grandmother, in Santo Domingo. He moved to Miami as a teenager. In 1998, under the name Jorge Torres alias George Boyd, Jr, he was indicted for bank fraud in Philadelphia. He was sentenced to 12 months in prison, 6 months in a halfway house, 5 years probation and a $5000 fine after pleading guilty to attempting to negotiate a stolen $66,0000 US Treasury check. He appealed his sentence unsuccessfully. Like the current trafficking case, he was ID'd through video surveillance, fingerprint analysis, and positive witness identification. He was released on January 10, 2002 after Franko Cerminara went to the US to testify on his behalf. It is unclear why, but the US Marshal's Service issued a warrant for his arrest 10 months after his release, and he is currently on their fugitive list according to the Herald.
Torres Puello, has been married twice his mother says. He and his first wife Valerie lived in Plantation, Florida. In 2005, he married Ana Rameriz, who already had several children. He lived with her in Puerto Rico, possibly Canada, and then back to Santo Domingo where he bought a house with a pool. He reportedly attended law classes in 2000 and 2007, but dropped out.
Thanks to some super sleuthing by one of my "anon" commenters we can trace some of Torres Puello's activities in Santo Domingo. Go to Who is Jorge Puello? comment # 11 on my Daily Bastardette site. Through some whois research we find that the Puello Consulting phone number is linked to Puello Real Estate with Jorge listed as a real estate agent and his cousin (earlier identified as brother) Alejandro, as an attorney. As "anon" points out, Jorge sells cheap phone cards, too
Today when I typed in Puello Consulting's land line I got an ad for a 2000 Toyota Raum Jorge is selling for RD205,000, about $5700. The ad was placed on January 21, 2010, the day before Silsby & Co left for Haiti.
The Jewish population of DR is about 400 according to wiki, though there may be thousands of Crypto-Jews some of whom know their origins and follow at least some Jewish traditions and others who do not. There are three synagogues in DR, two in Santo Domingo: Centro Israelita de Republica Dominicana and a Chabad outreach center. The third is the Sousua Community (below right) located in Puerta Plata, which includes a Sephardic Beit Midrash dedicated to instruction of classical Hebrew, the Spanish-Portuguese rite, and teaching of Jewish Law. Sousua is, depending on which side of town you're on, between 4.5 and 9 miles miles (about a 10 minute drive) from Cabarete, the location of the to-be-built New Life Children's Refuge.
When the Miami Herald asked Dominican Jewish leaders about Torres Puello they claimed ignorance:
While Torres Puello has been telling reporters during recent interviews that he is convert to Judaism and is president of the Sephardic Jewish Community in the Dominican Republic, several Jewish leaders say they have never heard of him.
``I don't know any Jews by that name,'' said Rabbi Shimon Pelman, head of the Chabad Lubavitch of the Dominican Republic.
``The only Jewish community in the Dominican Republic is the chabad community or the Centro Israelita community. I know everybody, and he doesn't exist.''
In Fall 2007, The Society for Crypto Judiac Studies published an article on DR Crypto-Jews Visiting Anusim in the Dominican Republic. Anuism refers to Jews who were forcibly converted to Christianity, but secretly kept their traditions. The article was written by Harry A. Ezratty, a Baltimore attorney and prominent scholar and historian of Jews in the US, Central America and the Caribbean. Ezratty lived in Puerto Rico for 25 years and is fluent in Spanish. A man using the name Jorge Yoram Torres--clearly our Jorge Torres Puello-- is central to the article, and many of the things we now know about Torres Puello are included in the article. (My emphasis):
When Jorge Yoram Torres moved to the city of Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic, he never dreamed he would become the founder of the largest congregation on that island. Born in Westchester County , New York , he has lived in Puerto Rico and Canada. A young Orthodox Jew, Torres sports a beard, a kippah, and the fringes of his dangle outside his shirt. His Spanish is perfect. In 2005, Torres opened an internet café in Santo Domingo, offering credit card and long distance calls, fax facilities and a sales office for cell phones.
Obviously Jewish, it was inevitable that someone would approach him. It wasn't one of the members of the island's two tiny Jewish communities, but a Dominican who claimed a crypto-Judaic heritage. What Torres discovered amazed him. A large group of Dominicans had been meeting for over 25 years, studying Torah weekly. Many claimed Jewish roots.
For over two and a half decades, they had no serious contact with Jews until they met Jorge Torres. Their leaders had made overtures to Santo Domingo 's Jewish community for assistance but were rebuffed. Now they were asking Torres for help. He went to Kulanu, an organization that assists “out of the way” Jewish communities. Jack Zeller, Kulanu's coordinator, called me and asked me to visit with the group and report on what I found.
I arrived at Las Americas airport in October, 2006, and was greeted by Torres and several enthusiastic members of the community. My trip involved a mitzvah , as it coincided with the Brit Millah of Jorge's son, which I attended. Torres contacted a mohel from Brooklyn , New York. who would also be arriving that day to perform the service. It was an auspicious event for the members of this community who had never seen or attended a circumcision. What I discovered was that this group was made up of about 3,000 dedicated members, some of whom alleged a crypto-Judaic background. Because of time restraints, I was only able to interview a dozen or so persons. Those I did speak with claimed that one quarter to a third of them are descendants of early colonial Jews. I heard the classical stories of grandparents and parents telling them that they were Jews or that there were odd rituals of candle lighting Friday nights or refraining from eating on certain days. I was not there to determine the veracity of their claims but to make recommendations on how they might be helped. I alerted Stanley Hordes and Seth Kunin, who are studying crypto Jews in the Caribbean islands once belonging to the Spanish Empire. They are now weeding out the claims and performing the necessary detective work to discover the true backgrounds of any Dominican anusim...
...This group has a remarkable history. For the past 25 years, they have met on the Shabbat, reading from the only version of the Torah available to them: just one precious book written in Spanish and containing the Five Books of Moses. It has been lovingly circulated amongst the community's leaders. Taken home by one of them weekly, the Book then studied and used by that person as he led the group for his appointed week. With no Jewish guidance as to the established meanings of the passages, the community followed the Bible literally as they understood it. For Passover they took a lamb into the woods and slaughtered it, kosher style.
When they met Torres their lives began to change. He held Rosh Ha Shonah services in the spacious courtyard of his home. They rallied to purchase a building with a sanctuary, classrooms and dormitories for men and women so that they might observe the Sabbath without traveling. For Hanukah, Torres successfully petitioned the government for permission to erect a huge menorah in one of Santo Domingo 's busiest intersections. Torres didn't stop there; he got the government to donate land for a synagogue, a Jewish cemetery and a Jewish hospital. A rabbi has consented to help bring them back to Judaism and possible aliyah to Israel .
NOTE: Hordes and Kunin are leading Crypto Judiac scholars. Hordes published The Sephardic Legacy in the Spanish Caribbean: Crypto-Jewish Settlement in Cuba, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Jamica in the Spring 2009 premiere issue of Crypto Jewish Journal.
The article is not online.
I admit that I don't understand the politics of the DR Jewish and Crypto-Jewish community Of course, Torres Puello, who seems to be a talented con artist, could have been blowing smoke at Ezratty. Ezratty, however, met some people who considered Torres a "leader," participated in events, and was impressed enough with him and his "congregation" to write about him, recommend him to Hordes and Kunin, and send a positive report back to Zeller, although I have found no reference to Torres Puello on the Kalanu webpage. I have found no reference, either, to a menorah in downtown Santo Domingo. Was Ezaratty sold a bill of goods? Maybe
But, there are other references to Torres Puello showing he may not be as invisible as the DR Jewish community would like him to be:
The February 14, 2010 Wall Street Journal, offers this tidbit, which almost makes Torres Puello feel like Laura Silsby's soulmate, and ties back to what Ezratty wrote:
Isaac Rudman, the president of the Israelite Center of the Dominican Republic, said he once met Mr. Puello two or three years back. At the time, Mr. Puello introduced himself as Jorge Torres, and had a letter of introduction from a synagogue in Canada, Mr. Rudman said.
Mr. Rudman said he heard over the years that Mr. Puello had grandiose plans to build a hospital and a Jewish city close to Santo Domingo's airport, but nothing came from these plans.
Mr. Rudman's impression from his one meeting with Mr. Puello was that he was very "conflictive," he said. "His attitude was 'the Messiah has arrived'" said Mr. Rudman.
Wiki, due to its open source, can be vulnerable to Torres Puello's charms. Jorge Yoram Torres, for instance, made an appearance in El Salvador with History of Jews in El Salvador:
During the civil war many Jews left the country. The Comunidad Israelita de El Salvador was established in 1944 with a Jewish community center opening in 1945 and a synagogue in 1950 and in 2008 the Sephardic Orthodox Jewish Council of America and the Sephardic Jewish Community is founded by Jorge Yoram Torres.
Jorge Yoram Torres also showed up in Puerto Rico in the wiki biography of Luis de Torres , probably born Yosef Ben Ha Levy Haivri. de Torres traveled on Columbus's first expedition. possiibly against his will. He is considered the first Jew to settle in the New World:
In the Bahamas there are two synagogues that bear the name of "Luis de Torres."
Luis de Torres, ended his days as he was called Borinquen Pierto Rico, near a town called Lares, which bears a name from the letter Reish The name is thought to have been given one of his students of languages. Today the descendants of the second marriage of Don Luis de Torres as he was known, are in this town of Puerto Rico, Don George Torres and his son Don Jorge "Yoram" Torres and their direct descendants.
I printed out the above entry at 11:45 PM, February 13, 2010. By 6:04 AM on February 14, 2010 , when I went to pick up the link, those those paragraphs had mysteriously disappeared.
On March 16, 2009 Jorge Torres. Jr. filed papers with the Florida Secretary of State to incorporate the for-profit Sephardic Orthodox Jewish Council of America, Inc. Torres is listed as registered agent and president, Ana Ramirez vice president, and Ester Orellana treasurer. All three have Linkedin pages, but little information on them.. There are possible links to other corporatons, but that will take awhile to track down, so I'm skipping that for now.
The corporration submits its purpose as:
Represent[ing]the Sephardic Jewish comunities in the Americas, and establing synagoges and performing religious marriages, conversion, kosher certification, Rabbi appointment and kosher supervisors, arbitration and mediation services.
The principal address is listed in Doral, Florida and the mailing address is in the Bosques de Lourdes section of la Liberdad, El Salvador. It appears to be the house where the young women were held captive (left)
"Jorge Yoran Torres -President of the Sephardic Orthodox Jewish Council of America and B'nei Anusim advocate" appears on numerous Jewish websites in what appears to be lifted--again-- from wiki. Included in these very long entries is a directory of Sephardic synagogues around the world. There is no listing for the Dominican Republic but we find this for El Salvador:
Sephardic Orthodox Jewish Council of Salvador "Shearit Israel" (2008)
http://sephardicjews.org; http://www.kosheresavaldor.com (neither of which work)
the only orthodox synagogue in El Salvador
But there's a problem. There is only one synagogue in the whole country, and it's not the Orthodox Council.
Jorge Torres Puello, like Laura Silsby, is a self-promotor, a narcissist, a reinventor, and a liar. He is a sex trafficker. She is an adoption trafficker. Both compartmentalize their lives with religion and corruption. Both commodify children and women.. Both believe that they are above the law. I honestly can't imagine why Torres Pulleo positioned himself in the middle of an international incident pretending to be a lawyer, especially with the voice-in-my heads from Central Valley Baptist Church and their brain inept leader. And why would the CVBC christo-colonials take Torres Puello's word sight unseen? A gift from God, no doubt. But, then, everything about this case is crazy.
There is growing evidence the Torres Pulleo had no prior relationship with most of the detainees. I am not convinced of Laura Sisby, though. There are, in fact, still many areas to look in to outside of Silsby. One should be the relationship between Puelleo and sex tourist real estate and rental agents. Another is a possible link between Torres Puello and CIA trafficking. How far has the sex ring investigation gone? Trafficking demands more than three players. And of course, what was Puello up to, whether he knew Laura Silsby before or after.