teh awkward turtle
1. US rabbi involved in sex scandal led fight against Israel conversions
It is hard to imagine a more embarrassing situation in which to find an exclusive ultra-Orthodox organization - a group that was a standard-bearer in the fight against "breaches in the wall of conversion" and "the penetration of complete gentiles into the vineyard of Israel."
These breaches pale into insignificance in comparison with the accusations against the man who heads the organization itself: according to the claims, Rabbi Leib Tropper of Rockland County abandoned the apparently stringent Halakhic standards of his Haredi organization and established a conversion process based on his most private impulses.
A report in the New York Post earlier this week revealed a sensational story about "a prominent Orthodox rabbi has been caught on tape discussing his apparent love affair with a shiksa he was converting to Judaism."
The woman involved is 32-year-old Shannon Orand of Houston, who still seeks to convert from Christianity to Judaism. The bulk of the report deals with embarrassing comments that the rabbi made during a phone call, during which he was recorded demanding the woman perform a number of sexual services for himself and his friends in exchange for granting her a conversion certificate.
read more @ haaretz
2. Tal-mood for love: sex-tape rabbi tries to "share" hottie
Eww, that's not kosher!
A prominent Orthodox rabbi has been caught on tape discussing his apparent love affair with a shiksa he was converting to Judaism -- whom he allegedly also pushed to have sex with his friends.
Rabbi Leib Tropper of Rockland County is heard encouraging pretty, blond Shannon Orand of Houston to participate in phone sex and actual sex with men the rabbi knows, including one he calls "the Satmar guy."
Tropper, who calls the woman "darling" and "cutie pie," talks about his own love affair with her at one point, saying: "I want to squeeze you."
He also fantasized about rape. "I could role-play a rape with you but I couldn't actually rape you -- you know what I'm saying, darling -- does that make sense?" he asks.
The scandal has rocked the Orthodox community from Rockland to Israel, and transcripts of the sex tapes are circulating on Jewish blogs, with the audio posted on YouTube.
The rabbi talks about paying Orand money for a lawyer and a stipend of $1,300 for the month of November. He also mentions putting in writing an agreement between the two.
"Why would you want to document that kind of agreement on an e-mail?" an upset Orand asks.
Orand, who identifies herself on the tape, apparently recorded the phone conversations. "It was only supposed to go to a few leading rabbis," Orand, 32, told The Post.
She refused to comment further, and later released a statement saying, "While an individual 'rabbi' acted in an inappropriate manner, my desire to become a bona fide Jew is undeterred."
Orand reportedly told a Jewish blog, failedmessiah.com, that Tropper would tell her: "If you fulfill my needs, I'll fulfill yours -- and you need a conversion."
The blog reported that Orand's conversion was to have been finalized last week, but was canceled at the last minute by a religious court.
Tropper declined to comment, but a source close to him said the rabbi feels like he's a victim and was used by Orand.
He resigned effective Dec. 12 from Eternal Jewish Family, a Monsey-based organization that primarily works to convert gentiles in interfaith marriages to Judaism.
The 59-year-old rabbi is the founder of Eternal Jewish Family and sought to create strict universal guidelines for conversion, which are handled differently by various Jewish sects.source: ny post
3. America's Most Wanted: doctor found living in tent on Mont Blanc
It was the beginning of a five-year flight from justice that ended this week even more strangely than it began, almost 6,000 feet up in the Italian Alps. Two officers of the paramilitary Carabinieri, led by a mountain guide, trudged up to the southern slopes of Mont Blanc to find one of America's most wanted fugitives living in a tent. He was surviving in temperatures as low as -18C on dried and tinned food and snow he melted on a portable stove.
Dr Mark Weinberger, a 46-year-old ear, nose and throat specialist, was tonight in a secure ward at the Molinette hospital in Turin recovering from a wound he sustained when he tried to take his own life at the Carabinieri station in Courmayeur, below Mont Blanc.
The US authorities have 40 days in which to apply for his extradition. He faces trial on 22 counts of healthcare fraud, having previously been indicted by a grand jury.Brought up in a prosperous New York suburb, Weinberger was educated at the University of Pennsylvania and the UCLA medical school. He later worked with one of Chicago's most renowned plastic surgeons before opening his own practice, the Weinberger Sinus Clinic, in Merrillville, Indiana.
...Michelle Weinberger later said she reckoned her husband was earning $200,000 (£124,000) a week, performing between seven and 15 operations.
...The first hint of trouble emerged in October 2002 when a lawyer acting for the estate of a woman who had died of throat cancer filed a complaint with the Indiana department of insurance. The complaint claimed Weinberger failed to diagnose her cancer and instead carried out an unnecessary operation on her sinuses that was paid for by her insurance company.
...After it became clear that they knew who he was, the runaway doctor asked to go to the lavatory. There, he whipped out a tiny knife he had secreted in his underwear and plunged it into his throat. But despite being an expert surgeon, he missed the artery he appeared to be aiming for, and the Carabinieri hustled him away for first aid.
read more @ guardian
4. Italy ok's extradition
A court in Turin has approved a U.S. extradition request for a fugitive American doctor accused of fraud and malpractice who was found in a tent near Mont Blanc.
Deputy chief prosecutor Gianfranco Burino says Mark Weinberger, arrested Dec. 15 near Italy's northern border with France, didn't fight extradition at hearing Tuesday.
It is now up to the Justice Ministry to decide how to proceed. Justice Minister Angelino Alfano has 40 days to decide whether to return Weinberger to the United States.
Weinberger, of Merrillville, Indiana, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Hammond, Indiana, in 2006 on 22 counts of fraud for allegedly scheming to overbill insurance companies for procedures that were either not needed or never performed.
5. Nevada gambler cons CIA
The intelligence reports fitted the suspicions of the time: al-Qaida sleeper agents were scattered across the US awaiting orders that were broadcast in secret codes over the al-Jazeera television network.
Flights from Britain and France were cancelled. Officials warned of a looming "spectacular attack" to rival 9/11. In 2003 President Bush's homeland security tsar, Tom Ridge, spoke of a "credible source" whose information had US military bracing for a new terrorist onslaught.
Then suddenly no more was said.
Six years later, Playboy magazine has revealed that the CIA fell victim to an elaborate con by a compulsive gambler who claimed to have developed software that discovered al-Jazeera broadcasts were being used to transmit messages to terrorists buried deep in America.
Dennis Montgomery, 56, the co-owner of a software gaming company in Nevada, who has since been arrested for bouncing $1m worth of cheques, claims his program read messages hidden in barcodes listing international flights to the US, their positions and airports to be targeted.
The CIA took the information seriously, working with Montgomery at his offices and paying him an undisclosed amount of money. The "intelligence" Montgomery claimed to have found was passed on to the White House and homeland security where it kickstarted an alert that bordered on panic.
According to Playboy, Montgomery's claims caused the cancellation of British Airways and other flights supposedly mentioned in the codes.
Some officials were not at all surprised to hear the allegation that al-Jazeera was involved. The then defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, later vilified the station for "vicious, inaccurate and inexcusable" reporting of the US invasion of Iraq.
For months, the source of the information was kept under wraps within the CIA but once it became more widely known in the agency it immediately came under question. Playboy quotes one former counterterrorism official who attended a briefing on the source as being furious. He said: "I was saying: 'This is crazy. This is embarrassing.' They claimed they were breaking the code, getting latitude and longitude, and al-Qaida operatives were decoding it. They were coming up with airports and everything, and we were just saying: 'You know, this is horseshit!' "
Frances Townsend, a homeland security adviser to Bush, defended the decision to work with Montgomery. "It didn't seem beyond the realm of possibility. We were relying on technical people to tell us whether or not it was feasible. I don't regret having acted on it," she told Playboy.
But the doubts began to prevail as Montgomery refused to reveal how he was finding the barcodes, when no one else could, and he demanded $100m for the software. The CIA also began to wonder why al-Qaida didn't use emails and web pages to communicate with its agents.
6. hahahahaha, Merry Christmas!