rose

Brit-Am
Topples Topless TOP

A Reply to Criticism by Yaacov Fogelman


 Brit-Am 
Research
Revelation
Reconciliation


Brit-Am Topples TOP the Topless

Contents:
Introduction
Yaakov Fogelman Criticizes Brit-Am!
A Question of Agenda and Snobbery.
Reactions to this Article and Resulting Discussions


Introduction
YF (Yaakov Fogelman) heads TOP (Torah Outreach Program) in Jerusalem. He has been active for decades in spreading his philosophy which on the positive side basically says believe in the Almighty, do good to your self and others, and be moderate. On the negative side he has a subversive agenda which he pursues with a fanatical and relentless dedication. Fogelman would like to see Jewish Orthodoxy become more liberal, less Biblical, and less potent.

In its own way his enterprise has some importance. He does favor Jewish Observance for Jews and encourages learning. He also imparts information some of which is useful though on major points he has often been simply wrong. Nevertheless, Fogelman may on the whole be considered a positive force.

The Pinky-Winky pseudo-intellectuals probably need someone like him.

What has all this got to with Brit-Am, the Lost Ten Tribes Movement?

Very little, it is not the task of Brit-Am to explain or defend Judaism or Jewish Orthodoxy.

Yaakov however has entered into debate with us and it is worth being aware of who are we in debate with.
Yaakov may also serve as a prototype of a position adherents of Brit-Am Beliefs are likely to encounter. This does not really care about our Biblical or Historical justifications. What it considers important are the idealogical implications along with an aversion to the importance of Tribal inheritance. Such an attitude is even more prevalent amongst Christians than amongst Jews. Yaakov became a supporter of Rabbi Avichail and the idea that the Lost Ten Tribes are in the east while himself believing that the people he champions are not necessarily really physical descendants of Israel. Other considerations appear to be at play.
Fogelman is reserved about Brit-Am, the Lost Ten Tribes Movement, which says that the Lost Tribes are mainly amongst Western Nations. The debate below emerged between us which may be of interest, not necessarily due to information exchanged, but rather because of deeper motivations that come to the surface.

Very little (if any) of his argumentation against us is backed by any sources. He prefers intellectual cerebration with liberal principles as its premises along with attempted employment of prestige-intimidation or snobbery.

Some time ago we sent out a mild criticism of Yaakov Fogelman head of TOP (Torah Outreach Program).
"Brit-Am Now"-840
http://britam.org/now/840Now.html
#5.
Yaacov Fogelman and Rabbi Avichail

Yaakov has replied. He may have replied much earlier or just now. At all events what he wrote has just come to our attention.
In his reply he brings up some pertinent points along with humorous observations or serious ones that should be treated humorously.

Those who are interested may read what we write below and then if they so wish follow the links for a more comprehensive account.

Following this article entails keeping in mind that Yaakov quotes from Brit-Am articles and from letters of others in these articles and he comments on them and also that Brit-Am Replies to the Commentary of Yaakov.

The different highlighting colors employed may help the reader keep track.

There is a color for what Yaakov says.

A color for what Yaakov quotes from Brit-Am and comments upon.

A color for letters from others quoted in the Brit-Am article below.


To see in full what Yaakov wrote along with the length extracts from our own articles he quotes from,
Go to:

http://listserv.shamash.org/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind1002&L=TOP&T=0&F=&S=&P=65
2010 FULL STUDY OF
YISRO AND THE REFORM MOVEMENT
From:
Yaakov Fogelman <top@ACTCOM.CO.IL>
THE WEEKLY TORAH READING- A FIRST GLANCE
 
YISRO, EX 18:1 20:23

Scroll down:
About two-thirds of the way down you should come to the heading:


AN ODD AND OFF THE WALL, BUT WELL MEANING, ISRAEL CENTER MESSIANIC GROUP, SEEKING THE 10 TRIBES, AND TRYING TO BRING THE MESSIAH: A 10 PAGE ARTICLE. VARIOUS TRADITIONS, NO.1, YAIR DAVIDI:


Yaakov Fogelman Criticizes Brit-Am!

Yaakov writes:
AN ODD AND OFF THE WALL, BUT WELL MEANING, ISRAEL CENTER MESSIANIC GROUP, SEEKING THE 10 TRIBES, AND TRYING TO BRING THE MESSIAH: A 10 PAGE ARTICLE. VARIOUS TRADITIONS, NO.1,
YAIR DAVIDI:

Note that at in the very title of his article Yaakov inserts insulting insinuations.
Brit-Am Replies:

Yaakov Shalom,
You referred to our revered movement as an,
"ISRAEL CENTER MESSIANIC GROUP".
This is wrong and misleading.
It is however somewhat typical of your underhand tactics of spreading misinformation about those who loose favor in your eye.
The Israel Center is a philanthropic organization (NCSY) whose building in Jerusalem hosts lectures, contains a cafeteria and library, and encourages communal activities.
We have no connection with the Israel Center other than having spoken there on occasion as the guest of the Root and Branch Organization (headed by Lowell [Aryeh] Galin) which at times sub-contracts from the Center.

We do not understand why you refer to us as a Messianic Group. In your world not only Christians but also Ultra-Orthodox Jews such as Chabad and Bratslav Chasidim are termed "Messianic" so perhaps we should not be offended.
You should however be more careful with your terminology.

Also Yair Davidiy for the last decade or so has been spelling his surname as Davidiy not "Davidi".

Yaakov then quotes in full (without giving the URL) from our article
Various Traditions no.12 by Yair Davidiy. Celtic Peoples
http://britam.org/traditions12.html
Yaacov quotes the articles then inserts in parentheses various comments,
e.g. # that prove # (YF: cautious academics would say might suggest).
Here the Heading YF represents a remark by Yaacov though such a heading has not been inserted in most instances.

Yaakov then says:
This is a sample of the many detailed studies sent each week by Yair, who attended my classes at The Israel Center, some years back; he spreads his research and speculations, in support of his views regarding the origin of various peoples, and the fate of the 10 lost tribes, mostly at the Israel Center, and thru his publications. In a sense, he competes with Rav Avichayel, who seeks, finds and brings to Israel, alleged members of the 10 tribes, discovered in the FAR EAST, RATHER THAN THE UK, with support of many famed rabbis. Yair forwarded to me an alleged link, between myself and Rav Avichayil, from his e-mail studies- my comments are in parentheses:

5. Yaacov Fogelman and Rabbi Avichail: Yaacov Fogelman sends out weekly commentary on the Torah Portion. top-yaakov top@ACTCOM.CO.IL http://listserv.shamash.org/cgi-bin/wa?A0=top (thank u for the cite!). The commentaries consist of intellectual discussions on various issues, that, more or less, sometimes have some connection to one of the themes in the weekly portion. The commentaries are of varying quality, but usually contain information worth knowing (thank you). Yaacov is a big lumbering man (I am trying to lose weight!) with a good heart, who has helped a lot of people. He also helped us in the past, which is why, until now, we have refrained from speaking of him (Yair attended my classes at NCSY). Yaacov was successful in real estate in the USA, and then came to Israel, where he could do his own thing. He runs, or used to run, an outreach and information service in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City (now out of my home, 6287359). Many Jews and Gentiles have been assisted by Yaacov. Yaacov has at least one doctorate from Yeshiva University (no, only a BA, with honors; my doctorate is from HLS). Degrees and qualifications are very important in the world of Yaacov (they usually indicate disciplined academic methods of study and knowledge, tho many academics are idiot savants, who ignore the prime reality of our lives- God, and blissfully push the cause of the Palestinians, who respond with praise for the murderous terrorists, who blew up the H.U. cafeteria). Yaacov is a liberal, but basically Orthodox, moderate Zionist type, who likes controversy, and uttering controversial notions (like Yair & Co.). Yaacov sometimes voices offensive views (i.e. against those of Yair, Kahana, etc.). Leading Rabbis in the past have come out in unison (not true- many have indeed praised them, publicly or privately- e.g. Rabbis Dolgin, Lewittes, and Sharfman!) against his commentaries.

Yaacov once turned up at a Brit-Am meeting (held in the Israeli Center in Jerusalem- YF: a place teeming with conspiracy seekers and Kahana fans, e.g. Barry Chamish and Yair, among many fine teachers, e.g. Aviva Zorenberg, David Dorovon, Francis Nataf and Menachem Persoff)) and announced that all the Ashkenazi Jews are descended from European Gentiles, who raped Jewish women (not true at all- I simply cited academic theories, below, that they were converts to Judaism, and that our stock is inter-mixed with products of rapes by Cossacks, et al, who raped Jewish women, possibly accounting for violent, hate-filled Jews!). In his commentaries he has written similar ideas about the Sephardic Jews being descended from Arabs (YF: not as I recall, tho some probably are, just as Gadaffi is allegedly Jewish*). He later claimed that his source (concerning the Ashkenazis at least) was a "professor" at TAU. He may have been referring to Paul Wexler (I believe that I was), whom he has also quoted.

http://www.epinions.com/The_Ashkenazic_Jews_
A_Slavo_Turkic_People_in_Search_of_a_Jewish
_Identity_by_Paul_Wexler


http://www.h-net.org/
reviews/showrev.cgi?path=
16763870357340


 Brit-Am Replies:
Barry Chamish would not be considered a Kahana fan and neither strictly speaking are we. We are however aware that Rav Kahana was correct in his belief that the only solution to the Palestinian troubles is to transfer the Palestinians to another region.
Such opinions should not however be considered exclusively those of the followers of Rav Kahana. They are expressed explicitly in the Torah!
See:
"Options for Survival"
Movement of Arab Populations (MAP)

If we are getting personal about political views then it should be noted that Yaakov enthusiastically supported the wicked Oslo Accords that gave weapons to Arab terrorists. These accords were an attempted betrayal of the State of Israel and resulted in the death of more than 2,000 Jews and the injury of tens of thousands more. They also brought more than 130,000 additional Arabs into the land. All this in addition to other damage. The Oslo Accords endangered the whole country and their after-effects still endanger us!

See:
Jerusalem News 906
#3. The Shocking Legacy of the Oslo Accords "Peres's extracurricular clinchers" by SARAH HONIG

Fogelman said that academic degrees, "usually indicate disciplined academic methods of study and knowledge". This is indeed often the case but Fogelman himself in his left-wing opinionations does not demonstrate them.
Fogelman in his articles makes false claims such as saying that Judaism does not obligate belief in a Messiah etc and misquotes his sources.

He also mentioned Brit-Am in the same context as Barry Chamish as if we had something in common!
The political views of Chamish are probably closer to those of Fogelman.
Both are scandal-mongers, misleading, and mendacious.
As for Chamish we resent very much having our name linked with such a person. We have done much (perhaps more than most others) to counter the pernicious influences and wicked insinuations that Chamish and his mentor, Antelman, have made against Zionism and the Jewish People.
see Brit-Am Fights the Enemy:  Conspiracy Watch

What Yaakov said or did not say about Jewish women is irrelevant at the moment. He has made similar comments in his weekly postings. It is good that now he at least partially denies it since we may take this partial denial as a partial retraction.
Yaakov claims to be citing academic sources but apart from Wexler he mentions none of them and Wexler does not say what he says!
YF in effect says that all the Jews are descended from non-Jews: Good Jews from converts; Bad Jews, Yaacov informs us, come from Gentile Rapists!

Yaakov then makes a lengthy diversion and discusses the possible Jewish antecedents of some Persian clown ("Ahem" something) in Iran.
After that Yaakov returns to discussing our humble selves:

YAIR CONTINUES: These type of ideas are not worth much (why?). They do not accord with modern Genetic studies (nor with old ones- YF: a cite would be appreciated; I do not claim, and indeed doubt, that Wexler is correct- his conclusions seem far-fetched; but his work, like all others, should be read and considered, especially as explaining the replacement of Hebrew, by Yiddish), nor with historical sources. Nor are they logically convincing. They do in fact seem to have an ideological/political bias (could be, like Kahanist and far-right teachings). In the case of Wexler and elements in TAU, it seems to be felt that by weakening the Jewish self-image, it will be easier to come to an accommodation with Arabs (what is to prove this nasty condemnation of Wexler?)

Brit-Am Replies:
Our condemnation of Wexler is justified as Yaakov is probably aware. Tel Aviv University is well-known in Israel for the anti-Israeli, anti-Jewish inclinations, of some of its personnel and controllers.
Tel Aviv Universtiy seems to lend itself to crackpot ideas about the origins of the Jewish People,
See:
Brit-Am Now no. 1480
#1. Answer to Question on Koestler and the Khazars
Interview: Shlomo Sand
# Sand's basic thesis is explained in the title, that there is no Jewish people. According to him, the Jews are a religious group without any particular ethnic link to ancient Israel, rather, nearly every Jew living in the world is the product of a conversion. #

Wexler also authored a book claiming the Sephardic Jews are of non-Jewish origin. If the facts do not justify the claims made, what would the purpose of such works be?
Instead of questioning us Yaakov should clarify what the beliefs of Wexler are.

Yaakov continues (quoting us):

Yaacov also frequently writes in favor of Rabbi Avichail, and the idea that the Lost Ten Tribes are in Burma, Afghanistan, and similar regions (this does not contradict Yairs focus- some tribes may have gone East, following Kiplings path, and others West, following that of Horace Greely!). Rabbi Avichail also receives help from an organization called "Kulanu" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kulanu http://www.kulanu.org/, run by "Reform Jews," with some liberal Christian support (the much smaller support for Yair is often from Christians, possibly due to his speaking only English well, whereas Rav Avichayil is primarily a Hebrew speaker. Avichayils close son-in-law, Rabbi Motti Dan, is a leader of Ateret Cohanim, close to Yairs right-wing political views). They also may have an agenda (of course!- the same as Yairs, to restore the lost 10 tribes- but they actually do it,  garnering much more support!
Their Eastern clients themselves are aware of, and identify with, their alleged Jewish origins, and maker aliya, despite the obstacles placed in their path, by secular Zionist authorities, unlike the vast majority of Yairs Anglo-Saxon targeted population)
. Rabbi Avichail has been more or less superseded by his assistant, Michael Freund
http://freund.typepad.com/my_weblog/
All of these groups and individuals receive strong financial support from "
Ephraimites" (fine!), apart, perhaps (a fine word), from Yaacov Fogelman, who may be independently established (unfortunately, I am barely able to support TOP, with the aid of friends, at the moment, leave alone others projects, such as Rav Avichayils, tho I greatly appreciate and admire them). This is money, prestige, influence, which we do not have, all directed to spreading a Lost Tribes message that is mistaken (not according to the many fine Eastern olim involved- see Avchayils wonderful film about them!) . Anyway this is one aspect of the side working "Contrary" (not at all- just differently, and far more effectively) to Brit-Am, worth knowing about (why?). If you believe in Brit-Am. If you think Brit-Am is worth something. Help us function. Help us get the message out. With relatively little, we can do very much (like me!). But barring continued miracles, we need that "little" to come from you (its hard to choose between so many worthy causes, for our limited resources, so most try to evaluate which are most worthy of our support- perhaps if Brit Am would be able to bring Anglo-Saxon secret Jews here, a wonderful thing, with strong rabbinic backing, he would get much more support- good luck!. It is our impression that the Almighty wants you to help us (that sounds rather heretical, like statements of Gods political views- perhaps He prefers other causes, like the call I just got, for donations to vacations for seriously ill children; I gave a bit! Rambam stresses that we can make virtually no definitive statements about God, like Rav Yosefs claims, as to why God brought natural disaster to New Orleans, and Rav Eliyahus false prophesy that there would be no evacuation of Gaza, if the Jews really prayed- they did, and there was. May Yair flourish in his interesting work, but take it in proportion to the so many good deeds needed to fix our world- me too!

I indeed found on the web a disparaging attack by Yair, on Rav Avichayil, so much more successful and productive, in this Re-Discovery Realm: This led me to an entirely new field of interest, the psychological-sociological origins of conspiracy theories, in both individuals and institutions (to be explored in the near future- no more room this week!): The Burma Blues- Who is Israel? http://britam.org/Burma.html

 The Burmese or "Danny Boy"? (YF: or both): Brit-Am and Burma? Recently the News has been full of stories, concerning the declared intention of Israeli Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar (YF: ...adherent of Rav Elyashev- did he consult him on this too?) to convert members of a Burmese Tribe, who claim descent from the Tribe of Manasseh. Several people have sent me notices, urgently requesting our reaction to this information. Until now, we have tried to ignore the subject (YF: why?), but it seems that some type of answer is required. Below is a typical example of the type of letters that have been reaching us on the subject:

Shalom Yair, I'm curious what you think of articles like this, that claim Menasheh is coming, or will come, from the far east? And if the Rabbi's are so eager to accept the lost tribes from the far east, why are they so reluctant to accept them from the west (more in line with your research- YF: only when they suspect their sincerity, especially about rejecting Jesus)? Thank you, Katy.

Brit-Am Replies: 1. The plan is to convert (albeit under less stringent conditions than usual) those who wish to become Jewish. They will still need to undergo a course, according to Rabbinical requirements. It is questionable if this plan will come to full fruition, but, even if it does, it is basically a question of converting people who wish to convert, but making it easier for them. The Rabbinical policy on this matter can be debated, but, if so, it must be discussed as part of the policy concerning conversion in general. It has little to do as to whether these peoples are descended from the Lost 10 Tribes or not. It may be that certain groups have good track records, and, for sociological reasons, need an enlightened initiation procedure. Whatever the case, champions of these people could argue for special consideration, without making claims, that appear highly doubtful, as to Israelite Origin (YF: less so than Yairs Anglo-Saxons?). 2. These people are not descended from the Lost Ten Tribes according to Brit-Ams (YF: Yairs) understanding. We are not however going to embark on a debate on this subject with anyone, at least we hope not. 3. These people have received some recognition by part of the Israeli religious establishment, and also by the media, whereas Brit-Am has not. Why is that? (YF: the simple answer is that Rav Avichayil is a qualified, learned, Hebrew speaking Rabbi, unlike Yair, despite all his good intentions).

Brit-Am Reply:
This is not accurate nor is it an explanation. Fogelman himself is an example. YF is blatantly prejudiced against Brit-Am and his motivations have nothing to do with relative fluency in colloqial Hebrew. We were somewhat surprised at first by the remarks of YF on this issue until we realized that he himself with his own organization did have the advantages we credited Avichail with and thus his remarks about us are more pertinent to himself.
Money, establishment connections, media access, indeed cannot guarantee success in this field. Nevertheless, they may help.

Yairs Answer:* Their case has been argued and promoted for a longer period of time. * More Jewish organizations and individuals support them, largely because MORE know of them, but there may also be other reasons. * Many, many More CHRISTIANS, and people we would identify as "Joseph", support their case than support Brit-Am. Brit-Am receives relatively little support from anyone. Even people who agree with us, seem loathe to support us (YF: me too, tho I have received some anonymous support!). There are organizations and individuals who quite freely use our material, but discourage their followers from helping us. Brit-Am, with what it has, does very good work, and is quite effective, compared to similar enterprises, when consideration is taken of the modest support Brit-Am receives (YF: cf. TOP). * In addition, the case is entirely different. It should be noted: Not only is it claimed that these people descend from Israel, but also they are depicted, AS IF THEY ALL WANT TO BECOME JEWISH "AGAIN"! This is in fact only true of some of them, but it is as tho they are so represented. If a group or individual wants to become "Jewish", then, in some way, it becomes a "Jewish" matter, for Jews to notice. If, however, the group or individual does not wish to become "Jewish", yet requests some kind of "recognition", as part of the family, then they must exert themselves to present their case. Brit-Am is prepared and able to present the case BOTH to Joseph and Judah, but Brit-Am needs a minimal degree of enabling support, to do so (YF: but Rav Avichayil is already doing a superb job vis- is the Eastern Jews- what would Brit Am add?). For better or for worse, Brit-Am is the only organization capable of this task ( YF: rather arrogant). Brit-Am is willing and able to do the work but YOU must help enable Brit-Am to do so.

We were referring to Biblical, Rabbinical, and Historical evidence and its presentation.
The disparagement by Fogelman is not in its place (he is showing his prejudice) but everyone to their taste.
Yaakov then continues his quotation from us adding various remarks of his own in parentheses.

We then come to further quotations from our article:

2. Funding from Ephraim From: davidhs@flex.com (YF: quite similar to my own reactions). Dear Yair, You do provide provoking information on the 10 tribes, but this is just history. You do not seem to take up either the Jewish or Messianic cause. Your mission is just to inform. As wonderful as this is, it will not provide much support to you, although you bagger the readers at every opportunity for funding. One might ask, where is Joseph/Ephraim to return to? ... The Israeli government needs to be apprised of the intent of Ephraim's return, and needs to give permission to them. If you were to take one more step, and assist Ephraim's return, I believe funding would not be an issue. Shalom, Mar David of Hava ( YF: kol hacavod [Much Credit] to Yair for publishing this, and the Easterners cause, fairly objectively, tho he would like to lead it himself- is You shall not covet relevant here?

3. Charlie Bassett: "Just Crazy": Yair, this thing about Burma, is just crazy- Some time you have to wonder if people ever read the Bible, especially Genesis 48-49. There is some one all the time coming up with something about the lost 10 tribes; to fullfil what Jacob told the sons of Joseph, only two nations match that- England and America. I don't blame you for not getting involved, its a loser all the way, as it is empty speculation (YF: nonsense- 800 fine immigrants are only the beginning!). Charlie Bassett

4. William Rasmussen: A Different Perspective: I would direct members of Brit Am to read the piece today [4/6/05] in the Jersualem Post, regarding the Bnei Menashe. The article was written by Mati Wagner, and deals with the bringing of the Bnei Menashe to Israel. All of this was done under the auspices of Amishav and Rabbi Eleyahu Avichail, as well as logistical support by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein and his Internation Fellowship of Christians and Jews (YF:. Did Yair seek funding from them?)

Brit-Am Replies:
Brit-Am accepts funding from whomsoever is moved to help us. We only seek funding from those who express interest in our work.
Fogelman misses the point of what we were saying.
If Avichail (or his self-appointed successor, Michael Freund) receive large sums of money and logistic assistance from anti-Jewish missionary organizations questions may legitimately be asked. Fogelman promotes Avichail as focusing on Easterners and not Anglo-Saxons and also as relating to these easterners as convert-material as distinct from the audience Brit-Am concentrates upon.
Also  Eckstein himself receives his support from Christians some of whom sympathize with Brit-Am but do not support us but claim that by supporting people like Epstein they are working in the same direction as Brit-Am. We have had letters to this effect and are within our rights to correct such a false conception.
A Christian activist explained to us why she is sympathetic towards the Burmese. She said in effect it was because most of the Burmese group in question are Messianic even those who go to Israel at present convert to Judaism.

People are free to do as they wish but it is worth while letting everyone know what they are doing.
We however did not bring up the subject but merely published a letter on the issue that was posted to us.

Brit-Am IS PREOCCUPIED  on occasion with finances. We have recently been criticized because of this. Fair enough but that is what keeps us going and we want to keep on but not be gone. 

Rabbi Avichail may be well meaning, but his paltry efforts of bringing several thousand individuals to Israel will do little to fulfill Ezekiel 37 (YF: but much more than those of Brit Am, and a snowball effect is likely).

Brit-Am Replies:
Fogelman is in effect wishing that the efforts of Avichail be followed by hordes of Asiatic flooding into Israel. I guess we all have our problems.

Yaakov quotes from our article quoting:
(5. Jeremy Birningham.
Yaakov criticizes Jeremy calling him Calvinistic because Jeremy applies the Brit-Am Criteria of looking for realization of the blessings.
See:
Ephraimite Criteria
The Calvinists, according to Fogelman, emphasized worldly prosperity as evidence of Divine Approbation. Yaakov implies that even if Avichail is wrong his results are positive. In other words he himself applies what he would call Calvinistic Principles in support of Avichail!
 
Yaakov asks:
YF: is he questioning the Jewishness of the poor, unworldly haredim, and the settlers??).

Brit-Am Replies:
These people (Settlers and haredim i.e. Ultra-Orthodox Jews) have been blessed and relatively speaking are well-off compared to Third-World Countries. Statistics can be misleading and if these groups are compared by family (and not as individuals) to other segments of the populace then it will be seen that their standard of living is not that bad. The quality of their life-style is often very high. In many ways they should be emulated.
Yaakov himself knows this and has written about it.

Just because a person is poor or a specific community is not affluent does not mean they are not Israelites. There always were and perhaps always will be poor Hebrews.
There were however Biblical Prophecies that indicated that in the aggregate over periods of time and especially towards the Last Days the Lost Tribes of Israel (and especially those of Joseph) would be blessed materially more than any other people and this is what happened.
See:
Biblical Proofs: The Blessings

Yaakov goes on, quoting Jeremy Birningham:
The people from Afghanistan, Burma, Pakistan, Kurdistan and Ethiopia have not made any great impact in this world ... (YF: what about their inspiring spiritual impact?- his approach is basically Calvinistic-materialistic). Nor on any level do they match one ounce of the Blessing in Genesis... The only way to tell who is Israelite is by the blessings in the Bible, bestowed on the tribes; the people from Rabbi's Eliyahu's nations simply do not match the Blessing... (YF: does he prefer the Germans and Japanese?).
 
Brit-Am Replies:
Material Blessings are one but only one (out of several that are all interconnected) of the standards we employ see:
Ephraimite Criteria.
http://www.britam.org/criteria.html

Just because a certain people in the view of Yaakov may be preferable to Germans and Japanese does not make them automatically Israelites!

The Article continues:
Ask Rabbi Eliyahu Avichayil to read all of Yair's books (YF: are any available in The Holy  Tongue of Rav Avichayil?). Also ask the Rabbi to read Genesis,  and try and grasp an understanding of the blessings (YF: I am sure that he, a scholar, knows far more than this simplistic, bigoted writer).
 
Brit-Am Reply:
We have a work in Hebrew, "Achim Acharim" that summarizes Brit-Am belief. Rabbi Avichail has read this work and we met with him. This has been spoken of elsewhere.
 
It may be that Rabbi Avichail knows Genesis better than others but that does not mean that he has related to the Identifying blessings of Israel.
See the Brit-Am Commentary to Genesis, especially "VaYechi"
http://britam.org/Genesis/Gen47to50VaYechi.html

Avichail openly admits that Biblical Prophecies and historical proofs do not really interest him. What he requires is the willingness of the candidates to accept the fundamentals of Judaism. This is justified if all one is seeking are converts to Judaism but it is not the seem as searching for the Lost Tribes of Israel!

 Yaakov again commenting on our correspondent:
Afghanistan, which has suffered 20 years of war with Russia, then get, bombed by the United States, to destroy the Taliban. Ask him if they are a blessed people because of this... (is he, ipso facto, condemning the truly unsuccessful victim of the Shoa?)
 
Brit-Am Reply:
A low blow, Yaakov. You, yourself, through supporting the Oslo Accords acqiuiesced in giving arms to Arab Nazis. Apart from that, the Jewish experience was exceptional. It was prophesied. It applied to Judah and not to the Lost Ten Tribes.
See our article:
THE JEWS ARE JUDAH  by  Steven Collins  and  Yair Davidiy
http://www.britam.org/judah.html
 
The article goes on:
 Also If you could bring to the Rabbi's attention some new facts- maybe he hasn't noticed this yet. America, Britain, Australia, even some troops from Canada, are in Iraq and Afghanistan. Somewhere in the Bible, a verse says that the modern Land of Israel will border onto the Euphrates. Guess who is in the holy land once again? Joseph is flexing his muscle, and is the dominant force in the Middle East, controlling the "Gates of His Enemies" (YF: does this highly opinionated person view Iraq as a success?).
 
Brit-Am Reply:
Iraq probably was a success. The invasion was necessary and was a good thing. Subsequently it may have been mismanaged or may yet turn into a disaster. It does not have to be that way however. Time will tell. God willing, the USA will pull through and will deal with its enemies succesfully. Despite US casualties the Iraq occupation has saved lives, helped the US, sustains the US economy, strengthens the State of Israel. A student of history knows that most international long-range gains and blessings have a price-tag attached to them.

Yaakov in taking a poke at the US presence in Iraq is here revealing the basically left-wing short-range nasty streak he has in him.
This is something he should have gotten over long ago.
Yaakov (like his left-wing fellow travelers) with his compromising left-wing inclination and recorded support of the Oslo Accords and other criminal adventures has shown himself prepared to put Jewish lives and the future of Israel at risk for the sake of a "peace" that brings death in its trail.
 
Further down Yaakov says:
(YF: this letter, tho quite thought-provoking, strikes me mostly as against Gods Torah, ignoring the Torah and Rambams injunctions to love the convert, substituting materialism for spiritual success, as the Torahs prime value- cf. poor Yaakov, in exile- and mocking a great and highly successful Torah scholar, far above anyone at Brit Am, however fine and dedicated they be.
 
Brit-Am Replies:
OK. Despite his excessive effrontery and arrogation Yaakov may have a point. If Rabbi Avichail is seeking converts rather than members of the Lost Ten Tribes let him say so. That is a different case and other people are welcome to discuss it. It will no longer involve us.
Brit-Am is concerned with the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel and not so much with other matters.
Yaakov is in fact the one who may be accused of  "ignoring the Torah". The Bible promises material rewards along with spiritual ones.
[ Incidentally Fogelman himself seems to be quite well established and can well afford to lecture on relative poverty levels to others. We do not begrudge him what he has. As far as we are concerned may he have much more. He should however be a little more sensitive when criticizing Brit-Am requests (from Brit-Am supporters) for funding.]
 
The Bible is the source that places worldly power and material prosperity on a national (not necessarily individual) level amongst the criteria by which it shall be possible to determine who descends from Israel.
See:
BIBLICAL EVIDENCE. Blessings.
http://www.britam.org/Proof/Blessings/blessIntro.html

Fogelman keeps referring to the greater number of Rabbis on his side and alleged superior knowledge of Rabbi Avichail. This is typical of his polemical tactics that he does not apply to himself but wishes to use on others. We could dispute Yaakov on the point in question on factual grounds. Apart from that, it does not matter. Let Fogelman or anyone else give sources and lucid arguments in favor of their position or admit that they have not got any.

The article continues:
 Israel Feld: A Mystical-Psychological Explanation of "Burma and Brit-Am" ?..G-d truly wants to bring redemption to the world, and the prerequisite for the ultimate redemption is the return of the ten lost tribes (YF: not according to R. Akiva, who believed that they disappeared forever). 
 
Brit-Am Replies:
This is a common misconception Rabbi Akiva according to Rashi was referring to the Lost Ten Tribes of a previous era and not those in the Latter Days.
See:
a) Rabbi Akiva and the Return of the Ten Tribes where we quote from the Commentary of Rashi to Sanhedrin 147b. Most (or all?) other commentators (e.g. Nachmanides) agree with Rashi on this issue.

The article continues (Fogelman quoting and commenting on a letter from Israel Feld):

When the Mida of Din [Spirit of Prosecution] and the evil forces see that the lost tribes are about to be recognized, they will try to hinder and stop this,  and will do what ever they can to nullify such a thing. On the other hand, when they see that there is recognition and acceptance of a group, as being from the ten lost tribes, when, in fact, they have no connection with them whatsoever, they, the evil forces, the Din [Prosecuting Force] will not try to interfere, for they have nothing to fear, nothing to be afraid of. They don't see this as being part of the redemption.  So they allow the thing to go on.  Once the process begins then there is no way of stopping it (YF: where is all this odd mystical doctrine written? Does it have any authority?). 
 
Brit-Am Replies:
We would not say that this approach is necessarily correct but it is paralleled by Jewish Rabbinical Thinking and derives from such sources.
 
Yaakov Concludes:
This discussion gave me much clearer insight into the reality and dreams of Brit Am and its founders. My critique may, to some extent, apply to me too, for we all find our own lacks and faults, in those of others.

A Question of Agenda and Snobbery
Yaakov has an agenda of his own. He in himself is not so important but he represents a certain type who will be encountered and therefore is worth relating to.
This type is against the concept of Racial Inheritance or Racial Belonging to a group. The idea of the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel depends on inherited rights and claims. Therefore beliefs based on inheritance will be opposed. Psychologically we know that if a child learns from his mother that the father is to be disobeyed then the child will have difficulty obeying anybody since obedience to others is like betrayal of the father. So too, with Yaakov.
Y. Fogelman, for reasons he may be unaware of, may have some kind of hang-up about seeing the Jewish People as a race. He is however strongly conscious of his own Jewishness. He therefore cannot allow for the existence of Israelites by race existing elsewhere.

Claims to be members of the Lost Ten Tribes coming from submissive, complacent, pleasant, eager-to-please, obsequious Orientals are not a threat in the eyes of Fogelman. On the contrary, the more there are the more they may help dilute whatever racial consciousness still exists amongst the Jewish People.

There may be little we can do to bring Yaakov over to our side since he is constitutionally sold out. There is some consolation in realizing that a failure to convince Yaakov lies in causes beyond our control and does not reflect any weakness in our presentation.

Another point worth noting is the use Yaakov made of snobbery. Yaakov is not a snob but he uses it as a weapon to defend his position or to further the cause of those he favors. He mentioned for instance, more than once, our own lack of Rabbinic Ordination. Fogelman in the past has written disparagingly about the value of Rabbinical Qualifications and does not hesitate to attack Rabbis in general. [This is something Brit-Am does not do and would never do. We have Rabbis in our family and appreciate the value of Rabbinical scholarship. It should be noted that the claims of Yaacov regarding the relative level of erudition in question about the Ten Tribes are held by him ALONE.]
Fogelman is here applying a double standard. In the past he has gotten into trouble over his unfair and inaccurate criticisms of Rabbis. In our case however he apparently imagines that this may be a weak spot of ours as well, at least in the eyes of others, and so he harped on it.
He is wrong.
The same applies to University Degrees, Alleged Lack of Fluency in the Spoken Tongue, Lack of Private Funding or Major Backers, etc.
These are all very useful if one has them but not entirely indispensable. The possession or lack of it of these attributes to some degree may be irrelevant even in the eyes of Fogelman himself but he will use them to (by implication) belittle his opponent.
If one point does not work he will use the other.

Fogelman has recently written a misleading articles on the Principles of Judaism. He has written disparagingly about Rabbi M. M. Schneersohn, the deceased founder of Chabad; and other matters.
Brit-Am is in good company!

Putting Fogelman aside for the moment we too may indulge in a little self-criticism.
We (i.e. Brit-Am, the Lost Ten Tribes Movement, and its membership) need to strengthen our own knowledge on our subject matter and in Biblical Learning.
If we learn the truth and present it coherently eventually we will be heard.

In the past we were younger. The realization of Brit-Am identity truth was still fresh. We knew less but were more enthused and enthusiastic.
We now realize that ultimately the truth will win.
We should strive to learn the truth, internalize it, and promote it.

Discussions like the present one if overdone may be a waste of time but when used judiciously they can enable us to clarify matters that need clarifying.

Reactions to this Article and Resulting Discussions

After we had published the bulk of this article we received several reactions.
A Partial list includes the following:
Brit-Am Now no. 1456
http://www.britam.org/now2/1456Now.html
#1. TG comes to rescue YF from Brit-Am!
#2. Charlotte Mecklenburg: Biblical Promises and Brit-Am
#3. Larkland Morley, Israelites, and Intermixture with Other Peoples


Despite what was said above, Brit-Am has not done that badly considering the impediments we have been working under.
The Brit-Am, Lost Tribes of Israel Movement, Message has gone out and still does go forth. We have reached unto others and imparted knowledge. Our researches have been vindicated by the latest findings and we are still going forward.


See also:
Should Joseph be Green?
Why are Brit-Am Research Results Not Accepted in Israel?

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