MRFF CLIENT’S ALLEGATIONS AGAINST RABBI CORROBORATED BY SECOND VICTIM

From: xxx (e mail withheld)
Date: August 9, 2019 at 5:46:58 PM MDT
To: [email protected]org
Subject: Re: MRFF CLIENT’S ALLEGATIONS AGAINST RABBI CORROBORATED BY SECOND VICTIM
Reply-To: xxx (e mail withheld)
Is it really necessary to continually publicly air Jews’ intra-tribal problems?  Haven’t Jews suffered enough?  Please don’t continually call attention to these conflicts!  Why haven’t the offending rabbis been disciplined/defrocked by the organizations of which they are members? What purpose does it serve, in these times of increasing anti-Semitism, for you to continually publicize this misbehavior? It only gives the anti-Semites more anti-Jewish ammunition.
(name withheld)

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member John Compere
On Aug 9, 2019, at 7:40 PM, John Compere (e mail address withheld) wrote:

 

It is obvious from your clueless comments you do not comprehend why the Military Religious Freedom Foundation would represent the American Constitution right to freedom of religion of an American wife & her American military husband (both of whom happen to be of the Jewish faith) who were wrongfully banned from a military base synagogue & requested Foundation assistance.
 
Please be informed the Military Religious Freedom Foundation is an American constitutional rights organization solely dedicated to ensuring American military men & women of all faiths & beliefs receive their American constitutional right to freedom of religion in the military. The Foundation has represented over 65,000 military members, without regard to faith or belief, & will continue to do so with patriotic pride. For this pro bono advocacy, the Foundation has been officially nominated for the Nobel Peace prize 7 times.
 
“When one proudly dons a U.S. Military uniform, there is only one religious symbol: the American flag. There is only one religious scripture: the American Constitution. Finally, there is only one religious faith: American patriotism” – Michael L. “Mikey” Weinstein (Founder & President, Military Religious Freedom Foundation)
 
Most Sincerely,
Brigadier General John Compere, US Army (Retired)
Disabled American Veteran (Vietnam Era)
Advisory Board Member, Military Religious Freedom Foundation

Response from MRFF Founder and President Mikey Weinstein
From: Michael L Weinstein <[email protected]>
Subject: Re: MRFF CLIENT’S ALLEGATIONS AGAINST RABBI CORROBORATED BY SECOND VICTIM
Date: August 9, 2019 at 6:45:52 PM MDT
To: xxx  (name withheld)

 

You know, I must say that I rarely receive such a repugnant email and I get a lot of SERIOUSLY terrible ones… By the way I understand that the rabbi at the Chabad in Tacoma has just resigned… You should be ashamed of yourself for what you wrote to me… You sicken me…

Response from MRFF Supporter/Volunteer Tobanna Barker

On Aug 10, 2019, at 12:33 PM, Tobanna Barker  wrote:

Dear (name withheld) –

 

I am writing in response to your August 9, 2019 to MRFF regarding the allegations against Rabbi Heber.  Your concern about giving anti-Semites more “anti-Jewish ammunition” is understandable.  I hope I can shed some light on the issue by providing some information about MRFF and its mission.

 

The mission of MRFF is to protect the religious freedom of soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, cadets, and veterans.  While it is often falsely described as an “anti-Christian” group, it protects the wall between church and state for service members of all religions, as well as those who practice no religion.  Naturally, MRFF has no desire to fuel anti-Semitism.

 

That said, it is MRFF’s responsibility and commitment to ensure that service members and their families can practice their faith without interference.  MRFF became involved in this case as the result of the actions of Captain Harari, who disclosed confidential communications to Rabbi Heber about the allegations of sexual harassment.  This disclosure not only violated the rights of the Morans in and of itself, it resulted in a backlash that essentially prevented them from practicing their religion in their community.

 

You are correct that these Rabbis should have been “disciplined/defrocked” by their organizations.  Unfortunately, their actions only resulted in stonewalling in the form of endless investigations and other forms of obfuscation.  The publication of the story by MRFF led to another victim to come forward and Rabbi Heber has now resigned.  While the publication of conflict within the Jewish community may be concerning to some because of the risk of possibly aiding anti-Semitism, such publication was necessary to lead to the resignation of this person, who used his title to harass women in his community.  Results are more important than “lip service” about investigations.

 

I would add that, as a woman, it is vital to give voices to the victims of harassment, rather than quiet them in an effort to keep internal problems away from a vicious anti-Semitic population.  Yes, not pouring gasoline on the fire of bigotry is an important value, but so is truth.  MRFF’s mission is to protect the religious freedom of all service members and their families, regardless of the religion practiced by the individuals who infringe on that right.

 

I hope this helps address your understandable concerns.

 

Blessed be,

 

Tobanna Barker

MRFF Supporter/Volunteer


Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell

On Aug 10, 2019, at 6:25 PM, Mike  wrote:

Hello ,(name withheld)

Interesting name. Forgive me, but we get a lot of hate mail from people unwilling to use actual names and addresses, so I’d like to know if you’re real?

If you are a real person, let me be clear that I wouldn’t call this hate mail. It’s mail that makes me wonder what your point is?

You’re upset that we “continually publicly air Jews intra-tribal problems”? Really? When and where have you seen anything like this before?

As an organization founded to support the freedom of religious or non-religious choice for the women and men in the military, we deal with all sorts of issues that negatively impact the ability of those in our armed forces to freely embrace their chosen belief system. “Freely” meaning without interference. In this instance, our assistance was sought not because someone was trying to impose an alien belief system on a member of the armed forces, but because a religious leader (now former leader, since he resigned after being exposed) was behaving inappropriately toward the wife of a soldier. And once the behavior was pointed out and condemned another person who had been victimized by the same predator came forward.

Isn’t it a good thing that the other victim was emboldened to come forward once the man’s behavior was made known? Isn’t it a good thing that the perpetrator was shamed and has now resigned?

It doesn’t matter to us that he was a rabbi. We’d have done the same thing if a priest, minister, imam or other religious figure had behaved inappropriately. Wouldn’t you? Isn’t that the right thing to have done?

Given some of the word choices in your message, I’m curious about whether you are a person of the Jewish faith who believes the exposure of such behavior “gives the anti-Semites more anti-Jewish ammunition,” or are someone with a different agenda. I’d like to know. Anti-Semitism exists; of that we are very much aware. But we believe that just like racism, homophobia, islamophobia, anti-Christian practices or any other anti-human campaign, it must be openly exposed, opposed and shamed.

We are neither promoting nor condemning anyone’s belief system. We are working to protect the right of all individuals to the belief or non-belief system of her or his choice. At the same time, of course, we are supporting the time-honored yet often attacked separation of church and state.

I wish you well.

Mike Farrell

(MRFF Board of Advisors)


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