In December 2018, I profiled the curious case of Rabbi Yaakov Bleich of Brooklyn, New York, who has been appointed to the head of Ukraine’s Church Council and who publicly works with National Socialists including the Azov Battalions, supports mass murderers including Stepan Bandera, and showed his hatred for Christianity after demanding that a cross be removed because he said it was too close to a Jewish holy site, and because of the cross’s presence that site had become ritually impure.
That cross which Rabbi Bleich referred to was just attacked by a group of Orthodox Jewish teenagers from the US who were caught on camera, making it the third attack on it so far. Ten were detained and three were arrested according to a report:
For a third time in recent months, youths have vandalized a Christian monument not far from the Tziyun of Rav Nachman of Breslov ZT”L, in Uman.
According to reports from Uman, this latest incident took place at about 7:00AM this past Shabbos morning.
The boys allegedly vandalized the monument located in the river where Mispallalim visiting the Tziyun do Tashlich in Uman. The boys were passing by the crucifix monument and broke a leg off.
Police and detectives searched the streets of Uman throughout the afternoon and located the boys who had caused the damage. About 10 minors were detained on Shabbos for their alleged connection to the vandalism.
The detainees were released on Motzei Shabbos after three American citizens were arrested as the main suspects in the vandalism.
On Twitter, Israel’s Ambassador to the Ukraine, Yoel Leon, wrote: “I heard the news of the vandalism against the Uman cross, and I want to strongly condemn this act, as well as any action against any religious symbol of any religion. I hope that this provocation will not harm the existence of any the communities in Uman [who live] side by side in peace.”
The story does not mention Rabbi Bleich. However, this is the very site in the very area central to where Rabbi Bleich has worked for decades.
The photo shows these are all Chabad Jews, as evidenced by their clothes. The story does not say where in the US they are from, but it is a known fact that the largest concentration of them in the US is in the New York City area, of which Rabbi Bleich’s work in the New York Chabad communities are very well known.
There is a distinct possibility that Rabbi Bleich may know these people personally or their families personally, and given the closeness of these communities, there is a possibility he may even be related to them. None of this can be confirmed, but it is to say there is a higher than average chance that either of these three things are true. At the very least, they are all members of the same religious sect, that even if they do not know each other, Rabbi Bleich is effectively their representative in Ukraine.
Remember also that Rabbi Bleich is the head of the Ukrainian Church Council, meaning that he is a religious representative for not just Jews in Ukraine, but represents in a titular sense the religious diversity of the nation. Now this report was presented by Yeshiva World News, an Orthodox Jewish news source based in New York. It is good they did this because the fact that they presented the story shows a level of honesty in being open to discussing uncomfortable topics. This event is naturally something that will anger many Christians, but that this Jewish news source did not attempt to hide or ignore the story means they are willing to at least bring awareness to the faults of their own community when they arise. This is commendable, as it would be expected the same if a Christian or Muslim acted in an equally disordered way.
I attempted to find Rabbi Bleich’s statements on this attack, and there is nothing at all. Rabbi Bleich, for all intensive purposes, is conducting himself as though this event never happened. There is not even a single mention of it on his Twitter account:
As noted above, Rabbi Bleich is a major figure in the Chabad world in New York and abroad. It is impossible that if a small Jewish news source in New York picked this story up in detail, which came from the exact area that Rabbi Bleich operates within from the other side of the world, that the Rabbi is a major figure within Ukrainian religious circles and politics, and that he has viciously attacked the mere presence of that crucifix, that he does not know what happened.
What is more telling is Rabbi Bleich’s silence on the attack, because his silence to mention or condemn it is his consent to the attack.
Put this into any other context. Imagine if there was a large Jewish symbol that a group of Christian teenagers attacked. The Jews would be outraged and scream as loud as they could that the act was “anti-semitic,” some would say it is the ‘sign of another impending holocaust and jew hatred,’ and if the local priest or bishop did not made bold public statements condemning not only that action but “all forms of anti-semitism,” then the matter would never be put to rest. Even after making such statements, there still would not be forgiveness because some people would consistently recall the “memory” of this “event” in order to justify their own particular agenda in the future under the cover of “anti-semitism,” not for the sake of remembering the past to make a better future, but solely for personal gain regardless of the actions or its consequences for others.
This is the third attack on the crucifix too, which at that point, one would think that the Rabbi would have made at least one statement discussing it because it does look bad when representatives of one religion consistently attack the symbol of another, and one of their major leaders refuses to address the matter other than expressing his hatred of the cross.
But his actions are all that are needed to indicate his true sentiments. Given that Rabbi Bleich supports the mass murderer Stepan Bandera and he stands with the anti-Christian National Socialist pagan Azov Battalions that even other Jewish rabbis and Jewish leaders in Ukraine have condemned, it is no surprise that he would silently give his consent to American Jews attacking it and then refusing to publicly address the matter in the same way he would demand of anybody else.