Pittsburgh, PA – VIN Exclusive: Fake News, Says Tree Of Life Rabbi, Addressing Rumors Of Gay Bris During Pittsburgh Synagogue Massacre


    Rabbi Jeffrey Meyers, spiritual leader of the Tree Of Life synagogue. APPittsburgh, PA – Rapidly spreading reports by an LGBT website that a gay couple were making a bris at the time the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre occurred, prompting one rabbi to unleash a hateful tirade of fury saying that the victims deserved to die, have turned out to be completely false.

    A story published by the Advocate one day after the mass shooting said that the bloodshed took place during a bris for twin boys that had been adopted by a pair of gay men.

    The Advocate claimed that the information had come from a Facebook post written by the Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh, a local LGBT group, and that the information had been verified by three community members.

    But while the Delta Foundation later edited its Facebook post, removing references to the reported gay bris when final confirmation of the event failed to materialize, the Advocate’s story has remained online.

    In an email exchange with VIN News, Rabbi Jeffrey Meyers, spiritual leader of the Tree Of Life synagogue, stated unequivocally that the Advocate report was untrue.

    “There was no bris taking place in our synagogue,” Rabbi Meyers told VIN News.

    Neither the Advocate nor the Delta Foundation was available to comment on the matter.

    In an interview with Shimon Gifter for VIN News at the Kinus Hashluchim on Sunday at Rockland Community College, Chabad emissary Rabbi Yisroel Altein of Pittsburgh said that he had been in touch with people who were in the synagogue during the shooting who also said that there had been no bris taking place when the gunman opened fire on worshippers.

    But reports of the alleged bris prompted one Great Neck rabbi to deliver a strongly worded lecture to his followers, after being asked if it was appropriate to attend a Tehillim service in memory of those who were murdered in the attack.

    Prefacing his remarks as the “state of the union from Yeshivas Bais Eliyahu,” Rabbi Mordechai Aderet said that the shooting was the direct result of the gay bris and likened those who died to the generation that was wiped out because of their sins during the flood that covered the world in the times of Noach.

    “This is a brit milah in a Conservative shul, and the two men adopted a boy and did a brit milah, and you wonder why it was a massacre and now you want to say Tehillim for them?” queried Rabbi Aderet.

    Continuing his diatribe, Rabbi Aderet said that reciting Tehillim for those who died while participating in a gay bris was akin to “spitting in Hashem’s face,” describing the victims as “sinners who embarrassed” G-d, adding that he “was not sorry for this disaster.”

    Rabbi Aderet’s speech was removed from the Torah Anytime website where it had originally been posted, but drew a strong response from Rabbi Moshe Weinberger of Congregation Aish Kodesh in Woodmere, who described the speech as “obscene” and “vile.”

    Speaking passionately, Rabbi Weinberger said that those who died in Pittsburgh were killed for a single reason only: because they were Jews.

    “The murderer didn’t hide that, that was his whole tachlis of going into that place,” said Rabbi Weinberger. “So, how dare any person standing up, whether it is in the Five Towns or Great Neck or Borough Park or Yerushalayim for that matter, to stand up and to say these are people from the mabul, these are people who are michalelei Shabbos … let that be a warning to the Jewish people, let that be a warning to all Jews. Hashem should forgive this person or these people for talking that way.”

    Rabbi Weinberger pulled no punches in his criticism of Rabbi Aderet, who he did not identify by name, finishing his remarks by telling an individual in the audience who was recording his words “and you can send that to anyone you want, including the rabbi.”

    Rabbi Yosef Mizrachi was another who spoke at length about the Pittsburgh tragedy, drawing parallels between the weekly Torah portion of Vayeira which discussed both bris milah and the atrocities of the city of Sodom and its subsequent destruction, and the events that transpired in Pittsburgh.

    In a telephone interview with VIN News, Rabbi Mizrachi was surprised to learn that there had been no bris at the synagogue when the bloodbath erupted.

    “So why is it reported?” asked Rabbi Mizrachi, adding, “They misled the public.”

    Despite the misinformation, Rabbi Mizrachi said that he stood by his words, noting that while it is not his place to judge anyone, there is no punishment that comes to this world for no reason.

    The bris story was not the only fake news that emerged in the aftermath of the tragedy in Pittsburgh. Early news reports that the oldest victim, 97 year old Rose Mallinger, was a Holocaust survivor proved to be untrue.

    The Holocaust claim was debunked by a tweet posted a day after the shooting by family friend Sara Yood who wrote “Rose Mallinger was my dear friend’s great aunt.

    She was not a Holocaust survivor. Please remove this misinformation – I am trying to this work on behalf of the family so they don’t have to deal with it. Thank you. #PittsburghSynagogue #TreeofLife.”

    It also appeared on fact checking website Snopes(http://bit.ly/2yUFwkz), where it was classified as false. Numerous websites subsequently amended their reports to indicate that early claims that Mallinger had lived through the Holocaust were incorrect.

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    1. What is Aderet’s or Mizrachi’s explanation for the Har Nof shul massacre? What does Aderet’s self-proclaimed “little bit of Ruach HaKodesh” tell him? He claimed on the video that he “knew” there was a gay bris before being told. Seems more likely that he has only a “little bit of seichal”.

    2. Rabbi Weinberger, Sir, if there was a ‘bris’ for two Jewish babies ( non- Jews also terrible), by two ‘Homosexuals’, who also force an innocent child into a harmful, perverted environmet ( something the two men possibly never experienced, nor the congregation) I understand the vitriol of anyone. So can all good- hearted, loving people. The state of PA would ( is) also be culpable, etc.
      The stronger the love of HaShem, the stronger the anger. ( ‘Ohavim HaShem Sonai Ra’).
      So a powerful, angry response is in keeping with ‘Torah,’ and is to be admired, not condemned.
      This is clearly logical and understandable.
      Recently a professional, nation- wide study was done in Spain. The results?
      Same- Sex Parenting Harms Children.
      I am also furious at this Criminal, Barbaric, Brutal, Callous, Selfish, treatment and kidnapping of infants and children.
      Boruch Ben Tzvi HaCohein, Hoffinger

      • You need to work on your reading comprehension. The article clearly says that the toeyva bris that you are decrying never took place. It was a total fabrication.

    3. it appears that there is false news in all communities – but what has really happened the the filters have left our mouths – i know in today’s world we can not close our eyes but we should close our mouths. Sad commentary on Klall Yisroel – perhaps this event occurred to open our eye at the issues confronting Klall Yisroel

    4. This was from USA Today and was on other websites.
      “Many arrived Saturday for a baby-naming ceremony at Tree of Life. Werber saw wine goblets and a bottle of whiskey for the ritual, but he was downstairs with his rabbi, Jonathan Perlman, and a few other members of his congregation”

    5. From the New York Times: “Though a bris, a ceremony to mark a child’s birth, was among the ceremonies taking place Saturday, no children were among the casualties, law enforcement officials said”.

      • The NY times reported based on rumors, not facts. the story never developed future, there was no children in shul, and no one has put forward any names of who the bris was for, why hasn’t the gay couple come forward to the media about this? cause no such couple exists.

    6. VIN is just as guilty as the rest for letting this lie be posted again and again in the comments. I know if was FAKE news from the start because no bonda fide news organizations ever mentioned it, there was no hint of there being any babies in any part of the shul, and the only ones mentioning this lie were the trolls.

    7. This gay stuff was made up by one Facebook post, and picked up by 3 gay websites, who quoted that one Facebook post, without corroboration by anyone from the community (VIN please fix the error)
      That post came down after multiple local commenters wrote that itv was fake

    8. snopes.com will tell you if something is true or not.
      unfortunately, I couldn’t find a reference to a bris at the pittsburgh shooting.

      still, everyone, especially you rabbis, check with snopes before you speak or write!!!!!!!

    9. I don”t know if the Bris was scheduled for that day or not, as I wasn’t there, but it wasn’t supposed to be in the main “shul” of Tree of life. It was reported to be in the Reconstructionist Congregation Ohr Hadash.
      Wikipedia is still reporting that a Bris was scheduled there.
      In any case, before anyone has the Chutzpah to start bashing any Rabonim that spoke out against them, I am quoting Ohr Hadash’s organization principles, and you will see for yourself that they are the Dor Hamabul. (you can look it up on their website)
      ” Congregation Dor Hadash is a member-led congregation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, an affiliate of the Jewish Reconstructionist Communities.

      Congregants share in the responsibility for ritual programs and in all the administrative aspects of congregational life. Active participation is central to the exploration and development of our Jewish identities.

      Our congregation is welcoming, egalitarian, and inclusive. Our congregants are Jews by birth or by choice; they are single or part of family units; they include people of different sexual orientations and gender identities; and they live in households that are of the same or different faiths.”

      Nebach, Nebach

      • I agree totally. And why would people be so shocked that those who drive to Shul on Shabbat would have a problem with a bris of adopted babies of a gay couple! I totally believe it’s true.

    10. This is why children leaving to a secular life. Our so call Torah leaders are a bunch of morons who think they have a direct line with Hashamim. They are not better than the Islamic Ayatollah’s. A lot of things happen in this world that we don’t understand, instead of trying to be a better human being and a better Jew we try to find explanations that is out of our reach. We lost our way long time ago and this what the pasuk says, pnei hador k’penei Hakelev. You can see the reflection of our generation “ our religious leaders” are the face of a dog

    11. the gemora in sanhedrin tells us that when truth is hard to find meshiach is on his way. fake news is good news in this respect.all rabbinical comments would have been radically different if the emes was known and would reflect the fact that that yidden were killed period not why.#1 shlomo if you had 1/1000 of the brains of the rabbonim you criticize you would be dangerous!

    12. Shame on these so called Rabbis. Just like Kohmeni who claimed Hurricane Katrina was payback to the USA for being satanic and against them destroying Israel with Nukes. All these demagogues have one thing in common- Gaiva in believing they know the mind of Hashem.
      The Torah can write about Dor Mabul being destroyed and why. Humans cannot and should not claim to know the mind of Hashem. Mizrachi did this before with claiming the Holocaust was punishment for not being frum. My dozens of relatives who were all Frum would beg to differ.How many kedoshim, gedolim in Torah, Rabbonim , Mevchurim, Tzaddikim, infants who were totally without sin, were killed, tortured, experimented upon, worked to death? But Mizrachi knows why. Total shtus and they dont deserve the title Rabbi. Feh, feh, feh.
      Hashem Yinkon Duman!

      • Rabbi Miller ztl claimed as well that the holocaust was a punishment for not being frum . It’s not some obscure navious. It’s open pasukim in our Torah in the tochacha. Rabbi Miller also exclaimed that the six million many who were kofrim were not kedoshim. Your frum relatives suffered because of the non frum . Once the satan had permission to punish he doesn’t discriminate nebach .And your relatives who were frum were kedoshim. But there weren’t six million .

      • My Dear Michel,

        There are different “sheetus” regarding the Holocaust. Although many Gedoilem agree with you; i.e. that one cannot ascribe the churban to Aveirus; the majority sheeteh (e.g. Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zatzal) is that when we do Aveirus, we get punished. And the concept of “Kol Yisroel Areivim…” , coupled with “Keevun shenussen reshus l’mashchis….” hence innocent children and Tzaddikim are the ones that bear the brunt of the Toichucheh. The generation of the Holocaust, and many of the victims, were off the derech, and Germany was the capital of assimilation.

        So Rabbi Mizrachi was not being “hateful” nor original)

    13. WOW. More Jew hating by ‘frum’ rebbes. Instead of directing prayer and compassion to the victims and families, they ply their hatred and phony superiority over anyone who doesn’t worship like them. Vacuous leadership.

    14. The conversation (vitriol) exchanged in the comments above should not be dependent on the veracity of whether 2 gay men were in fact conducting a bris or not. A hypothetical scenario of such a setting elicits the same commentary, and is worth of dialogue.
      If one were told of 2 gay men conducting a bris on adopted boys in a Conservative or Reconstructionist Temple , and that was the end of the story, ie, no shooting, no murder, then ALL of the above commentators would be sickened and disgusted. After all we all believe in the Torah that refers to such actions as Abomination. However, the story didn’t end there. There was a shooting and murder. The murder does not in any way lessen or mitigate the disgust and abominable behavior.
      We can not and must not attribute that we have knowledge of cause and effect of Hashems ways. We are not Neviim. But we can all agree that Hashem in His Torah has called such people and their ways Abomination. No grey area.
      Being killed simply because one is a jew, classifies the victims as “Kedoshim”. But an animal placed on a mizbeach is also classified as Kodshim. The animal does not receive Schar for being sacrificed, yet it is Kodshim. One who is killed simply because he is a jew, while he committing an act of atrocity, does not get a pass for his actions. We believe in “Schar, Veonesh”. It is a basic tenet of our religion. Failure to believe in that principle renders one an apikores. So yes, the victims are Kedoshim, but not praiseworthy.
      As far as the Rabbi Aderet’s comments, his timing was terrible, and his message was brash, but not inaccurate. He probably should have saved it for his Shabbos Shuva Drasha, after the dust had cleared.

      • But the people who were killed had nothing to do with the abomination, whether or not it occurred. So why are you associating them with something they had no connection to?

        And why would Rabbi Aderet’s condemnation be appropriate at ANY time?

        You mean that if a theoretical ceremony like this theoretically occurred in a theoretical place and a theoretical gunman would have charged in and killed the participants, it would then be an appropriate derasha to say to some other people (who also had nothing to do with it) on Shabbos Shuva?

        Wouldn’t it be more constructive to talk to people about what THEY are doing wrong, rather than what someone else is doing wrong?

      • what a pilpul shel hevel with your ludicrous gzeira shovo of kodshim and kedoshim! The gemoro says about their schar “ayin lo ro’aso Elokim zulosecho”, and that Rabi Akiva was jealous of their reward etc. etc. Would be better to learn something before spewing such nonsense, especially about such a sensitive topic!

    15. This is the biggest problem regarding our frum community. The Rabbonim think whatever fantasy enters their minds – that is Hashem’s will. That is okay, however the problem is we follow them like confused sheep. Spreading stories of non-existent miracles by this live and that dead Rebbe does not help. G-d help us.

    16. Pirkei Avos, chapter 4, quotes a rabbi who says we just don’t know why good people suffer and bad people enjoy. Can’t all rabbis agree to this, and just forget the nonsense they spew – that they KNOW why something happened.

    17. And this is what the President means that there is fake news.Simply unbelievable!!!! I was actually wondering why there was only old people,and nobody young.
      Indeed,whatever is reported,should be taken with a grain of salt and verified,before jumping to conclusions.

    18. Torah Anytime should be pulling anything ever recorded by thus “rabbi”. There is enough Torah available, we can get by without his Motzei Shem Ra on Kedoshim and his “Ruach HaKodesh”.


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