Letters to the editor September 15
Torahs not tainted
My comment in the Sept. 1 Chronicle story, “Youlus indicted; faces charges of mail, wire fraud,” which reports about the Youlus indictments contained “nothing I didn’t know or expect” is accurate, but it relates to information I learned long after I acquired the Torah I donated to Beth El in my father’s memory.
More than a year after I donated the Torah to Beth El, I learned from a reporter from The Washington Post who told me in great detail that he had investigated Youlus’ misrepresentations about the Torahs he sold. Much of what he learned was contained in the Youlus indictment and that is the context in which I made my comment.
At the time I acquired the Torah from Youlus and donated it to Beth El, I had no suspicion the story that Youlus, an Orthodox rabbi and a sofer, told me was not true. Before he sold me the Torah, Youlus suggested that I speak with Rabbi [Irvin] Chinn, of blessed memory. I did and Rabbi Chinn vouched for Youlus’ character and said Youlus was a man of great integrity and I could believe whatever Youlus told me. At that time, no one alleged that the stories about the Torahs Youlus sold were not true. Those stories came out much later.
Having read Menachem Rosensaft’s comments in the Sept. 1 issue of the Chronicle, I must strongly disagree that the Torahs acquired from Menachem Youlus were “tainted.” Rosensaft admits that the Torahs were kosher. Notwithstanding the fact that Youlus misrepresented their derivation, those holy scrolls were acquired by individuals, including children for their chavura, were done so without knowledge of his untruths and were donated from their hearts to synagogues and, in some instances, in honor or memory of loved ones. To characterize them as “tainted” is an insult to those who so lovingly donated them.
If there is any taint, it is borne by Menachem Youlus’ soul and not by those sacred Torahs.
On a personal note, if you read what I said as quoted in the Chronicle it was that Menachem Youlus will have to answer to God and the authorities, not only to himself and to God as Mr. Rosensaft alleged.
Robert A. Kushner