Jewish Yale student Avigayil Halpern attacked Rabbi Hecht, Shabtai, and Corey Booker in a recent editorial for the Yale Daily News. Halpern tried to connect them to former Yale student Saifullah Khan. Khan was acquitted of all charges in a criminal case last year where he was accused of sexually assaulting a fellow Yale student. Khan was kicked out of Yale in Title IX proceedings, which has a much lower standard of proof than a criminal case. Halpern tried to connect Khan with Hecht and Shabtai in her article, even though she admittedly had no evidence to support such a connection.
Ms. Halpern wrote in her editorial: “Though Khan was acquitted of sexual assault in criminal court, I believe the evidence offered by his accuser in court as documented in the media and trust the Title IX decision in this case. According to coverage of Khan’s criminal trial in the New Haven Register, Hecht was one of the two first witnesses called by the defense. Khan’s accuser testified that Hecht encouraged students to drink at Shabtai the night of the assault, which is borne out by Hecht’s own testimony; there are questions to be asked here about social coercion around alcohol that leads to vulnerability. Notably, Hecht testified that Khan, a friend of his, belongs to the society. It is not clear whether Khan remains a friend of Hecht’s, nor if he still is a member of Shabtai. But Shabtai and Hecht have yet to publicly disavow Khan, who has since been accused of sexual assault by a second person.”
On the date of February 28, 2018 Halpern tweeted: “The society @CoryBooker founded at Yale is run by a slumlord, and seems to be an environment that at minimum does not reject rapists. It’s time for him — and all of us — to reject Shabtai.” Halpern called Shmuly a slumlord. That’s harsh. Halpern should get a job at the New Haven Independent with fellow Jewish Yale graduate Paul Bass. Half the stories in the New Haven Independent are about Jewish landlords. Yalies should stop complaining about their New Haven living quarters and buy up all the apartment buildings from the Jewish landlords. Yale is sitting on a $30 billion endowment. Yale can afford to buy the entire City of New Haven, along with a few surrounding towns at no extra charge. Let’s see if Yale graduate can run an apartment building better than a Yeshiva graduate.
Shabtai member and New York City bulldog attorney Shaya Rochester wrote a letter which defended Shabtai and attacked Halpern. Shaya is a partner at the powerful law firm Katten, Muchin Rosenman. Shaya’s letter was published by the Yale Daily News. It is not clear whether Shaya threatened to sue Halpern for defamation but two days ago Halpern tweeted the following: “if anyone was wondering how my week is going, someone threatened to sue me and it’s not even in the top three things I’m most worried about.”
Shaya wrote in his letter to the Editor: “a recent opinion article in the News misrepresented and maligned Shabtai, its members and its purpose. This article is particularly unfortunate because it contains factual inaccuracies and omissions about the organization that could have, and should have, been avoided if the author had cared to investigate the facts or simply included the facts that we had provided to the author prior to the publication. So, to correct the record, let me publicly state the following. Saifullah Khan is no longer a member of Shabtai. His membership was revoked in 2017. Shabtai does not and never has tolerated harassment of any kind. Pike International has no financial interest, or any other interest, in Shabtai. Pike’s legal proceedings have no bearing on the affairs of Shabtai. These are all facts that were ignored or disregarded, suggesting that the author’s intent in publishing the article at issue was not to pursue the truth, but rather to pursue an agenda against the organization and our rabbinical advisor, Shmully Hecht.“
Shaya has accused Halpern of pursuing an “agenda” against Shabtai. What is Halpern’s agenda? Why won’t Shaya reveal the agenda? My noodlishe kop is not as large as a Yalishe kop. I will never figure out Halpern’s agenda. I need to be Yale-spained. If anyone out there can fill me in on Halpern’s agenda please submit your theory.
I have a few theories about Halpern’s agenda. Shabtai has attracted controversial speakers over the years, from the far left to the far right. Shabtai takes the most heat at Yale when they bring in the far right speakers. Yale is very liberal. It’s hard to be a conservative at Yale. The conservatives complain that they need a safe space. I have offered them a room at my house at 516 Ellsworth Avenue, but so far I have had no takers. I have also offered a safe space in my house to liberals who have felt threatened by the guys at the William F. Buckley Society at Yale, but so far I have had no takers.
Halpern’s views are left of center. Shmuly’s views are right of center. But they are both devout Jews and for the most part kind Jews, except when they are attacking each other on the pages of the Yale Daily. I think Halpern and Shmuly should meet at my house for a beer summit. They need to make up. They are delaying the coming of the Mochiach, which has caused me to suffer in my personal life. I would rather be at the Temple in Jerusalem eating burnt offerings than sitting behind my computer blogging every day about Jews fighting with each other. MOSHIACH NOW!
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