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New York - Jamaican Hip-Hopper Turned Orthodox Jew: A Candid Talk With Yoseph Robinson

Published on: June 9, 2010 10:00 AM
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(L-R) Yoseph Robinson before (2000) and after (2008) his conversion.New York - Yoseph Robinson was born in Jamaica, came to Brooklyn when he was twelve, and dropped out of school shortly thereafter. As a teenager, he moved to Philadelphia and became involved in a life of illicit street activities. In his early twenties and after a close brush with death, during which he was targeted by a rival Jamaican gang, Yoseph relocated to Los Angeles and set his sights on the Hollywood music scene. He became a Hip-Hop promoter and producer, and signed a lucrative album contract with Universal/Bungalow Records.

At the height of his musical success and while indulging in all the material abundance Hollywood had to offer, Yoseph chanced upon a Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch edition of the Chumash. Yoseph’s life was transformed. He decided to reject the emptiness and egotism of the Hollywood lifestyle and embrace Yiddishkeit. Yoseph converted to Judaism and now lives in Brooklyn as an Orthodox Jew.
















The Jewish Press: What was your first experience with Judaism?

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Robinson: Interestingly, my first “experience” with Judaism or with Jewish people did not resonate with me at all. When my parents came to the United States my mother worked for a lovely Jewish family called the Schwimmers. My mother even kept a picture of the Schwimmer family on the mantelpiece in our home. I saw that picture almost every day of my childhood. In fact, my siblings and I were able to come to the U.S. only because the Schwimmers generously agreed to sponsor my family. The funny thing is, though, the Schwimmers being “Jewish” was simply descriptive, like saying the Schwimmers were Asian, or Puerto Rican. Jewishness or Judaism had no intrinsic or latent meaning for me.

My second contact with Judaism occurred when I was thirteen years old, a few months after I arrived in the U.S. I worked as a delivery boy for a kosher grocery store in Brooklyn. Since growing up in Jamaica was a unique cultural experience untainted with racial or religious prejudice, I had formed no previous conceptions about Jews. As a result, the kosher grocery experience left no impression on me one way or the other. It was only when I randomly walked into a bookstore asking for a bible and received a Hirsch English edition of the Chumash instead that I began my fundamental connection to Yiddishkeit.

Who performed your conversion, and what were the requirements?

The Los Angeles beis din, under the leadership of Rabbi Tzvi Block and Rabbi Aharon Tendler, converted me. My geirus [conversion] studies program took about two and a half years to complete, and centered on the weekly parshah, the halachos of Shabbos and kashrus, and the taryag mitzvos.

How did friends and family members react?

When I decided to convert, my friends thought I went off the deep end, and my family tended to agree with them. After realizing that my decision was a serious, lifelong commitment, however, I did garner the respect of those closest to me.

How is dating within the frum world for a black Jew?

Currently I’m focused on my parnassah and professional endeavors, such as the memoir I’m writing and my speaking engagements. So I haven’t really experienced the frum dating scene. I am looking forward to it. I would add, though, that there’s clearly an elephant in the room when it comes to the question of dating. The fact that I’m asked that question so often seems to indicate the existence of some bias. In any event, I’ll certainly be able to discuss the issue more insightfully as I begin to date more frequently.

What is your current study schedule like?

I have a chavrusah with whom I learn Mishnah Berurah, I learn parshah and mussar almost daily, and I have begun venturing into the mighty sea of Talmud.

How would you characterize your treatment and degree of acceptance by the frum community in Brooklyn?

For the most part, I must say, my experience has been overwhelmingly positive. Many people have opened their homes and their hearts to me, and have treated me like members of their own family. These new lifelong friends are a true credit to Yiddishkeit, and beautifully fulfill the mitzvah of v’ahavtem es ha’ger. As in every community, however, there are biases that persist. I do get stares and occasionally hear some thoughtless comments, but I choose to focus on the positive.

Are you in touch with other black geirim?

Interestingly, as time goes on, I have been privileged to meet many fascinating geirim of both genders and of many nationalities and ethnicities.

Has their experience with Orthodox Judaism been similar to your own?

By and large, their experience has been heartwarming and enriching. But they do voice some concerns of bias and unequal treatment. I certainly feel that some change or improvement needs to be made in this arena.

What kind of change are you referring to, and how do you expect this change to occur?

I feel that changes are necessary to allow a Yid such as myself, who happens to be dark-skinned, to feel secure and equally represented under the banner of Klal Yisrael. This kind of change can only come about when a community joins the effort. Without meaning to sound didactic, I feel that social change or justice will not come about through legislative bodies. It will come from ordinary people like you and me. It all starts with honest and open dialogue.

What is your message to potential geirim of any color or background?

My message to geirim is that if one is seeking spirituality, Judaism, practiced correctly, is the ideal vehicle for achieving that aim. I personally find it meaningful and fulfilling but, once you come aboard, keep in mind that while the Torah is flawless, people are not.

What do you hope to accomplish with the publication of your book?

I hope my book will appeal to people on multiple levels. In the U.S. there exists a fascination and mystique that surrounds all things Jamaican. In addition, my memoir provides an insider’s look into the dark side of drug running, which will ignite the imagination of a widespread American demographic.

My first-hand accounts of the Hollywood music scene and celebrity lifestyles will leave readers thirsting for more tantalizing details. Not to drop names, but the book mentions my experience of double-dating with Jay-Z and attending private parties with Janet Jackson and Jamie Foxx.

Finally, my decision to convert to Judaism leaves people simultaneously baffled and intrigued. I have infused my spiritual journey with a humor, intelligence, and wit that will also capture the curiosity of the sophisticated, high-end reader. In short, I hope to entertain, enlighten – and inspire as well.

What’s next for you while you’re working to get your book published?

Well, hopefully I’ll be able to talk with President Obama brother to brother, asking him to let my people be. In all seriousness, though, I’m just striving to grow spiritually and, im Yirtzeh Hashem, [I] hope to be discussing the phenomenal success of the book with you in the near future.



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Read Comments (69)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jun 09, 2010 at 10:13 AM Anonymous Says:

Wow. This guy's story is probably the most inspiring thing I've heard in years. He sounds so genuine. Just to preempt the invariable negative comments on this story, please don't make them, you'll only look like the moron that you are.

2

 Jun 09, 2010 at 10:15 AM Anonymous Says:

What an amazing story! He could do much to show off the derech kids that what we already have is far better than what he gave up!

3

 Jun 09, 2010 at 10:16 AM Steve Says:

Good for him...what a great story.

4

 Jun 09, 2010 at 10:20 AM chaim Says:

i know this man, he is a tzadik!
he works at mb vineyards (a jewish owned liqour store) on nostrand avenue between J and K. it would be a big chizuk for people to shop there !

5

 Jun 09, 2010 at 10:24 AM Anonymous Says:

What a wonderful story, I truly hope this young man continues to grow in Yiddishkeit and finds his basheret. As we say at the completion of layning a sefer, may he continue chazak, chazak, v'nis chazek.

6

 Jun 09, 2010 at 10:38 AM Anonymous Says:

Kushim Gierim Le"yisruel k"sapachas!!!! this madness has to stop!!!

7

 Jun 09, 2010 at 10:41 AM Anonymous Says:

He sounds very erudite and intelligent. I hope he has success in all his endeavors, including finding his zivug.

8

 Jun 09, 2010 at 10:50 AM Anonymous Says:

Let's try to come up with a solution to the problem that he mentioned in this article...
After all its a mitzvah of loving a ger and that needs to be strengthen.
Please post any ideas you may have so they feel welcomed and loved.
Thank you all

9

 Jun 09, 2010 at 10:54 AM Anonymous Says:

He should have Hatzlacha and Mazal, sigh, I only wish more jews (myself included) would be as committed as he is to Yiddishkeit.

10

 Jun 09, 2010 at 10:59 AM WOW Says:

Very interesting, I wish him the best of luck.

11

 Jun 09, 2010 at 11:17 AM Anonymous Says:

Mommish so touching. I think he should speak at the Agudah convention. Afterwards they should parade him around to all Bais Yakov to speak and give inspiration to our yiddishe kinderlich how a yid should act.

12

 Jun 09, 2010 at 11:19 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #8  
Anonymous Says:

Let's try to come up with a solution to the problem that he mentioned in this article...
After all its a mitzvah of loving a ger and that needs to be strengthen.
Please post any ideas you may have so they feel welcomed and loved.
Thank you all

I think comment #6 takes care of your request so eloquently

13

 Jun 09, 2010 at 11:24 AM Dov Says:

Reply to #6  
Anonymous Says:

Kushim Gierim Le"yisruel k"sapachas!!!! this madness has to stop!!!

Every set of comments has to have at least one nudnick. Mr. Robinson displays better midos than you do.

14

 Jun 09, 2010 at 11:25 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #8  
Anonymous Says:

Let's try to come up with a solution to the problem that he mentioned in this article...
After all its a mitzvah of loving a ger and that needs to be strengthen.
Please post any ideas you may have so they feel welcomed and loved.
Thank you all

What problem are you talking about?

15

 Jun 09, 2010 at 11:27 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #6  
Anonymous Says:

Kushim Gierim Le"yisruel k"sapachas!!!! this madness has to stop!!!

Please translate the word k''sapachas?

16

 Jun 09, 2010 at 11:27 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #8  
Anonymous Says:

Let's try to come up with a solution to the problem that he mentioned in this article...
After all its a mitzvah of loving a ger and that needs to be strengthen.
Please post any ideas you may have so they feel welcomed and loved.
Thank you all

It's a wonderful story. I can't help but wonder why Yidden are so fascinated with uncoventional converts. Seems the more exotic they are, the more Yidden like them. Above and beyond the like they have for Yidden born as Yidden.

All Yidden should be loved equally.

17

 Jun 09, 2010 at 11:32 AM wow Says:

Can we connect this guy with some kiruv organizations in order to lecture or speak one-on-one to our lovely brothers and children struggling to find there holy neshamas??? Somone have a way to contact him?

18

 Jun 09, 2010 at 11:35 AM MJS Says:

So what's up with him promoting his book in such a savvy and, dare I say, cynical fashion? Where's the anava? Where's the shame?

19

 Jun 09, 2010 at 11:51 AM welcome yoseph Says:

welcome to the tribe yosef.... inspiring story.... may you be blessed with much hatzlacha and may you grow to be a gadol hador

20

 Jun 09, 2010 at 11:53 AM Anonymous Says:

R. Yoseph, welcome to Klal Yisroel and hatzlocha rabba!

21

 Jun 09, 2010 at 11:54 AM Anonymous Says:

no disrespect..but why didnt he pick the name moshe????

22

 Jun 09, 2010 at 12:03 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #18  
MJS Says:

So what's up with him promoting his book in such a savvy and, dare I say, cynical fashion? Where's the anava? Where's the shame?

It sounded to me like we was being humorous.

23

 Jun 09, 2010 at 12:05 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #11  
Anonymous Says:

Mommish so touching. I think he should speak at the Agudah convention. Afterwards they should parade him around to all Bais Yakov to speak and give inspiration to our yiddishe kinderlich how a yid should act.

Bais Yakov? They don't allow any single men into their schools.

24

 Jun 09, 2010 at 12:30 PM AH Says:

Reply to #21  
Anonymous Says:

no disrespect..but why didnt he pick the name moshe????

Why should he have? If anything, the name Avraham is the "traditional" one for male converts (and Sarah for female ones). But there have always been gerim who chose other Jewish names - whether because of a similarity to their old name, or because they were inspired by a previous bearer of the name, or just because they like the sound of it.

25

 Jun 09, 2010 at 12:32 PM Momsense Says:

My parents have been hosting potential and newly minted Geirim of far-flung ethnicities in their home for several years. Of course we FFB Jews are intrigued and also wonder as to the why's that brought these pple to Torah u'mitzvos. I tend to wax both inspired and cynical about them when I ponder each individual story. My parents though, are universally accepting and open to them! Kol Hakavod to the Geirim and to pple like my parents...

26

 Jun 09, 2010 at 12:34 PM Anonymous Says:

This is truly a remarkable story. I can't wait to read the book!

27

 Jun 09, 2010 at 12:50 PM Moshe Klass Says:

He was a guest by me a few weeks ago. He is easily one of the most inspiring people I have ever met. #16, if you had a conversation with him, you would likely agree with me that his being black is just incidental.

28

 Jun 09, 2010 at 01:02 PM artie Says:

One thing to really note is that his first impression of a Jew was a Kiddush Hashem of how some jews treated their family - so well, that his mother felt connected and chose to put a picture of them at home. This should be a lesson to us all - that how we treat others - INCLUDING non yehudis really matters and has lasting implications.

29

 Jun 09, 2010 at 01:05 PM chaim Says:

We have been hosting this wonderful yid in our home and as a frequent mispallel in our Shul for the past few years years. His story is real as well as his commitment to yiddishkeit. Watching him Daven and walk the streets of our E. 30 's neighborhood of Flatbush gives those of us who know him -great pride. Yiddishe pride!
There are so many negative stories out there, let us appreciate this unique opportunity to all grow as Jews, each one in our own way.
Thank you R' Yosef for standing tall and for seeing the good in our community. An important lesson lost on so many.

30

 Jun 09, 2010 at 01:38 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #6  
Anonymous Says:

Kushim Gierim Le"yisruel k"sapachas!!!! this madness has to stop!!!

Pshat in this saying according to some Meforshim (I forget who at the moment) is that Geirim are so sincere and enthusiastic in their emuna that they make our own "mitzvas anoshim milumada" look bad.

32

 Jun 09, 2010 at 02:29 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #4  
chaim Says:

i know this man, he is a tzadik!
he works at mb vineyards (a jewish owned liqour store) on nostrand avenue between J and K. it would be a big chizuk for people to shop there !

I go there all the time. He's a real mentch.

34

 Jun 09, 2010 at 02:57 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #8  
Anonymous Says:

Let's try to come up with a solution to the problem that he mentioned in this article...
After all its a mitzvah of loving a ger and that needs to be strengthen.
Please post any ideas you may have so they feel welcomed and loved.
Thank you all

He probably is in a much hight madreigah than any of us are (definately me)and he has a double dose of mesras nefesh that any other ger due to his color.
But whatever you do his skin color will never change and even after a million droshos that we should look away from the fact that he is black and look at the beauty inside,will we really be able to come to a point that color truly means nothing? Won't it always be at the back of our minds that he's black?
As long as we mistrust (for good reason) the regular black man on the street,and that mistrust isn't going anywhere fast,then I don't believe he really will be accepted and there is no quick or long fix for that

35

 Jun 09, 2010 at 03:14 PM Motti Says:

What a bigot. Should someone also say "as long as we mistrust, for good reason, the Jew in business, we won't work with one"?

36

 Jun 09, 2010 at 03:20 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #28  
artie Says:

One thing to really note is that his first impression of a Jew was a Kiddush Hashem of how some jews treated their family - so well, that his mother felt connected and chose to put a picture of them at home. This should be a lesson to us all - that how we treat others - INCLUDING non yehudis really matters and has lasting implications.

Thank you for pointing this out, no truer words could have been spoken. We must learn to conduct ourselves in the proper manner.

38

 Jun 09, 2010 at 03:33 PM boruch Says:

Reply to #6  
Anonymous Says:

Kushim Gierim Le"yisruel k"sapachas!!!! this madness has to stop!!!

You should be ashemed of yourself.

39

 Jun 09, 2010 at 03:46 PM Simcha Says:

I cant wait for the book! Welcome, Brother!

40

 Jun 09, 2010 at 04:01 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #6  
Anonymous Says:

Kushim Gierim Le"yisruel k"sapachas!!!! this madness has to stop!!!

You need to read Parshas Mishpatim about what happen to people like you who are m'aneh a Ger Tzedek. You are going to burn in Gehinom BIG TIME! (and I am being modiah what will happen to you, not mekaleh).

41

 Jun 09, 2010 at 04:10 PM People like him?! Says:

Reply to #38  
boruch Says:

You should be ashemed of yourself.

The negative commenters have no shame.

42

 Jun 09, 2010 at 04:34 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #6  
Anonymous Says:

Kushim Gierim Le"yisruel k"sapachas!!!! this madness has to stop!!!

Blah blah. TYhere is also a gemorrah that those non-Jews who were interested in Judaism and liked it , will give a din v'cheshbon after Moshiach's coming as to why they weren't megey'er.

43

 Jun 09, 2010 at 04:34 PM Anonymous Says:

I am not surprised he was drawn so strongly to Am Yisrael. Anyone who reads the holy words of my Rebbe Samson Rafael Hirsch ZTZAL will have their lives changed forever. If every Yid read the Seforim of Rav Hirsch, there would be a new Golden Age in Am Yisrael. I urge everyone to read the Sefer Nineteen Letters and the Collected Writtings of Rav Hirsch. UNBELIEVABLE TORAH. POWERFUL BEYOND BELIEF. Yehi Zichro Baruch.

44

 Jun 09, 2010 at 04:34 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #4  
chaim Says:

i know this man, he is a tzadik!
he works at mb vineyards (a jewish owned liqour store) on nostrand avenue between J and K. it would be a big chizuk for people to shop there !

i have patronized the store many times and was very impressed with both his middos and knowledge of wines and liquors.

45

 Jun 09, 2010 at 04:45 PM Anonymous Says:

While antisemitism will exist regardless of reason, you, bigot that you are, give them all the reasons they need.

46

 Jun 09, 2010 at 06:49 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #35  
Motti Says:

What a bigot. Should someone also say "as long as we mistrust, for good reason, the Jew in business, we won't work with one"?

You obviously didn't understand my point.its nothing to do with being a bigot or racist.the fact remains that we as a society do not trust and are scared of blacks (and if you say you do then your a liar) so therefore you are going to have an impossible time to tell all the so called "heimishe" yidden in BP and Flatbush where he lives that this black person is an exception to the rule and when he became a ger, all the crime and violence that we associate with black people just went away etc. No,there will always be a level of mistrust and distance (unfortunate as it may be) no matter how many times he gets invited to our homes and we try to go out of our way to give him business etc and he will always have it harder than a white person.
its takeh not fair on him and we may be wrong in feeling this way but the fact remains that he will always be viewed as black
But if you really feel that you can accept him 101% (as he deserves) then let us know when he becomes your eidem so we can wish you mazel tov.Till then he is going to have a gehenom of a time in "our" community
Yes were all bigots and its takeh not right but that's the way it is

47

 Jun 09, 2010 at 07:28 PM sonsense Says:

Reply to #25  
Momsense Says:

My parents have been hosting potential and newly minted Geirim of far-flung ethnicities in their home for several years. Of course we FFB Jews are intrigued and also wonder as to the why's that brought these pple to Torah u'mitzvos. I tend to wax both inspired and cynical about them when I ponder each individual story. My parents though, are universally accepting and open to them! Kol Hakavod to the Geirim and to pple like my parents...

very intresting what type of people do your parents host proffeser types asians dentists etc

48

 Jun 09, 2010 at 08:54 PM Yanky Says:

Reply to #46  
Anonymous Says:

You obviously didn't understand my point.its nothing to do with being a bigot or racist.the fact remains that we as a society do not trust and are scared of blacks (and if you say you do then your a liar) so therefore you are going to have an impossible time to tell all the so called "heimishe" yidden in BP and Flatbush where he lives that this black person is an exception to the rule and when he became a ger, all the crime and violence that we associate with black people just went away etc. No,there will always be a level of mistrust and distance (unfortunate as it may be) no matter how many times he gets invited to our homes and we try to go out of our way to give him business etc and he will always have it harder than a white person.
its takeh not fair on him and we may be wrong in feeling this way but the fact remains that he will always be viewed as black
But if you really feel that you can accept him 101% (as he deserves) then let us know when he becomes your eidem so we can wish you mazel tov.Till then he is going to have a gehenom of a time in "our" community
Yes were all bigots and its takeh not right but that's the way it is

No, we're not all bigots, but there sure seem to be many in the frum oilem. As for your comment that this ehrlicher tzaddik will "have a gehemom of a time on our community," speak for yourself. There are enough educated, civilized Orthodox Jews out here who welcome anyone who's sincere, regardless of skin color. It amazes me that someone like you can walk around thinking the things you do and still consider yourself "religious."

49

 Jun 09, 2010 at 09:07 PM Chaya, Kidney Donor from Boro Says:

Thank you Jewish Press for this great interview. Was very inspiring. And thank you VIN for publishing on your website.

These gairim in general often have such interesting stories - oh and these people can have an impact on kids going off the derech or already off the derech.

Hatzlacha Yoseph and welcome to the Jewish tribe!

50

 Jun 09, 2010 at 09:09 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #18  
MJS Says:

So what's up with him promoting his book in such a savvy and, dare I say, cynical fashion? Where's the anava? Where's the shame?

There was nothing cynical there. He is trying to make a parnassah, and this is a legitimate way to earn some money. Naturally he wants to promote it. You are a fool. You should be ashamed.

51

 Jun 09, 2010 at 09:12 PM Weight Says:

How did he lose so much weight? He should give motivational speeches to the fatsos of Brooklyn who gorge on fast food daily (3 times a day).

52

 Jun 09, 2010 at 09:43 PM PS Says:

As a latin Jew, every time I meet thoughtful, engaged black gerim I ask myself "Isn't life hard enough?", why add to it JUST because Judaism is so beautiful and great and grand and all that? - God made everything "tov", non-Jews included (a normative view, unless you're an adherent of certain kabbalistic strains and not others), and Gave the Noachide laws - and there are more unambiguous positive non-Jews in Tanach than Gerim ("ger", "ger toshav" NOT so simple, even in Ruth; the book STILL keeps calling her the Moabite)! Judaism is also rife from all sides with issues of it's own that then get added to the identity issues and social pressures and intellectual wranglings one already has as a minority - all the more so if someone goes this Charedi route.

53

 Jun 10, 2010 at 02:08 AM Milhouse Says:

Reply to #24  
AH Says:

Why should he have? If anything, the name Avraham is the "traditional" one for male converts (and Sarah for female ones). But there have always been gerim who chose other Jewish names - whether because of a similarity to their old name, or because they were inspired by a previous bearer of the name, or just because they like the sound of it.

Avrohom may be "traditional", but it's very unpopular as a name for gerim. Of all the gerim I know or have heard of, only one chose the name Avrohom, and he changed it a few years later because he didn't like being called up as "Avrohom ben Avrohom".

54

 Jun 10, 2010 at 02:05 AM Milhouse Says:

Reply to #15  
Anonymous Says:

Please translate the word k''sapachas?

Sapachas is a kind of tzora'as. There are three kinds of tzora'as: שאת או ספחת או בהרת.

The word means "adhesion", something foreign that attaches itself to a person's body. An appendix to a book or an attachment to a document is called a נספח.

The gemoro says that gerim are bad for Yisroel. There are various explanations for why this should be so, but the bottom line is that it's so. We as a people would be better off without them. But the very same piece of gemoro says that Hashem wants gerim very much, and sent us out into the nations to recruit them. We're in this world to serve His needs, not our own. That should answer any question.

55

 Jun 10, 2010 at 02:01 AM Milhouse Says:

Reply to #21  
Anonymous Says:

no disrespect..but why didnt he pick the name moshe????

Um, why?

56

 Jun 10, 2010 at 01:59 AM Milhouse Says:

Reply to #6  
Anonymous Says:

Kushim Gierim Le"yisruel k"sapachas!!!! this madness has to stop!!!

Yes, koshim gerim leyisroel kesapachas. The gemoro says it, and it's true. And therefore what? We should stop accepting them?! Did you not learn the rest of that gemoro? How would you answer to Hashem for all the would-be gerim that you would turn away? Or is the truth that you never learned that gemoro, and only saw this one phrase quoted somewhere, and imagined that it means we should discourage gerus?

57

 Jun 09, 2010 at 11:37 PM out of town rabbi Says:

he stayed by me for shabbos once - he is a very eidel and erlicher young man with a strong cheishek for torah - i wish him all the best

58

 Jun 10, 2010 at 03:55 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #7  
Anonymous Says:

He sounds very erudite and intelligent. I hope he has success in all his endeavors, including finding his zivug.

great what u said and amen to the compliments and blessings ...

59

 Jun 10, 2010 at 10:18 AM EVA Levy Says:

When i was n sihddiuchm and i said i was willing to date a black ger, and did n fact date a hispanck ger, a quadreplegic and other "damaged goods" the frum world so quickly relegates to the bottom of the heap. people thought i was insane, asking why a regular good bais yaakov girl like me would lower myself. my parents couldn't understand what got into me.
i would hardley consider myself lowered to have this tzaddik as a husband.the frum world neds to loose this "what will people say" complex, this perfection obsession in marriage.
those of you who consider yourself inspired y this man, ask yourself if you would still be impressed with him if he came up as a shidduch for your daughter, or if the color of his face would trump all.

60

 Jun 10, 2010 at 10:32 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #54  
Milhouse Says:

Sapachas is a kind of tzora'as. There are three kinds of tzora'as: שאת או ספחת או בהרת.

The word means "adhesion", something foreign that attaches itself to a person's body. An appendix to a book or an attachment to a document is called a נספח.

The gemoro says that gerim are bad for Yisroel. There are various explanations for why this should be so, but the bottom line is that it's so. We as a people would be better off without them. But the very same piece of gemoro says that Hashem wants gerim very much, and sent us out into the nations to recruit them. We're in this world to serve His needs, not our own. That should answer any question.

No, it doesn't answer any question. In fact it raises many more.

61

 Jun 10, 2010 at 10:35 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #46  
Anonymous Says:

You obviously didn't understand my point.its nothing to do with being a bigot or racist.the fact remains that we as a society do not trust and are scared of blacks (and if you say you do then your a liar) so therefore you are going to have an impossible time to tell all the so called "heimishe" yidden in BP and Flatbush where he lives that this black person is an exception to the rule and when he became a ger, all the crime and violence that we associate with black people just went away etc. No,there will always be a level of mistrust and distance (unfortunate as it may be) no matter how many times he gets invited to our homes and we try to go out of our way to give him business etc and he will always have it harder than a white person.
its takeh not fair on him and we may be wrong in feeling this way but the fact remains that he will always be viewed as black
But if you really feel that you can accept him 101% (as he deserves) then let us know when he becomes your eidem so we can wish you mazel tov.Till then he is going to have a gehenom of a time in "our" community
Yes were all bigots and its takeh not right but that's the way it is

You have serious issues my friend. Clearly, you grew up in a very, very sheltered and bigoted environment. Yidden who did not live in the ghetto such as yourself have a much more open minded view of the world. By the way, Black is Beautiful.

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 Jun 10, 2010 at 12:24 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #56  
Milhouse Says:

Yes, koshim gerim leyisroel kesapachas. The gemoro says it, and it's true. And therefore what? We should stop accepting them?! Did you not learn the rest of that gemoro? How would you answer to Hashem for all the would-be gerim that you would turn away? Or is the truth that you never learned that gemoro, and only saw this one phrase quoted somewhere, and imagined that it means we should discourage gerus?

"koshim gerim leyisroel kesapachas" that's not what he said and he transgressed an issur d'Oraisa for saying it and he moderators transgressed an issur d'oraisa for posting it.

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 Jun 10, 2010 at 02:00 PM actual Jew Says:

welcome to a righteous ger. we are richer for having him. i always tell my yeshiva kids: do not judge on anything but character. I hope he finds his bashert when the time comes.

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 Jun 10, 2010 at 02:08 PM actual Jew Says:

Reply to #54  
Milhouse Says:

Sapachas is a kind of tzora'as. There are three kinds of tzora'as: שאת או ספחת או בהרת.

The word means "adhesion", something foreign that attaches itself to a person's body. An appendix to a book or an attachment to a document is called a נספח.

The gemoro says that gerim are bad for Yisroel. There are various explanations for why this should be so, but the bottom line is that it's so. We as a people would be better off without them. But the very same piece of gemoro says that Hashem wants gerim very much, and sent us out into the nations to recruit them. We're in this world to serve His needs, not our own. That should answer any question.

So sad to see this attitude in klal Yisroel. My grandfather (z''l) was heder- and yeshiva-educated in Ukraine. He always taught me to be tolerant, especially of Jews and even more so of gerim. There were MANY of them in Europe. He had blonde hair and my other grandfather had red hair. In Russia.
Crusaders converted in Eretz Yisrael. So many goyim were converting at the time of our great thinkers like Rashi that the Church put prohibitions on it.
I could go on but I have to work.
Please open your heart, chaver. When Jews arrive in haolam habah, they will be greeted by Ruth and other righteous gerim. They will forgive bigots. Will we forgive ourselves?

65

 Jun 10, 2010 at 03:41 PM Chaim ben Moshe Says:

Welcome to the tribe, my brother, welcome!

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 Jun 10, 2010 at 06:07 PM joel300c Says:

Amazing and inspiring story. I have actually meet him in person. He is very well educated and knows what he is talking about.

67

 Jun 13, 2010 at 06:44 PM Anonymous Says:

To the writer who is fearful of all blacks: Do not include all of Klal Yisrael in your limited and racist perspective. There are many educated and open minded frum people who do not judge others based on the color of their skin. Please do not embarass the rest of 'the fold' by speaking on our behalf.
Good Luck Yoseph. Keep strong.

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 Jun 16, 2010 at 12:02 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #28  
artie Says:

One thing to really note is that his first impression of a Jew was a Kiddush Hashem of how some jews treated their family - so well, that his mother felt connected and chose to put a picture of them at home. This should be a lesson to us all - that how we treat others - INCLUDING non yehudis really matters and has lasting implications.

I happen to know the Special Schwimmer family who the mother worked for...Their home was constantly open to guests from all over and she was of great assistance in helping with all preparations year round...perhaps in the zchus of her respect to yiddishkeit she merited this nachas..

69

 Jun 27, 2010 at 12:41 AM alison Says:

i am nearly 20 ,not religeous but i am inspired by this mans story!

to the racist commentor u SHOULD be very ashamed. u may look religous on the outside but in ur heart ur not! for if u were a happy n gud jew u would like others welcome this man n learn from him! also how dare u generalise! may i remind u how many evil/dangerous people are white even jewish! learn from this man DO NOT hate on him!

70

 Jul 29, 2010 at 08:47 AM Tzaddikguy Says:

Somebody posted this man's story on Facebook and I just had to read it.

What an inspiration his story and Yoseph Robinson is (in view of some of the negative comments,maybe choosing 'Yoseph' was "divinely lead!" Oy Vey!)....afterall, some Gerim are often more zealous for Torah than some born Jews are!Proselytizing is wrong,but reaching out and being a Torah light is NOT!

Anyway,it reminds me of my own journey and it reminds us all of the power of the Torah to change lives.It's no accident that the Hebrew word 'Or[light]" is in "Torah!"

71

 Jul 29, 2010 at 04:38 PM Anonymous Says:

it hurts me so much to see how some pple are reacting to this special man giving up all of the money, woman and things that most of you wish u had but dont! he gave all of it up for restrictions and laws if thats not special i dont know what is. why cant pple just accept others for who they are, what they stand for and for the love of hashem and not for the color of his skin? but there will ALWAYS be haters no matter what and thats y moshiach isnt here yet bec of YOU sick pple, thats achdus?! u teach ur children veahavta leracha kamocha? u need to practice what u preach!

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 Aug 21, 2010 at 01:04 PM jamaicanjew Says:

This story of Yoseph Robinson has touched my soul he might not have been accepted by all but the way he lived his life and the choice he made to be a man of God an Orthodax Jew for a little over a month is an example to all . He will never be forgotten. When asked what have you done with your life, his story might be short but powefull. He died a heroes death and all to the Glory of God.

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