Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ohad Rosenberg (Ovadiah) and his struggle for Acceptance

Left: Eliyahu Avermann
Right: Ohad Rosenberg (Ovadiah)


About two weeks ago, Ohad Rosenberg (30) first killed his friend Eliyahu Averman (19) and then committed suicide. This happened in Tel Aviv, near Ibn Gavirol Street, and no one seems to know why the two had gone to Tel Aviv in the first place.

I have been reading through many articles about the murder. A week ago, the father of Eliyahu Averman, the Kaliver Chassid Rabbi Aharon Leib Averman, was interviewed by a secular local Jerusalem paper where he stated that all those accusations against his son Eliyahu are nothing but lies. Last Friday, the Tel Aviv part of MAARIV published an interview of Ohad Rosenberg's father and brother. The two made very harsh accusations against the born haredi society but they agreed with Rabbi Averman in one point: The two friends were not gay !
Many press articles claim that Averman and Rosenberg had a homosexual relationship and that this was the cause for the murder and suicide. However, others claim that Rosenberg and Averman had a dispute about the car they were traveling in. A third opinion is that Rosenberg accused Averman of having destroyed his Shidduch. However, it looks like we will never know the truth.

Ohad Rosenberg was born in December 1979 into a secular family. He grew up in Rishon LeZion (near Tel Aviv) and became religious at the age of 17. He even became haredi and started studying at different programmes in Rishon. His older brother didn't like the idea and told him to go to the university and learn a profession. Ohad, however, became more and more fanatic.

Ohad Rosenberg's family name was NOT Rosenberg but OVADIAH. Some time after entering the haredi world he had changed his name from OVADIAH into ROSENBERG !

Why ?

After some time of studies in Rishon LeZion, Ohad decided to enroll in a haredi Yeshiva in Jerusalem for further studies.
As far as I heard it was the MIR Yeshiva but you are welcomed to correct me in this case.

The MIR Yeshiva is litvish and has thousands of students - also Baalei Teshuva. I assume that Ohad joined the Hebrew programme and he claimed that he was made fun of all the time because he was Sephardi.

We have been hearing lately about the dispute between haredi schools belonging to the Ashkenazi and Sephardi community. The latest example was the "Emmanuel case" and now the accuser Yoav Lalom is going wild about the same separation reason in Kiryat Sefer.

What one has to understand, and not too many Baalei Teshuva like to hear that, that, as soon as you enter haredi society as a newcomer, you are possibly considered as "SUG BETH - Second Class". Born Haredim will look down on you. If not in an open outspoken way, then in a hidden way. Example: They use certain phrases when they talk to you.

Not only that Ohad Rosenberg (Ovadiah) was a Baal Teshuva but he was also of Sephardi origin. Meaning that Ashkenazi Haredim may look down on you and that you won't necessarily marry an Ashkenazi Shidduch. Unless the Shidduch is divorced, has health or other problems.

Ohad Rosenberg (Ovadiah) dreamt of being accepted and he did everything he could in order to reach his goal. This is why he changed his name into something totally Ashkenazi. The reasons seems to be completely ridiculous because Ohad looked Sephardi and other people were aware of his origin from far away.

The only thing missing for his false completion was an Ashkenazi Shidduch. Some time ago he had left the Yeshiva in Jerusalem (because he couldn't stand the rassicm anymore) and moved back to his parents to Rishon LeZion. His brother says that Ohad finally succeeded in finding an Ashkenazi girl he got along with. The former Yeshiva, however, spoke to her parents and thus the Shidduch went down the drain.

In Rishon, Ohad Rosenberg (Ovadiah) started volunteering for ZAKA. There he met the born Haredi Eliyahu Averman (another Zaka volunteer). Both became friends and the haredi society denies any homosexuality between the two friends.

Ohad's family says that they didn't really like Averman. Ohad's mother had bought a laptop for her son but only Averman used it. The same with Ohad's new car. He didn't have a driving license and Eliyahu Averman became his driver. Once he gave the car to Averman who disappeared with it. Ohad's brother had even called up Averman's father in order to investigate where his son disappeared with the car. Rabbi Averman didn't have an answer.

A short time later, the murder took place in Tel Aviv. Before the two friends had been on a trip to Eilat and I am asking myself why would anyone Haredi go to non - kosher Eilat. The same with Tel Aviv.
Ohad Rosenberg (Ovadiah) killed his friend in the middle of the street and then committed suicide. Israel's haredi society is shocked but no one dares to speak.

What did really happen at the Yeshiva and what was the true connection between the older Rosenberg and the only 19 - year - old Averman.
Eliyahu Averman was closed to the Kaliver Rebbe Menachem Mendel Taub and, again, I am asking myself why he was so friendly with the Sephardi Baal Teshuva Rosenberg (Ovadiah). I imagine that Rabbi Averman was surely not too happy about Eliyahu's new friend.

Haredi society made a big fuss about Eliyahu Averman's funeral but no one came to Rosenberg's funeral. Not even one official representative from Zaka and the Ovadiah's are very disappointed. Ohad sacrificed all of his time to Zaka and they ignore his funeral. However, one person from Zaka came but he told the family that he only came because he was a friend of Ohad.

For haredi society, Ohad Rosenberg (Ovadiah) is and never was one of them. You have to be born into haredi society and as a Baal Teshuva you are just not the same. Many times, the Ovadiah's told their son Ohad to go to a Sephardi Yeshiva and mix with other Baalei Teshuva so that he would be accepted and happy. No, Ohad wanted the Ashkenazi society and suffered from his environment looking down on him.

As Rosenberg was not born into their society, the born haredi society, once again, complains about Baalei Teshuva entering with all kinds of personal problems into their society. No one is learning from the tragedy because Ohad Rosenberg (Ovadiah) was not part of the haredi society but just an outsider.

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