Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Chabad's Hollywood Cult

Angelina Jolie's father, Jon Voight will be rewarded at a "Noahide" conference next week in Florida:

Oscar-winning actor Jon Voight has been announced as the recipient of the Tzedekah Award from Noahide Nations. The Tzedekah award will be presented for the very first time by Noahide Nations at its first Noahide World Conference being held June 26th – 29th in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

This article is from 2001.

Chabad’s ‘Cowboy’

Sue Fishkoff -The Jewish Journal

August 23, 2001

Anyone who's ever watched the annual Chabad Telethon, to be aired live this Sunday from 5 p.m. to midnight on UPN Channel 13, knows that it's the single most graphic demonstration of this Chassidic group's ability to rope in big-name Hollywood celebrities.

The show was first broadcast in 1980, when it was co-hosted by Carroll O'Connor and Jan Murray as a fundraiser to replace Chabad headquarters in Westwood after a tragic fire. Since then, a long list of glitterati have shown up each year to sing, dance, tipple a bissle and appeal for funds to help Chabad's drug rehab center in Los Angeles and other social service projects.

James Caan and Elliot Gould, fixtures from the beginning, have been joined by the likes of Sid Caesar, Bob Hope, Michael Douglas, Whoopi Goldberg, Shelley Winters, Tony Danza, Judd Nelson, Regis Philbin, Steve Allen, Edward James Olmos and Valerie Harper. In 1997, the cast of "Friends" produced a special segment that aired only on the telethon. One-time Chabad fellow traveler Bob Dylan has made four surprise appearances. Former Vice President Al Gore stumped for the cause three times.

In its first year, the telethon netted $1 million. Last year, it topped $6.5 million. The show is so hip, it's engendered a rash of telethon-watching parties all along the Hollywood circuit as folks gather in living rooms to see who'll show up next to kick up their heels in a mass hora with Chabad's West Coast founder and director Rabbi Boruch Shlomo Cunin.

One of the most intriguing figures on the telethon is Academy Award-winning actor Jon Voight, a regular for more than a decade. Like many of those who plug the Chabad cause, he's not Jewish, but what makes his involvement unusual is that it's so extensive. Not only has he been co-hosting the show for years (along with several other Chabad fundraising events; notably the group's Israel-based "Children of Chernobyl" effort), but he's now a friend of the Cunin family. He studies Torah and reads Chassidic literature -- having, by his own admission, a bookcase filled with the writings of the late Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson -- and he seeks out Chabad centers whenever he's on location for a new film.

Two years ago, while shooting the NBC miniseries "Noah" in Melbourne, Australia, Voight gave a call to 20-year-old Tzemach, one of Shlomo Cunin's 13 children, then studying in a local yeshiva, and asked for help in researching the part. Voight acknowledges that the final film was "controversial" (at one point, Voight somehow morphs into Abraham, and pleads with God to spare Sodom and Gomorrah), and he says that without the information he gained from studying with the Cunins, it would have been a lot worse. "It may not be accurate biblically, in terms of the story, but I think in the end it was pretty good. There are good little lessons in it. I haven't said this on television, but it was a battle to try and make it a decent portrait."

The 62-year-old actor first met Cunin in 1986, as a return favor for a friend who helped Voight hold a press conference for a Hopi leader at Temple Beth El. Cunin invited him down to Chabad's drug rehab center in Pico-Robertson. "I walked in and saw a lot of weight lifters, real characters," Voight recalls. "In the back area I see this guy sitting at a table -- big beard, with a hat on. He looked like a rabbi. He was in his shirtsleeves, and he was hand-wrestling these guys. They were all lined up and, one after another, he's putting them down. Then someone told him I was there, so he put on his coat, grabbed me and gave me a hug. I said, 'this is my kind of guy.'"

Voight's commitment to the Chabad cause goes way beyond his admiration for Cunin's arm-wrestling skills. In the mid-1980s, the actor embarked on a period of spiritual seeking. "I made some mistakes in my early life, and had to recover from them," he admits. Voight was brought up Catholic and has no intention of converting to Judaism. But he says that of all the religions he studies, he has a special fondness for Jewish learning and values. "Judaism is an amazing fountain of information. It's not the only answer, but I have tremendous regard for it."

Voight remembers studying the Bible as a boy in Catholic school, and being particularly taken with Genesis and the stories of the Hebrew prophets. "I think the Bible is helpful in that it describes the lives of people who strive and who fail, and who pick themselves up and continue on. All the great prophets had their difficulties, yet they overcame them."

The star of "Midnight Cowboy," Best Picture of 1969, and "Coming Home," for which he took home his own Best Actor award in 1978, Voight is a gentle, soft-spoken man, who is obviously deeply taken with Judaism, Lubavitcher Chassidism and the Cunin family.

"One of the big things about the Jewish religion is that its fruit is the deed. I think that is portrayed perfectly by Chabad, and that's why I'm with them."

Voight never met the Lubavitcher Rebbe, whom he calls a "great and extraordinary leader." But Schneerson sent his thanks to Voight through Cunin, along with a request that the actor speak out on the telethon in support of the seven Noahide commandments. (These are basic laws of human morality, supposedly given to the nations of the world by God at the time of Noah as a precursor to the Ten Commandments.)

Voight did so. "They appeal to my own sense of what I feel is a high purpose, which is to try to get everyone to an understanding of what they're asked to do, what life's responsibilities are. These very simple seven laws of Noah are good basics."

Hollywood could stand some of that message, Voight believes. "We're given the idea by our culture that if you have enough money, enough cars, enough women, everything's taken care of. It's perfectly all right to be as selfish as you want. There couldn't be a more poisonous message."

Saying that he'd love to "spend the rest of my life in yeshiva," Voight says he knows that's unrealistic. "If we look for truth, we can be in a constant state of exuberance. That's what I find in Chabad. They create an energy of positive thinking and good cheer, and through that, they're able to do tremendous good work. Those who scoff at them are simply keeping themselves from that energy, and that's unfortunate."


Anonymous said...

Well, he did play John Paul II.

Anonymous said...

The Catholic Herald (sic) likes to report on him while celebrating Israel's 60th birthday:

Anonymous said...

Jon Voigt Goes to Israel (sic):

Anonymous said...

Actor who played John Paul II on National Television Sows the Neo-Crusader Seeds?

Jon Voigt on Israel:

Jon Voigt on Terrorism:

"Israel Is This Blessing for All Mankind":

"Israel Is the Hope of the World":

"Israel bears brunt of resistance to Islamist spread":

Anonymous said...

Chabad is a cult and unkess you were born inti it you have no idea.

Abuse and sex crimes are rampant. Children have been murdered in yeshivas in New York.

Children are sexualy molested and the community protects these crimes by using Lashorn Hora {gossip} as a means to control victims.

They are vindictive wicked and are in the religious community for profit only.

Out sider's are called un-kosher dirty people. If you are a woman they say your children have problems because you and your Mother did not use the Mikvah and you are unclean.

However they suck and take your money while behind your back they degrade you.

They do not give you a Chabad card as membership. Why? Because they know you are unclean.

Your money is very important. They spend very little on soup kitchen and other programs. They have a system where by they put on ther dinner shows fundraisers.
They have people they select so many a year to come and praise what they did for them it is just peanuts what they give out.

Beggars they are.

But in realaity this is very little money they set aside. The rest is spent on fifty thousands dollars a year for "each of there wives" to buy Kosher wigs. So this can run into a million dollars for just one larg family. A scarf or cheap wig not human hair would be less expensive. But looking sexy is more important.

The fancy name clothes, jewelry you have no idea. The trips back and forth to every where first class. There children claim our puska box never ends.

Never wanting for any thing. While all the while many need shoes for there children. Many need medicine. Many need food. But no it goes to a rich life style for Chabad Rabbis who suck and suck. yet they beg from the poor and they should help them.

There schools are really full of there own children's kids. They allow some in to make it look good. Fools they have many fooled.

The big one insurance scams, long sharking, laundry money around the world and yes sex crimes. Moving criminals around the world after stealing others identity for these criminals.

Anonymous said...

The good thing about this news is that certain organizations today are involved in helping people in rehab centers. One example of this is Chabad, which aims in conducting social service projects that helps drug addicts recover, through constant funding of treatments in rehab centers.