On Dec. 17, Menachem Youlus, a Baltimore rabbi who ran the Jewish book store in Wheaton, began serving a 51-month prison sentence at a federal correctional institution in Otisville, N.Y. Convicted of two counts of mail and wire fraud in Manhattan federal court. Youlus co-founded Save a Torah, Inc. in 2004, a charity that solicited funds to rescue and acquire Torahs that had been lost in the Holocaust. These “Holocaust Torahs” in reality, came from used Torah dealers. He also inflated invoices to add thousands of dollars in false repair and transportation costs. Present at the sentencing was Menachem Rosensaft, vice president of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants. Rosensaft, whose parents survived Bergen-Belsen and Auschwitz, had been instrumental in the investigation of Youlus and Save a Torah, after hearing one of Youlus’ tall tales. “What really triggered my reaction to Youlus was when I learned of his claim that he found a Torah scroll in 2001 under the floor boards of a barrack in Bergen Belsen,” said Rosensaft. “I knew that in May 1945, one month after the liberation of the entire camp by the British, every single barrack was burnt to the ground. At that point it became clear to me that Menachem Youlus was a liar. He was not an exaggerator, but an out-and-out categorical liar.”
more