It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Menachem Youlus was arrested in Manhattan on Wednesday on charges of wire and mail fraud. If you've never heard of Youlus, consider yourself lucky, because fans of the man who called himself "the Jewish Indiana Jones" are in for some major disillusionment.
Apparently, the rabbi and bookstore owner made $1.2 million over the years by convincing people to fund what he claimed were expeditions to locate and restore Torahs taken from European Jewish communities during the Holocaust. These supposed journeys, which he said ran on money donated to his Save a Torah Foundation, were characterized by both swashbuckling adventure and grave personal risk: Youlus said that he'd been beaten and jailed during his journeys, and that he was $175,000 in debt over his attempts to finance them himself. But, as Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara put it, "His alleged exploits were no more real than those of the movie character he claimed to resemble":
In April 2008, just before the rededication of a Torah in a ceremony at Central Synagogue in Manhattan on Holocaust Remembrance Day, Rabbi Youlus said he had dug it out of the ground after finding it with a metal detector. He also said a sexton in Poland had buried most of the scroll before the Germans got there and that Jewish prisoners in the concentration camp had given the rest — four panels, he said — to a Roman Catholic priest before they were put to death.
When historians questioned that story, Youlus said he could not remember the priest's full name and that it didn't matter anyway, since he'd died right after his visit. The scroll was subsequently sold to billionaire financier David Rubenstein for $32,000.