Tuesday, January 31, 2012
mayor today will begin the legal process to shut down a Route 306
religious school that continues teaching children amid what firefighters consider unsafe conditions.
Mayor Lawrence Dessau instructed the village attorney last week to take steps to make sure the building is vacated.
The village's code enforcement officer did not work Friday, but the mayor said he would visit the school today.
Hillcrest Fire Chief Lloyd Hovelmann said the school is operating without any
village approvals for the construction of the building or an addition.
"It was unacceptable as far as the village letting this go on," said
Hovelmann, who was among the 10 volunteer firefighters to express
outrage about village inaction at a New Hempstead Board of Trustees
meeting on Thursday night.
While the lawyer for Ohr Torah and the New Hempstead mayor contend the school has installed adequate fire safety equipment since buying the
10-year-old property in March, the Hillcrest fire chief and other
officials countered that's not enough to ensure the safety of students.
All of the interested parties are expected to meet Wednesday.
"I am concerned about the violations, the lack of certificate of occupancy and no permits for construction," said Hovelmann, adding the school
should be closed until it gets proper inspections and approvals. "I am
concerned for the children."
Dessau had hoped to work out an agreement with school administrators to bring
it up to standards, but Trustee Michael Koplen said the village should
not make special exemptions because it risked traveling down a slippery
Koplen said the firefighters on Thursday "excoriated" the board, particularly the
mayor, for allowing the building to operate without a certificate of
"It was one of the more intense board meetings that I've attended, and I've been on the board for more than 10 years," he said.
Before the meeting, Dessau said he had given the congregation a "little slack" since "they are working on a site plan."
Monday, January 30, 2012
I ask because, as we've seen in Israel's Beit Shemesh
recently, ultra-uber-Orthodox men have been spitting on
less-ultra-but-still-Orthodox girls as young as age 8 for wearing
clothes that aren't "modest" enough. The fact that the girls' outfits
seem very modest to most of us just means that the fundamentalists are
seeing something the rest of us don't. Something sexy. Something scary.
Something so shocking that the men scream, "Whores!" and demand that the girls cover themselves more completely.
Which, of course, sounds a lot like the Taliban (not to mention the religious fanatics in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan.…).
Why, in this age of boob jobs and thongs, are some women forced to wrap
up like never before? Ask around, and you hear a lot of theories.
Theory No. 1 involves power.
"Basically, demanding that women dress more and more modestly is a form
of bullying," said Constance Talmadge, Dallas-based author of the "Green Stone of Healing" series of novels, about an evil theocracy. "Society
still has ambivalent feelings about women's roles, so it's a great place to start making demands." If and when those demands are met, she says,
the leaders feel emboldened to impose some more, because now they have a "track record" of success.
While men in many religious sects are often required to dress a certain way, too — think of the Amish with their beards, or
Hasidic men wearing sidelocks — women's dress is bound up with their
sexual appeal, which brings us to Theory No. 2 of burka-dom: Guilt. Religious male guilt.
Many religious guys feel guilty when their bodies react to women in a way they think is not only unspiritual, but also sinful.
There are two ways to remedy this. One is just to feel less guilty,
which is what most psychologists, sex ed teachers and anyone who lived
through the 1960s recommends: a modern-day shrug. The other remedy,
California author and artist Nancy Hand explained, "is to remove the
temptation that prompted the natural but unwanted reaction." Hide away
the women, or at least cover them up.
Alas, for the distraught males — and ever-more-hidden
females — that doesn't work. "Men who grow up seeing women all wrapped
up learn to 'see' the body through the wrappings," Hand said "So they
will still react to a woman, and that will result in ever more calls to
hide temptation." This leads to a sort of modesty arms race.
Fraidy Reiss, founder of the not-for-profit
organization Unchained at Last, which helps women leave arranged
marriages, watched that modesty race escalate as she was growing up an
Orthodox Jew. Her mom was allowed to wear ankle socks until about age
12, Reiss says. By the time Reiss herself came along, girls were
expected to switch to leg-covering tights at age 3. And today, in the
New Jersey Orthodox community Reiss eventually abandoned, girls wear
tights starting at, she said, "basically age 2. What scares me is men
making rules about these little girls, because what does it show you
that they're thinking? Would you trust this rabbi around your daughter
if he thought your 2-year-old's legs were too sexy to be around? Would
you trust him to baby-sit?"
That's the strange thing about fundamentalists; while
the rest of the world is downloading porn and popping Viagra to get
excited, all the zealots need to do is glimpse an elbow, or a wisp of
hair. Which brings us to Theory No. 3: When you do live in a world of dot-XXX sites, women's rights and every kind of social,
sexual and religious liberation, fundamentalism actually flourishes,
because it is the yin to society's ever more open-minded yang.
"For the majority of history except the last 200 years, culture changed very slowly. You didn't have much to react to," said
Don Nations, a United Methodist minister and adjunct professor at Argosy University, in Florida. You dressed and ate and prayed the same way as
the people around you. Your religious life and your day-to-day life were not separate.
Then came the Enlightenment, and everything fractured.
There were new religious denominations, new human rights, new scientific explanations. Gender roles changed. Secular life became possible. And
pretty soon, life had become a smorgasbord of options — liberating but,
to some, unsettling. How could they know exactly how to live anymore?
They had to separate from modernity itself. That's what fundamentalism
To make this separation clear and complete,
fundamentalists flamboyantly reject the things that are most obviously
modern, like women's rights — and especially women's fashion. "One of
the symbols of the Enlightenment is the liberation of women, so that
would be one area where you'd really signal to the mainstream that you
were dissenting," said Eric Kaufmann, a professor of politics at the
University of London and the author of the 2011 book "Shall the
Religious Inherit the Earth?" "It's not the only way — there's also a
men's dress code," he added. But by aiming for women's clothing along
with their rights, fundamentalists get a twofer.
Why reject the clothing that seems already modest, like the little Beit Shemesh schoolgirls' outfits? Because fundamentalists
believe that anyone who has made any concession to modernity (even
teaching girls!) is on the slippery slope toward secularism. When a
traditional religious group tries to make peace with the surrounding
society, it is more threatening to fundamentalists than, say, a Reform
Jew eating a BLT, because it is someone just like them starting to
"stray." The fundamentalists must draw a line in the sand.
So they spit and swear.
"It's designed in some ways to get other people's backs up," Kaufmann said. "It's what's called 'creating tension' with the
surrounding society." The "us vs. them" mentality reinvigorates the
fundamentalists. And, confoundingly enough, the more we react, the more
resolved they become: They must be doing something right if the fallen
world sees them as wrong.
Considering that fundamentalists are motivated by
power, shame and/or the deep desire to be different from even the most
orthodox of others, the way to defeat them isn't clear. I'd love to hear some ideas, because the one thing that is clear is that defeat them we
region of Ukraine, to visit the grave of their spiritual leader tsadik
Nahman every year can now use the building of a former synagogue, Sergey Tulub, the head of the Cherkassy Region's administration, said.
"The Hasidic religious community has full rights to use the building of
the former synagogue in which tsadik Nahman used as a prayer house,"
Tulub was quoted by the administration as saying.
The land site, which has an area of four hectares, is located in Uman, 49 Ulitsa Sovetskaya, where the instrument-making plant Megommetr has been located since 1957. On December 22, 2011, the Cherkassy
Region's Economic Court invalidated the sale by the city council of the
four-hectare land site with the building of the former synagogue on it
to the plant, granting a lawsuit filed by the local culture department.
The court also ordered the enterprise to return the land site to the
city and the state council to return the money paid for the land site to
Every fall, pilgrims go to Uman to visit the grave of Rabi Nahman. Their
number is increasing now that the visa regime has been lifted between
Ukraine and Israel.
Saturday, January 28, 2012
By the time the fire was subdued a Torah scroll, a pair of tefillin [phylacteries – ed], the library of holy books, and seating inside had been ravaged by the flames.
Fire officials declared the synagogue sealed to the public and fire investigators began searching the building for clues as to what caused the fire to start.
Worshippers now suspect arson since no Shabbat candles were lit inside and fire investigators did not discover an electrical fault.
Another congregant who spoke to Arutz Sheva on Saturday evening after Shabbat said the situation in Old Ramle is complex due to the presence of Arab crime families in the neighborhood.
Speaking on condition of anonymity he said, "These families host the numerous criminal elements, there drugs and celebrations into the night with disorderly conduct. The police are working to end this phenomenon."
Saturday morning’s fire is the second at the Algriva synagogue in Old Ramle. A month ago Arabs set fire to the second floor of the building where religious supplies are kept.
At the time Israeli police officials blamed the fire on an electrical short, but congregants pointed to bars on the windows of the room where the fire started being cut saying police did not want to admit it was arson.
Two weeks ago vandals broke into the synagogue in Emek Lod in Judea. Congregants were shocked to find the ark desecrated and the Torah scrolls thrown in the mud and trampled upon.
In that incident, burglars removed the silver plate from the Sephardic case for the Torah scrolls, stole the decorative pomegranates made of pure silver, and robbed the charity fund.
Friday, January 27, 2012
motorists plowed into him in a grisly hit-and-run Thursday night, police sources and witnesses said.
A white van first hit the man, clipping him while he was in the
crosswalk at Coney Island Ave. and Avenue K in Midwood, witnesses said.
As he struggled to get up, a dark-colored sedan mowed him down and kept
on going, according to bystanders.
"A guy was on the floor in the crosswalk," said another motorist who pulled over after he saw the 10:13 p.m. accident.
The good Samaritan, who declined to be named, recalled the victim saying, "The guy hit my leg a little but I'm okay."
While the Samaritan dialed 911, the second car came barreling through the intersection.
"The light turned green and a sedan slammed into him," he said. "I saw the fender hit his face - it was not good."
The impact was so hard it sent the man flying from one crosswalk to another across the road, witnesses said.
"The sedan didn't even slow down," the Samaritan said.
The unidentified victim was taken to Coney Island Hospital in traumatic arrest, fire officials said. He died at the hospital 45 minutes later,
another police source said.
The driver of the van initially stopped to check on the pedestrian but
took off after he was hit the second time, a witness said. It was
unclear if the van had returned to the scene.
Police are investigating the crash and no arrests have been made.
The ultra orthodox Jews, are in a rush to buy challah, rugalach and
other Jewish baked goods so they can take it easy after sunset, when the Sabbath starts. Resting on the Sabbath is part of an effort to live as
closely as possible to Jewish law.
But despite the community's traditional ways, the members aren't opposed to new things.
"Anything that can be used to enhance Judaism is welcomed," said
Rabbi Chanoch Kesselman. "But like so many things there are uses and
Rabbi Chanoch Kesselman represents the British rabbinate, the main
Jewish authority in Britain. Kesselman said the Internet, for example,
offers access to valuable religious texts and discussions. But the rabbi said it can also lead to immodesty. He said in the same way, cell
phones can help people do business or help parents keep track of their
children. But they also can lead children astray.
"The rabbinate was very concerned that cell phones with texting facility should not be used by youngsters," said Kesselman.
Texting is not only a waste of time, the authorities decided, but it
also encourages "immodest" exchanges that would not happen on the
telephone or face-to-face. So the rabbinate decided to grant certain
cell phones official approval, calling them kosher — a system that has
been most well-known for its use in food. The kosher phones are stripped down devices that can only receive and make calls. It helps the
community feel more comfortable about choosing a phone, he said, much
like shopping for kosher food.
"Using a phone with a similar seal on is similar to buying any article that is certified as kosher," Kesselman said.
The pace of passersby becomes more hectic as the Sabbath approaches.
Menachem Weinstein is smoking a cigarette outside a synagogue. Before
rushing off, he said not all Ultra-Orthodox agree on the need for kosher cell phones.
"I think in this day and age they should be more focusing on, not
disallowing stuff, but finding out why the teenagers, because that's why they made the kosher phone, why the teenagers are abusing it,"
Shortly afterwards speakers blasted out music, telling the neighborhood that the Sabbath was about to start.
At Rose Communications, the company which sells the phones, Maxi Rose said there are only about 20,000 to 30,000 Ultra-Orthodox families in
the U.K., not enough to make it practical for a cellular network to
offer Kosher phone service.
"So no network would come really and make those changes," Rose said.
"So the changes had to made from the hardware and software in the
device, rather than from network level. So the devices are modified. No
cameras allowed, no SMS allowed, no Internet allowed."
Rose says the phones have been a big hit. Not just to protect
children, but among adults who prefer the simplicity. He said there's
also been a kind of crossover appeal. Most of his online sales are to
non-Jewish customers around the world, in places like Saudi Arabia.
Kesselmen said British Muslims tell him they too are concerned about
the decline in moral standards among Muslim youth. Just as halal or
Islamic dietary laws are very similar to kosher, the rabbi said Muslims
and other non-Jews have no problem following the lead of "kosher"
Thursday, January 26, 2012
The expenses begin as early as the matchmaking stage. Matchmaking fees, for example, have been limited to NIS 3,700 ($990), and the engagement party must cost up to NIS 800 ($215). Up to NIS 500 ($135) can be spent on a bouquet of flowers for Shabbat, preferably a synthetic one. So far, the families have saved some NIS 6,500-7,500 ($1,740-2,010).
In the groom's gifts chapter, the maximum sums are NIS 400 ($110) for a luxury watch, NIS 2,490 ($665) for the Orders of the Mishna, NIS 950 ($255) for a set of Shulchan Aruch books, NIS 800 ($215) for a goblet with a saucer and NIS 400 ($110) for a Passover set of books or a tefillin and tallit case.
There is a general restriction of six gifts and NIS 7,000 ($1,870) for the groom, and the bride's parents are expected to save NIS 12,000-15,000 ($3,200-4,000).
In the bride's gifts chapter, the maximum tariff is NIS 600 ($160) for a watch, NIS 2,600 ($700) for a gold necklace, NIS 2,400 ($642) for a bracelet, NIS 1,500 ($400) for a gold ring with a semi-precious stone, NIS 500 ($135) for pearls and NIS 600 ($160) for a set of holiday prayer books. And there is a non-financial restriction on a pair of candlesticks: They must weigh up to half a kilogram (1.1 pounds) and be up to 33 centimeters (13 inches) high.
The total sum spent on gifts is limited to NIS 10,000 ($2,675). The groom's parents are expected to save NIS 15,000-17,000 ($4,014-4,550). Other gifts between the in-laws have also been limited. In the Shabbat Chatan and Shabbat Kallah customs, the restrictions include throwing small bags with a selection of almonds, raisins and sweets when the groom is called up to read from the Torah; the groom's family will have the Shabbat meals at its own house; the Friday night meal will not include any guests, or only the father of the bride and grandfathers; the other family members may join the end of the meal with some refreshments. The family is expected to save NIS 10,000-13,000 ($2,670-3,480) on this clause.
In the wedding party chapter, the maximum price for the wedding dress is NIS 3,500 ($935), renting clothes for schoolgirls – NIS 200 ($55), renting clothes for high school or seminary girls – NIS 300 ($80), a chair for the bride – NIS 450 ($120), a bouquet of flowers for the bride – NIS 200 ($55), drinks – NIS 4,000 ($1,070), a photographer – NIS 2,500 ($670), and a band (including a singer and equipment) – NIS 3,300 ($885). Some NIS 19,000-23,000 ($5,085-6,155) are saved in this chapter.
Rabbi Avi Zarki of north Tel Aviv has convinced couples to have a relatively modest wedding more than once. "I've conducted weddings which cost millions of dollars, just to make others jealous," he says.
"It's unnecessary. When I see people investing money in a wedding instead of in an apartment, leading to debts, I ask the permission of the parents and the young couple and advise them to change their list of priorities."
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
the area youth! So says one local landlord, who has fired off an open
letter begging fellow property owners not to rent to these licentious
libertines. In a desperate missive titled "Take Back Our Neighborhood," the anonymous landlord writes:
Demographic changes are swiftly changing the culture of our
neighborhood. Local Lubavitch landowners and outside chassidic investors are making Crown Heights an attractive location for young, non Jewish
tenants. In fact, it has come to attention that some investors are
specifically targeting their advertising for this purpose. This is
clearly seen with the new PLEX building Montgomery Street and Nostrand
>Young, upwardly mobile professionals may seem to be pleasant tenants
who bring in reliable income, but they also introduce a very different
way of life: new nightclubs and bars, sun tanning on rooftops, bike
lanes and an increasing amount of immodesty on our streets. Some of
these changes are hard to ignore; for instance, one of the sun tanning
parties are visible for our young children to see from the window of a
>Rising rent compounds the problem and makes it even harder for our
young couples and families to compete in the rental market. Friends, we
pay a premium to live in this neighborhood, and we strive to create an
atmosphere of holiness and kedusha for our children and teens. These
yuppies bring pritzus to our neighborhood. They come out at night to our restaurants and act inappropriately while waiting on line etc.
We're guessing "pritzus" is a strain of particularly potent
marijuana? Anyway, the letter's author finds it deeply troubling that
"some young agents and landlords will specifically rent to these goyim
instead of a fellow Jewish family." His solution? "We must form a group
to come up with effective ways to reinforce the observant Jewish
character of crown heights. The Satmars in Williamsburg are faced with
the same problem and have made a successful committee to curb this
issue. This could include meeting with investors from our own community
and possibly outside, subsidizing rent for our own community members."
For perspective, we spoke with one non-Orthodox Crown Heights resident, who tells us, "I do think this guy's 'fears' are reasonable. There have been so many new businesses opening; there's a place called Owl and Thistle that opened up and my first thought when I walked in was 'who the hell in this neighborhood is going to pay $70 for a pizza stone.' But I'm guessing places like that are getting in while the rents are still cheap, anticipating a boom in 3-4 years. The neighborhood has beautiful brownstones and it's going to get yuppified, no doubt." Crown Heights resident Tien Mao adds, "I know I sunbathe nude and ride my bike topless all the time." JUST TRY TO STOP HIM! (Seriously, please try to stop him.)
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Monday, January 23, 2012
Sunday, January 22, 2012
Aryeh Ralbag told the paper: ‘I have strong indications that my wife and I would not be sure of our lives if we came to the Netherlands now.’ He declined to say what the threats were but did say he took them ‘extremely seriously’, the paper reported.
Amsterdam's orthodox Jewish community (NIHS) suspended rabbi Ralbag as its nominal chief last week after the New York-based official signed a statement describing homosexuality as an illness which can be cured.
Ralbag will remain suspended until he and community leaders have spoken about the issue, but it is unclear when this will happen now the rabbi has said he will not visit the Netherlands.
The declaration, signed by 162 rabbis and mental health practitioners last year, states that 'homosexuality is not an acceptable lifestyle' and that 'behaviours are changeable'.
According to the Volkskrant, the Conference of European Rabbis (CER), has criticized the Amsterdam organization for suspending Ralbag. The rabbi has done ‘nothing more than restate what the Torah says about homosexualilty,’ the paper quoted CER as saying.
British rabbi Dayan Lichtenstein has mailed Ronnie Eisemann, who chairs the NIHS saying if this ‘scandalous’ decision is not overturned, the group would no longer represent orthodox Jews, the paper says.
Historian Bart Wallet told the paper the NIHS board is a difficult position on a local and international level. ‘The NIHS is formally orthodox but has a broad following. Naming Ralbag took care of the right wing but the declaration on homosexuality has upset the majority of its supporters. There is a real threat [the organisation] may splinter.’
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Bid Rig’s latest victim: Rabbi Eliahu Ben Haim, a prominent Syrian Orthodox Jew here, or Sephardic, who headed a local house of worship, known as a shul by those of the Jewish faith, was sentenced to five years in federal prison for his role in a sophisticated “international underground money transfer network” spanning six countries, a Swiss banker, charity fronts and several unlicensed money transmitting businesses in Brooklyn, N.Y. Ben Haim’s co-conspirator “resided in Israel and was the principal source of cash” for the operation, according to court documents. The assistant U.S. Attorney said that “the crime was particularly egregious because Ben Haim was not concerned the money was ostensibly from illegal activities and would be used to fund criminal enterprises.” In all, 15 Orthodox Jews were arrested for money laundering.
OBR, which is still ongoing, has nailed the indictments of over 60 public officials and associates since its inception in 2002. The investigation is a three-pronged massive sting which had as its original focus political corruption (OBR and OBR II). Operation Bid Rig III began in June 2007 after another prominent Syrian Jew tried to get a worthless $50 million check cashed in May 2006 at a local bank and became the subject of intense local media interest. He was charged with bank fraud and became a cooperating witness (CW) for the FBI. OBR’s third prong focused on human organ trafficking and nailed another Brooklyn-based Orthodox Jew, Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, who pleaded guilty in October to brokering three illegal kidney transplants and pocketing over $120,000.
Here’s how the OBR III sting worked, in the case of the good rabbi.
The “wired” CW, Solomon Dwek, whose troubles were no secret to locals, approached Ben Haim claiming he was bankrupt and needed to conceal his assets, which he acquired illegally from insurance scams, bank frauds and the sale of counterfeit Gucci and Prada handbags. Ben Haim agreed to receive checks from Dwek made out to “purported charities” that the rabbi controlled in return for a 10 percent fee. The money then made its way to the co-conspirator in Israel, who kept a 1.5 percent fee for himself, and then distributed the remaining funds to three Brooklyn-based Orthodox Jews operating illegal money transmitting businesses, known as “cash houses.” All that was left to do was for either Ben Haim or Dwek to take a trip to Brooklyn to pick up the cash.
In all, Ben Haim completed “more than 35…money laundering transactions” with Dwek, valued at $1.5 million. Ben Haim’s cut for a little talking and driving was a cool $150,000, an amount that would take your average, working American nearly five years to earn. According to the Criminal Complaint, Ben Haim told Dwek that “‘the most I ever [laundered] was seven to eight’ million dollars in a year, and…earned ‘a million dollars a year’ during that period.”
Although much of the cash came from Israel, money traveled around the globe. This international and intricate nature of money laundering was on display during a taped conversation Ben Haim had with Dwek. Discussing his interactions with his Israeli co-conspirator, Ben Haim said “[d]id you know that he had me in the last 4 years send out wires every time to a different place in the world to a different name? It’s unbelievable. I never saw anything like it.” After Dwek asked whether he was referring to different locations in only Israel, Ben Haim said “[n]o, all over the world. . . All over the world. From Australia to New Zealand to Uganda. I mean every country imaginable. Turkey, you can’t believe it. . . . All different names. It’s never the same name. . . . Switzerland, everywhere, France, everywhere, Spain . . . . China, Japan.”
Interestingly, Israel is not a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the Paris-based intergovernmental organization that combats money laundering and terrorism financing.
Some 100 policemen came to guard the operation, fearing violent ultra-Orthodox protests, but no demonstrators showed up and the demolition was completed in an hour.
The bridge was built to enable cohanim, members of the Jewish priestly caste, to access the popular site without passing a burial cave located on the regular path and thereby violating the religious prohibition against cohanim coming into contact with a dead body.
It was built without the necessary permits - even though the state encouraged its construction and even committed to paying half the NIS 500,000 cost.
The 300-meter long bridge was built from the rear of the grave along the side of the hill and the Meron Stream. The traditional route for the Cohanim was ruled out two and a half years ago when a Hassidic sect claimed the old path passed by ancient burial caves.
The Merom Galil Local Planning and Building Committee ordered the bridge destroyed as it was built without proper approval.
The state's participation in building the bridge received widespread coverage in ultra-Orthodox newspapers. The reports emphasized the cooperation between the state and the Hassidic sect Toldot Avraham Yitzhak, which demanded the building of the bridge. A petition to the Safed Magistrate's Court by the Hassidic group and 12 cohanim against the demolition order was rejected in mid-December.
Friday, January 20, 2012
Thursday, January 19, 2012
The complaint went further saying that the advert was irresponsible because as the busses were travelling across London it exposed children from all communities to these images. Although the adverts are on busses that travel through many different communities, including many strict muslim areas, the ASA have only received a complaint from this particular North London Orthodox Jewish community.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has rejected the complaint whilst at the same time admitting that the Naked Glamour Calvin Klein advert could be construed as 'mildly sexual'. The ASA went on to say that those with "strongly held religious views" could find the ad distasteful.
This said the ASA concluded that Calvin Klein and Transport for London were not socially irresponsible in running the ad on the side of London buses. The ad will continue to be seen on display across and through London on the side of its iconic red busses for the next few months.
If you want to make a complaint about any advert in the UK TV, Press, Billboard etc then you can go to this ASA make a complaint page.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Sunday, January 15, 2012
James Mee, who is Jewish, says he was subject to religions discrimination and a hostile work environment after arresting Gibson in 2006. He wants to take his case before a judge and jury.
Mee claims that his supervisors ordered him to remove Gibson's anti-Semitic remarks from the official incident report, placing them instead in a confidential supplemental report. He claims he was passed over for promotions in the department because he complained about purging the report.
Mee was accused of leaking his original report to the media, but he was investigated and found to be not culpable.
The trial will begin next month. Gibson could potentially be called as a witness.
Saturday, January 14, 2012
The younger brother of a convicted sex offender was busted for destroying evidence that may have implicated his brother in another sex crime, said a police source.
Myer Zimmer, 37, was arrested on Friday after he allegedly trashed clothing that police believe was evidence in an investigation into his older brother, David Zimmer.
The big bro, 40, was arrested on January 2, after allegedly photographing a nine-year-old female neighbor inside his Borough Park building.
A registered sex offender, the elder Zimmer was collered in March 1999, after he sexually abused a 10- year-old girl, according to the NY State Sex Offender Registry.
He is not supposed to have contact with children, said cops.
On Thursday, cops released David Zimmer’s photo asking parents of children who may have had contact with him in the past to come forward.
Police did not specify the circumstances of the current investigation in which they say Myer Zimmer interfered.
He was charged with tampering with physical evidence and hindering prosecution, said police.
Friday, January 13, 2012
cultural ties with Russia as the sacred Jewish books are the unalienable property of the country, Russian Culture Minister Alexander Avdeyev
said on Friday.
The Schneerson Library is a collection of books and religious
documents assembled by the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic movement over two
centuries prior to World War II in Belarus. It is one of the main Jewish religious relics.
Part of the collection amassed by Lubavitcher Rebbe Yosef Yitzchok
Schneerson was nationalized by the Bolsheviks in 1918. Later, about
25,000 pages of manuscripts fell into the hands of the Nazis, and were
later seized by the Red Army and handed over to the Russian State
Military Archive. This part of Schneerson's Library is now kept in the
archive of Lenin's Library in Moscow.
The other part was taken out of the Soviet Union by Schneerson, who emigrated in the 1930s.
Since 1991, the year of Schneerson's death, leaders of the
Brooklyn-based Orthodox Jewish movement have been trying to regain
possession of the library, saying that it was illegally held by the
Soviet authorities after the war.
In 1991, a court in Moscow agreed to turn over the library to Chabad. After the Soviet Union collapsed, the ruling was ignored. The Russian
government now says it wants to keep the archive for future scholars.
In 2010, a court in Washington confirmed the American Jewish
community's right to the library, but Russia called the court's decision illegitimate. In late 2011, a U.S. court ruled that Russia must return
about 12,00 books and 50,000 manuscripts from the library.
"The library forms part of the Russian library reserve and is
inalienable. The history of its claiming by U.S. plaintiffs appears to
us provocative," Avdeyev said at a press conference.
The request by U.S. plaintiffs "aims to spoil the bilateral relations between our countries and to undermine the political reset," the
culture minister said.
The complex legal dispute over Schneerson Library is causing Russian
art institutions to cancel scheduled loans of world-renowned artworks to U.S. art institutions. It has already turned into a full-scale
diplomatic feud between the United States and Russia.
"Only when the 2011 decision of the U.S. court is set aside will a dialogue become possible," Avdeev added.
Thursday, January 12, 2012
The blog came in 2008 as a way to organize all his Flickr photos — many of them stealth shots of subway riders' shoes. "I'd make goofy faces at people to distract them, have the camera hidden on my lap and just click away." He has gone on to document more than shoes, and can be spotted on the streets of San Francisco (where he now lives, consulting for Levi's) and New York (where he returns frequently), with an Olympus Pen camera around his neck.
Besides shooting the requisite Fashion Week crowd, it's regular guys "who don't realize how cool they are" (like the man at right) who are his bread and butter. His eyes light up, describing a man he photographed the other day. "He was in head-to-toe khaki, a red bandanna hanging out of his pocket," he said. "Now, that's my guy."
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Now, police want your help finding them: Cops say that four suspects are responsible for what's now the most recent incident in the rash of anti-Semitic hate crimes that have taken place in the city since October -- such as an attack on Orthodox Jews in Midwood, graffiti in Brooklyn, and the destruction of cars.
The suspects hit 1071, 1073, 1077, and 1079 Avenue of the Americas -- near Bryant Park -- around 4:30 p.m, including Penguin Clothing Store and Books Kinokuniya. Cops are on the lookout for the alleged crims, described as two Asian females and two Asian males
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
doing well as of this writing.
Rabbi Richler read about the recipient, who prefers to recuperate in anonymity, in an online article published by Ahavas Chesed Medical and Emergency Lifelines, based in Brooklyn, NY. Both men are Jewish, fathers of three children, enough of a common bond to motivate Rabbi Richler to contact the organization and sign up to be tested as a match. More than a handful of Chabad rabbis have donated kidneys in recent years, among them Rabbi Ephraim Simon of Teaneck, NJ; Rabbi Mendy Mathless of Albany, NY; and Rabbi Boruch Wolf of Brooklyn, NY.
"Our attitude is every Jew is our brother," said Rabbi Richler. That sense of brotherhood is not limited to helping another Jew put on tefillin or kosher his home." When wife and Chabad of Gloucester co-director Mina Richler fielded her husband's first mention of his intention to have his side sliced and diced to save a life, she was not surprised, and she supported his decision. "Some people are blessed financially, and they give charity. Some donate their time. We've been blessed with good health," and a healthy kidney to give to another. Did it matter that the recipient did not share their lifestyle? Not at all. Reading articles about friction between religious and secular Jews only reinforced Rabbi Richler's commitment to "show we really mean it when we say we care about all Jews."
They read up on the risks associated with donation. They asked Mrs. Richler's aunt who donated a kidney to her husband about life with one kidney, and when they got the news that a match had been found – this Yom Kippur eve – they started down the road to donation. Rabbi Richler drove up and back to New York, a six-hour round trip, for pre-donation tests: x-rays, EKGs, an MRI, CT-Scan, blood samples, psychological evaluations. A donor has to be able to handle the surgical stress and be infection free before handing over a kidney.
Chabad of Gloucester activities continued as the surgery date neared. Founded five years ago, Chabad of Gloucester runs a Hebrew school, regular Torah and classes and holiday events. Nine months ago, Chabad purchased a new building set on a half-acre plot, which is being renovated to accommodate the needs of the growing community.
Few community members in Gloucester who knew about their rabbi's kidney donation kept the Richlers' phone lines ringing with offers to help and prayerful wishes. It wasn't something the rabbi wanted to publicize, but when asked for permission to write about it, he agreed in the hopes that it will help encourage others to do the same.
Shai Amram, a community member born in Israel, did not find it hard to believe his rabbi was going to truly give of himself to another. Rabbi Richler "is always doing great things, the kidney is just one of them." Nor is he surprised that the rabbi was not particular about whether the recipient was religiously affiliated. "I once asked Rabbi Avi if he is religious, and he said, 'No, I am just a Jew.' I hold him in the highest regard." After several days in Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City, Rabbi Richler returned home, taking it easier than his hectic pre-surgery schedule would normally allow. Full recovery takes about six weeks. But he plans on returning to the hospital soon. Mrs. Richler is due any day now with the couple's fourth child.
Monday, January 09, 2012
Sunday, January 08, 2012
Hackers claiming to be from a known Arab cyber group infiltrated various consumer websites to get the details.
A Saudi Arabian computer hacker, who goes by the name of Ox Omar and is reportedly just 19 years old, has apparently carried out the latest cyber attack on Israel.
Last week he posted thousands of Israeli credit card numbers on the internet as well as the personal details of cardholders and is claiming he has collected nearly a million numbers and plans to publish the lot.
"It's a little scary this whole phenomenon... How simple it is for your credit card details to be all over the internet," one Israeli victim, Tal Shai, said.
"Of course you're afraid, because you don't know how long will pass from when they use the card until it's blocked."
Israel's data protection authority has described the attack as a cyber crime, and the head of Israel's Visa card company, Israel David, says it is a "technological terror attack on the citizens of Israel".
"Their main interest was to embarrass us as a country... and we are embarrassed," he said.
The data theft appears to have targeted commercial websites, and although not new, is one of the worst such attacks Israel has faced.
Israelis were not the only targets - several hundred people worldwide who had bought Jewish art or objects online were also affected.
And while the financial damage so far is minimal, the security breach involved has heightened concerns in Israel about the potential use of stolen information by enemies of the Jewish state.
Yael Shahar, an Israeli expert in cyber-intelligence and crime, says he does not consider the attack terrorism but it is a worrying trend.
"I guess it depends on how you would define cyber-terrorism. I mean obviously it is not terrorism in the conventional sense that society was not disrupted, people's routines were not disrupted. Nobody was terrorised," he said.
"It was very likely an opportunistic attack and almost more of a hacktivist attack than cyber-terrorism.
"It is definitely politically motivated. Jewish and Israeli sites have been singled out for political reasons."
Israel has now vowed to respond to cyber attacks like this exactly as if they were violent terror attacks.
"Such cyber attacks are a breach of sovereignty comparable to a terrorist operation," deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon said.
"Israel has active capabilities for striking at those who are trying to harm it, and no agency or hacker will be immune from retaliatory action."
Saturday, January 07, 2012
Police say they believe the two swastikas were scratched into the car sometime between 4:30 p.m. Friday and 11:00 a.m. Saturday.
According to detectives, a 39-year-old male victim left the car parked last night before attending services and his 16-year-old son made the discovery.
There are also a number of other scratch marks on the vehicle. Residents told CBS 2′s Ann Mercogliano that they were appalled.
“It’s horrible. It’s horrible,” said Gloria Guerra. “Whoever did it should be disciplined.”
Detectives are urging anyone with any information on this to call police. The investigation is ongoing.
Friday, January 06, 2012
Thursday, January 05, 2012
The city tapped the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council and the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg - two nonprofits with close ties to Brooklyn Democratic boss Vito Lopez, who made Broadway Triangle a pet project - to build about 1800 apartments on the mostly-barren 31-acre stretch near the Bedford Stuyvesant border.
Opponents objected that the plans for large apartments in low-rise buildings, and a special preference for residents of Williamsburg and Greenpoint that didn't include nearby Bedford Stuyvesant, illegally favored Hasidic residents who often have large families and can't use elevators on the sabbath. A demographer predicted that only three percent of residents in the new housing slated for Broadway Triangle would be black.
The project has been on hold since soon after it passed two years ago due to the litigation, and federal investigators have eyed the project as part of their probe into Lopez's nonprofit empire.
Wednesday, January 04, 2012
Tuesday, January 03, 2012
As well as a funny lexicon of road bike speak, the Velominati blog has a list of 89 rules, first codified in 2009. It's a set of rules that went viral back in the day and crops up on Twitter and in forums on a regular basis.
"We are the Keepers of the Cog," say the four international writers of the blog, published from America.
"We maintain the sacred text wherein lie the simple truths of cycling etiquette known as The Rules. It is in our trust to maintain and endorse this list."
Monday, January 02, 2012
“They messed with the wrong crowd this time,” my friend Sara Eisen, a marketing executive and member of that community, told me. “This time, the bullies came up against Americans.”
Since a television crew captured Na’ama’s fearful walk to school — in recent months, she and her peers have been called “whores,” spat on and had tomatoes thrown at them — the little girl’s story has been dominating national headlines. The attention culminated on December 27 with a Beit Shemesh rally that drew thousands, including members of my own family, and featured speeches by representatives of every major political party.
Less obvious to the casual observer have been the relentless behind-the-scenes efforts of Na’ama’s parents and a handful of friends and neighbors, many with marketing and public relations backgrounds, to prevent Beit Shemesh from becoming a place where only ultra-Orthodox Jews are welcome. The media exposure is the most conspicuous evidence of their work. But it has been backed up by months of letter-writing, phone calls, lobbying in the halls of the Knesset and offices of government ministers, and the filing of police complaints and civil lawsuits.
The English-speaking community in Beit Shemesh, where Eisen, a Baltimore native, has lived for the past 15 years, has been attracting American transplants like her since 1991. That’s when a group of families, looking to achieve an Israeli version of the American dream, began leaving their cramped city apartments and building houses with yards in the sleepy suburb. Situated 11 miles from Jerusalem and in commuting distance from Tel Aviv, Beit Shemesh had been home to secular and traditional immigrants from North Africa since it was founded, back in the 1950s.
Eisen’s street, with its fences and manicured lawns, ends in a cul-de-sac. She likes to joke that she lives on the Modern Orthodox version of Wisteria Lane, the fictional suburban street where the TV show “Desperate Housewives” is set. If the homes weren’t built from classic Jerusalem stone, the neighborhood could easily be mistaken for the American suburbs; even the kids run around with baseball caps and jerseys.
Over the past two decades, many North American Jews mulling a move to Israel were lured to Beit Shemesh by its quality of life, relatively affordable housing stock and the chance to provide their children with a religious education at a fraction of the cost of American day school tuition. These English-speaking immigrants — they now number about 2,500 families — invested time, energy and money into building the local Orot national religious schools for boys and girls.
The new Orot Banot girls’ school is situated on a major road that is the seam between the city’s Modern Orthodox neighborhood and one that is home to members of violent ultra-Orthodox faction known as the “Sikrikim.” Between 100–150 Beit Shemesh families are thought to belong to this fringe sect. All told about 40,000 of the city’s 90,000 residents are ultra-Orthodox, and the vast majority of them, it must be said, are peaceful and not affiliated with the Sikrikim sect.
As for the fundamentalist ultra-Orthodox community, their rallying cry has been that religious Orot girls like Na’ama are immodest. But the real story, Eisen and her fellow activists say, is about real estate. The ultra-Orthodox wanted the building for themselves, according to members of the Modern Orthodox community. In September, on the eve of the new school year, the city’s ultra-Orthodox mayor came out against the opening of Orot Banot, on grounds that the city could not protect its students against the angry extremists and their violent tactics.
A weaker, more pliable group of parents might have walked away, as secular and Modern Orthodox populations have done in communities such as B’nai Brak and other now solidly Haredi enclaves in Israel.
But Beit Shemesh is different. The effort to “save Beit Shemesh” is spearheaded by teacher and community activist Rabbi Dov Lipman, the son of an administrative judge, originally from Silver Spring, Md., who brings his Beltway savvy to the fight. The community is in constant e-mail communication and has set up a Facebook group “We are All Orot Banot,” with more than 1,100 members.
They have had a patrol at the school every day since September. The moment extremists show up to harass students, phone calls go out to the police and reinforcements are brought in to confront them. Volunteers photograph and film demonstrators, hand their materials over to the police, and post the videos on YouTube. Complaints to the authorities and civil suits over the harassment have been filed, as well as action against the municipality’s plans to build new housing for tens of thousands more ultra-Orthodox residents, which would change the city’s demographic make-up permanently. They’ve also received some $20,000 in donations to their legal fund.
One soldier in the fight is Eisen’s brother, Elie Klein, an account executive at the Jerusalem offices of the public relations firm Ruder Finn, who has lent his expertise to the struggle for Beit Shemesh. He was attracted to the city because it was a diverse community where, until recently, secular, religious and ultra-Orthodox Jews lived together.
Klein said that the Modern Orthodox community has no intention of letting Beit Shemesh become an ultra-Orthodox city. “We love this city, and we will fight for the right to live here,” he said. “Not because we want to fight, but because we have been given no other choice.”
Sunday, January 01, 2012
Thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews gathered Saturday night to protest what they say is a nationwide campaign directed against their lifestyle. The practices, which call for strict separation of the sexes, are rejected by mainstream Israelis as religious coercion.
Ultra-Orthodox extremists have been under fire for their attempts to ban mixing of the sexes on buses, sidewalks and other public spaces. In one city, extremists have jeered and spit at girls walking to school, saying they are dressed immodestly. These practices, albeit by a fringe sect, have unleashed a backlash against the ultra-Orthodox in general.
At Saturday's protest, children with traditional sidelocks wore the striped black-and-white uniforms associated with Nazi concentration camps. One child's hands were raised in surrender — mimicking an iconic photo of a terrified Jewish boy in the Warsaw Ghetto.
Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial called the use of Nazi imagery "disgraceful," and several other survivors' groups and politicians condemned the acts.
Six million Jews were killed by German Nazis and their collaborators during World War II. About 200,000 aging survivors of the Holocaust live in Israel.
The American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants, an umbrella organization of survivors, expressed its "utter contempt at this disgraceful exploitation" of the Nazi symbols.
"We who survived and witnessed these Nazi crimes are particularly offended that demonstrators so blithely used children in this public outrage. They have insulted the memory of all the Jewish victims, including those who were ultra-Orthodox," the organization's vice president, Elan Steinberg, said in a statement.
Opposition leader Tzipi Livni called on the ultra-Orthodox leadership to condemn the display.
"This is a terrible offense against the memory of the Holocaust victims who were forced, secular and Ultra-Orthodox alike, to wear the yellow star in the ghetto on their way to extermination, and there is no demonstration in the world that can justify this."