Thursday, June 30, 2005

Car window smashings in Williamsburg

There have been numerous smash and grabs in cars in Williamsburg in the last couple of days. If there are any valuables visible in the car, the thieves smash the window, grab the stuff and make a run for it. If you usually keep your phone or other valuable personal belongings in your car, try to keep them out of site.

Jewish community in Rockland County growing

New Square's population increased by more than 32 percent in just four years, making it the fastest-growing community in Rockland and the third-fastest growing in New York state, new census statistics show.
The Census Bureau uses a formula to count building permits and estimate a community's population in 2004. The figures are being released today.
New Square village officials did not return a call requesting comment.
Spring Valley Mayor George Darden criticized the numbers, which showed that his village was one of only two in Rockland to record population losses, according to the census.
"Those numbers can't possibly be right," Darden said. "I would absolutely dispute that."
Spring Valley saw a 0.1 percent population decrease and Suffern a 0.2 percent population decrease during the survey period.
The village has disputed previous census tallies and Darden said he would take action to get the numbers corrected. He said Spring Valley had seen significant increases in the numbers of Latinos and Hasidic Jews living in the village.
Spring Valley is home to residents hailing from 37 nations, Darden said, and those responsible for counting the people would obviously encounter communication issues. He said that, in large part, would explain why an incorrect tally was made.
"We're probably the fastest-growing community in the county," Darden said.
Rockland's overall population increased by just 2.4 percent, or about 6,900 people, during 2000-2004, the numbers showed.
New Square wasn't the only fast-growing village in Rockland. The census figures show that of the top 10 fastest-growing communities in the county, five were villages in Ramapo — New Square, Airmont, Pomona, Wesley Hills and Kaser — and the sixth was Ramapo itself.
Airmont Mayor John Layne, whose village placed second on the Rockland list, attributed most of the growth to new senior-citizen housing off Airmont Road and to young families throughout the village adding children. Airmont saw its population increase by 10.5 percent, or 820 people.
"Usually when you're No. 2, you're supposed to try harder, but I don't want to get to No. 1," Layne said.
Rosemary Roldan's family needed more space and found it in the home they purchased in Stony Point in 2002.
The Roldans were among the newcomers who helped make Stony Point the fastest-growing town in Rockland.
Since moving into Stony Point, the Roldans, who purchased an existing home, have noticed even more growth.
"Rockland's growing in general, but the town is getting very populated," Roldan said.
The percentage increases don't tell the full story.
For example, it took just 720 people to give Stony Point a 5.1 percent population increase. Ramapo's population grew just 3.4 percent, but that represented 3,715 more people and Clarkstown's population grew a scant 1.2 percent, representing 955 people. Haverstraw town grew by 2.5 percent, but added 853 people.
Continued growth in Rockland is no surprise, although the rate of growth may be.
During a public presentation last month, Arlene Miller, the Rockland County Planning Department's principal planner, said the county's Hispanic, Haitian and Orthodox Jewish populations were growing significantly. Their needs will lead to land-use changes, she said, including the need for more housing.
Single-family homes would continue to be the most popular type of housing in Rockland, Miller said, because — despite the recent increase in prices — Rockland's housing market remained more affordable than Westchester County and New York City.
Rosemary Roldan said her family, which had lived in Piermont and hoped to remain in Orangetown, found housing at the right price by moving to Stony Point just before significant price increases there.
"At the time we bought," she said, "it was what we could afford."


Move to solidify faith-based office rekindles debate in the Jewish world

For four years, American Jewish groups debated President Bush’s proposals to mix faith with social services.
Now the fight is over whether the administration’s programs should be made permanent.
Rep. Mark Green (R-Wis.) introduced legislation earlier this year to make the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives permanent and codify its activities into law. The move has rekindled a long-smoldering debate in the Jewish community.
Many view “charitable choice” provisions — which require government agencies to evaluate religious institutions on an equal footing with secular counterparts when it comes to issuing grants — as a violation of the constitutional separation of church and state. They say faith groups potentially could discriminate in hiring or could proselytize with federal money.
But others, especially in the Orthodox community, welcome the chance to receive federal funding on a level playing field with other social-service providers.
The White House office was established by executive order as one of Bush’s first official acts in 2001. It since has coordinated the distribution of hundreds of millions of dollars in grants to faith-based groups through initiatives established within government agencies.
The White House lists the preservation of the historic Touro Synagogue in Newport, R.I., and the allocation of a $1.7 million grant to the Jewish Renaissance Medical Center in Perth Amboy, N.J., among the office’s accomplishments.
Bush has been pushing for the program to become law. In his 2004 State of the Union address, Bush praised the role of religious charities in doing “some of the most vital work in our country — mentoring children, feeding the hungry, taking the hand of the lonely.”
The president said the federal government has withheld grants and contracts from such groups in the past “just because they have a cross or a Star of David or a crescent on the wall,” and argues that a law formalizing his work would end discrimination against people of faith.
But Congress has yet to codify any faith-based program, and advocates fear the initiative could be wiped out if a future president chooses not to follow the Bush administration’s lead. An executive order can be repealed at any time.
The Tools for Community Initiatives Act would create a permanent faith-based office in the White House and task a director with developing programs to expand the incorporation of faith initiatives through legislation, executive action and private partnerships.
Nathan Diament, director of the Orthodox Union’s Institute for Public Affairs, said direct government funding would help combat years of alleged discrimination against religious people and institutions.
For example, Seattle’s Orthodox Hebrew Academy was denied federal funds after its facilities were severely damaged by a 2000 earthquake. Diament said the faith-based initiative’s equal-treatment philosophy helped reverse the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s policy, and won the school rebuilding money.
“The earthquake did not discriminate among which institutions to strike, yet FEMA was discriminating in its relief efforts,” Diament told a congressional panel last year.
Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism, testified against the legislation earlier this month, calling it “bad for religion, bad public policy, unconstitutional and socially divisive.”
While he acknowledged that the office has done some good work, Saperstein said a permanent office would undermine the separation between church and state, weaken good social service programs and imperil the special position of religious institutions in the public arena.
“Never has the Supreme Court upheld direct funding of religious institutions,” Saperstein told JTA. He expressed concern that the legislation would lend credence to a legal vision that treats religion the same as anything else.
“The damage may not be immediate,” he warned, “but what this would lead to is an erosion of the special status of religion.”
In the hearing, Saperstein said a leader of the evangelical Christian group Teen Challenge admitted to him that his program had the effect of converting — or, in his words, “completing” — Jewish children. He worried that the conversion process could be government-funded in the future.
“That any taxpayer should fund her own discrimination or proselytizing betrays every principle of our democracy,” Saperstein said.
But Diament said the question is whether religious groups are allowed to compete with non-religious organizations for government funding. Diament denied that any real difference exists between religious groups and religiously affiliated organizations such as the Jewish federation system, which uses federal dollars for social-service programming.
One compromise could be the imposition of regulations against proselytizing. Diament said such regulations would not excessively interfere with religious groups’ autonomy.
Rabbi Abba Cohen, Washington director and counsel of the Orthodox Agudath Israel of America, said organizations could decide whether regulations against proselytizing would cause them to compromise their beliefs or somehow impede their activities.
If they felt compromised, they could opt out, “but if they can live with it, they should be able to do so,” he said.
Suggesting that organizations can’t determine on their own whether or not they can control proselytizing “is being paternalistic and condescending,” he said.
Cohen said his organization is against programs that would lead to proselytizing, and their support of the bill is contingent on proper safeguards against conversion efforts. He said he believes such safeguards are workable.
But officials in other Jewish groups have their doubts. They say codifying the office may be unobjectionable, but the legislation dances around controversial issues.
“The bill is a backdoor way of ratifying the president’s charitable choice program without discussing it as a policy,” said Marc Stern, general counsel of the American Jewish Congress. “Inevitably, you’ll have to have another battle about the policy.”
The Anti-Defamation League also has opposed the bill, in part because it lacks safeguards against discrimination in hiring. Religious groups are exempt from some hiring regulations, and there is fear that groups could choose only staff of their faith with government money.
The ADL also expressed concern that faith-based aid recipients are allowed to use religious art and symbols on their walls, and it’s unclear whether social-service beneficiaries could be denied benefits if they decline to participate in a group’s religious practices.


Survey: 500,000 North American Jews could immigrate to Israel

Some 500,000 Jews could potentially immigrate to Israel from North America over the next 15 years, according to a market survey conducted on behalf of the Jewish Agency.
The survey, conducted by a U.S. market research company, Harris, is believed to be the most comprehensive study carried out till now on the subject of the immigration intentions of North American Jews. The findings of the study were presented yesterday for the first time at a convention of the Jewish Agency's board of trustees in Jerusalem.
The poll was carried out among a representative sample from the some 6.3 million Jews living in the United States and Canada. Around 1.5 percent of the respondents (representing some 100,000 individuals) said there was a high chance of their moving to Israel, permanently or temporarily, within the next five years. Approximately 6 percent of the respondents (representing some 400,000 individuals) expressed a willingness in principle to make a permanent or temporary move to Israel.
Ten percent of the respondents (representing some 700,000 people) expressed interest in a move to Israel.
An analysis of those interested in moving to Israel indicates that contrary to the belief of many, only one-third of these individuals are part of the Orthodox stream among U.S. Jewry. One-third define themselves as Conservative Jews, while the remainder classify themselves as Reform Jews or otherwise.
The survey was conducted among a representative sample numbering 1,690 adult Jews living in Canada and the United States. The study was initiated by an immigration-encouragement task force headed by businessman Didi Arazi, one of the owners of the Nice hi-tech company.
One of the participants at yesterday's discussion commented that the numbers appeared somewhat inflated. "I couldn't understand how 100,000 people in North America are said to `have their bags packed' while just a few thousand immigrate from them in practice," he said.
Indeed, despite the fact that since 2001 there has been a consistent increase in the number of immigrants from the United States and Canada, the Jewish Agency believes that some 3,800 North American Jews at most will move to Israel in 2005.
Arazi says the numbers presented are not inflated, but that the answers of the respondents have to be interpreted cautiously and conservatively. "The 1.5 percent who said there is a good chance that they will move to Israel will not be immigrating tomorrow morning," Arazi said. "I would say they are ripe for immigration, but most of them won't immigrate if we aren't able to convince them to do so.
"If we do the work properly, we have a chance to bring 400,000-500,000 Jews to Israel by the year 2020," he continued.
Mike Rosenberg, the director of the Jewish Agency's Immigration Department, is aware that together with the promise reflected in the survey, its findings could lead to criticism of the Jewish Agency in the event that the rosy immigration forecasts fail to hold true.
"From now on, we won't have any more excuses," Rosenberg said.



Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Rabbi Bursztyn officially charged with assault on police officer

A rabbi was formally charged Tuesday with aggravated assault on a police officer, resisting arrest and obstructing justice, the result of a confrontation after a traffic stop Sunday night.
Rabbi Yosef Bursztyn's arrest touched off demonstrations by large crowds of Orthodox Jewish residents outside police headquarters on Sunday and Monday nights.
Bursztyn, 62, who is dean of a Jewish high school, was processed and released Tuesday, said police spokesman Capt. Robert Lawson.
Bursztyn complained that he was mistreated by the officer, Erik Menck, 30, and an internal affairs inquiry has been launched, Lawson said.
Police said the incident happened at about 10 p.m. Sunday after Menck pulled over a woman to issue a warning for tailgating. The woman was Bursztyn's niece.
The rabbi, who was driving by, recognized his niece and pulled over to see what was going on. Menck warned Bursztyn not to interfere, words were exchanged and a struggle ensued as Menck handcuffed Bursztyn, police said.


R' Mordche Dovid blasts web-sites for spreading Bobover Loshon Horah

R' Mordche Dovid spoke out against the rash of web-sites lately that are spreading Loshon Horoh and Rechiles about Bobov. He asked his Chasidim to stay far away from these things and not to participate in it. I'm sure he wasn't talking about the Chaptzem Blog!

Monticello targets moving vehicle violations

With the summer season beginning, Monticello Village Manager Richard Sush said the village police department will be cracking down on moving vehicle violations.

Police will be targeting violations like speeding, U-turns on Broadway, not stopping for pedestrians in crosswalks, running red lights, turning where turns are prohibited, all of which are violations of traffic law and create dangerous conditions.

Sush said he recently heard of two pedestrians stuck in the center of a crosswalk on Broadway who couldn’t get to the other side of the street because motorists wouldn’t stop. He said state law requires motorists to stop in both directions when a pedestrian enters a crosswalk. “Our traffic laws are not suggestions. They are laws and must be obeyed for the safety of all of us,” he said.


Zatza"l plaque uprooted in Crown Heights

The long disputed Zatza"l plaque that is place in front of 770 in Crown Heights on the spot where the Rebbe put the Even HaPinah was totally uprooted yesterday. After daily fights over the plaque, by the Meshichisten and anti-Meshichisten, whether it should say Zatza"l or not, and the daily obliterations of the word Zatza"l from the plaque, security cameras and a security guard had been posted at the site. For the first time since the guard has been on duty over the plaque, he had left his post in middle of the night for a few hours. When he returned all the security cameras had been smashed and the infamous Zatza"l plaque was entirely uprooted.

Off-Duty NYPD Officer stabbed in Crown Heights during robbery

An off-duty police officer who went for an early morning snack Monday at a Dunkin' Donuts in Brooklyn was attacked. The entire incident was caught on security videotape.
The hero officer stopped by the shop on Empire Boulevard in Crown Heights at about 6:40 a.m. He was on his way to work to do counter terrorism training when inside the shop, he found himself witnessing a robbery.
A man in line was getting ready to hand over his money to the man at the register when he came out of nowhere with a knife in hand.
He lunged over the counter, clearly trying to grab money from the register.
The thief did not anticipate that a man in a white T-shirt to his right was an off-duty police officer. He lunged right on top of suspect and then chased him out of store. The suspect fled the scene. Officer Vincent Cheverelli of the 71st precinct was seen outside the store holding his side, stabbed in the abdomen.
This young officer, out of uniform and without a partner, didn't hesitate to put himself in harm's way to protect a fellow New Yorker,? said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
The store clerk wasn't harmed. Cheverelli was taken to Kings County Hospital where both the mayor and police commissioner stopped by to commend him on his bravery.
?The officer's quick response not only foiled this robbery attempt, but also certainly prevented injury to others that were in the store,? said NYPD Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
The suspect managed to get away in a red Kia.
Police say they know who the suspect was and asked the community for help tracking him down. He is identified as Shron Killings, 21.



Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Downtown Motel up for auction

The Downtown Motel property will be auctioned at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 17, to the highest bidder.
George Moline of Moline Real Estate and Auction Company confirmed the current owner plans to sell.
Lubavitch Yeshiva School of St. Paul retained the services of the Moline firm to sell the real estate at 209 First Ave. SE. The property includes eight lots-plus between 1st Avenue and Oakland and Second and Third streets southeast.
Built in 1976, the original Downtown Motel was owned by Neil S. and Betty B. Munro and featured 42 units, according to Moline.
The next owner was David Sundal and it was also expanded with a two-story tier of rooms along East Oakland Avenue.
Prior to its acquisition by the St. Paul Hasidic Judaism order a year ago, there was still another (unidentified) private owner.
The Hasidic Judaism order turned the motel into a school for the ultra-Orthodox Judaism's 13-15 year old boys last summer.
Only a week ago, the order announced the former motel would be a summer school for 13-year-old boys, while the older teens would utilize a building in Freeborn County.
In the late-1990s, the then-motel suffered the ignominy of becoming a target of frequent police calls.
Tragically, two men were killed and a third wounded in a botched armed robbery attempt June 30, 2000 at the motel across 1st Avenue Southeast from the U.S. Post Office.
The city of Austin has targeted the property for rehabilitation in the last 12 months. Most recently, city of Austin and Mower County officials have discussed the possibility of turning the property into the site of a new health and human services building.
The tax-exempt property owned by the Hasidic order is assessed at $294,700.
Moline Real Estate and Auction Company is owned by the father and son team of George and Steve Moline.
The auction sale bills with details of the pending sale are expected to be in circulation soon, according to the owners.


Lakewooders protest at Police Headquarters

Lakewood protest

Hundreds of members of the Orthodox Jewish community gathered outside police headquarters Monday night to protest what some residents described as police mistreatment of a local rabbi the night before.
Township police said they planned to charge Rabbi Yosef Bursztyn, 62, of Sixth Street, with aggravated assault on a police officer, resisting arrest and obstructing justice. Residents said Bursztyn is the dean of the Mesivta of Lakewood, a Jewish high school.
Police said Bursztyn would be charged because he interfered while Officer Erik Menck was writing Bursztyn's niece — whom Menck had pulled over Sunday night — a warning for tailgating.
Authorities had released Bursztyn on his own recognizance Sunday night without formally charging him, "out of deference to his position and to keep peace in the community" given the large number of protesters who gathered after Sunday night's incident, said Capt. Robert Lawson, the Police Department's public information officer.
Lawson said Bursztyn had agreed to return to headquarters Monday to be charged but did not because he told police he wanted to go to a hospital to get checked out.
The rabbi could not be reached for comment Monday.
Lawson said Menck's handling of the arrest also will be investigated.
On Monday night, members of the mostly male crowd said they gathered on Third Street to show their support for Bursztyn.
"I can't believe that he touched a cop or anything like that," said Shia Klien, who knows Bursztyn. "This is a person who lives his whole entire life for other people."
Michael Greenberg said much of the Jewish community "is frustrated."
"If you know who this rabbi is, it's just unbelievable," he said.
Brutality alleged
Moshe Schwartz said he attended the gathering, which began with a Hebrew prayer, because he is concerned about what he said is escalating police brutality.
"When it reaches the point of rabbis getting involved, it is extreme," he said. "The community is not going to sit by and let this happen."
Rabbi Moshe Zev Weisberg, a prominent Orthodox leader, said the Vaad, an influential council of leaders in the community, will be involved with the issue.
"This is not an incident that involves an individual," Weisberg said. "It's an incident that involves the entire community."
Meir Hertz, director of the Lakewood Housing Authority, said that the community can barely restrain its outrage, and that the incident is not isolated.
He added that he believes police brutality is only a problem with a few officers and said it would be unfair to label them all.
John Stillwell, president of the Lakewood Policemen's Benevolent Association, said he knows of no instances of police brutality against members of the township's Jewish community.
Stillwell joined Menck to give a statement in police headquarters Monday night after the demonstration. Menck declined further comment, on Stillwell's advice.
"As the PBA president, I stand behind everything that Officer Menck did last night," he said. The union does as well, he added. "From the meetings I've had, it appears Officer Menck acted properly."
Stillwell asked that a full investigation be conducted and said there is possible evidence through police investigation and technology that will prove Menck acted properly.
Stillwell said all Lakewood patrol cars are equipped with audio and video recorders that activate when the overhead lights are turned on, but he stopped short of saying the incident was taped.
Earlier Monday, members of the Orthodox community contended that Menck physically abused the rabbi during the incident Sunday night.
"I wasn't at the incident, but I got a phone call shortly afterwards, saying, "Did you hear a cop beat up Rabbi Bursztyn?' " said Moishe Cooper, 20, a Lakewood resident and friend of Bursztyn's son. "I went downtown (Sunday night) to join the others outside the police station. There were a thousand people there, protesting the rabbi's treatment and his arrest. People in the community were in shock."
Lakewood police said several hundred people protested the rabbi's arrest outside police headquarters Sunday night.
Internal affairs probe
As a result of the protests, the internal affairs department is investigating allegations that Menck, 30, who is in his second year on the force, mistreated Bursztyn while arresting him, according to Lawson.
Lawson said that Menck has not been charged and that no one was injured in the incident.
The sequence leading to Bursztyn's arrest began at approximately 10 p.m. Sunday on Forest Avenue near Carey Street, when Menck pulled over a driver to issue her a warning for tailgating, police said.
"The woman Menck pulled over was Rabbi Bursztyn's niece," Lawson said. "While the officer was writing the warning, the rabbi drove by and, recognizing his niece, pulled over to see what was going on."
Lawson said that Bursztyn tried to speak with Menck, who was sitting in his patrol car, and that Menck told him to step back and not interfere.
"The rabbi, however, did not step back but leaned into the car through the window and, apparently, grabbed the officer's shirt, presumably to see his name or badge number," Lawson said.
Menck then got out of the patrol car, and the two men argued, authorities said.
"Officer Menck decided to arrest Bursztyn for assaulting a police officer," Lawson said. "He tried to put the handcuffs on him, but the other man resisted. They struggled, eventually crossing the street onto the opposite sidewalk, where Menck finally subdued Bursztyn."
Lawson said Menck forced the older man to the ground before applying the handcuffs.
Aaron Kay, 23, a Howell resident who works in Lakewood, said he witnessed a portion of the incident.
"I was driving home from work around 10:20 p.m., going along Forest Avenue," Kay said Monday. "I saw the police car on the side of the street. Its door was wide open. I slowed and noticed something on the other side of the street. A policeman was kneeling on another person's back, trying to put handcuffs on him."
Kay said he heard the man, who was lying face down on the ground, call out that he had a heart condition and must not be treated that way.
"A group of people, between five and 10 people, were gathering around to see what was happening," Kay said. "I recognized that the man on the ground was a prominent rabbi. The policeman cuffed him, pulled him up and forced him into the police car."
Word spread quickly, and the crowd gathered outside headquarters, chanting that the rabbi's rights had been abused, authorities said.
Lakewood authorities promised a thorough investigation. Lawson said the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office would be brought into the probe to ensure impartiality.
Executive Assistant Ocean County Prosecutor Robert A. Gasser said Monday that his office had not yet received the request.


Homeless man from Shomer Shabbos arrested

A homeless man that hangs out in Shomer Shabbos was accused by Moishe Metzger, the Shamos of Shomer Shabbos, of stealing from the pushkas. Moishe called the Cops and the man fled. Shomrim were also called and they caught the guy on 54th Street corner New Utrecht Avenue. When the Police showed up they searched his pockets and found drugs on him. The man was handcuffed and taken in.

Certified Lumber in Williamsburg may sell and move to New Jersey

Certified Lumber, which is in Williamsburg for many years now, may sell their business for its property value and move to New Jersey. Since certain areas have had zoning changes lately, the property value has risen enormously. Thereby causing the existence of a lumber yard in Williamsburg to be a tremendous waste of money and space. Real Estate Brokers and private developers are offering over $70 Million for the property that the lumber yard is on now.


Monday, June 27, 2005

R' Bentzion asks Chasidim not to play volleyball with 'vasse zoken'

During a speech to his Chasidim, R' Bentzion appealed to the oilem not to play volleyball with their vasse zoken. He said that is was unbefitting for yingerleit to exhibit such behavior. He asked the yingerleit to be gelassen and to behave in a way that passes for a Chasidishe yingerman in the upcoming summer months.

Lakewood Rosh Yeshivah assaulted by Police Officer

A man was stopped a Police Officer in Lakewood and given a ticket. When one of the Roshei Yeshivah in Lakewood, HaRav Bursztyn, came over to ask him if he needed any help he was beaten by the Officer, handcuffed and taken into jail. Within moments thousands of Lakewooders stormed the Police Station demanding that they release the Rosh Yeshivah. After two hours of chaos the Rosh Yeshivah was finally released.

Jerusalem Gay Parade Ban Reversed

An Israeli court on Sunday ordered the Jerusalem municipality to allow a gay pride parade to take place, reversing a ban last week by the city's mayor.
A judge charged the city of Jerusalem to pay 13,000, with half the amount coming from ultra-Orthodox Jewish Mayor Uri Lupolianski for trying to stop the June 30 event by gay rights group Jerusalem Open House. It also ordered the city to place the rainbow flag, symbol of the homosexual movement, over city hall and along the parade route.
"The harming of the sensitivities of one community or another is not enough to prevent another community from fulfilling its rights to equality, respect and freedom of expression," wrote Jerusalem District Court Judge Musya Arad in his ruling, according to the Associated Press.
Last week, Jerusalem City Hall had announced that it was banning the local, 4th annual Jerusalem Pride: Love Without Borders parade because "it would be provocative and hurt the feelings of the broader public living in and visiting the city."
After the ruling, a statement by a city spokesperson said that "the city's administration did not intend to attack the freedom of expression of one group or another, as argued, but feared that the event would inflame tensions and hurt the delicate ties (among various groups) in the city."
The parade's route goes past areas where many residents are orthodox Jews, who regard homosexuality as an abomination. The mayor had also cited safety concerns about public disorder were the event to take place. About 4,000 people attended last year.
Director of Open House, Hagai El-Ad said that the court decision "is a victory not just for the lesbian and gay community in Jerusalem, but a triumph for freedom of speech," according to AP.
Three months ago, Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders united in an attempt to block a the international World Pride 2005 gay festival from taking place. Recently, organizers had decided to postpone the parade until 2006 because the event dates coincided withdrawal of Israelis from the Gaza Strip in August.


Tennis player looks forward to competing in 'Jewish Olympics'

Stanley Kleckner, 78, is going for the gold.
Next month, he will compete in the 17th Maccabiah Games, an international athletic competition held in Israel every four years and featuring 7,000 of the best Jewish athletes from more than 60 countries competing in 25 sports.
The Maccabiah Games, named after Judah Maccabe, a Jewish warrior who fought against the ancient Greeks, were created in 1932 as a "Jewish Olympics." Today, they help foster fellowship as well as athletic excellence.
"The most important part of playing in the Maccabiah Games is meeting other Jewish athletes from around the world," said Joe Friedman, 75, of Wayne, N.J., who will be Kleckner's doubles partner.
Kleckner played in the games twice before: In 1989, he won the gold medal in doubles tennis in the 60-and-over division, and in 1993, he won a silver medal in doubles tennis in the 65-and-over division.
After sitting out the games in 1997 because of concerns about the Palestinian uprising and in 2001, when he had a bleeding ulcer, Kleckner is back. He expressed optimism about his chances of winning when he takes the court in Tel Aviv on July 12 in the doubles division for players 70 and older.
"I'm certainly hoping to win a gold medal," Kleckner said.
Friedman, who has played with Kleckner in other tournaments, said competing in the games is a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" for him.
Two days after the partners make their Maccabiah Games debut, on July 14, Kleckner will be inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in Netanya, Israel. To be so honored, Kleckner said is "terrific."
Especially since he didn't start playing tennis until he was in his late 30s.
Kleckner was on vacation with a friend in Puerto Rico in the mid-1960s. The two grew tired of playing cards, and his friend suggested tennis. Using rackets borrowed from their hotel, the duo volleyed until Kleckner misstepped and sprained his ankle.
Despite being temporarily sidelined, Kleckner vowed to learn the game. He joined a tennis club on the third floor of Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan in 1965. He won his first tournament in 1970.
Today, he regularly plays in doubles tennis tournaments at Burning Tree Country Club and Innis Arden Golf Club in Greenwich.
The basement of his home in northeast Greenwich is adorned with numerous trophies, certificates and framed newspaper clippings from the approximately 150 tennis tournaments he has won.
President of Polar International Brokerage Corp. in Manhattan, Kleckner draws a parallel between his work and play on the court.
"I'm a very competitive person," he said. "I am competitive on a tennis court, and I am very competitive in my insurance business."
He also plans to keep going in both.
"I'm never going to retire," said Kleckner, who has worked for Polar International for 55 years.
Though this is his third Maccabiah Games, Kleckner said he still looks forward to the tournament. Eleven family members and friends will accompany him to Israel this year.
"It's exciting," he said. "It's the experience of a lifetime."
In spite of the ongoing violence in Israelis and Palestinians, Kleckner said he is confident that the game's athletes, trainers and spectators will be safe.
"Security is very, very tight," he said, noting that identification will be checked carefully at the opening ceremonies at 41,000-capacity Ramat-Gan Stadium. "You can't get into the stadium unless you not only have a ticket but other identification."


Discovering that even Hasidim believe that there is only one G-d

We are all of us one thing. This whole world is obviously one thing. If you cross the state line, the trees on the other side are not made by another company. Because you happen to have an Italian or a Chinese name doesn't mean you have a different Creator. This whole world is obviously one thing. We are all of us one thing. And what holds us together, to the extent that we are together, is religion.

It is of paramount importance to recognize that God is One. There are a lot of differences among the great religions of the world at the lower levels. But at the highest level, they become One. When you study the Gnostics of Christianity or the Zen of Buddhism or the yogis of Hinduism or the Hasidim of Judaism or the Sufis of the Moslems, you'll discover that they talk again and again and again about exactly the same phenomena, the same experiences, the same realizations. They've obviously all been to the same place and, at root, they're all One.

Religion only seems different if you're dealing with a retailer. If you deal with a wholesaler, you'll see that they all get it from the same distributor. I believe that there's only one church, and your membership button in it is your belly button. And, deep down, I think everybody knows this.


Spiritual quilting

Picture of quilt

To Karen Fricke, quilting is more than just an art form; it is a way for her to express her spirituality. "My background is in words, and I start with a poem or a word or phrase," says the Rockville resident whose quilts are on display at the G Street Fabrics store in Rockville through Aug. 26 and whose tallit is on display at Strathmore Hall in the 25th Biennial Creative Crafts Council juried show through July 9. "I am now working on a quilt based on a few lines from an Emily Dickinson poem, and have done a quilt based on Robert Frost's poetry. "It's natural to move from words to words from the Torah or prayer book because words are the basis of my art. I get to take those words and these spiritual feelings that are evoked by the words and express them in the medium of fabric. "I turn them into something tactile that I can wrap around me." Fricke has been sewing and quilting since she was a child -- learning the arts from her grandmother. "I even got a sewing machine for my college graduation," she says, illustrating her passion for the fabric arts. Her first Judaic piece was a tallit she made for her eldest son's bar mitzvah ceremony. About three months earlier, she had converted to Judaism. Although she had been practicing Judaism for some 15 years -- her husband is a Jew from Chile -- Fricke says she had been reluctant to convert, leaving behind her Protestant roots, until she talked with the family's rabbi, Warren Stone of Temple Emanuel in Kensington. "He told me that converting was like going through a door from one type of life to another," she recalls. "The rabbi said I was an integral part of the community -- was already living on the other side, but hadn't taken the formal measures to go through the door. "He said that I wasn't leaving my family of origin, but joining my family." She had previously studied Judaism before getting married and at a conversion class at Temple Emanuel. That took her a long way from her childhood in Springfield, Ill., where she was born in 1960 into a religious Lutheran home and attended Lutheran elementary school. Her education credits include a bachelor's degree in English from Illinois Wesleyan University and a master's from the University of Chicago in 1987. Before moving to the Washington area in 1990, she sandwiched stints as an English teacher in Chicago and Chile around a period as theater editor for Chicago magazine. She has donated several pieces of her work -- three wall hangings, a funeral pall and Torah mantles -- to Temple Emanuel. Fricke does commissioned pieces -- she is working on a chuppah for a wedding. And they're all quilts. "Everything I do is turned into a quilt -- three layers of material put together with thread," she says. "I have made a quilted mezuzah, chuppot, challah and matzah covers." Last summer, she had a bat mitzvah ceremony at Temple Emanuel. She made her tallit, adorning it with the names of her four children in Hebrew quilted into the garment. "After all, I did for them," she says.



Sunday, June 26, 2005

Over $30,000 taken out of Skverer bank account

In order to pay their employees, Skver had deposited a large sum of money, totaling over $30,000, into their bank account in order to cover the checks. When former employees, that are owed money by Skver, found out about the money they used their previously necessary knowledge of the bank accounts to empty them out and partially pay off to themselves what they were owed.

Heimishe man in photograph sues for $1.6 million

The Orthodox Jewish man in this photograph wants $1.6 million from the famous photographer who snapped it without consent.
Erno Nussenzweig claims he walked into an elaborate artistic trap set on a Times Square sidewalk by international photographer Philip-Lorca diCorcia in 2001.
DiCorcia rigged strobe lights to scaffolding and trained his lens on an "X" he taped to the sidewalk. From 20 feet away, he took shots of Nussenzweig and thousands of other unsuspecting subjects. Later that year, diCorcia exhibited this image under the title "#13" at a Pace Wildenstein gallery show called "Heads" in Chelsea. The photographer said multiple prints of Nussenzweig's picture sold for about $20,000 each. The picture also was published in "Heads," a book that sold several thousand copies, diCorcia said.
Now Nussenzweig, a retired diamond merchant from New Jersey, is snapping back at diCorcia — and at the right of photographers to secretly grab pictures on the street and sell them — by suing him, Pace Wildenstein, publisher Pace/MacGill and unnamed distributors and sellers of the image and the book.
"We claim that to take someone's picture without their consent is bad enough," said Jay Goldberg, Nussenzweig's lawyer. "But to then hang the picture in galleries, put it in books and sell it around the city without telling the person or obtaining permission is unfair and outrageous."
"It's a beautiful picture," Goldberg added. "But why should this guy make money off of your face?"
Nussenzweig declined comment through his lawyer. He claims in his lawsuit he learned of his portrait from a friend this year.
DiCorcia, 52, called the case "ridiculous" and insisted he did nothing wrong. He said the lawsuit could curb the freedom of other artists capturing the city's street life.
"It is a fundamental right, and I will defend it," he said. "I consider myself at the end of a long line of photographers who have done what is now being described as a malicious criminal act."
Goldberg pointed to state privacy law declaring it illegal to use a person's photograph "for trade" without having obtained their permission.
Nussenzweig's lawsuit claims "severe mental anguish, emotional distress, humiliation and embarrassment."
DiCorcia said he doesn't understand why Nussenzweig is so incensed.
"My intentions were nothing but honorable," diCorcia said. "If he is as other-worldly as his face makes him out to be, why would he care?"


First round of Bobover Din Torah commences

Today began the first of a series of Dinei Torah involving the two fighting divergent factions of Bobov. This one and each of the subsequent Dinei Torah will involve and hopefully help solve a different aspect of the dispute.

In the Character of a Village, It's Property vs. Religion

LET us return to Hillside Avenue in this tiny town, where Orthodox Jews want to build a yeshiva, adult housing and a dormitory complex in the middle of a quiet residential neighborhood in Rockland County.
After the village was sued by the federal government a few weeks back, residents there made it clear that they felt there was a lot more to say about the issue than was included in this column about it. They're right.
In truth, there are many issues buzzing like shrapnel around the dispute between current residents and Congregation Mischknois Lavier Yakov. Some are hard to divorce from allegations, present since Airmont was founded in 1991, that the village is hostile to the growth of Orthodox communities.
But the biggest issue is one that this village shares with hundreds around the country in a series of legal battles pitting property rights against religious rights. Don't think it can't pop up and bite you.
At issue is a law, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (known as Rluipa and pronounced ar-LOO-pah), enacted, Congress said, "to protect religious liberty, and for other purposes."
But in dozens of lawsuits and hundreds of land-use disputes, communities are claiming the "other purposes" have obliterated the bill's stated intent. The law is based on the premise that religious properties are entitled to protections not given to others. In effect, it means that a project that might not be permissible for, say, a government agency or a private homeowner might be just fine for a church, synagogue or mosque, and that zoning that keeps out a mega-Wal-Mart might not keep out a megachurch.
Which brings us back to Hillside Avenue, a narrow, crooked street of eclectic homes, some dating to the 1700's, towering oaks, wild turkeys and semirural repose.
Back in 1980, another religious group, the Church of the Nazarene, bought 19 acres with the intent of building a 950-seat church. After concerns were raised about traffic, road widening and other issues, the proposal was turned down in 1983.
Now comes the Orthodox congregation with a proposal for the same land.
It calls for a dormitory housing 170 single students and 30 town houses that the village says could house 300 people. That's perhaps 470 people living on land zoned for 15 single-family homes. This in a rural area that exists on well water, where sewers sometimes become overloaded and spill into nearby rivers.
The big difference between this proposal and the church's is not the religion of the applicants. It's Rluipa. After an application was turned down in 2002, the Orthodox congregation turned around and filed suit, citing Rluipa, and the village reluctantly agreed to a settlement that allows the planning process to go forward. A welter of lawsuits have followed, including a federal suit accusing the village of discriminating on the basis of religion because its zoning code prevents religious boarding schools from operating.
DENNIS LYNCH, a lawyer for the congregation, says that zoning should protect health and safety but that the right of a religious organization to practice its faith should trump the desire of residents to maintain the character of a residential area. "If it's an issue of aesthetics, the Constitution doesn't protect aesthetics," he said.
Local residents say, in fact, that health and safety are issues. But local officials and legal experts around the country say Rluipa has created something new in American life: federal intrusion into the most local of all issues, community zoning and land-use decisions.
So, for now, the law goes to society's real priests, the lawyers. Some say the law, like an even more far-reaching predecessor, will be overturned. Kevin J. Plunkett, who was hired to represent Airmont and has handled Rluipa cases in Mamaroneck and Mount Pleasant, argues that as case law develops it will become clear that Rluipa was not intended to trump local zoning and can't do it.
But for now, local communities are running scared, particularly because the law makes them pay both sides' legal fees if they lose Rluipa cases.
Airmont's mayor, John C. Layne, heavily criticized for approving the settlement allowing the planning process to go forward, says he thinks the proposal is inappropriate but did not want to risk an Rluipa suit.
"I'm religious," he said. "I'm a practicing Roman Catholic. My children go to religious school. My wife teaches at a religious school. But I don't think it's the place of religion to change the character of a single-family neighborhood, and I don't think it's the place of the federal government to take local land-use decisions from local governments."


Smile for tourists, Sullivan County campaign urges

What's there to do around here, the undercover reporter asks the unofficial ambassadors of Sullivan County, clerks at convenience stores and gas stations. This is within a half-hour's drive of attractions like the Forestburgh Playhouse, the Monticello Raceway racino and more lakes, streams and golf courses than you can count.
"No idea," says a clerk who doesn't look up from the lottery machine spitting out tickets.
"Go to Middletown," says another clerk, who does step from behind a hot dog grill to help.
Finally, someone is specific.
"Go to White Lake for boating and jet skiing," says the clerk. "And the Concord has golf. But that's about it."
That's not it in Sullivan County, where tourism is worth more than $200 million per year.
But that's the attitude that needs to change, say the organizers of the county's new hospitality campaign, "Be Proud of Your Sullivan Smile," which kicked off yesterday with a Chamber of Commerce breakfast at Kutsher's Country Club.
"That's absolutely the type of behavior we're trying to correct," says Les Kristt, fingering a Sullivan Smile button at the breakfast attended by about 50 members who noshed pastries like prune rugelach.
After all, 67 percent of customers who leave a business cite an employee's bad attitude, says keynote speaker Rod Decker, head of Delaware County's County Shopper.
Who better to explain hospitality than another speaker, the grand dame of the Catskills, Helen Kutsher? With a firm handshake and warm smile, she's welcomed thousands to the county for more than half a century.
As a girl, she asked her mother what to do when a "just looking" guest walks in the hotel at lunch time.
"What would you do if a guest walked into your home?" her mother asked.
"Give them coffee and cake," Helen replied.
Then that's what you should do here, her mother said.
"Always remember this is your house and that's the way you should treat your guests," says "Mrs. K," whose mother made her practice that firm handshake every day.
Not everyone is Helen Kutsher. That's why Sullivan Smile is the first step in a campaign that includes ads, hospitality awards, "good behavior" handbooks and reaching out to the future work force in the county's schools.
"It is going to take some work to adjust some attitudes toward a positive slant," says Kristt.
So after the meeting, the undercover reporter checks one last attitude.
"Go to the racino and White Lake," says the convenience store clerk.
The clerk shrugs.
How do you get there?
He points to a map of Sullivan, hidden behind a jar of pickles.


Car full of Shiksas 'screeches' down 14th Avenue

A 4x4 full of young Shiksas was flying down 14th Avenue late Shabbos afternoon. While the car was passing by the Shiksas was screeching obscenities out the windows at the people on the street. As the passersby ignored them they got louder and louder until they just gave up and turned off the avenue.


Saturday, June 25, 2005

Hispanic family claim Heimishe car hit their belongings


A Hispanic family that had been moving out of their apartment and subsequently moved all their belongings into the street, claimed that a car, driven by a Heimishe yingerman, that had pulled up close to the stuff had hit it. The driver claims he never touched anything, he only tried to park there without risking getting his car hit by passing traffic.


Friday, June 24, 2005

Yingerman gets carjacked and mugged in Boro-Park

About 12:45 a.m. last night a yingerman parked his car near his home on 11th Avenue and 59th Street when two Puerto Rican men approached him with a gun. The men demanded that he empty his pockets and hand over his car keys. The yingerman complied and gave them everything he had. The two thieves jumped into the car and drove off.

Two year old Heimishe girl found wandering on the street

A man walking on 52nd Street between 18th and 19th Avenue saw a little girl standing at the curb all alone. He began to ring some bells of the apartment building that was nearby to ask if someone knew who's child it was. After a few answers from people over the intercom, a woman said that she had a good idea as to whom the child belong and told the man that persons apartment number. The man rang that bell and informed the woman that answered of the situation. A minute later a disheveled woman came running out the door, grabbed the child by the arm and hit her twice on the hand, told her that she not go out of the yard by herself ever again an then proceeded to drag her back into the yard without saying a word to the man who had found her and without taking the least bit of responsibility for the situation.

Jewish diamond dealer's relatives sue

Relatives of a diamond dealer slain by the mob after two former detectives allegedly leaked sensitive information filed a $100 million notice of claim against the city and the NYPD yesterday.
The widow, Rachel Leah Greenwald, blamed NYPD failures for the "gross negligence, recklessness, carelessness and wrongful criminal conduct" of Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa, who were still cops at the time of her husband's 1986 murder.
Israel Greenwald's body was dug up in a Brooklyn garage this past April 1st, 19 years after the murder.
Eppolito and Caracappa are awaiting trial in connection with eight mob murders.
They have not yet been charged in the Greenwald slaying, but a new indictment is expected, according to sources.


Moving east: Orthodox shul to get new facility

Next month, Kehillat Yaakov Warrensville Center Synagogue will break ground for a new, larger facility to be known as Cedar Road Synagogue, notes congregation president Maury Simon.
The 18,000-square-foot building will take about a year to build and will be located at 23749 Cedar Road in Lyndhurst.
The 140-family Cleveland Heights congregation, which describes itself as a traditionally Orthodox shul that welcomes all Jews regardless of their denomination, is currently renting space from the Mosdos Ohr HaTorah day school. Mosdos bought the property from the shul in 1999.
Cedar Road Synagogue is being designed by Bialosky + Partners, a Cleveland-based architectural firm. Principle Mark Olson, who is in charge of the project, says the new facility will be dominated by a spacious sanctuary that can seat 248 congregants.
Large bay windows set at the corners of an octagonal, copper-topped roof will allow ample light into the space, Olson adds. Bialosky + Partners is in the process of designing a custom ark and bima (pulpit) for the sanctuary, which also will include a balcony.
Groundbreaking for the $4 million project (the shul will soon embark on a fundraising campaign) will take place during the second week of July. Construction will start immediately and could be completed by June of next year.
Warrensville Center Synagogue officials have been planning to build a new synagogue for over a decade, notes Simon, a Pennsylvania native who has been shul president for four years.
The gradual Jewish shift of Cleveland's Jews to the eastern suburbs has left the synagogue with an aging congregation. At its height n following a merger of eight synagogues in the 1950s n Warrensville Center Synagogue boasted a congregation of 900 families.
Those days are long gone, but Simon hopes the new synagogue will attract younger couples from areas most affected by the population shift, namely the Beachwood/ Pepper Pike/ Orange/ Chagrin Falls region. An attempt to move to a space on Richmond Road fizzled after the shul was unable to obtain proper land-use permits.
Simon has seen blueprints of the Cedar Road project and is "very enthused" by the modern vision Bialosky + Partners has created. "It's going to be a magnificent structure, absolutely gorgeous," he says.
And, as it has always been at Warrensville Center Synagogue, Simon remarks "we will welcome everyone to our new shul."


Brothel bust in Heimishe neighborhood

Cops yesterday raided a brothel operating in the heart of a quiet Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn.
Four people were arrested in the early-morning raid at 1811 Avenue J in Midwood.
Three women — Joyce Reed, 25; Keesha Harris, 24; and Zina Fleyshman, 20 — were charged with prostitution.
Yosaf Mizrahi, 40, was busted for promoting prostitution — an indication he was involved in the operation of the brothel, and not merely a customer.


R' Bentzion and R' Mordche Dovid both featured in new Masbia ad

A new full-color newsletter ad for Masbia, an organization that provides free food for needy people, features pictures and endorsements from both R' Bentzion and R' Mordche Dovid. This is the first publication since the split to print pictures of them both for the same cause, albeit at two separate ends of the page.

Sensitivity training for Crown Heights Yeshivah Bocherem

A Black Community Leader, and well known anti-Jewish agitator, and his son were walking on the street in Crown Heights when a couple of Bocherem yelled out the window at him calling him a 'Nigger'. The man went into the 71st Precinct and filed a complaint. The Precinct called the Crown Heights Community Council to discuss the issue and how it should be dealt with. The Police suggested that they come down to the Yeshivah and give a sensitivity training seminar to the Bocherem.

Car accident on Coney Island Avenue in Brooklyn

At about 9:30 p.m. last night, a car traveling on Coney Island Avenue from Avenue O towards Avenue N smashed into a car that was double parked there in front of a restaurant. The two people from the moving car, who were Israelis, right away got out and started exclaiming, "Don't worry man, nothing happened to your car." The guy that was hit looked over his car and was satisfied that nothing had really been damaged and he turned to look at them and then waved them off.

Sensei Draws Students From Unlikely Source

He may be the most dangerous Jew in New York.
Steve Isaak, a New York City probation officer who teaches a unique style of jujitsu, has developed a following among the city's observant Jews. Many find his art of self-defense so effective that they train with him for years after they've mastered the basics.
"I've been studying with him for four years, and my family keeps asking, 'When does this end? When do you graduate?' I tell them, 'Never,'" said Goldie, a 25-year-old Orthodox Jew who didn't want her last name used.
The 5-foot graduate student is part of a group of observant women who study with Isaak once a week in a Brooklyn synagogue. Goldie and the other women say they want to be able to defend themselves and their families in what they see as an increasingly dangerous world. They feel that Isaak's classes are conducted in a way that is respectful of Orthodox values. (The women often wear pants under their skirts if particular techniques are likely to put them in a compromising position.) Although the male teacher physically touches his female students during class, such contact is minimal. For teacher and students, the halachic dictates of saving one's own life and the lives of others outweighs the Orthodox taboo against the mixing of the sexes. In choosing to study with Isaak, the women have essentially said that in their eyes he has the status of a rabbi or doctor.
Isaak calls his art shima jujitsu and insists that it enables even the unathletic to cope with physical confrontations.
"The art is based on efficiency," he explained.
Newcomers often assume that shima jujitsu is based on distraction, but according to Isaak, what it does, rather, is take advantage of the time a mind takes to process thoughts. During that time, the practitioner initiates moves that defuse an attack and bring the assailant under control.
Shima is the Japanese word for "little island" and Isaak is fond of pointing out that it is close to the Hebrew word shema and to his own Hebrew name, Simcha. The majority of Isaak's students are Orthodox Jews — men and women, in separate classes — but the 57-year-old sensei, or master, is not observant. He does have a strong Jewish identity and a fervent belief in self-defense. Not surprising, given that his grandparents perished in Auschwitz and his father survived Dachau.
"I think he feels much more rested at the end of the day, knowing that he helped another Jew learn how to defend himself," said Jimmy Schinazi, a beefy 21-year-old nursing student who has studied with Isaak for several years.
Schinazi occasionally regales his jujitsu class with accounts of physical confrontations or near confrontations at work or in social settings.
"I'm often at the wrong place at the wrong time," he said with a shrug.
The same could be said for Isaak when he was 12 years old. After two older kids beat him on a Manhattan subway platform, Isaak started studying martial arts. By the time he was in college he was teaching self-defense. Eventually he ran his own school on Long Island. At the request of one of his students, Isaak started working as a bouncer. He developed the ability to walk unruly patrons off the premises, often with original jujitsu techniques he developed.
As Isaak approached middle age, he went to work for the New York City Department of Probation, serving for close to 10 years in its Field Services Unit, an armed squad that arrests probation violators. He's now a member of the department's Special Offender Unit, which supervises pedophiles, gang members and other serious offenders.
Over the years Isaak developed a following among cops, prosecutors, judges and other law enforcement types on Long Island.
Ralph Zanchelli, who spent 18 years as an undercover detective in Suffolk County, studied jujitsu for five years with Isaak.
"I used it throughout my career," the now retired detective said.
Zanchelli arranged for a shima jujitsu demonstration at the Suffolk County Police Academy, in which Isaak reportedly took an unloaded pistol out of the hand of an officer before the cop could pull the trigger. Several of the police bigwigs present were said to be flabbergasted. Among them was Richard Dormer, a deputy police inspector at the time. In an internal police memo, Dormer described Isaak's techniques as "absolutely controlling." Dormer, now the police commissioner of Suffolk County, told the Forward that Isaak's self-defense techniques are "a terrific asset for law enforcement. I think he has something very important to offer police officers on the street."
Suffolk County legislator Allan Binder, who studied with Isaak as a teenager, is another believer.
"What he teaches can save lives," the Sabbath-observant lawmaker told the Forward. "There's no question in my mind."
At Binder's urging, Isaak recently demonstrated his techniques for Long Island Congressman Steve Israel. Binder also tried to bring Isaak to the attention of someone he describes as "pretty high up" at the Washington's Transportation Security Administration, but he couldn't get "to first base."
"I think Steve's art would be perfect for flight attendants," Binder said.
An earlier effort to have Isaak share his skills with the Secret Service was similarly frustrated. A Secret Service agent who trained with Isaak had made arrangements for him to appear at the training academy in Beltsville, Md., where agents train, but the invitation was later rescinded.
A dozen or so of Isaak's students have either served in the Israel Defense Forces or are currently doing so. Among them is 34-year-old Avi Elias, who studied with Isaak for 10 years in New York before making aliya. He now teaches shima jujitsu in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem to college students, women, IDF reservists and soldiers in a "unique combat unit" with which he volunteers. Elias arranged for Isaak to do a demonstration for security personnel at El Al Israel Airlines in 2002 and is hoping to get the IDF interested in him.
Before he can retire, Isaak has to put in five more years with the probation department. He'd then like to continue teaching shima jujitsu to Jews and people in law enforcement.
"God gave me this talent," Isaak told the Forward. "I want to share it with others, because this is something I believe in."



Thursday, June 23, 2005

Rubashkin Kosher meat packing plant planned

An Iowa meatpacking firm that has drawn fire from an animal-rights group has bought an old packing plant in Gordon, Neb., and plans to process kosher beef, lamb and bison products using workers from the nearby Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
If the plant passes a U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection scheduled for Friday it could begin slaughtering cattle as soon as Monday, according to Tally Plume, executive director of the Oglala Oyate Woitancan Empowerment Zone, which encompasses the reservation.
The firm, Local Pride, announced this week that it would begin hiring and training local workers for the plant. The plant will employ 40 to 50 local residents, according to a Local Pride news release. Plume said many of the workers would be tribal members.
Local Pride is owned by the Rubashkin family, which also owns Agriprocessors, operators of a kosher meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa.
Local Pride is working with the empowerment zone, created on the reservation in 1999, along with the Oglala Sioux Tribe Workforce in Action Program, the city of Gordon and the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.
Plume said the empowerment zone board expanded the zone, with USDA approval, to include 300 acres where the plant is located in Gordon, 36 miles southeast of Pine Ridge village.
Plume said the project considered Gordon for a site because the reservation lacks infrastructure to accommodate such a facility.
By being in the empowerment zone, Local Pride will be able to get a tax break for hiring tribal members, Plume said.
Reservation residents already have undergone training at the Postville plant.
"The potential for employment on this project could get pretty high," Plume said. He said the Postsville plant began with about 50 employees and now has 700 workers.
He said the agreement between Local Pride and the empowerment zone also would provide an opportunity to market cattle raised by Indian ranchers. He compared the project to a miniature version of the South Dakota Certified Beef program begun by the state this year.
"Our next step is to get our producers ramped up and involved in marketing fat cattle to the plant," Plume said.
The plant, previously operated by Premium Beef of Nebraska, has been closed for seven years. Local Pride has renovated the plant.
Meanwhile, Plume said he was not worried about allegations by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals that Agriprocessors' Postville plant uses cruel slaughtering methods that violate federal rules and strict kosher slaughtering standards.
PETA cited a video secretly made by an activist working undercover at the plant that showed workers using large knives to slice cows' throats, as required for kosher preparation. The video also shows some of the cows then stumbling around for as long as three minutes. PETA says the animals were still alive and suffering.
Plant officials say the animals' movements are involuntary and that massive blood loss to the brain brought on by slitting their throats renders them insensitive to pain within seconds.
Two rabbis are in the slaughtering plant at all times and a rabbi delivers the first, ritual slice, according to a plant spokesman quoted in a December 2004 story in the Waterloo (Iowa) Courier by staff writer Dan Haugen.
The Courier also reported that USDA has launched an investigation into the PETA claims.
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Patty Judge said after visiting the Postville plant last December that the animals killed there are treated humanely and die quickly, according to another Courier report.
Plume said he is confident that the USDA probe will exonerate the Iowa plant. He said rabbis will be present at the Gordon plant as well.
The federal Environmental Protection Agency also filed a lawsuit accusing the Postville plant of exceeding limits set in wastewater discharge permits and failing to submit proper risk management plans or hazardous chemical inventory forms.
Plant spokesman Mike Thomas told the Courier that those matters have already been resolved with city and state officials.
Plume said the Gordon packing plant project could be a major boon to the Pine Ridge reservation economy, particularly the ag segment.
"The folks in the beef industry are always looking for an edge," Plume said. "This effort is something that's going to help the Native American ag economy substantially."
He said grazing fees on tribal land are a major revenue source for the tribe. "The ag economy is the lifeblood of the Oglala Sioux Tribe's nonfederal dollars."


Rachmastrivker Chassunah last night

Last night the Einiklech of both the Rachmastrivker and Kivyasher Rebbes got married at the Rachmastrivker Shul in Boro-Park. The Chosson and Kallah are obviously first cousins.

Jewish school is back again

Hoops and Hasidic Judaism will return to Austin's old downtown motel this summer.
With their school year over, students from St. Paul's Lubavitch Yeshiva School spent two hours Tuesday night clearing a moving truck full of beds out of the motel. The summer camp for 14 and 15-year-old ultra-Orthodox Jewish boys is moving from Austin to Freeborn County, but a group of 13-year-olds will take their place, student Yosef Cohen said.
The older group grew by about 20 students from the 100-plus that came to the Austin camp for two months last summer. Cohen said they have found a bigger place for those students near where Interstates 90 and 35 meet in Freeborn County. He said the number of younger students coming to the motel this year will depend on the number of applications the school receives, but fewer are expected in Austin than last year.
The camps include some students from St. Paul, but also draw Hasidic youths from as far away as England and Australia; some 40 percent come from Brooklyn, New York, Cohen said. The school is in its 13th year, and the camps in their fourth, he said. This will be the second year campers are in Austin.
The campers drew a lot of attention last year with their conspicuous yarmulkes and basketball games. The group installed basketball hoops at the motel for the campers.
"We're trying to create an environment for these youngsters conducive to their Judaism as well as their physical growth," said Yosef Eizicovics, who identified himself as the rabbi's right-hand man. He said the camp is half study and half recreation.
It isn't clear what will happen with the camp or the motel beyond this year. Cohen said he believes the rabbi wants to keep the building. But a visit to the property as snow was melting at the basketball courts earlier this year suggests otherwise.
Two sharply-dressed St. Paul businessmen brought room keys and one of the men's family to check out each room of the motel. They said the school was looking to sell and they were thinking about buying and turning it into a nursing home.
Perhaps a more likely buyer for the property would be the City of Austin or Mower County. The building is on the city's hit list of unattractive properties and the county has discussed moving health and human services to the site.
A city or county purchase wouldn't take any taxes off the rolls. Because the land is owned by a church, its $294,700 assessed value is tax exempt.


11 year old boy accident update: Boy is conscious, may need head surgery

The 11 year old that was hit by a car yesterday is in Lutheran Hospital and is fully conscious now. He however has bleeding in his head and may need surgery if the bleeding doesn't stop. The accident happened near the Spinka Yeshivah where the boy learns. The traffic light at the corner was broken resulting in a car proceeding through against the light and hitting the boy.


Wednesday, June 22, 2005

11 year old Heimishe boy run over by car

An 11 year old Heimishe boy was run over by a car. His skull and shoulder were fractured and he has a loss of hearing in one ear. He is in the Hospital now undergoing various emergency procedures.

World's only Hassidic Reggae singer Matisyahu's Summer Journey

The only Hasidic reggae star since - well, ever - will be bringing the word to fans across the U.S. over the next few months. Matisyahu has recently announced a string of dates from July through September.
Matisyahu's tour begins on July 9 at Philadelphia's World Café Live. Dates along the East coast will continue until July 14, including an appearance at New York City's annual Reggae Carifest on July 10.
The tour takes a break for the remainder of July and picks up again on August 4, with a show in Boston. From there, Matisyahu heads East for shows in Cleveland, Indianapolis, Chicago, and St. Louis. A final show for the month is scheduled at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre near Denver on August 20.
The singer kicks off the month of September with a few shows in New York, but he'll be hitting the West Coast on September 20 with a show in Portland. The tour heads South from there, with several shows in major markets in California, Arizona, and New Mexico. Continuing Eastward, Matisyahu will play a show in Dallas on September 27, followed by two gigs in Tennessee. A final show for the tour will be on October 1 in Bloomington, Ind.
Another treat for jam fans is that the shows from August 4 to August 11 will be opening for guitar-maestro, Trey Anastasio.
Matisyahu has been garnering much praise recently for a what is relatively short career. He has played at number of high-profile festivals lately, including the recent Bonnaroo. His last album, Live at Stubb's, was released in April.


Monroe residents reject $12.9M plan to build library, town offices

Taxpayers yesterday shot down – by a nearly 4-1 ratio – a $12.9 million building project that would have housed a new library and government offices.
Village of Kiryas Joel residents voted 919-29 against the project. The rest of the town weighed in at 1,417 to 576 against it.
Marilyn McIntosh, director of the Monroe Free Library, was quick to blame the Hasidic community and the Monroe town supervisor, who opposed the project.
"Obviously, Kiryas Joel block-voted us … and the town supervisor (Sandy Leonard) coming out against it didn't help either," McIntosh said. "And we just didn't get out the yes votes."
The 40,000-square-foot, two-story building would have been built on town-owned property. An estimated two-thirds of the space would have been dedicated to the library, which is now cramped in 5,500 square feet. The remaining space would have housed Monroe town offices.
Two Monroe Town Board members helped plan the proposal and supported it. But others were dubious about the cost.
Leonard did not return calls for comment last night.
McIntosh vowed to try again.
"We'll go out again on our own, without the town," she said, minutes after hearing of the defeat. "As a separate project it's going to have a better chance. This town needs a library. That's the bottom line."


Research mainly on Jewish women show that 'Superbreeders' slow the ticking of biological clocks

Thirtysomething women who are nervous that their biological clock is ticking towards an infertile future were given a glimmer of hope by scientists yesterday.
They have discovered that small numbers of over 45-year-old women who are still able to conceive naturally have a genetic fingerprint that has helped to turn them into "superbreeders", capable of giving birth successfully well into middle age.
The special gene profile has been seen in Ashkenazi Jews and Bedouins of Arab descent, the leader of the team from Haddassah University hospital, Jerusalem, told the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology meeting in Copenhagen.
Neri Laufer said researchers would now study other ethnic groups to see whether some of them too had a genetic predisposition for pregnancies in middle age.
Dr Laufer gave most detail on the research among the Jewish women. His team studied 250 women over 45 who had conceived naturally. The women already had several children, with 80% having had six or more, and they had very few miscarriages.
"These two factors indicated to us that they had a natural ability to escape the ageing process of the ovaries," he said.
The researchers took blood samples from eight of the women, and from six others who had finished their families by the age of 30, to compare their genes. They found that the over-45s had a different gene pattern, particularly for genes involved in cell death and in DNA repair.
Most women begin to lose their fertility from the age of 30 and the chances of natural conception dive for women who are over 40.
"Cherie Blair is the lucky exception that proves the rule," said Bill Ledger of Sheffield University.
Professor Michael de Swiet, from Queen Charlotte's hospital, London, said he saw "quite a few" older mothers from the Jewish community in the capital. Overall however, women were choosing to be older mothers without being sufficiently aware of the risks to them and their babies, he said.
"In the UK, between 2000 and 2002, about 1,100 children lost their mothers because of pregnancy.
'If women delay their pregnancies till the age of 40 or more, they will have the worst recorded maternal mortality in western Europe, 35 per 100,000 maternities."


Orthodox Jewish inmate files suit over rules on shaving

An Orthodox Jew imprisoned in the Toledo Correctional Institution yesterday accused the state of interfering with his religious practices by forcing him to shave his beard and sideburns.
Ralph Beasley, who is serving a life sentence in the North Toledo prison for murder, filed a lawsuit yesterday against state officials in U.S. District Court in Toledo.
Beasley, 52, claims that his constitutional rights were violated when Khelleh Kontek, warden of the facility, ordered him to shave his beard and sideburns.
Mr. Kontek and Reginald Wilkinson, director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, were named as defendants in the lawsuit, which was assigned to Judge James Carr.
Harland Britz, a Toledo attorney who filed the complaint, said Beasley, a practicing Orthodox Jew, was transferred to the Toledo facility in March, 2004 from the Marion facility, which provides a religious-living program for inmates. It allowed for Beasley to keep his beard and sideburns.
But when Beasley arrived at the Toledo prison, he was told that he had to cut his beard and sideburns because departmental policy prohibits beards longer than one-half inch on inmates.
According to the lawsuit, Beasley allowed an inmate to cut his facial hair even though he believed he was entitled to retain the beard and sideburns as a practice of his Jewish faith.
Mr. Britz said Beasley has resumed keeping his beard and sideburns untrimmed.
Beasley was sent to prison in 1991 after being convicted in Cuyahoga County of murder and using a gun in the crime. He will be eligible for parole in four years.
Andrea Dean, spokesman for the state prisons department, said the restriction on beard lengths is intended to prevent inmates from using facial hair as a place to hide weapons or contraband, and not intended to harass inmates.
She said inmates can ask for a waiver to exceed the hair-length policy.
"We have allowed inmates to have beards of a certain length due to their religious beliefs," she said.
The lawsuit cites a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld a federal law requiring state prisons to accommodate the religious beliefs of inmates and ruled that a permissible accommodation of religion does not violate the separation of church and state.
In a May 31 decision, the justices agreed unanimously with several Ohio inmates who complained that they were denied access to religious literature and the opportunity to conduct services.
Ms. Dean said the inmate complaints were being reviewed on a case-by-case basis to determine if the issues are legitimate.


Biker crashes into fire truck in Williamsburg

A motorcyclist was seriously injured last night when he stopped abruptly, flew off his bike and slid underneath a fire truck answering an alarm in Brooklyn, fire officials said.
The incident occurred about 8:50 p.m. as a truck from Engine Co. 221 was rushing to a reported fire at a synagogue in the Williamsburg section, Deputy Fire Chief Michael Marrone said.
The cyclist stopped suddenly to make way for the fire engine and landed under the truck, which was turning onto Broadway from Driggs Avenue. He was dragged about 20 feet, Marrone said.
The man, who was caught under the middle section of the truck, was rushed to Bellevue Hospital Center, where he was admitted in serious condition with leg injuries, Marrone said.
Julia Altaminarino, 51, said she saw firefighters pulling the injured man from under the truck from her third-floor window."When I heard the sirens I came to look out the window, and I saw the man under the truck," she said. "I thought he was dead. But then he raised his arms up to his neck. I said, 'Oh, thank God, he's alive,'" she said.
Felix Kortrigst, 46, a Fresh Direct driver who was delivering groceries, said he heard the victim screaming in Spanish for help.
You could hear him say 'help,'" Kortrigst said. "I am just praying for the guy because I am sure he's not in one piece."
Marrone said the truck was responding to a fire in a synagogueon Hooper Street. He said the fire, which turned out to be burning rubbish, was under investigation.
Pete Bowles is a staff writer. Marlene Peralta is a freelance writer.


Campaign urges Jews to donate babies' blood for stem cell pool

A stem cell donor agency in Boca Raton is launching a campaign to encourage Jews throughout South Florida to donate their newborn babies' umbilical cord blood to be used to develop treatments for some cancers and blood disorders.
The agency, Gift of Life, said Jewish participation in national stem cell banks is so low that Jews are often unable to find stem cell treatments.
Stem cells can be retrieved from the umbilical cord after birth, then used to develop treatments that boost the immune system and replace unhealthy stem cells that have caused disease. Increasing the number of donors with similar ethnic backgrounds will increase the odds of a successful match.
"Jews are not well-represented in the national registries," said Jay Feinberg, executive director of Gift of Life. "By increasing the representation, we'll save the lives of Jewish patients."
In South Florida, the agency will start appealing to mothers-to-be at synagogues and Jewish organizations.
The effort follows an umbilical cord donation campaign started by Gift of Life in Brooklyn, N.Y., in late May. A second Brooklyn-based group, Kehila Cord, is also appealing to religious Jews for donations. That group is advertising in two high-profile national Jewish publications, urging Jews to donate -- and reminding them that, under strict Jewish laws that raise the question of when life begins, this process is "undisputedly permissible."
"This is the first time there is a concerted effort to target the Jewish community," said Rabbi Shmuel Lefkowitz, spokesman for Dor Yeshorim, which is running the Kehila Cord program in New York. "Normally, this blood would go into the garbage. [To donate], it's a mitzvah."
Experts say stem cells from umbilical cord blood can be used to treat cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma, immune system disorders, inherited metabolic disease and sickle cell anemia. The procedure is still considered experimental, and recipients of cord blood must sign a consent form, said Dr. Gary Kleiner, a pediatric immunologist who works on umbilical cord research for the University of Miami.
Stem cells from umbilical cords don't evoke the same controversy and ethical considerations as embryonic stem cells; umbilical cords are usually discarded as medical waste.



Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Beware: Unmarked Police car patrolling Williamsburg giving tickets

Beware, there is a white unmarked Chevy Impala Police car, with a Hispanic Police Officer driving, going around in Williamsburg pulling over cars and giving tickets. These tickets range in offenses from lack of wearing a seat belt to speaking on a cell phone and for various other offenses.

Chernobyl Chassidus in Israel fighting with Sefardim over Shul

A Shul that was originally given by the Israeli Government to Chernobyl Chassidus to divide in half with a Sefardy Kehilla is now the center of a large dispute. The problems arose after the Chassidim got angry that not-so-Chareidi Sefardim were given the other half of the Shul. Also Chernobyl move up the dividing wall, in effect reducing the size of the Sefardy portion. This led the Sefardy Chief Rabbi to get involved. The Chernobyle Rebbe met with Sefardy Chief Rabbi to settle the issue. The Chief Rabbi said that by now the issue was way out of hand and would have to be dealt with in the Israeli courts.

Satmar Rebbe taken into Hospital

Satmar Rebbe was taken into the Hospital. The oilem is asked to please have him in zin when they say Tehilim. May he have a Refuah Sheleimah speedily.

Bnos Tzion D'Bobov High School Graduates today

Bnos Tzion Bobover High School had their Graduation today. 14th Avenue was swarming with Bobover girls preparing for the ceremonies. Neither R' Bentzion nor R' M. D. were reportedly present at the Graduation.

Monroe set to vote today on $12.9 million Library and Town Hall building

Voters will decide today if the Town of Monroe should spend $12.9 million to build a 40,000-square-foot home for the Monroe Free Library and Town Hall.
Polling stations have been set up in two places: Kiryas Joel residents will vote in the basement of the Ezras Choilim Medical Center on Forest Road; everyone else in Monroe will cast ballots at the Monroe Senior Center on Mine Road. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
If approved, the two-story building would be erected on town-owned land off Route 208 at the entrance to the Village of Monroe. Library officials estimate the project would raise taxes by $1.94 per $1,000 of assessed value, or $97 a year for a home assessed at $50,000.


Heimishe Bocher gets Federal summons for driving on park trail

Federal Summons

While driving on a park trail by Dead Horse Bay, across from Floyd Bennett Field, a Heimishe Bocher was pulled over by a Federal Cop. The Cop right away called for backup to assist him. The Cop looked into the Bocher's car and asked him for his license and registration. Though there was no sign stating that the trail was Federal property and was off-limits to private civilians, the Cop nevertheless gave the Bocher a Federal summons. The Bocher plans to fight the summons in Federal Court.


Monday, June 20, 2005

Hatzolah Paramedic marries off daughter at Razag Hall in Crown Heights

A long time Hatzolah member and Paramedic married off his daughter at the Razag Hall in Crown Heights last night. At the Chasunah there was a large presence of Hatzolah members from various neighborhoods. After the wedding was over a Hatzolah radio was found at the hall, it apparently fell off a member during dancing. The radio has as of now still not been claimed by any Hatzolah member.

Department of Sanitation Supervisor pays visit to Roth's Clothing

A New York City Department of Sanitation Supervisor was passing by Roth's Clothing on 53rd Street between 13th and New Utrecht Avenues when he noticed a large pile of garbage in front of the store. The Supervisor quickly got out of his car and hastily marched into the store to confront the owner.

Satmar slated to build new Shul in Williamsburg

Satmar will building a new Shul in Williamsburg. The Shul will be built by Lee Gardens. Construction is scheduled to begin in the very near future. I guess this is one more Shul to fight about.

Lead paint found in Heimishe apartment

A Heimishe child was at the doctor and underwent a routine lead test which resulted in a show of high blood lead levels. The family had the apartment checked for lead. The New York City Health Department came down to check out the apartment. It turned out that though the apartment had been repainted freshly, however the porch still contained lead paint. The family has temporarily moved out of their apartment. Consumption of paint chips containing lead can cause high blood lead levels in children. Elevated levels for an extended period of time can lead to brain damage or learning delay and disabilities.


Sunday, June 19, 2005

Heimishe and Shiksa car accident on 14th Avenue and 56th Street

A Heimishe guy in a 4x4 and a Shiksa in a sporty coupe were both stopped perpendicular from each other at an all-way stop sign at the corner of 14th Avenue and 56th Street, when the coupe all of a sudden shot ahead hitting the 4x4 then careening into the light poll at the opposite corner. The coupe then turned to the left from the impact and kept on going. The coupe nearly smashed into a parked car on the Avenue before coming to a stop. Hatzolah was at the scene within seconds and treated the woman from the coupe. The 4x4 driver was apparently unharmed. A Hatzolah member flagged down a Police car that was passing by. A couple of moments later an Auxiliary Police car with three Auxiliary Police Officers, two of them being Heimish, passed by and began chatting in Yiddish with some of the people standing around in a thick Yiddishe accent. Apparently 'Aless iz geven A-vun okay uff der scene'.

The Shiksa's sporty coupe


The Heimishe guy's 4x4


Camp Shalva ordered status quo by Judge Kramer

In attempt to settle with Camp Shalva in order to be able to open it this summer, Judge Kramer was asked to hurry along his decision as to the status of whom would have ownership and control of the camp. The Judge ordered that it remain as it was last year and that all expenses and profits or losses be split evenly by both sides.

R' Sheya Rubin names grandson Naftula Tzvi after his Father-In-Law

R' Sheya Rubin, the oldest Son-In-Law of the last Bobover Rebbe, R' Naftulche, named his grandson, the son of R' Eliezer Shimon Horowitz, his Son-In-Law, Naftula Tzvi after the Rebbe. This is the first Naftula Tzvi in the family. The name giving after R' Naftulche coincides with his wishes of him not wanting any buildings or organizations named after him, he however instructed that is was alright to name children after him.


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