Friday, June 30, 2006

Kosher meat plant in Postville expands into Nebraska

A kosher meat packing plant in Postville that revitalized the job picture in a part of northeast Iowa has expanded into a neighboring state. This week is a grand opening celebration for Local Pride, a packing plant in Gordon, Nebraska. The Local Pride plant opened last July, but plant manager Gary Ruse says they wanted to wait until it was in full operation before holding a grand opening.

All the areas of the plant are now open, inclduing processing, boning, packing and shipping. Also attending will be members of the Rubashkin family, who opened the Postville plant in Iowa more than ten years ago. They produce kosher meat, and the high quality of their products has attracted world attention and international customers.

The owners are Hasidim, members of a strict Jewish sect. Ruse is pleased that they'll be appearing at the grand opening of the expansion plant. Some of the owners live in Iowa, some in New York. Some of the family members will be on hand for the opening of their second plant and see the changes that have taken place.

Ruse says while the Nebraska plant has been in operation less than a year, it's already had a strong impact on the local and regional economies.
The plant buys livestock from five or six different states, and with new areas of the plant open now he says they'll be able to handle even more livestock. This week's grand opening in Nebraska includes a kosher barbecue.



Thursday, June 29, 2006

Der Villiamsburg Trolley


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Orthodox Abuse And Cultural Forces

For those closely following the issue of rabbinical sexual abuse accusations in the fervently Orthodox Jewish community, last week’s Jewish Week represented something of a historic moment: An authority from the esteemed haredi organization Agudath Israel, Rabbi Avi Shafran, openly acknowledged that sexual abuse is indeed a problem that requires more attention and measures than the community currently brings to bear.

In the past, The Jewish Week’s own reporting has mentioned how rabbinical sexual abuse has been roundly ignored at Agudath Israel conventions. Rabbi Shafran himself has eschewed any calls for a centralized body to deal with the problem, instead encouraging anyone claiming to have been abused to “go to the rebbe or community rabbi.” So it is refreshing to read Rabbi Shafran grappling with these issues in an open forum and writing, “Must more be done? Yes. And it will be.”

But pausing only briefly to extend sympathy to victims of abuse, Rabbi Shafran saves his real outrage — and most of the space in his piece — for my recent feature story in New York magazine, “On the Rabbi’s Knee,” the first report to publicly detail plaintiff David Framowitz’s astonishing allegations in a recent sexual-abuse lawsuit. (The defendants are Rabbi Yehuda Kolko, Yeshiva & Mesivta Torah Temimah of Flatbush, and Camp Agudah, which Rabbi Shafran acknowledged is affiliated with Agudath Israel.) While the detailed and brave testimony of Framowitz received little attention from Rabbi Shafran, the uncomfortable question asked in my piece — if molestation is more common in the fervently Orthodox community than it is elsewhere — must have hit a nerve. Because last week, Rabbi Shafran accused the New York magazine article of “slip[ping] toward slander, not only of Orthodox Jews but of Judaism itself.”


R' Mordche Dovid people going strong with Machne Kayitz

Machne Kayitz, which has been acquired by R' Mordche Dovid Unger's people, will be proceeding as scheduled with their boys' camp. Operators of the camp claim that everything is going ahead smoothly and that enrollment in the camp has been better than they had anticipated.

Lakewood Shomrim head, Chaim Rubin, charged with attempted bribery of Rabbi beating cop, Erik Menck, and another

The township man behind a new neighborhood watch program — one police officials have yet to endorse because of concerns over how well it would work with law enforcement — has been charged with two counts of attempting to bribe a police officer.

Chaim Rubin, 25, was charged with trying to bribe Officer Erik Menck to help resolve traffic summonses involving Rubin's wife.

The second-degree felony charges against Rubin — each carrying a potential jail term of five to 10 years if he's convicted — predate his forming of Shomrim, a neighborhood watch program.

Shomrim, which roughly translates from Hebrew as "watchers," was formed in the wake of a still-unsolved sexual assault involving a young Orthodox woman.

But Shomrim isn't why Rubin — who declined comment Tuesday — was charged with two counts of bribing Menck. According to both his arrest warrant and an affidavit filed in state Superior Court, Toms River, this week:

Rubin's wife, Raizel, was stopped last fall by Lakewood Officer Michael Ruiz for an undisclosed motor vehicle violation. On Sept. 28, Rubin showed up at Menck's father's house and asked to speak to Menck.

Rubin said that Ruiz stopped Mrs. Rubin and, although the officer didn't have a ticket book on him, said he would later issue summonses. Rubin quickly arrived and told Ruiz that Rubin and Menck were friends.

When Menck and Rubin were finished talking, Rubin handed him an envelope and stated "I appreciate you talking to the other officer."

Rubin left, and when Menck opened the envelope, he found four $100 bills.

Menck talked with Ruiz to confirm Rubin's account and then reported the incident to his superiors in the Police Department.

Public Safety Director Al Peters said Tuesday he would not comment on the case.

Menck also gave a taped statement to Ocean County Prosecutor's Office Senior Investigator Todd L. Friedman, who set up another meeting with Rubin. Menck wore a wire and the conversation was recorded.

"Mr. Rubin acknowledged the $400 bribe and asked if the amount . . . was enough," Friedman wrote in the affidavit. "Mr. Rubin stated that "one hand washes the other' and that he would rather give Erik the money than the government. Mr. Rubin also refers to not needing the summonses and continued to tell Erik to enjoy the money. Mr. Rubin then alluded to offering more money to Patrolman Ruiz if needed."

Rubin and Menck met again Sept. 30. Rubin handed Menck $200 and "discussed that the money would go to Patrolman Ruiz." Rubin said another $100 could be paid, if needed.

On Oct. 7, Menck called Rubin to meet again. When they did, Rubin gave him $100.

Rubin, who lives on Malka Way and moved to Lakewood about two-and-a-half years ago, said Tuesday he could not comment without talking to his lawyer, Abraham Penzer. Penzer's office did not return a call for comment.

Rubin would not say what effect his arrest would have on Shomrim, which operates its own Web site and telephone hotline.

Robert A. Gasser, executive assistant Ocean County prosecutor, said the charges against Rubin were filed Monday because investigators wanted to wait to see if any more incidents of bribery would occur.



Tuesday, June 27, 2006

More Mohel News

After a hiatus, we once again wade into the very uncomfortable waters of metzitah b'feh, the controversial circumcision ritual in which the practitioner, or mohel, sucks the blood from the circumcision to clean the wound. The practice has resulted in the death of at least one child from herpes.

A blog called The Canonist has acquired a letter sent by the city's Health Commissioner, Thomas Frieden, to his counterpart on the state level, Antonia Novello, criticizing the state's protocol to prevent the transmission of herpes from mohels to infants.

Frieden, who has circulated advisories in Yiddish warning of the dangers of the practice, notes in the letter that the state's protocol "does not mention any role for local health officers" and makes clear that his department "does not intend to cede its authority to investigate disease incidence occurring in New York City and to intervene when appropriate."

It's worth noting that back in January, the Central Rabbinical Council asked Frieden to do just that - cede his authority to the state health department, which they assumed would be less aggressive on the issue. The city's criticism of the practice grew into a full out campaign issue in some Orthodox sections of Brooklyn, where some Satmar members bristled at City Hall's interference in what they considered a religious rite (and right). Before Bloomberg's reelection there was even talk of a deal, in which the city would decrease their pressure in exchange for political support.

But according to the letter, Frieden hasn't backed down and is still on the case. He takes issue with language in the state's protocol that suggests that a community could by justified in not cooperating with an investigation into an alleged transmission of the disease. "There is absolutely no justification for not cooperating in an investigation surrounding a potentially life-threatening illness in an infant."

Perhaps the most troubling element of the letter, however, is what Frieden calls his "fourth fundamental concern" with the protocol:

"That the children of parents for whom metzitzah b'peh is not considered religiously necessary may undergo this procedure without the knowledge and/or request of both parents."


Hearing set in simple assault case

A township man charged with simple assault of a 15-year-old teenager — a case that has spurred bias allegations from the NAACP — has a court hearing scheduled for next week.

Elchonon Zimmerman, 43, of Lawrence Avenue, is scheduled to appear in Lakewood Municipal Court at 9:30 a.m. July 6, according to Carol Jenkins, court administrator.

The court date will be Zimmerman's first public appearance since he was charged May 17. Zimmerman has not returned calls for comment.

The case began when the teen, Jamarr Dickerson, cut through an alley on Lawrence Avenue, police have said.

Zimmerman, a private school teacher, told Dickerson that he was on private property and tried to take the teen's picture with a cell phone camera. A scuffle ensued and when a patrolman arrived, he found Zimmerman kneeling on Dickerson's back, authorities say.

Zimmerman was charged with simple assault, but the Ocean County/Lakewood branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has called for bias crime charges to be filed.

Dickerson told Warren A. Sherard, branch president, that several men who appeared to be Orthodox Jews surrounded him and Zimmerman and uttered racial slurs.

Several mentioned that a black youth should not be in a predominantly Orthodox neighborhood, Dickerson told NAACP officials.

Lakewood police and the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office investigated, but declined to press bias charges. Investigators say they cannot find any of the men who allegedly said racial slurs.

And since Zimmerman is not accused of saying the slurs, authorities say he cannot be charged with a bias crime.


Meyer Wertheimer two jobs, triple the salary

The man who runs nonprofit organizations for the disabled in Kiryas Joel and the Monsey area of Rockland County made $452,000 in total compensation in 2004 - almost triple the pay of one industry peer with a much larger operation to run.

Meyer Wertheimer, executive director of Provider-Hamaspik of Orange County Inc. and Provider-Hamaspik of Rockland County Inc., collected $283,000 that year in separate salaries for the two organizations, which operate independently.

The other $169,000 spent that year on Wertheimer is less clearly defined. Federal tax forms classify it as "contributions to employee benefit plans & deferred compensation"; Wertheimer and someone claiming to speak for his board of directors in Kiryas Joel called it money set aside for retirement.

Wertheimer's total pay dwarfed the $158,000 earned that year by the executive director of Orange County AHRC, a similar nonprofit whose $26 million budget is double that of Hamaspik's Kiryas Joel and Monsey operations combined.

Wertheimer's nearest competitor among nonprofits for the developmentally disabled in this region appears to be James DeStefano, who earned $235,490 in 2004 to run Occupations Inc., a Middletown-based nonprofit that also takes in twice as much revenue as the two Hamaspiks.

Hamaspik runs group homes and provides other services for disabled children and adults in three Orthodox Jewish communities. It has no connection to the Kiryas Joel public school for students with mental and physical disabilities.

Hamaspik has separate nonprofits in Kiryas Joel, Monsey and Brooklyn. The Kiryas Joel chapter formed in 1988 and has its own board of directors. The Monsey and Brooklyn chapters, created in 1997, have virtually identical boards, with the exception that Wertheimer is listed as president of the Brooklyn board. The Brooklyn chapter has a different executive director.



Monday, June 26, 2006

State blocks Jewish, journalism web sites

A site dedicated to Bible study was included on a government "blacklist" of Internet pages blocked to state employees in an effort by administrators to boost workers' efficiency.
State officials also blocked government employees' access to other Web addresses including at least three Jewish-related Web sites, newspaper blogs and the University of Kentucky's Institute for Rural Journalism.

Internet addresses included on the so-called "blacklist" have been blocked by the Commonwealth Office of Technology, according to a letter from the Finance and Administration Cabinet. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the list.

Last week, officials blocked state employees from surfing various Internet categories including entertainment and humor, online auctions and weblogs. The state also blocked employees from viewing http://www (dot) bluegrassreport (dot) org, after operator Mark Nickolas was quoted in a New York Times article being critical of Governor Fletcher's administration.

Nickolas has used his site to criticize various politicians, and has blasted the governor during the ongoing personnel investigation.

Finance Cabinet general counsel Gwen Pinson says following the round of sites blocked last week, there were additional Internet addresses that were found to have "slipped through the cracks."


The youngest survivor

Post your pictures of Boro-Park riot survivors wearing their riot gear.

Upload your photo to Tinypic, Imageshack or some other free image hosting service and post a link here.

Buy your own Boro-Park Riot Gear

You're eating insects and probably don't know it

Scan the package ingredient list next time you buy candy, ice cream or beverages with a reddish hue. The color may have come from ground-up insects.

That's right. Instead of artificial red dyes, some food manufacturers list "natural" colorings called "carmine" or "cochineal."

The pigments are derived from female cochineal insects, which are raised on farms in Peru, Mexico and the Canary Islands. It takes 70,000 of them to make one pound of carmine, according to the Wall Street Journal. The abdomens and eggs of the females contain the most intense color; those parts are dried, ground and heated to produce the dye.

Carmine is in the box of pink and white Good & Plenty candy I have sitting on my desk. It's in the Dannon Fruit on the Bottom boysenberry yogurt I had for lunch last week. It's in the Tropicana Orange Strawberry Banana juice I recently served to overnight guests.

Not all manufacturers that use carmine or cochineal are upfront about it on the package ingredient list. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration allows some food tints to be obfuscated under terms like "color added" or "artificial color." So the snack you are eating may have bug bellies in it. You just don't know it.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), the health-advocacy group that railed against movie-theater butter and beef fat in fast-food fries, in 1998 petitioned the FDA to force food manufacturers to clearly disclose the presence of carmine and cochineal in foods.

It wasn't until this year that the FDA proposed a rule requiring just that.

In the proposed rule, the agency declared its intent to require all food products that contain the rosy bugs to "specifically declare the presence of the color additive by its respective common or unusual name, cochineal extract or carmine, in the ingredient statement of the food label."



Sunday, June 25, 2006


Your worst parking experience ever

If you have lived in Boro-Park all your life, you might think that parking while talking on the phone, breaking up a fight between your kids and waving to a friend while honking to another car to get out of your way is considered to be normal parking practice. Is that the case? Whether you are a native Boro-Parker (no pun intended) and feel totally comfortable with this, or if you are an out-of-towner and are being driven (again no pun intended) up a wall by this chaos, post here your absolute worst parking experience ever that you have had in Boro-Park.

Bodies to probe kosher meat plant

Two key national bodies of Conservative Judaism have created a task force to investigate and respond to complaints of substandard working conditions at US largest kosher slaughterhouse, first described in a Forward investigation.

Separately, initial steps have been taken by national bodies of Orthodox Judaism to examine the validity of the allegations and explore possible responses. Sources among Orthodox leadership said the steps came in response to expressions of alarm from "members and constituents."

The Conservative movement's task force, spearheaded by Rabbi Morris Allen, will begin its work with a fact-finding mission to Postville, Iowa, the home of the kosher slaughterhouse AgriProcessors. The task force is a joint project of the movement's two national bodies, the Rabbinical Assembly and the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. Allen co-chairs the United Synagogue's social action committee.

"We are major consumers of this meat," said Allen, who has made past visits to the Iowa slaughterhouse from his base in nearby Minnesota. "To remain silent in the face of what may be inappropriate business practices is totally inappropriate on our part."

Initial steps within the Orthodox community have been less decisive. The largest organization of Orthodox rabbis, the Rabbinical Council of America, sent a representative earlier this month to investigate working conditions at the plant, but no findings had been released at press time.

Several sources inside the Orthodox Union, the main Orthodox congregational association and the nation's largest kosher certifying organization, said there has been disagreement about how to assess the conditions and what the movement's response should be.



Saturday, June 24, 2006

City, synagogue close to settling suit

A five-year battle between Hollywood and a group of Orthodox Jews could end on the eve of trial if the synagogue accepts terms the city hammered out Friday afternoon.

City commissioners voted late Friday to allow Hollywood Community Synagogue Chabad Lubavitch to stay in two Hollywood Hills homes if the group drops its two-year-old religious discrimination lawsuit against the city and Commissioner Sal Oliveri.

The proposal does not include any payment from the city to Chabad. And how long the group could stay would depend on whether it meets revamped standards for allowing religious groups to operate in residential neighborhoods, City Attorney Dan Abbott said.

Since the congregation began meeting in the North 46th Avenue homes in 2001, angry neighbors have complained about clogged streets, parked cars that blocked traffic, and noisy celebrations.

The city responded with strict code enforcement, fines, and then denied the group a special permit after allowing it to operate for another year. Chabad sued, and the conflict escalated into a full-fledged federal case -- literally.

The U.S. Justice Department joined the suit in 2005, saying the city was discriminating against the Chabad, while allowing other religious groups to operate in residential areas.

Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard ruled against the city, deciding that its requirement of a ''special exception'' permit was vague and unconstitutional, making it possible to manipulate the approval process to discriminate against a group. The permits are required for religious groups to operate houses of worship in single-family districts.

This week, Lenard dealt the city another blow by indicating that Chabad Lubavitch was entitled to damages. She also denied Commissioner Oliveri's request for immunity. Under the settlement, the city would make all religious groups, including the Chabad, reapply for the permit, but only if ordered to by Lenard.

The city's offer would need approval from the Chabad, the U.S. Justice Department and the city's insurance carrier. The trial is to begin Monday.



Friday, June 23, 2006

Firemen putting out an electrical fire

The firemen are putting out an electrical fire on East 28th Street between Avenues L and M that started from a downed power line.

High-density Kiryas Joel housing votes rejected

The controversial high-density housing proposal the Woodbury Town Board pushed through last year, ostensibly to block an even higher-density expansion by neighboring Kiryas Joel, could collapse after a court ruling this week.

On Monday, acting state Supreme Court Justice Elaine Slobod threw out a series of Nov. 3 votes by the board that would allow developers to build 451 homes near Monroe-Woodbury High School - nearly three times the amount of houses possible under the existing law.

The decision came in response to a lawsuit brought by project neighbors. They argued the town had skirted the objections of county planners and various plans for growth, including its own 1988 master plan, to force the massive development through the system.

Propelling the request was an ultimatum by Pearl River-based builder Bill Brodsky, who said he might sell the property to developers from Kiryas Joel if he couldn't get the higher density on the 398-acre patch of woods and fields off Dunderberg Road.

That stirred fears that land around the Hasidic community of 18,000 would one day give way to the tightly packed condominiums typical within its 1.1 square miles. So Woodbury leaders wound up supporting high-density housing while most local town halls were doing everything they could to put the brakes on development.

But in their rush to push the plan through with a 4-1 vote five days before Election Day, the Town Board failed to send the proper documents to the county planning department, which opposed the plan, Slobod said.



Thursday, June 22, 2006

R' Bentzion crashes into the Kallah during the Mitzvah Tantz

Watch this video of R' Bentzion crashing into the Kallah during the Mitzvah Tantz and one of his Chasidim coming to his rescue. This video is currently one of the top popular videos on Google.

Immigration Battle Splitting Locals in Iowa

This rural town's reservoir of neighborly good will has been drained in recent weeks by an increasingly personal debate about the immigrants lining up for work at the local slaughterhouse — the nation's largest kosher meatpacking plant.

At a packed town council meeting June 12, seven local clergy members, including a rabbi, issued a statement that denounces members of the town council for making critical comments about the Mexicans, Guatemalans and Jews who work at the slaughterhouse.

A few weeks earlier, the council's most vocal anti-immigrant member, Jeff Reinhardt, wrote in the local paper that the town's Hispanics have "a lack of respect for our laws and culture which contributes to unwed mothers, trash in the streets, unpaid bills, drugs, forgery, and other crimes." He also criticized what he described as the isolated ways of Postville's Hasidic Jews.

The town of Postville was upended and remade by the arrival of the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidim who came to town in 1989 to open AgriProcessors. Just as the dust was

settling from their arrival, Hispanic workers began showing up to look for jobs. In total, over the past decade, 500 to 1,000 have come — almost doubling the town's population and significantly altering its ethnic mix.

While this dose of diversity seemed to be going down smoothly for a number of years — after a number of initial clashes — last fall's council elections saw four of five seats go to candidates, including Reinhardt, who were openly critical of the town's changing face. Since then, the council has scaled back relations with AgriProcessors. It also has cut funding for the local visitors center that had worked with the Hispanic immigrants.


Milsa Bedichese

A Litvishe Yingerman without a beard moves with his family from Denver to Boro-Park and wants to join a Chasidishe Kollel. The Yingerman goes to see the Rosh HaKollel, who asks him some questions in learning and about his previous Kollel experiences. The Yingerman knows his stuff and impresses the Rosh HaKollel, to which the Rosh HaKollel replies, "You are accepted, it will be our pleasure to have you here in our Kollel learning with us. Just make sure to be here by noon every day." "By noon?", the clean-shaven Yingerman asks. "What time does Kollel begin?" The Rosh HaKollel answers him with an ernest look on his face, "Oh, Kollel starts at ten o'clock, but the first two hours everyone just sits around pulling their beard."

Kiryas Joel eyes Lew Beach land

Kiryas Joel leaders could collaborate on the development of 520 acres in this picturesque pocket of the Catskill Mountains where Irving Berlin once spent his summers and the rich inhabit grand vacation estates.

Representatives of the growing Hasidic community 65 miles southeast of Lew Beach have been discussing development of the property with Robert Lawrence Jr., a Realtor who works in Goshen and whose family has owned the huge Sullivan County tract in the Town of Rockland for generations.

Lawrence, an outspoken defender of Kiryas Joel in its recent growth-related battles with neighboring towns and Orange County lawmakers, describes the project as an effort to build a new Hasidic community far from the lacerating disputes in southern Orange County.

"I owned it, and I struck a deal to develop it with them as a Jewish village," Lawrence said of his family's land yesterday. "It's just going to be an extension of Kiryas Joel at this point."

But there were also indications yesterday that the notion of a full-fledged community cropping up in the midst of trout-fishing country is overblown, or at least highly premature.

Kiryas Joel leaders, who asked to remain anonymous because they insist plans are undefined, suggested the property might be developed with second homes for Orthodox empty-nesters - similar to those proliferating in other parts of Sullivan County - and Orthodox summer camps.

But a Lew Beach sequel to Kiryas Joel is not in the cards at this point, village leaders said.

Lawrence's hilly, forested property is on the market for $14 million. It sits within just a few miles of some of the world's most famous trout streams. Lew Beach itself consists of a Rockefeller-owned general store, one office building, a firehouse and a handful of Victorian-style farm houses. The Rockefeller family owns tracts of land around Lew Beach.

The development proposal has generated mixed signals from the outset. One concerns the involvement of Kiryas Joel's municipal government, as opposed to its private developers and financiers - always a blurry line in the insular community.


Yeshiva plan draws fierce opposition

Midwood resident are furious over a yeshiva's plan to build a second school on a street they charge has already been overrun by yeshiva-related traffic.

Rabbi Meir Gutfreund wants to build a 250-seat yeshiva high school less than a block down Elmwood Ave. from the Cheder School, a yeshiva opened in 2002 that has been praised by academics but bashed by neighbors.

"The traffic is terrible during the day and there's no peace at night," said Morton Pupko, president of the Kensington-Flatbush Preservation Association. "It's terrible."

Opponents insist that it isn't the yeshiva they're against, but the 17 proposed variances that would allow the school to rise three stories and to run right up to the sidewalk.

Gutfreund's plans for the new school building also require an exemption from providing new parking spaces, according to an application filed with the Board of Standards and Appeals.

Gutfreund's lawyer Eric Palatnik said the Cheder School draws traffic because it houses pre-K through ninth-grade students, who typically get rides from parents or school buses.

The proposed yeshiva would take in high school-aged students, who would walk or take trains, said Palatnik.

"They've established a successful school in this community and there needs to be a secondary school and the most logical place for it is down the street," Palatnik said.

The issue has become so contentious that some opponents have accused supporters of the yeshiva of falsely claiming that a community board meeting was canceled to deter foes from showing up.



Wednesday, June 21, 2006

What they do at Amnon's Pizza late at night


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Rabbi Leizerowitz - The other side of the story

We at the Chaptzem! Blog are always dedicated to bringing you the highest quality of Heimishe news reporting. Therefore, in order to give both sides of the story a fair chance to be heard and to let you get a full picture of the situation, we have conducted a full and thorough interview with a Gerer Yingerman.

Please keep in mind that the following information is based only and entirely on the opinion of the Yingerman that was interviewed. Other entities involved may or may not agree with this opinion.

According to the Yingerman interviewed, who happens to know Rabbi Leizerowitz on a personal basis, there is absolutely no truth at all to these allegations and rumors about him. When asked why the Rebbe sent Rabbi Leizerowitz back to Israel, the Yingerman said that Rabbi Leizerowitz was never sent back and that being that him and his wife are both Israeli and all his married children live there, he had decided to move back to Israel to be with his family. When asked why there were so many fingers pointing at Rabbi Leizerowitz, the Yingerman explained that Rabbi Leizerowitz had been a Mashgiach at the Yeshivah for over twenty five years and he was sure that some disgruntled talmidim, which is inevitable to occur, were just trying to get even with him. Even when questioned intensely and pushed against the wall, the Yingerman still did not waver from his belief of these rumors being totally baseless and untrue. So here you have it, the first interview with a Yingerman from the usually silent Gerer Chasidus given exclusively to the Chaptzem! Blog.

Porta-Potty lands on BQE

Watch this video of a Porta-Potty that fell off onto the BQE. Everybody just drives around it, not even bothering to push it to the side. Finally a good samaritan called the Police, who never showed up. The person then called the company to which the Porta-Potty belonged and they arrived and picked up their toilet in under twenty minutes.

Mechanic Uses 2 Manuals for Refrigeration Repairs

If one hangs around Lower Manhattan long enough, one may see a white Ford van with its exterior adorned with Hebrew lettering and diagrams about the Kabbalah, the ancient mystical movement often studied by Hasidic Jews that deals with the nature of divinity and creation of the soul.

The van is not filled with Jewish missionaries, but rather with a greasy jumble of valves, fan motors, blowtorches and other equipment and tools. On the door, in English, is the company name: Aleph Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Service. Aleph is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

Instead of some snappy slogan like "Don't Lose Your Cool" or "Let Us Chill You Out," there is the directive to "Study Kabbalah."

There is no cutesy company logo, like a smiling ice cube, but rather a puzzling weblike diagram labeled "Abraham's Ladder," with lines linking encircled words. Taken from the Kabbalah, the model has as its top element "infinite energy" and as its bottom, "material universe."

So what is with these mystical messages on a gritty construction van parked with other banged-up service vehicles on busy Manhattan streets?

Its owner, Nelson Cabezas, 58, is just waiting for you to ask, and if you catch him when he is not fixing a walk-in freezer, air-conditioning unit, sushi refrigerator or ice machine, he will offer as much explanation as you want.

Mr. Cabezas is not like most Kabbalah scholars. He is not a rabbi — he is not even Jewish. His parents came from Nicaragua, and he was raised on tough Bronx streets in the 1950's and 60's.

He is a refrigerator and air-conditioner mechanic with a theology degree. He is an ordained interfaith minister with a refrigeration engineer's license, who has spent the past few decades of his life studying refrigeration and the Kabbalah in tandem.



Monday, June 19, 2006

Accident on Kings Highway and East 26th Street

There were only some minor injuries in this accident.

Check eases school-use controversy

Chabad of Orange County Rabbi Pesach Burston handed schools Superintendent Marilyn Pirkle a check for $900 to cover the operating costs of a summer camp the religious outreach group will host at Taft Elementary School.

"We wanted to be good neighbors," Burston's wife, Chana, said yesterday. "The school's been wonderful to us."

The summer camp will be using the school and its grounds for three weeks in July.

The district has a policy that allows nonprofit groups, even ones not based in the community, to use school facilities free of charge as long as insurance is provided and the event is open to everyone in Washingtonville.

Parents expressed outrage over the district's policy, highlighting the Chabad camp as an example that it needs to change, especially in light of rising costs and taxes.

Some feared taxpayers would reject the district's $73 million budget because of the policy issue. By doing so, the district would have to go on austerity spending and be forced to charge a fee to all groups wanting to use school facilities.

That figure for Chabad amounted to about $900.

"We didn't want our camp to be in the way of a vote," Pesach Burston said yesterday. "Our goal is to bring unity to the community."

Pirkle called it a "gesture of good will." The school board must officially accept the Burston's donation.

A day earlier, the Kiryas Joel Alliance - a coalition of groups opposed to the dominant faction in the Satmar Hasidic village - wanted to be a good neighbor, too.

Alliance leaders gave Blooming Grove Supervisor Charles Bohan $1,200 to cover overtime expenses police incurred during the funeral for the sect's spiritual leader in April.



Sunday, June 18, 2006

Drunk driving accident on Avenue P and Ocean Parkway

The drunk man walked away from the accident without any injuries and was immediately arrested by Police.


Saturday, June 17, 2006

Drug bust in Boro-Park

The NYPD anti-crime unit chased down and arrested a car load full of drug dealers on New Utrecht Avenue and 53rd Street. The car loaded with two Mexican men one Mexican woman a black man and black woman and their two young children, ages 8 years and 11 months old, was being chased by the anti-crime unit for suspicion of selling drugs. The cops boxed in the car and forced it onto the sidewalk and into a pole. The three Mexicans took flight but were shortly apprehended by the cops and put into a caged van. The black man and woman, stayed in the car with their children and were handcuffed and put into the van as well. When the Police told the woman that her kids would be taken from her, she began to scream and demanded that they bring her an ambulance because she wasn't feeling well. An ambulance arrived at the scene and checked her out. Upon getting an all-clear from the ambulance crew, the woman was once again placed into the van and all the suspects were taken away.


Friday, June 16, 2006

Crown Heights shooting - Update 2

The child was shot twice in the back and once in the hand. He was taken into Kings County Hospital with a broken finger. Police were not involved in the incident and the identity of the shooter is being kept anonymous.

Williamsburg 'Artistin' utilize real estate better than Hasidim

Looking for a comfy abode in Brooklyn for a price unthinkable in New York City's red-hot real estate market? Adam Dougherty may be your man.

The Williamsburg sculptor put his backyard treehouse up for rent as a gag on the Web site Craigslist-dot-com, asking price 150 dollars.

Since last Saturday, the posting has drawn more than 30 prospective buyers, renters and vacationers.

Dougherty says he's got no intention of getting into property transactions, but he's taken by the sincerity of the people who have contacted him about the treehouse.



C. H. Shooting U. D. 

Shooting was between two Jewish kids with a bb gun. The hit child was taken to the hospital by Hatzalah.


Shooting in C. H. 

Person shot in Crown Heights, on Kingston Avenue and Montgomery Street.

Kiryas Joel check of $1,200 neighborly gesture

Supervisor Charles Bohan appeared speechless when Pinkus Jakobowitz walked into his office minutes before closing yesterday.

Jakobowitz, a leader of the Kiryas Joel Alliance - a coalition of groups opposed to the dominate faction in the Satmar Hasidic village - came with a message of peace.

"We do want to be good neighbors," Jakobowitz said. Then he reached into his pocket and pulled out a check for $1,200.

He passed it to Bohan. The two shook hands.

"Thank you. I appreciate that," Bohan said.

A pause.

"Well," said Bohan, holding the check. "There it is."

The extension of this olive branch comes on the heels of the Town Board's decision to sue the Village of Kiryas Joel for $1,200 the town spent on police overtime during the April 25 burial of Satmar Grand Rebbe Moses Teitelbaum.

When the town asked Kiryas Joel leaders to be reimbursed, the village said it wouldn't pay, but would ask the state Comptroller's Office for a ruling.

"The heart of the issue isn't really a dispute over $1,200," Jakobowitz said. "It was over the way it was rejected."

The exact amount due was $1,118.34. The alliance can expect a refund for the difference, Bohan said.



Thursday, June 15, 2006

Cabbie Killed In Crash With Suspected Flasher

Police say a suspected flasher is responsible for a fatal crash in Borough Park, Brooklyn.

In Sunset Park, the mother and mother in law of livery cab driver Luis Jativa mourn his death. He was killed in a bizarre car crash late last night.

Police said a half-naked man, George Boos, 58, of Long Island City was exposing himself to a woman near 50th Street and Ninth Avenue at around 8:45 p.m. Wednesday when police approached him.

Police said he jumped into his van, ran several red lights and slammed into the livery cab. The car was so mangled, the driver had to be cut out of the twisted metal.

Jativa died at the hospital a short time later.

"This wonderful person, nice, respectable, friendly, happy," said family friend John Majia. "I am shocked right now."

The suspected flasher was taken to Lutheran Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Police said the flasher had a BB gun in the van and had been arrested several times before for exposing himself in public over the last five years.

The scene of the car crash is right near I.S. 220.

"I am glad it wasn't when the kids were getting out of school," said I.S. 220 teacher Domenic Frasca. "It's terrible for the livery cab driver, horrible, horrible."

Police said the nearly naked man is not a suspect in a rash of attempted child abductions in the area.


Guttmans plead not guilty

The Guttmans, father Joshua and son Jacob, have plead not guilty today in their arraignment on charges of neglect that lead to the fire of their warehouse building. If found guilty, the father and son could face fines exceeding $2 Million.

M & H Cosmetics going out of business

M & H Cosmetics on 13th Avenue is going out of business and is putting on a going out of business sale. The owner has decided to retire after being in business for over 34 years. What a shame, they just got that new sign put up.


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Picture from the Metzitza B'Peh meeting

State Issues Guidelines for Metziza B'peh

After months of discussion, Orthodox rabbis and New York State Health Commissioner Antonia Novello signed a protocol on Monday that will regulate mohels’ use of metzizah b’peh.

Aimed to eliminate possible health hazards, especially the transmission of herpes, the protocol requires mohels to wash their hands with antimicrobial soap or an alcohol-based hand scrub for up to six minutes. The mohel must also apply a sterile alcohol wipe to his mouth and use mouthwash containing 25 percent alcohol for no less than 30 seconds and no more than five minutes before the circumcision. After performing metziza b’peh, the mohel must cover the area of the circumcision with an antibiotic ointment and sterile gauze.

The agreement comes in wake of accusations that the ancient ritual was recently responsible for the death of one child and the serious brain injury of another. Many, including the city’s health commissioner, Dr. Thomas Frieden, contended that the babies had contracted neonatal herpes from their mohel.

Commissioner Novello seemed pleased with the new guidelines. “[I]t might not be the most perfect protocol in the world, but before this, we had nothing.”


Michoel Schnitzler steals parking spot

A yingerman was driving down 53rd Street and 14th Avenue, he stopped to park and began to back into a parking space. While in reverse and half-ways into the spot, Michoel Schnitzler, with his son Zisha in the car, zooms into the spot head-in and stops. When the yingerman gets out of the car to tell him that he was in middle of parking in, Michoel replies saying that he had "thought" about parking in before him. The yingerman explained to Schnitzler that he was backing in which is the proper way to park and that it was unfair to take away the spot from him. Schnitzler refused to move saying that he had all day to wait there. The yingerman seeing that he had no choice and could obviously not wait around all day like a Chasunah singer, such as Schnitzler, left the spot and went to find parking elsewhere. After finding another spot nearby, the yingerman witnessed Schnitzler having a hearty breakfast with his son at Cafe Shalva.

The next MBD

He lip-syncs and sings other people's songs, just like MBD.


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Edgar Gluck, back from the Pope and ready for action

Edgar Gluck has returned from his visit with the Pope and is in the news already. State 1 wastes no time at all and makes sure to get himself seen and heard.


H & D Grocery selling business and buildings across the street

H & D Grocery on 13th Avenue and 54th Street has finally decided to throw in the towel and sell his store. The troubles started a couple of years ago when the children of Super 13, formerly Miller's Cheese, began to resurrect their parents' long dead grocery. The children, who needed the parnussah, put in a lot of work to build up the grocery to what it is now. All the while H & D idly sat by and let themselves get clobbered without even the slightest attempt at getting back their business. A couple of months ago, in a last ditch attempt at putting up some competition, H & D, along with a partner, bought off two buildings across the street from his grocery with a plan to open up a supermarket. A little while ago his partner pulled out of the deal, leaving him with a little too much to chew. As a result, H & D is now selling the grocery and he will be selling the two buildings across the street too. The asking price for both buildings is $3.8 Million. Who knows, maybe Super 13 has more kids that need a job.

Attempted car break-in in Boro-Park

A man tried to break into a car on 14th Avenue at 4 AM this morning. A few people saw what was going on and they confronted the guy, called Police and blocked him from running away. At this point the man began screaming at the top of his lungs that the men were trying to mug him. Three Police cars and two Shomrim cars arrived at the scene within five minutes. When the Cops arrived, the man kept on yelling that he had done nothing and these guys were trying to mug him. The Cops spoke to the guy for about two seconds and then told to get the heck out of there. The Cops told everyone to go home and then left the scene.


Monday, June 12, 2006

Torah Times selling business for $2 Million

The Torah Times advertising magazine, which tries to cater to the Heimishe Oilem, has announced that it is looking to sell the whole business for only $2 Million. The magazine, which is run by a Chasidishe Melamid, quickly built itself into a very lucrative business and now touts hundreds of ads in its every issue. The Melamid, who started it out as a side-job, feels that his magazine can bring in the dough and is therefore worth this hefty price.


Thirty-seven car owners in Williamsburg found their tires slashed yesterday in what was called anti-Semitic vandalism.

Police said the street-facing tires of the vehicles along Bedford Avenue and Division Street had all been punctured with a knife sometime Saturday night.

A Hasidic man fixing the tires on his minivan said it was blatant racism, given the mostly Orthodox neighborhood.

When it was pointed out that three of the cars had Puerto Rican flags in the windows, the man, who declined to be identified, said, "That's just collateral damage. Trust me, they were just after Jews."

I guess next time the Aroinim slash tires they'll know to skip the cars with a flag.


Need your Cell-Phone M'Ishar unlocked?

If you desperately need to have your Cell-Phone M'Ishar unlocked to enable text-messaging and still look like a farfrimte, there is a certain jaded cell phone store that is more than happy to oblige for free.


Sunday, June 11, 2006

Mountain Fruit in Monticello bought by Kollel Grocery manager

The manager of Kollel Grocery in Boro-Park has bought Mountain Fruit in Monticello. The highly successful grocery will have its name changed and will offer new services to its customers. The new name of the grocery will be Mountain Food and they are planning to deliver food orders to bungalow colonies all over the mountains. This will be a big help especially for Chasidishe women that do not drive and are dependent on expensive car services to do their shopping while in the country.

Chasidishe woman arrested for 'stealing' pocket book

A Chasidishe woman was arrested in a sting operation by the NYPD at the Atlantic Street train station for 'stealing' a pocket book. The pocket book was intentionally left by the NYPD as part of a sting operation to collar criminals that would take the pocket book instead of returning it to the Transit Authority. In New York City items found in the subway must be turned in to the Transit Authority. The woman took the pocket book and began to walk off. Within moments she was jumped by a half dozen Police Officers and was handcuffed and taken away before even being asked what her intentions were.
In another such a case where a 21 year old male was arrested in such a sting operation a Judge dismissed the charges on the grounds of entrapment.


Saturday, June 10, 2006

Your worst Rebbe in Yeshivah

While growing up I'm sure that everyone has had their share of experiences with a Rebbe in Yeshivah that was cruel and unusual beyond anything imaginable. While sometimes there are measures that are necessary to take in order to 'remind' kids and 'help' them focus, other times there are 'actions' taken without any intent or means of it being associated in the least bit with Chinuch or learning. Every Yeshivah has their variety. There are the potchers, the ear pullers, the kickers, the insulters, the pinchers, the pushers and my all time favorite, the "Put your hands down when I smack you!" Rebbe. Sound familiar? Tell us about your experiences.


Friday, June 09, 2006

Hikind bill calls for ethnic profiling

State legislation proposed Thursday would allow law enforcers to consider race and ethnicity in identifying potential terrorism suspects - a move decried by a civil rights advocate.

Assemblyman Dov Hikind, D-Brooklyn, noted that the 19 men who carried out the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks all were Muslims from either the Middle East or Asia - backgrounds he said resembled those of the terror suspects arrested in Canada last week.

"Let's get real. There is a terrorist profile," Hikind said.

Hikind said further, that if Hasidic Jews were the one's committing terrorist acts, he would have no problem with Police profiling Hasidic Jews in the City.

The proposed legislation would authorize law enforcement officials to "consider race and ethnicity as one of many factors that could be used in identifying persons who can be initially stopped, questioned, frisked and/or searched."

The proposed bill drew the wrath of Donna Lieberman, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in New York, who compared it to the alleged racial police profiling of blacks in New York.



Thursday, June 08, 2006

Cell Phone M'Ishar assured by Rabbonim for being a monopoly

A couple of big Rabbonim, amongst them the Belzer Dayin, have come out against the new Kosher cell phone called Cell Phone M'Ishar. The reason for this issur is, according to the Rabbonim, due to the fact that the people behind the phone are monopolizing on their product. Instead of just selling the phone to the open public, the people behind M'Ishar are only offering the phone to people who sign a contract through them, leaving them with the commissions for themselves. Furthermore, stores that refuse to sell the phone for the M'Ishar people, and split the commission with them of course, are being threatened with pashkevilin. So far the Rabbonim have struck a deal with Duddy's Electronics and have come to a contract and commission arrangement with them. Other stores however, such as Hi-Tech 2000, have turned them down and refuse to share their commission with them. Subsequently, Hi-Tech 2000 has been threatened by the M'Ishar people to have pashkevilin thrown against them for going against the Vaad and bringing down Yiddishkeit.

Link to article about Cell Phone M'Ishar

Troubled Ramapo intersection may get some relief

Holidays, it seems, are never a good time to be on the road. But Sinya Zareb says it's not any better for pedestrians.

Especially, the 20-year-old Spring Valley woman said, if you happen to be walking along the increasingly busy intersection of routes 59 and 306, which is a predominantly commercial corridor.

"I stay near the Spring Valley side now," she said, standing at the Monsey Marketplace strip mall on Route 59 and pointing farther down the road. "This area during the holidays is very, very dangerous. The way they turn, I'm not comfortable. It's too dangerous."

The heavy volume of traffic in the notoriously congested corridor of Route 59 from Kennedy Drive in Spring Valley to Route 306 in Monsey — a distance of just less than a mile — often prevents speeding, but is still seen as a danger to drivers and pedestrians.

The state Department of Transportation, which maintains Route 59, said more than 21,000 vehicles are estimated to travel daily in both directions through the intersection. In 2004, there were 54 accidents nearby, 12 with injuries.

Residents, business owners and state and local officials have expressed concern about the Route 59-Route 306 corridor because it serves what many describe as a "walking community."

Many people — often Orthodox Jews, whose population has grown in the area over the years — can be seen walking and frequenting the strip malls that line the road.

"Monsey is a walking community," Ramapo Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence said. "We have a lot of kids in the area. Mothers are pushing kids in baby carriages and they fight with traffic on 59."

Not much of Route 59 in the vicinity has sidewalks, forcing residents onto the crowded road.

That, Ramapo Detective Sgt. John Lynch said, can be a deadly combination.

Last year, a 67-year-old Monsey woman died after she was hit by a cement truck while crossing Route 59 near Robert Pitt Drive.


Chabad still feuds over who's boss

The touchy question of which Chabad family - the Borensteins or the Burstons - is authorized to run Jewish outreach programs in Orange County on behalf of their Hasidic movement seemed to be settled.

Pesach and Chana Burston are the valid representatives, a spokesman for the worldwide organization declared in a story about the Monroe couple in the Sunday Record on May 28.

But that statement has incurred the wrath of the Rabbi Yakov Borenstein and his wife, Hindy - installed as Chabad emissaries in Poughkeepsie 20 years ago - and reopened an ugly internal spat between them and their organization leaders.

It's a tangled fight over turf and legitimacy that predates the Burstons' arrival in 2004 and that the Borensteins are waging, in an almost identical fashion, with another Chabad couple in Woodstock.

The gist is that Chabad leaders say Yakov Borenstein is a renegade and irritant they fired several years ago for outlandish behavior. They drove home the point a week ago with a letter saying Borenstein - along with three other rabbis - can no longer use the Chabad-Lubavitch name.

Borenstein - who has installed his nephew in Goshen to represent Chabad in Orange County - disputes nearly everything his critics say, even that he was ever fired. He claims his attempts to bring the matter to a neutral rabbinical court have been rebuffed.

"You can't just tell me, 'Close down your shop,'" Borenstein says, referring to Rabbi Yisroel Rubin, the Chabad regional director in Albany. "He doesn't pay me."

His defense is a 2004 letter from the Beth Din (rabbinical court) of Brooklyn, which prohibits Rubin from appointing emissaries in Orange County and bars the Burstons from settling there until a neutral court rules.

Chabad spokesman Zalman Shmotkin replies that the Brooklyn Crown Heights court is a neighborhood panel with no jurisdiction over Chabad.

The upshot? Orange County has two Chabads, one run by the Burstons, the other by Yakov's nephew Rabbi Meir Borenstein and his wife, Rivkie. Each runs its own Hebrew schools, camps and Jewish activities and followers, regardless of what the other side says.



Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Greenpoint arrest 

A copper worker was arrested for his role in the Guttman Greenpoint fire. Also, 400 environmental fines are being levied against him.

Brooklyn Man Arrested for Allegedly Exposing Himself

New York City police report they have arrested a Brooklyn man for allegedly trying to grab a 9-year-old girl and expose himself.

Police said the incident happened Monday evening on 10th Avenue and 56th Street in Borough Park.

Elfego Herrera, 41, of Brooklyn was arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of a child and public lewdness.



Tuesday, June 06, 2006

More exclusive pictures from the Flatbush explosion

Another attempted abduction in Boro-Park

There was another attempted abduction of a four year old boy in Boro-Park, on 16th Avenue and 64th Street, just a few minutes ago.

Flatbush explosion pictures

Two people are dead, and the third is not expected to survive, in an explosion on East 31st Street between Avenues K and L in Flatbush. According to the Buildings Department the explosion occurred when a team of workers from the Pereira & Sons J M Company, located at 2330 Big Oak Rd, Langhorne, PA 19047, were using illegal chemicals to do waterproofing while building a Mikvah in the basement of the home.

If you are interested in purchasing these pictures for your news publication, post your e-mail address and we will get back to you.

Your e-mail address will not be posted to the public.


Flatbush explosion 

Explosion in Flatbush at a work site. One dead, two injured.

Cell-Phone M'Ishar, Kosher cell phone in America - Review - Pros and Cons

The so-called Kosher cell phone, the Cell-Phone M'Ishar, has finally made it to America. The cell phone, which is available to the Heimishe Oilem in America now, bears the symbol of approval by the Vaad HaRabonim that are in charge of approving cell phones for use as Kosher. The phone is a Samsung SPH A660 color screen flip phone with a nice big M'Ishar logo on the front and another one set as the phone's wallpaper. The phone functions as any other Sprint phone, only it has the internet and text messaging features locked out. Also, in order to help identify the M'Ishar users, every subscriber will have a phone number with a specific designated prefix that will be unique to M'Ishar users. Also when calling another phone from a M'Ishar phone the owner's name will not come up on the caller ID, rather the word M'Ishar and the phone number will come up instead.
Now, here are some of the main drawbacks to the M'Ishar Cell Phone. There is only one phone and one carrier available as of now. While the Vaad promises to continue to add phones as time goes by, how efficient can they really be. Further, to most people their phone number is like their name, how many people will be willing to give that up and change their number. Also, the model that was chosen is a very low-end old model without any of the new features that people have gotten used to. For example, the A660 has no caller ID screen on the front of the phone, forcing the person to have to open the flip each time he receives a call to see who it is. Also the A660 has no Bluetooth for hands-free talking. If they were going to put so much time and effort into this idea, they should have rather put it into a better phone. Further, the supposed Vaad did not make the effort to have the Samsung company delete the internet and messaging capabilities from the phone's software, but rather had them just lock it. The codes to unlock these features are already available on the internet, easily enabling the phone to seem Kosher while it really is not. Also, I wonder how many people are interested in having their caller ID come up as M'Ishar when calling someone, like maybe a business contact or something like that. Another point is, that there are many people that depend on e-mailing and text-messaging from their phone for business or announcements and reminders, is it realistically possible for these people to give this up. And what exactly is the concern about text-messaging anyway. Aside from all these points, what kind of bullying tactics will this Vaad impose in order to assure that people actually buy this phone. Will they start threatening to throw kids out of Yeshivah if their parents don't buy this phone? Will they throw pashkevilin at stores that continue to sell other phones that are not deemed Kosher? These are all questions that need to be considered before we let some unnamed Vaad claim power over us. Now, while Kosher cell-phones are a great idea, they have to be done the right way by the right people and they have to be overseen by trusted, truly responsible and truly Ehrliche Rabbonim.


Monday, June 05, 2006

Heimishe guy schmoozes with world leaders

Official Press Release from www.WorldCorrespondence.com

World Correspondence Completes Phase One of the World Correspondence Project

World Correspondence receives forty nine responses from heads of state and world leaders from around the world.

(PRWEB) June 5, 2006 -- Technological advances have made our world into a global neighborhood. WorldCorrespondence.com is the mailman. Posting signed letters and pictures from heads of state in Haiti, Germany, Korea, Liechtenstein, Finland among many other countries, WorldCorrespondence.com, prodigy of Joel Schmidt, proves that beyond the realm of USA exists a forgotten, sometimes-ignored-by-average-citzens world.

On December 04, 2005, Joel Schmidt began his personal Odyssey by mailing out 208 letters, each one destined to a head of state. His request was simple: a signed picture from each person. The idea was hatched when he first idlely sent off a few letters to various heads of state. Much to Mr. Schmidt's supprise, he recieved replies. Four years later, he began this long awaited project. To date, he has recieved 49 replies. www.worldcorrespondence.com chronicles the goings-on in his mailbox.

In order of last to first the heads of state of the following countries have responded: Haiti, Slovakia, Jamaica, Mexico, Kyrgyzstan, Australia, United States of America, Tonga, Rwanda, Monaco, Germany, Malta, Samoa, Lebanon, El Salvador, Italy, Vatican City, Greenland, Botswana, Cuba, Malaysia, Guyana, Israel, Micronesia, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Trinidad and Tobago, Seychelles, France, Brazil, Latvia, The Philippines, Finland, Azerbaijan, Republic of Cyprus, Austria, Slovenia, The Netherlands, Liechtenstein, Spain, Denmark, Ireland, South Korea, Germany, New Zealand, Somalia, United Kingdom, Bermuda, Canada, Switzerland, and Sweden.


Rabbonim urge jewelers to drop charges against Heimishe thief

The same Rabbonim that had given a heter for jewelry stores to press charges against the Heimishe jewelry thief that had stolen thousands from them, have now taken back their p'sak after he had given himself up. The Rabbonim have left the store owners to suffer the loss on their own, ignoring any plea of loss on their behalf. Their cowardly, and halachically incorrect, p'sak will definitely leave the thief with an open door to steal more and cause other honest frum people to lose their hard earned money in the future. When asked by Police why he turned himself in, the Heimishe thief answered, "They'll drop the charges anyway, so why not." Unfortunately he was right.

Link to original posts


Sunday, June 04, 2006

Boro-Park Shomrim bike registration fair

Boro-Park Shomrim held today their annual bike registration fair. The event is directed at attracting kids to bring in their bikes and have them engraved with registration numbers to help avoid theft. Bocherim ages 16 and up were recruited by Shomrim as junior members to help out with things at the fair. I guess this event gives us an opportunity to see our future Shomrim members in action.

Suspect in Lakewood kidnapping has scar on forehead

An updated sketch of the Lakewood abductor

Authorities say a man they suspect of abducting and sexually assaulting a Lakewood woman May 7 has a one-inch scar running down from his hairline.

Executive Assistant Ocean County Prosecutor Robert A. Gasser said Friday that police believe the man is still in the area. Gasser also said the green Jeep Cherokee believed used in the abduction had blue seat covers with a white floral pattern.

"We are seeking the help of the public," Gasser said. "We are hopeful the added information on the vehicle will generate new leads."

According to police, the 20-year-old woman was taken from a parking lot outside the TrimGym Fitness Center and held overnight. The gym is located in the rear of the ShopRite plaza. The woman was returned to a location near the abduction site eight hours later, while the search for her was in progress, authorities said.

The incident is under investigation by several agencies including Lakewood police, the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office and the FBI.


Gerer Mesivta closes down its dormitory

Due to 'certain' problems with its Bocherim, the Gerer Mesivta in Boro-Park has closed down its dormitory. The Yeshivah Bocherim now have to find a place to sleep on their own every night. The closing of the dorm comes after allegations were made of hanky panky going on between Bocherim of the Yeshivah and only a little while after the Rosh Yeshivah, HaRav Leizerowitz, was sent away from the Yeshivah and was forced to go to Israel for allegedly molesting many Bocherim.


Saturday, June 03, 2006

Woman hit and run by 71st Precinct Cop

A Crown Heights woman was hit by a 71st Precinct Police car. The Police Officer got out of the car to ask the woman what had happened. The woman said that she was hit by the Police car. The Police Officer then told the woman that he didn't even touch her and told her that she was ok and left the scene. The woman called 911 and reported the Police Officer along with his car number for leaving the scene of an accident.


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Heimishe woman arrested in Flatbush

A Heimishe woman was arrested in Faltbush for refusing to accept a double parking ticket from a Police Officer. The woman was double parked in front of Shop Smart on Nostrand Avenue between Avenues L and M when a Police Officer began writing her a ticket. The woman refused to take the ticket from the Officer's hane so she twisted her arm and handcuffed her in a very rough manner. When passersby attempted to write down the Police Officer's shield number, she threatened that whoever got too close would also be arrested. Flatbush Shomrim arrived at the scene and began to take witness statements as to the events that had taken place. Shomrim, along with the witnesses, alerted the Police department as to what had really happened. A little while later, after numerous witnesses had come forward backing up the claim of the unjust arrest, the woman was released and the charges were dropped.

Milk and cheese sales skyrocket on eve of Shavuot holiday

The sale of cheese and milk has skyrocketed in recent days, as Israelis prepared for the holiday of Shavuot, during which tradition stipulates that Jews consume dairy products.

"This year, sales of milk and cheeses jumped by about 300 percent," the deputy director for marketing at Tara Dairies, Harel Haiken, said Wednesday.

Haiken says sales of dairy products per capita have been on a constant upswing in recent years, with Israel in first place in the world in per capita consumption of white cheeses.

In 2003, according to Haiken, consumption was 4.4 kilograms per person; in 2005 the number was 4.8 kilograms. Milk consumption is also up, from 43.8 liters per person in 2003 to 46.3 liters per person in 2005.

According to a survey commissioned by Strauss Dairies and conducted by the Brandman Institute, 81 percent of consumers serve cheesecake at the Shavuot holiday table. However, many more people are buying ready-made cheesecakes this year than baking at home.

That said, the survey reports that 66 percent prepared the cake themselves, while 21 percent purchased ready-made.

Only 10 percent of those surveyed said they were not hosting guests for the holiday. Forty-one percent of those asked said it was important that holiday dishes be easy and quick to prepare.



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