Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Yet another anti-Semitic video

Israeli Rabbis cannot promise gay pride peace

Ultra-Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem are threatening to strike a gay pride parade scheduled to take place in Jerusalem in two weeks, prompting police to re-evaluate the permit issued to parade organisers.

Ynet News reports that most recently, Jerusalem Police Chief Ilan Franko met with orthodox leader Yitzhak Tuvia Weiss.

According to Ynet News, Franko asked to learn about the stance of ultra-orthodox rabbis, known as Haredim, who declared their intent of a 'Million Man Protest' against the parade.

Police did not release details of the meeting.

A source close to the rabbi told Ynet News that Weiss told Franko that he cannot promise the police chief that there won't be Haredi violence at the march.

"The rabbi declared there'd be a war over this, that we couldn't stay silent about it. We cannot give up or compromise about this."

Supporters of the parade counter that freedom of speech enables them to hold the event in Jerusalem, as a symbol of tolerance and pluralism, even if theirs is the view of the minority of residents in the city, reports the Jerusalem Post.

The local organisers of the event, still smarting over having to cancel two international parades in the city in as many years, have appealed to the High Court of Justice to force police to approve the local event.



Monday, October 30, 2006

Eliot sez he's for funding private schools

Gubernatorial hopeful Eliot Spitzer said yesterday he favors funneling more state cash to private schools.
Spitzer, speaking to Orthodox Jews at a Brooklyn yeshiva, said it is unjust that private schools educate 15% of the state's students but get only 1% of the education budget.

"We will work on that," promised Spitzer, a graduate of the prestigious and private Horace Mann High School in the Bronx.

The Democratic front-runner does not support vouchers - public funds that can be used to help pay tuition at private schools, his spokeswoman Christine Anderson said.

"He believes that measures such as the Child Tax Credit, which was enacted with his support last year, can provide relief for parents who choose to send their children to private school," she said.

The child tax credit gives parents up to $330 for each child between the ages of 4 and 17. The credit can be used to help offset private school tuition or paid tutoring programs.

It was Spitzer's opponent, Republican John Faso, who first sponsored the child tax credit legislation in 2001, when he was minority leader of the state Assembly.

"If elected, Eliot will explore the feasibility of expanding such programs," Anderson said.

Spitzer also said his top priority is making public schools more accountable and securing more funding for them.


Bloomberg chats with leaders of the Satmar Hasidic sect in Kiryas Joel

Mayor Bloomberg did a mighty big favor for Republican Rep. Sue Kelly, who faces a tough re-election battle, by setting aside time to meet with some of her Rockland County constituents.

"Sue Kelly made a personal request of the mayor," said one insider.

So Bloomberg agreed to chat with leaders of the Satmar Hasidic sect in Kiryas Joel who want to build a yeshiva in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn on a site zoned for industrial use.

During the sit-down, Bloomberg said "nice things about Sue Kelly," according to the insider.

The Satmars are one of the most important voting blocs in Kelly's district.


Making sure the quota is filled


Sunday, October 29, 2006

Williamsburgers don't exercise and are obese; New health study

A stunning 43 percent of residents in Williamsburg/Bushwick rated their health as fair or poor.

Here's why: Nearly one-third of residents there are obese, 56 percent don't exercise at all, one-third are without a regular doctor, and nearly 4 in 10 are uninsured/underinsured.

Williamsburg and Bushwick were singled out as among the worst neighborhoods for "interpersonal" or domestic violence. Five percent of respondents said they were afraid their spouse or partner would harm them or their children.

Such unhealthy environments are "bad for kids," said Claire Barnett, of the New York Healthy Schools Network.

"If you're not healthy emerging out of childhood," she said, "it's going to be harder to become a healthy adult."



Saturday, October 28, 2006

Beware of GPS smash and grabs

There has been a rash of car break-ins for portable Global Positioning Systems (GPS). The thieves smash a car window, grab the GPS and take off. There have incidences where the theft has occurred as early as 11:30 pm. Furthermore, even if you do not leave the GPS in your car overnight, the thieves have still been known to break in and look through the car for it, because some people leave their GPS hidden in their car. A car was broken into Friday night between 11:00 pm and 12:00 am at 58th Street and 16th Avenue and was ransacked because there was a GPS bracket in view. Nothing was stolen in this instance. Therefore, if you have a GPS unit take it with you when you leave your vehicle and hide the bracket in your car overnight as well. This is the best way to avoid such break-ins.


Friday, October 27, 2006

First Chaisidshe Boro-Park woman Lawyer is inducted to the bar

A Chasidishe woman from Boro-Park was inducted to the bar in a Downtown Brooklyn Appellate Division Court House. The woman, who has a husband and six kids, graduated from Law School after many years of hard work and is now a practicing real estate attorney. This woman has set a precedent for Chasidishe women all over the five boroughs (Boro-Park, Flatbush, Williamsburg, Monsey and Crown Heights) and has reached a milestone as being the first Chasidishe female Lawyer. I'll bet that now that she has that Law Degree her gefilte fish tastes much better.


Thursday, October 26, 2006

Department of Transportation Employee impersonates a Police Officer on tape

A Bocher was taking pictures of workers putting up a traffic light, when a Department of Transportation Supervisor comes up to him and tells him he can't take pictures. The Bocher asks why not and he says because he needs a permit. When the Bocher says that he never heard of such a thing, the DOT guy flashes a badge and tells him to stop taking pictures. The Bocher asks the guy if he has law enforcement powers and the guy says yes. When asked by which authority, he says from the DOT. The guy then calls over a Police Officer that happened to be nearby to tell the Bocher to stop taking pictures. When the Cop approaches, the Bocher tells him that the DOT guy was impersonating an Officer and he denies it. In the end, both the Cop and the DOT guy admit that it is legal to take the pictures. The Bocher then leaves as a courtesy to them. Hey, just listen to the clip.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Carjacking perpetrator takes over PathMark in Boro-Park with hostages

A man that carjacked two people, killing them, was chased to the parking lot of PathMark in Boro-Park. The man left the car in the parking lot and entered the store taking everyone hostage. Police helicopters arrived at the scene. The man began to let some of the PathMark employees leave the store. There was a line of people leaving the store with their hands in the air as they were let go. The man somehow evaded Police and left the store undetected. Police are now looking for the man, who remains at large, armed and dangerous.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Thousands flock to KJ wedding for rabbi's daughter

For a young man and woman still shy of their 20th birthdays, it was the dawn of a new life together.

But for thousands of Satmar Hasidic onlookers shivering outdoors in the center of Kiryas Joel last night, the wedding held great symbolic significance: Their leader, Aron Teitelbaum, was marrying off a child for both the first and last time since becoming Satmar grand rebbe.

There, under an enormous canopy, or chuppah, in front of the main synagogue on Garfield Road, stood Margalis Teitelbaum, the youngest of Rabbi Aron's eight children, and her husband-to-be, Yoel Rokeach, a young Monsey man with his own distinguished lineage.

Thus began the public portion of the grandest Kiryas Joel wedding in recent years — typical in its marathon length but bigger and more elaborate in most other regards. The all-night celebration was expected to continue until 4 a.m. or so today.

Missing from the assembled throngs were those who believe Rabbi Aron's younger brother, Zalmen Teitelbaum, inherited the Satmar crown after their father, Moses, died in April. Rabbi Zalmen presides over the main Satmar congregation in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn.

Since the death of the previous grand rebbe and the unusually public succession battle that ensued, the two rival Satmar factions have often turned holiday gatherings into a sort of referendum by trumpeting the size of the crowd each brother can command.

But Aron supporters said yesterday that crowd-size propaganda didn't matter here and generally pertained to events in Williamsburg, where the two sides have been waging a court battle for control of buildings and other assets.

The Kiryas Joel wedding was so big, they said, because the bride was the last of Rabbi Aron's children to marry.

The ceremony felt a little like a rock concert. Men and boys wearing dark, furry hats known as shtreimels packed the square in front of the synagogue and pressed against metal barriers surrounding the chuppah.

The event adhered to the Orthodox practice of keeping men and women separated. During the ceremony, women gathered in a parking lot on the opposite side of the chuppah. Afterward, men and women ate and danced in separate locations until being united after midnight.

The men celebrated in a 40,000-square-foot tent erected beside the synagogue. The women were bused to a girls school for their celebration.

When the women joined the men in the tent early this morning, they were seated behind a partition.

It was during that part of the celebration that the bride and groom danced together for the first time.



Monday, October 23, 2006

Betrayal of faith

Rabbi James Kennard, headteacher and leading Jewish educationalist, is known for his mild manner. But, as we sit in his office at Barkingside's King Solomon high school, one of the biggest Jewish schools in Europe, listening to Alan Johnson talking on the radio about faith schools, he becomes livid.

When the education secretary announces that every new faith school could, through an amendment to the education bill about to come back before parliament, be obliged to take a quarter of its pupils from other or non-faith backgrounds, Kennard turns off the radio despondently. "I was present when a public assurance was given by a government minister to a group of heads of Jewish schools in 1999 that 'this government will never interfere with your admission arrangements'," he recalls. "This government has done precisely that."

Kennard, in his third headship, feels doubly betrayed. He has chosen to spend the past 15 years in Jewish schools in the state sector. And he is a long-time Labour supporter - his house in the largely Hasidic district where he lived in 1997 stood out because of its array of Vote Labour posters.

He is convinced the tide is turning against faith schools - a factor in his decision to quit the UK at the end of the academic year to teach in Australia. Alarm bells have rung several times in his two years at King Solomon, when existing legislation looked likely to force the school to take non-Jews if it had even a handful of places empty. "I have been noticing that, although those who seek to abolish state-supported faith schools are a very small minority, there is a more subtle threat, which we now see coming to the fore," he says. "The growing consensus among politicians of all parties, and within the educational establishment, is that faith schools should take a significant minority of their pupils from outside their faith."



Sunday, October 22, 2006

Man snatches cell phone and attempts a car-jacking

A young man, who had alcohol on his breath and was apparently drunk, ran up to a Heimishe man in Flatbush on East 10th Street and Avenue J, grabbed him by his coat and demanded that he give him his car. When the man said that he had no car, the thug ran across the street and assaulted a young frum girl and grabbed away her cell. After grabbing the phone, the man ran into the gutter towards a car from the neighborhood security that was on his rounds, reached in through the open window and proceeded to choke the guy while demanding that he give him his car. The man kept on driving with the perp hanging onto his neck and hanging out of the car. The security guy drove down Avenue J and onto Coney Island Avenue. He sped up on the avenue and came to a short stop, which finally knocked the guy off the car. By this time Flatbush Shomrim were already on the scene and were chasing down the perp. Police arrived at the scene a few minutes later in full force. There were about twenty-five Police Officers at the scene. They handcuffed the perp and put him in the back of a Police car. The perp began to curse and shout obscenities at the Police Officers. At that point, the Cops pulled the man out of the car and through him to the floor telling him to calm down. The man started spitting at the Police Officers, so they borrowed a protective mask from the EMS and put it on the perp's face. A female Police Sergeant at the scene was having difficulty with what to do to the perp, because he was apprehended on the border of the 66th and 70th precincts. After talking to the Commander at the 66th Precinct for a couple of minutes, the Sergeant said to the group of Police Officers that they should pack the guy up because the 66 said they could have him.

Chaptzem! Exclusive Video

Man waving and threatening to stab tourists in Times Square is arrested by New York's Finest.

Notice the large knife in the Cop's hand and then how he throws it down into the grating in the street.


Friday, October 20, 2006

Monsey man accused of having sex with boys

A 21-year-old man has been charged with having oral sex with two 14-year-old boys inside a car, Ramapo police said yesterday.

A Ramapo officer found Tuvya Rokach in a car with the two boys at 8:15 p.m. Tuesday, police said.

The car was parked at the closed-down Rockland Drive-In on Route 59 in Monsey.

"A Ramapo police officer on patrol observed suspicious activity in the car," Detective Sgt. John Lynch said.

The two boys live in Monsey and Rokach was staying in the community.

Police charged Rokach with second-degree criminal sexual act, a felony, and misdemeanor counts of third-degree sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child.

Lynch said Rokach gave arresting officers addresses in Ramapo, Brooklyn and Toronto, Canada.

Rokach also is being investigated by police in Toronto, apparently where he had lived before coming to Monsey, police said.

Police don't know when Rokach moved to Rockland.

Lynch said detectives also were working with federal immigration officials to determine Rokach's legal status in the United States.

"We believe he's a citizen of Canada," Lynch said. "We're trying to verify that."

Rokach was arraigned on the charges yesterday afternoon by Ramapo Justice Rhoda Schoenberger.

She ordered Rokach held in the county jail on $150,000 bail. He has not entered a plea to the charges.

Rokach is scheduled to return to Justice Court on Monday, pending an indictment by a grand jury.

He has not yet entered a plea to the charges.



Thursday, October 19, 2006

Lakewood man indicted on kidnapping and rape charges

An Ocean County grand jury has handed up a nine-count indictment charging a 21-year-old Lakewood sprinkler installer with the kidnapping and rape of a 20-year-old Lakewood woman, abducted in May after leaving a Lakewood gym.

The indictment also charged the Lakewood man with trying to rape a 48-year-old woman after breaking into her home in Old Bridge in Middlesex County in July.

The grand jury on Wednesday handed up an indictment charging Brandon J. Fritz of Delaware Trail with two counts of kidnapping, two counts of aggravated sexual assault, and robbery of the Lakewood woman on May 7, and with robbery, attempted aggravated sexual assault, burglary and theft from the Old Bridge woman on July 18.

Fritz was arrested in July after the victim in the Old Bridge case gave information about her assailant to police. She had returned home on July 18, discovered some was money missing, and then went up stairs to find the intruder wearing her pajamas and her underwear on his head. The man proceeded to attack the victim, but she fought him off, police said.

In the Lakewood case, the victim was abducted after working out at TrimGym Fitness Center on Madison Avenue, in the rear of ShopRite Plaza in Lakewood. She was driven around for about seven hours, raped in a wooded area and dropped off in the same place where she was abducted while investigators were still on the scene.

Fritz is being held in the Ocean County Jail in Toms River to await trial. His bail is set at $1,450,000.


In the wake of deaths, mid-Hudson lawmakers push for Route 17 barriers

State transportation officials said they couldn't "justify" building a potentially lifesaving barrier along the Route 17 median three years ago, but a half-dozen recent head-on fatalities has some political leaders calling for action.

Mid-Hudson lawmakers whose districts include Route 17 said they are putting pressure on the state Department of Transportation to finally install barriers along the highway's median in Orange County.

Six people have lost their lives in the past 15 months because vehicles crossed the grassy median and plowed into oncoming traffic. In the past 12 years, 12 people have been killed in such crossover wrecks in Orange and Sullivan counties.


Orthodox congressional candidates bring Jewish text study techniques to campaigning

Given the vagaries of gerrymandering, somewhere over the years there might have been congressional candidates from separate districts who lived on the same street.

It's unlikely, though, that the two candidates also belonged to the same Orthodox synagogue, and ran a campaign platform originating with divrei Torah they delivered at shul.

But, that is just what is happening in Montgomery and Prince George's counties.

The candidates are Jeff Stein and Moshe Starkman. They live on opposite sides of the congressional district dividing line of Arctic Avenue in Rockville, and they are the Republican candidates for U.S. Congress in Maryland's 8th and 4th Districts, respectively, facing Reps. Chris Van Hollen (D) and Albert Wynn (D).

They're each serving as the other's campaign managers and are willing to admit ‹ with a little prodding ‹ that they are big underdogs in their heavily Democratic districts.

But they also are bringing a different style and sensibility to the political discourse, creating campaigns that eschew bullet points and sound bites for techniques based on the tradition of Jewish text study.

Stein's campaign literature and the front page of his Web don't include the typical photos of the candidate shaking hands or kissing babies. The only pictures are of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton and other founding fathers, former presidents and Supreme Court justices, accompanied by quotes on various issues such as government regulation, property rights and education.



Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Unlikely reggae star rocks armory

Matisyahu is arguably the most popular reggae artist in America. He's also one of reggae's most unlikely superstars. He's a Hasidic singer and rapper who embraces Jewish spirituality in his music, at times singing in Hebrew and taking lyrics from the Torah.

Musically, Matisyahu serves up an amalgam of dance-hall reggae, hip-hop, rock and even ska-flavored punk, sung with a slight Jamaican accent -- even though he's a one-time Phish fan from White Plains.

Matisyahu was mesmerizing Tuesday night at the Washington Avenue Armory, playing 90 minutes of intense, infectious reggae and hip-hop that had fans screaming, swaying, dancing and taking cellphone photos from start to end.

The crowd of about 1,500 was mostly college-aged, although there were more than a few teens, like 13-year-old Josh Fisher, who saw Matisyahu for the first time. And yarmulkes were the order of the night for a noticeable number of fans, although few were as outward with their faith as Matisyahu.

Dressed in a black overcoat, sporting a bushy beard and a kipa, Matisyahu looked downright odd fronting a searing five-piece band that pulsed bass-heavy reggae beats and grinding, guitar-fueled rock. But somehow it all fit together, punctuated by Matisyahu as he jumped, skipped and swirled around the stage, moving to the beat during pounding readings of "Chop 'Em Down" and "Fire of Heaven/Altar of Faith," and the slow reggae groove of "Exaltation."


Beats carrying it up


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Alternate side parking ticket from Sanitation Cop


Monday, October 16, 2006

School bus plays favorites

Every school day, thousands of students living in the Lawrence district board buses heading to six local public schools and 69 private ones, some as far away as Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

More than half of the 5,921 students who ride the buses attend private schools, said district Superintendent John T. Fitzsimons. State law mandates that districts provide transportation to all students, as long as their schools are within 15 miles from the student's home.

But in a revelation that has roiled the already divided district, it turns out that for years, in violation of district policy, some 300 stops were in front of homes of private school students and that some parents were bribing drivers with gifts and cash. All the while, most public school kids have had to walk to corner stops.

Why that happened isn't clear. Some public school parents said that for years they noticed that when they drove behind a bus, it made many stops on one street. But when they questioned school officials, they were told there were no special house stops.



Sunday, October 15, 2006

Chaptzem! Caption Contest - Back by popular demand

Post your caption to this picture.


Friday, October 13, 2006

Thank you NYPD

We want to take this opportunity to thank all the officers of the New York City Police Department that have been helping keep our community safe, especially over the Holidays. Your hard work and dedication are noticed and appreciated.

The few can never speak for the many.

Keep up your good work!

Another anti-Semitic video


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Mesirah threat at gathering in Boro-Park

Due to the rain many people in Boro-Park opted to take their kids to local activities today rather than venture out. Because of this many of the places that provided entertainment were extremely overcrowded. At one specific even, hundreds of people were squashed into a place that was meant for a much smaller audience. Not everyone present was able to seat for the show, but everyone was able to see the action. At the show one Yingerman that had been disgusted by the overcrowding went up to the coordinator of the event and said, "This is outrageous, I'm going to call the inspectors down here." The coordinator of the event responded by saying, "This is why we hate making these events in Boro-Park."

Who is right?

Does overcrowding justify mesirah?


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

C H Rumor 

According to rumor the surprise guest tonight at the Simchas Beis HaShoeiva in Crown Heights will be Matisyahu.

Fun and Festive After Praying and Fasting

The holiday of Sukkot commemorates the makeshift huts that the Jewish people dwelled in for forty years in the desert. Alternatively, it's the clouds of glory that protected the Jews during their travels. Either way, the idea is to spend time in the Sukkah, and take meals there throughout the eight-day festival.

So this week, Chabad Houses across the world are running a cornucopia of events from the pun-dependent "Pizza in the Hut," to the exoticism of "Cirque Africa." Coming off the High Holidays, where Chabad Houses regularly chart overwhelming attendance, getting a crowd for Sukkot requires creativity and heavy promotion.

"For community type events, Hannukah and Pesach are much easier. Sukkot isn’t as recognized. It’s at the end of the High Holdiays," Rabbi Zalman Grossbaum, director at Chabad of Livingston, told Lubavitch.com in an interview. In the past, Grossbaum has booked concerts and large carnivals for the Chabad House, which partners with the Friendship Circle. This year though, the idea for the Kenyan Safari Acrobats was passed along from another Chabad House.

Grossbaum said that the response was overwhelming, with over 650 people in attendance. "We basically sold out," he said, chuckling. "We had an enormous response."



Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Cops escort troublemaker out of neighborhood

Police were called due to two African-American males that were causing trouble on 54th Street and 13th Avenue. The two guys parked their car at the corner and were walking down the street trying to stir up trouble. The Police arrived and escorted them to their car. Once in their car the Police also took down their plate numbers and waited for them to leave before taking off.


Monday, October 09, 2006

An Israeli hospital unveils a maternity ward designed for fervently Orthodox Jews

An Israeli hospital unveiled a maternity ward designed for fervently Orthodox Jews.
The five new delivery rooms at Jerusalem’s Bikur Cholim Hospital feature a special partition which allows the birthing mother to see her husband sitting beside her, but not for him to see her, Ma’ariv reported Monday.

This provision satisfies Orthodox requirements of modesty.

The rooms also have the options of stands for women’s wigs and piped-in Chasidic music.

According to the newspaper, the renovations cost Bikur Cholim some $1.3 million, most of it donated.

“The delivery rooms are the hospital’s flagship,” said hospital director Barry Bar-Tziyon.



Friday, October 06, 2006

Child Predator Wanted in Williamsburg

Police are investigating the sexual abuse of a young girl by a stranger on a street in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn.

According to police, two young girls, ages 9 and 7, were outside Wednesday night when they were approached by a man on the street. Police say he asked one of the girls to hold open a door in an alley when he grabbed her and began kissing and fondling her.

Police say the other girl's father came across the scene, and the suspect fled in a dark-colored SUV. But not before the man kicked in the suspect's door.

The incident occurred on Ross Street near Lee Avenue just before 9 o'clock Wednesday night.

The suspect is described as a male hispanic, 30-40 years old, 5' 9", 235 pounds.



Thursday, October 05, 2006

Police Search For Man Who Sexually Attacked Girl In Williamsburg

Police are searching for a man they say may have sexually assaulted two seven-year-old Hasidic girls in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn Wednesday night.

Police say the suspect approached the girls around 9 p.m. at the intersection of Ross Street and Lee Avenue.

He asked for directions and one of the girls followed him into an alley. That's where police say the man kissed and fondled her. He drove off in a dark SUV when an adult came upon the scene.

Residents say they cannot believe what happened.

"This is a safe neighborhood. And you begin to seem to think you can't let your little kids out into the neighborhood, on the streets," said resident Deborah Werczberger. "I have an right office over here, I'd never think it would happen."

The suspect is described as a light-skinned male, approximately 30-years-old wearing a denim jacket and blue jeans.



Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Ta-Shma - New Hasidic mainstream album

Come Listen (JMG)

Described as: Beats straight outta the Bass-Medrash meets lyrics from the depths of the Jewish soul.

At a glance: Matis-ya-who? There’s a new yid in town. I love the false confident glares these dudes are throwing when they must be deeply insecure about how many gimmicky Hasidic reggae singers society is willing to tolerate. I also love the name Ta-Shma. It’s got a nice unintentionally dismissive ring to it.



Tuesday, October 03, 2006

In Brooklyn, Hasidim build shul in a flash

In a feat worthy of the Guinness Book of World Records, followers of Kiryas Joel Rabbi Aron Teitelbaum accomplished in two weeks — with cinder blocks, mortar and a feverish sense of urgency — what they had failed to do in five years of court-fighting with their rivals.

On a street corner in Williamsburg, the Brooklyn base of the 120,000-strong Satmar Hasidic movement, professional workmen and Satmar volunteers laboring around the clock erected a 2,300-seat synagogue in roughly the time it takes to lay the foundation for an ordinary building project.

And with hours to go before sundown and the start of Rosh Hashana on Sept. 22, the faithful hustled pews across the street from another synagogue they had been using, and prepared to begin celebrating the High Holy Days in their new, 13,000-square-foot home.

"Everybody, young and old, people from 10 years old to 80 years old — in an hour, they filled the shul with benches," said Shimon Rolnitzky, a Kiryas Joel resident and writer for the Yiddish weekly newspaper Der Blatt.

The speedy construction marks a new chapter in the ongoing feud between Aron Teitelbaum and his younger brother, Rabbi Zalmen Teitelbaum, each of whom commands a loyal following in Kiryas Joel, Brooklyn and other Satmar enclaves around the world.

The two factions have been fighting in court since 2001 over control of the Williamsburg chapter's assets — an empire that includes roughly $372 million worth of buildings and land in Brooklyn, Sullivan County and Ulster County, according to an appraisal filed in court.

Zalmen Teitelbaum's side rules the empire, and five years of litigation has failed to topple them. A court appeal is pending, but Aron Teitelbaum and his followers, resorting to Plan B, have begun to establish a parallel network of buildings in Williamsburg in case they never dislodge their rivals.

Hence the new synagogue at Kent Avenue and Hooper Street. Zalmen Teitelbaum's followers, who recently occupied a cavernous, new shul of their own, have snickered about the hastily built "Home Depot shul." His brother's supporters say it's only temporary and hint at plans to build the biggest synagogue in New York City.

Regardless, both sides now have a place to celebrate the joyous holiday of Simchat Torah on Oct. 14. Thousands of Kiryas Joel residents will pour into Williamsburg to join the festivities that day as the Teitelbaum brothers, each surrounded by chanting supporters, dance with the Torah in synagogues less than half a mile apart.


Man gets ticket for parking at crosswalk.

A man gets a ticket for parking at a crosswalk. When he arrives at his car to find a Police woman writing him a ticket, he begins to argue with her that he is not over the crosswalk.


Sunday, October 01, 2006

Israel shuts down for observance of Yom Kippur holy day

Israeli shops closed early, traffic disappeared from city streets and security officers sealed off the West Bank on Sunday as Israel began observing Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar.

On Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, Jews across the world fast and pray for forgiveness for the sins they may have committed over the previous year. In Israel, the country effectively shuts down for the holy day, which lasts from sundown Sunday until Monday evening.

Security was stepped up for the holiday, with armed guards posted at synagogues and religious sites across the holy city of Jerusalem. Police sent additional officers to the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest site, where thousands were expected to gather in prayer.

"There will be a police presence around all the holy sites, meaning synagogues as well as the mosques, in order to let all parties pray in a respectable manner," said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.

This year, Yom Kippur fell during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The army said border crossings in the West Bank and Gaza Strip had been closed since Friday and would remain sealed until Tuesday morning to prevent possible attacks by Palestinian militants.

Most Israeli Jews - including secular Jews who do not strictly observe other holidays - do not eat or drink during the solemn holy day.

Israelis do not drive during Yom Kippur and normally bustling cities become ghost towns. TV and radio stations go off the air, planes at the airport are grounded, and shops and cafes are closed.

In the days leading up to the fast, Orthodox Jews performed the ritual of caparot, where a live chicken is swung over the penitent's head to absorb the person's sins, then slaughtered on the spot.



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