Thursday, May 31, 2007


Astroland's last stand

The end is approaching for Astroland, which goes dark shortly after Labor Day — all the neon and the rides and the booths rolling out on a tide that will never return.

In its place comes a planned $2 billion Coney Island makeover, a proposal to convert the once-seedy stretch of Brooklyn into a year-round stop with a swanky Vegas-style hotel and glitzy indoor attractions. Albert, who sold the family property to developer Thor Equities last November, remains in intermittent denial about Astroland’s impending demise.

What will Boro-Park do this Chol HaMoed Succos?


They look so sweet together


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

BEWARE - NYPD cellphone roadblock

Be aware, there is a Police cellphone roadblock currently in place on 55th Street and 5th Avenue in Brooklyn. Uniformed Police officers are hiding behind cars at a stop sign and ticketing drivers that are talking on their hand-held cellphones as they stop at the corner.

Muni-meters to be installed on 13th Avenue in Boro-Park

Muni-meters, central parking meters, will soon be installed on 13th Avenue in Boro-Park. Muni-meters are devices where you can purchase parking receipts to display in your windshield in order to be able to park on the street.

What the City gains from the new Muni-meters

What you supposedly gain from this

In reality there will be less parking space because parking will become a free-for-all with cars taking up more room than they need, as on every other block in Boro-Park.

Thank you NYC for squeezing every penny out of us!

BEWARE - If your vehicle was registered in Pennsylvania

If your vehicle was registered in Pennsylvania you may have a fake registration sticker. New York City Police are looking for cars with Pennsylvania plates that have a fake registration sticker. Apparently one of the DMV convenience service places in the Yiddishe area in Pennsylvania has been taking people's money and instead of registering their vehicle has been giving them fake registration stickers. New York City Police are set on busting this ring and are arresting anyone that has such a sticker. One such Yingerman was arrested with his wife present while driving his car with the fake sticker. The car was also towed off and impounded.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

As seen on the E train

Pinny's sign takes a ride down the block


Monday, May 28, 2007

Mordechai Ben David makes illegal u-turn and parks by fire pump

The world renowned Chasidic music recording star and activist for Chasidic recording artists' rights, Mordechai Ben David, publicly displayed his disregard for New York City traffic law, public safety and for his fellow man. While driving his silver Jeep, MBD dangerously swerved into a full u-turn on 16th Avenue and 55th Street. After performing that illegal maneuver he proceeded to slam his car into an illegal parking spot blocking a fire hydrant. To quote the great MBD from his own words, "You're such a wonderful person".

Three new Chasunah halls sprouting up as chasunah-hall-complex in Boro-Park

Three new Chasunah halls are slated to be built on the lot at 18th Avenue and 52nd Street in Boro-Park. The new halls will be approximately 7,000 square feet each and will share one kitchen. I guess that makes up for the closing of the Vizhnitzer Chasunah Hall.


Sunday, May 27, 2007

Exclusive pictures of the Bobover Chasunah at Floyd Bennett Field

Finally a poster ad in Boro-Park that actually makes sense

Vizhnitzer Chasunah Hall no longer accepting bookings

The Vizhnitzer Chasunah Hall in Boro-Park has had a court injunction placed against it that it can no longer accept new bookings and will have to cease to operate as soon as it has fulfilled its current wedding booking obligations. The case, which is now headed to Supreme Court, was brought against Vizhnitz by the neighbors of the hall who claim to be overwhelmed by the noise and trash that is brought about by the chasunah hall.

MAYOR MIKE'S PARKING PERKS - Letter to the New York Post

The Post, through its exclusive and excellent reporting, has uncovered the real reason for congestion in lower Manhattan.

Mayor Bloomberg, in his misguided plan to put tolls on traffic into Manhattan, has missed an easy and effective solution to the problem. If only he would have looked in his own back yard.

If his plan were to be implemented, how much would we have to spend taking photos of license plates of city workers and then have them exempted.

Let Bloomberg reduce the congestion caused by city employees by 75 percent, and then let's revisit the issue. You never know, the whole problem might disappear overnight.

Chayim Weiss



Saturday, May 26, 2007

Skulener Shul in Boro-Park to expand

The Skulener Shul in Boro-Park has bought up the corner building that is next to the Shul. Plans have been made to extend the Shul so that it will encompass the original location and the new building as well. I smell a yerishe fight looming somewhere.


Friday, May 25, 2007

Heimishe Mentch on the Bench, Supreme Court Justice David I. Schmidt, honored in Brooklyn

When discussing the legal profession, virtues like compassion, charity and selflessness may not immediately spring to mind — but for the past 33 years, the Catholic Lawyers Guild of Brooklyn has honored judges and attorneys who demonstrate these qualities.

This year, about 225 people attended the guild’s annual dinner at Gargiulo’s Restaurant, according to immediate past president Annalise Cottone.

Brooklyn Civil Administrative Judge Ariel Belen swore in Joseph Bellard as the new president of the guild, which honored Judge Belen, Brooklyn Law School Professor Richard T. Farrell, Civil Court Judge Bernard Graham, state Justice David Schmidt and attorney Andrea Bonina.

Justice David Schmidt accepted the Guild’s Ecumenical Award on behalf of his parents, who were both Holocaust survivors. Schmidt said his father never spoke about his experiences until right before he died.

Schmidt had a case against a synagogue in Williamsburg where a worker fell from a scaffold. He mentioned the case to his father, who then told him how he was taken to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

“There were hundreds of people in the car. The train traveled for seven days and seven nights; they were given no food or water. When the train arrived … everyone had died except my father,” Schmidt said. “My father thought all the Jews in the world were killed.” The first people he saw at Bergen-Belsen were the rabbi of this synagogue and his father.

“One of the reasons that the Holocaust succeeded in killing so many people is that when the Nazis started passing all these racist laws in which Jews could not marry non-Jews, own property or businesses and could not belong to any of the professions, no one protested,” Schmidt said.

The lawyers supported the laws and the judges did not protest the removal of their colleagues, nor did they find these laws invalid or unconstitutional, Schmidt said.

“We as judges and lawyers in the greatest country in the world have a duty to fight racism and bigotry wherever we find it,” Schmidt said. “It is our duty to make certain that no one is persecuted based on their religious beliefs or [ethnicity].”

He quoted Martin Niemuller, the German pastor who outspokenly opposed the Nazis and suffered in concentration camps. In a 1959 seminary address in Atlanta, Ga., Niemuller said, “First they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

Webster’s defines “ecumenical” as “fostering religious unity,” Justice Schmidt noted. He said he was especially honored to receive this award from the Catholic Lawyers, who “strive for higher ethical morals and standards than the law requires.

“I, as a Jew with a yarmulke, who wears religion on my sleeve, similarly strive for higher ethical morals,” Schmidt said.

The judge graduated from Brooklyn College and Brooklyn Law School, and served for 11 years as law secretary to Justice Gerard Rosenberg before being elected to Brooklyn Civil Court in 1995. He was appointed as an acting state Supreme Court Justice in 2000, and was elected to that bench in 2006.


Where do you wind them up?


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Meter parkers get heavily ticketed over Yom Tov

Although alternate-side parking regulations were suspended for Yom Tov, meter parking, as Boro-Park residents learned the hard way, was not. People that parked at metered parking spaces over Yom Tov were heavily ticketed for their transgression. As a matter of fact, so many tickets were issued that ticket agents ran out of envelopes and were leaving only the tickets on the offending cars' windshield. Upset Boro-Park residents approached Councilman Simcha Felder in Shul about what was happening. His response was that he had made a clear announcement on the Nachum Segal radio show that meter parking would not be suspended over Yom Tov. I'm sure every Boro-Parker listens to every word that Nachum Segal broadcasts.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Chag Sameach - A Git Yom Tov

Enjoy the cheesecake!

R' Bentzion baffled at Bris

At a Bris this morning R' Bentzion Halberstam was handing out cake to people as they went by to say Lechaim. As one kid passed by him, seemingly for the second time, R' Bentzion asked, "Didn't I just give you a piece of cake before? (in Yiddish)" The Chasidim quickly jumped up and informed R' Bentzion that the child was actually a twin and that his twin brother was the one that got the cake before, however this boy had not gotten his slice of cake yet.

Glatt Diner - Update

According to the owner of Glatt Diner, there was a small fire in the kitchen of the restaurant. Although the damage was not too extensive, the owner says that he does not want to borrow money that he can't pay back to fix up the place. He said that he is waiting for the insurance money to come in and will hopefully reopen in a few weeks. Maybe he'll reopen as Miller's non-Kosher Diner, that may just be more profitable.


Monday, May 21, 2007

What's up with Glatt Diner

After being open only a few short weeks, Glatt Diner (formerly Miller's Diner, the choo-choo train restaurant) has had their doors shut for over two weeks now. A sign on the door says that this is due to a fire that took place at the diner. What's going on there? I've seen Bobov put up an entire parking lot quicker than this.


Sunday, May 20, 2007

The dancing Hasid


Saturday, May 19, 2007

Gerrer Hasidim declare war on computers

Where else but on the Internet could the articles raise such a fuss? "There are no kosher movies," "No more computers," read some of the headlines on Heder Shaket, the online forum where Gerrer Hasidim conduct discussions, some of them daring, under a blanket of abbreviations and internal code. As usual in the virtual world, for a long time truth and rumor about what was permitted blended together, but an official declaration of war has finally been issued - a war against the increasing computerization of the ultra-Orthodox world.

Every Gerrer Hasid with a computer can expect a house call in the near future, meant to persuade him to get rid of the treyf device. Those with an Internet connection - the height of spiritual contamination, which only a few members of the community have rabbinical permission to use, and that for work purposes only - will receive special attention.

The purpose of the campaign is not to threaten computer users with sanctions, but rather to explain the "spiritual dangers" to which they and members of their household are exposed. If the Gerrer rebbe so wished, members of the community say, he would have ordered the computers removed from his followers' homes. But the rebbe is not doing so, perhaps because he, Rabbi Yaakov Aryeh Alter, knows how difficult it is to round up the horses once the stable door has been left open. And so, the campaign's purpose is informative: Every shtibl [small synagogue] is to appoint two people to go from house to house with the message that it is preferable not to have a computer at home.



Friday, May 18, 2007

Read the new Chaptzem article in the Country Yossi Family Magazine

Make sure to pick up your free copy of the Country Yossi Family Magazine and read the brand new original article 'The Great Kollel Experiment' written by Chaptzem, the only Heimishe blogger to make the transition from cyberspace to print.

Stay-on yarmulke a quick hit

Every year, Jon Kaweblum starts off the the basketball season the same way.

The volunteer coach at Weinbaum Yeshiva High School drills his players. He schedules late-night practices. And he sends a letter to the Florida High School Athletic Association asking permission for his players to use bobby pins or clips to keep their yarmulkes, or traditional Jewish skullcaps, in place during games.

But this year, the association didn't approve the Boca Raton school's request, citing safety reasons.

''It was going to be a big issue because we could have put up a fight,'' said Kaweblum, 26, an architecture student at Florida Atlantic University's Fort Lauderdale campus. ``A yarmulke really symbolizes what an Orthodox Jewish school is all about.''

Instead of trying to prove a point, Kaweblum went to a wig store to learn how wigs are made to stay on. After a trip to a seamstress, the Klipped Kippah was born.

Kaweblum, of Aventura, sent the athletic association a prototype of the Klipped Kippah, which has two built-in clips with combs on two sides.

''Based on our review it didn't seem that it would pose a threat to the safety of users or competitors, so it was approved for the '06-'07 season,'' said Denarvise Thornton, the association's senior director of athletic operations and officials. ``What we are concerned with is that in a lot of instances a clip or pin can come off during the game. It's no different than an official in wrestling looking at the fingernails of a wrestler.''

Kippahs, also known as yarmulkes, are skullcaps worn by many Jews during religious services, and by Orthodox Jews at all times.



Thursday, May 17, 2007


Orthodox Jews Come to a Well-Worn City, Pleased to Find a Piece of Paradise

The 7-Eleven on Cooke Street in this central Connecticut city now offers kosher Slurpees. A deli offering Shabbat specialties like cholent and kishke sits on a blighted street where the police frequently block off vandalized homes. An abandoned synagogue that was nearly sold to a church about seven years ago is now a bustling yeshiva where 200 young men study the Talmud.

Just north of downtown in this struggling city of 107,000, the Hillside neighborhood is a mix of boarded-up windows and pristine views of the green and lakes of Fulton Park below. Lately, there have been rumors of a police sting operation for prostitution.

Increasingly, the streets are filled with men in skullcaps and dark suits and women in wigs and long skirts as about 100 Orthodox Jewish families, many from the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, have moved in.

“We are building from scratch, from the very beginning we have to establish everything,” said Rabbi Avrohom Krohn, 35, who spent a decade in Jerusalem before moving here with his wife, Genendel, and four children three years ago. “Everyone has to take some responsibility.”

If anyone would have suggested a decade ago that this heavily Roman Catholic city whose best-known religious landmark is a large steel cross on a hill would become an Orthodox Jewish enclave, they would have been laughed out of shul.

Back then, there was little more than a shell of a Jewish community in Waterbury: the synagogue that was not sold to a church had dwindled to a handful of congregants. Now, plans are under way to build a second Orthodox synagogue among a new development of dozens of homes in the hills being marketed to Jewish families.

There is a ritual bath, a Jewish bookstore and cooperative exchanges for used appliances and furniture. There is a Waterbury branch of Hatzolah, a volunteer Jewish ambulance service, and a communal emergency locksmith.


Fairmont Funding now hiring

According to the scrolling electronic banner on the Fairmont Funding building on the corner of 16th Avenue and 60th Street, they are now looking to hire sales people. Please don't all run to apply for the job at once.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Please explain this ad

I would comment, but I find this extremely self-explanatory.

PLEASE NOTE: Not all the words are misspelled.

Brooklyn man is master of thousands of tales

Maggid Yitzhak Buxbaum of Brooklyn, N.Y., is considered to be a master in the art of Jewish storytelling.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: This is NOT a picture of Assemblyman Dov Hikind.

Storytelling has long been used as an effective way of passing down religious tradition.

If done well, it can be a true art form that enables the storyteller to hold an audience spellbound and a powerful tool in transcending cultural boundaries.

Judaism is one faith that thrives on telling the stories of its rich heritage. No one loves a good story as much as the Jewish people, and as Jewish storytellers go, Yitzhak Buxbaum ranks at the top.

Buxbaum, considered in some circles to be one of the most important Jewish storytellers of our time, was in Traverse City last week speaking at Horizon Bookstore and The Potter’s House Church. His visit was under the sponsorship of the Or Tzafon Retreat Center, which is directed by Rabbi Chava Bahle of Ahavat Shalom Congregation. Twice yearly the center strives to bring to the area some of the best teachers in Judaism.

Buxbaum, of Brooklyn, N.Y., is a master of thousands of tales. He travels throughout the country as a maggid, a Jewish inspirational teacher and storyteller.

Maggid Buxbaum focuses on Jewish teachings, but he frequently is asked to speak in ashrams, mosques and churches, providing a bridge between not only the different Jewish sects, but also a link between Jews and people of other faiths.

A Hasidic Jew, his beliefs lie in the teachings of the 18th century Ukrainian Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer, Baal Shem Tov, the founder of the Hasidic movement. Buxbaum is an expert at relating legendary stories and teachings of the Besht, a Hebrew acronym for the Baal Shem Tov. The stories are interwoven with ancient Kabbalistic mysticism that the Baal Shem Tov brought into his teachings. Kabbalah, the deeper mysticism of Judaism, is a belief that God is found in everything.


Orthodox band Blue Fringe

Rock band Blue Fringe’s newly released third CD, “The Whole World Lit Up,” has gone where few overtly Jewish recordings have gone before: into the rock/pop bins in selected stores of three national chains n Barnes & Noble, Borders and Virgin Records.

“It’s very exciting for us,” said lead singer Dov Rosenblatt. “It’s the first time that the music has a chance to be heard by more people … We’re the big guinea pig. They really feel we have crossover, mainstream appeal.”

Blue Fringe’s sound is part folk rock, part pop punk, with a mix of traditional Jewish melodies and harmonies. In keeping with Torah precepts, the love songs speak of adoration and commitment, not lust. Other lyrics yearn for god.

The new album is stylistically diverse and contemporary. “Eshet Chayil,” a love song, and the reverential song “Listen to You” share a vibe with the chart-busting band Coldplay, though without the sonic effects. The romantic “Do You Realize” evokes John Lennon at his tenderest.
“We’re just writing about issues we think about as being religious Jews in a modern society,” Rosenblatt said.

Lead guitarist Avi Hoffman adds that Blue Fringe seeks to “reinterpret [traditional Jewish melodies] in a different harmonic context n to play an existing melody with very different chords. It changes the meaning, puts it in a different light.”

The New York-based band also includes bassist Hayyim Danzig and drummer Danny Zwillenberg. All four members are mid-20s modern Orthodox men who “dream that we can make a living doing what we love, by playing music,” Rosenblatt said. Still, Zwillenberg attends graduate school, Danzig is an engineer, Hoffman is considering law school and Rosenblatt studied psychology.

Blue Fringe formed six years ago while the guys were students at Yeshiva University in New York.



Tuesday, May 15, 2007


An infamous divorcée wannabe is hoping what happens in Brooklyn doesn't have to stay in Brooklyn.

Chana Taub, whose nasty divorce clash with her husband, Simon, was dubbed "the War of the Roses" after a judge ordered the pair to split their home with a makeshift wall, is now trying to open a new battlefront against her estranged hubby - in Manhattan.

Taub, 57, has filed a new divorce suit against her sweater-mogul husband in Manhattan Supreme Court, charging him with cruelty and adultery, just weeks after a Brooklyn jury rejected similar claims, leaving the pair unhappily married.

Her lawyer, Irvin Rosenthal, said the new suit deals with Simon's actions since she filed for divorce the first time, in September 2005.

"He's committed acts of cruelty and adultery since then," Rosenthal said, adding that the case was filed in Manhattan because "we felt a woman in the Hasidic community can't get a fair trial in Brooklyn."

Simon Taub, 58, wants the case transferred to Brooklyn and accused his estranged wife of "judge shopping."

"If she doesn't like what happens in Manhattan, then she'll go to Queens," he said after a hearing yesterday in Manhattan Supreme Court.

The two-year fight made headlines when, despite owning several pieces of property, both refused to move out their Borough Park brownstone and Simon, with judicial approval, built a wall to split the home in two.


State squashes Sullivan's bid to strengthen collection of hotel taxes from non-profits

Sullivan County's burgeoning crackdown on nonprofit groups that skirt local tax laws has met its first obstacle: the New York state Assembly.

The chamber's powerful Ways and Means Committee has balked at a provision that Sullivan hoped would strengthen its ability to collect hotel taxes from lodgings owned by religious institutions and other nonprofits.

The provision, which mirrors Tompkins County's effort to collect more taxes from a hotel operated by Cornell University, was folded into Sullivan's request for state approval to raise both its sales and hotel occupancy taxes.

The language would have put a greater burden on nonprofits to prove that tax-exempt guests had stayed for tax-exempt purposes. Doing so is a critical issue for the cash-strapped county that plays host to numerous nonprofits and religious organizations.

Last year, the 320-bed Raleigh Hotel was purchased by a Brooklyn-based Hasidic group for a weekend retreat. Although its owners have pledged to pay full taxes, the sale highlights Sullivan's interest in beefing up its tax-enforcement powers.

But Assemblywoman Aileen M. Gunther, D-Forestburgh, said questions by Ways and Means staff threatened to stall the county's requested tax hikes in committee. She removed the extra enforcement language.

"This was the only way to get it done fast," said Gunther. The state must pass the tax hike bill within the next three weeks if the county hopes to collect the new revenue during this year's summer tourist season.

The bill would boost the county's hotel occupancy tax to 5 percent from 2 percent. The county expects to raise at least $750,000 a year, up from $300,000 at the current rate.

At the same time, the state will allow Sullivan to increase the county sales tax to 8 percent from 7.5 percent.

Together, the higher taxes are expected to increase county revenue by an estimated $6 million each year.

Sullivan County Manager David Fanslau said the county would consider a local law to give it the enforcement power it seeks against nonprofits. But state Sen. John Bonacic, R-Mount Hope, criticized the Democrat-run Assembly for not enacted the bill as the county originally requested it.

"The bottom line is the Assembly leadership, despite the efforts of the local Assembly member, is protecting their tax-exempt special interests," said Bonacic's counsel, Langdon Chapman.



Monday, May 14, 2007

'Jews have too much power in business'

Thirty-nine percent of Europeans believe Jews have too much power in the business world, while 44% think Jews have too much power in international financial markets, according to the results of a survey published by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Monday.

The survey of five European countries - France, Italy, Germany, Spain, and Poland - showed that a large number of Europeans continued to harbor anti-Jewish attitudes, holding on to the classical anti-Semitic canards and conspiracy theories that have haunted Jews through the centuries.

Large portions of the European public continue to believe that Jews still dwell too much on the Holocaust. Overall, 47% of those surveyed thought the statement was "probably true."

In addition, 51% said they believed Jews were more loyal to Israel than to their country and 20% of those surveyed continue to blame Jews for the death of Jesus.

Meanwhile, 25% said that their opinion of Jews was influenced by Israel's actions and of those, 52% said their opinion of Jews was worse as a result of the actions taken by Israel.



Sunday, May 13, 2007

Synagogue bans sex offender from premises

Andrew Josephs, 29, who is currently serving a sentence of two years and nine months for sexually abusing two boys in his barmitzvah class, is due for release in July.

But he will not be permitted to pray at the Stanmore Synagogue in North West London, where he is a member, because of parental fears about child safety.

Josephs, a former primary school teacher, was convicted in February last year and had requested to return to the synagogue’s congregation upon his release.

A special committee appointed to decide his case recommended Josephs should be banned along with all those "charged or convicted of similar offences".

Dr Nigel de Kare Silver, a synagogue official, said after discussions with the United Synagogue the decision was made to "exclude the individual concerned from synagogue premises and activities, and that such exclusion should be indefinite."

Parents at the synagogue were asked in a questionnaire whether Josephs should be given limited or no access to the building.
A United Synagogue spokesman said: "The United Synagogue is extremely respectful of the very difficult decision that Stanmore’s honorary officers reached, taking into account all the relevant circumstances."



Saturday, May 12, 2007

Hasidic teen assaulted outside his school

A 24-year-old man was arrested after a Hasidic teenager was punched outside the Skver-Toldos Orthodox Jewish School in Outremont Thursday, but police deemed the case a "simple assault" and released the accused.

The man was ordered to appear in municipal court July 9 at 9 a.m. to answer to the assault charge, Montreal police Constable Robert Mansueto said.

Police arrested the man after a 16-year-old youth was punched in the head about 5:40 p.m. on Bloomfield Ave. near Ducharme Ave., Mansueto said.

Skver-Toldos's entrance was firebombed Sept. 2, but nothing suggests Thursday's incident was anything more than a common altercation, police said.

"There is no evidence this is a hate crime," Mansueto said.

The 24-year-old told police he thought the teen was somebody else, Mansueto said.

The teen's uncle told The Gazette his nephew was shaken up, but returned to school yesterday.

Officers released the man they arrested after confirming his identity and determining he did not pose a likely threat, Mansueto explained.

Video footage from a security camera at the school shows the boy walking along the middle of the street, then being approached by someone who punches him hard enough to knock him to the ground.

Reuben Poupko, a rabbi and co-chairperson of the Jewish Community Security Co-ordination Committee, a group of several Montreal Jewish organizations, said some witnesses surrounded a car that the attacker briefly returned to after the assault.

The assailant then fled on foot, Poupko said. Police arrested him a few blocks away.



Friday, May 11, 2007

Lipa Schmeltzer - The hardest working Skverer

Lipa Schmeltzer, the hardest working Skverer yingerman, is calling thousands of homes today to let them know that he will be hosting the drawing for the Oorah Chinese auction, which he thinks is on Motzei Shabbos May 12th at night. Be sure to listen carefully when he speaks and if you have a hard time understanding his dialect of Yinglish, don't be shy to ask him to repeat himself.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Anti-internet asifah big on musser, small on mentchlichkeit

The anti-internet asifah that took place tonight at Ateres Chaya in Boro-Park, put a great emphasis on doling out musser to the attendees about their vile and evil ways with using the internet. Ironically, the asifah showed how little middos they had and how little value they put on others lives. In an effort to draw an enormous crowd, the asifah was broadcast over loud-speaker outside the hall on the street into late hours in the night. Each and every word uttered over the mike was blasted across town, waking babies, keeping them up and disturbing the peace and quiet of their parents. Maybe an example of ehrlichkeit and mentchlichkeit from the asifah organizers would have proven to be a more effective tool to accomplish their goal.

Anti-internet asifah

If you are reading this, you should be attending this.

Estonia Jews to get first synagogue

Estonia is preparing for the opening of its first synagogue since the country's Jewish community was destroyed in the Holocaust.

Speaking ahead of the building's official opening ceremony on May 16, Chief Rabbi Shmuel Kot, the country's first Rabbi since the early 1940s, said the occasion was the best answer to "fascism, communism and Nazism".

Kot, of the Chabad Lubavitch Orthodox Jewish movement, said: "I am the first rabbi after the Holocaust. The last rabbi was killed by the Nazis."

He was reluctant to speak about Estonia's recent decision to remove a Soviet-era war memorial which riots by mainly Russian-speaking Estonians - a significant minority of 300,000 in the country of 1.3 million.

But he said, on Thursday, it had been a sensitive issue for Jews living in Estonia as many were Russian-speaking war veterans.

The new synagogue was built at a cost of about $2 million with money from the US-based Rohr family foundation and Estonian Jews and non-Jews.

It will fit 180 people in the main worship area.

The Jewish population of Estonia is about 3,000.



Wednesday, May 09, 2007

New Kosher flyers in Williamsburg

Due to the controversy over immodest flyers in Williamsburg, here is the prototype for the new Kosher flyers to be distributed in the near future.

A tank in the streets, fighting for the Jewish soul

A few seconds before the vehicle turns the corner of Rush and Oak streets in the heart of the ritzy Gold Coast, the unsuspecting pedestrian hears loud music. But this isn't the thumping bass one usually hears.

It's Hasidic music. From the Mitzvah Tank.

Two young men are let out on the corner. The boys are dressed in black or dark gray – black felt fedoras, black suits, white shirts—traditional Hasidic garb.

Every Friday, the 70 students of the all-male Jewish high school, Lubavitch Misivta of Chicago, located in West Rogers Park, venture to different parts of the city, including Highland Park, Skokie, the Loop and the Gold Coast.

Their mission?

It may seem like proselytizing, but it's not. They are only bringing their religion to fellow Jews. Along with several teachers’ assistants, Rafie Andrusier, 20, or Yossi Bendet, 20, the all-male students go out in pairs to help Jews connect to their religion through a campaign they call “Mitzvah on the spot for people on the go,” Andrusier said.

And although they do not try to convert non-Jews, they are open to speaking to anyone.



Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Williamsburg Couple Sentenced For Medicaid Fraud

A couple from Williamsburg was sentenced yesterday in Brooklyn Criminal Court after pleading guilty to Medicaid fraud.

Judge William Garnett ordered that they pay full restitution of the stolen funds. In addition, each of them must pay a $1,000 fine and perform 150 hours of community service.

Mennashe Lowin and his wife Chana, both 34, were arrested in Brooklyn on Jan. 4 and charged with welfare fraud and grand larceny, for stealing Medicaid benefits.

Welfare investigators found that the couple lied to the city when they applied for and collected Medicaid benefits worth $10,865, reporting that their only income or resource was $1,000 a week earned by Mennashe Lowin at Majestic & Yom Tov Products, Inc.

In fact, Mennashe Lowin was making more money at his job. The couple also owned a second home in Sullivan County that they failed to mention, and earned income from a Brooklyn rental property at 159 South 8th St.

Assistant Counsel Joseph Burruano prosecuted the case for the welfare inspector general’s office as a special assistant attorney general. Investigator Ismael Zayas investigated the case.


Mezonos Maven up for sale

After a scandal ridden run, Mezonos Maven is reportedly throwing in the towel and selling his business. According to the source, the owner decided to sell the business rather than give it over to his kids. The source says that the reasoning behind this is that the owner reasoned that if the bakery were run by his children that would not give it enough distance from his tainted reputation and the business would never have a chance of surviving.


Monday, May 07, 2007

MTV Gets Jiggy With Chasidim

MTV wants to get down and jiggy with Chasidic preteens. At least that seems to be the message of their Times Square store’s window display. In the front windowpane, towering over a crowd of exiting Broadway theatergoers, stands an eight-foot-tall monochrome decal of a mischievous-looking Chasidic boy in peyes and a Borcellino black hat. I marvel at the sight of this young Chasid in their window and wander into the store.

I half expect to meet up with a swarm of beat-boxing Cheder boys grooving to the Yeshiva Boys Choir. Instead, I find a series of wide-screen TVs playing a video of the Black Eyed Peas fervently chanting, ”I’m gonna make you scream, make you scream. Huh-uh, huh-uh.”

Meanwhile, in front of a rack of Beavis and Butthead skeleton rock-a-thon T-shirts, one pre-teen girl, then another, tears her clothes off to try on T-shirts for size. Suddenly, I wonder if perhaps this isn’t the best place for a young Chasidic boy. Or even, come to think of it, for this author.

But I’m still itching to know what’s up with the Chasidic boychik. So, I scope out the staff of the store to get to the bottom of this, and I seem to be striking out, until I find a security officer named Lance Jones. Lance is a tall, friendly man who spends most of his day at the front entrance of the store. “These windows make you think,” he says to me. “These came out in January, and I’m still trying to figure 'em out.”

Does Lance think MTV is looking to draw more Chasidim to the store with a strategically placed Chasidic bopper in the window? “Well, that’s one way of looking at it,” he says, “to try to get different kinds of groups into the store.”

There is a funky-looking motley cast of characters who share the window space with our Stetson-wearing Chasidic boychik. In the other windowpanes are mic-toting Yeti, men in flannel shirts yielding axes, and a girl-band rocker wearing deer antlers. I look them over and ask Lance if MTV is also trying to get these types of customers into the store. He laughs, then says, “Everybody’s welcome. I think this window is our invitation.”



Sunday, May 06, 2007

Boro-Park Chasidishe female lawyer, Ruchie Freier, lives in two worlds

Article of her passing the bar

When Rachel Freier opened her office above a deli and a real estate office in a strip mall on Route 17M two years ago, she was no ordinary law school graduate hanging her shingle while studying for the bar exam.

She was a 40-year-old mother of six and a Hasidic Jew. Her budding career was unique: Few people in her intensely religious culture go into law. Too many inducements to assimilate into the secular world are strewn along the path to a law degree, starting with co-ed classrooms and a full schedule of nonreligious courses.

Besides, she was a woman, raised in a culture that teaches girls to become mothers and homemakers, not briefcase-toting professionals.

Becoming an attorney forced Freier to stray outside the usual lines of culture and gender. But don't call her a rebel or the Rosa Parks of Hasidic women, seeking emancipation from the home. Raising a family is her primary purpose, she insists. And immersion in secular life, she says, is rightly discouraged.

Only by praying for divine guidance, she says, does she straddle two worlds.

"I'm the last one out there holding up the banner and saying to Hasidic women, 'Go out there and get a degree,'" she says in her Monroe office. "It's not for most people. They shouldn't do it. I have a very supportive family, and I have a passion for the law."

She grew up in the Orthodox Jewish world of Borough Park, Brooklyn, the oldest of five children. She never planned on a career, and the religious, all-girls high school she attended discouraged her and her classmates from going to college out of fear that some might be tempted to leave the fold.

At 17, she graduated and landed a secretarial job in a Manhattan law office.

It took a while, though, for her ambitions to develop. At 19, she married David Freier, and then came children. She continued working as a legal secretary and paralegal, eventually making her way to the firm of Wilkie Farr & Gallagher in 1994.

She was working there when her husband earned his accounting degree at Touro College in Brooklyn. Rachel, who by then had turned 30, remembers sitting at David's graduation, thinking: "Now it's my turn. Now it's my turn."

She enrolled at Touro, which had separate-gender classrooms, and graduated in six years with a political science degree. Then she went to Brooklyn Law School. In June 2005, her family watched her cross the stage to accept her parchment.

Getting through law school while raising three boys and three girls — including two infants — took a lot of juggling. But the most grueling ordeal came when Freier failed the bar exam and realized she would have to retreat from her family and immerse herself in her studies the second time around.

"It was heartbreaking for me," she recalls. "I had to be like every other law student. I didn't even answer the phone for three months."

Her sacrifice paid off. She took the bar exam again in February 2006; the following month, she learned that she had passed.

Within her own circles, Freier's pursuit of a law career drew mixed reactions. Some were enthusiastic; others asked David why he was letting his wife do what she was doing.

Those who were dismayed might have thought she was turning away from her community and its traditions. But on the contrary, she says, spending her days working and studying in the secular world only heightened her appreciation of Hasidim.

"I would take the train back to 18th Avenue; I was so happy to be home," she says.

At least three days a week, Freier crosses the Brooklyn Bridge in her minivan and heads to Monroe, where she caters largely to the Satmar Hasidic residents of nearby Kiryas Joel. She says she opened her office there because she relished working with such a fervently religious population.

And in a larger sense, she sees herself as an unofficial public advocate for the Hasidim — a group whose insularity has fed misunderstanding and caused it a public-relations problem, in her view.

She desperately wants to lower the hostility sometimes directed at her community — which is why she agreed to be featured in an article. The publicity might strike other Hasidim as immodest, but she says she wanted to lend a human face to her community and thereby chip away at the stereotypes.

One perception she'd like to counter is that Hasidic women — most of whom don't drive or take up careers as she has done — are treated as second-class citizens. Mothers may work if they choose, but being the anchor of the home is the most important job of all, she argues.

"In the Hasidic world," she says, "the girl is really the premium, because you know she's going to be setting the tone of the household."



Saturday, May 05, 2007

At Religious Preschools, Worries About Others Looking Over Their Shoulders

The city’s health code spells out hundreds of regulations governing preschools and day care centers, ranging from the urgent (rooftop play areas must be fenced; teachers must get inoculations and pass background checks) to the comparatively minor (one toilet per 15 children, and 30 square feet of space per child; no television for children under 2; no whole milk for children over 2).

The rules cover all the city’s private preschools, with one longstanding exception: From the yeshivas of Williamsburg to the parochial schools of the South Bronx, preschools attached to religious elementary schools are, in effect, exempt.

“We don’t know the history of the exemption,” said Jessica Leighton, the Health Department’s deputy commissioner for environmental health. “It’s been over 25 years that this has existed.”

But now, in a proposal to revise the regulations, the department is seeking to end the exemption, which currently covers some 20,000 children, or roughly 7 percent of the city’s preschoolers.

“We felt that these children should have all the oversight, in terms of health and safety, that other children have,” Ms. Leighton said. After a period of public comment that will end on July 30, the Board of Health will vote on the proposal, probably at its September meeting.

The proposed changes have prompted sharp statements over the last two weeks from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York and Orthodox rabbis across Brooklyn.

“The costs are prohibitive, and it’s impossible technically because of space concerns,” said Rabbi David Niederman, president of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg, a group that serves a generally low-income Hasidic community. “If these schools have to comply with teacher-student ratios and other issues, this will drive the costs up, and the schools will not be able to raise the funds.”

Even at well-financed schools, the proposals have troubled administrators long used to operating without many of the constraints that apply to other private preschools.

The other day, at the prestigious Yeshivah of Flatbush, Dennis Eisenberg, the school’s executive vice president, pointed to a roomful of 3-year-olds, the boys wearing skullcaps decorated with cars and trucks. There were 16 children in the classroom, one more than the proposed regulations would permit.

“They would tell me to send one of these children home,” said Mr. Eisenberg, whose school serves 2,140 children, 340 of them preschoolers. “That’s not acceptable.”

He also objected to the provision regarding teacher certification, under which some of the preschool’s Israeli instructors might not be qualified. “What’s being imposed on us is how to teach these children, what kind of personnel to use,” he said.

But Ms. Leighton said the city was “focusing on health and safety issues,” not meddling with the schools’ curriculums. She said the agency could accommodate religious schools by granting waivers and time extensions, and by recognizing nonstandard credentials for instructors. “We’re willing to work with them,” she said.



Friday, May 04, 2007

Tzedaka organization raises money by selling Pollard money order

The Family Fund charity organization is raising money by selling on eBay a ten dollar money order sent to them as a donation by prisoner Jonathan Pollard.

Item Description

Own a piece of history from Jonathan Pollard

You can own a piece of collectible history and at the same time donate to a wonderful charity, Jonathan Pollard has sent in a $10 legal jail money order (about 40 hours work!), As a donation to this organization that is raising money to rebuild homes for 7 families who lost there homes to a fast moving devastating fire, this small community didnt think that such a famous person will contribute from his jail cell in Bunter NC. you can see in detail from the picture where it was mailed from and the check is coming from the Dept of Justice, he mailed this in response to an article in the Hamodia newspaper.

Winner will receive the actual money order and envelope as in the picture

Full proceeds of this auction will go to the Family fund

Tax deductible Check or money order should be made out to the Family fund

Link to the eBay auction


Thursday, May 03, 2007

A rabbi-turned-notary reveals woman's past lives by examining her signature

It's hard to find a notary public these days, as anyone who's gotten divorced, applied for public housing, sold a house, or executed a complicated financial agreement with their dad can tell you. I feel like I've spent a lot of time during this past legally exciting year tracking down notaries. I've also spent some time pondering what an odd job a notary has: authenticate that you are who you are, and that you've signed a document in front of them. The document could state that you promise to eat more fiber or that you will love clowns for ever and ever. The notary does not care what it says.

I was glad to find a notary within walking distance of my new home. At the rear of a vast, old-fashioned stationery store on Court Street in Brooklyn, past ledger books and hole-punches, two portly Orthodox men work behind a glass counter. The younger one, clean-shaven with bright red payes, answers the phone and does Xeroxing. The older one has short hair and a gray beard; he wears a yarmulke and a handsome, rumpled suit. That is Yitz Ring. He takes the authenticating-who-you-are thing to a new, unfamiliar level: on my first visit, he examined my signatureâ�"a series of concentric loopsâ�"and pronounced, "Nelly, your head is too much in the spiritual realm." Then he looked at the phone numbers and addresses on my documents and muttered something about "so many 8s" and "chaos."

The next time I went in he told me that in a past life I had helped a lot of Jews during the Holocaust and that I was a reincarnation of Eve. With most people, I would not have found such unsolicited psychic pronouncements charmingâ�"I would have found them intrusive and possibly creepy. But Yitz is charismatic and funny; he radiates good will and I got curious: Where did his pronouncements come from? Were they religious? Was he totally nuts or a savant?

I'm not sure I got an answer during the conversations that followed, but I did learn that Yitz truly embraces his own cosmology. Most of the people I talk to acknowledge, maybe without even being conscious of it, that there is an element of subjectivity in their theologies. Yitz believes that his beliefs are truth for all of us.



Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Taub may break down 'Wall of the Roses'

The will may finally come down.

The husband in Brooklyn's "War of the Roses" couple vowed yesterday to remove the wall that has kept the unhappy pair apart inside their Borough Park home.

"The wall goes off! Let her hire a guard," declared Simon Taub, 58, saying he wants access to the entire house now that a judge has made him responsible for all household expenses.

"If I pay everything, no more wall!"

"He's not allowed to touch it," his wife, Chana Taub, shot back. "It's a violation of my order of protection."

The couple won't get any help from exasperated Supreme Court Judge Carolyn Demarest, who washed her hands of them yesterday. Demarest said she will not "micromanage" the couple, whose fight began two years ago when Chana Taub filed for divorce on grounds of "cruel and inhuman treatment."

Simon, a millionaire sweater mogul, refused to move out of their Borough Park home. Then, in a ruling last year, another judge let him stay, provided he built a Sheetrock wall to separate their living spaces.

During a 10-day divorce trial in March, Chana Taub claimed her husband had attacked her with everything from a telephone to a treadmill. Their four children testified against him. But in a rare decision, the jury refused to dissolve the 21-year marriage.

So, Chana Taub, 57, asked Demarest for temporary alimony and child support.

"There is no divorce. Mr. Taub is going to support the home for the family," the judge declared. "You can keep that wall up for all I care. This is over!"

Chana Taub is considering an appeal.



Tuesday, May 01, 2007

750-student yeshiva proposed for New Hempstead

A proposed yeshiva for 750 students will be reviewed tomorrow night by the village's Community Design Commission.

The plan is for a 71,304-square-foot building at the southeast corner of Grandview Avenue and Route 306.

Developers for the Bais Malka School will seek variances from village codes, particularly for parking.

The village code requires 273 parking spaces; the project provides 53 spaces.

Paul Savad, a Nanuet attorney representing the yeshiva, said parking wouldn't be an issue because it was an Hasidic girls school.

Most of the staff will be Hasidic women, whom Savad said didn't drive. They will use a jitney service and the students would use buses.

The meeting will be at 8 p.m. in Village Hall, 108 Old Schoolhouse Road.

Read more about this story tomorrow in The Journal News.


Anthropologist Studies Socialization of Girls in Orthodox Jewish Community

It wasn’t easy for Fordham University anthropologist Ayala Fader, Ph.D., to gain access to the Hasidic community in Brooklyn’s Borough Park neighborhood. In many ways, it’s a world unto itself — and not particularly open to outsiders.

But Fader persisted by getting to know people within the community and eventually she got the kind of intimate access that an ethnographic study invariably requires. And what she was able to document was the remarkable ability of mothers and teachers to refashion the secular world, especially the English language, so as to allow them to build boundaries around their way of life and imbue children with a deep sense of what it means to be a Hasidic Jew.

“My initial thought was that these women and girls, all of whom speak much more English than Hasidic men, were trying to become more like secular Jews,” Fader said. “Over time, I came to see that it wasn’t the right interpretation. Actually, as they do with many aspects of secular North American life, Hasidic women and girls are combining English and Yiddish in new ways so that Hasidic English is actually becoming a Jewish language. This happens in socialization practices, how parents, and really mothers, teach kids to become members of their community and thus to stay within that community and reproduce it while they also they actively change it.”



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