Wednesday, April 30, 2008

New Square fugitive arrested in London 

One of two remaining fugitives accused in an $11.6 million swindle from federal subsidy programs was arrested yesterday in London.

Avrum David Friesel, the son of New Square's mayor, was wanted from a 1997 indictment that accused him and six others of fraudulently obtaining federal funds for a variety of bogus educational and housing purposes.

Part of the scheme used Rockland Community College to funnel an estimated $5.1 million for several thousand students in a Judaic studies program that did not meet funding guidelines.

Friesel was arrested by London's Metropolitan Police Service at the request of the U.S. Attorney's Office. Details of his arrest and when he could be extradited to the United States were unavailable yesterday.

"It's a complex matter," U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Herbert Hadad said yesterday. "They've arrested him, and that's step one."

A London judge ordered Friesel to be jailed pending a May 7 bail hearing.



Village denies tax exemption for Kiryas Joel 

The Village of Woodbury has denied a request by the Village of Kiryas Joel for a tax exemption on land where the Hasidic village is building two 34-foot-tall water towers.

Kiryas Joel made the request after it struck a controversial deal with Woodbury to lift a stop-work order on the project.

The order was issued after it was discovered that construction on the towers began without building approvals.

Village trustees cut Kiryas Joel a break, however, as part of an intermunicipal agreement that allowed Woodbury to inspect the facility, as well as determine what color to paint the towers.

Kiryas Joel also agreed not to drill wells on the property or buy water from an adjoining land owner.

Kiryas Joel needs the tanks to supply water to several new condominiums, a new women's health center and a firehouse. It fought four years to build the tanks, first on county-owned Gonzaga property, where it ran into legislative opposition, then at the current site in Woodbury.

Anger over the project still lingers, especially among some Woodbury Town Board members who opposed the Village of Woodbury's decision to lift the stop-work order and allow Kiryas Joel to build.

Woodbury village trustees, however, were not willing to give Kiryas Joel another break by exempting the property from taxes.

The towers are on half an acre that last year was assessed at $68,600.

Woodbury Mayor Stephanie Berean-Weeks said her municipality also pays taxes to towns where it owns land.

"It's not unusual for a municipality to pay another municipality taxes for property it owns," the mayor said.



Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Shmooorah Matzah! 

Sent in by a Chaptzem reader



Television is ok if watched on your computer: Williamsburg activist 

Among the five or so "Law & Order" episodes that appeared on primetime television last week, one that hit closest to home - for some, at least - involved an investigation into possible pedophilia in Williamsburg's Hasidic community.

Although watching TV is shunned among Satmar Hasidim, it didn't stop one local leader from critiquing the portrayal, to which - no surprise - he gave two thumbs down.

"It was a rerun," sighed Isaac Abraham, who watched the episode from his computer a month or so earlier after someone sent a link for the show to his e-mail account.



Monday, April 28, 2008

Masbia co-founder watches Boro-Park garbage bins 

Excerpted from the South Mississippi Sun Herald;

Not a week goes by when Alexander Rapaport, who co-founded Masbia with Mordechai Mandelbaum, doesn't see a member of his community searching through the garbage bins. The problems in Borough Park are part of a larger Brooklyn phenomena. The number of Brooklynites who experienced difficulty affording needed food increased by 75% between 2003 and 2006.



Man held over stab attacks on Jews 

A man is being questioned after two Orthodox Jews were stabbed in apparently random and unprovoked street attacks.

The 37-year-old was arrested after two men were attacked within minutes of each other in Golders Green, north-west London.

A Metropolitan Police spokeswoman said detectives are keeping an open mind about the stabbings.

But she added that the attacks, which took place on Friday at about 6pm, were not being treated as faith hate crimes.

Officers discovered a 47-year-old man with wounds to the arm and chest in The Drive, a short distance from Brent Cross Tube station.

Police said the victim was getting into his silver Volvo estate car when he was stabbed by a man who stole his car.

While at the scene, police were alerted to a second stabbing victim in nearby Beverley Gardens. A 43-year-old victim was taken by ambulance to hospital.

Police said both incidents were linked. The condition of both men was described as stable. The stolen car was later found abandoned in Cricklewood.



Sunday, April 27, 2008

Dirty Deeds by Hasidic Developer Leave Families Facing Eviction 

A real estate developer with close religious and social ties to the Lubavitcher Hasidim community managed to swindle 40 families out of their homes in what the Daily News describes as one of the biggest scams of the recent housing crisis.

Eliyahu Ezagui sold pre-construction homes to 40 different families in Crown Heights, and years after the buildings were in place and the families moved in, he took out mortgages on the condos and left the country. Both the names of the buildings and the addresses on Lefferts and East New York Ave. had religious significance, which apparently lulled the home buyers into a sense of trust and solidarity with Ezagui.

One husband and father of six said, "We trusted him, we thought we knew him, he told us he had the blessing of the grand rabbi. We had contracts, so we gave him the money." But they never got the deeds, which is how Ezagui could take out $15 million in mortgages on the homes.

Mortgage payments weren't made, so now the families face eviction from the banks Ezagui borrowed from. And Ezagui, who fled to Israel, is shedding crocodile tears over the mess he's created for people who trusted him. "I was stuck and it hurts and I feel sorry for those people."



Noted Chazan dodges trap 

A nasty rivalry between two of Israel's most famous cantors has led to a sex-and-the-synagogue scandal.

Cops are investigating the alleged dirty tricks of one cantor to entrap the other into falling for a tawdry hotel hookup.

Cantor Israel Rand of the Great Synagogue of Ramat Gan near Tel Aviv is accused of plotting an unholy scheme to topple his one-time mentor, Cantor Naftali Herstik of the Great Synagogue of Jerusalem.

In a complaint filed against Rand, Herstik charges his former student hired a sexy female private investigator to seduce him into a hotel romp so that he could get compromising photos.

Herstik said he agreed to meet the woman, who posed as a music student, but he bolted from her Tel Aviv hotel room when he spotted the hidden cameras.

"If indeed it was Rand, it brings into question why he would be allowed among civilized Jews," said Rabbi David Fuld, president of the Great Synagogue of Jerusalem's board.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld confirmed the allegations against Rand were being probed and prosecutors were mulling an indictment. Rand refused to comment when contacted by The Associated Press.

In a police statement, Rand claimed his feud with Herstik began three years ago when the older cantor disrespected him at synagogue in the Hamptons.

"The man has been persecuting and defaming me for years. He has been making up stories about me. In the last two or three years he has harassed me," Rand said in the statement, which was obtained by Israel's Haaretz newspaper.



Friday, April 25, 2008

Foundation for the new Forty-Ninth Street Tzeitung stand being poured 



Thursday, April 24, 2008

Forty-Ninth Street Tzeitung stand is temporarily relocated 


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Police Officers park at bus stop to get some donuts 



Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Pizza Time does it again - eBay auction for the first pizza after Pesach 

Pizza Time once again auctions off their first pizza baked after Pesach. Plus, as an added bonus, no waiting in line for pizza every Motzei Shabbos in May for the auction winner.

Link to eBay auction


Lady Fingers no longer available for Pesach 

Companies that produce strictly Kosher for Pesach baked products are no longer producing lady fingers. The companies have now renamed the product to either 'Baby Fingers' or 'Fingers' as not to create an association between their product and the female gender, which may cause male customers to have impure thoughts.


Monday, April 21, 2008

Man, 33, accused of illegal relations with Hasidic Kiryas Joel teen 

A wrong number brought Oscar Garcia together with a 15-year-old girl from a Hasidic Jewish community in Orange County, police said yesterday.

And their relationship became illegal soon after they met, police said.

Officers arrested the 33-year-old Garcia on Thursday night at his village home on a felony statutory rape charge accusing him of having relations with the underage girl.

Details of their relationship and how long they knew each other were not released by the police. Police said the girl hails from the Hasidic enclave of Kiryas Joel, whose members live separately from secular society.

Garcia and the child first met during a telephone conversation, Sgt. Louis Scorziello said.

"They met through an erroneous phone call," Scorziello said. "I don't know who dialed the wrong number - him or her."

Police were told about the relationship by the Rockland Sheriff's Department, which had received a tip, Scorziello said.

Officer Kim Grey handled the initial report, did interviews and located Garcia and the girl, Scorziello said.

"Officer Grey did an excellent job," he said. "She turned the details over to the detective bureau and an arrest was made."

Police arrested Garcia on Thursday at 17 Washington St. Yesterday he told a village justice that he lived there with his two in-laws.



Friday, April 18, 2008

Chag Kosher V'Sameach 

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and Kosher Pesach.


Wood falls down from train tracks in Boro-Park 

Part of a wooden beam fell down from the train tracks onto a car, barely missing the driver as she was getting out. Police and Transit workers arrived at the scene to secure the area and remove the wood. You can see in the picture the part of the beam that is still on the tracks.


Shloime's Bakery in Boro-Park does renovations over Pesach 


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Two Hasidim sought in tear gas attack 

The NYPD is hunting for two Jewish men who tear-gassed and beat a young black man in Brooklyn, police sources said.

The 20-year-old victim, a son of an NYPD officer, was walking south on Albany Ave., Crown Heights, about 6:15 p.m. Monday when a white assailant on a bike sprayed him with tear gas, sources said. A GMC Envoy then pulled up and another young white man jumped out and hit the victim twice in the back with a nightstick.

Community sources said the SUV driver was a volunteer with the Crown Heights Shmira, a Hasidic anti-crime neighborhood patrol, but was not on duty at the time. Police located the SUV, with its front license plate removed, based on witness reports and were seeking its driver last night.

The victim, identified by sources as Andrew Charles, was treated at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center and released.



Moshiach Mobile is back from the pound 

The previously towed Moshiach Mobile is back on the street.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Top 50 Influential Rabbis in America 

Here is the second annual version of the list—generated by Michael Lynton, (chairman & CEO, Sony Pictures Entertainment), Gary Ginsberg, (executive VP, global marketing and corporate affairs, News Corp.) and Jay Sanderson, (CEO and executive producer, JTN/JTN Productions)—of the 50 most influential rabbis in America. In the fall of 2006, the friends, interested in the future of American Jewry and the evolving role of the rabbi, started a conversation that eventually became "the list." The machers ranked the rabbis based on the following unscientific criteria:

• Are they known nationally/internationally? (20 points)
• Do they have political/social influence? (20 points)
• Do they have a media presence? (10 points)
• Are they leaders within their communities? (10 points)
• Are they considered leaders in Judaism or their movements? (10 points)
• Size of their constituency (10 points)
• Have they made an impact on Judaism in their career? (10 points)
• Have they made a greater impact beyond the Jewish community and their Rabbinical training? (10 points)

Rabbi Zalman Teitelbaum fell from #15 to #16 while Rabbi Ahron Teitelbaum did not make the top 50.

Click on link below for full list.



Na-Nach van in Boro-Park 



Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Special Edition concert apparel 

Get your very own special edition apparel from the concert with the flopped ban.



Monday, April 14, 2008

Kolko Sentenced in Abuse Case 

A Brooklyn Rabbi pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, a spokesperson for the Brooklyn prosecutor said.

Rabbi Joel Kolko has been sentenced to three years probation and will enroll in counseling.

Kolko had been charged with two counts of sex abuse in the first degree, one count each of sex abuse in the second and third degrees, one count each of harassment in the second degree and endangering the welfare of a child.

The charges were made in connection with incidents that accusers said happened between the early 80s and 2006. The Yeshiva and Mesivta Torah Temimah, where Kolko taught, was also accused of covering up the incidents of abuse and threatening parents who tried to report them.

The Yeshiva denied those claims.



Medium-Security Seder 

Passover, which begins this year at sundown on April 19, commemorates the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt to freedom. Even so, it’s a big deal among the unfree at the medium-security federal prison in Otisville, about 75 miles upstate, which is known for its well-attended and rigorously run Seders. “Otisville is very close to New York City, so it has more access to a Jewish population, to rabbis, and to kosher food,” says Rabbi Menachem Katz, director of prison programs for the Jewish-outreach Aleph Institute. “The Bureau of Prisons kind of unofficially designated it to meet the needs of Orthodox Jews.”

Considered a haven for white-collar criminals (ImClone’s Sam Waksal and the disgraced financier Martin Frankel, both Jewish, served time there), Otisville is one of only a handful of federal institutions to have a full-time Jewish chaplain. It also boasts a kosher kitchen and weekly Shabbat services, religious perks that led Forbes to name it one of the “12 Best Places to Go to Prison.” This year, about four dozen prisoners will sit down to kosher-for-Passover chicken, potatoes, and the Pesach fixings—horseradish, handmade matzo, boiled eggs—for a full, inmate-led Seder.

Otisville’s Seders are held in the prison’s cafeteria; the festival meal is served on white tablecloths in airplane-style prepackaged trays. Each participant gets his own Haggadah, and the prison provides the necessary items—shank bones, charoset—for a Seder plate. It’s unclear how many of Otisville’s 1,189 inmates are Jewish. The warden says 58; Chaplain Gary Friedman, chairman of Jewish Prisoner Services International, says it’s at least twice that. In the past, prisoners paid to be bussed in from other institutions for Passover, though this practice has stopped as similar services have been introduced elsewhere. Otisville still offers one of the more traditional Seders in the prison system.

“Once you’ve been at a prison Seder, it’ll never be the same on the outside,” says Friedman. “The Haggadah has a line that reads ‘Tonight we are all free men,’ and for the duration of the Seder, they are.” Sort of: Where the Seder calls for four cups of wine, at Otisville, says the warden, “they get four cups of grape juice.”



Sunday, April 13, 2008

Elderly male assaulted in Midwood 

Sent in by a Chaptzem reader

Hatzolah is transporting a 60-year-old male assault victim in serious condition to kings County Hospital after being assaulted by a man and a woman on Foster Avenue and East 5th Street, the 60 year old male was assaulted by a man and a woman.
the young man pulled over his van and confronted the elderly man apparently because the elderly man assaulted the women and then punched him in the face the old man fell unconscious the young man preceded to kick him when neighbors started yelling at him to stop the man got into his van and sped away , one of the neighbors who witnessed the assault and is a member of the Shomrim chased after the young man and the women with his car , in the meantime neighbors called Hatzalah who came within 3 minutes and took care of the old man who is in critical condition. in the meantime the area by east 5th and foster is closed off as a crime seen . the young man and woman were arrested thanks to the quick thinking neighbors who helped the police catch him.


Chasidic actor Abe Karpen stars in Jewish film 


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Kaff's Bakery in Williamsburg to reopen as Kaff's Kafe 

According to a source in the food industry, Kaff's Bakery in Williamsburg will be switching from the bakery line to the eat-in take-out business. The new store, which will be named Kaff Kafe, like the one in Boro-Park, will have a full milchig cafe menu. Kaff Kafe will still do some of the baking on premises.


Friday, April 11, 2008

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 'Tough Decisions' written by Chaptzem, the only Heimishe blogger to make the transition from cyberspace to print.


Hasid Goes Undercover To Aid Drug Sting 

A few months ago, Israeli police planning a sting were hard-pressed to find a convincing small-time dealer who could buy large quantities of drugs without arousing suspicion. In the end, they settled on a novel solution: a Hasidic man who would claim he was buying for students at his yeshiva.

The case ended up netting the arrests of 15 men in the Israeli town of Lod. The arrested will face trial next month on charges of possession and supply of illegal substances. The operation was given the name Ketoret Samim, a double entendre referring both to drugs in modern Hebrew and to a talmudic mixing of incense in ancient Hebrew. The operation’s success was thanks to footage recorded from cameras secreted in the long black coat of Shlomo Treitel, a 34-year-old Hasid from Netanya who is a community police officer.

“My wife didn’t know what I was doing, but when I told her, she said that she knows I’m guided by our rebbe, so I won’t come to any harm,” he told the Forward.

On some 30 occasions, and spending $14,000 altogether, Treitel went to dealers in Lod, notorious for its Arab-controlled drug trading. He bought hard and soft drugs. His story was that the students in his yeshiva were ba’alei teshuvah (secular Jews who have turned to more observant lives), and he had come to the conclusion that he could well cash in on their habits by becoming a small-scale dealer.



Thursday, April 10, 2008

Out of the Inbox - Medicating bums 

Sent in by a Chaptzem reader

Hello Chaptzem readers,

Let me start off by saying that I am what people would, and often do, call a bum. I am a bucher that never learned in yeshiva, watched videos and hung out. After a while I stopped davening and would often skip tefilin. I went to clubs and bars and did a lot of stupid things that don't really need mention. I am not bragging nor am I very proud of any of this. This is my reality and I want to be open and honest, at least here anonymously.

Understandably, my parents were completely lost and embarrassed with me. They had no idea how to deal with me or how to handle my acting out. They went from Rav to Rav asking advice on how to deal with their son. One suggested a kabbalist that specialized in ayin haras, another suggested some other such idea. Each guaranteed that their idea was sure to work.

After none of those ideas did anything, finally out of desperation, my parents took me to some expert 'mechanech' that convinced them that since I was crazy the only solution would be to have me medicated. So of course my desperate parents complied. Before I could even figure out what was happening to me, the mechanech had me seen by a psychiatrist for about five minutes, I was quickly diagnosed and medicated.

To be honest, I don't remember much. All I know is that for the next couple of weeks I couldn't think, eat, sleep or focus. I was a complete mess. I never left the house or did anything else for that matter. I would just sit around sluggishly trying to figure what the heck was going on with me.

Sadly, all I remember is hearing how happy my parents were talking between each other that I was so much better now. They would speak about me not going out on the street and embarrassing them anymore. They were overjoyed that they had finally found the solution for their problem.

It wasn't only until I was able to get myself a little together and stop taking the medication, which I did not need, that I started feeling better and began getting back to myself.

I know that there are many people that need medication to survive and should not stop taking it on their own. That was not the case with me. I was being medicated purely as a form of control. My parents could not control me so they just medicated me.

I now live in an apartment on my own and am in therapy. I B"H do not have any psychiatric problems and am not currently on medication, but I still feel it will be many years before I will be able to work through in therapy what I have gone through in yeshiva and with my parents all those years.

I am not sure whether or not I blame my parents at this point. They obviously weren't smart enough to know what was wrong and even more so how to handle me. How to give me what I was asking for with my acting out.

My message to everyone is that when you are a teenager you are not in control and people in power, a menahel, a rebbe, or even your parents when they are desperate, will do things that are not necessarily in your best interest. If you feel that you are being taken advantage of you must seek help immediately. Talk to someone that is trained to deal with people not just someone that says they are good with people and you will find someone that understands you and will listen to you and help.


Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Oorah announces secret audition winner by mistake 

Sent in by a Chaptzem reader

Oorah released it's yearly CD, along with a track from the winner of the audition contest, whose name is still supposed to be 'secret' until it will be announced at the auction.

Except the people running the website botched up. When you go to the Oorah page with the audition contest and hover with your mouse over the 'secret auction winner' icon you will see in the status bar that they named the song file as the winner's name.

And the 'secret winner' is (drumroll please)...

Sruly Werd!!!


Contradicting Kashrus ads 

Was the Hechsher taken away or did they get rid of it?
Sent in by a Chaptzem reader

From The Jewish Press


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Pictures from the movie filming in Boro-Park 

Can you tell which ones are the actors?


Movie being filmed in Boro-Park 

Parking will be not allowed on many streets in Boro-Park due to a movie being filmed. Who knows, maybe Abe Karpen is in it.


Monday, April 07, 2008

Inauguration of Bikur Cholim of Boro-Park annex 



Hachnosas Sefer Torah to Tartikover Beis Medrash in Boro-Park 



Herring firm flies in Rabbis to ensure fish is kosher 

TOP rabbis have been flown in from America by a Scots herring company - to make sure their fish is 100 per cent kosher.

The Orkney Herring Company landed a deal to send 54,000 pots of the fish to the States every month.

But to meet strict Jewish religious laws, its preparation must be scrutinised by a leading rabbi - who makes sure it has not touched non-kosher fish such as sharks and eels.

Managing director Ken Sutherland said: "The first two rabbis flew in from New York, the third was from Germany and next week we'll be welcoming one from Glasgow

"It's for the whole Jewish-American market, so we have to cater for the more orthodox branches too. That means we'll be getting visits every few weeks, instead of just at Passover."

Herring is popular in Jewish cuisine, eaten with crackers on Friday evenings or for the Sabbath dinner on Saturdays.

The Stromness-based firm were set up in 1987 and produce sweet-cured herring from a secret family recipe which is hidden in a safe at a secret location.

They have produced herring for the UK market for more than 15 years and have once-a-year checks from a local rabbi.



Yeshiva students enroll in investment consultancy course 

Those praying for a surge in the Israeli stock market indexes received spiritual reinforcement from an unexpected source: Twenty-five yeshiva students have enrolled in a special two-and-a-half-year course that will train them to become investment consultants and portfolio managers, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Sunday.

The course is being given in the framework of project "Dignified Livelihood", which was launched by the minister of industry, trade and labor in cooperation with the Open University and the Jewish American Joint Distribution Committee with the aim of incorporating ultra-Orthodox Jews into the workforce.

The majority of the 1,000 yeshiva students who have already attended 50 such training courses, which focus on math, economics, computer science and English studies, have already entered the job market.



Sunday, April 06, 2008

The Tale of the Tape and the Talmud 


Four days before his first North American Boxing Federation title defense, Yuri Foreman sat in the basement of a Brooklyn brownstone studying Shulchan Aruch, the code of Jewish law. By early afternoon, he would be at Gleason’s Gym to train for his approaching bout with Saul Román, a power puncher from Mexico with 24 knockouts in 28 fights.

This hectic schedule is familiar to Foreman, a 27-year-old rabbinical student and an undefeated professional light middleweight boxer who wears the Star of David on his boxing trunks and a black skullcap when he is studying or praying.

He answered rapid-fire questions from his teacher, Rabbi DovBer Pinson, an author and lecturer. The mental exercise, Foreman said, was tougher than any boxing routine.

“It’s a sharpen-your-mind workout,” he said. “When I go to the gym, I’m training my physical self. With the rabbi, I’m training my spiritual muscles.”

His manager, Murray Wilson, said a victory against Román on Thursday night in Brooklyn could earn Foreman (24-0) a shot at Joachim Alcine, a Canadian who holds the World Boxing Association title.

Foreman said his studies to become an Orthodox rabbi eased the physical stress of his boxing training. But he said he set the sport aside while reading the Talmud or attending classes twice a week at IYYUN, a Jewish institute in Brooklyn.

“Boxing and Judaism go side by side, because it’s a lot of challenges,” he said. “I would love to be a world champion and a rabbi.”

A three-time Israeli amateur national champion, Foreman came to the United States eight years ago to become a professional fighter. In 2000, he hoped to win the New York Golden Gloves and parlay it into a successful career. Instead, he lost a close decision in the final.



Behind the scenes - Filming with Abe Karpen 


Saturday, April 05, 2008

Chapping a shiur 


Friday, April 04, 2008

Special Edition Chaptzem article - In the Mind of a Chasidic Actor 

Read this special edition Chaptzem article, In the Mind of a Chasidic Actor, which will only be available for our online readers.

Read the article


Thursday, April 03, 2008

L'Toivas HaTzibur - Special Spanish signs to stop unsolicited materials 

In order to remedy the problem mentioned in a previous post we have made special signs L'Toivas HaTzibur in Spanish to let the the ad dumpers know that you don't want any of their unsolicited materials.

Just click to enlarge, print and hang.


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