Wednesday, December 31, 2008

His mother must be really proud of him 

From the anti-Israeli Gaza protest


In response to Amnon Yitzchak's internet intimidation tactics 

Once again the internet is doing what it's supposed to do and someone doesn't like it. Thanks to the dissemination of information and knowledge by the internet, the Frum Oilem is no longer a gullible group of sheep that will buy just any malarkey that is being peddled, and the silver tongued swindlers don't like it at all.

This post is in response to the lawsuit brought by Amnon Yitzchak against a popular Frum discussion forum about allegedly slanderous comments against him.

Amnon Yitzchak has no case against the discussion forum and he knows it. He is simply using fear and intimidation to shut down people who may have some true and very strong points about him and may pose a serious threat to his very lucrative business.

If the comments made on the forum truly are slander and not truth, why doesn't Amnon Yitzchak simply subpoena their information in court instead of demanding the names of the posters from the forum administartor? By taking this backwards route to put a stop to the comments it seems to indicate that what is being said on the forum really is true. If so, it's not slander, and the public, who's monies he is taking, has a right to know.

His approach is quite reminiscent of the propaganda machines of Russia and other communist countries. He never answers direct questions, but rather mocks the questioner and deflects. If his motives and operations are truly legitimate, how about some honesty and transparency in his organization.

We all have yet to know where Amnon Yitzchak comes from, who he really is and what he really does. Where has he been hiding for the last three years until he just recently popped up again? He constantly pops in and out of the public view as the climate towards him changes.

Further, much of Amnon Yitzchak's approach seems very similar to secular celebrity. Big limousines, helicopters and basketball playing in an empty Madison Square Garden. Cutting off pony tails and throwing out yarmulkas and tzitzis to people who have long been speculated to be actors in cahoots with him. These publicity techniques are grandiose and shameful, and at the very least border on fraud and deception. It's about time our questions about Amnon Yitzchak get answered and not just laughed off by him.


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Video from the anti-Israeli Gaza protest 


Monday, December 29, 2008

Pictures from the anti-Israeli Gaza rally in Manhattan 



Which Chanukah song is this? 


Boutique specializing in skirts, tops opens in Berkley 

Some women prefer wearing skirts.

Others, including some orthodox Jews and conservative Christians, are required to wear them by their sects or denominations.

But finding skirts that are both attractive and modest can be difficult. Most stores have just a small selection of skirts to choose from for each season.

That's why sisters-in-law Marcy Forta and Shoshana Forta, both of Oak Park, opened The Room Downstairs in Berkley Nov. 18.

The store specializes in skirts, tops and accessories in sizes 0 through 22.

The wide range of fabrics, styles and colors appeals to all ages, from teenagers to senior citizens, Marcy Forta said. "While we do not carry dressy evening wear, our styles range from business professional wear to casual, stylish and funky wear," she said. "The clothing looks good on everybody!"

The store first opened in 2005 in Shoshana Forta's basement, hence the name The Room Downstairs.

The business quickly grew through word-of-mouth. Several times a year, the women would rent space at a synagogue to hold trunk shows. Soon, Shoshana Forta's basement wasn't large enough to hold the new inventory coming in. The women had to decide between cutting back their business or expanding in a new location.



Sunday, December 28, 2008

Cops ignore witnesses in Sanitation truck accident 

A New York City Sanitation truck passed a red light and smashed into a car on 14th Avenue and 47th Street. In a very rare occurrence, there happened to be a Police car on the street passing by at the time. The Cops stopped and came over to the scene of the accident and began to assess the situation. People who had witnessed the entire accident came forward to the tell the Police Officers that they had seen the garbage truck pass the red light. One by one the Officers shrugged off the witnesses and refused to take their statements. When confronted by a witness who accused them of not caring, they ignored him as well and continued as if nothing had been said.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Chabad aims to bring holiday to the masses 

With a towering menorah secured to the roof of his minivan, Rabbi Mendy is on a mission to share the joy and message of Hanukkah.

For each day of the eight-day Jewish celebration known as the Festival of Lights, he has visited different locations – senior homes, a naval base – and tomorrow, he is headed for the mall.

The Chanukah @ the Mall Fun for All event, hosted by Chabad of Poway, will be presented at the Westfield North County Shopping Centre in Escondido. Everyone is invited.

“High holidays are held in the synagogue, but this is the one holiday that we are out there,” said Rabbi Mendy Rubenfeld, the youth director at Chabad of Poway. “It's universal and that's why we are at the mall. Our message is for everyone, and our candle-lighting ceremony will be all the greater if non-Jews come. It's a mitzvah for the world.”

Chabad of Poway is a North County synagogue that represents Chabad-Lubavitch, a branch within Orthodox Judaism's Hasidic movement. “Chabad” is an acronym for the Hebrew words for wisdom, understanding and knowledge, and “Lubavitch” is an iteration of Lyubavichi, the Russian town that served as the movement's headquarters for more than a century. Today, headquarters are based in Brooklyn, where Rubenfeld was born.

The Chabad-Lubavitch movement reaches out to nonpracticing Jews and encourages them to do mitzvahs, or good deeds and acts of kindness.

The world became familiar with the Chabad-Lubavitch movement recently when Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife, Rivka, Chabad emissaries in Mumbai, India were killed last month during a terrorist attack.

“The menorah-lighting will be dedicated to (the Holtzbergs) and done in their memory,” Rubenfeld said.

“We are carrying their torch. But we don't want to bring sadness to anyone. It will be a dedication to their ideals.”



Friday, December 26, 2008

Nanuet Hebrew Center menorah vandalized X-mas Day 

X-mas Day vandals knocked down a large aluminum menorah that had stood outside the Nanuet Hebrew Center for at least a decade.

"It's just a little piece of ugliness in the holiday season we can always do without," said Rita Fogelman, president of the Center. "The point they made was 'the heck with you, we can spoil your holiday and we will.' "

The menorah, a large metal stand-alone symbol with straight arms and electric lights, was in place and lit on Dec. 24 when Nanuet Hebrew Center members gathered for the second annual X-mas Eve party, Fogelman said. The center holds the party to give its Jewish members a place to come and celebrate while Christians celebrate X-mas.

When the last people left about 11:30 p.m., the menorah was up. When the building superintendent arrived about 8:30 a.m. Dec. 25, the menorah was lying on the ground, apparently snapped off at the base.

If an arm or light had been broken off, Fogelman said, the menorah could be repaired. The damage to the base renders the symbol un-fixable, she said.

There were footprints by the menorah, but no other marks to identify the vandals. There was no graffiti or other message left behind, just the damage, Fogelman said.

"We were worried if they did our's, they could have gone to other synagogues," Fogelman said.

No other synagogues reported similar vandalism.



Thursday, December 25, 2008

Two explosions at 14th Avenue and 54th Street in Boro-Park 

At about 7:30 AM there was an explosion on 14th Avenue and 54th Street in Boro-Park due to an underground electrical fire. Black smoke came billowing out of area manholes. FDNY arrived at the scene and closed off the adjoining streets to traffic. About twenty minutes later there was another loud explosion from the manhole. Flames came up from the manhole and began to surround a car that was parked on top of it. Firemen attacked the flames and put out the fire before anything caught. Police then showed up at the scene and had the vehicle towed away from the manhole. Additional firemen, who arrived in civilian clothing and vehicle, were called away from their vacation to the scene of the explosion. Thick smoke is still coming from underground. Con Ed has not yet shown up at the site.



Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Shameless 'Buzz' infomercial on Zev Brenner radio show 

This is the unfortunate reason why both Jewish talk radio and Jewish product gurus will never amount to anything. Zev Brenner on his Motzei Shabbos radio show was touting how he would have an electronics guru on his show to advise consumers on digital cameras and other popular electronics. Instead of advice from a real educated and well-informed technophile, what he had was an overblown, hot-aired, overlong Buzz electronics infomercial. The guy who he had on his shown unabashedly kept plugging the Buzz in every breath and offered little to no real advice on cameras. Every question given to him by the host or by a caller was answered by directing them to the Buzz. To make matters even worse, this 'guru' would recommend one of two specific Samsung camera models to almost every caller.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

CHAPTZEM EXCLUSIVE - Schnitzi's owner replies about employee brawl at restaurant 

Hey guys this is Schnitzi's owner, I know there was a dispute between two employees few days ego, but there was no head banging on walls, and hands were not cut during this dispute, I know it is very exciting to see that, but do not take it out of proportion, these are young guys, no matter if they are Israelis, Americans, Jewish or non Jewish, first we are Humans and we should treat each other with respect, these two guys are no longer working at Schnitzi, not because they are bad people but because as a business owner I cannot allow my employees fight in front of our customers, all my employees know that if they have anything to say to each other they can do it in the kitchen and/or come to us and we will solve it, there is no excuse for what happened, except that we are terribly sorry and we hope that we did not hurt any customer during this event, we are trying to give the best service and treat each customers with respect, and I am sure that you will find more positive service reviews then negative.

Best regards Schnitzi


Monday, December 22, 2008


Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) today received notification that the Brooklyn Public Library intends to close its branches in Borough Park, Kensington, Midwood and other locations on Sundays effective January 4, 2009. Currently, these libraries are open to the public on Sundays between the hours of 1:00 and 5:00PM. These sites will, however, continue to operate Monday through Saturday.

Dionne Mack Harvin, Executive Director of the Brooklyn Public Library, attributes the Sunday closures to “actual and proposed reductions in both City and State funding in Fiscal Year 2009 and Fiscal Year 2010.” In a letter to the Assemblyman, she estimates that the elimination of Sunday service will reduce the Library’s annual expenses by $800,000.

In his response to Ms. Harvin, Hikind stated, “I question the Brooklyn Public Library’s judgment in closing the library on Sundays in what are primarily Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods.” Hikind added that the library should close on Saturdays instead of Sundays to “ensure equal library access for all New Yorkers.”

The cessation of Sunday library service is part of what seems to be a growing trend of Sunday closures throughout Hikind’s district. Earlier this month, The Blythebourne Station Post Office was also slated to cease Sunday operations until Assemblyman Hikind got involved. In response to Hikind’s efforts and public outcry, The Blythebourne Station will now remain open on Sundays until further notice.

“Once upon a time, the customer was always right,” Hikind said. “Today, the customer is apparently just plain irrelevant.” Hikind continued, “No one disagrees that difficult choices have to be made in light of the current economic situation, but significant agency operating decisions need to be made in concert with the needs of the patrons.”

Hikind urges the community to contact Mr. Steven Schechter, Director of Government Relations for the Brooklyn Public Library at 718-230-2091 to voice additional opposition to the planned closures.


Chocolate menorah for Hanukkah 

For a group of Hasidic Jews in Palo Alto, Calif., Hanukkah was to begin Sunday at sundown with a 6-foot menorah of melted chocolate.

"We've already made a menorah out of ice and Legos. Why not chocolate?" said Mushky Baumgarten of Chabad of Greater South Bay, who melted 25 bags of Kosher chocolate chips to coat the menorah.

The chocolate menorah was to be lit in front of Palo Alto City Hall as one of several Hanukkah-themed activities -- including bowling and ice skating -- sponsored by Chabad groups in San Jose, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Los Altos, Cupertino and Palo Alto, the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News reported Sunday.

Chabad, an international outreach group of Hasidic Jews, has more than 3,700 centers worldwide. The eight days of Hanukkah celebrates the victory of Judah and the Maccabees over invaders who defiled the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem more than 2,100 years ago.



Sunday, December 21, 2008

Get the iMenorah App for your iPhone 

Take part in the ancient tradition of lighting the Menorah with this simple and beautiful application. Whether you're traveling, commuting, or fressing on a pastrami and rye, iMenorah is the perfect companion.


* Easy to use
* Appropriate for all ages
* Light candles with the touch of your finger
* Automatically shows the right number of candles per day of Chanukah / Hanukkah
* Beautiful graphics and animation
* Blessings sung in Hebrew
* Candles melt over time



Saturday, December 20, 2008

Shabbos almost on the Palisades Parkway 

Events reported by a Chaptzem reader

The weather was pretty rough throughout New York on Friday. With the snow and ice on the roads and people leaving work early, the traffic leaving the city was brutal, especially for an early Erev Shabbos. All these obstacles were keeping many people from getting to their destinations outside the city in time.

It was only a couple of minutes before Shabbos and the many people heading up to Monsey realized that they would not make it in time. People called Chaveirim for ideas what to do and were directed to a Holiday Inn in the area. Without any extra time or food, everyone rushed to the hotel not knowing how their Shabbos would turn out.

The many stranded families met each other while running in to the hotel to register for a room for Shabbos. None of them had known one another at all, yet they had a feeling that everything would turn out okay, knowing that they would spend the Shabbos together and they would be there for each other. The families pooled whatever food they had and had a communal Shabbos meal, complete with singing and story telling. A real feeling of achdus and simchas Shabbos swept over the people present at the table. The manager at the Holiday Inn was enthralled by what he had witnessed taking place. He mentioned with pure astonishment that he could not believe that these guests, who were now singing and celebrating together, had never met before and had been complete strangers up until then.

Throughout the night Chaveirim sent non-Jews to pick up the Yidden that were still stranded along the Palisades in their cars in the dangerous cold to take them to Monsey.


Kosher women's clothing website a bit substandard 

KosherClothing.com claims to be the '# 1 Resource for Modest, Trendy Women’s Clothing Online', yet their front page alone shows some 'Kashrus standard problems'. Wonder who gives the Hechsher on their site.


Friday, December 19, 2008

So You Wanna Be a Rock ’n’ Rebbe Star? 

Shauly Grossman didn’t plan on being an Internet rock star.

But that is exactly what happened to the 21-year-old self-identified Sanzer Hasid when a satirical song he recorded poking fun at the allegedly rock-star-like lifestyles of some Hasidic rebbes resurfaced as a hotly debated video on YouTube.

Grossman’s song, set to the tune of “Rockstar” by the popular band Nickelback, focuses on the alleged proclivities of some leaders of Hasidic sects — from lavish houses to expensive clothes.

“I want a private caretaker with three attendants to make place and to scat away the crazies, and if necessary to bring me a tray of beer,” Grossman sings in a distinctly Hasidic mix of Yiddish and English. “I want to open charity boxes with no alarm, and a private mikveh that’s always warm, with a Jacuzzi right near my indoor pool.”

Despite the biting lyrics, Grossman says the song was not meant as an attack on rabbinic authority in general.

“It was just a phenomenon that we sometimes see, meaning that there is a certain percent of rebbes who aren’t doing what they’re supposed to do and are just doing it for… the fame and the money and stuff,” Grossman, who lives in the heavily Orthodox town of Monsey, N.Y., told the Forward. “I didn’t make it specifically against anybody.”

But the video — which has circulated on the Internet for several weeks under the title, “I Want To Be a Rebbe” — juxtaposes Grossman’s song with images of widely known rebbes. Grossman said he does not know who created the video, explaining that he recorded the song a year ago and that it was not intended for public consumption.

Even so, the video and Grossman’s lyrics have stirred up a fierce debate on blogs frequented by ultra-Orthodox Jews — a population better known for reverence for rabbinic authority than for irreverent song-writing.

One commenter on the Orthodox blog Chaptzem wrote: “you gotta see the funny side of this version!” Another responded: “In the name of humor, one can compose and sing such a disrespecful [sic] song, and we have people here who actually think it is funny. How tragic.” Still another called the song “despicable.”

Grossman, for his part, sent a public apology to Chaptzem. “I’m sorry if I offended anybody,” he wrote. “It was meant for my own private fun.”

Fans of the song describe it as a witty critique of the shift from an older generation of Hasidic rebbes, who were held in great esteem, to a new generation, some of whom inherited their positions without first earning respect and trust.

“It’s a community where there are some rabbis universally acknowledged among the masses that they don’t view them as deserving of being a rabbi,” said the author of a leading Orthodox music blog, BloginDM, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Rabbi Avi Shafran, director of public affairs for the ultra-Orthodox organization Agudath Israel of America, however, was not amused.

“He’s immensely talented, the singer and the writer,” Shafran said, but “impressive in a technical sense, not in a moral one.”

“I certainly know that some of the people I recognized in the video live selfless and austere lives and for all I know, all of them do,” he said.

The brouhaha over Grossman’s song comes amid wider controversy over the infiltration of contemporary music into the ultra-Orthodox world. Earlier this year, a planned charity concert in New York featuring popular Hasidic singer Lipa Schmeltzer was canceled following a decree from a number of leading ultra-Orthodox rabbis. The concert, the rabbis warned, was likely to cause “ribaldry and light-headedness.” Grossman, incidentally, wrote the title track on Schmeltzer’s latest album.

The debate over the video also highlights the growing significance of the Internet in the ultra-Orthodox world. While some ultra-Orthodox leaders have attempted to limit Internet use among their followers, the Web has nevertheless emerged as an outlet for discontent.

“The people who are talking about it in the blogosphere, some of them are probably alienated and marginalized and of course in the blogosphere, you can say whatever you want because nobody knows who you are,” said City University of New York sociologist Samuel Heilman, author of a scholarly book on ultra-Orthodox Jewry.

Communal critics, though, have no monopoly on the Internet. The “I Want to Be a Rebbe” video has been removed repeatedly from YouTube as a result of complaints alleging copyright violations, including one filed under the name “Chofetz Chaim” — the renowned Orthodox sage who died in 1933. The video was re-posted on December 1, tallying nearly 2,000 views in 17 days.



Thursday, December 18, 2008

Assemblyman Dov Hikind disappointed at possible reversal of Mondrowitz extradition 


“I am deeply disappointed by the recent reports that Rabbi Avrohom Mondrowitz may not be extradited from Israel to the United States to stand trial for his heinous and criminal actions. This development is a great set-back in the war on sexual abuse in the Orthodox Jewish community.

The Supreme Court of Israel should reconsider their decision to give state prosecutors additional time to determine if Mondrowitz can instead be tried in Israel, where he will surely face a lesser sentence. I urge the Israeli authorities to cooperate with Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes to set the proceedings back on course to ensure that this pedophile will finally be brought to justice. After 25 years, the Mondrowitz victims deserve no less.”


Nice Jewish Girls Gone Bad 

While our Christian brethren are stuck at home watching a flaming log on television with their extended families, Jews get the city all to themselves on Christmas Eve. New York abounds with opportunities to get wasted, slutty, and desperate with other Semites, all under the guise of trying to snag a Jewish partner to bring home to Mom. If drunk and pasty Hasidic men are your type, do not miss Nice Jewish Girls Gone Bad, a variety show that draws loud-mouthed funny girls to the stage and bearded and cloaked Williamsburgers (no, that's not a new type of hipster) to the audience. Scouting either crowd for a date could yield great results—it's like a Yenta for the 21st century.



Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Hold-up at Children's Place in Boro-Park 

Four men held-up the Children's Place in Boro-Park and fled for the train on New Utrecht Avenue. One man was caught when he flung his gun and a knife off the tracks. Police cut the power to the trains and are now searching for the other three perps with K-9 units.


Pictures from the Williamsburg bike lane clown protest 




Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New York City's Bicycle Clowns hitting the streets 

A small but vocal group is spreading anti-bike sentiment in Brooklyn at a time when non-polluting transportation is on the rise in New York City, and is recognized as essential to a sustainable future.

On December 17, the Time's Up! Bicycle Clowns will ride to defend the new bike lane and future greenway connector in Williamsburg. The Bicycle Clowns will also be kicking off their year-long "Love Your Lanes" campaign to keep the focus on protecting and celebrating bike lanes.

According to event organizers, bike lane opponents - including some members of the Hasidic community who protest cyclists' "immodesty," along with Council Members Diana Reyna and David Yassky and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz - are trying to remove the newly installed Kent Street bike lane. Some opponents have even publicly threatened to illegally block the bike lanes with their private-school buses, which will force cyclists into traffic to avoid crashing into the obstructing vehicle and risk being struck and even killed.



Monday, December 15, 2008

Schnitzi employees involved in violent brawl in restaurant 

Patrons of the Schnitzi restaurant on Coney Island Avenue in Flatbush were treated to dinner and show tonight. While diners were busy scarfing down their schnitzels a wild and violent fight broke out between two employees. The brawl did not come to an end until one employee had his head gashed from having it banged into a wall and the other had a bleeding hand from a scrape.


Hasidic dad 'lost it' in beating of boy, 13, say cops 

A top Brooklyn rabbi has been forbidden from being near his 13-year-old son after the teen called the cops on his father for beating him.

The son of Rebbe Sholom Twersky, 49, told police that his father scratched and slapped him on Oct. 28, hurting his arms, according to court records. The boy was taken to Maimonides Medical Center, where he was treated and released.

"He lost it and started slapping the kid around, and the kid wasn't going to take it," a police source said.

The Brooklyn district attorney's office charged the father of 12 with assault, endangering the welfare of a child and harassment.

The city's Administration for Children's Services is investigating the case, police sources said, and a temporary order of protection is keeping the dad away from his ninth child.

Twersky, leader of the Foltishen Hasidic sect, is allowed to run his congregation - Beth Hatfilah on 49th St. in Borough Park - but is not permitted to have "incidental contact" with his son inside their home located above the synagogue, according to court records.

Twersky's political influence was well-known in Borough Park, but became apparent within City Hall inner circles after the arrest.

Fred Kreizman, assistant commissioner of the Mayor's Community Affairs Unit, went to Borough Park to help the influential rabbi.

Cops kept Twersky out of the 66th Precinct's holding cell while Kreizman sat with him waiting for word on the arraignment, police sources said.

"Kreizman is a Jewish community liaison and it is not unusual for him to be present when a Jewish leader is involved in an incident," a City Hall spokesman said.

According to family, police and City Hall sources, Twersky went to upstate Monsey after his son phoned police.

Kreizman, who serves as the top Jewish liaison for Mayor Bloomberg, is a longtime associate of Twersky, and convinced the patriarch to turn himself in to police.



Stop child molesters at Shomer Shabbos Shul in Boro-Park 

Shomer Shabbos Shul in Boro-Park, or rather as it is more affectionately known as the Boro-Park Minyan Factory, is one of the cornerstones for positivity in the community. From early Shachris minyanim to late Maariv minyanim, to the goods and services that are provided there for free to all, Shomer Shabbos is truly a positive force.

However, there is one overwhelming problem that plagues this otherwise positive religious nerve-center. That is the proliferation of child molesters that frequent the Shul and abuse children. In the last few months alone there have been literally hundreds of incidences where children and young teens have been fondled and groped by evil and heinous individuals. These people look no different than the average mispallel, but differ by the fact that they are pure evil. They have found their free haven to practice their molestation of innocent children without any roadblocks.

With this petition we call upon the Shomer Shabbos Shul in Boro-Park and all of their officers and board members to swiftly put a stop to these outrageous crimes that are taking place right under their noses. They have been informed many times about what is taking place and have been given the specific names of the many individuals that are responsible for these crimes against the souls of children. Yet they go about their daily lives doing nothing to stop it. We ask you to sign this petition that there be an extra vigilance by the Shomer Shabbos Shul to stop these perpetrators immediately.

We ask that as a first step to ending this reign of terror in a Makom Kodosh, that these identified, and many already convicted offenders, be expelled from the Shul and that surveillance cameras be immediately installed to deter further perpetrators.

Please sign this petition and communicate your outrage to the Shomer Shabbos Shul of Boro-Park. Remember, the child that you are saving may be your own!

Sign the petition


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Oxford rugby team dress up as Hasidic Jews 

Oxford University is investigating after students allegedly held a party at which they were told to arrive dressed as Orthodox Jews carrying bags of money.

Students in the under-21 rugby squad are said to have attached pretend sidelocks to their heads at the "bring a fit Jew party". Sidelocks are worn by Orthodox Jewish men.

The party, at a curry house on Wednesday, has been condemned by the Jewish community as "at best insensitive and ignorant: at worst blatantly antisemitic".

The Oxford University Student Union is said to have convinced the team's captain to change the post-match party's theme to "bring a fit girl".

But Aaron Katchen, Oxford University's Jewish chaplain, said the original "theme" had gone ahead. He was contacted by four students who had witnessed it.

The Community Security Trust, which deals with antisemitic attacks together with the police on behalf of the Jewish community, said the party would make Jewish students feel "isolated and vulnerable".

A spokesman for the Union of Jewish Students in the UK said: "The actions of a few students have caused real offence. We are appalled that in 2008 old myths and antisemitic stereotypes are still appearing among supposedly educated students."



Saturday, December 13, 2008

Cell phone thief stopped at Shomer Shabbos Shul in Boro-Park 

Shabbos afternoon an unsavory character was spotted walking around in the basement of the Shomer Shabbos Shul in Boro-Park. Someone noticed the unsavory man grab a jacket that had been hanging on the hooks from the week before and take two cell phones out of the pockets and walk off. The spotter alerted a couple of people that were there and they gave chase. Within seconds a group of people were in hot pursuit of the thief and were gaining on him. The man, fearing what would happen to him, dialed 911 on one of the cell phones for help. Police arrived at the scene and 'handled' the situation.


Friday, December 12, 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 'Music Unappreciated' written by Chaptzem, the only Heimishe blogger to make the transition from cyberspace to print.


Hasidic girl molested by 59-year-old 

A 59-year-old man lured a 13-year-old girl to his Brooklyn home where he exposed himself to her and rubbed her breast, the Brooklyn District Attorney's office said.

Arye Ickovits, a Hasidic Jew, of Boro Park, told the girl on Nov. 24 he needed help, a spokesman said. Ickovits uses a walker.

The girl told her mother about her ordeal. But relatives waited four days before reporting the attack to cops, seeking rabbinical approval from neighborhood religious leaders about speaking to investigators, the spokesman said.

Members of the NYPD Brooklyn Child Abuse Squad were then shown a picture of Ickovits snapped by the girl's mother on a cell phone.

Ickovits was arrested on Dec. 3 and later released on $5,000 bail.



Thursday, December 11, 2008

Fire in old house in Boro-Park 

An old unoccupied house caught fire on 55th Street and 15th Avenue in Boro-Park. Firemen entered the home by ladder from the porch on the top floor to put out the fire.


Major fire at Deli 52 in Boro-Park 



BEWARE - Tzedakah phone solicitation scam 

Sent in by a Chaptzem reader

I received a call from Caller ID (212) 612-1721. (This is the second time in a week that they called; the first time no one spoke.)

As soon as I answered, a woman asked for me by name and said she was calling about "Hatzoloh Israel" and started her spiel. I interrupted her and asked if she knew what time it was since it was after 9:00 P.M. at which point she hung up.

A couple of scary points:

1. If you try and dial back the above number, you get a phone company message saying this number is "not in service at this time."
2. If you call Verizon and ask for a "reverse number search" they tell you that they have no such listing.
3. The name on the Caller ID is simply New York.

It's important to give tzedakah but one should be careful to give it to bona fide charities.

Please publicize this.

Thank you.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Fallen Angels 

Listen to this new song composed and performed by Moshe Benasher in memory of the Holtzbergs.

Check out his site and donate


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

New York City Growing More Diverse 

Over all, the proportion of New Yorkers born abroad remained around 37 percent, the same as in 2000. But the proportion of foreign born who are American citizens passed a tipping point, to 50.8 percent in 2007 from 45 percent in 2000.

Underscoring the growing diversity of the suburbs, the survey found that the median age in Kiryas Joel in Orange County is just over 14 — making it the youngest community in the country with 20,000 or more people. The town’s youthfulness reflects the high birth rates of its Hasidic community.

Lakewood, N.J., an Orthodox Jewish enclave and home to one of the nation’s largest yeshivas, was in second place, with a median age of 20.

Darien and Westport, Conn., were among the wealthiest towns in the country with populations between 20,000 and 65,000, making a list of nine places where the median family income exceeded $150,000. In Darien, it was $195,905; in Westport, $176,740.

The latest results represent a three-year rolling count by the American Community Survey, a continuing profile of the country compiled by the Census Bureau, from 2005 to 2007.



Monday, December 08, 2008

Hikind: For once, the MTA finally did something right 

In a letter sent to President Howard Roberts, Jr. of the MTA, Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) expressed concern about a growing number of constituent complaints he received involving the 34th Street, Herald Square Station in Manhattan.

“In the last several months, I met with many commuters who had received summonses for alleged fare evasion at 34th Street. Most of them were traveling with baby strollers and required the emergency gate to gain entry into the station,” Hikind said. “Constituents kept telling me, ‘I swiped my MetroCard and the door opened,’ but then they would proceed through the gate and be issued a summons for fare evasion.”

An MTA investigation determined that constituents were inserting their regular-fare MetroCards into the reduced-fare only machine adjacent to the emergency gate. The inquiry also revealed that the emergency exit door was already in an unlocked state before commuters even swiped their MetroCards. “Commuters swiped their MetroCards and opened the door,” Hikind explained. “Because the gate was already unlocked, people assumed their fare had been deducted and that they had paid for access into the station.”

Hikind requested that signage detailing the proper protocol for service entry be posted to avoid further confusion. “What became clear in each case was that people simply did not know how to utilize the emergency service gate, and they were being unfairly penalized for it,” noted Hikind.

The signs are currently being posted throughout the New York City subway system. “I commend President Roberts for his quick response to this issue,” remarked Hikind. “For once, the MTA finally did something right.”


Orthodox synagogues reach out to unaffiliated Jews 

For decades, Reform and Conservative synagogues across the Hudson Valley have strategized, plotted and prayed over how to connect with some of the many unaffiliated suburban Jews who have few ties to Jewish life other than Philip Roth books.

Now the smaller but fast-growing modern Orthodox community is joining the expedition.

The Orthodox Union, the influential representative of more than 1,000 Orthodox congregations, is working with three New York synagogues on novel ways to reach disconnected Jews — starting with small steps and a non-judgmental approach.

The three congregations are the Hebrew Institute of White Plains, the Mount Kisco Hebrew Congregation and the Bialystoker Synagogue on Manhattan's Lower East Side.

Stephen J. Savitsky, president of the Orthodox Union, said Orthodox synagogues need not concede that the more liberal movements are in better position to reach out to Jews who have strayed from observance but may have a curiosity about the religious lives of their ancestors.

"The only segment of Jewish life that's growing is Orthodox Jewry," Savitsky said. "When you listen to all the things that Jewish leaders talk about - why aren't we able to grow? Why aren't our kids more involved in Jewish life? - Orthodox Judaism has it going. If people opened their eyes, they would see that Torah is the glue that holds the Jewish people together. Without Torah, you cannot survive long term."

Savitsky spent Friday and Saturday -the Jewish Sabbath - at the Mount Kisco Hebrew Congregation, the only Orthodox synagogue in northern Westchester, which recently joined the Orthodox Union. The congregation almost shut down during the early 1990s, but was revived by a few members and is now thriving with more than 100 families.

Rabbi Aaron Goldscheider of the Mount Kisco Hebrew Congregation said his congregants were excited to be working with national OU leaders on new ways to reach Jews who have lost touch with their religious roots.



Sunday, December 07, 2008

Kosher meat supply dwindling 

Rabbi Moishe Silverman stood taking inventory of a meat freezer at South Florida Kosher, the supermarket and butcher shop where he works. Dressed in a yarmulke and tie and wearing a plastic apron over his white butcher jacket, he surveyed the piled boxes of chicken and beef.

“Normally, this, on a Monday, this would be stacked up to here,” he said, pointing to a mark on the wall above his head.

But the cardboard boxes of beef in the freezer mostly reached his knee. It’s a scene being repeated in the freezers of kosher butchers and their customers across the nation.

The shortage is the result of the collapse of Agriprocessors Inc., formerly the largest kosher meatpacking company in the nation. In May, nearly 400 workers were arrested in an immigration raid at the company’s Postville, Iowa, slaughterhouse.

Since then, the company has struggled, and the plant has closed, leaving a hole in the $12.5 billion-a-year U.S. kosher food market. Agriprocessors stopped shipping beef about three weeks ago and chicken in the last week, customers said. Because there are only a handful of processors nationwide who slaughter animals according to Jewish law and under the supervision of rabbis, the shutdown has cut the kosher meat supply to the bone.

Other processors have been swamped with orders, increasing the amount of meat they produce or refusing to take new clients. Some consumers are paying up to 40 percent more for the same meat.

Markets and butchers say they can’t get certain cuts of beef for their customers, largely Orthodox Jews.

Previously, 80 percent of the store’s meat came from Agriprocessors, said Yitzie Spalter, the manager of the North Miami Beach store where Silverman works.

On an average Sunday, Spalter said, the store would get 250 cases of meat. On a recent Sunday, the store received just 26 and a promise of 120 more during the week – still just over half their normal order.



Saturday, December 06, 2008

Children not to use computers without supervision 

Wonder who issued that warning.


Friday, December 05, 2008

NY Times: Make The Hasidim Walk To Wal-Mart 

In the social circles of the New York Times editorialists, it's OK to have one kid. Two is pushing the envelope. Three or more is déclassé, and a threat to the survival of the planet.

That being so, there's really no reason to let any car bigger than a Prius be built. Doing so just encourages the unenlightened to overbreed. And so it is that in its editorial of today, the Grey-but-barren Lady suggests that as a condition of the Detroit bailout, "Congress could consider demanding that Detroit simply phase out S.U.V.’s and vans by a certain date."

Great idea. Let the Mormons and others who take that "be fruitful and multiply" stuff seriously, like Hasidic Jews, walk to Wal-Mart or wherever else those kind of people go. Lincoln Center is right down the block. Frankly, we don't see the need for cars at all.



Williamsburg residents call for more low income housing towers 

These Brooklyn residents won't mind if tall towers rise in their backyard.

In fact, they're calling on the city to revise a rezoning plan for Broadway Triangle in Williamsburg to include more low-income housing - in towers, if necessary.

Donlin could not explain why city property at 100 Throop Ave. was awarded without a formal Request for Proposals but said it wasn't out of the ordinary.

Critics expressed outrage that the property was given away before the rezoning to two politically powerful organizations - Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Center, which has ties to Assemblyman Vito Lopez (D-Williamsburg) and the Hasidic group United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg.

"This a clear indication the city is moving ahead with the plan [and] chosen who they're going to deal with," said Councilwoman Diana Reyna (D-Williamsburg).

Lopez said no one had gotten special favors, noting he supported 100% affordable housing for the area. But he added he could not support building towers, citing the repeated votes of the local community board for "contextual zoning.

"We're at the beginning of the process," he said.



Thursday, December 04, 2008

Shocking Sex Abuse Allegations 

We predicted this, here.

Dark secrets are emerging from a local, religious community that's known for its modesty and old world values.

PIX 11 has learned that a prominent, Orthodox Jewish leader will meet with the Brooklyn District Attorney to talk about allegations of sexual abuse in religious schools and homes.



Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Daily News: CBS points finger at Hasidic adultery to boost ratings 

Viewers often say local TV doesn't cover real news.

After watching WCBS/Ch. 2's two-part sweeps "exclusive" last week about members of the Hasidic Jewish community who cheat on their wives and Hasidic couples who swing, well, it's hard to argue the viewers are wrong.

Before the first piece aired, Ch. 2 anchor Kristine Johnson told viewers that the station was revealing "a side of that community that is rarely seen; some are straying far from their beliefs, breaking their marital vows with other community members."

People cheat on their spouses?


What's more shocking, though, is that Ch. 2 spent three months - a quarter of a year - uncovering this so-called scandal at a time when TV news budgets, including payrolls, are being slashed.

"There are some married Hasidic men and woman who sneak away from their ultrareligious lives," reporter Dave Carlin intoned. "They use the Internet to break their vows and break Jewish law."

Carlin delivered every word as if he was auditioning for "CSI," and in a manner suggesting that what he was saying carried life-changing significance.

Yeah, like the brain cells people lost watching.

Carlin talked to one man, who, with his face blurred, admitted to cheating on his wife. And he talked to a woman who discussed what it was like to be in an arranged marriage - and to ultimately leave.

The piece was called "Sacred Vows, Secret Affairs."

It should have been called "More Sweeps Crap."

Reporting on issues involving the Hasidic community is a valid exercise, no doubt. The insular nature of the community makes it largely unknown to most people, and there is some intrigue.

But please, have a real reason for doing it. Give viewers a valid insight into people who make up a part of this city.

Don't make it, as this clearly was, TV titillation during the home stretch of a sweeps (a ratings period, it should be noted, that was mostly marked this time around by extra stories of snake-oil beauty treatments and health updates).

"You know, Dave," Johnson said after the first of two pieces aired, "people at home are probably saying to themselves, affairs happen in all communities."

Sure, there probably were people making that observation - those who weren't swearing at their TVs at that point.

"We're not trying to point a finger or call out any one group or community," Carlin said. "But as we looked into this over three months, the stories themselves, the emotion coming out from these individuals is so compelling."

That, folks, is pure baloney.

No wonder viewers lose faith.



Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Orchidea - Boro-Park's first Glatt Kosher dairy restaurant 

From the Brooklyn paper


Monday, December 01, 2008

Do you speak Davanese? 

A brilliantly funny video sent in by Hesh from FrumSatire.net


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