Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Chaptzem Newscast - The one and only Heimishe newscast - Episode 5 



Monday, March 30, 2009

$5,000 REWARD! 

Sign hung on 53rd Street and 17th Avenue in Boro-Park.


MBD's Big Event 

Sent in by the CoolJew


Sunday, March 29, 2009


Apparently God did not make the commandment "Thou shall not commit adultery" clear enough.

Hundreds of Jewish men and women who want to cheat on their spouses are flocking to a new Web site for ultra-Orthodox Jews seeking heretical hookups.

Shaindy.com -- named for the founder's first mistress -- was launched March 19 by a modern Orthodox man from Midwood, Brooklyn, who says he got the idea from Hasids he met in chat rooms seeking adulterous action.

Roughly 350 members have signed up, said the site's creator, Jerry, who refused to give his last name for fear of rabbinical retribution. He said 50 members paid the introductory fee of $99 for two years, while others have created free profiles. There have been another 200 inquiries from around the world.

VIP member "ChanieS," 34, lists her dating status as "married and miserable" and complains about her husband's "hit and runs" in the bedroom. Her profile had 703 views last week. One 31-year-old male lists "oh those hose" and hot Orthodox ladies as his turn-ons.

Rabbis, understandably, are enraged.

"Of course they are ALREADY putting pressure on this site," Jerry said in an e-mail. "But this site is only intended for adults who can think for themselves and make their own judgments."

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, author of "Kosher Adultery: Seduce and Sin with Your Spouse," said he was saddened by the site.

"Adultery is going to do nothing to your marriage except destroy it," he told The Post.



Saturday, March 28, 2009

City demands Frum ad sign owner pay $1M in fines over 'illegal' signs 

It's Manhattan's million-dollar billboard.

That's nearly the amount the city is fining a coop board, billboard company and two installers over a giant sign on a building near Astor Place.

More than 70 violations - totalling $955,000 - have been doled out over the single billboard, which the Buildings Department says violates zoning laws.

The groups slapped with the hefty fines call them shockingly high since signs have been plastered on the structure for more than 70 years.

"It's absolutely outrageous, especially in this economy," said Ari Noe, CEO of OTR Media. "It's great income for the building owners."

The hubbub over the billboard, which currently advertises Boost Mobile, is the latest in a series of disputes between sign companies and the city.

Since the 1930s, a vintage sign advertising men's suit was painted on the side of the building on the corner of Ninth St. and Fourth Ave., said Patrick Curley, a member of the coop board who has lived there since 1978.

Then about six year ago, billboard companies began approaching the coop board - Fourth Avenue Loft Corp. - about placing ads there. The board charges a flat fee of $5,000 a month, which goes toward exterior improvements and other building upkeep.

Starting in 2007, inspectors began fining the coop board, OTR Media and two sign hanging companies for billboards advertising "King of the Hill" and the Turner Cartoon Network.

"Suddenly, they're noticing it. I don't understand what their reasoning is," said Curley, 57.

The violations, which come with penalties as high as $25,000, cover multiple offenses, including not having a permit, hanging an ad exceeding 500 square feet and placing the sign more than 40 feet above the curb.

Noe, though, believes the billboards should be grandfathered in since the space has continually featured advertisements for so many years.

But Buildings officials say new billboards are simply not allowed in that district.

"We will not tolerate any individuals or companies who disregard the law to make a profit," department spokesman Tony Sclafani said.

Some passersby couldn't believe the city was targeting what looks like a run-of-the-mill billboard.

"That's more than ridiculous," said Benson Graves, 21, manager of a nearby Ben & Jerry's. "There are posters all over the city just like that."

A hearing about the violations is set for April 16.



Friday, March 27, 2009

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 Chol HaMoed Experience' written by Chaptzem, the only Heimishe blogger to make the transition from cyberspace to print.


'Kosher' yoga for religious Jews 

Yoga, which is becoming popular among Jews across the world, is being made to conform to the requirements of Jewish laws so that the postures and spiritual elements of the Hindu-based practice do not stand on the way of tenets of Judaism.

The concept of 'kosher', a Hebrew word meaning fulfilling requirements of Jewish laws, is being applied to yoga practices in Israel and other parts of the world where the Jewish community is debating on its adoption in view of certain principles that may be contrary to Jewish laws.

Aware of observant Jews who prefer staying away from a Hindu-based practice that might 'smell of idol worship', Aviva Schmidt, a California native, last week opened what she says is Israel's "first kosher power yoga studio".

"Yoga is based on Eastern tradition and focuses a lot on meditation. Different positions are of worshipping different idols, which goes against Judaism.

So I keep it very 'Parve', for example, I don't say names of the positions, there is no chanting, no ohming. I do focus on breathing, as this is very important in yoga, but any kind of eastern philosophy stays outside," Schmidt told daily Ha'aretz.

Steven Gold, founder and director of Yoga and Judaism Centre in Atlanta, told the daily he is "most familiar with a short answer provided from the Chabad perspective -- Yoga's physical exercise can be kosher as long as it remains within the context of physical fitness and stress management."

Schmidt, who grew up as a secular Jew and became observant through Chabad, said she believes Eastern philosophies are about going into oneself. "Judaism, on the other hand, is about going out of yourself and bringing godliness into the world. It is about being grounded in this world and not about going to a mountaintop to meditate all alone," she said.

She also pointed out that few people like her, both in Israel and abroad, adopted some kind of Jewish-Kabalistic approach to yoga such as focusing on Bible texts or Hebrew letters. "What we do in my studio, however, is entirely neutral," Schmidt, a trained ballet and jazz dancer, said.

"The orthodox Jews wouldn't come if the classes included Eastern spirituality. We spoke to three different Rabbis and they all gave us their blessing," she said.

Schmidt's yoga studio, "Power Flow", located in Jerusalem's posh Rehavia neighbourhood specialises in 'power yoga', which she says is quicker and more exhausting.



Thursday, March 26, 2009

Hikind Retreating On Tough Tactics Against Molesters 

Assemblyman Dov Hikind of Brooklyn, a leading voice in the fight to end child sexual abuse in Orthodox communities, is backing down from some of his previous claims and backing away from one of his most confrontational stands against an alleged pedophile.

In an interview with the Forward, Hikind dramatically scaled down a previously reported estimate of the number of abuse cases he knew about. He also said he could not keep a pledge to force a prominent yeshiva to remove an alleged pedophile from its staff.

Hikind said that he adjusted his tactics in order to be most effective. “Some people want me to yell and scream; they want me to burn the town down. I know how to do that, but I would lose the war immediately,” Hikind said in his office in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Boro Park.

After Hikind first publicized the problem of child sexual abuse in religious communities on his weekly radio show, it was widely reported that he heard from 1,000 victims of past and current abuse. That figure was attributed to Hikind by The New York Times, the New York Post, the Forward and other Jewish media.

But the real figure is about 100, Hikind told the Forward. He said the often repeated 1,000 number may have come from his speculation about the possible number of cases, given what he has heard from therapists who treat sexual abuse victims.

“I think what we were saying to everybody was, my God, the numbers must be astronomical,” Hikind said. “We never said a thousand. It keeps on getting repeated; anybody who talks to me, I actually tell them what the facts are.”

In the same interview, Hikind retreated from his previous position with regard to one of the Orthodox community’s most prominent alleged abusers — Rabbi Avrohom Reichman, formerly principal of, and currently a teacher at, the United Talmudical Academy, located in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Reichman, the UTA and the Satmar Bungalow Colony summer camp are all named as defendants in a lawsuit filed by Joel Engelman, 23, who says that he was sexually abused by Reichman when he was 8 years old and that the school covered up the abuse.



OVERHEARD... in Shul Shabbos night 

A father was sitting in Shul Shabbos night schmoozing with his friend straight through the entire davening. His seven-year-old son was sitting next to him ehrlichly davening every word. The minyan had finished Mincha and proceeded to Kabalas Shabbos and Mariv. When they got to Shmoineh Esrei for Mariv, the son, who was not very familiar with the Shabbos davening, looks up at his father and says incredulously, "Totty, they're saying now a second Shmoineh Esrei. The father, who was fartieffed in his schmies and oblivious to everything else that was taking place around him, gives his son a stern look and snaps at him, "Herr shoin auf tzi shpielen in daven shoin a yiddish vort."


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

BEWARE - Traffic Police ticketing for blocking the intersection 



Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Chaptzem Newscast - The one and only Heimishe newscast 



Monday, March 23, 2009

Looking for fundraiser... 


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Capturing the Purim spirit 


Saturday, March 21, 2009

New website to recite your prayers 

Too busy to pray? No problem. A new online service can do it for you — Jewish, Christian, Muslim or other, for a price. Or, it suggests, if your children have stopped praying, the service can get them back into good graces by praying for them for only $1.99 for a month. Prices go up from there.

“By using the latest technology in text-to-speech synthesisers, we are able to provide the service at very affordable rates,” the site promises. Chatter about Informationageprayer.com has heated up the busy Web universe of religion since the site opened on Monday. Atheists are mocking it, many people of faith are rolling their electronic eyeballs and posting LOLs (laugh out loud).

Prayer websites are nothing new. One can e-mail requests for free to Franciscan friars in St. Louis, or users can pay to have copies of prayers stuffed into the cracks of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. What is unusual about Informationageprayer.com is the audible prayer the service promises.

James Mcarlos of Boston, a 23-year-old co-founder of the website, said users type in the name of yourself or a loved one, and the software plugs it into the right place and actually synthesises it out loud in Boston.

Reactions to the site have been less than saintly. Some readers are steamed and sending hate mail, Mr. Mcarlos said. It is not for everybody, he said. “But, if you feel like this could have a good effect, then it doesn’t hurt,” he said.

It is actually for very few right now. While the Web site has had more than 15,000 hits since Monday, he said subscribers so far are, well, not many. Asked if he had 100 or even 50 takers so far, he said: “Much less than that.”



Friday, March 20, 2009

Borough Park man Moshe Spitzer charged with years of sexual abuse of teen neighbor 

A Borough Park man was slapped with a 135-count indictment Thursday after a teen neighbor charged he had endured years of sexual abuse.

Moshe Spitzer, 24, was indicted in Brooklyn Supreme Court for sex acts and sex abuse, and similar charges, a spokesman for Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes said.

The victim, now 18, confided to a neighborhood Yeshiva principal about the abuse, said law enforcement sources.

The principal encouraged the victim to speak to his parents about the illegal meetings inside various motel rooms and apartments. Spitzer was 20 when he started taking his younger neighbor out.

"Open lines of communication between communities and law enforcement are essential to fighting crime, and we are pleased that this victim came forward," said Hynes spokesman Jerry Schmetterer.

Authorities are hoping the case will prompt more help from the usually tight-lipped leaders of Brooklyn's Hasidic sects about sexual abuse in their communities.

"The principal did the right thing and didn't try to cover anything up," said one law enforcement source.

In one notorious case, Borough Park rabbi Yehuda Kolko was accused of molesting his students at Yeshiva Torah Temimah. Some victims said the school purposely kept the abuse quiet and hit the yeshiva with multimillion-dollar lawsuits.

"The whole issue is that yeshivas were covering these up," said Orthodox Jewish community child abuse advocate Mark Appel of Am Echad. "Because of the publicity, schools are getting frightened. They don't want to get sued."

Since October, at least five men living in Brooklyn's Hasidic enclaves have been charged with sexually abusing children ranging in age from 7 to 15.

"It is remarkable progress," Appel said.

Investigators said they are seeing more families willing to cooperate and think more abusers will end up behind bars.

"People are starting to realize, teachers and the rabbis, that the only way to stop this is to go to the authorities," said another police source.

"It takes a lot for a teenage boy to stand before a grand jury," the source said. "The system is accommodating to the victim. The district attorney's office and the police department are trying to make it as comfortable as possible."



Thursday, March 19, 2009

Hamodia apparently did not hear of the National Do Not Call Registry 

In a flagrant disregard for legal policy and mentchlichkeit, Hamodia is exploiting the Heimishe oilem for their personal gain. The Hamodia Newspaper is making unsolicited phone calls to people's personal home phones to push their newspaper and magazine subscriptions on them. Hamodia is a business, if they want to sell subscriptions, let them do it legitimately, not by harassing people in their homes. What they are doing is completely wrong, let them know how you feel. Call the Hamodia at 718-853-9094 and tell them to stop bothering you.


OVERHEARD... in a Flatbush doctor's office 

An 'energy healer' was in the doctor's office waiting to be seen for a very bad sore throat. The doctor, who recognized the energy healer from his ads in magazines, bluntly asked him, "Why'd you come to me? Were you unable to help yourself with your great healing powers?" The energy healer shyly answered, "Believe me, I tried, but it just wasn't happening."


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Panel advances bill on lapsed abuse cases 

A bill that would allow for the reopening of lapsed cases of sexual abuse of children is moving to both legislative chambers despite strong opposition from religious organizations fearing bankruptcy if alleged victims get an extension on the statute of limitations to sue.

The Codes Committee of the Assembly passed the measure Tuesday, meaning it will be sent to the general body soon, and the Democrat-controlled Senate companion piece gained more sponsors, including the head of that chamber's Codes Committee, Sen. Eric Schneiderman.

The bill creates a one-year window of opportunity to revive a "dead" case if the claim comes with a certificate from a professional, such as a psychologist, who opines that the alleged victim probably was subjected to one or more acts of child sexual abuse.

The legislation, which was put forward by Assemblywoman Margaret M. Markey, D-Queens, and Sen. Thomas Duane, D-Manhattan, also calls for extending the civil statute of limitations for an injury or condition as a result of the felony of incest or use of a child in a sex act. Such suits would be permissible under the new law if filed five years after a person turns 23, instead of five years after turning 18, as is the case now.

The measure passed 11-8 in the Codes Committee, much closer than in the past, with mostly GOP opposition but also some no votes from the Democratic majority.



Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Chaptzem Newscast - The one and only Heimishe newscast 



Monday, March 16, 2009

BREAKING NEWS - Attempted burglary at Federal Astoria Bank on 13th Av in Boro-Park 

Police just apprehended a dark-skinned male while attempting to break into Federal Astoria Bank on 13th Avenue and 53rd Street in Boro-Park. Police arrived at the scene without lights and sirens, as to avoid alerting the robber to their presence. Police were apparently alerted by the bank's silent alarm, tripped during the attempted break-in. They blocked off the street and entered the second floor of the building, where the thief was making his break-in. The man was marched out in handcuffs to the street to an awaiting police cruiser.



In response to a letter sent earlier this month to the CEOs of leading kosher food companies, Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) today announced that four major distributors have agreed to reduce or maintain prices for their Pesach items this year.

Mr. Shia Friedman of Reisman Bakery has agreed to lower the price of Pesach baked goods and sell them to stores at a 15% discount. Messrs. David Weinberger of Golden Flow and Larry Farkas of Mehadrin Dairy have indicated that their respective milk prices will remain at their current levels. Mr. Schneur Bistritzky of Ahava Food Company told the Assemblyman that because of his commitment to his fellow Jews, and in light of the fiscal hardships confronting many in our community, Ahava has lowered its prices on a host of core items, including milk. Bistritzky said milk will be sold to stores for Pesach at a reduction of as much as 25 to 40 cents less per half gallon.

“I am heartened by the responsible actions these distributors have taken to ease the financial burden of those suffering in the Orthodox Jewish community,” Hikind said. “I am hopeful that their decision to either lower or maintain prices on food products for Pesach will inspire other major distributors to follow suit. These four companies are to be commended for doing the right thing in these trying economic times.”



During a performance at Feinstein's at Loews Regency in NYC Friday night, Jewish comedian Jackie Mason used the term "schwartza" to describe President Barack Obama.

Depending on who you ask, the term is either a literal Yiddish translation of the word "black," or it's a racial epithet that is equivalent to the N-word in the Yiddish culture.

According to TMZ, at least one person walked out of Mason's show, telling the Web site "He's more offensive to the Jews than Madoff tonight."

Mason, however, is defending his use of the term. He told TMZ by phone, "I'm not going to defend myself. Chris Rock has told a lot more jokes about whites than I have against blacks. What about the demeaning words blacks say about Jews?"

Mason added, "If it's a racist society, the white people are the ones being persecuted because they have to defend themselves." Mason called people like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson "professional racists."

The comic said, "I'm an old Jew. I was raised in a Jewish family where 'schwartza' was used. It's not a demeaning word and I'm not going to defend myself."

And there was this parting shot: "I'm more talented than Oprah Winfrey and look at how much she makes. I can't even make a living."



Sunday, March 15, 2009

Resiman's Bakery to help with Pesach expenses 

We have been informed by Reisman's Bakery that they will be doing their part to help people out with their Pesach food expenses in the tough financial times of this year. Reisman's says that they will be selling their Kosher for Pesach products to retailers this year for 15% less than last year's prices. Reisman's adds, "We hope that this will help alleviate the stress of Pesach for many families."


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Dr. Asher Lipner responds to the letters written by the Finkelsteins about Shua 

The letter below that was sent to us was written by Psychologist Asher Lipner, Ph.D. in response to the letters written by Lakewood bochur Shua Finkelstein, a child molest victim who passed away from a drug overdose a short while ago, and his father and sister.

This conversation and the original letter can be amazingly educational to us all.

To start with there is indeed a connection between drug addiction and obsessive compulsive character defenses.

There is also a HUGE connection between developing these defenses and being sexually abused as a little child. People need to wake up indeed to what is happening all around us and to what happened to Shuah A"H, and what is happening to his family and friends.

The focus on the spelling in such a powerful letter shows the exact same defesive reaction: Obsessive compulsiveness. These commenters do not mean to be hurtful. They are traumatized themselves by hearing the pain of Shira Finkelstien and realizing the horror her brother went through. Not being able to get any kind of sense of control over the events, and not having the ability to control their overwhelming emotions, leads to trying to focus on something they CAN control....spelling. It is no different than people with OCD who wash their hands 30 times a day, fantasizing that this will control their world and they won't ever get sick.

As for the writer who commented that Shuah was trying to control the whole world by helping others but not himself, that is not fair at all. He clearly did a lot to help himself out of his addiction having been clean for 8 months after years of struggling due to terrible abuse as a kid.

His desire to change the world was not an escape from facing his problems it was actually quite healing. Victims of abuse, especially in a close-knit family like community like ours, can never heal without doing at least something to make some change in their community. That is why so many Holocaust survivors and their children became writers, teachers, psychologists, or in some way tried to make a difference in the world. To do otherwise is to pretend that your abuse happened in a vacuum. As if it was an isolated incident, which it is not. The abuse Shuah lived through and that all victims of sexual abuse in our community live through is COMMUNAL in nature. His facebook posting explained this beautifully, better than I can. Please see it.

As for did he win the battle or not. How about this, he won the battle of confronting his sickness, but he died in the battle. But those of us he inspired will continue for him until we win the war.

Asher Lipner, Ph.D.


Friday, March 13, 2009

Religious Leaders Battle Abuse Bill in New York 

Roman Catholic and Orthodox Jewish officials in New York are mounting an intense lobbying effort to block a bill before the State Legislature that would temporarily lift the statute of limitations for lawsuits alleging the sexual abuse of children.

A perennial proposal that has been quashed in past years by Republicans who controlled the State Senate, the bill is now widely supported by the new Democratic majority in that chamber, and for the first time is given a good chance of passing.

If signed by Gov. David A. Paterson, a longtime supporter, the bill would at minimum revive hundreds of claims filed in recent years against Catholic priests and dioceses in New York, but dismissed because they were made after the current time limit, which is five years after the accuser turns 18. Similar legislation has passed in Delaware and in California, where a 2003 law led to claims that have cost the church an estimated $800 million to $1 billion in damages and settlements.

The rekindled prospects of the New York bill, known as the Child Victims Act, come at a delicate juncture for the Archdiocese of New York, the nation’s flagship see, where Cardinal Edward M. Egan is scheduled to hand over the reins in April. His successor, Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of Milwaukee, was so hard hit by settlements for past abuse by priests in that archdiocese that he was forced to put its headquarters up for sale.

“We believe this bill is designed to bankrupt the Catholic Church,” said Dennis Poust, spokesman for the New York State Catholic Conference, a group representing the bishops of the state’s eight dioceses. He said that Cardinal Egan and Bishop Nicholas A. DiMarzio of Brooklyn visited Albany this week to voice their opposition, and that a statewide network of Catholic parishioners had bombarded lawmakers via e-mail.

But while the Catholic Church is leading the opposition, in recent months a loose coalition of disparate groups has also joined the effort. They include leaders of the Hasidic and Sephardic Jewish institutions in Brooklyn, which could face equally costly abuse claims. The New York Civil Liberties Union and the criminal defense bar oppose lifting statutes of limitation as unfair to the accused, who must defend themselves against claims of transgressions decades old.



Thursday, March 12, 2009

Chaptzem Newscast - The one and only Heimishe newscast 



Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Letter from sister of Lakewood overdose bochur, Shua Finkelstein, on his fight with drugs 

Here is a letter sent to us by someone who identifies herself as Shira Finkelstein, the sister of Lakewood bochur Shua Finkelstein, who overdosed on drugs last week.

Theeres no real explenation to [his relapse]. the craving never leaves. there is no real cure for drug addiction. the closest there is to a cure is finding different outlets, other than drugs, and facing your problems instead of runnig away and looking for escapes. anyway professions say that my brother choked in his sleep and it wasnt even the pills that killed him. my brother was and is an awesome person which i guess is the reason it had to be him nd no other boy.

Shua fought until the very end. when he realised what he had done, he ran for help, and only went to sleep when he thought it waas ok to. and i beleive it was ok for him to. it was just his time to go. god wanted him back. but he had to have taken the pills before hand to teach evrybosy the lesson, that after 8 months of being clean, its still simple to relapse. but if you do, dont just give up. fight till the end like my brother did. he ran for help at the last second. and he won the battle again.


Fox 5 report on the Vizhnitzer Catering Hall in Boro-Park 

This is the Fox 5 report that we posted about the taping a little while ago.

New York City leaders boast about how they aggressively crack down on "quality of life issues." But Fox 5 uncovered an interesting controversy in one Brooklyn neighborhood. Some residents in Borough Park say the city is simply afraid to deal with a nuisance that is ruining their lives. As Fox 5's John Deutzman reports, a situation with a catering hall seems to revolve around religion.



Letter from father of Lakewood overdose bochur, Shua Finkelstein 

Here is a letter sent to us by someone who identifies himself as being the father of the Lakewood bochur Shua Finkelstein, who overdosed on drugs last week.

From Abba (Shua's father),

Yes our son left us with broken hearts and shattered dreams of making his wedding, holding his children and enjoying and crying with him in his successes and disappointments. But one thing is clear Shua only wrote this letter and other letters after he felt strong enough to take on this cause for the innocent children who are abused, in addition to many other causes he was working on. Shua was in process of starting a recovery house for lost children from his neighborhood and was setting up counseling and paying for it from his own money. Shua was also helping kids find jobs and encouraging them to hold on to them and help build their character. Shua was also planning to announce his engagement to the beautiful love of his life, which he made clear he wanted to do only when he was sure he had beaten the disease. I know Shua hopes and will be happy for anything we can do to help each other and ourselves. I love you my son and spilling many tears but grateful for the twenty years that Hashem let me have you.

Shua's Abba


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

That's one way to beat the Purim traffic 



Gypsy men collecting in Boro-Park 



Gypsy women out collecting in Boro-Park 

Sent in by a Chaptzem reader


Recession may be pulling necklines up 

Modesty in young women’s clothing is getting a boost from the dismal economy.

When consumer spending was in overdrive, retailers could sell to the masses and ignore the more muted voices asking for, say, a decent supply of sleeved shirts or prom dresses that show more fabric than skin.

Now, however, it’s the rare retailer who’s willing to take the chance of turning off any possible customer. Luxury-store clerks can no longer afford to look down at scruffy shoppers, and store owners of every sort are recognizing the one-size-fits-all approach to retail buying no longer works.

Whether it’s more of a fiscal or moral shift, understated girls’ clothing may indeed be making a comeback.

Even flashy Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld declared “bling is over” and noted the economy is prompting a “”new modesty,” in an interview with the “International Herald Tribune” this year.

Retail consultant Ken Nisch says the trend is more moderation than modesty, but the effect may be the same.

“It’s not because of a moral revival but about sensibility,” says Nisch, chairman of retail brand and design firm JGA. “What’s provocative has often been ultra trendy, and it just doesn’t make sense to buy things you can’t wear for a lot of occasions anymore.”

The evidence is found everywhere, from the baggy and shapeless “boyfriend” jeans that are replacing skin tight ones for many young women to the basic fashions seen all over New York these days, says Meredith Barnett, CEO of retail boutique website StoreAdore.com.

“People want to be more comfortable and more covered,” says Barnett. “You’re not seeing nearly as much risk taking.” The trend is forcing a shift in the way retailers do business.

Just as teen retailers have come to target the gothic girl, the diva and the street-wear aficionado, they now must recognize that skin is simply not always in. For every girl who embraces strapless tops and micro-mini dresses, there might be one who is trying to abide by either a school or moral dress code. Modest fashion typically calls for covered shoulders, thighs and cleavage but is hardly the definition of frumpy that the term often calls to mind.

“For those groups who want to be a little more reserved, (stores) must understand what their needs are and offer them what they want,” says retail strategist Cari Bunch of consulting firm Kurt Salmon Associates. “It’s essential for survival.”

When he explained the chain’s new local approach to investors last month, Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren cited the chain’s ability to offer clothing to working women in Pittsburgh and St. Louis seeking “covered sleeves and more traditional silhouettes.”



Monday, March 09, 2009

A Freilichen Purim! 


Four car accident on 54th Street and 12th Avenue in Boro-Park 

Sent in by a Chaptzem reader




Citing the high rate of unemployment and the growing financial despair in the Orthodox Jewish community, Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) has called upon kosher food distributors to keep prices for this year’s Pesach items at a minimum.

In a letter sent to the CEOs of leading kosher food companies, Hikind wrote, “Many of our brethren are in a state of fear and anxiety, uncertain how they will afford the costly Pesach expenses. Together we can alleviate the distress of our Jewish brothers.”

Hikind noted that although Pesach is still four weeks away, his office has already seen an influx of constituents asking for assistance in obtaining food vouchers and referrals to Pesach food pantries. “We are living in precarious financial times,” Hikind remarked. “People literally don’t know how they will put their next meal on the table, let alone manage to pay for all the Pesach necessities. I am trying to ease that stress.”

Local community organizations which offer food and financial assistance are also feeling the pinch of the economic crisis. Confronted with a drastic reduction in private donations and government grant monies, current organizational resources available to the community are considerably less than in previous years. “Every year at our Sedarim we recite, ‘whoever is hungry, let him come and eat [with us],’” said Hikind. “I am trying to ensure that no one will be hungry this Pesach or be forced to rely on the kindness of strangers.”


Sunday, March 08, 2009

To Observe the Sabbath or Not: At Trial, Questions of Religious Devotion 

Religion has been a quiet presence in a Queens courtroom during the five-week murder trial of Mazoltuv Borukhova and Mikhail Mallayev, but only rarely has their Jewish faith been the subject of contention. Until last week.

On Thursday, Dr. Borukhova was forced to admit that she had violated the Sabbath to inquire about buying a spy camera camouflaged inside a button. But the real trouble started shortly afterward, when the defendants’ insistence on observing the Jewish day of rest conflicted with another inviolate period of repose — namely, the judge’s vacation.

The Talmudic details of the dispute will be explained shortly. But to understand its power — why, for instance, it produced the first public disagreement between two defendants who have so far resisted any temptation to blame each other for the killing of Dr. Borukhova’s husband in October 2007 — it is necessary to grasp how religious and ethnic identity have pervaded the case.

The allegations — that Dr. Borukhova hired Mr. Mallayev, her cousin by marriage, to kill her husband, Daniel Malakov, during a bitter custody dispute over their daughter — have scandalized the small community of Bukharian Jews. All three families belong to the ethnic group, which immigrated, almost in its entirety, to the United States from Uzbekistan and other Central Asian countries after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Bukharian Jews preserved their religion for nearly 3,000 years under the Persian Empire, Muslim khanates and Communist rule. They have settled mainly in the Forest Hills section of Queens, clustered around synagogues that are traditional if not ultra-Orthodox — and now find themselves riven by the family feud.

Both Dr. Borukhova and Mr. Mallayev told the police that they would never be involved in anything illegal because of their religious beliefs.

Dr. Borukhova’s relatives sit every day in the second row of State Supreme Court, murmuring prayers from books printed in Russian and Hebrew. Dr. Malakov’s relatives occasionally hiss at them across the aisle.

Covering their hair in accordance with religious rules for married women, Dr. Borukhova’s sisters wear bouffant wigs that became an issue when prosecutors claimed that an eyewitness saw one sister at the murder scene.

Their mother, who, depending on which side is to be believed, either threatened Dr. Malakov that he would soon “go to God” or merely said the almighty would punish him, opts for a fuzzy cloche hat.



Saturday, March 07, 2009

Report: 3 Jewish youths attacked in Antwerp 

Three Jewish youths were assaulted in Antwerp this week, Amos Hermon, head of the Jewish Agency's task force on anti-Semitism told Ynet on Friday.

According to him, a man who arrived at the Belgian city's Jewish quarter struck the youths with a metal rod. Two of the Jews sustained mild injuries in the incident, and the third broke his hand.

Hermon said the past few weeks have seen a rise in anti-Semitic incidents in Belgium, prompting the local Jewish community to beef up security at its institutions – particularly schools and synagogues - in Brussels and Antwerp.

The rise in anti-Semitism in Belgium came on the heels of Israel's recent military offensive in Gaza. In some incidents slogans comparing Israel to the Nazis were spray-painted on walls.

"Belgium is one of the more problematic countries when it comes to anti-Israel sentiment, which peaked during the Gaza offensive," Hermon said. "There are more anti-Semitic incidents in Belgium than in any other western European country."

The Jewish Agency official attributed the rise in Belgian anti-Semitism to a "joint effort on the part of the Muslim community, the radical Left and the liberal movements in the country, who have joined the anti-Israel protests following the Gaza offensive."



Friday, March 06, 2009

Technion rabbi: Remove mezuzot from gay couples' rooms 

The study routine at the Technion, Haifa's Institute of Technology, has been disrupted in recent days over a decision allowing homosexual and lesbian couples to live in dorms designed for married couples.

Following the decision, the Technion's rabbi demanded that demanded that the mezuzot (piece of parchment affixed to the doorframe of Jewish homes) be removed from the rooms where the gay couples are slated to reside.

The decision to allow homosexual and lesbian couples to live in dorms designed for married couples was approved several days ago by Technion's management, together with its legal advisor and the Student Union.

"Excluding Bar-Ilan University, gay couples are given the option of lodging everywhere, and the Technion helped us solve this problem," said Uri Avinoam, a biology student who headed the battle to change the current situation.

Activists of the Technion's religious students' organization, Achvat Aharon, led by the Technion's rabbi, Eliyahu Rachamim Zini, refused to accept the decision. Under the title "Sodomy sponsored and financed by the Technion", they wrote a protest letter to Technion President Yitzhak Apeloig.

"They are trying to force us to acknowledge that if a person was born with a sexual abnormality he can live with it, and that there is no need to overcome it. This immoral saying has no room in a society which cherishes the future of the Israeli family," the letter said.



Thursday, March 05, 2009

Letter written by Lakewood bochur who overdosed, weeks before his passing 

The following letter was written by Lakewood bochur Shua Finkelstein hy'd weeks before his death

There is thing called child molestation that we have all heard of we all know it happens in different places we all know maybe priests or that creepy uncle.Let me tell you a little about this thing and first hand what it can do to a kid. A frum child is molested he knows nothing about tummah and kedusha all he knows is that he was violated that his body is a toy thats what gets engraved into his brain not that he is a person worthy of respect but that he is an object a tool.

This kid grows up he knows nothing of sex all he knows is that he is dirty and that his rabbis say sex is bad he doesn't understand he thinks he is bad any mussar shmooz he hears it directly at him and this innocent kid begins to believe of himself as a bad person.Nobody likes being bad he will look for a place with no expectations of him a place were he can be free to fit in a world where everybody is bad….Chances are he will either convince himself this is the normal and pass it in to another innocent child or he will resort to rebelling to prove to himself he is as bad as he thinks he is……Often he will find drugs to take him away to give him an escape from his horrible reality….

That being said…Did you ever notice a support our troops symbol on the back of somebody's car? do you know what that represents? that means that thousands of miles there are people no different then yourself fighting a war and that we support them that gives them the morals they need to keep doing what they must do in order to protect us.I dont expect to see "save our kids" on the back of all of our cars but is it too much to ask that each and everyone of us do our part???

I will not mention names but there was one play group accused cased closed and dealt with. thats a start but that should send a chill down your spine theses are kids we are talking about…. there is another play group that is still open after over 5 cases have been brought against it!!!!! do you love your kids???? theses are the same kids that some vaad in lakewood will put in ad in the paper to protect from cellphone texting or god forbid a concert but did you see an ad sayingGuard your kids!!!!?DO research!!!!! If your in doubt dont send them there!A play group that has had 5 allegations against it is still open????? Of course its there parnasah we are so worried about…

Maybe i should fill you in on some facts there is a jewish rehab whose name i will not mention that deals with kids whose lives are in danger i spoke to the intake administrator there about the cliental from Lakewood and i was told 99.% of all kids from lakewood Yes lakewood our holy town who doesn't allow text messaging were molested in this town!!!!! and that is what led to there addiction! now some facts of this rehab which has a high success rate 50% dont stay clean and out of all the jewish kids there that leave and relapse there is an average of 3 jewish souls that die a year!!! Murdered by you and me and all of us unwilling to take a stand against these people in our community the rabbis are scared to do anything? its political?? how dare they say that?? this is life and death we are killing kids over here we are condemning them to a life of misery of lonely depression and god forbid of passing on this horrible sickness.

IT IS YOUR DUTY as a Jew, As a Human to find these people in our community and no longer let them live among us!!!! 'Oy le rosha Oy le schayno' I think over here we are all the reshoim if we sit back and do nothing!! and if you dare say you are worried that people in play groups will lose there jobs there is some math you may want to do. a rehab a 6 month program to give a molested kid a chance $5,000 per months totals $30,000 now this place on average has 20 kids per six months thats $60,000 do you want me to count in the average fee of therapy $150-per hour????? or maybe you want the numbers i got from the local funeral homes??????

WAKE UP!!!!!! Ask yourself honestly is it that you are truly concerned about this just isn't your place or do you just not know what to do? I think trying to be worried about innocent money just went the window….This cannot be hidden any more!!!!! you know something speak up!!! have you been thru this??? share your story, help create support groups Help publicize this letter share your story…. If you are an offender seek help it can be done your amends will not be easy but it can be done.You can make one fatal mistake and that is to try and hide and think you will get passed by come out help fix the wrong before you will no longer have that chance EVER.If we all get together as a town to help weed this community it can be done with minimal damage. Anybody innocent who may receive slight setbacks because of this consider it your part in saving a life.

Shua Finkelstein

From 7fatcow.com


Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Ich Vil Gein Uff Mein Geile Bus 

A nice piece of work sung by Yoely Lebovitz, the Pester Rebbe SHLIT"A, with lyrics by the 'Vil Zein A Rebbe' Shauly Grossman and with acting by Hasidic actor, Abe Karpen.




Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) today sent a letter to each member of the New York Congressional Delegation expressing his dismay about the appointment of Charles “Chas” Freeman as the chairman of the National Intelligence Council, which is responsible for producing National Intelligence Estimates. A former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Mr. Freeman is considered by many to be a controversial figure, owing to his incendiary remarks, contentious ideologies, and affiliations with China and Saudi Arabia.

In 2007, Mr. Freeman was quoted as saying that the main reason America is faced with terrorism today is “the brutal oppression of the Palestinians by an Israeli occupation that is about to mark its fortieth anniversary and shows no signs of ending.” Mr. Freeman has also embraced John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt’s work entitled, “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy” which alleges that American Jews have a “stronghold” on the Congress which they use to further Israel’s interests.

With respect to the 1989 massacre in Tiananmen Square, Mr. Freeman stated, “I do not believe it is acceptable for any country to allow the heart of its national capital to be occupied by dissidents intent on disrupting the normal functions of government, however appealing to foreigners their propaganda may be.”

“Mr. Freeman’s anti-Western values pose a serious danger to the liberties we enjoy in this nation,” Hikind said. “It is beyond my imagination how someone like this could be appointed to such an important and prominent position in the president’s administration.”
Currently, Freeman serves as the president of the Middle East Policy Council, a think tank which is funded by the Saudis. The Council was responsible for the distribution of an “Arab World Studies Notebook” to American schools. An examination of the textbook conducted by JTA in 2005 revealed a grossly inaccurate and distorted version of “facts” relating to Israel and Jews in general.

“President Obama must take immediate and swift action to rescind Mr. Freeman’s appointment,” remarked Hikind. “The United States’ intelligence policy should not be shaped by someone whose belief system is in direct opposition to the ideals, we as Americans, hold so dear.”


Rabbi cross-examines daughter in sex trial 

A woman who says her ultra-orthodox rabbi father molested her for much of her youth confronted him Tuesday under tense circumstances: as he cross-examined her at his own sex-abuse trial.

The defendant, Israel Weingarten, decided to be his own defense lawyer, setting up what a frustrated judge called an "awkward" and "fairly untenable" situation once he got the chance to directly question the government's star witness.

The woman, now 27, initially turned her head and wept when her father stepped up to a podium normally used by lawyers in a Brooklyn courtroom. But she slowly regained her composure, even lashing out at him when he questioned why she didn't come forward as a teenager with the shocking allegations.

"My feeling from your molesting me was utmost fear and blackmail and years of torture because you hit me, because I told my mother," she said. "Didn't I get hit enough?" Weingarten, 59, a member of the Satmar community in Monsey, N.Y., was arrested and jailed without bail last year on charges he traveled outside the country to have sex with a minor. In a rambling opening statement, he said he had been falsely accused by a daughter who rebelled against a strict upbringing, and suggested that a neighbor was the actual abuser.



Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Chaptzem Newscast Premiere - The one and only Heimishe newscast 



Monday, March 02, 2009

Pictures from the Event after party 



Pictures from Hikind sponsored sex abuse victim chizuk event 

Here are some pictures from the Hikind hosted sex abuse victim chizuk event sent in by Chaptzem readers.

Dr. Benzion Twerski

Rabbi Yehuda Levin

Dr. Asher Lipner

Rabbi Glantz

The news media waiting outside


Sunday, March 01, 2009

Abuse comes to light: Hasidim silence on perverts cracking 

Just before last Thanksgiving, a 13-year-old Brooklyn girl told her parents she had been molested. They didn't go to police.

Her dad went straight to their rabbi.

The religious leader told him to go to another rabbi for guidance. The frantic couple spoke to two more rabbis before taking their advice: Talk to cops.

"I wanted to find the right way to go about this without traumatizing my daughter any further," the 32-year-old mom told the Daily News.

"I knew if I called the police, they would ask us to come down to the precinct. It would become public knowledge and my daughter would have to retell the story over and over again."

The family met privately with a detective and a prosecutor, and authorities charged a 59-year-old neighbor, Arye Ickovits, with sexually abusing the young teen after luring her into his bedroom.

As crimes go, the Dec. 3 arrest was so run-of-the mill, it barely made headlines. But until recently, it might not have happened at all.

Sexual abuse in New York's Hasidic community was almost never reported to police for fear of shaming the victim and exposing the insular world's less savory elements.

Advocates say that wall of silence is starting to crumble.

"They are coming to terms, standing up and saying, 'No more sweeping the abuse under the rug; no more denial. We need to deal with it, to face it, and to protect our children,'" said Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn).

Since October, at least four men living in Brooklyn's Hasidic enclaves have been charged with sexually abusing children, ranging in age from 7 to 15.

"In the past few months, communication between the community and law enforcement has improved, there is more sharing of information," said a law enforcement source who works with the Brooklyn Jewish community.

One of Orthodox Judaism's biggest political champions, Hikind is hosting a forum today where mental health experts and rabbinical leaders will openly address the problem.

The purpose is "to say to victims of sexual abuse, 'We are sorry we didn't see your pain,'" Hikind said.

Even with recent progress, investigators say it is tough to navigate the closed culture.

Just as the "stop snitching" mantra hides crimes in the hip-hop world, a similar code of silence keeps Hasidic families from talking to cops.

They fear being branded a moser - a violator of religious law that forbids Jews from informing on each other.

"If the family goes to the police, the family is worried that they can't send their kids to yeshivas, they worry that they can't marry off their daughters, they worry that they will be known as traitors," said one police source.

"The only way to stop it, is to stop people that offend, and that is to go through the criminal justice system," the source said.

During a recent interview with The News, Ickovits said he asked the teen to help him up the stairs of his home, where he did nothing wrong.

"She helped me. She came in, and I told her goodbye and she ran away," said Ickovits, who uses a walker. "She gave me a kiss and I gave her a kiss and she ran home."

Ickovits also said he handed the girl cash in exchange for helping him up the stairs.

Some in the community have said it was cruel to lock up Ickovits, a stroke survivor in frail health, but the victim's mom has ignored them.

"Everybody has a responsibility to come forward and speak up when they know that a child is being hurt," the mother said.



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