Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Woman: Hasidic Cop did this to me 


Greenpoint resident Chrissie Brodigan says she was riding on the L train between Bedford and First Avenue when her pug, who has health problems, overheated and began vomiting in the tote bag she was carrying him in. As she was leaving the subway station with the dog in her arms, she says a police officer's attempt to issue her a ticket turned ugly, and when she became upset the cop began saying, "If you're going to act like a woman I'm going to treat you like a woman."

According to Brodigan, the arresting officer's name is Witriol (badge number 942838). After seeing a photo, she identified him to us as Joel Witriol, who in 2006 became New York's first Hasidic cop. Brodigan, 32, says Witriol would not accept her explanation that she was carrying the pug because it was sick, and she believes that the disturbed crowd that gathered to witness the arrest only made him angrier. She tells us, "He punched me in the back (there are bruises), he handcuffed me, and in the scuffle grabbed my breasts and pinched them."

Melissa Randazzo, a speech language pathologist who lives in Williamsburg, witnessed the arrest and tells us, "something about it seemed very wrong. The cop's tone seemed really inappropriate and he kept saying things like, 'Are you going to act like a woman?' She tried to walk away, and then he grabbed her and pushed her against the wall outside the turnstile." Randazzo ran up to the street level to call 911 to, as she says, "call the cops" on Witriol, and soon some 20 officers had descended into the Bedford station. They then ordered the witnesses to disperse. Brodigan describes what happened after she was arrested:

They took my pug and he told me he was taking him to the pound where he would be "put down." I was taken to the J stop headquarters. I wasn't allowed to call a lawyer and I was put in a cell with handcuffs on with two other women who spit on me and hit me in the head, because they weren't in handcuffs and I was crying so much it bothered them. I was given 3 tickets: failure to produce ID, disorderly conduct, and failure to have dog in a container. I have a court date in August. I asked for a pen to write the badge numbers down before I left and they refused to give me a pen and covered up their badges. My pug was returned. They had him behind their desks and were playing with him."

The NYPD press office declined to verify any information about the arrest; the spokesman told us that because these are misdemeanor charges, they "usually don't hear anything about that." Brodigan adds that, "So many people saw what happened that I just would really like for everyone to submit complaints, because this man shouldn't be able to do this to women—to anyone."



A man from Williamsburg protesting the gay rally 

This man from Williamsburg was on his way to Manhattan to protest the gay rally.

Sent in by a Chaptzem reader


Monday, June 29, 2009

Bar Mitzvah Tutor Yona Weinberg Convicted of Sexual Abuse 

A Bar Mitzvah tutor was convicted Wednesday of seven counts of sexual abuse in the second degree and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, for sexually abusing two boys, the Brooklyn District Attorney announced.

Yona Weinberg, a 31-year-old social worker from Flatbush, was originally charged with sexually abusing four male students. The indictment had charged Weinberg with course of sexual conduct against a child in the second degree, nine counts of sexual abuse in the second degree, attempted sexual abuse in the second degree, and six counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

The alleged victims, who were 12, 13 and 14 years old, were Weinberg’s students at the Khal Beth Abraham synagogue, where Weinberg gave Bar Mitzvah lessons. At least one victim was Weinberg’s client at the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services, where Weinberg was a social worker.

If convicted of all crimes, Weinberg faced up to seven years in prison. He now faces up to two years in prison when he is sentenced Sept. 9 before Justice Gustin Reichbach.



Taking Credit Where It's Not Due? 

A reader who keeps a close eye on the Jewish press spotted this full-page Bloomberg campaign ad in the weeklies and sent it in with the accompanying message: "(The mayor) creates the issue, 'solves' it and then takes credit...talk about manufacturing credit."

He has a point.

The ad touts that "even in tough budget times" the mayor "found a way to save more than 2,000 Priority 7 after-school vouchers, providing much needed relief to families in our community."

Of course, it was Bloomberg who threatened to cut the $16 million voucher program in the first place, sparking fury among the Orthodox Jewish families who have been its primary benefactors since it was first created 12 years ago.

The City Council and Orthodox advocates mounted a campaign to save the program, and, in a repeat of the last time this occurred (2004 - a year before the mayor's first re-election bid), the money ended up being restored during budget negotiations.

The voting power of the Orthodox community, which tends to cast its ballots in a bloc, has been the subject of much dispute, with some saying too much effort expended by elected officials to woo this particular special interest.

As with any other group of voters, the clout of the Orthodox depends largely on turnout, which has been hit-or-miss in past elections.

However, if leaders do turn out the vote, it is all-but guaranteed to go to whichever candidate they've instructed the community to support - and that's not something to be trifled with.

In the case of the Priority 7 fight, Orthodox advocates say, voters were perhaps angry enough to stay home on Election Day, robbing Bloomberg of key votes, but not likely to support his expected Democratic rival, Comptroller Bill Thompson.



Sullivan emergency teams ready for summer visitors 

Volunteer paramedics who wear long curling sideburns and black hats sat down Sunday with state agency representatives for breakfast and a side order of understanding.

The goal: coordinate efforts for the summer when the population and emergency calls rise dramatically.

On one side: the Hatzalah, whose name comes from the Hebrew word for rescue. It is an organization of trained volunteer Jewish paramedics who operate in the Catskills year-round, but grow their numbers along with the bungalow colonies. In the summer, about 175,000 Jews move to the Catskills and up to 400 Hatzalah members are among them, according to a representative of the county sheriff's department.

On the other side: representatives from local emergency agencies and the Sullivan County district attorney's office.

About five years ago, local agencies and Hatzalah began breakfasting together to coordinate for summer.

What was once a modest gathering of people and pastries has grown to about 120 emergency responders representing more than 30 local fire, police and ambulance-corps members, and Hatzalah.

"This meeting brings an understanding of each others' practice, a sense of tolerance of each other's ideas and that you have to get past the stereotypes," said David Cohen, CEO of Hatzalah.

Before these meetings, emergency scenes were chaotic. When an accident occurred, Hatzalah responded along with other agencies. There were many people, but no one was in command.

Since the lines of communication opened, Hatzalah realized its members needed identifying uniforms. Once unmarked minivans now have laminated cards; men in black jackets now wear clearly labeled emergency vests.

Through the meetings, local firefighters and police have also gained an understanding of religious practices, such as those that bar unrelated men and women from touching.

"When you get to know people, it makes it easier to come together," said Jim Farrell, county chief assistant district attorney.

Hatzalah coordinator Bernie Gips hopes the understanding spreads to the whole community.

"We're here to help," Gips said.



Sunday, June 28, 2009

Felder says posters will be fined, including himself 

From Courier Life


Orthodox man guilty of attempting to kidnap girl 

A jury convicted a Brooklyn man on Friday of trying to abduct an 11-year-old girl on Mother's Day 2007 - rejecting the argument he was just strange, not sinister.

Bernard Mutterperl, 21, grabbed Xochil Garcia, covered her mouth when she screamed and walked her down the stairs of her Midwood apartment building.

He grimaced - and his mother burst into tears - when the jury found him guilty of attempted kidnapping and other charges that carry up to 15 years in prison.

"Travesty of justice, travesty of justice," defense lawyer Joyce David said. "There was no evidence here, just speculation."

Xochil's stepfather, Heriberto Rodriguez said he was "happy with the verdict, but I can't be too happy because a lot of people are still suffering. I can't imagine what his family is going through now."

Mutterperl's lawyer had argued his actions were inappropriate and awkward but not criminal.

But jurors who heard the girl's vivid testimony and Mutterperl's police statement about liking little girls took only three hours to convict.

"If the first thing you do when you see a child is grab her hand and say, 'Don't scream,' that's a little more than inappropriate," said one juror.

Xochil, who kept her cool and waited for the right moment to escape Mutterperl's grasp, bravely took the stand to tell jurors about what prosecutors said was "every parent's worst nightmare."



Saturday, June 27, 2009

Assemblyman Hikind to host Dr. David Pelcovitz on radio show 

This Saturday evening June 27, Assemblyman Dov Hikind will host Dr. David Pelcovitz on his weekly radio show. The show can be heard at 570 AM from 11:00 PM until 12:00 AM.

Assemblyman Hikind will discuss developments pertaining to the issue of sexual abuse in the Orthodox Jewish community, and will provide updates regarding Shomrei Yaldeinu, the multifaceted plan proposed by members of his task force to deal with this issue in a comprehensive manner.


Friday, June 26, 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 'Schlepping to the Mountains' written by Chaptzem, the only Heimishe blogger to make the transition from cyberspace to print.


Blessed be the shtreimel makers, despite fur fury 

AT DUSK on the Sabbath, few things are more spectacular in Jerusalem than the fascinating passing parade of fur hats moving inexorably towards the Western Wall.

Great furry crowns of all shades of brown, lined with velvet and leather, some them 22 centimetres wide and 15 centimetres high.

Others are so wide and flat that they look like a sombrero made of sable. Some can be so high you might think they are a top hat of mink.

Shtreimels are what they are, the traditional head-wear of Hasidic Jews worn on the Sabbath and on holidays.

But the shtreimel is not to be confused with spodiks or kolpiks, other varieties of hairy chapeaux reserved for more revered rabbinical sages. Once symbols of persecution, they were first imposed by 18th-century Polish kings who decreed that Jews must wear the tail of an animal on the Sabbath to show they were not working.

The tradition spread through eastern Europe, with each Jewish sect adapting the shtreimel to their own taste, and instead of being a mark of persecution it became a symbol of pride.

Standing at the Damascus gate to the Old City at 5pm on Friday, watching the stream of shtreimels make their way to the holiest site in Judaism, the practised eye can tell a lot about each person just from the cut of their hat.

The name of the sect each Hasid comes from and from what part of Europe their ancestors came from. The shtreimel is also a dead giveaway for things such as income, what religious texts and customs they adhere to, and even whether or not they are Zionists.

All of which makes the shtreimel an important garment in the life of a Torah observant Hasidic Jew.

"It's the gift of a man to his son on the day of his wedding," said Menachem Eliezer Moses, a member of the Knesset in the United Torah Judaism Party.

"It's a very important part of the Jewish life."

Sitting in his parliamentary office, dressed in a black tail-coat, black vest and white shirt, Moses had just returned from a heated debate in the Knesset.

"People want to ban furs imported from Asia because of the way the animal is killed there," said Moses. "But what does this mean for the shtreimel?"

With the proposed law carrying a punishment of one year in prison, Moses asked who would pay for the prisons to house all the law-breaking Jews who import the wrong kind of fur.



Thursday, June 25, 2009

Brad Lander collects petition signatures in Boro-Park 

Brad Lander, candidate for City Council District 39, visited four Boro-Park shuls located in the district. He also knocked on doors and collected dozens of petition signatures.

Among the signers were;

Rabbi Gershon Tennenbaum, Bnei-Yisroel of Linden-Heights

Satmar (10th Ave)

Rabbi Nussen Zeigelbaum, Vien (10 & 45)

Belz (43)


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Thousands expected at NYC rabbi's grave 

As many as 50,000 people are expected to visit the grave of a revered New York City rabbi to mark the 15th anniversary of his death.

Rabbi Menachem Schneerson led the Chabad (HA'-bad) Lubavitch (LOO'-bah-vitch) movement based in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, for more than 40 years.

He was known as "the rebbe" (REH'-beh) to national politicians, city leaders and his followers. The Hasidic (HA'-sid-ik) movement he led stressed outreach to encourage Jewish religious observance and education.

The rebbe was 92 when he died on June 12, 1994 but according to the Jewish calendar the anniversary of his death will be observed for 24 hours starting at sundown Wednesday.

Visitors have waited hours to say a brief prayer at his grave on past anniversaries.



Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Brooklyn kids stung by vicious 'Drano bomb' chemical attack by teens 

Cops were hunting a group of teenagers Monday night wanted for tossing a burning chemical cocktail on some Brooklyn children as they played outside, police said.

The teenagers tossed a bottle, believed to be filled with a mix of Drano and other liquids, across South Eighth St. in Williamsburg on Sunday about 8 p.m., police and witnesses said. The stinging substance splashed several kids.

Yakov Frankel, 10, and Esther Pollak, 12, were treated at Bellevue Hospital and released after doctors tended to their burned face and eyes, family members said.

"It exploded and it went in my face," said Esther. "It was hot."

Her mom, Lea Pollak, 38, said doctors explained that the concoction "was a mixture of Drano, Tide and lemon juice.

"The eye doctor said she was lucky," added Pollak.

The teens, who live just across the street, have teased the children - who are Hasidic Jews - in the past, neighbors said.

"They call it a Drano bomb," said Pincus Frankel, whose son Yakov is now sporting a a red ring around his eye and burns on his lips from the acid.



Monday, June 22, 2009


TELL-ALL: Former inmate Robert Feder's story of inmates' power and privileges -- lounging around a rabbi's office and getting officers kicked out -- is confirmed by jail officers.

Jail chaplain Rabbi Leib Glanz wielded such power that correction officers who crossed him or any of the favored Jewish inmates would get transferred from the Tombs at his behest, a former inmate and officers told The Post.

"If an inmate had a problem with an officer, that problem disappeared -- that officer wasn't there anymore," said ex-con Robert Feder, 50, who did a stint in the Tombs last summer. "This was standard procedure."

And the politically connected Glanz called the shots even when it came to which correction officers were posted near his office, where the rabbi allowed observant Jewish inmates to hang out unsupervised, Feder said.

"They didn't supervise us. We did what we wanted to do," Feder said. "The rabbi controlled the whole jail."

Several correction officers backed up Feder's account, which emerged after Glanz resigned for organizing a bar mitzvah in the lower-Manhattan jail for an inmate's son.

"He's had people transferred before -- just for telling him no. Because they were doing their job," said one officer who asked to not be identified.

A retired mid-level Tombs supervisor said: "We knew we couldn't fight Glanz. He did whatever he wanted."

The retiree said Glanz could get officers transferred to Rikers Island.

Glanz and other Correction brass are being investigated for the bar mitzvah and for the rabbi's coddling of Jewish inmates. Glanz's lawyer had no comment for this article. "I have never run into what I saw at the Tombs," Feder said about his decade in New York prisons and jails.

"These guys [inmates] lived like King Farouk," said Feder, who has done time for assault, attempted burglary and attempted forgery.

"Other guys were placing bets at racetracks and calling bookies" in Glanz's office, where inmates also enjoyed "TVs, DVDs, video . . . complete cable," Feder said. Glanz regularly treated the inmates to food "from fancy restaurants," Feder said. "I never ate so good in my life."

When he was transferred to an upstate prison, Feder said, Glanz "was very kind to call the rabbi [at that prison] to arrange transportation."

When he arrived at the prison, "there was the rabbi standing there, waiting for me," Feder said. "I felt like John Gotti."



Sunday, June 21, 2009

Exclusive 55 Motorcycle Club apparel now available 

Get your stuff here now


Get your stuff here now


Need a Hasid for Your Film? Call Rabbi Elli - He'll Hook You Up 

If you're setting a film or television program in New York City, and are casting background actors, you're probably going to need a few good men...specifically, Hasidic Jews. These ultra-Orthodox Jews are part of the NY landscape, and--from television shows like "Law & Order" to movies like "Ghostbusters" and "Men In Black," just to name a few-- there are always a few who pop up for either comic or authenticity's sake. But those who know Hasidic Jews know that the depictions aren't always accurate in terms of dress or behavior. A beard's not enough--and how a coat is buttoned, if a belt is tied a certain way or a hat is a certain style, it indicates a certain subsegment of Hasidic culture that central casting isn't necessarily aware of.

But Rabbi Elli Meyer, an actor who has Chabad Hasidic ordination as a rabbi, is aware of the subtleties of casting authentic Hasidic background actors:

[H]e made sure the guys he brought with him showed up on time, brought their customary garb, and stayed as long as necessary, but in return, he began demanding help back from producers: kosher food on sets, early wraps on Friday evenings, days off for holidays. "I have two goals," he said. "I want to make sure actors who are frum are able to work and are afforded the same rights on set. And second, accuracy--I want to make sure Hasidim are portrayed accurately, not as buffoons or fanatics.



Saturday, June 20, 2009

Winning Back Daycare Vouchers for Low Income Families 

Two-thousand out of three thousand vouchers were restored. These are used almost exclusively by large Orthodox and Hasidic families in the neighbourhoods of Williamsburgh and Borough Park.

The community is well organized and lobbied hard to keep the vouchers. About a thousand vouchers used in other neighbourhoods got entirely eliminated.

These are set aside for disabled parents who need help caring for their children as well as unemployed parents who need childcare while they look for a job.

The vouchers offer flexibility and allow parents to pay for care in different settings. The Jewish families use them mostly at Yeshivas.

The Bloomberg Administration says the restoration is for half the year and will be revisited in six months.

Plus, a spokesman says families who lost out will likely be absorbed into city funded daycare centers.



Friday, June 19, 2009

Hasidic investors looking at ex-resort 

A group of Satmar Hasidic investors are trying to renovate the crumbling buildings at a former summer resort, possibly with an eye to starting a religious community there.

Hasidic religious school Sheri Torah has requested the Village of South Blooming Grove to consider site-plan approval for a shul at Lake Anne's former recreation hall. The school now operates out of a converted warehouse on Larkin Drive in the Town of Monroe.

Owners of the school are part of the Satmar Hasidic community opposed to the current leadership in the Village of Kiryas Joel. The group would be renting the building from the owners of the property, Blue Rose Estates, a Brooklyn-based limited liability company consisting of Hasidic investors.

Representatives of the school could not be reached Thursday for comment.

Lake Anne is not listed for religious use, so the Village Board would have to grant a special use permit as part of the approval process. The applicant is scheduled to appear before the village Planning Board on June 24.



Thursday, June 18, 2009

Michoel Schnitzler Endorsing Isaac Abraham For NY City Council 33rd District 

Sent in by a Chaptzem reader


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Collecting petition signatures for Isaac Abraham on the Williamsburg Boro-Park bus 

Sent in by a Chaptzem reader


Video of Brad Lander by the Skverer Dayan 


Tuesday, June 16, 2009


The Manhattan prison chaplain rabbi under fire for organizing a bar mitzvah in the Tombs also had a TV satellite truck come to the lockup so that a Jewish inmate could watch a relative's wedding on a live feed, The Post has learned.

"I was shocked," said a now-retired city Correction official who was at the Tombs when Rabbi Leib Glanz arranged the TV hookup for the prisoner years ago.

"It was so outrageous, along the lines of what just happened with the bar mitzvah."

That retired mid-level official -- whose account was confirmed by a higher-ranking Correction official -- said the Hasidic inmate and Glanz watched the wedding of the inmate's child in the Tombs' visiting area on a TV linked to a satellite truck parked in the jail's plaza.

Another Correction Department source said he heard the wedding was in Israel, and that there was a two-way feed so guests could also see the inmate.

"The rabbi had brought in wine and food and everything . . . and they sat in the visiting area for hours," the retired official said. "The rank-and-file [guards] were like, 'You gotta be s- - - -ing me.' "

That visiting area is the same place where a bar mitzvah for the son of fraudster Tuvia Stern -- who had spent nearly two decades as a fugitive -- was held at the behest of Glanz on Dec. 30.

Sixty non-inmate guests dined on catered food, using china and silverware brought from outside, and were allowed to keep their cellphones in violation of security policies.

Stern four months later hosted an engagement party for his daughter at the jail.

The politically connected Glanz has been suspended as a Correction chaplain for two weeks, and four top Correction officials have lost vacation time because of the scandal, which the city Department of Investigation is probing. A Correction spokesman declined to comment yesterday, citing that probe.

The retired Correction official said "it was the policy" at the Tombs to allow Jewish inmates to gather in Glanz's office unwatched by officers.

"They would be in his office doing whatever they wanted to do," he said.

A former Tombs prisoner has said inmates treated that office like "a private club," where they shot dice, used the rabbi's unmonitored phone to call sports bookies and criminal cohorts, and dined on food provided by Glanz.

The retired official said Glanz's coddling of Jewish inmates was "systematic."

"It's been going on for years, and everyone knows about it," the source said.



Monday, June 15, 2009

Assemblyman Dov Hikind's fund-raiser in Lawrence 



Brad Lander meets with Skverer Dayan Rabbi Yechiel Steinmetz 



Sunday, June 14, 2009

Orthodox Jews launch "kosher" search engine 

Religiously devout Jews barred by rabbis from surfing the Internet may now "Koogle" it on a new "kosher" search engine, the site manager said on Sunday.

Yossi Altman said Koogle, a play on the names of a Jewish noodle pudding and the ubiquitous Google, appears to meet the standards of Orthodox rabbis, who restrict use of the Web to ensure followers avoid viewing sexually explicit material.

The site, at www.koogle.co.il, omits religiously objectionable material, such as most photographs of women which Orthodox rabbis view as immodest, Altman said.

Its links to Israeli news and shopping sites also filter out items most ultra-Orthodox Israelis are forbidden by rabbis to have in their homes, such a television sets.

"This is a kosher alternative for ultra-Orthodox Jews so that they may surf the Internet," Altman said by telephone.

The site was developed in part at the encouragement of rabbis who sought a solution to the needs of ultra-Orthodox Jews to browse the Web particularly for vital services, he said.

Nothing can be posted on the Jewish Sabbath, when religious law bans all types of work and business, Altman said. "If you try to buy something on the Sabbath, it gets stuck and won't let you."



Saturday, June 13, 2009

If the shtreimel fits Brad Lander may wear it 

Brad Lander at meeting with community leaders
Brad Lander at meeting with Munkatcher Rebbe

From Courier Life


Friday, June 12, 2009

New Jewish Club/Dance song Moishie, Moishe by Motti Illowitz 

Listen to this very clubby type song performed by Motti Illowitz for the Chasunah of his, and everyone else's, friend Moishie Moskowitz.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Another organization exploiting Yiddishkeit for monetary gain 



Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Brooklyn teen charged with assaulting cop in KJ 

A 19-year-old Brooklyn man has been charged with assaulting a police officer and other offenses for his role in an egg-and-bottle-throwing melee Monday that involved as many as 200 people, state police said.
Troopers say they chased Joel Farkas after seeing him throw eggs and struggled to subdue him, leaving one trooper with minor injuries. Farkas was arraigned in Monroe Town Court and released; the other charges were resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration and disorderly conduct.
The fracas began around 2 p.m. Monday when Orange and Rockland Utilities workers started to remove decorative lights that had been strung between poles in preparation for the wedding that night of Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum’s granddaughter.



Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Rabbi Yehuda Levin speaks out against the Agudah 


Monday, June 08, 2009

Photos from Assemblyman Hikind Holocaust Memorial Park Press Conference 



Isaac Abraham calls for more Police less Ticket Agents 

From Courier Life


Sunday, June 07, 2009


Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn), a child of Holocaust survivors, is leading the charge to prevent the Mayor and the Parks Department from moving forward with their plans to install additional markers at Brooklyn’s Holocaust Memorial Park in memory of other groups persecuted by the Nazis during World War II. The City is expected to implement these changes soon.

Located in Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn, the Holocaust Memorial Park was the brainchild of the Holocaust Memorial Committee which formally dedicated the Memorial in 1997. The Park consists of 234 upright granite markers, eighty percent of which are inscribed with historic and literary text specifically relating to the uniquely Jewish experience of the Holocaust. The other twenty percent of the stones were intentionally left blank for symbolic reasons.

Advocates for the new markers contend that homosexuals, “Gypsies” (Roma and Sinti), the physically and mentally disabled, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and political prisoners should also be represented in the Park with their own distinct marker. The Holocaust Memorial Committee has repeatedly voted against this proposal since it was first suggested in 1997. Hikind, who represents the largest contingent of Holocaust survivors in New York State, is also strongly opposed to this proposition.

“The Holocaust is a uniquely Jewish event,” Hikind wrote in a letter to the Mayor and the Commissioner of the Parks Department. “Only the Jews were targeted by the Nazis for utter and complete annihilation. Only the Jews were subject to the Nazi’s Final Solution. Only the Jews were provided with the least amount of caloric intake compared to other victims in order to hasten their deaths by starvation. No one disputes the fact that the Nazis murdered tens of thousands of others as well. But the intent of this Park was to preserve the memory of those who perished in the Holocaust. It is a tribute to them, to how they lived and died. The addition of these markers diminishes that memory. It diminishes the magnitude of the Holocaust. If the City changes the stated intent of the Holocaust Memorial Park, then the City should also change the name of the Park to Victims of Nazi Persecution Memorial Park to reflect its new character. The term Holocaust should only be associated with the Jews.”

In his letter, Hikind also referenced Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel regarding this issue:

“Truly I must tell you when I hear certain extrapolations, I am worried. For instance, we used to speak, when we spoke – we didn’t dare speak too much – about six million Jews. Then some friends, some people, began reminding us, “True, but after all there were others as well.” It is true; there were others as well. So they said, “eleven million, six of whom are Jews.” If this goes on, the next step will be eleven, including six, and, in a couple of years, they won’t even speak of the six. They will speak only of eleven million. You see the progression: six million plus five, then eleven including six, and then only eleven (Source: Elie Wiesel and the Politics of Moral Leadership by Mark Chmiel, p. 120).”

The Assemblyman will be joined by rabbis and local community leaders at the conference.


DATE: Sunday, June 7, 2009
TIME: 11:00AM
LOCATION: Holocaust Memorial Park: West End Avenue between Shore Boulevard and Emmons Avenue in Sheepshead Bay/Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn – view map


Saturday, June 06, 2009

Ultra-Orthodox demonstrators wound six policemen at protest over Shabbat 

Ultra-Orthodox protesters lightly wounded six police officers yesterday during a demonstration against the Jerusalem municipality's decision to open a municipal parking lot on Shabbat.

The city opened the parking lot to accommodate weekend visitors to the city, following police reports that a lack of parking was leading to severe traffic jams around the Old City.

United Torah Judaism members on the city council did not protest the move, after Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat assured them that the parking lot would not be operated by Jews and that no money would change hands on Saturdays.

Haredi communities not represented at the council denounced the decision, however. On Friday, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat visited the home of Haredi leader Rabbi Yitzhak Tuvia Weiss, in an attempt to cool tensions and prevent the protests.

The sides were making progress until the meeting broke down, according to Haredi sources. Weiss then reportedly vowed to lead the protest personally.

The parking lot was open only for a few hours yesterday, before being shut down by police ahead of the protests. Hundreds of Haredi demonstrators attempted to break into the parking lot, and one person later tried to storm city hall.

The protesters threw stones and empty bottles at the police, injuring six policemen. One was taken to Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital. The others were treated by paramedics on the spot.

Several dozen secular students from the Meretz party and the Jerusalem Awakening movement staged a counter-demonstration nearby. They were met by shouts of "Shabbes" and "Those who defile her shall be put to death."

Firing water cannons, police eventually managed to disperse the crowd. Protesters later rallied in Haredi neighborhoods around the city, torching dumpsters.

Police said 10 demonstrators were detained.

A protest organizer told a reporter from Army Radio yesterday that they would "ignite the city" and "do everything we can to prevent the opening of the parking lot."

Speaking last night, as the police were still dispersing small localized protests, Barkat said the dispute over the parking lot had brought conflicts over Shabbat back to the streets, and that the parking lot would be opened on Saturdays.

"It will be opened every Saturday. We stand behind the decision," Barkat's spokesman said.



Friday, June 05, 2009

A nice Jewish family 

From AwkwardFamilyPhotos.com


Thursday, June 04, 2009


On Thursday, June 11, 2009, Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) will host a Community Services Fair at the Boro Park Y to address what he calls, “a recent increase in demand for assistance in accessing and obtaining all types of social services” throughout his Assembly district. The fair will be held from 6:30PM until 8:30PM at 4912 14th Avenue in Brooklyn.

“Since the economy took a downward turn, I would say the bulk of the inquiries my office has received primarily pertain to unemployment, loss of health insurance, housing, financial debt, and the need for general crisis intervention services,” noted Hikind. To tackle these issues, Hikind enlisted the aid of several government agencies and local social service organizations.

“In these uncertain financial times, I wanted to not only allay my constituents’ fears, but also provide them with access to practical support all under one roof,” Hikind said.

Joining the Assemblyman in this endeavor are representatives from the following:

• The New York State Department of Labor: employee benefits/employment workforce solutions

• The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs Office of Financial Empowerment: one-on-one financial counseling and help with budgeting, savings, and debt

• Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty: crisis intervention services

• AARP: discount health, life, and auto insurance

• Southern Brooklyn Community Organization: homeowner assistance and mortgage services

• Nachas Healthnet: Holocaust reparations issues and senior services

• Yeled v’Yalda: facilitated enrollment services

• The Orthodox Union Job Board: résumé services and job listings

There is no fee to attend this event. Anyone seeking further information is encouraged to contact Assemblyman Hikind’s office at 718.853.9616.


John Heyer campaigns on 14th Avenue in Boro-Park for NYC Council 39th district 



Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Goshen realtor sues Orange County over Camp LaGuardia sale 

An Orange County realtor from Goshen, who maintains that the County of Orange and County Executive Edward Diana purposely blocked his client from being considered to purchase the former Camp LaGuardia property, has filed a federal lawsuit.

Robert Lawrence claims the county and Diana violated the Fair Housing Act when Diana allegedly blocked his client, a Hasidic Jew, from being considered to buy the property for development, according to his attorney, Michael Sussman.

“It’s our understand and information that upon receipt of that, Mr. Diana expressed directly that he would not consider this proposal; he did not want a Hasidic developer purchasing the property; he did not want another Kiryas Joel created in Orange County, not that that developer was intending to create another Kiryas Joel, but that was the response.”

In the lawsuit, Lawrence alleges Diana expressed his intent to block the developer and refused to consider the proposal to purchase the property through Lawrence.

Lawrence said that resulted in a loss of commission to him, a loss which provides him standing to sue under the Fair Housing Act.

The county has sold the property to Mountco Developers of Westchester County, in a deal Lawrence claims was inferior to his.

There was no comment from the county.



Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Brad Lander visits with Munkatcher Rebbe 

Leaders of the Boro Park Jewish community joined Baruch (Brad) Lander, candidate for City Council District 39, at a visit with Boro Park’s influential Grand Rabbi Moshe Yehuda Leib Rabinowitz of Munkatch. Rabbi Rabinowitz sits at the helm of schools and yeshivas located in the district.



Monday, June 01, 2009

Haredi matchmaking rates skyrocketing 

Matchmaking rates in the ultra-Orthodox sector have risen significantly in the last months, along with the overall increase in prices. The hike is predominately felt among Ashkenazi families who seek to marry off their daughters to a distinguished family.

In recent years, the official matchmaking rate has stood at $1,000, paid by each of the two families to the matchmaker who found them the right shidduch. Until recently this has been the fixed price in all haredi communities and Hasidic branches.

However, due to the financial slump matchmakers have recently been forced to update their prices. But while yeshiva students continue to pay the old rates, the rate for working haredim has jumped to $1,300 per shidduch.

Meanwhile, another dramatic change has taken place in the matchmaking scene: While in the past Sephardic haredim used to reward their matchmaker with gifts, rather than with money, today payments in cash have taken over, although the rates remain relatively low: NIS 1,000 for each family.

But a matchmaker's dream is still to find a shidduch for the members of the more distinguished families, mainly those of the admorim (Hasidic leaders). Such a shidduch contributes greatly to a matchmaker's professional reputation, and while it is not customary to charge an admor's child for the match, the other family could pay the matchmaker up to $1,500 for the prestigious find.

Modern Orthodox families, who don't usually use the services of a matchmaker, are nevertheless willing to pay extremely high rates for shidduchim. One of the most popular matchmakers of the sector's richest families, Miri Levi, charges $10,000 from her clients. Luckily for her, there are still enough people willing to pay these sums.



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