Thursday, October 29, 2020
Student, 20, is jailed for five years for pointing gun at Hasidic Jewish man then claiming it was for a YouTube prank
A civil engineering student who claimed he pointed a revolver at a Hasidic Jewish man as a YouTube prank has been jailed for five years.
Immanuel Oyewo, 20, chased Zeev Levy, in his 50s, along the road in Stamford Hill, north London and pointed the loaded airgun at his head on 17 February.
Oyewo, who fled on a moped, claimed he had always wanted to start up a YouTube channel after being inspired by the lifestyle of stars on the internet platform.
The court heard that he picked an orthodox Jew as a target for his supposed 'prank' because he said they have 'funny hats and a funny hairstyle'.
The gunman had admitted possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence on the basis it was an extreme 'practical joke'.
Oyewo claims he never intended to use the revolver and said it was a prank to get money from advertisers on YouTube.
Jailing him for five years the Common Serjeant of London, Judge Richard Marks, QC, said: 'This was an incident carried out in the middle of the day in broad daylight.
'You had ridden that afternoon on your moped from your mother's house to Stamford Hill.
'You drove to Stamford Hill, an area you knew was frequented by orthodox Jews.
'You saw Mr Levy who was on a pavement on his phone, he had a distinctive appearance in that he is an orthodox Jew.
'You got off your moped and approached him and took out of your jacket a gun and pointed at him.
'He was absolutely terrified.
'All of this would be filmed on your phone. You chased him, still pointing the gun.
'It is the sort of shocking incident that for all you know could have caused him to have a heart attack.
'If bystanders would have acted in such an incident it could easily and quickly escalate with all manner of terrible consequences.
'You assert that Mr Levy ran off and you chased him... You continued to chase Mr Levy with a gun and with your hand stretched out.
'You panicked and threw the gun away.'
The judge said the revolver was dumped at the scene on Ravensdale Road with each chamber loaded with a .22 bullet.
The classic revolver shaped airgun was designed to shoot pellets but had been illegally modified to fire .22 bullets, the court heard.
The gun did not fire as the pin was not modified to strike the bullet at the correct place for it to discharge.
The judge told Oyewo: 'Your assertion that by merely looking at the gun that you were satisfied that it wasn't a real gun I reject.
'You could not have known because you did not bother to check that it did in fact contain live cartridges inside of it.
'There are a number of odd features to your story.
'On your own account you are using a gun that belonged to a violent gang and you were intending to return it for use by that gang, I reject the submission made by Mr Rose on your behalf.
'You have a younger brother who according to you, was the subject of bullying and intimidation because they believed that he had been responsible for providing a weapon that had been used to kill one of their associates.
'You claim that you were later intimidated.
'As far as the money, you say was being extorted, but you never even mentioned anything about it either to your brother or to your father.
'You further say in summer 2019 you were taken to a block of flats by a gang member.
'A trigger being pulled three times but no shots fired. You stated that the next time would be the real thing.
'It is extremely surprising that you would have taken and borrowed the gun from a man you claimed to fear.
'Carrying and use of guns however they are used represents a very serious crime.
'I ask rhetorically, could you seriously have thought you could have told Mr Levy that this was a prank and that everything would be ok?
'Against all of the above background whilst I reject your account... I cannot be absolutely sure that it is not a prank.'
Oyewo, of Fulham, admitted possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence and possession of ammunition.
He was sentenced to five years imprisonment.
Tuesday, October 27, 2020
The Muslim advocacy group MEND has invited a controversial American chaplain who has previously written that "Zionists are the new Nazis and Fascists" and described New York as "Jew York City" to give a lecture at an online event later this week.
Chaplain Gareth Bryant will give his talk at MEND's virtual Zoom conference event this Thursday, which is described as "A Critique of Anti-Blackness Via Muslim Religio-Scholarship."
The organisation said that the event was part of their Black History Month activity and would offer those attending a "fantastic opportunity to educate yourselves and ask questions to increase your understanding of this topic".
But the JC has discovered that Chaplin Bryant – who is based in New York – has a history of making controversial comments about Jews and homosexuals, and in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In July 2014, Mr Bryant wrote a blog titled "What's happening in Palestine/Israel is very simple…here's what I call it: #HolocaustRemix". Written after he claimed to have viewed a photograph of "lifeless young Palestinian boy, on that hospital bed with literally 1/2 of his head missing" he concluded: "We are witnessing the resurrection of the Holocaust."
The chaplain then added: "Only this time, the #Palestinians have been made to take the place of the Jews & other oppressed peoples of the era, while the #Zionists have taken the place of the Nazis & Fascists.
"Why are people so pathologically afraid to just admit that the Zionists are the new Nazis & Fascists, that Zionism is just the Jewish version of Christianized #Nazism & Fascism, that what's going on in Palestine/Israel is a direct socio-political mirror-image of what #Hilter did in Europe, what Mussolini did in Africa, and what #Hirohito did in #Asia, during #WorldWarII?
"Let's stop pussy-footing around this issue in the Middle-East & call it what it truly is: a Holocaust, an Apartheid, a Genocide.
"Being a Muslim is no justification to support Muslims who manifest Terrorism. Likewise, being a Jew is no justification to support Jews who manifest Zionism…Zionism is no different than Nazism or Fascism."
Writing again in April this year, Mr Bryant attacked a newspaper report on his blog using the headline, "Islāmophobic-Journalism Courtesy of the New York Post."
The subject of the blog, a newspaper report, had been headlined "Muslim Firefighter Gets Coronavirus After Hasidic Teen Sneezed In His Face" – but the chaplain claimed it attempted to tarnish the victim of the incident.
He wrote: "This was exclusively done to deflect from the Fact that those responsible for this Heinous-Act were Jewish & that Omar Sattar is a Muslim…. [sic]
"Basically, the NYPost articulated their Article this Way methodically, to erase the Humanity of the Victim because he's a Muslim & to give the Criminals a Pass because they're Non-Muslims (Jewish specifically). [sic]"
In the final sentence of his blog, Mr Bryant then concluded "that's Jew York City for you".
Further articles on Mr Bryant's blog reveal he is opposed to homosexuality. In one piece about an article that sought to legitimise same-sex relationships, he wrote: "This Article is simply at-Tahrīf (Distortion/Deception), attempting to normalize al-Lawāt to Muslims, and sadly: Muslims who're Religio-Ignorant, Ego/Desire-Driven, etc. fold under the Pro-Homo Pressure.
"Clearly, this is Article is … Agenda-Driven, to pontificate, proliferate Sinning."
He has also engaged in conspiracy theories about the current Covid-19 pandemic, claiming "global-elitists" are manipulating the virus.
Monday, October 26, 2020
Estranged wife of Brooklyn state Senate candidate Vito Bruno attacks Orthodox Jewish people on Facebook
Brooklyn state Senate candidate Vito Bruno's separated wife repeatedly attacked Orthodox Jewish people on Facebook.
Since the outbreak of coronavirus, the candidate's spouse, Patricia Bruno, has spread stereotypes, recounted a confrontation she initiated with Orthodox children and shared a petition calling for an investigation into "welfare fraud" by Hasidic Jews.
The couple has been separated for 10 years, according to Vito Bruno's campaign. The candidate denounced her views, as he recently did those of a campaign volunteer whom the Daily News found to have made numerous anti-Semitic tweets.
Patricia Bruno's diatribes came as city leaders have sought to walk a delicate line urging Orthodox Jews to follow coronavirus restrictions in hotspots including Borough Park, Brooklyn — adjacent to the South Brooklyn neighborhood Vito Bruno is seeking to represent.
"What don't you understand. [T]hey do what they want," Patricia Bruno wrote on April 15, commenting on a video she shared purporting to show Orthodox Jewish people breaking the rules.
On April 18, she said she was so mad at the sight of "[O]rthodox people prancing [in] the street" that she confronted them about their lack of masks.
"So i'm parking my car," she continued. "I see 3 orthodox [sic] girls walking without a mask. Now I'm out of my car. I said, 'where are all your masks… you are killing people and I'm calling the cops' all 3 girls laughed right in my face. This is a disgrace. I'm fed up."
The day before, she shared a Change.org petition calling for a "full investigation" into "welfare fraud by Hasidic" Jews. The petition has since been taken down.
On April 7, Patricia Bruno shared a video purporting to show Orthodox Jewish men telling people, "The Coronavirus is only for the goyim … non-jews [sic]."
Patricia Bruno commented: "so wtf are they looking for help at Maimonides [Hospital]. This is insane."
Friday, October 23, 2020
Last year I reported on the measles outbreak in New York. Measles is much more contagious than the coronavirus, but a high level of vaccination stops community spread.
The outbreak of the measles virus came in communities with lower levels of vaccination: some Orthodox Jewish communities in Brooklyn and Rockland County, some Christian homeschool co-ops, and liberal, hippie pockets of the vaccine-skeptical. But media attention centered on the Hasidic communities where measles was spreading.
At that time there was a good relationship between local Orthodox Jewish leaders and the city. Mayor Bill de Blasio during the outbreak kept in close touch with rabbis, and the rabbis worked with the city health department to urge vaccination for the healthy and isolation for those who were already sick.
That relationship strained in 2020. Early in the pandemic, in response to a large Brooklyn funeral for a rabbi who died from the coronavirus, de Blasio dashed out a series of tweets decrying the "Jewish community" for spreading the virus.
So this month, when de Blasio and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a sudden lockdown in largely Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods in the middle of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, some residents felt targeted again.
According to a recording of a call between Cuomo and Jewish leaders a few hours before the governor's announcement of the new restrictions, Cuomo had promised them officials would only limit occupancy for houses of worship by 50 percent. Hours later Cuomo instead announced that houses of worship in the "red zones" would be limited to 10 people total. That fanned more outrage.
Cuomo's administration said it was still in conversations with epidemiologists about red zone restrictions when the governor had the phone call with Jewish leaders. But de Blasio now says he regrets how he handled the sudden lockdown, even though he didn't have final say on the restrictions.
"I certainly got very frustrated at times when I saw large groups of people still out without masks," he said. "But I think more dialogue would have been better. So I certainly want to express my regret that I didn't figure out how to do that better."
Two federal lawsuits, arguing Cuomo had targeted religious groups unfairly, have foundered in federal court so far. The Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn filed a federal lawsuit against the restrictions, as well as Agudath Israel of America, an Orthodox Jewish group.
They argued it was unfair to limit houses of worship to 10 people when essential businesses had no capacity limitations. The Brooklyn diocese's lawsuit said the restrictions amounted to "targeting of religious practice for unwarranted, disparate treatment," even though its churches had been operating for months "without any COVID-related incidents whatsoever." The diocese supported caps on attendance, but said "the governor's new restrictions go way too far, infringe way too much, and have no legitimate basis."
But federal courts have generally given government leaders a long leash in their efforts to contain the coronavirus.
"The government is afforded wide latitude in managing the spread of deadly diseases under the Supreme Court's precedent," wrote a federal judge in Brooklyn in an initial ruling against the Catholic diocese.
What would make a difference in those cases is if the city or state enforced the lockdown unfairly, by targeting religious gatherings but not other gatherings. But so far the New York City Sheriff's office (a small department of 150 that suddenly had to become the COVID-19 regulation enforcer) has enforced the new restrictions against a variety of offenders, including houses of worship, restaurants, and an illegal rave party.
The lockdown comes at a terrible time for local Catholic schools, which so far haven't had any COVID-19 outbreaks. The shutdown of schools is "what's most upsetting to us," said Ed Mechmann, a lawyer and head of the child protection programs for the Archdiocese of New York.
"Brooklyn and we have spent millions of dollars getting our schools into COVID compliance, we've had virtually no cases, and now we have no idea when our schools will be open again or if parents will continue to send their kids," he said in an email. "Plus having to lay off hundreds of employees since there's no more PPP (thanks, Washington). Our schools are already financially vulnerable, and this is a very dangerous threat to their continued existence."
Becket Law recently filed another lawsuit on behalf of two Jewish students whose Jewish schools were closed in the red zones despite having no cases. Five days after Becket's filing, Cuomo removed the red zone restrictions on that particular neighborhood in Far Rockaway, Queens.
Meanwhile, the same Orthodox Jewish groups that fought the measles last year are also trying to stop COVID-19 flare-ups. The Orthodox Jewish Nurses Association, which includes nurses working in New York hospitals, held a recent Zoom call to answer community questions about COVID-19, like how to travel safely during Sukkot. As positive case numbers start to come back down in the hot-spot neighborhoods, the question of fair enforcement still hangs in the air.
Thursday, October 22, 2020
Rabbi Art Green is a scholar of worldwide renown, the author of dozens of books, one of the world's leading experts on Hasidic Judaism and perhaps the only person ever to lead two different American rabbinical schools. Currently, he serves as rector of the rabbinical school at Hebrew College in Newton Centre, Massachusetts.
But he's also a self-described seeker, preoccupied for decades now with crafting a Jewish spiritual vocabulary that can speak to modern Jews living in liberal Western societies. At 79, Green believes that vocabulary can be found in neo-Hasidism, an updated version of practices associated with the Jewish revivalist movement that swept Eastern Europe in the 17th century.
In January, Stanford University Press will publish "The Light of the Eyes," Green's translation of a series of Torah discourses by Rabbi Menahem Nahum of Chernobyl, an 18th-century Hasidic master also known as the Me'or Aynayim. Later this month, Green will be offering his first public class on Zoom based on the book.
Green spoke with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in August about his forthcoming book, how Hasidic Jews became conservatives and the spiritual wisdom necessary to cope with a roiling political environment.
Wednesday, October 21, 2020
President Trump seeks to replace Jewish Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with a devout Catholic from Indiana. Some might worry that this would diminish the Court's understanding or compassion for Jews in America. They may wonder whether the new Justice has ever met or had any contact with Jews. But having worked with Judge Amy Coney Barrett, I have seen her defend the rights of Jewish Americans firsthand.
As a young lawyer after her clerkship with Justice Antonin Scalia, Barrett was an associate in a law firm of which I am the sole surviving name partner – Miller Cassidy Larroca and Lewin. The firm merged in 2001 – shortly before Barrett returned to teach at Notre Dame – with Baker Botts. (Although invited to do so, I did not join Baker Botts. My daughter Alyza and I formed Lewin & Lewin instead.)
Our firm attracted the cream of young lawyers because of our exciting case docket and because we gave them front-line courtroom opportunities in real-life cutting-edge cases. Supreme Court law clerks vied for associate slots in our firm even after wealthy large law firms began dangling obscenely gargantuan signing bonuses to attract them to the drudgery of young associate labors.
Our firm was distinctly non-political. Jack Miller, the firm's founder, was a Republican who had been an Assistant Attorney General in the Robert Kennedy Department of Justice. I was — and continue to be — a registered Democrat who has also voted Republican. I was abroad when Bush v. Gore was being litigated, but two of our partners supervised Amy Barrett's work in Florida assisting the Republican side.
Amy Barrett worked with me in 1999 and 2000 on behalf of Hasidic clients. I had — and continue to have — an ongoing battle with authorities in cities, towns and villages across the country that attempt to hinder or prevent the display of Hanukkah menorahs on public property by Chabad followers of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. (No one contests the right to display menorahs on private property, and no Jewish group other than Chabad-Lubavitch, to my knowledge, has tried to erect and display large menorahs on central public locations.)
The Supreme Court had ruled in 1989, in a case that I argued, that such a display in front of Pittsburgh's City Hall was constitutional, and we then won full-court en banc victories in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and in Atlanta, Georgia.
Nonetheless, the New Jersey chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union challenged Jersey City's display of a menorah and a nativity scene in federal court. Chabad, represented pro bono by our firm, came into that case as a friend-of-the-court, and Richard Garnett, Amy Barrett's colleague at Notre Dame (then a fledgling lawyer and now a highly respected professor), argued successfully in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals that the display was constitutionally permissible. (The court's majority opinion was written by then-Circuit Judge Samuel Alito)
Amy Barrett joined the firm at about the time we won the Jersey City case, and she enlisted in my menorah team. She also worked intensively with me in another major litigation that exposed her to the Hasidic community. After four residents of the Hasidic community of New Square were found guilty of federal fraud charges, the leader of the community – the "Skverer Rebbe" – asked me to represent them in a professional capacity. I undertook that task, drafting appeal briefs for all the defendants. Amy was a central player on our team, and my records reflect meetings with her and legal memoranda she wrote.
I presented oral argument in that appeal in May 2000. I can't recall whether Amy came to New York for that occasion, but other counsel remember that she was there. We lost the appeals in August 2000. Then, to our surprise, President Bill Clinton commuted the sentences of the Skverer defendants as he left the White House in January 2001. (A criminal investigation into whether Hillary Clinton and the Skverer Rebbe had made an illicit bargain when she visited him during her 2000 campaign for election to be senator from New York was closed with no criminal charge in June 2002 by then Republican United States Attorney James Comey.)
When Ruth Bader Ginsburg was nominated for a Supreme Court seat in 1993, I was visited by FBI agents doing a background check. I asked them why I had been chosen for this distinction, since I knew her only from several random meetings. They replied that the sole Jewish associations on her resume were affiliation with the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists (I was then president of its American section) and the American Jewish Congress. She was not then a member of any synagogue or other nominally Jewish group.
Justice Ginsburg deserves great credit for being proudly Jewish after she took her Supreme Court seat. (I was called by her office to instruct them how to affix a mezuzah to the door of her chambers.) Her successor's religious conviction may not be Jewish, but understanding of, and sympathy for, traditional Jews is an important part of her history. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of JTA or its parent company, 70 Faces Media.
Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Three unidentified men assaulted two Jewish teenagers in the Ukrainian city of Uman.
The incident late Saturday night occurred near the grave of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, an 18th-century Hasidic leader whose grave is a pilgrimage site that typically attracts about 50,000 visitors annually.
According to a report by the United Jewish Community of Ukraine, one of several bodies representing local Jews, one of the teenagers, aged 17, suffered a facial wound from a knife, while the other fled the scene. The three attackers then left running, footage from a security camera showed.
Friction between locals and pilgrims has escalated in Uman in recent years, and especially during the coronavirus crisis, resulting in several violent scuffles. Robberies targeting Jewish visitors from wealthier countries are now a common occurrence in Uman.
Monday, October 19, 2020
A Hasidic leader who urged Brooklyn's Orthodox community to abide by coronavirus safety measures has died of the contagion.
"It is with great sadness and heavy heart that we report on the passing of Satmar President and Mega Philanthropist R'Mayer Zelig Rispler OBM who passed away during the night," the Satmar Hasidic sect tweeted Friday.
A funeral for the 70-year-old rabbi was held in Williamsburg that day, the Times of Israel said.
"R'Mayer Zelig was a courageous and dedicated leader who will be missed by the worldwide Satmar Community," the sect tweeted, confirming his death was from COVID-19.
Rispler had spoken out in April to urge the Orthodox community to adhere to safety measures enforced by city officials after videos went viral of huge crowds gathering for funerals.
"We do not condone any behavior that puts people at risk and pledge to keep working alongside the brave men and women of the NYPD in addressing and eliminating any such occurrences," Rispler wrote, according to a Times of Israel report at the time.
Rispler — who was also an accountant — fell ill in September, and on Wednesday the Satmar Headquarters account called for prayers, confirming he was in "critical condition."
Brooklyn Councilman Kalman Yeger tweeted his condolences, writing that he was "incredibly saddened" by the death.
"His kindness and generosity were legendary," he wrote. "I'm grateful for the friendship and chizuk he always gave me and everyone who knew him."
Friday, October 16, 2020
Police say an attack on a Hasidic Jewish man in Brooklyn was an attempted robbery and not a hate crime.
Surveillance video shows two suspects approached the man from behind around 10:40 p.m. Thursday on Barlett Street in Williamsburg.
The suspects unsuccessfully tried to steal the man's bag, but injured his face in the process, CBS2's Natalie Duddridge reported. They fled the scene and did not get away with anything.
The victim was treated for minor injuries.
According to police, no weapons were involved and the suspects did not say anything to the man before attacking.
Police said the suspects are likely in their 20s and were last seen wearing dark jackets, black jeans and white sneakers.
Wednesday, October 14, 2020
Every year, Shiite Muslims in Flushing, Queens conduct the Arbaeen, a procession in honor of Mohammed's grandson whose death at the hands of a Sunni caliph marked the pivotal break between Shiites and Sunnis, slapping their faces and chests for their beheaded Imam Hussein.
Queens, once the borough that gave birth to President Trump and David Horowitz, now has a large Muslim population, and the fall processions of wailing crowds are a regular event.
The coronavirus didn't change that.
In early October 2020, videos show a huge knot of Muslim men packed closely together in circles, not wearing masks or with masks down, chanting and furiously beating their chests in memory of Hussein's martyrdom. Some are shirtless in the traditional fashion. The slaps are meant to be hard enough to cause real pain and there's plenty of reddened skin on display.
The Shiite procession marches down Flushing's Main Street, past rows of Chinese stores without a police officer in sight. The media also doesn't stop by to document the event.
It's one of a number of Shiite mass gatherings in New York and New Jersey, including more mourning events for Imam Hussein on Manhattan's Park Avenue in August, where few of the participants wear masks, and another in Kensington, Brooklyn around the same time.
Unlike the Orthodox Jewish prayers of the High Holy Days and the Sukkot celebrations, these Shiite Muslim gatherings were not written up by the New York Post, the New York Daily News, or the New York Times as a public threat. Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio did not blame Muslims for the spread of the virus or declare a crackdown that would close mosques.
The Ashura Jaloos event took place in late August in the Kensington 11218 zip code which is listed on the "orange zone" on De Blasio's coronavirus watchlist. The Queens procession took place in another watchlist neighborhood where coronavirus rates have been rising.
At the end of August, Governor Cuomo threatened to crack down on Orthodox Jewish weddings and blamed the "Jewish community" and the "Catholic community" for spreading the coronavirus, but made no mention of any action against Muslim events like the one in Manhattan that had taken place a few days before his threats against Orthodox Jews.
On October 4th, the Queens procession took place. A day later, Cuomo held his infamous anti-Semitic press conference in which he threatened, "I have to say to the Orthodox community tomorrow, 'If you're not willing to live with these rules, then I'm going to close the synagogues.'"
To bolster his argument that hasidic Jews were to blame for the spread of the virus, Cuomo used a photo of a funeral from 2006. Once again, he made no reference to Muslim mass gatherings taking place even right before the release of the new data and his press conference.
The media widely and wrongly claimed that the outbreaks were only taking place in zip codes with large Orthodox Jewish communities. This was false, especially when it came to Queens.
There are plenty of mosques to be found in the targeted zip codes in Brooklyn and Queens, in the red, the orange, and the yellow areas, on De Blasio's watchlist. Some are quite large and in the red zone, but Orthodox Jews made a good target. Muslims make a politically incorrect one.
No Democrat would be caught dead threatening Muslims or shutting down mosques.
And the same papers that scold, sneer, and mock at men in fur hats would never dream of ridiculing shirtless Muslim men slapping their chests in public. That would be racist.
Like the Black Lives Matter riots and the Sharpton 50,000 rally in Washington D.C., Islamic religious rituals somehow don't spread the virus. Not even when they're taking place in areas on the watchlist. Orthodox Jewish prayers, like Trump rallies, are blamed for spreading it.
The same hypocritical doublethink extended not only to the rituals, but to the reactions.
When a group of hasidic Jews protested the discriminatory restrictions by Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio by burning masks and waving Trump flags, the media was furious.
"Brooklyn's Orthodox Jews burn masks in violent protests as New York cracks down on rising cases," a Washington Post headline blared. That's the same paper which has repeatedly described Black Lives Matter riots that wrecked entire cities as being "mostly peaceful."
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, who had falsely claimed that Antifa violence was a myth and expressed support for Black Lives Matter, despite the repeated riots, demanded that "those responsible must be held to account for such violence" and expressed support for Cuomo's crackdown.
Nadler also tweeted a petition of support for Cuomo and De Blasio's crackdown on Jews from "300 Rabbis" representing something called the New York Jewish Agenda, which had been created earlier this year to fight for "social justice."
The letter was headed by Sharon Kleinbaum of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, a gay temple, much of whose membership defected when it decided to pray for Hamas terrorists.
"Recent events have demonstrated that CBST is far more committed to a progressive political agenda than to the Jewish people," Bryan Bridges, a former board member, wrote. "I couldn't imagine raising a child in this congregation, and have that child hear, just before we recite Kaddish, the names of people who are trying to kill her grandparents."
But, to give Sharon Kleinbaum credit, she doesn't limit her anti-Semitism to Jews in Israel.
Kleinbaum supported providing space to Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, but is quite happy to see apartheid implemented by her Democrat political allies against Orthodox Jews in America.
The differing treatment meted out to Orthodox Jewish and Shiite Muslim religious gatherings is a troubling demonstration of how anti-Semitism is baked into the intersectionality of the Left.
It's not about Israel. And it never was.
Pierre Leroux, who coined the term 'Socialism', wrote, "Every government having regard to good morals ought to repress the Jews." This was a century before the rebirth of the modern State of Israel. It wasn't Zionism that the founder of Socialism was objecting to, but Judaism.
Is it any wonder that Leroux's socialist successors like Bill de Blasio are taking him at his word?
There is no systemic racism in America. But there's no question that when you look at the very different treatment for Black Lives Matter rallies, Shiite Muslim gatherings, and Orthodox Jewish events, that systemic anti-Semitism is alive and well. Especially among New York Democrats.
"My message to the Jewish community, and all communities, is this simple: the time for warnings has passed," Bill de Blasio had tweeted in April.
There was no such warning for Muslims who, unlike the hasidic Jews of Brooklyn, were not harassed or threatened in any way. They went on conducting Islamic events with no interference. The New York Post did not spy on their weddings, the New York Daily News did not ridicule their religion, and the mayor and governor did not threaten to come after them.
Cuomo threatened to close synagogues. He did not threaten to close mosques. Nor did he display any pictures, like the one above, of mass Muslim religious gatherings. Instead, he found a photo of a Jewish funeral from 2006 to suggest that Jews were spreading the coronavirus.
Systemic racism is a lie. Systemic anti-Semitism is real. Just ask Cuomo.
Tuesday, October 13, 2020
Home after being charged with inciting a riot, Heshy Tischler condemns violence but vows to keep fighting
Just one day after his arrest for inciting a riot, Heshy Tischler, the leader of Orthodox Brooklyn's protests against new restrictions to stem new COVID cases, was out of jail and addressing a small crowd in front of his Borough Park home.
"I don't condone violence, I do not want anyone to be violent," he said, addressing the crowd over a sound system from his front steps. "I want everyone to enjoy us, what we're going to do. We're going to continue our fight."
The short speech came after a tumultuous few days for Tischler and his supporters. After he led a mob of protesters in cornering Jacob Kornbluh, a political reporter at Jewish Insider and a member of the Hasidic community in Borough Park, at a protest last Wednesday, Tischler announced Friday afternoon that he would be arrested Monday morning. But on Sunday night, police officers arrested him at his home. The Brooklyn District Attorney charged Tischler with inciting a riot and unlawful imprisonment in connection to the incident with Kornbluh. He was released without bail.
Also on Sunday night, Tischler's supporters gathered outside Kornbluh's home, yelling the word "moser," Hebrew for informant. Some Jewish legal texts say a "moser" is liable to the death penalty, making it a threatening designation. Kornbluh had been called a "moser" back in April after speaking out about the need to wear masks and observe social distancing.
Tischler has emerged as the leader of a protest movement, largely composed of young men on a Sukkot vacation from yeshiva that could extend for weeks if the governor keeps schools closed to stop the spread of the coronavirus, that is pushing back against restrictions imposed on synagogues and yeshivas. Frustrated by the restrictions placed on Orthodox neighborhoods like Borough Park and with the lack of results achieved by the neighborhood's elected leaders, Tischler, a bombastic radio host and ex-convict, has become the de facto leader of the restless Borough Park youth. (Read our profile, produced in partnership with New York Magazine, for more background.)
Upon his arrival at his home Monday evening, Tischler thanked his supporters as well as those who he said had fought for his release. He included Dov Hikind, a former state assemblyman who represented Borough Park, among those who worked for his release. Hikind told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency last week that he condemned the violence at a protest last Tuesday night. "I'm ashamed of what happened," he said, though he did not condemn Tischler by name.
Some of Tischler's supporters called for more protests Monday night, but the rainy weather was a deterrent to others. Messages were forwarded on WhatsApp encouraging Tischler's fans to come to his house in a show of support. "Let's show our support do the only man fighting for us," one man posted a video to Whatsapp.
In a video of Tischler as he arrived home Monday night, he said he would not condone violence.
"I want to thank all my supporters, I want to tell everyone again, no violence whatsoever and I want everyone to thank you for everything you've done for me and all your prayers," he said.
But Tischler did not appear to be toning down his rhetoric, according to a video of him addressing the small crowd in front of his house Monday night. Tischler went after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, two of his favorite targets.
"We're going to beat Mayor de Blasio, we're going to knock that Cuomo out, we're not going to let him get re-elected," he said, before plugging his own campaign for City Council.
Monday, October 12, 2020
On Wednesdays, Mindy Meyer wears pink. But for court appearances, she wears black.
On Monday she donned her usual courtroom attire — complete with a black mask — for the arraignment of her latest client, Heshy Tischler.
Meyer, an Orthodox Jew from Brooklyn, won a measure of tabloid fame in 2012 for mounting a failed campaign for New York State Senate that was most notable for having a very pink and glitzy website. Known for repeatedly claiming that the movie "Legally Blonde" was the inspiration behind her legal career, she went on to found a Miami-based law practice.
Now, she is representing perhaps the most flamboyant media character to emerge from New York's Orthodox community in recent memory, in a case that was drawing media interest even before she signed on as counsel.
Tischler, an Orthodox radio host, was arraigned in court Monday morning on charges of inciting a riot and unlawful imprisonment in connection with two protests he organized in Borough Park against restrictions on religious services in areas with high rates of coronavirus infection.
Tischler is pleading not guilty, Meyer said Monday.
"All across New York City, there's been rioting and looting, here there was a non-violent gathering in the Jewish community over the holiday and he was singled out," Meyer told ABC7.
The Borough Park protests led to three assaults on observers or counter-protesters, including an instance in which Tischler yelled in the face of Jacob Kornbluh, a Hasidic journalist, who had his back against a wall while surrounded by a large group of young Hasidic men. Tischler called Kornbluh a "moyser" — snitch, in Yiddish — a charge which can carry a death penalty in an Orthodox Jewish court. Kornbluh said he was later chased and assaulted.
After his arrest late Sunday evening, a Twitter account operated by Tischler published Kornbluh's address, leading a crowd of Hasidic men to gather in front of Kornbluh's home.
Sara Shulevitz, Meyer's partner in their Miami firm and a fellow pink-clad "barbie doll" of the law, said that the case against Tischler was "politically motivated" and that the charges against him were "completely false."
"He's strong, he's in good spirits," Shulevitz told one reporter. "It's hard for him emotionally."
"He's an older man, he has health issues, we're concerned about COVID, we're in a rush to try and get him out as soon as possible," Shulevitz said of Tischler. (Tischler has made a point of not wearing masks in public.)
Meyer and Shulevitz could not be reached for comment.
Meyer ran for the state Senate when she was 22 years old and still in law school at Touro Law Center. Running as a Republican, she challenged Democrat Kevin Parker, then a 10-year incumbent, to represent New York's 21st district, which comprises a portion of southern Brooklyn with several Orthodox communities.
As a political naif, she used glam to bring media attention to her upstart campaign. Her dresses were pink. Her website was pink. She brought an elephant adorned with a pink bowtie to a fundraising event, drawing a rebuke from animal rights activists.
She was dubbed the "Magenta Yenta" and "Palin in Pink."
"When asked about his website, Parker says he's not concerned about its lack of pizzazz," intones the narrator of one of Meyer's political ads. "If that's the case — what is he concerned about?"
"She's senator and she knows it," the ad closes, over the beat to LMFAO's "Sexy And I Know It."
"My website is predominately to target my young constituents," Meyer said of her website. "I want to show everyone that politics can be exciting, and the Senate doesn't have to be a senior citizen's home."
During the campaign, Meyer showed something of a knowledge gap about the power players of New York politics.
A Forward reporter said she looked like a "deer in headlights" when a TV anchor asked her to name key figures in Albany.
She won 3% of the vote. Parker is still representing the 21st district.
In 2017, Meyer re-emerged in New York tabloids through a short reality TV appearance to launch her law firm with Shulevitz, which featured both lawyers in matching pink dresses.
Saturday Night Live briefly parodied Meyer and Shulevitz on a fake commercial for E!'s fall reality show lineup by teasing a program called "Powerful Sluts of Miami."
"Obviously, the producers think we're relevant enough that they thought their viewers would get the reference," Meyer told the New York Post.
Meyer has said she caught the politics bug after meeting then-New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani when she was 11 years old. (She told him she thought he was the best mayor the city had ever had.)
Meyer and Tischler share a similar history in politics: In 2017, Tischler ran for city council, and received just under 4% of the vote.
Friday, October 09, 2020
Friday, October 02, 2020
Thursday, October 01, 2020
The leader of the Karlin-Stolin Hasidic dynasty, Boruch Meir Yaakov Shochet, is hospitalized with COVID-19.
He has been taken to the Laniado Medical Center in Netanya, the Behadrey Haredim news site says.
The community message urges all to follow the health restrictions. The Hasidic group has closed all of its synagogues and learning centers amid the pandemic, with its religious leader ordering all to strictly follow the rules and wear masks, according to the Haredi site.