Kahane Chai – Israeli Supreme Court Banks Extremist From Election

An Ultra-Orthodox Jewish man looks at an elections billboards of the Blue and White party leaders, from left to right, Moshe Yaalon, Benny Gantz, Yair Lapid and Gabi Ashkenazi, alongside a panel on the right showing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flanked by extreme right politicians, from the left, Itamar Ben Gvir, Bezalel Smotrich and Michael Ben Ari in Bnei Brak, Israel, Saturday, March 16, 2019. Hebrew reads on the left billboard "The nation of Israel lives" and on the right billboard "Kahana Lives" in a reference to a banned ultranationalist party in the 1994. Photo: Oded Balilty, AP / Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Israel’s Supreme Court bans Jewish extremist from election

THE STAMFORD ADVOCATE

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s Supreme Court on Sunday banned the leader of a Jewish ultranationalist party from running in the country’s April elections.

Reversing the decisions of Israel’s elections committee earlier this month, the court ruled to bar Jewish Power party leader Michael Ben Ari in an 8-1 vote, citing his anti-Arab ideology and incitement, and to approve an Arab party and leftist candidate.

In response, Ben Ari slammed the high court as a “judicial junta that seeks to take over our lives.” He added: “We will win. This is not the end.”

Israel’s right-wing Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked called Ben Ari’s disqualification “a blatant and distorted intervention in the heart of Israeli democracy.”

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Malka Leifer Story – Protester Supporting Victims Pushed to the Ground by Leifer’s Brother

Australian Rabbi Adam Segal (left) confronted psychiatrist Dr Brian Trappler (right) in court

Shocking moment protester is pushed to the ground by the brother of accused paedophile principal Malka Leifer

An Australian rabbi was pushed to the ground outside court by the brother of accused paedophile principal Malka Leifer. 

Adam Segal was supporting Leifer’s alleged victims when he confronted psychiatrist Brian Trappler after the extradition hearing in Jerusalem. 

Appearing in court on Wednesday, Dr Trappler said Leifer, 54, is unfit to face trial in Australia on charges of child sex abuse and rape. 

However, Dr Trappler’s integrity was called into question after it was revealed he wrote on Facebook in 2017 that Leifer was innocent.

Outside court Mr Segal asked Dr Trappler if the girls were liars.

‘You called them on Facebook liars,’ Mr Segal said.

Mr Segal is then pushed by Leifer’s brother to which he responds, ‘don’t push me, you’ll be arrested my friend.’

Dr Trappler says he didn’t call the girls liars but Mr Segal replied, ‘No you did on Facebook…are you worried about the welfare of the girls?

As they continue walking towards the exit of the court, Mr Segal stands in front of the psychiatrist trying to stop him from exiting.

To continue reading click here.

2009 Article – the Money Laundering Disgrace – NYC, Have Things Changed?

Dear Reader:

We have not received permission to reprint this article; but given the amount of time that has passed, would like to think no one would object. We do not know the outcome of the exact events that drew the author’s ire, nor do we cite to them here. In the even that the parties who were the source of his comments were innocent of the crimes for which they were accused, it is not our intention to draw any new attention to them. There are more than enough recent events to reflect the same sentiments, we do not need to dig up the past. 

The below is a brilliant piece by Rabbi Yitz Greenman. We are not sure how Rabbi Greenman would view our site and we ask that you kindly not deem this to be any assumption by us that he would endorse us if asked.

We are respectfully reprinting this with full attribution. We believe that so little has sadly changed in the nearly 10 years since it was written. We view, with sadness, that New York may have fallen even deeper.  We agree with Rabbi Greenman that the observant person should be held to a higher standard and we ask why that is not happening.

We agree wholeheartedly with Rabbi Greenman that today’s standards of morality leave much to be desired and certainly do not lend themselves to honesty. We believe, as did he, that perhaps there is something to be said for living in a shack with others also living in shacks, no comparisons, no keeping up with the Jones’s or the Schwartz’s, as he so cleverly comments.

Thank you Rabbi. We hope you will allow us to keep this up. 

New York – The Money Laundering Disgrace

Published on: July 26, 2009 03:05 PM
Last updated on: July 27, 2009 03:18 PM

 

New York – If the news turns out to be true, how could such a thing happen?

The news hit fast and hard: rabbis and politicians in New Jersey allegedly involved in a huge money-laundering scam. As if Madoff wasn’t enough of an embarrassment for the Jewish community, now this. Such activities are completely forbidden by Torah law and must be condemned in the strongest unequivocal terms.

But besides the legal issues, this is a classic case of what the Talmud calls Chillul Hashem – a desecration of God’s Name. People look at these rabbis being carted off to jail and say, “If this is what Torah observance brings a person to, then I don’t want any part of it.” This is a dark day for the Jews, indeed.

We live in America and the law of the land states that one is innocent until proven guilty. Let us not assume guilt. But, if in the unfortunate event that the news turns out to be true and some of these people are proven guilty, many will ask: How can this be?

Not to sound callous, jaded, crude or insensitive, but the answer to me is that such a situation is not so difficult to imagine. It’s all a function of greed and jealousy. In fact, maybe we should ask the question differently: How come it’s such a rarity? Why doesn’t this happen more often?

We live in a very materialistic society, comprised of have and have-nots. No matter what a person has in our day and age, it is literally impossible for someone to “have it all.” Coupled with the most dazzling ads that Madison Avenue inundates us with daily, everyone is trained from early childhood to see themselves as “have-nots.” I don’t have this, that and the other thing. This creates an environment of lack and dependency on things.

Keeping Up

Years ago I spent a few weeks with my family living in the most modest bungalow that you can imagine in the Catskills. A virtual tenement. We loved it. I asked the senior rabbi, Rabbi Reuven Feinstein, how can it be that we love the bungalow, but we find so many faults with our house that is 100 times more valuable and furnished?

In reality, a run-down shack is enough.

“It’s simple,” he said. “If it weren’t for the neighbors, everyone would be happy with what they have. Here in the mountains, everyone is living in run-down shacks and there’s nothing better to compare it to—yet it’s enough, because in reality it is enough. But at home there are many different houses on the block, some are nicer and have bigger backyards, and as we compare ours with the others, we tell ourselves that what we have is not enough. That’s how people make themselves miserable.”

I believe that Rabbi Feinstein is right. We all have more than enough to live. But we tell ourselves that it’s not enough. We want more, like the Jones’ or the Schwartz’s.

Jealousy and greed are not new emotions and won’t disappear that easily. No one is impervious to such feelings. It is particularly upsetting, however, when found amongst observant Jews who are supposed to hold themselves to higher standards and the material aspects of life are supposed to be less important, less valued. Well, they are. I have lived in several cities and countries and have observed firsthand that observant communities are by and large less materialistic. But it’s far from perfect.

Living Without

What’s the message? What should we teach our kids as a result of today’s news? We should teach them that God gives everyone exactly what s/he needs to live a happy and healthy life. When you see someone possessing something that you don’t, you should feel happy for them but not sad for yourself. This is a sign of spiritual maturity that God demands of us. Everyone’s situation is tailor-made by The Designer to grant us the ultimate happiness in life—and no amount of money or goods can enhance that happiness. Happiness is an appreciation of what you have, not the quantity of how much you have.

We should teach our children (and ourselves) to learn to live without certain things, even if they say, “Everyone has one,” or “I want it badly,” or “People will laugh at me if I don’t have my own cell phone,” etc. Learning to live without things is a form of spiritual push-ups. They do the job.

There is a struggle at all times between the physical and spiritual worlds, and when one succumbs to his physical desires, he is ipso facto losing his standing in the spiritual realm. These tests come our way to help us grow. By avoiding these temptations, we are growing and meeting life’s challenges. That’s what we’re here for.

The Nine Days

In the New Jersey case, the rabbis were arrested during the period on the Jewish calendar called the “Nine Days” leading up to Tisha B’Av. This is the time of year when we most intensely mourn the loss of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Rabbi Yaakov Weinberg, of blessed memory, explains that not having the Temple today means we have lost a huge degree of spiritual clarity. This void has propelled us further toward materialism, creating an imbalance in our understanding of what makes a healthy human being and a vibrant Jew.

  Without the Temple, selfishness becomes ingrained in the very fabric of our existence.

Specifically, the loss of this spiritual sensitivity means a lower degree of interconnectivity and oneness. We live instead with a drive toward competition against others—the law of the jungle, survival of the fittest. As such, selfishness becomes ingrained in the very fabric of our existence. Instead of realizing that the purpose of our relationships is to be giving and concerned for others, we want to know “what’s in it for me.”

Without the Holy Temple, we have lost the clarity of how high humanity can reach. We are in a state of darkness, unable to bring forth the full light. What is the solution to this dilemma? Through mourning the loss of the Temple and appreciating how it has impacted us, that will put us on the road back to a future where there will be no more Madoffs and money-laundering schemes.

Rabbi Yitz Greenman is the Executive Director of Aish.com NY

**UPDATE** Monday July 27 2009 4:18 PM
Editors Note: Rabbi Greenamn reached out to VIN News with the following message,
1 – This article was written in response to telephone calls that I received from non observant friends and family who can not believe what they are seeing on the news.  They have asked for my perspective.  It was written as damage control.
2 – In no place in the article did I impugn guilt on anyone, let alone the Rabbis.  I clearly stated that we should not assume guilt.  That being said, there have been far too many cases in the news in the recent past about observant Jews breaking the law – some of whom have plead guilty to the charges against them.  One is too many, and if you scan the news there have unfortunately been many more than one (don’t waste your time searching as it’s too depressing).  The point of my article is to understand how can a person who believes in Hashem and His Torah come to break laws [rabbi or non rabbi, that’s not the point].  Two of the main causes appear to be greed and jealousy.  Yes, there are other causes and no this does not apply to everyone in this case, but in our goldener medina it appears to be at the root of many cases.
3 – Whereas the timing of this article may be upsetting to some because of its close proximity to the arrests, my post was made on http://www.aish.com [not this website] in response to requests from a) our students who are looking for a perspective right now and b) the editors of aish.com who have also been receiving requests for a perspective on this very current situation.
4 – Irrespective of whether those in the recent case are found guilty or not, it is most important that the point be made, loudly and clearly, that the Torah does not condone stealing, laundering, evading taxes, etc. 
May Hashem heal the wounds of His people and may we all merit to see binyan Beis HaMikdash b’mheira b’yameinu
Yitz Greenman

Measles, the Imposition of Religion on Immune Compromised, Williamsburg, NY and Yeshivas

Five More Williamsburg Yeshivas Found To Violate Health Department’s Measles Order

Five more ultra-Orthodox schools have been cited by New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for letting unvaccinated children attend classes, in flagrant violation of an order put in place in December to hinder the spread of measles.

The schools, like the one cited last month, are all in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, which has been the epicenter of the measles outbreak that has so far sickened 158 New Yorkers, including 137 children.

“The outbreak is not over, and we will continue to see additional cases as long as unvaccinated students are not properly excluded from attending school,” Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot said in a statement.

Health Department investigators based their conclusions by comparing immunization records with school attendance records. None of the schools have been fined, but could face monetary damages if they’re found to still be disobeying city orders during future audits, according to the Health Department.

New York state law normally requires all students to be vaccinated for measles, as well as a number of other illnesses, in order to attend public or private school. But they permit exemptions for a valid religious or medical reason.

In December, however, the health department issued an emergency order prohibiting ultra-Orthodox Jewish schools in zip codes where the virus was prevalent from allowing even exempted children in their buildings. Officials said the order would prevent the spread of measles.

More than 96 percent of children in the 133 yeshivas in the targeted zip codes are vaccinated, according to 2017-2018 state records. (Another 7,000 have received shots since the outbreak began.) But that’s lower than in public schools, where the rate is 99.3 percent.

Among ultra-Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn (also known as Haredi), an anti-vaccination hotline and publication have been fueling fears about the supposed dangers of vaccines.

The five schools the health department said violated the order are: Bnos Square of Williamsburg, Bnos Chayil (Wythe Avenue), Bnos Chayli (Hughes Street), Tiferes Bnos Children, and Simche Kinder.

To continue reading click here.

Murphy’s Law in New Jersey – Lakewood Getting Unexplained $15M While 200 Other Districts Get Funding Slashed…

N.J. wants to send extra $15M to Lakewood for private schoolers. Why didn’t it tell anyone?

When Gov. Phil Murphy proposed his 2020 budget last week it revealed Lakewood School District would get a massive 63 percent hike in state funding, by far the largest of any district in the state.

But what state officials didn’t make clear is that the additional $14.9 million proposed for Lakewood is special treatment for the controversial district that isn’t called for in the state’s school funding formula.

An NJ Advance Media analysis of state data found Murphy’s administration wants to give Lakewood more money than the district technically qualifies for, while slashing funding to nearly 200 other districts. The state pumped extra money into Lakewood’s preliminary funding for special education and transportation without increasing that aid for most other districts. And it proposed giving millions in new taxpayer money to a district long criticized for enormous public costs tied to private school students, primarily in Jewish yeshivas.

As much as the extra money might be necessary in cash-starved Lakewood, which has relied on state loans to buoy its local school budget, the way Murphy’s administration quietly added it to the state’s budget raised concerns.

“The (state) really needs to explain publicly what’s going on here,” said David Sciarra, executive director of the Education Law Center, a nonprofit that closely monitors school funding. “I would hope that the Legislature examines this in detail and gets answers.”

To continue reading click here.

Nursing Home Owners Should be Under Greater Scrutiny: Philip Esformes and His 1.5M Ferrari are Not Alone in a Class of Master Manipulators of the System

Medicare Funds Traced To $1.6M Ferrari In Esformes Trial

Law360, Miami (March 13, 2019, 11:41 PM EDT) — A forensic accountant testified Wednesday at the health care fraud trial of Philip Esformes how he traced Medicare and Medicaid funds through the Miami businessman’s nursing facility network to payments for…
To read the article in its entirety on Law360 click here.
ADDITIONAL READING:

US v Philip Esformes – Healthcare Fraud Trial of the Century

Philip Esformes is the poster boy in the biggest Medicare fraud trial in history. Prosecutors say he is the mastermind of a $1 billion fraud scheme. His trial, which began earlier this month, is one for the books. The evidence thus far can only be described as wild. Miami Vice meets the Sopranos.

In this post, we will pull back the curtain and demonstrate how ordinary healthcare workers and patients can take down a Goliath.

Until his arrest in 2016, Esformes was the ultimate jetsetter. Private jets, luxury mansions and a lifestyle none of us can afford. If prosecutors are right, however, we certainly paid for his high living.

According to the indictment, Esformes owned many Miami area nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Much of his revenues came from Medicare and Medicaid. Those programs, of course, are funded with tax dollars.

The government says Esformes gave kickbacks to physicians in return for medically unnecessary referrals to his facilities. That means he was bribing doctors to admit patients into his nursing homes even if they didn’t need that level of care.

The bribes were a two way street.

Prosecutors say that Esformes accepted bribes from other healthcare providers interested in getting business from his nursing homes. These included bribes from nursing companies, home care services, labs, vision care and therapy providers. Some bribes were in cash while others were allegedly payments to escorts enjoyed by Esformes.

One of Esformes’ co-conspirators is a physician’s assistant who would sometimes sign nursing home referrals without even meeting the patient.

It seems everyone was raking in the dough, even if the patients weren’t benefitting and with no regard to the taxpayers footing the bill.

As the trial started, all of Esformes’ co-conspirators pleaded guilty. That leaves him fighting the charges alone.

Most of the charges against Esformes are criminal conspiracy, wire fraud and Medicare fraud related.

There is also a charge of obstruction of justice. The indictment says that in 2015, he plotted with two brothers to get one out of the United States. The brothers were potential prosecution witnesses in the case. Unbeknownst to Esformes, the brothers were already cooperating with the feds and recorded a call discussing the scheme.

Shocking Evidence Revealed at Trial

To continue reading click here.

Philip Esformes, Nursing Homes and U Penn Basketball Bribes, a Pillar of the Jewish Community

Former Penn basketball coach says he received $300K bribe

Former University of Pennsylvania basketball coach Jerome Allen – now a coach with the Boston Celtics – testified during a federal criminal trial that he accepted nearly $300,000 in bribes to use a priority varsity sports slot to accept a businessman’s son into the Philadelphia Ivy League school, multiple media outlets are reporting.

Allen was testifying in a case involving Philip Esformes, a Miami nursing home mogul on trial for alleged Medicare and Medicaid fraud.

Here’s what ESPN.com is reporting:

Allen testified that he trained Esformes’ son, Morris, in basketball during several trips to Miami, in which Esformes paid for Allen to stay in beachfront hotels, ride in limousines and attend Miami Heat games. After the workouts, Esformes handed him plastic bags filled with about $10,000 in cash, Allen told the jury, according to Law360.com. Esformes told Allen his son’s dream was to attend Penn and play basketball for the Quakers. If Allen made that happen, Esformes told him, they would be “family for life.”

To read the article in its entirety click here.

The Measles and Another Symbol of an Entrenched Belief in Entitlement and Acting with Impunity

Earlier offender: The measles virus infected 21 students at Williamsburg’s Yeshiva Kehilath Yakov after its educators permitted an unvaccinated, pre-symptomatic kid infected with the virus to attend class. City health officials on Thursday annouced inspectors discovered that leaders of five other neighborhood yeshivas allowed non-vaccinated youngsters in their classrooms amid a growing outbreak of the disease.

Viral violation: More yeshivas defy city orders, allow unvaccinated students in class amid measles outbreak

Department of Health officials on Thursday announced that leaders of five Williamsburg yeshivas violated an emergency order prohibiting non-vaccinated students from attending school amid a growing outbreak of the measles, which already infected at least 21 youngsters at a sixth yeshiva after educators let a sick kid in class.

The city’s chief physician reiterated the importance of inoculating children against the potentially fatal illness, warning that the disease will continue to claim new victims while Kings County youngsters remain unvaccinated.

“As the city’s doctor, and a pediatrician, I am very concerned that children without the measles vaccination are at unnecessary risk for serious, and potentially fatal symptoms related to measles,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “The outbreak is not over, and we will continue to see additional cases as long as unvaccinated students are not properly excluded from attending school.”

The five new offending yeshivas include:

• Bnos Square of Williamsburg at 382 Willoughby Ave. between Bedford Avenue and Spencer Street.

• Bnos Chayil at 712 Wythe Ave. between Keap and Hooper streets.

• Bnos Chayil at 345 Hewes St. between S. Fifth Street and Broadway.

• Tuferes Bnos at 585 Marcy Ave. between Myrtle and Vernon avenues.

• Sieche Kinder at 808 Myrtle Ave. between Marcy and Nostrand avenues.

To continue reading click here.

 

The Court and the Cross/The Court and the Yeshiva

COULD A DECISION BY THE US SUPREME COURT IN THE CURRENT CLIMATE ALLOW FOR TAX DOLLARS TO PAY FOR YESHIVA EDUCATION WHEN THAT EDUCATION DOES NOT REQUIRE SECULAR STUDIES SUCH AS MATH, CIVICS, SCIENCE?

Dear Reader:

The following is taken from a Facebook post and is relevant, particularly in New York State where the issue of “substantially similar” education has become a topic of some gravity. In Canada, the same questions are being raised by former Yeshiva students who feel they were wronged by a government that paid for but did not protect their learning. 

The author of the post has NOT given his permission to repost; but if asked we will remove the following language which prefaces the associated New York Times article. The NYT article is a good read and shows the fine lines we are currently walking on in the United States. Will we remain a country with a Constitution that set specific limits on the separation between church and state or will we move towards a country that, in keeping with trying to protect the free practice of religion, damages the financial freedoms of those who do not support private learning or rather endorse public learning? 

Two years ago, in an opinion by Chief Justice Roberts, the court held that a Missouri church was constitutionally entitled to compete for a state grant to enhance the safety of its preschool playground. In an unusual footnote, the chief justice wrote that the court’s decision involved only “express discrimination based on religious identity with respect to playground resurfacing” and that the court was not addressing “religious uses of funding or other forms of discrimination.” As an effort to limit the scope of the decision, the footnote was an obvious failure: Only three other justices signed onto it, and Justices Thomas and Gorsuch expressly disavowed it, meaning that the footnote did not speak for a majority of the court. Justice Gorsuch, who had been on the court for a little over a month, in fact took the occasion to write a separate concurring opinion in which he suggested that the court might consider overturning a 2004 decision that upheld a restriction on state scholarships for study for the ministry.

In that case, Locke v. Davey, Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote for a 7-to-2 majority. The Establishment Clause would have permitted a state to offer ministry students the same scholarship eligibility as other students if the state wanted such an expansive scholarship program, the chief justice wrote. But if the state chose to limit its scholarships to those pursuing secular careers, he added, the Free Exercise clause did not entitle a ministry student to demand equal treatment. There must be some “play in the joints” between the two religion clauses, he concluded. It was one of Chief Justice Rehnquist’s last important opinions; he died the following year.

This scares me. If Locke v. Daley is overturned then could our tax dollars go to Yeshivas without any requirement for them to provide a secular education.

See the NYT Opinion:

How far is the Supreme Court willing to open the public square to more overtly religious expression? A pending case may tell us.

The appetite of the two newest justices, Mr. Kavanaugh and Mr. Gorsuch, for cases that would enlarge the constitutional playing field for religion appears nearly boundless. Along with Justice Alito, they are looking for vehicles for the court to expand the right of churches to receive direct public grants of money. Justice Kavanaugh, joined by the other two, issued a statement this month explaining why the court was not hearing a case challenging New Jersey’s prohibition against historic preservation grants to churches. The specific facts of the case then before the court were not sufficiently clear for the court to accept the church’s appeal, Justice Kavanaugh said. But he then added, gratuitously, that New Jersey’s position amounted to a “pure discrimination against religion,” a clear invitation to other churches in New Jersey or elsewhere to serve up such a case.

Two years ago, in an opinion by Chief Justice Roberts, the court heldthat a Missouri church was constitutionally entitled to compete for a state grant to enhance the safety of its preschool playground. In an unusual footnote, the chief justice wrote that the court’s decision involved only “express discrimination based on religious identity with respect to playground resurfacing” and that the court was not addressing “religious uses of funding or other forms of discrimination.” As an effort to limit the scope of the decision, the footnote was an obvious failure: Only three other justices signed onto it, and Justices Thomas and Gorsuch expressly disavowed it, meaning that the footnote did not speak for a majority of the court. Justice Gorsuch, who had been on the court for a little over a month, in fact took the occasion to write a separate concurring opinion in which he suggested that the court might consider overturning a 2004 decision that upheld a restriction on state scholarships for study for the ministry.

In that case, Locke v. Davey, Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote for a 7-to-2 majority. The Establishment Clause would have permitted a state to offer ministry students the same scholarship eligibility as other students if the state wanted such an expansive scholarship program, the chief justice wrote. But if the state chose to limit its scholarships to those pursuing secular careers, he added, the Free Exercise clause did not entitle a ministry student to demand equal treatment. There must be some “play in the joints” between the two religion clauses, he concluded. It was one of Chief Justice Rehnquist’s last important opinions; he died the following year.

Although the Locke v. Davey decision is only 15 years old, it seems to come to us from a different world. What’s now in play is not the joints. It is, rather, the heart and soul of a diverse country that is going in one direction while the Supreme Court — as in other areas, including labor law and gun rights — is hurtling in the other, toward a destination fraught with uncertainty and danger.

The Financial Pillaging of School Districts By the Incestuous Relationship Between Private Schools and Public Funds

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Rise Up Ocean County
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Rise Up Ocean County

Yesterday at 8:09 AM

In what has become an annual rite of passage, Lakewood Township School District is once again on bended knee doing their own perverted version of Oliver Twist and asking the state of New Jersey “please sir, may I have some more?”.

Last week the state announced final public school funding levels for all districts and while surrounding communities are losing tens of millions of dollars, Lakewood will receive an additional $15,000,000 for the 2019-2020 school year. But that’s not enough to fund the projected 2019-2020 budget shortfall of $40,000,000 so rather than look at cutting from courtesy busing, reducing the outrageous salary of school board attorney Michael Inzelbuch ($600,000) and finding less costly ways to educate special needs children (think SCHI), the district is asking the state for yet another loan.

When faced with similar circumstances back in 2014-2015 the school district borrowed $4,500,000 from the state. In 2015-2016 that number grew to $6,400,000, in 2016-2017 even higher to $8,500,000 and in 2017-2018 to a whopping $28,000,000. Initially the $28,000,000 was a grant request but the state rejected that because the district refused to provide documentation to support the request. Tonight the board of education meets to consider requesting yet another loan, this time ONLY $16,000,000.

Anyone want to bet a nickel that at some point Senator Bob Singer will request that the state forgive these loans and that request will be granted? If so, please PM us.

At present, Lakewood School District owes the State of New Jersey $46,000,000 and if this new loan is granted that number will be $63,500,000, a new record for school district indebtedness to the state. The district doesn’t actually repay these loans either. Instead of having to write a check, the annual loan repayment is withheld from state aid, $5,800,000/year for the next 12 years. So a district that cries that it does not receive enough state aid borrows money to plug budget gaps and repays that money through…state aid. Follow that?

All of this transpires under the watchful eye of state monitor David Shafter. Shafter, who bills himself as a budget coordinator and financial analyst with expertise in school management on LinkedIn, sits on the finance committee of the Board of Education and is partly responsible for this debacle. The scheme can only move forward with his approval which he has given.

Also on the finance committee is board member Isaac Zlatkin. Zlatkin, you may recall, is a co-defendant in a lawsuit filed against the district by Tobree Mostel who, as an employee of the school district, was responsible for funding for special education children. In her 34 page federal lawsuit, Mostel alleges that she was discriminated against because she tried to expose corruption and is not an orthodox Jew.

The trouble began when Lakewood based On Track Resources LLC was given a contract by the district to oversee special needs placements. Mostel alleges that the On Track gave multiple student evaluations in a short time frame so the company could charge more money, hired evaluators who work for companies that gain financially from special education placements, copying and pasting student service plans instead of individualizing them and coercing parents to waive evaluations of children.

To no one’s surprise, the previous board attorney, Marc Ztoner, labeled Mostel anti-Semitic for objecting to the corruption.

“It appears that if one is not Orthodox Jewish, like the majority of the (Lakewood Board of Education) board members, and is not committed to diverting public school funds to benefit the local religious schools, that individual does not get to remain as an employee in the Lakewood School District,” the lawsuit reads. “It truly begs the question: What is going on in this district?”

At least board member Moshe Newhouse, who accepted the amnesty program offered by the state for cheating the welfare system only days before closing on a $500,000 house, doesn’t sit on the finance committee, so there’s that.

It’s time to fire the state monitor and for the state of New Jersey to seize control of Lakewood School District. Nothing less will do.

View Shafter’s Linked In here
https://www.linkedin.com/in/david-shafter-2a0a413a

Read the Mostel lawsuit article
https://www.app.com/…/lakewood-nj-special-educat…/372255002/

Read the source article for this story here
https://www.app.com/…/lakewood-nj-schools-defic…/3129394002/

Philip Esformes, Claims that Patients Sold Like Cattle, but… Esformes is Not Alone in Nursing and Healthcare Facilities and the Fraud they Commit

Philip Esformes, Allegations of Medicare and Medicaid Fraud, Bribery, Patient Churning, and Pocketing Money

From Law360 – Subscription

Esformes Was Obsessed With Facilities’ Census, Feds Say

Law360, Miami (March 11, 2019, 9:48 PM EDT) — The government on Monday painted a picture of nursing home owner Philip Esformes as a micromanager obsessed with patient counts at his facilities, showing jurors in the blockbuster health care fraud trial the daily predawn text messages he’d sent requesting census numbers and venting his concern when they dipped below capacity.

With expert witness Michael Petron, a forensic accounting consultant, on the stand, the prosecution showed jurors daily 5 a.m. texts from Esformes’ cellphone to a “Frank” at Oceanside, his skilled nursing facility on Miami Beach, asking for the census number at the facility, which Petron said maxed out at 196 patients.

The responses from Frank — generally 195 or 196 — backed up what Petron says he found after analyzing the Medicare claims data for Oceanside: that the facility was generally at or very close to capacity at all times.

 

To read the article in its entirety subscribe and click here.

 

ADDITIONAL READING FROM LAW360 (kindly subscribe for full articles):

Ex-Hospital Director Says Nursing Home Owner Offered Bribes

Nursing Home Mogul Churned Patients For Profit, Jury Told

Witness Details Kickback Deals At Nursing Home Mogul’s Trial

 

 

Esformes, University of Pennsylvania, Basketball, Bribes and Lawsuits

From Law 360 – Must be subscribed:

Esformes’ Attys Take On Ex-Penn Coach Over Bribery Claims

 

Law360, Miami (March 12, 2019, 10:58 PM EDT) — Miami nursing home owner Philip Esformes’ attorneys tried Tuesday to poke holes in former University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball coach Jerome Allen’s story that he accepted bribes to get Esformes’ son into Penn, saying the two men’s relationship was not merely transactional and pointing to Allen’s mentoring of Esformes’ son.

With Allen back on the stand after testifying Friday, defense attorney Brad Horenstein displayed dozens of friendly text messages between Esformes and the former collegiate coach, who described last week how he received about $300,000 in bribes from Esformes to get his son Morris on the Penn basketball team and into the Wharton School of Business.

 

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A Brilliant Commentary on Anti-Semitism, Orthodoxy’s Contribution to Disparagement and the US President

WWW.TABLETMAG.COM

Anti-Semitism and Orthodoxy in the Age of Trump

How religious Judaism helps shield the American president’s disparagement of globalism, cosmopolitanism, and other features of progressive secular Jewry from claims of anti-Semitism

In response to the Pittsburgh massacre, in which Robert Gregory Bowers gunned down 11 Jews praying in the Tree of Life synagogue on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, all major Orthodox organizations condemned the attack in the clearest possible terms, but none was prepared to denounce the stated cause for the violence: white nationalism and the demonization of Jews as avatars for progressive and left-wing politics.

Why would the very group that was most noticeably targeted by white nationalism in the 20th century be the most reluctant to condemn it today? Some point to President Donald Trump and his allies’ support for Israel’s right-wing government, which itself has made common cause with some European anti-Semitic nationalist movements. Others such as the historian David Henkin claim that many of Trump’s Orthodox supporters “are the descendants (literally, in many cases) of Jews to whom the white nationalism of the post-1965 Republican Party was already resonating 30 or 40 years ago in debates about affirmative action, segregation, colonialism, and law enforcement.” Both theories, however, overlook Orthodoxy’s own position on anti-Semitism and the crucible in which it was formed.

Memorandum sent from the Free Association for the Interests of Orthodox Judaism, Reich Alliance of Law Abiding Synagogue Communities in Halberstadt, and National Agudat Israel Organization in Germany to the Herr Reich Chancellor on Oct. 4, 1933. Courtesy of Bundesarchiv, Potsdam, R 43 II / 602

Orthodoxy’s position on anti-Semitism was first theorized in the interwar period when Central and Eastern European rabbis and laypeople founded the first Orthodox political party, Agudath Israel. Like all political parties operating on the continent at the time, the Orthodox quickly found themselves choosing between the rock of Stalin on the left, and the hard place of Hitler on the right. Whereas Stalin posed a threat to Jews’ religious institutions and observances, Hitler’s target was Jews themselves and their involvement in German political and economic life.

The Orthodox, however, operated under the illusion that Hitler’s wrath was directed only at certain kinds of Jews and that their own prohibitions against intermarriage and commitments to cultural difference could persuade the German chancellor that they were to be trusted allies. Stalin would destroy Orthodoxy, but Hitler, they figured, would only be bothered by those Jews who were Communists or Marxists. Many in the Orthodox community surmised that Jews who held fast to their spiritual heritage would pose no threat to Nazi Germany and it was therefore Stalin who was to be feared.

As Marc Shapiro has shown, German Orthodox leaders directly appealed to the German chancellor (Hitler), arguing in 1933 that “Marxist materialism and Communist atheism share not the least in common with the spirit of the positive Jewish religious tradition, as handed down through Orthodox teachings obligatory on the Jewish People. … We have,” they recalled, “been at war against this religious attitude.” Orthodox leaders sought to find common ground with Hitler by demonstrating their own virulent hatred for left-wing and progressive Jews. They proclaimed: “We have always combated the corrosive spirit of materialism with religious idealism.”

In their attempt to curry favor with Hitler, Orthodox leaders not only stressed their own loyalty to the German people, but went out of their way to stress the structural similarities between Hitler’s position. “We seek a Lebensraum within the Lebensraum of the German people,” they maintained.

The German rabbis’ position was reaffirmed by the leaders of the Polish branch of the Agudath Israel party who aligned themselves with Pilsudski’s nationalist union. As historian Gershon Bacon notes in his study on early 20th-century Orthodox politics, “the Agudah-Sanacja alliance stemmed from perceived common values and ideologies.”

Both parties held authoritarian, conservative, and pro-business platforms and favored strong charismatic and authoritarian leaders who appealed to religious symbols and traditional practices. From the outset, Agudath Israel challenged a central axiom of modern Jewish politics, Bacon explains, “namely that progressive forces on the Polish left were natural allies of the Jews.”

 

To read the remainder of the article in Tablet Magazine, click here.

Gaby Ashkenazi and Shemen Oil, Benny Gantz and Fifth Dimension, if Failed Businesses Made the Man…

Analysis 

Gantz and Ashkenazi: Failed Businessmen?

Benny Gantz and Gabi Ashkenazi during a Kahol Lavan event, March 9, 2019.

 

…..

Some 560 onshore and offshore exploration drillings have been conducted since 1948, but only 15 have yielded commercial quantities of natural gas. The failure rate is 97.3%. In high-tech, the failure rate for startups is 90% or more.

Fifth Dimension (whose other top executives included Ram Ben-Barak, a former Mossad deputy head who is also a Kahol Lavan candidate) was formed in 2014 and closed at the end of last year. Between 2012 and 2017, a total of 3,307 Israeli startups burned through $3.8 billion and closed, according to IVC Research.

Was it a coincidence that Gantz and Ashkenazi chose high-risk businesses? Almost certainly not. They both left the army with generous pensions, but they both wanted to make a bundle, and that requires taking risks. If Fifth Dimension had ended in a giant exit and Shemen with commercial amounts of gas, they would have made millions and been free to enter politics with a clear mind.

They were chosen as chairman of their respective companies for their military backgrounds, their image and their connections in Israel and abroad. They brought charisma that could open doors. Many entrepreneurs looks at appointments like these as practical business, not as needless window-dressing.

But their army careers didn’t set them up to be businessmen. As chiefs of staff they knew how to spend money, not how to earn it. Neither had a head for finance, marketing or technology. Gantz knew nothing about Fifth Dimension’s artificial intelligence technology and Ashkenazi knew nothing about the geology behind petroleum exploration.

The failure of Shemen and Fifth Dimension are now inescapable items on the two men’s CVs, but it tells us nothing about their political capabilities. What can be said is that it’s impossible to become chief of staff without good political horse sense.

They may never have held elected office, but they aren’t newbies. They’ve waged political battles over the defense budget and know how to deal with the media. The jury is still out over whether they will indeed be successful political leaders, but there’s nothing in their career path, including each one’s brief foray into business, that says they can’t be.

 

To read the complete article in Haaretz, click here.

New York, the Orthodox Jewish Community and the Measles

Why Measles Hits So Hard Within N.Y. Orthodox Jewish Community

The Rockland County, N.Y., woman hadn’t told her obstetrician that she had a fever and rash, two key signs of a measles infection. A member of the Orthodox Jewish community there, she went into premature labor at 34 weeks, possibly as a result of the infection. Her baby was born with measles and spent his first 10 days in the neonatal intensive care unit.

The infant is home now, but “we don’t know how this baby will do,” said Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, the health commissioner for Rockland County. When young children contract measles, they face a heightened risk of complications from the disease, including seizures or hearing and vision problems down the road.

The measles case Ruppert described is just one of many. New York state’s outbreaks, which began last October, have gone on longer and infected more people than any other current outbreak nationwide. More than 275 cases of the disease have been confirmed statewide through the first week of March, primarily in the New York City borough of Brooklyn and in Rockland County towns northwest of the city.

That total makes up about half of the 578 confirmed cases in 11 states that were reported nationwide by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from January 2018 through the end of last month. Washington state, with 76 cases by the end of February, has the second-highest number of cases.

Measles cases in New York have been concentrated among children from Orthodox Jewish families, many of whom attend religious schools where vaccination rates may have been below the 95 percent threshold considered necessary to maintain immunity. The outbreaks began when unvaccinated travelers returned from Israel, where an outbreak persists, and spread the disease here.

Besides geographic proximity, cultural identity may contribute to an outbreak taking hold in the close-knit Orthodox community — a feeling that their worldview is not in keeping with modern secular society, said Samuel Heilman, a Queens College sociology professor who has authored several books about Orthodox Jews.

“It’s about a view that we have our ways and they have their ways,” he said.

Although some Orthodox Jews claim that vaccinations are against Jewish law, that’s not correct, said Dr. Aaron Glatt, who is also a rabbi and chairman of the department of medicine at South Nassau Communities Hospital on Long Island. “There’s not a single opinion that says vaccination is against Jewish law,” he said.

As public health officials and health care providers battle to get the outbreaks under control, one of their biggest challenges is communicating to people that measles is a menacing disease to be taken seriously.

“People don’t want to get vaccines because they don’t think they need them,” said Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

The public may have grown complacent. Before the vaccine program began in the United States in 1963, as many as 4 million people became infected every year. Nearly 50,000 were hospitalized and up to 500 people died annually. By 2000, measles was a disease that public health officials said was essentially eradicated in the U.S., thanks to a comprehensive vaccine program that reduced the number of cases by 99 percent.

But measles has crept back in recent years, in part because of fears fanned by anti-vaccine activists who have claimed, without evidence, that vaccines cause a variety of problems, including autism.

The measles virus is still a problem in some other countries, and unvaccinated people may bring the virus back with them and infect others.

The virus is exquisitely contagious. If an infected person coughs or talks, droplets can remain in the air or land on a surface and cause infection for hours. Ninety percent of people who are exposed and susceptible will become infected. While a fever and red rash that spreads from the face down along the body are common symptoms, side effects can be serious and even lethal, especially for young children and people with compromised immune systems.

In an effort to contain New York’s outbreaks, Ruppert initially prohibited 6,000 children at 60 mostly religious schools and day care centers in Rockland County from attending class because they hadn’t been vaccinated. As more children have been vaccinated and the school vaccination rates have reached 95 percent, those numbers have dropped. But about 3,800 students at 35 schools are still excluded from attending.

In Brooklyn, 1,800 students at 140 schools were originally affected, said Dr. Jane Zucker, assistant commissioner for the Bureau of Immunization at the New York City Health Department. Those numbers have declined somewhat as well.

Since the outbreaks began, Rockland County health care providers have administered more than 16,000 vaccines, while New York City has provided more than 7,000 shots.

To read the article in its entirety click here.

Jews Creating Our Own Brand of Anti-Semitism and a NYT Opinion Piece

Orthodox Jews with the group Jews United Against Zionism gather outside the office of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MM) in a show of support for Omar’s right to free speech.

Is Anti-Semitism Exceptional?

Like most places, America has always had potent strains of anti-Semitism — crude and polished, K.K.K. and country club. But unlike many places, we have always had important strains of philo-Semitism as well; there is a long American tradition, with both Protestant and Enlightenment roots, of really liking Judaism and the Jews.

And so the story of the Jews in post-World War II America is the story, not just of anti-Semitism’s marginalization, but of philo-Semitism’s triumph. Jewish Americans weren’t just integrated, like other ethnic and religious groups. They also attracted a particular sympathy and admiration, rooted in Holocaust remembrance, affection for Israel, and a distinctive pride in the scope of their success.

[Listen to “The Argument” podcast every Thursday morning, with Ross Douthat, Michelle Goldberg and David Leonhardt.]

For American philo-Semites, the Jewish experience wasn’t just one minority experience among many, but a signal and elevated case. The outsize success of Jewish intellectuals and scientists and artists and businessmen and activists was an especially good thing, a unique proof of American exceptionalism — because ours was the one country where a people so long persecuted could not only survive but triumph. And attacks on Jewish success and influence, like attacks on the state of Israel, were treated as particularly dangerous, particularly un-American, because they threatened to undo this great achievement, and return the Jews to their historic state of constant threat and peril

This history supplies one way to understand the stakes in the controversy over Ilhan Omar, the Muslim congresswoman who keeps using anti-Semitic clichés in her criticisms of the American-Israeli relationship. The part of the American left that’s defending her, or at least mitigating her offense and accusing her conservative critics of bad faith, doesn’t see itself as defending Jew-hatred, and since many of those defenders are Jewish — including the arguable front-runner for the Democratic nomination, Bernie Sanders — it’s reasonable to take them at their word.

But the defend-Omar project is a project that seeks to push us away from the age of philo-Semitism, the age in which both American Jews and the American-Israel relationship were considered special cases among the range of minority groups and foreign policy partnerships.

To continue reading the New York Times Opinion, click here.

Australian Sisters and Malka Leifer Case, What G-d Are They Praying to That Protects Abusers?

Australian Sisters in Haredi Sex Offenses Case: ‘What God Are They Praying to That Protects Abusers?’

‘This has taken such a toll on our lives, and these are people who are playing with our lives,’ three sisters tell Haaretz after 47th hearing to see if headmistress Malka Leifer can face extradition to Australia on 74 counts of sex abuse

Ellie Sapper, left, Dassi Erlich and Nicole Meyer outside Jerusalem District Court, March 6, 2019.

Ellie Sapper, left, Dassi Erlich and Nicole Meyer outside Jerusalem District Court, March 6, 2019
  • Israel’s deputy health minister suspected of aiding Australian headmistress accused of abuse avoid extradition

  • In Israel, Australian sisters recount alleged sex abuse by ultra-Orthodox principal

  • Israeli health czar ‘pressured psychiatrist’ to soften assessment of pedophile

    Dassi Erlich woke up at 3:30 A.M. at her home in Melbourne on February 15 to what she says were hundreds of text messages alerting her to the news that had broken nearly 14,000 kilometers (8,500 miles) away in Israel: That an Israeli deputy health minister was under investigation for allegedly trying to prevent the extradition of the Australian school principal suspected of sexually abusing her and other girls when they were students at her all-girls ultra-Orthodox school.

    It took six days for the media storm to die down, but when it did the rage set in for Erlich and two of her sisters, Nicole Meyer and Ellie Sapper. They are all fellow accusers of Malka Leifer, a dual Israeli-Australian citizen who faces 74 counts of child sex abuse in Australia.

    Leifer fled to Israel in 2008 after accusations against her surfaced, and is fighting extradition on the grounds that she is mentally unfit.

    >> Australian sisters accusing ultra-Orthodox principal of sexual assault bring extradition fight to Israel

    Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman has been questioned by the police, who suspect he pressured Jerusalem’s district psychiatrist into writing a false assessment describing Leifer as mentally unfit, which, according to Israeli law, would mean she could not be extradited.

    “It wasn’t a shock to us. We had all these questions and we knew something was up, but it was more than a disappointment. We were angry and frustrated and [thinking]: How could this have been allowed to happen? This has taken such a toll on our lives, and these are people who are playing with our lives,” Erlich told Haaretz in an interview at Jerusalem District Court on Wednesday. The interview took place after the 47th hearing into Leifer’s extradition since legal proceedings began over a decade ago.

    Nicole Meyer, Erlich’s older sister, said they were not shocked “because we understand how that world works,” referring to the closed community of the Ultra-Orthodox to which Litzman also belongs. She herself remains ultra-Orthodox, but her sisters are not. “They are protecting their own,” Meyer said. “It’s very insular and they will do what they can to protect her.”

    It’s not about the crime,” Erlich added.

    Meyer agreed. And that, she said, “makes it even harder to bear when you think we want to create change in this world, and this kind of thing has happened and we kind of feel defeated in a sense.”

  • Israel's Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman.Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman on his way to the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, November 18, 2018.

Activists say the ultra-Orthodox community in Israel and abroad has generally been slow to respond to allegations of sexual abuse directed at adults within their community, especially allegations lodged against prominent adults including rabbis and teachers. They claim that not unlike the Catholic Church, they have even taken measures to protect the institution over victims from their own community.

To read the remainder of the article click here.

Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem, Eliezer Rauchberger – Refuses to Cohort With Conservative Jews, Heretics are They?

Eliezer Rauchberger, the deputy mayor of Jerusalem and chairman of the Degel Hatorah party branch in the capital, at the opening of Degel HaTorah's municipal election campaign offices in Jerusalem on October 10, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Eliezer Rauchberger, the deputy mayor of Jerusalem and chairman of the Degel Hatorah party branch in the capital, at the opening of Degel HaTorah’s municipal election campaign offices in Jerusalem on October 10, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Jerusalem ultra-Orthodox deputy mayor won’t speak at Conservative movement venue

JTA — A deputy mayor of Jerusalem refused to attend a real estate conference because it was held in a facility owned by the Conservative movement.

Eliezer Rauchberger, who represents the Haredi Degel Hatorah party and holds the building and planning portfolio on the capital’s city council, had committed to being a keynote speaker Monday at the national convention of the Real Estate Appraisers Association in Israel.

The guesthouse hosts delegations and youth groups affiliated with the Conservative movement.

Rauchberger told Haaretz in an email that he withdrew from the event because “Reform and Conservative [Jews] champion the destruction of Judaism. The people of Israel and residents of Jerusalem, whom I have the honor to serve, are not connected to these movements and do not want them to gain a foothold in the city or within the Jewish people.”

 

To read the remainder of the article click here.

A Different Sort of Credit Card Swipe Scam and Court Hearing – to the Magnitude of Many Millions

Hersh Deutsch and Deutsche Venture Capital LLC, the Allegations of Millions of Dollars in Criminal Behavior and the “Who was Scammed by Whom”?

Dear Reader:

These crimes, like the Credit Card Swipe, and the scam listed herein are far too easy. The community that gets victimized is far too vulnerable. The people who are injured do not even see it coming until their trust is completely violated. And, putting an end to it all seems untenable given the reach of this community and its fraudsters.

The politicians are financially beholden. The money flows like milk and honey. Those adept at committing crimes are well-read and well understood. It is the wholesale institutionalization of crime. And one convicted (if) some organization is going to try and raise 700M in 72 hours to unjustly enrich the poor betrayed criminal. It is altogether unpalatable.

We here want to know when law enforcement is going to step it up. We are asking when those in charge of providing justice for victims are going to set aside their political and financial earning’s potential from within this community and make these types of crimes the exception not the norm.

This is just one of many different scams perpetrated using the credit card as a means to commit a fraud.

Rest assured, this is one of many. The next one will be worse. And after that, worse still. We have posted the legal filings for this particular case, a civil suit, for your perusal. We did not post the link, lest it disappear at some later date when a reputation management firm decides to get involved. 

To the ultra-Orthodox who are being victimized by those from within your community, you are NOT A MOSER if you take this to court as below, to law enforcement, to the justice system. If you speak up and prosecute, if you get others to do the same, the criminals will need to alter their behavior.

It is high time you educate yourselves and your children. Those in whom you have placed your trust are clearly not trustworthy. The Rabbis  should be putting a stop to this. If they are not, they are complicit, in our view. 

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From 2016 – and Now More Relevant – The Shomrim/Shmira Misnomer – Hasidic “Cops” With the NYPD as the Auxiliary Cops

Meet the Shomrim—the Hasidic Volunteer ‘Cops’ Who Answer to Nobody

New York pols from Mayor de Blasio down have supported the groups, even as accounts of their rough conduct pile up.

NYPD Inspector Michael Ameri shot himself Friday in a Department car hours after the FBI reportedly questioned him for a second time about a series of alleged payoffs made by members of New York’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish community—including several big donors to Mayor Bill de Blasio—to high-ranking officials in the NYPD.

That probe has focused on lurid reports of diamonds for top cops’ wives and hookers for those cops on free flights to Vegas, but it’s also put a spotlight on a longstanding nexus of shady dealings between New York City politicians, including the mayor, the NYPD, and the Jewish community’s own “volunteer” police.

A few months before killing himself, Ameri cut ties with one such pretend police officer, Alex “Shaya” Lichtenstein, the New York Post reported. Last month, Lichtenstein was arrested and charged with offering thousands of dollars in cash bribes to cops in the department’s gun licensing bureau in exchange for very tough to obtain in New York City gun permits.

Lichtenstein reportedly bragged that he had procured them for 150 friends and associates, charging $18,000 a pop and paying a third of that to his police connections. According to prosecutors, the scheme had enabled a man with a prior criminal history that included four domestic violence complaints and “a threat against someone’s life” to obtain a gun.

In the criminal complaint, filed in Manhattan federal court, Lichtenstein was identified as a member of Borough Park’s private, all male, unarmed volunteer security patrol, known as the Shomrim (Hebrew for “guards” or “watchers”).

The complaint did not identify any of Lichtenstein’s alleged customers, however, but sources knowledgeable about the Shomrim are skeptical that he was obtaining permits on behalf of, or for, the Shomrim as an organization. Instead, they argue, it is more plausible that Lichtenstein was operating as a freelancer—albeit one who likely exploited police connections nurtured during his time as a member of the group.

After all, it is not exactly a secret that the Shomrim—along with others from the ultra-Orthodox community who serve as unpaid liaisons to various city and state law enforcement agencies–maintain close relations with members of the NYPD, and particularly those who serve in their local precincts.

For example, news sites and Twitter accounts that play to an ultra-Orthodox audience are littered with pictures of Shomrim hobnobbing with high-ranking police officers at pre-holiday “briefings,” honoring them with “appreciation” awards at community breakfasts or charity dinners, and even engaging in friendly competition at an annual summer softball game.

But Lichtenstein aside, it would be a mistake to conclude that for the Shomrim at least these relationships are motivated by the prospect of personal financial gain or status concerns, even though there’s no doubt that having an “in” with the cops can boost one’s standing in the community. Instead, access and influence are the means of achieving a more important communal goal: the freedom to operate as the de facto police force of their communities, but with backup from the cops in the most dangerous situations.

In some sense, it is almost as if the Shomrim view the NYPD as their auxiliary police.

***

The first of these Brooklyn patrol groups were formed in the 1970s in the Hasidic neighborhoods of Crown Heights and Williamsburg in response to rising neighborhood crime and the belief that the police were not up the task of keeping Jews safe. (The journalist and author Matthew Shaer traces the roots of the Crown Heights patrol to a Hasidic rabbi and teacher named Samuel Schrage, who in 1964 founded a group called the Crown Heights Maccabees following the alleged assault of Hasidic students by a group of black youth and the attempted rape of a rabbi’s wife by a black man.)

Today, Shomrim (and in some cases, rival groups known as Shmira) exist in every ultra-Orthodox neighborhood in Brooklyn (and in other ultra-Orthodox communities in the U.S. and abroad). The groups operate independently and, while their leaders are fond of characterizing them as the “eyes and ears” of their communities, responding to hotline calls about everything from vandalism, missing persons and attempted robbery to domestic violence and even sexual abuse, they do much more than watch and listen. In Brooklyn, they are equippedwith SUVs and cruisers tricked out with “police package” flashing lights, sophisticated two-way radio dispatch systems, bulletproof vests and outfits emblazoned with shields that look an awful lot like NYPD ones—all paid for by donations and, in some cases, government largesse funneled to them by members of the City Council.

While they lack the authority to make arrests, even with those similar shields, the Shomrim often do things like search, chase, apprehend, and detain.

Indeed, as the head of the Borough Park Shomrim explained to the Village Voice’s Nick Pinto in 2011, people in the community call Shomrim because “they want to see action right away, not get caught up in a lot of questions and answers…Not that that isn’t the right way for the police to do it—who am I to say they shouldn’t ask a lot of questions?”

But people also call Shomrim—as opposed to 911—because, after all, cops are outsiders. And outsiders cannot always be counted on to be sensitive to the specific concerns of the religious community, concerns that include the desire/obligation to protect other Jews from the long arm of the law. And so, while the Shomrim are not averse—and sometimes quite eager—to help cops nab a suspect who is not one of their own, they can be much less forthcoming when a fellow Jew is the suspect.

For example, back in 2011, the coordinator of the Borough Park Shomrim let it slip to the press that his organization maintained a list of suspected ultra-Orthodox child molesters they don’t report to the police because “the rabbis don’t let you.” While there are respected Orthodox rabbis who say the police should be called in cases of suspected abuse, their rulings are not being followed in many quarters of ultra-Orthodox Brooklyn, where this attitude has long stymied law enforcement efforts.

Those comments came in the wake of the murder and dismemberment of an 8-year-old Hasidic child, Leiby Kletzky, who had been abducted by his killer, a member of the religious communty, while walking home from school. When the boy failed to meet his mother at the appointed time, she contacted the Shomrim, who swung into action and mobilized a search; their first contact with police came over two hours later.

At the time, many in the community justified the delay by arguing that the cops would not have taken the missing-person case seriously until more time had elapsed (a claim the NYPD disputed, noting cases involving missing children are acted on immediately). Some members of the Hasidic community also acknowledged privately that another possible reason for the wait to involve police: The fear, reasonable or not, that even had the child been found safe, Child Protective Services might have opened an investigation into why the parents allowed their son to leave school unsupervised.

This instinct toward protecting members of the community—and the community as a whole—is a theme that emerges in stories ultra-Orthodox sources tell about instances where the Shomrim have allegedly discouraged victims of violence or abuse at the hands of fellow Jews from reporting those crimes directly to the police, or even urged Jewish business and homeowners to withhold security footage that might implicate a Jew in a crime.

Indeed, in the wake of Leiby Kletzky’s murder a Jewish organization was given a million-dollar government grant arranged by state legislators to operate a network of security cameras on city lampposts in the ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods of Borough Park and Midwood. The organization hired a private firm to operate the network and made the decision, together with Assemblyman Dov Hikind, as to where to install the cameras. Initial reports indicating that the NYPD would have access to the footage only after making a request to the private firm caused a firestorm of protest from civil libertarians and those alarmed by government funding of private security initiatives. Ultimately, when the program was unveiled, the company’s founder said that “the local Shomrim patrol organization would have no access to the cameras but that in any event of an ongoing crime, local law enforcement authorities will be given on-time access to a live feed of the cameras.”

There are also allegations circulating on blogs and in chatrooms about Shomrim members and leaders who abuse their power within these communities, taking protection money from business and using their ties to the cops to get their rivals picked up on bogus charges.

Shomrim leaders have repeatedly denied these kinds of allegations and because the people who recount such stories refuse to be publicly identified, citing fears of reprisal, their claims are impossible to fully investigate and verify.

The cops, too, are well aware of the power the Shomrim yield—power that’s also expressed in the cash the groups receive from city politicians—but, like the members of the religious community, are also reluctant to express their frustrations publicly.

A rare exception was when then-Police Commissioner Ray Kelly acknowledged at a press conference that the delay in notifying the police about Leiby Kletzky was a “longstanding issue with Shomrim” and that traditionally, “certain members of the community have confidence in Shomrim and go to them first.” But Kelly also added that the delay had apparently not hampered the investigation and praised the Shomrim as “a positive force.”

One possible reason cops might not want to publicly criticize the Shomrim is the fact, some say, that over the years the bigwigs in the ultra-Orthodox community have been helpful to them, particularly in aiding friendly officers secure discretionary promotions.

Veteran cops reporter Leonard Levitt last month offered this short, sharp item:

“Ethics Training? Following the transfers of four of the department’s top brass, Bratton announced the department was conducting ethics training for its top officers. Maybe they should start with a warning about the dangers of getting too close to the powerful and insular Hasidic community. Instructors might include Chief Joe Fox, former Chief of Department Joe Esposito and retired Chief Mike Scagnelli.”

That comports with the speculation of one retired NYPD official: “the simple way to connect dots is that guys like [former Chief of Department] Joe Esposito and [former NYPD Traffic Chief] Mike Scagnelli were, at one time, commanders in the 66th precinct. With such longstanding roots in the community, these uniformed guys and the machers stayed close as they rose up the ranks. With [Esposito] as the longest serving chief of the department, the [Hasidim] were in a wonderful position for over 12 years to exercise immense influence over many promotions.”

The former official continued, “(Chief of Transit) Joe Fox himself was a remarkable beneficiary of these discretionary promotions. Everyone loved Fox, and he was the longest serving Borough Commander of Brooklyn South by far. In the 1990s, he achieved three discretionary promotions in 3 years… all while the commander of the 71st precinct [which includes Crown Heights]. From captain to chief in three years, it doesn’t get any better than that.”

***

TO READ THE REMAINDER OF THE ARTICLE CLICK HERE.

If There’s a Shomrim, There Should Be a Muslim Community Patrol, When Does the Nation Within Nation End?

Gated City Upon a Hill

In New York City you will find about a quarter-million African-born immigrants, most of whom trace their origins to Ghana. Though they are far from birth home, many still consider themselves part of Ghana’s Ashanti ethnic group and are card-carrying members of the Asanteman Association of the USA. The motto of which, Kum Apem a, Apem Beba, or “Kill a thousand, and a thousand more will come,” might suggest we pause for reflection.

The group swears allegiance to their traditional king in Ghana and elect a local chief, who carries the title of “Asantefuohene.” New York’s newest Ashanti chief, formally addressed as Nana Okokyeredom Owoahene Acheampong Tieku, otherwise known as Michael, works in the Bronx as an accountant. One wonders what happens when these Ghanaians become citizens and, theoretically anyway, are compelled by oath to “renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty.”

But don’t wonder too hard, because there is plenty more to ponder. There’s more cooking in New York.

“Looking for Equal Respect”
Appearing with insignia nearly identical to that of New York City police patrol cars, the Muslim Community Patrol & Services (MCPS) have taken to the streets in Staten Island and Brooklyn. We have been assured by MCPS Vice President Noor Rabah, however, their intention is not at all to police dress, behavior, and speech in Muslim enclaves in order to make sure that they conform with the tenets of Islam.

No, they insist this is something like the Jewish community patrol group, Shomrim, implemented by Jews to protect themselves against, among other things, attacks motivated by anti-Semitism in New York. For example, an Orthodox Jew was recently beaten in Borough Park by a man shouting, “Allah, Allah,” and “Kill all Jews.”

How MCPS might differ from Shomrim, or even the Brooklyn Asian Safety Patrol, becomes evident upon examining the origins and patterns of behavior of similar Muslim community patrols in GermanyGreat Britain and Austria.

Muslim “community patrols” were formed in Europe under all too familiar appeals to civil and equal rights; and, not long after their establishment, took to terrorizing the infidel. In Germany, “These people’s intention is to provoke and intimidate and force their ideology [upon others],” said Peter Jung, mayor of the city of Wuppertal.

In Vienna, Muslim community patrols were behind a series of brutal attacks, including one in which a teenage Polish girl received 22 blows to the head and face. In a video of the attack, she can be seen spitting out blood.

We would be prudent approach the idea of any sort of special  Muslim community patrols from a point of view of extreme caution and, even, prejudice. Why would we need such a thing in America?

Understandably, the NYPD has some concerns about the MCPS. Department spokeswoman Sgt. Jessica McRorie insisted the NYPD had not outfitted or labeled the group’s cars, adding that the “group is not officially sanctioned by the NYPD and they are subject to the law.” But Rabah issued a valid point in response.

“We’re not looking for someone to ‘outfit’ our car,” said Rabah. “We’re looking for equal respect.”

Presumably, Rabah meant equal respect in regard to the tolerance enjoyed by similar ethnically themed community patrols. Or did he? Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, pointedly said that McRorie’s remark “deserves further clarification by the NYPD.”

NYPD might carry the nightsticks, but if Laura Loomer’s literal deplatforming for criticizing the MCPS program illustrates anything, it’s the existence of formal and informal apparatuses of power in the United States.

Our Assimilation Problem
Still, there is uncomfortable truth in Rabah’s point. If we allow one ethnic group to form a security force to patrol their ethnic enclave, how can we deny the right to others? That would mean exercising prejudice, with prudence, but prejudice nonetheless in a society that cannot so much as stomach a little bit of it in this “nation of immigrants.”

To read the remainder of the article click here.

 

Orthodox Jews Should Be Speaking Out Against the Shomrim Patrol – Another Argument for Dismantling Shomrim

It’s Time Orthodox Jews Speak Out Against Shomrim Patrol

The Brooklyn Hasidim accused of beating a young, gay black man named Taj Patterson back in 2013 are reportedly about to get a plea deal so sweet, they won’t serve a single day in prison. Patterson, who was beaten so badly that he was left blind in one eye, and who had homophobic slurs hurled at him throughout the ordeal, is surely having a hard time understanding the aftermath.

Why did local police quickly drop the investigation into his attack, despite available eyewitnesses, until his mother’s persistence shamed them into action? Why didn’t the membership of several of the alleged attackers in a Hasidic security patrol prompt the cops to widen their search to probe the discriminatory history of the Shomrim, as the patrol is called — instead of writing “CLOSED” over the case within 24 hours of the first report and listing the charge as a misdemeanor, not a hate crime? And why are the three alleged assailants who still await trial (two have already walked) apparently going to get off so easy, instead of facing prison terms?

Prosecutors haven’t told reporters why Patterson’s brutal beating isn’t worth jail time. Maybe, as anonymous sources told The Daily News, witnesses who originally implicated the defendants are suddenly getting cold feet. But in that case, Patterson must be wondering why the Brooklyn district attorney can’t charge someone among the insular, “informer”-blaming Williamsburg Hasidim with intimidating those witnesses, instead of folding his cards and letting the alleged attackers walk free.

But Orthodox Jews like me — we know why, don’t we?

For too long we’ve allowed a system of Jewish-run patrols to dominate the heavily Orthodox Jewish enclaves of Brooklyn, usurping the role of the official police force (with key support from vote-hungry politicians), despite their record of violence toward non-Jews. And for years we’ve held our tongues as the patrols’ unchecked behavior carried on.

 

The cover-up of the assault on Patterson isn’t the first such outrage in Brooklyn. When Orthodox patrol members in Crown Heights allegedly beat and maced Andrew Charles, another young black man, back in 2008, the key suspect was ignored by Brooklyn authorities after he fled to Israel. Prosecutors eventually did get him extradited, but while they were trying, the alleged attacker still got vigorous support from a group of “top rabbis, community heads, and [Orthodox] Assemblyman Dov Hikind,” as the Daily News reported in November 2011. Those heavy hitters even had the chutzpah to accuse the Brooklyn DA of anti-Semitism!

Read more: https://forward.com/opinion/341076/its-time-orthodox-jews-speak-out-against-shomrim-patrol/

Victims of Credit Card Swipe for Points Scams – People Should be Diminished to Bankruptcy – Someone Should be Accountable!

To our Readers:

$50M has been lost to credit card scams with promises of bonuses and benefits in exchange for points.

These are SCAMS!

Your own people are defrauding you, whether by promising to deliver goods, by borrowing your money, by swiping cards for items you did not get, by promising returns on money.

You were promised something in exchange for something else and there may be contractual and fraud arguments to be made.  

You MUST speak up against the members of your own community who are committing these frauds so that they can be stopped. $50M is a huge number.

Bankruptcy is an option but recovery takes years. Speak to an attorney. File complaints with law enforcement agencies.  FIGHT BACK!!!

Zev Brenner Talks Credit Card Swipe for Points, with Daniel Eleff of Dan’s Deals, and Binyomin Lifshitz of CrownHeights.info

http://crownheights.info/jewish-news/634635/zev-brenner-talks-credit-card-swipe-for-points-with-daniel-eleff-of-dans-deals-and-binyomin-lifshitz-of-crownheights-info/

Zev Brenner hosted a round table discussion on the Zev Brenner show, and discussed the recent revelation of a Crown Heights Credit Card scam that encompassed nearly four million dollars.

The discussion focused on the prevalence of the scam, and how it can be found in nearly every Orthodox Jewish neighborhood.

With over $50 Million invested in these shady practices, they are beginning to come apart, leaving the sometimes ignorant credit card holders holding enormous debt.

Jacob Daskal and His Controlling “Enforcement Role” in Brooklyn: Shomrim, Shmira – What’s in a Name?

Shmiraofboro

daskalmobile

JUST ANOTHER REASON TO RETIRE THE NON-POLICE, POLICE ORGANIZATIONS! AN INTENTIONAL MISNOMER…

Dear Reader:

We cannot overstate enough that we believe it is time to retire, to sunset, to say Kaddish over the Shomrim of Brooklyn. 

The genesis of Shomrim was the brotherhood of Jewish officers who were or are actually police officers. 

But all of the other companies masquerading as Shomrim Police Officers are not actually police officers, they are a neighborhood watch with a misleading name.

It might be time to disband the “ganza michpacha” the “whole family” and rebuild.

Perhaps the brotherhood of Jewish Police Officers should refer to themselves as “Achim” (brothers) and get the word Shomrim out of Brooklyn’s law enforcement parlance.

The Shomrim, who are connected and not connected to law enforcement are less about brotherhoods and protecting and more about…. well, if Yanky Daskal is any example, bullying. 

But if publicly available corporate records have anything to say about reality, Yanky Daskal (Jacob Daskal) is also Principal for the Shmira Civilian Volunteer Patrol of Boro, located in Brooklyn. It appears not to be a company, not to be a corporate entity; but it has an address and money. 

But, all of this appears to be interconnected to the private funds of Jacob Daskal, the private relationships of Daskal and his deep seated political clout.

Shomrim and Shmira, Shmira and Shomrim, what’s what? 

$700,000 Fundraiser is Underway for Rabbi Eisemann Who Laundered Money! US Law Enforcement Check the Numbers?

Osher Eisemann

$700,000 Fundraiser For Rabbi Who Laundered Money – Where is the Justice and Where is Law Enforcement to Investigate the Sources and the Beneficiaries of this Money?

Rabbi Eisemann was found guilty on two of the charges filed against him. He was using money for a school he founded for the wrong purposes, commingling funds between personal and business. 

And yet, hailed the hero. There is a 72-hour, $700,000.00 fundraiser being advertised on Yeshiva World News. 

 

Rabbi who ran school for children with disabilities found guilty of laundering money, but jury acquits on other charges

 

A New Jersey rabbi who ran a private Lakewood school for children with developmental disabilities was found guilty Wednesday of using $200,000 in school funds in a money laundering scheme.

Osher Eisemann, 61, the founder and director of the School for Children with Hidden Intelligence, was found guilty of second-degree charges of money laundering and misconduct by a corporate official following a four-week trial, according to a release from the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office.

A jury acquitted Eisemann of charges of first-degree corruption of public resources, second-degree theft by unlawful taking, and second-degree misapplication of entrusted property, officials said.

The private school’s fundraising foundation, Services for Hidden Intelligence, LLC, was also acquitted of all charges against it, authorities said.

Eisemann was indicted in 2017 on theft, money laundering, corporate misconduct and misuse of government funds charges.

To read the remainder of the article click here.

Ultra-Orthodox Defacing Mayoral Candidate Rachel Azaria Posters, Israel – “I Dream”

Ultra-Orthodox protesters vandalize an election poster of Jerusalem mayor candidate MK Rachel Azaria in Jerusalem's Mea Shearim neighborhood on July 26, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Ultra-Orthodox protesters vandalize an election poster of Jerusalem mayor candidate MK Rachel Azaria in Jerusalem’s Mea Shearim neighborhood on July 26, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Feminist campaign hits Jerusalem buses to compensate for defaced mayoral posters

 

A would-be mayor of Jerusalem, who saw her campaign posters defaced by ultra-Orthodox vandals, has hit back by launching a women’s rights campaign on buses which began Sunday in the capital.

The drive, which will run for two weeks, was agreed on as a form of compensation by Cnaan Media for the disrupted election campaign of Kulanu party MK Rachel Azaria, who had run for mayor but ultimately pulled out of the race before the October elections.

Posters will be displayed on 50 buses across the capital for a period of two weeks, Azaria tweeted Saturday. The posters under the title “I have a dream” will envision a society in which women are not discriminated against on various issues.

Other posters will declare “I have a dream that a woman’s wage will match that of a man’s” with a photo of former education minister Limor Livnat and “I have a dream that every woman will feel safe in the public space” with a photo of Nili Phillip who led a campaign against ultra-Orthodox signs in Beit Shemesh that called for women to dress modestly and not walk on some parts of the streets.

The posters will also highlight issues of sexual violence and women’s rights in the workplace.

“I am happy about the mutual agreements and values ​​that Cnaan and I have reached, and about embarking on a joint campaign in honor of International Women’s Day, a campaign that calls for making the dream a reality,” Azaria said in a statement reported by Channel 12.

International Women’s Day this year falls on Friday, March 8.

To read the remainder of the Article in the Times Of Israel click here.

Measles Traced to One Williamsburg, New York Yeshiva – WNYC News

A health care worker prepares syringes, including a vaccine for measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR), for a child's inoculations at the International Community Health Services Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019
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New York City’s health department has tracked 21 newly identified measles cases back to one yeshiva in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, officials said Thursday.

Those cases, plus an additional five this week, bring the number of people sickened during the outbreak up to 121 cases since October, the city’s largest outbreak of the highly contagious virus in nearly 30 years, officials said.

No one has died during the current outbreak. Eight children have been hospitalized, and one child who has since recovered was in the intensive care unit, according to the health department.

Since mid-December, when the health department issued an order requiring all children within certain Williamsburg and Borough Park zip codes to stay home from school if they weren’t vaccinated for measles, three schools have been found in violation, according to the health department.

In the case of one school, Yeshiva Kehilath Yakov on Wilson Street, a child without vaccines who had the measles but wasn’t symptomatic and attended school in mid-January, spreading the virus to others. The school couldn’t be reached for comment right away. As of last school year, 92.7 percent of children were immunized for measles, according to the most recent data from the state health department.

To read the article in its entirety click here.

Jacob Daskal – The Satmar Owned … Time to Sunset the Shomrim

Daskals minions

It’s time to sunset the scandal-ridden Shomrim

Does New York City — with its once-unimaginable record-low crime rates — still need private (but city-funded) citizen-patrol groups?

The question became more pressing with the arrest Thursday of Jacob Daskal, politically wired president and co-founder of the Boro Park Shomrim, on charges he repeatedly raped a 15-year-old girl over a period of months in his home.

It’s not the Brooklyn group’s first brush with the law, either.

Last year, Shomrim official Alex “Shaya” Lichtenstein was sentenced to 32 months in prison for bribing cops on a regular basis to get hard-to-obtain full-carry handgun permits for paying clients, including some with criminal records.

The group itself has been accused of violently beating suspects it apprehends. And Daskal reportedly was able to arrange for Orthodox Jews arrested for minor crimes to avoid being booked through the system.

Shomrim faced a round of criticism — including from then-Police Commissioner Ray Kelly — in 2011 when it waited three hours before notifying the NYPD of the disappearance of 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky, who was later found murdered.

Yes, it can be useful for police to establish a rapport with local residents, especially in a community as insular as Borough Park. And a citizen patrol can be an asset in discouraging graffiti and vandalism.

But the Boro Park Shomrim were born during the out-of-control crime wave of the pre-Giuliani era. And those days thankfully are long over.

To read the remainder of the article click here.

The Satmar Ruled Brooklyn Part V – From a 2016 Article, The Shomrim and their Unbridled Power

Shomrim.1

Time to Bridle the Shomrim’s Ability to Behave with Impunity – Sunset

To our Readers: We have taken the blow from a 2016 post on another blog “Haemtza”. There is nothing in our use of the below post that should indicate that the blogger who wrote the piece endorses our site. Please click to the original to read it in its original format.

We believe the piece has value, even more today than on the date it was written because, amongst other things, it predates the arrest of Yanky (Jacob Daskal) on sexual assault charges, which we believe was an arrest that characterizes the impunity with which the Shomrim behave.

We feel that today, more than in 2016 when this piece was written, there is reason to be concerned by the unbridled power of the Shomrim.

We feel that the Shomrim is a dangerous enterprise, not governed by the same rules, guidelines and hierarchies that govern law enforcement proper; and for that reason, if no other, it represents lawless vigilantism.

We believe that it is time to dismantle New York’s Shomrim forces for “Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely” Lord Acton, and the Shomrim have outgrown the ability of any other police force to properly enforce its activity. It is a form of government sanctioned control over a community and control over others from within that community and is dangerous. It will only become more dangerous if not reined in now.

Emes Ve-Emunah

A Forum for Orthodox Jewish thought on Halacha, Hashkafa, and the social issues of our time.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Shomrim – the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

There is much that is good about the Chasidic world. It is a brotherhood like no other. It is that sense of brotherhood that in my view was the impetus for forming the Shomrim Society back 1977. Shomrim are a group of usually Chasidic Jews that are volunteer neighborhood watchmen. Kind of like Curtis Slewa’s Guardian Angels. They patrol Jewish neighborhoods in order to provide protection against things like vandalism, muggings, assault and domestic violence.

The Shomrim Society has spread beyond its original borders of Williamsburg, Crown Heights, Boro Park, and Flatbush . There are now branches in cities like Baltimore, Miami, Lakewood, and London.

The fact is that a lot of Jewish residents in those areas are happy that they exist. They seem to have political support and some (if not universal) police support – who are happy to have some of their burden relieved by them. Shomrim even has some government funding. They not only add an extra layer of protection to those Jewish neighborhoods, they are often seen by Jewish residents as a first line of defense against crime. Their response time is generally a lot quicker than the police.

There is not a doubt in my mind that there has been more than one occasion where an elderly victim was spared a mugging or an assault because of their quick response. And not all of the people they help are Orthodox Jews. According to a 2014 story in the Hackney Gazette:

…around 70% of the victims (in London) they help are not from the Orthodox Jewish community, usually just local residents from any race or religion.

Although I tend to doubt whether that 70% figure is anywhere near in a Chasidic enclaves like Williamsburg, I do believe that if a caller in distress is not Jewish, they will respond to them just the same.

But that is not the end of the story. I have had my issues with these self appointed watch groups. While there may be a benefit to having that kind of protection by one’s own people, there is a definite downside that makes me question their ultimate value.

The truth is I never liked the idea of volunteer neighborhood watch groups. My feeling has always been that despite the fact that theywere created to protect their communities, many of them were basically police ‘wannabes’ looking for adventure but untrained to do police work.

True, they do not carry weapons (thank God). But a lot of damage can be done with a fist. Or a foot. Or a stick. In their zeal to protect the innocent, they will sometimes go overboard. And in some cases hurt innocent people – mistaking them for a perpetrator. Now this can happen to police too. We all know what has been happening on this front these days. Ask the families of mostly black victims unjustly killed or beaten by the police in cities all over this country.

The difference is that the police are trained to know when and how to react – and how much force to use. So that hopefully – as bad as the recent cases of police brutality have been – they are a very small minority of the police department. As a percentage of the whole, the numbers are probably miniscule. There are bad apples in every group. But Shomrim have no such training. Certainly not on the level of the police department.

 

So, although I am happy that many people have been spared great tragedy as a result of quick response by Shomrim – preventing for example violence against an elderly Jew –  it comes at a terrible price. A price that can best be described in a Forward article by attorney, Michael Lesher. If it were up to him, he would abolish these groups entirely. And with good reason:

The Brooklyn Hasidim accused of beating a young, gay black man named Taj Patterson back in 2013 are reportedly about to get a plea deal so sweet, they won’t serve a single day in prison. Patterson, who was beaten so badly that he was left blind in one eye, and who had homophobic slurs hurled at him throughout the ordeal, is surely having a hard time understanding the aftermath.

I don’t know the details of this case. But it surely smacks of something way beyond protecting fellow Jews. I don’t think that beating and blinding a suspect while hurling homophobic insults at them is what protecting fellow Jews is all about. And this is not the first nor only case where excessive force was used. More from Mr. Lesher:

For too long we’ve allowed a system of Jewish-run patrols to dominate the heavily Orthodox Jewish enclaves of Brooklyn, usurping the role of the official police force (with key support from vote-hungry politicians), despite their record of violence toward non-Jews. And for years we’ve held our tongues as the patrols’ unchecked behavior carried on… When retired police captain William Plackenmeyer told Newsday in 2003, “In Brooklyn, it almost seemed like there were two penal codes, one for the Hasidic community and one for everyone else…”

When Michael wrote an article in the New York Post exposing some uncomfortable truths about Shomrim this was in part the response he got:

To continue reading click here.

Leviev, Gutnick, Chabad Donors; The Good and the Bad of Chabad’s Non-Discerning Donor Pool…

Ronald Perelman, Lev Leviev and Tevfik Arif Among Wealthy Donors to the Chabad Movement

(Newswire.net — March 1, 2019) — Chabad-Lubavitch, also known simply as Chabad, is one of the most well-known and fastest growing Hasidic movements and the closest approximation to evangelism in Judaism. Their primary mission is to promote and revive the Jewish faith, while supporting Jewish communities around the globe. Their most visible presence are Chabad houses that can be found in cities of all sizes around the world.

What is Chabad?

Chabad local organizations provide for Jewish communities through outreach activities serving the needs of the community and advancing the renewal of the Jewish faith. Chabad centers often provide religious services, child care, education and organized activities for all ages.

While Chabad is an Orthodox Hasidic movement its practice blends traditional values with modern day techniques. Chabad advocate a policy of openness, accepting Jews from all levels of religious commitment and practice. They promote cooperation and non-judgment, while maintaining a positive outlook on life and helping those in need. Chabad supports the integration of the Jewish faith in all aspects of life, family and community.

Philanthropy and service are part of the Chabad movement’s commitment to the Jewish Community. They pride themselves on providing a home away from home for Jews anywhere in the world. The doors of Chabad Houses are open and accepting to every single Jew regardless of affiliation, background or religious commitment.

Today there are over 4,000 official Chabad emissary families operating 3,500 institutions in 81 countries with additional affiliated activities occurring in many more. The Chabad network also includes a group of rabbis and Jewish educators prominently featured on college campuses worldwide.

The Wealthy Donors of Chabad

Chabad relies heavily on donors to effectively carry out their activities. The organization has become an attractive pursuit to donors big and small. Most of the donations made to Chabad Houses and institutions across the world are made in small sums by private individuals, but there are an increasing number of notorious high-profile donors who give large donations to the movement.

Many of the world’s most successful businessmen and industry leaders have identified ties to the Chabad organization. Chabad has attracted top Israeli business leaders including Nochi Dankner, Israel’s richest woman Shari Arison through the Ted Arison Foundation, and venture capitalist Shlomo Kalish. Lev Leviev known as the “King of Diamonds” has been a major patron to the Chabad movement in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

Chabad is hugely popular In Russia and across Eastern Europe. One of the most sacred sites of the movement, the graves of spiritual leaders Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson and Shmuel Schneersohn, is in Lyubavichi, Russia. Chabad Rabbi Berel Lazar has been recognized by the Russian government as the Chief Rabbi of Russia.

Many former Soviet oligarchs, some who have been drawn back to Judaism through Chabad, have become supporters and donors including Mikhail Mirilashvili of Georgia, Ukrainian billionaire Gennadiy Bogolyubov, Alexander Granovsky from Ukraine and Alexander Mashkevich. Although he is not Jewish, Tevfik Arif, a Kazak-Turkish real estate investor and partner in Doyen Group, has become one of the largest single donors to the Chabad Center of Port Washington in Long Island, the community where he owns a residence. 

The religious movement has also found supporters among the most successful American business leaders. Ronald Perelman, American billionaire and philanthropist of Revlon fame, has become a close friend and follower of Rabbi Avrohom Shemtov, the director of the Philadelphia Lubavitcher Center. Perelman has made numerous donations to Chabad and has a building dedicated in his name at the University of Pennsylvania, the Ronald O. Perelman Center for Jewish Life-Lubavitch House. Other prominent American Chabad donors include: American investor and billionaire Michael Steinhardt, heir to Estee Lauder Companies Ronald Lauder and Shaya Boymelgreen.

Globally, Australian tycoon Joseph Gutnick, South African billionaire Nathan Kirsh, and Eduardo Elsztain, Argentina’s largest real-estate developer, are all well-known supporters of Chabad.

To continue reading the article click here.

Quebec, Canada and the Battle with Government over Education and Obligations to Children

Yohanan Lowen, right, and his wife, Shifra, are taking the Quebec government to court. They are seen here outside their Montreal apartment in 2017. (Benjamin Shingler/CBC)

Ex-Hasidic couple’s battle with Quebec government over education to go to trial

Yohanen and Shifra Lowen, former Hasidic Jews who claim the Quebec government didn’t do enough to ensure they received a proper education, will finally get their day in court — a year from now.

A trial pitting the Lowens against the province has been set for Feb. 10, 2020 in Quebec Superior Court, five years after they first filed a lawsuit against the province.

Their lawyer, Clara Poissant-Lespérance, said its outcome will be pivotal in determining the government’s obligations towards children educated in religious communities.

“The trial will give an answer to those very important questions about if the government did enough to make sure children receive a proper education,” she said.

The Lowens are seeking a declaratory judgment which, if they win, would force the province to take steps to ensure children in religious communities are taught the provincial curriculum.

Named in the lawsuit are the provincial government and Hasidic schools in their home community of Tash, a secluded ultra-orthodox Hasidic community in Boisbriand, Que., about 30 kilometres from Montreal.

Representatives from the local school board, the province and youth protection services will be called to testify.

 

Yohanen Lowen alleges that, when he finished school at 18, he could barely add or subtract, couldn’t read and write in English or in French, and was left unequipped to find work.

He broke ties with his home community a decade ago and now lives in Montreal with his wife and four children. He is unemployed and is still working toward his high school diploma.

To continue reading click here.

The Shomrim Society Scholarship Fund Inc. – A Not-for-Profit “Government Associated Entity” – Scholarships? Part I

136163526_201612_990_Page_13

 

A Shomrim Scholarship Fund That Doesn’t Seem to Offer Scholarships

The notion of “scholarships implies that there is money being granted to help students or young people study, become scholars. Perhaps the notion of “scholarship” in this context is for Yeshivas or other schools. Perhaps it is intended that the beneficiaries will attend a college. Perhaps it is intended that the beneficiaries will have a better opportunity afforded to them to become productive members of society.  But a Scholarship Fund that does not seem to offer scholarships raises questions. And we can’t seem to add up the numbers nor can we find that this organization really does offer scholarships.

We question the validity of this organization which bills itself as having a governmental affiliation. If there is a governmental affiliation, we question the plausibility of that notion and how that ties into scholarships. We question the use of monies of a not-for-profit/tax exempt entity referring to itself as a scholarship fund for anything but scholarship. Follow the trail of breadcrumbs below.

In 2016, the last year for which the Shomrim Society Scholarship Fund Inc. has an available publicly filed tax return (990), there were $464,846 in Net assets (page 1) That number was up from the year before which was $459,947 in Net Assets line 22. The difference, or the increase is $4,899.00.

The entity claims $11,000.00 in expenses (See Page 2 Line 4e) (which is listed as scholarships in one place and separate expenses in another) which technically means, the increase in total is $15,899.00.

Under the Checklist of Required Schedules (Page 3) they answer “Yes” to whether or not the entity is a 501(c)(3) or a 4947(a)(1) entity which is then later described in Schedule A. 

Under the Checklist of Required Schedules (Page 3) they answer “Yes” to whether the entity has “other assets in Part X, line 15 that is 5% or more of its total assets reported in Part X, line 16” and if so there should be a Schedule D, Part IX.

On Page 4, line 22 they answer “Yes” to “Did the organization report more than $5,000 of grants or other assistance to or for domestic individuals on Part IX, column (A), line 2” and if so there are schedules to be attached. Presumably, that is part of the $11,000.00 listed earlier.

On line 34 they answer that the organization is related to other tax-exempt organizations (we already know the Shomrim are interconnected entities, so this is no surprise).

Then on line 38 they say that there are other explanations to be added.

Interestingly, and something we do not understand, there is a “funeral liaison” (Page 8). Given that this entity bills itself as offering scholarships, one must ask why there needs to be a funeral liaison. 

Page 9 lists losses, though de minimus in “investment income” and gross amounts of sales from “other assets”. The “other assets” listed are securities in the amount of $75,569 which had an initial basis of $79,998 (thereby indicating a loss of $4,429). But there is also $5,569 in Investment income and total revenue of $1,700.00.

On Page 10 line 2 lists grants of $11,000.00 (as expenses) and then other functional expenses in the amount of $2,192 for a total amount of expenses being $13,192.00

Page 11, otherwise known as Part X (Balance sheet) is where things get interesting. There was a beginning of the year non-interest bearing asset of $213,280.00 with an end of the year at $202,184.00. The difference is -$11,096.00. That is listed on line 1. On line 11, the Sholarship Fund lists publicly traded securities, beginning of the year $245,962.00 and end of the year $157,662.00. One would have expected that the difference would have been the -$75,569.00 number listed on page 9 – losses from securities. But the difference actually comes out to -$88,300.00. It is unclear what happened to $12,731.00 or the difference between what is listed on page 9 as losses and what is listed on Part X as losses from securities.

There is then a number listed as $105,000 as “other assets” line 15 which was not there at the beginning of the tax year. One would think that that number would have added $105,000 to the previous year’s net assets; but that is not done. Somewhere money disappeared and then reappeared in the form of “other assets.”

Line 16 of Page 11 lists Total Assets of $460,047 at the beginning of the year and E/O/Y at $464,846 or a difference (increase) of $4,799.00.  We think that the total liabilities line which is 26 may help to make that number match the difference of $4,899.00 on Page 1 Line 22.

There is a net unrealized gain on investments listed on page 12 of $16,391 (line 5); but there was a loss in the equity position and then this intangible that seems inexplicable.

Schedule A claims that the entity is a line 6 – “federal, state or local government or governmental unit” 170(b)(1)(A)(v). But aren’t the Shomrim separate from our government? Aren’t they private security entities within the communities? And, are their “Scholarship Funds” government scholarship funds?

On Supplemental Schedule I “Grants and Other Assistance to Organizations, Governments and Individuals in the United States” there is nothing listed. So what happened to the $11,000.00 supposedly granted to 5 individuals. Where did that money go? And if not within the United States, why is an entity claiming to be part of our governmental entities giving money to non-US Governments or Individuals?

The Grants to the 5 individuals is, indeed, listed on Page 2 of Schedule I – an award of $11,000.00 presumably pro-rata to 5 recipients. 

Schedule R lists two affiliated entities: 1) Shomrim Society Inc. (Cemetery) – 501(c)(13) and Shomrim Society I (Fraternal) 501(c)(4). Presumably, the money runs by and between these entities which is the extent of their affiliation. 

We outright question the validity of an organization that refers to itself as a scholarship fund but gives no scholarships. It liaises with cemetery organizations but, again is listed as a scholarship fund. To avoid being heartless, we recognize that perhaps this organization helped to fund the burial of 5 individuals, which could very well be. But there again, it refers to itself as a “scholarship” fund. 

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Where are the Democratic Leaders When Democratic Officials Are Speaking Out AGAINST Education Oversight in NY?

[VIDEO – BELOW]

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Wieder

Legislator Aron Wieder, educators speak out against yeshiva oversight

SPRING VALLEY – Educators at a boys yeshiva said Tuesday that the state’s guidelines for a substantially equivalent education would be prohibitive to their students’ studies.

“It infringes on our religious rights,” said Rabbi Moshe Schwab, the principal of Yeshiva Degel HaTorah. “We’re begging the commissioner to reconsider because … it’s going to infringe on the good educational system that we have. We know we have to have equivalency and we think we not only have equivalent, we’re superior.”

His pleas were targeted at a previously ignored 70-year-old law stating private school education needs to be “substantially equivalent” to public school, which gained traction a few years ago when state Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia updated guidelines to enforce it.

YAFFED’S yeshiva oversight suit dismissed; federal court cites lack of ‘standing’

New yeshiva education guidelines aren’t a declaration of war, they’re the law

To read the article in its entirety click here.

Anti-Semitic Attacks in Ultra-Orthodox Neighborhoods in NYC at Alarming Levels, Worthy of Discussion

The Epidemic Of Anti-Jewish Hate Crimes In Brooklyn Is No Hoax

From the Federalist, please see the article in its entirety, here.

The Epidemic Of Anti-Jewish Hate Crimes In Brooklyn Is No Hoax

 

While the nation was focused on a hoaxed hate crime, Brooklyn’s Jews have been repeatedly and actually attacked. Are we not discussing it because most of the perpetrators are black?

As much of the country was transfixed by a hoaxed hate crime in Chicago over the past month, a very real wave of hate crimes in Brooklyn has been taking place. In New York City overall there have been 36 hate crimes against Jews so far this year, according to The New York Times, compared to only 21 last year. In the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn alone, ultra-orthodox Jews have been violently attacked at least 15 times since October of last year.

In most of these cases there is no apparent motive beyond anti-Semitism. No robbery occurs, and often the attackers — generally black men — and their victims are complete strangers. State and local government, as well as the New York City Police Department, have stepped up measures to protect the community, but the incidents have continued apace.

The spate of anti-Semitic attacks raises some significant questions. First and foremost, why is this happening and how can it be stopped? But also, why have the news media and the nation’s politicians been so quiet about an epidemic of hate crime in our country’s largest city? Why isn’t this a big story?

To get at an answer to the first question, we have to peer back through some troubling Brooklyn history. In 1991, the Crown Heights riots exploded in the Brooklyn neighborhood shared mainly by black and ultra-orthodox New Yorkers. Tensions between the two groups had existed for years. Then, a Jewish driver killed a black child. The crash was clearly shown to be an accident, not intentional or negligent, but deadly violence was the result nonetheless. In the years since, tensions have calmed, but never truly disappeared.

The roots of the disputes are murky. The ultra-orthodox are a strange set of neighbors in New York City. It is an insular community, in which a strict form of Jewish law, including dress codes and famously hats, is enforced. Anyone who attempts to leave the community, or live outside of its silo, is cut off from friends and family.

This is not the kind of attitude one typically looks for in neighbors. Its one thing for the Amish to promulgate this kind of lifestyle in rural Pennsylvania, but the ultra-orthodox are smack in the middle of the most populous borough of New York City. Existing in such an exclusive way in that environment is sure to cause tension, but just as surely is not grounds to be physically attacked.

For its part, the black community in New York City has struggled with accusations of anti-Semitism dating back at least to the riots. Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam has a foothold in the community, and with that comes some pretty awful messages about Jews. Even non-adherents to the Nation of Islam in the black community have a complicated relationship to Farrakhan and his message.

Recently Women’s March leader Tamika Mallory put this in some perspective when she refused to denounce Farrakhan’s anti-Semitism, citing the good works he has done in black communities. To a lot of Jews, this is like saying you won’t denounce the Klan’s racism because they do a Christmas toy drive. Jewish organizations have attempted to do outreach into the black community, but frankly, the black community has its own work to do, especially in terms of condemning anti-Semites like Farrakhan.

The question of why this onslaught of anti Jewish violence is happening so quietly is not as important as stopping the violence, but it’s still important. Any fair-minded observer would agree that if 15 black people had been victims of racially motivated beatings in relatively white Bensonhurst since October, it would be a big national story. In fact, just one such alleged incident in Chicago got more coverage on its own than the attacks in Brooklyn have.

To some degree this is explained by the fact that the ultra-orthodox keep their own counsel, and do not engage in a lot of public relations outreach. But it’s more than that. It is very clear that news outlets are much more comfortable not only reporting, but also extrapolating on white violence against blacks than they are black violence against Jews.

If you have not clicked to the original source, please read the article in its entirety, here.

A Platinum 1 Billion Dollar Fraud – Black Elk – Platinum’s Partners and Mark Nordlicht

Dratch, Mark - large_medium
Mark Dratch, why are you not protecting those most vulnerable?

NASDAQ Reporting – A Platinum Fraud, Black Elk and Going Back to 2016… $1 Billion and Counting

NEW YORK, Feb 26 (Reuters) – Former Platinum Partners chief Mark Nordlicht and other executives of the now-defunct hedge fund group are due to go to trial on Tuesday on charges they defrauded investors out of $1 billion.

Opening statements are expected to begin in the morning before U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan in federal court in Brooklyn.

Prosecutors charged the defendants in December 2016 with orchestrating two fraudulent schemes involving Platinum, which struggled to attract large institutional clients despite years of golden returns from niche and unsavory investments.

In one scheme, Platinum was accused of overvaluing its often-illiquid assets to collect higher fees, and falsely reporting annualized returns topping 17 percent.

Authorities said Platinum operated “like a Ponzi scheme” by using new money to fund redemptions by earlier investors, which were referred to internally as “Hail Mary time.”

The second alleged scheme centered on Black Elk, a Platinum-controlled oil exploration company. Prosecutors said the defendants defrauded Black Elk’s bondholders out of $50 million by diverting the proceeds of asset sales to Platinum ahead of Black Elk’s 2015 bankruptcy.

Reuters described Platinum’s use of related parties in its Black Elk bond vote in an April 2016 Special Report:

To read the article in its entirety click here.

The Measles Problem Continues – Travelers to Israel Urged to Vaccinate

NYC Health Department urges Orthodox travelers to Israel to vaccinate for measles

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is urging all Orthodox Jews who plan to make a trip to Israel to vaccinate their children against the measles virus.

An outbreak of measles believed to be caused by an unvaccinated child who contracted the disease in Israel led to 90 confirmed cases in Brooklyn, N.Y., between October and February 2019, a high number attributed to low vaccination rates in the ultra-Orthodox community.

The neighborhoods primarily affected were Borough Park and Williamsburg, which had 40 cases each.

 

Israel’s measles outbreak led to the death of two people, including an 18 month-old infant in 2018.

To read the article in its original format click here.

Sungames up in Flames but People are Still Falling Prey to Credit Card Points Schemes

From DansDeals

The Dark Side Of Earning Credit Card Points; PSA: Don’t Swipe For Others!

By Dan – February 24, 2019 6:38 pm227

Everyone loves earning points and miles, and they should. It’s allowed me and many others to travel the world in first class and stay in five star resorts for free. The memories created from those trips as well as once in a lifetime moments like throwing out the first pitch of game 7 at the World Series in my hometown are truly priceless.

But depending how you earn those points, some people end up paying a very high price.

5 years ago I wrote about a couple of scams that were being discussed on DDF. I was sent threats for writing about it, but something had to be done before others fell for scams like Sungames that promised impossible returns from a flimsy business plan and credit card farms that paid a lump sum for all of your personal information and the right to open credit cards in your name.

I followed up on them 2 years ago after Sungames went up in flames, but sadly people kept on getting financially ruined by credit card farms after handing over the keys to all of their personal information. Once again I reminded readers that the promise of a financial windfall is never worth the potential damage that can be caused by someone else with all of your personal information.

The latest scheme that people are falling for is allowing others to charge your card and getting paid back after a few weeks in order to earn miles. DDF moderator Chaikel first wrote about this years ago, but over the past few months there have been multiple cases involving tens of millions of dollars each of money that has been stolen.

To read the remainder of the article click here.

Is Rise Up Ocean County, FB Page Anti-Semitic; and if Not Does Labeling it as Such Condone the Behavior it Criticizes?

The stranger that dwells with you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself… You shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in measure and weights, or in quantity. You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin… (Leviticus 19:34-36)

Dear Readers:

This following is being written in response to the decision to label the “Rise Up Ocean County” Facebook page anti-Semitic. We believe that decision gives credence to the behavior that has led to the creation of that page and diminishes the reality of true hatred for Jews.

https://www.app.com/story/news/politics/ocean-county/2019/02/21/freeholders-oppose-and-condemn-creators-rise-up-ocean-county/2936185002/

We admit that we do not always like what is written on that page. We do see comments by the vast audience that are sometimes unsettling in their rhetoric and the clear dislike if not hatred they impart. But we do not feel the page is anti-Semitic.

We do not view the page’s commentators/administrators as anti-Semites. Rather, we know the difficulty they face crawling woefully unbalanced on the fine line between scrutinizing and condemning, being critical and being angry or expressing resentment versus hatred.

The anger sometimes expressed on that page is not, as we see it, anti-Semitism. It is also not unexpected. One can be angry at members of a group that parades its religion like a badge of honor using it to extol virtue and excuse all manner of behavior, without being anti-Semitic. That was not an anti-Semitic trope.

Mere mortals have an impossible task discerning between the members of that community who are some of the best human beings this world has to offer and the less palatable when both are cloaked in the pageantry of religious zealotry.

And most of us are… mere mortals.

Is it Anti-Semitism or is it Just Plain Criticism?

And if Those Under Scrutiny Wave Their Judaism Like a Red Flag Before a Bull, are the Critical Ones Really Anti-Semites?

Is the Commentary Really Anti-Semitic?

Should the Flag-Bearers Not Be Accountable for the Controversies They Create While Using their Zealous Religious Observance as a Shield?

IT IS NOT ANTI-SEMITISM, IT IS A DEMAND FOR ACCOUNTABILITY DESPITE ALLEGED RELIGIOUS OBSERVANCE NOT BECAUSE OF IT.

Several weeks ago a famed Satmar Rabbi demanded in Jihadi-like fashion that his members disregard the laws of the State of New York with regard to the education of children. He condemned the army service required by the State of Israel and he extolled the virtues of his community. That speech was wholly anti-Gentile. It was, for all intents and purposes a demand for his people to be entirely intolerant of others. He was praising his community for its exclusion and the protections the literal walls of that community seem to offer. He did not acknowledge the criminal behavior of any of its members, nor did he even recognize that there are laws, other than those of his Satmar tenets. His speech reflected shades of Stalin, Napoleon and even the leaders of ISIS, though without the call for martyrdom and the final G-d is Great yelled by his followers.

And when non-Jews look at that speech, the clothing he wears and the vastness of his following, what are they to think when the greater Jewish community is not criticizing him, is not demanding accountability? The greater Jewish community is either complacent or complicit. What comes after that is irrelevant. 

In fact, the Satmar who follow his tenets to the letter do not get condemned because the finances and the voting power of that community are far too vast for anyone to have the audacity to call him out. And, because condemnation is labeled anti-Semitism there is an additional very sticky risk. Rise Up Ocean County’s answer to that is unmitigated gall, not anti-Semitism, even if it is not the perfect answer. 

Consider this:

A family cannot pay for its 7 children but continues to have more children, to abundance, and then demands social services pay for those children because their father is not working; he is studying. Is that family acting responsibly and unselfishly? If you cannot pay for your own children, don’t have any more children. It should not matter if you are Jewish, Muslim, Christian Scientist or whatever.

But if you so choose to have more children and you are thusly criticized or even ostracized, the fault is yours and it is you who should be held accountable. Wearing the garb of a religious Jew should not shield you from criticism.

A school that supposedly educates children who cannot by graduation complete complex math problems or speak a sentence of English is not actually educating its children. It is depriving them of a future, and the rest of society productive members. It should not matter if the school is a Yeshiva, a Church or a family home-schooling its children. A certain set of standards should be met to which all parents are held accountable in a country that calls itself a Democracy, unless that Democracy wants to become a radical indoctrinated theocratic regime. The United States was founded on a principle of separations between church and state for a reason. As such, secular education should come first and religious education second so that each member of society can somehow contribute to that society. The alternative is unsustainable. That is not anti-Semitic, it is a fiscal, social and societal reality.

A religious school that accepts PELL Grants, and other College Grants but does not actually offer a B.A. an Associates or any other degree for that matter is committing fraud. To criticize a Yeshiva and hold its members and financial beneficiaries who are illegally taking grant money intended for a college education, without actually offering that education accountable is not anti-Semitism.  That this is happening with vast incidence within the ultra-Orthodox Yeshiva system is an embarrassment to all Jews. To acknowledge it, to target it and to raise this issue is not anti-Semitism. PELL and other college grant money is designed to allow children who otherwise cannot afford to be educated, opportunities toward a better and more productive future. Those who are doing otherwise with that money are thieves and fraudsters, whether they are Jewish or otherwise. To label someone who brings this to light an anti-Semite is to create true anti-Semitism.

The owners of a private home that is converted into an alleged house of worship for the purposes of avoiding taxes are committing tax fraud. A family that has 15 children and home-schools those children and then calls the location a school is committing tax fraud if the not-for-profit tax system is used as a means to avoid taxes. 

The conversion of private homes into quasi Yeshivas or houses of worship (shtibles) for the purposes of avoiding taxes under the 510(c)(3) not-for-profit/tax exempt status is epidemic in areas of ultra-Orthodox concentration to the the detriment of every other member of the same community. To raise this as an alarming trend is not anti-Semitism. To say that it breeds contempt amongst those members paying their full share of taxes is not anti-Semitism. To say that it is outside of the structure of a law-abiding community is not anti-Semitic. To say that it needs to stop is not calling for the extermination of Jews. It is calling upon members within that community or those in charge of governing the society at large to make changes. 

And when that private home stands next to 5 other similar homes, none of which is actually a legitimate house of worship, such that the rest of the neighborhood’s taxes are increased, one would expect the neighbors paying more money to be resentful. They are being forced to give to a charity they did not choose, Jewish Zealotry. Should we not hold those members of society who are creating this unimaginable inequality as they flaunt their religious belief system to account because they are Jewish? Can anti-Semitism always be the fall-back position?

A family that lives on social welfare and uses the food stamps for items not deemed covered by food stamps or uses the health benefits card to travel to the shopping mall  is committing a fraud. That this is happening with alarming regularity within the ultra-Orthodox community speaks to the skewed moral compass of members within that community not those who raise the issues and condemns them. This is not anti-Semitism, nor should that term be used to shield behavior that is harming everyone. Admittedly, decent members of that same community are being held to account for their brothers and sisters. Are we not our brothers’ keepers?

A school that employs its teachers partially off the books to avoid reaching the maximum earning allowed is evading taxes on every level. When the teachers then do not fully declare their income and furthermore live off welfare and social benefits as if they only earning partial income, they are committing a crime. Not only are they perpetrating a fraud but they are harming every truly needy member of society for whom the benefits are no longer available. That this is a practice institutionalized within the ultra-Orthodox community, encouraged as a growth strategy is a tragedy for every Jew and for society at large. To make that comment is not anti-Semitic it is anti the institutionalization of criminal behavior. If that behavior reflects the mindset of a particular group, then the group should be condemned, regardless of race, religion or political bend. If anti-Semitism is an unintended consequence of that scrutiny it is the responsibility of every Jewish member of society to address the problem or we must accept the outcome.

A community that was once a quiet bedroom community but starts to grow and grow without actual planning for infrastructure and land-use such that people cannot get from one place to another without a car accident stopping traffic on a daily basis, is being wholly irresponsible. That this community is growing exponentially because of the “fruitful multiplication” practices within the ultra-Orthodox mindset is not an “anti-Semitic trope.” It is a reality. The exponential growth is unsustainable and needs to be curbed is not an anti-Semitic statement. 

That irresponsible behavior breeds resentment is the responsibility of the members of the community who act with impunity and disregard for others. Perhaps the  members of that community who support this behavior and their leaders should stop making claims that their behavior is excusable because it is religiously grounded. Perhaps they should be held to the same standards as the rest of society. Perhaps the sense of entitlement needs to be met with resistance. There is no excuse for illegal, fraudulent, exclusionary, entitled or otherwise unacceptable behavior, religious or otherwise. To use religion as a shield is to insult every responsible, law-abiding and considerate Jew however he or she dresses or observes his or her belief system. 

 

 

Philip Esformes – Medicare and Medicaid Fraud – Justice Long Overdue

Former SNF mogul ‘sold his patients like cattle,’ jurors told

TO READ THE ARTICLE IN MCKNIGHT’S LONG-TERM CARE NEWS CLICK HERE.

…….

 

“He was the mastermind, he made this happen,” Young said, according to the Herald. “He was the owner, operator of these facilities. He got the money from Medicare and Medicaid. He was involved in every step of the way.”

“He sold his own patients like cattle for money,” Young added later.

Two other key players in the effort — a former hospital leader and physician’s assistant — pled guilty for their roles last month, and could face years in prison. The trial is expected to last at least two months, with jurors set to hear from former nursing home residents and co-conspirators who are cooperating with the government.

Do Not Educate Our Children, G-d Forbid They Should Actually Be Doctors, Lawyers, Productive Members of Society

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing and outdoor

Protesters: Religious education at yeshivas should remain unchanged


WEST NYACK –Several people from the Orthodox Jewish community in West Nyack protested changes being made to religious education.

Concerned families and school leaders say they don’t want to change how they are educating students at local yeshivas.

“This country was based on freedom of religion and freedom of speech. They’ve had this education for thousands of years. This is why we came out here,” said one protester.

The state Education Department held a training session with all of the school districts in Rockland County at BOCES located on Parrott Road.

School officials say the state spoke about the need to guarantee that private schools are getting substantial equivalency of instruction that are in public schools.

They say it’s to ensure that all students receive the education to which they are entitled.

Clarkstown police say a 36-year-old man from Blooming Grove was arrested during the protest for urinating in public.

 

ADDITIONAL READING:

Another Case of Money Laundering and Fraud – Lakewood, NJ and School For Handicapped Children

Corruption Of Public Resources And Money Laundering By The Founder Of A School For Handicapped Children?

It is not surprising that such corruption exists and that money laundering is prevalent throughout the United States.

However it is amazing that such cases appear with frequency in communities that place great emphasis on religious studies and trying to understand God’s will for their lives.

In these same New Jersey communities we also have had numerous cases of welfare fraud.

For some amazing reason those responsible will not be required to repay 100% of what they stole as recent reports such as this one from the Asbury Park Press indicates ….

https://www.app.com/…/medicaid-fraud-lakewood-n…/1679615002/

Which raises a question as to why the public is expected to pay for that which was stolen from them and is there no longer equal justice for all and special justice for none?

The defense in this latest trial has now started. We await with interest to hear the case presented by the defense.

The Measles and Other Vaccines – Parent Choice or Public Safety?

 

To continue reading click here.

Elliot Broidy a Donald Trump Fundraiser, A Broad Search Warrant and Foreign Officials

Federal Authorities Raided Trump Fundraiser’s Office in Money Laundering Probe

 

Federal authorities raided the office of Republican fundraiser Elliott Broidy last summer, seeking records related to his dealings with foreign officials and Trump administration associates, according to a sealed search warrant obtained by ProPublica.

Agents were authorized to use the megadonor’s hands and face to unlock any phones that required fingerprint or facial scans.

The Washington Post reported in August that the Justice Department was investigating Broidy. The sealed warrant offers new details of federal authorities’ investigation of allegations that Broidy had attempted to cash in on his Trump White House connections in dealings with foreign officials. It also shows that the government took a more aggressive approach with the Trump ally than was previously known, entering his office and removing records — just as it did with Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen.

Broidy served as a major Trump campaign fundraiser and was the national deputy finance chair of the Republican National Committee until he resigned in April 2018, when it was revealed he had agreed to secretly pay off a former Playboy model in exchange for her silence about their affair.

The search warrant cites three potential crimes that authorities are investigating: conspiracymoney laundering and violations of the law barring covert lobbying on behalf of foreign officials. To obtain a search warrant, authorities have to convince a judge that there’s a probable cause they will find evidence of those specific crimes.

The search warrant also for the first time links Broidy to a globe-trotting Miami Beach party promoter.

The warrant, filed in July 2018, targeted Broidy’s office in Los Angeles. The scope of what authorities were seeking was broad. They planned to seize any evidence related to a list of dozens of people, countries and corporate entities, according to the warrant. Among the names on the list are Rick Gates, the former Trump campaign official who has pleaded guilty in the Mueller probe; Colfax Law Office, the firm founded by Robin Rosenzweig, Broidy’s wife; and several foreign countries.

To continue reading click here.