Absentee Ballots Overturn Conservative Primary Election Day Result

Source: Absentee Ballots Overturn Conservative Primary Election Day Result

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Lakewood – LA Times – What is going on? A Little Fraud, Perhaps?

Getty Images Lakewood1-0

Raids in New Jersey town target ultra-Orthodox Jews accused of welfare fraud. ‘What is going on here?’

 

LA Times: http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-new-jersey-orthodox-20170923-story.html

It was the dramatic kickoff of a series of well-publicized raids that since late June have netted 26 suspects on charges of stealing $2 million in government benefits. Prosecutors say that the suspects understated their income to get free healthcare, food stamps, rental subsidies and other benefits.

All of those arrested — 13 men and 13 women — were ultra-Orthodox Jews. The charges have tapped into a well of festering hostility toward an insular and eccentric minority.

nce a backwater at the edge of New Jersey’s Pine Barrens, Lakewood is now home to one of the largest concentrations of ultra-Orthodox Jews outside of Israel. They are a fast-growing population with a high birthrate; the population of Lakewood has exploded from 45,000 in 1990 to more than 100,000 today. Many of the newcomers are from large families priced out of Brooklyn by gentrification.

At first glance, little sets Lakewood apart from any number of other suburban communities on the fringes of the New York metropolitan area. But the differences are there. Signs are commonly in Hebrew and Yiddish. The Shop-Rite has closed and was replaced by Glatt Gourmet, a kosher supermarket. New subdivisions have Jewish-themed street names, like Hadassah Lane.

Like the Amish, these strictly observant Jews are instantly recognizable by their modest dress — the women in long skirts and wigs that cover their hair, and the men with yarmulkes or black fedoras and tzitzit, the strings hanging out of their shirts that remind them of their religious obligations. Instead of buggies, though, they mostly drive SUVs or minivans to fit large broods of children.

Around New York, there are a handful of similar towns that are dominated by ultra-Orthodox Jews, but only in Lakewood have federal and state authorities laid down the gauntlet so definitively.

Many young families are heavily dependent on government benefits. Couples marry and bear children young, usually in their early 20s while the fathers are full-time students in religious schools, the mothers working part-time doing office work.

With five or more children, many of them with special needs — a result attributed to women having multiple births until late in life and genetic disorders in a relatively closed population — families cannot survive without government assistance, especially to buy health insurance.

In Lakewood, 65,000 people — more than half the town’s population — are on Medicaid, the government health program for low-income families, according to state data. Lakewood has more children with two parents receiving government benefits than any other municipality in New Jersey, including large, chronically depressed cities such as Newark and Camden. A report by the Asbury Park Press found that Lakewood had received 14% of the money from a $34-million state fund for catastrophic illnesses in children, despite having only 2% of the state’s children. It also found that the town had 29 times more grant recipients than any other town in New Jersey.

In 2015, the New Jersey state controller’s office flagged the disproportionate sums of government money being absorbed by Lakewood. The town didn’t look poor by any conventional yardsticks of poverty.

“You have a family or six or seven or eight, somebody is paying the mortgage, somebody is paying the taxes, they have two cars in the driveway, they’ve got food for all the kids … and they’re reporting their total income at $10,000,’’ said Joseph Coronato, the Ocean County prosecutor who took the lead in the case. “You have to ask — what is going on here?’’

In one case unsealed by the court in June, a couple with six children are alleged to have reported their income at $39,000 per year — low enough to qualify for Medicaid — when in fact they were getting more than $1 million annually from a limited liability corporation.

Members of the religious community say that cases of deliberate fraud are rare. For the most part, they say, the couples caught up in prosecutions had failed to report money they’d gotten from parents who were either paying the tuition for children in private schools or helping with the mortgage.

“The rules are very confusing. You have to be a Talmudist to figure out which program treats gifts from family as ordinary income,” said Rabbi Moshe Weisberg, the Lakewood head of what is called the Vaad, a self-governing council for the ultra-Orthodox community.

People most often got in trouble with their Medicaid applications, motivated by their inability to afford market-rate health insurance, which he said ran as high as $30,000 annually for a large family. Several of the families have disabled children, he noted.

“None of these people used any of this welfare money for an extravagant lifestyle. They were struggling to make ends meet and trying to pay medical bills,” said Harold Herskowitz, a businessman who runs a toy store in Lakewood. He believes the prosecutions were motivated by hostility toward the ultra-Orthodox.

“I’m the child of Holocaust survivors; I don’t appreciate Jewish people dragged out in public early in the morning,” Herskowitz said.

The initial arrests in June received extensive news coverage, with television crews tipped off in advance to film the scenes of couples in handcuffs being led away. Following complaints, the prosecutors have made subsequent arrests more discreetly, but still the publicity rankles.

The case has tapped into a wave of hostility toward the community. Last month, somebody hung an anti-Semitic banner on a Holocaust memorial in Lakewood, and fliers were distributed on the windshields of cars with photos of those arrested under the caption, “Thieving Jews Near You.”

Under fire from many sides, the observant Jews of Lakewood are trying to burnish their reputation in New Jersey. They’ve hosted outreach programs between the community and the police — Bagels, Lox & Cops, as the meetings have been called. Other public programs have been designed to advise ultra-Orthodox families on how to stay on the legal side of public assistance programs.

Lakewood, about 50 miles from New York City, was a resort town for the New York elite beginning in the late 19th century, attracting luminaries such as Mark Twain and members of the Rockefeller family. Their fancy retreats were later turned into kosher hotels catering to working- and middle-class Jews, the town becoming an extension of the Catskills’ Borscht belt across the border in New York state.

In 1943, the Rabbi Aharon Kotler, a Holocaust survivor who fled Lithuania, picked the town for his Beth Medrash Govoha, a yeshiva — religious school — that is now one of the world’s largest with 6,500 students, all men. That would in turn attract other yeshivas, along with Jewish primary schools, kosher delicatessens and shops.

“It was an idyllic little town with a strong Jewish flavor,’’ said Aaron Kotler, the founder’s grandson and current head of the yeshiva, in an interview in his sprawling suburban ranch house, the walls proudly displaying oil paintings of previous generations of bearded rabbis. “My grandfather chose Lakewood because it was quiet, which is ironic because people complain the yeshiva has ruined the quiet.’’

Kotler describes Lakewood today as one of the most attractive destinations for young religious Jews to study and raise families, making the demographics similar to other university towns.

“I like to think of Lakewood as poor by choice,’’ said Kotler.

The community has shown itself to be unusually adept at navigating the intricacies of politics and government.

“Their lives depend on knowing everything about how Section 8 [subsidized rental housing] works and getting into WICs,” the government Women, Infants and Childrenfood assistance program, said Samuel Heilman, a sociology professor at Queen College who has written several books on the community.

Politically speaking, the ultra-Orthodox wield clout beyond their numbers, with adult members almost always turning out for elections and voting as a single bloc.

“They tend to vote like the Christian right, and they have learned to make their votes very important,” said Heilman.

In all of New Jersey, Lakewood had the highest concentration of Donald Trump voters in last year’s presidential election – 74.4%. With their children all in private religious schools, they are strong supporters of Betsy DeVos, the education secretary who has called for school vouchers. Charles and Seryl Kushner, the parents of Trump aide and son-in-law Jared Kushner, are benefactors of the Beth Medrash Govoha yeshiva, and the rotunda of the school’s 2-year-old main building is named for them.

Ultra-Orthodox votes are even more important in local political races. They have installed candidates who favor their interests on the Lakewood school board, township committee and zoning board.

Lakewood’s 30,000 ultra-Orthodox children are ferried to 130 private religious schools on public school buses — boys and girls separately, since they attend single-sex schools — while public schools with only 6,000 children, mostly Latino and African American, have been gutted by a lack of funding. (This is in part due to a quirk in New Jersey’s school financing formula that requires busing for private school students but reimburses the districts based on public school enrollment.)

Some 4,000 new units of housing have been approved in Lakewood in the last two years, making the township the fastest-growing municipality in New Jersey. Real estate developers catering to the ultra-Orthodox are carving new subdivisions lined with four- and five-bedroom townhouses for large families.

“When I moved here, there were trees. Now I wake up and I’m surrounded by high-density townhouses,” said Tom Gatti, a retiree who heads a coalition of senior citizens opposing the pace of new development in Lakewood. “Anytime you try to challenge anything the ultra-Orthodox are doing, they drop the anti-Semitic card on the table.

“They are not looking to assimilate into the community; they are trying to take over,’’ Gatti said.

The ultra-Orthodox Jews also face criticism from less religious and secular Jews.

“Being observant should, first and foremost, involve living and working ethically,’’ complained a hard-hitting editorial in the Forward, the Yiddish- and English-language Jewish publication based in New York. The editorial called the welfare fraud cases “a desecration of God’s name.’’

“It’s too simple to say that this is a problem with Jews,’’ said Heilman, the sociology professor. “It is not their Jewishness that has created the problems; it is the way they interpret the demands of being Jewish.’’

Yeshiva Camp and Alcohol Use – A Community Ignoring a Problem and a Rabbi Taking Action

Dear Reader:

We are publishing this Letter to the Editor of Yeshiva World News because we think it is information that needs attention. We do not know if the writer of the letter reads our site, nor was it sent to us by him. He does state that he sent it to several publications that took no interest in his concerns; something we find both reprehensible and endemic of the society in which this problem is being ignored.

This problem cannot go away if it is not actively and openly discussed and addressed. We commend the author’s courage.

LM

The Alcohol-Drinking At Yeshiva Camps Is Out of Control And Being Ignored

Dear YWN readership.

I regret saying this, but my letter was sent to 4 Jewish publications before the summer, and unfortunately, it was ignored. I have since updated it to reflect new information (from as recent as last night), and humbly request it be published for the sake of saving lives.

Parents sending their boys to summer camps in the Catskills may think their boys are safe, but they aren’t.

No, I am not referring to pedophilia. That problem has Boruch Hashem been dealt with by organizations such as Amudim and the Gedolim behind them who devote their lives to helping the victims.

The topic I want to address is alcohol-drinking in camps. But not just any camps. I am referring to the elite “yeshiva / learning” camps. I have decided to leave the names of these camps out and hope that this letter alone will hopefully awaken the masses.

Please don’t start telling me that this is a minor percentage, because it’s not. This is a roaring problem that is largely being ignored and not being taken seriously by the people running these camps. I humbly question why the Roshei Yeshiva of these boys allow them to go to any of these camps as it’s no secret regarding the alcohol consumption at these camps. In fact, I have had many conversations with leading Roshei Yeshiva about this, and they just shrug their shoulders.

Just last night a bunch of these camps joined together to go to a well known amusement park. The day was capped off with a concert and a band with singing and dancing. I don’t think your readership needs to see the footage of the drunk boys staggering all over the place, so I’ll hold that for round two – If immediate action isn’t taken.

What are these camp owners waiting for? Do we need a few boys to die of alcohol poisoning before people boycott these camps? Why is the “zero tolerance for a smartphone” enforced but the drinking epidemic being ignored?

I should add (not that it makes any difference) that I am not referring to drinking beer. I am talking about bottles of hard liquor that the boys have stashed away.

I am demanding that the camps take action before I and others like myself take appropriate action to ensure the problem is dealt with another way. We will make sure your camps are (legally) exposed and blacklisted by every single family in America.

Thank you for publishing my letter, and I am sorry for being so harsh, but the reality demands this.

Have a wonderful and safe summer.

Yeshaya Dovid Braunstein – Lakewood

Chareidi Extremism – No Smartphones

 

http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/headlines-breaking-stories/1332765/watch-chareidi-extremists-protest-monsey-store-sells-smartphones.html

Chareidi Extremists Protest Monsey Store That Sells Smartphones

No. This isn’t Meah Shearim. This is Monsey, NY on Erev Shabbos Nachamu.

These Chareidi extremists staged a protest outside the “Ping Cellular Store” which is a Verizon Wireless Dealer, located on Route 59, at the “Town Square Mall”, right next to the Evergreen Supermarket.

The group is upset that the establishment is selling smartphones.

A few dozen extremists were part of the protest, as a few dozens counter protesters grabbed their signs and yelled back.

Police were on the scene keeping the two groups apart.

It is not known who this group of extremists belong to.

Westchester Jews Committed To Honesty in Education – You Should Be Worried

wta-drawings

Letter Regarding Proposed Mortgage by Westchester Torah Academy

To the writers of the below letter, we believe that the entirety of the Mortgage, or the underlying assets is/are structurally unsound. We believe that Mark Nordlicht’s finances are heavily intertwined with the academy and would gladly send out research along. We have tried to publish information here.

You have reason to be worried. The money, in our view, is going towards creative accounting on the books and records of Nordlicht as his financial dealings interact with WTA and with ease in whichever form he chooses, whether as accounting against loans or receivables.

The Platinum swindle, Nordlicht’s involvement in WTA and the Huberman connection are no wild coincidences.

See the letter below.

image.wta2

wta.2

Another Effort to Sell a Nursing Home to Allure, Joel Landau and Their Partners: Profit Before Care – Please AG PROTECT OUR MOST VULNERABLE

allure.2

Another Attempted Nursing Home Purchase by Allure – Whose Pockets Will be Lined and How can the Public Help?

The below-referenced case is being heard. The Greater Nursing Home owners are attempting to sell the facility to the Allure Group cast of characters: Joel Landau (not photo attached, of cours), and the Rubin(s). The AG is attempting to prevent the sale. It’s calendared for  8/15/17 per the alert below.

 

Oral arguments will be heard at that time. Frank Carone (disinterest? – NO) (partner of Brooklyn Democrat Boss Seddio and Mayor deBlasio’s L.I fundraiser) Howard Fensterman  – the lawyer attempting to facilitate the hand-over of yet another facility to predatory owners (you’ve seen his name before).

With all of the money that incestuously changes hands among this cast of characters it’s a wonder why they don’t just all share the same bank account and be done with it.

 

Being clear, it is yet another effort facilitated by the co-opted NY State DOH and its Public Health & Health Planning Council  (think Rivington House) to  sit back and lets these corporate takeovers happen. This cast of characters is a group of morally challenged individuals who make millions of dollars off the backs of elderly and infirmed patients.

Where is the San Francisco Bee when you need it? 

 

Index Number: 155305/2016
The following case which you have subscribed to in eTrack has been updated. Changes from the last update are shown in red and are annotated.

Court: New York Civil Supreme
Index Number: 155305/2016
Case Name: GREATER HARLEM NURSING vs. X
Case Type: E-Other Special Proceedings
Track: Standard
Upstate RJI Number: 
Disposition Date: 
Date NOI Due: 
NOI Filed: 
Calendar Number: 
RJI Filed: 06/28/2016
Jury Status: 
Justice Name: KOTLER, LYNN R.

Attorney/Firm for Plaintiff: 
ABRAMS FENSTERMAN FENSTERMAN/
3 DAKOTA DR, STE 300 
LAKE SUCCESS, NY 11042
Attorney Type: Attorney Of Record
Status: Active

Last Appearance:
Appearance Date: 07/12/2017 — Information updated
Appearance Time: 
On For: Supreme Trial — Information updated
Appearance Outcome: Remove Stay — Information updated
Justice: KOTLER, LYNN R. — Information updated
Part: STATUS CONFERENCE 8 — Information updated
Comments: 

Future Appearances: — Information updated
Appearance Date: 08/15/2017 — Information updated
Appearance Time: — Information updated
On For: Motion — Information updated
Appearance Outcome: — Information updated
Justice: KOTLER, LYNN R. — Information updated
Part: IAS MOTION 8EFM — Information updated
Comments: 10AM — Information updated
ORAL ARGUMENT — Information updated
Appearance Date: 08/15/2017 — Information updated
Appearance Time: — Information updated
On For: Motion — Information updated
Appearance Outcome: — Information updated
Justice: KOTLER, LYNN R. — Information updated
Part: IAS MOTION 8EFM — Information updated
Comments: 10AM — Information updated
ORAL ARGUMENT — Information updated

Older appearances may exist but are not shown.

Motions: Motion Number: 2
Date Filed: 07/26/2016
Filed By: PLAINT
Relief Sought: Leave To Intervene
Submit Date: — Information updated
Answer Demanded: No
Status: Open: 

Before Justice: KOTLER
Decision: 
Order Signed Date: 

Motion Number: 1
Date Filed: 
Filed By: 
Relief Sought: Other Reliefs
Submit Date: 
Answer Demanded: No
Status: Open: 

Before Justice: KOTLER
Decision: 
Order Signed Date: 

Scanned Decisions: None on file.

To access this case directly click here.
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Ultra-Orthodox Bigwigs Raking in Money as They Walk All Over the Impoverished – Borough Park – OPINION

 

UPDATED CLARIFICATION: In Borough Park There Are Laws And Then There Are Laws

http://www.kingscountypolitics.com/in-borough-park-there-are-laws-and-then-there-are-laws/

You don’t need to be a Talmudic scholar to understand that the bigwigs at Borough Park yeshivas and nonprofits are raking in the big bucks while poverty-stricken Orthodox Jewish families are given the shaft.

And every Thursday afternoon before Shabbat when these bigwigs leave boxes of food on the doorsteps of impoverished Jews while they pick their pockets for yeshiva tuition, it doesn’t seem to live up to the highest form of Talmudic charity or tzedakah.

But that’s the way politics and economics goes in the Hasidic and Orthodox Jewish community. They take care of their own as long as the top get theres.

 
 

Which also helps explain why the neighborhood’s top yeshiva and non-profit bigwigs signed on to a full-page ad in the Jewish newspaper Hamodia wishing City Councilman David Greenfield a Mazel Tov (Good Luck) at his new gig heading the Met Council on Jewish Poverty and pledging support for his hand-picked successor, Kalman Yeger.

Considering how much taxpayer money some of these organizations received through Greenfield’s city council office coupled with the fear of losing financial support if they don’t support Yeger, signing on to the ad was the least they could do. Even if it does border on illegal for non-profits to be directly involved in campaign advertisements, particularly if they are getting government funding.

But the legality or lack thereof is besides the point. The message behind the ad is to let the community know that Yeger’s coronation to the city council is a done deal. That there’s no use in fighting the inevitable.

And for now, the ploy seems to be working. Yoni Hikind, a therapist by trade who works with some of the community’s most troubled youth including those with substance abuse issues, told KCP that he’s always wanted to follow in his father, Assemblymember Dov Hikind’s footsteps, to help people and do good things for the community.

“Running for office is something I’ve been considering for 36 years,” said Yoni, “but I have to take a look [at running for the city council seat] and see what’s involved.”

For two days, Yoni said he’d get back to KCP with a photo and more of his plans, but for now he hasn’t. Ditto for the Hikind family ally, Democratic District Leader David Schwartz, who some would like to see run, but who has ruled it out for now.

Real Estate attorney and Republican District Leader Nachman Caller is said to be looking at running, but surprisingly JPUpdatesPublisher Moshe Friedman called KCP saying he was Caller’s spokesperson, although sources say that he secretly supports Greenfield.

“The bottom line is there is no outrage over [Greenfield] handing someone the seat. Nobody wants to run. Maybe people think David Greenfield can deliver even more at the Met Council,” said Friedman.

It’ still too early to know for sure where all this will lead, but one thing is for sure. When it comes to following the letter but not the spirit of the law, the powerful in the orthodox and Hasidic community of Borough Park have it down pat.

It leaves one wondering how they follow Talmudic laws.

Editor’s Clarification: The Hamodia ad was paid for by Yeger For City Council, and not the people listed on the ad. 

Alright already, I acknowledge I may or may not have taken a few angry cheap shots at Yeshivas and Kalman Yeger. That said, I’ve been in the journalism game long enough to know when you go down the rabbit hole of apologizing for something you’ve written it only makes matters worse. So I’ll own what I’ve written, lick my wounds and move on.

Regarding, Mr. Yeger, I personally believe it is always better to have a spirited campaign of ideas with at least two candidates, but if this is who Borough Park wants to represent them in the city council, so be it. I’ll put any anger I may or may not have aside, put on my most objective hat and henceforth judge Mr. Yeger on his merits.

Regarding the comments on this website as well as from people who personally called me that said or insinuated I am somehow anti-Semitic and/or endorse the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, you are even more off base than any comments made about Yeshivas and the leadership of Borough Park.

I went to cheder and was bar mitzvah at Skokie Central Traditional Congregagtion, an orthodox shul, which is still going strong. In Skokie, where I spent my entire childhood into early adulthood, we were always a tight-knit Jewish community. The intent of this column, as misguided as it may or may not have been, was to stand up for the poor Jews struggling to come up with tuition money. That’s a far cry from me writing or insinuating in any way that there is a grand conspiracy of my people, whom I love and support, to own the world. If these comments didn’t hurt so much they would be laughable. 

Stephen Witt