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.

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Religion is Not the Issue in Lakewood – Why Whitewashing is Damning to All Jews

http://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/becoming-every-brothers-keeper/

Becoming Every Brother’s Keeper

All humanity descended from one family.

“And in this original familial relationship resides our profound responsibility to one another. The recitation of the generations of Adam trumps the golden rule as the “greater principle” because it clarifies the subject of the ethical imperative. “Let there be no mistake,” the begetting seem to say. “The ‘neighbors’ for whom you must care are not only the people around you, but the entirety of this large, unruly human family from which you are a lucky, and burdened, descendent. Each member of this family is your ‘brother.’ And none, therefore, are you free to abandon.”
This section of the Torah, the recitation of the generations of Adam, thus challenges us to allow God’s question to Cain–“Where is Abel, your brother?”–to reverberate throughout the millennia. It demands that we pose this question with the awareness that, in the eyes of Bereshit, all humanity is descended of one family. It compels us to pay attention to the words of the question itself–to recognize that it is not only a query about Abel’s whereabouts, but also an insistence that he is our brother.
As common descendants of Adam, we are not free to shed our brotherhood with Abel. We are simply not at liberty to allow the gulfs created by national, cultural, linguistic, religious, or racial differences to obscure our responsibility to those who are hurt or violated. Instead, we must step up to this haunting question whenever it is asked and answer resolutely: “I am my brother’s keeper.””

Dear Reader:

The following is a comment received by one of our readers. We are bothered by the comment because, whether intentionally or otherwise, it defines all ultra-Orthodox Jews by the actions of those who chose to defraud the system.

It then by association defines all Jews by those very same ultra-Orthodox criminals and the various Rabbis, websites (OJPAC) and other Jewish spokespeople who try to justify or whitewash the criminal behavior. It is our belief that if you paint the truth and the lies with the same white paintbrush you taint the good while you are trying to shade the bad.

To the author of the initial post below: there are exemplary, devout, honest and descent members of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community. Simply because they dress the same as those accused of committing crimes, does not mean that they themselves don’t find those very same crimes unthinkable and the very same people reprehensible. Your commentary makes broad generalizations, that we agree are difficult at times to avoid.

While sadly we can’t disagree with much of it, we would be remiss if we did not point to a religion which, when not taken to extremism, when taken as written is rich in charitable random acts of kindness, laden with spectacular cultural history, sincere in its piety and actively trying to achieve a high moral standard and ethical character. 

We are here because we believe that we must be our brothers’ keepers. That means reporting the good with the bad. We may miss our mark on reporting the good, but it is there nonetheless.

Finally, you are right in commenting that religion is not the issue. Criminal behavior is the result of those committing the crimes. Judaism does not allow it. As such, please do not view the entire community by the acts of some.

 

Religion not the issue in Lakewood welfare raids: So much for ‘Thou shall not steal’

by Steve Trevelise June 28, 2017 12:26 PM
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So much for “Thou shall not steal.”
As more and more arrests come out of Lakewood’s Jewish community for people accused of cheating the government out of various benefits, it makes you wonder how adherent these people are to their religion in the first place — as opposed to the “golden calf” of government.
LAKEWOOD WELFARE RAIDS
NEW:Hundreds attended Lakewood meeting warning of welfare fraud risk
Lakewood welfare fraud raids: Six more people scammed another $700,000, authorities say
‘Hundreds’ of Lakewood residents scrambling after welfare fraud raids, report says
Deminski: Zero excuse for any welfare cheats in Lakewood
Lakewood welfare fraud: It’s too easy, and not just Orthodox Jews to blame
Isn’t the belief of any religion to trust God that he will provide for you? What happened to Psalm 23 — “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want?” As someone who grew up in Hudson County, I’ve seen people cheat the system all my life, but you wouldn’t think that members of a religious community would be cheating the government out of several hundreds of thousands of dollars. Don’t they answer to a higher authority?
So why would religious residents of Lakewood cheat the government? To maintain the expense of their religion, of course. Or so says Duvi Honig of the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce to the Asbury Park Press:
“The pressure of the community overhead — especially the (cost of) private schooling is unsustainable,” “People are forced to find ways to bend the system.”
He later told New Jersey 101.5 he was talking about using legal loopholes, not breaking the law. But no religion should force you to find ways to bend the system — and the truth is, this isn’t about the religion. It’s about the people who broke the law. To blame the religion is an insult to all those people who worship and who don’t steal.
What these people are accused of doing had nothing to do with their religion, and hopefully their religion will have nothing to do with it at their trials.
What’s going to be interesting is if they are convicted and must serve time. How much will the prison system conform to their beliefs? I’m guessing the government will find ways to get it done much cheaper.
More from New Jersey 101.5:

Lakewood – Parents – Families Panic, oh no! They are Getting Caught…

Lakewood welfare: Half of children get assistance; families panic after arrests

 

But one statistic stands out among all other municipalities in the state. There are 10,000 more children in households with married couples in Lakewood receiving food, income or state aid than the next closest town.

Of the 43,600 children under 18 years of age, 18,200 with married parents receive government assistance. Newark, the largest city in the state, is second with 7,800 families receiving aid, according to the Census Bureau’s 2015 5-year average American Community Survey.

That poverty indicator is telling in two ways: Lakewood has a strong family tradition with many of it residents living in a two-parent household with young children, yet most of those families can’t make ends meet without government help.

Following the FBI’s public assistance fraud raids this week that saw the arrest of seven married couples with children, it may be an understatement that many township residents are in a “panic,” as termed by one of the leaders of the majority Orthodox Jewish community.

More: Lakewood welfare fraud: What we know so far

“It’s absolute panic,” said Rabbi Moshe Weisberg, a member of Lakewood’s Vaad, or Jewish council, about the mood in the town after this week’s arrests. “People are begging us for guidance.”

Rapidly growing Lakewood has more than 100,000 residents, up 15,000 from 2010, according to census records. The average Lakewood resident is 22.4 years old – making it one of the youngest towns in the state – and roughly 31 percent of people in town live under the poverty line, including retirees and single residents, according to the Census Bureau. The median household income in the town is just under $42,000, which is in the bottom 5 percent of N.J. towns, data shows.

Lakewood has a flourishing Jewish population, thanks in no small part to Beth Medrash Govoha, one of the largest yeshivas in the world, which now has about 6,500 students, according to Aaron Kotler, CEO of the yeshiva.

More: Lakewood welfare fraud: How did the scheme work?

Seven married couples were arrested in Lakewood this week on charges of welfare fraud, including a well-known rabbi of a congregation. He and his wife are accused of taking more than $338,000 in public assistance they weren’t entitled to receive. Five couples face state charges and the other two couples face federal charges. Combined, they are accused of stealing about $2 million in government assistance.

More: More Lakewood arrests: Raids continue in welfare fraud investigation

After the arrests, and considering so many Lakewood families receive some form of public assistance, the Vaad on Wednesday announced that it will hold seminars to educate residents about the rules for full financial disclosure when it comes to applying for and collecting public assistance.

“Federal and state social safety-net programs are meant for those in need, even those in need have rules and criteria that must be strictly followed,” the Vaad said in its statement. “To deliberately bend a safety-net eligibility rule is stealing, no different than stealing from your friend or neighbor.”

More: Lakewood welfare raids send some residents scrambling

Weisberg said that many young Jewish families collect public assistance as their families grow.

The men are often studying in yeshivas and have moderate incomes, if any income at all, he said. Census data shows that 3,302 people in Lakewood between the ages of 25 and 34 — 21.8 percent of everyone in that age range — are enrolled in school, most of those likely being yeshiva students.

Meanwhile, there is strong community pressure for men and women to have large families and send the children to private Jewish schools.

“The average family feels it an absolute necessity to send their children to private schools,” Weisberg said, adding that large families are also a part of Jewish culture. “They really want to build a large family with lots of happy children.

“Financial considerations come second,” he said.

To make ends meet, many of these families rely on public assistance, Weisberg said.

Duvi Honig, CEO of the Lakewood-based Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce, said for many Jewish families, collecting public assistance is almost an inevitability.

“People have such overhead that they don’t have a choice,” Honig said.

More: Lakewood rabbi, others arrested in alleged million-dollar welfare fraud

Honig and Weisberg condemned the alleged assistance fraud but acknowledged that some residents are tempted to take more welfare than they’re entitled to get.

“There are bad actors and bad apples,” Weisberg said. “A lot of this is not, most of this is not.”

Weisberg added that the vast majority of people reaching out to the Vaad after the arrests are concerned about what they termed as minor discretions in their public assistance applications, not people involved in a large-scale welfare fraud scheme.

Some of the minor discretions Weisberg mentioned are not reporting cash gifts or school tuition received from family members.

“These are families under stress,” he said. “Regrettably, people are a little loose with it.

“Until the hammer falls, people are lax about it.”

The hammer is expected to keep falling in Lakewood.

To read the remainder of the article click here.

Holding Ourselves to a Higher Standard – Don’t Dress the Part if You Are Not Meeting the Associated Standards – Lakewood

How Crimes Committed by Those Dressing the Part of Piousness Endanger The Lives of All Jews

There was a rabbi many years ago who explained to his congregant in response to a specific question that when an outwardly religiously observant Jew and a non-Jew are doing business, if they choose to meet at a non-Kosher establishment, non only should the the Jew not eat; but he should remove his kippah and hide his tallit lest he be viewed by others as a piously dressed man eating non-Kosher food. In other words, the Rabbi felt that the outside perception of piousness should engender pious behavior. The Rabbi further commented that if a Jew’s appearance did not mesh with his actions and behaviors it would tarnish Judaism for everyone.

Apropos a series of comments we received today in reference to an article we posted about the FBI Raids in Lakewood, one of our loyal contributing readers provided us with a link to an op-ed article posted in Yeshiva World News. We think it speaks to what LostMessiah has always held as its fundamental purpose: to raise the standards of behavior within the Jewish world by exposing those for whom morality, law and ethics are inherently challenged. -LostMessiah 28.6.17


Op-Ed: When Will We Start Following The Law And Start Avoiding The Colossal Chillul Hashem?

For the second time this week, the FBI arrested Frum people in Lakewood, NJ in a federal and state crackdown on public assistance fraud in the Orthodox community.

On Monday, three couples were arrested. The FBI warned that the arrests were just the beginning of what appears to be multiple waves of arrests.

On Tuesday night, the FBI took another three couples into custody.

All are being charged with public assistance fraud including Medicaid, food stamps, Section 8, and other government assistance programs, according to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.

Of course, everyone is innocent until proven guilty – and calling people guilty isn’t the purpose of this op-ed.

Possibly as bad as the actual chillul hashem, and the actual crime, is how many people fail to look at the bigger picture here. Many are complaining that the FBI notified the media ahead of the arrests so they can make a “photo-op” out of it. Ignorance is an understatement, as this is what the FBI always does when there are multiple arrests, especially high-profile arrests. Did it ever dawn upon people that perhaps the purpose of the photo-ops are to warn others to stay clean and not break the law, or they too will end up with their photos splashed on the front covers of every newspaper?

In reality, it seems that the FBI has already accomplished whet they hoped to do by the exposure of the arrests. It has been reported that in the past two days, hundreds of Lakewood residents called township leaders asking how they can avoid arrest or get amnesty for past use of government programs which they aren’t legally able to take.

Ocean County Social Services received dozens of phone calls from people looking to cancel their public assistance or update their income information.

People may not be aware of this, but more than 10,000 anti-Jewish comments have already been posted on social media since the arrests were announced on Monday morning. TEN THOUSAND. That is a very big number, and it is simply horrifying.

Perhaps it might pay to read the following story of Rav Shimon Schwab ZATZAL, and hopefully law-breakers will take heed and stop endangering the lives of Jews in America.

Many years ago, a shameful scandal erupted in the Jewish community centering around a Jewish businessman who was put on trial for embezzlement. At that time, influential members of the embezzler’s community approached Rav Shimon Schwab with a plea that he do what he can to prevent the man from going to prison. Rav Schwab became extremely agitated, and he pointed out to the petitioners that the man’s behavior, which was so widely publicized in the media, caused a tremendous chillul Hashem, and that the man had became a virtual rodef, a threat to the lives of Klal Yisrael.

He told the visitors outright that the embezzler deserved to sit in prison for a long time. He pleaded with them to give the embezzler a message – that he should shave off his beard and take off his yarmulke when appearing in court, because by displaying these signs of his religious affiliation, he would be making a new chillul Hashem every day on the evening TV news and would be a living disgrace for the Jewish people.

It’s high time that people stop doing things illegally. People love to complain that “they are picking on us”. Yes they are. And for good reason. We are held to a higher standard. We are the Am Hanivchar. Let’s live up to that title, and not have ourselves embarrassed and plastered all over the news. Enough is enough. It’s 2017 and everything goes viral in seconds. Social media ignites in a heartbeat with hatred against Jews. Why feed fuel to the fire that is clearly burning?

http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/featured/1305770/op-ed-will-start-following-law-start-avoiding-colossal-chillul-hashem.html

 

“How Can Religious People Act That Way” – An Interesting Insight – Lakewood

RECONCILING CORRUPTION AND GREED WITH RELIGIOUS BELIEF:

Those of us here at LostMessiah are forever trying to draw attention to the reprehensible behavior of those people who commit crimes, frauds, thefts, abuses and all sorts of notorious acts in their daily business or family lives while at the same time claiming a devotion to G-d and his tenets.

We are unrelentingly burdened by the contradictions inherent in a religious community that looks the part of the truly devoted but acts the part of criminals, fraudsters thieves and even sexual abusers.

It is important to understand that this does not apply to everyone. There are those who are truly devout by acts and behavior for whom the assorted crimes and transgressions set forth on these pages are unthinkable. Unfortunately far too many of us are judged by the actions of the worst within our community and not the best. In our view, and one of the many underlying tenets of this site is, until we can confront the ills within our community and weed out those corrupt, morally and ethically challenged and dangerous, our entire religious system will continue to be tainted in the eyes of the greater worldview.

The following is a post submitted by a Community Contributor to The Forward. We are reposting a portion of it and will direct you to the original article, which we believe is well worth the read.

The post was not submitted to us by its author, at least we do not think so. By posting it here, we are not in any way, shape or form claiming to have the endorsement of the author of the piece or of The Forward. We do not know if the author is a reader of our site, nor do we claim to have any connection to him. We are posting his commentary because we find it profoundly relevant to the entire mosaic of information that comprises this site.

He may disagree.

Thank you to the person who sent the link to us.

LM

http://forward.com/scribe/375728/in-lakewood-sometimes-corruption-and-greed-get-in-the-way-of-the-torah/

In Lakewood, Sometimes Corruption And Greed Get In The Way Of The Torah

….

The Torah has tragically been placed in a rabbinically induced solipsistic coma at the very times that we need it to be awakened. It’s hard to know the exact year that represents the golden era of the government being the enemy that the yshiva community is operating in, but based on the posture in our community toward women, I would guess before 1920. Having never seen Hebrew grammar or the Prophets on the syllabi of any yeshivas speaks to the range of post-enlightenment education that is lacking in our schools.

I have heard stories of young couples giving money to an uncle, with a different last name, to use as a down payment on a house. Then the couple would live there while the government (taxpayers) were paying their mortgage. Rumors of second-party checks being used as currency had made their way to the coffee rooms in Israel. Still, I was not prepared for the dominant culture of Lakewood.

My first encounter with the systemic corruption was, sadly, at the local Jewish bookstore. The rabbi rang up the books, but the price changed when I took out my debit card. Unfamiliar with the custom of the city, I asked, “Is it a different price for cash and credit?” “No,” he said, “I just need to charge you tax if there is a record of it.” Unfortunately, this was only the beginning.

The system is broken and it starts at the top. I tell the following story with a very heavy heart. It involves a rabbi that was kind to me. He inspired me and honored us with naming our son. This Rav once told me that people are like borer, the act of separating on Shabbat: You have to take the good from the bad. It is with that intention that I share this reflection because there is there so much good in Lakewood.

I opened the frum, religious, gym at 5:30 a.m. and was a personal trainer before yeshiva started for the day. When I got the job, the owner asked me how I wanted to be paid. “The 1st and 15th?” I answered, not really understanding the question. “No. Do you want me to pre-tithe it for you?” He then explained how there was a wonderful outreach organization that would give him back 90% of a monthly “donation” he made to them in cash. He would get a deduction, no one would have to pay taxes or declare it as income, the organization could continue its “holy work” and I wouldn’t have to tithe it (give 10% of it to charity).

I was silent with disgust, and then it got worse. “Ask a shilah,” he said. “Everyone does it.” Out of curiosity, I called my local Posek. “Cheat!” He ruled, with enthusiasm, as if it were a mitzvah.

I did not. It is the Torah, God and the world that are being cheated. How can the choice to be ethical OR to follow the rabbis even exist at all?

Read more: http://forward.com/scribe/375728/in-lakewood-sometimes-corruption-and-greed-get-in-the-way-of-the-torah/

 

3 Tammuz and Eastern Parkway – “We Want to See Our King”

http://collive.com/show_news.rtx?id=46195&alias=thousands-to-unite-for-3-tammuz

Thousands to Unite for 3 Tammuz

Thousands are set to attend a Gimmel Tammuz event on Eastern Parkway, where Chassidim will unite to see and hear the Rebbe.

A major event is planned to take place Gimmel Tammuz on Eastern Parkway, where Chassidim will unite to see and hear the Rebbe.

The event which will take place in front of Beis Chayeinu – 770, is scheduled for Monday evening, Leil Gimmel Tammuz, June 26, 8:30 – 9:30PM.

The event’s theme is: ‘Retzoneinu Liros Es Malkeinu, Let’s Prepare, The Time Is Near’.

“Standing now over 20 years since Gimmel Tammuz, we know that the Geulah is indeed imminent, very soon, we will merit to hear a Farbrengen once more,” organizers told COLlive. “This event will prepare us for that most auspicious day.”

Each Chabad community worldwide will additionally gather in their community Shul, to watch this historic event. To arrange the gathering in your community, E-mail: 3TammuzEvent@gmail.com

The program will include a beautiful collection of Sichos and Nigunnim which was prepared especially for this event.

All Men, Women, and children are asked to participate in this historic event.

The organizers would like to thank Reb Chanina Sperlin, the intergovernmental liaison of the Crown Heights Community Council and Detective Vincent Martinos of the NYPD Community Affairs at the 71st Precinct for making this event possible.

Kiryas Joel and United Monroe Agree to Amicable Divorce

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http://www.vosizneias.com/272572/2017/06/18/orange-county-ny-in-historic-agreement-kj-and-united-monroe-to-split-into-separate-entities/

Orange County, NY – In Historic Agreement, KJ And United Monroe To Split Into Separate Entities

Orange County, NY – In a development that could end years of costly legal battles, Kiryas Joel and representatives of the United Monroe citizens group have agreed to the equivalent of an amicable divorce, splitting the Village of Kiryas Joel off into a separate town that would include an unspecified amount of additional acreage to accommodate future growth.

The agreement was announced on Friday night on United Monroe’s Facebook page and would end three years of bitter infighting that resulted when Kiryas Joel announced its plan to annex more than several hundred acres of neighboring land into the village.

The new town would be the first created in New York State in 35 years, with a revised map of the proposed unnamed town to be provided to county lawmakers this week, reported The Times Herald Record

The exact details of the agreement, the result of two months of hush-hush negotiations, have yet to be disclosed, but United Monroe said that new acreage allotted to Kiryas Joel would be considerably less than the 382 acres specified in the village’s latest petition.

The plan still needs to pass muster with both the county legislature and voters in the Town of Monroe. Once that hurdle has been cleared, the issue would be included on the ballot in the upcoming November 7th election.

United Monroe’s Facebook post generated dozens of comments, with the group blaming Kiryas Joel for refusing to negotiate a separation for the past three years and noting that spinning the village off into a new entity would remove Kiryas Joel’s influence in matters concerning Monroe residents.

Both Emily Convers, head of United Monroe, and Kiryas Joel administrator Gedalya Szegedin, expressed their appreciation to all parties involved for their efforts in reaching an equitable compromise.

To read the article in its entirety click here.