Human Rights Versus Kosher Eateries and Kosher Police – Holding Restaurants Hostage – Kosher Certification Mafia

Comic Leah Forster initially scheduled a New Year’s Eve event at Brooklyn’s Garden of Eat-In in Flatbush, Brooklyn.

NYC kosher cops force restaurants to cancel bookings of lesbian Jewish comic


It may be kosher — but it’s not right.


A popular Jewish comic from Brooklyn was booted from two different eateries because the local kosher police threatened to yank their religious stamp of approval on the food if a lesbian performed there.


Leah Forster, 36, whose stand-up schtick features the insular Orthodox world she grew up in, had planned to hold a New Year’s Eve bash in her Brooklyn neighborhood — but both owners canceled once the “Kosher Nostra” put on the squeeze.


Forster’s life as a Jewish lesbian isn’t part of her act, but rabbis from the Vaad Harabanim of Flatbush, the kosher certification organization, still decided hosting her event would be a violation of Torah law.

Now the eateries may face pressure from a different front. The city’s Commission on Human Rights told Forster they may probe the alleged discrimination, she said.

Forster, a big hit on Instagram, first booked her New Year’s Eve event at Brooklyn’s Garden of Eat-In in Flatbush.

She sold 20 tickets at $80 a pop last month — and was excited about performing at one of her favorite restaurants, she said.

But two days after she announced the event online, Chaim Kirshner, the restaurant’s owner, said he was forced to back out by the Flatbush Vaad.

“(The rabbi) said that you’re a lesbian, and you represent that, and we can’t let this go on,” Kirshner told Forster in a phone call that she recorded and shared with the Daily News.

Kirshner said that he has nothing against the LGBT community and “doesn’t care” who hosts events at the restaurant.


But losing his kosher certification would kill his business, Kirshner added.


“They operate like the mafia,” Forster said. “If they pull your hechsher (kosher certification), you are screwed. They tell other places not to give you a hechsher.”

Kirshner was not available when The News visited the Garden of Eat-In on Sunday.

Forster was ready to give up and stick to secular gigs where her sexual orientation would not be an issue.


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NYS Can Compel Compliance from NY Yeshivas but Parents Need to Cooperate Too

The bigger problem with the city’s yeshivas: Inspections aren’t enough to fix what ails many of them


The bigger problem with the city's yeshivas: Inspections aren't enough to fix what ails many of them
State Education Department Commissioner MaryEllen Elia visits Daily News Editorial Board on Tuesday May 16, 2017. (Susan Watts / New York Daily News)

As the years-long investigation into the city’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish yeshivas drags on, the New York State Education Department just released new guidelines that compel these schools to improve the quality of secular instruction offered to students. The guidelines, issued by Commissioner MaryEllen Elia, include inspections on a five-year basis. If the yeshivas fail, they could have their funding pulled.

I used to teach English, science and social studies in Orthodox yeshivas. Intervention is sorely needed, but I don’t have faith that these measures will succeed.

My schools were better than the ones in question; secular studies were at least offered, three hours a day, four days a week. The students are equally observant to Hasidic Yeshivas with a similarly rigorous Talmud knowledge expected. I tried to bring some of the material I learned in college in the mornings into my classroom in the afternoons, while “sanitizing” my knowledge for the more conservative and austere atmosphere.

It wasn’t always successful because the culture of the place powerfully resisted change.

The improvements recommended by the state need cooperation from parents. Most edification occurs after dismissal. Only 10% of my students, on average, did homework, and that was in large part because their parents weren’t interested in making sure they got it done. In my last marking period, I painfully failed 75% percent of my children.


Not a single parent called to complain or fought for their child. And this was in a better school, one that offers English. I cannot imagine how a parent who chose to send their child to a yeshiva that didn’t offer secular studies would stand over her or his son to do homework, after a long day of work as they juggle other children and responsibilities.


There is also an issue of time: The community has to choose how to spend the day’s limited hours — whether to help students grow in Torah knowledge or in fields like reading and math.


In a scenario where inspectors visit yeshivas, armed with guidelines, I envision administrators paying lip service and agreeing to the terms of people they see as an interference, and then returning to the status quo the second the state examiners leave.


The root of the problem here is that many yeshivas have a disregard for outside non-Jewish laws that propel community members to find workarounds.


I was hired as a teacher without training, a bachelor’s degree, a background check or a written contract. They let me — a stranger — around children. By law, I was a mandated reporter of child abuse, needing to tell the authorities if I suspected any crimes. On my first day, I was shown the textbook library and told to “figure it out” — a tall order for a neophyte educator who had to prepare students for the Regents and the general outside world.


Thankfully, I was always paid on time. But the consistent lack of attention to detail or even a whiff of standards and norms aren’t out of place in that world.


Even more than standards, yeshivas need educated educators. My coworkers and I had never earned master’s degrees in education. My employers were also similarly uneducated. They didn’t support the subjects we taught. My principals never offered pedagogical help. They were there for disciplinary issues, in case a student acted up, but never to help a young adult grow in learning.


When I repeatedly asked for funding for continuing education workshops, I was rebuffed. I wanted to improve as a teacher, but there were no opportunities.

Inspections are necessary. But they are woefully insufficient.


Reiter is a NYC-based teacher and writer.

Reichberg and a Grant of a Shoving Match


Courthouse shoving match derails NYPD bribery trial


The bribery trial of a Brooklyn businessman and a former NYPD Deputy Inspector went off the rails Tuesday after a heated courthouse spat between a defense attorney and a prosecutor.

The showdown between Assistant U.S. Attorney Martin Bell and ex-cop James Grant’s attorney John Meringolo led to threats of criminal charges against Meringolo, as well as a possible mistrial.

The livid litigators went nose to nose after Meringolo allegedly threatened the government’s star witness, Jona Rechnitz. A Grant supporter said he separated the two men.

“Peoples’ tempers were up. It’s been a hard fought trial. We all realize we need to be politer and act in a way that doesn’t inflame each other,” said peacemaker Susan Necheles, an attorney for businessman Jeremy Reichberg.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Martin Bell
Assistant U.S. Attorney Martin Bell (Department of Justice)

Judge Gregory Woods sent the jury home and held a hearing in which Grant said under oath he wanted to continue using Meringolo as his lawyer, despite the kerfuffle.

The trial, which is in its fourth week, has been heated from the start. Things reached a boiling point around 9 a.m. Tuesday as FBI agents escorted Rechnitz, a corrupt donor to Mayor de Blasio, from an elevator to the courtroom.

Meringolo, an animated attorney from Bensonhurst, was chatting with Grant’s supporters as Rechnitz passed by, several witnesses said.

“You’re a disgrace,” Meringolo allegedly told Rechnitz.

Word quickly reached prosecutors and Bell angrily stormed out of the courtroom to confront Meringolo.

“You better wake up from this dream. You’re going to find yourself in trouble!” Bell yelled, according to someone in Grant’s camp.

Shoving ensued.

“Mr. Bell barges out and threatens me and tries to walk toward me in a very confrontational way, so I pushed him away. I did not pop him in his mouth, but I pushed him away from me,” Merinoglo said.

“You can’t come out there threatening my life like you’re a big shot … I’m going to take the threats wholeheartedly. I’m just not going to have it.”

Criminal defense lawyer John Meringolo.
Criminal defense lawyer John Meringolo. (Byron Smith for New York Daily News)

The episode presented such a risk to the trial that U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman, the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, got involved. He pledged the feds would not prosecute Meringolo for the comment to Rechnitz or ensuing fracas, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Lonergan said.

Potential charges included intimidating a witness, assault on federal property and threats of violence to a prosecutor in the conduct of his business, Judge Woods said, calling the confrontation “a freighted and unfortunate situation.”

Grant is accused of accepting bribes — including a private flight to Las Vegas with a prostitute — from Reichberg and Rechnitz. Grant, a former deputy inspector, allegedly then used his power in the NYPD to help make the men look like big shots through police escorts and other favors.

Reicbherg is accused of showering numerous cops with gifts.

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The Rechnitz of a Hilfiger and a Daughter of a Police Officer…. “Protectzia”

Tommy Hilfiger gave internship to NYPD chief's daughter as favor to cop corrupter Jona Rechnitz

Tommy Hilfiger gave internship to NYPD chief’s daughter as favor to cop corrupter Jona Rechnitz

He was treated like royalty at NYPD headquarters. He got a police escort to the New Year’s Eve ball drop. And when he asked Tommy Hilfiger to give an internship to a police chief’s daughter, the fashion mogul responded “I’m on it.”

Aspiring real estate bigshot Jona Rechnitz shared a laundry list of favors lavished on NYPD cops Monday in Manhattan Federal Court, from a detective who posed as his security guard to former Chief of Department Philip Banks, who gave him and another accused cop-corrupter, Jeremy Reichberg, special access to 1 Police Plaza.


Reichberg is charged with bribing ex-Deputy Inspector James (Jimmy) Grant. Rechnitz has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit honest services fraud and is the government’s star witness against the Brooklyn businessman and disgraced cop.


Rechnitz’s dirty dealings also extended to City Hall. Rechnitz said he used straw donors to donate money to de Blasio’s pet causes in 2013. An email from Oct. 2013 showed de Blasio’s top fundraiser, Ross Offinger, asking Rechnitz for information on several of Rechnitz’s friends who had donated the maximum amount of $4,950.

Among the cops Rechnitz said he and Reichberg cultivated was Deputy Chief David Colon. They rented a hotel room for a Sweet 16 party for Colon’s daughter, Rechnitz recalled. They also bought Colon a Breitling watch worth as much as $5,000, he said.

When Colon’s daughter sent Rechnitz her resume for an internship at Tommy Hilfiger in March 2013, Rechnitz sent it to Hilfiger himself.


“This is a daughter of an NYPD chief. Very close friend,” Rechnitz wrote to Hilfiger in an email shown in court.

“I’m on it, thx,” Hilfiger replied.


The following month, Hilfiger wrote to Rechnitz, “Jona, she’s on board as a Tommy Hilfiger intern!”

“Beautiful, thank you,” Rechnitz wrote back.

Colon retired in 2016 after it emerged he was linked to the bribery scandal that tarnished the upper ranks of the NYPD. The feds consider him an “unindicted co-conspirator.”

He was one of the many cops who Rechnitz said accepted gifts from him and Reichberg. Other cops included:


– Former NYPD Inspector Stephen McAllister, who Rechnitz said helped shoo away protesters frequently gathered in 2008 outside a jewelry store owned by Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev. “He told me he could take care of the problem but we’d have to donate to the NYPD football team,” Rechnitz recalled of a conversation with McAllister.

To read the article in its entirety click here.


Mistress or Close Personal Friend? Jeremy Reichberg and NYPD


Brooklyn businessman tried to impress mistress through NYPD connections: prosecutors

Brooklyn businessman Jeremy Reichberg — accused of bribing some of the city’s top cops — used his NYPD ties to woo his mistress, according to prosecutors.

Reichberg’s ex-lover, Tara Sheils, will be called as a witness in the ongoing case against him and Deputy Inspector James Grant, prosecutors revealed in a letter filed Monday in Manhattan Federal Court.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Martin Bell wrote that prosecutors need to tell the jury that the married Reichberg was having an affair because he “used his police connections” to impress the woman. Prosecutors only referred to Sheils as “Witness-1,” but separate court filings by Reichberg’s attorney identified her.

“The evidence will show that Reichberg used his ability to secure favors from the police as a means of impressing Witness-1 and courting Witness-1 romantically,” Bell wrote.

Little has emerged about Sheils, who will testify in the trial entering its second week. Prosecutors have said only that she was briefly Reichberg’s nurse when he was recovering from surgery and that they had an affair.

Reichberg is accused of giving Grant gifts. In exchange, the cop would do him favors to make him look like a big shot, prosecutors say.

Bell wrote that Reichberg got cops to chauffeur the woman on a “purely personal errand on at least one occasion.”

Reichberg allegedly had then-Deputy Chief Michael Harrington give Sheils his business card and cell phone number in case she ever needed anything.

She also visited NYPD headquarters with Reichberg to meet Harrington and disgraced ex-Chief of Department Philip Banks, Bell wrote. The couple attended a promotions ceremony for Detective Michael Milici, who has since been fired, according to the letter.

Reichberg attorney Susan Necheles has asked that the jury be told he and Sheils were only “close personal friends.” Necheles wrote in court papers she would not dispute that he and Sheils had a “close personal relationship.” She previously vowed to not question witnesses about Reichberg’s sex life.

“It would materially alter the character of Witness-1’s testimony to attempt to describe Reichberg’s conduct here as a mere ‘friendship,’” Bell wrote.

66th Precinct, Shomrim, Violence and the Hispanic Victims of the Crimes, Who is Hating Whom?


Dear Readers:

We ask that you watch the video as linked above carefully.  It can be found on the page covering the related article on THE DAILY NEWS. 

Our sources have told us that it is not uncommon for Hispanic and other non-ultra-Orthodox community members to be “roughed up” by members of the ultra-Orthodox community and by members of the Shomrim (or neighborhood watch). We have been told that the non-ultra-Orthodox victims of these crimes rarely say anything at all for fear that anything they say will be deemed “hate speech” thereby paving the way for the involvement of the Hate Crimes Unit.

Self-defense should not be deemed a hate crime.

Our sources have stated that it is particularly colorful when these incidents occur in the 66th Precinct, with specific implications that precinct members are permitted to moonlight after work and moonlighting for the ultra-Orthodox community can be very lucrative.

We suppose it might also help with anger management at the end of a rough day…

We have been told that there are likely many more similar videos like the one above that either have not been exposed, are “lost,” “hidden,” or “missing.” The stories we are receiving are similar to tales of protection money and gang violence, though more common in the setting of “collections.”

It might be time for law enforcement to start paying attention to what is going on within the ultra-Orthodox communities. There are CCTV cameras everywhere in that community. If you are not finding one, or if the video happens to be missing or shut off, there is something very wrong.

The members of the ultra-Orthodox community are not generally sloppy. If there is no footage it is because someone did not want there to be footage.

Hispanic man allegedly roughed up in his doorway by Jewish neighborhood security patrol raises questions about group’s tactics

An accusation that a Brooklyn man yelled “Kill all the Jews” sparked a wild confrontation that led to an arrest that was later voided — and raised questions about members of a neighborhood patrol who allegedly pulled the man from his home and roughed him up.

The confrontation, captured on video obtained by the Daily News, happened just past midnight last Thursday. The footage shows a 26-year-old Hispanic man getting accosted at the doorway to his home — on 42nd St., in the heart of Orthodox Borough Park — by two other men believed to be from Shmira, a neighborhood patrol group, a source said.

Shmira denied being involved in the confrontation, saying it showed up on the scene after the Hispanic man was involved in the altercation at his front door.

“We absolutely didn’t do anything wrong,” said Levi Leifer, the director of Shmira of Borough Park.

Police said the incident started when the Hispanic man and an Orthodox man argued about a blocked car. At some point, police said, the Hispanic man tried to get into his home.

But video taken from across the street showed the Hispanic man being followed up the stairs by another man, then pushing back as the man appeared to be keeping him from getting inside. Eventually, a third man joins in as the Hispanic man is pulled back outside and roughed up.

The video ends with a van pulling up in front of the house and several men piling out of it, as one of the men involved in the confrontation at the doorway motions towards it.

Police said the Orthodox man involved in the argument about the blocked car called Shmira and reported that the Hispanic man yelled “Kill all the Jews” and punched him. The same allegation was made to police.

The source said other video shows the Hispanic man crossing the street, then arguing with two Orthodox men who accused him of breaking into cars.

“Kill Jews,” they later accused the Hispanic man of saying. The Hispanic man, who could not be reached for comment, at some point was able to call police, the source said.

Neighbors told The News varying accounts, including that the Hispanic man mentioned he wanted to kill Jews.

The Hispanic man was arrested based on the account of the first Orthodox man he argued with. He was taken to the 66th Precinct and the Hate Crime Unit was called in to investigate. After video was located the Hispanic man was released.

Police wouldn’t say what led to the decision not to charge the men seen roughing up the Hispanic man, though Leifer said Shmira has given the NYPD a roster of all its members.

A law enforcement source said the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office is considering assault charges in the case.

The DA’s office had no comment.

To continue to the original article, click here.

Can’t Make This Stuff Up… Hasidic Power Broker With Mayoral Access


Hasidic political power broker has inside access to mayor, new emails reveal

Daily News:

A Hasidic political power broker was so deep inside the mayor’s inner circle that he got VIP treatment from top City Hall staffers and regularly corresponded with de Blasio — and he even had the First Lady’s cell phone number, newly released emails show.

Yitzchok (Jules) Fleischer, a gatekeeper in the Bobov Hasidic community, called in favors from the mayor for a job and a handicap parking placard. He offered Hizzoner advice on dealing with the police union and repeatedly texted Chirlane McCray on her cell.

The 90 pages of emails obtained by the Daily News through a Freedom of Information Law request show Fleischer was regularly in the mayor’s ear — sometimes asking for help, other times serving as an ad hoc political consultant.

Paperwork on behalf of Yitzchok (Jules) Fleischer to get a vehicle placard is pictured here.
Paperwork on behalf of Yitzchok (Jules) Fleischer to get a vehicle placard is pictured here. (Obtained by Daily News)

His role as an important go-between for de Blasio and 5,000 votes he could deliver in the Orthodox community allowed him to be a nudge to the mayor and sometimes McCray.

Sometimes he got to be too much, emails show.

“Chirlane says you keep texting her and wanting to meet,” de Blasio emailed Fleischer on Jan. 13, 2015. “Unless that is specific to some of the work she is doing, you should stop reaching out to her and tell me what’s on your mind.

“Then I will tell you if I can help or not,” the mayor adds. “Deal with me, not her.”

Email records show Fleischer wasn’t shy about offering advice on how to handle de Blasio’s ongoing dispute with the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association.

The wannabe adviser suggested that de Blasio apologize just like President Kennedy did after the Bay of Pigs disaster.

“I think U should do the ‘same’, explain on air that U stand with the PD, & slowly distance yourself from Al (Sharpton) it will help U a lot,” Fleischer wrote Jan. 8, 2015.

“I saw this and appreciate your thought,” de Blasio replied the next day.

Fleischer also felt emboldened enough to ask the mayor for an undisclosed job in the administration. The position — which went to someone else — is redacted from the email exchange for privacy reasons.