Mike Diederich, Jr. – DA Candidate Rockland County, NY – Op Ed., Values that Protect All Citizens

About Mike Diederich’s DA Opponent, Judge Thomas E. Walsh II

Note to Reader:

Mike Diederich, Jr. is running against Judge Thomas E. Walsh II for the DA position in Rockland County, NY. Judge Walsh, who is running as both an avid Republican and an avid Democrat (depending upon the locations of the signs) seems not to have been able to decide which platform suits him best. We are not really certain what to make of that, except to state that it would seem he has no particular sense of loyalty.

Walsh has been endorsed by a number of law enforcement agencies; but is also funded in large part by big development within Rockland County, with money coming in from Brooklyn, from Lakewood and from other areas which are currently mired in development controversies.

The same people who equate code enforcement with anti-Semitism are the same people supporting Walsh.

In 2013, Judge Walsh, in an article entitlted “New York’s Double Dippers” was cited in the Democratic Chronicle as one of the top paid members of the judiciary at that time:

17 state judges collected salaries and pensions last year, the highest earner being Surrogate Court Judge Thomas E. Walsh II, a retired local judge in Haverstraw, Rockland County, and a former county attorney. State records show he earned a $104,687 pension and two salaries — $3,750 from the state Department of Taxation and Finance and $132,260 as a state judge; he’s also an acting Supreme Court judge. His total compensation was $240,698.

We suspect a win for DA would mark him squarely as one of the top paid people in the County, if not the State, when you attach all of his accumulated pension and benefits; but we cannot independently verify how exactly that works, whether or not he keeps other pensions or has to relinquish them. To the best of our knowledge Walsh is no longer paid as a judge, though we are uncertain what other benefits he may be receiving.

 

Opinion – Mike Diederich, Jr.

 

See the source image

No, It Isn’t Anti-Semitism

In response to “Chassidim Are The Target, Not Overdevelopment” (op-ed, Sept. 13):

Concerns about irresponsible development in Rockland County are not anti-chassidic; “us vs. them” name-calling is counterproductive; and labeling people anti-Semitic when they are simply concerned about the problems they see around them is un-American.

Rockland’s homeowners see ever-increasing taxes of all sorts; public corruption that stems, at least in part, from bloc voting; housing and fire code violations endangering lives; crumbling public schools; and educationally-deficient private schools.

Our nation is great because we welcome diversity and respect everyone’s right to their own religious beliefs. I learned this from my father, who fought in World War II. But religious belief does not give a citizen a free pass to ignore the obligations of citizenship – and one of these obligations is to be an educated citizen.

An informed, educated citizen knows it’s wrong to discriminate against a person because of his religious faith, knows it’s wrong to say, “You cannot live in my neighborhood” because of unfamiliar clothing attire or customs, and knows it’s wrong to be a bigot.

But an informed, educated citizen also knows it’s wrong to deny children their right to a sound secular education and know it’s wrong to call someone an anti-Semite for supporting core American values.

I am an independent Democrat running for District Attorney in Rockland County who served with the U.S. military in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. I have been part of the fight against religious hatred. And as District Attorney, I will promote the values I outlined above since these values protect all citizens.

Mike Diederich, Jr.
Stony Point, NY

Lakewood, NJ and an Expose – Who is Imposing Views on Whom and Is it Anti-Semitism or Justified Resentment?

Lakewood in Ocean County has become a destination for Orthodox Jewish families. (Aristide Economopoulos | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)

Race, religion, corruption and politics: A guide to the crisis in Lakewood

Lakewood is home to a huge Orthodox Jewish community and the rapid growth has engulfed the town, igniting tensions between the religious and secular societies on many levels.

Each day, we will explore some of the major issues in the community, including the welfare fraud investigation, housing problems and the strains on the education system.

LAKEWOOD — The drive into Lakewood from the Parkway could be confused with any other stretch of county road near the Pinelands. There are farm stands, strip malls, modest neighborhoods and an occasional open field.

Then, you cross the border into Lakewood and the landscape changes immediately. There are suddenly crowded townhouse developments, new multifamily houses going up and members of the Orthodox Jewish community on every sidewalk.
 
Lakewood represents the convergence of almost every issue in New Jersey – race, religious freedom, discrimination, corruption, local politics, school funding, overdevelopment and transportation woes.
 
What makes it unique is the unprecedented growth of the town combined with the complex issues surrounding the booming Orthodox Jewish community.

While tensions have been rising in Lakewood for years, the turmoil has escalated in recent weeks with a showdown over school funding and a high-profile welfare fraud investigation.

The town thrust into the spotlight this summer with the arrest of 26 members of the Orthodox community accused of lying about their income to collect more than $2 million in public assistance.

The arrests brought renewed attention to Lakewood and highlighted what residents of the Ocean County town already know – Lakewood is changing. This once-faded resort community has become the most complex town in New Jersey.

What makes Lakewood unique?

Lakewood is booming. Thanks to an influx of Orthodox Jews, it has been New Jersey’s fastest-growing town over the last 20 years. It has one of the highest birth rates in the world. Housing is going up at an unprecedented pace.

“It’s probably the most attractive place in the United States today for a young Orthodox Jewish family,” said Rabbi Aaron Kotler, one of the leaders of the Orthodox community. “That’s a phenomenon that certainly didn’t exist when I was growing up, 20 or 30 years ago. But it’s a reality today.”

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With Resentment Jew Against Jew…The Upcoming Israel Vote and Similarities to Counties in NY and NJ

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CreditCreditSergey Ponomarev for The New York Times

How Jewish Should the Jewish State Be? The Question Shadows an Israeli Vote

JERUSALEM — For years, the resentment had been building.

In Israel, Jewish men and women are drafted into the military, but the ultra-Orthodox are largely exempt. Unlike other Israelis, many ultra-Orthodox receive state subsidies to study the Torah and raise large families.

And in a country that calls itself home to all Jews, ultra-Orthodox rabbis have a state-sanctioned monopoly on events like marriage, divorce and religious conversions.

A series of political twists has suddenly jolted these issues to the fore, and the country’s long-simmering secular-religious divide has become a central issue in the national election on Tuesday.

In a country buffeted by a festering conflict with the Palestinians, increasingly open warfare with Iran and a prime minister facing indictment on corruption charges, the election has been surprisingly preoccupied with the question of just how Jewish — and whose idea of Jewish — the Jewish state should be.

“I have nothing against the ultra-Orthodox, but they should get what they deserve according to their size,” said Lior Amiel, 49, a businessman who was out shopping in Ramat Hasharon. “Currently, I’m funding their lifestyle.”

This election was supposed to be a simple do-over, a quick retake to give Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a second chance to form a government and his opponents another shot at running him out of office.

Instead it has become what Yohanan Plesner, president of the nonpartisan Israel Democracy Institute, calls “a critical campaign for the trajectory of the country.”

Blame Avigdor Lieberman, the right-wing secular politician who forced the new election by refusing to join Mr. Netanyahu’s coalition with the ultra-Orthodox. The hill Mr. Lieberman chose to fight on was a new law that would eliminate the wholesale exemptions for ultra-Orthodox men to serve in the military.

Ultra-Orthodox lawmakers wanted to water it down. Mr. Lieberman refused to compromise.

It may have been a ploy to grab attention, but it struck a nerve. Almost overnight, Mr. Lieberman’s support doubled, and he became an unlikely hero to liberals.

For years, says Jason Pearlman, a veteran right-wing political operative, the two main axes of Israeli politics, religion and the Palestinians, had been “zip-tied” together. Mr. Netanyahu’s longtime coalition was just such a merger — right-wing voters, who favored a hard line toward the Palestinians, and the ultra-Orthodox, who promised a bloc vote in exchange for concessions on religious issues.

“What Lieberman did was to snap those zip-ties, popping the axes back apart,” Mr. Pearlman said.

Secular and liberal leaders from the left and center responded by effectively joining forces with the right-wing Mr. Lieberman against the prime minister’s ultra-Orthodox and religious-nationalist allies.

These rebels say that the mushrooming ultra-Orthodox population, with its unemployed religious students and large families subsidized by the state, is imposing excessive fiscal and social burdens on other Israelis. They are demanding more pluralistic options for marriages and conversions.

They were appalled that the ultrareligious parties were willing to grant Mr. Netanyahu immunity from prosecution, arguing that Mr. Netanyahu was buying his way out of jail by allowing Israel to be turned into a theocracy.

And they are furious at the growing influence of a quasi-evangelistic group of religious-nationalist Jews who espouse anti-feminist, anti-gay views and a far-right, messianic ideology.

“It’s becoming more and more alarming,” said Nitzan Horowitz, leader of the left-wing Democratic Union party. “People are starting to feel threatened.”

The ultra-Orthodox parties insist that they are simply defending a status quo that dates to Israel’s founding and is meant to preserve study of the Torah by its most pious devotees. A compromise with Israel’s then-fledgling religious community gave Orthodox rabbis control over family and dietary laws, among other things, in exchange for their support for the new state.

The ultra-Orthodox now make up only 10 percent of eligible Jewish voters, Israeli pollsters say — compared with 44 percent who consider themselves secular — but they have kept and added to those concessions thanks to their ability to extract promises in exchange for their political support.

“We’re not becoming a smaller minority, we’re becoming a larger minority,” said Yitzhak Zeev Pindrus, a lawmaker from the ultra-Orthodox party United Torah Judaism. “But we’re trying to keep it the same way it is.”

The religious-nationalists dismiss the criticism of their intentions as anti-Semitic self-loathing.

“They’re on a hate campaign against anything that has a Jewish aroma to it,” said Eytan Fuld, a spokesman for the right-wing Yamina party.

 

To continue reading in The New York Times, click here.

 

Political Ambitions, Mesira, Lack of Education – a Culture of Sexual Abuse in Orthodox Judaism- How Many Victims?

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Secrets and Lies

Sexual abuse in the world of Orthodox Judaism

In 1973, when Barry Singer was a fifteen-year-old student at New York’s Yeshiva University High School for Boys, the vice principal, Rabbi George Finkelstein, stopped him in a stairwell. Claiming he wanted to check his tzitzit—the strings attached to Singer’s prayer shawl—Finkelstein, Singer says, pushed the boy over the third-floor banister, in full view of his classmates, and reached down his pants. “If he’s not wearing tzitzit,” Finkelstein told the surrounding children, “he’s going over the stairs!”

“He played it as a joke, but I was completely at his mercy,” Singer recalled. For the rest of his time at Yeshiva, Singer would often wear his tzitzit on the outside of his shirt—though this was regarded as rebellious—for fear that Finkelstein might find an excuse to assault him again.

Jay Goldberg, who attended Yeshiva from 1980 to 1984, says that he endured years of sexual, emotional, and physical abuse from Finkelstein. The rabbi, he said, forced him and others to wrestle with him while he became sexually aroused, and demanded that they hit him repeatedly. Neither Goldberg nor Singer ever reported Finkelstein’s behavior to the school; when one student, identified in a future lawsuit as John Doe 14, finally did, in 1986, Finkelstein allegedly pulled him out of class in a rage, shoved him against a wall, punched him, and threatened him with expulsion. The school took no action during those years other than removing Finkelstein’s office door. In 1991, he was promoted to principal.

During those same decades, another Yeshiva rabbi, Macy Gordon, was also reportedly sexually abusing students. One accuser, identified in the lawsuit as John Doe 2, claims that Gordon sodomized him in his dorm room in 1980. The rabbi “said he was going to punish me for missing class,” the accuser told me. “He laid me across his lap and took my toothbrush and plowed it in and out of my rectum, and it burned. I remember it burned for a very long time after. I can’t go back in time and tell you what I was thinking, but I can only tell you that it lasts forever.” He told me that Gordon also sprayed Chloraseptic on his genitals, remarking that he showed “signs,” by which Gordon meant signs of puberty. Later that year, John Doe 2 tried to kill himself.

In total, Finkelstein and Gordon are suspected of hundreds of acts of sexual abuse at Yeshiva, though they never faced any legal repercussions. Finkelstein was discreetly forced out of Yeshiva in 1995 but quickly found work as the dean of a Jewish day school in Florida and later as the director general of the Great Synagogue in Jerusalem, although allegations of abuse followed him to each of these new positions.

Gordon, for his part, enjoyed a thirty-plus-year career at Yeshiva. He also eventually moved to Jerusalem, where, according to the New York Times, he served alongside Finkelstein on the advisory board of the National Council of Young Israel, an organization promoting Orthodox Judaism to liberal American Jews. (The current president of the organization claims that neither rabbi had been involved with the group “to my knowledge.”) In 2002, Dr. Jonathan Zizmor—a celebrity dermatologist whose advertisements were a staple of New York City subway cars for decades—set up a $250,000 scholarship fund in Gordon’s name for future generations of Yeshiva students. (Zizmor claims he knew nothing of the abuse at the time, and when allegations surfaced, he maintained that Gordon was “a great teacher, a great man.”)

In 2013, thirty-four of Finkelstein’s and Gordon’s victims—including Singer, Goldberg, John Doe 14, and John Doe 2—filed a $680 million lawsuit against Yeshiva, alleging that sexual misconduct occurred for decades with the knowledge of the administration and without recourse for victims or punishment for the perpetrators. But by the time the suit was filed, the statute of limitations had expired, and the case was dismissed.

This past February, however, the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, signed the Child Victims Act (C.V.A.), which modifies the state’s statute of limitations such that many cases previously dismissed because of the length of time since the alleged crime can now be relitigated. As of this writing, attorneys for the former Yeshiva students—now numbering forty-one—planned to refile the lawsuit with new evidence on August 14, the day the law was scheduled to go into effect. Their hope, one of the attorneys, Michael Dowd, told me, is for Yeshiva to “finally be held accountable for their craven, repugnant, and unconscionable behavior in letting known sexual predators have unfettered access to scores of innocent and unsuspecting boys.” But even if they succeed, it’s far from certain whether the C.V.A. will be able to fundamentally change the culture of secrets and lies that has given rise to scandals such as the one at Yeshiva in the first place.

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Lieberman, a Stand Against Israel’s Transition into a Fundamentalist and Financially Unsustainable Country

An election campaign poster showing Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman over the caption, 'Right-wing, and secular too,' in Jerusalem on April 2, 2019, ahead of the April 9 general elections. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Liberman’s stand against ultra-Orthodox coercion sees him gaining popularity

Hardline ex-defense minister has relied on support from Russian-speaking Israelis, but polls show his refusal to capitulate to demands of religious parties is widening his appeal

AFP — In a former hotel turned social housing building for elderly Israelis from the former Soviet Union, one politician remains more popular than all others.

“Here, the vast majority of people vote (Avigdor) Liberman,” said Nadejda Yermononok, 75, referring to the gruff hardline leader of the nationalist Yisrael Beytenu party.

At the “Diplomat” building housing more than 400 people in southern Israel, residents call the ex-defense minister Yvet, the Russian version of his first name.

He has done so in part with his stand against ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties, which he accuses of seeking to force religious law onto Israel’s secular population.

He has also been seeking to end exemptions for the ultra-Orthodox from performing mandatory military service like most other Jewish Israelis.

In many ways, Liberman is the reason Israel is holding another election only five months after the polls in April, unprecedented in the country’s history.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party along with its right-wing and religious allies won a majority of seats in April, but Lieberman prevented his old nemesis from forming a coalition.

‘Only one who fights’

Liberman refused to agree to a coalition deal that did not include legislation that would seek to have the ultra-Orthodox serve in the military.

That was a deal-breaker for the ultra-Orthodox parties, which would have been an important part of the coalition.

Netanyahu opted for fresh polls rather than risk the possibility of President Reuven Rivlin selecting someone else to try to form a government.

And he harshly criticized Liberman, who headed the premier’s office during Netanyahu’s first term in the 1990s.

Liberman resigned as defense minister in November over a Gaza ceasefire deal that he called a “capitulation to terror.”

Most of Israel’s Russian-speaking population arrived in the 1990s, and those with origins in the former Soviet Union now make up some 12 percent of the country’s nearly nine-million-strong population.

ermononok said Liberman “is the only one who fights the special treatment the ultra-Orthodox get” from the state — echoing a common complaint from secular Israelis.

They “don’t work, don’t serve in the army, receive child benefits and all sorts of discounts in transportation, municipal taxes and education,” the former nurse said.

“Other Israelis, including the Russians, work like crazy, pay their taxes and send their children to combat units.”

Ultra-Orthodox men have been exempted from military service to devote themselves to religious studies since the creation of Israel in 1948 when there were only a few hundred to enjoy that privilege.

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Israeli Government Sans “Extremists and Extortionists” – Benny Gantz

ULTRA-ORTHODOX LEADERS CONDEMN GANTZ FOR SAYING HE’LL EXCLUDE THEM

Leaders of the ultra-Orthodox political parties have denounced Blue and White chairman MK Benny Gantz for saying he would exclude them from government if he gets the chance to form a coalition.

Speaking on Tuesday night in Beersheva, Gantz said he would form a “liberal unity government,” without “extremists or extortionists,” widely seen as a reference to the ultra-Orthodox and right wing religious-Zionist parties.
United Torah Judaism chairman and deputy health minister MK Yaakov Litzman and senior UTJ leader MK Moshe Gafni said that “the cat was out of the bag” and that Gantz’s efforts to hide his positions regarding the ultra-Orthodox parties had now been exposed.
“After he has tried for a considerable period to conceal his opinions and even did everything to separate himself from his partner Yair Lapid, today it is clear that there is no difference between them,” said Gafni and Litzman in a joint statement to the press.
Even on Tuesday, Shas chairman and interior minister Aryeh Deri said that if Gantz and his fellow party leaders would separate from Yesh Atid and Lapid they could join a right-wing, religious government that might be formed.
But Blue and White has, over the last few weeks, been battered by Avigdor Liberman and his Yisrael Beytenu party for his reticence to underline his commitment to liberal, pluralistic values.
Whereas Blue and White obtained 35 Knessets seats in the April election, it is currently polling between 30 and 31 seats, while Yisrael Beytenu, which took just five seats in the April election, is polling between nine and ten seats.
Yisrael Beytenu rejected Gantz’s comments saying that they were part of a coordinated plan between him and the ultra-Orthodox parties and that the Blue and White leader planned to bring UTJ and Shas into a coalition which Gantz would form if he was positioned to form a government after the election.
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A 2014 Succoth Celebration – A Delightful Event – a Dead Giveaway on Political Alliances

 

http://www.thefriedlandergroup.com/sukkoth-celebration-2014.14-1315.sub.html

NYC’s Top Elected Officials Grace Sukkoth Celebration

What do

NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer

NYC Public Advocate Tish James

Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson

Assemblyman Dov Hikind

City Councilman Brad Lander

Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte

Assemblyman David Weprin
have in common?

They all gathered in the Sukkoh of Ezra Friedlander, CEO of The Friedlander Group to wish prominent members of the Jewish community a “Chag Sameach”.

In attendance was also: Rabbi David Zwiebel, Executive VP Agudath Israel of America

Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, Executive VP, NY Board of Rabbis

Rabbi Steve Burg, East Coast Director, Simon Wiesenthal Center and Rabbi Michael Miller, executive VP of the Jewish Community Relations Council who delivered greetings to the assembled.