Rabbi Eliezar Berland, Accepting Cash for “blessing” Terminally Ill, Demanding Money, Negotiating Comeback

Chasidic rabbi accused of accepting cash to bless terminally ill patients in Israeli hospitals

Eliezer Berland allegedly offered his services in exchange for 20,000 shekels

Rabbi Eliezer Berland, pictured here in in 2016 as he is led into court by police for his trial on sexual assault charges
Rabbi Eliezer Berland, pictured here in in 2016 as he is led into court by police for his trial on sexual assault charges (File photo: Flash 90)

The leader of a powerful Chasidic sect in Jerusalem has been accused of extorting money from the families of terminally ill patients in exchange for a rabbinical blessing.

Rabbi Eliezer Berland, 81, who heads the Shuvu Banim sect of Breslov Chasidim in Jerusalem, allegedly offered his services in exchange for 20,000 shekels (£4,250) to the relatives of patients in a vegetative state in Israeli hospitals.

He previously served jail time after being convicted of indecent acts and assault.

During the hospital visits, which were recorded on security cameras and obtained by Israel’s Channel 12, Rabbi Berland is heard demanding the money for pidyon nefesh (“redemption of the soul”).

In their desperation, some families reportedly accepted.

His representatives have denied the allegations, but videos have previously been published of him online blessing patients alongside a phone number to call.

Rabbi Berland fled Israel in 2012 after police began investigating accusations that he sexually assaulting women in the Shuvu Banim Sect.

After spending several years on the run in Morocco, Zimbabwe, the Netherlands and South Africam he was finally extradited in 2016 to Israel, where he convicted on two counts of indecent acts and one of assault and sentenced to eighteen months in prison.

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Family of sex offender rabbi sued to recover missing charitable funds – report

Close relatives of a prominent rabbi convicted of sex crimes are being sued for misappropriating charitable donations for personal use, Israeli TV reported Sunday.

According to Channel 12, the Justice Ministry-approved lawsuit is seeking NIS 50 million ($13.76 million) from the wife, son and grandson of Rabbi Eliezber Berland, who heads the Shuvu Bonim religious community.

Another 11 people are also named in the suit, most of whom the report said acted as fronts.

To read the remainder of the article click here.


Sex offender rabbi ‘negotiated with deputy ministers’ for public comeback

Rabbi Eliezer Berland (L), a convicted sex offender, meets with UTJ's Meir Porush at a Beit Shemesh wedding on January  6, 2019 (courtesy)

A popular rabbi convicted of sexual offenses has been negotiating his public rehabilitation with ultra-Orthodox politicians in exchange for his followers’ political support, according to a television report on Tuesday.

After evading arrest for three years, Eliezer Berland, 80, was sentenced to 18 months in prison in November 2016 on two counts of indecent acts and one case of assault, as part of a plea deal. He was freed after five months, in part due to ill health.

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Izzy Posen, a Hasidic ultra-Orthodox Jew, What he Faced to Leave the Community – BBC




Inside the hidden world of Britain’s Hasidic ultra-Orthodox Jews

Would you be able to leave everything you have ever known behind in order to follow your dreams?

That was the choice Izzy Posen, a Hasidic ultra-Orthodox Jew faced when he decided to leave his isolated religious community.

He told BBC World Service how his life has been transformed since breaking free.

Video produced by Trystan Young and Alice Porter.

Listen to more stories from The Newsroom.


Tom Cotton, Saving the World from Prison Reform – It WILL NOT Keep Our Communities Safe, it Will Allow Fraud with Impunity

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., speaks to reporters as he arrives for a meeting with fellow Republicans, including Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who are at the Capitol to discuss the nation's criminal justice sentencing laws, in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) ** FILE **

Sen. Tom Cotton says prison-reform bill shouldn’t allow early release for felons

A key Republican opponent of a prison-reform bill backed by President Trump said Tuesday that supporters of the measure should kill provisions allowing certain federal inmates out of prison before they complete their sentences.

Sen. Tom Cotton, Arkansas Republican, said the legislation should focus on helping people “who have paid their debts to society.”

“We shouldn’t be slashing sentences and releasing child abusers and serious felons and drug dealers early from prison,” Mr. Cotton said on the Hugh Hewitt radio show.

The White House and Senate supporters of the bill are pushing for a vote on the First Step Act before the end of the lame-duck session later this month. Presidential adviser Jared Kushner, who is Mr. Trump’s point person on the legislation, said Monday night that the bill “will accomplish a lot to make our communities safer.”

“The recidivism rate that we have is way too high and not doing anything about that is irresponsible,” Mr. Kushner told Fox News host Sean Hannity. “We’re very close right now and hopefully this will get to the floor and we’ll be able to have a big bipartisan celebration before Christmas.”

“It is extremely popular and has strong bipartisan support. It will also help a lot of people, save taxpayer dollars, and keep our communities safe. Go for it Mitch!” the president said.

CORRECTION – NYPD Confidential – A Diamond of a Setup – How Credible is Rechnitz as a Government Witness?

CORRECTION: Please note the following correction. Jona Rechnitz is the government witness. Jeremy Reichberg is not a government witness. The title of the article contained a typographical error which has been brought to our attention and which have herein corrected. To the extent an error was made it was nothing more than a typographical error and we hope this serves to appropriately correct the record. We appreciate this being brought to our attention.

DISCLAIMER: LostMessiah is republishing the entirety of the NYPD Confidential page with the permission of its author. We are doing so with the understanding that no attribution should be made to him regarding our analysis of the information he has provided, our theories or our views. He is not to be deemed to support our site, though we do support his.
By virtue of the permission granted we emphasize that nothing in this republication should be deemed to imply any support of our site or the theories and analyses we convey. We thank him sincerely for the permission.



NYPD Confidential - An Inside Look at the New York Police Department.  The New York City police department is the largest and most powerful law enforcement organization  in the country, if not the world. It is capable of both the greatest investigations and feats of bravery  as well as the most flagrant of abuses, both internal and external. While the media chronicles the  former, it often ignores or is unaware of the latter. NYPD Confidential, a weekly chronicle by police  columnist Leonard Levitt, is an insider's view of the department that the public rarely sees.

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Jews, Hasidic Jews and the NYPD

November 5, 2018

With the fatal Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, the increased number of reported anti-Semitic incidents and the upcoming corruption trial of a police inspector with ties to Brooklyn’s Hasidic community, let’s consider the state of anti-Semitism in the NYPD. The good news: at least in the higher ranks, it doesn’t appear to exist.

Click here to read what the police brass say about NYPD Confidential“Not in my command,” said former police commissioner Bernie Kerik, who served from 2000 to 2001. “I don’t recall anything like that. Maybe there are isolated incidents but no, there is no anti-Semitism in the NYPD.”

“It’s a complete non-issue,” says a person with insider knowledge of the department who asked for anonymity to speak openly about the subject. “There is prejudice against other groups, but not against Jews.” He did not specify to which groups he was referring.

Unlike other cities, he says, “The Jewish community in New York City is very broad and very powerful. The police department understands that and is responsive. A cop learns early on that Jews can be helpful.”

Click here to read the New York Times profile of Leonard LevittIn addition, over the past 40 years, New York has had three Jewish mayors as well as a Jewish police commissioner, Howard Safir. And former mayor Rudy Giuliani, who appointed Safir, has long been a supporter of Jewish causes. Ray Kelly, who under Mayor Michael Bloomberg became the longest serving police commissioner in city history, has shared Passover seder with the department’s longtime chaplain, Rabbi Alvin Kass.

Then there are the Hasidic Jews with their 18th-century dress and old-fashioned ways. Some mainstream Jewish organizations are wary of and embarrassed by them. So much so that after the 1991 Crown Heights riots, which led to the fatal stabbing of a rabbinical student by a black mob, the premier Jewish civil rights organization, the Anti-Defamation League, remained silent for weeks.

Click here to read the Washington Post article on NYPD ConfidentialFor the department, dealing with the Hasidics can be a double-edged sword. “There’s a split between the upper ranks of captains and above and lieutenants and below,” says a former top cop. “The upper ranks feel they need to get along with them for political reasons because of the perception that this is what City Hall wants. But many lower ranking cops are bitter towards the Hasidics because of their perceived power and privileges.” Because of this, says another former top cop, “Coming up, I heard plenty of ‘fucking Jews’ and ‘Jew bastard’ talk in the locker rooms.”

No incident better reflected the Hasidics’ influence with City Hall than when in 1978 under Mayor Ed Koch hundreds of Hasidic protesters wrecked the 66th Precinct in Borough Park and injured 60 cops. Whether Koch ordered it, or top commanders perceived that’s what he wanted, no arrests were made. Among cops, the precinct became known as Fort Surrender.

Twenty-one years later, after a cop issued a summons to a Hasidic driver, Hasidics again stormed the 66th Precinct No doubt with Fort Surrender in mind, Borough Commander George Brown refused to release the driver. No doubt at Giuliani’s direction, Safir transferred Brown out of Brooklyn to Police Plaza.

The trial of Deputy Inspector James Grant — who is accused of having sex with a prostitute on a private plane, paid for by Hasidic businessman Jeremy Reichberg, who is on trial with him — is to begin this week. Indications are that the trial will lay bare some of the ties between the department and Brooklyn’s Hasidic community. We got a taste of this in last year’s trial of former corrections union president Norman Seabrook, from the government’s chief witness, Jonah Rechnitz. He’s expected to be the government’s chief witness again.

The California Bank Backing Hasidic Developers…. AND 199 LEE AVENUE



199 Lee Avenue is really little more than a building with thousands of PO Boxes. Most of the PO Boxes represents another company. Most if not all of which are Hasidic owned and some of which are the actual registered addresses for assorted companies which may or may not be real companies.

In fact, 199 Lee Avenue was also tied to the late Menachem Stark and properties that he owned.

We think it no coincidence, however, that in 2016 there was an investigation into the PO Boxes and some of the connected LLC’s; an investigation that appeared to end with Kushner and the White House, though the article below suggests that to credit Kushner in the White House is a stretch. Perhaps.

We will say this. It is not the first time 199 Lee Avenue has been on our radar and will likely not be the last. But rather than try and tell you to entire story again, we have highlighted the relevant passages of the articles below in Red. That should tell it all.

We believe that the authorities, Federal and State Tax authorities, the SEC (think REIT’s) and the FBI should still be paying attention, not only to 199 Lee but to a number of connected addresses, some of which are listed below. Please pay attention to the below wherein it states that the Hasidic communities are some of the largest recipients of Section 8 Housing. We also presume that Medicare and Medicaid go hand-in-hand with that, a logical conclusion. But if you take a look at he numbers, particularly as they stand today, it simply does not make logical or reasonable sense. 


It’s 1999. AOL is how most people receive email, and computers everywhere could soon succumb to the Millenium bug. It’s also the year when a new lender emerges and quickly gains a reputation for catering to wealthy clients with “complicated” personal finances. Its name? Bank of Internet.

Flash forward to 2018. The bank has rebranded to BofI Federal, emerged unscathed from a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation, and has made a major bet on a niche corner of New York commercial real estate — backing projects from some of Brooklyn’s most prolific Orthodox Jewish developers. It does this mostly by acquiring senior notes on loans originated by other funds.

Lately, the bank has been in the headlines for a pair of real estate loans tied to Kushner Companies, as ProPublica reported. At Toby Moskovits’ Bushwick office redevelopment at 215 Moore Street, BofI refinanced the last-known Brooklyn development loan held by Kushner Credit Opportunities Fund, a debt vehicle Kushner Companies founded in 2016. At One Journal Square in Jersey City, BofI put up funds to finance Fortress Investment Group’s $57 million bridge loan to Kushner Companies. That two-tower project has been plagued by problems, both political and financial, and it’s unclear if the company will be able to see it through.

In an interview with The Real Deal, Gregory Garrabrants, BofI’s CEO, said it was misleading to draw any connection between his firm’s business with Kushner Companies and the fact that the SEC investigation was dropped.

“There’s a political agenda behind talking about Kushner,” Garrabrants said. “I don’t know Mr. Kushner, but I don’t have to because we know Fortress.”

Deep Brooklyn

Though BofI, a San Diego-based company with $8.9 billion in assets, has long been active in single-family lending in New York, it only recently got into commercial real estate. Sources said it started to appear as a financing option in “warehouse lending,” in which a bank issues a loan to a warehouse owner and funds that loan with debt from a secondary lender, such as BofI. Essentially, it’s a way for lenders to issue loans without having to use their own money. This type of deal is often referred to as loan hypothecation, in which the original loan is the collateral for the debt a lender seeks from a bank.

“It’s more of a West Coast thing,” said David Eyzenberg, a debt broker, on the hypothecation structure. “Where we really got to know [BofI] was in providing leverage to hard-money lenders.”

The bank’s services have been especially appealing to developers in Brooklyn, specifically the middle-market investors and luxury rental builders hailing from the borough’s ultra-Orthodox communities, according to an analysis of property records by TRD. The analysis found that of Bofl’s 10 largest loans backed by real estate in the last three years, eight were tied to assets owned by Brooklyn developers, including a number from Williamsburg’s Hasidic community.

Hasidic developers commonly prefer to finance in smaller loan increments over several stages, allowing them to revise design plans or recapitalize with additional partners and then restructure the financing, sources said. The approach stands in contrast with Manhattan’s development giants, which traditionally shoot for a large institutional loan up-front.

Charles Kushner, Toby Moskovits, 215 Moore Street and 61 Adams Street

“There is a certain type of sponsor turning to this bank for land and development deals, which have a higher cost of capital and are harder to finance,” said an investor familiar with the bank who requested anonymity. “And so the bank has largely been serving as a bridge lender to the same players.”

The list includes prominent Hasidic builders such as Simon Dushinsky’s Rabsky Group, Abraham Leser’s Leser Group, Cheskie Weisz’s CW Realty and Zelig Weiss’ Riverside Developers. Public records show Dushinsky has the most debt on BofI’s books, with more than $80 million spread across three loans.

The model means BofI has little to no interaction with the sponsors themselves. Scott Barone, whose firm Barone Management secured $15.8 million from BofI via Emerald Creek Capital in 2016, said he “never had any actual dealings with them.”

Sources identified Sal Salzillo as one of the main point people leading lender financings on development deals for BofI in New York. However, Salzillo left in March for Sandhills Bank, a South Carolina-based bank owned by the Kalikow real estate family. He could not be reached for comment.

Garrabrants wouldn’t reveal the names of his New York real estate team members and said the firm does not target any specific community for its business.

“There’s no specific marketing or any kind of specific targeting of any particular group of borrowers,” he said.

The wide web

In 2016, the SEC started hitting the bank with subpoenas, after a whistleblower filed a lawsuit in 2015 alleging the bank might have been lending illegally to certain foreign nationals  in possible violation of federal money laundering laws. The suit also alleged the bank failed to fully disclose certain loan practices to regulators. The SEC dropped its investigation in June 2017 without taking any legal action. Garrabrants attributed the lawsuit and subsequent inquiries to the machinations of angry short sellers who watched the bank’s stock continue to climb. In a January 2017 earnings call, he called the allegations “fake news.”

But some have questioned whether the SEC dropping its investigation and the bank’s lending to a major Kushner Companies development project is too much of a coincidence. Jared Kushner joined the White House last January as a senior adviser, and although he has resigned from company positions, he still retains ownership in much of the company portfolio. Garrabrants dismissed these questions as part of a “tin-hat conspiracy” and said the SEC cleared the investigation months before it began talks with Fortress — Kushner’s lender at One Journal Square — about acquiring the senior interest in the loan.

Kushner Companies has faced a series of challenges at the project and it appears unlikely that Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, a Democrat, will grant the company building permits or tax abatements, though he denies it has anything to do with opposition to the Trump administration. Garrabrants was critical of Fulop, but said BofI will make money in the deal regardless. If Kushner Companies can’t build it or if it defaults, someone else will get the project done, he said.

“With respect to any kind of hurdles that arise as a result of any kind of issues related to some of the things that I’m sure people who are motivated in certain in manners put in place,” Garrabrants said in a statement apparently directed at Fulop, “hurdles in respect to [Kushner] in particular, and essentially punish him for his political affiliation, those are more difficult.”

However, he continued, “If we ended up with an ownership interest. … There will be people lining up to make sure that we don’t lose money on that project.



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Opinion- Do Better by Yeshiva Students

Do better by yeshiva students

City and state officials must do more to protect the civil rights of these children and ensure that they are properly educated.

By Shlomo Noskow


I am perpetually astonished by how Hasidic community leaders in New York have managed to convince thousands on the logic of keeping young Jewish boys uneducated. And state and city education officials who have the duty and authority to ensure that students are educated have not done so.

Private and religious schools are obligated to provide students with an education that is at least “substantially equivalent” to that of public schools. This is to ensure that in addition to religious curricula, students are offered at least a basic education in topics such as reading and writing of English, math and history.

I recall as a teenager spending 12 or so hours a day in my Hasidic high school in Brooklyn. Some of the time included daily prayers, but the day consisted mostly of studying and rehearsing portions of Talmud and its commentaries. There were no secular studies. No English, no math. Outside of school, there was no time for extracurricular activities. More than 20 years later, the school still operates and, unfortunately, like many other Hasidic boys schools, it still does not provide students with a secular education.

My parents had my best interest in mind, but they acted like cogs in a system, following community norms. Hasidic Rabbis and community leaders set the norms, including school curricula. But the developing mind of a child shouldn’t be restricted to religious studies, regardless of religion.

It is perplexing that wonderful parents who deeply care about their children, allow the educational neglect of their education. Why are Rabbis, who incidentally are well provided for, allowed to deny these children a basic education? Shouldn’t we instead do everything possible to expand their options and better prepare them for the future? Why not have the schools incorporate a few hours a day for secular subjects? Would teaching students how to properly communicate in English and about basic history, science and finance be so detrimental?

Proponents of the status quo say Hasidic boys seem to thrive. That ignores the fact that a large percentage of Hasidic families are dependent on government aid. We are essentially dooming generations to lives of poverty. Why? And shouldn’t government programs, including Section-8, food stamps and Medicaid, be reserved for people experiencing unforeseen events? The programs are not meant to be used as a way of life, the way they are being used by many in the Hasidic community.

City and state officials must do more to protect the civil rights of these children and ensure that they are properly educated, as guaranteed by our Constitution. For years, we’ve watched politicians place politics ahead of the education and welfare of children. It’s time educational guidelines are enforced.

Speaking out in the Hasidic community is not well-tolerated. Anyone who does risks being ostracized or having their children expelled from school. But if enough Hasidic parents make their voices heard, perhaps politicians and school officials would take note. Then we’d be able to compel yeshivas to properly educate children.

Shlomo Noskow, who grew up Hasidic in Brooklyn, is an emergency medical physician in New York City.

Hate Crime Beating, Hasidic Thugs, Politically Connected Shomrim and 4 Years – NO JUSTICE!



Hasidic man gets four years for role in group beating of gay black man in Brooklyn

It’s four years for an eye.

A Brooklyn judge sentenced a Hasidic Jewish man to four years in prison for participating in a vicious beatdown that left a gay black man blind in one eye.

Mayer Herskovic was not the only person who assaulted Taj Patterson on Flushing Ave. in December 2013. But he’s the only attacker getting prison time.

“Those who stomped and chased (Patterson) did try to injure him. The defendant was involved, he participated and was found guilty for that,” said Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun.

Cop: We used trick to get video of Hasidic men beating victim

Patterson, 25, did not attend the court proceedings in Brooklyn Supreme Court on Thursday — he previously said he wants to move on with his life.

Nonetheless, the lasting effects of the senseless attack will remain with him.

“Mr. Patterson asked himself why all this happened to him and he concluded it’s because he was a young black male in a predominately Orthodox neighborhood,” Assistant District Attorney Timothy Gough said on behalf of the victim.

According to trial testimony, Patterson was walking to his Fort Greene home when men — some belonging to the Williamsburg Shomrim, a Jewish patrol group — began chasing after him. The attackers mistook him for the suspect in a car vandalism streak, prosecutors previously said.

EXCLUSIVE: Gay, black man who was brutally attacked sues city

“This defendant, that group and the community couldn’t see him as an individual, but as a criminal,” said Gough, who recommended Herskovic receive five years in prison.

Video surveillance showed men chasing Patterson for blocks. One person with a walkie-talkie was identified at trial as Yoelli (Joel) Itzkowitz, but he was not questioned for his role in the attack.

One of Patterson’s lawyers has urged the Brooklyn DA’s office to indict Itzkowitz, alleging prosecutors have overlooked Itzkowitz because his brother is the politically connected coordinator of the Williamsburg Shomrim.

Four men in addition to Herskovic were charged in the beating. Two of the cases were dismissed and two of the attackers took plea deals sentencing them to 150 hours of community service each.

“Amongst all participants who stomped and beat Mr. Patterson, this defendant wasn’t the most culpable,” Chun said of Herskovic. “Mr. Patterson was chased for blocks, but not by the defendant before me.”

Prosecutors placed Herskovic at the scene thanks to DNA found on one of Patterson’s sneakers that was thrown to the roof of a nearby building.

The “deeply scarred” Patterson asked the judge to sentence Herskovic to the maximum of 15 years in prison for the second-degree gang assault and unlawful imprisonment charges.

“When Patterson woke up in the hospital, he didn’t know where he was. He was upset, frightened and alone,” said Gough.

The victim has had surgery three times, but he’ll never regain eyesight in his right eye.

“I wish I can take back what happened to Mr. Patterson all those years ago … I hope he finds peace for all he has suffered and endured,” Herskovic told the judge as he pleaded for a lenient sentence.

“I’m 24, my life is about family, helping people,” he added. “I work as a construction worker. I work with all kinds of people, black, white, Hispanic, gay and not gay.”

Nevertheless, his lawyer Stuart Slotnick asserted outside of court that “the DNA evidence was completely and totally flawed.”