Chosen: Crimes and Misdemeanors

By Shmarya Rosenberg

The Weekly Blotter

Alan Verschleisser was arrested for allegedly stealing $2.6 million worth of metals. He was fleeing to Israel at the time of his arrest. (Baltimore Sun)

[custom_field limit=”1″ between=”, ” /]An Orthodox Jew, Verschleisser is the father-in-law of former WexTrust COO Joseph Shereshevsky, who was, until his indictment on massive fraud charges, a large donor to Orthodox and haredi causes. (Failed Messiah)

A scion of the world’s largest Kosher foods distributor is a bigamist. Yehuda Semel, who is a partner in his family’s business, Quality Frozen Foods, gave his wife a get, a Jewish divorce. But the couple’s civil divorce, allegedly held up largely by Yehuda Semel’s attempts to hide his assets, is still not final. That did not stop Semel from marrying another woman in an Orthodox religious ceremony – something illegal both for Semel and for the rabbi who officiated at the ceremony. (Forward)

Allegedly, Semel hasn’t paid full child support in three years, hasn’t paid his first family’s mortgage, gas, or electricity, raised the deductible on the health insurance policy for his first family to $5700, has not paid his children’s school tuition, and has left those children on food stamps. (Failed Messiah)

A Las Vegas man, David Perelman, was sentenced to one year in federal prison for falsely obtaining a Purple Heart and about $180,000 in disability benefits. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

A member of Baltimore’s Orthodox civil patrol, Eliyahu Werdesheim was arrested for assault. Werdesheim, a former Israel Special Forces soldier,  and two other Shomrim Patrol members allegedly attacked a black teenager walking in a Jewish neighborhood. Werdesheim is claiming self defense. (WBAL)

The most horrific child abuser in israel’s history was found guilty of all counts against him. Elior Chen, a self-styled rabbi and kabbalah cult leader, will be sentenced at a later date. At Chen’s direction, his followers burned, beat and imprisoned small children in attempts to exorcise demons from them. One of his victims has been in a persistent vegetative state for more than 2 1/2 years. (Jerusalem Post)

A Florida school for the disabled is suing two Chabad schools for alleged fraud. Abi’s Place is accusing the other schools of violating Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act in the heat of the Kohl’s Cares Facebook contest for nonprofit schools. (Sun-Sentinel)

Two other Chabad schools were tossed out of the contest after Kohl’s apparently caught them cheating. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

Bnei Brak, an ultra-Orthodox town near Tel Aviv, has moved to evict all African refugees and migrant workers in a bid to keep the town “Jewish.” (Ha’aretz)

The Antidote

It’s Hanukkah. Despite what you might have learned in Sunday school, Hanukkah is as much a commemoration of the Maccabees dislike for the liberal Jews of their day as it is a commemoration of their defeat of the Syrian-Greeks. Still, the candles are beautiful. Light a few, eat some latkes and sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts), and hope that next year’s Hanukkah edition blotter will have some good news to report.

Shmarya Rosenberg publishes His reporting has been cited in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Columbia Journalism Review, Ha’aretz, Jerusalem Post, Forward, JTA and many other publications. He was named to both the Forward 50 and the Heeb 100 in 2008.

What do you think?

About The Author

Shmarya Rosenberg

Shmarya Rosenberg has been published in Newsweek/The Daily Beast, Moment Magazine, the Forward, Tablet, StarTribune, Jewcy, Sh'ma and Heeb, and was profiled in the New York Times, Ha'aretz and the Jerusalem Post. His work has been cited in dozens of newspapers and broadcast media sources worldwide, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, New York Daily News, New York Post, New York Observer, AP, Des Moines Register, Ha'aretz, Jerusalem Post, and CNN and CNBC's America Greed. He is the publisher and editor of

One Response

  1. ary

    Alan Verschleisser is innocent. Can’t say the same for Shereshevsky. It’s so sad that you thrive on negative news. Even worse you actually quote the Baltimore sun!!! a well known newspaper for getting there info wrong all the time


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