Chosen: Crimes and Misdemeanors

By Shmarya Rosenberg

The Weekly Blotter

A mob of more than 30 ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students kidnapped and beat three secular Israeli teens who were walking through an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood in Haifa. The mob allegedly yelled, “seculars aren’t allowed here, you’re Russian thieves!” Police recovered brass knuckles, a knife and a club, and three ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students were arrested. Their attorney told the press that “it is impossible that [his clients] were identified among all of the Yeshiva students [in the mob], who [all] look alike.” (Ynet)

The government’s response to convicted fraudster Rabbi Sholom Rubashkin’s appeal request contains damning emails from Agriprocessors for HR manager pleading with Rubashkin to follow the law. The brief also contains a letter from Agriprocessors’ attorneys to Rubashkin dated six weeks before the massive immigration raid that brought down the company. The attorneys’ letter mentions hundreds of “no match” letters from the government to Agriprocessors over the previous years that showed Agriprocessors employed hundreds of employees whose Social Security numbers did not match existing numbers in the government’s database. Agriprocessors’ attorneys pointed out that Rubashkin’s failure to remedy this situation could lead to a raid, and that Agriprocessors and Rubashkin were vulnerable to prosecution. Agriprocessors was the world’s largest producer of glatt kosher meat. (Failed Messiah)

An Israeli poll found that ultra-Orthodox Jews are six times more likely than secular Israelis to believe that convicted rapist (and former Israeli president), Moshe Katsav, is innocent. Zionist Orthodox Jews were three times more likely than secular Israelis to believe that, and the poll found that the greater the level of religious observance, the more likely it became that a person would distrust the court’s decision and believe in Katsav’s innocence. (Ynet)

The Israeli edition of the ultra-Orthodox newspaper Hamodia, controlled by the Ger (or Gur) hasidic sect, refused to publish an ad that shows a heavily bearded ultra-Orthodox man winking as he takes a cracker out of bag. The paper condemned the man’s “mischievous eyes” and noted, “we expect a grownup person to provide a more educational example, to sit and read a book or something. In the past the newspaper used the same claims to reject an ad showing a person drinking coke.” Hamodia also loses about $8,300 each month because it refuses to publish ads that use the word “computer.” The revised version of the ad, which was published by Hamodia, was altered with computer technology. It removed the wink and also added long sleeves to a boy’s shirt and to the shirt of a man sitting next to him. (Ynet)

Israel’s Sefardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar said US and other diaspora Orthodox rabbis take bribes for converting non-Jews to Judaism, citing a case where one rabbi was paid $1 million. Amar used this claim to justify accepting only conversions done by ‘authorized’ rabbinic courts approved by him. This has led to a surreal situation that has seen non-Orthodox converts from the US registered as Jews by Israel’s Interior Ministry, while Orthodox converts converted by ‘non-authorized’ Orthodox rabbis are rejected. Amar’s move is seen as a rejection of left wing Modern Orthodox rabbis like Avi Weiss. (Ha’aretz)

Pilots of an Alaska Airlines flight from Mexico City to Los Angeles locked down the cockpit and notified the FBI after three Orthodox Jews on the plane took out tefillin, rectangular black leather boxes held on the arm and head by black leather straps, and began to pray. The men were escorted off the plane by federal agents in Los Angeles, but no arrests were made. (AP)

Revered as a business guru, Israeli Kabbalist Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto’s American finances appear to be in shambles. The expensive Manhattan townhome he occupies is in foreclosure, and the finances of his organizations are shrouded in mystery. Pinto’s fundraisers are accused of using questionable tactics, as well. Pinto advises some of America’s and Israel’s most prominent business leaders, and was even consulted by NBA great LeBron James. Pinto’s main US organization also failed to pay for workers compensation insurance for an eight month period, a violation of New York State law. It has a $48,000 judgment entered against it as a result. Prominent Israeli politicians tried to influence the coverage of Pinto’s financial troubles to protect Pinto. (Forward)

The Va’ad HaTznius, or modesty squad, of the hasidic neighborhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn is allegedly extorting money from the families of children caught acting “immodestly.” The scam allegedly works by mandating that the families pay for therapy with designated “therapists” who are members of the Va’ad HaTznius and who are not licensed therapists. Families have been forced to pay as much as $30,000 for this “therapy.” (Frum Follies)

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, Village Voice and many other publications. He was named to both the Forward 50 and the Heeb 100 in 2008.

What do you think?

2 Responses

  1. Menachem

    Rabbi Pinto seems like a crook of crooks a don of dons and someone in porno money laundering death curses and other things aint no rabbi to me rabbi pinto should be in jail


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This will close in 0 seconds