Special to IzDosNishtNeias? by Sylvia Glenn
Boro Park was happy to learn that two brothers who were serial molesters of Hasidic children in the neighborhood were arrested by the NYPD. According to Leib Rabidnowitch, “At last we can have some of these criminals arrested, baruch hashem (thank G-d). Even my uncle, the Munchkin Rebbe, says there is no problem of mesirah (snitching).” Mayer Lebedowitz went further and said, “I hope they give those shaygetz mamzerim (creepy bastards) a bris (circumcision) without anesthesia.” David Freedman said, “I would never let an outsider touch our children.” Rabbi Avrohom Reichman nodded in agreement.
Breaking with its usual practice, Hamodiah published the names of the accused brothers, Figaro and Dante Puccini, the owners of a barber shop in Boro Park. Hamodiah’s editorial page denounced “those who dare to despoil the innocence of our holy Jewish children.”
Jubilation turned into shock when locals learned that the brothers converted to Judaism four months earlier. Their conversions were performed by Rabbis Shemtov, Braun, and Groaner, respected ultra orthodox rabbis in Crown Heights. They were of the older generation, untainted by any allegations of messianist heresy.
Suddenly people began to understand changes they had wondered about. For about a half a year the Puccini shop was closed on Friday afternoons, Saturdays, and Jewish holidays. The two had grown beards and started wearing baseball caps in middle of the summer. Inquiries established that they had replaced their usual antipasto lunch of mozzarella, prosciutto, mortadella and gardinera with salami sandwiches from a kosher deli up the block for Dante and corned beef for Figaro. Several locals who were opera buffs (of tenors, basses and baritones, not women, G-d forbid) remembered that they found it odd that Figaro was singing the words of the aria, Largo al factotum to the melody of Ufuratzta.
Try as they might, nobody could find anything wrong with their conversions. Dr. Avrohom Glanz, who also has ordination from Rabbi Yisroel Belsky, confirmed he did a full ritual circumcision in cooperation with the three rabbis. Dr Glanz refused to say whether he performed MBP (oral suction). Instead he replied, “You could tell they really wanted to be true Jews. Both of them refused all anesthesia. But with the evil gezeirah (legal decree) of Bloomberg it is better not to answer the question. Goyim wouldn’t understand.”
Quicker than a meshulach (charity solicitor) can put a letter in your face during davening (prayer), Boro Park sentiment changed. Hamodiah published a tearful editorial confessing its error in claiming the Puccini brothers were molesters. “Let this serve as a lesson to all of us to beware of rumors coming from the booking clerks in police stations.” The witnesses all withdrew their charges after visits by rabbis from the Vaad Hatznius (modesty committee) who “persuaded” the boys that they had misunderstood the kindly gestures of the barbers. They pointed out that Italians are just more expressive with their hands.
New York City Councilman, David Greenmold, who represents the orthodox district, accused Daily News reporter Yerek Anav of targeting the Jewish community with his “unjustified attempt to besmirch two honest, hard-working barbers.” According to Greenmold, reporters and the DA should be dealing with the minority element who commit violent crimes instead of targeting orthodox Jews who have lower than average murder rates.
Shmarya Rosenberg’s anti-haredi blog, Failed Messiah, claimed that the two knew they were under suspicion for over year. On the advice of their old family friend and attorney, Arthur Aidala, “they did a whole hog conversion” because there was no other way out of jail.
But as they say is Boro Park, “Who are you going to believe, daas torah (Torah authorities) or Failed Shmatte (rag), Shmarya and Nuchem Rosenberg or the Munchkin Rebbe?”
Meanwhile, Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg said, “I don’t care, Jew or Italian, they are molesters, and some day they are going to be hung up by their peyos (sidelocks). If I had my way, they would cut them off and admit they are un-pious. Someone should have given them a much more thorough bris, lichumrah (circumcision, to stringent standards).”