Jews Need Justice; Not Someone in the DA’s Office to “Manage Jewish Affairs”

Wolf Sender

Wolf Sender

The Jewish news website, Vos Iz Neias (VIN) just posted the headline “DA Thompson Names Sender To Manage Jewish Affairs.” They go on to report:

[Wolf Sender will] oversee Jewish affairs in Kings County……

“I will be working with the Jewish community for the District Attorney’s office,” Sender told VIN News.  “I am here for whatever the DA needs.  I hope to accomplish whatever I can for our Kehilla…..”

It is unknown at this time if Sender will take over the duties of Henna White who served as a liaison to the Jewish community under District Attorney Charles Hynes.

The critical question is whether Mr. Sender will serve the interests of select Jewish “leaders” at the expense of justice. Henna White, purportedly using her wisdom about what was practical and doable, became a lobbyist for leniency toward Jewish pedophiles. Supposedly she represented the community. In fact, she betrayed the children of the community by denying them the full protection of the law. The trouble with the idea of a liaison is that they turn into shtadlanim (interceders) on behalf of the leadership of the community, not of the rank and file, and certainly not of the tormented and the abused. Sadly, the ultra-orthodox leadership, like the Roman Catholic hierarchy, cares more about its reputation than the plight of its abuse victims. The difference is that the RCC only extends itself to protects its employees. In contrast, the Jewish leadership goes all out to protect every last one of its members. Most of the leadership believes no Jew should be in jail, no matter what. The mission of the DA is to prosecute criminals. There is no way to reconcile those two goals.

It is true that the ultra orthodox Jewish community can be strange and mysterious to those not used to it. I can see the appeal of a point person to illuminate its culture and politics when that becomes pertinent to dealing with cases. Unfortunately, the history of liaisons in NYC government is overwhelmingly a history of special pleading. That is what the community expects and wants of someone like Mr. Sender. He lives in and is part of that community, and is obviously susceptible to its influence.

It is possible that Henna White started out thinking she could both serve Mr. Hynes and the community. It only became possible to harmonize those goals under Hynes because he sold the soul of justice to political expedience. DA Thompson promised to protect Jewish children as well as other children are protected. Does Mr. Sender have it in him to push back at the community; to tell them, any attempt to secure special treatment will put you in my doghouse? I doubt it. Will Mr. Sender be able to say, “Steer clear of all the known hucksters in the community, whatever their stature, even if they are part of the political alliances to which I was party in the past?” I doubt it. Will Mr. Sender be able to say, steer clear of publicists like Yossi Gestetner? I doubt it.

I do know what sort of Jewish resources the office of the DA should draw on if it wants to succeed in fighting child abuse. For starters, there are dozens of orthodox, and some ultra-orthodox, Jews who work for the District Attorney, many as ADAs. They should be the first-line source for cultural information. Then there are the anti-abuse activists who are not part of the ultra-orthodox leadership. None of the true activists can be part of the ultra-orthodox leadership because the leadership continues to oppose consistent criminal prosecution of abusers. At best they are willing to do it in some cases but not others. I can name a half a dozen anti-abuse activists who know the issue well, know where the bodies are buried, can illuminate the organizational and personal politics of the community, and most important, will never be swayed from supporting a victim and supporting prosecution. Some of their names are known and others work behind the scenes. Will Mr. Sender make it his business to be in contact with those individuals and support them in working collaboratively with the DA’s office? I doubt it.

I am eager to be proven wrong. Time will tell.

In the coming weeks I will be monitoring the evolving role of Mr. Sender who starts work on February 3. Stay tuned.

Update 1/25/14: According to the New York Jewish Week, Part of Wolf Sender’s baggage includes participating in a seemingly illegal scheme to confer tax deductions for non-tax-deductible political advertising expenses. This was done on behalf of Dov Hikind,  his patron, and an important backer of Ken Thompson in the Primary, who defended Thompson from David Greenfield’s scurrilous antisemitism charges. The vehicle for this ruse was a charity operated by convicted fraudster, Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum.

Update 1/26/14: See Rudi Stettner: “An Open Letter To Kenneth Thompson About the Office of “Jewish Liaison””  His arguments include:

The idea that a “Jewish liaison” is automatically my advocate or that of any Jew who walks into the office of the Brooklyn DA is profoundly disturbing. There are Jews who run the spectrum of Jewish observance, from anti-religious to chassidic. There are Jews who speak Yiddish, as well as Jews who speak Hebrew or Arabic. Many Jews speak only English Even within chassidic groups are groups that fight fiercely with each other.

What worries me most about a “Jewish liaison’” is the fact that there are class divisions within the Jewish community. Will the “Jewish liaison” who works in your office truly represent every Jew who walks through the door? Or will they represent only the powerful and the politically connected? Because receiving a visit from a “Jewish liaison” can be like being mugged a second time. One crime victim I know who received a visit from the “Jewish liaison” for Charles Hynes  told me “Whenever she walked in the room, you knew that the fix was in. She was going to try to strong-arm you into dropping charges, or watering them down. If she walks in the room, tell her to leave…”

The dispensing of justice is not a political favour, but the most basic and elementary function of government. Under Charles Hynes, we were presented the misguided and malignant notion that it was a favour from the powerful. Hopefully, under your direction, this trend will change.

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29 thoughts on “Jews Need Justice; Not Someone in the DA’s Office to “Manage Jewish Affairs”

  1. i dont think it was a good idea to have him in office, he is a political figure with ties to many, we are gonna be f*****again, im afraid!! pardon my language but….

    • yea, abe, thats what im afraid of, some crackpot is telling ken what to do and whom to listen to and we are basically screwed!!!

  2. When Wolf Sender did his illegal shtick for Hikind’s ad, he used the registered charity of Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum, a convicted fraudster. See http://failedmessiah.typepad.com/failed_messiahcom/2007/01/head_of_igud_ha.html

    Tannenbaum’s iggud Harabonim in Flatbush, has ties to Mendel Epstein (aka the prodfather) who was arrested for conspiring to kidnap and torture a man to compel him to deliver a religious divorce (a “get”).

    See also:
    https://frumfollies.wordpress.com/2013/02/06/3877/#comment-31607
    https://frumfollies.wordpress.com/2013/02/06/3877/#comment-31782

    I supported Thompson, but I think he is screwing up on this appointment unless he turns him into a potted plant and keeps him away from all cases and relies on others for accurate information about the criminals in our midst.

    We don’t need a Jewish door. We just need an open door.

    Oi vey! I was so hoping that Thompson would steer clear of this sort of chazerai.

    • i totally agree with you, thompson needs to know that he should NOT listen to whomever is telling him to get political people to help him, they are the worst!!

  3. The first half of my prediction comes true. The problem wasn’t Hynes. It isn’t Thompson. These are both many who tried to, and are trying to, do their best. The problem is the community. The community protects pedophiles. Lopin, I applaud your efforts and those like you to bring these stories to light and keep them there. But when you start getting angry, your anger is misplaced. Hynes, Thompson, White, Sender…These were not, and will not be the problem. The problem is the community itself. Just like with the Catholic Church.

    • If you should turn out to be right, I will raise the same issues about Thompson I raised about Hynes. Of course the community is part of the problem. The DA is elected to serve a public interest.

      I consider the appointment of Wolf Sender a misstep. I truly have to wonder who the hell vetted him. I hope that member of the transition team is bounced out of their job. At best, I hope he is relegated to a ceremonial role. But even if he is limited to that it sends a bad message to the community; it sends the message that the fixers have their claws on the office. My hope is, regardless of the community’s misconduct, when an individual summons the courage to go the DA, they should know the DA will be on the side of justice and not the community.

      • I have no problem with Ken Thompson. I have a problem with you deflecting blame away from this community that protects child molestors. Thompson is doing the best he can.

        • I don’t think you read my blog very carefully. My January 3 post (https://frumfollies.wordpress.com/2014/01/03/the-heter-permission-for-moishe-turner-to-molest-children-in-monsey/) starts, “There is no heter (permission) for molesting in Jewish law. But many rabbis and askanim (community activists) in the orthodox world have creatively reinterpreted Jewish law and values to protect the molesters in their midst who keep on assaulting children.” How is that deflecting blame away from the community. Really! Read it through and explain to me where I dispute the community’s egregious culpability in defending molesters? It is you, in your determination to shield DAs who is hell bent on saying the problem is purely one of the community and does not implicate officials who collude with them. Granted, they offer political bribes. Are you saying that an official who takes a political bribe or accedes to a political threat is off the hook because some lowlife offered it.

          Is your brain so simplistic that it cannot deal with the idea of more than one party being guilty?

        • I am reserving judgment on Ken Thompson and hoping he keeps his promises. I feel this was a misstep but it is too soon to see how he will deal with the issues on the whole. I think he has done quite well in his early weeks in other respects.

  4. YL, two naive questions. Does Thompson know of this blog? If he does, does he also know that there are ADA’s and former ADA’s who read and comment on it?

    • good question, Kevin, and im curious which ADA’s read this, i would love to read what they write!!

  5. Pingback: An Open Letter To Kenneth Thompson About the Office of “Jewish Liaison” | Globe Tribune.Info בס”ד

  6. Boorey Deutsch, the spouse of the victim who testified against Weberman wrote on FaceBook:

    We don’t need anyone to take over Henna White’s crap; we need justice for our children.

    The DA’s office should do thier job for once. Henna White messed [things] up for the Jewish community. Daily she betrayed our children. Why do we need someone in the DA’s office?

  7. My rapist in BP is free. Thank you Henna White. I went in and she sat in on my meetings with ADA and convinced me they couldn’t do anything because a rabbi didn’t support me. I thought of going in under Thompson. But Wolf Sender is Hikinds fixer. My rapistis close to Hikind. Nobody in DA’s office is going to rape me again. Screw you Ken Thompson, big faker. But U R not so smart. Sender and Hikind r gonna screw you also.

    I cannot believe I worked to get you elected. U politicians r all pussies afraid of frum guys. Grow them.

    • i totaly understand you, we are gonna be screwed again, and to think i spent sooo much money and time campaigning for thompson, all for nothing!!!

  8. Why do we need anyone in the DA’s office to control our children like Henna White did?? We need justice just like any other human being….

    Is someone in the community already controlling our new DA?? #KenThompson #BrooklynDA

    • yup, Boorey it seems to me like something is going on there, and to think i spent soo much money and time in campaigning to ensure votes so he can get elected, wow ,what a waste of my time!!!

  9. We don’t need anyone to take over Henna White’s crap; we need justice for our children.

    The DA’s office should do thier job for once. Henna White messed things up for the Jewish community. Daily she betrayed our children. Why do we need someone in the DA’s office?

  10. Please Lopin, your focus ihas not been the fault of the community, but the fault of the DAs and the ADAs. That’s obvious. You’re defense to that charge is to dredge up some post from three weeks ago where you mention the fault of the community? The community is an aberration. And aberrations are a problem for the officials. They require innovative solutions. You are going to jump on this man’s back just because he merely appoints a liaison. Then jump on the liason’s back? As the author over in WordPress pointed out, most of your information is wrong. And you take it and then use it to hurt hardworking ADAs. Yeah, I do defend them. And if you are reserving judgment on the new DA, put a sock in it.

  11. This all derives from having elected DAs who are beholden to the bloc voters who put them over the top. Probably Brooklyn would be better off with no DA and just the US Attorney’s office handling prosecutions.

    • U.S. Attorneys are under the federal Department of Justice and only have authority to prosecute violations of federal law, not state law. ( And they have enough to do.) Federal authorities can step in if there is a federal crime connected with a state-law crime, such as transporting a minor across state lines for purposes of sexual abuse, or making or possessing child pornography.

  12. Thompson smelt bad from the beginning. Now with his missteps in his appointments of Smelly Sender (SS), he really stinks. Its the same old political payback play, and screw the truth and doing whats right. This Kellner mess will be his undoing, just like it messed up Heynes.

    The entire Brooklyn is beginning to realize Thompson is a wolf in sheeps clothing and out of his depth, learning on the job. The SS appointment seals the deal. Indeed, what a joke he’s turning out to be – why on earth does he need a Jewish liaison anyway? Why not a Christian, Muslim, or Hindu liaison too then? All this does is send a signal that Jews are special, and different – read, Im beholden to the Jews for financing and electing me – to any other case involving other religions.

    So where is the semblance of equal justice, Thompson?? This partisan SS appointment is sick.

    And to think, Lopin, you supported him — but I think you’re regretting it: you dont sound like the unequivocal cheerleader for him you were back in November.

    I doubt that in November 2017 Lopin will be rooting for his man again…..the muck is already starting to flow….

    • Arnie,
      In 2004 the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn entered into a “Memorandum of Understanding” with Joe Hynes whereby two liaisons for the Catholic Church were appointed to “deal” with alleged victims of clergy sexual abuse crimes. The named liasions were attorney Kevin Kearney and Monsignor Kieran Hartigan. Kevin Kearney is the Diocesan attorney. As told to the Clergy Abuse Review Board members, these liasions were to speak directly with Hynes on all allegations of abuse reported to the Church. Likewise, Hynes would relay to Kearney all instances of sexual abuse reported to the D.A.’s office. In Brooklyn, Catholics have some very astute support groups – SNAP and VOTF – so nothing much ever came of these liasions having any influence. Survivors very often speak first to members of these groups or to civil attorneys. That perhaps gives them the wherewithall to proceed and seek justice. I find the parallels and differences between the Catholic Church and the Jewish faith very interesting when it comes to our responses to this issue.

  13. Thats interesting, but still doesnt excuse the appointment by the new DA in what looks like a partisan attempt at political brown nosing of one (very rich) community. It says Jews are more equal than others.

    Even worse is that this Sender fixer is tainted with the aura of underhand dealings — this sends a clear signal that Thompson is either a political and legal neophyte who is in way over his head, and/or that Sender was forced on him by his sectarian jewiish election backers.

    Either way, Thompson looks bad.

    Dont say you werent warned before the election that Thompson was trouble. He hasnt taken long to prove those dire predictions right. The fact that Lopin now smells a rat is proof central.

    The tainted Sender though has taken a poisoned chalice. It will be interesting to watch his gradual then precipitous downfall. Thompson wont be far behind.

    • This comment here. Does the exact same thing Lopin has done for months. It ignores reality. Benjamin, explain what you mean by this comment you just made: “but still doesnt excuse the appointment by the new DA in what looks like a partisan attempt at political brown nosing of one (very rich) community.” You can’t just say that. You have to walk through how the appointment of a liason shows preference. Because it isn’t favoritism res ipsa loquitur. There can be alternate explanations for the appointment of liasons beside favoritism. You are doing exactly to Thompson what Lopin was doing to Hynes.

      And the benign alternate explanation is this: the members of that community collectively care more about the community’s reputation than they do about abused children. And I am happy to see that just like Hynes, Thompson isn’t ignoring that reality, and is doing his best to combat it.

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