How Did Rabbis Determine Someone Was a Miscreant before Electronic Recording?

Mordechai Tendler

Mordechai Tendler

In three important cases, rabbis relied on audio or video recordings to publicly denounce rabbis or force them to resign. I am referring to Rabbi Mordechai Tendler, Rabbi Leib Tropper and, most recently, Rabbi Dovid Weinberger. In each case, dozens of victims had complained to many rabbis, but to no avail, until the recordings surfaced.

Leib Tropper

Leib Tropper

The technology for audio recording is about a century old. Only in recent decades has recording capability become cheap, inconspicuous, and ubiquitous. But we know that rabbinic misconduct did not suddenly start a few years ago.

Rabbi Dovid Weinberger

Rabbi Dovid Weinberger

We know that Jewish law empowers communities to remove religious functionaries (e.g., rabbis, teachers, ritual slaughterers) for misconduct. We know that rabbis and communal leaders have “fired” functionaries in various times and places over the centuries (e.g, Shoel Umeishiv in 19th century Lvov/Lemberg).

So I have to ask how was it done before they had electronic recordings. Put differently, why are hyper-traditionalist rabbis demanding newfangled forms of electronic evidence and not using the old methods?

Cassette audio

53 thoughts on “How Did Rabbis Determine Someone Was a Miscreant before Electronic Recording?

  1. If Yankel Bender did conspire with Belsky even after hearing the tapes, he needs to be taken to task. The only legitimate demand at that point could be to ask for authentication as was done in the Tropper & Tendler scandals. However, Belsky’s letter did not ask for authentication nor has the question come up anywhere else. And the fact that so many women unconnected to each other have accused Weinberger, means that there is a “kol” in halacha which does not require any hard evidence as audio / video.

    This would not be the first time that Rav Perr was on the correct side of a local issue & Bender was siding with the LOSER.

    Rav Perr long had a problem with Shmuel Hiller and his Bnos Bais Yaakov, way before Hiller was identified by the State Comptroller as stealing millions of dollars for various uses including to personally line his own pockets. Bender was on Hiller’s side and doesn’t seem to be jumping back to Rav Perr’s side even now.

    And now that NY State has turned off the flow of the stolen money, Hiller’s relatives are desperate to keep obtaining what they want for free.

    In just two weeks recently, Hiller’s son was arrested twice for shoplifting

    At Walmart

    And at Costco

    • Do you have any proof that Bender took Hiller’s side. I am torn about the stream of anti-Bender comments. I see a toeles, a purpose in explicating the dynamics surrounding the rabbinical decision to denounce Weinberger and to criticize Belsky. For the community to stop abusers we need to have more such actions and they need to happen sooner and with more information and dissemination. However, I do not want this blog’s commenting section to be used to settle unrelated scores.

      In keeping with my commenting policy, I will, at my discretion, delete comments that are off-topic for the post. It is a tough call at times because I am still sorting through the facts. But I am wondering how much Bender-bashing is off-topic. I know he is powerful and involved in many things, and is a power-player who does throw his weight around. But that alone is not enough reason to focus on him in a post that is about other issues.

      • What I know predates my arrival in the 5 Towns area. It was told to me by an anti-Belsky signatory. You can ask around Yeshiva of Far Rockaway to get more details. Rav Perr has an extreme aversion to Hiller for reasons that my source & others prefer not to elaborate on because it is too shmootzik.

        Bender was sharing real estate & continued to share an amicable relationship with Hiller during and after the dispute with Rav Perr.

        There is a lot of dirt on Hiller that is publicly accessible if you dig around NY State websites under his & his school’s names. He has a long history of stiffing people on top of bilking the government. His fancy new BBY building is binyan hagazul. I don’t know if a single contractor was paid for his work.

        Now tell me if you find this revealing in the slightest, two major supporters of Bender, one of whom with zero ties to Hiller, were infuriated that someone anonymously publicized the NY Times article about Hiller around the 5 Towns area and wanted to clobber the person responsible.

        Hiller has at least one thing in common with Dovid Weinberger. Ask anyone who has interviewed there how Hiller demands to check out in person how the mothers dress when he could have the menaheles do it.

      • Maybe you should consider deleting the fact that someone is making false allegations against one of rabbi hiller relatives. First on rabbi Hiller. He is a good man and gave his life and blood to the community. Even if he is guilty of anything in this case, he should not be turned into a murderer. He probably felt under pressure to pay his employees at the school. And on his relative: I saw him that night at a Far Rockaway chasuana 28 mins after the alleged incident took place. Unless he has wings it would be impossible for him to get there in that time frame. I looked up and found 26 ppl with the same name all living in NY. Its probably one of those guys. Yearchmeil, as much as I understand the purpose of this site you cannot allow it to just become an unfiltered base for lashon hara and motzei shem rah. What is the purpose of this post about an old argument bet Rabbi Hiller and Rabbi Perrer?

      • Yearchmeil, Isant the purpose of this site to expose and bring to attention child molestation and misconduct along those lines as well as call out people who defend them? What does a rabbi hiller and rabbi perer dispute have to do with that? In addition if the time of the shoplifting was 6:51pm it could not have been rabbi hillier relative. He is on record taking a flat tire chaverim call at 6:45pm in far rockaway. While I do understand the point of this site it is your responsibility to make sure the information in it is true and accurate.

        • Hiller appears to be a mega-criminal based on the theft indictment. The son was arrested for shoplifting. Criminality matters, not just child abuse, though that is my major focus. As for the alibi, show the charges were dropped and the alibi stood up under scrutiny. Invoking someone’s say-so of an alibi is not proof, not even very persuasive.

          If someone defends a known crook it casts doubt on their integrity. I cannot settle the issue. i do know Rav Perr has an unblemished reputation for exceptional integrity.

      • What ever happend to innocent until proven guilty? Rabbi Hiller should get a chance to prove that he didn’t do anything wrong? As far as what I hear he didn’t know anything that was going on. If he is so guilty why are all the Rebbonim backing him? No schools are taking any Bnos Bais Yaakov kids that want to switch because of this? If he was so bad they would have done to him the same that they did to Dovid Weinberger. And on his son: I know he didnt do anything wrong. I saw a record of everything he has done ( including all traffic tickets) and there is no such story listed there. Chances are it is a relative or someone with an identical name. If you would know the amount of chessed that guy is involved in you would be embarrested to post such a thing

        • It’s pretty obvious that the same loser who Yerachmiel caught sockpuppeting in support of Hiller from the same computer has taken to using different computers to do the same thing with the same sloppy spelling.

          Hiller is not a common name to begin with and how many DOVID Hillers could be living specifically in LAWRENCE NY?

          There is a very practical reason why the other girls schools are not taking kids trying to flee Hiller’s BBY. They would be overwhelmed. And who says that Hiller will be running the school even if the government does not confiscate it? There may be a major conflict if he is incarcerated.

    • Comment deleted by Blogmaster for violating rule against sockpuppeting (one using several different names to fool readers into thinking others share your view)

    • Comment deleted by Blogmaster for violating rule against sockpuppeting (one using several different names to fool readers into thinking others share your view)

    • Comment deleted by Blogmaster for violating rule against sockpuppeting (one using several different names to fool readers into thinking others share your view)

    • I was with rabbi Hiller son at the time of the alleged shoplifting. He was at a weeding out of the ny area. It could not have been him. It’s probably someone with a similar/same name. Before bad mouthing someone due your homework to make sure you have the right person. You will probably go to gehneim.

      • If so, he should have succeeded in getting the charges dropped. Were they dropped?
        Public knowledge being repeated is not loshon horah. The arrest was in the newspaper. That is pretty public.

        • There was never any charges brought against him. They were brought against someone else with a similar/same name. There are many people that can vouch to were he was that night as the weeding was pretty full. And btw if you ask ever learnt Shmiras Haloshona you will know that it’s only permitted if there is a purpose. What purpose does this have?

      • How many DOVID Hillers live in LAWRENCE of NY’s 5 Towns? Certainly not “26”.

        And how does the Hiller shill know what time the shoplifting incidents were when the newspaper only reported the day of the incident?

        There are only 2 chassuna halls in Far Rockaway, the White Shul and the hall at Hiller’s school itself. How much does anyone want to bet there were no weddings booked there on those dates?

        • Your such a fool. I said a far rockaway weeding not a far rockaway weeding hall. The weeding was in vizinitz Boro park Brooklyn. I was also curious about this shoplifting thing so I searched around. If you search enough you will find the time of incident was 6:51. Problem for you: he was in Brooklyn at 7:30. It would be some feat if he can get from Long Island to Brooklyn after they booked him in that time frame.

        • There is no newspaper report to my knowledge that defines the time of the shoplifting to the hour, let alone the minute. If it exists, surely you can provide the link.

          And there could be still be an explanation. Say the responding officer writes an appearance ticket at 6:51, it is possible to get to Boro Park in 39 minutes if there is only light traffic.

          Next time you have a problem with “weeding” try Scott’s Turf Builder.

          • Oh there is also one more problem: he drove someone from far Rockaway to the chasuna. How did he make it from that part of Long Island to far Rockaway and than to a Brooklyn chasuna all in 39 mins during the week when there is full traffic? You probably don’t like Hiller for some reason. And btw: rabbi Hiller is a good man. A very good man. He has given his all to serve the community. It’s bad people like you that cause all the pain in chlul Yisroel

        • Why should we take your word for Dovid Hiller’s supposed jam packed itinerary when you do not provide the supposed article with time stamp, that if it exists as you claim, would prove your point?

          And are you the same guy with the same type of spelling mistakes typing prompt pro-Hiller defenses under various names like “Akiva”? Of course you will deny it but we readers can decide for ourselves how suspicious & transparent things appear.

          • You can belive what you want. Bottom line: he was at a jam packed hall in boro park 39 mins after an incident that with the lightest of traffic conditions takes more than that time to get to the hall. You sound like an angry bored and lonely person. Go get a life. I wish you the best. I will no longer carry on this argument as it’s not leading to anything

        • why is this so complicated? i have no idea if he is innocent or guilty. Instead of their being a back and forth about it someone should just confront him. If he can produce clear and convincing evidence of were he was at the time than he is innocent, if not he is guilty. If there are people who are claiming they saw him this should not be to hard. In terms of rabbi hiller, i just don’t like what rabbi Kamenetsky is doing. And to be honest this is the parents fault. Who is representing the parents at these meeting? why are only the pro hiller people there? We should all have a say in the issue.

        •,52557. the link you requested with the time. It shows 4:30pm. Apparently Mr. Hiller was at a different location at the time. Such info is verifiable. Figure out a way to email me off this site and i will show you all the info. Next time get your facts straight. Oh, and one more thing: how come rabbi hiller is such a bad guy? why is he any worse than BMG ( who is under FBI investigation;aka board of ed) and Yaakov bender ( who suddenly closed down head start after hiller investigation started). I’m not saying he is right, however equal crime deserves equal punishment.

    • i will agree with you on some points. Rabbi hiller is being pretty stupid. He should just take an leave of absence till his case is resolved. However it does not appear that he is as guilty as it seems. Looks like there gonna offer him a 6 months jail stent with 5 years probation and a $3 million dollar fine. Should that happen his days as dean of BBY will be over. Word has it Rabbi Kaminstkey has said, if he serves any jail time hes gone from the school.
      In terms of Rabbi Hiller son, there is just to much evidence to state he was not there and was not involved in the incident. The paper posted a time of 4:30pm on jan 20th. There are multiple ppl who have no interest in lying to say he was at a particular spot. Why would a tire shop lie? Why would DD donuts on Rockaway turnpike lie?

  2. I’ve also asked myself why, in the absence of recordings, was Weinberger always believed over the multiple female victims who reported his actions? If not for the quick thinking of at least one of them, it appears that Weinberger would still be in business – in more ways than one.

    • I do. The article uses the generic term, electronic recording. However, the cassette is a recognizable icon. I see nothing comparable for the highly varied devices now in use.

      Ask yourself why state of the art web sites still use that old camera icon when most cameras these days no longer look like that.

      I suppose I could have used a microphone icon. But to me that does not convey recording in the same way. Maybe, I am just from the old times in some ways.

  3. Yerachmiel, you know how to knock in the shmitzigs on the top of the cassette to prevent accidental erasure—I’m sure you do. Also, if the tape ever gets tangled, use a bic pen to help respool it… Gotta go listen to my London School of Jewish Song tape (with the choir in the snow picture on the cover).

    • Of course I do. I do it just like in the alter heim. In fact, in my day, I could spin the cassette on a pen point like a gragger to respool.

      Knocking was permanent. The temporary approach was a piece of tape.

  4. What is with all this bashing of my very special Rosh yeshiva rabbi Yaakov Bender shlita ?

    Is there a more caring person on the chinuch scene today ? I was kicked out of two yeshivos with nowhere to go. Someone introduced me to Rabbi Bender . He asked me if I will stay away from smoking and the like. All he wanted from me is to try! I promised him that I would. He took care of me no less than a father would. I came from a broken home with not a penny to my name . The office did not charge me tuition. Not only that. Rabbi Bender meets with every single bochur in the yeshiva before pesach and asks us if we need anything. Every bochur must go in so as not to embarrass anyone. He then gives each bochur who needs a voucher for a suit and or hat , shirts , ties etc.

    He has more yesomim in his yeshiva than any other, because he cares.
    He has more wheelchairs than any other yeshiva, because he cares. He always, again and again , tells us in his fantastic shmuesen that we are not doing a favor for the handicapped , they are doing us the biggest favor so we can learn how to care.
    He has the largest resource room of any yeshiva in the country! And the financial office does not charge one penny for the resource room tutoring, even if you are rich! If you need help , rabbi Bender makes sure you get it.

    Yerachmiel , why do you allow these malcontents to spew their hatred against this fantastic individual. Are these people(might be one person with multiple aliases) upset because they were one of the hundreds who tried to get into Rabbi Benders and Darchei’s special programs but could not ? after all rebbe cannot accept all of the hundreds who apply.

    Yerachmiel , you imply clearly that you are troubled by these nothing factual accusations against our beloved Rabbi bender. Rabbi bender saved my life and the lives of hundreds of others. Nearly no one goes off the derech in YDT and do you know why ? because he has programs for everyone.! In my class there were bochurim who went to Reb Osher arieli in the Mir or to brisk. And there are graduates from my class who went to Einstein and to Harvard . but like rebbe always tells us , he is most proud of the graduates of mesivta Chaim sholom’s vocational program. They are taught plumbing, carpentry , auto mechanics, optometry, electricians work and they are full members of klal Yisroel. And do you know why ? two words : rabbi bender . what power-player ? What garbage are these kvetchers and reshoim spewing out? Rebbe is the most popular and beloved mechanech of the rockaways / five towns. The whole town loves him!
    He is perhaps one of the most popular mechanchim in the country. He has zero tolerance for molesters. He outed , someone ,who was probably the worst molester in the frum world, some twenty years ago. Everyone knows that his difference of opinion in the latest story has been only that he didn’t want a tummel nor announcements made. He felt that there was no need to go public and embarrass the family since the matzav was being dealt with.

    I strongly suggest that people be very careful in going after the tzadik of the chinuch world,. Chachomim, heezahoru be’divreichem. You are talking of the best in the torah chinuch world. Not an ounce of gaava! Man doesn’t sleep at night, running around helping people wherever he can. A man with not a single character flaw. Yerachmiel , please watch these people.

    • Hey chussid, no one denied the good that your Rebbe has accomplished, even vast amounts of it. In Yiddishkeit we believe that good deeds are rewarded and bad deeds are held to account. You think the man’s completely infallible?

      Just curious, you never noticed that the Lawrence crowd gets the better rebbeyim in Darchei?

    • I too have a great deal of respect for Rabbi Bender for the reasons discussed in PDT’s post.

      As for whether the matter should have been kept quiet, Rabbi Bender is entitled to his opinion, but he was very much overruled. It is true that the situation was being dealt with, but Weinberger’s numerous tactical errors and his pipe dream that he was still fit for Rabbanus made it necessary to go public.

  5. what a nice hesped for rabbi bender every person does mitzvahs and chesed but we are not here for that on this blog what we want is answer to the accusation that we are discussing on this blog.

      • to the bender chusid: he threw out a yasum bec someone was supposed to pay up full tuition for him. it came in late by one week! he let boy go and he is today not frum and on streets. so get ur facts straight. like sdom said theres a reason ppl are blogging about him.

  6. Cut it out!
    Rabbi Bender is the Avi Hayesomim in this country.
    There is no one, absolutely no one who has done as much for them. Agav, I don’t think he ever ever gets involved in tuition matters. I don’t think YDT ever throws anyone out over money anyway. They wouldn’t throw out a rich kid, let alone a yosom. So please , be careful before you print any lies and loshon hora about the mechanech with the biggest heart in America! Get your facts straight.

    • to bender chusid. my husband personally gave money and was late. kid eho is my friends child. firsthand story. sorry to burst bubble. there are alot nore brewing.

  7. It is unfair that only Hiller & a few of his co-conspirators are going to jail. Even Garber who is a Hiller co-conspirator was not arrested. Garber was the owner of Supersol & is suspected as being the current owner of Seasons, using Gold as a figurehead, due to Garber’s other legal problems with the Feds.

    There are a bunch of Lawrence residents who are guilty of the same crimes as Hiller, even stealing from the same program, but who are not going to jail.

    The most recent one is Morty Kramer

    • The owner of season’s is Tzvi bloom from far rockaway/5t. Gold is only a minority owner along with pinny Lipschitz from the yated. This has nothing to do with garber. In fact, he put it up for sale way before any of this investigation started. He is a 70 year old and wanted to retire. And on rabbi Hiller: I know you hate him. I feel bad for you because I spoke to an expert who has the inside scoop. The chance of him going to jail is less than 5%. The worst they will do is take away his camp and all his properties that he owns. Just out of curiosity how come you don’t attack bmg in Lakewood for all there illegal activity? Recently the Feds seized computers from the NJ board of Ed. They suspect fraud involving bmg. However I don’t see you posted anything about them

      • Garber put Supersol-Seasons up “for sale” before NY State came after him but AFTER the Feds came after him for a different scandal.

        Why was Garber’s son in law who is not frum still working for the supermaket after the “sale”? Some rabbis from outside the area who are wary of accepting Supersol-Seasons prepared food into accounts they supervise, due to the son in law, suspect there may have been a sham sale to get the Feds (& the unions) off his back. It’s very convenient to put figureheads in charge. What do you think the old owner of Gourmet Glatt did when the 5 Towns Vaad forced him out over kashrus problems? He opened a new supermarket in Queens with a figurehead posing as the “owner”.

        Go back to huddle with your “expert” who doesn’t know squat.

        • How many aliases does dovid hiller have, its so obvious that dovid Hiller posting as different names to defend himself

        • Meir Gold’s integrity is impeccable. I know him for decades. There is no way he would be involved in any non-kosher business.

          I should also mention that Meir saw to it that SEASON’s crew pitched in to help GOURMET GLATT when the store was devastated by a flood. This was an unbelievable act of chesed for that new business.

          SEASON’S is as kosher as any other establishment under the Vaad, notwithstanding attempts to smear their reputation here.

        • It’s not necessarily illegal to present yourself as an owner, certainly not if you have a minority share.

          There was no slight intended against Meir Gold as far as that, although you have to wonder if he would be ok with (Hiller co-conspirator) Garber’s son in law having access without a mashgiach present. I only know about this because some out-of-area rabbis have an issue with it.

          Almost no one in the 5 Towns is aware of this issue just like most residents were not aware that Weinberger was a perv. 5 Towns residents need to get a clue.

          When was Gourmet Glatt “devastated by a flood”? Sandy did not reach them. There was a fire thanks to Simply Sushi so Gourmet’s workers were sent temporarily to other supermarkets.

      • “I spoke to an expert who has the inside scoop. The chance of him going to jail is less than 5%.”

        Unless you spoke to the judge, your “inside scoop” is worthless. Maybe you misheard, the chances of him NOT going to jail are less than 5%. Rapfogel stole a lot less and is going to jail for 3 – 12 years and that’s IF he pays back 3 million dollars and he stole from a Jewish charity. Hiller stole from the New York State taxpayers. I think the People of the State of New York care more about theft from taxpayers than from Jewish charities. I think the kal v’chomer is pretty obvious.

  8. I never posted here before. I rarely read this website. This is my first and last post. I am absolutely disgusted by the posts in this comment section relating to Dovid Hiller. First, I want to clarify three points.

    #1. I am not Dovid Hiller.
    #2. I know Dovid Hiller.
    #3. I am not addressing his guilt or innocence.

    Now for my point: This website claims to be a forum for dealing with issues relating to the frum community. When discussing various rabbis and community leaders, you may claim that there is a toeles in revealing their deeds as this impacts the Jewish community. Reasonable people can debate whether or not this is legitimate. However, what on earth is the toeles in discussing a 25 year old with zero influence in the community? He is not a rabbi and not a community leader. Leave him out of it! The commenter who dragged his name into this as well as the site owner need to so a serious cheshbon hanefesh!

  9. cant say, usually YL catches these things. So either YL is taking the day off, or your nemeses have gotten more sophisticated. Lo chashuv, we all have a pretty good idea of the emes. some know for sure, others postulate, but same emes. .

    • The reason for the foreclosure action is because they are having trouble paying their mortgage and has nothing to do with the criminal case. There is NO action being taken against the BBY in relation to the criminal case. Everyone knows that even when u get a building donation it does not cover the entire cost. They have a mortgage like every other school.

      • Did BBY really need a mortgage or was it just another way for Hiller to line his pockets after everything was already donated? Was it pre-planned to suck in the bank with the intention of getting them to settle for pennies on the dollar?

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